Monday, June 19, 2017

The Beguiled - Review

The worst thing that could have happened to Sofia Coppola’s The Beguiled, is the availability of 1971 version. It’s on HBO and has been playing heavily in repertory cinemas. One can't help but compare and Coppola's version doesn't come out well in the comparison.



The story unfolds during the Civil War at a Southern girls’ boarding school. An injured Union soldier (Colin Farrell) is given refuge and tended to by the women at the school  including the headmistress Miss Farnsworth (Nicole Kidman), a prim teacher (Kirsten Dunst) and a very curious student (Elle Fanning). Sexual tension and dangerous rivalries supposedly happen.

Yet “antiseptic” is the word that came to my mind the most while watching this film. Where is this supposed sexual tension? Where are the rivalries that simmer with jealousy and danger? In adapting the original novel by Thomas Cullinan, and the 1971 script by Albert Maltz and Grimes Grice, Coppola said she wanted to shift the focus from the soldier to the women. Yet what she did was strip away all the passion and dial down the desire to almost non existence. Coppola took out the heat, fun and tangled relationships and loyalties and kinda added nothing. Even the amusing stuff we heard in the trailer occurs off screen. There are no “vengeful bitches” in this version. The movie just sits there, only at the very end does it spring to life. And then only briefly.
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Coppola has also erased the one black woman character from her adaptation, saying she didn’t want to deal “lightly” with slavery. It's fine if she doesn't want to depict slaves. But then why keep the American Civil War setting? Just move it to any other war and time, if all she wanted was to explore the dynamics between the white women. Any genteel isolated old timey society would've sufficed.

The actors are all good if dull. Dunst, in particular, doesn’t fare well. Her character should have the biggest arc, yet she’s not given the chance to unleash any fervor. Her performance is a slow burn that never lets it rip and ends without even a whimper. Not her fault but rather the writing and direction. Only Kidman understands what this story could be, and infuses her performance with mischievous archness. She should've been the auteur of this.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

2017 Oscar Predictions

For once I am completely at peace with the biggest category, the only one that matters. Best Actress. If Emma Stone wins as expected, it'd be wonderful and exciting for an actor I've loved since Easy A. If Isabelle Huppert upsets, it would also be wonderful. Two great performances this year including one in my favourite film of the year, Things to Come.

Here are my final predictions:

Best Picture
Winner: La La Land
Alternate: Moonlight


Best Director
Winner: Damien Chazelle, La La Land
Alternate: Barry Jenkins, Moonlight


Best Actor in a Leading Role
Winner: Denzel Washington, Fences
Alternate: Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea


Best Actress in a Leading Role
Winner: Emma Stone, La La Land
Alternate: Isabelle Huppert, Elle


Best Actor in a Supporting Role
Winner: Mahershala Ali, Moonlight
Alternate: Dev Patel, Lion


Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Winner: Viola Davis, Fences
Alternate: Octavia Spencer, Hidden Figures


Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Winner: Manchester by the Sea
Alternate: La La Land


Best Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Winner: Moonlight
Alternate: Arrival


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Best Animated Feature
Winner: Zootopia
Alternate: Kubo and the Two Strings


Best Foreign Language Film
Winner: The Salesman
Alternate: Toni Erdmann


Best Documentary Feature
Winner: I'm Not Your Negro
Alternate: O.J.: Made in America


Best Documentary Short
Winner: Joe's Violin
Alternate: The White Helmets


Best Short Film (Animated)
Winner: Piper
Alternate: Pearl


Best Short Film (Live Action)
Winner: La Femme et Le TGV
Alternate: Timecode


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Best Music (Original Score)
Winner: La La Land
Alternate: Jackie


Best Music (Original Song)
Winner:City of Stars, La La Land
Alternate: How Far I'll Go, Moana


Best Film Editing
Winner: La La Land
Alternate: Arrival


Best Cinematography
Winner: La La Land
Alternate: Lion


Best Art Direction
Winner: La La Land
Alternate: Arrival


Best Costume Design
Winner: La La Land
Alternate: Jackie


Best Makeup
Winner: Star Trek Beyond
Alternate: A Man Called Ove


Best Sound Mixing
Winner: La La Land
Alternate: Arrival


Best Sound Editing
Winner: Hacksaw Ridge
Alternate: La La Land


Best Visual Effects
Winner: The Jungle Book
Alternate: Kubo and the Two Strings

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Monday, January 23, 2017

Oscar Nominations Predictions


Best Picture
01. La La Land
02. Moonlight
03.Arrival
04. Manchester by the Sea
05. Lion
06. Fences
07. Hell or High Water
08. Hacksaw Ridge


Best Directing
01. Denis Villeneuve, Arrival
02. Damien Chazelle, La La Land
03. Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea
04. Barry Jenkins, Moonlight
05. Martin Scorsese, Silence


Best Actor in a Leading Role
01. Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea
02. Andrew Garfield, Hacksaw Ridge
03. Ryan Gosling, La La Land
04. Viggo Mortensen, Captain Fantastic
05. Denzel Washington, Fences


