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Monthly Archives: February 2016

Inside Out

MV5BOTgxMDQwMDk0OF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNjU5OTg2NDE@._V1_SX214_AL_After young Riley is uprooted from her Midwest life and moved to San Francisco, her emotions – Joy, Fear, Anger, Disgust and Sadness – conflict on how best to navigate a new city, house, and school. (IMDb)

Nominations: Best Animated Film and Original Screenplay

So, I know I really should have seen this by now but man am I so glad I did. I love Pixar movies, but this may be a new favorite. It is just so insanely intelligent. I found myself so incredibly invested in everything that happened to these characters. (Character? They’re all Riley technically.) The animation is gorgeous and so well done. I think I was just most impressed by how everything from long term memory to forgetting memories is explained. The voice cast was also spot on. I was more invested in this film than almost all of the other Oscar nominees, which I think says something. Overall, I wish I could explain how invested in this movie I was. I loved it. And I want to watch it.

9.5/10

 

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Posted by on February 29, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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The Hateful Eight

MV5BMjA1MTc1NTg5NV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwOTM2MDEzNzE@._V1_UX182_CR0,0,182,268_AL_In the dead of a Wyoming winter, a bounty hunter and his prisoner find shelter in a cabin currently inhabited by a collection of nefarious characters. (IMDb)

Nominations: Supporting Actress (Jennifer Jason Leigh), Cinematography, and Original Score

So, I consider myself a Tarantino fan. I’ve always loved his visual and writing style. The way he pays homage to past trends but makes it modern at the same time somehow. So, of course I was looking forward to this. And I liked it. It was imaginative, the twists and turns were a ton of fun, and it also brought up some interesting points about racial tensions, especially post Civil War. However, I don’t think this is a new favorite. I don’t think it even breaks top five. And I was trying to figure out why. And I think I got it. And it involves a minor spoiler so stop reading now if you don’t want it:

Tarantino movies are known for their gratuitous violence. Normally, I enjoy it, think it’s funny even. But I really didn’t like the massacre scene that takes place earlier in the day (the flashback scene). It was just really unsettling to me. And I think it’s because those people just didn’t deserve it. They were complete innocent bystanders. In other Tarantino movies, they either had it coming, were heroes and die valiantly, or they are anti-heroes and you kind of expect them to die. I really didn’t feel good about those people dying, I got no joy out of seeing them shot repeatedly. And I think that’s what bothered me.

I also think he was relying a little too hard on his old tricks, (Samuel L. Jackson giving a long monologue before shooting someone, forced/unnatural dialogue that the actors somehow make work, etc.) I ultimately think that these reasons are why this doesn’t break my top five. Still a very good movie, don’t get me wrong. All of the acting is on point, and Jennifer Jason Leigh totally deserves the acting nomination, and I still enjoyed myself, it’s just not as impressive of an entry into Tarantino’s body of work.

7.5/10

 
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Posted by on February 26, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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The Danish Girl

MV5BMjA0NjA4NjE2Nl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNzIxNTY2NjE@._V1_UX182_CR0,0,182,268_AL_A fictitious love story loosely inspired by the lives of Danish artists Lili Elbe and Gerda Wegener. Lili and Gerda’s marriage and work evolve as they navigate Lili’s groundbreaking journey as a transgender pioneer. (IMDb)

Nominations: Leading Actor (Eddie Redmayne), Supporting Actress (Alicia Vikander), Costume Design, and Production Design

So, this was interesting. As a stand alone thing, it was really interesting. Eddie Redmayne and Alicia Vikander are wonderful, both together and separately, Tom Hooper laid off the close-ups, and it was an interesting story. But, I found out after the fact that this is a fictitious novelized version of the real people. So…why not make the real version? There are a series of diaries that the novel was based off of. I am so much more interested in a real biopic  rather than a fictionalized Hollywood perfect story. So, this was a well made movie, but I don’t know if it fully respects its subject. A shame, considering it’s about painters and their subjects.

6.5/10

 

 
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Posted by on February 26, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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Carol

MV5BMTcxNTkxMzA5OV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNTI0ODMzNzE@._V1_UX182_CR0,0,182,268_AL_An aspiring photographer develops an intimate relationship with an older woman. (IMDb)

Nominations: Leading Actress (Cate Blanchett), Supporting Actress (Rooney Mara), Cinematography, Costume Design, Original Score, and Adapted Screenplay.

