Dan Stevens has had himself quite a year. He was the male lead in Beauty and the Beast, at time of writing, the highest grossing domestic film of 2017. His FX series Legion was critically lauded and renewed. He had a great supporting part in Anne Hathaway’s Colossal, and he’s finishing the year by inventing Christmas…..or at least the second most popular tale told ’round that time of year. Stevens is playing no less than Charles Dickens, on the brink of ruin, and looking for inspiration as the characters and iconic lines that make up A Christmas Carol come to him. No doubt less factual than Domhnall Gleeson’s turn as A.A. Milne in Good-bye Christopher Robin, it’s still a good looking trailer and Stevens is joined by Jonathan Pryce and Christopher Plummer. The Man Who Invented Christmas will open November 22, 2017.
The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum estimates that there are roughly 195,000 survivors alive today. World War II ended in 1945, so most of those would have to be young adults and children at the time of that horror. In another 20 years, most of them, like most who fought in the last good war…maybe the only good war, will be gone. Institutions like the USHMM and many others have assured their legacy. The world cannot be allowed to forget what humans did to humans or it will happen again. There’s nothing new that happens in this world; just old plays with different players. Memory, loss, old age, extinction, and revenge all play out in Director Atom Egoyan’s superb Remember; a remarkable thriller and perhaps the final showcase for two of the screen’s most unappreciated actors. Continue reading Movie Review: Remember (2016) *It’s Never Too Late for Revenge*→
What a weird, wild Oscars. Eleven different films got Oscars. Life of Pi got the most little gold men with 4, but Argo took home Best Picture with only 3. Also winning 3 was Les Miserables; Django Unchained, Skyfall and Lincoln all picked up 2. Three for a Best Picture is the fewest Oscars since Crash won, but unlike that year, Argo’s win was well-deserved. I actually had very few qualms with the choices made, which is even rarer. Killing Time’s predictions went 14/20 and most times I was happy to be wrong. On a night as odd as last night, 70% isn’t too shabby.
I thought about live blogging the show on Twitter, but thanks to the miracle of connectivity, that would have meant everyone’s phones would have been bonging and bleeping every other minute and I couldn’t do that to-say-my mother in law without dire familial consequences. So here is my stream of consciousness Oscar log.
7:00 – 75% female house majority has E! broadcasting red carpet banality. For someone who operates their wardrobe on the Charlie Brown model, listening to people break down dresses like football plays is agonizing.
90 MINUTES OF THIS. IT’S LIKE A BIBLICAL PLAGUE!
8:30 – Thank God! Here we go: showtime. Go Argo & Pi! Will be attempting to measure the amount of time that could have been saved had my suggestions for reforming the show (see last week’s Top 5) been implemented. Forgot to include acceptance speech shock collars and auto-host replacement in my list…
8:35 – Shatner? ….and a song about boobs. Five minutes in and two musical numbers. Forget measuring wasted time. Have a suspicion already that will prove a frustrating pursuit.
8:37 – LOL Sock puppet Flight. Nice.
8:39 – Musical Number 3. I have absolutely no alcohol…
8:41 – Musical Number 4. Seth MacFarlane’s monologue is just like an episode of Family Guy. Islands of laughter in a sea of awkward silence….except all the targets are sitting there.
8:45 – First award! Best Supporting Actor to…Christoph Waltz! Wow, didn’t think he’d get another so soon. Thought this was a DeNiro v. Jones toss-up, but happy to be wrong. He owned that movie.
8:55 – How did someone manage to de-funny Paul Rudd and Melissa McCarthy? WOO HOO! Paperman for animated short and Brave for feature! How long before they just name this trophy the Pixar Oscar?
9:02 – Cast of the Avengers giving out Cinematography and F/X. Cinematography to Pi (Skyfall deserved that) and F/X to Pi. Beginning of a run? LOL Jaws theme chases F/X winner off-stage. Should be the new standard practice.
9:12 – Costumes to Anna Karenina. Predictable in giving it to the film that least deserved it. Ugh, Oscar nominated film Mirror Mirror. That’s a phrase now.
9:15 – Makeup to Les Miserables over the Hobbit? What the what?
9:17 – 50 years of Bond tribute begins. How do you make Halle Berry look ugly? Just wow. First montage of the evening. 47 minutes for a montage must be an Oscar telecast restraint record…..and there’s musical number 5. Goldfinger has not aged well. On any level.
9:30 – Shorts/Documentary awards. Time for traditional nap and/or snack making.
9:47 – Yeah, 150 years IS too soon for that Booth/Lincoln joke. Yikes. Affleck heard one too many. He’s turning on MacFarlane.
9:48 – Jaws 2 Boring Acceptors 0
9:50 – Amour gets Foreign Film.
9:53 – Travolta introduces ode to musicals (which is odd because this whole show has been oding musicals since it began). Montages 2-4 and musical numbers 6-8 by Chicago, Dreamgirls and Les Mis casts.
IT HAS BEEN AN HOUR SINCE A REAL OSCAR GOT HANDED OUT.
10:05 – Scientific and Technical Awards montage
10:08 – Sound awards. Mixing to Les Miserables (over Zero Dark Thirty?) and Editing is a TIE? WOW! Zero Dark Thirty and Skyfall tie. I cannot remember the last time there was a tie. (Research: last one was in 1986 for Best Documentary; only five in Academy history)
Jaws 3 Winners 0; people are looking terrified giving their speeches.
