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Showing posts from February, 2017

Oscar Predictions 2017

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Best Picture

A very strong category this year that boasted a number of powerful performances, important stories that needed to be told (No, I'm not counting La La Land there) and several pictures that confirmed the prestige of their directors. While Manchester by the Sea, Arrival and Fences were all excellent releases that could easily have won in previous years, it was inevitably going to come down to La La Land vs Moonlight. Both critically adored, Chazelle's musical was a nostalgic and uplifting romp while Jenkins' drama was an epic tale of self-discovery and struggle that confronted previously uncovered issues with unflinching brilliance. For its ambitious cinematography, understated storytelling and flawless performances, Moonlight edges it for me. But the optimism, charming chemistry and dazzling choreography of La La Land will win over the Academy.
Will win: La La Land Should win: Moonlight

Best Actor
For me, there's only one winner. Denzel Washington's performan…

Moonlight

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To do justice to Barry Jenkins' epic tale of a gay, black man as he struggles with discrimination and insecurity in the Miami ghetto is an immense task. In the simplest of terms, it is an absolute masterpiece, the most ambitious film in years both in its subject matter and its execution. Nominated for eight Academy Awards and currently challenging La La Land to be this year's critical darling, the constant hype and jubilation that surrounds the film may be tiring but honestly, it is all completely deserved.

Split into three acts: Little, Chiron and Black, Moonlight follows the journey of Chiron as he struggles against the numerous issues in his life. First and foremost, his homosexuality, which is revealed through Chiron's innocent questions ("What's a faggot?") and brutal abuse from his peers, serves as a constant social barrier and leads to shocking bullying. 

Combined with his African-American ethnicity and his introverted personality, it is a tale of persec…

20th Century Women

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Mike Mills' latest project is a characterful homage to growing up in 1970s America, boasting a host of talented actors who all contribute well to the spirit and humour of the film. Mills' unique aesthetic and memorable script combine perfectly to create a deeply personal and memorable film.

The film boasts an impressive cast and Benning delivers a charming central performance as the optimistic but fragile Dorothea. Delivering her lines in perfectly whimsical fashion, she encapsulates the warmth and excitement of the film. Greta Gerwig as the rebellious, punky Abbie, Elle Fanning as the troubled, adventurous Julie and Lucas Jade Zumann as the struggling Lucas are all excellent and each earn their fair share of screen time. 

Zumann is a particular highlight, managing to avoid many of the typical cliches and pitfalls of so many teen portrayals. Even Billy Crudup, by far the weakest element of the recent Jackie, redeems himself as the out of touch but humorous mechanic William. 

Ther…

Quick Flick: Fences

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Adapted from August Wilson's play of the same name, Fences follows Troy Maxson as he raises his family in 1950s America. Driven by two powerful leads, it is a deeply affecting tale that delivers a number of powerful scenes and unexpected twists and turns. 
Denzel Washington and Viola Davis are simply stunning as Troy and Rose, the embattled married couple who the film revolves around. They both deliver arguably the strongest performances of their careers, depicting charismatic, sweet and sensitive characters to perfection. In fact, Washington wholeheartedly deserves to win the Best Actor category at this weekend's Oscars while Davis is perhaps even more deserving of Best Supporting Actress, giving a wonderfully measured and subtle performance as the grounded, resilient Rose. 
It is clear from the off that Fences originated on stage. Largely set in the Maxson's house, many of the scenes move to and fro from the backyard to the kitchen and the directing is relatively simplisti…

T2 Trainspotting

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Danny Boyle's Trainspotting, released in 1996, was a hugely successful tale of youth, drugs and poverty that featured four no-hopers struggling to keep a grip on reality. Trainspotting 2 sees the same four characters reunited after 20 years, with the realization that little has changed. The original's ending, though iconic, left a number of questions unanswered, justifying the creation of this wild, joyous sequel. 

Adapted from Irvine Welsh's book series, Trainspotting 2 will feel somewhat like familiar ground for fans of the original. Spud (Ewen Bremner), Begbie (Robert Carlyle) and Sick Boy (Jonny Lee Miller) are all re-introduced in typical fashion, still involved in drugs and crime like the last 20 years had barely happened. Renton (Ewan McGregor) is soon back with them, initially appearing as though he has matured and grown up (and the key word there is initially). The four rightly dominate the film and again deliver riotously entertaining performances, with Miller par…