Welcome to my website!
Have you ever wondered why some critics review films? They don't even seem to like movies that much from what they write. I LOVE movies, and think about them long after the last credits roll across the screen. My reviews are meant to inform, entertain and never have a spoiler.
Enjoy my reviews and please comment and come back frequently! Thanks for visiting!

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

The White Crow

Being the ballet fan that I am, I eagerly trotted to the theater to see The White Crow, a film about Rudolf Nureyev. He famously defected from the Soviet Union while in Paris, and this film had that time of his life front and center.

Rudolf (Oleg Ivenko) lives to dance. From an early age, he showed an aptitude for the graceful art of movement and after many years of study, most famously under Alexander Pushkin (Ralph Fiennes), he embarks on a tour in 1961 with the Kirov Ballet, closely chaperoned by Soviet agents.

We get to see Nureyev in all the complexity of who he was, his charms attracting both men and women to desire him. Clara Saint (Adèle Exarchopolos) becomes a devoted friend, and a helping hand when Nureyev is considering whether to defect. The Soviet agents are conniving and relentless in their manipulations of Nureyev, and really with all the dancers.

Directed by Ralph Fiennes, the film is rated R for some sexuality, graphic nudity, and language. It was heavy on the dance, much to my pleasure. If you are someone not that enamored of ballet, you might not enjoy the film as much. I thought it was excellent. 

At this same time, a documentary about the famous dancer hit the art cinema. I would like to see this film simply titled Nureyev to see if it sheds even more light on the White Crow, the very gifted Rudolf Nureyev.

Did you see The White Crow? Do you enjoy ballet, and did you think the film lived up to the high standards Nureyev achieved?

Wednesday, June 05, 2019

Ocean's 8

In keeping with the extravagant wealth theme that began last week with Crazy Rich Asians, I move on to Ocean’s 8. The fashion and high society element makes this fourth “Ocean’s” film more for a girls night out, and that’s great for me. I’m sick and bored with films of battles and men killing each other. More power to the women!

I enjoyed the previous three Steven Soderbergh directed “Ocean’s” films. I also saw the original Ocean’s 11 (1960) that inspired the remakes. They are a few of my favorite films. Ocean’s 8 leaves the male cast behind and introduces us to female characters in an all-star cast. It is rated PG-13 for language, drug use and some suggestive content.

Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock) is the sister of Danny Ocean (George Clooney). She has been serving time, and thus has had many hours alone to plan a perfect heist with her girlfriends. It is not surprising that Danny and Debbie should be alike in their choice of occupation since sometimes a younger family member may choose to follow in her big brother’s footsteps.

Debbie has concocted a scheme to steal a very expensive Cartier necklace right off the neck of celebrity Daphne Kluger (Anne Hathaway) while she is wearing it at the Met Gala. Each member of the crew Debbie assembles has their own specialty or strength that is required in order to pull off this heist.

I enjoyed Ocean’s 8. I’d watch it again, especially on a night I just want some good, clean fun. The sets and the cinematography are first rate, and it’s a pleasure to watch the heist unfold. The references to other “Ocean’s” films make it even more fun.

Did you see Ocean’s 8? What did you think of it? Which “Ocean’s” film is your favorite?

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Crazy Rich Asians

A good friend of mine who happens to be Taiwanese asked me to watch this film and write a review about it. So this is for you Ming!

Crazy Rich Asians is based on the book of the same name written by Kevin Kwan. It is rated PG-13 for some suggestive content and language.

It is a crazy comedy, mostly taking place in Singapore, an exotic location I hope to visit someday. Rachel Chu (Constance Wu), an Asian American, has been dating Nick Young (Henry Golding), a handsome Asian man raised in England. He invites her to accompany him to the wedding of a good friend in Singapore. She accepts, and is in for a big surprise. 

Nick is wealthy. Not just a little bit wealthy, but over the top rich. His family is not really welcoming to Rachel as there are expectations for Nick to marry within his class. All sorts of comedic situations evolve as Rachel navigates the traditional Asian family and the hostility of the women who would like to snatch Nick for a husband. Fortunately, her friend Peik Lin Goh (Awkwafina) is living in Singapore, so she is not totally alone. 
I really, really enjoyed this movie. There are over the top moments of extravagance, but there are equally as many moments that will tug at your heart. This film is after all about a relationship, love, family, and the need for acceptance and belonging. There were times I actually had tears in my eyes. 

