As I write this second piece on films nominated for awards in 2017, we are only hours away from the Oscars. As such, I’ve got a round-up of 11 more film reviews from the awards selection for you to peruse at your leisure. Let’s just get straight to it.
I, DANIEL BLAKE
This film is testing. It’s not happy, it doesn’t have a happy ending, and its triumphs are small. It’s a very gritty film, but it is real; this film might as well be a documentary. It is well made, with perfect casting, and highlights a number of problems facing the UK’s poor such as job seekers allowance, appeals, the food bank, and a world that won’t listen. It even makes a point about how difficult it can be for women sometimes who can’t afford to buy sanitary products and other basic toiletries. It is a very honest and open film with a wonderful lead. It’s tough, but it’s good.
It’s not been Oscar nominated for obvious reasons, but it did win it’s BAFTA for Outstanding British Film of the Year and was nominated for a few others too. To top that off, it also claimed awards from BIFA and Cannes. Not too shabby really.
Man, I liked this film. Imagine a really good police drama with buddy cop vibes and a relationship you can really root for. Now imagine it’s an animation – hear me out – and the lead pair are a bunny and a fox. You heard me. This film is genuinely a lot of fun, and I really enjoyed it – it’s still got a great story and some lovely characters. It’s definitely not for kiddies either so it’s perfect for us grown ups. It’s an animation I’d be likely to recommend and watch over and over.
Unsurprisingly it’s been nominated for Best Animated Feature for the Oscars, Golden Globes, and BAFTAs. It didn’t win the BAFTA but won the Golden Globe so it’ll be a bit of a surprise tonight who wins. To be honest, I’d be happy for any of the animations I’ve seen so far to win.
13th is an immensely powerful documentary that genuinely holds your interest throughout. It’s excellently told and is clever with its uses of alternate viewpoints. It’s a phenomenal and thoroughly educating film that has actually moved me quite a bit. I would highly recommend this film to anyone interested in US politics, Black Lives Matter, or even just human rights or the state of America today. As a Netflix original documentary, 13th is actually available to watch immediately on Netflix, so give it a try!
It won the BAFTA for Best Documentary and is up for the Oscar tonight as well. I can’t be too confident it will win as I’ve not seen most of the contenders that have had insane reviews, so we’ll have to wait and see.
I didn’t want to see Arrival because I haven’t enjoyed most of the recent what-I-call ‘space films’ such as Gravity or Interstellar, plus I’m not a fan of Jeremy Renner. Yet I watched it and was pleasantly surprised. It’s smarter than an action film in space, and I just really strongly appreciate clever films. It got a little confusing near the end but was all cleared up, and took a more wondrous approach to space than the classic ‘bring out Idris Elba with guns’ which is nice. It’s got a beautiful score, and some great characters so it’s definitely worth spending some time on.
It’s been nominated for 8 Oscars including Best Picture, Sound, Editing, Cinematography and so on. However, it received the same number of nominations from BAFTA and only got away with a win for Sound (which it will probably receive again). The issue here is that Amy Adams isn’t nominated but Meryl Streep is. Now, kids, this is what we call a crime.
I was really looking forward to Hidden Figures for a while, and although I enjoyed it, it didn’t quite hit the mark I expected. Perhaps I wanted too much. The film was well cast and followed a greatly interesting story – a true story. I felt the film lacked punch, oomph, or maybe just a shift into a higher gear because the impact and the groundbreaking nature of the story only really hit home when the end comes, and the portraits of the real ‘Hidden Figures’ appear on-screen. My biggest issues lie in the unsupportive and uninteresting choice of music and soundtrack, the pace, and the focus.I genuinely adored the romantic subplot but felt that shouldn’t be what I wanted more of. Ultimately I wanted more Octavia Spencer.
Despite the lovely SAG win for Outstanding Cast, it fell short at the BAFTAs with only one nomination for Screenplay that it didn’t win. Tonight, it’s up for Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Picture and Supporting Actress in Octavia Spencer. I’m not sure it’s up to the level of the other Picture contenders but I can see Octavia Spencer getting a win.
