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September 14, 2017 at 4:39 am #1202212455
We need more reviews but it starts to feel like another 5 stars performance in a 2-3 stars movie, for Denzel. It’s frustrating that he can’t find himself in a great combinaison movie, where everything, especially the director’s work is on Denzel’s level.
As for the nomination, it will be hard but not impossible. Oldman is probably winning the oscar (Great, overdue actor + Baity role + Raved performance + Good notices for the movie itself that will probably gets a Best Pic. nomination). Timothee Chalamet is very young but (raved perf and movie) I think he will gets a good push by critics that will result to a nomination (a little the same way they pushed (helped) Affleck to the win last year). And having saw it, Chalamet deserves it.
The rest is the question mark to me, on paper a PTA + Day-Lewis new association should do wonders but it could ends like Inherent Vice and from what I’ve read, the subject of the movie is strange and could be unfriendly to a good part of the academy. And all of Day-Lewis nominations came from best pics movies.
I wasn’t really impressed by Last Flag Flying trailer and is Cranston truly lead ? Hanks recent history with the academy doesn’t favor him but I guess he has to happens somedays, I feel he could get in this time, hopefully for a less good old, america’s dad/hero Tom Hanks but it could end up as just being the Streep’s show.
And the last one I see in contention (so far) is Jake Gyllenhaal, respected (albeit underated award’s wise) actor, super baity role, some great first words about his perf., movie looks better received than I originally though, he could happens. BAFTA will most definitely favor him over Denzel tho. 🙂
Bale, Garfield, Renner (terrific), Franco… don’t feel them ATM.
The category is relatively weak with some question marks, Denzel could happens (Raves reviews, different role, last year loss, he’s Denzel F/ckink Washington) but it will be hard, the movie seems to be a dissapointment and inaccessible for many, time will tell. Let’s hope for the Globe first..September 14, 2017 at 8:39 am #1202212616
Not sure I’d even include Washington among my top 10 at this point. With poor reviews, this will go nowhere commercially.
OSCAR FLASHBACK: Nicholson at the Oscars (1981) – Reds
It has to be released first in order to go nowhere commercially. And the director has time to make small trims to clarify and strengthen perceived weakness in the final edit.September 14, 2017 at 9:30 am #1202212656
Very interesting review from John H.Foote at TheCinemaholic. He thinks the film is only “good” (3/5) but believes Washington is not only better than his film, but will win the Oscar over Gary Oldman. Says it’s Washington’s most daring performance, and arguably better than his work in Malcolm X.
Foote also compares the character of Roman J Israel to to Dustin Hoffman’s Oscar winning role in Rain Man, but says Washington goes deeper into character than Hoffman and is less affected. He thinks this performance is a total transformation.September 14, 2017 at 9:40 am #1202212682
The full review from Foote;
We have never seen Denzel Washington as he in, as Roman J Israel, Esq. his new film that screened here at TIFF as a late announcement. The actor, one of the finest in movies, stretches himself further than he ever has before, easing brilliantly into the part of a high functioning man with Aspergers, a brilliant lawyer savant who is not presentable to clients, but handles the research and legal work behind the scenes.
With a towering Afro, a three piece suit from three different suits, old seventies glasses, he looks like a person of the street, until he speaks and then the intelligence, and the issues are clear. It is a stunning transformation because the actor has never broke this far from himself in turns of appearance. Gone is the trademark toothy grin, whether flashed in anger or joy, replaced by a somber man who rarely meets the eyes of the person he is speaking with and can recite reams of law. He falls far deeper into character than say, Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man (1988), and is less affected than Hoffman. Despite the fact, initially, we know it is Washington, we lose him, he becomes Roman. Or rather he becomes as he announces, “Roman Israel, Esquire.”
Directed and written by Dan Gilroy, the script offers the actor one of the most challenging roles he has ever portrayed, and a true artist, he meets that challenge, soaring with a masterful performance.
Remember how truly devastated he was upon losing the Oscar last year in a Fences (2016)? No need, he will be back this year and I believe he will win. It is a mesmerizing performance from one of our greatest actors who proves he still can astonish us. We have seen truly brilliant work from him, Cry Freedom (1987), Glory (1989), his astounding Malcolm X (1992), Philadelphia (1993), The Hurricane (1999), Training Day (2001), Flight (2012) and last year, Fences (2016) but we have seen anything from the actor like this transformation.