I highly recommend this film if you enjoy romantic comedies. I also liked that I was able to get a peek into Asia and Asian families and realize that there are differences between Asian Americans, Asians raised in other countries, and those who remain in their homeland. Thank you Ming, for encouraging me to watch this film.

Did you see Crazy Rich Asians? Have you visited Asia? What were your favorite scenes in the film?

Tuesday, May 21, 2019


I am not a Shakespeare groupie, such as those who make a pilgrimage to Ashland, Oregon every year for Shakespeare plays and others! But I have attended a few live performances, and then there’s the classic Romeo and Juliet I watched on-screen as a freshman in high school (the one with Leonard Whiting, not Leonardo DiCaprio). My favorite Shakespeare play is Twelfth Night, and I of course loved the film Shakespeare in Love.

Now comes this interesting 2011 film Anonymous that suggests that Will Shakespeare was not the person we think he was. How far fetched is it that someone else actually penned all those plays and sonnets, and because of social standing could not come forward to claim them as his own? This film presents an alternative to who the bard really was. Anonymous is rated PG-13 for some violence and sexual content.

The time is England, the Queen is Victoria. Not as Victorian as that era has often been made out to be, she was quite the scandalous hotheaded woman with an appetite for lovers and the stage.

Edward De Vere (Rhys Ifans), the Earl of Oxford, is of noble birth, well educated and good at everything he attempts. He has a passion for writing, but the noble class frowns upon this activity. Poets and dreamers are not held in high regard; warriors and knights are the heroes of the day.

Ben Jonson (Sebastian Armesto) becomes Edward’s accomplice, staging the plays he pens at The Rose, as Edward needs to remain anonymous to protect himself from being found out by his peers. Jonson was to take the credit for the plays, but when the time comes, an actor, Will Shakespeare (Rafe Spall), steps forward claiming the play as his own, and thus the ruse is born.

I liked this film. It really didn’t seem that far fetched. They claim that Shakespeare was not well educated, and did not have the opportunities for travel and study that Edward De Vere would have had. The story in Anonymous seems plausible to me.

But who is to know? This is the late 1500’s/early 1600’s after all. History in this film anyway, makes a good case for the true author of comedies and tragedies for the stage to be Edward De Vere, Earl of Oxford.

Have you seen Anonymous? What do you think? Is William Shakespeare the real author or someone else?

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Star Wars: Episode VIII - The Last Jedi

I saw this last installment of Star Wars many months after its release in theaters in the comfort of my own home. I’m afraid that’s where I’ll see the next one also. I’m glad I didn’t pay full price to see it in the theater. Star Wars: Episode VIII - The Last Jedi is rated PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi action and violence.

I watched the entire two and a half hours. I had to; I’ve been following these stories since the first one came out in 1977. But this time around, I was acutely aware that some of the characters were there simply to sell toys. Creatures that can easily be formed into little dolls and playthings and sell millions of dollars of them to parents and kids. Cynical yes, but it’s the truth isn’t it? It’s not just movies and storytelling; it’s a whole big merchandise line to make billions.

The main story line for this film is Rey (Daisy Ridley) seeking out Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), as she wants to learn about the Force. There are also tricky battles between the armies of space travelers, and yes, I am tired of that action. Nothing new in warfare to get excited about. In fact, there is nothing really memorable in this entire film.

If you’re young and have never seen a Star Wars movie, don’t bother. Go straight to Star Trek. The crew of the Enterprise are much more intelligent and funny.

What’s your take on these more recent Star Wars installments?

Tuesday, May 07, 2019

Mother's Day

I wanted to watch a light comedy and chose Mother’s Day directed by Garry Marshall. An ensemble cast beckoned me to this tale of interconnecting lives as they merge around the time of Mother’s Day. The film is rated PG-13 for language and some suggestive material.

