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Florence Foster Jenkins

mv5bmja0mzc4mjmxml5bml5banbnxkftztgwodiwntqxode-_v1_uy268_cr00182268_al_The story of Florence Foster Jenkins, a New York heiress who dreamed of becoming an opera singer, despite having a terrible singing voice. (IMDb)

Nominations: Leading Actress (Meryl Streep) and Costume Design

So, I love Meryl. But I remember seeing the premise for this movie, seeing that it was a fluff, cute, commercial film, and thinking “this was her 20th Oscar nomination?” But you know what? I get it. She took this fluff piece and really elevated it to something with heart. She hilarious and heartbreaking all at the same time. I don’t know why I doubted her. I should have known better. The rest of the film is pleasant enough. Hugh Grant is charming, the costumes are super fun, the singing scenes are really funny. Nina Arianda is a scene stealer as a socialite’s newest wife. I’ll be honest though, I was not digging whatever Simon Helberg was doing. If that’s how the man really was, ok fine. But I felt he was playing a caricature while every one else was playing characters. Anyway, this is a pleasant enough diversion.

6.5/10

 
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Posted by on February 25, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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2015 Oscar Nominations

So, this is quite interesting this year. There are some obvious snubs (Selma in general, and Amy Adams, who won the Golden Globe for Big Eyes are examples). But there are also some pleasant surprises (Marion Cotillard getting a nom for her work in the Belgian film Two Days)

But, here is a list of all of the nominees:

http://oscar.go.com/nominees?cid=oscars_nominees_announcement_cadillac

And, here are the links to reviews of the movies I have already seen:

The Imitation Game: Best Picture, Leading Actor (Benedict Cumberbatch), Supporting Actress (Keira Knightley), Directing (Morten Tyldum), Film Editing, Original Score (Alexandre Desplat), Production Design, and Adapted Screenplay (Graham Moore)

https://jeleff11.wordpress.com/2015/01/05/the-imitation-game/

The Theory of Everything: Best Picture, Leading Actor (Eddie Redmayne), Leading Actress (Felicity Jones), Original Score (Jóhann Jóhannsson), and Adapted Screenplay (Anthony McCarten)

https://jeleff11.wordpress.com/2014/12/18/the-theory-of-everything/

Two Days, One Night: Leading Actress (Marion Cotillard)

https://jeleff11.wordpress.com/2014/12/30/two-days-one-night/

Still Alice: Leading Actress (Julianne Moore)

https://jeleff11.wordpress.com/2014/12/17/still-alice/

Gone Girl: Leading Actress (Rosamund Pike)

https://jeleff11.wordpress.com/2015/01/11/gone-girl/

Into the Woods: Supporting Actress (Meryl Streep), Costume Design, and Production Design

https://jeleff11.wordpress.com/2014/12/27/into-the-woods/

How To Train Your Dragon 2: Animated Feature Film

https://jeleff11.wordpress.com/2014/06/27/how-to-train-your-dragon-2/

Guardians of the Galaxy: Makeup/Hairstyling and Visual Effects

https://jeleff11.wordpress.com/2014/08/15/guardians-of-the-galaxy/

The Lego Movie: Original Song (Everything is Awesome)

https://jeleff11.wordpress.com/2014/07/21/the-lego-movie/

Nightcrawler: Original Screenplay (Dan Gilroy)

https://jeleff11.wordpress.com/2014/12/22/nightcrawler/

X-Men: Days of Future Past: Visual Effects

https://jeleff11.wordpress.com/2014/05/29/x-men-days-of-future-past/

 

Stay tuned for more Oscar fun!

