I feel like I’ve lost a year somewhere along the way. After reviewing If Beale Street Could Talk last week I decided it was a good excuse to revisit Moonlight. In my head it was only last year that Barry Jenkins and his team went through the trauma of hearing the wrong film named Best Picture. Turns out 2018 happened at some point and that momentous occasion was 2 years ago. It’s weird because I loved so many films from last year that I don’t know why I can’t remember them. I guess it’s probably just old age and an awful reminder that I’m no longer the 16-year-old I continue to believe that I am. Really, I need to stop watching films like Moonlight and Boyhood because it is impossible not to feel all introspective. And we know that that’s a dodgy road to walk down. So, let’s get onto the reason we’re here. I never review Moonlight on this blog when it came out so it seems as though the time was right to rectify that.
One of the arguments about Captain Marvel that I’ve seen recently is that it doesn’t try to introduce the new superhero so much as it tries to tie up any loose ends in the MCU. That it is more about Fury’s origin than it is Carol’s. And I kind of get that because, yes, this film goes back to a time before anything else. It shows us a time before S.H.I.E.L.D. knew anything about superheroes or other worlds. It inevitably acts as an intro to the MCU. But, at the same time, those arguments also really do a disservice to the film itself. I like the idea that her presence on Earth kick-started the Avengers programme. I like that it was her who introduced Nick to the wider world. It makes that pager scene in Infinity War all the more tragic. He finally has an emergency that requires her help but he is disintegrated before they can reunite. Imagine how Carol’s going to feel when she finds out she didn’t get here in time to save him? Horrible! But let’s not think about the future because watching Captain Marvel last weekend has put me in a reflective mood. The final moments of the film when Fury realises he needs to put something in place to protect the Earth the defining moment in the MCU. It’s the reason we’re all here. It’s the reason that, in 2008, Phil Coulson turned up on Tony Stark’s doorstop asking questions. So, why not go back to the start this week? See where it all began.
The other day I saw a post on Instagram that made me feel super old. And, considering I turned 31 on Tuesday, that’s saying something. Turns out that Cruel Intentions turns 20 years old this week. I don’t remember how old I was but I do recall first watching this film at a sleepover. And I’m pretty certain I wasn’t a teenager yet but, with my memory for this kind of thing, I’ve no way of knowing for sure. What I do remember is that my twin sister became kind of obsessed with the band Counting Crows afterwards. For years she would play the piano part for the song ‘Colorblind’ on repeat. Our piano lives in the room directly underneath my childhood bedroom so, it’s safe to say, that I quickly became sick of that song. But. obviously, it always reminded me of this film. Cruel Intentions is one of those films you probably first watched at a young and impressionable age. As such, it has the effect of seeming really sexy and dark. The Sarah Michelle Gellar/Selma Blair kiss was much talked about at the time for being either controversial or groundbreaking. At whatever age I first watched it, I can say that it felt like a very grown-up film. So, would rewatching it 20 years after its release change things? I already know younger me was massively embarrassing so I’m expecting this to go badly.
The Oscars took place over a month ago and I’m still banging on about them. I know I know. Broken record much? But it’s one if the biggest and most controversial events in the movie lovers calendar. For the most part, this year wasn’t the most exciting. Once again, many amazing and worthy films/directors/actors were ignored and many worthy films/directors/actors got looked over for more Oscar-y films/directors/actors. I write this in the midst of Steven Spielberg’s outrageous idea to get Netflix films banned from being nominated in the future. I’d love to go into that whole argument now and rant about Spielberg’s general irrelevance these days but, as it’s my birthday, I feel like I should take the high road. So, instead let’s talk about one of the biggest surprises that came out of last Saturday that was also one of the most underwhelming. Rami Malek gave a great performance as Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody and I think that he definitely deserved the win. However, I don’t think many were convinced he would. The Best Actor category was incredibly boring this year as there was no real stand-out. The most remarkable performance for me? Willem Dafoe as Vincent van Gogh. It’s a shame he lost out to it but it’s an even bigger shame that his loss isn’t as a big of a deal as it should be.
Whenever anyone asked me what I thought of Vice in the last few weeks my go to answer would always be “it wasn’t as good as The Big Short“. It’s something I said because I truly thought it was my opinion. But when I looked back at my review of Adam McKay’s previous Oscar nominated film, I discovered that I’d been more scathing of it than my memory lead me to believe. I guess I do remember feeling a bit weird at the end of it because the people who gained from so much misery were being portrayed as heroic. Still, I decided it was important to rewatch The Big Short to really answer the question “is it better than Vice?” Or have I just been lying to everyone for ages? I don’t know why I’m pretending there’s any suspense here because you can see from my above rating that, yes, I preferred this film to Vice. But, why?
