Feb 292016
 

morricone

The Oscars are over for another year, with the 88th Awards taking place today at the Dolby Theatre. It was one of the weirdest (and longest) ceremonies in recent years. The order of the presentation this year was meant to represent the journey through a film’s production, but that made sense for a mere two awards, and the ceremony was broken up by satirical clips, bizarre interludes, a troupe of girl scouts selling cookies to the audience, and live performances of the three nominated songs. Chris Rock did a stellar job as host, tackling the criticism about this year’s lack of diversity head on from his opening monologue, and crossing the line on several other occasions. Many of the presenters and winners took the opportunity to voice their concerns about diversity, equal opportunity, climate change and sexual assault awareness.

Mad Max: Fury Road led the way with six wins, cleaning up the technical categories including Best Editing and Best Production Design. I am sure everybody wondered if this would also be George Miller’s day too. The Revenant claimed three – including Best Director for Alejandro G. Inarritu in addition to Leonardo DiCaprio (Best Actor) and Emmanuel Lubezki (Best Cinematography), who were all-but sure things. Brie Larson claimed a win for Room (Best Actress), Mark Rylance landed Best Supporting Actor for Bridge of Spies and Alicia Vikander was deemed the Best Supporting Actress for The Danish Girl. The Big Short won Best Adapted Screenplay and Ennio Morricone won his very first Oscar, at age 87, for The Hateful Eight. As many predicted Inside Out, Amy and Son of Saul were honoured for Best Animated, Documentary and Foreign Language Films respectively.

But, it was Spotlight that won the first and last awards – Best Original Screenplay and Best Picture – coming through the preferential ballot on top to become one of only a handful of films to win Best Picture with only one other victory. The film’s tremendous ensemble, its important and topical subject, and the fact that it is almost universally admired contributed.

Some personal highlights from the ceremony and the complete list of winners can be found after the jump: Continue reading »

Oct 132015
 

Brooklyn lawyer James Donovan (Tom Hanks) meets with his client Rudolf Abel (Mark Rylance), a Soviet agent arrested in the U.S. in DreamWorks Pictures/Fox 2000 PIctures' dramatic thriller BRIDGE OF SPIES, directed by Steven Spielberg.

A new film from Steven Spielberg is here, surprisingly without the usual buzz. While his most recent films Lincoln and War Horse were long tipped to feature in the Oscar nominees, and released for Christmas or in January, Bridge of Spies has been smoothly unveiled without fuss in October. That’s not to say that it won’t end up being a player again this year, but it is refreshing to just watch the film without those added expectations.

What is striking throughout The Bridge of Spies is the confidence in the craftsmanship – the polished competency present in every frame. The veteran Spielberg, directing his 29th feature film across five decades, is a master of the cinematic medium. One can’t deny that this is a maturely constructed and intelligently conceived film. Though features like Schindler’s List, Minority Report and Munich suggest otherwise, Spielberg’s films often adhere to conventions and stereotype and serve as widely consumable crowd-pleasers. Bridge of Spies, a true-life Cold War historical drama of shady allegiance and daring espionage, is one such film. It tells a compelling American story starring one of American’s heroes of the screen, Mr. Tom Hanks.

Continue reading »