War Dogs (2016) Film Review

David (Miles Teller) is a college dropout who is working as a masseuse and trying to find his way in the world when he comes across an old school friend, Efraim (Jonah Hill). Efraim is a success, supplying the US military with minor items for a huge profit. They start working together and things get out of hand.

A lot happens in this film, and yet I kind of felt that it didn’t really get started, and when it ended, I felt like the story had not run its course. I have been going over and over this trying to figure out why, and just cannot quite put my finger on it. All I can say is that despite being almost two hours, I felt that I wanted more.

War Dogs was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy (Jonah Hill).

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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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Jumanji (1995) Film Review

Having watched Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle which disappointed me with the lack of women and the poor representation of women, I followed through on my commitment to re watch the original, and man, I was so glad I did.

Alan (as a child, Adam Hann-Byrd, as an adult, Robin Williams) and Sarah (as a child, Laura Bell Bundy and as an adult, Bonnie Hunt) discover Jumanji in a building site and accidentally start playing. On their first rolls, Alan gets sucked into the game and Sarah is chased from the building by bats. Skip to twenty-six years later. Orphans Judy (Kirsten Dunst) and Peter (Bradley Pierce) move into Alan’s old and abandoned house with their Aunt Nora (the wonderful Bebe Neuwirth) and discover the game. Alan, now an adult, comes back and they track down Sarah so they can finish the game and everything will be restored to how it was. And with each roll, more threats come from the world of the game to torment them.

This is how you make a kids film. It’s a great plot, the characters are fabulous, there are several female characters, the teenage girl does what she needs to survive rather than squealing and wimping out. Having a brilliant cast, including the wonderful Robin Williams and a young Kirsten Dunst helps, but it was clever, strong writing, and a real adventure. Looking at the credits, most of the production team were men. So, blaming the appalling nature of the recent remake on the fact that that production team was also mostly men is not valid. What’s happened in the last twenty years? I don’t watch as many kids films these days, but do we still have kids films that do better by us? I’d love suggestions.

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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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Pitch Perfect 3 (2017) Film Review

First, this college acapella group were competing in the national competition. Next, they entered an international competition. So, now what? Unsurprisingly, the singing part of their college career has not left them with many skills for the real world (though didn’t they do degrees and stuff as well? That seems unimportant in the Pitch Perfect world). So, they get together and go to entertain the troops, but end up competing with a rock band, a maybe hipster/country group and a DJ and MC for… well, it seems for the opportunity to do exactly the same thing they’ve been doing the whole time?

Look, you shouldn’t watch this film for logical storylines, or real life, or any kind of actual plausibility. But if you like silliness and fun and singing and self-aware dialogue, you should definitely watch this. I loved it to bits because it is totally ridiculous and silly. I loved Fat Amy (Rebel Wilson) as an action hero, trying to connect to her criminal father, Fergus (John Lithgow with the most terrible and strange accent ever). I loved the interactions between Gail (Elizabeth Banks) and John (John Michael Higgins) despite there being no logical reason for them to be there at all. I loved seeing Ruby Rose rocking it as a kick-arse rock chick, but then joining in on the singing.

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Selma (2014) Film Review

Davie Oyelowo plays Dr Martin Luther King Jr in this depiction of historical events during the civil rights movement. African-American people were allowed to vote, but in the South it was nearly impossible for them to register – many impediments were put in their way from the racist bureaucracy, and in meetings with President Johnston (Tom Wilkinson), King was unable to get the president to act to overrule this appalling behaviour. Eventually, a large group were to walk from Selma to Montgomery, the capital of Alabama, in a peaceful protest. And with opposition from the army, the police, the KKK and the white population of the state as a whole, things turned violent.

This is a very slow-moving film that shows King as human, with all his strengths and weaknesses. But when the action moves from the planning and discussions and meeting and gets down to the key events, it is truly horrific. I am a big crier in films, but this was absolutely heart-breaking. I cried because the events were terrible, but I also cried because this was happening, and I cried because so much progress was made during the civil rights movement and yet look at the world we live in. Things should be better. And we shouldn’t need horrors like this to change the world, should we?

Selma won an Oscar for Best Achievement in Music Written for the Motion Pictures  – Original Song (Glory) and was nominated for Best Picture.

