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2016 review

I think this is the time of the year when I apologise for not updating this blog anymore! But hopeully with the end of yet another year and the Oscars not too far from now, I can try and write more. Here are the 15 best films for 2016, and you can refresh your memory with last year’s post here.

1. Arrival, directed by Denis Villeneuve
2. Steve Jobs, directed by Danny Boyle
3. Spotlight, directed by Tom McCarthy
4. Midnight Special, directed by Jeff Nichols
5. Finding Dory, directed by Andrew Stanton & Angus MacLane
6. Brooklyn, directed by John Crowley
7. I, Daniel Blake, directed by Ken Loach
8. The BFG, directed by Steven Spielberg
9. Moana, directed by Ron Clements, Don Hall, John Musker & Chris Williams
10. Frantz, directed by Francois Ozon
11. Hell or High Water, directed by David Mackenzie
12. Creed, directed by Ryan Coogler
13. The Revenant, directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu
14. Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them, directed by David Yates
15. Bridget Jones’ Baby, directed by Sharon Maguire

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Academy Awards winners, 2016

I’m almost two months late writing this post, sorry about that! Here are my thoughts on this year’s winners (you can refresh your memories of last year’s winners with my post here):

Best Picture
The Big Short
Bridge Of Spies
Brooklyn
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant
Room
Spotlight

Spotlight took home the big prize, after one of the closest race in awards history ever. With the PGA going to the Big Short, and the DGA going to the Revenant (and Golden Globe), there was just no predicting which one would win Best Film… Turns out Spotlight, with a SAG ensemble cast win, managed to gather a consensus, wide enough, to get this one. The Academy’s voting system, a much-discussed preferential ballot, strongly favours films that do not polarise the audience – perhaps the Big Short was just too much a ‘comedy’ rather than straightforward drama; the Revenant, on the other hand is the typical definition of a polarising film. Does Spotlight deserve this prize? You bet it does. Both relevant and contemporary, Spotlight is a masterpiece of subdued drama, a film that doesn’t have any triumphant moment, a film that celebrates investigative and important journalism. Out of a year of strong films, it definitely is one of the strongest ones and possibly my personal favourite in the bunch with Mad Max and Bridge of Spies. So very well-deserved indeed, and well done to the Academy for picking the ‘right’ film over The Big Short and the Revenant.

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Academy Awards nominees, 2016

The Oscar race is now well underway and here are my comments/thoughts re this year’s nominations.

Best Picture
The Big Short
Bridge Of Spies
Brooklyn
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant
Room
Spotlight

Eight nominees, AGAIN. What is the point of having expanded this category to ‘five to ten nominees’, really? It is a nice selection, a blend of different genres – very happy to see Fury Road and Bridge of Spies here, but the chances of them actually winning seem tiny. Brooklyn and Room seem much too independent to take the top prize, and the Martian was rubbish (despite the critics and the audience’s undying love for it, which I just don’t get), so we’re left with three real contenders: the Big Short, The Revenant or Spotlight. It’s odd because there’s no clear consensus here, with the first one winning the PGA award and the second one winning the Golden Globe for Best Film – Drama… And Spotlight still sounds like the kind of film that would have the wider consensus… It’s a really tough one. I think the big prize might go to the Revenant, if the Directors’ Guild Award goes to Iñárritu in a couple of days. But if it doesn’t, then the Big Short might actually gain enough a momentum to take the big prize. Update: aaaaand Spotlight just won Best Ensemble Cast at the Screen Actors Guild awards… It really is a close race, I’m not sure which one of the three will win.

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2015 review

This is the time of the year where I make up for all the reviews I didn’t write all year long! Here’s my top 15 of the best films for 2015 (last year’s post is this one):

1. Inside Out, directed by Pete Docter and Ronnie Del Carmen
2. Mad Max: Fury Road, directed by George Miller
3. Mommy, directed by Xavier Dolan
4. Bridge of Spies, directed by Steven Spielberg
5. Star Wars: the Force Awakens, directed by J.J. Abrams
6. Paddington, directed by Paul King
7. Into the Woods, directed by Rob Marshall
8. Foxcatcher, directed by Bennett Miller
9. Suffragette, directed by Sarah Garvon
10. Dheepan, directed by Jacques Audiard
11. Sicario, directed by Denis Villeneuve
12. The Lobster, directed by Yorgos Lanthimos
13. The Big Short, directed by Adam McKay
14. Tomorrowland, directed by Brad Bird / The Good Dinosaur, directed by Peter Sohn
15. Pitch Perfect 2, directed by Elizabeth Banks

Other great films: Love & Mercy, Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, Kajaki Continue reading…

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Academy Awards winners, 2015

Here are my thoughts on this year’s Oscar winners! Last year’s post is here.
Best Picture
American Sniper
Birdman
Boyhood
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
Selma
The Theory Of Everything
Whiplash

Birdman takes flight and wins the top prize. One side of me is glad that the Academy is recognising a weird, arthouse, fiercely original film; the other side is a bit put off by the rampant narcissism and arrogance that this choice means –Birdman is a film about filmmakers and actors, and to me is nothing more than a glorified play with an obscure screenplay that I wasn’t able to grasp fully. I was a bit sad Boyhood didn’t win this one, as for the most of the awards race it seemed like it would, but then all the guilds started announcing their winners and that was that. Still, a shame that a film like Boyhood, which couldn’t have been further from Hollywood if it tried, didn’t end up winning, as I think it would have sent a strong message for independent cinema. Let’s face it, Birdman is an indie film, but it’s still made by Fox with an A-list cast. And of course it was lovely to have Whiplash & Selma as part of the nominees, even if they were never going to win. But I actually think that, with American Sniper and the Theory of Everything in there, this list of nominees is one of the weakest I’ve seen in years? It’s harsh to say so, but I think it is.

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