Boy, were there a few surprises during this weekend’s Oscars. I was tempted to write a post about it but decided it would just be another rant about how undeserving Green Book is of the Best Picture title. I mean, seriously? I know Roma is a Netflix film but how can anyone say it wasn’t the best film of this year? It’s fucking madness. Another (sort of) surprising turn of event were the winners of Best Actor and Best Actress category. I loved both Rami Malek and Olivia Colman’s performances and I know they both won at the BAFTAs but I just didn’t trust the voters to let them win. And, after finally seeing The Wife recently, I thought Glenn Close was kind of shoe-in. I mean, without wishing to spoilt the upcoming review, she was fucking breathtaking in that film. And this makes it her 7th time of being passed over. It’s insane and, if I didn’t love Colman quite so much, I’d be outraged. Just be sure that if Gaga had won I’d have genuinely flipped. I’d have demanded the Oscar be taken away and given to Close instead.
So, we’re here. The last film to be nominated for the Best Picture Oscar. I was supposed to be writing this review when I got home from work yesterday but I was absolutely exhausted. I figured future Laura could deal with it tonight. Well, future Laura isn’t happy now. Especially because, after a rough day, a work friend and I were in desperate need of a drink to unwind. So, I got home late and am madly trying to finish this. Which is a shame because I still haven’t quite worked out how I feel about Green Book. It was something I was really looking forward to but didn’t really know much about. It sounded a bit like Driving Miss Daisy which didn’t appeal but, let’s be honest, Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali were enough to get me interested. Both are very interesting actors and I imaged they would work well together. But then I watched it. And I had a lot of thoughts. So many that, earlier tonight, I couldn’t explain it to my drinking buddy. God knows what that means for this post.
As you may know, I’ve been trying to go back and watch the films that I’ve already reviewed for 2019’s TBT section. Last week aside, I’ve been going through them in chronological order. Then I went rogue and watched a film that I wanted to. And the floodgates opened. There is no more order and the rule book is out the window. Maybe it’s because I know the next film coming up is one I’ve watched recently and don’t really want to go there again? Or maybe I’ve just got tired of setting myself these parameters for no reason? Either way, this week I had a craving to watch something random and I went through the films available on Prime and ended up here. Drawn in by Ewan McGregor’s face because, let’s be honest, the early 2000s were the peak time for his face. One year before Attack of the Clones and four years before the beardy goodness of Revenge of the Sith: Moulin Rouge is classic Ewan McGregor beauty. And he’s singing. I don’t know whether it’s the amount of Disney films I watched growing up but, for some reason, I’ve brought myself round to the idea that the ideal romantic partner is one who is an amazing singer. I feel like most people don’t see this as a vital ingredient to love but it is. It definitely is. So, let’s jump in.
Fucking Bradley Cooper, man. I can’t say that I’ve ever been a massive fan but, once again, I seem to be in the minority. We’re in a situation in which the guy has been nominated for an acting Oscar 4 times. 4 times! One Best Supporting and three Best Actor. I just don’t get it. His best role to date, in my mind, is his voice performance as Rocket Raccoon. His performance in Silver Linings Playbook was messy and over-the-top. His performance in American Hustle wasn’t exactly stand-out either. Basically, I’ve just never seen him do anything that really wowed me. He’s just been lucky enough to be surrounded by better actors who make manage to disguise him. So, when I heard he was starring in and directing a remake of A Star Is Born I was hardly queuing up outside the cinema to see it. But then is got all sorts of fucking praise and attention during awards seasons. I kept putting this film off for as along as possible but I finally had to accept that I needed to watch it. So I did. And I have some thoughts.
What? A review? On a Sunday? No, you aren’t going mad. I’ve decided that, in order to get all my pre-Oscar reviews up before the big day, that I’m going to have to change my schedule for a bit. I started writing this yesterday but ended up feeling so bad that I went to bed early. But that’s not important because, at this point in my life, I have watched all of the Best Picture nominees. The only ones I want to try to watch before the ceremony, if I have the time, are The Wife and At Eternity’s Gate. But, if I don’t then I won’t do feel bad. I managed to watch the films I wanted to and well on time. Unlike last year when I was watching them up to the last-minute pretty much. I think I saw my final one the day before the ceremony. In fairness, there were 9 nominees last year. That’s a whole extra film to find the time for. It was tough! But I digress… So, I’ve seen all the nominees but I still need to review 3 of them. And, let’s not forget, the actual ceremony is on February 24th which is just over a week away. If I’m going to have the reviews up in time then I need to hurry the fuck up. Meaning the fact that I’m starting my extra reviews with a non-Best Picture film is kind of absurd… but I watched this before the other two. And I’m not really looking forward to having to write the final 2. To say I have mixed feelings about them is an under-statement.