Vice, Can You Ever Forgive Me? + Green Book (Film/Movie Reviews)

Vice and Green Book were the last two films nominated for Best Picture at the 2019 Oscars that I had yet to see. I had heard mixed things about both movies but I was excited to see them, especially Vice given how much I loved the work of director Adam McKay with The Big Short.

I also had the chance to see Can You Ever Forgive Me? which has been lauded when it comes to the performances given by Melissa McCarthy and Richard E. Grant. I was not expecting any of these three movies to be bad and, thankfully, they were not and you can see my short reviews for all of them below.

Vice

While I do not think that Vice is on the same level of quality as The Big Short, it is a good, entertaining satire. Christian Bale is absolutely phenomenal as Dick Cheney and he continues to show that he is one of the best actors working today. He transforms into this role, especially as an older Dick Cheney pulling all the strings in the Bush Administration.

Still, even though I liked the film, it is not Best Picture worthy. In terms of acting, it is stellar and it has some great moments from a comedic and dramatic perspective. Yet, it is not as clinical in its execution as The Big Short was.

The movie took more of a shotgun approach in its storytelling structure and it means that Vice is hit and miss but the approach Adam McKay took did work overall. However, the execution of what this movie was trying to achieve could have been a bit better.

Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Can You Ever Forgive Me? is a film with an okay story that is elevated by great acting. I thought this was a decent movie. The story is a bit boring but Melissa McCarthy and Richard E. Grant keep you engaged through their great individual acting as well as the chemistry they have together.

The film has its funny moments as well as some great poignant moments in the third act. But, in the end, I did find Can You Ever Forgive Me? to be a bit unremarkable and it is not a film I will revisit any time soon.

Green Book

Green Book has been quite a polarising film and not without controversy with the way it deals with its subject matter but I personally thought it was a really good movie. Once Tony (Viggo Mortensen) and Don Shirley (Mahershala Ali) are together, the film really hits its stride.

The chemistry between Viggo and Mahershala is fantastic and they really elevate the material they were given to work with. The film has great humour as well as serious moments and it all blends together quite well.

I was really invested in the relationship between Don and Tony and their relationship developed to a point where the friendship and connection they made was really genuine to me. The way this film ends is very uplifting even if it is a bit cliché.

I do understand why the film has not worked for everyone though. Moreover, while it can be argued that a nomination for Best Picture is just about deserved, it should not be in the running to win this award. Still, my experience with Green Book was a positive one.

VIce Can You Ever Forgive Me Green Book Film Movie Reviews

Beautiful Boy, The Favourite + How To Train Your Dragon 3 (Film/Movie Reviews)

In the United Kingdom, January and February is the best time of the year when it comes to films. This is because a lot of the movies that are in contention for awards such as the Oscars are released in the UK at this time.

The Favourite is one of the movies expected to do well at the 2019 Oscars and Timothée Chalamet has been getting nominations for his supporting role in Beautiful Boy. I had the chance to see both of these films recently as well as How To Train Your Dragon 3, an animated movie which might be nominated for Best Animated Film at the Oscars next year. You can see my short reviews for all of these movies below.

Beautiful Boy

Beautiful Boy is a film with great subject matter that never reaches its full potential. There is some great acting from Steve Carell and Timothée Chalamet and the latter is the standout in this film. Moments of brilliance are littered throughout whenever he is involved with a café scene between his character and Carell’s being a particular highlight.

There is no doubt that the father/son relationship and the impact that drug addiction has on it is the heart and soul of Beautiful Boy. I also liked the nice variety of music. However, something was missing from this film that would have delivered the knockout emotional moments. From a storytelling perspective, Beautiful Boy felt quite passive in my opinion.

Everything was there to make this movie great but, for whatever reason, it never did enough to get to that level. It is a good film and, in terms of acting, I can see why it has received award nominations. Still, the overall movie is not at a high enough level of quality to get more award recognition.

The Favourite

I despised The Lobster which was the first and only Yorgos Lanthimos film I had seen prior to The Favourite. Because of my disdain for his previous work, I was not going into The Favourite with abundant excitement. Gratefully, I had a much better time with this movie than I did with The Lobster.

While I did not love it and I questioned what the whole point of it was by the end, I found some enjoyment in the comedic aspects of the film. A big reason why I thought The Favourite was a decent movie was because it was much more restrained and less quirky with its storytelling.

