Category: Oscar Contenders

Late Night: The headline of my analysis is complacency

Most moviegoers will see acting legend on the big screen this weekend as the head of an organization protecting Earth from aliens in the blockbuster sequel offshoot “Men In Black: International.” Where they should be her, however, is the underappreciated gem “Late Night,” a dramedy that sees Thompson as a late-night talk show host about to get the boot from a new network CEO … Read More Late Night: The headline of my analysis is complacency

Rocketman: Fantastical voyage

Director Dexter Fletcher’s new film is not a biopic of iconic musical genius Sir Elton John. “Rocketman” captures all the fantasy and majesty of John’s enduring legacy in a unique and magical way, cranking up the tunes in a dream-hazed jukebox portrait that lives and breathes the man’s identity without worrying all too much about historical accuracy. Theatricality and performance reign supreme in a … Read More Rocketman: Fantastical voyage

Us: The terror within

Are we our own worst enemy? Jordan Peele’s latest film, “Us,” contemplates deeply personal, introspective ideas through the lens of horror. The film’s main conceit, an ever precarious internal balance between good and evil, is pushed to the surface quite literally as a family on vacation are confronted by ominous doppelgängers of themselves, the violent opposite of their seemingly normal existence. Peele’s second feature … Read More Us: The terror within

+

Easy rider: Academy rewards safe biopic ‘Green Book’ with Best Picture

Newly crowned Academy Award winner for Best Picture “Green Book” is like clanging a cowbell at the end of Shoshtakovich’s seventh. Everyone who doesn’t understand what that means believes it’s perfect. There’s nothing particularly wrong with “Green Book,” a well-acted and competently made film, yet completely ordinary by comparison to other features in the Academy’s Best Picture category. It’s just that a film like … Read More Easy rider: Academy rewards safe biopic ‘Green Book’ with Best Picture

If Beale Street Could Talk: Poetry in motion

Intertitles, text at the opening of the film, explain how for celebrated author James Baldwin, “every black person born in America was born on Beale Street, born in the black neighborhood of some American city.” “Beale Street,” he said, “is our legacy.” Within the first five minutes of director Barry Jenkins’ latest film, “If Beale Street Could Talk,” adapted from Baldwin’s 1974 novel of … Read More If Beale Street Could Talk: Poetry in motion

On The Basis Of Sex: A remarkable life made average

Every year it seems, Hollywood races out historical docudrama meant to be a rallying cry to remind or influence Americans about a current political topic. Last year, Steven Spielberg rushed through a good, not great feature on The Washington Post’s work on the Pentagon Papers as a defense for freedom of the press amid rampant allegations of “fake news.” That film, “The Post,” felt … Read More On The Basis Of Sex: A remarkable life made average

Vice: Second in title, first in command

Three years ago, director Adam McKay broke free from his straight comedy roots with “The Big Short,” a darkly humorous, yet revealing examination of the 2008 U.S. financial crisis. With big banks in the crosshairs, the film was largely an apolitical (or at least bipartisan) thrashing of the series of events that led America to the mortgage crisis and great economic downturn. McKay has … Read More Vice: Second in title, first in command

The Favourite: Three queens and one crown

British political and societal dramas are often ripe with stoic, regal performances perfect for awards season acclaim. Films like the Best Picture winning “The King’s Speech” or Gary Oldman’s Oscar-winning turn in last year’s “Darkest Hour” are prime examples of major contenders coming from across the pond. This year provides moviegoers with yet another intricate examination of the British monarchy, but certainly unlike anything … Read More The Favourite: Three queens and one crown

Mary Poppins Returns: The possible impossible

Julie Andrews declined to participate in “Mary Poppins Returns,” a brand new sequel to the 1964 original film she won an Academy Award for, not because she disapproved of the project but rather to avoid being a distraction. Disney’s latest film isn’t a “Mary Poppins” redux, nor is it meant to be. While clearly influenced by the original in both tone and plot, Rob … Read More Mary Poppins Returns: The possible impossible

Roma: Memories of a childhood

Mexican filmmaker Alfonso Cuarón returns with a stunning, yet melancholic film sure to dazzle audiences who catch his latest work, “Roma,” on the big screen. Dripping in contrast thanks to its harsh black-and-white cinematography, “Roma” is a rich and searing look into Cuarón’s mind through a portrait of his childhood, and yet, chances are you’re never going to get the full “Roma” experience. Purchased … Read More Roma: Memories of a childhood

Green Book: A beginner’s guide to overcoming racism

It’s sometimes easy to forget that #OscarsSoWhite was nearly three years ago, a time when no minority actors or actresses were nominated in back-to-back Academy Award ceremonies. Movies like the Best Picture winning  “Moonlight,” “Black Panther” and “BlacKkKlansman” are proof that studios have begun empowering a wider array of filmmakers to examine new and old stories from fresh perspectives. The rise of Netflix as … Read More Green Book: A beginner’s guide to overcoming racism

Widows: A most complex crime

Don’t put “Widows” in a box. The latest film from Academy Award winner Steve McQueen isn’t just one type of movie, no matter how much it may seem to be a simple heist thriller at first glance. Chicago serves as the backdrop for the entire cinematic experience, and more than just a place for action to happen, “Widows” is a Chicago movie embedded with … Read More Widows: A most complex crime