Sandy (Jennifer Aniston) is trying to work out the shared responsibilities of her two sons after a divorce from their father Henry (Timothy Olyphant). An aspiring designer, she juggles it all valiantly. Henry remarries quite suddenly to Tina (Shay Mitchell), a woman much younger than the two divorcees.

Kristin (Britt Robertson) is pregnant and working in a bar. She evades marriage with the father of her child, citing reasons of having been adopted as an infant.

Jesse (Kate Hudson) is married to Russell (Aasif Mandvi) and they have a son. Her sister Gabi (Sarah Chalke) has a female partner Max (Cameron Esposito), and they also have a child. They have not told their conservative, flag waving parents about either of their relationships due to the parents’ racism and prejudice against persons of color and lesbians. Much to their chagrin, their parents Florence (Margo Martindale) and Earl (Robert Pine) show up in a huge RV for Mother’s Day and are shocked to learn the truth about their daughters.

Miranda (Julia Roberts) is a successful career woman who has secrets she hasn’t even told her loyal personal assistant Lance (Hector Elizondo).

How all these families come together, you’ll have to see for yourself. I think you’d be enchanted with these intertwining relationships. The comedy is first rate, the dialogue snappy and spot on, and you may even shed a tear or two by the end of the film.

Whether you’re a parent or not, we all have a mother, and I thought this film touched on several of the possible scenarios that could make up the relationship between mother and children. Did you see Mother’s Day? How did you like it? How do you like other Garry Marshall films?

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

The World Before Your Feet

The World Before Your Feet is a wonderful documentary about Matt Green, a young man who decided to walk every block of every street, park, cemetery and public space in New York City. This is about 8,000 miles so it is no small feat. The film is rated PG-13.

I enjoyed this film very much, partially because I am a walker myself, and also because it tells the story of this man so well, and shows New York City in a way tourists and even residents don’t get to see.

This is his passion, and Matt researches where he walks. He has a blog at I'm Just Walkin' and has found people all around New York City to be kind and supportive of his endeavors. I especially liked the segments where we get to see things in the city that are alike. His walks are ongoing now for five plus years. It is amazing to me how he has found a rhythm of sorts in where he sleeps, what he eats, his relationships, and how he schedules his time for this unusual goal.

In some respects, the last film I reviewed, Free Solo, is along the same lines of this man’s quest. Both men are determined and exacting in their plans to do what others wouldn’t even dream about, for perhaps reasons that aren’t even in their personal awareness.

Are you a walker? Have you watched The World Before Your Feet? What did you think of Matt’s goal and discoveries?

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Free Solo

Free Solo is the Academy Award winning Best Documentary for 2019. It is about Alex Honnold, a rock climber who set a goal for himself to scale El Capitan in Yosemite National Park without the use of the usual safety gear. The film is rated PG-13 for brief strong language.

I knew about rock climbing. It is not a sport I choose to engage in. But I am fascinated by people who are single minded in their purpose, and have a strong desire to achieve what seems to be the impossible. Alex is just such a person.

Amazing to me was the incredible cinematography that created this inspiring film. The filmmakers are themselves rock climbers, and so they could position themselves on the rock face near where Alex was climbing for filming.

Free Solo is not just about the climb itself, it reviews how Alex became the man he is today, his childhood and early youth. It also explores how someone who takes the risks he does has perhaps a different brain chemistry than we who stay at home and just watch him do it. Actually, I watched the film in the theater, and if you can see it on the big screen I recommend it. Perhaps it will come to an art cinema near you. The scenery is so magnificent, and it made me want to visit Yosemite even more. Sadly, I have not yet been to that National Park; it’s on my must do list.

Have you engaged in extreme sports? Did you see Free Solo? Does Alex inspire you to achieve your goals with new determination?

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Isle of Dogs

Isle of Dogs is an animated film, with screenplay and direction by Wes Anderson. It was nominated for two Academy Awards: Best Animated Feature Film, and Best Original Score by Alexandre Desplat. Isle of Dogs is rated PG-13 for thematic elements and some violent images.

I have been a fan of Wes Anderson’s films since Rushmore. Perhaps you too have watched some of his films. (My favorites are The Grand Budapest Hotel and Moonrise Kingdom.)

