Saturday, 12 May 2018

Top 10 Films of 2017

Once again, now that we're almost halfway through 2018, I've finally mainly caught up on seeing a lot of great films from 2017. Granted, there's still a few I haven't seen (Phantom Thread for example) but I feel I can finally put together my top 10 list! To be honest, there wasn't a whole lot of movies I was passionate aboout this year. I had a small handful of films I loved and most others I was somewhat apathetic about, which is unusual for me. However, I have put together a list of 10 films I really liked and my top 4 that have really resounded with me this year.

10. I, Tonya
I, Tonya chose the perfect format to tell it's story, beginning with the preface that it is based on "irony-free, wildly contradictory, totally true interviews". It really sets the stage for how this story will be told and how seriously we should take it. However, Margot Robbie still gives a career-making performance, one that will probably be remembered for a long time as one of her best. Glib, snarky and smart, I, Tonya is a ride.

9. Blade Runner 2049

It's not so much that I loved Blade Runner itself. It's more that Denis Villeneuve is a fab director and I knew he would deliver something special. And here he created a film that I have no idea how it was able to get made because it's so not mainstream but its beautiful and fabulous anyway. Ryan Gosling gives a shattering performance and Villeneuve brings sci-fi to even higher levels. I couldn't stop thinking about this movie for days.

8. The Disaster Artist

It was a shame when the stuff about James Franco came out because I had already seen The Disaster Artist and was sold on this film. It's hilarious and heartbreaking and James Franco was incredible as Tommy Wiseau. It's wacky and a true story and I really, really enjoyed it.

7. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.

What a perfect year for this film to come out. It seems to be the encapsulation of the atmosphere of the end of 2017 and the beginning of 2018. Anger. And female anger. Frances McDormand blows it out of the park here. It's really a film to chew on (though not perfect at all) but is an angry film that perfectly defines what's currently going on.

6. Baby Driver

It's an action-thriller-musical? It's a tricky one to describe because it both is and definitely isn't a musical but I'm not sure why no one has made a movie quite like this yet. Action sequences perfectly synched up to great music is where it's at! I found the film less engaging in the second half when it departed from that a bit but this film is charming and should really solidify Jon Hamm as a movie star.

5. The Big Sick

I'm a sucker for a really, really good comedy/rom-com and The Big Sick is one of the best. It's just a really feel-good film and actually stars someone who isn't white?? And he's playing himself? So cool! Kumail Nanjiani is a new favourite and I've always loved Zoe Kazan.

4. Call Me By Your Name

I'll admit that the main draw to this film was the original music by Sufjan Stevens. I've been a fan of his for 10 years and was so excited for his music. But the movie itself enchanted me. It's warm and pretty and just makes you feel good. Timothee Chalamet is astonishing in this and is going to go on to have an incredible career. Also, the Sufjan music is magic as well.

3. Dunkirk

I'm a big Chris Nolan fan and was eager to see his foray into war films. Dunkirk feels so different from any Chris Nolan movie, but also is very much a Chris Nolan movie. It's so grand in scale, epic in action and beautifully shot. Tom Hardy is my personal favourite storyline of the piece but it all works together so well.

2. Get Out

A year ago I watched this movie on a plane because I'd been hearing all about it for months but was scared to watch this scary movie. Immediately I understood the hype and knew I had watched something special, something that would be dissected for years to come. Get Out is 100% worth your time, even if you don't like scary movies. Seriously, if you haven't watched it by now, do yourself a favour and watch it!

1. Lady Bird

I don't know what I can say about Lady Bird that hasn't already been said. It's incredibly real and relateable and fresh. Saoirse Ronan proves that she is already, at 23, going down as an all-time great as she completely owns the role of Lady Bird. And Greta Gerwig smashes it out of the gate with her directorial debut. I'm not sure what makes Lady Bird so great but it's just so real. By far my favourite film of the  year.


Friday, 2 March 2018

Oscar Predictions


It's that time of year again! It's come up so fast that I feel like I'm almost throwing these together last minute. However, while I haven't kept up with guild awards as much as usual, I've still had a lot of time to ponder who I think will win and the stats into the probability. It's tricky business, sometimes. What felt like it would be an unpredictable year has turned into the only unpredictable category being Best Picture. Director and all 4 acting awards have swept through awards seasons untouched, which is nearly unheard of. So should we expect an upset? Maybe, but I wouldn't count on it. However, Best Picture is a much trickier thing. Basically every movie nominated you can make a case why it won't win. None of these movies have the stats on their side. Whoever wins will be breaking some sort of very strong statistic. The Shape of Water was not nominated for SAG Ensemble (which La La Land didn't receive last year either and didn't end up winning). Three Billboards was snubbed in the Best Director category. Get Out has only 4 nominations and failed to pick up an Editing nomination. Blah, blah, blah. However, since last year happened, I think we know that things can get unpredictable very quickly.

Best Picture
Will Win: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Could Win: Get Out
Should Win: Lady Bird or Get Out

So I was predicting an upset with Get Out winning here up until today (Thursday). I still think there’s a strong possibility it’ll happen, but I just don’t have any stats or facts to back me up (Moonlight at least won Best drama at the Globes last year and Get Out has no major wins). So I think this is going to go to Three Billboards. It’s also a timely and important film about justice. Especially with #metoo happening, this should prevail over The Shape Of Water which, in the end, is just a love story. However I’d still watch out for Get Out and think that’s the major underdog here.

