So it’s that time again, where the Academy Awards season is upon us. The 90th Annual Oscars are going to be premiering on March 4, 2018 and I of course will be there front and center as always!
I haven’t seen everything yet, so I can’t really do any predictions but I do hope to see everything that’s nominated for the big stuff before the date.
I of course wanted to get in on reporting the nominations.
Below is the list of nominations!
“Call Me by Your Name” Fantastic Movie, I was enthralled the entire time.
“Get Out” Great movie, with suspense, great acting and directing.
“Lady Bird” Such a realistic view on the relationships between mothers and daughters, and growing into womanhood.
“The Shape of Water”
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Timothée Chalamet, “Call Me by Your Name” He was very good. An enigmatic innocence about him.
Daniel Day-Lewis, “Phantom Thread”
Daniel Kaluuya, “Get Out” Very good. You rooted for him, and you felt his fear when he started to fall into the weird world.
Gary Oldman, “Darkest Hour”
Denzel Washington, “Roman J. Israel, Esq.”
Sally Hawkins, “The Shape of Water”
Frances McDormand, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Margot Robbie, “I, Tonya”
Saoirse Ronan, “Lady Bird” She’s always good, and she was great here. Her character is very interesting and feels like a real teenager trying to navigate the transition into adulthood.
Meryl Streep, “The Post”
Willem Dafoe, “The Florida Project”
Woody Harrelson, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Richard Jenkins, “The Shape of Water”
Christopher Plummer, “All the Money in the World”
Sam Rockwell, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Mary J. Blige, “Mudbound”
Allison Janney, “I, Tonya”
Lesley Manville, “Phantom Thread”
Laurie Metcalf, “Lady Bird” Andy’s mom!! lol I’m kidding. She’s also great. She has great chemistry with Ronan and her character is a bit sad in her own way. You might understand her but at the same time dislike her.
Octavia Spencer, “The Shape of Water”
“Dunkirk,” Christopher Nolan
“Get Out,” Jordan Peele Definitely a strong debut!
“Lady Bird,” Greta Gerwig Another strong debut!
“Phantom Thread,” Paul Thomas Anderson
“The Shape of Water,” Guillermo del Toro
“The Boss Baby,” Tom McGrath, Ramsey Ann Naito
“The Breadwinner,” Nora Twomey, Anthony Leo
“Coco,” Lee Unkrich, Darla K. Anderson Beautiful beautiful film… it’s gonna win.
“Ferdinand,” Carlos Saldanha
“Loving Vincent,” Dorota Kobiela, Hugh Welchman, Sean Bobbitt, Ivan Mactaggart, Hugh Welchman
“Dear Basketball,” Glen Keane, Kobe Bryant
“Garden Party,” Victor Caire, Gabriel Grapperon
“Lou,” Dave Mullins, Dana Murray
“Negative Space,” Max Porter, Ru Kuwahata
“Revolting Rhymes,” Jakob Schuh, Jan Lachauer
“Call Me by Your Name,” James Ivory
“The Disaster Artist,” Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber
“Logan,” Scott Frank & James Mangold and Michael Green
“Molly’s Game,” Aaron Sorkin
“Mudbound,” Virgil Williams and Dee Rees
“The Big Sick,” Emily V. Gordon & Kumail Nanjiani
“Get Out,” Jordan Peele
“Lady Bird,” Greta Gerwig
“The Shape of Water,” Guillermo del Toro, Vanessa Taylor
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” Martin McDonagh
“Blade Runner 2049,” Roger Deakins
“Darkest Hour,” Bruno Delbonnel
“Dunkirk,” Hoyte van Hoytema
“Mudbound,” Rachel Morrison
“The Shape of Water,” Dan Laustsen
Best Documentary Feature:
“Abacus: Small Enough to Jail,” Steve James, Mark Mitten, Julie Goldman
“Faces Places,” JR, Agnès Varda, Rosalie Varda
“Icarus,” Bryan Fogel, Dan Cogan
“Last Men in Aleppo,” Feras Fayyad, Kareem Abeed, Soren Steen Jepersen
“Strong Island,” Yance Ford, Joslyn Barnes
Best Documentary Short Subject:
“Edith+Eddie,” Laura Checkoway, Thomas Lee Wright
“Heaven is a Traffic Jam on the 405,” Frank Stiefel
“Heroin(e),” Elaine McMillion Sheldon, Kerrin Sheldon
“Knife Skills,” Thomas Lennon
“Traffic Stop,” Kate Davis, David Heilbroner
Best Live Action Short Film:
“DeKalb Elementary,” Reed Van Dyk
“The Eleven O’Clock,” Derin Seale, Josh Lawson
“My Nephew Emmett,” Kevin Wilson, Jr.
