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Saturday, February 13, 2010

As we get closer and closer to Oscar night I've been trying to work through the list of nominees. Jeff Bridges' performance as Bad Blake in Crazy Heart is a must see. Although I had trouble with the story missing some critical parts, his performance is definitely Oscar worthy. He brought to life this lost country singer as he slips further and further into a world consumed by alcohol. The film is all about him, a country music musican and song writer pushed aside by his younger collaborator who finds himself unable to write and record. Left to singing in dives, he exists on drink, smoke, fast food and faster women. He's endearing, he's vulnerable, he's lost and we all love a character who saves himself and reaches his full potential. Jeff Bridges is the one to beat. See it! Oh what wonderful music, too.

Helen Mirren and Christopher Plummer deserve the Oscar nominations for best actress and best supporting actor. The film The Last Station examines the last years of Tolstoy's life as his wife Sofya vies for control of his literary output against his Tolstoyan confident Vladimir Chertkov. The Last Station is based on the 1990 biographical novel by Jay Parini. Mirren displays her considerable talent playing Sofya, a sharp, well-educated, strong-minded, passionate and sensual woman deeply in love with her husband struggling to keep him while struggling to keep control of all his copyrights. Their marriage was filled with great passion at first and equally great rejection at the end. Fighting constantly over Chertkov's influence, the Tolstoyans adoration and Tolstoy's will, their marriage finally crumbles. Seeking peace and solace in order to write, Tolstoy, with a small entourage, creeps away in the dead of night fearing another of Sofya's emotional outbursts. Ill with pneumonia, he dies in a train station in Astapova Russia. The film captures the Russian wealthy, the Tolstoyan life and the paparazzi of 1910. See it. It's very well done.

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