Oscar winner Moonlight leaves La La Land behind

So the Oscars is all about Brian Cullinan and PwC, as well as Warren Beatty a little bit. La La Land and Moonlight both ended up with the attention they didn’t deserve. So how about the movie itself? Is it really that good or just a bit boring really?

Moonlight is absolutely beautiful and well made movie. Mahershala Ali was probably the best part of the story and I wished he’d have had more screen time. Oscar definitely well deserved. One of the favourite performances I’ve seen in a while.

I think the movie ends up feeling a bit superficial, maybe due to trying to avoid some usual clichés, or simply because of trying to fit in too much. The actors do hold the movie together, but I’m still about to say Moonlight seems unnecessarily long. In other words, it’s a bit boring, really. We get to see some powerful acting and reactions, but a lot of time there’s just the powerful atmosphere and nothing else. It is beautiful, but it is definitely lacking any attempt to show how bad the problems the character(s) are facing in life. It’s obviously not sugar coated, but it’s not far off. Not saying we need to see all the misery in the world all over again – I know it’s all been shown before, over and over. But there’s definitely something missing here. Maybe something you might find in a Mike Leigh film.

Barry Jenkins directs the actors well though, and all of them do a good job, though the first part / act, however you want to call it, while seeming slightly unrealistic, felt more powerful than the following parts.

Again, not really knowing anything about the movie in advance, apart from knowing it’s nominated for Oscars in a few categories, was probably a good thing. We definitely need more movies like this and more of the same in the Oscars and Baftas and all the rest. But just because it’s the only one, doesn’t mean it’s all that good. Maybe it’s alright, but in order to win you have to be amazing and that’s just not true. And before anyone else starts complaining, of course this is not the only movie out there revolving around these issues, but which other movies do you hear people talking about and getting nominated. More good movies dealing with important issues need more exposure, better marketing, more publicity, and at the moment that still seems to be difficult.

Watch Moonlight trailer below

Forrest Gump climbs to Hacksaw Ridge

As I think is usually best, I went to the cinema not knowing a whole lot about Hacksaw ridge. I didn’t know it’s Mel Gibson’s movie. I guess I should have guessed when the blood started spilling out.

Andrew Garfield in Hacksaw Ridge

Before watching the movie, someone I spoke with mentioned that he might not want to see it because it has ‘the guy from the spiderman movie’. So that’s Andrew Garfield. I’d seen the spiderman one, and I said it didn’t bother me, even if Garfield is not in any list of favourite actors of mine.

While I think Andrew was good, and the acting was solid, I had to go back to my friend and tell him Andrew Garfield is by far more annoying in Hacksaw Ridge. But that’s, you know, just my opinion, man. So that’s the link to the oscar nomination, if you were wondering. Even without having seen any of the other ‘Actor in a leading role’ category movies, I’d rather pick Viggo or Denzel.

Of course Hacksaw Ridge itself is also nominated, as is Mel Gibson. I did really enjoy the movie. And Mel Gibson is one of the best, if not the best director in depicting violence in gruesomely detailed fashion. The fighting scenes were the most memorable parts of the movie.

Mel did alright with the script he had to work with, in terms of directing actors, at least Garfield and Teresa Palmer. At least a few times during the movie I actually thought to myself, ‘this isn’t going to work’, and yet the scene somehow pulled it off. Some of the actors did a good job working with a very American, somewhat cheesy script, while some were not able to live up to their full potential. Some of the characters were just not very believable, or the changes in their behaviour were so drastic it was more comical than dramatic.

When it is a ‘based on a true story’ movie, problems with predictability can apparently be thrown out of the window. I noticed the same with Deepwater Horizon and Sully. I’m not sure it bothers the audience, but it really should. Just recreating and acting events as closely as possible to real life should probably be left for documentaries, and movie writers and directors should be brave enough to make the movies their own. Any anecdote told by Desmond T. Doss himself is likely to be much more moving than a piece of film with two actors trying their best to recreate the moment.

Then there’s the Full Metal Jacket part of the movie that just fails like all the others before it. And the Forrest Gump moments, whether intentional or not.

