Bring a winter coat for this one. Trust me.
Ah, the Oscars! The award show where the old, rich, out-of-touch white men of Hollywood engage in the biggest circle jerk of the year and hand out golden, vaguely phallic trophies in order to congratulate each other for making pretentious, artsy films that the average moviegoer didn’t even think about before the eve of the ceremony!
God, do I love the Oscars. It’s right up there with my birthday, Christmas, Blue Jays Opening Day, Game 7 of the World Series and Edmonton Comic Expo Weekend in my rankings of my favourite days of the year. For somebody who loves movies as much as I do, it’s so great to see these movies that I’ve grown so attached to in the last few months that I’ve been scrambling to watch them. It’s nice to see them all gathered together where all of them can be celebrated for the joy they’ve brought to people.
So, without further ado, let’s get my official predictions out of the way!!!
(Keep in mind that I haven’t seen 100% of the movies. Merely a lot of them. Don’t blame me, blame school.”
Winner: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
If I were in charge: Interstellar
Interstellar didn’t impress me as much as it did others in terms of story or plot coherence, but I can’t deny the visual majesty that Nolan’s space epic had. That said, when Dawn wins, I will not complain at all, because Apes On Horses.
Will win: Boyhood
If I was in charge: Boyhood
Yeah, as burnt out as I am on hearing people call Boyhood the Citizen Kane of our era or some bullshit, I can’t deny the wonderful editing job done in the film.
Will win: The Grand Budapest Hotel
If I was in charge: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Makeup and Hairstyling
Will win: Guardians of the Galaxy
If I was in charge: Guardians of the Galaxy
Will win: Birdman
If I was in charge: Birdman
Emmanuel Lubezki. That is all.
Will win: The Grand Budapest Hotel
If I was in charge: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Best Sound Mixing
Will win: Whiplash
If I was in charge: Whiplash
Man, I’m not exactly being much of a contrarian, am I?
Will win: American Sniper
If I was in charge: Birdman
Will win: “Glory” (Selma)
If I was in charge: “Glory”
Will win: Jóhann Jóhannsson, The Theory of Everything
If I was in charge: Alexandre Desplat, The Imitation Game
Animated Short Film, Live Action Short Film, Documentary- Short Subject, Documentary- Feature
I didn’t watch any of these. Why? I’m really, really lazy, in case you guys haven’t noticed.
Foreign Language Film
Will win: Ida
If I was in charge: Leviathan
Animated Feature Film
Will win: How to Train Your Dragon 2
If I was in charge: How to Train Your Dragon 2
While I still think that Dragon is the best animated movie of the year (Yes, even better than The LEGO Movie), I highly suggest any fan of animation to check out The Tale of the Princess Kaguya. You’ll thank me later, trust me.
Will win: The Imitation Game
If I was in charge: The Imitation Game
Will win: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Should win: Birdman
Will win: Patricia Arquette, Boyhood
If I was in charge: Patricia Arquette
Again, I’m not a huge Boyhood fan. That said, I think I would’ve liked it more if it focused more on Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke.
Will win: J.K. Simmons, Whiplash
If I was in charge: J.K. Simmons, Whiplash
Will win: Julianne Moore, Still Alice
If I was in charge: Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl
Admittedly, I haven’t seen Still Alice yet, but with all do respect to Julianne Moore, I don’t see how her performance could be better than Rosamund Pike in the movie that is the biggest Best Picture snub of the year.
Will win: Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything
If I was in charge: Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything
The sentimental part of my brain wants Michael Keaton to win, as Redmayne’s still young, and we don’t know if Keaton will ever be nominated again, but I know in my heart of hearts that Redmayne was probably better.
Will win: Richard Linklater, Boyhood
If I was in charge: Alejandro G. Inarritu, Birdman
I LIKED BOYHOOD, ALRIGHT!?!? I JUST THINK IT’S KIND OF OVERRATED!!! AM I REALLY SO WRONG IN THINKING THAT?!?!
Will win: Birdman
If I was in charge: Birdman
My gut actually says that Boyhood is gonna take it, but winning all the Guild Awards is pretty promising, so maybe Birdman has a realistic shot at winning the big prize?
American Sniper is going to sweep the awards now, just because I said that.
Christopher Nolan is brilliant. Let’s make that abundantly clear. This review is not meant as a middle finger to the man who made Batman cool again. That said, the combination of pulse-pounding suspense with intellectualism that seemed to be so easily achieved in The Dark Knight, Inception and Memento is not exactly a given in Nolan movies, apparently.
Mmmm… I can already smell the fanboy hatred brewing.
Directed by: Christopher Nolan
Produced by: Emma Thomas, Christopher Nolan, Lynda Obst
Written by: Jonathan Nolan, Christopher Nolan
Based (In part) upon: Kip Thorne’s theories
Genres: Science-fiction, adventure, drama
Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Michael Caine, Ellen Burstyn, David Gyasi, Wes Bentley, Mackenzie Foy, Casey Affleck, John Lithgow, Topher Grace, Timothée Chalamet, Matt Damon
Voices of: Bill Irwin, Josh Stewart
Music by: Hans Zimmer
Plot: As is the case in seemingly every high-concept science fiction movie, it is the near future and the Earth is, slowly but surely, dying out. Due to unspecified issues, the planet is ravaged by dust storms, and the entire planet has reverted to an agrarian society. One of the many farmers whose plots of land litter the devastated American landscape (Which brings to mind the Dust Bowl) belongs to Cooper (Matthew McConaughey), a former engineer and NASA pilot who lives with his father-in-law (John Lithgow), his son Tom (Timothée Chalamet) and his eccentric daughter, Murphy (Mackenzie Foy). When Murphy leads him on a wild goose chase to find her imaginary friend, Cooper stumbles upon a yop-secret NASA base, especially shocking, considering that NASA was thought to have been disbanded years ago.
The NASA facility is led by Professor Brand (Michael Caine), a brilliant scientist who, along with the rest of the tattered remains of NASA, is desperately trying to find ways to save humanity. Driven to desperation, Brand’s Hail Mary plan is to send Cooper up to space in a spaceship with a couple scientists (David Gyasi and Wes Bentley), Brand’s daughter (Anne Hathaway), and a couple of robots ( and shoot ’em up into a recently-discovered wormhole around Saturn, taking them to a whole other galaxy, where humanity could find another place to settle down.
