Black Panther (Film Review) – A Top 5 MCU Film

Black Panther is a superhero film directed by Ryan Coogler and it is the eighteenth instalment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). Chadwick Boseman reprises his role as T’Challa/Black Panther alongside an ensemble cast that includes Martin Freeman, Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker, Winston Duke, Andy Serkis, Daniel Kaluuya, Sterling K. Brown, Danai Gurira, Letitia Wright, Lupita Nyong’o and Michael B. Jordan.

The story of Black Panther takes place after the events of Captain America: Civil War and T’Challa returns to Wakanda as King after the death of his father. However, he finds his sovereignty challenged by Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan). A conflict ensues between the two which has the capacity to have severe ramifications both in Wakanda and beyond.

My Knowledge and Expectation of Black Panther

Every time another MCU film is about to be released, I am pretty confident that it will be a good and entertaining as an absolute minimum. Black Panther was a different story. This film had a lot of potential to be amazing and one of the best MCU films to date. Everything I had seen from Black Panther looked unique and fresh. I was excited to see what was in store and, once the film was receiving universal critical acclaim, all it did was increase my expectations for Black Panther.

Chadwick Boseman as Black Panther/T'Challa in Black Panther

Another thing which filled me with a lot of hope that Black Panther would be something special was the directorial talent behind the film. Appointing Ryan Coogler as the director of the film was a great choice. His work on Fruitvale Station and Creed cemented him as being one of the most promising, up-and-coming directors working in the film industry today. He has had a great career so far and to think that he is only 31-years-old and has so many years ahead of him is exciting to say the least.

The cast for Black Panther just speaks for itself. Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Andy Serkis and Chadwick Boseman among other talented individuals should entice any film fan to see the film they are in. Everything was in the favour of Black Panther to be something that could transcend the superhero genre, especially with its social, racial and political themes which are extremely relevant in today’s climate. I wanted this film to be rich and have an abundance of depth. Moreover, I hoped Black Panther would be at high enough level of quality where it would be one of my favourite films in the MCU.

My Thoughts on Black Panther

Truly, I cannot remember the last time I was as emotionally invested in an MCU film as I was with Black Panther. Without a doubt, this film is in my Top 5 favourite MCU films and Ryan Coogler continues to impress me as a filmmaker with the incredible work he did in Black Panther.

Michael B. Jordan as Erik Killmonger and Daniel Kaluuya as W'Kabi in Black Panther

A variety of reasons exist as to why I love Black Panther as much as I do. Let me start with the biggest positive of the film; Michael B. Jordan as Erik Killmonger. For me, the biggest flaw of the MCU has been its inability to consistently produce compelling and/or sympathetic villains/antagonists.

In my mind, it is clear to see that the MCU struck gold with Killmonger. For me, he is one of the best MCU villains. This is because you identify with him due to his past struggles and how he wants to reveal Wakanda to the world and put an end to their isolationist tendencies. However, he goes about things in the wrong way and his methods would do more harm than good to the situation. Because of this, even though we know that he is the bad guy, we feel for KIllmonger throughout the film and it makes certain scenes towards the end of Black Panther that more of a gut punch.

He was the strongest aspect of the story in Black Panther and the story itself was very engaging and superb performances from the cast helped to bring it to life, particularly when it came to the actresses. For me, the women of Black Panther were huge standouts. Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o), Okoye (Danai Gurira) and Shuri (Letitia Wright) were phenomenal and really pulled me into the film from an emotional standpoint, particularly in the third act.

Dora Milaje in Black Panther

Excellent World-Building + Timely Themes

Make no mistake, Chadwick Boseman was great as T’Challa/Black Panther. He was captivating in the lead role but the women around him, as well as the villain, elevated both him and the film. Moreover, an element of Black Panther such as the Dora Milaje, a team of special forces which Okoye was the leader of, helped to flesh out Wakanda.

Certainly, the amount of world-building was immensely impressive, especially as it was all done in one film. You see how vast and rich the lore and nation of Wakanda is and it pulls you into the film. Additionally, the story being told deals with some extremely relevant social, political and racial themes which also elevates your experience with the film. Undoubtedly, Black Panther is a timely film which has a lot to say beyond its superhero plot.

It is an important film to watch because of what is going on in the world nowadays which helps Black Panther transcend the superhero genre. Scenes in the film which proved how well it becomes more than just a superhero film include Killmonger’s conversation with his father, played by Sterling K. Brown, as well as his final scene with T’Challa. Both scenes were incredibly powerful and showcased the themes of the film in a great way.

Michael B. Jordan as Killmonger and Chadwick Boseman as Black Panther/T'Challa in Black Panther

Other Highlights of Black Panther

As you can see, I have been incredibly positive about Black Panther so far and that is not stopping now. The use of colour was brilliant, the score and its use of percussion was excellent and it fitted in well with the film. The humour in Black Panther, like every MCU film I have seen, was more hit than miss. This is especially the case whenever M’Baku (Winston Duke) or Shuri were involved.

The only criticism I would have of Black Panther is that the lighting for the action scenes could have been better so I could see what was going on more clearly than I could. Still, that is a small gripe in an otherwise amazing film which ranks amongst the best in the MCU. Moreover, it has made the wait for Avengers: Infinity War more unbearable than it has been and I cannot wait to return to Wakanda and these characters in that film.

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The Shape of Water (Film Review) – Well-Made But Not Best Picture Worthy

The Shape of Water is a fantasy drama directed by Guillermo del Toro which stars Michael Stuhlbarg, Octavia Spencer, Doug Jones, Michael Shannon, Richard Jenkins and Sally Hawkins. The story of the film takes place in Baltimore in 1962 and focuses on Elisa Esposito (Sally Hawkins), a mute who works as a custodian at a government laboratory where experiments are being conducted on a humanoid-amphibian named The Asset (Doug Jones). Elisa befriends the creature and their relationship develops into something much more than a friendship.

My Knowledge and Expectation of The Shape of Water

I would consider myself to be well above what a casual film fan is. I have seen a lot of films over the years but even I will acknowledge that I have a lot of gaps when it comes to films I need to see. This is certainly the case when it comes to films made by Guillermo del Toro. Before seeing The Shape of Water, I had never seen a Guillermo del Toro film. While this is a shocking statement for those of you who are die-hard fans of this director, this reality only increased my excitement to see this film. I treated The Shape of Water as an event because it would be the first Guillermo del Toro film I would see.