This made the film more palatable and I could appreciate the comedy and the performances because of this. I am not of the opinion that this film deserves all of the Oscar nominations it has received and I would be shocked if it won Best Picture. Nonetheless, it was much better than I expected it to be.

How To Train Your Dragon 3

Upon a re-watch of How To Train Your Dragon 1 and How To Train Your Dragon 2, those films did not hold up that well for me. I still enjoyed watching them but, in a score out of 10, they both went down from an 8.5 to a 6.5. I could not really separate the two in terms of which one I preferred over the other. After watching How To Train Your Dragon 3, I still cannot give you a confident ranking of all three films.

I enjoy all of these movies and the consistency of their quality is somewhat of an achievement. It is a decent trilogy. However, I do not connect with these films nor the characters within them on an emotional level as others do and the moments between Hiccup and Toothless in How To Train Your Dragon 3 where I was meant to get the feels kind of fell flat for me.

From an animation standpoint, this is the most impressive of the trilogy and there are some funny moments. Yet, I also feel that these films are more animated movies for kids than they are for adults. I would rank the Kung Fu Panda and Madagascar trilogies above the How To Train Your Dragon trilogy and I do not have a huge desire to watch this trilogy again.

Beautiful Boy How To Train Your Dragon 3 The Favourite Film Movie Reviews

 

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (Film/Movie Review) – A Game Changer For Animation

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is an animated superhero film directed by Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey and Rodney Rothman. It is based on the Marvel Comics character Miles Morales/Spider-Man and it is the first animated movie in the Spider-Man film franchise.

The film features an ensemble voice cast of Liev Schreiber, John Mulaney, Luna Lauren Valez, Nicolas Cage, Lily Tomlin, Brian Tyree Henry, Mahershala Ali, Jake Johnson, Hailee Steinfeld and Shameik Moore.

The story of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is set in a shared multiverse called the ‘Spider-Verse’ which has alternate universes with various Spider-Men. In this film, Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) becomes one of the many Spider-Men and he must work with the others to save New York City from Kingpin (Liev Schreiber).

My Expectation For Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

This is not an exaggeration; every single review and reaction to Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse proclaimed it to be one of the best films of 2018, one of the best comic-book movies of 2018 and one of the best comic-book movies ever made. Clearly, this raised my expectations for a film I did not know much about.

I tried to go into this film knowing little about the plot but the praise that Spider-Verse received made me think that I was in for something special. Still, Avengers: Infinity War was the best superhero film I had seen in 2018 and Spider-Verse would have to be special to top Infinity War.

My Thoughts On Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Avengers: Infinity War remains my favourite comic book film of 2018 but I really liked Spider-Verse. Make no mistake, this film is a game changer for animation. It is visually gorgeous and unique in its style.

Still, what makes Spider-Verse a very good film is its story, the heart of which is the relationship between Miles Morales and his family. Indeed, the tug-of-war for Miles between his father and uncle made for some very poignant moments throughout the movie.

Still, as much as I liked Spider-Verse, I feel as though my appreciation for this film would have been greatly enhanced if I was a hardcore Spider-Man fan. I cannot imagine how awesome this film would have been for them.

I am a very casual fan of Spider-Man so most of the easter-eggs and specific, deep cut references went over my head. Certainly, I had no idea so many iterations of Spider-Man existed in the first place.

Nevertheless, I found so much to like in Spider-Verse despite how much this film was made for the hardcore fans of Spider-Man. This movie is funny and has some brilliant characters within it. Obviously, Miles Morales and Peter Parker (Jake Johnson) are standouts but my favourite character was Spider-Man Noir (Nicolas Cage).

I loved his role in the film and what he brought to the story. Moreover, because of the range of characters as well as the dense story, Spider-Verse has to juggle a lot of moving parts and it does this very nicely which was a big achievement.

My Final Thoughts On Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

My only real issue with Spider-Verse was how the momentum of the film was a bit stop/start which slightly hampered the pacing. Additionally, while Kingpin was a decent villain, I would have liked for his character to have been a bit more developed than it was.

Still, I understand that Spider-Verse is a film about the hero’s journey and it is a great journey to go on. Spider-Verse is a very good time at the cinema and it does deserve a lot of the praise it has received. It also deserves award recognition and it should be a lock to win Best Animated Film at the 2019 Oscars.

spider-man into the spider-verse review

 

Widows (Film/Movie Review) – Steve McQueen’s Best Work So Far

Widows is heist film directed by Steve McQueen that is based on the 1983 ITV series of the same name. The movie features a large ensemble cast that includes Carrie Coon, Jacki Weaver, Robert Duvall, Daniel Kaluuya, Liam Neeson, Brian Tyree Henry, Colin Farrell, Cynthia Erivo, Elizabeth Debicki, Michelle Rodriguez and Viola Davis.