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Awards Season 2018

Oscars 2018

Actor in a Leading Role

Timothee 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.)
Actor in a Supporting Role

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)

Actress in a Leading Role

Sally Hawkins (The Shape of Water)

Frances McDormand (Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri)

Margot Robbie (I, Tonya)

Soaise Ronan (Lady Bird)

Meryl Streep (The Post)

Actress in a Supporting Role

Mary J. Blige (Mudbound)

Allison Janney (I, Tonya)

Lesley Manville (Phantom Thread)

Laurie Metcalf (Lady Bird)

Octavia Spencer (The Shape of Water)

Animated Feature Film

The Boss Baby

The Breadwinner

Coco

Ferdinand

Loving Vincent

Cinematography

Blade Runner 2049

Darkest Hour

Dunkirk

Mudbound

The Shape of Water

Costume Design

Beauty and the Beast

Darkest Hour

Phantom Thread

The Shape of Water

Victoria & Abdul

Directing

Dunkirk

Get Out

Lady Bird

Phantom Thread

The Shape of Water

Documentary (Feature)

Abacus: Small Enough to Jail

Faces Places

Icarus

Last Men in Aleppo

Strong Island

Documentary (Short)

Edith + Eddie

Heaven is a Traffic Jam on the 405

Heroin(e)

Knife Skills

Traffic Stop

Film Editing

Baby Driver

Dunkirk

I, Tonya

The Shape of Water

Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri 

Foreign Film

A Fantastic Woman

The Insult

Loveless

On Body and Soul

The Square

Makeup and Hairstyling

Darkest Hour

Victorial & Abdul

Wonder

Music (Original Score)

Dunkirk

Phantom Thread

The Shape of Water

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri

Music (Original Song)

Mighty River (Mudbound)

Mystery of Love (Call Me By Your Name)

Remember Me (Coco)

Stand Up for Something (Marshall)

This Is Me (The Greatest Showman)

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

Production Design

Beauty and the Beast

Blade Runner 2049

Darkest Hour

Dunkirk

The Shape of Water

Short Film (Animated)

Dear Basketball

Garden Party

Lou

Negative Space

Revolting Rhymes

Short Film (Live Action)

Dekalb Elementary

The Eleven O’Clocl

My Nephew Emmet

The Silent Child

Wate Wote/ All of Us

Sound Editing

Baby Driver

Blade Runner 2049

Dunkirk

The Shape of Water

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Sound Mixing

Baby Driver

Blade Runner 2049

Dunkirk

The Shape of Water

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Visual Effects

Blade Runner 2049

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Kong: Skull Island

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

War for the Planet of the Apes

Writing (Adapted Screenplay)

Call Me By Your Name

The Disaster Artist

Logan

Molly’s Game

Mudbound

Writing (Original Screenplay)

The Big Sick

Get Out

Lady Bird

The Shape of Water

Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri 

Golden Globes 2018

Best Motion Picture – Drama

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Dunkirk

The Post

The Shape of Water

Call Me By Your Name

Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy

Lady Bird

The Disaster Artist

Get Out

The Greatest Showman

I, Tonya

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama

Frances McDormand (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri)

Jessica Chastain (Molly’s Game)

Sally Hawkins (The Shape of Water)

Meryl Streep (The Post)

Michele Williams (All the Money in the World)

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama

Gary Oldman (Darkest Hour)

Timothy Chalamet (Call Me By Your Name)

Daniel Day-Lewis (Phantom Thread)

Tom Hanks (The Post)

Denzel Washington (Toman J. Israel, Esq)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy

Saoirse Ronan (Lady Bird)

Judi Dench (Victoria & Abdul)

Helen Mirren (The Leisure Seeker)

Margot Robbie (I, Tonya)

Emma Stone (Battle of the Sexes)

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy

James Franco (The Disaster Artist)

Steve Carell (Battle of the Sexes)

Ansel Elgort (Baby Driver)

Hugh Jackman (The Greatest Showman)

Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in Any Motion Picture

Allison Janney (I, Tonya)

Hon Chau (Downsizing)

Laurie Metcalf (Lady Bird)

Octavia Spencer (The Shape of Water)

Mary J. Blige (Mudbound)

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in Any Motion Picture

Sam Rockwell (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri)

Willem DaFoe (The Florida Project)

Armie Hammer (Call Me By Your Name)

Richard Jenkins (The Shape of Water)

Christopher Plummer (All the Money in the World)

Best Director – Motion Picture

Guillermo del Toro (The Shape of Water)

Martin McDonagh (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri)