Moreover, the unanimous praise The Shape of Water had been getting from film critics and fans quickly made this film one of my most anticipated films since Star Wars: The Last Jedi. I could not wait to see what looked like a highly original story in a film which has been nominated for and won numerous awards. Indeed, it won Best Picture at the 2018 Oscars. The cast for The Shape of Water looked great on paper too which cemented my belief that everything was in place for this film to be amazing.

Doug Jones as The Asset and Sally Hawkins as Elisa in The Shape of Water

My Thoughts on The Shape of Water

My expectations were high and, sadly, not fully met. I liked The Shape of Water but it is one of a vast number of good films that I have no real inclination to see again. I was not as emotionally moved as I wanted to be by the story. Still, I would be lying if I said that you cannot admire many things about this film. The truth is that you can, especially from a technical level.

Certainly, technical elements of The Shape of Water such as the production design and cinematography were absolutely fantastic. The score by Alexandre Desplat was very good too and it felt like its own character within the film. All of this made The Shape of Water feel very atmospheric which I appreciated.

The Performances in The Shape of Water

The performances were another stellar quality of The Shape of Water. Sally Hawkins gave a unique lead performance and made it look easy when it came to communicating without speech. One scene she had with Richard Jenkins’ character about The Asset and her connection to him was a real highlight in this regard.

Richard Jenkins as Giles and Doug Jones as The Asset in The Shape of Water

Still, my favourite performances in the film were given by Richard Jenkins and Michael Shannon. Jenkins provided needed moments of levity with his character’s dry sense of humour and I really liked his relationship with Sally Hawkins’ character. Michael Shannon gave a completely different type of performance to Jenkins but he was incredibly captivating nonetheless. Make no mistake, Michael Shannon is terrifying in The Shape of Water, especially as the film progresses to its conclusion.

My Final Thoughts on The Shape of Water

Thanks to the technical qualities and performances in The Shape of Water, I was never bored during my viewing experience. The film always had fluid momentum and purpose. Yet, at the same time, I was not blown away from an emotional viewpoint when it came to the story.

As such, I have to put The Shape of Water in the same group with other films such as Phantom ThreadCall Me By Your Name and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri as films not worthy of their nominations for Best Picture at the 2018 Oscars. I appreciate The Shape of Water more than I actually like it. In the end, it is a good film but I was not as emotionally affected as others were by it and I am not in a huge rush to watch the film again.

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Phantom Thread (Film Review) – Strange and Unrewarding

Phantom Thread is a drama written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson. It stars Daniel Day-Lewis in what is, supposedly, his final performance as an actor before he retires. The cast of the film also includes Brian Gleeson, Harriet Sansom Harris, Camilla Rutherford, Richard Graham, Vicky Krieps and Lesley Manville.

The story of Phantom Thread is set in 1950s London and focuses on Reynolds Woodcock (Daniel Day-Lewis), a dressmaker who falls in love with waitress Alma Elson (Vicky Krieps). However, the relationship they have swings from affection to detachment throughout the film due to their differences.

My Knowledge and Expectation of Phantom Thread

Any film with Daniel Day-Lewis is going to interest me. I mentioned in my review of The Post that Meryl Streep is the best actress of all-time. I can make a similar argument in regards to Daniel Day-Lewis being the best actor of all-time. He has been nominated for six Oscars in the category of Best Actor and is the only male actor to ever garner three wins in that category. This is an outstanding achievement given how difficult is to get nominated for an Oscar, let alone win one.

Vicky Krieps as Alma Elson and Daniel Day-Lewis as Reynolds Woodcock in Phantom Thread

In every film I have seen Daniel Day-Lewis in, he gives outstanding performances and the best of these performances was in There Will Be Blood. That film was also directed by Paul Thomas Anderson so to have these two reunite for Phantom Thread was an exciting prospect me. Phantom Thread was, to some, a surprise nomination for Best Picture. Out of all the nominees for Best Picture at the 2018 Oscars, only The Post has made me feel as though it was a film deserving of its nomination. I hoped that Phantom Thread would do the same.

My Thoughts on Phantom Thread

My feeling after seeing Phantom Thread was one of disappointment. I did not really like this film that much. It is not a terrible film but I do not believe it is a film which, on the whole, is that good either. Good elements, however, do exist within Phantom Thread. For one, the performances are superb.

While I do believe that this is the least captivating performance Daniel Day-Lewis has given in any film I have seen him in, he was great in Phantom Thread as were Lesley Manville and Vicky Krieps. They all managed to convey the subtle toxicity within this film quite well, especially in the relationships between the characters which were completely messed up.

Daniel Day-Lewis as Reynolds Woodcock and Vicky Krieps as Alma Elson in Phantom Thread

The score in Phantom Thread, which was composed by Jonny Greenwood, was very good and I was surprised at how prevalent it was throughout the film. It seemed as though it was continuous, like it never ended which was something that impressed me. The production value in this film was its biggest quality in my opinion. I absolutely believed that I was living in London’s fashion scene during the 1950s. It was a technical quality of Phantom Thread I was mesmerised by.

The Negative Aspects of Phantom Thread

Nevertheless, all of the good elements in Phantom Thread did not alleviate the amount of problems I have with the film. For one, the story of the film failed to rivet me from beginning to end. I have to put the blame on the pacing and editing for this. The editing was noticeably sudden at times which affected how well the film flowed and the pacing was too slow for a film as long as Phantom Thread.

While surprising moments of humour kept me slightly engaged in what, for me, were the more ponderous scenes and sequences in Phantom Thread, I could not help becoming more bored by what was happening onscreen as the film progressed. I also felt that the ending of Phantom Thread was completely unearned. It did not sit right with me and I was sitting during the credits thinking “WTF?”.

Daniel Day-Lewis as Reynolds Woodcock in Phantom Thread

I was not loving Phantom Thread before its final moments and what occurred at the end just cemented this film as being a let-down. Again, Phantom Thread is, for me, another Best Picture nominee from the 2018 Oscars which is not worthy of its nomination. Certain elements of the film are deserving of praise but, as a whole, the film failed to deliver. As such, I cannot recommend Phantom Thread as a film that needs to be seen immediately.

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Star Wars Rebels: Season 4 Episodes 14-16 (Television Review) – The End Is A New Beginning

Watching the end of a television show can be an emotional and sad experience. Whether you are a finishing a binge-watch or saying goodbye to a show you have watched since its inception, it is always tough to say farewell to a great television show. Sadly, the end of Star Wars Rebels has come with the last episodes of Season 4.

A Fool’s Hope’, ‘Family Reunion’ and ‘Farewell’ closed out Star Wars Rebels and I was expecting these episodes to bring satisfying closure to this series. The entire focus of these final episodes of Star Wars Rebels was on the efforts of our heroes to liberate Lothal from the Empire. In a sense, the show was coming full circle. The show began on Lothal and it ended on Lothal which was quite poetic.