10:15 – Chris Plummer hating on MacFarlane too. Supporting actress to Anne Hathaway. No surprise and totally deserved. Les Mis has 3 now…making a run?
10:28 – Film Editing to Argo; finally one for Argo. Nine different films have already won a trophy.
10:30 – Adele performing the only nominated song that matters (musical number 9)
10:44 – Production Design to Lincoln? Okay ten different films.
10:50 – I’m just going to estimate my suggestions would have shaved an hour off this show as we sleep through the Governor’s Awards.
10:57 – Clooney and the annual death montage (#5). RIP Ernest Borgnine, Jack Klugman, Michael Clarke Duncan and Ray Bradbury. Oh good Streisand makes musical number 10.
11:05 – Score to Pi and song to Adele and Skyfall! Adele’s got half of an EGOT!
11: 20 – This show is dragging badly. Screenplays to Argo & Django, very nice.
11:24 – I want to play Unicorn Apocalypse! These ads, culminating in the Tim Burton one, make me want to play this game. I want it to exist.
11:28 – Lol @ cocaine trees. Best Director goes to Ang Lee. Best of the ones that were nominated. Kudos to not giving it to Spielberg. That movie was good in spite of his sloppy directing, not because of it. Ok, so is Pi taking this now? Argo only has 2 and Lincoln is clearly out of it…
11:35 – The French guy from The Artist whose name I cannot commit to memory is the new F. Murray Abraham. This is the last time anyone will hear from him. Best Actress to Jennifer Lawrence…should have been Chastain..AND SHE’S DOWN! DRESS CASUALTY ON THE STAIRS! Nice recovery though.
11:40 – Biggest lock of the night. Daniel Day Lewis gets his third Best Actor and no one was even in his league. Classy funny acceptance speech. Can’t believe Streep got bored and opened the envelope during the clips lol.
No idea who’s taking Picture at this point
11:45 – Nicholson and….the First Lady? Present Best Picture to….ARGO! Yes! Awesome for Affleck and a worthy best picture.
11:55 – Of course there’s another musical number. Eleven different musical numbers to only five montages. I swear I’ll never make fun of montages again. See you next year, Oscars!
Due to my considerable backlog of movies to review, we’re going to do some quick hits. I can’t fool myself into thinking I’m going to write a page on each of these. I’m just not that self-motivated at this moment, but-dammit-we’re going to get caught up here somehow. Lightning round!The Road
Strong contender for “The Bleakest Movie Ever”. You could finish a person off by double-headering this with Schindler’s List. This might be bleaker, though. I’m saying it’s bleak, people. Set in a post-apocalyptic America, Viggo and son travel to stay alive. There’s also a fair amount of cannibalism. I’m saying BLEAK. Nevertheless, it’s cinematography is breathtaking and the acting is top-notch. The child playing Viggo’s son is outstanding. Just do not watch this if you’re having a down night or you’re going to require a liberal dosing of vodka to recover. Also, Viggo is now the Kate Winslet of male nudity. How they got him to keep his clothes on during Lord of the Rings is beyond me. I’m sure there’s an outtake of him defending Helm’s Deep completely nude. The man loves to be naked.8.25/10
The Fantastic Mr. Fox While I love Roald Dahl, on whose book this adaptation is based, I hate the director Wes Anderson. I was curious as to whether which of the influences would win out, and in the beginning, it was very Dahl, but it got progressively more Anderson-y. Not a good thing in my book. Most of the jokes and themes got tired and repetitive and I found myself pretty bored by the time it was done. It’s definitely unique animation, but I wasn’t a fan.
Invictus Invictus tells the story of the 1994 Rugby World Cup, hosted by South Africa during the turmoil of the early days of Nelson Mandela’s presidency. It’s a fantastic story, but the movie can’t really decide whether it’s a sports movie or a political drama and it never quite succeeds at being both. I say this as one of his biggest fans, but why Matt Damon got an Oscar nomination for this, puzzles me. What is beyond fantastic is Morgan Freeman as Mandela. He gave me chills as the great man, and I left the movie thinking why didn’t they just do a Mandela biopic? On the back of strong acting and an interesting story, I highly recommend it, but it’s not the movie it could have been with the talent involved. 8.25/10
The Last Station Chronicling the last days of Russian writer Leo Tolstoy, The Last Station is an interesting look at the author, about whom-I’ll admit-I knew very little. It’s an actor’s showcase and Christopher Plummer, Helen Mirren, and James McAvoy all give extremely strong performances. It didn’t engross me, but it’s definitely worth a rental.
What’s not worth a rental is The Wolfman. I went in just hoping for cheesy fun, but there’s not even that to be fun in this lifeless waste. I think Benicio Del Toro spent the entire movie trying not to act. He succeeded. Just a wreck.
The Crazies What actually was a lot of fun was this remake of the George Romero film The Crazies. Justice star Timothy Olyphant is one of my new favorite actors and he does a fine job as the sheriff of a town that finds itself suddenly beset by a biological agent that turns its inhabitants into homicidal nuts. Tense and cleverly shot, The Crazies is creepy good time.
Believe it or not, we’re so backed up here at the home office, that we may have to do another one of these just to catch up. That’s not even counting the movies I really want to spend time reviewing. I’m getting my groove back, guys, but I think that will do us for today. Happy reading!