November 25, 2020 at 5:54 pm #1203873698
I have just finished watching The Nest. Throughout the first two thirds of this movie, it left me feeling cold. I thought Jude Law was giving a very charismatic performance while Carrie Coon was very emotionally affective as his American wife. Though the third act of this film was when I officially started to get invested. To me, the performances from both Law and Coon not only got better, but I found the dynamics between the two of them and their children to be a major highlight. Overall, I think The Nest is admirable, but might be more of acquired taste.November 26, 2020 at 11:22 pm #1203876863
I just watched Muriel’s Wedding for the first time.
November 29, 2020 at 10:43 am #1203882336
- Toni was amazing, obviously
- The movie was way darker than I anticipated, I don’t know why I thought it was going to be a straight up romantic comedy going in, even though I did not know much about the film beforehand
- The actress playing Betty (Muriel’s mom) was EXCELLENT, her performance was devastating and heartbreaking, she should have gotten an oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress. EDIT – Jeanie Drynan that’s her name
“Hillbilly Elegy” (2020): I think the worst thing I can say about the film is that it never really rose to the cinematic level I hoped it would reach. In Ron Howard’s hands, there was such a blandness and artificial quality surrounding it. He doesn’t understand the milieu at all, and it shows. If this had been directed by someone like Debra Granik, for example, I think the content would have soared, and the world-building would have felt more authentic. Glenn Close saved the film from itself with the performance that felt the most lived-in and vital. There wasn’t enough of her, unfortunately, and the haphazard editing of the film was actively working against her in stretches. Amy Adams felt both overcooked and undercooked, if that’s possible. Seeing the photos of the real-life Bev and Mamaw at the end credits was jaw-dropping. The resemblances were so uncanny, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. The makeup/hairstyling team has already earned its Oscar nomination next year. Gabriel Basso was fine, though I was more impressed with the younger actor playing J.D. I’m not too familiar with Haley Bennett or her work, but I thought she was great in her limited screentime. I was surprised by how moved I was by her scenes near the end of the film. I hope that Close goes the distance regardless, and I think she will, since I’m anticipating a backlash to the backlash setting in at some point before the Oscars. Supporting actress and makeup/hairstyling seem both sufficient and attainable to me.November 29, 2020 at 10:52 am #1203882358
“1917” (2019): From a technical standpoint, I think the film had gripping elements to it, and it should go without saying that Roger Deakins is a genius. Like legitimate, “is this really your mind” kind of genius. His work with Sam Mendes on “Skyfall” only hinted at the duo’s later greatness to come, which takes on “Blade Runner 2049”-level heights. Very deserved second cinematography Oscar win! Other than that, I was surprised by how clinical the film’s story ended up being, and how little I was emotionally invested in these characters, whether they lived or died. (Since this is a WWI film, I don’t think it’s a spoiler to say that some characters didn’t make it to the end). This being so close to the BP win is both expected and troubling. I do believe it was the runner-up after key Globes, BAFTAS, DGA, & Oscar wins. The cast was fine, though it felt like a tease to get snippets of Andrew Scott, Colin Firth, Mark Strong, Richard McCabe, Benedict Cumberbatch, Richard Madden, etc., and then take them away. George MacKay and Dean-Charles Chapman were both serviceable, but I was kept at an arm’s length with both of their characters from start to finish. This film is night and day from “Parasite,” and besides that being a clear masterpiece, the emotional totality of it was just too much to deny. That’s not the case here. I noticed some parallels to “Saving Private Ryan” both in the filmmaking approach and content, which is interesting considering its shared Oscar fate. I don’t regret seeing “1917,” and since it was a personal pet project of Mendes’s, it’s nice that he saw the film through to fruition. The correct film won BP though.November 29, 2020 at 12:09 pm #1203882503
I watched “One Flew Over The Cookoo’s Nest” a long time ago.. so long that I almost didn’t remember the plot… I just watched again yesterday in Netflix…it is still a good film but for the life of me I can’t understand how or why did Louise Fletcher get nominated and win in Lead… there’s no way you can make sense of that….even Brad Dourif’s Billy has a larger and more important character.