Seriously, before I get into this movie’s problems, I must stress that I did like the movie, despite its’ shortcomings, I enjoyed myself for, oh let’s say, 75% of the movie. The movie’s almost three hours long, but throughout the first bit, it actually felt like it was breezing along, although not fast enough for me to miss out on the ever so important interactions between the characters. The score is composed by Hans Zimmer, who I have to thank for the soundtrack to The Lion King and Gladiator, meaning that he is one of my favourite human beings of all time. Unsurprisingly, he delivers some beautiful, atmospheric music that may not be hummable upon leaving the theatre, but it sure as hell worked in the context of the movie.
The performances were also great, which is kind of a given with Matthew McConaughey as a lead these days. Anne Hathaway and Michael Caine were both good in their role, as was Jessica Chastain in her role as an aged Murphy, and I never once felt the urge to strangle the child actors in the movie, which is always a positive in my book. Mackenzie Foy, especially, was really terrific as young Murphy, and surprised me by displaying a lot of chemistry with McConaughey. Especially surprising, since her breakout role was in the goddamn Twilight saga.
I gotta say, though, the character of Tom, Murphy’s brother (Ably played by Timothée Chalamet and, later, Casey Affleck) seemed completely unnecessary to me. It could just have easily been a household comprised of Cooper, his in-law and his daughter, completely eliminated the character of Tom, and there would have been no less of an emotional impact to the proceedings in the movie. I dunno, I guess it was nice to see Casey Affleck in something.
It also bears mentioning that the movie is really, really gorgeous. From what I’ve heard, they actually had Kip Thorne be a sort of consultant on what things in space would look like (For lack of a better noun), so when you see a black hole, that’s what scientists are pretty sure an actual black hole looks like. That’s pretty frickin’ rad.
Christopher Nolan has done a pretty solid job at incorporating shorter, emotional scenes in mainly serious movies, but he has set a new bar for himself with Interstellar in terms of emotional punch. I wouldn’t say it emotionally wrecked me, but holy crap does it get intense. Go ahead and skip to the end of this paragraph if you really don’t want to know anything about the movie going in, go ahead and skip to the end of this paragraph, but my favourite scene in the entire movie was when, due to the theory of relativity, Cooper discovers that his kids are now older than him. It’s not only a brilliant way to explain relativity to somebody, but also the best scene of the movie thanks to its emotional resonance.
Fuck me, that was the saddest damn thing.
However, it can work to the movie’s detriment too. The movie, for the most part, does a really good job of accurately portraying the science that would go into a space voyage, which makes sense, given that theoretical physicist Kip Thorne served as an executive producer. However, as much as I appreciate the science behind the movie, it loses me a little when it starts emphasizing the main theme in the film, that love transcends space and time, being, essentially, the strongest force in the universe. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against that being a theme in the movie. My problem is when the characters start spewing some bullshit about “quantifiable love”. I’m not going to go much more in depth for fear of venturing into spoiler territory, but seriously? I’m no physics major, that’s for damn sure, but I’m fairly sure that’s not actually a thing. The “power of love” crap may work in a movie such as Harry Potter, when the real-world applicability of the movie is non-existent, but in a movie such as Interstellar that puts such a large influence on the science, while keeping the human element mostly separate, you lose some brownie points from me when you try to spoon feed me with “quantifiable love.” It’s just too much of a stretch for a cynical bastard like me.
Also, the dialogue seemed really clunky at times. I had to restrain myself from exclaiming “what!?” after Cooper explained to Murphy why he named her after Murphy’s Law. Most of the time, it’s a pretty typical, slick Nolan screenplay, but at other times…Ugh.
Another thing that was working against me was the length of the movie. Whenever a movie goes beyond the 160 minute range, it’s already gotten on my bad side. It’s not like I automatically hate it (The Lord of the Rings movies are three of the best movies of all time. Try and dissuade me of that, hipsters. I dare you.), it just has to do a bit more in the way of keeping me interested in the story to keep me distracted from the fact that I just blew three hours of my precious time. This movie did not do that. There were several times during the last 30 minutes of the movie when I felt that it should’ve ended, but it just kept trudging along, and it got to the point when I was just willing the movie to end, which is a pity, because looking back on it, it was a damn smart ending to a pretty damn good movie, but the ending was presented in such a hectic and drawn out way that I just got lost. Maybe I’m just stupid, I dunno.
Overall: It’s overly long, complicated, and occasionally displays stiff dialogue, but it’s a visual treat and an engrossing experience as well. It may not be for everybody, but it’s worth a watch. Just plan your day around it.
Well, Pixar had a nice long reign as the dominant force of animated movies, but it looks like everybody’s favourite evil empire has finally reclaimed the throne.
Let’s face it. It’s been a bit of a rough decade or so for Walt Disney Animation Studios in pretty much every single aspect of the film-making business that isn’t “making all the money.” The first Disney Renaissance is commonly accepted among people with too much time on their hands to have ended after Tarzan had its way with the box office in 1999. In the couple of years that followed, Disney kind of went through an awkward period, releasing such movies as Fantasia 2000, Dinosaur, The Emperor’s New Groove and Atlantis: The Lost Empire.
Can you guess which two of those movies don’t suck?
With the exception of Dinosaur (Which was just terrible), all of those movies were box office disappointments, especially for Disney, who, just last decade, had grossed nearly a billion dollars thanks to the masterpiece that was The Lion King.
After the introduction of the Academy Award for best Animated Movie (About a decade or so too late) in 2002, Pixar was bogarting center stage, winning seven Oscars, while Disney was just struggling to keep up, failing to win any of their nominations, especially when he nomination were as puzzling as the ones for Brother Bear and Treasure Planet, two movies you did not even know existed. Even when Disney quietly initiated their second renaissance with the release of The Princess & the Frog, they still remained second fiddle to Pixar. And rightly so, although somebody needs to explain to me why Tangled wasn’t at least nominated.
And then, something happened: Pixar shot themselves in the foot, thanks to a trio of terrible-to-non spectacular movies, and were left in a similar position to the one Disney experienced after the first Renaissance. And from the ashes of Pixar’s run of dominance, Frozen rose like a goddamn phoenix.
