One of my favorite things to do at the end of the academic year: catch up on second-tier Oscar bait. Thanks, netflix, for making this process so easy. Some of last year's buzz pics have left me disappointed but two offered some genuine surprise and delight. What more could you ask from netflix?
Frost/Nixon struck me as cold. I appreciated peeking at the dubious motives (easy money/good tv) of the dueling protagonists but regretted the film's flat affect. Rachel Getting Married had much more pathos and flavor but was also a bit clinical and detached. Happy-Go-Lucky had some real punch, particularly the climactic fight between the jolly schoolteacher and her driving instructor. Here's a genuinely odd piece of work. Very well-written characters, though I wonder if the piece would have made a better short feature. The first 2/3 of the film seemed redundant, almost to the point of diluting what could have been a more focused vision. I really enjoyed Vicki Cristina Barcelona--and I'm not a big Woody Allen fan--for its gorgeous shots of summer in Spain and its Kerouac-esque ethic. I wonder if Pedro Almodovar inspired Allen. I'm not just saying that because of the Spanish setting and the fact that Penelope Cruz is one of the stars. This film has such a profound interest in women that it reminded me of, say, Volver.
Next up in my netflix queue (I think)...season one of True Blood.