Best Director
Will Win: Guillermo Del Toro
Could Win: Jordan Peele/Christopher Nolan
Should Win: Greta Gerwig or Jordan Peele or Chris Nolan

And for the 3rd year in a row, and the 5th time so far this decade, I’m predicting Best Picture and Director will be split. Del Toro has swept this season and I don’t see a reason why it won’t at the Oscars as well.

Best Actress
Will Win: Frances McDormand
Could Win: Saoirse Ronan
Should Win: Saoirse Ronan

She's swept all the major awards this season so I don't foresee an upset happening here. Though if it did, I'd love if it were Saoirse Ronan or Margot Robbie

Best Actor
Will Win: Gary Oldman
Could Win: Timothee Chalamet
Should Win: Timothee Chalamet

Timothee Chalamet is only is just 22 years old but gave my favourite male lead performance this year. Combined with an excellent small supporting role in Lady Bird, Chalamet is one to watch out for. However, this doesn't appear to be his year. Gary Oldman has the baity role (along with makeup and transformation that the Academy eats up). However, if there was to be an upset, which I doubt there will be, watch out for young Timothee Chalamet!

Best Supporting Actress
Will Win: Allison Janney
Could Win: Laurie Metcalf
Should Win: Allison or Laurie

Allison Janney is an acting veteran but somehow this is her very first nomination! How??? Anyway, she's also swept this season and I don't think she'll get upset. Laurie Metcalf was also fab in Lady Bird but Janney was a powerhouse.

Best Supporting Actor
Will Win: Sam Rockwell
Could Win: Christopher Plummer
Should Win: Sam Rockwell

Could Christopher Plummer, the man who took over Kevin Spacey's role in this film, win an Oscar? Even just so the Academy can stick it to sexual predators? It's entirely possible! However, Sam Rockwell is bound to win here like he (and the other 3 acting winners) has all season.

Best Adapted Screenplay
Will Win: Call Me By Your Name
Could Win: Logan? mud bound?
Should Win: Call Me By your Name

Honestly, I don't think Call Me By Your Name has a lot of competition here. Logan was a great surprise and it'd be a worthy winner, as would the screenplay for the Disaster Artist, but Call Me By Your Name is up for Best Picture and it's screenplay was beautiful. Expect it to win.

Best Original Screenplay
Will Win: Get Out
Could Win: 3 Billboards or Lady Bird
Should Win: Get Out or Lady Bird

This one is extremely tough and could go a few different ways! Get Out seems the most "original idea" of the screenplays and is excellently written. However, 3 Billboards is a frontrunner and picked up the award at the Globes. Picture and Screenplay often go hand in hand. And if the Shape of Water wins Best Picture, it could upset here. But also don't discount Greta Gerwig's screenplay for Lady Bird. It'd be wonderful to see a female winner here, in a movie directed by and starring women. However, I think Get Out has it but I'm not 100% on that.

Best Cinematography
Will Win: Blade Runner 2049
Could Win: Dunkirk or The Shape of Water
Should Win: Blade Runner 2049

I read an interesting statistic about Best Cinematography. Best Director and Best Cinematography have gone to the same movie the last 5 years in a row, all for large technical films. However, Roger Deakins, the cinematographer for Blade Runner 2049 has 14 nominations and no wins! And this may actually be some of his best work. I've been predicting The Shape of Water for a while now but I think it may just be Deakins year... finally!

Best Costume Design
Will Win: Phantom Thread
Could Win: Beauty and the Beast
Should Win: Phantom Thread

Honestly, is Phantom Thread really about anything other than clothes and costumes? But actually, the clothing is stunning in that film. However, fantasty costume films have done well in the past here so watch out for Beauty and the Beast

Best Editing
Will Win: Baby driver
Could Win: Dunkirk
Should Win: Baby Driver or Dunkirk

It's Baby Driver vs Dunkirk. War movies do excellently in this category (see Hacksaw Ridge winning here last year), however Baby Driver has some excellent sharp editing similar to Whiplash. Dunkirk is the favourite, but Baby Driver did pick up the Editing award at BAFTA, which has predicted the last few editing winners (incuding the slight surprise win for Whiplash). I'm going out on a small limb here and say Baby Driver takes it.

Best Makeup and Hairstyling 
Will Win: Darkest Hour
Could Win: Wonder
Should Win: Any of them? There's only three!

Considering makeup is basically how Gary Oldman is winning an Oscar this year, I say Darkest Hour takes it. Though don't be surprised if Wonder pulls through.

Best Production Design
Will Win: The Shape of Water
Could Win: Blade Runner 2049
Should Win: Blade Runner 2049

The Production design for Blade Runner 2049 was stunning. Please win!!!

Best Original Score
Will Win: Alexandre Desplat (The Shape of Water)
Could Win: Phantom Thread or Dunkirk
Will Win: The Shape of Water

Alexandre Desplat is going to win a second Oscar before Hans Zimmer does? Call him the new master of music! Desplat is one of my favourite composers and while I didn't really like the Shape of Water, his music was sublime for it.

