Category: Oscar Contenders

Da 5 Bloods: Battle scars never fully heal

Four men – aging Vietnam vets laden with the scars of their service – return to the land that forged them in search of their fallen commander’s grave and the gold bullion that lies with it. For a filmmaker like Oliver Stone, this story would be a bombastic tale of frustration and anger boiling to the surface without much humanity under the surface. Director … Read More Da 5 Bloods: Battle scars never fully heal

Shirley: The horror of everyday life

Movie goers are often frightened by things that aren’t real – clowns with red balloons living in the sewers, killers that strike in dreams with a bladed claw, vampires, mummies and witches. But in a simpler, yet somehow more complex way, it’s the things that are plausibly realistic and feel authentic to our own lives that prove to be the greater terror. While major … Read More Shirley: The horror of everyday life

Emma: Comedic matters of the heart

Smaller films – like independent features or period dramas – usually require word of mouth to jump start their box office success and get in front of as many eyes as possible. Autumn de Wilde made her feature directorial debut in February with a modest period comedy that was about to take off commercially after early critical success. Then the novel coronavirus pandemic forced … Read More Emma: Comedic matters of the heart

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The universal language of cinema: ‘Parasite’ breaks barriers as 92nd Academy Award winner for Best Picture

Once you overcome the one-inch tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films. – Bong Joon-ho, Oscar-winning writer and director of “Parasite” Before Sunday night, a lot of things were different in the world of cinema. A foreign language film had never won Best Picture at the Academy Awards; no South Korean film had ever earned a nomination; … Read More The universal language of cinema: ‘Parasite’ breaks barriers as 92nd Academy Award winner for Best Picture

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92nd Academy Awards preview: Parasite v 1917

For the sake of posterity, here are my predictions and thoughts on tonight’s Academy Awards: Best Picture: Going to win – 1917, the runaway winner at BAFTA and odds on favorite tonight, the Academy will likely favor an old standard in Best Picture winners: the technically proficient, period war epic Should win – Parasite, probably sitting in the runner-up chair, Bong Joon-Ho’s masterpiece has … Read More 92nd Academy Awards preview: Parasite v 1917

1917: War close at hand

You’ll never see Roger Deakins on screen, but he’s in every frame of director Sam Mendes’ new war epic “1917,” from the opening frames bathed across a sea of endless green grass until the final cut to black before the credits. World-renowned as a master craftsman in his art, the British-born Deakins achieves his magnum opus with “1917” – a visual spectacle combining his … Read More 1917: War close at hand

Uncut Gems: Loving the uncomfortable

Tense situations often provide for the best drama and leave bystanders watching things unfolding on the sidelines captivated in awe. It’s a compulsion that pulls us to slow down and gawk at accidents and train-wrecks; the very thing that allows a television program like “The Jerry Springer Show” to exist. Cinematically, that uncomfortable draw that keeps audiences on the edge of their seats can … Read More Uncut Gems: Loving the uncomfortable

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Little Women: Frantic urgency in domestic life

Another period drama remake of an oft-told story isn’t what cinema needs these days. There’s far too little originality in filmmaking to warrant updated versions of a book that already has six feature film adaptations. “Little Women” is the exception. From the opening moments where writer/director Greta Gerwig begins at the end, it’s readily apparent that Louisa May Alcott’s classic coming-of-age novel about four … Read More Little Women: Frantic urgency in domestic life

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The Rise of Skywalker: No real end to never-ending saga

Millions upon millions of dollars have been poured into a series of Flash Gordon-esque movies about the unseen “Force” around us for the better part of a half-century. Many millions more have been poured into the bank accounts of Disney execs by casual and ardent fans of the acclaimed “Star Wars” franchise that reached its summation this weekend with director JJ Abrams’ second turn … Read More The Rise of Skywalker: No real end to never-ending saga

Marriage Story: Finding the beginning in the end

We’ve been told there’s two sides to every story. Often it feels as if it’s as simple as the truth and then anything other than the truth. But what happens when both sides of the story are true but conflict, or worse yet, outright contradict one another? Writer/director Noah Baumbach explores this complex duality through the structure of a fractured relationship in his latest … Read More Marriage Story: Finding the beginning in the end

A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood: The measure of a man

What is the impact that one person can have on another? How is that one life can intensely, irreversibly be altered by coming into contact with someone? It’s a common theme in modern cinema, but rarely told as simply and unapologetically in a PG-rated film as director Marielle Heller’s latest film. “A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood” is not a biopic. It’s a wonderfully … Read More A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood: The measure of a man

The Irishman: Legacy of a cinematic Don

At the end of the day, what’s it all about? It’s a question that continuously lingers under the surface of celebrated auteur Martin Scorsese’s latest feature, a melancholy retrospective that acts almost like a career summation filled with riddles of bullets and dynamically vulgar dialogue. For the premier filmmaker in the gangster genre, Scorsese’s “The Irishman” definitively closes the book on how crime dramas … Read More The Irishman: Legacy of a cinematic Don