Posts Tagged ‘Mad Max Fury Road’

Did Oscar Get It Right on “Best Picture”?

This is not BREAKING NEWS!

The 88th annual Academy Awards were almost three months ago and this is not a spoiler:  “Spotlight”, Leo, Brie, Alicia, and Mark came away as the winners in the movie and acting categories.

Oscar-Nominations-2014

It’s taken me this long to see all of the nominees (the exception is “Carol”, which hopefully, I’ll get around to seeing next weekend — sorry Cate and Mara!)

So, did Oscar voters get it right?  Maybe I should rephrase that — “Do I agree with the Hollywood vote casters?  Yes, except for one category.

If you’ve already seen them, feel free to weigh in.  Here are my short reviews.

BEST PICTURE

The nominees:  “The Big Short”, “Bridge of Spies”, “Brooklyn”, “Mad Max:  Fury Road”, “The Martian”, “The Revenant”, “Room”, and “Spotlight”.

And, the Academy Awards goes to:  “Spotlight”!

“SPOTLIGHT”

This incredible story is about the Boston Globe’s investigation that broke open the Catholic church sex scandal and cover-up.

The acting was above par with Mark Ruffalo and Rachel McAdams both picking up Best Supporting Actor and Actress nominations, respectively.  For both of those actors, I agree that “it’s an honor to be nominated”.  Like Oscar, I think someone else in the categories shined brighter.

GRADE:  B+

“THE BIG SHORT”

This movie about the housing bust is very talky with very little physical action and that’s a good thing.

Ryan Gosling was awesome, as always, and an almost unrecognizable Christian Bale was very intruiging.  Bale picked up a nomination for “Best Supporting Actor”, but I didn’t pick him as the winner in that category.

GRADE:  B

“BRIDGE OF SPIES”

This Steven Spielberg directed “Cold War” caper was an enjoyable movie starring the always stellar Tom Hanks and Mark Rylance, who won the Oscar for “Best Supporting Actor”.

GRADE:  B

“BROOKLYN”

I saw this Oscar-nominated Best Picture on the flight to China and what a beautiful love story it turned out to be.

Best Actress nominee Saoirse Ronan was heartbreaking as Eilis, a 1950s woman living in New York City and having to choose between the man she met and loves in the U.S. and a charming man back home in Ireland.

GRADE:  A

P.S.  I would have loved to see Saoirse and my dreamboat, Ben Whishaw on Broadway this spring in “The Crucible”.

Ben_Whishaw.jpg

Damn you, Tony Awards, for snubbing them both! (Okay, different blog at a different time!)

“MAD MAX: FURY ROAD”

I’ve never seen any of the previous “Mad Max” movies and since they star the hateful Mel Gibson, that’s a good thing.

As beautiful as Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron are, I admit that during the first thirty minute of this movie, my thoughts were “WTF”.  Oh, if that’s too harsh for your sensitivities, I was thinking, “WTH”!

But, then it all started making sense and the movie blew me away.  I want to see it again just to marvel at director George Miller’s brilliance.

GRADE:  B

“THE MARTIAN”

Here’s what I wrote in my “Random Friday Thoughts — February 19, 2016”:

“I finally got around to see this $614.2 million dollar blockbuster that’s nominated for seven Academy Awards, including Best Film, Best Director, and Best Actor for star, Matt Damon.

Everyone (and their mother) has already seen this, so I won’t write a long review.  I loved this movie much better than “Gravity”, which I didn’t like, and I haven’t seen “Interstellar”.

Damon does a great job in the role, but Oscar winning-worthy?  No.

My biggest complaint — the 2 hour, 21 minute running time was excessive and I think the movie could have been just as entertaining 30 minutes shorter.

GRADE:  A-

“THE REVENANT”

This movie took home three Academy Awards (“Best Actor” for Leonardo DiCaprio, Alejandro G. Inarritu for “Best Director”, and Emmanuel Lubezki for “Best Cinematography”).

The cinematography was breathtaking and beautiful.  While the movie was brutal, graphic, and realistic, you couldn’t take your eyes off the screen.

When I’m watching a movie and there’s an animal that is killed or injured, I tell myself that it’s a “Holly (insert animal here)” for “Hollywood (fake) animal”.  Well, there were many “Holly animals” in this one. 🙂

GRADE:  A

“ROOM”

From my “Random Friday Thoughts — March 11, 2016”:

“When I read the blockbuster book, “Room” by Emma Donough, I didn’t know what I’d think of the movie adaptation when it was announced.  Even after seeing the trailer last summer, I still was unsure.