I was interested in how his unique sense of humor would translate to an animated film. Many of the actors he often uses in his films provided the voices for the characters (Edward Norton, Jeff Goldblum, Bill Murray among others; Bryan Cranston is the voice of the dog Chief).

In Megasaki, Japan, dogs have been banished to Trash Island at the behest of Mayor Kobayashi after an outbreak of dog flu endangers the citizens. One loyal dog owner, Atari, goes in search of his beloved pet Spots, and he encounters danger and intrigue at every turn. 

The story moved right along, and I loved watching Isle of Dogs. There’s a bit of social commentary in this tale as well as some subtle warnings about the environment. The music is beautiful and fitting to the action, and made the animation really come to life.

Did you see Isle of Dogs? What did you think stood out more: the animation itself, the story, or even how the music accented the storyline? What are your favorite Wes Anderson films?

Tuesday, April 09, 2019

Christopher Robin

I felt like the film Christopher Robin didn’t know whether it was made for children or for adults. I remember reading Winnie-the-Pooh in my childhood. I haven’t read it in decades, but I was curious about this film. Ewan McGregor is Christopher Robin all grown up, with a job, a wife, a daughter, and all the adult responsibilities such a life involves.

The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Achievement in Visual Effects. I was curious how the stuffed animals would be integrated into a live action film. Christopher Robin is rated PG for some action. That action is really the best part of the film and occurs mainly in the second half. The first part is quite slow moving, and I really had to have faith it would get better in order to continue watching it. 

Christopher returns to Hundred Acre Wood with Winnie-the-Pooh in search of all their old friends.This is where the Visual Effects really were stellar. These stuffed animals come to life, especially in the action sequences. I marveled at how it could have been done, the creatures interacting with live actors, situations and props. It really was quite wonderful.

Christopher’s young daughter Madeline (Bronte Carmichael) steals the show with her passion and faith in her preoccupied father. Some of the best quotes from the book are in this film, and should make you consider what is really important in life: doing nothing, eating honey, enjoying your friends and family. I recommend this film if you enjoyed and remember Christopher Robin and Winnie-the-Pooh, or if you want to see some truly special visual effects.

Did you read Winnie-the-Pooh? Did you see the film and did you like the twist it put on now adult Christopher Robin?

Tuesday, April 02, 2019

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

I watched the Coen brothers film, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, on streaming Netflix. It seems people either love or hate a Coen brothers film, and I cautiously tuned this one in. The movie is about the American West, and features six vignettes about very different situations. It was based on the book of short stories of the same name, and the screenplay was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay by Joel and Ethan Coen.

The film also received a nomination for Best Original Song, When a Cowboy Trades his Spurs for Wings, which I thought was very appropriate for the story it was featured in (which is the first tale). The film was also nominated for Best Costume Design.

I was captivated by this film and the stories it told. It is rated R for some strong violence. The film’s locations included New Mexico, Nebraska, and Colorado. 

The six stories are diverse. The first story, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, is the most offbeat. Tim Blake Nelson plays a singing cowboy with some fancy gun slinging skills.

Near Algodones features James Franco, who makes an appealing bank robber. (Algodones is an area north of Albuquerque.)

Liam Neeson is a cold hearted entrepreneur with a one-man freak show in Meal Ticket.

In All Gold Canyon, prospector Tom Waits finds what he’s looking for, but can he keep it?

On a wagon train to Oregon, the heartbreaking, sad tale of The Gal Who Got Rattled is told very well.

A couple of bounty hunters on a stage coach is taking their latest catch, The Mortal Remains, into a creepy hotel. It is visually quite stunning the way it is filmed, as are the other panoramic views of the west in other tales.

I recommend this film. And initially I didn’t think I would like it much, but the storytelling is really first rate. Did you see this anthology of short films, and what did you think of the way the Coen brothers presented the tales?

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Can You Ever Forgive Me?

There were three Academy Award nominations this year for the sobering, yet entertaining film, Can You Ever Forgive Me? Melissa McCarthy was nominated for Best Actress playing writer Lee Israel, Richard E. Grant was nominated for Best Supporting Actor as her friend and partner in crime, Jack Hock, and a nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay based on Lee’s memoir of the same name rounded out the accolades.

