Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Sunday, November 27, 2016

And the nominees are...Oscar nominations 2017

Before the precursors start with full force over the next week or so, I wanted to do my best at predicting the eventual nominees for Oscar 2017.

Best Picture
20th Century Women
Hidden Figures
La La Land
Manchester by Sea

Damien Chazzelle for La La Land
Garth Davis for Lion
Barry Jenkins for Moonlight
Pablo Larrain for Jackie
Martin Scorsese for Silence

Amy Adams for Arrival
Annette Bening for 20th Century Women
Ruth Negga for Loving
Natalie Portman for Jackie
Emma Stone for La La Land

Casey Affleck for Manchester by Sea
Andrew Garfield for Silence
Ryan Gosling for La La Land
Tom Hanks for Sully
Denzel Washington for Fences

Supporting Actress
Viola Davis for Fences
Naomi Harris for Moonlight
Nicole Kidman for Lion
Octavia Spencer for Hidden Figures
Michelle Williams for Manchester by Sea

Supporting Actor
Mahershala Ali for Moonlight
Lucas Hedges for Manchester by Sea
Liam Neeson for Silence 
Dev Patel for Lion
Peter Sarsgaard for Jackie

Adapted Screenplay
20th Century Women
La La Land
Manchester by Sea

Love and Friendship

Sunday, November 27, 2016



Thursday, November 24, 2016

10 thoughts on Arrival.

1. Amy Adams
Once again Adams avoids typecasting, delivers a completely new character and surprises the audience. She is one of Hollywood's most impressive actors, a leading character-actor. Thrilling.

2. America would not be so welcoming of aliens today
By alien I mean anyone that the majority would see as foreign to them, let alone the squid like beings that are not of this planet. How sad...

3. ...but this is a film for today
The film clearly articulates its message that the world needs to be better at being a whole and communicate. That's something we're very quickly moving away from with Brexit and champions of the far right. 

4. Better than its contemporaries 
Gravity and Interstellar may have been widely celebrated and popular, but neither of them reached the emotional or storytelling heights of this. The reason? The characterisation. Where plot or action moved these two films along, Arrival follows the emotional journey of its protagonist. And this results, I'd argue, in a more accessible and successful film. It doesn't have the visual bravado, but that almost feels like the point - it's almost more a drama than a sci-fi film.

5. It's female protagonist
I don't know if I'm giving the film too much credit but it feels like it's being clever with its female protagonist. Yes the gender is important but, without spoilers, her relationship with her daughter is more nuanced and complicated than usual in mainstream Hollywood. Plus she doesn't need a man to help her, in fact the men tend to be the weaker characters.

6. Denis Villeneuve
I need to see more of his films.

7. Language
Language is something we should treasure. I wish I was better with them rather it being the downfall of my academic years. 

8. The overall message 
The film tells its audience that we should embrace life with all of its heartbreak and it's joy, and I think that's a positive message to put out in the world where the majority seem to think that they're entitled to joy as the norm or can make their lives easier by avoiding heartbreak. 

9. The music 
Another great score by Johann Johannsson.

10. Oscar love?
I hope this finds itself with nominations in the main categories, particularly Picture and Acrtress. But Oscar doesn't like genre often and it's less showy than other competitors. But I'll keep my fingers crossed.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

One reaction (after yesterday's reaction). A Raisin in the Sun.

Almost to answer my hope that art can change society, I went to a screening of A Raisin in the Sun this evening. And what hope it does give. Lorraine Hansbury's terrific play was seen by the Broadway audience that was mostly white, and it no doubt changed the majority of beliefs in the process. And the film performing similarly back in 1961. It still feels painfully relevant, maybe more now than it would have done a year or two ago. But that doesn't mean this piece hasn't made a difference. I belief it has and that I, Daniel Blake will do too.

Monday, November 21, 2016

One reaction. I, Daniel Blake.

As is evident by the existence of this blog, I spend a lot of time in the cinema but rarely do I think the following is worthily used: important. An important film should, I believe, have the ability to influence major swifts within society outside of the parameters of the industry. I, Daniel Blake is potentially one of those films. By shedding a light on the humanity within an ugly aspect of British society, Ken Loach has created a powerful film that should not fail to move its audience into altering their behaviour and attitude. Or at least that's what my optimism wants to believe.