Now, despite the Fall Out Boy reference, I’m not a teenage girl, and, despite my complete and utter hatred of my existence on this godforsaken planet, I’m not the parent of a toddler, so I wasn’t exactly part of the main audience that this movie was aimed at. Besides, fuck this movie. It is the duty of a cultured movie critic like myself could easily destroy this cynical effort to feed some Disney execs’ cocaine habit, while singing the praises of some foreign film that nobody outside of Europe has ever seen, right?
Well, let’s just say there’s a reason I’m reviewing Frozen right now and not The Great Beauty.
Directed by: Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee
Produced by: Peter Del Vecho
Screenplay by: Jennifer Lee
Story by: Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee, Shane Morris
Based on: The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Anderson
Genres: Animated, Musical, Fantasy, Comedy
Voices of: Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Jonathan Groff, Josh Gad, Santino Fontana, Alan Tudyk, Ciarán Hinds
Music by: Cristophe Beck
Songs by: Robert Lopez, Kristen Anderson-Lopez
Oscar nominations (Wins in bold): Best Animated Feature, Best Original Song
Plot: The crown princess of the Scandinavian kingdom of Arendelle, Elsa, was born possessing the power to produce ice, frost and snow whenever she so desires, essentially making her, among other things, the odds-on favourite to win any sort of Battle Royale between the Disney Princesses. Somebody needs to get on that, by the way.
One night, when playing with her little sister, Anna, Elsa accidentally strikes Anna in the head with a bolt of, um, ice magic that knocks her unconscious and turns a part of her hair white. Anna is saved from further harm, and remains energetic and fun-loving as ever, but loses all memory of Elsa’s magic. Elsa, on the other hand, is immediately spirited away by her parents, the king and queen, to her chambers, where she is isolated from damn near everyone, including her sister, causing a rift between the two sisters. Elsa is trained as best as possible by her parents to control her powers with limited success, and grows up introverted and constantly worried about her powers hurting somebody else. As it turns out, locking a young girl in her room in order to prevent her from interacting with other people doesn’t exactly make a confident young woman. Who fucking knew, right?
When the king and queen die at sea during a storm, Elsa (Idina Menzel), the heir to the throne, is set to be declared queen once she comes of age. When the castle gates are opened for the coronation Anna (Kristen Bell), excited to meet new people after years of isolation, meets a charming prince from the “Southern Isles” or whatever named Hans (Santino Fontana). After the coronation goes off without a hitch, much to Elsa’s relief, Anna and Hans enthusiastically ask Elsa for her blessing of their marriage. Because she’s not insane, Elsa refuses, much to Anna’s displeasure, and an argument ensues and, in a fit of emotion, Elsa accidentally unleashes her powers and causes an eternal winter in Arendelle.
Horrified, Elsa flees up the North Mountain, and Anna, with the help of a misanthropic Sami ice vendor named Kristoff (Jonathan Groff) and his reindeer Sven, heads up the mountain to find her sister.
While there are many things that can make or break a Disney movie, at the forefront must be the animation. Since the 1930’s, Disney has been at the forefront of animation, but they’ve been known to slip up a couple of times, which can take a pretty heavy toll on a movie like this one.
Thankfully, this movie surpasses all expectations. It looks incredible. Along with Tangled, Frozen, while still mostly CGI, also blends in elements of traditional hand-drawn animation, and while the former movie looked great, the technique is exploited to its full potential in this movie, especially in scenes where Elsa is using her powers. The scene during “Let It Go” when she’s building her castle is a sight to behold, especially. I don’t think that even the most jaded cynic wouldn’t look at that scene with the utmost reverence for how far we’ve come since the days of Steamboat Willie.
The only quibble that I have with the animation (And it’s more of an observation than an outright complaint, mind you) is that, for some reason, all the female character’s eyes are goddamn huge. Not to take anything away from the animators, because the characters still look amazing, but did they feel like they needed to make the girls look extra pretty by blowing up their eyes or something? Kinda weird for a movie with otherwise relatively progressive themes, but I must admit Id be lying if I said I cared enough to really let it bother me.
Another staple of any classic Disney movie is the great soundtrack, and I’m pleased to say that Frozen doesn’t disappoint… Most of the time. The backing soundtrack from Christophe Beck does a nice job pretty much the whole time throughout of ramping up or scaling down the intensity, even if you don’t really notice so until the end. The songs, written by the married songwriting team of Trey Parker and Matt Stone collaborator Robert Lopez and his wife, Kristen Anderson-Lopez, do pretty much a great job of setting the tone throughout the movie, and, I’d expect that kids would go pretty wild over them too, since they’re extremely catchy. Hell, I haven’t seen the movie for a couple of weeks, and I still have all of the songs ricocheting through my head at the same time. This is not a good feeling.
“Frozen Heart” kicks off the movie, and it’s a lot more aggressive, and kind of darker than what you’d expect from most Disney movies. It’s not exactly “Circle of Life”, and it wasn’t an integral component for my enjoyment of the movie, but hey, I’ll take it.
“Do You Wanna Build a Snowman” is one of the two really fantastic songs in the movie, and it’s also probably the most touching, which you wouldn’t expect from its upbeat beginning. It does a really good job of showing of the two main characters’ emotional states too. “For the First Time in Forever”, while a bit more formulaic, and not grammatically sound as a title, is also a fun listen, and mostly showcases Anna’s personality: Energetic, klutzy, optimistic, yet lonely.
“Love is an Open Door” is a cheesy song that would fail in any context outside of the movie, but gets by here thanks to the charm of Kristen Bell and Santino Fontana, and “Fixer Upper” is just the biggest piece of shit, but pretty much any flaw present in those two songs are immediately made up for in “Let it Go.” The one song in the entire movie that lets only the great
Adele Dazeem Idina Menzel showcase her Broadway-honed talents, and has even people who hate this movie (Horrid as they may be) admitting under their venom-tinged that “this one’s pretty good”. I’m not gonna spend too much time on this song, because at this point, it doesn’t need to prove itself to anyone, so I’m just gonna go ahead and get to the voice cast.
While Idina Menzel gets most of the attention because of her singing (And the fact that Elsa is the most badass Disney Princess ever. Come at me, Mulan.), and Josh Gad is rightly praised for being hilarious as Olaf, the magic snowman, but stealing the show for me is Kristen Bell. I’ve never seen an episode of Veronica Mars, so I can’t really comment on her real-life acting ability, but I feel confident saying that nobody else could have played the part of princess Anna as well as Bell. A character that would’ve been a ditzy mess in the hands of anybody else….
