oscar run xxvii: live action short films
has there ever been a less appropriate last name than “jobs”?

oscar run xxviii: the prestige

Doing 28 of these in a month gives you respect for people who do it for a living. Watching all the movies isn't the problem … well, watching the bad ones is … but thinking of something fresh to say about each film is v.hard.

And so, I have little to say about The Prestige, although I suspect I'd have plenty to say if I'd seen it a few weeks ago, if it was oscar run viii instead of xxviii. It kept me entertained, it seems fairly honest in its attempt to, well, to do what it attempts, and its Oscar nominations (Art Direction and Cinematography) are reasonable. But the movie doesn't exactly leap off the screen … the action is largely mental rather than physical, but while Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale have shown in other films that they are capable of grabbing an audience, it doesn't happen in this case, and the resultant tone is mostly dismal. I'm not going to complain about any movie with Scarlett Johansson, but she isn't given much to do. Michael Caine's presence is funny, not just because he's in every movie (the IMDB lists him with 132 acting credits, including two movies nominated for Oscars this year), but also because he has already been in this movie. Back then, it was called Sleuth, and Caine played one of the two lead roles (to say more would be cheating). (Oddly enough, they're remaking Sleuth … in the earlier film, Caine played the young buck to Olivier's old-timer, this time around Caine is the codger and Jude Law is Michael Caine. Not much of a stretch for either of them, and it's hard to believe this remake will be better than the original … it will probably be less interesting than The Prestige.)

Finally, The Prestige is paired up in most people's minds with the other Oscar-nominated film about magicians, The Illusionist. I guess I liked The Prestige a bit more, but it was also 20 minutes longer, and that's 20 minutes of my life I'll never get back again. If either of these movies were great ones, I wouldn't mind giving up 200 minutes. Alas, neither is great.


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