“The Silent Child,” Chris Overton, Rachel Shenton
“Watu Wote/All of Us,” Katja Benrath, Tobias Rosen
Best Foreign Language Film:
“A Fantastic Woman” (Chile)
“The Insult” (Lebanon)
“On Body and Soul (Hungary)
“The Square” (Sweden)
“Baby Driver,” Jonathan Amos, Paul Machliss
“Dunkirk,” Lee Smith
“I, Tonya,” Tatiana S. Riegel
“The Shape of Water,” Sidney Wolinsky
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” Jon Gregory
“Baby Driver,” Julian Slater
“Blade Runner 2049,” Mark Mangini, Theo Green
“Dunkirk,” Alex Gibson, Richard King
“The Shape of Water,” Nathan Robitaille, Nelson Ferreira
“Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” Ren Klyce, Matthew Wood
“Baby Driver,” Mary H. Ellis, Julian Slater, Tim Cavagin
“Blade Runner 2049,” Mac Ruth, Ron Bartlett, Doug Hephill
“Dunkirk,” Mark Weingarten, Gregg Landaker, Gary A. Rizzo
“The Shape of Water,” Glen Gauthier, Christian Cooke, Brad Zoern
“Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” Stuart Wilson, Ren Klyce, David Parker, Michael Semanick
“Beauty and the Beast,” Sarah Greenwood; Katie Spencer
“Blade Runner 2049,” Dennis Gassner, Alessandra Querzola
“Darkest Hour,” Sarah Greenwood, Katie Spencer
“Dunkirk,” Nathan Crowley, Gary Fettis
“The Shape of Water,” Paul D. Austerberry, Jeffrey A. Melvin, Shane Vieau
“Dunkirk,” Hans Zimmer
“Phantom Thread,” Jonny Greenwood
“The Shape of Water,” Alexandre Desplat
“Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” John Williams
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” Carter Burwell
“Mighty River” from “Mudbound,” Mary J. Blige
“Mystery of Love” from “Call Me by Your Name,” Sufjan Stevens
“Remember Me” from “Coco,” Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Robert Lopez
“Stand Up for Something” from “Marshall,” Diane Warren, Common
“This Is Me” from “The Greatest Showman,” Benj Pasek, Justin Paul
Makeup and Hair:
“Darkest Hour,” Kazuhiro Tsuji, David Malinowski, Lucy Sibbick
“Victoria and Abdul,” Daniel Phillips and Lou Sheppard
“Wonder,” Arjen Tuiten The makeup was really good for Auggie.
“Beauty and the Beast,” Jacqueline Durran Would not be surprised if this wins because say what you want about her yellow dress, the costumes in this movie are beautiful. The attention to detail is amazing.
“Darkest Hour,” Jacqueline Durran
“Phantom Thread,” Mark Bridges
“The Shape of Water,” Luis Sequeira
“Victoria and Abdul,” Consolata Boyle
“Blade Runner 2049,” John Nelson, Paul Lambert, Richard R. Hoover, Gerd Nefzer
“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” Christopher Townsend, Guy Williams, Jonathan Fawkner, Dan Sudick
“Kong: Skull Island,” Stephen Rosenbaum, Jeff White, Scott Benza, Mike Meinardus
“Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” Ben Morris, Mike Mulholland, Chris Corbould, Neal Scanlan
“War for the Planet of the Apes,” Joe Letteri, Dan Lemmon, Daniel Barrett, Joel Whist
Summary: An African-American father struggles with race relations in the United States while trying to raise his family in the 1950s and coming to terms with the events of his life.
Important to note: August Wilson wrote the play, this is NOT an original work by Denzel Washington.
Cast and Characters. Such a rich set of characters, also very contained being that it is based on a play.
Denzel Washington as Troy Maxson. He is a 50 something man, working as a garbage pickup and he is quite firm in his ways. He often talks about his fight with Death and he makes a lot of references towards Baseball as he could have made it, he was just too old. He loves his wife, talks about “loving” her quite a lot, has interesting relationships with both of his sons and makes a lot of mistakes. This character is interesting and I can only say so much without spoiling him. He is kind of sad too. Denzel Washington plays this character with natural charisma because that’s Denzel lol. When he’s being humorous he’s funny and charming, when he’s talking about his childhood and adolescent years, he talks with a haunted look and tone. Whenever he’s being pushy, he’s intimidating and he’s scary sometimes. Denzel pulls all of that off so well.