The Oscar needs to get rid of the preferential ballot so it can name a deserving movie as Best Picture again.November 29, 2020 at 12:35 pm #1203882583
If you havent been watching Steve McQueens Small Axe series, you should rectify that. The most recent one is a journey!November 30, 2020 at 9:16 am #1203884682
Uncle Frank on Amazon Prime. I find Netflix has better original movies than Amazon, but occasionally Amazon comes close.
I liked Uncle Frank for the most part and how it dealt with Frank and his hidden homosexuality from most of the world. It was 1973, a different time, and I think the writer got it right for the most part.
Probably a spoiler:
The ending was just too easy of a resolve – almost too picture perfect. But, people like happy endings. It’s funny but my favorite character wasn’t Uncle Frank. Not even close. Definitely, worth a Monday morning view.December 4, 2020 at 8:06 pm #1203895298
I have just finished watching Mank on Netflix. I must say that this has to be the most invested I’ve been in any movie all year. Mank is very much a David Fincher film that feels as if it was made in the 1940s. Everything about it from the way it looked to the way it sounded is so authentic to what movies were like back in the day. Those who are already familiar with the 1941 classic, Citizen Kane, will of course be really into this. But for those who aren’t, Mank does very successfully stand on its own as such an engrossing character study. Gary Oldman gives an incredible performance as screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz. Amanda Seyfried is quite terrific as glamorous actress Marion Davies. She’s even able to hold her own against Oldman in every scene they share together. Though I would definitely like to highlight the performances from Lily Collins (in what I think is her best work yet) as Herman’s secretary, Rita Alexander, and Tom Burke (who is very powerful in the third act) as Orson Welles. Overall, I think Mank has to be the most haunting showbiz drama set in Hollywood since Sunset Boulevard.December 4, 2020 at 8:25 pm #1203895382
Sound of Metal: Riz Ahmed delivers one of the best performances of the year. He deserves to be in the conversation for an Oscar nom. Also the use of sound in this movie is so inventive and well-executed. It’s like Whiplash good.
I have a feeling it’ll get stuck at critics circles and the Indie Spirits and won’t be mainstream since One Night in Miami seems to be a bigger priority for Amazon.December 5, 2020 at 7:26 pm #1203897293
I have just finished watching Sound of Metal on Amazon Prime Video. You know how sometimes, you’re able to see a movie through its main character’s eyes? Well in the case of Sound of Metal, we the audience are able to hear this movie through Reuben Stone’s ears. The sound work on display here is very inventive. Not just in scenes where there’s a musical performance going on, but all throughout as Reuben experiences his hearing troubles. At times, it feels as though we the audience are almost as deaf as him. As that character, Riz Ahmed not only gives such a powerhouse performance, but he is also able to stay compelling in his quieter moments. Olivia Cooke is also quite good in the scenes she does appear in. The two of them even share a pretty heartfelt moment near the end. Overall, I found Sound of Metal to be a very admirable film that gives such a rare look at what the deaf community goes through on a regular basis.December 7, 2020 at 7:27 pm #1203901853
I have just finished watching Ammonite, and I must say that this movie was a very mixed bag for me. On the plus side, I thought Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan both individually gave understated, yet very affective performances. I also enjoyed their chemistry together, which really kept my attention throughout. Though on the down side, everything else about Ammonite left me feeling both cold and bored at the same time. To anyone who might have some interest in watching this, I suggest you wait until it’s cheaper to rent on demand. There’s no need to spend $20 to do so now.December 8, 2020 at 4:48 pm #1203904288
2 military comedy classics:
“M*A*S*H” (1970): This was the film that defined the classic directing style of Robert Altman, which is so famous now that his successors and imitators are called “Altmanesque.” The cast was amazing, with Donald Sutherland, Elliott Gould, & Ton Skerritt leading the ensemble as a group of irreverent surgeons working in mobile Army surgical units during the Korean War. The film was all over the place in terms of plot and tone, which gave it an unpredictable nature. I also liked the subtle and overt critiques of the Vietnam War sprinkled throughout the film. One thing that’s incredibly dated here is the film’s blatant misogyny directed at one of its characters, Margaret “Hot Lips” O’Houilhan. Those antics really wouldn’t fly today. The least they could have done was to gift her with an Academy nomination, which she ended up receiving somehow. Since the television series based off the film ran for so many years, it’s difficult to watch or binge that today. I would like to see how these characters were handled there and evolved in the long-form medium.