All in all, I did enjoy Hacksaw ridge, with its flaws and all, but after a rethink there’s quite a bit of room for improvement. We’ll soon see if the academy agrees.

Watch Hacksaw Ridge traile below

Silver Linings Playbook


I thought I went to see just another romcom. And I thought it was weird a romcom was nominated for so many (i.e. any) Academy Awards. And I didn’t think it would win the Oscar for best actress for  . I also didn’t expect the movie to be exceptionally good. But I did really like it. And maybe it’s more drama than romance or comedy. But if I had to categorise, it’d still be a romcom, just a good one. Or how else do you explain and in it (not it being good, but a romcom)?

And was good too. Probably his best role so far. But I loved , whether it was an Oscar Academy Award worthy performance or not.

I suppose I would have been less doubtful had I known did  The Fighter and Three Kings, although The Fighter was nothing like The Wrestler. In fact this was probably best movie by him that I’ve seen.

Natalie Portman week: Black Swan Lake

Well, Natalie is back. And with another star of “That ’70s Show”, this time Mila Kunis. So anyone who’s read my previous post, scratch that, Ashton Kutcher is not the only one from that show to get on big screen, although Mila Kunis maybe isn’t quite there yet, but definitely on her way.

This movie nothing like Rosemary’s Baby, yet I get a similar feeling watching it. And quite approriately so, goosebumps throughout the film (there’s no such thing as swanbumps is there?), that’s how good it is. And Natalie Portman is great. A lot of people would say perfect, for reasons I’m not getting into right now. But I don’t think she was perfect, just really great. To be perfect she’d have to have danced ballet since she was born and somehow led a double life out of body experience to get all the acting experience as well as I don’t think you can perfect both, there’s not enough time and talent in the world for that. But to be fair, she’s brilliant, amazing and dedicated to a degree most people would find impossible. So dancing aside, she’s deserving all the statues and prizes and the rest, and it’s oscars today so there we go, not sure she needs any luck with that one.

As far as films go, Black Swan is definitely something you should consider seeing. It’s probably not competing for the best film of the year with some other strong contestants out there, but Darren Aronofsky‘s latest is definitely one of the best of the decade, although the decade is surely very young still. Well shot, really cool special effects (maybe surprisingly), and amazingly intense acting from all parties, not forgetting that Natalie Portman alone is the one true star of Black Swan. I’m not sure about the cinematography at times, especially the graininess of it, but I’m not really complaining. Just saying that it’s not quite there with the likes of True Grit, but then again some might say Roger Deakings isn’t easy to beat.

Vincent Cassel is great as usual, his accent maybe suitable as well, although does annoy me a little bit. I know there’s been some criticism regarding his role and the realism of the whole dancing and coaching and all, but after all, it’s only a movie. Barbara Hershey is also amazingly good, Mila Kunis is ok, as well as Winona Ryder, and the rest of the dancer’s just deal with dancing really, as they should.

Black Swan is beautiful, the dancing and the music mesmerising, the story is gripping and everyone should see this film.

And after you’ve seen Black Swan, and definitely not before, check out these two links about visual effects in Black Swan. http://www.firstshowing.net/2011/watch-stunning-visual-fx-featurette-for-aronofskys-black-swan/ and http://www.fxguide.com/featured/black_swan_takes_wings/. I know it’s no Inception or Avatar 3D, or Black Swan 3D, but still.

Natalie Portman week: No G-Strings Attached

I’ve started to think that Ashton Kutcher is probably quite a nice guy, and he can do a bit of acting as well, even if just on a limited scale. Can’t say that I like him though. I think it’s because of his role in the seventees show, or just the way he looks. But I like his films better than I like him, or maybe how he looks. But nevermind, I’m a guy, I can’t be expected to like other guys. I’m just saying I’d rather be watching someone less annoying act in films that are actually watchable. Then again, it’s just my opinion about him, and most people would probably rate all his films fairly low. And yet “That ’70s Show” is such a cool show and he’s almost the only person of the whole cast to be acting in some pretty big films. And then there’s Demi Moore. What’s that all about then… Long story short, I’m starting to tolerate the guy, and No Strings Attached is slightly above average when it comes to these rom com romantic comedy movie thingies. I’t s really no oscar material, but hey, nobody said it would be. It’s just a bit of light entertainment to pass some time, possibly with friends or your girl or boy friend.