Viola Davis as Rose Maxson. Ooo boy, I love me some Viola Davis first of all. Rose is Troy’s wife, and she is a good woman. During this time, black women often didn’t have jobs, they mostly stayed home and perhaps were very active in their churches. That’s the kind of role she played in their life, she was also Troy’s backbone. She was compassionate, loving and cared for everyone who was in their life, or entered their home. The way she handled the men in her life, was definitely interesting and I do think we learn more about her later. More about her pain that rivals her love and Viola does so well with this. I believed she was this woman, she lived in this house for all of these years…amazing.
Stephen McKinley Henderson as Jim Bono. He’s Troy’s best friend and he serves as the audience a lot for Troy’s monologues (which I think is obvious to tell he is really from the play). If he wasn’t there, then Troy would be talking to the viewers, so he serves his purpose. Not to mention, with him being the best friend, he is able to speak to Troy in candid ways. I liked the actor, I thought he had this knowing thing about him, where he would look at them a certain way and you knew he knew something lol.
Jovan Adepo as Cory Maxson. He is Troy and Rose’s son, he wants to play Major League football. I think he’s an interesting character, he has to be about 17. When we hear about him Rose talks about him and how good he is at football. When we finally meet him, it’s obvious that he has a strained relationship with his father (mostly it seems on his side, that he feels a certain way towards his father and thinks his father a way about him) and that he loves his mother. As the film goes on, we get more interactions with him, we learn more about him and I think he’s really interesting. Jovan Adepo first reminds me of David Oyelowo and I think he handles his own with Viola and Denzel. This seems to be his first real film, and I do think it shows but I think he does well.
Russell Hornsby as Lyons Maxson. I swear I’ve seen this actor in other things but nothing I actually remember but there is something scary about him. He is Troy’s first son from a different woman and they have an interesting relationship, it’s strained but he comes around, to ask for money but he later also asks for his father to see him play (he’s a struggling musician) and while he needs his father’s help, it seems he also wants his approval. Interesting. I think Russell Hornsby made some good choices with this character, even outside of him talking, just him being there and his facial expressions.
Mykelti Williamson as Gabriel Maxson. Troy’s older brother, he fought in WWII and sustained a head injury which leaves him mentally impaired. He’s so great and tragic like his brother, a lot of people look at him when he’s talking about certain things, with pity in their eyes. It also shows that Troy feels guilty about certain things when it comes to his brother. I think Mykelti did a great job in this role, especially at the end.
Saniyya Sidney as Raynell Maxson. Troy’s daughter, she was definitely cute, without spoiling lol.
The Direction. Wow! A lot of Denzel Washington’s directing choices were fantastic. Being sure to capture the sun as it’s setting, or pulling back to see characters through the bare tree branches, or the way Rose watched Troy from the window build the fence outside. It helped set up the atmosphere of this time period, of these characters lives and to allow the audience to live there with them without thinking “this is a play” due to other camera angles.
The cinematography. Done by Charlotte Bruus Christensen helped enforce the atmosphere of the film. It’s set in the 1950s, and the look of the film reflects that. It almost looks like there’s a slightly film over the camera lens (I don’t know types of lenses lol) to give it this old look. It was great.
The Transition Scene. There’s a beautiful transition to show time passing in the film, a great example of “show don’t tell” where we didn’t need to know how much time passed, we can see it as we pass through snow falling etc.
The Emotions. This type of film calls on all the emotions to be felt, but I definitely cried, mostly towards the end of the film. If you let it, it can hit you in an emotional place. It’s there throughout but I think the ending really seals it closed.
Scene between Troy and Cory. Without spoiling anything, there is a scene between father and son towards the end of the film and it’s SO GOOD. Filmed wonderfully, the acting between the two actors was great and it sucks you right into the moment.
Scene between Troy and Rose. There are a few but you will know the one I’m talking about. Viola Davis killed that scene, she better get a Supporting Actress Nomination.
A Bit Too Wordy. Now, I spoke with my family afterwards and we were talking about this, but I recognize it’s hard to properly cut down August Wilson without removing what was important about the character in the first place, however, I believe that when you adapt a film from a book/play etc, you have to find a happy balance between maintaining character but also removing things that is “too much”. August Wilson had such a way with words, it shows here in this film but there are parts where the monologues or dialogues should have been reduced or cut. As someone who is a reader and a lover of words (I am a writer), I understand but thinking as a casual movie goer, it was a lot.
Example: There was a scene where Troy comes in to tell Rose some good news, for like 5 minutes he does this whole set up for the news… and I’m like “just tell her” and let her react. Because the audience is also waiting to hear the news too. Not to mention, there’s a whole thing after she hears the news and that didn’t have to be there either.
