Directed by: Mel Gibson
Written by: Robert Schenkkan and Andrew Knight
Starring: Andrew Garfield, Sam Worthington, Luke Bracey
Summary: Desmond Doss enlists in the army as a conscientious objector in World War II. Despite doubt from his officers and fellow soldiers, Doss proves to be a selfless, devoted medic and saves the lives of dozens of men at Hacksaw Ridge during the Battle of Okinawa.
Hacksaw Ridge is like sandwich made with premium deli meat that is slapped between two pieces of Wonder bread. The beginning and ending of this film are just empty calories, even cringe-worthy at times. But what happens in the middle is high-quality filmmaking rich with sustenance and flavor that lingers. (more…)
Directed by: Kenneth Lonergan
Written by: Kenneth Lonergan
Starring: Casey Affleck, Lucas Hedges, Michelle Williams, Kyle Chandler
Summary: After the death of his brother, Lee Chandler (Casey Affleck) is given parental rights over his 16 year old nephew and returns to his hometown where he is confronted with a troubling past.
“Don’t you think we got screwed by that movie!?” That was what the woman a few seats over from me said when the final credits of Manchester by the Sea began to roll.
This is not going to be a movie for everyone. It’s dark and existentially sad in a way that will stick with you. (more…)
Directed by: Damien Chazelle
Written by: Damien Chazelle
Starring: Emma Stone, Ryan Gosling
Summary: Mia and Sebastian’s lives intersect as they both pursue their dreams living in Los Angeles. They fall in love amidst their successes and failures as Sebastian strives to open a jazz club and Mia works to be an actress.
On paper La La Land was made for me. It’s directed by Damien Chazelle who made Whiplash, one of my favorite movies of the last few years. I was confident that he would assemble a super talented team, so the Film Studies student in me was excited to see what he would produce. I’m a long-time fan of musical theater, both as a performer and a spectator. One of my favorite choreographers from So You Think You Can Dance was on board (Mandy Moore). I should love this movie.
But I don’t.
I’m actually not even sure I like it.
Yet, at the same time it’s also one of the most beautiful and innovative films I’ve ever seen. La La Land is impressive.
But I don’t need to see it again. (more…)
Directed by: Denzel Washington
Written by: August Wilson, based upon his play of the same name
Starring: Denzel Washington, Viola Davis, Stephen Henderson, Jovan Adepo
Summary: Through the eyes of Troy Maxson we see a black working mans’ desires, disappointments and ultimate self-destruction in 1950’s Pittsburgh. He laments for the life he felt he was cheated out of and watches as his family erodes due to the choices he made.
Fences was the first movie of 2016 I got excited about. Mid-summer I always pour through lists of the most anticipated movies of the fall and winter months and Fences was on just about every one of those lists – and with good reason – it’s a film with a very compelling story and some unforgettable performances.
This post includes: Best Editing, Original Screenplay, Adapted Screenplay, Supporting Actress, Supporting Actor, Actress, Actor, and Director. My Best Picture Pick will be posted tomorrow!
Best Film Editing
American Sniper, Joel Cox, Gary Roach
Boyhood, Sandra Adair
The Grand Budapest Hotel, Barney Pilling
The Imitation Game, William Goldenberg
Whiplash, Tom Cross
Will Win: Boyhood, Sandra Adair
Could Win: Whiplash, Tom Cross
Should Win: Whiplash, Tom Cross
Boyhood has been the favorite for this category from the start, and it is beautifully edited. Sandra Adair took twelve years of footage and pieced it into a smooth, digestable product that wasn’t overly simplistic or saccharine. I love just about everything about Whiplash, and one of the big things that I took away from it was how well it was edited. I’d prefer to see Tom Cross win in this category, but Sandra Adair is a fine, fine alternative. (more…)
This is the second installment of my Oscar predictions; this round has some of the hardest categories to predict including: Best Animated Short, Animated Feature, Documentary, Documentary Short, Live Action Short, and Visual Effects.
You can read my first round of Oscar picks here.
Best Short Film (Animated)
The Bigger Picture
The Dam Keeper
Me and My Moulton
A Single Life
Will Win: Feast
Could Win: The Bigger Picture
Should Win: A Single Life
I don’t pretend to know a lot about animation, but I really, really enjoyed A Single Life. It was quick and funny and witty and original. Feast is the favored nominee, and with good reason; it is adorable, but A Single Life was the most memorable short out of the batch. You can also make a strong case for The Bigger Picture; even though it is pretty bleak it has a great animation style and the way that the scenes bleed into one another is beautiful. (more…)
Directed by: Benett Miller
Written by: E. Max Frye and David Futterman
Starring: Channing Tatum, Steve Carell, Mark Ruffalo
This was a chore. It wasn’t a terrible film, but it was definitely something I felt that I had to sit through or endure rather than enjoy.
Foxcatcher tells the story of Dave and Mark Schultz, real life pro-wrestlers and brothers who trained with John du Pont and the Foxcatcher team for the 1988 Olympics. Mark is enthralled by du Pont’s offer to train him for the upcoming Olympics and immediately moves to Pennsylvania to begin working with the Foxcatcher team. The rest of the story dives into the dynamic between the two brothers and the arguably pathological actions of du Pont. (more…)
The Golden Globes have wrapped up for 2015 and we’re ready to start analyzing the results. I’ve posted the complete list of Golden Globe winners here.
Coming soon: reviews for Selma, The Imitation Game, Birdman, and Whiplash