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Tag Archives: oscars 2017

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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Hidden Figures

mv5bmjqxotkxoduyn15bml5banbnxkftztgwntu3ntm3ote-_v1_ux182_cr00182268_al_The story of a team of African-American women mathematicians who served a vital role in NASA during the early years of the US space program. (IMDb)

Nominations: Best Picture, Supporting Actress (Octavia Spencer), and Adapted Screenplay.

So, of all the best picture nominees, this one is definitely the most commercial. But. It is also the most inspirational. Like I’m still smiling thinking about it. These ladies were mostly likely some of the brightest brains they had at NASA at that time, but were shoved into a tiny building crunching numbers all day. The fact that these three women worked inside the system to upheave it is something I am simply in awe of. The movie itself was pretty good too, haha. The power trio of Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, and Janelle Monae cannot be denied. They were fabulous. The script, which got the nomination for Allison Schroeder and Theodore Melfi, is as smart and quick as its leads, and is full of plenty of quotable one liners that had me saying “hell yeah” out loud. Overall, a thoroughly enjoyable ride, and a look into a civil rights era story that’s been buried for way too long.

8.5/10

 
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Posted by on February 21, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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Fences

mv5botg0nzc1nja0mv5bml5banbnxkftztgwntcyndq0mdi-_v1_ux182_cr00182268_al_A working-class African-American father tries to raise his family in the 1950s, while coming to terms with the events of his life. (IMDb)

Nominations: Best Picture, Leading Actor (Denzel Washington), Supporting Actress (Viola Davis), and Adapted Screenplay (August Wilson)

To put this simply, I thought this was incredible. One of the biggest complaints I’m hearing is that it’s a “filmed play.” YES! That’s exactly what it is. This is how all play adaptations SHOULD be done. They stayed true to the script (so true that the original playwright is posthumously considered the writer), but expanded/added/used the advantages of film to make the story even richer. Like Moonlight (another one of my Oscar favorites), this movie is very small in scope, focusing on one family in Pittsburgh. And yet, you get a sense of the times, the mindset, the experience, of a culture. That’s how good that script is. It didn’t need to be added to a whole lot. The words did most of the talking. You go Denzel. You did it right. He also did it right acting wise. Shit. I was looking at his IMDb, and I decided I never want him to do another action movie again. And it’s not just him. Viola Davis is a force to be reckoned with. Jesus christ. She played it so close to the chest that when she got to let loose, I immediately started crying. They may as well carve her name into the Oscar statue right now. The cast as a whole was solid and had great chemistry. It didn’t hurt that Denzel did the smart thing and basically reunited the cast of the 2010 revival of this play. They all clicked into it so easily. Jovan Adepo, a relative newcomer, who plays the son, was also quite impressive. I look forward to seeing where he goes in his career. Overall, I thought this was an experience to watch, a master class in acting that I would be glad to watch again.

9.5/10

 
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Posted by on February 19, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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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)┬áin 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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