However, after watching the potent movie that earned star Brie Larson this year’s Best Actress Oscar, my reservations were unfounded.

Because I had read the book, tears were streaming down my face after just the first ten minutes of the movie.  Tears continue to fall at different times in the movie.

GRADE:  A

So, there you have all eight nominees for “Best Picture”, the Oscar winner, and my grades.

You’ll notice that my top picks (based on grades) were “Brooklyn”, “The Revenant”, and “Room”.  If it was based solely on that, I’d say Oscar was wrong.

It was definitely a hard choice for me for “Best Picture” between “The Revenant” and “Spotlight”.  However, with the social message, the real life emotions, and the changes it brought in humanity, “Spotlight” rightfully won the Oscar.

And, I want to add that Oscar was correct honoring Inarritu for “Best Director” and Lubezki for “Best Cinematography” for “The Revenant”.

Soon, I’ll blog about the acting categories since I still need to see “Carol”.  As of now, I agree with three of the four winners.

Stay tuned  or coming soon, whichever you like best.

Anthony

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Three Movies — Two Oscar Hopefuls

As we head into the second weekend of 2016, I hope your year is off to a great start.

We took advantage of the after-the-holidays down time and got caught up on shows on our DVR:  “Madam Secretary”, “American Horror Story:  Hotel”, “Empire”, and “Zoo”.

We are still five episodes of “Quantico” behind and we started watching “The Man in the High Castle”.  Up next for the rest of the snowy winter:  “Breaking Bad”.

We also watched three movies last weekend and two of them are garnering some Oscar buzz.

“MR. HOLMES”

We’ve all heard the story of super sleuth Sherlock Holmes.  We can even catch modern versions on CBS with super hottie Jonny Lee Miller (he’ll always be Eli Stone to me) and sexy Benedict Cumberbatch in the BBC and PBS series “Sherlock”.

But, an interesting twist on the Sherlock Holmes story is told perfectly in director Bill Condon’s “Mr. Holmes”.   Condon directed the Oscar-winning “Dreamgirls” in 2006 and wrote the Academy Award-winning hit, “Chicago” in 2002.

“Mr. Holmes” stars Sir Ian McKellen as the 93-year-old long retired Holmes living in Sussex and attended to by Mrs. Munro played by the always amazing Laura Linney.

Holmes is desperate to recall the details of his last case before his mind fails him.

While Oscar nominees McKellen and Linney are always stellar, a future star in the making in this movie is 13-year-old actor Milo Parker, who plays Roger, Mrs. Munro’s son.

GRADE:  A

“MAD MAX: FURY ROAD”

If you’ve never seen any of the “Mad Max” movies (there are four) like me, you’ll be in for a surprise if you choose this as your first.

I love Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron and that’s why I wanted to see “Mad Max:  Fury Road”.

Let me just say this bluntly.  If you make it past the first thirty WTF minutes, you’ll be hooked into this dystopian look at a wasteland following a nuclear holocaust.

There’s even Oscar buzz building for the movie and director George Miller.

And, thankfully, there’s no Mel Gibson.

GRADE:  B

“NO ESCAPE”

This premise of this movie is promising and the acting is decent, but it does have some big flaws.

As the movie opens, we see the prime minister of Cambodia assassinated by a group of rebels.

It flashes back 17 hours with a man, Jack Dwyer (Owen Wilson), on a plane with his wife and two daughters.  They’re from the United States and are relocating to southeast Asia for his new job.

Maybe it’s an omen, but nothing works in their hotel room and when Jack tells the hotel desk clerk the problems, he’s told it’s happening all over town.

The next morning Jack goes out to get a paper.  On his way back to the hotel, he’s caught in a riot between police and armed demonstrators.  Shots are fired and deadly violence breaks out.

Just that scene alone is frightening and so realistic.  It’s easy to image being in a foreign country and not knowing your way around and the native language in a life and death situation.

People are being killed all over town and Jack realizes that Americans are being targeted.  More specifically, he learned they’re out to kill him because of the company he moved there for with the job.

If it hadn’t been for the totally bogus escape scene from the hotel with his family, this movie would have scored a higher grade.  But, that scene alone destroyed the realism of what is, otherwise, a great movie.

Okay, that and the fact that the director allowed Pierce Brosnan to sing — even if it’s karaoke and that’s usually bad.  But, after “Mamma Mia”, Brosnan should never be allowed to sing in movies again. 🙂

GRADE:  C

If you’ve seen these movies, let me know what you thought of them.  If you haven’t, I know you’ll love “Mr. Holmes” and enjoy the other two.

Anthony