One good movie, one meh movie

On Friday evening, Wife M and I watched Hacksaw Ridge with sister K.  It has been highly touted and nominated for a Best Picture Oscar, with some calling it a modern Saving Private Ryan.  To that, I say: seriously?  The thing about Saving Private Ryan is that it took an entire new look at World War 2 using advances in cinematography; I saw SPR twice in theaters and both times the audience was stunned into silence; everyone stayed until the credits were over and the lights went on, and you could’ve heard a pin drop as people filed out.  I couldn’t sleep that first night I saw it in 1997, I was so disturbed by what I’d seen.  But Hacksaw Ridge adds nothing really new, and changed some of the facts of the real story that the real Dodd so desperately wanted unchanged for Hollywood that he refused to sell the movie rights for many years.  Other than the Dodd family, I didn’t feel attached to the characters, and sometimes I suppressed an eye roll (like when the dad broke in at the perfectly correct time, or when Dodd pulled Vince Vaughn at full speed on his rain slicker while Vaughn machined gunned down an entire Japanese platoon behind him).  Flags of our Fathers, Saving Private Ryan, the Deer Hunter, A Thin Red Line, Paths of Glory, etc. etc. etc. were far more creative movies – I give this one a C for telling a decent story decently, but in no way was it a Movie of the Year candidate. On the plus side, I loved the performance of Dodd’s dad, who was the “villain” in The Matrix and the Elf king in Lord of the Rings.

But yesterday wife M and I watched Tony Erdman at the Uptown.  The film was nominated for Best Foreign Film.  It was wonderful!  Three hours long but didn’t feel like it, with a quirky prankster father who is able to finally reach his career-driven and unhappy daughter.  The theater laughed out loud for much of the movie at the quirky dad, and I thought the scene where the daughter struggles in her dress, then out of her dress, then in then out then finally just steps into the party naked was wonderful and brilliant.  I loved the performances, and really liked the daughter’s performance since I thought she did a good job of looking uncomfortable while trying to seem composed.

Wife M went out with girlfriends a few nights ago and they made a plan for a group Academy Award night  where we’ll watch the Oscars together.  Fun!!!

 

 

 

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One good movie, one meh movie

Did not like the movie “Lion”

Saw Lion at Sundance Theater with Wife M.  

The theater was *packed*, with all showings sold out and loooonnnnnggggg lines at the cocktail bar.  But it also added to some of the fun, and we met a nice woman a little older than me while we waited, and talked about our favorite movies of the year (all agreed that it is Moonlight, so far) and the shock of Trump’s decision to ban muslims from the country (another woman turned around and said she couldn’t believe that this is the modern US doing this).  Our new friend made the comment how awful it must be for Trump’s wife to have sex with him, how she must just closer her eyes and remind herself that it (sex) will soon be over and she now has all that money 🙂

The movie Lion was disappointing. It started out with a great premise — here was a poor family in India whose young son steps on a train that takes him 1000 miles away – it is something I can picture happening and what is worse picture the horror of everyone involved.  

But sooooo much of the movie is formulaic and predictable.  And half the movie is the man wallowing and clicking on the computer while his codependent girlfriend tries to keep him grounded.  At least 10 minutes of the film is watching the boy speed on the train (we got it after a minute) and another 15 minutes is shown with the man clicking on the computer in misery, as though watching a man search Google Earth really can be all that interesting.  Finally, the symphony music plays the entire film without a break.

What is disappointing is the movie could have been so much more.  As Wife M said, what if it were told from the mom’s point of view?  She is poor and loves her family, and one day her two boys don’t return home from searching for food – every parent’s worst fear.  Then she gets word that one of the boys was found dead (the worst!!) and the other has not been found (torture).  So she spends the next 20 years praying every week, riding the rails whenever she can to search for her son.  In the meantime, because she has two less mouths to feed, she can now afford to send her two surviving children to school for better lives (what a bittersweet moment the graduation must have been).  Then, after all realistic hope has been lost for 20 years, her boy arrives again as a grown man.  Goosebumps!  And could have been an inspiring movie for those poor paretns of missing children.

I get why people cried in the film – it is a tear jerker when the mom and boy are reunited to symphony music in the background — but the movie pales in comparison to Moonlight and was not a great investment of 75 bucks for movies, parking, etc.

Did not like the movie “Lion”

It’s Academy Award time!

Wife M and I have been our annual hobby of watching all the Oscar Nominated films.  Below is this year’s nominees, as copy-and-pasted from Huffington Post.  So far, my votes:

  • Moonlight, Best Picture
  • La La Land, Best Director (I can’t imagine pulling off a musical, plus cinematography)
  • Trevante Rhodes, Best Actor, Moonlight, Not nominated but I don’t care.

