Lion Review #OscarWatch2017

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I return having watched another Oscar nominated movie. That means I have watched four so far, and I’m halfway through Jackie, so y’all will hear about that soon as well. This next movie is Lion, the real tale of an Indian boy who ends up lost miles from home in Calcutta. The 5 year old Sheru (Sunny pawar) ends up adopted by an Australian couple (Nicole Kidman and David Wenham) and grows up as their child. 25 years later Sheru (now Dev Patel) is reminded of the life he once had and works to find his way back home. This movie is nominated for best picture and Dev Patel and Nicole Kidman are both nominated for their supporting roles.

Now for my initial opinion. This movie isn’t bad. It’s not. But I do believe I got a movie different than the one I was pitched. It’s not like I got a romantic comedy when I thought it was a thriller, but I was made to believe this was Dev Patel’s movie. I thought it would be Patel somehow reminded of his past in pieces and he’d slowly put together the past that his young mind chose to repress and then using modern technology he finds his way home. In reality this is Sunny Pawar’s story. We see directly what happened to him, and I wasn’t fond of that choice. I feel like telling the story chronically made for a big boring part that’s after young Sheru but before the ending when everything get awwwwww-worthy. To be honest, once Sunny Pawar was gone I kinda wanted to just stop watching. I gave zero shits about Dev Patel. And I gave -4 shits about his parents. Literally once Pawar got adopted I was done. Interest lost. However, I did like seeing young Sheru’s story. It was interesting and mind-boggling what he had to go through. This five year old kid just traveled throughout India. He didn’t break down in tears and cry for his mother. He just went on. That’s one badass little kid. But then the kid has the easy life and the story is more or less over. This leads into my thoughts on this movie in relation to the Oscars. I don’t think it’s a surprise that I don’t think this’ll win best picture, nor should it. There are so many better movies nominated that this movie has little chance. And as for Dev Patel and Nicole Kidman, I wouldn’t vote for them. I mean, Dev Patel wasn’t terrible and since his performance is the first I’ve seen from any of those nominated for best actor in a supporting role I can’t judge him as much as I will Nicole Kidman. Michelle Williams definitely beats her. I just really didn’t care for the second part of that movie. And at least I felt a little something for Michelle Williams. I liked her character. For Kidman I felt nothing. In conclusion, this movie was a disappointment. The trailer made me believe it was more interesting than it was, though I guess that’s what trailers are meant to do. This movie is at the bottom of my Oscar movie list thus far, and I do hope it doesn’t get any worse than this.

Was I too harsh? Did you love Nicole Kidman in this? Talk about this movie in the comments and don’t forget to like, share, and follow Sprom for more of #OscarWatch2017 and everything else in the world of movie news.

Manchester by the Sea Review #OscarWatch2017

I am doing it! I am watching all the Oscar nominated movies for the main categories! If I follow my schedule of 6 movies a week for the next 3 weeks, I should be caught up come Oscar Sunday. Fingers crossed I actually follow through. Anyway my first review will be for the Amazon picture Manchester by the Sea, starring Casey Affleck, Michelle Williams, and Lucas Hedges and directed by Kenneth Lonergan. To quickly summarize, this movie is about a detached man (Casey Affleck) who ends up watching his brother’s kid (Lucas Hedges) after his brother’s death (Casey Affleck’s brother, not the kid’s). Michelle Williams plays the ex-wife of Casey Affleck’s character. This movie has quite a bit of firsts, one being that this is the first movie from a streaming service to be nominated for best picture. That’s pretty monumental because that means the Academy is starting to stop their prejudice against content from streaming services, a prejudice that some would say Beasts of No Nation fell victim to just one year ago. Along with that we also have Lucas Hedges being the youngest person to ever be nominated for best actor in a supporting role, him being 20. For a young dude who before this I had never seen, his future is looking bright even if he doesn’t win.

