So tonight are the 2016 Golden Globes and Thursday Hollywood announces the Academy Award Nominees!!! We are deep into Award Season, and I am loving it!
As I mentioned last week, this is my time of year. I’m a movie going and movie watching freak! So today I’m going to talk about three more movies that are deep in the discussion for Academy Awards… Creed, The Revenant, and The Big Short. All three of which I have seen and all three of which I really enjoyed and understand why they are in the discussion and I don’t doubt will receive some Academy Nominee Love. Although I don’t think I loved any of them enough to say they should win big come February 28th. I do however suspect there will be one big win from these three movies, but more about that in a few. First let’s start with my thoughts on these movies.
I loved Rocky when it came out in 1976. Even though I was only 11 years old, I knew it was a great movie. I loved Rocky II, if ever there was a movie that needed a sequel it was Rocky and it did not disappoint. I really enjoyed Rocky III, I’m not for sure that it was a movie that needed to be made but it was good. Then came Rocky IV and Rocky V and the much derided Rocky Balboa. Each one got progressively worse and it seemed like Stallone was just wiling to pump out crap to make some money.
So when it was announced that they were making a movie about Apollo Creed’s son and it was going to feature good old Rocky Balboa, I threw up my arms to the heaven and said “WTF, Enough already”! Then came the follow up stories that this wasn’t a brain child of Stallone’s but was instead a story written by Ryan Coogler, the artistic genius behind Fruitvale Station, a movie that was so erroneously overlooked for award love back in 2013. And that Coogler was reteaming with that movie’s star Michael B. Jordan. Well now I was intrigued. This could be something more than a grab for the wallets of Rocky fans everywhere.
And I must admit it is. It’s a really good film. It brings back the heart and pain of the original. By making Rocky a secondary character and Apollo Creed’s son, Adonis Johnson the main character, we have someone to cheer for again. Someone new to care about. And Michael B. Jordan does a great job of bringing that to the screen. And with Stallone in a supporting role playing a guy that is doing okay, not an overly morose and sullen ex-boxer, we can learn to care about him again too. This is what Stallone should have done a long time ago with Balboa. Let someone else write him so that his own ego doesn’t get in the way. If you stop and think about it, it’s interesting that the last three Rocky films were actually true to Stallone’s own life. Rocky was in a downward spiral because he had let himself get in his way.
Stallone is great as the secondary character, basically the Burgess Meredith character. It works. Is the film as good as the original? No, but it’s good. What I do think is interesting is that with all for the hits that the new Star Wars film has taken for repeating the story from the first film, you don’t hear that about Creed, and yet it is the same story, just different people. And that’s okay, like I’ve said before life does repeat itself.
It’s well cast, even Phylicia Rashad is good. Although playing a wife of a famous figure of the 80’s that screwed around while she looked the other way could kind of be type casting, it’s all good. The script is classic, if not a bit cliché. I mean of course the neighbor who wakes Johnson up with loud music is going to be the hot girl he falls in love with. Of course there is going to be a classic training to music scene, although it ain’t no “Gonna Fly Now” moment, it’s good.
All in all a good film and if Stallone gets nominated for best supporting actor, good on him.
THE BIG SHORT
In 2013 Hollywood went ape-shit over The Wolf of Wall Street. Without a doubt one of the ten worst films of that year. But the academy loved it. It got 5 Oscar nominations….which in my humble opinion was 6 too many. It was all about the corruption of Wall Street and the financial crisis of the aught’s.
If they loved that piece of crap enough to give it 5 nominations then The Big Short should rack up a lot of love too. Because it too is about the corruption of Wall Street and the financial crisis of the aughts. Only it’s well done. It’s funny. It’s smart. It’s well cast. It doesn’t try to shock you into thinking you are watching something new, its just something new. It’s everything that T.W.O.W. wasn’t.
Which is really interesting because I don’t typically like the actors in this movie, and I love Leonardo DiCaprio. I just couldn’t stomach him in that movie and Steve Carrel, Ryan Gosling (who I don’t hate, I just don’t find an exciting actor) and Christian Bale (who I just think is a putz, talented but a putz) are so much more interesting and intriguing. The entire cast is interesting and intriguing. Finn Wittrock, Brad Pitt (another actor that I’m still trying to figure out the allure of), Rafe Spall, Hamish Linklater, Jeremy Strong, Melissa Leo, Marissa Tomei all great performances.