Weird Editing Choices. This didn’t happen a lot because I do think the direction and editing was great, but there was a few times, most notably once where some editing choice was made. I don’t know if it was there for a reason but I definitely went “Huh that was weird” when it happened. After an argument happens, a character is standing to the right side of the screen, he moves towards the porch like he’s going to sit down but instead of him just going to sit down, they faded him out of the picture and jumped him to the porch. They faded the character out not the actual picture just the character. My dad gave me a possible reason why they did that but it was still weird to me.
Overall, I loooooved Fences. The story is fantastic, August Wilson had a way with words and these actors were some great fits to bring these characters to the big screen. Viola Davis and Denzel Washington play these roles so well, they have great chemistry with each other (I do think they both played their roles when Fences was on Broadway), their relationship was believable. The other actors also do well in their roles, I think they all help breathe life into August Wilson’s characters. I think the direction and cinematography was so good in helping create the atmosphere of this time and contained world. The emotions are real and some of the greatest scenes are between Rose/Troy and Troy/Cory. I do think the film was a bit too wordy, some bits of dialogue doesn’t translate that well to the big screen and should have been cut, and there was some strange editing choices. But Fences is fantastic.
Rating: 4.69 out of 5 stars.
Have you seen Fences? Did you know it was an August Wilson play? Did you think it was an original story by Denzel Washington? If so, you should see it, it’s fantastic.
Let me know what you think in the comments below and don’t forget to follow this blog with that quick and easy “follow” button.
Disclaimer: I have never seen the original, I do want to though, so this isn’t a comparison nor will there be any comparisons. I saw an advanced screening of this film and I enjoyed it.
Summary: Seven gun men in the old west gradually come together to help a poor village against savage thieves.
Cast and Characters. I enjoyed all of the characters, at least the main seven were all enjoyable characters. There are supporting characters who were also handled well, so in all honesty, I think all of the characters were handled well lol.
Denzel Washington as Sam Chisholm “the bounty hunter”. He is a “duly sworn” warrant officer/ bounty hunter, he decides to help the town (for personal reasons too) and begins his journey to find his team. Denzel is Denzel, he is suave, smooth, that walk will never change lol and I like his look in that black. So nice. He is definitely a leader, he handles his team and the townspeople like it’s nothing. Denzel, Denzel lol.
Chris Pratt as Joshua Farraday “the gambler”. He likes card tricks, whiskey, gambling, and he’s really good with a gun (I mean they all are technically). I like Pratt a lot, he’s naturally funny and most of the humor comes from him. His character is like the “drunk, funny sidekick who is also badass”. He’s a flirt but he will take you down!
Ethan Hawke as Goodnight Robicheaux “the sharpshooter”. Hawke’s character seemed to have a history with Washington’s, they fought in a war together, he was a Confederate soldier. He seems to have a case of PTSD but he likes to spout words of wisdom throughout the film. He’s the worn ex soldier, but he’s mature and smart. He has a lot of humor in him as well. Knowing Hawke’s normal voice, his “western movie” voice was pretty awesome.
Vincent D’Onofrio as Jack Horne “the tracker”. Ohhh boy, he had me cracking up. Just the voice D’Onofrio was putting on killed me every time he spoke. His character lived on his own, his family was lost to him and he just does his own thing but he’s very religious. Every time he fights, kills, or anything of the like, he recites a bible verse, or he starts praying.
Byung-hun Lee as Billy Rocks “the assassin”. He has an awesome opening scene and when it happened, I leaned over to my friend and said “I’m attracted”, she leaned over and nodded lol. This dude right here was awesome! I love assassin type characters, especially ones who were good with a gun but preferred to use a different weapon. He had these detailed knives he preferred to throw, or slash and stab. He also used the pins he kept in his hair. He’s friends with Ethan Hawke’s character, Hawke was hunting him for a reward but ended up befriending him instead. Such a loyal dude.
Manuel Garcia-Rulfo as Vasquez “the outlaw”. He’s a Mexican bandit, robber and criminal. He’s on the run and Denzel was hunting him but instead recruits him, letting him know that if he survives, he should feel comfort in knowing Denzel wouldn’t be coming after him. He has nothing to lose so he rides with him. He loves gunfighting and actually has a lot of friendly chemistry with Chris Pratt, they often go head and head with each other. It comes full circle later.
Martin Sensmeier as Red Harvest “the warrior”. He’s first seen in full war paint, which is so awesome, he’s a Comanche warrior, seemed to be “exiled” from his tribe because “that’s not his path”. Denzel makes friendly with him and he joins their team. I also leaned over to my friend and said “I’m attracted”, she agreed. He doesn’t talk much, when he does it’s in his native tongue which no one else can understand but Denzel to an extent. It’s usually funny because everyone’s wondering what he’s saying. I love bows and arrows so the fact that he fights with him, so awesome! His entire look was great. Yay for a Native American actor!
