March 23, 2019 at 10:53 am #1202826932
“Never Look Away” (2018): This is a genuine milestone for me having seen all five Best Foreign Language Film nominees for the first time ever! The most I usually get the opportunity to screen is three, or rare instances, four. It speaks to the depth of this field that all five played in relative wide circumstances, and thank you Netflix for letting me see “Roma” the easiest. I think in the old Academy where retirees would vote for the winners, this film would have been the one to beat. German Holocaust film with a pristine veneer (yes, Caleb Deschanel is a wizard and fully earned his cinematography nomination, name recognition notwithstanding), telegenic all-white cast, beautiful score from Max Richter, and important subject matter (WAR, ART, FAMILY, SICKNESS, ABORTION, NAZISM, etc.). Even with a BP nomination, I think “Roma” might have been in trouble back then. I’m one of the few who’s fine with a discrepancy between BP and FLF. I’m so accustomed to genre upsets at the Grammys. It’s perfectly fine to say that “Roma” was the best of the BP nominees, but not the best of the foreign language film nominees, b/c it wasn’t (“Shoplifters” was). In fact, now that I can finally rank them properly: “Shoplifters” > “Capernaum” > “Roma” > “Cold War” > “Never Look Away.” This might have placed fourth had it been shorter (absolutely no need for over 3 hrs. runtime, even for a family saga), and an inscrutable, blank-slate, cipher of a lead actor who gave me nothing here (Tom Schilling). The best performances were from Sebastian Koch (menacing and pervasive throughout) and Saskia Rosendahl (the film’s beating heart). Loosely based on the thrilling life of photo-realist painter Gerhard Richter, I think I’d rather seen an exploration of his life as a biopic than this, which he isn’t pleased with being attached to either. A for ambition, I guess? “The Lives of Others” is still Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck’s masterpiece (and deserved Oscar winner over “Pan’s Labyrinth,” bitches!). This film is most certainly not that. Still glad I can close out the category now. “Burning” would have made this a category for the AGES, but this is the reason why we can’t always have nice things…March 23, 2019 at 2:18 pm #1202827165
Watched As Good As It Gets for the very first time, and whew, what a movie! Brilliant performances and screenplay. Hunt and Nicholson deserved the Oscars, and Kinnear was equally outstanding. A+March 23, 2019 at 3:18 pm #1202827210
Beware of spoilers
Things to Come – quiet, thoughtful, ultimately wonderful cinema. It made me re-evaluate a number of my life perspectives. Huppert, Kolinka and Scob were superlative. If it had been any other year than Elle, Huppert would have been a deserving nominee. Reminded me at times of Gloria from Sebastian Lelio, but more subtle.
Kramer vs Kramer – not sure why it took me so long to see this but it was on Netflix so…I enjoyed it. It’s effective, but must have been more shocking at the time I suppose. Now this kind of story is overdone. Hoffman grated me at first but I liked his performance eventually especially the subtlety of how he dealt with his boss when he got fired. One of the best deliveries of “shame on you”. Meryl actually was supporting and genuine for a change. Also a rare film where I haven’t loathed the child actor/performance. Very emotional film. I was kinda shocked to see Jane Alexander was Oscar nominated too here, but she was good I guess.
Life – thought it was quite fun actually. Wasn’t expecting much. I got caught up in the claustrophobia of it all…even though it felt like a kind of Alien/The Blob mash up. The first time I’ve ever been remotely excited by Rebecca Ferguson. Thank goodness Reynolds was the first to be killed off. A great Friday night popcorn kinda film.
Passengers – I guess the Razzies weren’t sent screeners…
A Better Life – fresh perspective of a struggling single migrant father trying to earn a living for his son struggling with an identity crisis. Bichir was masterful in his final scenes with his son in prison opening up to him. What a beautiful film. My nerves were shredded by the end.
The Hateful Eight – it’s a shame it took such a grotesque caricature for Jennifer Jason Leigh to finally get Oscar nominated, but she still deserved it at least for her comic timing. I enjoyed the music and cinematography especially, and think Tarantino is better suited to these kind of “chamber dramas”, it reminded me of Reservoir Dogs this way. It excelled in its dialogue; slowly revealing the backgrounds of these tortured characters through the depth of the script. However, I wasn’t a fan of the scene where it revealed exactly how the stage was set (the guesthouse massacre). Did the audience really need to see exactly how the set up was staged? I know Tarantino isn’t one for subtlety but this could have been left on the cutting room floor and shaved a good 20 minutes from the running time (and I don’t mind longer films). Sometimes I think it would work better if more was left to the imagination of the audience…but I guess this isn’t the audience Tarantino usually appeals to. Bruce Dern was the scene-stealer for me. Roth was so hammy my teeth hurt.March 25, 2019 at 6:50 pm #1202829379
Girl Interrupted : Angelina Jolie was phenomenal (and Elisabeth Moss’s range is just incredible). With that being said, the movie was quite bad. Winona Ryder, who I LOVE in Stranger Things, was out-acted by literally everyone around her. The supporting cast (mostly Moss, Jolie, Murphy and DuVall) saved this movie.
