Another year, another Academy Awards. This year, apart from the snub of Silence, is not as controversial as many before it, in fact I would go to say that this is one of the strongest years of the Oscars yet, I would happily give the Best Picture award to most of the nominees. Why can’t we have these kinds of films spread out across the year, I spent most of 2016 thinking it was a bit rubbish for films, how wrong was I! Now I’ve already spoken about a few of the nominees in previous posts, so I’m allowing this edition of Quick Reviews to be focused on the one’s I haven’t spoken about yet. So read on and find out what I thought about some of this year’s Oscar nominees.
La La Land
The film industry’s darling and the favourite for nearly everything at this year’s Oscars, and do you know what, it’s actually quite good. It’s mix of exciting drama and musical numbers really helps elevate it as something quite special with the performances of its stars, especially Emma Stone, being the cherry on top. Personally not my favourite film on the list of nominees but a great film none the less and one that I would not be upset about if it does end up winning best picture.
Incredibly well shot and beautifully acted, Moonlight brings us a story not like one we’ve seen before, but one we can all relate to in one way or another. It’s great to see these kind of stories on the big screen, characters that haven’t been represented enough before. It’s easy to see that director Barry Jenkins has poured his heart out into this script but has weaved it together into a poetic and moving piece of cinema. For me it lacked that final bit of something to make this stand out among the rest, it slowed down too much for me near the end and it left me wanting something more to go home with. Maybe that was the point…
Manchester by The Sea
This film will make you laugh and it will make you cry, almost in equal amounts, it’s an emotional roller-coaster of a ride. It’s a story so well told and structured in a way that keeps you engaged at all times, a true character piece and one that reveals layers upon layers of depth all the way until the end. If this one doesn’t win Best Original Screenplay I will be very surprised. A really beautiful and human film.
This is an incredible true story but the film’s slow pace failed to get me more invested in the characters rather than just on a surface level. I loved some of the story choices made, such as choosing to focus on the relationship rather that what it meant on a bigger scale for social injustice, though this is still of course embedded throughout. It had great potential but it unfortunately failed to grip me like.
This film was absolutely stunning and truly uses the full scope of the medium to tell a small and incredibly important snapshot from the life of Jackie Kennedy. The film is almost dreamlike, it cuts around from at least three different timelines, held together by a beautiful and haunting score that creates a sense of dysphoria, much like the mind state of Jackie herself, a woman who is simply trying to process an horrific experience which nobody around her wants to talk about. She’s lonely, isolated, lost in the world and every aspect of the film reflects this.
One of the most gripping Sci-Fi’s I have seen in a long time. This film is one of the most beautiful looking, amazing sounding and really thought provoking films to have come around recently. I’m not even sure I blinked when I saw it, I just wanted to soak it all in and understand it. It’s not a cold film either, it hits you emotionally and this is very much helped by the performances from its great cast. I’m sure it won’t be for everyone but I personally couldn’t find anything wrong with it.
The first half of this film does not deserve an Oscar as much as the second maybe does. It’s quite corny and not very subtle in its approach when it comes to the drama. The war scenes however, are as viscerally amazing as they are brutal, they are very well done and truly pack a punch. It’s a solid war film that’s heart-warming but also a bit heavy handed at times. At least it earned Andrew Garfield the nomination that he definitely deserved for Silence instead… (he’s still very good in this though!)
I loved how colourful this film was, some of the visuals were absolutely gorgeous. The music is really powerful and I loved how it was used thematically and not just for the big set pieces (though ‘How Far I’ll Go’ is on repeat right now…). A great story for both adults and children, a brilliant and well-rounded family film. Just as good as Disney Animation’s previous film Zootopia, are they becoming the new Pixar?
Hell or High Water
This film is one that’s smart with its simple approach. It’s deeply layered in a way that never makes you root for one side of the characters over the others, the cops or the robbers. It’s a solid thriller with some great performances from all involved, worth a watch but probably not going to rake in the awards like some of the other films in this post.
Well there you go, I'm actually a little excited to see how this Oscars goes down, is it La La Land's show or is something going to come out a steal its thunder? Do you care? Let me know in the comments below.
Thanks for reading!