 

 
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Posted by on January 16, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Into the Woods

A witch tasks a childless baker and his wife with procuring magical items from classic fairy tales to reverse the curse put on their family tree. (IMDb)

This was wonderful. I was grinning like a big dumb idiot during a big portion of this. It’s visually beautiful, the costumes are gorgeous, and I really liked that the creative team took some creative liberties, but still remained true to the original musical. A lot of the solos in act one are the characters singing about what they just did and/or thought. So I liked that we froze time for Steps of the Palace, or saw a little bit of Jack climbing up and down the beanstalk for Giants in the Sky, and Agony was probably the funniest four minutes of the whole movie. I always think Rob Marshall is the man to go to for musical adaptations and he didn’t disappoint. The cast nails it. I can’t say enough good things. My friend and I were texting about it and it turned into just EMILY BLUNT. JAMES CORDEN. CHRIS PINE. MERYL. They sing beautifully, they acted well. I can’t fangirl enough. Now. Here is where I get nitpicky, because I am a big fan of the show. When making a movie adaptation, concessions have to be made. At first, I was sad that they cut the Narrator/Mysterious Man. But honestly, it was a good choice, because that character is so meta and interacts with the audience and the characters that it probably would not have translated well. My big thing is that I wish Disney would have just went for it and gotten darker, like Act Two is supposed to be, even if it garnered the PG-13 rating. Because that’s a major thing in the show, is that the darker, more realistic Act Two is a clear departure from the zany, mostly light Act One. It’s supposed to be Once Upon a Time…later. They nailed the zany musical comedy. But by not embracing the darker parts of Act Two, the latter half felt a little rushed, and the more emotional moments didn’t hit as hard as they could have. But. Like I said, I know I’m being hyper critical. I loved it overall, and plan on getting the soundtrack sometime this week.

9/10

 
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Posted by on December 27, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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The Homesman

Three women who have been driven mad by pioneer life are to be transported across the country by covered wagon by the pious, independent-minded Mary Bee Cuddy, who in turn employs low-life drifter George Briggs to assist her. (IMDb)

To be honest, I am not one for Western movies. It’s just not my jam. But, this cast is too good to be ignored. Tommy Lee Jones writes, directs, and stars. There’s Hilary Swank who we haven’t seen for awhile. Then not only is Grace Gummer in this, but Meryl Streep is in it too. The only thing that would have made it better is if they had actually played mother and daughter. Granted, Streep is only in a little bit of it, along with James Spader, John Lithgow, and Hailee Steinfeld, but still. So. I watched it. And I still don’t like Westerns. Parts were interesting, like the sheer set up that pioneer life drove three women mad. That was set up really nicely. It’s so desolate and lonely and when bad things happen, you’re expected to move on. So that was nice. And at the beginning I was really digging Hilary Swank’s character. She is independent and has her own land and stands up to the “proper” women, but there’s also this underlying desperation of wanting to be married, even if it is just to be a proper woman. And Swank is a smart actor, and you could see her working to bring those layers out, but at the end of the day, the script didn’t give it to her. Her character practically 360s at one point, and I give her credit for trying to justify it earlier in the movie, but it just didn’t work. She basically ends up being a plot device for Jones’ character, which wasn’t how it was set up at the beginning. Because once that shift happens, the rest of the movie is almost unbearably predictable. Although. I will say some of the cinematography is really pretty. So that was cool. But all in all, valiant effort Mr. Jones. It was almost there, but not quite.

5.5/10

 
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Posted by on November 29, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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August: Osage County

august osage countyNominations: Leading Actress (Meryl Streep) and Supporting Actress (Julia Roberts)

A look at the lives of the strong-willed women of the Weston family, whose paths have diverged until a family crisis brings them back to the Oklahoma house they grew up in, and to the dysfunctional woman who raised them. (IMDb)

To start with, I haven’t had the opportunity to read or see the play, and with an ensemble cast this loaded, as well as a screenplay written by Tracy Letts, the original playwright, I was super excited to watch this. And I wasn’t disappointed. First off, I think the Academy missed a nomination for Letts’ script. The verbal sparring and well placed twists and turns alone kept me on the edge of my seat. I haven’t reacted out loud so much to a shouting match in a long time. Then, layer the acting on top, and this is a really entertaining two hours. The combination of Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts is insane. The two of them bounce off of each other so well you actually think that they are related. They are also both uninhibited in their performances and its a lot of fun to watch. Both of their nominations are completely deserved. The rest of the cast fills out this dysfunctional family really well. Margo Martindale, Benedict Cumberbatch, Chris Cooper, Juliette Lewis, and everyone make this a film worth seeing, and then being thankful for the family you have after you watch it.

8/10

 
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Posted by on January 28, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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