Monday, January 18, 2016

Reviews for some Oscar Nominated films, including "Brooklyn," "The Revenant," and "Amy."

Reviews for some Oscar nominated films:

Mike and I saw the movie "Brooklyn" today, and simply loved it. This very sweet love story, and coming of age movie, was nominated for three Oscars, including Best Picture, and Best Adapted Screenplay (Nick Hornby), and it probably deserved more.

 Critics and fans have been raving at how beautiful this movie is, giving it four star reviews. Based on the novel by Colm Toibin, it tells the story of a young twenty something girl who dares to leave the small town of Ireland to ...try to make a new life for herself in Brooklyn, New York. She faces crushing homesickness for her mother and sister (portrayed tenderly by Saoirse Ronan, in her Oscar nominated performance), and eventually meets a handsome, cute and sweet Italian plumber, played boyishly by Emory Cohen, and begins to fall in love. 

 Tragedy brings her back to Ireland and she is torn between two worlds, two countries, and two men. This movie, set in the early fifties, makes you think: What ever happened to old fashioned love? It's a wonderful and sweet film, and now I'm interested in the 2009 novel, by openly gay writer Colm Toibin. See this picture if you can. You won't regret it. It's a film about immigration that speaks to our times, and, yet, they don't make movies like this anymore. Peace, Love, and Best Wishes, Ruben and Mike.

Mike and I went to see an early showing of "The Revenant," and though we think it is a great film, had mixed feelings for the character. I'm so glad that I just read Jack London's classic tale of survival called "Call of the Wild," because it prepared me for the savagery of "The Revenant."
"The Revenant" is a blood-bath, that is brutal, as much as it is beautiful because it takes place in the most gorgeous natural settings, with misty pines, wild rivers, the views from breathtaking bluffs. 

Mike had difficult warming up to any of the characters, because they seemed so uncivilized. Although I did not cry for Hugh Glass, I felt a deep sympathy for his half Indian son, and his murdered Indian wife.

The Native American spirituality in this film that comes in ghostly chants from the other-world, makes this movie bearable to watch. I read that Glass was a real person, who really survived a bear attack, and wandered 200 miles through wilderness to make it back to the camp of fellow fur-trappers. In my mind, I kept thinking the animal rights slogan of "fur kills," and I kept thinking that being mauled by a bear is partly the bad karma of hunting animals for fur coming back to bite you on the ass.

I'm glad I sat through the entire two and half hours of "The Revenant," because it taught me something important how helping others survive can sometimes come back to help you survive. This movie is based on a Historical Fiction Novel by Michael Punke, who created the Glass' Native American son, to make you feel sympathy for him, but I'm not to sure I should be feeling sympathy for someone like Glass. The real Glass was eventually killed by Native Americans in 1833.
Leonardo Decaprio definitely deserves his long awaited Oscar for this, for at least making us feel for his characters pain and suffering. I probably won't be watching this movie again, but the cinematography left me in awe, and should win an Oscar.

This movie makes me want to visit Calgary Canada where it was filmed. It deserves the 12 Oscars that it was nominated for, more than any other movie this year, and I saw it, despite being a little scared of it, because Leonardo gave such a moving speech honoring Native Americans when he won the Golden Globe for it. I only feel slightly punished for seeing it. Peace, Love, and Best Wishes, Ruben and Mike.

Reponse to my friend Claudia on facebook:

All coats were made of fur and animal pelts, even the Native Americans wore them. But in today's world I'm against hunting defenseless animals to make fur coats. I'm by no means a vegetarian, and I do eat steak, and wear leather, but at least the animals we wear are turned into food. Some of those animals foxes, and minks, rabbits, and such, didn't deserve to be hunted. Killing lions, and tigers and bears for sports should be illegal, yet many people, mostly selfish white people, still do it. The film locations are beautiful in "The Revenant," and the performances were great, including Tom Hardy's nasty, racist redneck character was well performed, earning him an Oscar nomination in role that I could only understand half of what he was saying with his twang. I thought the story of brute survival, motivated by the deep desire for revenge kept the movie going to the bitter end. Mike was disgusted by him eating raw meat to survive. I just laughed at it, uncomfortably.

Mike and I are watching the documentary about Amy Winehouse called "Amy," that was just nominated for an Oscar. It's really good. It's a tender, and intimate portrait of a deeply talented singer and songwriter, troubled by alcoholism. I love her album "Back to Black." What a loss! We rented it from redbox.