My Thoughts on ‘A Fool’s Hope’, ‘Family Reunion’ and ‘Farewell’

I loved these episodes. Star Wars Rebels ended in a great way and one of the strongest aspects of this series finale was how insular it was throughout. Indeed, in ‘A Fool’s Hope’, we saw a lot characters from previous episodes return for this mission to free Lothal. Gregor, Wolffe, Ketsu Onyo, Vizago and Hondo all came to the aid of Ezra and it was great to see them all return, especially Hondo.

Kallus, Gregor, Hera, Rex, Wolffe, Ketsu Onyo and Hondo in Star Wars Rebels Season 4 Episode 14 A Fool's Hope

From an entertainment perspective, he has been one of my favourite characters in Star Wars Rebels and his line about how he would do anything for Ezra proved that he really cares for him. The fact that all of these characters returned for this mission showed how much respect they have for Ezra, even if this mission would be incredibly difficult to execute. Indeed, the majority of ‘A Fool’s Hope’ deals with the attempt to lay a trap for Governor Pryce so she can be captured which was a tall order.

As such, this episode was action-heavy and it was a joy to watch the animation in these battle scenes. The animation itself has come so far since the first episode of Star Wars Rebels. ‘A Fool’s Hope’, like ‘Wolves and a Door’, did a very good job at setting up the larger narrative which would be told in the following episodes. Pryce was eventually captured with some help from the Loth-wolves and it was weirdly satisfying seeing them chuck Stormtroopers around like they were merely toys.

Ezra’s Story

Thanks to ‘A Fool’s Hope’, the stage was set for the liberation of Lothal to begin. I mentioned before how Star Wars Rebels ends on Lothal which, at first, surprised me. This is because of Rogue One and how, for a time, I believed that the Battle of Scarif would be part of the series finale of Star Wars Rebels. After all, a big element of the story in this show has been about the formation of the Rebel Alliance. However, while important, I came to realise that this is not the main focus of the series. Since the beginning, Star Wars Rebels has always been focused on the journey of Ezra.

Ezra in Star Wars Rebels Season 4 Episode 15 Family Reunion

This has always been Ezra’s story so it made sense that the series would end on his home planet and his quest to free it from the Empire. He was the focal point of ‘Family Reunion’ and ‘Farewell’ and what he went through in these episodes showed how much he has grown as a character. Throughout Star Wars Rebels, Ezra has been, at times, a frustrating character to watch. Yet, he has developed as a person and leader and what we saw of him in ‘Family Reunion’ and ‘Farewell’ was, for me, the pinnacle of his character development.

Similar to Kanan in ‘Jedi Night’, Ezra took the mantle of responsibility upon himself to do what was necessary, despite the temptation to reunite with his parents. If you know anything about Ezra, then you will understand how important his parents were to him and how, in the past, he would have given anything to be with them again. He could have had this opportunity thanks to The Emperor who tried to trick Ezra with his greatest desire. However, Ezra let go of his parents which was an extremely poignant moment.

Gregor

It signified his character development in the best possible way and it was an emotional scene. The death of Gregor was another. In his last words with Rex, Gregor asserted how it was an honour that he, alongside Rex, fought for something they chose to believe in. The reason why this was such an emotional part of this series finale was due to how it linked back to certain story arcs in Star Wars: The Clone Wars which focused on the clone troopers such as the Umbara Arc in Season 4 and the Clone Conspiracy Arc of Season 6.

Rex and Gregor in Star Wars Rebels Season 4 Episode 16 Farewell

For me, they were some of the best stories told in Star Wars: The Clone Wars because it humanised the clones. Those story arcs dealt with the place the clones had in The Clone Wars and gave you reasons to care for them. You felt sympathy with how little control they would have for what was to come with Order 66. Hence, to have Gregor proclaim to Rex how he was proud to die fighting for a cause he chose of his own free-will alongside his brothers really got to me.

This scene would not have impacted me to the extent it did if I did not choose to watch certain episodes and arcs of Star Wars: The Clone Wars which I owe to Star Wars Rebels. Both of these animated shows have enhanced my experience with the Star Wars franchise and I am very grateful for that.

The Purrgil

Gregor was not the only one to die in this series finale of Star Wars Rebels. Rukh and Governor Pryce also die. However, all of the major characters survived the events of the series finale and Lothal was, in the end, successfully liberated from the Empire thanks to something that I thought we would never see in Star Wars Rebels again. I am, of course, talking about the Purgill.

Purrgil in Star Wars Rebels Season 4 Episode 16 Farewell

These creatures, who are effectively space-whales, saved the day and it meant that an episode from Season 2 of Star Wars Rebels titled ‘The Call’, where the Purgill appeared for the first time, has actual relevance and meaning. If you read my review of Season 3’s ‘Double Agent Droid’, then you will know that I regarded ‘The Call’ as an episode of Star Wars Rebels that was complete and utter filler which you did not need to watch. That has all changed thanks to events of the series finale and it is now a necessary episode to watch.

Ezra and Thrawn Survive

The use of the Purrgil was, again, a great way to show how insular and connected Star Wars Rebels is. It also provided a way to keep Ezra and Thrawn alive. This is because the Purgill used their hyperspace capabilities to take Ezra and Thrawn away from Lothal to an unknown location. As a result, both characters are alive but missing throughout the Original Trilogy which makes sense and does not contradict canon.

I would assume that they would have been taken to a place so distant and unknown that even Yoda would not be able to sense Ezra. In that sense, when Yoda asserts to Luke Skywalker in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi that “When gone am I, the last of the Jedi will you be”, he absolutely means it based on the knowledge he has. I am so pleased that Ezra and Thrawn are still alive. To kill these two characters, especially Thrawn, would have been too soon for me.

Thrawn, Ezra and The Emperor in Star Wars Rebels Season 4 Episode 15 Family Reunion

He was a great villain in Star Wars Rebels and I believe that there is more to be done with Thrawn. In this series finale, we saw again how devastatingly cruel and ruthless he can be with the aerial bombardment of Lothal. I want to see more of both Ezra and Thrawn in the future. Moreover, I think that what we saw in the last minutes of the series finale of Star Wars Rebels, which was essentially an epilogue, has established a new animated Star Wars television show where we can see all of these characters again.

The Epilogue

In this epilogue, we learn that, after Lothal was liberated, it was a planet which lived in peace throughout the events of the Original Trilogy. The Empire never came back to retake the planet, probably because they had bigger problems to deal with after the destruction of the First Death Star and the emergence of Luke Skywalker.