Natalie Portman

Natalie Portman is the executive producer of this flick as well, so I guess she may also like Ashton Kutcher, considering the plot which requires them to spend a lot of time what most people would consider fun activities. And for someone who apparently does not want to do nude scenes at all, and even managed to leave some topless scenes from her film Closer on the cutting room floor, she sure seems to like acting some sexy roles.

No Strings Attached is a fairly usual type of American comedy, maybe aimed at slightly older teen agers and young adults and maybe not for the grown ups as such, but it’s still witty at times and not completely silly, although you can’t avoid that with these movies. Ivan Reitman is back with a film that does not reflect that he would’ve grown old, but the film seems fresh enough to be directed by a younger film maker. Although considering the amount of sex I guess you could say Ivan Reitman is a dirty old man. So it’s rated R in the US then. When I say Ivan Reitman is back, I don’t mean he’s really been away, but he did have a short break from directing since his last film, and his films haven’t necessarily been as memorable as  Ghost Busters since 1984. Ok acting from Ashton Kutcher and Natalie Portman who do most of it anyway. Kevin Kline has a supporting role and he’s supporting it well. The rest don’t really need mentioning I think. So, to sum it up, it was funny enough, it’s making a shitload of money, and I didn’t feel like I’d wasted my time, but I can’t really say I remember anything in particular about it.

Avatar Dances with Space Wolves in 3D

Avatar 3D

I’ve finally seen it. By now everyone must have seen it. Or maybe not, it’s still showing in the cinema near you.In 3D. And 2D if you don’t want to see it in 3D. If you don’t, please tell me why? I didn’t think the 3D was that special though. I’m sure 3D will soon be the industry standard, let’s hope so.

James Cameron somehow always manages to make sure people are anxious to see his latest film. While a good thing, the high expectations may put some pressure on a film maker. Or so I would’ve thought. Who knows, right? For once, even mentioning the director seems a bit silly as you all will know who he is and what he’s done.

If you’ll have a look at the end credits of Avatar, you’ll see that he didn’t do it all by himself though, he had to involve a number of people from pretty much all over the world and to me it looks like he pretty much used everyone he could get. It’s like watching the end credits of The Lord of the Rings Trilogy or something. If not more.

Amazing look and feel, amazingly realistic characters and the whole world where the film is set, brilliant machines, weapons, everything. There’s been lots of comments about the plot being somewhat disappointing, but I thought it’s not quite right to say that. A story may be simple but that doesn’t mean it’s bad. A story might be the same one told million times before but that doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with it, does it? I’ve seen simpler stories than Avatar and I’ve seen more original stories than Avatar, and I’ve seen pretty similar stories to this one before as well, and probably told better too. But I thought that in this world, with these characters (did you actually see the character Colonel Miles Quaritch? – he’s like he’s straight out of Sin City or Small Soldiers or G.I Joe or something), the acting and the story fit together perfectly. If you saw Sigorney Weaver’s first scene, that should be enough. It’s more or less the same as with Titanic – the acting and dialogue are just silly, but it all somehow fits (I still wouldn’t watch that one again, apart from maybe the ship sinking). OK, I’ve mentioned Titanic, but I don’t really need to start talking about the references to earlier James Cameron films – like Sigorney Weaver being in the film (or a few other more obvious things).

It’s a shame Zoe Saldana can only really be heard, while less of Sam Worthington would have been enough. It’s an OK and truly beautiful film. I wasn’t carried away let alone blown away (you don’t have to keep telling yourself “it’s only a movie, it’s only a movie”), but it was enjoyable and one of those films you don’t mind being a bit long, could keep on watching it all day really, if I had enough popcorn. Who knows, maybe there’ll be a TV series coming, Jakesully’s Chronicles or something. With James Cameron, absolutely anything is possible… At least on screen.

I’m not sure James Cameron really cares about Oscars. I’m sure he’s got his share of awards already, including an Oscar or two. Regardless, he’s in it this year, with an Oscar nomination in various categories, along with Hurt Locker (also with 9 Oscar nominations, Precious, Inglorious Basterds and the rest.