… Kristen Bell injects so much charm and wit into the character that it’s hard to fathom somebody criticizing her performance.
Like I said, Gad is great, and Menzel, Fontana and Groff are fine in their respective characters, none of which seem to only be there to fill some bullshit stock character role, thank God. I guess you could make an argument that Olaf was kind of unnecessary, but come on, the dude’s hilarious. And that “In Summer” song? I love it. It’s so chock-full of not-so-subtle irony. Your seventh grade English teacher would love it.
I think the thing I enjoyed best about this movie is the ending. I’ll be the first to admit that the movie hits specific Disney beats. The “I Want” song, the romance (Although this one did surprise me and didn’t feel forced by any means), and, most importantly, the protagonist, a princess, of course, is helpless and is saved by, what else, true love! Oh spare me Disney, you schlocky asshole of a company! Why don’t you stick to buying every other film studio in the goddamn world, you sexist fucks!
Yes, true love does save Anna from an icy doom, but Disney wisely decides not to have Kristoff save both Anna and Elsa from their respective ends (As most other Disney movies would end) and has the girls save each other, not with the power of romantic love, that weird, undefinable emotion that compelled Prince Charming to make out with Snow White’s dead body, or whatever, but with sisterly love, which is proven, in this movie, to be just as strong. It’s a somewhat subtle touch, but it definitely won me over.
What nominations/wins did it deserve?:
- Best Animated Feature: Boy does it ever deserve that win. Hell, I would’ve lobbied hard for its inclusion on the Best Picture shortlist if I was a member of the Academy. One day, I guess.
- Best Original Song (“Let it Go”): Believe the hype.
Overall: It’s not without some minor flaws, but Frozen easily merits the hype that has made it a global phenomenon (My little cousin is struggling to decide whether to be Anna or Elsa for Halloween this year). It’s not the best Disney movie ever, but it’s certainly the best one since the first Disney Renaissance. If nothing else, it has set the bar really high for Big Hero 6.
So, as you all may know, I’m still working through my backlog of Oscar reviews that I didn’t get around to finishing before the actual ceremony and have been procrastinating about ever since. Well, the end is in sight. After finishing Blue Jasmine today, I will only need to watch Frozen, Her, Philomena and um, The Great Beauty.
Yeah, about that last one…
I actually did start watching The Great Beauty yesterday, and I was fully prepared to see it through till the end… Until I looked at my alarm clock and realized that it was three in the morning, and I still had an hour to go of watching some old Italian guy moping around Rome. I decided to remove The Great Beauty from my Oscar queue, because life is just too damn short. Oh boy, do I ever love shirking responsibility!
Anyways, the following movie is the latest one from Woody Allen,who enjoyed a good year in 2013, which entailed this movie becoming a critical and commercial success, being honoured with the prestigious Cecil B. DeMille award at the Golden Globes, and definitely not becoming embroiled in a sexual assault scandal with his daughter in law.
Anyways, this movie was nominated for three Academy Awards, netting Cate Blanchett the Oscar for best actress. However, some people with a little bit too much time on their hands were unhappy with it’s exclusion from the Best Picture nominees list in 2013. Were they right to think this? Well, I guess it mounts a better case for inclusion than Wolf of Wall Street , but then again, fucking August: Osage County mounted a better case than Wolf of Wall Street. And I wanted every character in that movie to die a slow, painful death!
Directed by: Woody Allen
Produced by: Letty Aronson, Stephen Tenenbaum, Edward Walson
Written by: Woody Allen
Starring: Cate Blanchett, Alec Baldwin, Sally Hawkins, Peter Sarsgaard, Bobby Cannavale, Louis C.K., Andrew Dice Clay, Michael Stuhlbarg
Oscar nominations (Wins in Bold): Best Actress (Cate Blanchett), Best Supporting Actress (Sally Hawkins), Best Original Screenplay (Woody Allen)
Plot: Jasmine Francis (Cate Blanchett) has it all. Despite being a college dropout (Normally a risky venture for anybody not named Mark Zuckerberg), she has lucked out in marrying Hal Francis (Alec Baldwin), an extremely wealthy New York businessman and lives with him and her Harvard-bound step-son (Alden Ehrenreich) in a colossal house in Brooklyn. Everything seems to be going really well for her until Hal turns out to be a fraudster, is incarcerated and commits suicide.
Her life in tatters, Jasmine suffers a nervous breakdown and decides to move from New York to her sisters’ apartment in San Francisco. Speaking of her lower-class sister, Ginger (Sally Hawkins) and her ex-husband Augie (Andrew Dice Clay) were two of the people who lost everything when Hal’s business ventures blew up in his face. Jasmine’s moving in has forced Ginger to postpone her marriage to Chili (Bobby Cannavale), a mildly dimwitted, if dedicated, working class auto mechanic, which leads to tension between Chili and Jasmine, as Jasmine tries to figure out what exactly she’s going to do with herself.
Any discussion about the good parts of this movie has to begin and end with the cast, especially the leading lady, Cate Blanchett, who is fantastic in the role of Jasmine Francis. In lesser hands, the character would’ve been a total disaster, but it is a credit to Blanchett and Woody Allen that they were able to develop a character that, while she may not amount to much more than a narcissistic bitch, really, is still very sympathetic and who can make the audience feel bad for her, even when the poor situations she finds herself in are more her doing than anybody else. I know that, before seeing this movie, I had rooted for Sandra Bullock to win Best Actress, but I see know that I know nothing about anything. Cate Blanchett is fucking amazing.
Oscar nominated supporting actress is also very good as Ginger, who is another interesting character, who is just trying to get on with her life and trying to raise her kids with as little drama as possible. I didn’t feel that her character was quite as deep as Jasmine, but I enjoyed following her arc, and she kept me guessing, so good for her. Bobby Cannavale is also great as Ginger’s fiancee, Chili. Chili could have easily been written as a complete and total douche, because, well, just look at the guy.
But, thankfully, Cannavale adds another layer to the character, making him, and I realize that I’m starting to sound like a broken record here, a flawed, yet sympathetic character that the audience can get behind. Sure, he’s loud, kinda boisterous and a bit of a dummy, but he also seems like a sweet guy who, deep down, really loves Ginger, even if he can be a bit of a loser.
