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Lion

mv5bmja3njkznjg2mf5bml5banbnxkftztgwmdkymzgzmdi-_v1_uy268_cr00182268_al_A five-year-old Indian boy gets lost on the streets of Calcutta, thousands of kilometers from home. He survives many challenges before being adopted by a couple in Australia; 25 years later, he sets out to find his lost family. (IMDb)

Nominations: Best Picture, Supporting Actor (Dev Patel), Supporting Actress (Nicole Kidman), Cinematography, Original Score, and Adapted Screenplay.

And, mark this as the first Oscar nominee I’ve seen this year that made me cry. Man, this is an emotional journey that spans 25 years. Sunny Pawar has such presence for being such a young kid. It also doesn’t hurt that he’s adorable as hell. It also really brought to life the issues that face millions of children across the world. Dev Patel was wonderful. He may be my front runner right now for best supporting actor. Nicole Kidman gave a wonderfully understated performance. She wasn’t in a whole lot of the movie, but every moment she was on screen, she commanded it. Rooney Mara, though her character was a tad unnecessary, was lovely. Overall, this was a beautiful movie. Beautifully written, beautifully acted, beautifully shot, just beautiful. Highly recommend.

9/10

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Posted by on February 10, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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Manchester By The Sea

mv5bmtyxmjk0ndg4ml5bml5banbnxkftztgwodcynja5ote-_v1_ux182_cr00182268_al_An uncle is asked to take care of his teenage nephew after the boy’s father dies. (IMDb)

Nominations: Best Picture, Leading Actor (Casey Affleck), Supporting Actor (Lucas Hedges), Supporting Actress (Michelle Williams), Directing (Kenneth Lonergan), and Original Screenplay (Kenneth Lonergan)

There’s a reason that the description was literally one sentence. Because that’s pretty much all this movie is. In an alternate reality, it reads; “Man doesn’t handle grief well for two hours.” Because that’s it. It’s dudes bottling up their grief instead of letting it out. Casey Affleck was fine, but I just didn’t find myself emotionally invested in his character, which you really should, especially once it’s revealed why he doesn’t live in town anymore. Michelle Williams, also good, but I’ll be honest, don’t know if she was in it enough for me for her to be up for a nomination. What I will say is I think Lucas Hedges is one to watch out for. I thought he did a wonderful job. Overall as a move though, to be honest? A little underwhelming.

6/10

 
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Posted by on February 7, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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Arrival

mv5bmtexmzu0odcxndheqtjeqwpwz15bbwu4mde1oti4mzay-_v1_ux182_cr00182268_al_When twelve mysterious spacecraft appear around the world, linguistics professor Louise Banks is tasked with interpreting the language of the apparent alien visitors. (IMDb)

Nominations: Best Picture, Cinematography, Directing (Dennis Villeneuve), Film Editing, Production Design, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, and Adapted Screenplay

To be honest, I didn’t know a whole lot about this movie going in. I just knew it was about aliens. So, to be fair to those of you that haven’t seen it yet, that’s all I’ll say about it plot-wise. Because not knowing made it that much better. Despite being a sci-fi movie about aliens coming to Earth, this is more of a movie that is a reflection on humanity. Amy Adams gives an understated, moving performance. The cinematography is beautiful. While it’s a bit of a slow burn, I was on the edge of my seat the entire time. Again, I don’t want to say too much more, because the discoveries are half of what makes this so great. Just know that for an alien movie, it is remarkably human story.

8.5/10

 
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Posted by on February 4, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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Hacksaw Ridge

mv5bmjq1njm3mtuxnv5bml5banbnxkftztgwmdc5mty5ote-_v1_ux182_cr00182268_al_WWII American Army Medic Desmond T. Doss, who served during the Battle of Okinawa, refuses to kill people, and becomes the first man in American history to receive the Medal of Honor without firing a shot. (IMDb)

Nominations: Best Picture, Leading Actor (Andrew Garfield), Directing (Mel Gibson), Film Editing, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing,

So, real talk. Not super into war movies. I find them formulaic and full of senseless violence. This definitely fell into that. It was super formulaic, down to the obligatory scene where our hero meets the rest of the men in his company (who are all strangely settled in at this point) in quick succession all by their last names or nickname and they do something so that the filmmaker (and the actor) hopes that the audience remembers who they are when they get shot and die later and say “oh no! not the guy who said that one funny thing an hour and a half ago!”

I know. Super specific. But you all know exactly what scene I’m talking about, right? Right. And there was probably about 30 minutes of violence that did not further the plot. It was well shot, and well acted, don’t get me wrong. But do we really need the Japanese general committing seppuku because he surrendered? The Japanese soldiers with the white flag wasn’t enough? (And also from a film standpoint, that moment was so different in tone from literally the rest of the movie.)

