The Best Picture

The Talon Gives Its Opinions on the Best Picture Nominees of the 80th Annual Academy Awards

Assuming the Oscars don’t pull a Golden Globes, the annual awards show should have a very memorable year. With the writers’ strike still in progress, the show could very well be boycotted not only by the writers, but many big-name stars who usually storm the red carpet. Hosted by Jon Stewart, yet devoid of writers, the show could either be a riot or a flop. Whatever the situation come February 24, the focus should undoubtedly be on the films up for the big award: Best Picture of 2007.

There Will Be Blood
Set at the turn of the century, “There Will Be Blood” focuses on the life of Daniel Plainview (Daniel Day-Lewis), a silver prospector turned oil tycoon who acquires property in California. In order to keep his business thriving, the ambitious and ruthless Plainview does anything he can to acquire new lands.

While the movie clearly takes an anti-oil and anti-religion stance from the beginning, the execution, not the message, takes center stage. Daniel Day-Lewis carefully builds up tension as his character descends deeper and deeper into lunacy.

Although the plot may seem inherently simple, the vivid images, peculiar score (composed by Jonny Greenwood, guitarist of Radiohead), and the incredible acting by Daniel Day-Lewis makes “There Will Be Blood” a dark and spellbinding picture.

No Country For Old Men
An adaption of the Cormac McCarthy novel, “No Country For Old Men” starts off following Llewyn Moss (Josh Brolin), a blue-collar who stumbles upon $2 million on the scene of a drug deal gone wrong. Chasing him is a ruthless hitman, Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem), while Sheriff Bell (Tommy Lee Jones) attempts to catch up with both in order to protect Moss.

The plot of “No Country For Old Men” seems to almost disappear underneath the near-perfect cinematography of the movie. The audio and visuals isn’t reserved for just film critics though, as even the most casual of viewers are drawn into the tense atmosphere of the film.

In the end, “No Country For Old Men” takes a novel, leaves the plot untouched, and perfects every scene of the movie cinematically.”

In “Juno,” Ellen Page stars as the title character, a sharp-tongued teen confronting an unplanned pregnancy. The movie leaves the pro-life vs. pro-choice debate at the door though, instead focusing on the way its main character deals with her pregnancy.

Ellen Page portrays the sassy Juno exceptionally well, and if viewers can forget Michael Cera’s appearance in “Superbad” while watching this movie, they will find his role as the illegitimate father heart warming as well.

With witty dialogue and a perfect blend of comedy and realism, “Juno” becomes a fairytale for our generation. Covered in indie music and hip phrases, it has a touching moral core, leaving a feeling of having for once seen an excellent adolescent movie that is neither melodramatic nor sappy.

Based faithfully on the novel by Ian McEwan, “Atonement” is a film about a love affair between the well-off Cecilia (Keira Knightley) and the son of her family’s housekeeper, Robbie (James Mcavoy), set around World War II. While at first the film may seem to follow the regular pattern of a romance, the focus on Cecilia’s sister, Briony, changes the mood.

The movie relies heavily on a twist at the end to achieve its desired effect. While this may elevate the story, the way in which it is done might leave the viewer the feeling of having seen a movie with lots of flair but lacking in substance.

Nevertheless, “Atonement” does provide an original take on the age-old love affair story, coupled with lavish cinematography and an exceptional musical score.

Michael Clayton
George Clooney stars in this gritty movie as the title character, a “fixer” working for a law firm, helping a major corporation. When his friend Arthur Edens (Tom Wilkinson) has a mental breakdown, he attempts to help him, only to start digging into the shady workings of the law firm.

“Michael Clayton” is not an action film, but rather a dramatic thriller, using the many dialogue scenes to drive the intricate plot forward. George Clooney delivers one of his best roles to date as the morally ambiguous main character who comes to reluctantly look for the truth in a corrupt corporate world.

Dark in tone and realism, “Michael Clayton” is a mature look at the ancient genre of law thrillers.