Alec Baldwin knows how to play a slimy douche like he knows the back of his hand, and he delivers here. As for Clay, C.K., and Sarsgaar, they all do very well in their respective roles, but it’s very clear that the sole purpose for their characters is to move the plot along so that we can see more of Cate Blanchett being crazy. I suppose I can’t complain too mmuch about that, but I can’t help feeling like some serious talent was wasted here, especially in the case of Louis C.K., the funniest man alive, who damn near steals the show every time he appears.
I’m not very sure how I feel about Woody Allen personally, but speaking purely from a cinematic viewpoint, he did a damn fine job writing this script. The interactions feel real and are smartly written, and when he wants his comedic side to rear its neurotic head, he does so very well. The only problem with that is that it can occasionally feel like the movie doesn’t really know where it wants to be in terms of tone. At times, it can feel like a dark comedy that occasionally satirizes the absurdities of yuppie-dom, but other times, it can feel like it’s more of a character study, and I, personally, would have liked to see a little more of the former, but hey, I’m also the guy who gave Man of Steel a 7.5/10, so fuck me, right?
What nominations/wins did it deserve?
- Best Actress (Blanchett): Now that I’ve actually seen this movie, I can say for certain that Cate Blachett blew the other candidates out of the water.
- Best Supporting Actress (Hawkins): Don’t get me wrong, Sally Hawkins was great, but she had no hope of beating out Lupita Nyong’o or Jennifer Lawrence.
- Best Original Screenplay (Woody Allen): Yes to the nod, no to the win.
Overall: Sure, it’s got some flaws, but Blue Jasmine is a smart, occasionally funny look at a life gone astray that demands your respect even if the writer/director doesn’t, really.
Overall Rating: 8.5/10
Pop quiz: What do the following movies have in common?
- The Iron Lady
- The Wolfman (The 2010 remake)
- Alice in Wonderland (The 2010 Johnny Depp version)
- Elizabeth: The Golden Age
- The Golden Compass
If you guessed either of the following, then congratulations, you win!
- They were critically disliked, posting a score of under 60 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.
- They have all won at least one Academy Award.
Yes, it seems that during the vast majority of Oscar ceremonies (Or, at least, every Oscar ceremony that I researched until I got bored), there always seems to be one movie among the winners that should just count itself extremely lucky to be enshrined alongside true legends of cinema like No Country for Old Men, Argo and Gravity. Very rarely, however, do these movies take home a major award though (Although Meryl Streep did win Best Actress for The Iron Lady). More often than not, they win things like Best Makeup or Best Visual Effects. You know, semi-important awards, but not important enough to prevent movies like Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa from being nominated.
Which reminds me, I need to watch Bad Grandpa.
Anyway, in the last Academy Awards, the movie that joined this mediocre group of unlikely legends ended up winning two Oscars for Best Costume Design and Best Production Design, despite receiving paltry critical reviews. Did the critics blow it in their evaluation of this film, maligning it because of a brutish lack of understanding of Baz Luhrmann’s vision? I’ll let you decide, dear readers…
… But the answer is no.
The Great Gatsby
Directed by: Baz Luhrmann
Produced by: Douglas Wick, Lucy Fisher, Catherine Martin, Catherine Knapman, Baz Luhrmann, Anton Monsted
Written by: Craig Pearce, Baz Luhrmann
Based on: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, Carey Mulligan, Joel Edgerton, Elizabeth Debicki, Isla Fisher, Jason Clarke, Amitabh Bachchan
Oscar nominations (Wins in bold): Best Production Design, Best Costume Design
Plot: The movie is told through flashback by Nick Carraway (Maguire), a Yale University alumni and World War I veteran who has admitted himself to rehab in order to deal with his alcoholism. At the suggestion of his doctor, he starts chronicling his experiences in New York, where he lived when he was pursuing a career as a stockbroker in 1922.
We are then taken back to the Roaring Twenties, when jazz was all the rage, Wall Street was booming, and toothbrush mustaches weren’t automatically associated with Adolf Hitler.
Nick moves into the fictional Long Island village of West Egg, across the bay from his cousin, Daisy (Mulligan) and her disgustingly rich, cheating white supremacist husband, Tom (Edgerton), who Nick knows from their college days. While dining with his cousin and her husband, he also meets a friend of their’s, cynical young professional golfer Jordan Baker (Debicki), whom Daisy is trying to set up with Nick.
Nick also runs into some drama when he is invited to one of the many overly extravagant parties that are thrown by his next-door neighbour, a filthy rich business man by the name of Jay Gatsby, a man rumoured to be, among other things,an assasin, a bootleggr and a German spy. Nick befriends Gatsby, who, as it turns out, knows Nick from the war and takes an interest in him, as he is madly in love with Nick’s cousin Daisy, whom he courted before the war until they fell out of touch.
To date, I have seen two Baz Luhrmann movies, and I’ve gotta hand it to the man, he’s pretty damn unique with his filmmaking technique. There doesn’t seem to be another director alive who takes quite as much joy in trying to dazzle the audience not with special effects, but in using his eye for great cinematography, music and vibrant imagery to try to make his films look as much like an Italian-style opera as possible. There are times when it works out quite well, as in the case of critically acclaimed movies like Moulin Rouge! and Strictly Ballroom (Neither of which I have seen, admittedly) and other times when it feels… Out of place, to say the least, like in Romeo & Juliet, which I did see.
Unfortunately, The Great Gatsby falls into the latter category.
The Great Gatsby is one of the few classic novels that I’ve actually read for pleasure, and, while I did enjoy it, not once did I think that I wanted to see a film adaptation that featured as much flashing, overwhelming lights, contemporary hip-hop and R&B soundtrack, and Tobey Maguire as this one did. The Great Gatsby was written by Fitzgerald as a period piece about the extravagance and excess of the Roaring Twenties as well as a character study about Jay Gatsby and his relationships with Nick, Daisy and the other people surrounding him. Sure, a good deal of the book was centered on his flashy parties, but the glitz and glamour wasn’t at the forefront of it all, which, unfortunately, isn’t how Baz likes to do things. Throughout the first and second acts of the movie, the audience is simply bombarded with colours, flashing lights, and misplaced music, all of which don’t really serve any purpose other than to exhaust the audience.