The film is rated R for language, including some sexual references, and brief drug use. It is based on the true story of Lee Israel, an author who had some success in publishing, but later very much lost her way. I enjoyed watching this film. It was very well done, and didn’t minimize the troubles Lee found herself in due to drinking, depression and poor choices.

Melissa McCarthy has made her career shine as a comedic actress, yet in playing Lee, she fully embraces the serious side of her abilities. She plays Lee bravely and without making her seem like a pathetic person. Lee was fully aware of her choices, and came out in the end without paying too much of a price for her deceptions and the forgery she excelled at.

The film depicted the times of the early 1990’s true to the era, and the relationship between Lee and Jack is believable and complete. I highly recommend Can You Ever Forgive Me?

How would you feel if you were a writer and suddenly couldn’t get published anymore? Probably you wouldn’t go to the lengths Lee did, but where would you draw the line to make ends meet? Did you see the film, and what did you think of it?

Saturday, March 23, 2019

The Florida Project

The Florida Project resulted in an Oscar nomination of Best Supporting Actor in 2018 for Willem Dafoe. He played manager Bobby at a motel just on the outskirts of Disneyland in Florida. One where the clientele are the down and out and rooms are rented by the week or month. Not for the traveler actually going to see Disneyland, this motel is for those who have no other choices for housing.

The film is rated R for language throughout, disturbing behavior, sexual references and some drug material.

Halley (Bria Vinaite) and her six-year-old daughter Moonee (Brooklynn Prince) are residents at the motel, and although Halley tries her hardest to provide for Moonee, she has few skills in being a single Mom and sole breadwinner. Halley relies on scamming any way she can, on the generosity of others in her “community,” and ultimately on her body.

Bobby doesn’t put up with anyone not following the rules in his motel. He has superiors he has to report to, and rules to follow himself. He does have a heart for the children though, innocent victims of birth and circumstances. In one very compelling scene, he creatively and effectively deals with a would-be child molester, who surely won’t return to prey on the unsupervised children again.

I watched this film several months after its release with a friend of mine who is a social worker. Having been a child and family therapist myself years ago, I saw the reality of what these families were going through all too well. My friend and I agreed that Halley was trying her best, but unfortunately it simply was not enough. Why some people have kids is simply a tragedy for them and their children.

Did you see The Florida Project and did it change how you think about the disadvantaged in America?

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Period. End of Sentence.

I was delighted to discover that the Academy Award winning film for Best Documentary Short is currently on streaming Netflix! Period. End of Sentence.

I had not seen the nominated films in this category, so eagerly watched this excellent short film that is just 26 minutes long. The film was made in India, and the Hindi language is dubbed in English, so the dialogue is easy to follow.

In a rural village just outside of Delhi, India, young girls found it difficult to stay in school due to no easy access to sanitary napkins to use during menstruation. Many would drop out of academics completely. With the help of The Pad Project the women in this village began manufacturing and selling safe, hygienic pads. As I was watching this inspiring film, I realized how privileged I’ve been to live in a country where feminine hygiene products are available virtually everywhere, in sharp contrast to the lives of females in underdeveloped countries who have to resort to old clothing and rags during that time of the month. The income made by manufacturing these pads makes a big difference in the female workers' lives, and the easier access to feminine hygiene products brings more choices for the young women who purchase them.

I encourage everyone to watch this film, especially if you are a woman. It is wonderful to see that there is such an initiative because we know that the education of women makes the difference between a life of few choices, and one where opportunity abounds. 

Period. End of Sentence. Watch the film and come back and tell me what you thought of it. Were you inspired to take any action?

Tuesday, March 05, 2019

The Wife

Glenn Close was nominated for Best Actress at the Academy Awards for her role in The Wife (regrettably she lost to Olivia Colman in a horrible movie, The Favourite), and so I was very interested to see her performance. I thought I knew what the film The Wife would be about after I saw the trailer. I did not guess the twist to the plot that is the big reveal near the end of the story which made it that much more satisfying to watch. The film is rated R for language and some sexual content.