Best Original Song
Will Win: "This Is Me" (The Greatest Showman)
Could Win: "Remember Me" (Coco)
Should Win: Mystery of Love (Call My By Your Name)

Really, as much as I love Mystery of Love, it really should've been Visions of Gideon nominated here. Either way, I'm just so excited Sufjan Stevens is an Oscar nominee! Anyway, you could make a case for literally any of these songs to win. However, The Greatest Showman is a big hit, has massive streaming numbers on Spotify and I think will win. Disney often does well here, but I think this will go to The Greatest Showman.

Best Sound Editing
Will Win: Dunkirk
Could Win: Baby Driver or Dunkirk
Should Win: Dunkirk

Another category where war films do well. And the sound creation (yes, that's what sound editing is, more or less) for this film was really great. But don't count out Baby Driver!

Best Sound Mixing
Will Win: Baby Driver
Could Win: Dunkirk
Should Win: Baby Driver

War movies can also do well here but Chris Nolan (Dunkirk) often gets complaints that his movies are "hard to heard the dialogue" and are very "loud". I don't necessarily disagree. As well, musical often do well  here and while Baby Driver isn't a classical musical, it's use of music is well done and I think it could earn it a win here.

Best Visual Effects
Will Win: Blade Runner 2049
Could Win: War For the Planet Of The Apes
Should Win: Apes or Blade Runner 2049

The rebooted Planet of the Apes films have never done well here. They keep getting nominated, are continually the frontrunner, but ultimately don't win, despite how innovative their VFX are! As well, this often goes to more awardsy fair and while Blade Runner wasn't nominated in any top level categories, it's definitely the more prestige of the two (5 nominations vs 1)

Best Animated Feature
Will Win: Coco
Could Win: The Breadwinner
Should Win: The Boss Baby.... JK!!!! It should be Coco

Best Documentary Feature
Will Win: Icarus
Could Win: Faces Places or Last Man In Aleppo

Best Foreign Language Film
Will Win: A Fantastic Woman
Could Win: The Square

Best Animated Short
Will Win: Dear Basketball
Could Win: Garden Party

Best Documentary Short
Will Win: Edith+Eddie
Could Win: Heaven Is a Traffic Jam on the 405

Best Live Action Short
Will Win: DeKalb Elementary
Could Win: The Silent Child

Monday, 12 February 2018

Black Panther

Black Panther, 2018
Directed by Ryan Coogler

Black Panther marks the first solo outing of a non-white Marvel superhero. After making his debut in Captain America: Civil War, we finally see the origin story of T’Challa and his country of Wakanda. Marvel movies aren’t really my thing and I have a very small handful of them that I even like. However, having Ryan Coogler directing was enough to pique my interest and have me genuinely excited for this film. And let me tell you, it does not disappoint!

My big complaint about Marvel movies is they often want to have “very serious” stories while at the same time still have humour and I personally don’t often feel like they strike the right balance. And often what they try to be serious about is a very lame villain. However, Black Panther is a serious film but it’s correct in what it’s serious about, and that story is very nuanced. T’Challa witnessed his fathers (the King of Wakanda) death in captain American and now in this film he is seeing himself take over that role as king. Wakanda is an extremely technologically advanced country in Africa. They are at the forefront of technology because of the substance Vibranium that they’re able to mine. However, since their formation, Wakanda has not shared this technology and has put on the facade of being another third world African country, only helping when need be. So when Eric Killmonger comes along, he plans to challenge T’Challa for the throne and change Wakanda. I feel that’s about all I can say without spoiling too much. But this movie is about the struggle of a man becoming a king and the responsibilities on him.  How to keep the country functioning but how to change with the times.

Ryan Coogler, only 31 years old, has been making waves in the film scene for years. He brings incredible vision and energy to this film. This film is incredibly political and really tries to engage in the conversations the world is having about the treatment of black people globally, but mainly what’s happening in the US. But it’s also incredibly black in its depiction of the Wakanda culture, but also in overall feel for the film. And another’s I thing I need to praise this movie for us it’s treatment of its women! We have at least three major female characters in this film and all of them are incredible badasses. And all three of them in very different ways! And that doesn’t even include the minor roles of other women in the film. There is a tribe of warrior women in Wakanda, and T’Challa is constantly around strong women. Women may actually outnumber (or at least match) the amount of male characters. Women are seen as warriors, as caregivers, as a Q-like Bond character, as scientists and as Queens. The depiction of everyone in this film is complex and so fully realized. Even it’s villain actually gets to be nuanced and complex. By far one of Marvels most interesting villains.

Black Panther is a film well-worth supprtoing. It’s incredibly made and it finally tells of a non-white, non-Western hero. And I think this is something the world has really been waiting for. ANd Ryan Coogler delivered the movie this story deserves.

9/10

Monday, 22 January 2018

Oscar Nomination Predictions

Holy shoot, it's that time of year again. How did this happen? This year, Oscar nominations come out the morning of my birthday so I will probably just be spending that day freaking out about the snubs and surprises that are definitely due to come. This year has been unique that frontrunners haven't really emerged in terms of Best Picture yet (the acting categories seem to have solidified themselves barring some huge snubs) so the race is still pretty wide open. I'm predicting 8 nominees for BP but I could see it being only 6, but we could also finally get a full 10 this year as well.

