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What Film (Movie) Have You Just Watched?


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Just finished watching 'Battlestar Galactica : The Plan' - I enjoyed it, even if the series confused the hell out of me.


Hadnt watched the new Galactica for a long time - was a big fan of the campy original - when I went to Thailand for 3 months in 2008. The cable in the apartment had several hours of the newer series each day, and it was *heavy*. I would wake up from a drunken coma and watch hours of the darkest, most intense dialogue, often restricted to two or three characters for 15-20 minutes at a time. Thankfully, The Plan has more action than any 2 hours of those series, but the writing in the series was undeniably good - I just had to wonder what Machiavellian world some of those guys must live in. When you have 'Resurrection Ships' for the Cylon characters, you can afford to kill of a regular once every few eps, but it still came as a shock.


All in all, not a universe you want to spend a lot of time in, but streets ahead of so much of the crap on our TVs in 2010.

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Hurt Locker.





But "Hurt Locker" was anything but a sure thing. In a historical context, its win is surprising. After all, it is the lowest-grossing best picture winner of all time; it was never on more than 535 screens; and it beat the highest-grossing movie in modern history, one that has been playing on thousands of screens for nearly three months. In the era of blockbusters, "Locker" cost a mere $11 million to make compared with the more than $230 million cost of "Avatar."


To earn its gold, "Hurt Locker" had to break what producer Greg Shapiro called "The Iraq War Curse," referring to all the movies touching on that conflict that had failed to find an audience. It had to weather attacks in the media and from some in the military who questioned the realism of how it portrayed the bomb-removal unit. The film also drew censure for the illicit campaign methods of one of its producers, the first to be banned from attending the Academy Awards. And it had to win with backing from Summit Entertainment, a relatively new and small distributor that had never before won an Oscar.


There also is the parallel question of whether "Avatar" and distributor Fox contributed to their own demise in the best-picture race. The sci-fi epic had been critically acclaimed, far more widely seen and was widely heralded for its breakthrough technology. And it boasted the deep-pocket backing of a major Hollywood studio. Could it be explained as the ultimate example of the split personality in Hollywood, where movie choices are mostly driven by the need to make large amounts of money but where the people behind the camera still want to be seen as making art? And was it hurt by attacks from the political right on the movie's plot, which was seen as a dig on America's Iraq incursion?


Or was "Avatar" doomed because it was sci-fi, a genre that rarely has been rewarded by Oscar?


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