There was a recent article I read that said that Javier Bardem’s portrayal of Anton Chigurh in No Country for Old Men is the most accurate portrayal of a psychopath in film history. I don’t know if that’s a compliment to Bardem or, if you watch this film in close tandem with Skyfall, a reason to scream if you ever see him coming at you. In both performances, as he is always, Bardem is astounding and deserved his Oscar for this film.
No Country for Old Men may be one of the most frustrating films that I’ve ever seen. The first hour is perfect, then something goes horribly awry and the back-end of the film is an incoherent mess leading to one of the worst endings in any “Best Picture” I’ve ever seen. You can’t deny the perfection of the “Coin Toss” scene, though. It’s tense, brilliantly written and a completely iconic moment for Chigurh’s character. No matter how frustrated I become at the movie’s second half, I could watch this scene a thousand times. The Coen Brothers are hit and miss with me like that. Their latest, Hail Caesar, is getting good reviews and should be something to check out when it hits theaters this week.
So let’s talk about race. You can’t talk about Straight Outta Compton without talking about race, because that’s the issue that drove the music that drove the controversy that is still driving a dialogue today. Spike Lee isn’t organizing a boycott of the Oscars because Will Smith didn’t get nominated for Concussion. It’s happening because Straight Outta Compton, one of the best-reviewed films of the year, was all but ignored when handing out nominations. Should it have been nominated for Best Picture? The Academy had two slots it could have used, but didn’t. It’s one of the strongest years for film in a decade, so is there a real snub in F. Gary Gray’s biopic of the rap group, NWA, not being a bigger part of the Oscars? After seeing it, I have to say, yes. This is a better film, a more compelling film, than at least two of the films the Academy chose to nominate for Best Picture. I could also list several others that are better than both those films and this, but I can see the reason for the anger. It’s a mirror of the anger that the film chronicles. Continue reading Movie Review: Straight Outta Compton (2015) *Incendiary Music Biopic*
Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension (or PA6 for simplicity’s sake) ends the found-footage horror series that was, for a time, a phenomenon that managed to capture the interest of even me. I’m going to put this simply: I don’t like horror movies. Life is frightening enough without plopping down cash to be scared further out of your mind, but for some reason that I cannot explain, the PA series grabbed me. The series is really the story of two trilogies; the first being awesome and the second being largely incoherent. The first film was made for almost nothing and became a huge hit so naturally it became a franchise. What was amazing about the next two installments is how smartly they wove together a story that tied into the first and began to build this mythology and story that spanned decades. Then the fourth installment happened. Continue reading Movie Review: Paranormal Activity The Ghost Dimension (2015) *Ending With a Thud*
The 22nd Annual Screen Actor’s Guild Awards were handed out and, if you want to look at who is building momentum going into the Oscars, I think The Revenant, Leonardo DiCaprio and Brie Larson have to be the favorites for Picture, Actor and Actress at this point. Alicia Vikander continued her breakout year with a Supporting Actress win and Idris Elba won Supporting Actor for Netflix’s Beasts of No Nation and on the TV Side Best Actor for Luther. Man, Netflix has come a long way. Pretty soon they’ll be a force at the Oscars, and don’t think that’s not in their plans. They pulled in a total of four wins for Beasts, House of Cards and Orange is the New Black.
The award I love the most that the SAG do that no one else does is an award for an ensemble cast. This absolutely should be an Oscar category. Rewarding an entire cast when it’s hard to single out one performance because essentially everyone was a fantastic supporting player should be done at the highest level. The SAG made a fantastic choice with Spotlight. Full list of winners below. Continue reading Full List of Winners from the 2016 SAG Awards
Kurt Russell starred in two Westerns last year, and I’m kind of puzzled as to why I ended up seeing this before The Hateful Eight, but I like Westerns and Russell starred in one of my favorites in Tombstone, so I went ahead and checked out the buzz around Bone Tomahawk. It is, in many ways, a very traditional Western with chunks of extremely non-traditional Western…..chunks of people. Is it worth seeing? I think so, especially for the script and Richard Jenkins supporting performance, but be aware that it gets bloody in Bright Hope Continue reading Movie Review: Bone Tomahawk (2015) *I Want to Un-See That!*