Oscars 2017 Recap

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So the 2017 Academy Awards! Just like last year, my friend and I tried to watch as many as we could. A lot of them, I saw before the nominations were announced so there some headway regardless. So this piece, is just for me to recap what happened Sunday night, or at least some of the more memorable things. I will also put the winners here as well.
Also, I tried to get all of my reviews up before the Oscars, but between work, school and me being tired, it didn’t work out the way I wanted it to, so I have some movie reviews coming up in the next few days. Hopefully they will go in this order, but we’ll see. There are also some book reviews in there.
Captain Fantastic, Collateral Beauty, John Wick: Chapter 2, Get Out, Moonlight, and Rock Dog. 
Kong: Skull Island should be coming some time this week as well.
Oscars 2017 Winners!
Best Picture: Moonlight
Actor in a Leading Role: Casey Affleck- Manchester by the Sea
Actress in a Leading Role: Emma Stone- La La Land
Actor in a Supporting Role: Mahershala Ali- Moonlight
Actress in a Supporting Role: Viola Davis- Fences
Animated Feature Film: Zootopia
Cinematography: La La Land
Costume Design: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Directing: La La Land
Documentary (Feature): O.J. Made in America
Documentary (Short Subject): The White Helmets
Film Editing: Hacksaw Ridge
Foreign Language Film: The Salesman
Makeup and Hairstyling: Suicide Squad
Music (Original Score): La La Land
Music (Original Song): “City of Stars” from La La Land
Production Design: La La Land
Short Film (Animated): Piper
Short Film (Live Action): Sing
Sound Editing: Arrival
Sound Mixing: Hacksaw Ridge
Visual Effects: The Jungle Book
Writing (Adapted Screenplay): Moonlight
Writing (Original Screenplay): Manchester by the Sea
Memorable Moments
The Red Carpet is always amazing. It’s so fun to see what people decide to wear. I know people don’t always pay attention to the guys, but there was some dapper men dressed up last night. Some of my favorite looks.
      Viola Davis                                    Hailee Steinfeld                                Brie Larson
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Emma Stone                             Taraji P. Henson                         Dev Patel
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Janelle Monae                         Kirsten Dunst                   Octavia Spencer
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Mahershala Ali                        Riz Ahmed                         John Legend & Chrissy Teigan
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I mean, I think there were others I liked, but off the top of my head, these are the ones I remembered. Now here are the ones I was like… meh.
     Dakota Johnson                            Jessica Biel
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This next picture… I liked her dress… but the winner of the night was her hair. I think Halle Berry usually looks great on the red carpet. I’m not a fan of her acting most times but she can show up on the carpet. However, I don’t know what happened with her hair here. It looked like it was going to take flight. Twitter was ablaze with comments, it was hilarious.
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Jimmy Kimmel. I don’t know. I mean, there were definitely times where I enjoyed him. The Hunger Games like tribute air drop things were cute. There was a joke he made about Moonlight in the beginning “All of the movies are sad this year, a lot of them have no happy endings unless you count the middle of Moonlight” or something like that, that made me cackle. But he was inconsistent, at least in his humor (but humor is subjective ya know).
I didn’t particularly like the Tour Bus thing. I mean, it was cute, I enjoyed how some of the people were reacting, but after a while, it started to be a bit too long. I know I would have been embarrassed after being walking around a movie lot, or being on a tour bus for a while. I mean, I would want to meet people whose work I admire while looking nice.
Lin Manuel Miranda and Auli’i Cravalho perform “How Far I’ll Go” from Moana.
So I loved this performance. It was so great. The video is below for your viewing pleasure. I did want Lin-Manuel Miranda to win and get his EGOT, I love the movie, I love the song. I wish he would have won but at least we got to see this performance because Auli’i Cravalho is a professional and I think she has a bright future ahead of her.
The Best Picture Flub
You can watch the awkwardness below. So, it’s no surprise that I quite enjoyed La La Land. It was my favorite of the year last year, at least I kept going back and forth with that and Zootopia. I even gave it a 5/5 which I still stand by, going over it again, I would recognize a couple more “cons” but I wouldn’t change my score. With that said, I don’t think it’s Best Picture worthy. I wouldn’t have voted for it, especially after I saw Moonlight. So, I was rooting for Moonlight to win most of the awards it was nominated for: Actor in a Supporting Role, Best Directing, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Picture.