CMarch 25, 2019 at 8:08 pm #1202829438
I saw Shazam at one of the fandango screenings.
After a rocky 20 or so minute start, the film really lifts off once we meet Shazam. I can see why The Rock was rumored at first for the part since it seems written for him but glad he didnt do it because Levi is aces. I think the entire cast is pretty good considering it’s kid actors. Strong is great as the villain as well as he lives and breathes the camp atmosphere of the movie.
I worry a bit for the sequel since a lot of the humor came from the aw shucks origin story of the characters. It’s gonna tough capturing that magic again.March 25, 2019 at 9:02 pm #1202829476
Isn’t It Romantic: I had a BLAST. What a fun, charming film that doesn’t take itself seriously at all. Loved it. Rebel Wilson is Great (with a capital G).
B+March 26, 2019 at 9:47 am #1202830057
Velvet Buzzsaw: I hated this so much. Awful film, despite some good performances from Rene Russo, Jake Gyllenhaal and Toni Colette.
D–March 27, 2019 at 8:09 am #1202831093
Her Smell: The first half is pure chaos. The camera is constantly moving and there’s so much background noise you can barely focus on the dialogue. Its a quite unpleasant experience honestly. Fortunately, the second half gets much calmer (which was necessary because I basically had a headache at this point). This movie was incredibly hard to sit through, but if any of you decide to give it a try, don’t stop in the middle. The second half is worth the effort (i think, not sure yet). There’s no word to describe how good Elisabeth Moss is in this. This woman is an acting genius. Won’t give it a grade yet because I’m not sure it’ll age well with me.
EDIT: gave it a BMarch 27, 2019 at 8:22 am #1202831116
Seeing Shazam friday 🙂March 27, 2019 at 9:25 pm #1202831791
Five Feet Apart:
This proves that there should be a law limiting the number of clichés you can use in a single film. Justin Baldoni just used everything that makes 14 year old girls cry and smashed it into a 1 hour 50 minutes movie. Also, both protagonists are dumb as hell which I hated so much, although Haley Lu Richardson is great (as usual) and is bound to become a star. Cole Sprouse was okay I guess. Overall, I had a decent time, since it’s VERY crowd-pleasing. Not a single risk was taken in the making of this film. However, a movie this uninspired can’t get higher than a D+ from me (would’ve been a F without Haley’s dedication).March 27, 2019 at 11:00 pm #1202831831
Assassination Nation (2018): Directed by Sam Levinson, starring Odessa Young, Suki Waterhouse, Hari Nef, and Abra. Watched this recently on Hulu and I really liked it. The cinematography and editing is top notch and the performances were pretty good (specifically Young). The ending was a bit weird and I guess others could consider it cringey, but it’s definitely a modern version of the Salem witch trials, and oddly, I could see it happening with how crazy the internet has gotten. Overall: B-/B
Doubt (2008): Directed by John Patrick Stanley, starring Meryl Streep, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams, and Viola Davis. I started watching this a long time ago but I didn’t have time so I didn’t get far. Streep, Adams, and Hoffman were amazing. I was beginning to wonder why Davis got nominated and then pow, she packs a punch that’s win-worthy and sets the mood for the end. We’re never supposed to know if Father Flynn actually did anything and it’s supposed to make us doubt everything (personally mixed on it), but it irked me that the bishop promoted him straight after Sister Aloysius told him her suspicions (like this man might be molesting boys but instead of looking into it, you promote him? I felt like I heard a line from Spotlight when that was said). Anyways, the final scene was perfection between Adams and Streep, and I would’ve loved for a win for any of the cast since they were all brilliant. Overall: AMarch 28, 2019 at 1:31 am #1202832012
AquaMan is the latest movie I watched. I watched this movie on the MovieBox Profession application. Overall, this is a good movie.March 28, 2019 at 4:19 pm #1202832785
Silver Linings Playbook: That movie is such a joy to watch over and over again. Love the performances, love the chemistry between Bradley and queen JLaw. Also, Bradley is such a little nugget in this film. He’s a cutie. That buzz cut. My heart. Looooove to re-watch it every now and then.
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