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Saturday, January 20, 2018

Oscar Movie Review: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Written and Directed By: Martin McDonagh
Starring: Francis McDormand, Sam Rockwell, & Woody Harrelson
STARS: 2.5 out of 4

SHOULD I WATCH IT: Only if you're an Oscars completionist. Otherwise, wait to rent it for the performances.

Brief Description: Mildred (Francis McDormand) is driving along a rural road outside her house when she sees three abandoned billboards. She spends the last of her money to take out ad space on the billboards so that they read "Raped While Dying", "And Still No Arrests",  and "How Come, Chief Willoughby?'. As Mildred's teenage daughter was raped and murdered a few months back without any arrests or leads to show for it, Mildred creates these billboards to cause a stir in her sleepy little town and to get her daughter's case back into the public eye so that Chief Willoughby (Woody Harrelson) can re-open the case and, hopefully, solve the mystery for this grieving mother.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Oscar Movie Review: Get Out

Get Out
Written and Directed By: Jordan Peele
Starring: Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, & Bradley Whitford
STARS: 3.5 out of 4

SHOULD I WATCH IT: 1000%. It's currently streaming on HBO.

Brief Description: I've seen Get Out three times and it gets more brilliant upon each new viewing. Ostensibly, the film is about Chris (Kaluuya) meeting the parents of his girlfriend Rose (Williams) for the weekend in upstate New York. However, that's just a jumping off point for the twists and turns that occur for the oddest weekend of Chris' life. You think Get Out is a standard film about a Black man meeting the parents of his White girlfriend, and then something strange will happen. Chris steps outside in the dead of night for a cigarette and finds the black gardener running straight for him, only to turn at the last moment and you realize he's just running laps in the backyard. The black maid doesn't seem quite right either. There's something a little off about her. In fact, everything about the weekend just seems a little off. The plot will eventually come together in the Third Act (and upon multiple viewings; it's definitely worth a re-watch), but you won't know what the hell is happening in the most glorious way possible until then.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

How The Academy Awards Passed Christopher Nolan By

In 2008, five films were nominated for Best Picture. Those films were: Front/Nixon, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Milk, The Reader, and the winner Slumdog Millionaire. 2008 also saw the rise of one of the greatest films of all time. The film has a 9.0 on IMBD.com and is ranked the #4 film of all time by the site, it has a 94% on Rotten Tomatoes, and, at the time, was the 2nd highest grossing domestic film ever. The film was both a cinematic achievement shaping the way we not only viewed superhero films, but films in general, and a commercial smash. It was nominated at the Academy Awards for Best Cinematography, Best Editing, Best Art Direction, Best Make Up, Best Sound Mixing, and Best Visual Effects and it won the Oscar for Best Sound Editing and Heath Ledger won for Best Supporting Actor.

That film is obviously The Dark Knight. Conspicuously, the three major Academy Award nominations the film did not receive was Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Director, and most notably Best Picture. In fact, The Dark Knight's snub in the Best Picture category famously helped paved the way for the Best Picture expansion we see today where up to 10 films can earn a nomination. Since the expansion, we've seen genre and action films like Avatar and Mad Max: Fury Road earn Best Picture nominations (as well as nominations for their directors). We have also seen the rise of genre and actions shows in television awards as well with Game of Thrones sweeping the Emmys in recent years.