Olivia Colman Was Definitely The Favourite

The 91st Academy Awards was steeped in controversy leading up to the ceremony with the fact it was hostless and its decision to not air some categories and last year trying to add a new category…but when all is said and done it was an amazing ceremony that was surprisingly effortless. The fact there was no host was actually refreshing and I didn’t even miss the fact that there wasn’t a host; yet I’m putting it out there and declaring that Tina Fey, Amy Poehler and Maya Rudolph should host the Oscars next year after their presenting gig this year.

Another amazing thing about this year was seeing Black Panther make history with the recipients this year (Ruth E. Carter and Hannah Beachler), Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper giving a stunning performance (and them forgetting Bradley’s girlfriend was in the audience) and Olivia Colman giving a masterclass of how to give a killer speech. I loved the Oscars this year and actually don’t mind if they go hostless again this year. Although I wasn’t happy about certain winners which I’ll explain later on.

 

Award Winners That Gave Me Joy

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(Oscar winner Olivia Colman for her leading role in The Favourite)

This was a moment of sheer devastation and ultimate joy because whilst front runner and 7 time Oscar nominee Glenn Close was a shoe in for winning Best Leading Actress…first time Oscar nominee Olivia Colman swooped in and won the coveted award. I definitely felt for Close and wanted her to win for her stunning turn in The Wife, however I absolutely loved The Favourite and Colman’s tour de force performance in the film so I was so happy if anyone else where to win it was Colman. Plus her acceptance speech perfectly encapsulated the British humour and she was so real on stage (in a night when 80% of the winners brought their phones or paper to read their speeches), I also loved how she acknowledged Close and and gave her the respect and praise she deserves because even Colman knew this was a surprise win. I’m hoping Close will have her moment again soon and in a way her not winning shows that she wasn’t just given the award for her career but that there will be another great role out there which will bag her the Oscar.

Lady Gaga (and some other guys) winning for Best Original Song (“Shallow”) gave me so much joy. Hands down the standout song of A Star is Born and easily the best performance at the Oscars where Gaga sang with co-star and director Bradley Cooper. Not going to lie, I was losing it (in the best way) when Gaga and Bradley effortlessly stood up from their seats holding hands and walking up the stage like celestial beings. Lady Gaga would have been a worthy winner for Best Leading Actress however she was never going to win so I’m happy that she still walked away with her first Oscar for her work on “Shallow”.

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(Oscar winner Lady Gaga for the song Shallow from A Star Is Born

Regina King was always going to win for Best Supporting Actress for her role in If Beale Street Could Talk and a worthy winner she was. King gave scene stealing turns in the film and fully immersed herself in the character showing the power and strength in motherhood. However I was (and I always am in general) rooting for Amy Adams to win for Vice (it was her 6th nomination so she’s basically the Glenn Close of her generation) but in a way I’m glad King still won because Adams has given more worthy winning performances in the past so I know there is going to be that meaty, fully fleshed out LEADING role for Adams to win for.

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(Oscar winner Mahershala Ali for his role in Green Book)

Mahershala Ali winning for Best Supporting Actor for his role in Green Book made me so happy. I loved Green Book and Ali gave a phenomenal performance that easily managed him to score his SECOND Oscar win. Ali managed to make his “supporting” role so much more than that and his character is essential and vital to the story and it was amazing to see how both his character and Oscar nominee Viggo Mortensen’s character help each other grow as people and form an unlikely and beautiful friendship.

Nothing In This World Is Perfect

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(Christian Bale in his Golden Globe winning and Oscar nominated role in Vice)

Now when I go on further to say that I’m not thrilled about these wins that’s not to take away from the hard work that these winners have done and I guess film is subjective…but still I’m allowed to have an opinion. Firstly Rami Malek winning Best Leading Actor was my least favourite moment of the night, yes apparently he gave a committed performance and whilst I haven’t seen Bohemian Rhapsody (one of the rare times I genuinely am not interested in even checking out a film) I believe there were more worthy winners. Christian Bale gave a transformative turn as Dick Cheney in Vice and after his Golden Globe win last month it wouldn’t have been a shock to see him win his second Oscar…at least he’s already an Oscar winner (Best Supporting Actor for The Fighter in 2011) so I’m sure he’s ok. If not Bale than I would have LOVED to see Viggo Mortensen win for his role in Green Book; he gave a performance like none other as an Italian American man who slowly starts to grow as a person and expand his worldview.

First of all I’m SO HAPPY Black Panther took home 3 Oscars (Best Costume Design, Best Production Design and Best Original Score) even if it did beat The Favourite in some of those categories…however regarding Best Original Score Nicholas Britell should have won for If Beale Street Could Talk. It’s not even an exaggeration to say I think Britell is one of the most exciting and talented composers today and his score for If Beale Street Could Talk was stunning, ethereal, melancholic yet full of life….flawless. So that category upset me whilst still being happy seeing Black Panther succeeding at the Oscars.

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(Green Book)

I am so happy Green Book won for Best Motion Picture of the Year as it was a fully rounded film in every sense. It was funny and heartwarming but steeped in something real and wasn’t afraid to go places. However in a perfect world I would have LOVED to see The Favourite win (and win more awards, but as mentioned previously I’m so happy that Colman won and is representing the film that way). The Favourite did something that has rarely been done, it completely flipped what we think of a period film on its head and ran with boldness and outlandishness in the best and hilarious way. It was refreshing seeing a type of film we’ve seen before but completely subvert it and I loved how it had three fully fleshed out characters leading the film (at least The Favourite won Outstanding British Film at the BAFTA’s this year).

Lastly, whilst I agree Roma was an exquisitely made film that was obviously a love letter to Alfonso Cuaron’s childhood, it didn’t grab me when I first watched the film. I have no issue with the nominations it received and I was actually so happy that Yalitza Aparicio and Marina de Tavira were nominated, it shows that Hollywood can look at the world as a whole and makes it feel more inclusive. Cuaron is an incredible filmmaker and I’m not saying he wasn’t worthy of his three Oscar wins (Best Director, Best Cinematography and Best Foreign Language Film) however Yorgos Lanthimos was a more deserving winner for his work on The Favourite. First of all it was a better film in most senses but Yorgos’ vision was more specific and as a whole he’s more of an auteur so it would have been exciting to see him rewarded with some Oscar wins.

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(Oscar nominee Yorgos Lanthimos directing Oscar winner Emma Stone in The Favourite)

Early on in the ceremony I expected that Bohemian Rhapsody would be a big winner so in accepting that I still managed to enjoy the ceremony and I am generally happy with the winners. Let’s start thinking positive thoughts for Amy Adams to win an Oscar, for Carey Mulligan to be acknowledged again (after being omitted this year for her work in Wildlife), Emily Blunt to be FINALLY nominated an Oscar (looking at you Sicario – 2015) and Glenn Close to FINALLY win an Oscar. I haven’t asked for that much so fingers crossed!

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I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this blog post and feel free to share your opinions as well!