I can’t believe I’m saying this but Trolls was alright. I enjoyed Trolls. I laughed out loud at Trolls. I’m glad I got that off my chest. Obviously, Trolls is no groundbreaking documentary, or heartbreaking drama, or even a great animation. It’s only nominated for that Justin Timberlake song there’s no way you missed, but as a film, it wasn’t bad. It was a bit of fun, and the sarcastic Troll manages to balance out all the other glitter-farting, sunshine-loving Trolls with their singing and dancing. It’s never too annoying and is meta enough to keep it all at a safe level. It’s just something to cheer you up a touch.
The BAFTAs paid no attention whatsoever to Trolls, and it failed to grab the Golden Globe either. I’m not hopeful this will win at the Oscars, but hey it wasn’t bad.
If anyone’s interested in why I’ve fallen out of love with Marvel, Doctor Strange sums it up. It’s cliched, it’s overly cheesy, and dumbed down, and it just seems to take excellent actors and make them appear actually quite bad. I wasn’t a massive fan of Benedict anyway, but the boy can’t do an American accent, and frankly, he’s better than this (plus his character is a massive dick, but somehow his life is great). There’s a lot of gaps, and they totally wasted Rachel McAdams. It sounds all very negative I know, but if I want to sit down and watch a clever film about neuroscience and magic, I don’t want to find the sassy cape the best part. Probably best for kids.
It’s nominated for Visual Effects tonight – which I’m not sure it will get – and lost out on it’s three BAFTA noms in Visual Effects, Production Design, Makeup and Hair.
Well. This was dark. Then again, it was also bloody good. One criticism is that there isn’t enough Armie Hammer (but then there never is), but after that, there isn’t much to critique aside from a few unimportant scenes that could have been omitted. It was an all-star cast that performed brilliantly and managed to somehow keep three timelines relatively unconfused. It’s a very interesting film and a thoroughly well laid out story. Also A+ for Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Shannon.
Surprisingly, it’s only been nominated for one Oscar (well done Michael Shannon), despite being nominated for nine BAFTAs. Interestingly Aaron Taylor-Johnson won the Golden Globe for Supporting Actor. I don’t expect it to win tonight, but I’ll at least tell you to watch it.
Moonlight is a very good film, but a very hyped up film. To be fair it is right to be raved about in terms of its story, acting, and choice of soundtrack. Yet again we have a story that should’ve been told years ago, and a story that should be normal. In regard to the film itself, the acting is genuinely top notch, as is the music, and the relationship that blossoms across three chapters. There were a few things here and there that I didn’t like, the ending being one of them, but ultimately it was a very good film that I hope lays a path for more of its kind.
It’s received eight Oscar nominations including Best Picture, and I’ll be amazed if it walks away with nothing – as it did at the BAFTAs with just four nominations. I’d love to see Naomie Harris win but Michelle Williams is also up there in my favourites.
The Lobster (or as I like to call it ‘Colin Farrell is unlucky in love’) is a strange film. Anyone will tell you that. It’s futuristic and interesting. Its story is a social commentary on our societal values of relationships above other things. The cast is an unlikely collective of some greatly underrated actors who work together seamlessly. It’s dark and full of sex, swearing, and death. Nevertheless, I actually really liked it. I liked it less toward the end (especially with a cliffhanger ending) but found it fascinating.
The film came out in October 2015 for us Brits so it’s already on Netflix despite being up for a Screenplay Oscar this evening. It didn’t win at the BAFTAs or the Golden Globes, and it probably won’t win here either, but it sure is an interesting idea to put to page.
HELL OR HIGH WATER
I really enjoyed Hell or High Water and was also just really pleased for Chris Pine because he has a lot of crappy titles to his name despite being a great (and immensely attractive) actor so it was nice. His onscreen relationship with his brother was also excellent; there was real familial chemistry there and it worked well. Jeff Bridges was obviously amazing and added even further comedy to this Texan based fast-paced crime drama. The film isn’t just a long series of bank robberies, it has heart, and is laced with emotion throughout. It’s a great film that keeps its pace and is great for immersing yourself into if you feel like getting lost for a little while.
Oscar-wise, it’s up for Editing, Picture, Screenplay and Supporting Role (Jeff Bridges). I’d say it has a good chance, but as always it’s tough competition. So far it’s failed to pick up any Golden Globes or BAFTAs, but it’s good to know that everyone agrees we should applaud Jeff Bridges if nothing else.