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Posts Tagged ‘If Beale Street Could Talk’

It’s that time of year again, my top ten movies of the year.  The criteria for selection: All films to have been released in the UK during 2019,  and seen by me in a cinema. 

Once Upon A Time In Hollywood – The film I was most concerned about turned out to be my favourite of the year. I didn’t particularly enjoy Quentin Tarantino’s last film, The Hateful Eight, do we really need another movie about Charles Manson, and most significantly, is he capable of the sensitivity needed to tell the story of the horrendous murder of actress Sharon Tate?Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

The Irishman – Martin Scorsese’s epic tale of mob hitman Frank Sheeran based on the novel I Heard You Paint Houses by Charles Brandt.  This is not Goodfellas part 2, it is more thoughtful and sombre film than Scorsese’s previous entries into the gangster genre.  A masterpiece by a true master of cinema, the three and a half hour runtime is justified! The Irshman

Styx – Unbelievably this is just Wolfgang Fischer second feature, and more than a decade after his debut.  If All Is Lost is an existential crisis, Styx is a commentary on one of the biggest world issues today.  The title tells you all you need to know: In Greek mythology Styx is the river between the land of the living and the land of the dead.  Passengers must pay the ferryman, if they have no money they must remain on the river for 100 years.styx

Midsommar – I visited rural Sweden for midsummer a few years ago, while I’m pleased to report there was no murder or mutilation, it is a really big deal.  If you hated Hereditary, you will really hate Midsommar!  I was mixed on Hereditary but loved Midsommar.  The film looks amazing and is disturbing rather than scary, the near two and a half hour runtime flew by.  Once again Florence Pugh proves she is the most exciting and talented young actor working today.Midsommar

Apollo 11 – The rare inclusion of a documentary on my bets of year list.  Made up of NASA footage shot at the time of the moon landings.  Much of it on 65mm.  With no voiceover and no talking heads, it’s a wonder the film can hold the attention for its 93 minute runtime.  The key word here is wonder, because the film is filled with wonder, it is nothing short of stunning.Apollo 11

Burning – Its best to go into Chang-dong Lee’s Korean thriller with as little background information as possible.  Wonderfully ambiguous that keeps you guessing until the end and ultimately asks a lot more questions than it answers.Burning

Can You Ever Forgive Me? – True story of celebrity biographer Lee Israel based on her own memoir detailing her decent to rock bottom.  Written and directed by Marielle Heller with both flair, and humanity.  Melissa McCarthy’s gives her best performance to date, Richard E. Grant is as brilliant as ever.Can you ever forgivr me

If Beale Street Could Talk – Barry Jenkins adaptation of James Baldwin’s novel.  Brilliantly conveying a novels internal monologue in a way that last years On Chesil Beach failed to do. The acting is first rate throughout,  but the true triumph of the film comes in its direction and construction.If Beale Street Could Talk

The Nightingale – I have been waiting five years Jennifer Kent’s follow up to The Babadook, it was worth the wait.  What has been tagged as a revenge thriller, but it is so much more than that, a damning indictment of colonialism it is brutal but never gratuitous.The Nightingale

Under the Silver Lake – The downside to David Robert Mitchell’s follow-up to It Follows is that it has a feel someone trying to emulate David Lynch or the Coen brothers.  The plus side, is that it looks amazing and has some great moments of flair.  It doesn’t always work but it so bold it deserves to be seen.Under the Silver Lake

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Cinematography  Nominees ranked in my order of preference

  1. ROMA Alfonso Cuarón
  2. COLD WAR Łukasz Żal
  3. THE FAVOURITE Robbie Ryan
  4. A STAR IS BORN Matthew Libatique
  5. not ranked NEVER LOOK AWAY Caleb Deschanel*Ranking Oscar Nominations CINEMATOGRAPHY
*Not ranked as not seen. No UK release date yet

The omissions that I think deserved a nomination 

  1. IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK James Laxton
  2. WILDLIFE Diego García
  3. WIDOWS Sean BobbittRanking Oscar Nominations CINEMATOGRAPHY Omissions

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Original Screenplay Nominees ranked in my order of preference:

  1. ROMA written by Alfonso Cuarón
  2. THE FAVOURITE written by Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara
  3. FIRST REFORMED written by Paul Schrader
  4. GREEN BOOK written by Nick Vallelonga, Brian Currie, Peter Farrelly (yes, that Peter Farrelly!)
  5. VICE written by Adam McKayWRITING ADAPTED &ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

Adapted Screenplay Nominees ranked in my order of preference:

  1. IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK written for the screen by Barry Jenkins
  2. BLACKKKLANSMAN written by Charlie Wachtel & David Rabinowitz and Kevin Willmott & Spike Lee
  3. CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME? screenplay by Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty
  4. THE BALLAD OF BUSTER SCRUGGS written by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen
  5. A STAR IS BORN screenplay by Eric Roth and Bradley Cooper & Will FettersWRITING ADAPTED and ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY omissions