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We Need To Talk About The Oscars…

The first time I watched the Academy Awards live was in 2011 and I’ve watched it every year since, the Oscars are like Christmas for film enthusiasts. There will be some years that will stand above others with a better selection of films or more hype around certain titles but I love celebrating all types of film and that’s what I love about Awards Season.

The 2019 Oscars have some exciting films recognised in various categories: The Favourite, The Wife, A Star is Born, Black Panther and BlackKkKlansman in particular so it’s not to say this year is underwhelming…however there have been more exciting years and this year there have been A LOT of snubs. Last year there was a stronger batch of films and I personally was more excited about seeing who would win the coveted statuette. Speaking of snubs; I personally dislike articles that highlight films that haven’t been recognised and I understand that not every film can been nominated however this year there are an alarming amount of film titles that have been ignored.

Before I continue, I want to clarify that whilst I love the Oscars and watch it every year I understand it doesn’t wholly define an actor and an actor can be hugely successful and have an incredible body of work without needing a nomination (or win) to validate them as successful and talented actors or filmmakers.

TULLY

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If you’ve kept up with my blog posts you’ll recognise that Tully was one of my favourite films of 2018 (I feel like I’m the only championing this film but I do it proudly). Yes Charlize Theron was nominated a Golden Globe this year for her performance (so I am happy her performance has been highlighted by someone this awards season) but it was one of her strongest performances ever and I was sad to see her missing from the Best Leading Actress list at the Oscars.

Whilst Theron is already an Oscar winner in her own right (for the 2003 film Monster) it would have been exciting to see her recognised by the Academy for her career best performance in Tully. Also I still think she should have been nominated for Young Adult (2011) and Mad Max: Fury Road (2015).

Emily Blunt

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Golden Globe winner (6 nominations in total), 2 BAFTA Film nominations, 3 Screen Actors Guild Award nominations (2 nominations were for last years Mary Poppins Returns and A Quite Place) and yet…no Oscar nomination or win for Emily Blunt. Blunt’s filmography is diverse and shows the range of her talent and shows she’s not afraid to take risks.

I don’t understand what she has to do to be nominated or win an Oscar. Look at Sicario (2015) which is her bravest and powerful performance to date…and yet no recognition from the Academy. Even look way back at The Young Victoria (2009) and again…no love from the Oscars (she did receive a Golden Globe nomination though)…or even look at The Devil Wears Prada (2006) where Meryl Streep was nominated an Oscar for her performance so it wouldn’t be a stretch to say Blunt should have received one as well (considering she was nominated a BAFTA and Golden Globe for that role).

Mary Poppins Returns was beautiful and consisted of a practically perfect performance from Emily Blunt; Julie Andrews won the Oscar in 1965 for playing Mary Poppins…and after Blunt’s Golden Globe and SAG nominations I was hoping for the coveted Oscar nomination…yet nothing.

Mary Queen of Scots

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I understand the film had a mixed reception (I loved it and thought the performances of the film covered up some flaws in the narrative structure) however Oscar nominees Saoirse Ronan (Atonement, Brooklyn, Lady Bird) and Margot Robbie (I, Tonya) gave committed and powerful performances that should have been recognised by the Academy.

Robbie was nominated a SAG and BAFTA Film nomination and whilst she was great in the film…no major award nominations for Ronan who played the eponymous character. I’m just hoping that Ronan in particular is satisfied with knowing she got to play a complex and role of depth after being attached to it for over 6 years but I just wish she would have been nominated. Both of the actresses were nominated for Oscars last year (with Ronan winning the Golden Globe last year for Lady Bird) so it’s not like they haven’t had success in the past…however it doesn’t excuse the fact they’ve been ignored by the Oscars this year.

Regardless of this crime, I still love this film for Ronan’s and Robbie’s transformative performances in this film and I can’t wait to watch it again.

Widows

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Oscar winner Steve McQueen directing a film where women take agency over their own lives and do what it takes to escape from the mistakes that their husbands made before they died? Sign me up, especially when the cast is led by Oscar winner Viola Davis!

The only major nomination this film received was for Viola Davis by the BAFTAs for her leading performance (well done by the way), but for some reason this film was ignored during this awards season and I don’t understand why. The film itself had some flaws however what made it work was the cast of brilliant women, especially Davis who should have been nominated for her fourth Oscar this year.

Excuse me whilst I go away and watch her Oscar winning performance in 2016’s Fences. 

Honourable Mentions

I have yet to see this film but from the buzz surrounding the film as it entered awards season I’m surprised to see Beautiful Boy nowhere on the Oscar nominees list. Timothee Chalamet was nominated a Golden Globe, SAG and BAFTA Film award for his supporting role and yet ignored by the Academy…(he was nominated for an Oscar last year for Call Me by your Name at least).

Also Nicole Kidman should have been nominated for Destroyer (she was nominated a Golden Globe for this performance) as critics were calling it a career best and nothing like she’s done before (like Theron at least she already has an Oscar win under her belt for The Hours – 2002) . But also I was expecting a nomination for her supporting role in Boy Erased (which I have yet to see) but again…nothing.

Whilst I’m happy Adam Driver received his first Oscar nomination for his supporting role in BlacKkKlansman…where is John David Washington in the Best Leading Actor list? Washington was nominated a Golden Globe for his performance and the film doesn’t work without him…so the Academy gives the sole acting nomination of the film to Driver…makes complete sense.

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(Nicole Kidman in Destroyer – 2018)

This is me as a result from being frustrated, sad and annoyed by the snubs this year by the Academy Awards.

SUPER QUICK RUNDOWN OF THIS YEARS NOMINEES

Whilst I still need to emotionally process the damage that has been done by the Oscars for ignoring some stellar performances…I’m excited by some of the films and performances that have been nominated.

I would love Glenn Close to win for her leading role in The Wife, it’s her seventh nomination in total and after winning the Golden Globe I would be surprised to see if she didn’t win the Oscar. I’m so excited that Amy Adams has been nominated for her sixth Oscar for her supporting role in Vice…sadly I think Regina King will win for her role in If Beale Street Could Talk (I say sadly because someone needs to give Amy Adams an Oscar…like right now).

Also I’m so excited to see previous Oscar winners Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz nominated for their supporting roles in The Favourite, alongside Olivia Colman recieving her first Oscar nomination (after winning her second Golden Globe for the role).

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(Emma Stone in her Oscar nominated role in The Favourite – 2018)

The Academy Awards will take place on 24th February 2019 (Full List of nominees)

Top 10 Films of 2018

Selecting your top 10 films of the year is no easy feat. Out of all the films that have been released this year which ones can you hand on heart say are the best of the best. My list includes a varied array of titles from animations, blockbusters and independent films that convey my diverse film taste.