As for the soundtrack, I kind of hated it. For all the hoopla about Jay-Z being an executive producer and working on the soundtrack, I only heard one or two songs by the man formerly known as Shawn Carter, and I wasn’t all that impressed. This is by no means a diss, because I love me some good rap music, but wouldn’t it have been better to use soundtrack of mostly jazz music or something? You know, because it’s set in the Twenties, which were jazz’s Golden Age?
Honestly, I do get what Baz is trying to do here: create a spectacle that can dazzle the audience with it’s beautiful cinematography. I’ll be the first to admit that that kind of thing has its time and place. Hell, there’s even a few moments in this movie where Baz’s vision pays off, especially some of the gorgeous shots of the bright lights and bustling streets of New York City. Unfortunately, it gets excessive and overwhelming, and misses much more than it hits. I feel like this movie would’ve been done better in the hands of somebody like Martin Scorsese. I would’ve much rather seen a movie centered around Gatsby (Instead of shoehorning him in at the 30-minute mark) and shot in the style of Scorsese’s masterful 2003 film, The Aviator.
Speaking of Scorsese, his frequent collaborator (And my favourite actor), Leonardo DiCaprio, is the star of this film and, fortunately, does a great job as the eccentric millionaire Jay Gatsby. My favourite scenes in the movie don’t involve the ridiculous party scenes, but rather the dialogue between Gatsby and Nick and/or Daisy. The characters in this movie aren’t very well defined, but Leo takes what he’s got and manipulates the audience into feeling for Jay Gatsby, even if the rest of the movie kinda blows.
As for the rest of the actors, well, I guess they get a A for effort. Tobey Maguire (My childhood hero) isn’t bad, per se, as Nick Carraway, but he’s pretty nondescript, as his character pretty much just serves as an object that Leo can spout expository dialogue to. Carey Mulligan is fine, albeit somewhat dissapointing as Daisy Buchanan, who is apparently the 20’s equivalent of a Manic Pixie Dream Girl. Joel Edgerton is also okay as Tom Buchanan, but he doesn’t do much more than some scenery chewing as the mustache twirling villain.
Australian newcomer Elizabeth Debicki makes her debut in this movie as Jordan Baker, and she’s, well, okay I guess, but come to think of it, her character was kind of unnecessary. I guess she did tell Nick about Tom’s affair, but we learned that later on anyways. Leo really does carry this cast, and this movie, in fact, from badness to mere mediocrity.
What nominations/wins did it deserve?:
- Best Production design: Okay, I can see the nomination, but choosing this movie over 12 Years a Slave or Gravity is a crock.
- Best Costume design: Again, I get the nomination, but I still think 12 Years a Slave deserved to win.
Conclusion: It may boast some intriguing sceness and yet another great performance from Leonardo DiCaprio, but overall, The Great Gatsby is mostly style, little actual substance.
Overall Rating: 6/10
Now that I’m done writing about baseball for a while, I’m jumping back on the (Long departed) Oscar review train and reviewing a movie that I saw before the actual ceremony, but that I put off reviewing (Along with Her and Philomena) for some inexplicable reason until now, which is odd, because I happen to have some pretty strong opinions on it. I also have, like six more Oscar reviews coming after this one (Namely the two aforementioned movies, Frozen, The Great Gatsby, Blue Jasmine, and The Great Beauty) and a couple of Razzie reviews.
Actually, now that I think about it, forget the Razzie reviews. Life’s just too short to waste an afternoon devoting myself to an analysis of A Madea Christmas and Temptations of a Marriage Counselor.
Besides, I’ve gotta free up some time to go to a couple of other movies I really wanna review, namely The Grand Budapest Hotel, because it has seriously piqued my interest, and Noah, because ditto and I’m a sucker for religious debate, and, just from looking at the movie’s ratings on Rotten Tomatoes, I can tell that this is a movie that will be argued about for a long time.
Anyways, let’s just get to this insane freaking movie, shall we? It’s got Leonardo DiCaprio in it, so it must be great, right?
The Wolf of Wall Street
Directed by: Martin Scorsese
Produced by: Martin Scorsese, Leonardo DiCaprio, Riza Aziz, Joey McFarland, Emma Tillinger Koskoff
Written by: Terence Winter
Based on: The Wolf of Wall Street by Jordan Belfort
Genres: Black Comedy, Crime Drama
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie, Matthew McConaughey, Kyle Chandler, Rob Reiner, Jon Bernthal, Jon Favreau, Jean Dujardin
Oscar nominations: Best Adapted Screenplay (Winter), Best Supporting Actor (Hill), Best Actor (DiCaprio), Best Director (Scorsese), Best Picture
Plot: The film opens to stockbroker Jordan Belfort (DiCaprio) showing his exploits off to the audience, namely his opulent salary, highly entertaining workplace, unreal home on the Gold Coast of Long Island, and his beautiful ex-supermodel trophy wife, the beautiful Naomi Lapaglia (Robbie). Oh, and his ability to consume insane amounts of prescription and not-so-much-prescription drugs. How did he get to where he is in life? Well, let him tell you through narcissistic narration!
The setting flashes back to 1987, when Jordan is just busting into Wall Street as a low-level commissioned stockbroker (Or whatever) at L.F. Rothschild. While working there, his boss (McConaughey) suggests that he adopt a lifestyle based around cocaine, casual sex and masturbation in order to relieve tension and stay on top of his job. This works out well for him and the firm until Black Monday (A global crash of the stock market), after which the firm closes down and Jordan finds himself out of a job.
Jordan ends up taking a job with a Long Island boiler room, where he takes advantage of the lax regulations of penny stocks and earns his fortune. Eventually though, he quits this and starts Stratton Oakmont with his buddy, Donnie Azoff (Hill), a burnout with similar tastes in drugs, and starts aggressively scamming people out of millions of dollars, which ends up attracting the attention of FBI agent Patrick Denham (Chandler).
When outlined neatly, as I like to think I just did, the plot is pretty airtight. Sure, it can be a little bit hard to follow, especially when he explains all the fiscal jargon that goes into stockbroking and running a scam, but as far as I know, there aren’t any holes in the plot. Martin Scorsese directs the movie excellently, like he do, although the editing was kind of haphazard.
Honestly though, the movie is three hours long, and it only really heeded to be two and a half hours long. You could skip, let’s say, from the 30-minute mark until, say, the 90-minute mark, and you will have missed nothing except a lot of sex scenes and other scenes of debauchery that didn’t need to be there.
