My snarky reviews of Movies, TV series, Food and other happenings...
A new Spielbergian epic classic is born! Fantastic, beautiful direction with a rousing epic storyline that brings you from the back lands of an English farm to the trenches of war, from the French field of hope to barren cemetery of No Man's Land. An equine love story that unabashedly aims to make your eyes moist and heart cheer on for the most unlikely journey a horse can ever make. Jeremy Irvine has a stunning debut and his acting-naïveté is brilliant in bringing out the heart of the story. Nonetheless, all the cast which includes Loki's Tom Hiddleston, Sherlock's Benedict Cumberbatch and Emily Watson, are just there to support Joey, the eponymous horse. Spielberg's direction is top notch here; a master film-maker and storyteller that knows absolutely how to draw out the suspense and tension, tug at the heartstrings without being overly cheesy, immerse you into the chaos and tragedy of war, but yet also illuminates the ability of love to exist no matter what. He is of course accompanied throughout by the rousing, epic score of John Williams. "War Horse" is not just a story about a boy and his horse, but also about love and war, faith and compassion, equality and hope. The one fault is that this show is how plainly obvious that the film-makers/producers have designed it to break down one's inner grinch. Definite Oscar-bait! Front runner for Best Director, and tied for Best Picture with "The Artist" (drama vs nostalgia). Run, Joey, Run! Next up, "War Goose"!
Update (15 Jan 2012): Looks like many international critics/awards disagree. On hindsight, I still think it was a great show, perhaps too heavy-handed and lacking in the "acting"-wattage to shine.
This was such a beautiful film. An elegantly directed love story/fairy tale by Guillermo del Toro that was bursting with extraordinary vision and sumptuous details, and lovingly buffeted with a gorgeous score by Alexandre Desplat. Sally Hawkins was simply divine and enchanting in a (mostly) silent role. And Michael Shannon was a truly terrifying villain. This film not only celebrated Love, but was also a beautiful (yes, that word again) homage to the golden age of cinema/films. Del Toro had a vision and he executed it beautifully without sacrificing his aesthetics or storytelling.
The Shape of Water was a culmination of many creative forces and it truly deserved all its 13 nominations at the 90th Academy Awards. The standouts definitely included production design, cinematography and original score, with Desplat having a strong chance of getting the gold. Desplat's score was so beautiful - romantic yet with a tinge of whimsiness that carried the theme of the film so well. And the l…
Together with the cast and the creative team, director Joe Wright and writer Anthony McCarten, created a film that was utterly riveting despite all the talking and the 125 minutes run time. But more than that, the film was also surprisingly funny, unexpectedly rousing and heartfelt. This was Wright's best film since Atonement. Gary Oldman was phenomenon in it, just give him the Best Actor Oscar already, and the supporting cast was also stellar, especially the underrated Kristin Scott Thomas, Lily James and Ben Mendelsohn. In addition, the cinematography by Bruno Delbonnel and the score by Dario Marianelli (whom also worked with Wright on Atonement) were both absolutely top-notched; similarly, the costume design by Jacqueline Durran was outstanding, as were the makeup and production design. This film was an outstanding creative achievement.
Wright's direction was assured and he paced the story very well, except maybe for a slight lagging in the middle of the second act. Howeve…
An absolutely riveting, searingly powerful and bitingly black comedy/drama by the brilliant director/writer Martin McDonagh. Led by Frances McDormand in a tour de force performance and the equally astounding Sam Rockwell, the talented ensemble cast (in particular Woody Harrelson, Caleb Landry Jones and Lucas Hedges) brought McDonagh's wickedly smart script to life. This was despite the film's difficult premise and generally unlikeable characters. However, McDormand and Rockwell really nailed their complex characters and hit it right off the park. They both should be in the running come Oscar season and hopefully together with McDonagh for screenplay and maybe even direction, Carter Burwell for another sublimal score and Ben Davis' for his lensing. With one of the longest title - yet also catchiest - "Three Billboards..." had moments that were sincerely touching and emotionally raw, and also equal parts bitingly funny and honestly bleak, this film was superb and a…