Monday, December 17, 2018

The Oscar Race

I'm now heavily in the middle of catching up on all of the Oscar-eligible and contending films released in 2018.  This means going to a lot of VIP screenings, but also there are still a lot of DVD screeners turning up in my mailbox. It's very tough on my schedule because I'm also very busy trying to finish three projects before the end of the year.

So far, I've seen a lot of repetitive Hollywood crap.  But I've also seen a few nice films and three real classics.

The first one I loved is "A Quiet Place", starring John Krasinski and Emily Blunt.  The script is very original, and it's directed by Mr. Krasinski himself.  I'm generally not a big fan of horror films, but this one has deeper meaning and some truly psychologically frightening sequences.  I recommend it to everyone, unless they have a weak bladder.

Another live-action film I truly loved was "Green Book" starring Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali.  This is essentially a reversal of the classic "Driving Miss Daisy", as here a white Italian-American bigot has to drive a black classical pianist through the 1950's segregated South. 

What's so special to me about this film is how rich each character is - Peter Farrelly did a fantastic job in bringing out all the facets of each character and how they interact in such confrontational situations. 

And my third recent favorite is from Hungary, it's called "Ruben Brandt, Collector, from 61-year old Milorad Krstic.  It's a heist/mystery film set in the art world with a chase through Paris.  But the real attraction is the look - it's a mix traditional 2-D animation and 3-D CGI.  The way that Milorad plays with people's faces and angles is just delightful.  Sometimes the characters have five eyes, or three mouths, or a nose stuck in their hair. 

It's like watching a feature film based on my Oscar-nominated short "Your Face".  But it works, it's so surprising yet satisfying to see these mutant humans in a detective film.  There are a number of exciting chases throughout the film and as the characters jump through rooms and locations you'll see billboards with jokes about art, or pictures referencing classic films.  It's so full of cultural in-jokes you'll have to freeze-frame the film not to miss anything. 

I'll be watching a lot more films soon, so when I find a favorite or a big loser, I'll let you know. 

A little bit of trivia - if you see the Empire State Building on Dec. 17, you'll see it's all yellow - and why are they lighting this famous skyscraper this color?  Because it's the 30th anniversary of the first episode of "The Simpsons' - how about that?  Thirty years, who would have believed it?

Today's cartoon is about that fan favorite director, Wes Anderson - Happy Holidays, everyone! 

--Bill P.

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