Best Picture
“Arrival”
”Fences”
”Hacksaw Ridge”
”Hell or High Water” – Loved this! Held my interest, great performances, great theme.
”Hidden Figures”
”La La Land” – Loved this!  Touching, stars were great, beautiful cinematography.
”Lion”
”Manchester By the Sea”
”Moonlight” – My choice. Great performances, theme, symbols; touching story.

Best Director

Denis Villeneuve, “Arrival”
Mel Gibson, “Hacksaw Ridge”
Damien Chazelle, “La La Land”  Great!
Kenneth Lonergan, “Manchester by the Sea”
Barry Jenkins, “Moonlight”  Great!

Best Actress

Emma Stone, “La La Land” Great!
Natalie Portman, “Jackie”
Ruth Negga, “Loving”
Meryl Streep, “Florence Foster Jenkins”
Isabelle Huppert, “Elle”

Best Actor

Casey Affleck, “Manchester by the Sea”
Andrew Garfield, “Hacksaw Ridge”
Ryan Gosling, La La Land” Great!
Viggo Mortensen, Captain Fantastic”
Denzel Washington, “Fences”

Best Supporting Actress

Viola Davis, “Fences”
Naomie Harris, “Moonlight” Great!  Couldn’t believe it was same Miss Penny.
Nicole Kidman, “Lion”
Octavia Spencer, “Hidden Figures”
Michelle Williams, “Manchester by the Sea”

Best Supporting Actor

Mahershala Ali, “Moonlight”
Jeff Bridges,”Hell or High Water” Great
Lucas Hedges, “Manchester by the sea”
Dev Patel, “Lion”
Michael Shannon, “Nocturnal Animals”

Best Adapted Screenplay

“Arrival”
”Fences”
”Hidden Figures”
”Lion”
”Moonlight”  Great!

Best Original Screenplay

“Hell or High Water” Great
”La La Land” Great
”The Lobster”
”Manchester by the Sea”
”20th Century Women”

Best Foreign Language Film

“Land of Mine,” Martin Zandvliet, Denmark
”A Man Called Ove,” Hannes Holm,  Sweden
”The Salesman,”  Asghar Farhadi, Iran
”Tanna,” Bentley Dean, Martin Butler, Australia,
”Toni Erdmann,” Maren Ade, Germany

Best Documentary Feature

“Fire at Sea”
“I Am Not Your Negro”
“Life, Animated”
“O.J.: Made in America”

Best Animated Feature

“Kubo and the Two Strings”
”Moana”
”My Life as a Zucchini”
”The Red Turtle”
”Zootopia”

Best Film Editing

“Arrival”
”Hacksaw Ridge”
”Hell or High Water”
”La La Land”  Thought this was great. Some beautiful dissolves.
”Moonlight” Great

Best Original Song

 “Audition (The Fools Who Dream),” La La Land Beautiful
“Can’t Stop the Feeling,” Trolls
“City of Stars,” La La LAnd Beautiful
“The Empty Chair,” Jim: The James Foley Story
“How Far I’ll Go,” Moana

Best Original Score

“Jackie”
”La La Land”
”Lion”
”Moonlight”
”Passengers”

Best Cinematography

“Arrival,” Bradford Young
”La La Land,” Linus Sandgren  Wow!!!
”Lion,” Grieg Fraser
”Moonlight,” James Laxton Wonderful, but La La Land was one of the best I’ve seen.

Best Costume Design

“Allied”
”Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”
”Florence Foster Jenkins”
”Jackie”
”La La Land”

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

“A Man Called Ove”
”Star Trek Beyond”
”Suicide Squad”

Best Production Design

“Arrival”
”Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”
”Hail, Caesar!”
”La La Land”
”Passengers”

Best Sound Editing

“Arrival”
”Deepwater Horizon”
”Hacksaw Ridge”
”La La Land”
”Sully”

Best Sound Mixing

“Arrival”
”Hacksaw Ridge”
”La La Land”
”Rogue One”
”13  Hours”

Best Visual Effects

“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”
”The Jungle Book”
”Doctor Strange”
”Fantastic Beats and Where to Find Them”
”Arrival”
”The BFG”
”Kubo and the Two Strings”
”A Monster Calls”

Best Short Film, Live Action

“Ennemis Intérieurs”
”La Femme et le TGV”
”Silent Nights”
”Sing”
”Timecode”

Best Short Film, Animated

“Blind Vaysha”
”Borrowed Time”
”Pear Cider and Cigarettes”
”Pearl”
”Piper”

Best Documentary, Short Subject

“Extremis”
”4.1 Miles”
”Joe’s Violin”
”Watani: My Homeland”
”The White Helmets”

It’s Academy Award time!