The story line is interesting and they have a nifty way of dumbing it down for us non-wall street people to understand thanks to Margot Robbie, Selena Gomez and Anthony Bourdain.
I’m not for sure beyond screenplay and movie what nominations it deserves but since the academy loves Bale I won’t be surprised if he doesn’t get some love.
It’s not a must see, but it’s one I think you will enjoy.
I need to start off with full disclosure here. I think Leonardo DiCaprio is without a doubt one of the most talented actors of his generation. The fact that he does not yet have an Academy Award is just proof that there is something much more political to those awards than just performance and talent. The fact that they are saying this is the performance that is going to finally give him one, is further proof of that. As much as he deserves one, this performance is not the one that should get it. I mean it’s wonderful, but it’s just not the best performance this year. Right now that belongs to either Matt Damon or Eddie Redmayne.
The movie itself is fantastic. I really expected to hate it. The previews left me not wanting to see it. I mean I knew I would see it, but I didn’t want to see it. Then I saw the run time was 2 hours and 36 minutes and I REALLY didn’t want to see it. The previews has thumping music and Leo looking all ugly and disgusting. I was really worried that there wouldn’t be much of a story, and while not a complex story there is a story.
The movie is beautifully shot, as are most films by Alejandro Gonzalez Innaritu. The music draws you in. The directing is fantastic, which is typical again of Innaritu. There were a few times where I felt he lingered too long on shots of falling snow and the cold terrain that the movie takes place in. But I fully understand that it was to help set the mood and climate of the piece. It’s just that when I saw it I had just finished taking my daily 2.5 mile walk outside where the wind chill was 19 below. So I really understood the cold climate without needing to see it demonstrated so well.
The movie is very graphic. The opening attack by Native Americans against the fur trappers is amazingly shot, and leaves very little to your imagination. The bear attack against DiCaprio is intense and real. Every moment of violence, pain and torture rings true. Unlike Tarantino’s Hateful Eight, where the violence is taken to such extremes that it is almost cartoonish yet gory, this is real and gory.
The cast is wonderful. Tom Hardy, to me gives the much stronger performance as the selfish, angry ass of the film. While you don’t like him, Hardy helps you to at least get an understanding of the character. Domhnall Gleeson is outstanding as Captain Henry. This part lets him shine so much more than his role in in The Force Awakens did. And Will Poulter is amazing as the conflicted young fur trapper. Now about Leo, amazingly talented Leo. He is amazing in the role. He does a wonderful job of conveying so much emotion with his eyes and his body. He doesn’t have a lot of dialogue, but damn does he “say” so much.
I highly suspect that DiCaprio will indeed get the Oscar for this one, because he has played the PR game so well. He’s done all of the rounds telling everyone how he suffered for his art. He had to shoot for weeks in the frigid cold weather of Canada. He had to climb naked into the dead carcass of a horse. Crew members quit, but he stayed and filmed the extremely violent bear attack scene that left him scarred and in pain. He had to eat real bison liver, and the poor guy is a vegetarian. He suffered greatly for this film. All for which he received a paltry salary of somewhere between 10 and 20 million dollars. I for one can definitely feel his pain. Oh please, Leo you little bitch, give me a break. I’d suffer that for a tenth as much. I get you want that Oscar, but give me a break, you did not suffer for your art you suffered for a paycheck and for an award. And as far as eating real bison liver, aren’t you an actor? You couldn’t have done that with some sort of tofu and just made us believe you ate bison liver. Sorry, but I’m losing respect for you, just for your shameful hunger for the Oscar that you deserved for Revolutionary Road.
Okay, enough of my tirade. Even if you haven’t been intrigued by the previews, like me, I do encourage you to go see this one. But avoid all talk show appearances by Leo.
Okay there you go. My thoughts on three more Oscar worthy movies. Now get thee to a theatre near you!