Friday, April 24, 2015

You get back up...

Early last year I made a bold statement that Angelina Jolie’s ‘Unbroken’ would sweep the Oscars.  I held onto that faith, that stance, for pretty much the entire year until the film was released, the reviews were tepid and Award’s Season was in full swing.  It then became obvious that ‘Unbroken’ wasn’t going to come close to winning a single Oscar, even though it managed to snag three nominations.  I had yet to see the film, and so I was under the impression that Jolie crafted an inadequate film.  It all struck me as odd, since so many of the film’s facets seemed tailor made for Oscar (Jolie, Coens, Desplat, Deakins) and yet so many warned me that it was too on the nose for Oscar and that it would fail.

Failed Oscar bait is what they call this kind of thing.

Well, I’ve finally seen the film, and I can honestly say, no bias aside, that the Oscar snubbery baffles me.  What Jolie did here was construct a handsomely mounted biopic that carries with it a tremendous story of courage, strength and perseverance, covers a large portion of one man’s life, inspires, uplifts and pretty much checks off every single requirement for Oscar voters.  The fact that this was not wholly embraced by Oscar literally baffles me.  It makes no sense, for it is everything they love.

You know, except the fact that it was made by a woman.

I’m not going to get on a soapbox here, so I’ll leave it here, but I will say that Jolie’s film has more heart, more technical bravado and more depth than ‘The Theory of Everything’, ‘Boyhood’ and ‘The Imitation Game’, and so seeing this snubbed so staunchly, while those films were embraced across the board, really causes me to pause and question the way that the Academy thinks.  The accusations of sexism were swarming after AMPAS snubbed DuVernay and Flynn, and I got in on that, but this is yet another example of a film that played right into their hands and they completely ignored it, shunned it almost, without just cause.


Now, I’m not saying that ‘Unbroken’ is perfect.  I’m not even saying that I’d personally nominate it in many places (I mean, those sound nominations were justly deserved, so maybe there), but what I’m saying is that the criticisms heaped onto the film feel oddly places and undeserved here.

A film's worth is truly in the eye of the beholder...

The reaction to this film was pretty consistent; it’s not bad but it’s not great and set your expectations pretty low.  Maybe that’s why I didn’t hate this.  I went in expecting to see a film that was, for lack of a better word, terrible and what I got was a film that was, not great but surprisingly good.  I have issues with certain aspects of this, but overall this was not the complete letdown that I was expecting.

This isn’t an awards movie, which is probably why it suffered at the hands of critics and audiences, who expected it to be just that, but it’s a very good biopic that tells a very interesting story.

Gasping, literally...

I’m not the type to ask for a sequel.  For me, most films should stand alone and remain alone because elongating these stories tends to beat a dead horse and next thing you know it’s overstayed its welcome.  I’m also not one to ever wish that a film were a television series or a mini-series.  I don’t watch much television and series can tend to overwhelm me with the necessity to catch every episode each week.  All that said, when ‘Nightcrawler’ ended I said a silent prayer that it would continue, that the credits would stop rolling and I would be allowed to spend another hour, two, seven with Lou Bloom. 

I’d take a sequel.  I’d take a mini-series.  Are you listening, HBO?  Lou Bloom’s story is not over yet!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

In a galaxy far, far away...

According to Christopher Nolan, I’m supposed to watch this movie more than once to fully understand it.  No thanks.  I have way too much on my plate to devote another three hours to trying to decipher each ridiculous frame of Nolan’s recent trip down pretentiousness.  I say all of this as a fan of his work.  I was a big supporter of ‘The Dark Knight’, and I mourned his Oscar snub since his direction of that film (really, the whole Batman trilogy) was brilliant and he personally recreated what the Superhero genre could look like.  I also adore ‘Inception’ and find all the flack it gets for being overwrought to be preposterous since it’s highly understandable, beautifully woven and articulated and thoroughly thought out.  I’m a fan of his, a real fan (not a rabid fanboy) and so I say all of this with love:


And by edit, I don’t mean in the way the film is spliced; I mean edit your ideas because you have too many of them and they are tearing apart the seams of your film.

Thursday Movie Picks: Superhero Movies

It's Thursday, so that means it's another episode of Thursday Movie Picks!  This one is a pretty popular theme, since we see a new one every other weekend.  Yup, you probably guessed it...

This week's theme is:

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The 1986 Fisti Awards

[Images May Be Enlarged By Clicking on Them]

1986.  In all honesty, this was kind of a meh year in general for me.  I absolutely LOVE my Best Picture winner, and I kind of love like two other films, but after that I'm stuck with a slew of films I like and even admire but don't really love.  The films that so many laud as the very best of this year don't do a lot for me.  Yes, I like Stand By Me and The Fly and Platoon and Blue Velvet, but I don't love any of them.  I also don't care much for A Room with a View, which is shocking considering how much I generally adore all things Merchant Ivory, and I know that this is an unpopular opinion, but Aliens to highly overrated.  I'm also really gutted by all the crap concerning The Adventures of Milo and Otis, since the film is so lovely and yet I can't even be concerned with trying to place it anywhere considering what COULD have actually happened on set.  This is probably the only year where there are films in my Top Twelve that don't have some variation of an A Grade from me.  All the films on my actual ballot do, but once you get out to like #9 or so on my list, the grades start to slip a tad.  They are all good films, but there are really only three films from this year that I'd call GREAT!  But let's not be a downer, for there is a lot to love here (especially those acting ballots) in the Fisti Awards for 1986!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Dolan heads back to Cannes!

No, he doesn't have another glorious film in contention, but this time he's on the jury!  I know, Coens yada yada Jury Presidents yada yada but THIS is what has me excited!  You all know what kind of a gushing fan I am of this man, and so all Dolan news is good news, but this is great news.  The rest of the panel (which includes Jake Gyllenhaal, Guillermo del Toro and Sienna Miller) is pretty great and diverse as well, but we all know who the most opinionated face on that jury is going to be.  If only I could be a fly on that table.