Now that I’ve mentioned it, I guess I should mention my biggest problem (And, I suppose, one the biggest controversial aspects of the film) with this movie, which are the gratuitous sex and drug use depicted in the first half of the movie. Now, if any of you are thinking of calling me a sheltered, conservative prude, I’d like you to take a moment to remember that I’m a 17-year old straight kid. Do you honestly think I’d have a negative reaction to a nude female body without a good reason? Especially when that nude female body belongs to Margot Robbie? Get real.
No, it’s not that these scenes are evil, or immoral, or whatever. It’s just that we’re given so many of these scenes in such a short period of time (An hour is a shirt period of time in a Scorsese flick) that it just ends up losing any shock value that it might have previously possessed, to the point where I realized that I had just been watching an extremely explicit orgy in an airplane that involved several gorgeous women and Leonardo DiCaprio (Because come on, nobody’s that straight) and felt absolutely nothing emotionally or otherwise. That really sucks, because a) I like seeing hot women in various states of undress (I just realized that this post is starting to make me sound like a huge pervert. Thank God for internet anonymity!) and b) There are so many ways that these scenes could have been used constructively but weren’t.
One example in this movie of a well-placed sex scene is the one near the end of the film where Jordan is banging his wife for the last time before she leaves him. This is a great scene because it exposes Jordan Belfort as the pathetic human being that he has become, begging his wife for sex and whimpering, if I remember correctly (Screw double-checking!). I fail to see how a scene detailing how Jordan and Donnie “double-teamed” some woman in an office is supposed to convey as much importance, though.
With that said, I feel like I should mention that, in all fairness, the movie cuts down on most of the filler after the halfway point, and became miles more engaging. It doesn’t elevate it to legendary heights or anything, but it’s still excellent. It’s just a damn shame that the second quarter of the movie, or so, is so fricking weak.
And as for the complaints about this film being “amoral”, I have these two points to mention to anybody using this weak excuse to discredit a movie.
- What exactly did you expect from the guy who directed Taxi Driver and Goodfellas?
- Get off your fucking soapbox.
Yeah, this movie is amoral. So was Pulp Fiction, and it’s a universally loved movie. If you wanna criticize this movie, try focusing on its’ legitimate flaws and try not to base your argument on a completely subjective feeling like morality.
Acting/Writing: As you will soon be able to tell from the briefness of this section and the interminable nature of the last one, I don’t have nearly as much to say about the actors. They do a great job with what they have (Which is also great). What else do I need to say?
The two Oscar nominees shine, obviously, with DiCaprio giving a great (If not too close to being his greatest) performance, even channeling a little bit of his role in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape at one point, and Jonah Hill further distancing himself from his links to Judd Apatow and turning in a wonderful darkly comic performance. Australian actress Margot Robbie is fantastic too, and kudos to her for managing to hold her own on the screen with Leonardo DiCaprio while being somewhat of a newcomer. Also, she’s the hottest human being on the goddamn planet.
What nominations did it deserve?:
- Best Adapted Screenplay (Winter): Yeah, I can see it being nominated.
- Best Supporting Actor (Hill): Yup.
- Best Actor (DiCaprio): He deserved the nomination, even if he didn’t deserve to beat his co-star, MConaughey.
- Best Director (Scorsese): It’s no Aviator, but sure.
- Best Picture: Actually, no. I think it’s flaws are too numerous to ignore, and I think that it’s kinda sad that it was nominated over, say, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.
Q: What’s the only thing more boring than Nebraska?
A: Nebraska in black and white.
Directed by: Alexander Payne
Produced by: Albert Berger, Ron Yerxa
Written by: Bob Nelson
Genre: Dramedy, Dark Comedy
Starring: Bruce Dern, Will Forte, June Squibb, Bob Odenkirk, Stacy Keach
Oscar Nominations: Best Cinematography, Best Original Screenplay, Best Supporting Actress (Squibb), Best Actor (Dern), Best Director (Payne), Best Picture
Plot: Elderly Billings, Montana resident Woody Grant (Bruce Dern) lives his monotonous life with his wife, Kate (June Squibb) and his grown sons, stereo salesman David (Will Forte) and successful anchorman Ross (Breaking Bad‘s Bob Odenkirk). One day, Woody wins a $1 million sweepstakes he has won, which everyone around him tries, to no avail, to discourage him from going to Lincoln, Nebraska (THAT’S THE NAME OF THE MOVIE!!!) to collect on, because it’s obviously a scam.
This proves to be pointless, and after Woody is caught by his kids or the police trying to walk to Lincoln by himself, David decides to just humour him and drive him to frickin’ Nebraska. However, before going to the Star City, he stops in the little hick town where Woody and Kate grew up, the growing metropolis of Hawthorne, Nebraska.
In Hawthorne, Woody and David meet up with their family, who have all more or less retained their small town lifestyles, which apparently consist mainly of being old and staring blankly. They meet up with old friends and family, and, as is to be expected when you announce that you’re a new millionaire, some bloodsucking gold-diggers. With that, the wacky, senior citizen hijinks begin.
The story is about as original as (sort-of) road-trip comedies get, replacing the horny, beer-consuming teens with senile senior citizens, and actually being pretty deep, with many themes swirling around, such as forgiveness, death and parenthood. There’s a lot of emotions on display as well throughout the whole film, mainly sadness and feelings of loss, but with an underlying sweetness that really sold the movie for me (Along with June Squibb).
Did they have to make the movie so unabashedly boring though?
The title of the movie didn’t exactly suggest a gripping roller-coaster ride, but this movie has the tendency to be extremely slow. Sometimes, it worked with the humour and was tolerable. Other times, it was just mind-numbing. And as for the major stylistic choice to make the movie black and white, well, I kind of hated it. I understand that it was done to accentuate the mundane, somewhat depressing setting of Hawthorne, Nebraska, but I just found it pointless, and annoying to look at. Did they really have to try that hard to convince us that Nebraska is boring to look at?
Acting: Where Nebraska does excel, however, is the acting and the interactions between characters, especially the lead trifecta of Bruce Dern, Will Forte and June Squibb. I was not aware of any of their existences before this movie, and I’m kicking myself for it now. Dern is fantastic as the crotchety old boozehound that is Woody Grant, portraying not only a stubborn old man, but also a somewhat sad figure. Will Forte is pretty good as well as David, but June Squibb steals the show as Kate Grant, Woody’s mouthy wife. if a lesser actress had been cast in this role, this movie would probably have tumbled down to a six or so in my rankings, but Squibb (Awesome last name, by the way) brings a ton of energy to this part, and can be downright hilarious at times. It’s a shame that she had to go up against Lupita Nyong’o this year. Most other years would’ve been pretty good bets for June Squibb taking home the big prize.