The story of Widows focuses on a group of women who attempt a robbery. They do this to pay back a crime boss after their criminal husbands are killed when a heist goes terribly wrong.

My Expectation For Widows

Steve McQueen has not directed a film since 12 Years a Slave. While a harrowing film to watch, it is a very good movie and it went on to garner an Oscar for Best Picture. This was a huge achievement for Steve McQueen.

Clearly, given his past success and the long gap between 12 Years a Slave and Widows, anticipation for Widows has been high amongst film fans. Moreover, the great reviews this movie received certainly increased the hype for Widows, at least for myself anyway.

As a minimum, I was confident that Widows would be a good film and if it did indeed showcase itself as a movie worthy of award recognition then that would be brilliant. With a cast this great, an interesting premise and a director who has shown his worth as a storyteller with 12 Years a Slave, everything was looking good.

My Thoughts On Widows

I liked 12 Years a Slave but I personally think that Widows is a step above in quality and it is Steve McQueen’s best film to date. I had a great and enjoyable time with this movie.

It has fantastic acting, confident direction that is evident in McQueen’s clever use of the camera at certain points in the film and a well-crafted story with depth, twists and mystery. All of this combines beautifully to make a great film and it also helps to negate some pacing issues that Widows has.

I mentioned that the film has great acting in it and that comes from every member of this ensemble cast. Everyone delivers but I have to say that Daniel Kaluuya and Elizabeth Debicki were the standouts for me. They were both terrific in very different ways and the arc that Debicki’s character goes on in Widows is one of the best in the movie.

Widows also really impressed me with how it dealt with important issues such as political corruption, police brutality and racial profiling. It is a film that showcased these issues in an impactful way but, at the same time, it also had the usual thrills of a heist film embedded into its story.

My Final Thoughts on Widows

When we consider all of this, Steve McQueen deserves a lot of credit and I would love it if he and the film was recognised at the 2019 Oscars because Widows is, in my eyes, the best film that he has directed. I can only hope that his next film comes much sooner than Widows did.

widows review

Film News – Guillermo del Toro Discusses Roma + Pinocchio

Guillermo del Toro is one of the most respected creative talents working in the entertainment industry today. After his success with The Shape of Water, I am confident that he will not be short of appealing projects to work on.

At a recent appearance at the Marrakech Film Festival, he gave an exclusive interview to Collider and discussed Roma, a film directed by his friend Alfonso Cuaron, as well as his upcoming live-action remake of Pinocchio.

Roma

Here is what Guillermo del Toro had to say on the possibility of Alfonso Cuaron’s Roma winning Best Picture at the 2019 Oscars:

The beauty of Roma is that you have a guy who wins the Oscar with Gravity, makes all the money in the world and that is his choice of next film. That is extremely beautiful. He’s not only told a great story in Mexico but in black and white.”

“He’s told a story that nobody tells. It’s about his own childhood, but he didn’t choose to tell it from the point of view of the kid. That movie moves me so much. It’s one of my five favourite movies ever made. It’s Number Five.”

Pinocchio

Guillermo del Toro also gave his reasons as to why he wanted to tell the Pinocchio story in a live-action form:

As a kid I felt a kinship with the figure of Pinocchio, not in the happy way or a good boy way. I was very interested in whether he can be himself and be loved. Does he have to turn into a real boy to be loved? Why can he not be loved exactly the way he is? Why can we not be the imperfect children of loving parents? Those are the things I connect with.”

Thank you for reading this article! You can find my other articles here at theturnertalks.com as well as my reviews which you can also all find at sp-bx.com.

Bohemian Rhapsody (Film/Movie Review) – Good Movie, Poor Biopic

Bohemian Rhapsody is a “biopic” about iconic British rock band Queen that was mostly directed by Bryan Singer. Rami Malek stars in the lead role as Freddie Mercury with a supporting cast that includes Mike Myers, Tom Hollander, Aidan Gillen, Allen Leech, Ben Hardy, Joe Mazzello, Gwilym Lee and Lucy Boynton.