For this years list I have decided to select films that have been released in the UK during the year of 2018, so you will see titles that have been released in 2017 in other countries however they haven’t received a UK theatrical released until 2018. Also I’m going to start with number 10 and work my way to the best film that has been released this year:

10. Isle of Dogs

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Wes Anderson is a genre in himself; an auteur in his own right who is unashamedly himself when he makes films. I’ve seen Moonrise Kingdon (2012) and The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014) so I have an idea of his style yet I hadn’t seen his other animated work Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009) so with his new animation I was intrigued and open minded about what I was about to see. Thankfully it did not disappoint and was one of the most refreshingly original films I had seen in a long time. The deadpan humour was razor sharp, I love how they continued the amazing art of stop motion and the film itself is charming and captivating because it is so uniquely Wes Anderson. If you have any hesitations please put them to one side and go in with an open mind and you won’t regret it.

9. Coco

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Pixar are bold in their animations and never have once spoken down to an audience and always has something deeply profound to say. They go all in when dealing with themes of family and how important human connection is and how important it it is support and encourage each other. The scene towards the end when Miguel sings “Remember Me” to Coco towards the end floored me; so emotionally pure and moving and there so many touching moments throughout the film which show how bold Pixar are. There’s also the fact that this is a colourful and vibrant film that embraces the Mexican culture in a sincere and fun way.

8. Black Panther

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I have a love/hate relationship with Marvel and superhero films in general. I still love the concept of a superhero film and there have been some incredible films that have moved the genre forward but the whole interconnecting aspect of these films feels tiresome to me. However with Black Panther, thankfully it has its own assured identity that yes is part of the MCU but it is so much more than that and is definitely one of the strongest jewels in the MCU crown. Ryan Coogler has made of the most exciting and important films of the year and its impact on the world and pop culture is indisputable. At the core of this film is a really cool superhero that fronts a film that is pure escapism and that’s great, but it’s so much more than that and that is why it has been a major success in every way.

7. BlackKkKlansman

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A strong and solid film that effortlessly blends humour with the harsh realities of society. I’m criminally unfamiliar with Spike Lee’s work however that doesn’t prevent me from seeing the brilliance of what he brought to this film; a tonally flawless film with assured performances from the cast. I can’t believe this is a true story; Ron Stallworth (John David Washington) a police detective infiltrating the Ku Klux Klan. Such an important film that I strongly recommend people to see as it is so enlightening and scarily relevant.

6. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

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Frances McDormand. That is all. Two-time Oscar winning actress Frances gives a blistering performance that is full of conviction and boldness of a woman navigating grief and trying to bring justice to her daughter. This film takes you on a journey that makes you believe it will end in a certain destination (narrative wise) and then it will surprise you in the best that that actually makes the film more impactful as a whole. Oscar winner Sam Rockwell also gives a phenomenal performance, he manages to bring empathy to initially an off putting character however over the course of the film you see his true character which is interesting to see unfold. This film is bold, brilliant and hilarious.

5. I, Tonya

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One of the most original narrative structures I’ve seen that is genius and allows the audience to truly think for themselves. Steven Rogers writes the screenplay from the perspective of both Tonya Harding and Jeff Gillooly of what really happened to Nancy Kerrigan. Margot Robbie gives one of the best performances of her career (resulting in an Oscar nomination) and allows us to see the whole picture of who Tonya was as a person. Allison Janney switches it up with a committed performance (resulting in an Oscar win) that is darkly funny. This film shows you the story you thought you knew but in a very different way; seeing how society and the media treated Tonya is shocking and tragic. Overall whilst this film is told from different perspectives and has many tonal shifts it still feels perfectly orchestrated.

4. Tully

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Charlize Theron at her best. The sign of a brilliant film is when you manage to emotionally connect to a film that on paper you have no connection with; this is a film about motherhood and yet by the end of the film I was in tears. I’ve written a post about why the film was so impactful (so please check that out) but the ending was genius and gives the film a whole new meaning when you watch it back again. Jason Reitman is a brilliant director; he finds power in the normalcy of everyday lives and along with Diablo Cody’s script tells a story we rarely see on screen. There’s so much to admire about this film but Charlize is a standout and gives such a powerful performance that I was so happy to see her work recognised when she was nominated a Golden Globe. This is a refreshingly emotional honest film that also does manage to find humour in what life throws at us.

3. Beast

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This was one of my surprise favourites of 2018. I remember seeing the trailer out of nowhere and instantly knew I had to watch it; thankfully I did because I saw one of the most original, bold and unflinching film of the year. Jessie Buckley shines in this film and plays a fully fleshed out character that evolves during this film in a fascinating way, and when she meets Johnny Flynn’s enigmatic character we are unsure of who we can trust and who is the true beast of the film. Michael Pearce (director/writer) flips the crime/thriller genre on its heads of what we expect from the characters and that’s what makes Beast one of the most fascinating watches of 2018.

2. Lady Bird

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Subtlety profound. Greta Gerwig directs/writes one of the most sincere, intimate and original stories that again will allow people to connect no matter what your background. It’s a coming of age story done in an way that isn’t trying to hard and that’s down to Saoirse Ronan’s Golden Globe winning/Oscar nominated performance as Lady Bird. What I love about this film is there is no sense of judgement or expectations of the characters; Greta writes characters who navigate coming into their own at their own pace. You don’t need to have experienced everything that the characters do to connect with the film, there is power in empathy and trying to understand different walks of life. This is a gem of a film that will stand the test of time for its raw emotional authenticity.

1. Phantom Thread

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Everything about this film is perfect. It surprised me in being of my favourite films that I have seen in a long time and definitely that it has remained my number one film of 2018 from when I saw it earlier this year in February. Daniel Day-Lewis of course brings it to this film and is committed as ever to the character of Reynolds Woodcock; someone who is very particular and talented who meets his match in the name of Alma (Vicky Krieps) who gives one of my favourite performances of the year. Phantom Thread allows you to believe it follows that familiar narrative of the younger woman being infatuated by an older and esteemed gentlemen but Paul Thomas Anderson flips that on its head and tells a story of a woman who is very clever in finding her place in the world of The House of Woodcock and her character will definitely surprise people as the film unfolds. Plus can we talk about how brilliant Lesley Manville is in this film as Woodcock’s sister, she’s cold in her exterior but does have a great sense of humour and is actually really a loyal person.

This film is so elegant and sophisticated in every way which makes it a dream to watch. The costume design is exquisite (resulting in a second Oscar win for Mark Bridges). being set in the 60’s in England gave the film its own character and sense of stature and the music was like a character in itself (resulting in an Oscar nomination for Johnny Greenwood), the music definitely had a presence in the film but not in an imposing way. Again, I love it when an original film is made and when it subverts certain film conventions and Phantom Thread does so brilliantly.

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(Oscar nominated filmmaker Paul Thomas Anderson with Oscar winner Daniel Day-Lewis on the set of Phantom Thread) 

There are some films I thoroughly enjoyed that didn’t officially make it onto my top 10 list; Oceans 8, The Incredibles 2, A Quite Place, Widows, The Breadwinner and so many other titles. That being said I’m really happy with my top 10 and I would be interested to hear your thoughts on my list or films you think should have made the cut. The beauty of film is that it is subjective and one film can mean so many different things to different people. I’m looking forward to what 2019 has to offer in film!

Don’t You Just Watch Disney?