The last minutes of the series finale of Star Wars Rebels take place after the Empire is defeated and we learn from Sabine about what happened to our heroes after the Battle of Endor. For one, we find out that Kallus and Zeb travelled to Lira San to join with the rest of the Lasat species who Kallus had thought he wiped out. This was such a fantastic moment as it meant that the redemption arc of Kallus in Star Wars Rebels came full circle.

Kallus and Zeb in Star Wars Rebels Season 4 Episode 16 Farewell

Sabine also states that both Hera and Rex fought with the Rebel Alliance at the Battle of Endor and we learn that Hera had Kanan’s baby; Jacen Syndulla. I imagine that Jacen must have been conceived sometime during the first half of Season 4 or perhaps just before the events of ‘Heroes of Mandalore’. This was a nice surprise but the biggest reveal occurred in the very last scene.

Ahsoka and Sabine

In this series finale of Star Wars Rebels, Ezra told Sabine that he was counting on her and she assumed that this was in regards to protecting Lothal. However, she came to realise that his had a different meaning; Ezra was counting on her to find him and bring him home. Ezra also told Ahsoka to find him in ‘A World Between Worlds’. While that was in different circumstances, both Sabine and Ahsoka have a common goal to find and reunite with Ezra.

This made it even cooler to see these two team up and head off to find Ezra at the end of the series finale of Star Wars Rebels. We know that a new animated Star Wars show is being developed and, based on how Star Wars Rebels ended, it looks as though it will be focused on Sabine and Ahsoka’s mission to find Ezra. In this sense, the end is a new beginning. I am looking forward to hearing more details about the future of Star Wars animation soon, regardless of what the story will be.

Sabine and Ahsoka Tano in Star Wars Rebels Season 4 Episode 16 Farewell

Right now, the only thing that matters is that Star Wars Rebels ended in a fantastic manner. ‘A Fool’s Hope’, ‘Family Reunion’ and ‘Farewell’ brought an end to a great TV show which enhanced and expanded the Star Wars universe. I am sad that Star Wars Rebels has come to an end but I am excited for what is ahead.

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The Post (Film Review) – An Important Story

The Post is a political thriller directed by Steven Spielberg and written by Liz Hannah and Josh Singer. The film stars David Cross, Jesse Plemons, Matthew Rhys, Carrie Coon, Bruce Greenwood, Alison Brie, Bradley Whitford, Tracy Letts, Sarah Paulson, Bob Odenkirk, Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep. The film takes place in the early 1970s and focuses on journalists from The Washington Post.

The main protagonists are Katharine Graham (Meryl Streep) and Ben Bradlee (Tom Hanks). The story of The Post is about the attempts by The Washington Post and the journalists who work for this newspaper to publish the Pentagon Papers. These were highly classified documents which contained information undisclosed to the public about the thirty-year involvement of the United States in the Vietnam War.

My Knowledge and Expectation of The Post

The Post is a film which had everything going for it. For one, Steven Spielberg, who is arguably the greatest director of all time, was directing the film. Since the 1970s, he has made films which are now considered to be classics. Jaws, the Indiana Jones Trilogy, Jurassic Park, Schindler’s List and Saving Private Ryan are a handful of the brilliant films Steven Spielberg has made during his career. I hoped The Post would rank amongst his best.

Tom Hanks as Ben Bradlee and Meryl Streep as Katharine Graham in The Post

He certainly had an awesome cast to make The Post as good as it could be. Indeed, Sarah Paulson was fantastic in The People v. O. J. Simpson and Bob Odenkirk was great in Breaking Bad. I was curious to see them in a film such as The Post. I believe that Bruce Greenwood is highly underrated as an actor so I could not wait to see him in this film. Still, I have to be honest and say that Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep were the standout cast members.

Tom Hanks is awesome and Meryl Streep is the best actress of all. If you can choose any titans of acting to lead your film, you cannot do better than Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep. With the film receiving two nominations at the 2018 Oscars, my expectations for The Post were high. I was confident that I would see a film that would be worthy of its nomination for Best Picture. On paper, everything was in place for this to happen.

My Thoughts on The Post

I loved The Post. For me, this is the first film nominated for Best Picture at the 2018 Oscars I have seen which made me believe that it thoroughly deserved its nomination. From top to bottom, the film exudes excellence, especially with its acting. Clearly, Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep bring their A-game and provide tremendous lead performances. I have no problem with Meryl Streep being nominated for Best Actress. She was superb and continues to solidify her seemingly insurmountable position as the best actress of all-time.

Meryl Streep as Katharine Graham in The Post

The supporting cast in The Post were fantastic as well. For one, Bruce Greenwood was great in his small role as Robert McNamara and this is not the first time he has played someone from the Kennedy Administration. Indeed, he played President John F. Kennedy in Thirteen Days and now Robert McNamara in The Post. He has impressed me in everything I have seen him in and that continued with this film. Bob Odenkirk and Carrie Coon were also standouts in The Post.

The Story and Themes of The Post

I was captivated by the story in The Post from the beginning which I expected to happen. This is because films about journalism, cover-ups and government corruption always interest me. Certainly, you can make parallels with other great films such as State of Play, Spotlight and especially All the President’s Men when looking at the subject matter of The Post. I was enthralled with the story and I found the film to get progressively better. I loved The Post more and more as it went on. Certainly, the stakes and tension in the film build throughout its duration as well as its resonance and timeliness.

Clearly, everything that is touched upon in The Post is extremely relevant to what is going on in the world today. It would be easy for a less capable director to portray the themes and messages of this film in a forced manner. Luckily, The Post had Steven Spielberg at the helm and he crafted this film in such a way that I was emotionally impacted by it, especially towards the end.

Tom Hanks as Ben Bradlee and Journalists from The Washington Post with the Pentagon Papers in The Post

Steven Spielberg did a great job directing this film which, on the whole, I found to be brilliant. It is another example of how Spielberg continues to deliver fantastic films. Truly, I have no major complaints with The Post. I urge you to see this film as soon as you can for all of the reasons that I listed above. Once you do see it, I hope the film will impact you in the same way it impacted me.

The Post Film Review

 

Star Wars Rebels: Season 4 Episodes 12-13 (Television Review) – Exceptional Storytelling

Throughout its run, Star Wars Rebels has given us some awesome episodes of television. Moreover, I would contest that some of those episodes rank amongst the best Star Wars content we have had the pleasure to experience. Clearly, Season 2’s ‘Shroud of Darkness’ and ‘Twilight of the Apprentice’ come to mind as does Season 3’s ‘The Holocrons of Fate’ and ‘Twin Suns’. While we have had some great episodes of Star Wars Rebels in Season 4, nothing has blown me away to the extent that the aforementioned episodes have.