Best Picture 
Lady Bird
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri
Get Out
The Shape of Water
Dunkirk
The Post
Call Me By Your Name
I, Tonya

Best Director 
Greta Gerwig- Lady Bird
Jordan Peele- Get Out
Martin McDonagh- Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Christopher Nolan- Dunkirk
Guillermo Del Toro- The Shape of Water

Best Actor
Timothee Chalamet- Call Me By Your Name
Gary Oldman- Darkest Hour
Daniel Kaluuya- Get Out
James Franco- The Disaster Artist
Daniel Day-Lewis- Phantom Thread

Best Actress
Saoirse Ronan- Lady Bird
Frances McDormand- Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Sally Hawkins- The Shape of Water
Margot Robbie- I, Tonya
Meryl Streep- The Post

Best Supporting Actor
Sam Rockwell- Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Willem Dafoe- The Florida Project
Christopher Plummer- All the Money In The World
Armie Hammer- Call Me By Your Name
Richard Jenkins- The Shape of Water

Best Supporting Actress
Laurie Metcalf- Lady Bird
Allison Janney- I, Tonya
Holly Hunter- The Big Sick
Hong Chau- Downsizing
Octavia Spencer- The Shape of Water

Best Adapted Screenplay
Call Me By Your Name
Molly's Game
The Disaster Artist
Mudbound
Logan

Best Original Screenplay
Get Out
Lady Bird
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
The Shape of Water
The Big Sick

Best Cinematography 
Blade Runner 2049
Dunkirk
The Shape of Water
Call Me By Your Name
Darkest Hour

Best Costume Design 
Phantom Thread
Beauty and the Beast
The Shape of Water
Murder on the Orient Express
The Greatest Showman

Best Editing 
Dunkirk
Baby Driver
The Shape of Water
Get Out
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Best Makeup and Hairstyling 
Darkest Hour
Woner
I, Tonya

Best Original Score
The Shape of Water (Alexandre Desplat)
The Post (John Williams)
Dunkirk (Hans Zimmer)
Phantom Thread (Johnny Greenwood)
Blade Runner 2049 (Hans Zimmer and Benjamin Wallfisch)

Best Original Song
Remember Me (Coco)
The Mystery Of Love (Call Me By Your Name)
This Is Me (The Greatest Showman)
Evermore (Beauty and the Beast)
Prayers for this World (Cries from Syria)

Best Production Design 
The Shape of Water
Blade Runner 2049
Dunkirk
Beauty and the Beast
Murder on the Orient Express

Best Sound Editing 
Blade Runner 2049
Dunkirk
Baby Driver
War For the Planet of the Apes
The Shape of Water

Best Sound Mixing
Blade Runner
Dunkirk
Baby Driver
War For the Planet of the Apes
The Shape of Water

Best Visual Effects
Blade Runner 2049
Dunkirk
War For the Planet of the Apes
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
The Shape of Water

Best Animated Film
Coco
Loving Vincent
The Bread Winner
Ferdinand
In This Corner of the World

Best Foreign Language Film
The Square
In The Fade
Foxtrot
Loveless
A Fantastic Woman

Best Documentary
Icarus
Jane
Faces Places
City of Ghosts
Strong Island

Best Short Subject Documentary
Alone
Ten Meter Tower
Heroin(e)
Edith+Eddie
Heaven Is A Traffic Jam on the 405

Best Animated Short Film
In A Heartbeat
Dear Basketball
Lou
Negative Space
Cradle

Best Live Action Short Film
DeKalb Elementary
Watu Wote/All Of Us
The Silent Child
Icebox
The Eleven O'Clock


Saturday, 6 January 2018

Golden Globe Film Predictions

We're already here! The first awards show of the season. And as usual, the Globes are always a really tricky one to predict. They often go their own way in terms of winners (The Revenant over Spotlight, The Social Network over the King's Speech, etc). And this year seems to be especially murky. We don't have clear frontrunners in very many categories at all. The Shape of Water leads nominations, so will it win a bunch of those? Or will Three Billboards or the Post snug some? It's a tough one, but here are my predictions.

Best Picture (Drama)
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Call Me By Your Name
Dunkirk
The Shape of Water
The Post

Will Win: The Shape of Water
Could Win: The Post or Three Billboards
Should Win: Dunkirk/3 Billboards

The Shape of Water leads nominations and it seems like the type of film the HFPA would favour. However, I would still watch out for almost any of these films. But especially the Post and Three Billboards. Both have quite timely themes so if the HFPA wanted to go with some sort of narrative, they could with either of those 2.

Best Actor (Drama)
Timothee Chalamet (Call Me By Your Name)
Daniel Day-Lewis (Phantom Thread)
Tom Hanks (The Post)
Denzel Washington (Roman J. Israel Esq.)
Gary Oldman (Darkest Hour)

Will Win: Gary Oldman
Could Win: Timothee Chalamet
Should Win: ?

I haven't seen any of these movies yet so don't have an opinion on who should win. Gary Oldman seems the likely winner here, playing a beloved historial figure. However, we thought this about Natalie Portman last year and look how that turned out. I'd watch closest for Timothee Chalamet.

Best Actress (Drama)
Sally Hawkins (The Shape of Water)
Meryl Streep (The Post)
Frances McDormand (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri)
Jessica Chastain (Molly's Game)
Michelle Williams (All The Money In The World)

Will Win: Sally Hawkins
Could Win: Frances McDormand
Should Win: ?

So far, I've only see Molly's Game and while I'd be happy if Chastain won, it isn't going to happen. Frances McDormand is probably considered the frontrunner here, but I'm going with Hawkins. Given the amount of nominations, I think the HFPA will really love the Shape of Water.