Film taste can tell a lot about someones character. It’s fascinating when finding out people’s favourite film or genre and figuring out what it is about a certain film that intrigues them. You’ll also have conversations with people who will stay away from a certain genre because it may not reflect their personality and it may not keep their interest. However I’m sure there are people like me who has an eclectic film taste which may be harder to pinpoint who they are as people.

I’m writing this blog post because I’ve had lots of conversations with people regarding my film taste and I’ve been surprised by how confused or shocked they are about the films that I like. It’s not a daily occurrence where everyone expects me to only watch Disney films (which has happened on occasion) but it’s that people may be surprised that I enjoy darker films or even films from the 1930’s etc. I like to surprise people by showing them my varied film taste because it allows me to engage in more conversations regarding film because I’m not close minded.

In order to showcase my diverse film taste I’m going to highlight five films that are so different from each other (which will be scratching the surface) and hopefully it will help you to get to know me better and what it says about me as a human.

1. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)

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What is your favourite Disney film? That is a loaded question. In terms of animations there’s so many titles to choose from that mean so much to people for various of reasons. You could pick a classic from the 40’s or 50’s, you could select a one from the renaissance era like Beauty and the Beast (1991) or Aladdin (1992), or one from the 2010’s like Tangled (2010) or Moana (2016). So when someone asks me which Disney animation is my favourite it all boils down to which one captures the essence of Disney animations: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.   

First of all this film is an achievement (being the first full length animated film ever) which to this day is impressive and its impact is indisputable. This film is ingrained in my from childhood and there are so many iconic moments that I know off by heart, but also there’s something you get from the film watching it as an adult. I don’t know if it’s me but the music in this film evokes a lot of emotions, there’s almost an eerie quality to it which seems purposeful given that it’s about a Queen wanting to kill a young woman. There’s a lot I could say in terms of my love for this classic animation and without this film who knows what would have become of Walt Disney studios. That is how it captures the essence of Disney animations; something that appeals to all ages and that stands the test of time that no other animated company can replicate. This film represents my love for family friendly films that does not limit its appeal to children but to anyone with a heart.

2. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)

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This film perfectly encapsulates my love for huge scale storytelling. The Lord of the Rings trilogy is pure escapism and reflects my love of fantasy storytelling, but it also has depth and Peter Jackson does a phenomenal job of allowing each narrative strand to breathe and for each character to have their moment. This has literally been my number one film for most of my life and I highly doubt it will change any time soon.

The trilogy is pure magic and I love the first two dearly; however it all boils down to the third film where everything that has been accumulated over the past two films and now it’s all or nothing. The huge battle scenes at Gondor and Mordor as well as seeing Eowyn defy what was expected of women by fighting for her land, Frodo continuing taking the burden of the ring on himself and of course seeing Aragon embrace his destiny. There is so much to unpack in this film and that is why it has always and will remain my favourite film; it’s exciting and thrilling yet emotional and engrossing. This film definitely represents my love of imagination and getting lost in different worlds.

3. Roman Holiday (1953)

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Audrey Hepburn strolling around in Rome during the 1950’s, what is there not to love about this film. I love classic films and I’m always on a mission to watch more but I have seen my fair share, and I think that surprises people but a film that is in black and white does not alienate me at all. This film is so beautiful and has a special place in my heart from watching it as a child on VHS and being mesmerised by this film but then watching it as an adult and seeing the depth that this film has emotionally and in its storytelling.

Many young people I know will not venture further back than the 1980’s in terms of what films to watch and that upsets me. Some of the greatest films can be found in the 1930’s and 1940’s; Gone with the Wind (1939), Citizen Kane (1941), Casablanca (1942) to name a few that have influenced cinema for generations to come. What you will discover should you give older films a chance is that you realise that all these stories are universal and can resonate with modern day audiences.

4. Gone Girl (2014)

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Contrasting my love for family friendly Disney animations I present….Gone Girl. If you’re familiar with David Fincher’s filmography and Gillian Flynn’s writing then you know you won’t be expecting a musical number in this film. Gone Girl is one of my favourite films because it’s such a layered, complex, deliciously dark film that has an incredible narrative structure. I remember reading the book and having a feeling of whiplash when the huge reveal happens halfway through and then it escalates and becomes something completely different from what you expected in the best way. The ending is powerful as well because it’s not what is meant to happen at the end of a crime thriller but that’s what makes it more scary and to a degree realistic (in a lose sense of the word).

People may be surprised that I like darker films such as Gone Girl but films like this that explore all natures of humanity and aren’t afraid to show the ugly side of what makes us human are bold and fascinating. If we stick to just one way of thinking how are we expected to understand the multi fascinated nature of who we are as people? Film allows me to take myself out of my bubble and realise that people have different experiences from each other and its important not to become complacent and think our experience is the only one that matters.

5. The Princess Diaries (2001)

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Anne Hathaway couldn’t have asked for a better way to introduce herself to people than through this gloriously fun film. The many quotable lines, the music, wishing your grandparents would come to your home and tell you you’re royalty (and that pear ice cream!) there’s so much to talk about when thinking of The Princess Diaries. A film that is part of my childhood but also a film that still retains its charm and feel good nature.

That’s what this film represents; that feeling of switching off your brain and wanting to just enjoy a fun film that doesn’t take itself seriously. Yes I love my critically acclaimed films and yes I love films that are dark and gritty yet you have to balance out with a touch of lightness to keep your mind open and to have a broad film taste.

 

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(La Vie en Rose – 2007) 

As I mentioned previously, these five films barely scratch the surface of best describing my varied taste in film. There are many other examples I could have used to illustrate how I watch films for other reasons; La Vie en Rose (2007) for my love of foreign language films, Transformers (2007) for my love of trashy switching your brain off type action films, Beast (2017) for my love of independent film and the list goes on.

The reason why I love watching films that reflect all different walks of life because it gives me a broader sense of the world, it allows you to be open minded and not be so restricted in our worldview. So referring back to my previous statement about how film can tell you a lot about someone’s character: I guess mine says that I am able to be empathetic and listen to different experiences that people face and not be afraid of any other experience than my own.

 

Avengers: Infinity Snore

First of all I love superhero films. My earliest memory of seeing a comic book film adaptation was Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man (2002) when it became the first 12A rated film (which I was so excited about because I was 8 when it came out). Since then seeing Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins (2005) was also incredible and in time I watched X-Men (2000) and this was during the time when Superhero films were finding their ground in terms of how audiences and critics respond to them, but then…Iron Man (2008) was released and changed the cinema landscape forever. 10 years later and it’s impossible to have a Summer release not feature a comic book film adaptation, which brings me to the point of this article…

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Iron Man (2008)

Phase One of Marvel (From Iron Man – 2008 until Avengers Assemble – 2012 ) is my favourite part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe because each film gave complete focus and attention to the heroes taking centre stage and subtlety working in easter eggs to foreshadow a crossover between the heroes. Now I’m at a stage where I have a love/hate relationship with Marvel and superhero films in general (look at DCEU, Man of Steel – 2013 was released and then the next film features a crossover with Batman with Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice – 2016) it’s rare to have a superhero film that is JUST about that one character, it has to be a crossover of some sorts. Then arrives Avengers: Infinity War (2018) and it’s one of the most hyped films of the year and is meant to be a celebration of 10 years that Marvel have reigned over cinema…yet the only reason why I saw this film was out of obligation rather than from pure excitement…that excitement, awe and wonder of seeing heroes battle it out faded a while ago (apart from Thor: Ragnarok – 2017 and Black Panther – 2018). As someone who used to really love Marvel and who still has an interest in superhero films I have to say that Infinity War felt very underwhelming and not that celebration that these characters deserved.