I never knew how messed up she was. When I saw her live at the Vic, she seemed to have it together. She needed to give herself time to clean up and get therapy. Some great singers have comeback from addictions to do great things. She chose her suffering to keep drinking so heavily. Poor thing couldn't save herself.

She had such a deep, and soulful voice, that if she just covered all the jazz standards and classics, I would have loved it.
Peace, Love, and Best Wishes, Ruben and Mike.

Response to 2016 Oscar nominations, with snubs and surprises

Here's a blog about the snubs and surprises of this year's Oscar nominations that I mostly agree with (Don't sue me for Plagiarism): Here it is:

In an awards season where everything seemed like a wild card, Thursday's Oscar nominations were packed with snubs and surprises. Here are some of this year's biggest:


Despite Matt Damon's film festival lobbying and the fact that "The Martian" was clearly one of the most popular films of the year among Academy members with seven nominations including best picture (third after "The Revenant" and "Mad Max: Fury Road"), 78-year-old Ridley Scott was not singled out as a directing nominee. Scott has never won an Oscar, despite being nominated three times for "Thelma & Louise," ''Gladiator" and "Black Hawk Down." As a producer of "The Martian," he does have a shot at walking away with that golden statuette if it wins best picture, though.


"Room" was considered a lock for a best actress nomination for star Brie Larson, though it wasn't necessarily seen as a strong contender in other categories — but it ended up with a best picture and best director nomination for Lenny Abrahamson. This is the first nomination for Abrahamson, who beat out directors like Ridley Scott, Ryan Coogler ("Creed"), Quentin Tarantino ("The Hateful Eight") and Todd Haynes ("Carol").


It's hard to look at a film with six major nominations, including best actress (Cate Blanchett), best supporting actress (Rooney Mara), best cinematography (Ed Lachman) and best adapted screenplay (Phyllis Nagy), as a failure by any means, but it should sting that the incredibly well-received film did not earn a best picture nomination or a best director nomination for Todd Haynes. Worth noting: Academy members opted for eight best picture nominees — and they could have gone for 10.


Box office and critical favorite "Straight Outta Compton" has been the Cinderella story of awards season, picking up its share of Guild nominations and critics' awards in recent weeks, including a prestigious Producers Guild and Screen Actors Guild ensemble cast nomination, leading some to hope that the trend might continue to the Oscars. The film earned a single nomination for best original screenplay.


Director David O. Russell's hot streak ("Silver Linings Playbook," ''American Hustle") might have cooled a bit with "Joy," but even in an unexceptional movie, star Jennifer Lawrence is still an Academy darling through and through. Her 2016 best actress nomination makes her the youngest actor ever at age 25 to have four Oscar nominations to her name. Three of those are for the aforementioned Russell movies, too.


It wasn't a question of whether or not "Beasts of No Nation" would be nominated for an Oscar, it was more like how many would Netflix's first original feature get. Netflix had a solid chance of establishing itself as a major player with its narrative feature debut "Beasts of No Nation," but the tale of a child soldier in West Africa was completely shut out of the Oscar noms — especially surprising for director Cary Fukunaga, and supporting star Idris Elba. Netflix's documentaries "What Happened, Miss Simone" and "Winter on Fire: Ukraine's Fight For Freedom" were nominated.


Aside from a nomination for composer John Williams (his 45th for scoring, and 50th overall), "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" did not break through the technical achievements wall. A best picture nomination may have been a bit of a long shot for the highest-grossing film in U.S. history, but that doesn't mean it's not a bit of a disappointment considering how well the film has been received.


When "Steve Jobs" floundered at the box office in wide release, the once promising awards juggernaut fell out of favorite as a sure thing. The Academy came in with a last-minute save, recognizing both Michael Fassbender and Kate Winslet for their performances, but conspicuously missing was screenwriter Aaron Sorkin for his crackling adaptation of Walter Isaacson's book. Wordsmith Quentin Tarantino also was left out from the screenplay category.


The Academy didn't default to including every major studio's animated release (like "The Peanuts Movie," ''Minions" and "The Good Dinosaur"), allowing two foreign films to be nominated in the category — Studio Ghibli's "When Marnie Was There" and the Brazilian film "Boy & the World."


