Category Archives: bunraku

My Oscar Picks for This Year

Okay, first off, yes, I have been lax this year with The Oscars. I am hesitant to admit this, but I really haven’t even taken a good look at the nominees until earlier this week. Nevertheless, I will take a shot a predicting the Academy Awards – both what will win, as well as what should win. And just to remind all you other latecomers, check out the nominees here.

Best original Screenplay – I want Woody Allen for Midnight in Paris which I thought was brilliant, but it will probably go to The Artist.

Best Original Song – Of the choices, it’s “Man or Muppet.” Only two songs nominated? Really?? And only one from The Muppets??? What about the songs in Captain America or Bunraku?

Best Animated Film – Nothing deserving was nominated, and the three I saw were abysmal. For the first time in quite a few years, I don’t care about this category.

Best Supporting Actor – Is it time for Nick Nolte to win this year? Plummer and von Sydow deserve it, but I think it’ll go to Nolte, just a hunch.

Best Supporting Actress – I looove Janet McTeer, and would love to see her get this, but I think one of the ladies from The Help will take this one.

Best Actor – I only saw Clooney and DuJardin, but I’m still going to say the latter.

Best Actress – Meryl Streep in The Iron Lady. It’s her turn again.

Best Director – If Martin Scorsese doesn’t get this for Hugo, it will be a crime. Not only will the Academy admit they know nothing about direction, they nothing about film either.

Best Picture – The Help and Midnight in Paris were my favorite movies of the year in this batch, The Artist and Hugo are wonderful love letters to film itself, but I’m going to say they give it to The Help.

Check back later and see how I did. What are your picks?

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Bunraku

Bunraku ~ I saw this a few days back and I’m still not sure what I thought of it. It’s hard to describe. The word that is the title is Japanese and refers to a 400 year old type of theater that makes use of puppets, shadows and origami. It does in fact describe the way this movie is filmed. If I had to give it a shot, I would call Bunraku a samurai gangster western musical morality play. It is shot mostly on a soundstage and many of the sets and miniatures are paper. If nothing else, it’s impressive.

The story of a cowboy without a gun and a samurai without a sword who face off against an evil warlord and his gang of assassins takes place in a future where there are no guns, and the world has returned to the way of the sword. Josh Hartnett does his best Tim Olyphant impression from “Deadwood” as the cowboy, with Demi Moore making brief appearances as a madam, and Woody Harrelson plays a wounded hero turned bartender with a penchant for making pop-up books with forgotten (or perhaps stolen) comic book themes. Ron Perlman is the evil warlord, and Kevin McKidd (from two of my favorite shows that never should have been canceled – “Rome” and “Journeyman”) deftly dances through and steals the entire movie from the rest of the cast as the lead assassin, Killer Number Two.

In closing, Bunraku is at its core a morality play, and a samurai film in the old tradition. It’s also very stylish and has to be seen to be believed. I recommend it with a precaution. Be prepared to be weirded out, and blown away.

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