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"The Sandell Bros. Take On The Artsy-Fartsy Academy Candidates"

Ah, award season.  That most exhausting time of the year.  As I've mentioned (3,212 times), I live in a small town.  Small towns rarely get the stuff nominated for Academy Awards.  Since the movies don't come to me, I must drive to them.  Drive for hours and hours and hours and hours.  Just the films below had me on the road for nearly two days.  Like the hostile LOTR geek said, "maybe [I] should be a truck driver."  I don't think he meant it in a nice way.  Anyway, I've went to 6 movies at the theater in the last 3 days, 4 of them in one day, and I still have at least one more Academy Award related tri-state marathon to go (I have yet to see Mulholland Drive, Iris, Freddy Got Fingered or Monster's Ball, inevitable Oscar candidates, all).  Still, as mentioned, I've managed to get in a lot of films over the past 3 days, along with the other Sandell Bros., and here's our opinions of the movies that will most likely be up for big awards on Oscar night.  (Note that some of these aren't "artsy" films.  This is because the Academy doesn't nominate "artsy" films EXCLUSIVELY.):

"Artsy-Fartsy Academy Candidates":

A.I. Artificial Intelligence

The Almighty Sandell's: 1-10 rating (10 being the best): Comments:
The Almighty Alex Sandell 9 Kubrick and Spielberg should have teamed up years ago . . . preferably before Kubrick died. Click here to read full review.
The Almighty Matt Sandell 8 Was a nearly perfect movie until the last 30 minutes, which were too sappy and long.
The Almighty Ben Sandell 8 Captures the Kubrick feel but none of the Spielberg charm.

Overall Rating:  8.3

Amelie

The Almighty Sandell's: 1-10 rating (10 being the best): Comments:
The Almighty Alex Sandell 5 Subtitles make the snooty, artsy-fartsy type get dumb real quick.  That's the only reason Amelie is even being considered Oscar material.  If you didn't have to read the movie, those uppity ladies and gents claiming that it's a work of art would have realized that it's nothing but a "very special" episode of Ally McBeal.  You could slap subtitles on Dumb and Dumber, and it would win Best Picture.  Still, as with Ally McBeal, there are some damn funny moments, and Audrey Tautou's puppy dog eyes and other exaggerated facial expressions do manage to charm you, no matter how calculated they are.  
The Almighty Matt Sandell N/A N/A
The Almighty Ben Sandell N/A N/A

Overall Rating:  5

 

Beautiful Mind, A

The Almighty Sandell's: 1-10 rating (10 being the best): Comments:
The Almighty Alex Sandell 8 Chop off the last 30 minutes and this would be a great movie, even if it does resemble Fight Club a bit much.  It's still a damn fine film that should leave you smiling, if a little bored, during the, "please shed a tear so we can win an Oscar" moments.  
The Almighty Matt Sandell 7 Great acting but a bit draggy.
The Almighty Ben Sandell 6 Inspiring story, but boring.

Overall Rating:  7

Black Hawk Down

The Almighty Sandell's: 1-10 rating (10 being the best): Comments:
The Almighty Alex Sandell 10 There is no way I could put into words how much I love Ridley Scott's directing.   Try to describe how an orgasm feels.  I bet you can't.  Well, it's the same with Scott's directing.  Black Hawk Down comes off to me as the end of a superb trilogy of mayhem Scott began with Gladiator, continued with Hannibal and now completed with Black Hawk Down.  It's a bloody, dark trilogy, and it isn't for the meek.  It isn't for the optimists.  It's a trilogy for the cynics, the psychos and true film connoisseurs.  Scott's directing has always been good, but in these last three films, it has become far more pronounced, louder, more intense.  Thanks to Ridley Scott's directing, Black Hawk Down is beautiful in its ugliness, and sad in its beauty.  Thanks to Black Hawk Down, I can now say that Ridley Scott is planet earth's greatest living director.
The Almighty Matt Sandell 5 Like the true life event, this movie shouldn't have happened.
The Almighty Ben Sandell 4 People shoot guns, that's about it.