Best Picture (Comedy/Musical)
Get Out
Lady Bird
I, Tonya
The Disaster Artist
The Greatest Showman

Will Win: Lady Bird
Could Win: Get Out
Should Win: Lady Bird

I loved Get Out, Lady Bird and The Disaster Artist (all in my top 5 films this year so far) but I think this one should be Lady Birds. Directed by a female, written by a female and starring women, I think that narrative alone wins the category. However, this film is GOOD so it's not an unfair win. However, look out for Get Out!

Best Actor (Comedy/Musical)
Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out)
James Franco (the Disaster Artist)
Steve Carell (Battle of the Sexes)
Ansel Elgort (Baby Driver)
Hugh Jackman (The Greatest Showman)

Will Win: James Franco
Could Win: Daniel Kaluuya
Should Win: James Franco

Honesty, Daniel Kaluuya (great as he was) feels like a distant second. This should (deservedly) be Francos, no problem.

Best Actress (Comedy Musical)
Saoirse Ronan (Lady Bird)
Margot Robbie (I, Tonya)
Judi Dench (Victoria & Abdul)
Emma Stone (Battle of the Sexes)
Helen Mirren (The Leisure Seekers)

Will Win: Saoirse Ronan
Could Win: Margot Robbie
Should Win: Saoirse Ronan

I mean, it'd be crazy if Saoirse didn't win, but I could see Margot Robbie winning here. Her film doesn't seem like the Academy's cup of tea, but I could see it going over well here.

Best Supporting Actor
Christopher Plummer (All The Money In The World)
Armie Hammer (Call Me By Your Name)
Sam Rockwell (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri)
Richard Jenkins (The Shape of Water)
Willem Dafoe (The Florida Project)

Will Win: Sam Rockwell
Could Win: Christopher Plummer or Willem Dafoe
Should Win: ?

Word on the street is the HFPA loooves Three Billboards. I was split on predicting Frances McDormand for the Best Actress win but I think this is the easiest way to reward a film they love. However, watch for Willem Dafoe (Oscar frontrunner) or Christopher Plummer (surprise nominee)

Best Supporting Actress
Allison Janney (I, Tonya)
Laurie Metcalf (Lady Bird)
Mary J. Blige (Mudbound)
Hong Chau (Downsizing)
Octavia Spencer (The Shape of Water)

Will Win: Allison Janney (I, Tonya)
Could Win: Laurie Metcalf
Should Win: Janney or Metcalf

I'm predicting Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress will be split between Lady Bird and I, Tonya. So this could very well be Margot Robbie and Laurie Metcalf winning, but I fee it'll be Saoirse Ronan and Allison Janney. Athough any combination of these ladies would be fantastic wins.

Best Director
Guillermo Del Toro (The Shape of Water)
Steven Spielberg (The Post)
Christopher Nolan (Dunkirk)
Martin McDonagh (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri)
Ridley Scott (All the Money In The World)

Will Win: Guillermo Del Toro
Could Win: Christopher Nolan
Should Win: Christopher Nolan

Since Greta Gerwig and Jordan Peele were snubbed, I really, really want Chris Nolan to win here. However, I continue to predict the HFPA going head over heels for the Shape of Water and also awarding it Best Director. However, there have been a lot of split winners in the past years so we'll see!

Best Screenplay
Lady Bird
The Shape of Water
Molly's Game
The Post
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Will Win: Lady Bird
Could Win: The Shape of Water
Should Win: Lady Bird

Please, PLEASE let Greta Gerwig win a Globe! (And then an Oscar!)

Best Animated Feature
Coco
Loving Vincent
The Boss Baby
The Breadwinner
Ferdinand

Will Win: Coco
Could Win: Loving Vincent?
Should Win: ?

I was kicking myself the morning nominations came out because I had removed Boss Baby from the predictions the night before. Oh well. This should be Coco's, no problem.

Best Foreign Film
First They Killed My Father
The Square
In the Fade
A Fantastic Woman
Loveless

Will Win: First they Killed My Father
Could Win: The Square

Sadly, I haven't seen any of these but I think they'll award this to Angie's film.

Best Original Score
Dunkirk
The Shape of Water
Phantom Thread
The Post
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Will Win: Dunkirk
Could Win: The Shape of Water
Should Win: Dunkirk

Hans Zimmer vs. Alexandre Desplat vs John Williams vs Johnny Greenwood vs Carter Burwell. But seriously, Zimmer vs Desplat vs Williams. All master composers. I'm leaning towards Dunkirk for the win but could easily see Desplat taking it for The Shape of Water

Best Original Song
Remember Me (Coco)
This is Me (The Greatest Showman)
Mighty River (Mudbound)
Home (Ferdinand)
The Star (The Star)

Will Win: Remember Me (Coco)
Could Win: This Is Me (The Greatest Showman)

Still not over the egregious snub of Sufjan Stevens for his song Mystery of Love from Call Me By Your Name. Stevens is an all-time favourite artist of mine and I'm still salty he was snubbed here. But really, Coco will probably win but there have been some wild winners over the years.

