Category Archives: Oscar nominated film

Coraline (2009) Film Review

Neil Gaiman writes amazing horror for kids – I once read a great article where he talks about the fact that his child wanted horror and he was surprised to discover that little existed, so he created it himself. Coraline is about a girl who moves to a small town with her parents who are so wrapped up in themselves that they barely notice she’s there. She discovers an alternative world where things are magical and fantastic, but she can only stay is she lets her eyes be replaced with buttons. How does that make sense? And yet, it totally does. Fabulous story, beautiful animation. Overall, this is just totally wonderful.

Coraline was nominated for an Oscar for Best Animated Feature film of the year.

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Broadcast News (1987) Film Review

Aaron Altman (Albert Brooks) is a reporter for a Washington news show and Jane Craig (Holly Hunter) is the producer who, unbeknownst to her, has his heart. Along comes pretty boy Tom Grunick (William Hurt) who has no experience but eventually shows some natural talent and there is a love triangle.

I don’t know why, but I always thought this was a drama about serious news things rather than being a love story. It’s great, very much of its time, though Holly Hunter gets to play a pretty awesome woman, and so it was a little frustrating that it ended up having a main plot around her love life. Still, definitely worth a watch.

Broadcast News was nominated for Oscars for Best Picture, Best Actor in a Leading Role (William Hurt), Best Actress in a Leading Role (Holly Hunter), Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Albert Brooks), Best Writing – Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen (James L. Brooks), Best Cinematography and Best Film Editing.

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I, Tonya (2017) Film Review

In 1994, ice skater Nancy Kerrigan was attacked and injured, and it quickly emerged that Tonya Harding and her husband, Jeff Gillooly, were involved. This film tells the story from the fictional perspectives of Tonya (Margot Robbie) and Jeff (Sebastian Stan), with both relatively innocent, or unknowing, or fooled by Jeff’s mate, Shawn (Paul Walter Hauser). It’s a film with ambition, struggle against class and violence in many different ways. And it’s not real.

I enjoyed the film – the performances, the style, the fashion. And what a great true story – only this wasn’t the true story. I don’t think I’ve read as many articles about a film as I did after watching this. The more I read, the more issue I took with the film. I walked out feeling anger at the world which has some people starting so far behind others due to money, or location, or crappy family, or whatever. And then I found that several key scenes in the film, scenes that manipulated my feelings to have some empathy for Tonya and her situation, were totally made up.

Thinking back, I believe the film was pretty open about being a representation of the accounts of Tonya and Jeff, accounts which were inaccurate and, at times, plain lies. Why do I feel so grumpy that I was led astray even as I was told this was happening? I don’t know. I think it is a good film, so long as you don’t actually believe it.

I, Tonya won an Oscar for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role (Allison Janney) and was nominated for Best Performance for an Actress in a Leading Role (Margot Robbie) and Best Achievement in Film Editing. It won a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture (Allison Janney) and was nominated for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy and Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy.

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Disaster Artist (2017) Film Review

Have you seen The Room (2003) touted as the worst film ever made? If not, go watch it (fast forward bits if you need to, especially the long and ridiculous sex scenes), then watch this. It is like watching an extended mix of The Room. Which is actually better than it sounds.

Disaster Artist is allegedly the story of how Greg Sestero (Dave Franco) met and formed an unlikely friendship with the mysterious and increasingly strange (and rich) Tommy Wiseau (James Franco), and it seems plausible, but it really doesn’t bother me if this is real or not. It’s just a load of fun.

The Disaster Artist was nominated for an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay, won a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical (James Franc0) and was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical.

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Sicario (2015) Film Review

Kate (Emily Blunt) is an FBI agent who is dealing with horrific situations happening around the US/Mexico border relating to the drug gangs and the police. She is enlisted into a task force to go into Mexico and try to follow several leads to resolve the situation, but her idealism and belief that she is able to make a difference is challenged at every step.

This is a horrible film- extremely good in many ways, but just awful and violent, and maddening and I just wanted it to end. I wouldn’t recommend this film to a lot of folks because I found it very hard to watch, but I think if you don’t mind feeling outraged at the world and angry that things can be so unjust, you might like it. I am in two minds about the end – I feel as though it suddenly became quite a Hollywood film when it had the chance to be more… I’m not sure if real is quite the right word, but different. Though maybe a more real story would be too long for a film.

Sicario was nominated for Oscars for Best Achievement in Cinematography, Best Achievement in Sound Editing and Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score.

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Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016) Film Review

Newt (Eddie Redmayne) is a wizard who works with fantastic beasts, and has come to New York in the 1920s. He discovers some strange happenings and accrues a small team of assistants to help him.

I loved seeing the magical world of Harry Potter put into New York in the twenties. Too much fun. And there were some great characters, and I loved the creatures. But I found the first half hour of the film really slow-moving and it was really hard for the rest of it to catch up. In addition to this, I’m not that much of a Potter fan, so any time there was a reference to something from the world of Potter, it went over my head, while I’m sure much of the intended audience would have been gasping and tittering with excitement. Also, I didn’t like the character that Redmayne was playing, and I think it’s pretty difficult to really enjoy a film when you are actively disliking the hero.

Fanastic Beasts and Where to Find Them won an Oscar for Best Achievement in Costume Design and was nominated for Best Achievement in Production Design. It won a BAFTA for Best Production Design and was nominated for Outstanding British Film of the Year, Best Costume Design, Best Sound and Best Achievement in Special Visual Effects.

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The Aviator (2004) Film Review

What did I know about Howard Hughes? Only that he was famously germaphobic and reclusive and rich. In all honesty, I didn’t even know why I knew of him. In this biopic of his early life, Leonardo DiCaprio the playboy, the film producer and the aviation pioneer. And it’s fabulous. DiCaprio was fabulous, as was Cate Blanchette and Kate Beckinsale, John C. Reilly, Alec Baldwin, Alan Alda, Jude Law… the list goes on.

I shouldn’t be surprised at how good it is as it is a Scorsese film. He is a master, even though I often find that I don’t like his films. But this, to me, is really as good as a film can be. Great pacing, and the cinematography is brilliant, capturing that kind of technicolour look of films from this era. Just fabulous.

The Aviator won awards for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role (Cate Blanchett), Best Achievement in Cinematography, Best Achievement in Art Direction, Best Achievement in Costume Design and was nominated for Best Motion Picture of the Year, Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role (Leonardo DiCaprio), Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role (Alan Alda), Best Achievement in Directing, Best Writing – Original Screenplay and Best Achievement in Sound Mixing.

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