Tag Archives: Octavia Spencer

Movie Review: The Shape of Water (2017) *Del Toro Returns to Fairy Tales*

Sally Hawkins and Octavia Spencer in The Shape of Water
Most people think fairy tales are for children, and maybe they are in modern times but that was never their intent.  Fairy tales, the Grimm kind, were morality plays full of fear, violence, and horror.  Guillermo del Toro started his career making these kinds of fairy tales with his early films like Chronos, The Devil’s Backbone, and his masterpiece: Pan’s Labyrinth (even the Hellboy films have elements of fairy tale storytelling to them).  The Shape of Water is del Toro’s return to this style of storytelling after a decade, and he’s been showered with critical acclaim.  However, despite being a technically perfectly made motion picture, The Shape of Water is no Pan, and lacks the storytelling magic del Toro usually brings to a film. Continue reading Movie Review: The Shape of Water (2017) *Del Toro Returns to Fairy Tales*

Octavia Spencer’s 10 Best Movies

Octavia Spencer

Octavia Spencer was primarily a career TV guest star for the first 20 years of her career.  There aren’t many dramas or comedies from the late 1990s to early 2000s that don’t have a guest appearance from Spencer.  She picked up the odd role in films, but it wasn’t until her Oscar-winning turn in The Help that he exploded into one of the best character actresses in Hollywood.  Spencer is almost never the star, but any film is immediately elevated by her presence, versatility, and strength as an actress.  Equally comfortable with drama or comedy, Spencer has a deceptive intensity.  When she fixes her gaze on the target of her character’s focus, she commands not only their attention, but transfixes the audience as well.  With multiple Oscar nominations since breaking out in The Help, Spencer has become one of the most sought after additions to any ensemble cast. Continue reading Octavia Spencer’s 10 Best Movies

My Favorite Scene: Hidden Figures (2016) “The Bathroom Speech”

I’m a born and bred space nerd, so any movie that tells me a story I don’t already know about NASA’s golden age already has me at hello.  Hidden Figures wasn’t as good a film as it was hyped to be, but that doesn’t mean it still wasn’t a great story told exceptionally well with a fantastic ensemble.  It’s a both sad and practical problem that there have been so many films about discrimination that it’s sometimes hard to hammer home the vicious indignity of it without borrowing from previous efforts.

What Hidden Figures did so well was to take an everyday reality for every person on the planet-using the restroom-and make it the film’s most poignant moment of the maddening unfairness of segregation.  Kevin Costner and Taraji Henson both give fantastic performances in this film, and Henson’s quiet character finally losing her mind over the ridiculousness of having to run 30 minutes to find a “colored restroom” is a wonderfully written and performed monologue.  Costner’s response has a lot fewer words in it, but then he got to do his talking with a crowbar.

Kevin Costner in Hidden Figures

The Shape of Water Trailer #2 (2017) *Del Toro’s Next Pan?*

*RED BAND TRAILER WARNING

I was wishy washy on the first trailer for Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water, but most people loved it.  I think the second trailer is better, though I’m not getting the kind of wonder off of either of the trailers that most people seem to be.  Pan’s Labyrinth is one of my favorite films, so no one wants del Toro to return to form than me, and the film festival response to the picture has been overwhelmingly positive.  So positive, in fact, that FOX has paused pre-production on del Toro’s remake of Fantastic Voyage so that the director can focus on promoting The Shape of Water for release and awards season.  Read more from Coming Soon below.

After the film won the Venice Film Festival’s top prize (the Golden Lion), Fox Searchlight Pictures has released the Red Band trailer for The Shape of Water, the latest creature feature from Academy Award-nominated director Guillermo del Toro (Pan’s LabyrinthCrimson Peak). Check out the Shape of Water Red Band trailer below!

The film stars Academy Award nominee Sally Hawkins (Blue JasmineHappy-Go-Lucky), Academy Award nominee Michael Shannon (Revolutionary Road99 Homes), Academy Award nominee Richard Jenkins (The VisitorOlive Kitteridge), Doug Jones (Crimson PeakHellboy), Golden Globe nominee Michael Stuhlbarg (A Serious ManSteve Jobs), and Academy Award winner Octavia Spencer (The HelpGifted).

The Shape of Water is an other-worldly fairy tale, set against the backdrop of Cold War era America circa 1963. In the hidden high-security government laboratory where she works, lonely Elisa (Hawkins) is trapped in a life of silence and isolatjion. Elisa’s life is changed forever when she and co-worker Zelda (Octavia Spencer) discover a secret classified experiment.

Del Toro directs the film and co-wrote it with Vanessa Taylor (Game of ThronesDivergent). The film is being produced by del Toro and J. Miles Dale (The VowScott Pilgrim vs the World).

The Shape of Water opens in North American theaters on December 8, 2017.
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Movie Review: Gifted (2017) *A Gift Indeed!*

Chris Evans and McKenna Grace in Gifted

I almost exclusively these days review event films, reboots, remakes, spin-offs, and blockbusters, so it is so refreshing to be able to stumble across a film that’s none of those; that’s smart and funny, heartwarming and manly tear-inducing, and has a wonderful cast acting off of a superb script.  Gifted is, on the surface, a simple story, but the beauty of it is in the writing and in the deep characters built by this fantastic ensemble.  And the whole thing is directed by Marc Webb, who now only has to churn out about four more gems like this before I forgive him for The Amazing Spider-Mans. Continue reading Movie Review: Gifted (2017) *A Gift Indeed!*