My Thoughts on ‘Wolves and a Door’ and ‘A World Between Worlds’

However, this final season of Star Wars Rebels has now provided us with an episode which, in my eyes, is the best this show has ever given us. ‘A World Between Worlds’ has changed the game and it blew me away with how well it binds the Star Wars universe together. Still, before this episode, we had ‘Wolves and a Door’ to experience which itself was a very good episode of Star Wars Rebels.

I will argue though that, on the whole, ‘Wolves and a Door’ was an episode designed to setup ‘A World Between Worlds’. We saw our heroes, still reeling from the death of Kanan in ‘Jedi Night’, travel to the Jedi Temple on Lothal, with some help from the Loth-wolves, to uncover what the Empire was doing at this location.

The Emperor in Star Wars Rebels Season 4 Episode 12 Wolves and a Door

One scene during this journey actually felt like a video game interlude/loading screen which was weird but it worked. Everything in ‘Wolves and a Door’ was leading up to something more important which we would eventually see in ‘A World Between Worlds’. Nevertheless, the events in this episode provided us with some really cool moments. We certainly got a lot of satisfying connections to the wider Star Wars universe.

For one, The Emperor, voiced by Ian McDiarmid, made his first physical appearance in the show which was cool to see. Moreover, we saw artwork which directly linked to Mortis and the Force Gods, i.e. The Ones, which was all first introduced in Star Wars: The Clone Wars. The Mortis Arc was one of the best arcs in that show so to have it reintroduced in a big way in ‘Wolves and a Door’ was great.

Time and Space

Yet, the real meat of what we experienced in these episodes was in ‘A World Between Worlds’ which was exceptional. I have already stated that it is the best episode of Star Wars Rebels we have ever had. So, let me explain why I fell this way. Ideally, I want the mythology of Star Wars to be expanded through bold storytelling and well-executed, original ideas that still keeps the mystery of Star Wars intact.

Mortis Rural in Star Wars Rebels Season 4 Episode 12 Wolves and a Door

A reason why I love Star Wars: The Last Jedi, among many, is that it does the near impossible task of achieving all of these lofty ideals. A reason why I do not like the Prequel Trilogy, among many, is that the execution of the ideas and story fell completely flat, particularly in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace and Star Wars: Attack of the Clones. Moreover, things that did not need to be explained, like The Force, were and in a poor way that was a complete betrayal to the essence of the Original Trilogy.

Thankfully, ‘A World Between Worlds’ works on all fronts when it comes to the expansion of Star Wars mythology. A good amount of this episode was spent with Ezra after he entered the portal which led to the World Between Worlds. This place was a pathway between all time and space. In this mystical plane, everything is in flux; time does not matter and you can witness and influence the past, present and future.

Restore Past, Redeem Future

As such, during our time at this place, we hear moments from the Original Trilogy, the Sequel Trilogy, Rogue One and Star Wars: The Clone Wars which really tugged at the heartstrings. It was so much to take in but in the best possible way. While I was less enthused to hear moments from the Prequel Trilogy, it was still nice to have that connective tissue.

Ezra and Morai in Star Wars Rebels Season 4 Episode 13 A World Between Worlds

Besides, in recent years, whenever the events of the Prequel Trilogy have been referenced in Star Wars content such as the films, books, comics, TV shows and/or the video games, they are usually extremely general references. This means that I can block out the terrible execution and just appreciate the references as vague, mysterious call-backs which I can interpret in my own way. In this sense, hearing moments from the Prequel Trilogy did not lessen my enjoyment of ‘A World Between Worlds’.

Still, while the references to known Star Wars moments were one of the great ways ‘A World Between Worlds’ united the Star Wars universe, it was not the highlight of the episode. In ‘DUME’, Ezra was told by the Loth-wolf Dume to travel to the Jedi Temple on Lothal to “restore past, redeem future”. After watching this episode, it seemed to me that this meant saving Ahsoka Tano.

Ahsoka Lives

Yes, in this episode, we get a definitive answer to the fate of Ahsoka Tano. As we saw in ‘Twilight of the Apprentice’, the outcome of her duel with Darth Vader was left ambiguous. While it is heavily implied that she survived, we did not know the specifics of what truly happened until now. The World Between Worlds has many portals and, through one of these portals, Ezra sees the continuation of Ahsoka’s fight with Vader.

Ezra watching Ahsoka and Darth Vader Duel on Malachor in Star Wars Rebels Season 4 Episode 13 A World Between Worlds

I previously mentioned that one can influence the past, present and future in the World Between Worlds and Ezra does this. Just as Vader is about to strike down Ahsoka, Ezra reaches out and saves her. It was a moment which left me completely floored. In its own unique way, a version of time travel had been introduced into Star Wars.

This was a risky move which could have completely failed and been a major problem. But it worked for one specific reason; Ezra did not change the events of what happened on Malachor. We never saw Ahsoka die. She lived and how she survived her duel with Vader was just left mysterious until now. What we merely saw in ‘A World Between Worlds’ was how Ahsoka survived and it tied in beautifully with ‘Twilight of the Apprentice’.

This is because The Emperor tries to enter the World Between Worlds but Ahsoka prevents this and saves Ezra from a terrible fate. They each go back through their separate portals and Ahsoka returns to Malachor. The closing shot of her in this episode wonderfully connected to the closing shot we see of her in ‘Twilight of the Apprentice’. Everything came full circle and lined up very well. The execution was perfect.

Ahsoka Tano Twilight of the Apprentice A World Between Worlds Malachor

Kanan

I guess the question now is when will we see Ahsoka again? Hopefully, it is sooner rather than later. I also loved how everything about the World Between Worlds was still left mysterious. We know no in-depth knowledge about its origins or how it came to be and we do not need to know. It is in keeping with the meaning and weirdness of The Force and it all linked back to what Ahsoka said back in Season 2; “just when you think you understand The Force, you find out how little you actually know”.

Another great aspect about ‘A World Between Worlds’ and what was introduced in this episode was how it forced Ezra to comes to terms with Kanan’s death. Through saving Ahsoka, Ezra had this idea that he could also save Kanan. But, in the end, Ahsoka made Ezra realise that Kanan’s sacrifice was necessary so that he, Hera and Sabine could live and continue the fight. We also found out what the meaning of the Loth-wolves has been in Season 4 of Star Wars Rebels.