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

Molly's Game

Molly's Game, 2017
Directed by Aaron Sorkin

I have to say, I'm a pretty big Sorkin fan. I mean, I still haven't gotten around to seeing The West Wing (I know, I know), but I've been a huge fan of his movies and his TV show The Newsroom. I love the wordiness of his scripts and the intelligence of them. You can tell Sorkin really gets into the subject of his material. And the same is true for his directorial debut, which he also wrote.

Molly's Game is the story of an Olympic class skier turned office assistant/waitress turned runner of high stakes poker games. Molly Bloom is arrested by the FBI several years after she finished running the games and now the government wants her to spill the secrets on the players (who she won't name). Her players included Hollywood A-listers, sports stars, business men and members of the Russian Mob.

I was really eager though a little cautious when I heard Jessica Chastain would be starring in Aaron Sorkin's directorial debut. I mean, if there was anyone who could handle a Sorkin script, it'd be Jessica Chastain. I was just slightly nervous about Sorkin going into directing. I didn't want another Wally Pfister/Transcendence to happen. However, Molly's Game is a well-made, well-written film that is sharp and smart. Jessica Chastain is fierce as Molly Bloom and she was absolutely the right choice for her.

The Story, which is also a true story, is interesting. Details have leaked all over (that Ben Affleck, Tobey Maguire and Alexander Rodrigues were all regulars at her games), however the story kept things a little more anonymous. Somehow, someone thought to cast Michael Cera was one of the films villains (a Hollywood star who gets upset with how Molly runs her games and how large her tips are and threatens to end her), but weirdly I kind of loved it. (Rumor has it his character, which was called "Player X" in the film, is supposed to be based on Tobey Maguire, though Sorkin himself denies this).

This is a film that is very smart and it deserves more recognition than it's getting. Jessica Chastain does some great work here and Idris Elba (playing Molly's attorney) is also solid. However, it seems this film will not get much awards recognition aside from the screenplay category (though Chastain was nominated at the Globes she won't likely be nominated for an Oscar but she's in a close 6th or 7th).

8.5/10

The Disaster Artist

The Disaster Artist, 2017
Directed by James Franco

The Disaster Artist is the true story re-telling of the making of the movie The Room. The Room, since it's release in 2003, has become a cult classic for being an incredibly terrible movie. However, filmmaker Tommy Wiseau (writer, director, star and producer) and his best friend Greg Sestero didn't intend it to be so bad. But the drama behind the scenes makes for a compelling (and hilarious) film.

I'm going to keep this brief and basically just praise James Franco. This is some incredibly immersive work here and I wouldn't even be mad if he won Best Actor. Seriously. Franco as Wiseau is incredible to watch. He's able to embody Wiseau without making it a parody or disrespectful of the man. You can tell he was very passionate about this project and about getting Wiseau right. It's also an incredibly hilarious performance but it's by far his best performance I've seen from him.

The entire film itself walks that fine line of not making this film into a parody. Franco and the screenwriters Scott Neustadter and Michael H Weber balance everything so finely. They allow us to laugh at Wiseau and the drama behind his making of The Room, but not too much. And they leave us able to sympathize for this man and to feel his pain at being ridiculed. We've all been outsiders in our life, and this is the story about an insider trying to become an insider using his own (misguided) means.

The Disaster Artist is an incredibly smart, compelling and hilarious film about a young man wanting to make it in acting and the friend he meets in acting class who has the confidence but lacks the talent and them deciding to fund their own film after years of Hollywood rejection. Tommy is mysterious and has an ego and so the filmmaking experience becomes a nightmare. However, it lead to one of the biggest cult films in history. Definitely go check out this film if you have a chance. You will be astounded at how good James Franco is in this!

9/10

Sunday, 10 December 2017

Golden Globe Film Nomination Predictions

It's that time of year again! Still three weeks left in the year and we're already getting our first set of big nominations. So far, 2017 has been an interesting year for film. By far, we don't really have any sort of frontrunners (at least for Best Picture), so a number of things could happen. There's also the political climate (including all the assault scandals currently happening) which could make for some interesting narratives. The first set of nominations is always tough, and I feel like my track record here is never too strong as the Globes like to do their own thing every so often so this is always a fun set of nominations.

Best Picture Drama
Dunkirk
Call Me By Your Name
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
The Post
The Shape of Water

Could Darkest Hour, Phantom Thread, Mudbound sneak in here? Possibly, but I think these 5 seem the most likely. 

Best Actress (Drama)
Frances McDormand (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri)
Meryl Streep (The Post)
Sally Hawkins (The Shape of Water)
Jessica Chastain (Molly's Game)
Jennifer Lawrence (mother!)

Jessica and Jennifer have the benefit of Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie being in the Comedy category. We could see someone like Kate Winslet (Wonder Wheel), Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman) or even Julia Roberts (Wonder). However, The Globes really like Jennifer Lawrence so I'd be surprised if she missed here. 

Best Actor (Drama)
Gary Oldman (Darkest Hour)
Daniel Day-Lewis (Phantom Thread)
Timothee Chalamet (Call Me By Your Name)
Tom Hanks (The Post)
Jake Gyllenhaal (Stronger)

To be honest, this could very well be our Oscar lineup and I woudln't be surprised (maybe sub Hanks/Gyllenhaal for James Franco?) but these all seem like good bets. My only question would be Timothee Chalamet who at only 22 years old would make him one of the youngest nominees. Globes are a little less biased against young men in lead categories but I wonder if he could be snubbed. 