Forced to find other work when his boss suddenly dies, he is left working for a legal shark portrayed by the ever surprising Colin Farrell, having one of those dream years where he is everywhere, and good. What his new boss does not count is Israel and his ferocious commitment to the greater good, to Lost causes, to his connection to what he believed in at the beginning. A fighter for those who cannot fight for themselves, he is unique, a lawyer who believes in the law and his clients.
Colin Farrell does very good work as the official courtroom lawyer at the firm, but make no mistake, he too knows the brains behind him belong to his curious colleague.
Washington is astonishing in the film, and the director needed him to be because the film is not in the same league as his performance. It is good, but no more, while Washington is remarkable. I have always believed his finest work was in Malcolm X (1992) in which he gave a performance for the ages in a film for the ages, but this is by far his most daring work. Walking a high wire act, at a time when most actors have forgotten to be daring, he is nothing less than astonishing. Move over Gary Oldman… Denzel is in the houseSeptember 14, 2017 at 9:56 am #1202212704
rel=”nofollow”>Nicholson at the Oscars (1981) – Reds
It has to be released first in order to go nowhere commercially. And the director has time to make small trims to clarify and strengthen perceived weakness in the final edit.
Denzel is pretty consistent at the box office, regardless of reviews (he’s had many films with far weaker reviews make bank). I think if the trailer is cut like a thriller and it’s a wide release, it’ll open like a lot of other Denzel flicks (around 20 million opening weekend) and do good enough business. Not really worried about box office prospects.
Just wondering how the campaign team at Sony can manage to convert these frankly spectacular reviews for his performance (and less spectacular reviews for the film) into him actually being able to being competitive for the win. Oldman obviously has a big advantadge with his film being better recieved, but these are some of the best reviews I’ve seen for a Washington performance, and that’s saying something for him.September 14, 2017 at 10:43 am #1202212768
Didn’t know you were working for TheCinemaholic distain, congratulations ! 🙂 That’s some HEAVY praises right there, I hope SONY will move their a$$ and won’t mess the campaign (apparently their reputation isn’t that great…).September 14, 2017 at 10:47 am #1202212771
Oldman’s politics should eat away at votes. Washington’s movie will turn a profit and he’ll campaign more heavily than Fences last year. He was too comfortable thinking the prestige of himself and Viola and the source material by the late great August Wilson would be enough.September 14, 2017 at 11:25 am #1202212808
Oldman’s politics should eat away at votes. Washington’s movie will turn a profit and he’ll campaign more heavily than Fences last year. He was too comfortable thinking the prestige of himself and Viola and the source material by the late great August Wilson would be enough.
Yeah I agree. Washington maybe thought he’d walk his way to the win last season without doing the hard yards in campaigning. It was only after he won the SAG that he shifted into campaign mode, but it was probably a bit too late.
He definitely needs to campaign this time, because his film is weaker. But with reviews as outstanding as he’s getting and a transformational performance, he can most likely compete for the win.
Oldman is a brilliant actor, and I could care less about his politics, but you are right that some people may not vote for him on principle. The race could end up being very interesting…September 14, 2017 at 11:27 am #1202212810
Didn’t know you were working for TheCinemaholic distain, congratulations ! That’s some HEAVY praises right there, I hope SONY will move their a$$ and won’t mess the campaign (apparently their reputation isn’t that great…).
Ha…not on the Cinemaholic staff, but I do like the cut of their jib.
Denzel’s getting “best of the year” level reviews. You’d have to be in denial to think otherwise.September 15, 2017 at 12:20 pm #1202213717
lol This movie is currently sitting at 57% percent on Rottentomatoes. The nomination (if he manages that) will clearly be the reward here. I don’t even think Denzel Washington has managed a nom from a film that isn’t fresh on Rottentomatoes and as far as the win talk after the TIFF reviews, LMFAO. Oldman will win this with ease.October 18, 2017 at 10:08 am #1202241700
Welp…Gilroy appears to be looking for a Hail Mary pass with Roman Israel. He’s now framing the Toronto Festival cut of the movie as a “work in progress/test screening” type deal. He invited Denzel into the editing room to help out, trimmed 12 minutes off the running time, rearranged the order of some piviotal scenes to tighten things up, dropped a key scene, and changed music cues.