Now for my thoughts. I thought this movie was really good. By the way this is a non-spoiler review for those of you not joining me in my #OscarWatch. This movie was definitely a drama, but it was pretty funny. I laughed more than I cried,which I didn’t do which surprised me. I heard this movie was a bit of a tearjerker. But I’m kind of dead emotionally, so that probably explains that. There was a levity along with the darkness, which I really did enjoy. As for Lonergan’s direction of this movie, it was kinda weird but in a good way. It felt very real. It didn’t feel like a movie, it just felt like people interacting with each other. I don’t think a movie has to be like this to be good, but it definitely worked for MBTS. I get why Lonergan is up for best director, but I don’t think he’s gonna win it. With Damien Chazelle and Denis Villeneuve fighting against him, I don’t think the movie has what it takes. Now to go into the performances of the actors, starting with Casey Affleck. While Affleck stayed pretty deadpan for the majority of the film, you couldn’t help liking his character. And when he did get emotional, that was something to see. That was the stuff that made you really realize why he was up for best actor. I have now seen two of the men nominated for best actor in their roles (the second being Ryan Gosling for La La Land), and I just don’t know who I liked better. they’re just such different roles. Ryan Gosling is in a friggin’ musical and Casey Affleck is watching his dead brother’s kid. I’ll need to take a moment to figure out which I think deserves the Oscar. Maybe I’ll just wait ’till I’ve seen all the nominees’ movies and then make a final decision. Now, we move on to Lucas Hedges. This kid was grand. He was just a normal kid who is pretending that everything is okay, even though it isn’t. You see him struggle with the death of his father and when that big scene comes when you really see him break down (that’s not a spoiler, is it?), it’s marvellous. He definitely deserves the best actor in a supporting role nomination. And last, but certainly not least, Michelle Williams. Michelle Williams doesn’t have as large a part in this movie as Hedges, and yet she does. I can’t tell you why her and her relationship to Casey Affleck’s character is so pivotal, but it definitely is. I did like her in this, but I’m not sure if I liked her enough to consider her for best actress in a supporting role. I mean she was good but … I don’t know man. I haven’t seen the other nominees for her category yet but I fear I’ll like a few of them better.

Now for my best picture thoughts. I have now seen three of the nine movies nominated for best picture, and they’re all so very different. A drama, a musical, and a sci-fi movie. Talk about diverse. So what is my favorite to win so far? Gosh, I really did enjoy this movie, but I think this just can’t beat out La La Land and Arrival for me. Those movies were just something else. Manchester by the Sea was really good but it wasn’t spectacular. It didn’t break my heart or make me think or immerse me in a world. And those aren’t requirements for best picture in my mind, but a movie needs something to pull you in. I just wasn’t as pulled in as I wanted to be.

So, what’d you think of Manchester by the Sea? Do you think Michelle Williams deserves the gold come Oscar Sunday? Tell my your thoughts on the movie and its chances for best picture in the comments, and don’t forget to like, share, and follow Sprom for more of #OscarWatch2017 and other things in the world of movies.

Oscars Nominations 2017: Snubs, Surprises, and Everything in Between

It is Oscar season yet again and Sprom will do its best to cover all the goings on in the world of the 2017 Oscars. This has become quite a monumental year in  the world of Oscars, but first let’s get out the nominees for the main categories.

Best Picture

La La Land

Moonlight

Lion

Hacksaw Ridge

Arrival

Hell or High Water

Hidden Figures

Fences

Manchester by the Sea

This year’s best picture category is filled with heavy hitters. With 9 of the 10 spots being taken up this year (and all of them awesome from what I hear), there’s no sure thing in this category. Of the nine movies on this list I have only seen two (La La Land and Arrival), but I will be getting to the other seven very soon. Arrival is one of the most promising movies on this list, being a sci-fi movie. Genre pictures are very rarely considered by the Academy, but I understand that Arrival was one movie they just couldn’t ignore. As for surprises I was surprised to see Hidden Figures on this list. I mean it looks like it’s great, but I didn’t realize it was gonna be Oscar caliber great. Now I’m that much more interested in the movie. As for snubs, one cannot forget to mention Deadpool. No one thought it would make it until the PGAs suddenly came out and said it was on there list. And it was one the WGAs list too! You’d be a fool to not at least wonder: could Deadpool be nominated for an Academy award? But alas, that is not so. The Academy just wasn’t ready I guess. But all in all this looks like a pretty good list. Now onto our next category:

Best Director

Mel Gibson – Hacksaw Ridge

Damien Chazelle – La La Land

Barry Jenkins – Moonlight

Kenneth Lonergan – Manchester by the Sea

Denis Villeneuve – Arrival

Filling this category are five very different and very interesting movies by interesting movie makers. I don’t know too much about directing so I won’t try to talk about it, but one thing I will say is I’m surprised Mel Gibson got the nomination. I just googled a few things about Mel Gibson (I knew everyone hates him but I didn’t know why) and jeez louise is he a horrible person. Racist, homophobe, anti-semite, the list goes on and on. And yet Hollywood nominated him for best director, which begs the question of how long does it take for the public to forgive? And I guess this isn’t necessarily the public, it’s the Academy, but still! But then again maybe this movie is just too well directed to ignore. As of right now I am in the middle of Manchester by the Sea (which is good af) and I’ll get to Hacksaw Ridge soon. I lack any expertise in this subject so I don’t know what was snubbed because I don’t exactly know what the best directing looks like. But from a simpleton’s view this category looks pretty good. And on we go!