As part of The Cosmic Force, which binds everything together, Kanan manifested his will into the Loth-wolves so he could influence the living through them. This revelation finally made me understand the Loth-wolves’ purpose and what this all led to was a very poignant moment at the end of ‘A World Between Worlds’ where Ezra bid farewell to his former master.

Ezra and Hera in Star Wars Rebels Season 4 Episode 13 A World Between Worlds

This ended what was an exceptionally well-executed episode of Star Wars Rebels that, like The Last Jedi, added to the mythology of Star Wars. Moreover, the stage is now set for the final episodes of Star Wars Rebels which are sure to be emotionally charged. I am confident that they will bring satisfying closure to the series.

Star Wars Rebels Season 4 Episodes 12-13 Wolves and a Door and A World Between Worlds Pin

 

Star Wars Rebels: Season 4 Episodes 10-11 (Television Review) – Farewell Kanan

The mid-season breaks of Star Wars Rebels can be quite arduous, especially if the mid-season finale ends on a cliff-hanger. ‘Rebel Assault’ certainly brought the first half of Season 4 to a stage of uncertainty. Indeed, Hera was captured by the Empire after the failure of the assault on the TIE Defender factories on Lothal. The rest of our heroes needed to regroup and come up with a plan to rescue Hera. We have had to wait a long time to see what would happen.

The Beginning of the End

However, this final season of Star Wars Rebels has begun again and these latest episodes, titled ‘Jedi Night’ and ‘DUME’, are a couple of the last few remaining instalments we will get of this TV show. As such, I expected the resolution of this entire series to start in these episodes. One of the ways in which Star Wars Rebels would wrap would be through the deaths of certain characters.

For the longest time, I expected that most of our heroes in this television show would die. As a series centred on key figures in the formation of the Rebel Alliance, it seemed obvious to me that the protagonists would have to die. This is because they are not around or referenced in the Original Trilogy. That view has, over time, changed slightly. Indeed, thanks to Rogue One, we found out that Hera and Chopper make it out of Star Wars Rebels alive.

Kanan grabbing a Stormtrooper with The Force in Star Wars Rebels Season 4 Episode 10 Jedi Night

Additionally, an episode of Forces of Destiny showed that Hera was on Endor around the events of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. Through Star Wars content such as this, I realised that some of the characters in Star Wars Rebels can survive after the show ends and still be around during the Original Trilogy thanks to the expansion of the Star Wars universe.

However, something which has not changed is my belief that the Jedi in Star Wars Rebels had to go by the time this show ended. Yoda tells Luke Skywalker in Return of the Jedi that he will be the last Jedi. That statement has always made me feel that the only Jedi around once Star Wars: A New Hope begins are Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda. Once they are gone, Luke is the last Jedi. No others remain at that time.

My Thoughts on ‘Jedi Night’ and ‘DUME’

I believe that the end of Star Wars Rebels will coincide with the events of either Rogue One or A New Hope. Consequently, this meant that both Kanan and Ezra had to either die or be in a position where they are no longer around during the events of the Original Trilogy by the end of Star Wars Rebels. Sadly, one of them did die in ‘Jedi Night’. This episode was focused on the rescue of Hera and the mission cost Kanan his life.

Kanan and Ezra in Star Wars Rebels Season 4 Episode 10 Jedi Night

Yes, Kanan Jarrus sacrificed himself to save Hera and, throughout ‘Jedi Night’, it seemed as though he knew what was coming. His conversations with Ezra had an ominous tone to them, as though he was mentally preparing Ezra for what was to come. Looking back at the end of ‘Rebel Assault’, it is evident then that Kanan knew what his fate would be. Still, even though his death was foreshadowed, it was still hard seeing a character we have all become so attached to meet his demise.

It was an incredibly emotional moment which was beautifully enhanced by an awesome piece of music. I cannot stress enough how important music can be in enhancing a scene/moment in an episode of television or a film. The music in Star Wars is essentially a character in this franchise thanks to the incredible work John Williams has done when it comes to the films.

From a television perspective, it is Kevin Kiner who has composed the music in Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels and he has done a magnificent job. For me, the piece of score which accompanied Kanan’s death is amongst the best work he has done. It elevated the scene to make it that more of an emotional gut punch.

Ezra and Dume in Star Wars Rebels Season 4 Episode 11 DUME

The Continuation of the Darker Tone in Season 4

In addition to its emotional weight, Kanan’s death was just one element in both ‘Jedi Night’ and ‘DUME’ that continued that darker tone which has been established in Season 4 of Star Wars Rebels. Indeed, as a prisoner of the Empire, Hera suffered torture at the hands of Governor Pryce and Grand Admiral Thrawn both physically and mentally. Moreover, Zeb almost brutally killed Rukh as retaliation in the aftermath of Kanan’s death.

Clearly, Kanan’s death had a severe impact on every member of the Ghost crew which was showcased in ‘DUME’. This episode was entirely devoted to the fallout of Kanan’s death and the different ways in which the rest of our heroes were emotionally dealing with this loss. For Zeb and Sabine, it was anger. For Hera, she was overcome with sadness about the death of someone she loved. Insecurity plagued Ezra who felt unprepared for the mantle of responsibility bestowed upon him.

The Fight Continues

However, in the end, everyone came together with renewed purpose and resolve to continue the fight against the Empire. A big factor in this was through Ezra’s contact with the Loth-wolves. He met what looked to be the leader of the Loth-wolves who was called Dume. As such, the uttering of Dume by the Loth-wolves throughout Season 4 of Star Wars Rebels clearly has a double-meaning as Kanan’s real name was Caleb Dume.

Thrawn and Governor Pryce in Star Wars Rebels Season 4 Episode 11 DUME

The Loth-wolves have been a guide for both Ezra and Kanan in Season 4 and I am still unsure about where this will go. However, for now, I will go along with what is happening, especially as Ezra was told by Dume to go to the Jedi temple on Lothal to uncover secrets. This will be the next objective for our heroes now that the mission which failed in ‘Rebel Assault’ has been achieved. Indeed, the way Kanan died caused the fuel depot for Thrawn’s TIE Defender project to be completely destroyed.

As a result, the mission eventually turned out to be a success which obviously displeased Thrawn who himself was on his way to Coruscant to meet with Emperor Palpatine. This came about after a conversation Thrawn had with Tarkin which linked in very nicely with Rogue One and set up what could be an extremely engaging scene with Palpatine. The only thing that could make it better is if Darth Vader shows up.