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Avengers Assemble (2012)

Even though my love for Marvel isn’t fresh as it used to be I still went into the screening with an open mind hoping I would be blown away, however the pacing of this film was very slow and it was basically just to see certain characters interact with other characters and very quickly my interest faded. I always stick it out to the end with a film as you never know if there is that key scene that will save the film for you but very quickly I knew that wouldn’t be the case and I had to accept that this was the most overhyped film in a long time.

The frustrating thing about Infinity War was how the directors (Joe and Anthony Russo) originally planned this film to be part one and part two would be released next year, and then they stated they were two separate films when clearly Infinity War is still part one, though this film felt very much like a filler for the fourth Avengers film which will be released next year and that’s where I feel everything from the past 10 years will properly come together. I understand the themes that Infinity War tried to convey however I felt that it was diluted from the overpopulation of characters in the film which then took away the impact that the directors were trying to implement. You would have a scene with Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) and Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) then catch up with Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and the Guardians of the Galaxy AND THEN catch up with Peter Parker (Tom Holland) and Dr. Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) so it felt very much like pocket storylines instead of having a more focused and concise narrative. Now I understand that stopping Thanos was the main narrative but because of the slow pacing of the film there was no sense of urgency and knowing there is a fourth Avengers film this film didn’t feel as final as it was meant to be.

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The ending is one for conversation…SPOILER ALERT….

When everyone “dies” it’s meant to be emotional, devastating and shocking. In all honesty, I was not affected by it in the slightest. That’s because I know that they’re nearly ready to film the sequel to Spider-Man Homecoming (2017) set to be released next year  Keven Fiege has stated there’s more Black Panther stories to tell , James Gunn has said the third Guardians of the Galaxy film will be the final film in a trilogy featuring the current members…so already I know some will return so why mourn for something that’s not final?  Now I know not everyone will br brought back to life; Evans, Hemsworth and Downey Jr. all have contracts expiring after Avengers 4 but I’m happy with that because that will usher in a new age of the MCU as some things have to come to end.

To conclude this article; when you think that Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015) is a better film that Avengers: Infinity War (2018) that’s saying something…but whilst I was underwhelmed with Infinity War I do have high hopes for the fourth Avengers film that it will hit the ground running and will be the true celebration of the MCU that Infinity War was meant to be.

 

TULLY (2018)

Before knowing what Tully (2018) is about there are already many reasons why you need to see this film: It has Oscar winning Queen Charlize Theron (Young Adult, Mad Max: Fury Road, Snow White and the Huntsman) Directed by Oscar nominated Jason Reitman (Juno, Up in the Air, Young Adult) and Oscar winning screenwriter Diablo Cody (Juno). It also features Mackenzie Davis which is exciting because I saw her in a film called Breathe In (2013) which is a small film which not many people know about (I was excited to find that’s how Reitman knew about her) but since then she’s worked on incredible films like The Martian (2015) and Blade Runner 2049 (2017) so it’s exciting seeing her in a prominent role alongside the icon that is Theron.

By now you should be pre-ordering your tickets to see the film but now we have the facts out of the way I can tell you that the main theme of Tully centres on motherhood. Charlize Theron gives a committed performance of a mother who is about to welcome her third child and her brother offers to pay for a Night Nurse to look after her newborn during the evening.

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I’ll explain towards the end of the article why this film moved me in a powerful way (don’t worry, I’ll warn you when the spoilers appear) but it basically confirms that no matter what the central theme is there is still something that everyone can relate to and that for me is when film can be at its most powerful.

It’s funny because I know that I have an eclectic film taste and have written many blog posts stating my favourite films and my love for foreign language films yet people still think I only watch Disney and U Rated films. So just to clear up those misconceptions I love watching films that tell stories from different walks of life so it can allow me to have a broader sense of life and step outside of the bubble of my own life and understand humanity just a little bit more. Obviously I’m not a mother, I’m not even a parent but I loved watching Tully just to have an insight to see what women really have to deal with when looking after children and understanding the pressures that society can put on them but also the beauty that comes with creating life. I have a sister who is a mother, obviously I’m not with her all the time but I have an inkling of what she has to go through and the strength that is found in motherhood.

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Charlize Theron in Young Adult (2011)

Also I loved what Reitman/Cody/Theron did on Young Adult so I knew Tully would be a great watch; they didn’t try too hard to push an idea but it’s very organic and natural and yet so deeply profound. When I was watching Tully I was thinking about how society can be so hard on us but also how hard we can be on ourselves trying to live up to a certain standard. There’s a scene where Marlo (Theron) orders a decaf and another customer calls her out by saying there’s still traces of caffeine in the mugs, to which Marlo ignores (much to the customers disgust) or when Marlo screams outside of the car after a frustrating meeting with her sons teacher. Marlo loves her children and her husband but we see her at a point in her life where it’s getting too much for her and the film also deals with our identity, who was Marlo before she had children and is she still the same person and if not is that ok?

This is when Tully (Mackenzie Davis) comes in. A Vibrant, youthful and forthright woman who is like a saviour for Marlo coming into her life and taking some of the load off her so that she can have a good night sleep and have some energy back. It’s a beautiful friendship that unfolds on the screen and not only does Tully inject some of that joy back into Marlo’s life but also Marlo cautions Tully of what time can do to a person. Both Davis and Theron work brilliantly together and their performances are so authentic which felt refreshing.

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Now here we come to the SPOILERS (Spoilers will be in ITALICS)

I wasn’t sure what to expect in terms of how the film would play out but I was not ready for what was to come. So Tully takes Marlo out for some drinks and as they’re driving home they end up in an accident. Marlo wakes up in hospital and the doctor asks her husband if Marlo has suffered from mental illness in the past and then the twist that I was NOT EXPECTING happened: the doctor explained that Marlo was severely sleep deprived and as the audience we realise that Tully was not real…but a figment of Marlo’s imagination (her younger self coming back to help Marlo as Marlo’s maiden name was Tully) and I nearly cried. I wasn’t ready or expecting how emotionally impacted I would be by this Fight Club (1999) style of ending and I’ve reflected since to find out why because I’m only 24 and not a parent that has lived life but I remember just feeling true empathy for Marlo that all this time she was truly alone and basically was trying to figure out who she was and who she has become and what time can do to us. Tully comes back in the hospital room saying she has to go and Marlo agrees and the look on Mackenzie’s face in knowing she has to go is heartbreaking I could have cried again. It was very emotional but also in a good way because at the end Marlo is looking happier, with more energy and as Tully says before has gotten Marlo through the danger zone of looking after a newborn baby. Marlo is happy with who she has become and that’s a beautiful thing to see on screen. If I’m not making sense it’s because I’m still emotional thinking about it all. 