Joan (Glenn Close) and Joe Castleman (Jonathan Pryce) have been married for about 40 years. Joe is a well known writer who has been chosen to receive a Nobel prize for literature. Flying to Stockholm, they run into journalist Nathanial Bone (Christian Slater). Nathanial wants to write a biography about Joe, and stirs up their seemingly perfect life with some well founded claims about the real relationship between Joan and Joe.

Also on the trip is their son David (Max Irons) who bears some resentment towards his father. The interactions between the three family members and Nathanial really stir things up as they prepare and rehearse for Joe’s participation in the Nobel Prize ceremony. The fact that women give up their lives in support of their husbands is not news. What is interesting in this film is the lengths to which narcissistic Joe and long-suffering Joan go to keep up their charade and deceit.

Glenn Close gives a stellar performance, Jonathan Pryce is convincing as her self-centered husband, and Christian Slater is perfect in his role as the biographer researching the family secrets.

Did you see The Wife? What did you think of Joan’s decision at the end of the film?

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

By popular demand: Followup to the Academy Awards!

Elated that Green Book won Best Picture! along with Mahershala Ali as Best Supporting Actor, and for Best Original Screenplay. The Best Picture should always be something uplifting and inspiring I believe, and Green Book hits the mark.
Roma also won three awards: Best Director for Alfonson Cuarón, Best Cinematography, and Best Foreign Language Film. Roma is a good movie, I’m fascinated by Cuarón’s choices, and it will go down in history as a really groundbreaking film.

Sadly, Olivia Colman won Best Actress for The Favourite, nudging out Glenn Close for her stellar performance in The Wife. It’s not that Olivia’s acting wasn’t good; it’s just that it was such a waste of time to watch such drivel.

Black Panther won three awards: Costume Design, Original Score and Production Design. I was surprised about Best Original Score. I could pretty much agree with the other two.

Bohemian Rhapsody cleaned up with four awards: Best Actor for Rami Malek (I still say no one else could have played Freddie), Best Film Editing, Sound Editing, and Sound Mixing. 

BlacKkKlansman won only for Best Adapted Screenplay. Finally Spike Lee gets an Oscar. About time.

I didn’t see If Beale Street Could Talk. Regina King, a very fine actress, won Best Supporting Actress for her performance.

Vice won only for Makeup and Hairstyling. Haven’t seen it and don’t care to.

The song Shallow from A Star is Born won for Best Original Song. The duet by Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga during the show was really very sweet.

Free Solo won for Best Documentary Feature. I haven’t seen it yet, and I didn’t see the Live Action and Documentary Shorts. The winner for Documentary Short looks real interesting though. I will try to find it. It is called Period. End of Sentence. and is about women and girls in India.

Best Animated Feature was Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.

First Man won Best Visual Effects, and lastly, the delightful animated short film Bao won. Creative and touching it is.

So, that’s my wrap-up for this year. I’ll be posting reviews over the next few weeks of some of the films I saw that I didn’t get time to post prior to the show. What are you glad and sad about over this year’s Oscars?

Cold War

Poland’s entry into the Academy Awards Best Foreign Film category this year, Cold War is a black and white film directed by Pawel Pawlikowski. He won the Best Foreign Film Academy Award in 2015 for Ida, a film I enjoyed that year. Cold War was also nominated for Best Cinematography and Best Director at this year’s Oscars (lost to Roma in all three categories). I really enjoyed this bittersweet film set in the 1950’s in Poland and France at the height of the cold war between communist countries and the “free” world. The film is rated R for some sexual content, nudity and language.

Zula (Joanna Kulig) and Wiktor (Tomasz Kot) meet when musical director Wiktor is helping find young singers and folk dancers to form a traveling Polish dance troupe. Zula is a talented singer and dancer, and a charismatic young woman, and the two fall in love. Wiktor has dreams of being a composer and musician beyond the folk music of Poland, and loves jazz music of the West. 

When the state wants the troupe to sing and glorify Stalin and the communist propaganda, Wiktor especially finds his involvement in the group more and more draining. The two lovers dream of defecting and making their escape to France and the jazz clubs of Paris.

To say their relationship is a long and winding road is not exaggerating. Especially what Zula does to help Wiktor over the years shows her selflessness and deep love for him. 

Did you see Cold War? Do you think it should have won in any of the nominated categories over Roma?