I thought it was strange how Warren Beatty kept pausing and looking around when he was supposed to be calling the winner. Faye Dunaway laughed and was urging him to say the winner. I thought “what is he doing?”, then he showed her the card and she shouted “La La Land!” and I went “NO! BOOO!” and of course Twitter exploded, as did some of my friends on Facebook. Someone immediately said “F*** right off” (that cracked me up). I was already looking for the gif from Get Out where the “maid” said “no, no, no”. I wasn’t listening to the speeches until Jordan Horowitz (Producer from La La Land) interrupted and said it was a mistake. I sat up so quickly “Are they serious?” “What’s going on?” “This isn’t funny.” I watched as Horowitz said it was a mistake, snatched the card away from Warren Beatty (I mean, chill out lol), and showed us the card. It sure enough said Moonlight. I was so shocked that I couldn’t even react the way I wanted to initially. Mr. Beatty explained what happened and I feel bad for him, but I think he also should have said something when he was confused, instead after Faye Dunaway read the card (which she also should have looked more closely), he just let the crew of La La Land come up. It was strange. I do feel bad for everyone involved. That’s harsh but YAY FOR MOONLIGHT! Much more deserving.
My thoughts on Awards Given
I didn’t get the chance to see everything that won but I saw a nice majority and a lot of the awards I agree with.
I do think La La Land was deserving in their Cinematography and Music (Original Score) wins. I don’t think they should have won Best Director or Production Design (I think I missed something but I’m not sure what it is). I’m still salty about that Original Song though.
Moonlight won for Actor in a Supporting Role, Best Picture, Writing (Adapted Screenplay) and it also should have won for Best Directing (I will definitely go into that when I post my review).
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them rightfully won for Costume Design and should have also won for Production Design. Yay for a Harry Potter film to win an Oscar, it was a long time coming.
Suicide Squad won for Makeup and Hairstyling. I’m legit cackling and rolling my eyes because now that film can call it self an Oscar winner but I mean, one of the things it did right was the look of the characters. So, I guess it can have that.
Zootopia rightfully won for Best Animated Feature Film because it’s amazing. I would have been okay if any of the nominees won because I liked them all, but Zootopia is the better film out of the options (though I think Kubo and the Two Strings was the biggest contender).
  • I saw someone say on Twitter that Zootopia was the Crash of Animated Films and that actually made me upset. I don’t agree. I saw Crash once, a long time ago and I thought it was preachy and tried to do too much, there was some good stuff in it but it felt forceful (not to mention, no one really wanted it to win). However, Zootopia was very clever in how they handled the topics presented, it’s a very two tones film, very layered. It can be watched as a kid’s movie, no worries in the world, it’s cute, it’s colorful, fun and the characters are all likable. Crash was not like that. On the other hand, it also had a lot of deep undertones, talking about racial and gender equality among other things. I remember seeing it for the first time and going “okay cute movie” then it turned into “wow… Disney, that’s deep.” So I disagree with that statement so much.
Casey Affleck vs Denzel Washington for Actor in a Leading Role.
So I saw both films, I think Manchester by the Sea was a great movie as was Fences. I thought both actors did great jobs in their roles, and I think it’s easy to see why Denzel wanted that award so much, August Wilson is important to him, that play is important to him and I personally think he should have won. It seemed to me that Casey Affleck thought the same thing due to his reaction to winning. I’m sure he was grateful for the win, but he seemed so flustered that his head was down almost the entire time. Both films are a lot to take in and both performances were nuanced in their own way but I thought Denzel Washington was stronger. I knew it was going to be between the two of them but it was interesting to see what happened.
Emma Stone for Actress in a Leading Role.
I don’t really have a problem with this only because La La Land was the only film I saw in the Actress in a Leading Role category. I wanted to see the others, but I didn’t get the chance unfortunately. I thought Ruth Negga had a chance from what I heard of her performance (plus, it would have been nice to see all Actor awards held by black people but ya know), but I wasn’t upset by this because of that fact. I may feel differently once I see the other films (like how I was upset at Jennifer Lawrence beating out Quvenzhané Wallis that one year) but can’t say about it for now. Besides, I thought Emma Stone did very well in La La Land, she was the star of that film. Just make smart after Oscar choices Emma. I’ll still like you though regardless.
Actor and Actress in Supporting Roles.
Viola Davis in Fences
Oh my goodness, so deserving. I still feel like she should have been nominated for Actress in a Leading Role and I think she should win for that but who knows if they would have picked her over Emma Stone in that category. Her speech was amazing. She is amazing. That dress was amazing. VIOLA!!! She is the only black woman to have an Emmy, Oscar and Tony all for acting. A coworker said that now Beyonce just needs to sample Viola’s speech in a song so Viola can get her Grammy and have her EGOT lol. I agree! She can do no wrong to me, she is amazing. I also know she had me all the way stressed out on that “How To Get Away with Murder” finale though. I need answers Viola.
