Not endorsing the academy awards, and this time with all the noise about the women’s issues and racist issues it was not going to be much about the cinema. One awards night trying to make all things right might not be the way to be fair and black and women, and then celebrate cinema as top priority. Well, in these days of instant solutions, it’s getting weirder with every passing day. For now, am just talking briefly about the films I saw from what is now, a list.
The Shape of Water
A very involving film made by an adult with the heart of the child (his 7-8 year old self perhaps). Or like JC said, you have to be like little children (to see the wonder). And Guillermo del Toro goes right back to a childhood and looked at the world with a modern filter, and in visiting his favorite tale, the beauty and the beast’, the grownup he could work wonders with that immortal tale. And he placed that fantasy in the cold war era and shone it right into today and beyond. Love does make the world go around.
The visual delights and very good performances from the actors took the movie to a deserving Best Picture prize. The Beauty here is furiously so even though she now is mute, and the Beast is powerful artistry. When you get fantasy to walk alongside on the solid ground you tread, itgets strong wings. Diving deep into the waters, this tale of love; triumphs, lifts and soars.
Darkest Hour is a History lesson of the English triumph in the Great War, and works at making the victory lastingly sweet. Gary at the Oscars looked not at all like the English bulldog . And that Gary has not been living in his native England for the longest time, only adds to the objectivity that brings soul and drive into the life of Churchill. Oh, what if it’s manufactured history a little bit, all tales of valor are in the telling. And how much joy it is in the oral telling and how the myth adds to the legend and comes to life in us and gives wings to our dreams, lifts our today into rejoicing and hope, andshine light into the foreseen darkness. The Darkest Hour is Gary’s complete grasp of his art.
Makeup and Hairstyling: “Darkest Hour”
Phantom Thread is such a fine weave, with a very rich finish. It’s riveting revelation of a Man’s relationship with his art and women. The gives and takes of the relationship: like Alma Elson says in the film: “Reynolds has made my dreams come true and I have given him what he desires most in return, every piece of me.” Oh right, it cuts deep and into nice precise slices and is laid out as beautifully as the clothes Reynolds sculpts out on screen. Is this really Daniel Day’s last appearance? Boy! Does a knowing (or decision) of that kind add more edge and bite to the craft? Daniel Day does a fine elegant walk with his Reynolds: a very careful man, even seaming to attempt and succeed in placing a soul into the dresses he caresses out. And in the physical act of getting to that impossible he stitches memories (a part of himself, a piece of his life) into the fine folds. ON screen the sense of being fully conscious being played out does not allow us the viewer any less. Does love include the anger in the other? How do you read into acts that seem and have been clearly articulated to mean ‘be thou gone’! HOW? Oh, yes, Reynolds is a difficult man to live with. But Reynolds and the people on screen playing their roles set in London’s couture world of the 1950s are beautiful people. Clothes also do make this man.
A Spielbergquickie and I bleddy liked it. I have very little to say about Spielberg films otherwise. (In Bangalore, India), The only thing I seem to remember clearly of Schindler’s Listwas being stopped by the cops on the way back home, for not donning a helmet when riding my 50cc moped, the cops further angered that there was a girl riding with me. So Spielberg is all romance for me! J I waited months before I could catch Raiders, it ran for near a year, at Plaza, a theatre that played that film, has in these years grown up and become a metro station. So, yes, Spielberg and I have been around a whileJ. This tale set in the time of the President’s Men: a movie so thoroughly enjoyable, who would have thought a tale of journalists meeting in parking lotswould make for good cinema. It did and The Postis as engaging. It’s also a lovely little tale of a woman in finding herself and the courage to live fully, dignified and in a world of men – boardroom men at that. Meryl does just fine, her smile endearing and gracefully, striding confidently in the world muddied byWeinstein. Meryl will do so in the new world of bold women. It’s nice to find a strong role played out with grace: her gentle eyes that convey the boundaries and the full freedom of being civilized evolved creatures. Tom Hanks is perfect foil in playing a nice man yielding the whip and power kindly, contradictory as that does sound – an editor feared and respected. He plays it with dignity attributed to the real life Ben Bradlee. The fine art of writing in the newspaper about the powerful people at whose table you have dined played out so well and plainly. Oh you long for the days when television had anchors who read out news memorizing many lines so as to gaze into your eyes through the camera. Today’s newsroomsare like the cockfights that have been banned for being cruel. The sport every night at 9 on Indiannewschannels have led to shouting over and beating up the other for entertainment and power, shutting out the other, shaming the other. This kind of cacophony is also reflected in the ugliness of our public spaces and lives. The Postcould help bring some relevance to the values mentioned in textbooks of journalism, which the students thought was like learning calculus when training to be a bricklayer.