SPOILERS END:

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The meaning of the ending and how that helps you see the film in a different light is probably for another blog post as I thought it was incredible and totally different to what I was expecting, but basically what I loved about this film was how accessible it actually was. Everyone should give this film a chance, not just because of the incredible talent in front and behind the screen (though that is a main factor) but it can create conversation about our progress in life, who we were and who we have become and it’s always welcome to see an original film come to our screens.

RATING: 5 STARS

And The Oscar Goes To…

 

The best time of the year has passed and now we have to go into the rest of the year Oscar-less. So let’s celebrate the lucky select few that walked away with that famous golden statuette and let’s celebrate the incredible strong year in film. I’m sure that phrase has been used before in previous years however I truly believe that 2017 was a best year for film for a long time. Having films like Lady Bird and Get Out breaking the mound there was a lot to celebrate this year.

Even though there were some certainties I would have generally been happy if it had gone either way and there was a feeling this awards season that there was a true love for all films nominated because it was a groundbreaking year for film.

What I love about this year is that the Oscar winners (in the acting categories in particular) were seasoned actors and I love how the Academy recognised actors who have been around for a long time who have had an incredible career and won this year for powerful performances.

The Shape of Water (4 wins)

Best Motion Picture of the Year (Guillermo del Toro, J. Miles Dale)

Best Achievement in Directing (Guillermo del Toro)

Best Achievement in Music Written for the Motion Pictures – Original Score (Alexandre Desplat)

Best Achievement in Production Design (Paul D. Austerberry, Shane Vieau, Jeffrey A. Melvin)

This is a passion project for Guillermo del Toro who has always stood up for monsters and in this film in particular he speaks out for love and fairytales. Even though this wasn’t my favourite film out of the Best Picture nominees I do admire Toro’s artistry and vision for the film and I would actually like to watch it again because there were some strong themes and the ending was powerful. Now Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri had won at the BAFTAs and Golden Globes for Best Picture so I was expecting that film to win however The Shape of Water did receive 13 nominations and has received a lot of love this awards season so I was still happy with the result.

I’m so happy for Alexandre Desplat winning his second Oscar, the music in the film was almost like another character and was so lush and beautiful; perfectly capturing that Golden Age of Hollywood.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2 wins)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role (Frances McDormand)

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role (Sam Rockwell)

I loved this film. Bold, strong, darkly comical with powerhouse performances from its cast. That’s why I was so happy with Sam Rockwell winning his first Oscar and especially happy with Frances McDormand winning her second Oscar (first win was Fargo in 1997), It’s great to see a seasoned actor rewarded in this way and she showed us why she is the great actress that she is. Also can she get a 3rd Oscar for her incredible speech please?! Best speech of the awards season for demanding equality and sharing her moment other other female nominees. Well deserved win for McDormand.

Now Three Billboards did win Best British Film and Best Film at the BAFTAs as well as Best Motion Picture – Drama at the Golden Globes so I was expecting for it to win at the Oscars but again with it being such a strong year for film I’m happy either way.

Darkest Hour (2 wins)

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role (Gary Oldman)

Best Achievement in Makeup and Hairstyling (Kazuhiro Tsuji, David Malinowski, Lucy Sibbick)

My least favourite film of the year, however Gary Oldman rightly won the Oscar for his powerful and transformative performance as Winston Churchill. He had been nominated previously for the first time in 2012 for Tinker Tailer Soldier Spy (2011) and after having an incredibly successful career many were surprised he hadn’t won before so it was great seeing him being rewarded in this way.

Coco (2 wins)

Best Animated Film (Lee Unkrich, Darla K. Anderson)

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures – Original Song – “Remember Me” (Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Robert Lopez)

I’m so glad I managed to watch Coco a couple of weeks ago! One of Pixar’s best outings which was emotionally poignant and I loved how respectful they were of the Mexican culture. Now I knew the film would win Best Animation but a pleasant surprise was winning for Best song. As a song itself “Remember Me” is not the strongest in the category, many people thought “This is Me” from The Greatest Showman would win, however in context “Remember Me” is powerful and in that case I’m really happy it won. Not to mention it’s the Lopez’s second Oscar win after winning in the same category for “Let it Go” from Frozen (2013) 4 years ago so well done to them!

Blade Runner 2049 (2 wins)

Best Achievement in Cinematography (Roger Deakins)

Best Achievement in Visual Effects (John Nelson, Gerd Nefzer, Paul Lambert, Richard R. Hoover)

Blade Runner 2049 was my favourite film of 2017 and I’m glad it received recognition for its strong visual elements. I would have loved more recognition in other directors (Denis Villeneuve was nominated Best Director at the BAFTAs at least) but at least it won some awards.

Most notably for Deakins who had FINALLY won as he had previously been nominated 13 times. So I’m glad he finally got recognised and especially for visually lush film like Blade Runner 2049.

Get Out (1 win)

Best Original Screenplay (Jordan Peele)

Jordan Peele made history on Oscar night for being the first African-American to win Best Original Screenplay. I’m so happy Get Out won an Oscar; the film had been nominated 4 Oscars (including Best Picture) bearing in mind it came out in February 2017 so that’s amazing.

Get Out is layered and with multiple viewings you’ll get more out of the film and you’ll love it even more. That’s down to Peele and his Screenplay so I’m happy for his Oscar win.

I, Tonya (1 win)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role (Allison Janney)

I, Tonya is a bold, brash, comedy/drama and I’m glad Margot Robbie was nominated for her incredible performance as Tonya Harding and in a another year she could have won, but this film was a moment for Allison Janney who has had a long and exciting career so this was her moment and a well deserved one as that. When you watch her in I, Tonya you realise it’s such a transformative role and you see how talented and amazing Janney is in that role.

Call Me by your Name (1 win)

Best Adapted Screenplay (James Ivory)

James Ivory, at the age of 89, became the oldest Oscar winner ever (having previously been nominated as Best Director 3 times) so it was a huge moment for him. It was an emotional moment when he was thanking people he had worked with who had recently passed which shows he’s had a long and successful career and he was rightly recognised for the Oscar this year.

Special Mentions:

(Phantom Thread)

Phantom Thread had been nominated for 6 Oscars (including Best Motion Picture) and it was one of my favourite films of the year, so thankfully it didn’t walk away empty handed as it won for Best Achievement in Costume Design (Mark Bridges) which was his second Oscar win after winning for The Artist (2011) 6 years ago. He even won a speedboat for the shortest Oscar speech so he was the big winner so well done to him!

Dunkirk won 3 Oscars for the technical awards (Sound and Film Editing) which it deserved however because I found the film quite boring I wasn’t really invested with the wins.

Also I’m proud I guessed 15 of the Oscar wins correctly against my friend who guessed 12 correctly so well done me!

