Oscar Watch: ‘Like Crazy’ and ‘Puss in Boots’ weekend picks

With awards season kicking into really high gear next month, awards campaign will do its best to give you a rundown every Thursday of the contending movies opening over the weekend so you can make sure to keep up with the conversation.  This pundit will have seen almost every film hitting theaters (with a few rare exceptions, but you can guarantee if I haven’t that someone at HitFix or our colleagues at In Contention will have (well, maybe).

“Like Crazy”
Opening: New York and Los Angeles
Awards Players: Best Actress (Felicity Jones), Best Actor (Anton Yelchin), Best Supporting Actress (Jennifer Lawrence), Best Original Score (Dustin O’Halloran), Best Original Screenplay (Drake Doremus, Ben York Jones), Best Picture (a reach, certainly Indie Spirit Awards).
Yay or Nay: Absolute yay.  “Like Crazy” is one of the best pictures of the year in this pundit’s opinion and I’ve been a fan of the visceral romance since Sundance.  From my review at the time: “More heartbreaking and endearing than recent romances “500 Days of Summer” or “Before Sunrise,” “Like Crazy” is a film that will rock anyone who has had the chance to truly fall in love at one point in their life.  I have no problem admitting I was bawling at least four or five times during the film and it was mostly for happy moments in Drake Doremus’ triumph.”  For more on the movie, check out my interview with Anton Yelchin the day after the film’s Sundance debut.

“Puss in Boots”
Opening: Nationwide
Awards Players: Best Animated Feature, Best Original Score (Henry Jackman)
Yay or Nay: Yay.  This “Shrek” spin-off is stand alone adventure with its own comedic style and flair.  It will be up there in the conversations for best animated film of the year and has tons of jokes that will make adults laugh while not insulting any kids in the audience.  It’s absolutely the best wide-release new film this week.  For more on the trippy picture, check out Drew McWeeny’s review or his interview with Selma Hayek and Antonio Banderas below.

Opening: 250 theaters nationwide
Awards Players: Costumes, Production Design, Best Supporting Actress (Vanessa Redgrave)
Yay or Nay: Nay.   Unfortunately, Redgrave’s performance as an elder Queen Elizabeth I on the verge of dementia is the picture’s one saving grace.  From my Toronto review: “In theory, director Roland Emmerich and screenwriter John Orloff could have fashioned an entertaining thriller, but within 20 minutes the entire picture’s storyline has become completely implausible.  Shakespeare is played as such a dufus, such a braggart, such a fool, such a 16th century frat boy that it’s impossible that anyone would ever believe he could write a letter let alone pen some of the greatest tomes in the English language.  It’s simply ludicrous and makes the entire movie mostly a joke.  And I won’t spoil it here, but an unnecessary “revelation” to de Vere at the end of the picture is stunningly even more ridiculous.” ‘Nuff said.

“The Rum Diary”
Opening: Nationwide
Awards Players: Golden Globes – Best Actor Musical or Comedy (Johnny Depp), Golden Globes – Best Musical or Comedy
Yay or Nay: According to McWeeny, Yay.  Haven’t seen it, but it appears to be a pleasant comedic diversion and an honest tribute to writer Hunter S. Thompson.

“In Time”
Opening: Nationwide
Awards Players: You’re kidding right?  Perhaps at the Saturn Awards….
Yay or Nay: Viewer’s choice. Neither McWeeny, myself or anyone else on the HitFix or In Contention staffs were able to screen it. Currently it’s polling a 37% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 58 on Metacritic. 

Expanding and recommended:

“Martha Marcy May Marlene” – Toronto, Vancouver, Washington D.C., Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, Dallas, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle

“Take Shelter” – Austin, TX, St. Louis. Milwaukee, Providence, Baltimore, Atlanta, Honolulu, Little Rock, Scottsdale, AZ, Sacramento

Which movie are you going to see this weekend? Share your thoughts below.

For year round entertainment commentary and awards season news follow @HitFixGregory on Twitter.