I was delayed in writing up my review of the following. But here goes, and having seen Alison’s detailed and valuable review of the Oscar nominated films, I have a few to still cross off my list (I have three to go). Fences, Hacksaw Ridge and LaLa Land. I have deliberately avoided LaLa Land, and the reason is I don’t feel the need to spend the full fare in a theatre when I will get it fully on the small screen. Many of the nominees are the same way. Incidentally, I laughed out loud with the Emma Stone comments from Alison that I completely agree with! I don’t find her attractive. In fact quite the opposite, I think her face is just messed up. But I digress, but the comment made my day. This year, there is no epic, big screen wonder that requires the big screen in all of its glory. In hindsight, I wish I had seen Hell or High Water on the big screen for the panoramas of the landscape in Texas. A visit to the Chinese mall (I am shamed) netted Moonlight, Girl On a Train and Patriots Day. Here we go.
Patriots Day stars Marky Mark with the same director as Deepwater Horizon. Same basic facts and script with a fictional Marky Mark, making his way through otherwise factual content (roughly anyway). As someone who has run a half marathon, and other running events, the Boston Marathon is the Superbowl of runs. Here I can only imagine the poor saps who have been running for hours to at the end have not one but two bombs cut them down with flying nails and sharps. With that backdrop, then we have the cops and other persons in authority (including Kevin Bacon and John Goodman) trying to find the bad guys. I have vague memories of these events and like girlfriend I thought that bombing and then the tracking down of these guys took place much quicker. I was in awe with the one confrontation scene were I was convinced that the bad guys were in trouble – how the hell could they not have been, and I would have thought I would have remembered the news coverage on it better. I didn’t. Suffice it to say, this is a decent job on a known story. The number of resources thrown at this, and the city shut down is staggering. Each actor earned a pay cheque but otherwise it was not memorable for me. The exception is the survivors and those who carry on and find ways to not let an act of terror define them nor how they will be running their lives.
Moonlight. I wrote to Alison about how I am challenged this year with protagonists who are insular and keep to themselves without voicing too much about feelings and what is going on in their heads. Casey Affleck is here, as well as now the three Moonlights. I felt for Moonlight at all the stages of his life. I found his adult-self interesting in his choice of profession giving his background and his connection with Ali. Ali, also by the way, was in Hidden Figures, who also has Ali’s wife’s character too in it (as the engineer). Still I was not moved to tears. Again for the people who don’t voice their challenges, their agonies and their torments, it makes it more difficult for the viewer. And they both (Affleck) and Moonlights says so much with their eyes and body language. In the end though, the stories are plodding along and don’t really go anywhere. They are character pieces and stand on their own right, but these aren’t movies I would seek out and add to my DVD collection and watch time and again. My list of Top 10 films of all time are all movies I have seen more than once, and I own – and can treat like old friends who I enjoy getting acquainted with yet again. There are films where I come out and say “that was the Best Picture” with my viewing and re-viewing of The Imitation Game doing that for me a couple years ago. It didn’t win. But it will be remembered later I think – in the same way the Saving Private Ryan is remembered moreso than Shakespeare in Love. I am reminded that Oscar doesn’t always get it right.
Girl On A Train. I like Emily Blunt. I think that she is growing in her abilities and in last year’s Sicario showed more depth and range than from other films. I still think too that her connection and chemistry with Maaaa-tt Daaamon in The Adjustment Bureau is palpable and one of the finest in recent memory. From a male-female relationship perspective to be clear. I didn’t like her in this movie. I didn’t like this movie that I found manipulative. I didn’t really like the Jennifer Lawrence look-a-like who ends up disappearing. I don’t like how Blunt’s character is inebriated and fall down drunk and looking every bit the part in appearance for most of the film. Because this book was so popular, the expectations were so very high with this. It failed. I did not read the book and have no desire given the movie. The tangled webs that women weave here are something (like Gone Girl) that makes guys cringe in a Fatal Attraction kind of way! This movie is one that lives down to its billing.
Rob’s Top 10 of ALL TIME (made more difficult as there are some genres that get short changed, and could be done by Director, or Actor etc.):
Godfather I and II
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
Silence of the Lambs
Honourable mentions: The Matrix, Snow White & Seven Dwarves, The Imitation Game, Pan’s Labyrinth, Million Dollar Baby, Finding Nemo, Cool Hand Luke, Terminator 2, Alien, Avatar.