Category Archives: Oscar Nominated

48. Little Miss Sunshine

A dysfunctional family embark on a road trip together to make sure their youngest child can take part in the Little Miss Sunshine beauty pageant.

What Tierna thinks: “Loved this. It follows an unlikely beauty pageant candidate & her dysfunctional family on their quest to fulfil some dreams. The many hurdles & shortcomings along the road make for an hilarious yet sometimes emotional story that I’m happy to have watched. If you’re sceptical, just give it a go as at the very least, it should make you smile. I’ll give this a nine out of ten.”

What Tom thinks: “I knew Tierna would like this film.  I saw it in the cinema on its release and its a good film.  It’s a feel good kinda film… which I usually don’t like as I’m such a miserable sod… but it works.  The strong cast is part of the reason for this (it’s good to see Steve Carrell giving an understated performance for once).  It’s not going to change your life or re-invent the genre, but it’s a good film and I’ll give it an eight out of ten.

Up next: My Summer of Love

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52. The Constant Gardener

52. The Constant Gardener

Thankfully Alan Titchmarsh and Charlie Dimmock are nowhere to be seen in Fernando Meireles’ follow up to City of God, an African-set thriller starring Ralph Fiennes as a British diplomat trying to find the motives behind the death of his wife Rachel Weisz.

What Tierna thinks: “I’m glad this wasn’t based on a true story although I suspect it’s based on a lot of realities. The two main characters are people we can believe in; the film follows their romance yet there’s a strong focus on the corruption and conspiracies surrounding their lives. I’ll give this a nine out of ten. I really liked this one.”

What Tom thinks: “City of God is the highest rated film on our list (so far) and so you would expect Fernando Meireles’ follow up to be good… and it kinda is although not in the same league.  Have to admit I didn’t really think of seeing this when it came out purely because of its name, silly but true.  It’s a bit slow at times but an all-round intelligent film and well shot.  I’ll give it an eight out of ten.”

Up next: The Son’s Room (La Stanza del Figlio)

53. Milk

53. Milk

Milk is a white liquid produced by the mammary glands of animals.  Oh wait, damned Wikipedia brought up the wrong milk!  Milk is the true story of Harvey Milk, the first openly gay person elected to public office in California who was assassinated in 1978.

What Tierna thinks: “The story follows a successful, openly gay politician who lives what becomes a pretty tragic and lonely life. Yet, he’s someone a lot of people live up to. It’s not a groundbreaking film but it’s a good watch. I’ll give this one a seven out of ten.”

What Tom thinks: “Yeah pretty good film this.  Have to say I’m not overly familiar with 1970s San Francisco politics so I didn’t really know what was going to happen… certainly the end was a surprise and I couldn’t believe it was true until I read the actual story online.  Too much sugar indeed!  I’ll also give it a seven out of ten.”

Up next: The Constant Gardner

56. Volver

62. Volver

Volver is a Spanish film about Raimunda, her daughter Paula and her sister Sole.  While Raimunda tries tries to deal with the dead body of her husband, who tried to sexually assault Paula, Sole must also figure out how to deal with the apparent resurrection of her dead mother.

What Tierna thinks: “I had watched this before but I enjoyed it more this time around. It was definitely one of the best of our foreign films so far. It’s a typically Spanish film; an element of the after life colliding with the living. The storyline was gripping and often unexpected although some of the story is quite common to many Spanish films I’ve watched. A good film and I’ll give it an eight out of ten.”

What Tom thinks: “We’ve had quite a few slow and boring foreign films on this list (as well as quite a few awesome ones I may add) and this was a prime candidate to be another.  Alas, it was not and is a pretty entertaining movie.  The story of the mother leaves the viewer guessing through most of the film – is she dead or isn’t she – and all in all it was fairly enjoyable.  I’ll give it a seven out of ten.”

Up next: Chopper

60. The Squid and the Whale

60. The Squid and the Whale

Offbeat indie drama following the divorce of a pretentious married couple and how their children deal with it.

What Tierna thinks: “I’ve seen a few things recently with Jesse Eisenberg and I’ve enjoyed them all. This film was no exception. It’s generally quite an amusing film with many witty scenes throughout. There’s a strong focus on sex in this film, from the initial stages of teenage crushes right through to the passion & breakdown of adult relationships. It’s a good film and I’ll give it an eight out of ten.”

What Tom thinks: “An odd film this but I enjoyed it.  It was part break-up drama and part rites-of-passage story about the kids.  It also had a good cast – good to see Jeff Daniels at the centre of the story.  Have to say I never thought I’d see a 12 year old kid smearing his ‘sticky white love potion’ over library books!  The only negative I’d have is that it has quite a sudden ending and doesn’t really resolve the stories.  Well worth a seven out of ten.”

65. Waltz With Bashir

65. Waltz With Bashir

Waltz With Bashir is an Israeli animated documentary, following Ari Folman as he talks to veterans of the 1982 Lebanon war to piece together his lost memories.

What Tierna thinks: “I’m amazed at the skilled animation in this film. It has a highly detailed graphic style which I’d love to learn to do myself. I often do not enjoy animated movies as they tend to neglect the narrative and get carried away with creative effects. However, this story is full of emotion which is only heightened by the closing scene when real-life footage is incorporated to bring the film to a close . I’ll give this a nine out of ten.”

What Tom thinks: “We’re currently in a run of foreign language films (although the last one was the magnificent City of God).  On paper, this one was similar to Persepolis although I enjoyed this more.  As Tierna says, the animation is fantastic and the stories are good, all the more so because they’re real.  So, a decent film – I’ll give it a seven out of ten.”

Up next: L’enfant … “Not more bloody subtitles”

66. City of God

66. City of God

Set in the Cidade de Deus suburb of Rio de Janiero, City of God follows a group of young boys as they grow up in the world of organised crime.

What Tom thinks: “After the disappointing Gomorra, this was great to watch.  It’s been described as the ‘Brazilian Goodfellas’ and that’s not far off the mark.  Starting in the 60s and following through to the 80s it is something of an epic.  There’s lots of characters and each of them has their own story. I love the way this film is almost broken into chapters and flashes back in time to tell the story of how we’ve reached the present.  A superb film which is well worth a ten out of ten.”

What Tierna thinks: “Woaah. Tom just gave that a ten… I’m in shock. It’s not that it wasn’t a good film but he’s hard to please with movies!  Anyway, I wasn’t sure what to expect with this one but it didn’t disappoint. Despite being about deprivation and corruption, there was a good deal of humour and an excellent storyline. I particularly enjoyed the added photography storyline that ran throughout. I’ll give this a nine out of ten.”