The original song category was full of surprises — especially with its inclusion of documentary songs "Manta Ray" from "Racing Extinction" and "Til It Happens to You" from "The Hunting Ground." These took the spots of more favored hits like Wiz Khalifa's "Furious 7" song "See You Again," Brian Wilson's "One Kind of Love" from "Love & Mercy" and the "Fifty Shades of Grey" breakout "Love Me Like You Do." The Weeknd's "Earned It" from "Fifty Shades of Grey" was nominated instead.

My response this this blog:

I think Paul Dano should have been nominated for "Love and Mercy," and definitely Helen Mirren for "Woman in Gold." Suprised to see Lady Gaga with an Oscar nomination. I love the films "Carol" and "The Danish Girl," (two GLBT films for all people) and definitely think they should have been nominated for Best Picture. "Mad Max" has 10 nominations, for a two hour chase action film? Really?
A lot of people think "Straight Outta Compton" should have nominated for more awards. There were no black actors nominated this year. This is the year for Leonardo DeCaprio. So many people want Leo to finally get his Oscar!

Actors of color who were snubbed this year: Will Smith was not nominated for "Concussion," Benicio Del Toro ("Sicario"), and Idris Elba, the cast of "Straight Outta Compton," were not nominated.

Complete List of Oscar Nominations for the 2016 Oscars or Academy Awards

Here's the Complete List of the films nominated for the 2016 Oscars or Academy Awards, which will be broadcast on February 28, 2016 on ABC:

Best Picture
The Big Short, Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner
Bridge of Spies, Steven Spielberg, Marc Platt and Kristie Macosko Krieger
Brooklyn, Finola Dwyer and Amanda Posey
Mad Max: Fury Road, Doug Mitchell and George Miller
The Martian, Simon Kinberg, Ridley Scott, Michael Schaefer and Mark Huffam
The Revenant, Arnon Milchan, Steve Golin, Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Mary Parent and Keith Redmon
Room, Ed Guiney
Spotlight, Michael Sugar, Steve Golin, Nicole Rocklin and Blye Pagon Faust

Best Actor
Bryan Cranston, Trumbo
Matt Damon, The Martian
Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revneant
Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs
Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl

Best Actress
Cate Blanchett, Carol
Brie Larson, Room
Jennifer Lawrence, Joy
Charlotte Rampling, 45 Years
Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn

Best Supporting Actor
Christian Bale, The Big Short
Tom Hardy, The Revenant
Mark Ruffalo, Spotlight
Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies
Sylvester Stallone, Creed

Best Supporting Actress
Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight
Rooney Mara, Carol
Rachel McAdams, Spotlight
Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl
Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs

Best Directing
Adam McKay, The Big Short
George Miller, Mad Max: Fury Road
Alejandro González Iñárritu, The Revenant
Lenny Abrahamson, Room
Tom McCarthy, Spotlight

Best Film Editing
The Big Short, Hank Corwin
Mad Max: Fury Road, Margaret Sixel
The Revenant, Stephen Mirrione
Spotlight, Tom McArdle
Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Maryann Brandon and Mary Jo Markey

Best Foreign Language Film
Colombia, Embrace of the Serpent
France, Mustang
Hungary, Son of Saul
Jordan, Theeb
Denmark, A War

Best Original Score
Thomas Newman, Bridge of Spies
Carter Burwell, Carol
Ennio Morricone, The Hateful Eight
Jóhann Jóhannsson, Sicario
John Williams, Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Best Production Design
Bridge of Spies, Production Design: Adam Stockhausen; Set Decoration: Rena DeAngelo and Bernhard Henrich
The Danish Girl, Production Design: Eve Stewart; Set Decoration: Michael Standish
Mad Max: Fury Road, Production Design: Colin Gibson; Set Decoration: Lisa Thompson
The Martian, Production Design: Arthur Max; Set Decoration: Celia Bobak
The Revenant, Production Design: Jack Fisk; Set Decoration: Hamish Purdy

Best Visual Effects
Ex Machina, Andrew Whitehurst, Paul Norris, Mark Ardington and Sara Bennett
Mad Max: Fury Road, Andrew Jackson, Tom Wood, Dan Oliver and Andy Williams
The Martian, Richard Stammers, Anders Langlands, Chris Lawrence and Steven Warner
The Revenant, Rich McBride, Matthew Shumway, Jason Smith and Cameron Waldbauer
Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Roger Guyett, Patrick Tubach, Neal Scanlan and Chris Corbould