Also Mel Gibson. That’s all I’ll say about that.

Anyway. Now that I’ve done my bitching, here’s why I still thought this was a good movie. (Hah, caught you off guard there, didn’t I?)

Andrew Garfield.

He was brilliant. This movie in another actor’s hands could have turned this into some PSA for anti-violence and pro-religion. Garfield just played him as a person, and he did a phenomenal job. Hugo Weaving was robbed. He should have had a best supporting actor nomination for his role as Doss’ father; a man who never quite got over losing his buddies in WWI. Theresa Palmer and Garfield do the best they can with the rushed romance subplot, but they are both extremely charming and have good chemistry, so it’s forgivable.

So. Yeah. This is a typical war movie. For the most part. The insane true story of the man behind it, as well as the man who played him, make this worth your time.

7.5/10

 
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Posted by on February 2, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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Moonlight

mv5bnzqxntiyodaxmv5bml5banbnxkftztgwnzqymda3ote-_v1_ux182_cr00182268_al_A timeless story of human self-discovery and connection, Moonlight chronicles the life of a young black man from childhood to adulthood as he struggles to find his place in the world while growing up in a rough neighborhood of Miami. (IMDb)

Oscar Nominations: Best Picture, Supporting Actor (Mahershala Ali), Supporting Actress (Naomie Harris), Cinematography, Directing (Barry Jenkins), Film Editing, Original Score, and Adapted Screenplay.

I’ve heard nothing but wonderful things about this movie, and thankfully, it definitely lived up to the hype. What was so beautiful about it was that it was so personal, so small in scope, yet you still felt a connection, a pull towards these people. Every single detail in this movie, every facial expression, every movement, was so precise and and specific, it just kept adding more and more to the story. The cinematography is beautiful, the acting is beautiful, I’m honestly still mulling this movie over in my mind. A slow burn at times, but still an enthralling one.

9/10

 
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Posted by on January 31, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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Hell or High Water

mv5bmtg4nda1ota5nf5bml5banbnxkftztgwmdq2mdm5ode-_v1_ux182_cr00182268_al_A divorced father and his ex-con older brother resort to a desperate scheme in order to save their family’s ranch in West Texas. (IMDb)

Nominations: Best Picture, Supporting Actor (Jeff Bridges), Film Editing, and Original Screenplay

I had multiple people tell me how brilliant this movie is. But honestly, at the end of the day, I really think I just don’t like Westerns. Even modern ones. The acting was very good. I was really pleasantly surprised by Ben Foster and Chris Pine. I haven’t seen either of them do anything like that before. Jeff Bridges was reliably impressive. The director, David Mackenzie, did a really nice job of establishing the world. You definitely understood who these people are and where they lived. I think overall the reason this just didn’t do it for me was its slow pace and a payoff that doesn’t come until the final minutes.

5/10

 
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Posted by on January 29, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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2017 Oscar Nominations

Seriously you guys, I need a time turner.

I have had literally zero free time, like it’s taken my literally 12 hours to write this post (I’ve been writing it little by little all day)

But yay Oscar nominations!

Admittedly, I was a little nervous to see this year’s nominees, hoping that they wouldn’t be so whitewashed. And I will say, this year’s batch is a step in the right direction, but still definitely highlights how far we have to go. I love Meryl to death, but did she really need her 23rd Oscar nomination for Florence Foster Jenkins? (Which I guess I’ll find out when I watch it…)

What I also appreciated was how many movies were nominated. There’s a wider array of movies nominated, rather than the same 6-8 getting nominated for everything.

La La Land does lead the pack with an insane 14 nominations. This is one I’m very curious to see, mostly because of how divided the opinions I’ve heard are. I will say, the majority of people who have a negative opinion have been my fellow theatre artists who thought that Hollywood could have done a little better. Excited to see it nonetheless.

As for the rest of the nominees, most weren’t surprising. I’ve heard Moonlight is nothing short of incredible, that Hidden Figures is awesome, that Denzel and Viola are a force to be reckoned with in Fences, etc.

I heard Arrival was good, just curious if it’s Oscar good. And while I heard Andrew Garfield is amazing in Hacksaw Ridge, do we really need another true war story?

Anyway, I’ve already seen two of the nominees, I’ve posted those reviews below:

Zootopia (Best Animated Film)

https://jeleff11.wordpress.com/2016/12/22/zootopia/

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (Costume Design and Production Design)

https://jeleff11.wordpress.com/2016/11/19/fantastic-beasts-and-where-to-find-them/

Happy Watching!

 
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Posted by on January 25, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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