The other actors do pretty damn fine jobs as well. Bonus points for having a Breaking Bad cast member in the mix.
What nominations did it deserve?:
- Best Cinematography: For all my ragging on Nebraska, it’s actually a very pretty state. Too bad it’s in black and white in this particular movie. Ugh. No to this nomination.
- Best Original Screenplay: I’d put it in the same boat as Gravity: It’s a good screenplay that moved the story along, but it probably shouldn’t have been nominated, although it was quite funny.
- Best Supporting Actress (Squibb): Hell yeah. June Squibb was epic in this movie. Too bad her competition was so tough though. Yes to the nomination, no to the win.
- Best Actor (Dern): It’s hard to argue with this one. Yes to the nomination, no to the win.
- Best Director (Alexander Payne): Nope. With all due respect to Alexander Payne (The Descendants is a fantastic movie, by the way) Paul Greengrass (Captain Phillips) and especially Jean-Marc Vallee (Dallas Buyers Club) were more deserving.
- Best Picture: It’s not a bad movie by any means, with good writing and great performances all around, but its’ slow pace and poor choice of colouring made this movie somewhat of an also-ran compared to the other movies on the ballot. A tentative yes to the nomination, and a hard definitely not on the win.
Overall Opinion: 7.5/10
And now, it’s time for: FILM VILLAINS OF THE LAST HUNDRED YEARS OR SO!…
1900-30: Black people.
1950-1990: Russians/Pretty much any foreigner.
1990-2013: Brown people with AK-47’s who don’t worship the same God.
2013: Skinny black people with AK’s.
Directed by: Paul Greengrass
Produced by: Michael De Luca, Dana Brunetti, Scott Rudin
Written by: Billy Ray
Based on: A Captain’s Duty by Richard Phillips and Richard Talty
Starring: Tom Hanks, Barkhad Abdi
Oscar Nominations: Best Sound Mixing, Best Sound Editing, Best Film Editing, Best Adapted Screenplay (Billy Ray), Best Supporting Actor (Barkhad Abdi), Best Picture
Plot: Captain Richard Phillips (Tom Hanks), a married boat captain from Massachusetts with two grown kids, is tasked with transporting the good ship MV Maersk Alabama, an unarmed container ship, from the Port of Salalah in Oman to Mombasa, Kenya. For those of you who aren’t caught up in your East African geography (It’s literally the only thing I’m good at), the route from Oman to Kenya passes through the Gulf of Aden and round the Horn of Africa, which is dangerously close to….SOMALIA!!!
Meanwhile, in a coastal town in Somalia, a group of pirates led by young Abduwali Muse (Barkhad Abdi) embark on the Somali national pastime/primary means of employment. Hijacking merchant ships and holding them for ransom. Sustaining an economy is hard to do when your country’s dominated by warlords and you have no natural resources.
Muse’s crew comes upon the Maersk Alabama, and immediately smell ransom money and start pursuing it. They catch the Alabama in the middle of a drill and start pursuing it closely. The Alabama evades the attackers for a bit, but are eventually overtaken. Captain Phillips gets most of his crew to safety, but before he and a small percentage of his crew can hide as well, the Somalis board the ship and hold them hostage at gunpoint. The standoff evolves into a highly risky, unpredictable standoff between the intelligent and resourceful captain and the wily and ruthless Muse.
Captain Phillips is based on a true story and, while it may be debatable how much of it is accurate, the movie does a very good job at creating an extremely tense atmosphere, with an excellent soundtrack and a gripping story-line that keeps you guessing the whole time, even if you do know what happened in real life.
It’s not all perfect though. I wasn’t expecting an in-depth analysis into the plight of the Somali people…
… But I was hoping that it would go just a little bit more into why the pirates needed to do what they were doing, beyond just a vague scene that involves a warlord ordering them to do it because whatever. It seemed content to just portray the Somalis as villains, with our sympathy/pity for them pretty much a result of Stockholm syndrome.
However, it must be stressed that this movie was never a movie about the unfortunate situation in Somalia, it was about Captain Phillips’ heroic reaction to HIS situation. It still would’ve been nice to get a little more depth from the villains though.
Acting: The two stars of this movie (Hanks and Abdi, bee tee dubs) were both pretty much fantastic. Tom Hanks was unbelievable, as always. He wasn’t nominated for the Oscar for Best Actor, although in all honesty, it would’ve been hard to replace any nominees this year with him. In any other Oscar class though, I would’ve given him a nomination solely for a certain scene at the very end.
The newcomer was, in my opinion the real star of the show though. Barkhad Abdi was, before this movie, a Somali-American a limo driver and DJ. Now, after appearing in his first ever big Hollywood film and being nominated for an Academy Award, I hope he can afford to get his goddamn teeth looked at.
In all seriousness, Abdi was fantastic. His performance was menacing and still somewhat sympathetic (Although yeah, Stockholm Syndrome) and was probably the second most menacing villain in 2013 (After Michael Fassbender in 12 Years a Slave). I’m sure this is just the beginning of a promising career. I’m not so sure he won’t be cast as threatening Africans, though.
What Nominations/Wins did it deserve?:
Best Sound Mixing: It definitely deserved the nomination, but it’s hard to top Gravity in this department.
Best Sound Editing: Ditto
Best Film Editing: It was good, I guess? I can’t keep this charade up for much longer, you guys.
Best Adapted Screenplay: Yeah, it was pretty damn good, but there is no way in Hell it wins over 12 Years a Slave.
Best Supporting Actor (Abdi): Barkhad Abdi was fantastic (Though not worthy of the win over Jared Leto) but again, I really hope he doesn’t get typecast as “generic African villain”, because that would suck.
Best Picture: While it wasn’t as gripping as, say, Gravity, it was still easily one of my favourite movies of the year. However, its’ minor character flaws bump it down from being a contender on the Oscar ballot to kind of an also-ran compared to the other nominees. This isn’t meant as an insult though. It was pretty fantastic.
Overall Rating: 9/10