My Final Thoughts on ‘Jedi Night’ and ‘DUME’

Still, we will have to wait until the next episodes to see what transpires. Overall, I thought ‘Jedi Night’ and ‘DUME’ were great episodes that did a tremendous job of reintroducing us to Season 4 of Star Wars Rebels. They rank amongst the most emotional and important episodes of this show and I am sure more of the same is in store.

Star Wars Rebels Season 4 Episodes 10-11 Jedi Night and DUME

Coco (Film Review) – Pixar Does It Again

Coco is an animated film directed by Lee Unkrich and produced by Pixar Animation Studios. The voice cast of the film includes Edward James Olmos, Ana Ofelia Murguia, Alanna Ubach, Renée Victor, Gael Garcia Bernal, Benjamin Bratt and Anthony Gonzalez. The story of Coco focuses on Miguel (Anthony Gonzalez), a 12-year-old boy with a love for music. During the Mexican holiday of the Day of the Dead, he is accidentally transported to the Land of the Dead. He seeks the help of his deceased family members to return him to the land of the living.

My Knowledge and Expectation of Coco

Anytime a Pixar film, which is not in the Cars franchise, is about to come out, it becomes an event. Certainly, I believe that Pixar is one of the best film studios working today. The majority of the films made by Pixar are fantastic and Coco looked like another hit for the animation studio. The film was released in the United States in 2017 and received rave reviews when it came to its story, emotional weight, themes and music. This has made the wait to see it in the United Kingdom pretty arduous.

Elena and Miguel in Coco

Moreover, it has meant that avoiding spoilers for Coco has been tough. Luckily, I did well to go into the film with no idea about what would happen. I always hope that a new Pixar film becomes one of my favourites ever created by the animation studio. I did my very best to keep my expectations grounded. Still, after hearing all the praise Coco received, I could not help myself in thinking that I was in store for another emotional, brilliant Pixar film.

My Thoughts on Coco

Overall, I really liked Coco. Was it as great as I hoped it would be? No, sadly not. I do not consider Coco to be one of the best Pixar films ever made. However, it is still a very good film worthy of your time. A lot of things in this film should be admired. For one, the animation is absolutely gorgeous. Pixar has always pushed the boundaries of animation since Toy Story and they do it once again with Coco.

Day of the Dead in Coco

The use of colour and the vivid imagery keep you engaged in a visual capacity from beginning to end. The themes in Coco are also something to admire. The theme of family is at the very heart of this film as well as themes such as life, death and following your dreams. The way they are used in Coco makes for some poignant moments in the film, especially towards the end. While I was not as emotionally moved as I wanted to be by Coco, it was nonetheless a very heartfelt film thanks to its themes.

The Music and Story of Coco

The music also added to the quality of Coco. Indeed, ‘Remember Me’ was a very sweet, tender song deserving of its Oscar nomination for Best Original Song. While I do believe that it will probably lose to The Greatest Showman’s ‘This Is Me‘, ‘Remember Me’ is still a very good song. The story in Coco was good as well. It had a nice blend of drama and comedy and it delivered well on its overall message which is the importance of family.

Miguel and Mama Coco singing Remember Me in Coco

Yet, I would have liked the film to have had a few more comedic moments. Furthermore, as I previously said, the more emotional moments did not move me to the degree where I was crying. The best Pixar films always bring me to tears and Coco does not rank amongst them. That being said, Coco is absolutely worth seeing, especially with your family.

Additionally, I consider this film to be worthy of its Best Animated Film nomination at the Oscars. It will probably win too. Although, the film would have stiffer competition if The Lego Batman Movie was nominated which it should have been. Still, even then, Coco would be the favourite to win. After seeing the film, you will hopefully see why this is the case.

Coco Film Review

 

Darkest Hour (Film Review) – Gary Oldman Shines In An Okay Film

Darkest Hour is a British war drama directed by Joe Wright. The film stars Ronald Pickup, Stephen Dillane, Kristin Scott Thomas, Ben Mendelsohn, Lily James and Gary Oldman. The film is set during World War Two (WW2) and focuses on Winston Churchill (Gary Oldman). We gain insight into his early days as Prime Minister and how he deals with the threat of Hitler and Nazi Germany as they close in on Britain after their ruthless conquest throughout Europe.

My Knowledge and Expectation of Darkest Hour

Since its premiere at the Telluride Film Festival in September 2017, Darkest Hour has been lauded by film critics. Indeed, the main consensus I have seen in the reviews for this film has been that Gary Oldman is terrific as Winston Churchill. In fact, even though Daniel Day-Lewis is involved in the race to win Best Actor as the Oscars, it seems as though Gary Oldman is a lock to win that award. Forget just being nominated, a win seems likely if film critics and pundits are to be believed.

I could not wait to see his performance as one of the most notable historical figures in British history. Certainly, Churchill is a man who has earned his place in history as one of the great wartime leaders. However, he is flawed and I wanted Darkest Hour to explore that. I did not want this film to be a fluff piece that is completely one-sided in favour of Churchill. I hoped Gary Oldman would portray Churchill in a way where we explore the positive and negative side of the man.

Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour

Still, while Gary Oldman has been the primary focus of critical acclaim, I was looking forward to see the rest of the cast too in the story that would be told. Interestingly, the story of Darkest Hour is based on subject matter that we have seen recently; the Dunkirk evacuation. Films centred around WW2 and specifically the Dunkirk evacuation seem to the norm these days. In 2017, we had Their Finest and Dunkirk and we now have Darkest Hour. I hoped the latter would be the best of those films.

My Thoughts on Darkest Hour

Sadly, I did not like Darkest Hour that much. It is an okay film that has a tremendous central performance by Gary Oldman. Make no mistake, he is awesome as Churchill. I have mentioned before about how one great performance can steal the film from the rest of the cast. In Darkest Hour, Gary Oldman does not just overpower the cast, he overpowers the entire film. For me, his performance carried a film which, as a whole, is quite boring and drab.

Indeed, I was yawning quite a lot during the film. Unless I am tired, this is not a good sign for the ability of a film to keep one hooked from beginning to end. The only thing that kept me engaged was Gary Oldman’s performance. After seeing Darkest Hour, I can see how deserving Gary Oldman is of his Oscar nomination for Best Actor. On the other hand, it completely baffles me how Darkest Hour got nominated for Best Picture over films such as Blade Runner 2049, Molly’s Game, Wind River and Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

Kristin Scott Thomas as Clementine Churchill and Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour

The Humanisation of Churchill

Still, one thing that I strongly believe Darkest Hour does well is humanising Churchill. Certainly, notable figures such as Churchill take on a legendary status in history. However, we must not forget that historical figures like Churchill are still people and, as such, flawed. Darkest Hour portrays these flaws. I was happy that the film did what I hoped it would do; expose the strengths and weaknesses of Churchill. Darkest Hour is not a propaganda piece that portrays him as a God. Throughout the film, we see his doubts and insecurities which grounded Darkest Hour.

