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Posts Tagged ‘Bridge of Spies’

I have now seen all the Best picture nominations, probably more than most of the voting academy members can truthfully say! Being a part time amateur film blogger doesn’t earn academy membership so rather than voting I get to sit on the outside looking in and bitching about poor choices.  If I did have a vote for the Best Picture Oscar I would struggle to chose between five films, my favourite five films eligible for this years Oscars.  Unfortunately three of my choices haven’t been nominated, making it a straight choice between two films.  Interestingly my two favourite nominated films are polar opposites; one is the most low key and down to earth, the other is the boldest, brightest, brashest and most outlandish.  In a few words, here are my thoughts on the nominated movies and their chances of picking up a little gold man on February 28th.

Spotlight: The comparisons with All the President’s Men (1976) are obvious, however where the Watergate movie was edgy and cinematic, this is a more staid and old fashioned film.  That said it is fantastic, if the was an Oscar for best ensemble cast it would be a shoe in! It would be a worthy winner and had a lot of positive buzz a few weeks ago but that seems to have passed. Like  All the President’s Men, I think it will have to settle for a nomination.Spotlight

The Revenant: Where Spotlight is very introspective and contained, The Revenant is all about the wide open spaces.  When I first saw it I thought it would win but no one seems to agree with me.  This makes me think it won’t win, it should however get cinematographer and best actor.The Revenant

Room: Not a bad film but beyond a fantastic lead performance I am not sure why it is getting so much love.  I think it is making up the numbers.'Room' is a journey out of darkness, director says

Brooklyn: The period setting makes it a very Oscar friendly film.  However I don’t hear it being mentioned in Oscar conversations, like Room I think it is making up the numbers.Brooklyn

Bridge of Spies: I am really glad to see this get a nomination as it is so much better than many people are giving it credit for.  Unfortunately it isn’t being talked out about so its probably another one making up the numbers.Bridge Of Spies

The Martian: A sci-fi film with a lot of comedy in it, how did the academy let this upstart slip in?  The simple reason, it is fun and hugely entertaining, it may not be the best motion picture of the year but it is probably the most fun.  I don’t think it will win, but if it does, it will probably be because it is lots of people second or third choice on the ballet. the martian

Mad Max: Simply my favourite film on the list but it is so un-Oscar I don’t see it having a chance, but it would be so great if it did.mad max tom hardy

The Big Short: The film seems to have divided opinion, a comedy about people who profited from the housing market crash.  The word we hear a lot of at this time of year is momentum, and this film has lots of momentum.  I really liked the film but don’t think it is the best film on the list, but I think it is favourite to win.The Big Short

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As I decide on my top ten movies of the year, here are the films I loved but didn’t make my top ten:

A Most Violent Year: Don’t be misled by the title and trailer, this isn’t a violent action movie but a classy crime thriller with fantastic performances from Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain.a most violent year

Amy: Director and producer Asif Kapadia and James Gay-Rees are back with portrait of singer Amy Winehouse.  As compelling as Senna (2010), the real brilliance of the film isn’t the telling tale that played out in front of the worlds press, but the less know and more intimate story of the tragic figure.Amy

Birdman Or (The Unexpected Virtue Of Ignorance): Winner of four Oscars (Best Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Cinematography).  Michael Keaton is perfectly cast as an actor once famous for playing a superhero trying to reinvent himself as a stage actor.  Probably director Alejandro González Iñárritu’s best film to date.michael keaton birdman

Bridge of Spies: True story of a cold war soviet spy, the lawyer who defended him and the ultimate exchange in Berlin.   Director Steven Spielberg does what he does best delivering tension and suspence as well as comedy.  Mark Rylance and Tom Hanks are both on top form.  Rylance has to be a good bet for best supporting actor Oscar.Bridge Of Spies

Brooklyn: Story of a young woman who moves from small town Ireland to Brooklyn in the early 50’s.  A surprisingly low key film but totally enthralling, largely thanks to Nick Hornby’s great script and another standout performance from  Saoirse Ronan.Brooklyn

Crimson Peak: A movie of the month winner, but it doesn’t quite make my top ten.  A spiritual successor to The Devil’s Backbone to, to paraphrase a quote from the movie it isn’t a ghost story, it is a story with ghosts.  Mia Wasikowska and Tom Hiddleston are good, Jessica Chastain is fantastic and clearly having a blast.crimson peak

It Follows: Another  movie of the month winner that just misses my top ten; Superior horror with an original antagonist.  The style and the soundtrack are reminicent of the late 70’s and early 80’s.  Maika Monroe impresses in the lead, a young star on the rise to look out for.It Follows

Man Up: British romantic comedy centring on the fallout of a woman who finds herself on someone else’s blind date.  Lake Bell is fantastic and Simon Pegg provides good support.Man Up

SPECTRE: Skyfall was my favourite film of 2012, following Skyfall always going to be an impossible task, and to say isn’t as good doesn’t mean it isn’t a really good film.  Pulling together all the elements of the previous three films to create a story arc for Daniel Craig’s Bond feels forced but taken on its own merits it really works.SPECTRE

The Gift: A confident début as feature director by actor Joel Edgerton.  What starts out looking like an 80’s/90’s yuppies in peril thriller becomes something far more interesting. Edgerton co stars with Jason Bateman and Rebecca Hall, all three are excellent. The end has divided opinion, but I think it is perfect for the film.