The story of the film focuses on the rise of Queen, their successes and their struggles which all culminates in their historic performance at Live Aid in 1985. Naturally, Freddie Mercury is the focal point of the story told in Bohemian Rhapsody.

My Expectation For Bohemian Rhapsody

I was extremely nervous going into Bohemian Rhapsody because, from the mixed reviews, my fears about this film looked to be confirmed. My fears about Bohemian Rhapsody were purely related to how realistic the portrayal of Queen would be.

A good amount of the reviews stated that this movie was very safe in its portrayal of Queen to the point where it over-glorified the band rather than showing both the good and bad of the band as well as Freddie Mercury.

Still, the music sequences and Rami Malek’s performance seemed to be the things that were universally praised which pleased me. Indeed, judging from the reviews, it seemed that Rami Malek was already guaranteed to be Oscar nominated for Best Actor.

With all of this in mind, I was expecting to be entertained even if I found problems with the narrative of this biopic and how true it would be to the history of Queen.

My Thoughts On Bohemian Rhapsody

So, Rami Malek is a lock for a Best Actor Oscar nomination. He is the entire reason Bohemian Rhapsody succeeds as much as it does. For what it is from an entertainment perspective, the film is good. However, it is a poor biopic.

I completely understand that all biopics are going to take minor liberties with the truth to craft a more compelling narrative. Moreover, with Queen band members Brian May and Roger Taylor being consultants on the movie, it is also understandable that they would not want to put themselves and the band in a bad light.

However, major, unforgivable liberties are taken in Bohemian Rhapsody to a point of disrespect. The HIV diagnosis of Freddie Mercury, the most important moment in the history of Queen, is changed for greater dramatic effect.

In real-life, Freddie Mercury was diagnosed with HIV in 1987 but, in Bohemian Rhapsody, the diagnosis happens in 1985, before Queen play at Live Aid. In my eyes, this decision to change history is unforgivable and completely ruins any argument for Bohemian Rhapsody being a good biopic.

On top of the rose-tinted glasses look at Queen in this movie, I was left longing for a more in-depth, accurate and mature story about Queen and the life of Freddie Mercury.

The Positives Of Bohemian Rhapsody

But, if I ignore all of this and just purely focus on what Bohemian Rhapsody is trying to do from an entertainment standpoint, it succeeds. As I said earlier, Rami Malek gives a phenomenal performance that carries this film and the entire cast around him were really good too.

However, like Freddie Mercury in real-life, Rami Malek’s star shines brightest in Bohemian Rhapsody and the whole movie soars in the music sequences with the pinnacle coming at the end with Live Aid.

I have complained about accuracy of events in this film but Live Aid was brought to life to in such an incredible and faithful way that I could not help but be moved, especially when ‘Radio Ga Ga‘, my favourite Queen song, started to play.

My Final Thoughts On Bohemian Rhapsody

So, as you can see, I have mixed feelings about Bohemian Rhapsody and I will reiterate that it is a good, entertaining film and, at the same time, a poor biopic. Rami Malek and the music sequences are the reasons you see this film and it is obvious that he will be Oscar nominated for Best Actor. So, if you are an Oscar junkie, then you should see Bohemian Rhapsody.

Bohemian Rhapsody Film Review

 

First Man (Film/Movie Review) – Damien Chazelle’s Worst Film Yet

First Man is a biographical drama directed by Damien Chazelle that is based on the book First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong. The film stars Patrick Fugit, Lukas Haas, Christopher Abbott, Corey Stoll, Ciaran Hinds, Kyle Chandler, Jason Clarke, Claire Foy and Ryan Gosling.

Ryan Gosling plays Neil Armstrong in this movie and the story of First Man focuses on Neil Armstrong in the years leading up to and including the Apollo 11 mission to the Moon in 1969.

My Expectation For First Man

Damien Chazelle has made a real name for himself in the film industry. Indeed, Whiplash, a film I consider to be spectacular, put Chazelle on the map and he followed that up with La La Land which I thought was good but a huge step down from Whiplash and, to be honest, a bit overrated. Still, both of these movies received Oscar nominations and, because of this, anticipation amongst film fans has been high for First Man.

From the trailer, the movie looked visually stunning and the reviews for this film have been very positive. I was eager to see where First Man would rank amongst Whiplash and La La Land as well as concluding whether the hype for this film was earned because First Man is already being touted as a serious contender at the 2019 Oscars in categories such as Best Picture, Best Cinematography, Best Director, Best Actor and Best Actress.