Monday, November 07, 2016

Sunday, November 06, 2016

Saturday, November 05, 2016

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Monday, October 24, 2016

10 thoughts on Nocturnal Animals

1. Tom Ford is more than A Single Man
It was shocking that A Single Man was his first feature and with the more expansive, complicated narrative and themes of Nocturnal Animals, it's clear that Ford will always deliver his top game. And that is a pretty impressive skill set. Yes, this is flawed but all is forgiven with such a brave and fascinating movie.

2. Amy Adams continues to avoid typecasting
This is something completely new for her and a joy for a fan to watch. She doesn't necessarily have much to do, but she gives a glamorous, quietly moving performance that adds to her impressive string of versatile roles.

3. The opening credits are astonishing 
They may not obviously fit within the film as a whole but wow.

4. Violence against women
It is never pleasant to sit through scenes where women are victim to senseless violence. And I usually think it is too easy a target to use in a narrative when it's not depicting a true story. I am torn but I feel that it is almost to its credit that the film includes this sequence, it happens in the book within the film and is the writer's attack of Adams' character. It is meant to be a manipulative and pure vile moment. Yet it'll never be an easy one to watch for any audience.

5. What a cast
Alongside Adams is a string of terrific performances from Andrea Riseborough, Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Shannon and Aaron Taylor Johnson. Ford has a knack with actors.

6. Abel Korzeniowski's music
Although worryingly close to the terrific score he wrote for A Single Man, his music again is hypnotic. Next time I hope Ford pushes him a bit further from his comfort zone though. As Tate Taylor somehow did with Danny Elfman on Girl on the Train.

7. The ending is sublime
In a lesser film I think the ending would have felt underwhelming or petty. Instead you feel the overwhelming sense of a character's crushing disappointment. Perfect.

8. How will this play to general audiences? And Oscar?
This is such an unpleasant film that I imagine it will struggle to find an audience. And if it doesn't I hope it remains considered a success. Oscar could step in and help its status, but I think that's unlikely as it's rather cold for their tastes. Sadly.

9. The opposite to La La Land?
I'm obsessed. But I couldn't help but compare the two films - both set in LA, one celebrating the world and its inhabitants whilst the other condemns them. It's almost a love and hate portrayal of the world. Even their reflections on past love is opposite to each other. I recommend viewing both of course.

10. I hope people go see it
Just to reiterate this - go see it!

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

10 thoughts on La La Land

1. That opening sequence!
I'm not sure that there is an opening sequence to rival that of La La Land's. My boyfriend (adorably) cried as he was overwhelmed by the sequence, and it's easy to see why - the combination of music, choreography and cinematography whilst juxtaposing the heightened musical world with a LA traffic could an audience not fall for it?

2. Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling are stars
As is clear from this blog, I am a huge fan of Emma Stome and watching her excell on screen in a role perfect for her strengths was of course a joy. I hope this propels Emma Stone to Jennifer Lawrence heights of stardom/moviemaking power. And perhaps more musicals?

3. Original music in an original film musical
How refreshing to hear brand new music. Of course I'm not dissing Moulin Rouge! but it is exciting to hear characters sing their own songs in a new story. The form is not dead. Infact....

4. ...there's enough homages to make you cry
Just as my boyfriend did at the start of the film, I could not stop myself from crying during the last sequence of the film. Not just because of the characters' journey but also the overload of film references, particularly to the style of cinema associated with Gene Kelly.

5. Whiplash is forgiven / I'm a harsh critic
I know I'm alone in my reaction to Whiplash and I admit that I would likely see more strengths to the film following this but I still would balk at the film's attitude towards women. This was the reason I was nervous about La La Land, but Damien Chazelle has shown he is much more than that film and the film of that world. Or maybe this is a lesson for me not to judge so quickly.

6. Ryan Gosling has perfected the tormented leading man
He is the 21st century man without purpose but in struggle. Even in The Nice Guys he's a lost (and ineffective) man at the start. And he's always watchable. 

7. Being bold is good
Damien Chazelle has proven again what some of my favourite directors have, being bold in filmmaking can result in great work. Although this film may seem like a sure-thing now, it most definitely would have sounded unlikely on paper. Kudos to him for creating and delivering this film.

8. I can't wait to watch it again.
And again. And again.

9. Moviemaking is magical
I've felt indifferent to recent movies set in the world of moviemaking but this is a reminder of how wonderful the creation of stories in different worlds, all being told within walking distance of each other, is. Cinema is an infectious world, and even more so with films like this.

10. What a privilege
It is a rare sensation to sit in a cinema screen and feel privileged to have just watched a film. This is an incredibly achievement and one that will joyfully live in audiences' hearts alongside other film (not just film musical) greats. Bravo.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016