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Posts Tagged ‘Ex Machina’

Unless they have moved the goalposts again, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences reserve the right to nominate between five and ten films for the “Best Motion Picture of the Year” Oscar.   This year they have nominated eight films: The Big Short, Brooklyn, Bridge of Spies, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Martian, The Revenant, Room, Spotlight.  From memory there have been nine films nominated in each of the last few year, the have explained this, thus: “A Best Picture nomination should be an indication of extraordinary merit. If there are only eight pictures that truly earn that honour in a given year, we shouldn’t feel an obligation to round out the number.” Far be it from be to suggest any nominations are making up the numbers!  I am relatively happy with the nominations, I have seen five (possibly six by the time I publish this) and will see the other two when they get a UK release.   But there are two potential spaces for other films to be nominated, what are the omissions and why?  Here are my suggestions:

Carol: A stunning film that has Oscar nomination written all over it, how did it miss out?  I have no idea, I think or at least hope we have come far enough in 2015/16 for the lesbian subject matter to not be an issue.  There is no conceivable reason for the film not to be nominated, unless I am just blinded by how much I loved it.Carol

Ex Machina: One of my favourite films of the year, and one of the most assured directorial debuts in a long time.  The reason it missed out?  The academy don’t like sci-fi.  Movies like The Martian and Gravity are close enough to reality to slip under the radar, but real sci-fi scares them.  A few exceptions are District 9, Avatar and E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial way back in 1982.Ex Machina

Inside Out: Nearly twenty years after Beauty and the Beast, Toy Story 3 received a best picture nomination, the first animated film to do so since the Best Animated Feature category was introduced in 2001.  Pixars cleverest and deepest film, but also its most accessible.  Why wasn’t it nominated?  No reason, other than as mentioned Animated films don’t often don’t get a nod.

The Salvation: The reason it wasn’t nominated: It’s probably not on enough peoples radar to get a nod, plus it has The Revenant to deal with.  If you exclude The Sundowners (a sort of western set in Australian, nominated in 1960 alongside The Alamo), I am not aware of two westerns getting best picture nominations in the same year,the salvation

Sicario: A tense crime thriller that is nothing short of perfect.  As I have mentioned before the film isn’t originality or showy enough to win best picture but it certainly good enough for the nomination.sicario

What two movies would you pick to fill the unused places?

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Possibly the best month of movies since I started the Movie of the Month feature.  had they come out last year Birdman, Whiplash, Ex Machina and Kingsman would all have made my top ten. 

Birdman Or (The Unexpected Virtue Of Ignorance): An actor once famous for playing a superhero plays an actor once famous for playing a superhero.  I fully expect Michael Keaton to win the best actor Oscar.  Probably director Alejandro González Iñárritu’s best film to date.michael keaton birdman

The Theory Of Everything: The story of Stephen Hawking and his wife Jane.  Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones are both excellent but the film is a little conventional and pedestrian.the theory of everything

Into the Woods: Adaptation of Stephen Sondheim musical where The Brothers Grimm characters trip over each other in the woods.  Surprisingly enjoyable for a musical but lacking the depth I was promised by fans of the stage version.  Emily Blunt and Anna Kendrick are great, Johnny Depp is terrible, Meryl Streep is okay but not worthy of an Oscar nomination.INTO THE WOODS

Taken 3: Plot spoiler (not really its in the trailer) Famke Janssen’s character is killed in the first act, she probably insisted on this so she wouldn’t have to make a fourth film.  Not as bad as has been reported but offering nothing new to the franchise or genre.take 3

American Sniper:  A return to form for director Clint Eastwood.  It has divided opinion being accused as being both flag waving propaganda and unpatriotic.  For me it tells the story of a troubled man  disturbed by his experiences told in such a way that it is open to interpretation.   The fact it is promoting such debate is a good thing.  With a box-office fast approaching $300million it is Eastwood’s highest-grossing film to date.American Sniper

Whiplash: A young drummer a prestigious music school joins the band a of a demanding teacher/conductor Fletcher.  One of the most intense films I have seen in years.  I expect J.K. Simmons to pick up the best supporting actor Oscar.Whiplash-5547.cr2

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

Ex Machina: Is Alex Garland’s directorial debut an exploration of what it is to be human, a psychological thriller or just a sci-fi drama? It really doesn’t matter, it is just brilliant. Ex Machina

A Most Violent Year: A misleading title and trailer aside this is a classy crime thriller with fantastic performances from Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain.a most violent year

Kingsman: The Secret Service: Both a homage to and a parody of James Bond, it scores points for being fun, funny and clever.  It is extremely violent and there are aspects of the plot that will dived opinion.kingsman

The Gambler: Remake of the 1974 film of the same name written by James Toback and starring James Caan.  The sometimes unconvincing Mark Wahlberg is very good despite playing an unlikeable character.THE GAMBLER

Birdman, Whiplash, Ex Machina are all better films, the movie of the month is Kingsman simply for how much fun it is and how much I am looking forward to seeing it again. Kingsmankingsman posters

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My top ten most anticipated movies for the coming year, along with the release date and the reason I am looking forward to them:

American Sniper – I am praying for a return to form from Clint Eastwood, and the trailer is excellent. 16th January

Whiplash – Great word of mouth.  16th January

Ex Machina – I am a fan of Alex Garland as a writer and am interested to see what he is like as a director.  Plus, the trailer looks interesting. 23rd January

A Most Violent Year – Great cast, interesting trailer. 23rd January

Kingsman –  The Secret Service: Another off centre action/comedy from Matthew Vaughn and Jane Goldman. 29th January

Blackhat – Michael Mann’s first film in 6 years.  20th February

Mad Max: Fury Road – I am such as fan of the original films I wasn’t keen on the idea of this but the trailer looks amazing. 15th May

Crimson Peak – I am keen to see anything from Guillermo del Toro. 16th October

Spectre – A new Bond film is always exciting, the success of Skyfall has upped that.  23rd October

Star Wars: The Force Awakens – Can J.J. Abrams do for Star Wars what he did for Star Trek? 18th December

Also keen to see: John Wick, Jupiter Ascending, Child 44, Jurassic World, Furious 7, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Tomorrowland, Mission: Impossible 5 and The Hateful Eight (we probably won’t get it in the UK this year).

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