I also liked how, at certain points, we see black bars on frames/scenes of Churchill to illustrate isolation. These little touches were very important to showcase Churchill in a very human way. The relationship that he had with his personal secretary Elizabeth Layton (Lily James) also humanised him. I found their interactions in Darkest Hour to be very genuine. I could connect to Churchill as a person rather than a historical legend.

My Final Thoughts on Darkest Hour

The humanisation of Churchill was something I did appreciate about Darkest Hour. However, the film as whole did not reach a level where I liked it. As I said, the film is quite boring. While Gary Oldman’s performance is awesome, it is not enough to save the film. Gary Oldman is the sole reason you should watch Darkest Hour. Nothing else comes close to the quality he shows in this film. He overpowers the rest of the cast and you forget about their performances. Without Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour would completely fail as a film.

Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill at Parliament in Darkest Hour

The film does enough to be better than Their Finest. However, I did not like that film at all. Darkest Hour is not as good as Dunkirk. Dunkirk is a very good film but not the masterpiece some proclaim it to be. Darkest Hour sits right in the middle of these recent films that have been based around the Dunkirk evacuation. In the end. it is an okay film. Still, I will not deny that Darkest Hour has a brilliant performance by Gary Oldman which is deserving of the praise it has received.

Darkest Hour Film Review

 

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (Film Review) – Good, Not Great

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is a black comedy crime film written and directed by Martin McDonagh. The film starts Abbie Cornish, Peter Dinklage, Lucas Hedges, John Hawkes, Sam Rockwell, Woody Harrelson and Frances McDormand. The story of Three Billboards focuses on Mildred (Frances McDormand), a mother whose daughter was brutally murdered. The police have not been able to find a suspect so Mildred takes matters into her own hands. She rents three billboards to call attention to the unsolved crime which has an impact on the local community.

My Knowledge and Expectation of Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

This is a film I was really looking forward to, particularly when you consider the amount of award recognition it is receiving. In fact, many see Three Billboards as a frontrunner to win Best Picture at the 2018 Oscars. The director was a big reason why I was excited to see the film. Indeed, Martin McDonagh directed In Bruges which is a great film that not many people have seen. If Three Billboards was on the same level of quality as that film, then I would be delighted.

The casting for Three Billboards was fantastic too. We all know Peter Dinklage from his outstanding work in Game of Thrones and I was excited to see what he could do in the film. Sam Rockwell is a great character actor and has worked with McDonagh before in Seven Psychopaths which was a positive. Woody Harrelson has proven time and time again how talented he is as an actor. The same can be said for Frances McDormand. Her work in films such as Almost Famous, Mississippi Burning and Moonrise Kingdom proves how gifted she is. I was looking forward to seeing her performance in Three Billboards.

Woody Harrelson as Willoughby and Frances McDormand as Mildred in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

This was particularly the case when you consider that she is a favourite to win Best Actress at the Oscars. Indeed, both McDormand and Rockwell are in contention to win in their respective acting categories. I hoped that these performances which have received such high praise would elevate what looked like a compelling story. Certainly, the subject matter provided a lot of opportunity for the film to have depth. I wanted Three Billboards to be great and consider it to be worthy of the critical acclaim and award recognition it has received.

My Thoughts on Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

While Three Billboards was not the film I wanted it to be in terms of quality, I did like it. Similar to Call Me By Your Name, it is a good film with great performances that did not make me feel like it deserved a Best Picture nomination at the Oscars. Still, I will start with the positives.

Firstly, the performances in Three Billboards. Most of the cast are fantastic in the film. As I previously stated, the film as a whole does not feel worthy to have been nominated for Best Picture. Nonetheless, the performances given by Frances McDormand and Sam Rockwell deserve the award recognition they have received so far.

Sam Rockwell as Dixon and Frances McDormand as Mildred in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

They were exceptional in Three Billboards. I am more than pleased that Oscar nominations were given to them. Yet, I am not sure whether they deserve to win in their respective categories. This is simply because I still need to see more films and performances that are Oscar contenders. I have not seen enough of them yet to give you a solid opinion about who should win. However, I am confident enough to say that both McDormand and Rockwell warranted Oscar nominations for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actor respectively.

Peter Dinklage, Woody Harrelson and Lucas Hedges were all good too but they were overshadowed by McDormand and Rockwell who are the stars of Three Billboards. The only negative with the cast was Abbie Cornish. She was completely miscast. It felt like she was in a completely different film which was a shame. Still, this is quite a minor negative in the grand scheme of things.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri Is Engaging But Depressing

Three Billboards was, for the most part, engaging throughout. Despite its slow pacing, the excellent dialogue helps the film move at a good pace and keeps you entertained. Indeed, certain conversations in Three Billboards did make me chuckle, particularly when Mildred was involved. One flashback scene in a kitchen also comes to mind in regards to the comedic moments. These were the moments of levity in what was a very depressing film. I cannot deny that I was caught off guard at just how sad and dark Three Billboards was.

Frances McDormand as Mildred and Peter Dinklage as James in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Even the comedic moments are dark in nature. The depressing nature of the film does harm the chances of me re-watching Three Billboards again. For me, rewatchability is a big factor in the greatness of a film. True, certain films do exist which are very dark but have a lot of rewatchability. The masterpiece that is Schindler’s List comes to mind in that regard. However, Three Billboards is not one of these films.

The film never reached a high enough level of quality to make it qualify as a depressing film with tough subject matter that I will watch multiple times. Moreover, the ending of Three Billboards did not sit well with me. The film ended with a lack of resolution that left me unfulfilled with my viewing experience. I sat through the credits disappointed which was a real shame. I understood the meaning of the ending but I would have preferred it to be somewhat less ambiguous than it was.

My Final Thoughts on Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

In the end, Three Billboards is a good film that I never have to see again. You can get a lot of enjoyment out of the great performances in the film as well as the excellent script which contains some brilliant dialogue. Still, Three Billboards is not on the same level of quality as In Bruges and it is not worthy of a Best Picture nomination at the Oscars.

Frances McDormand as Mildred in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

The performances are worthy, but the film as a whole is not in my opinion. Still, I think that you should go see Three Billboards. Every film impacts different people in different ways. Three Billboards is good enough for you to give it a chance. Moreover, I have seen the film be adored by enough people that you could end up loving it. However, it is not good enough for me to say with confidence that you will likely love it. I really hope that you do though.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri Film Review