The Gift Gordo

The Gift Gordo

The Lobster: Set in a strange unexplained dystopian society where single people are turned into an animal of their choosing if they fail to find a partner.  The strangest film I have seen for a very long time, I really loved it, but I am really not sure why.the lobster

The Martian: Held together by a great turn from Matt Damon but kept tripping along by director Ridley Scott who has crafted a surprisingly funny and easy going movie.  Scott’s best film since the underrated Kingdom of Heaven a decade ago.the martian

Wild: The true story of Cheryl Strayed, a young woman who decided to walk the thousand-mile Pacific Crest Trail.  We begin to understand  her motivation through flashbacks as the film unfolds.  Well constructed with great use of music and an excellent performance from Reese Witherspoon.Wild

Watch this space for my top ten of the year some time before Christmas.  

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After a slow start I have seen ten movies this month.  They include a re-release of a modern classic and a couple of contenders for my top ten of the year.

He Named Me Malala: Documentary about an extraordinary young woman.   The narrative often loses its way but the story is compelling.  The animated sections are particularly good and the farther daughter relationship is fascinating.  Also nice to see my hometown Birmingham making a rare big screen appearance.He Named Me Malala

Brooklyn: Story of a young woman who moves from small town Ireland to Brooklyn in the early 50’s.  A surprisingly low key film but totally enthralling, largely thanks to Nick Hornby’s great script and another standout performance from  Saoirse Ronan.Brooklyn

Kill Your Friends: Story of an A&R man at a record studio at the height of 90’s britpop.  The film owes a huge debt to the superior American Psycho but.  Filled with totally loathsome characters the film is often funny but also quiet gruesome.  Disposable and forgettable but enjoyable while I watched it.Kill Your Friends

The Lady in the Van: True story of a lady who lived in a van on Alan Bennett’s drive.  Adapted from a play that was itself based on a memoir.  A funny and touching story largely thanks to fantastic performances from leads Alex Jennings and Maggie Smith.2015, THE LADY IN THE VAN

The Hallow: Effective and affecting Irish horror movie that evokes The Evil Dead, Straw Dogs and The Fly amongst many other classic films.  Not the most original entry to the genre but hugely enjoyable.The Hallow

The Hunger Games Mockingjay part 2: The conclusion of the hugely successful film series has some good moments but is ultimately the weakest of the series, this isn’t surprising as it is based on half of the weakest  novel.  The end suffers from Return of the King syndrome not knowing when to finish.The Hunger Games Mockingjay part 2

Steve Jobs: Writer Aaron Sorkin has crafted a three act play based around three product launches over fourteen years.  Director Danny Boyle makes it cinematic.Steve Jobs

Bridge of Spies: True story of a cold war soviet spy, the lawyer who defended him and the ultimate exchange in Berlin.   Director Steven Spielberg does what he does best delivering tension and suspence as well as comedy.  Mark Rylance and Tom Hanks are both on top form.  Rylance has to be a good bet for best supporting actor Oscar.Bridge Of Spies

Carol:  Shot on 16mm film to stunning effect, a beautiful film with a dreamlike quality partly thanks to the stunning photography.  Based on the novel The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith and containing autobiographical elements.  Cate Blanchett is as sensational as you would expect, Rooney Mara is a revelation and possibly the best she has ever been.  Borrowing a framing device from Brief Encounter that it uses to great effect.  Carol

True Romance: I didn’t see True Romance at the cinema on its original release back in 1993 so jumped at the chance to see it on the big screen thanks the BFI release.  Directed by Tony Scott based on a Quentin Tarantino script the film offers some of the best both men have to offer and has really stood the test of time well. (please note: As a re-releases I have included this in my write-up but only new releases are in contention for movie of the month)Christian Slater and Patricia Arquette in True Romance

The movie of the month is: A hard choice.  Despite being a really strong month I keep going back to the second film I saw Brooklyn as the Movie of the Month, but then I saw the majesty of Spielberg on form with Bridge of Spies.  They last night I saw the stunning and beautiful Carol.  To be honest any one of the three could have been movie of the month, but I am going to give it tocarol

 

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