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Oscar Predictions: Part 2

Part 2 of my Oscar predictions. You can read part 1 here, part 3 here and my Best Picture pick. This post includes the following categories:

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Review: Hacksaw Ridge

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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.Β  (more…)

Review: Arrival

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Directed by: Denis Villeneuve
Written by: Eric Heisserer, based on the story “Story of Your Life” by Ted Chiang
Starring: Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Forest Whitaker

Summary: Linguist professor Louise Banks is brought in by the U.S. military to help communicate with aliens that have made their first contact with Earth. International tensions rise and Louise is under pressure find answers about the aliens and about herself.

I don’t know what I was expecting from Arrival but it wasn’t this. From the outside it looks like a potentially interesting movie about aliens, but it turns out to be far more complex than that. (more…)

Review: La La Land

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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…)