Mahershala Ali in Moonlight.
I don’t want to talk about this much here as I’m going to do a review for the film, but this dude is amazing. First thing I saw him in was The Hunger Games: Mockingjay 1 and (unfortunately) which I didn’t realize he was in those. He was a standout in Free State of Jones and then of course “Luke Cage” where he was also a standout (scary dude), he was in Kicks (which was one of my favorite movies last year) and then this film. He deserves all the awards. His speech was also very well done. He seems so likable, and he is fine. I can’t wait to see what else he’s going to do.
So that’s my Oscars 2017 Recap. Stay tuned for my Captain Fantastic movie review!
Don’t forgot to like, comment and follow this blog! It makes me happy and I’ll give out virtual cookies!
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Top 10 Best Films of 2016

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This is my personal list of the best films of this year. I loved all of the movies on this list, or really liked them, and recognize they are good films. This list is my opinion, it’s alright if you don’t agree. There were a lot of movies I liked this year so this list took a while to get down to ten but that’s why I have honorable mentions lol. I haven’t seen everything that came out so some things aren’t on here unfortunately. Click HERE for my worst list.
Also, not every film on this list I did a review for, but the ones I did, I will put a link.
Honorable Mentions: The Jungle BookThe Neon Demon, Kung Fu Panda 3, The Lobster, Eye In the Sky, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
My Top 10 Best Films of 2016
10. The Boy and the Beast 
 the-boy-and-the-beastI didn’t do a review for this film, but this is an anime film. Chris Stuckmann said it best it’s like Karate Kid with anamorphic animals. A human boy finds this world, he doesn’t have a relationship with his father and he ends up becoming the apprentice to this bear like man. It’s so beautifully animated, the characters are fantastic, and while they’re not all “good people” I think they’re all likable to the point where you can’t help but feel connected to them. Especially Ren, the main character. I loved his relationship to his mentor, it came off antagonistic a lot but you could tell they cared about each other. It’s very emotional and heartfelt but I do think it’s very interesting, especially the third act. It’s kind of weird but it’s great.
9. Kicks
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I loved this movie, but it was so under the radar that I don’t think many people saw it. However, I loved the cinematography, I thought the direction was great because it felt like I was actually there alongside Brandon trying to get his shoes back. Oakland looked real. I thought Jahking Guillory did a great job holding his own in this role, I hope to see more from him in the future. The story is a bit basic but the journey this character takes over something that seems so trivial is amazing because in this world, those shoes mean something to him. I also loved the idealism of the astronaut being there. It’s a very unique film.
8. Swiss Army Man
SWISS ARMY MAN (2016) Daniel Radcliffe and Paul DanoI actually debated with myself a lot about doing a review for this one but I ended up not doing it because it’s so hard to get my thoughts out about it. But it’s so good. It’s weird, believe me it’s weird, but Paul Dano and Daniel Radcliffe work so well together, it’s hilarious, it’s emotional and kind of sad in many areas but it’s also kind of uplifting. The music is FANTASTIC, probably one of my favorite elements about the film. The cinematography is so crisp and clear. Definitely check this one out.
7. Fences
fences-header-photoI think is a great character study film. Between Denzel Washington and Viola Davis, the talent and emotion explodes from the screen. August Wilson is a fantastic writer and these characters are complex human beings. Outside of a few editing choices, I think the direction is great, I loved how the camera would sometimes view the characters from a window, or through the tree branches, or through the fence… it was amazing. I do think it was a bit wordy but the words are magical, they build these characters up in ways that allows them to be understood. All of the characters are interesting people. Viola Davis though, she’s a powerhouse.
6. Moana
 disney-moana-mauiI don’t think it’s any surprise that this is on my list because I adore Disney. The music. THE MUSIC! The animation! The visuals! Moana and Maui BOTH are so great characters! The voice acting, Auli’i and Dwayne were both so good here. THE MUSIC! The animation! This is classic Disney, sure the story is basic but the wrapping is amazing because while we’ve heard the story before, the culture used, the way the story is told, the music used to tell it is all so new. Disney needs to keep moving forward like this, new cultures and have the voice actors be people who mirror those characters.