Mathew Rhys playsThis side after his That side in The American. And in that brief role add much heft to this quickie. And Bob Odenkirk brings urgent energy even in underplaying his physical acting.
Best actress (nominated) : Meryl Streep, The Post
Best picture (nominated):The Post
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Another fine performances film, theOscar for best actress, supporting actor and a just miss for Harelson who was absolutely brilliant. Even the gap in his front teeth oozed the complexity of the character battling morale and mortality.It’s a grim story of an unsolved murder, mother’s anguish. Three billboards is very unlike Frances McDormand’s last Oscar outing – Fargo. She is not at all like that seeming vulnerable pregnant cop woman walking carefully on Ice, she is more up and personal in this. Sam Rockwell does a turn as a racist who finds direction towards redemption, after Harelson having left and the cop station has been set on fire. The fire has cleansing effects. And Frances McDormand celebrated the Oscar in typical style and drama. And adding further to the drama was someonewho stole the Statue and then the authorities got it back for her, all on the same day. So, yes, much excitement over that and she got all the women to stand up and celebrate womanhood and even asked the grand lady and fellow nominee for the same award, Streep to ‘please stand up and then the rest of them will do too’, she said. Cool! No prudes here. JOnward to a better world! Yeah, yeah #metoo!
Roman J. Israel, Esq.
A Denzel Washington flick, as Denzel has been doing lately, here to hegoes out and defines a unspoken hero, outspokenly. It’s a fine moral tale for the times and ColinFirth does well to show respect to a man who has no ambition. Roman’s life is a gory end, for a man in pursuit of a just world. It just wasn’t cut well at the table and also didn’t work out a very important tale to be very engaging on screen. It does take a while to get interested in this tale of a backroom crusader. And Washington does not disappoint, he puts his stamp on a black lawyer way differently than did Marshall. Marshall fought for justice but a few decades before the system decayed again and now Esq, (a title of dignity, slightly above gentleman, below knight, he does explain), has to fight to clean it again. Well, an ideal state is not a stagnant clear water pond, it’s a dynamic, so no fight is the last fight in an evolving landscape. Ofcourse Washington plays Roman with the sure-footedness of a knight. He goes about the role, with an excellent sound track playing on his iPodthroughout the length of the film, the music only stops with the gunshot. His activism from a time gonebydoes not fit in with the aggression of capitalism. Roman falls, like one man against a system will.
Best actor- nominated: Denzel Washington, Roman J Israel, Esq
A movie about card games, how can that be interesting? Is that a sport? But Jessica Chastain just rocks this party. She skates on at deadly pace even along very precarious bends, deftly. Molly does break her spine, and that only adds more steel. And then Kevin Costner comes along to play daddy, who finds her every time she snaps her wings to add strength for flight again. Jessica is a very good Molly! And there is another ice skating movie which I haven’t seen yet, the cute Margo Robbie playing a toughie (I, Tonya). Jessica is so good that I am now looking to watch movies which have her in them.
Best adapted screenplay – Molly’s Game (nominated)
Chadwick Bosemanis having a fine year. At the time of the Academy awards, he has had great success at the boxofficewith Black Panther, a first of a kind super hero who is Black. We are not counting Hancock. Though am sure that connection has been made and the market will work to see if Hancock and some bull can be flogged now that the viewers have bought into black panther, even if the only thing similar is skin deep. But Marshall is good watch, the struggle of the first lawyer who fought on the side of the underdog, and in the days when everything seemed loaded against you. There’s dignity and triumph andBoseman is a solid defender. An important piece of history that can add to the other lovely films like – Selma, The butler etc… America, at this time in history might be fighting to keep the arts from the shallow politics of petty boardroom that Sri. Trump brings to the big fat white house. But, all said, Hollywood still has rooms that are working on important stories being told well. Unlike? Unlike Bollywood which this year got Padmavati, a tale told grandly and not much else. It will probably be remembered for showcasing what a intolerant country we have become. A case of history having to repeat itself because we have forgotten our history. The burning and arson in this time of evolved materialism and technology went right back to the time of wicked Khilji. So, that’s how we seem to play out reel and real.
Back to Marshall, it has fine performances by Kate Hudson and Josh Gad too. This is enabling history lesson.
Best song : nominated : Stand Up for Something, Marshall
Along with I, Tonya we do plan to see: Coco – nice little Mexicantilt with even the big prize (Best Picture) going to another from the other side of Trump’s wall. And then Call Me By Your Name, for the peach and also see another James Ivory treatment, so many years after Merchant having passed on. The Disaster Artist which probably didn’t get much volume probably because Mr. Franco seems to have embittered a woman.