Archive for February, 2019

Oscars 2019

February 24, 2019

This year the Oscars, perhaps you’ve heard, are a mess. A big sad pile of mistakes, one after another, for months on end. It remains a stunning run of incompetence that may never be equalled, because the world is slowly burning and we may be dead soon. BUT UNTIL THEN, lets celebrate the movies.

I once again took it upon myself to watch all the films nominated for best picture, along with some of the films nominated in other categories, but I didn’t come close to completing the Oscar Death Race to watch every nominated film though I salute those who try(hi Robin).

BlacKkKlansman

Spike Lee, never before nominated for best director which is insane but also very Oscars. Gotta get Daldrey in there, we get it. BlacKkKlansman is not Spike’s best film, as we are all obligated to say with maximum Oscars shade, but it is very entertaining, full of wonderful bits of style, the obligatory dolly glide, and very messy third act(a common movie problem if we’re being honest). It’s actually one of the better nominees for best picture. But that third act! We’re all over the place, man! One second the cops are good, then they’re bad, then they’re good again, then they’re woke(this part was impossible to believe) and then we are crushed with footage from Charlottesville. I know some people don’t like the way Spike is connecting the handling of the KKK in the 70’s with recent events. Those people are racists.

Black Panther

Black Panther is a commercial and critical juggernaut that I thought was just fine. It is a landmark for representation in studio filmmaking and it is certainly entertaining. Things I really liked: Michael B. Jordan as Killmonger. Strongly developed supporting characters. A clear storyline that doesn’t require a deep history with Marvel lore. Things I didn’t like: messy third act(there it is again), shoddy action and CGI, and T’Challa is the least interesting character. On this list of best picture nominees, it’s on the higher tier. But in the realm of Marvel, it’s in the middle. It’s certainly no Iron Man 3.

Bohemian Rhapsody

It is crazy how much this movie sucks. From the moment you see Rami Malek trying to keep his fake teeth in his mouth it is just one groaner after another. Scene after scene of characters giving each other credit for song writing. Scene after scene of Freddie Mercury treating his queerness like it is something he is being tricked into(and then never following through). No one does any drugs, all the other members of Queen are apparently good family men who go home to their wives and children every night while Freddie Mercury cries himself to sleep in his big empty house with his cats. The most telling moment is near the end of the film when Freddie goes to the other members of Queen to get them to reunite for LiveAid(this didn’t happen). Freddie proclaims extreme fealty to the band, laying himself at their mercy. Brian May asks Freddie to leave the room. “Why did you ask him to leave?” someone asks. Brian: “Because I can.” When it came time to print the legend or the truth, Brian printed the legend of himself. What a power move. I thought this guy was your friend.

The Favourite

Director Yorgos Lanthimos has quite the career, indulging in gross art schlock for most of his career, with what appeared to be diminishing returns. With The Favourite he does a sudden pivot to Oscar prestige, but this time he does away with the animal cruelty(mostly) and ups the humor. There is a lot of talk of category fraud since this movie has three leads, and all that talk is completely true. Everyone does a great job, but Emma Stone comes out the winner for me because damn, what can’t she do? In the years to come people will say “She won her Oscar for what? Not The Favourite? That is so wild. Oh look, the ocean is on fire again.”

Green Book

An admitted liar and bullshitter is profiled in this story about how he turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to one of the most talented musicians who ever lived. The fried chicken scene is a hate crime, props to Mahershala for not walking off the film.

Roma

Alfonso Cuaron is a master of film, one of our greatest living directors. Roma is his examination of a period of time in the life of a maid working for a wealthy family in Mexico City. It is technically impressive, with quite a few breathless long takes that Cuaron never draws attention to, and you only notice when you realize you’re holding your breath. That said, it does fall into the category of something like 12 Years a Slave, a stunning, emotional achievement that I can’t see myself watching more than once.

A Star Is Born

Remember when this thing was the frontrunner? When people were writing articles about how it was going to sweep? What a time to be alive. Now it looks like it ain’t winning a thing(maybe best song but I DUNNO) and that is too bad because I loved it! Bradley Cooper transforms himself here. This is acting, baby! His voice is different, he learned how to play guitar! He does all his singing! He did it live! Lady Gaga, also very good! The intense close ups, the parking lot scene, the Grammys scene(omg), the cut away to the flashback in the final song(OMG)! A Star Is Born(2018) is an all timer, looking forward to Cooper making a couple more crushers, getting his Oscar right before we all die in a measles outbreak in 2035.

Vice

Vice is some smug liberal shit, and I say that as a smug liberal. Adam McKay tries to do The Big Short Part Deux but he can’t decide if he wants to play things straight or comedic. Long scenes between characters happen that appear to be exactly how these kind of halls of power conversations go down, without any embellishment. It’s boring. Bad man does bad things because he can, intercut with a narrator with a “surprise” connection to Dick Cheney. Every now and then we get a weird joke that comes out of nowhere, like the credits running half way through. Just go in, Adam. Rip him to shreds. Also the post-credits tag is straight backpedalling trash. Manages to alienate everyone.

As I write this, I don’t see a clear winner. Roma has the prestige feel, but it is a foreign language film, and one has never won Best Picture before. I feel like something as terrible as Bohemian Rhapsody could win! That’s how bad it is out there, people. Personally, I’m rooting for a A Star Is Born come back. Cooper gets a write in director vote! What a twist!

hey, since we’re here, my list of the best films I saw in 2018

  1. Mandy

2. The Night Comes For Us

3. Mission Impossible: Fallout

4. A Star Is Born

5. First Reformed

6. Hold The Dark

7. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

8. Upgrade

9. Game Night

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