The nominations for the 2009 Kaedrin Movie Awards were announced last week. This week, I'll be announcing two winners every day, culminating in a post with my top 10 movies of the year and possibly some other wrap-up posts.
Best Action Sequences: Chocolate
In terms of traditional action set-pieces, the Thai martial arts film Chocolate takes the cake. The film is certainly not perfect, but you can't fault the action sequences, which are well choreographed and a whole lot of fun. Some of the action recalls early Jackie Chan prop-driven stuff, though it doesn't really approach that level either. None of which is to detract from the other nominees. Red Cliff certainly had some excellent action, though it's more of an epic battle variety and the real strength of the film are the strategic/tactical planning, rather than the individual fights. Avatar certainly puts quick-cutting morons like Michael Bay in their place, and while I have my problems with the movie, the action sequences are superbly executed (if only I cared about the outcome). The Hurt Locker had some of the most suspenseful sequences of the year (especially the sniper sequence - ironic considering the bomb defusing focus of the film), but they're more harrowing than exciting. Watchmen had it's moments, as did Taken. Crank: High Voltage is so crazy insane that its action is more for comedic effect, but still worthwhile. In the end, I guess I was just in the mood for some martial arts rather than big explosions this year.
Best Plot Twist/Surprise: Inglourious Basterds
Naturally, any discussion of this would ruin the whole point. I will say that Inglourious Basterds doesn't feature a traditional twist a la Shyamalan. It's more that the film is just so shockingly audacious in what it's doing. The other nominees had solid twists, but I have to admit that some of them were easy to see coming, and in at least one case, predicting the twist ahead of time nearly sinks the movie. Still, they're all solid films... but I just can't get over Inglourious Basterds.
And coming down the homestretch, tomorrow we've got the final categories: Best High Concept Film and 2009's 2008 Movie of the Year