Apparently there is is precendent for it this year, as Wind River debuted and Sundance, then was re-edited and lost 4 minutes of it’s running time before appearing at Cannes in it’s final form.
Who knows whether it will work and make the reviews stronger on release, but it shows that at least Sony (or the fillmmakers) are at least working to change the narrative on this film. So well played, I guess.October 18, 2017 at 2:01 pm #1202241847
I knew the early lukewarm response would give them a enough time for a revision before locking picture. Hoping the adjustments strengthen the best of what’s there.October 31, 2017 at 3:53 pm #1202399059
Hmmm….Gilroy may actually pull off a great escape with this one (maybe he should have just waited to finish a final cut, instead of rushing it for Toronto). Too early to tell if reviews will trend in this direction, but this is the first review of the re-edited version of Roman J Israel, Esq (it’s currently showing at the Austin Film Festival) from Film School Rejects. This review focuses much more on the virtues/quality of the film, as opposed to just Denzel’s performance.
AUSTIN FILM FESTIVAL: CHANGE IS TRAGEDY IN ‘ROMAN J. ISRAEL ESQUIRE’
NATALIE MOKRYOCTOBER 31, 2017
The newest thriller from the Academy Award-nominated writer does not disappoint.
When thinking of a suspenseful film, it’s easy to jump to thoughts of mysteries and murders, and while this film has all of that, it also shows that sometimes the most intimidating situations in our lives are when we’re faced with change. And that’s what Roman J. Israel Esquire sets out to address.
After the lawyer, he worked alongside for decades gets into an accident and becomes unconscious, middle-aged civil rights attorney, Roman J. Israel Esquire (Denzel Washington), finds himself at a loss on how to continue the activist duties he has held onto since the 60s. When a younger, hot-shot lawyer, George Pierce (Collin Farrell) comes along and offers him a job at his financially successful establishment which appears to drain the money out of its clients, Roman is too principled and stubborn to take the job, even though he desperately needs it. Believing there is still a place in the world for his steadfast 60s activism, he goes on a search to find a new job working with civil rights. Much to his dismay, he finds himself out of touch with the modern world including modern activism, and in an attempt to change his self and his goals to better adjust, he begins working with George Pierce. But change does not come so easy, and his adjustment to a life of financial success and acclaim comes at a price.
The performances in the film are all around outstanding. Denzel portrays the aged, more righteous lawyer that perfectly juxtaposes Collin Farrell’s portrayal of a more practical and more arrogant one. Through their distinct personalities, the characters really jump out of the screen. And while both have their faults and more frustrating qualities, each can also be seen in a sympathetic light. At all times their motives are clear, but their complete thoughts are not fully laid out, which adds a little more nuance to the narrative and adds to the film as a thriller.
From a sound and visual and standpoint, the film does an excellent job at building suspense where suspense is needed and uses very simple but clever ways to construct character. Never at any point during the movie does Roman say exactly that he is an activist who still pines for the 60s. It’s clear in his language, his choice of clothes, and the fact that his apartment is full of old records that he still listens to on his record player. And though most of the suspense in the film derives from Roman’s own consciousness, it’s hard not to recognize the outside forces that are at play too. This is where Dan Gilroy’s storytelling abilities and directorial adeptness really shine. Never exactly knowing whose wrong and whose right, but still having a someone to root for and care about, is the best combination a thriller can have to keep audiences on their toes.
More than just a suspenseful thriller, however, the story works on a deeper level too, showing that it’s not meant to just keep audiences on the edge of their seats, but rather to make them think of the consequences of devoting oneself to a larger cause. This film could have worked with a number of genres, but in making it a thriller, the stakes and the more thematic aspects of the narrative were enhanced. In giving up so much of his personal life to better change the world, Roman’s character is an embodiment of sacrifice, showing that it’s not always a glamorous and widely acclaimed thing to do. At one of Roman’s more desperate moments, he tells someone that he gave up the opportunity to get married and have a family in order to keep his career going. And though he doesn’t follow up with this, it’s clear the next words he wanted to say were “it can’t all be for nothing.”
In true poetic fashion, sometimes our heroes must devote themselves entirely to a cause to see change, without ever really thinking of themselves, and whether or not that should be is what Roman J. Israel Esquire asks us to think about. Generations may differ, and activism itself may alter over time, but the passion for it is always alive.
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