Overall Rating:  6.3

 

Bridget Jones's Diary

The Almighty Sandell's: 1-10 rating (10 being the best): Comments:
The Almighty Alex Sandell 5 Formulaic drivel with the word "fuck" said a lot.  You've seen this one plenty of times before, just without so many "fucks," and Julia Roberts was usually starring in it.
The Almighty Matt Sandell N/A N/A
The Almighty Ben Sandell N/A N/A

Overall Rating:  5

 

Brotherhood of the Wolf

The Almighty Sandell's: 1-10 rating (10 being the best): Comments:
The Almighty Alex Sandell 6 It's kind of good but it's kind of boring and I saw it at 10:30 AM, so I might have liked it better if it was screened at a decent hour.  No matter what anybody says, it isn't scary.
The Almighty Matt Sandell N/A N/A
The Almighty Ben Sandell N/A N/A

Overall Rating:  6

 

Gosford Park

The Almighty Sandell's: 1-10 rating (10 being the best): Comments:
The Almighty Alex Sandell 7 Robert Altman, a director I'll always have something against for criticizing all of the "sex and violence" in movies, when his own have plenty of both, amazes by juggling a cast of over 20 leading actors, most giving damn impressive performances.  The social commentary regarding a servant and the man/woman that he/she serves makes for some thought-provoking stuff, and also some damn fine dry British comedy.  This film has so many subplots that you would have to see it at least three times to get it all. The screenwriter really worked overtime on this one.  By some miracle, this is all pulled off, with only one flaw, but this flaw is a big one;  the film pretty much totally fails as a mystery. 
The Almighty Matt Sandell 2 The only mystery that's solved is that something can be more boring than church.
The Almighty Ben Sandell 4 Yes, yes, I get the social commentary, but who cares?

Overall Rating:  4.3

Hannibal

The Almighty Sandell's: 1-10 rating (10 being the best): Comments:
The Almighty Alex Sandell 10 The most underrated movie of 2001 by the mainstream critics, causing me to forever doubt the integrity of anyone paid vast sums of money to review a film.
The Almighty Matt Sandell 9 The only reason the critics didn't like it is because it was too gross for them to handle.  One of my favorite movies of 2001.
The Almighty Ben Sandell 8 Well made, but choppy ending.

Overall Rating:  9

 

Hedwig and the Angry Inch

The Almighty Sandell's: 1-10 rating (10 being the best): Comments:
The Almighty Alex Sandell 8 Damn fine rock comedy that will grow on you like a little penis.
The Almighty Matt Sandell N/A N/A
The Almighty Ben Sandell N/A N/A

Overall Rating:  8

 

In the Bedroom

The Almighty Sandell's: 1-10 rating (10 being the best): Comments:
The Almighty Alex Sandell 1 Although I can't rightfully say that it's the worst movie ever created, I can say, without hesitation, that this film is EASILY the most slow-moving movie ever created.  Ironically enough, keeping the title in mind, I fell asleep in it for about 15 minutes, before a friend woke me up.  During that time, all that most likely happened is that somebody probably walked across a room, cried a little, and walked back.  Yes, it moves THAT slow.
The Almighty Matt Sandell N/A N/A
The Almighty Ben Sandell N/A N/A

Overall Rating:  1

 

Lord of the Rings, The:  Fellowship of the Ring, The

The Almighty Sandell's: 1-10 rating (10 being the best): Comments:
The Almighty Alex Sandell 4 After Peter Jackson's artistic triumph with Heavenly Creatures, this three hour snooze fest comes as one of the biggest cinematic disappointments in history.  Click here for full review.
The Almighty Matt Sandell 4 The people that say they love it are just faking it.  There is no way you could love this movie!  One hour of cool stuff doesn't make up for 2 hours of absolute boredom.  Horrible character development and bad dialogue make Lucas look like Shakespeare!
The Almighty Ben Sandell 6 Some scenes sparkle but most just fizzle.

Overall Rating:  4.7

Memento

The Almighty Sandell's: 1-10 rating (10 being the best): Comments:
The Almighty Alex Sandell 8 A perfect film the first and second time you see it, but upon repeated viewings the "backward mystery" gimmick grows a bit tiresome.  Still some damn fine screenwriting and directing.  Possibly the best screenwriting of the year.
The Almighty Matt Sandell 9 Probably the best movie of the year.
The Almighty Ben Sandell 8 Clever and fun.

