Friday, February 28, 2014

It's time for Oscar: Let the Madness begin!

Hollywood is 'bracing' for the annual bout of industrial-strength self-love. But aside from the promised riches of Ellen Degeneres' schtick and the value of presenters' 'swag bags',  the field of 'the art' this year is somehat formless and void.  Aside from piracy suits and a nudge from Netflix/rentals, there is no more 'boffo' to be gained from any of the 'winners'.

An unreamrkable field of best' film should be dominated by a cartoon. But it's not. Nor is the 'best' film, in my estimation, even mentioned. Instead we have another realistic-imaginary space film, a realistic Sgt. Rock star-spangled  war story about a freighter , a 'scam' movie - two actually - one almost legal, a peter-pull to Sari,  another AIDS saga  and a historical fiction a la  Civil war renactment movies - this one featuring a new, 'hot' back actress - topless and being whipped - all well-seen before and none outstanding - for anything - except perhaps the latter and the Wall Street 'blow jobs'.   'The Dallas Buyers Club' is the most interesting of those nominated. But even absent the much needed (I imagine) hi-tech biffy in Gravity, or those whipped ta-tas in '12 Years a Slave', the best film, unnominated,  was 'The Book Thief' -  but it has no 'cast' and it's about the literal redemption of a little Nazi, sooo.. it's not going to fly.

The female leads; Judy Dench in a 'tribute' nomination for the non-starter 'Philomena', Sandra Bullock for Gravity (more notice taken of her under-suit outfit than her acting), Streep and blanchett for ttheir 'craft' and the winsome 'newby' Amy Adams as a scam artiste, are run-of-the-mill this year. Adams should win it for her 'class'.

Male lead Christian  Bale stands out if only for the most elaborate comb-over in cinetomatographic history. Bruce Dern os nominated as an octogenarian  in 'Nebraska' - probably reprising the cxharacter of the dead biker he  played in the breakthrough 'The Wild Angels' long, long ago. Leonardo does Leonardo, again, in the 'Wolf of Wall Street' - a role nnotable only for its proffered 'suck offs' and a thespiation of the greed motive. McConaughey shows to what efforts artists will go for their craft and plays the thin man as if he was the only fixture in a changing world.  Chiwetel Ejiufor is ok in his role as a kidnapped slave, but his slavery is as meningful to modern audiences as 'Lincoln' was to the  moderns last year - mind you that effort won Day Lewis an award, didn't iit?

While on 'biographies. what happened tto "Jobs?  Maybe it was made-for -TV  but these days a movie is a movie isn't it? And the normally one-dimensional Aston Kucher actually tried acting like someone else, even to mimicking a walk! It deserved a look.

This year's  documentaries featured another look at the Afghanistan experince, or at least an examination of some of its dirty undergarments. In 'Dirty Wars' the muffed special forces raid on an Afghan  compound, that resulted in the deaths of a number of Afghans - two policemen and their wives,  during a misinformed 'night raid' is examined, without much result. This was the case in which the 'good guys' initially claimed to have almost saved two women from an honot killing. Turns out no such thing happened and tthe SF involved used their K-Bars to retrieve the bullets from tthe women thay shot. Even Addmiral McRaven, head honcho of all things special, makes a cameo as an apologist for the misdirected cause of freedom.

A better documentary  effort is "This is What Winning Looks Like' - like a night raid, it doesn't leave many loose ends. Maybe next year?

The count-down is oin to red carpet central. Ellen Degeneres is the hostess with the mostess and bets are being laid that a skirt may replace her  periennial pants. But how could she be as funny as Fey and Pollard in a skrt? I'm just wondering if she'll wear sneakers?

I really think somebody ought to talk about internet piracy, after all, if  Hollywood's net is actually 'up' this year, as iit us reputed to be, then it would hve been 'up' a lot more if culture thieves had had to lay oout $9 a pop to see the 'work'. Maybe Jodie Foster could replay the earnestneess with which she importanced her exit from the closet.

La Chaim - the 'Bulldozer' Busted out

One of the last original 'menschen' Ariel Sharon (nee Scheinermann), the conqueror of Shatila, Lord of Lebanon and Mitla, the Undoer of the Yom Kippur, the defenestrator of the Gaza Settlements and father to his nation, wall-builder par excellence and intafada-fighter numbers 1 thru 8, shuffled off the mortal coil last week after a short lifetime in a coma.

I was going to remark on his life and 'charmed' military record, but having Prime Minister Harper send a  'ground preparation committee' to the funeral - so that he can do  his pilgrimage a week later, upstaged the dead guy.

Representing Canada at the funeral rites were the 'new' ambassadorix Vivian Bercovicci and Canada's up-and-coming brain trust, Chris Alexander the kabob of Kandahar. 'Kid Rock', clad in the standard one-size-fits-everybody, goyische yarmulkeh, just like Joe Biden's,  even got to say shiva, or something.

But all that lumination didn't hold a templelamp to the Wise-Guy's eastern progress a week later. The Steverino was coming to town! As well as that were a number of hebrew MPs and a coterie of the Canadian rabbinate - some travelling on the taxpayers' dime. Apparently there was a literal 'skylane' of Canada-Israel flights - commercial and otherwise - to prepare the way of the lord.

Sadly, other than a check-off on a possible bucket list (I wershipped at the Wailing wall), Canada got little more than an opportunity to show how a Zionist friend we really were. And Steve got another award.

Mind you, there was a side trip to the West Bank and a foray into the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, America's little gunport on Syria. But why would one want to waste time in those places when the latter-day eden really 'hearts' you?

Sharon may be dead, but his course will be stayed, whether the Prime Minister of Canada, or anybody else for that matter, 'supports' it or not.  There is the 'survival' of a nation/race/religion at stake. The palestinians may continue to exist or not,  their call. Steve announced $12 million for something arabic, but I wouldn't be expecting the cheque.

And let's not forget the "million-dollar shot".

The Globe's 'unlisted' video