Misconceptions of a Young Film Fanatic

This blog post is to confront various ideas people may have regarding young people and their tastes in film and how they can misconceived. This post may also seem like I am ranting (which is true in a sense) but they are based on things I’ve heard so I thought I would write something in response. I understand that not all young people have the same taste in film and that my taste is more diverse than most; however it’s frustrating when you hear about certain stereotypes people have regarding young people and their interest in film. I’m going to list a few things that I’ve heard people say and counteract them from my perspective as a film fanatic.

 

WE DON’T LIKE “OLD FILMS”

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Roman Holiday (1953)

Now I’m sure there are young people who may not love classic film, however to assume that majority of young people are dismissive of films made pre-2000 is insulting. To limit myself to films of the past decade is criminal because some of the greatest films were made over 70 years ago and it allows you to have a broader sense of what film is. Some of my favourite films include Casablanca (1942), Gone with the Wind (1939), Roman Holiday (1953), Citizen Kane (1941), Singin’ in the Rain (1952), Rebel Without a Cause (1955) and the list goes one. To see what has come before is insightful to see what kind of films were made in the past and how they can have a life of their own beyond their release date. I’m on a life long quest of watching more classic films because I want to have the broadest film taste possible and that doesn’t happen from watching only films released in 2017.

There are young people out there who know James Stewart, Orson Welles, Audrey Hepburn, Vivien Leigh and their films; so don’t be shocked when a young person says they love Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961). We do know more films outside the Transformers live action film franchise.

 

IF WE DON’T LIKE “OLD FILMS” IT’S BECAUSE THEY’RE “DATED”

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Rear Window (1954)

I’ve seen my fair share of Hitchcock films and obviously know what a revered filmmaker he is; I watched his films expecting to be blown away by this auteur and why cinema has held him in high regard. Yet when I watched some of his films I was actually not impressed: The Birds (1963) or Rear Window (1954) for example are seen as classics yet they both didn’t grab me nor interest me. Now that’s not because they were released in the 50’s and 60’s but in the case of Rear Window I felt the film dragged and The Birds was not as exciting as I thought it would be and the ending was frustrating.

It’s just because I’ve had people say to me that I probably didn’t like a classic film because it’s “dated” and that frustrates for various reasons. One is that I am able to watch a film objectively and know the context, that it was made in a different time and film has changed and secondly a true classic is one that can stand the test of time. Citizen Kane is an example where I watched it and was hooked because it had a modern feel in narrative structure (I know at the time it was groundbreaking and many films followed suit) and the mystery was exciting of finding out more about the titular character. So it IS possible to enjoy and NOT enjoy a classic film.

 

YOUNG MEN CAN ONLY LIKE “GUYS FILMS” AND CAN’T LIKE A “CHICK FLICK”

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The Devil Wears Prada (2006)

First of all the term “chick flick” is outdated like many opinions of what films either gender should enjoy. It’s 2018 and I’m sure we’re past the point where if a man says he enjoyed Pitch Perfect (2012) it shouldn’t be a groundbreaking concept to comprehend. However I hear it all the time when people refer to a romantic comedy or musical where they say, “It may be too girly for you” or “I know it’s a chick flick but…” and those phrases are dated to which I dismiss any idea that I am incapable of enjoying film because of my gender. A quality film is a quality film and a great film will be able to allow varying demographics to engage with the film. Yes a film may have a target audience but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be abnormal for another type of audience to also enjoy the film. I love films such as The Devil Wears Prada (2006) and 500 Days of Summer (2009) as well because they are more than one thing and I think there’s something in those films for everyone.

The same goes for when we say women may not enjoy the Fast and Furious franchise because it’s a “guys film”, again an outdated and excluding phrase. As I said before, I believe and hope we have moved on from stereotyping and putting people’s film tastes in certain boxes but it’s still something I hear often and people need to be more open minded.

 

WE CAN’T ENJOY FILMS ABOUT THE OLDER GENERATION

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45 Years (2015)

The way to enjoy a film is to find something within a certain character or themes that are raised that you can connect with no matter what the subject matter. One film that comes to mind is 45 Years (2015) with Oscar nominee Charlotte Rampling. I love that film. The film focuses on an elderly couple reminiscing about their lives together and who they were in their youth, but somehow I was immersed in the film because there was conviction in the performances and I loved contemplating about how would I look back at my life in the future. A quality film is one that engages the audience and is told with conviction, the fact that it focuses on a couple well into their married lives should not exclude other demographics.

Also another film is The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2011) which is a feel good film showcasing the best of British talent (Oscar winners Judi Dench and Maggie Smith, Golden Globe winner Bill Nighy and Oscar nominee Tom Wilkinson) and again focuses on how perceptive on life changes as we age and allows the audience (no matter what age) to think about life in general.  Plus it’s just a great, fun, colourful film in general.

Point is that I’m sure I’m not the only young person that can appreciate a film focusing on leading characters who are older, because just like how watching classic films broadens your taste so does watching films that allow you to step into someone else’s world.

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Singin’ in the Rain (1952)

I’m sure there are many more stereotypes of young people and film (if so feel free to comment) but I think it applies to everyone when I say don’t assume that a certain person may not enjoy a certain film; we all have different film taste and it’s always refreshing and exciting when one subverts people’s expectations and show how you can be open minded with what we watch.

The Good Showman

The Greatest Showman (2017) may have earned a 54% on Rotten Tomatoes (Branding the film as ROTTEN) however it has struck a chord with audiences grossing over $237 million worldwide (against an $84 million production budget). The majority of people I know who have seen the film absolutely love it and have seen it multiple times; it’s great to see how the film has had such an impact and brought joy to people.

The reason for this blog post is because I’ve heard people raving about The Greatest Showman and some have even compared it to the Oscar winning La La Land (2016) by saying it’s a stronger musical. To set the record straight I did like The Greatest Showman but if people suggest that it is a better musical than La La Land...then I don’t know what else to say than in my opinion it’s not. First of all they are different films but if I had to compare La La Land is my favourite of the two.

I’ll start by saying what I enjoyed about The Greatest Showman: the soundtrack is a solid effort from Oscar winners Benj Pasek and Justin Paul delivering some standout original songs. I love the Golden Globe winning/Oscar nominated song “This Is Me”, “The Greatest Show”, “The Other Side”, “Never Enough” and “Rewrite the Stars”. The positive thing about this film is that it is assured in its identity as a musical that is meant to inject joy into audiences, it doesn’t try to be anything else and is clear in what its meant to be.

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Secondly, Hugh Jackman (who was nominated a Golden Globe for his role as P.T. Barnum) carried the film effortlessly on his shoulders. You can understand why because he was passionate about the role even to the point where he was involved in getting the project made for seven years! Hugh is no stranger to musicals on screen (he was nominated an Oscar for his performance in Les Miserables – 2012) and he relishes in bringing P.T. Barnum to the screen to bring audiences together for a fun ride.

Lastly it’s great how the film explores the themes of acceptance and embracing everyone from all different walks of life (which is encapsulated so well in the song “This Is Me”). Whilst it may have been done in a sugary affair, it’s still an important theme and a one that I believe has resonated with audiences, especially in such a divided world.