The omissions that I think deserved a nomination (both original and adapted):

  1. THE DEATH OF STALIN written by Armando Iannucci, David Schneider, Ian Martin, and Peter Fellows
  2. SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE screenplay by Phil Lord, and Rodney Rothman
  3. LEAVE NO TRACE screenplay by Debra Granik, and Anne Rosellini
  4. WIDOWS screenplay by Gillian Flynn, and Steve McQueen

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Best Supporting Actress Nominees ranked in my order of preference:

  1. RACHEL WEISZ – The Favourite
  2. REGINA KING – If Beale Street Could Talk
  3. EMMA STONE – The Favourite
  4. AMY ADAMS – Vice
  5. MARINA DE TAVIRA – RomaACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

And the omissions that I think deserved a nomination:

  1. CLAIRE FOY – First Man
  2. TONI COLLETTE – Hereditary
  3. CYNTHIA ERIVO – BAD TIMES AT THE EL ROYALEACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE omissions

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And we are back! New year, first movie of the month of the year, twelve movies, seven based on true stories, it must be Oscar season! Seven of the movies have nominations in the upcoming Oscars, including eight acting nominations. Not to mention the 25th Anniversary reissue of a stone cold classic that won seven of the twelve Oscars it was nominated for.  But which is the movie of the month? Here are the contenders:

Colette – True story of the early life and career of French author Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette.  Compelling drama with a fantastic performance by Keira Knightley in the title role.colette

The Favourite – The court of Queen Anne gets the Yorgos Lanthimos treatment.  Olivia Colman, Emma Stone, and Rachel Weisz are all outstanding as co-leads.  Bonkers, bizarre, and totally brilliant.The Favourite

The Front Runner – Former senator of Colorado, Gary Hart is the titular front-runner for the for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1987, until his personal life gets in the way.  Hugh Jackman and Vera Farmiga are both excellent, the direction is good, but the story is a little thin.  The Front Runner

Vice – Adam McKay sets his sights on former Vice President Dick Cheney.  Directed with the same style and edge as the directors previous movie, The Big Short but not as pointed or as funny.  The standout is Christian Bale’s stunning performance. Vice

Glass – M. Night Shyamalan returns with a sequel to both his best and second best movies.  James McAvoy is outstanding, and the rest of the cast are good.  The film is fun with some excellent scenes but on the whole it disappoints. Glass

Can You Ever Forgive Me? – True story of celebrity biographer Lee Israel based on her own memoir detailing her decent to rock bottom.  Melissa McCarthy’s gives her best performance to date,  she needs to avoid being overshadowed by Richard E. Grant on top form. CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME

Mary Queen of Scots – Revisionist retelling of the relationship between Queen Elizabeth I and Mary Stuart.  No one seems to agree on the historical accuracy of the film, from a cinematic point of view, it looks spectacular, but its depiction of time and space are very weak.  Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie are both give brilliant performances.Mary Queen of Scots

Mary Poppins Returns – I am not the best person to comment, as I hate musicals and believe director Rob Marshall is responsible for, if not the worst best picture winner ever, certainly the worst I have seen.  I also don’t have the same affection for the original movie that everyone else seems to.  having said that it is OK disposable fun, Emily Blunt is as brilliant as ever.Mary Poppins Returns

Escape Room – Six strangers find themselves in the escape room to end all escape rooms.  A cast of vaguely recognisable (mainly TV) actors make a largely compelling ensemble.  The production design is good, and the film has some fun moments,  but the plot totally lacks originality or subtlety.Deborah Ann Woll

Schindler’s List – Anniversary screening of Steven Spielberg’s holocaust movie.  It hasn’t lost any of its power in the 25 years since its release.  The question remains, how did Ralph Fiennes not win an Oscar for this?Schindler’s List

If Beale Street Could Talk – Barry Jenkins adaptation of James Baldwin’s novel.  Brilliantly conveying a novels internal monologue in a way that last years On Chesil Beach failed to do. The acting is first rate throughout,  but the true triumph of the film comes in its direction and construction.  Surely the favourite for the Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar. If Beale Street Could Talk

Destroyer – Nicole Kidman plays an LA cop whose undercover past comes back to haunt her.  A brilliantly constructed film, elevated by Kidman’s transcendent performance.  Held back a little by a script that can’t match Karyn Kusama’s direction and Kidman’s performance, it is still an outstanding movie. D_00046_R

After all that, what is the movie of the month?  As always, re-releases are not included, making it an easy choice, my favourite is The Favourite!The Favourite poster

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