I think what I enjoyed most about this movie were its subtleties. This is a small, simple story, a direct opposite from most of the Oscar nominees. And it is a story that we’ve heard a few times now. But, you can’t ignore how well done this movie is. I would have actually put this in the best picture category. It was that good. Blanchett and Mara’s performances are incredible. Like I mentioned earlier, the plot is simple and small, but to these characters, it’s their whole world. And these two actresses show that, without being show-y. Out of all the Oscar nominees, this is maybe the third one I’ve seen where I’ve actually cared about these characters and what happens to them. It’s also beautifully shot. The subtleties transfer over to the cinematography as well. Overall, I thought this was fantastic.

9/10

 
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Posted by on February 26, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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Trumbo

MV5BMjM1MDc2OTQ3NV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNzQ0NjQ1NjE@._V1_SX214_AL_In 1947, Dalton Trumbo was Hollywood’s top screenwriter, until he and other artists were jailed and blacklisted for their political beliefs. (IMDb)

Nomination: Leading Actor (Bryan Cranston)

The Hollywood 10 and blacklisting is such an interesting part of American film history. It’s not a particularly bright spot, but it has always fascinated me. And Dalton Trumbo is a big part of that. Bryan Cranston does an excellent job portraying the famous screenwriter. But I will say, there is a reason that his performance is the only Oscar nomination. This is a good movie, don’t get me wrong, and the cast is impressive. Diane Lane was great as Cleo, I loved Alan Tudyk and Louis C.K. as other blacklisted writers, and John Goodman got to play a movie executive in a period piece again, so there’s that. I was pleasantly surprised by Elle Fanning’s performance. She played his daughter from 12 years old to mid 20s and I thought she did a really good job. That being said, for a movie about a screenwriter, the screenplay is decent. It’s not brilliant. You can tell when Cranston is saying actual Trumbo quotes, and when it’s just plain dialogue. There were some shots and camera angles that were just trying way too hard to be dramatic, and Cranston’s aging makeup was inconsistent. That being said, this is still a movie that is worth a watch.

7/10

 
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Posted by on February 24, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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They Came Together

MV5BMTkzNzA2Nzc1Ml5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNzcwNzk3MTE@._V1_UX182_CR0,0,182,268_AL_A small business owner is about to lose her shop to a major corporate development. (IMDb)

So, I took a break from Oscar nominees to watch this with some friends the other night, and it was totally worth it. Is this a parody movie? Absolutely. Is this smart as hell? Definitely. I don’t love parody movies, because I think they’re pointless. This is just way too smart not to ignore. It pokes fun of literally every single romantic comedy trope in existence. The incredible ensemble cast with Amy Poehler and Paul Rudd leading the charge is hilarious. There were two jokes that went a little too far/were a little too out there for me. But overall, any lover (or hater) of rom-coms will get a definite kick out of this.

7/10

 
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Posted by on February 24, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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The Big Short

MV5BMjM2MTQ2MzcxOF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNzE4NTUyNzE@._V1_UX182_CR0,0,182,268_AL_Four denizens in the world of high-finance predict the credit and housing bubble collapse of the mid-2000s, and decide to take on the big banks for their greed and lack of foresight. (IMDb)

Nominations: Best Picture, Supporting Actor (Christian Bale), Directing (Adam McKay), Film Editing, and Adapted Screenplay.

So, I’m the first one to admit that I do not understand finance in the slightest. I barely understood Wolf of Wall Street. It’s just not something I can wrap my head around. And while this movie was still over my head, they told me that that was ok, no one knows what the hell finance is about. That’s what I really enjoyed about this movie. The way it just unabashedly shits on the entirety of Wall Street. Even our main characters are not heroes. They’re just smarter than everyone else. If anything, we should dislike them more because they profited on the recession. I give a lot of credit to Adam McKay, who normally makes very different movies, because this one may resonate the most. It’s well acted, it’s funny, it’s also not so funny. (The part when the bubble actually bursts was legitimately scary to me. The mass chaos of it all.) On the funny side of things, I was a big fan of the fourth wall breaks. They were just so well-done. At the end of the day, do I completely understand mortgage bonds? Nope. But did I enjoy this movie? Yes.

7.5/10

 
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Posted by on February 24, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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