My Thoughts On First Man

I was left extremely underwhelmed by First Man. This film did not click with me at all. Despite some good performances from Ryan Gosling and Claire Foy, great technical elements showcased in the flying sequences and moon landing as well as a decent score by Justin Hurwitz, I was bored throughout due to how unbearably sluggish the pacing was.

For a story as inspirational and historically iconic as the Moon landing, it was so disappointing to see it brought to the screen in such a dull, cold fashion. I did not mind the focus on Neil Armstrong and his underlying recovery from a devastating loss in his family, but I was never engaged to the degree I wanted to be and I have absolutely no intention to ever watch First Man again. For me, this is Damien Chazelle’s weakest film.

Yes, I slightly prefer La La Land to First Man and that film was not one that floored me. Whiplash still remains the movie to beat and I am not confident that First Man will do well at the 2019 Oscars. I can see it getting nominations in technical categories such as sound and effects but nothing more than that in my opinion.

Even at such an early stage in awards season, I am assured in saying that First Man is nowhere near good enough to deserve a Best Picture nomination. Additionally, I have a feeling that I am going to see films with much better direction and acting performances than what I saw in First Man. So, overall, First Man was a disappointing movie when I consider how excited I was to see a film about such a momentous event in human history.

First Man Film Movie Review

A Star Is Born (Film/Movie Review) – An Early Oscar Contender

A Star Is Born is a musical romantic drama directed, produced and co-wrote by Bradley Cooper. This film is the third remake of the original 1937 movie of the same name and it stars Anthony Ramos, Andrew Dice Clay, Dave Chapelle, Sam Elliot, Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper. Gaga and Cooper play the lead roles of Ally and Jackson Maine respectively.

The story of A Star Is Born focuses on Jackson Maine, a popular, established but hard-drinking musician whose is on a downward spiral. He meets Ally, a young, undiscovered singer who he sees a lot of potential in. The two develop a romantic relationship as Jackson attempts to bring Ally into the spotlight and make her a star in the music industry.

My Expectation For A Star Is Born

Any film that receives universal acclaim coming out of a premiere at any film festival is going to grab my attention and raise my expectations. A Star Is Born was praised to a degree that I had not seen since La La Land.

With this in mind, I had to be careful with my hopes for this movie because of La La Land. Indeed, La La Land was a film which I thought was good but I was left slightly underwhelmed by it. This was because there was a difference between the critical reaction, which deemed it to be one of the best movies of the decade so far, and the actual quality of that film in my eyes.

Instead of going into A Star Is Born thinking that it was going to be a phenomenal movie, I believed that it would just be a good film. Nothing more, nothing less. I was interested to see how capable Bradley Cooper would be as a first-time director and for me to see Lady Gaga as an actress for the first time would be fascinating to experience.

Every review for A Star Is Born proclaimed that it was a guarantee for a Best Picture nomination at the 2019 Oscars. Whether I would come to this same conclusion was a difficult thing to predict given how, to some extent, I was burned by La La Land.

My Thoughts On A Star Is Born

My cinematic experience with A Star Is Born was a bit tainted because I unknowingly went into a screening for the Hard of Hearing which meant that there were subtitles. Consequently, it was harder to focus on the film when there were lines of dialogue coming up on the bottom of the screen, sometimes before the words had actually been spoken.

Still, that slight annoyance did not to do much to deter how much I liked the movie and the more I think about A Star Is Born, the more I like it. It is a very good film flowing with heart and soul thanks to brilliant performances and superb songs.

It is early days in this Oscar season and there are still plenty of movies to see in the coming months. However, I would be extremely surprised if Bradley Cooper, Lady Gaga and Sam Harris do not end up getting nominated for Oscars in the categories of Best Actor, Best Actress and Best Supporting Actor respectively.

They are all exceptional in A Star Is Born and the emotional impact this film has, especially in the third act, is solely down to how great the relationships are. The chemistry between both Cooper/Gaga and Cooper/Harris are the foundation for the success of this movie.

Bradley Cooper deserves a lot of credit for this as it is not an easy thing to do, especially in a film that is your directorial debut. Because of this, he has a chance of getting an Oscar nomination for Best Director too.