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However, the difference between La La Land and The Greatest Showman is that the former is stronger in every area of the film whereas the latter may be strong in its identity as a musical but as a story and character development it’s lacking. I understand you can’t approach The Greatest Showman as a full on biopic otherwise it may be a more morbid affair but in being brash in its musicality it does suffer from there being any grounded nature to the film and in turn it feels more lightweight. The film is definitely more about the songs than anything else. Also to compare numbers: La La Land grossed over $446 million worldwide (against a $30 million budget) and scored 92% on Rotten Tomatoes (Branding the film as FRESH). On top of wowing audiences AND critics the film had a clean sweep at the Golden Globes winning seven awards (the most won by a single film) and won six Academy Awards last year.

Now with La La Land it’s more intimate as it follows mainly two characters: Mia (Oscar winner Emma Stone) and Sebastian (Oscar nominee Ryan Gosling) in their relationship and their journey of trying to follow their dreams. The film starts off strong in embracing its identity as a musical with big songs such as “Another Day of Sun” and “Someone In The Crowd” however it doesn’t shy away from having tonal shifts to embrace the more real elements of life without it feeling jarring.

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I love how it is a full on musical but also an more focused film in terms of pacing and character study. The film evolves at its own pacing which doesn’t feel forced or rushed and then it becomes more about the decisions the characters have to make about their futures and reviewing their hopes and desires. One of my favourite scenes is when Sebastian surprises Mia with a meal when he comes home from tour, it’s a conversational scene where everything is explored (regarding where they’ve come from and where they hope to be in the future) that becomes an argument in a very mature and organic way. The dialogue doesn’t feel overtly sentimental or emotional, the tone is just right. The film can be strong in its musical scenes as well as its character scenes.

Also I love how throwback La La Land is, it has a strong Singin’ in the Rain (1952) vibe and the jazz infused soundtrack is classic and beautiful. Even the instrumental tracks are soothing and exciting, especially the “Epilogue” score. The Oscar winning cinematography is stunning with the vibrant colours and and striking settings (most notably when Mia and Sebastian first dance together after the party they’ve been to and when inside the Planetarium).  Not to mention the incredible Epilogue scene which was very bittersweet, giving the audiences what could have been whilst being bold by saying life doesn’t always go as planned.

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At the end of the day it’s all subjective and down to personal taste. For me The Greatest Showman was a good musical, but nothing more. Where as La La Land for me has so many layers, classic songs and visuals and Oscar winning acting/direction/cinematography. They are both different films in what they are representing and to both of their credit they are original musicals which is always welcome. By all means say how much you enjoyed The Greatest Showman but personally I don’t think it’s the masterpiece audiences have made it out to be.

Feel free to share your opinions!

Oscars 2018 – The Nominations

Bear with me as this may not be the slickest blog post entry but I have so many emotions about this years nominees that I had to rush release a blog post. So overall I’m happy with the nominees; films like Lady Bird, Get Out, Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri got a lot of love. Yet some films such as Molly’s Game, All the Money in the World, Florida Project and Detroit got sorely overlooked. Even though Stronger wasn’t the “strongest” film Jake Gyllenhaal should have been nominated and was sadly omitted from the list of nominees.

Here are the list of new nominees for the major categories and my thoughts on them.

 

BEST PICTURE
Call Me by Your Name
Darkest Hour
Dunkirk
Get Out
Lady Bird
Phantom Thread
The Post
The Shape of Water
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

I’m really happy for Get Out, Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri, Lady Bird and The Shape of Water as they’re my favourites. I’ll admit I still need to see Lady Bird and The Shape of Water however I think Three Billboards will win as it won the Golden Globe for Best Film – Drama and has been getting a lot of love this awards season. I’d be happy with that result.

 

BEST ACTOR
Timothée Chalamet,
Call Me By Your Name

Daniel Day-Lewis, Phantom Thread

Daniel Kaluuya, Get Out

Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour

Denzel Washington, Roman J. Israel, Esq.

Gary Oldman will win the Oscar. Easy call to make. But I’m pleasantly surprised by Daniel Kaluuya bring included in the list. Though I have to ask where is Tom Hanks (The Post) and Jake Gyllenhaal (Stronger)? In any case Oldman was always going to win but it’s still sad Hanks and Gyllenhaal we’re overlooked.

 

BEST ACTRESS
Sally Hawkins,
The Shape of Water

Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Margot Robbie, I, Tonya

Saoirse Ronan, Lady Bird

Meryl Streep, The Post

Where is Chastain and Williams?!?! Chastain gave a career best performance in Molly’s Game. Both Chastain and Williams were nominated Golden Globes for their respective roles, but still! That being said as much as I’d love Ronan to win (this is her 3rd nominated at the age of only 23!) McDormand will and should win.

 

BEST DIRECTOR
Dunkirk, Christopher Nolan

Get Out, Jordan Peele

Lady Bird, Greta Gerwig

Phantom Thread, Paul Thomas Anderson

The Shape of Water, Guillermo del Toro

It’s great seeing the Academy Awards more inclusive in their directing category; so happy for Greta Gerwig! This is refreshing as she wasn’t included in the Best Directors list for the Golden Globes or BAFTA Film Awards and also makes her the fifth female director nominated ever. Also I’m happy Jordan Peele has been nominated because it’s his directorial debut and he created a fresh original film with something to say. Even though I’m happy for Nolan yet Dunkirk shouldn’t have been his first directing nomination (Inception should have been). Guillermo del Toro has been nominated for his passion project which I’m excited to see when it’s released in the UK.

 

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Mary J. Blige,
Mudbound

Allison Janney, I, Tonya

Lesley Manville, Phantom Thread

Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird

Octavia Spencer, The Shape of Water

Allison Janney will win; I can’t wait to see I, Tonya. I’m also Happy for Octavia Spencer as well. Mary J. Blige was good but there Mudbound had better/overlooked performances.

 

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

Willem Dafoe, The Florida Project

Woody Harrelson, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Richard Jenkins, The Shape of Water

Christopher Plummer, All the Money in the World

Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Again, Defoe was good but not the best thing about Florida Project which was overlooked. Sam Rockwell’s character was perfectly crafted by Martin McDonagh and I’m so pleasantly surprised to see Woody Harrelson nominated as well as his character was powerful and poignant.

 

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Call Me By Your Name, James Ivory

The Disaster Artist, Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber

Logan, Scott Frank, James Mangold, Michael Green

Molly’s Game, Aaron Sorkin

Mudbound, Virgil Williams and Dee Rees

Sadly Molly’s Game sole nomination but a worthy one at that. Jessica Chastain delivered his words perfectly!

 

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
The Big Sick, Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani

Get Out, Jordan Peele

Lady Bird, Greta Gerwig

The Shape of Water, Guillermo del Toro and Vanessa Taylor

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Martin McDonagh

McDonagh won the Golden Globe for this category so time will tell; but Get Out and Lady Bird are strong contenders as well.

So even with the unfortunate omissions from the nominees list I’m still happy overall and think it’ll be an exciting Oscar night come March 4th 2018.