The supporting cast. The film has a large leading ensemble, but there are a lot of supporting characters as well. I don’t know all of their names but the ones who matter are the ones mentioned.
Peter Sarsgaard as Bartholomew Bogue “the corrupt industrialist”. The bad guy, ugh, I just wanted to punch him in the face. He doesn’t like to get his own hands dirty but will if he has too but doesn’t like it. Prefers paying people off and what not. Good job Sarsgaard, I hate you in this movie.
Haley Bennett as Emma Cullen. A young woman who hires the Seven, her husband is killed before her eyes trying to stand up against the bad guys and she wants “righteousness but will settle for revenge”. I liked her a lot. She wants to fight, she’s handy with a gun, and a boss.
Luke Grimes as Teddy Q. Not sure what he is in the film, but he’s traveling with Emma to hire protectors and I liked him enough. He seemed to be a young dude, who just wants to protect his town and he’s likable, he has a few good moments with some of the seven.
The Humor. This movie is hilarious. I mean everyone has a moment to share something that made me laugh. From the looks they give other characters, from reacting to Hawke’s words of wisdom and D’Onofrio’s hilarious delivery of his bible verses and religious words. The townspeople reacting to Billy’s awesome knife tricks…Man, it’s so good. The comedic timing is handled well.
The Story. At it’s core it’s the typical, townspeople being threatened, they need someone to help them. So someone goes out to find people to help and the people teach them how to fight for their land. I mean, I can’t say if there’s anything new added to the story considering the framing of that story is in a Western (plus I’ve never seen the original) but it’s not stale. It’s pretty timeless actually.
The Action. It’s a western so the action, the gun fighting etc has to be on point. I thought it was. The last thirty minutes alone, magnificent.
The Camaraderie/Chemistry. I think in a movie with a large ensemble cast, or with a group of people sharing the main story, it’s hard to properly expand on each person, at least enough for the audience to care about them but I think it’s handled well here. Obviously, some characters have more expansion than others but I think it was enough for the film’s purposes. We got to know each of them enough and why they joined up. Plus, the way they interacted with each other was great too, they each had moments with each other, sometimes all seven of them would be together talking, or maybe three or four but it always worked. You can really see the friendship and loyalty between Goodnight and Billy, the history between Goodnight and Chisholm, the competitive brewing friendship between Farraday and Vasquez, the relationship between Denzel and his horse!… it goes on. I thought it was handled well.
The Musical Score. James Horner (RIP), is amazing. One of his most iconic scores is Titanic but he’s still good here, the opening song, the end credits score, the music during the fight scenes, as well as during those quiet moments. The way it swells at times. Oh yeah.
The pacing. It starts off slow, it takes a while for momentum to build. It didn’t need to be fast paced the entire time but it does feel to drag on, mainly in the beginning. I know in a way it has too since Denzel is recruiting people but still.
Wasted Actor. This is probably more of it making me mad then anything but there’s an actor in this movie, he’s at the beginning, I didn’t even know he was in it but what happened with him… man I was upset lol then they had the nerve to put his name in the opening credits.
The “Western Talk”. Maybe it’s because I haven’t seen a lot of Westerns but there were times when the mumbling got too much where I had no idea what was being said. I could catch words but meh. I will watch this again, and I might have to watch it when it comes out of DVD with subtitles lol. It wasn’t all bad, it was just the mumbling really.
The Story. At it’s core it’s the typical, townspeople being threatened, they need someone to help them. So someone goes out to find people to help and the people teach them how to fight for their land. I mean, I can’t say if there’s anything new added to the story considering the framing of that story is in a Western (plus I’ve never seen the original) but it’s not stale (It’s both a pro and a con because it’s not necessarily bad but it’s nothing new either).
Overall, I really liked The Magnificent Seven, enough that the cons don’t really damage it much in my eyes. It may not necessarily be an original story, the way the characters are handled, the humor, their chemistry together helps keep the movie moving strong. The movie wasn’t meant to be a deep film, it’s fun and it knows that. I think Mr. Antoine Fuqua (Training Day, Shooter) knew exactly what he was doing. Maybe this movie will help revitalize Westerns. I mean, none of them may be very original, there may not be another Django: Unchained but still ya know? Go into this movie with a mind ready to enjoy big shootouts, funny dialogue and chemistry between characters and let yourself enjoy the hell out of it.