5. Deadpool
 deadpool1-gallery-imageThis film was very necessary in for comic book films. I do believe it’s a great film and the experience in the theater was so fun that it’s unforgettable. This is definitely something that’s rewatchable over and over again. I think it was necessary because so many comic book movies could have been rated R, should have been rated R but of course ya know, general audience and stuff. But Deadpool IS and that helps the future of these films, they shouldn’t be so scared anymore. PLUS, Ryan Reynolds owns this role, the inclusion of Colossus and NegaSonic Teenage Warhead was great, their chemistry together and then their chemistry with Wade is gold. The humor, the opening scene ALONE is gold. I loved it. I had such a great time, I don’t think I laughed so much at a superhero movie in forever.
4. Kubo and the Two Strings
kubo-and-the-two-strings-international-posterI looooove this movie. Laika is amazing! The animation in this film! Look at the picture! Look at it! The main three characters are absolutely amazing and so interesting. Kubo is your “hero” of course, but he’s a storyteller who uses magical origami to tell them. His instrument is the object in which he uses to channel his magic. He embarks on a quest to find a magical armor and the journey is so much fun. Along the way we meet Monkey and Beetle whose relationship is so humorous, playful and sometimes antagonistic but they work together because they both end up caring about Kubo. The eyes are so very important in this film and the animation and design, spectacular. Also the music. Wow. I saw this movie earlier in the year and I have not forgotten about it. I think it’s one of Laika’s best films and one of the best animated films I’ve seen.
3. Captain America: Civil War
captain-america-civil-war-key-artFirst of all, I love the MCU, I love superhero films and this is one of the best. What Marvel Studios has done is create this world, and these characters where they are so likable, relatable and so emotionally grabbing that in this film, there is no way (unless you are just soo biased) that you do not flip flop sides or at least understand where the other is coming from. I am unwavering Team Cap BUT the script was so well written in terms of this rift in the Avengers that I could not believe that I was understanding Tony’s side (unlike the comics where he’s just a douche). Both Chris Evans and Robert Downey Jr. do so well. The inclusion of Black Panther and Spider Man were stellar choices, they weren’t underused or overused and it helps continue to build this world. The film was funny but it was also emotional. The action scenes are top notch, the airport scene and the end fight between Cap, Bucky and Tony was so gut-wrenching that I almost cried. There are a few plot elements that are questionable but I do believe it was handled very well here. This is my second favorite Superhero movie ever and it’s definitely one that I would watch quite often.
2. Zootopia
 cft6aicuiaaf-juThe way I feel about Zootopia… such a clever film. Very different from what Disney usually gives us and I loved it. I think Zootopia has a lot of hidden gems. Judy and Nick are great interesting characters, they both are very different and work so well together. Ginnifer Goodwin and Jason Bateman were great in these roles. The music is nice and the song is catchy, the animation is beautiful, the world created in this film is expansive. There is so much more than can explore, I hope they do. It’s hilarious, that slot scene gets me every time, it’s emotional, I think I’ve cried each time I’ve watched it. The underlying message is relevant and I don’t think they do it in a manipulative way. I think they handled it for an animated film with class. I personally think it’s more for adults than for kids but kids will enjoy it and I think adults will appreciate what it’s saying. A definite must watch.
1. La La Land
la-la-land-audition-14I actually flip flopped between this and Zootopia for a while. If you’re a musical lover, this film is for you as it’s a love letter to musicals but more importantly, it’s a love letter to those people who are dreamers. Starring Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling who have such great chemistry together, this film highlights those people who go out in search of their dreams but they also have to figure out their lives as well. Will they follow their dreams and rule out love or will they try to have both? Is it possible to have both without one being pushed back. The music here is so beautiful, all of the songs are original and I think they’re so dreamy. The cinematography is beautiful. I have never been to L.A but I think this film make it look so… lol grand. The characters are also very well written, it’s impossible to dislike either Mia or Sebastian, and I think it’s impossible to not understand them. You have to. If you’re not a fan of musicals, that’s alright because this film is not a song every second, nor is it just random singing, it has a purpose. It fits with the story, it propels it forward and honestly, it’s not like there’s a ton of singing in it. But the music, dancing, singing is a character in itself. La La Land is a feel good movie and as a dreamer, this is my favorite film of the year.

 

I hope you enjoyed this list. If you agree, let me know in the comments below, same if you don’t. What films of the year do you have on YOUR list? There is a lot I missed this year but I also think I did a great job in what I saw lol. If you haven’t seen any of these, please check them out! Also, check out my blog for other reviews!
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Happy New Year!

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Fences (2016) Review

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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.
Pros:
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.
Cons:
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.
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