December 9, 2019

The Golden Globe nominations formally kicked off the Awards season with their list of nominations today.   The list is here:

Golden Globes 2020: The Complete Nominations List

My overall assessment, shared by Alison who brought this my attention, was “M’eh” in the words of my daughter.   A couple nominations make my eyebrows raise, like “Rocketman” for anything, but Best Picture and also Best Actor?   Really?!   I would have thought that Bohemian Rhapsody shine would have worn off by now.   Apparently not.   The overly long The Irishman, picks up a Best Picture, Best Director and Best Supporting Actors (Pacino and Pesci) while notably absent was DeNiro for Best Actor.   Also in the TV category it was the first time ever that the alphabet main networks (ABC, NBC and CBS) were completely ignored.   The streaming services won out, with Netflix, Amazon, HBO and FX for cryin’ out loud got nominations but not them.   It is a changing of the guard.    Game of Thrones had one single nomination for Kit Harrington.   Well deserved for an awful final season of what was a fabulous show overall.

For my watching, I finished The White Queen, which I enjoyed a good deal.  It is the War of the Roses story, a ten episode season from back in 2013, starring Rebecca Ferguson of recent Mission Impossible as Ilsa Faust.  She is played along with Max Irons (son of Jeremy) who is King Edward.   Incidentally George R.R. Martin had inspiration for Game of Thrones from these stories.  Shakespeare wrote these times as well with Richard II (who is given less glorious treatment in this series, although he is initially far more sympathetic, but grows more tragic).   As the name suggests, this is Ferguson’s series and focuses on her from being a widow with two children as she meets a young King, to seducing and marrying him, becoming Queen.   There is internal strife and all manner of game playing going on with serious consequences.  This is England in the mid-1400s.  Whenever I think of Canada and the history here, I marvel at places like England where Kings and battles for the Crown have been going on for centuries earlier.  These pale in comparison too to places like Rome and Greece and they even more less than China.   But Ferguson is very good, and it is this role that caught the attention of Tom Cruise to select her for MI: Rogue Nation in 2015.   I am certain very little had to do with the nudity especially early on in the series.   It doesn’t factor into my positive thoughts AT ALL, about this series…..well a little, maybe.   A bit.   This is on Crave, for those who have it, and can find it.   If you like some good historical fiction with swords and fancy dresses and intrigue, then this could be for you.

I noted as I posted on the movies in this review that The Exorcist did not pop up.  How odd, but I have mentioned it a few times in any Best Of List that I would compile.  It wins Best Horror film ever each time.   I was watching The Extended Director’s Cut on Blu-Ray.  I own this.   I knew that Director and story writer William Peter Blatty did not see eye to eye on this film.  They shared first names but that is about all they shared.  William Friedkin narrates the Blu Ray extras.   The extra scenes added for me, actually take away from the effectiveness and impact of the original.   For example, adding scenes in the medical testing of Regan where she is belligerent and profane with the doctors, takes away from the shock of the language that comes out of her when she is first possessed.   And oh what language it is!  In 1973, this was shocking and disturbing.   It was breaking down barriers and a slap in the face to audiences.   I wasn’t watching in the theatres, but I can imagine.   The setup takes some time, and it is necessary for both the exorcist Father Merrin as well as Father Karras and his relationship with his Mother.   You also see Regan with her Mom, actress Ellen Burstyn.   All characters are excellent.  For me, the horror and shock comes from small little additions, like the demonic face that pops up from time to time, and you can miss it if you blink.   There is dread, and one’s heart beats faster in anticipation after some time about what you could possibly see when you open the door to young Regan’s room.    It never disappoints.    It holds your attention and interest to the very end.   This is classic movie making, and for Friedkin, between this and The French Connection in 1971, he is at the top of his game.  It doesn’t return.   Any one interested in film and film making owes it to themselves to see this.  Linda Blair talked at length about the impact on her, it made her a big star straight away, but also injured her back (you’ll know the scene when you see it).   But I would suggest seeing the original, without the additional scenes like the reverse spider walk which is creepy but out of place.   This is a far cry from slasher films and mass murderer films like Halloween, A Nightmare on Elm Street or Friday the 13th where a psychopath is running rampant.   It a small innocent girl turned into a demon for no reason and no explanation who transforms the lives of those all around her.   A classic.

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