This time we focus on some of this year’s Oscar nominated movies:
1) Room (Lenny Abrahamson)
Starring: Brie Larson, Jacob Tremblay, Joan Allen
Run Time: 117 mins
Full review coming soon! But is well worth the watch, it really is fantastic.
2) The Big Short (Adam McKay)
Starring: Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Brad Pitt, Finn Whitrock and so many other people
Run Time: 130 mins
Everyone knows something about the financial crisis that caused a world wide economic depression. Trouble is, not many people actually understand it properly. It is a world full of abbreviations, short hand and percentages; difficult for an outsider to engage with. This is why Adam McKay, a comedy director, succeeds so well with this film. He uses a stylish, quirky and self aware touch to step away mid-scene and explain the jargon. Be it a lay-man’s definition bottom screen, Selena Gomez playing blackjack with one of the US’s leading economic minds or Margot Robbie in a bath sipping champagne. These little touches not only bring light relief but also show McKay’s desire to educate AND entertain without dumbing the film down.
The performances a excellent, all featuring the mannerisms and imperfections of the real-life people. The two real stand outs are Christian Bale as Dr. Mike Berry, a socially awkward but exceptionally intelligent investor with a passion for heavy metal, and Mark Baum, a hedge fund manager full of cynicism and rage following a personal tragedy.
The film excels in the later stages when all the stories start to come together. Due to the excellent direction of McKay who had to manage so many stories and characters whilst discussing such a complex subject.
This may not be your favourite film ever or a huge block buster. What this is, however, is a smart, slickly edited, sharply scripted and gleefully eccentric film that educates without lecturing and judgement.
VERDICT: “Truth is like poetry. And most people fucking hate poetry.”, overhead at a Washington, D.C . bar. (On screen quote from the movie)
3) Spotlight (Tom McCarthy)
Starring: Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams
Run Time: 129 mins
Full review coming soon but definitely worth a watch!
4) The Hateful 8 (Quentin Tarantino)
Starring: Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russel, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Walton Goggins, Demien Bichir, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, Bruce Dern and Channing Tatum
Run Time: 167 mins
This film see bounty hunters John ”The Hangman” (Russell) and Major Marquis (Jackson) get trapped at Minnie’s Haberdashery, with 5 other curious people, during a blizzard while on route to deliver Daisy Domergue (Leigh) to hang.
This film is classic Tarantino with striking cinematography, the exterior shots of snowy Colorado in particular alongside the thoughtfully constructed interior of Minnie’s. All backed up by a typically clever script, accompanied by a beautiful and eclectic score (from Ennio Morricone). This film is tense and exciting not in spite of but because the film is predominantly dialogue. You hang on every word trying to figure out which one of these terrible people is telling the truth, if any! Now, this being Tarantino, there is some ridiculous graphic violence which, although, few and far between may be a bit much for some but provides an intense serge of energy. Also the film is a little too long, thoroughly enjoyable throughout but maybe 20 minutes could have been cut?
Now while this is not Tarantino’s best film it is a strong addition to his canon, even on the boldness of having nearly all of the film shot in one room! It must also be said that the acting is superb especially Samuel L. Jackson, Walton Goggins and Jennifer Jason Leigh; they are dark, crazy, unsettling and hilarious in one.
VERDICT: ”Starting to see pictures, ain’t ya?”… The difference in context between this line in the film and the trailer beggars belief!
And because I haven’t yet seen ”The Revenant”…
5) The Wolf Of Wall Street (Martin Scorcese)
Starring: Leonardo Di Caprio (see there is a link), Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie, Kyle Chandler
Run Time: 180 minutes
Based on the real life of Jordan Belfort a New York stockbroker who built a hugely successful company on the back of copious amounts of corruption, fraud … and drugs.
There isn’t much to say that hasn’t already been said. This movie ranges from hilarious, offensive, seductive and disturbing. Helmed by the constantly brilliant Scorcese and great performances from the entire cast. Plus an Australian giving a convincing Long Island accent.
The film did receive plenty of criticism for among other things (deep breath):
- Moral ambiguity
- Glorification of excess and corruption
- Explicit nudity and sexual content
- Explicit drug use
- Combinations of the previous two points
- Jonah Hill having a real goldfish in his mouth
- Dwarf tossing
- Profanity – the F word is said a staggering 569 times throughout the film, a rate 0f 3.16 f**ks a minute.
Despite never running out of steam, at 180 minutes, the film is a little too long. Other than that it was a thoroughly enjoyable! Although, I did feel a little dirty afterwards.
Until next time!