Sunday, February 24, 2019

2019 Academy Awards Wish List (and predictions)

Today is the big day when the envelopes are opened and the winners declared. I watched 14 films whose titles appear in the list of nominations, as well as the Animated Short Films selected for competition. Here is my wish list/predictions:

Best Picture: Green Book. Wonderful film with a happy ending. I love happy endings.

Best Director: Spike Lee for BlacKkKlansman. He deserves his due and this was one of his best films ever.

Best Foreign Language Film: It will probably go to Roma, but I’d like it go to Cold War. Interestingly, both are in black and white cinematography. Cold War is an eloquent look at post WWII Europe in the lives of two entertainers. Although not a happy ending, it is an excellent film.

Best Animated Feature Film: The only one I saw was Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs. I love Wes Anderson films (The Grand Budapest Hotel; Moonrise Kingdom) and I loved Isle of Dogs.

Best Adapted Screenplay: Can You Ever Forgive Me? A true story about a writer, and the screenplay really worked.

Best Original Screenplay: First Reformed. Why not give it to seasoned screenwriter Paul Schrader, who deserves some recognition? It was a really thoughtful film, despite the rather strange ending.

Best Actress: Glenn Close in The Wife. She does a great job with this role, and the story had an ending I did not predict. Good movie.

Best Actor: Rami Malek in Bohemian Rhapsody. No one else could have played Freddy Mercury. No one.

Best Supporting Actress: Marina de Tavira in Roma. Her portrayal of a middle class wife of a physician with four kids was convincing and real.

Best Supporting Actor: Mahershala Ali in Green Book. Sensitive, stellar performance. 

Best Original Song: When A Cowboy Trades His Spurs For Wings from The Ballad of Buster Scruggs. The song fit what was happening onscreen so completely. That’s what this category should be, not just a song thrown in at the beginning or ending of a film.

Best Production Design: Give it to Roma.

Best Cinematography: A tie between Cold War and Roma. Roma will probably get this one.

Best Costume Design: Black Panther. Why not? I won’t give anything to The Favourite, the next contender.

Best Sound Editing: A Quiet Place. A good horror film, necessitating skill in the contrast between silence and chaos.

Best Sound Mixing: I don’t know much about this category. I think Bohemian Rhapsody should win given the amounts of music in the film.

Best Animated Short Film:  I loved the little film called Bao, about a dumpling. Perfect little animated story.

Best Original ScoreIsle of Dogs. The music was just so perfect for the action.

Best Visual Effects:  Often this award goes to sci-fi films. Let’s break out of that pattern and give it to Christopher Robin. About Winnie the Pooh and his friends, these little stuffed animals never looked so real! Great work!

Best Film EditingBlacKkKlansman. The choices made going from one integral part of the story to another were just brilliant.

I’m hoping for my favorites to win. Roma is predicted to win almost everything, and Glenn Close for Best Actress. The rest are up for grabs. 

I’ll be tuning in this evening. Who would you like to take home the Oscar?

Thursday, February 21, 2019

The Favourite

The Favourite is not Academy Award material in any way, shape or form. I suspected this after watching the trailer, but then I thought I’d give it a try. How wrong can the Academy be? Plenty wrong.

It is a period piece in the time of Queen Anne of England. Several of the characters were indeed real people in her court, but they were given very different lives in this film. The Favourite is basically about very spoiled rich people doing nothing at all noble or worthwhile in their lives. Too much money and free time make for some very selfish, self-centered people.

Queen Anne (Olivia Coleman) finds herself in a triangle with two of her subjects, Sarah (Rachel Weisz) and Abigail (Emma Stone). Sarah and Abigail are cousins, and Sarah gives down and out on her luck Abigail a job in the court. They soon are at each other’s throats, Abigail wanting to insert her way into a secure “good” life at the castle.

The film was nominated for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress Olivia Coleman, Best Supporting Actress for both Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone, Best Original Screenplay, Cinematography, Production Design, Costume Design, and Film Editing. Did they just want to nominate a British film to round things out at the Awards? There is really nothing of redeeming value in this film, although individual people may have done a good job with what they were asked to do.

Did you see The Favourite? What did you think of the film?