Best Film Comedy/Musical
Get Out
Lady Bird 
The Big Sick
I, Tonya
The Disaster Artist

Honestly, The Comedy/Musical lineup seems so much more interesting than the drama this year. Get Out, Lady Bird and the Big Sick are three of my favourite films so far this year. However, I could see Battle of the Sexes, Downsizing, Baby Driver or even Beauty and the Beast sneaking in here. 

Best Actress (Comedy/Musical)
Saoirse Ronan (Lady Bird)
Margot Robbie (I, Tonya)
Emma Stone (Battle of the Sexes)
Emma Watson (Beauty and the Beast)
Allison Williams (Get Out)

Allison Williams is my wild card pick. I debated between Judi Dench for Victoria & Abdul and Zoe Kazan for the Big Sick, but I wonder if the Globes might really like Get Out and could nominate it here. We'll see! 

Best Actor (Comedy/Musical)
James Franco (The Disaster Artist)
Kumail Nanjiani (The Big Sick)
Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out)
Steve Carell (Battle of the Sexes)
Tom Cruise (American Made)

Franco, Nanjiani and Kaluuya should be locked in here but the last 2 spots are a bit more wild. Watch out for Ansel Elgort, Matt Damon or even Adam Sandler here. 

Best Film Supporting Actress
Laurie Metcalf (Lady Bird)
Allison Janney (I, Tonya)
Holly Hunter (The Big Sick
Octavia Spencer (The Shape of Water)
Tiffany Haddish (Girls Trip)

Could Tiffany Haddish be preparing for a Melissa McCarthy in Bridesmaids type of awards run? We'll see! But she did win Supporting Actress with the New York film critics and was nominated at the Critics Choice awards so it's not out of the question. However, watch out for Mary J Blige in Mudbound or Hong Chau for Downsizing

Best Film Supporting Actor
Willem Dafoe (The Florida Project)
Sam Rockwell (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri)
Armie Hammer (Call Me By Your Name)
Michael Stuhlbarg (Call Me By Your Name)
Idris Elba (Molly's Game)

Can both supporting men for CMBYN be nominated? That's the big question here. Idris Elba is also a bit of a wild card pick, but entirely possible. Watch out for Mark Rylance (Dunkirk) and Patrick Stewart (Logan)

Best Film Director
Christopher Nolan (Dunkirk)
Guillermo Del Toro (The Shape of Water)
Luca Guadagnino (Call Me By Your Name)
Greta Gerwig (Lady Bird)
Jordan Peele (Get Out)

To be honest, this feels so strongly like a 6 way race to me and I really, really want to see both minorites (Greta, a woman, and Peele, a black man) both getting in here. Nolan seems like a shoo-in for the win, Guadagnino has the critical acclaim, so I was battling between Del Toro and Spielberg for the last slot. I ended up with Del Toro purely because of its 14 BFCA nominations and the higher overall reviews. I could very well be wrong and we see either Peele or Gerwig snubbed here. 

Best Film Screenplay
Call Me By Your Name 
Get Out
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Lady Bird
The Shape of Water

Watch out for The Big Sick, Molly's Game or The Post here, but this is what really deserves the nominations in my opinion. 

Best Animated Feature
Coco
Loving Vincent
The Lego Batman Movie
Ferdinand
The Breadwinner 

To be honest, I don't really have clue about this category. However, I'd watch out for Boss Baby or Despicable Me 3. 


Sunday, 26 November 2017

Lady Bird

Lady Bird, 2017
Directed by Greta Gerwig

Lady Bird (birth name Christine) is a high school senior in Sacramento in 2002. Lady Bird is both ambitious and a poor student, confident yet not, and is such a well rounded character. She wants to get out of Sacramento and her Catholic high school and go to an East coast college “where culture is”. Her and her mom are always fighting, but it’s because they’re so much alike (even if neither of them quite realize it)

 Lady Bird is said to be semi-autobiographical of Writer/director Greta Gerwig. Gerwig, who is mainly known as an actress and writer, Lady Bird is her directorial debut. And this film is absolutely stunning. Has anyone made so perfect a film on their first try? (I mean, yes, Jordan Peele’s Get Out is another example of a perfect debut).

I feel like we all knew a girl like Lady Bird in high school. Or at least I did. A girl who was reckless, didn’t seem to care what others thought, had slightly awkward social skills (or again, just didn’t care what people thought of her) and seemed destined for trouble if she didn’t smarten up. Lady Bird as a character was incredibly complex and well rounded and this level of complexity for a teenage girl character is rare, though thankfully becoming more common (The Edge of Seveteen, Girlhood, etc). But also, the relationship she had with her mom felt real. The movie truly is a love story between a girl and her mom. They fight and disagree and always seem on the verge of never speaking to each other again,  but then they’ll find the perfect dress at the thrift store and they’ll forget the fight and talk about how perfect the dress is. I have to give such a hard off to Saoirse Ronan and Laurie Metcalfe. Greta Gerwig said she wanted and powerhouse duo and this is certainly what the two of them are. Saoirse Ronan is wonderful and absolut perfect as Lady Bird. Seriously, I can’t praise her enough for the complexity and nuance and rawness she brought to the role. And Laurie Metcalfe as the mother is also so wonderful. They both really seem to understand the dynamic between these two women and their chemistry was beautiful.