The Music In A Star Is Born

Clearly, in a movie like A Star Is Born, the quality of the music is going to be incredibly important for the quality of the film and, as I previously stated, the songs in A Star Is Born are superb. Indeed, I would have no problem if ‘Maybe It’s Time’, ‘Shallow’, ‘Always Remember Us This Way’, ‘Is That Alright?’ and ‘I’ll Never Love Again’ made up all the nominations for Best Original Song at the 2019 Oscars.

That is not going to happen though. For me, ‘Shallow’ and ‘Always Remember Us This Way’ were the standout songs in A Star Is Born and every time that Ally sings in this movie, I defy anyone to not be enraptured and swept away in the story.

I also liked the commentary on the modern music industry in this film as we see an artist like Ally slowly become a product rather than a storyteller. It made for some interesting story beats and character moments.

My Final Thoughts On A Star Is Born

If I had to pick out faults in A Star Is Born, I would say that the pacing is a bit inconsistent and there was one important story moment for Ally and Jackson that came out of nowhere and it felt a bit rushed. This slightly sullied the quality of the story in this film but not to a degree where it severely lessened my overall admiration for it.

I am confident in saying that A Star Is Born is an early contender for a Best Picture Oscar nomination. Nonetheless, it is too soon to say that it will win and/or if it is my personal choice to win Best Picture because there are still plenty more films to come out in the coming months that could also be Oscar contenders.

All I will say is that I find it unlikely that someone watches A Star Is Born and does not at least think the film is decent because there is a lot to admire in it.

A Star Is Born Film Movie Review Pin

 

BlacKkKlansman (Film/Movie Review) – A Must-See Story

BlacKkKlansman is a biographical drama directed by Spike Lee which is based on the 2014 memoir Black Klansman that was written by Ron Stallworth. John David Washington stars as Ron Stallworth alongside a cast of Alec Baldwin, Harry Belafonte, Corey Hawkins, Topher Grace, Laura Harrier and Adam Driver.

The story of the film takes place in Colorado Springs in the late 1970s and follows Ron Stallworth. Stallworth is the first African-American detective in the Colorado Springs police department. He decides to infiltrate and expose the local chapter of the Ku Klux Klan.

My Expectations For BlacKkKlansman

Do The Right Thing, Malcolm X and Inside Man are Spike Lee joints that a lot of film fans, myself included, hold in high regard. However, one could make a strong argument that, since Inside Man, Spike Lee has released a number of films that have not hit the same level of quality as those aforementioned movies.

This is why I was delighted when many film critics, who have a much stronger grasp on Spike Lee’s filmography than I do, stated that BlacKkKlansman was one of Spike Lee’s best directorial efforts in years. The reviews for BlacKkKlansman have been so good that it made me believe that I could potentially watch a contender for Best Picture at the 2019 Oscars. I was really looking forward to see this movie so I could find out whether this would be the case.

If BlacKkKlansman was good enough to be an awards contender in my eyes, then it had a chance of eclipsing Malcolm X as being the best Spike Lee joint I have seen so far. Moreover, seeing if John David Washington could continue what his father, Denzel Washington, brilliantly established with Spike Lee decades ago when it came to a collaborative relationship would be fascinating to see.

Additionally, Adam Driver is, of course, going to draw me into any movie he is in given his quality as an actor. I had high hopes for BlacKkKlansman and I was confident that a powerful and timely story would be told with this movie.

My Thoughts On BlacKkKlansman

BlacKkKlansman is a film that everyone needs to see. This is great work by Spike Lee. While it slightly suffers from slow pacing and, in turn, does not have the huge rewatchability of Malcolm X or Inside Man, it absolutely has the similar power and impact of Do The Right Thing at various times throughout its running time.

One of the big strengths of the movie is how it is able to seamlessly blend comedy and drama. Still, while there is humour in BlacKkKlansman, I was not laughing out loud because I treated this film very seriously due to its significant social and political messages/themes which were deeply embedded in its story.

I can definitely see BlacKkKlansman being a contender at the 2019 Oscars in categories such as Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay. It may also get some attention for Best Supporting Actor and Best Actor. Certainly, Adam Driver delivers, as he always does, a great performance and John David Washington, based on this film alone, is a natural when it comes to acting, like his father.

I also believe that thanks to the incredibly powerful ending, BlacKkKlansman will stay with the people who see it for a long time and it should do because this film is important. The larger the amount of people who see this movie, the better. With that in mind, I urge you to see BlacKkKlansman as soon as you can. I do not believe that any film which has come out so far in 2018 has been more relevant and timelier to see as this great Spike Lee joint.

