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Showing posts from February, 2009

The 81st Oscars and Hugh Jackman

Billy Crystal is often seen as the bench mark for what makes for a good Oscars host. He's done the show so many times but was smart enough to get out whilst he could still out do himself.

The LA Times has been particularly harsh of Hugh Jackman's first attempt at hosting the Oscars with several of their critics including, Patrick Goldstein (twice) and Mary McNamara suggesting Hugh wasn't up to par.

I watched the full show of the 81st Oscars and I've watched full shows of when Billy Crystal was hosting and to be honest, Billy never did anything that was far and away above Hugh - not even in the delivery of his jokes. I'm not suggesting I didn't like Billy. In fact quite the opposite, I'd certainly watch the Oscars if I heard Billy was hosting again. However Hugh was no less professional and carried out his role with stage presence and confidence.

If anything Hugh had to work harder than Billy because he didn't have the benefit of a pre-made video montage la…

Gran Torino: Movie Review

Gran Torino tells the Story of Walt Kowalski (Clint Eastwood), a disgruntled Korean War Veteran, who has lived in the same neighborhood for most of his life. He's disconnected from his adult children and their families and disappointed by the changing cultural mix of his community which is now largely Asian.

Walt's Hmong neighbors are, one night, confronted by an Asian gang looking to recruit one of the gang members younger cousins, Thao (Bee Vang). The ensuing melee spills onto Walt's lawn and he inadvertently does his neighbors a favor by scaring them off his property. From there Walt's long held, racist attitudes begin to erode as his neighbors cultural traditions collide with his own values and beliefs.

Gran Torino is marketed as a a somewhat serious film that explores themes of racism, culture, age, family disconnection, morals, youth, values and more. I was expecting it to be very heavy going but was surprised to view a much lighter film that could almost be descri…

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