“Good Morning, Vietnam” (1987): This film is mostly only thought of as Robin Williams’s breakthrough first Oscar nomination. I knew of his character’s famous radio greeting since I was young, and that level of pop-culture impact hasn’t gone away. Barry Levinson’s film is a marginal oddity, though that cast included Forest Whitaker, Bruno Kirby, Robert Wuhl, and a scene-stealing J.T. Walsh as a horrible sergeant major who’s sole purpose was to make Cronauer’s tenure a living hell. When Robin Williams was on, he was on, and I’d be curious to know how much of his radio rants were from Mitch Markowitz’s screenplay or solely ad-libs. The film is mostly Adrian’s fight against the military establishment with his radical “shock-jock” antics that would be incredibly tame by today’s standards. His references are also super-dated. Beyond that, there’s a flimsy romance subplot and key betrayal that sets the stage for the disappointing ending scenes and the inevitable hokey conclusion that followed. I’d only recommend this for a classic early performance from Williams, whose works takes on added nostalgic significance since his untimely passing.December 8, 2020 at 4:53 pm #1203904303
I have just finished watching Ammonite, and I must say that this movie was a very mixed bag for me. On the plus side, I thought Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan both individually gave understated, yet very affective performances. I also enjoyed their chemistry together, which really kept my attention throughout. Though on the down side, everything else about Ammonite left me feeling both cold and bored at the same time. To anyone who might have some interest in watching this, I suggest you wait until it’s cheaper to rent on demand. There’s no need to spend $20 to do so now.
I agree. Although I didn’t particularly enjoy their chemistry.
I will say that I found Fiona Shaw to be excellent in the scenes she was in. She was able to elevate her parts in the script despite the script failing Winslet and Ronan’s characters.
I’m glad it was my roommate and not me who payed for it though.
FYC OSCARS : PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN IN ALL CATEGORIES (ESP. ACTRESS – Carey Mulligan AND ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY — EMERALD FENNELL), VANESSA KIRBY FOR "PIECES OF A WOMAN", ESSIE DAVIS FOR "BABYTEETH"December 10, 2020 at 5:59 am #1203907758
It looks absolutely gorgeous and features sensational performances from Gary Oldman (no surprise) and Amanda Seyfried (bit of a surprise). It’s definitely the latter’s best work and something of a quantum leap for her in acting quality. While many of the individual scenes are jewels, it does suffer a little, especially in the middle section, from the dramatic sluggishness that plagues many character pieces.December 13, 2020 at 4:34 pm #1203918099
“The Prom” (2020): There was a good to great 90-min film here, but at over 2 hrs runtime, it felt overlong and tedious in stretches. The editing was so frenetic at times that it played into the best and worst of Ryan Murphy’s directorial excesses. More color, more choreography, more lights, more nondescript white teenagers, more “zazz!” etc. But by the ending, I thought the finale was completely earned and satisfying. Meryl Streep was phenomenal here with the meta-take on her star persona. It’s a testament to her immense talent when she elevates slight material like this. I’m all in for her 22nd Oscar nomination! It was a clear misfire as far as representation goes that James Corden landed a role like this with that ridiculous American accent of his and borderline offensive gay posturing. Where was Nathan Lane? Nicole Kidman was wasted. It was baffling that the Nicole Kidman could exist in a film where she’s a third-rate chorus girl and understudy angling for a starring role as Roxie Hart. (Where was Renée Zellweger lol?) The supporting ensemble delivered when given the chances, including a surprising Kerry Washington, a scene-stealing Andrew Rannells, and Keegan-Michael Key doing far more with the bland principal role than I expected. The teens lacked the “wow” factor for most of the film, but both Ariana DeBose and Jo Ellen Pellman have lovely singing voices that will hopefully carry them through successful theatre careers. Despite the film’s ups and downs and glaringly weak score, I enjoyed it. It was the right film at the right time to ease our fraught collective mood. It works for the holidays, and it’s the kind of film to watch over and over again with families.
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