BlacKkKlansman Film Movie Review Pin

 

Lady Bird (Film Review) – The Film That Should Have Won Best Picture

Lady Bird is a coming-of-age film written and directed by Greta Gerwig and stars Stephen McKinley Henderson, Lois Smith, Beanie Feldstein, Lucas Hedges, Timothée Chalamet, Tracy Letts, Laurie Metcalf and Saoirse Ronan. The story of the film is set in Sacremento, Califorinia in the early 2000s and focuses on Christine (Saoirse Ronan), a high-school senior who goes by the name of ‘Lady Bird’. She clashes with her mother (Laurie Metcalf) about her future.

My Knowledge and Expectation of Lady Bird

On paper, everything about Lady Bird sounded terrific. For one, I love coming-of-age films. In recent years, films such as The Edge of Seventeen, Boyhood and The Perks of Being a Wallflower now rank amongst the best coming-of-age films I have ever seen. For whatever reason, it is a genre of film that I gravitate to and the fact that Lady Bird was nominated for five Oscars increased my expectations about the quality of the film.

As well as being nominated for Best Picture, both Saoirse Ronan and Laurie Metcalf were nominated for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress respectively. From this, I expected that the acting in Lady Bird would be brilliant. This went for the entire cast, not just from Ronan and Metcalf. Certainly, Lucas Hedges and Timothée Chalamet are incredibly talented actors and impressed me with their work in Manchester by the Sea and Call Me By Your Name respectively. I hoped to see more of the same from these two in Lady Bird.

Saoirse Ronan as Lady Bird and Laurie Metcalf as Marion in Lady Bird

Before I saw Lady Bird, the only film nominated for Best Picture at the 2018 Oscars that made me feel like it completely deserved its nomination was The Post. I hoped that Lady Bird would impress me to the same degree that The Post did. I was expecting great things from this film.

My Thoughts on Lady Bird

I thought Lady Bird was absolutely terrific. Everything about this film felt authentic and genuine. Greta Gerwig partly based this film off her own experiences growing up in Sacramento and you can tell that this film came from the heart. While a coming-of-age film is going to have scenes and/or dialogue that are a bit cringe-worthy, nothing in Lady Bird ever felt forced or out of place. I had such a great time watching this film, especially when it came to the performances.

Saoirse Ronan was fantastic in the lead role and fully deserving of her nomination for Best Actress but I have to admit that, for me, Laurie Metcalf stole the entire film. She was so real and natural with her performance and, while I still have not seen Allison Janney’s performance in I, Tonya, I struggle to see how anything could eclipse what Laurie Metcalf did in Lady Bird.

Laurie Metcalf as Marion and Saoirse Ronan as Lady Bird in Lady Bird

The mother-daughter relationship was amazing and what Metcalf and Ronan brought to it made their relationship one of the strongest aspects of Lady Bird. I also thought that Tracy Letts, Lucas Hedges and Timothée Chalamet were all very good in the film as well.

Funny and Sad Moments

Another strength of Lady Bird was the humour which was spot-on for a film like this. Certain lines of dialogue in the film and situations some of the characters found themselves in made for some really funny moments. Yet, at the same time, there were some incredibly sad moments too whether it was with Stephen McKinley Henderson’s character or with Lucas Hedges character. You need these types of moments in a coming-of-age film and I thought they were all executed very well.

I also have to say that the use of ‘Crash Into Me’ by Dave Matthews Band throughout the film was something that really pulled me into Lady Bird as it is one of my favourite songs. All of the things which I have mentioned above made me full in love with the film and, as I watched the credits roll, I could not help but feel that the ending, while abrupt, felt right and the character arc that Christine went through in Lady Bird came full circle.

Beanie Feldstein as Julie and Saoirse Ronan as Lady Bird in Lady Bird

My Final Thoughts on Lady Bird

Lady Bird and The Post were the two films nominated for Best Picture at the 2018 Oscars that were, for me, worthy nominees. Now that I think about it, I believe that Lady Bird should have won the award. I never thought either one would win Best Picture as The Shape of Water was the clear favourite. Still, I was rooting for an upset and I hope, in the years to come, that Lady Bird will be seen as one of the best coming-of-age films that has come out in recent times.

Clearly, I would highly recommend this film to anyone who loves coming-of-age films and wants to see exceptional acting as well as a superb directorial debut from Greta Gerwig. I hope to see more of her in the years to come when it comes to directing films.

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