Overall Rating:  8.3

Monster's, Inc.

The Almighty Sandell's: 1-10 rating (10 being the best): Comments:
The Almighty Alex Sandell 9 Pixar can't fail.  What's up with these guys?  This one isn't as funny as the Toy Story films, or even as A Bug's Life, but the character development, wonderful adventure scenes, and little inside jokes for the adults are all still firmly intact.  This is a classic family film, which sucks, cuz I view the Disney corporation as Satan (and that's being kind).
The Almighty Matt Sandell N/A N/A
The Almighty Ben Sandell N/A N/A

Overall Rating:  9

 

Moulin Rouge

The Almighty Sandell's: 1-10 rating (10 being the best): Comments:
The Almighty Alex Sandell 9 Remember those white, chalky candy stick thingies you'd dip into the powdery, fruity, multi-colored dust candy?  Well, watching this film is like shoving that powdery, fruity, multi-colored dust candy right into your eyeballs.  It's dazzling, flashy, and oh-so-clever.  Even the fact that it turns into a Shakespeare in Love rip-off during the second half couldn't deter my love for it.
The Almighty Matt Sandell 8 Better watched in two parts.  The first five minutes was like the best thing ever.  Unlike my brothers I actually liked the second half better than the first and thought Nicole Kidman wasn't very good.
The Almighty Ben Sandell 7 The first half crackles. The second falls flat.

Overall Rating:  8

 

Ocean's 11

The Almighty Sandell's: 1-10 rating (10 being the best): Comments:
The Almighty Alex Sandell 5 It's okay.  I've seen it a million times before, and it's been done better at least half those times.  If Julia Roberts inflates her lips any further through implants, they'll be bigger than her tits.  Gawd I hate vain movie stars.  This movie is swimming in them.
The Almighty Matt Sandell 8 Julia Roberts' horse grin drops it down a point.  I can't stand that woman.  When you watch a movie with her, don't you just think, "this is a movie with Julia Roberts?"  She plays the same fucking part every time.
The Almighty Ben Sandell 8 N/A

Overall Rating:  7

 

Others, The

The Almighty Sandell's: 1-10 rating (10 being the best): Comments:
The Almighty Alex Sandell 7 This movie would totally rule if the ending wasn't nearly a carbon copy of "The Sixth Sense."   Click here for full review.
The Almighty Matt Sandell N/A N/A
The Almighty Ben Sandell N/A N/A

Overall Rating:  7

Shipping News, The

The Almighty Sandell's: 1-10 rating (10 being the best): Comments:
The Almighty Alex Sandell 9 One of the best films of the year.  After seeing it a second time, I have come to realize how fitting the understated performances the actors give truly are.  The film falls together almost perfectly, with only a couple of far-fetched moments that made me want to hurl.  Well, not really "hurl," but possibly groan, a little.  Click here for full review.
The Almighty Matt Sandell N/A N/A
The Almighty Ben Sandell N/A N/A

Overall Rating:  9

 

Shrek

The Almighty Sandell's: 1-10 rating (10 being the best): Comments:
The Almighty Alex Sandell 9 A few too many pop-culture, "aren't-we-so-hip" jokes, but still one of the funniest films of the year!
The Almighty Matt Sandell 9 One of the funniest movies ever made.  One of the best animated films!
The Almighty Ben Sandell 9 I laughed just as hard both times I watched it.  It's classic comedy.

Overall Rating:  9

Be back tomorrow for the regular (IE - non "artsy-fartsy") "P," "Q" and "R" section of this fantastical film journey!  

Click here to send feedback (I mean it - I want some fucking feedback, and not just from LOTR geeks!  I'd like to know what some of you thought of some other movies, for a change!)

All text and title graphic are Copyright 2002 Alex Sandell [All Rights Reserved].  I don't know why you'd want to copy other people's opinions in the first place (but that is what made Lord of the Rings a hit), but if you do, for some pathetic reason, you must contact me first, and get my permission!

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