It's like Oscar night all over again! We have one loser and one winner: which is which?
Precious: Based on the Novel "Push" by Sapphire
The film snatched two Oscars, one expected (Mo'Nique for best supporting actress), one not (best screenplay adaptation, which was assumed to belong to Up in the Air). Our own Eric D. Snider identified the challenge and held out a hope: "The premise of Precious is so unsettling and bleak that no one would blame you if you didn't want to see it. ... That feeling of hopefulness, not the awfulness that precedes it, is what you'll take with you when the film is over." Rent it.
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Up in the Air
Jason Reitman's character drama walked away empty-handed after earning nominations for George Clooney, Vera Farmiga, Anna Kendrick, and Reitman himself. Clooney plays a frequent-flying 'termination agent,' firing flocks of people from corporations that don't want to do the dirty deeds themselves. Kendrick is the new kid on the firing block, proposing to save money by inhuman means, and Farmiga is the fellow foxy frequent flyer who appears to share Clooney's commitment-phobic allergies.
While not without its moments, it leans heavily on portraying single, childless people as lonely, hollow bastards, while celebrating the joys of marriage and family. Trouble is, none of the families or relationships portrayed are anything close to joyful, so the argument falls flat on its self-righteous face. And it manages to smugly trivialize the consequences of the Great Recession along the way. Rent it if you're single, unemployed and masochistic, or married, currently employed and sadistic.
After the jump: saints, dogs, cartoons, capitalists, and a stoning.