Christopher Nolan (Dunkirk)

Ridley Scott (All the Money in the World)

Steven Spielberg (The Post)

Best Screenplay – Motion Picture

Martin McDonagh (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri)

Guillermo del Toro, Vanessa Taylor (The Shape of Water)

Greta Gerwig (Lady Bird)

Liz Hannah, Josh Singer (The Post)

Aaron Sorkin (Molly’s Game)

Best Motion Picture – Animated

Coco

The Breadwinner

Ferdinand

Loving Vincent

The Boss Baby

Best Motion Picture – Foreign Language

In The Fade

A Fantastic Woman

First They Killed My Father

Loveless

The Square

Best Original Score – Motion Picture

Alexandre Desplat (The Shape of Water)

Carter Burwell (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri)

Jonny Greenwood (Phantom Thread)

John Williams (The Post)

Hans Zimmer (Dunkirk)

Best Original Song – Motion Picture

This Is Me (The Greatest Showman)

Home (Ferdinand)

Mighty River (Mudbound)

Remember Me (Coco)

The Star (The Star)

BAFTAs

Best Film

Call Me by Your Name

Darkest Hour

Dunkirk

The Shape of Water

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Outstanding British Film

Darkest Hour

The Death of Stalin

God’s Own Country

Lady MacBeth

Paddington 2

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Outstanding Debut by a British writer, director or producer

The Ghoul – Gareth Tunley

I Am Not A Witch – Rungano Nyoni

Jawbone – Johnny Harris

Kingdom of Us – Lucy Cohen

Lady MacBeth – Alice Birch

Best Film Not in the English Language

Elle

First They Killed My Father

The Handmaiden

Loveless

The Salesman

Best Documentary

City of Ghosts

I am Not Your Negro

Icarus

An Inconvenient Sequel

Jane

Best Animated Film

Coco

Loving Vincent

My Life as a Courgette

Best Director

Denis Villeneuve (Blade Runner 2049)

Luca Guadagnino (Call Me By Your Name)

Christopher Nolan (Dunkirk)

Guillermo Del Toro (The Shape of Water)

Martin McDonagh (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri)

Best Original Screenplay

Get Out

I, Tonya

Lady Bird

The Shape of Water

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Best Adapted Screenplay

Call Me By Your Name

The Death of Stalin

Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool

Molly’s Game

Paddington 2

Best Actress

Annette Benning (Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool)

Frances McDormand (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri)

Margot Robbie (I, Tonya)

Sally Hawkins (The Shape of Water)

Saoirse Ronan (Lady Bird)

Best Actor

Daniel Day-Lewis (Phantom Thread)

Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out)

Gary Oldman (Darkest Hour)

Jamie Bell (Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool)

Timothee Chalamet (Call Me By Your Name)

Best Supporting Actress

Allison Janney (I, Tonya)

Kristen Scott Thomas (Darkest Hour)

Laurie Metcalf (Lady Bird)

Lesley Manville (Phantom Thread)

Octavia Spencer (The Shape of Water)

Best Supporting Actor

Christopher Plummer (All the Money in the World)

Hugh Grant (Paddington 2)

Sam Rockwell (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri)

Willem Dafoe (The Florida Project)

Woody Harrelson (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri)

Best Original Music

Blade Runner 2049

Darkest Hour

Dunkirk

Phantom Thread

The Shape of Water

Best Cinematography

Blade Runner 2049

Darkest Hour

Dunkirk

The Shape of Water

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Best Editing

Baby Driver

Blade Runner 2049

Darkest Hour

Dunkirk

The Shape of Water

Best Costume Design

Beauty and the Beast

Darkest Hour

I, Tonya

Phantom Thread

The Shape of Water

Best Make-up and Hair

Blade Runner 2049

Darkest Hour

I, Tonya

Victoria & Abdul

Wonder

Best Sound

Baby Driver

Blade Runner 2049

Dunkirk

The Shape of Water

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Best Special Visual Effects

Blade Runner 2049

Dunkirk

The Shape of Water

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

War for the Planet of the Apes

Best British Short Animation

Have Heart

Mamoon

Poles Apart

Best British Short Film

Aamir

Cowboy Dave

A Drowning Man

Work

Wren Boys

EE Rising Star award

Daniel Kaluuya

Florence Pugh

Josh O’Connor

Tessa Thompson

Timothee Chalamet

 

 

 

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