Like Jordan Peele, I’m curious and excited to see both where this leads Greta Getwig and what she’ll do next. Right now, I’d love to see major Oscar recognition for this film, which seems likely. But I would love to especially see Gerwig nominated for director. I think she may be battling it out with Peele for that 5th spot but hopefully the Oscars buck some trends and nominate both a woman under 35 and a comedy-writing black man. But seriously, Saoirse Ronan is locked in for nomination 3 (at 23 years old!) and Laurie Metcalfe should also have no problem nabbing a supporting nomination.

But for real, do yourself a favour and watch this film. It’s beautiful and you’ll have that “teary cry smile” on your face roughly 50% of the movie

10/10

Monday, 9 October 2017

Blade Runner 2049

Blade Runner 2049
Directed by Denis Villeneuve

Blade Runner 2049 is set 30 years after the original Blade Runner film. This time, we follow Officer K, a new generation of Blade Runners. K finds himself unraveling a decades old mystery which leads him on a journey of self-discovery.

I know this is vague. In fact, no one really knew the plot of this film until the movie was released. And even then, to say what the plot actually is is a spoiler. Very neo-noir. However, I will tell you that Officer K is a replicant working as a Blade Runner. Despised by both humanity and by replicants, K leads a lonely life, save for the relationship he has with Joi, a very Samantha-in-Her-esque hologram AI. However, after retiring a replicant he finds a box buried under a tree with the bones of a dead replicant who has clearly given birth. K is tasked with hunting down this mysterious child and retiring them as well.

Blade Runner 2049 is probably one of the most beautiful films I've had the pleasure of seeing in theatres. Both visually, sound-wise, musically, and story-wise, this film is beautiful and thought-provoking. Please don't let the internet haters lead you to believe that this movie is "long and boring" and has "bad screenplay writing". Personally, I don't agree at all. While Blade Runner 2049 has a simple premise, it is given complexity. And yes, the movie is longer (2hrs and 44 minutes) and is slow-pacer, but it's not exactly like the original film was fast-paced either.

Denis Villeneuve does a mesmerizing job of having this film feel like it does belong in the Blade Runner world, but manages to make it a fantastic film in its own right. The film is able to explore much deeper some of the original ideas of the first film (what is humanity and what does it mean to be human?) and really gets to new existential depths. But if you've seen any of Villeneuves' other films, this also won't be a surprise. To be honest, I'm astounded this movie was given the funding it was and was released in the cut we got. Blade Runner 2049 is an arthouse sci-fi movie that is nearly 3 hours long. There aren't lots of explosions, chases, or action. Yes, we do get some of each but the film isn't littered with them. It's a film that asks us to think and process the things we are seeing and doesn't always spell everything out for us. And the way it ends is a beautiful yet somewhat ambiguous ending. Again, I'm astounded this film was made, but I couldn't be happier that this did.

As well, it was interesting to me how many female characters were included in this film. While many of them played programmable AIs, prostitutes or the 2nd in command for the films villain (though is really just the main villain) and come across as quite stereotypical female roles in this genre of film, it was still refreshing that the film had as many women as they did. Yes, the film still centres around our main protagonist (Ryan Gosling), the head of the new replicant-producing corporation (Jared Leto) and, eventually, the return of Deckard (Harrison Ford, obviously), the rest of the main roles seemed to be taken up by women. Yes, I know, this film doesn't really pass the Bechdel test and it revolved around the men in the movie, I'm just glad it was a bigger step up from the female representation in the original film.

And, of course, I couldn't end talking about this movie without mentioning Roger Deakins. I've been saying since the first teaser for this film landed that the narrative just may be here for Deakins to finally win an Oscar on his 14th nomination. And this movie surely delivered in the cinematography department. This is by far some of Deakins best work. The whole movie was basically just me starring up, mesmerized. About every ten to fifteen minutes I would be uttering "holy crap" from just how beautiful this film was. Seriously, I will be so pissed if Deakins loses the Oscar again. This is career-defining work.

Honestly, while the box office disappointment may not get it the Picture/Director nominations that seemed quite possible just a week ago, this film should really have no problem being up for (at the very least) Cinematography, Sound Mixing/Editing, Visual Effects and Production Design. And, really, it is possible a front runner for all of them. The Visual Effects really were incredible that I honestly kind of forget that this is a movie that was probably riddled with CGI. They were seamless.

And as for this box office "disappointment" I have to say, why were production companies giving this such high box office expectations? Blade Runner is a movie that came out over 30 years ago, didn't make very much money, and is a cult classic rather than a straight up, well-known classic. This is a movie directed by a well-respected but a more thoughtful and artistic director than is usually given a blockbuster film. It's almost 3 hours longer and the basic plot wasn't even revealed in reviews. For a movie that is 2 hours and 44 minutes, a slow-paced neo-noir arthouse scifi that is the sequel to a cult classic, $31.5 million opening and top of the box office is pretty good. While Villeneuve made fantastic use of the enormous budget, this is a film that probably shouldn't have been given as big a budget as it did. But because it did get a $150 million budget, we now expect it to perform like a Marvel sequel. And Blade Runner 2049 couldn't be a more different film.

Please go see Blade Runner 2049 in theatres. If you like visually stunning movies that don't dumb it down and don't feel like they need explosions every other second for you to be entertained, please go see it. It's a movie that needs to be seen on a large screen and, trust me, it'll be worth you time.

9/10