Best Actor

Ryan Gosling – La La Land

Denzel Washington – Fences

Viggo Mortensen – Captain Fantastic

Casey Affleck – Manchester by the Sea

Andrew Garfield – Hacksaw Ridge

 Another stacked category is best actor. One part that isn’t as much of a surprise as a departure from the best picture nominees is the inclusion of Viggo Mortensen for his performance in Captain Fantastic. Haven’t seen the movie just yet but man does this movie have an interesting premise. So many movies, so little time. Anyway, this list seems pretty business as usual. From what I’ve been hearing Andrew Garfield was just frickin’ grand in Hacksaw Ridge. I would definitely be happy to see Spiderman win the Oscar (though I am rooting for everything La La Land). Speaking of La La Land, Ryan Gosling really was something. Ya know, I never got why people liked him until this movie. Next thing you know I want to fall in love with a jazz pianist in Los Angeles. I haven’t see enough of these movies to say who I’m voting for, but I gotta be honest: Casey Affleck is good as hell in what I’ve seen of Manchester by the Sea. Giving my boy Ryan a run for his money. But like I said, it’s too early to make any calls.

Best Actress

Emma Stone – La La Land

Natalie Portman – Jackie

Isabelle Huppert – Elle

Meryl Streep – Florence Foster Jenkins

Ruth Negga – Loving

Now for the Best Actress category, which is really straying from the Best Picture category. Only Emma Stone is an actress in a movie that’s also nominated for Best Picture. Just thought that was a bit interesting. Perhaps the performances were great but the movies just weren’t there, I suppose. Another interesting thing to point out is that the movie Elle isn’t in English. I didn’t realize non-English movies could be nominated for regular categories. So that’s also interesting. The only performance I’ve actually seen on this list is Emma Stone’s, so like with the other categories I can’t say much about this. But as for snubs I got a big ass one. Why is Amy Adams not on this list? She had two amazing movies this year, one of which I actually saw, and yet no nomination!?! I’m pretty sure that the Academy has a vendetta against Amy Adams and I don’t know if I can stand for it. I mean I love Meryl Streep but does she really need this? Does she really? I mean I hope Florence Foster Jenkins is brilliant but jeez was she good in Arrival. This is the snub that has me the most peeved this year, without a doubt.

Best Actor in a Supporting Role

Michael Shannon – Nocturnal Animals

Mahershala Ali – Moonlight

Jeff Bridges – Hell or High Water

Dev Patel – Lion

Lucas Hedges – Manchester by the Sea

Movies are weird. I’m looking at this Best Actor in a Supporting Role category and I could’ve sworn Mahershala Ali, Dev Patel, and Jeff Bridges were all main characters. Maybe I should watch these movies and figure out these movies. I have less than a month before the Oscars and a hell of a lot of movies to watch. Really should’ve started earlier. Alas. Anyway I interested in this category, even though I have finished none of these movies. As of right now I have seen maybe two minutes of Manchester by the Sea with him in it and I have no opinion. What I can say is Mahershala Ali was great as Cottonmouth in Luke Cage. I am definitely interested to see his role in Moonlight. As for the rest of them, we shall see.

Best Actress in a Supporting Role

Naomie Harris – Moonlight

Michelle Williams – Manchester by the Sea

Viola Davis – Fences

Octavia Spencer – Hidden Figures

Nicole Kidman – Lion

Now this category makes me happy. Three of the five nominees for Best Actress in a Supporting Role are women of color. It’s always nice to see that. And as for talent, Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer are always brilliant. I’m not super familiar with Williams and Harris, and as for Nicole Kidman I loved the Bewitched movie but I don’t know her for much else. But Davis and Spencer are definitely fan favorites. I can’t tell you anything about their performances in their specific movies, but as for right now I’m chill with Spencer or Davis taking the gold.

Best Animated Feature Film

Moana

Zootopia

Kubo and the Two Strings

My Life as a Zucchini

The Red Turtle

 

And for the last category I’m gonna talk about we have the Best Animated Feature Film category! I have seen only one of these movies and I am extremely disappointed with myself to be honest. But this is definitely interesting. All the movies on here seem like something that should be on here, but I am surprised Finding Dory didn’t make the cut. But then again all the categories are stacked this year, even the animated ones. I don’t know who I’d vote for, but man did the trailer for The Red Turtle look good. Studio Ghibli has been steady putting out great content. But one can’t ignore the perfectly topical Zootopia or the new Disney classic (with musical by my boy Lin-Manuel Miranda) Moana. And even though it’s not in English, My Life as a Zucchini looks just lovely. So I don’t know.

As for the why this year is such a big deal, there are a few things. For one La La Land tied for the record of most Oscar nominations at 14. The only other movies to get that many nominations are All About Eve and Titanic, with Eve winning 6 of those and Titanic 11. This is also the first time that three black screenwriters have been nominated in the same year. People of Color in general are just doing grand this year, much better than in years previous. I wouldn’t say #OscarsSoWhite is a thing of the past just yet, but this is surely a step in the right direction.

In conclusion, I have a lot of movies to what and so little time. So I’m gonna get back to Manchester by the Sea and I’ll get a review out to y’all as soon as possible. And talk in the comments about any snubs you think I missed or surprises I didn’t mention. And don’t forget to like, share, and follow Sprom for more Oscar talk and everything else in the world of movies.