Tag Archives: oscar

Ghost (1990)

“Why don’t you go haunt a house? Rattle some chains or something.”

Cast: Patrick Swayze, Demi Moore and Whoopi Goldberg


Patrick Swayze stars as Sam Wheat. After a night at the theatre with girlfriend Molly (Demi Moore), a mugger shoots him dead on the streets of NYC. Though his spirit leaves his body, his love for Molly see him trapped between two worlds as a ghost. In his ghost form he watches over his grieving girlfriend, but also discovers that his case was no accident and he was actually part of a murder plot.

Sam finds being a ghost terribly frustrating as he can’t communicate with people, he just seems stuck on Earth unable to do anything. He decides to visit spiritual medium Oda Mae Brown (Whoopi Goldberg) to see if he can actually communicate with a ‘professional’. Just as he suspected she is a con artist, though surprising to both she can actually hear Sam criticise her job. After considering that she may be going crazy, Oda settles with the fact that this is something her family have been doing for generations, so she must have ‘the gift’. Having this new found ability, the film follows Sam as he tries to solve his murder case and communicate with his sceptical girlfriend.

Ghost is a great love story. It’s entertaining throughout and the twists of the murder case keep the audience’s interest in the film up. Again this is another predictable film, yet even with its clichés it still manages to pull at your heartstrings. Aside from the lovey-dovey stuff, Goldberg provides the many laughs of the film. Her ability to play the medium in such a funny style, like she does in most of her roles, makes it another great reason to watch.

Some people claim it’s the best love story of all time. While I wouldn’t go as far to label it that, I do agree it is up there with the best. It is a very romantic and heart-warming film about true love transcending the seemingly finite end that death brings. The chemistry between Swayze and Moore make it all that more conceivable, so I can see why it leaves this lasting impression on people.

Ghost was nominated for 5 Academy Awards and won for Best Original Screenplay and Best Supporting Actress for Whoopi Goldberg.

Star rating: 6.5/10

Directed by Jerry Zucker.

Running time 127 minutes.

The King’s Speech (2010)

“Timing isn’t my strong suit.”

Cast: Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush and Helena Bonham Carter

I don’t usually like movies set in older time periods, or about the Royals, I’m not keen on listening to the Queen’s English being spoken in films, I don’t particularly like the old-fashioned dress sense or the values kept back then, and I despise the boring and slow paced nature of these films.

They bring back memories of me being forced to watch weird VCR programmes in History class, and taking notes on something that happened ages ago, which I didn’t care much for (even if I probably should.) Films like this don’t really interest me. So given the option to watch a movie about one, or a combination of these things… Well I’d rather sit that one out.

The Kings Speech however was recommended to me by a family member, who said despite what I thought, I should give it a go. When I heard the title I didn’t think it would be one for me. Nevertheless, I sat down with an open mind and was pleasantly surprised by my reaction.

Colin Firth takes the lead of the film as Prince Albert Duke of York, who suffers from a terrible stammer. The opening scenes of the film position the audience in a very uncomfortable situation, with Albert’s attempt to deliver a speech at the closing 1925 Empire Exhibition. This immediately sets the tone of the film and establishes our willingness for him to succeed in his role as Prince and eventually King, as well as our unease when he falters.

Son of King George V, Albert was teased throughout his childhood and constantly criticised by his father, who has a very frustrated and tormenting manner toward him. Though determined to overcome his stammer, Albert believes he is incurable. That is until his wife, Elizabeth Duchess of York, played by the fantastic Helena Bonham Carter, finds a speech therapist that claims he can cure anybody.

This historical film is a heart-warming look at Prince Albert’s rise to the throne, his determination to overcome his main obstacle and in doing so, finding his voice. At times frustrating, others emotional, The Kings Speech is a well documented look at the rise of Prince Albert to King George VI, with the help of his speech therapist Lionel Logue.

The film gathered twelve Academy Awards nominations including Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Director at the Oscars 2011. Meaning it takes the lead of the nominations list.

Star Rating: 8/10

Directed by Tom Hooper.

Running time 118 minutes.

Black Swan (2010)

“The only person standing in your way is you.”

Cast: Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis and Vincent Cassel

It’s unusual that I get so amped up for a film, but with all the hype surrounding Black Swan, I was counting down the days until its release.

black swanI often feel quite cynical about a film that has so much excitement surrounding it. Are people just jumping on the bandwagon by saying how great it is? What if the hype exceeds the actual quality of the film? Will expecting something fantastic disappoint me?

Black Swan did nothing but assure me that the entire buzz was well deserved though.

Natalie Portman portrays Nina Sayers, a ballerina who has strived to be centre stage for years. Winning the role of the white swan in the classic ‘Swan Lake’ though, sees changes in the perfect, timid Nina we are first introduced to. Through rigorous training, pressure to be the best and to live up to the preceding lead Beth, she experiences psychological issues that see her struggle between reality and fantasy.

Starring opposite Portman, Mila Kunis adds a bit of sass and dimension to the film. Her portrayal of Lily brings depth to the film, and allows the audience to question what is actually real, and what is just warped reality. More fitting of the role of the black swan, Lily competes with Nina, who reveals a much darker side of personality, expanding the films genre into a psychological thriller.

Black Swan has been nominated for five Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress, Best Cinematography and Best Film Editing at the Oscars 2011.

The effort put into creating this spectacle has certainly paid off. Portman reveals she trained with professional ballet dancers 4/5 hours a day for about a year prior to filming, breaking a rib in the process.

Star Rating:    9/10

Directed by Darren Aronofsky.

Running time 108 minutes.