Best Actress in a Leading Role
01. Amy Adams, Arrival
02. Isabelle Huppert, Elle
03. Natalie Portman, Jackie
04. Emma Stone, La La Land
05. Meryl Streep, Florence Foster Jenkins


Best Actor in a Supporting Role
01. Mahershala Ali, Moonlight
02. Jeff Bridges, Hell or High Water
03. Hugh Grant, Florence Foster Jenkins
04. Lucas Hedges, Manchester by the Sea
05. Dev Patel, Lion


Best Actress in a Supporting Role
01. Viola Davis, Fences
02. Naomie Harris, Moonlight
03. Nicole Kidman, Lion
04. Octavia Spencer, Hidden Figures
05. Michelle Williams, Manchester by the Sea


Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
01. La La Land
02. Manchester by the Sea
03. Hell or High Water
04. The Lobster
05. Zootopia


Best Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
01. Moonlight
02. Arrival
03. Fences
04. Lion
05. Hidden Figures


Best Animated Feature
01. Zootopia
02. Kubo and the Two Strings
03. Moana
04. The Red Turtle
05. My Life as a Zucchini


Best Foreign Language Film
01. Toni Erdmann
02. A Man Called Ove
03. The Salesman
04. Land of Mine
05. Paradise


Best Documentary Feature
01.O.J.: Made in America
02. I'm Not Your Negro
03. 13th
04. Life Animated
05. Fire at Sea


Best Music (Original Score)
01. La La Land
02. Lion
03. The BFG
04. Hidden Figures
05. Kubo and the Two Strings


Best Music (Original Song)
01. City of Stars, La La Land
02. Audtion, La La Land
03. How Far I'll Go, Moana
04. Letters to the Free, 13th
05. Dancing with Your Shadow, Po


Best Film Editing
01. Moonlight
02. La La Land
03. Arrival
04. Hell or High Water
05. Hacksaw Ridge


Best Cinematography
01. La La Land
02. Silence
03. Moonlight
04. Arrival
05. Lion


Best Art Direction
01. La La Land
02. Arrival
03. Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them
04. Silence
05. The Handmaiden


Best Costume Design
01. La La Land
02. Jackie
03. Florence Foster Jenkins
04. Allied
05. Silence


Best Makeup
01. A Man Called Ove
02. Deadpool
03. Florence Foster Jenkins


Best Sound Mixing
01. La La Land
02. Arrival
03. Sully
04. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
05. Hacksaw Ridge


Best Sound Editing
01. Arrival
02. Hacksaw Ridge
03. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
04. Deepwater Horizon
05. La La Land


Best Visual Effects
01. The Jungle Book
02. Doctor Strange
03. Rogue One: A Stars Wars Story
04. Arrival
05. Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them


Best Short Film (Live Action)
01. Graffiti
02. Silent Nights
03. Bon Voyage
04. Sing
05. Nocturne in Black


Best Short Film (Animated)
01. Piper
02. Inner Workings
03. The Head Vanishes
04. Happy End
05. Once Upon a Line


Best Documentary (Short Subject)
01. The White Helmets
02. Joe's Violin
03. Extremis
04. Watani: My Homeland
05. 4.1 Miles

Monday, January 16, 2017

Best of 2016 in Film




1. Things to Come
2. Moonlight
3. Fire at Sea
4. La La Land
5. Elle
6. Paterson
7. I'm Not Your Negro
8. The Handmaiden
9. Certain Women
10. American Honey
11. Julieta
12. Toni Erdmann
13. Little Men
14. White Girl
15. Fatima
16. Krisha
17. Neruda
18. Aquarius
19. Loving
20. Jackie

Best Actress

Ruth Negga, Loving

Isabelle Huppert, Things to Come




Best Actor
Trevante Rhodes, Moonlight
Adam Driver, Paterson

Best Supporting Actress
Riley Keough, American Honey
Viola Davis, Fences

Best Supprting Actor
Andre Holland, Moonlight
Ashton Sanders, Moonlight

Best Director
Mia Hansen Love, Things to Come
Barry Jenkins, Moonlight

Best Original Screenplay
Things to Come
Paterson

Best Adapted Screenplay
Moonlight
Julieta

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Hit Me With Your Best Shot : Atonement


Because this is THE moment. The moment Robbie (James McAvoy) falls deep in lust with Cecilia (Keira Knightley). That lust would lead to that filthy letter. The letter leads to that hot encounter in the library. That's what Briony (Saoirse Ronan) sees and misunderstands leading to the unravelling of all three lives.

And because Keira Knightly looks damn good wet.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Top Ten Movies of 2015



1- Carol

Palpable emotions dripping from every single frame. And what beautiful meticously constructed frames they are. Carol gives us the best acting duet of this year, maybe this decade, in Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara.


2- Girlhood


3- 45 Years



4- Sicario

....for puting me in the thick of things and getting me as perplexed and scared as its lead character Kate Macer (Emily Blunt).

5- Brooklyn
... for the copious tears I shed and for translating the ache of homesicknes into film.


6- Tangerine


7- About Elly
The best emotional thriller of the year.
8- Macbeth
Shakespeare has never been this sexy.

9 -Diary of a Teenage Girl
........ and
10- Slow West
Introducing new confident filmmaking voices in Marielle Heller and John McLean.