Best Adapted Screenplay
The Big Short, Charles Randolph and Adam McKay
Brooklyn, Nick Hornby
Carol, Phyllis Nagy
The Martian, Drew Goddard
Room, Emma Donoghue

Best Original Screenplay
Bridge of Spies, Matt Charman and Ethan Coen & Joel Coen
Ex Machina, Alex Garland
Inside Out, Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve, Josh Cooley; Original story by Pete Docter, Ronnie del Carmen
Spotlight, Josh Singer and Tom McCarthy
Straight Outta Compton, Screenplay by Jonathan Herman and Andrea Berloff; Story by S. Leigh Savidge, Alan Wenkus and Andrea Berloff

Best Animated Feature Film
Anomalisa, Charlie Kaufman, Duke Johnson and Rosa Tran
Boy and the World, Alê Abreu
Inside Out, Pete Docter and Jonas Rivera
Shaun the Sheep Movie, Mark Burton and Richard Starzak
When Marnie Was There, Hiromasa Yonebayashi and Yoshiaki Nishimura

Best Cinematography
Carol, Ed Lachman
The Hateful Eight, Robert Richardson
Mad Max: Fury Road, John Seale
The Revenant, Emmanuel Lubezki
Sicario, Roger Deakins

Best Costume Design
Carol, Sandy Powell
Cinderella, Sandy Powell
The Danish Girl, Paco Delgado
Mad Max: Fury Road, Jenny Beavan
The Revenant, Jacqueline West

Best Documentary – Feature
Amy, Asif Kapadia and James Gay-Rees
Cartel Land, Matthew Heineman and Tom Yellin
The Look of Silence, Joshua Oppenheimer and Signe Byrge Sørensen
What Happened, Miss Simone?, Liz Garbus, Amy Hobby and Justin Wilkes
Winter on Fire: Ukraine's Fight for Freedom, Evgeny Afineevsky and Den Tolmor

Best Documentary – Short Subject
Body Team 12, David Darg and Bryn Mooser
Chau, Beyond the Lines, Courtney Marsh and Jerry Franck
Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah, Adam Benzine
A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness, Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy
Last Day of Freedom, Dee Hibbert-Jones and Nomi Talisman

Best Makeup and Hairstyling
Mad Max: Fury Road, Lesley Vanderwalt, Elka Wardega and Damian Martin
The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared, Love Larson and Eva von Bahr
The Revenant, Siân Grigg, Duncan Jarman and Robert Pandini

Best Original Song
"Earned It," Fifty Shades of Grey, Abel Tesfaye, Ahmad Balshe, Jason Daheala Quenneville and Stephan Moccio
"Manta Ray," Racing Extinction, J. Ralph and Antony Hegarty
"Simple Song #3," Youth, David Lang
"'Til It Happens to You," The Haunting Ground, Diane Warren and Lady Gaga
"Writings on the Wall," Spectre, Jimmy Napes and Sam Smith

Best Animated Short Film
Bear Story, Gabriel Osorio and Pato Escala
Prologue, Richard Williams and Imogen Sutton
Sanjay's Super Team, Sanjay Patel and Nicole Grindle
We Can't Live Without Cosmos, Konstantin Bronzit
World of Tomorrow, Don Hertzfeldt

Best Live Action Short Film
Ave Maria, Basil Khalil and Eric Dupont
Day One, Henry Hughes
Everything Will Be Okay (Alles Wird Gut), Patrick Vollrath
Shok, Jamie Donoughue
Stutterer, Benjamin Cleary and Serena Armitage

Best Sound Editing
Mad Max: Fury Road, Mark Mangini and David White
The Martian, Oliver Tarney
The Revenant, Martin Hernandez and Lon Bender
Sicario, Alan Robert Murray
Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Matthew Wood and David Acord

Best Sound Mixing
Bridge of Spies, Andy Nelson, Gary Rydstrom and Drew Kunin
Mad Max: Fury Road, Chris Jenkins, Gregg Rudloff and Ben Osmo
The Martian, Paul Massey, Mark Taylor and Mac Ruth
The Revenant, Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño, Randy Thom and Chris Duesterdiek
Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Andy Nelson, Christopher Scarabosio and Stuart Wilson

Films with Multiple nominations with Wikipedia link:

12The Revenant
10Mad Max: Fury Road
7The Martian
6Bridge of Spies
5The Big Short
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
4The Danish Girl
The Hateful Eight
2Ex Machina
Inside Out
Steve Jobs