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Sunday, February 26, 2017

Quick takes on 2016 Best Picture nominees

Sunny Pawar in Lion

Here are my impressions of the movies I have seen on the Best Picture list, plus Snowden which should have been included but wasn't (too political, I guess) and a huge thumbs up to Hell or High Water  
(already reviewed). 

La La Land - is for la la brain dead. After the first scene on the highway, it descends and never recovers.  A chick flick.  If you like dancing and singing, this one's for you but it doesn't have much meat.  No to Best Picture. (Attention: Carla:  Rafi will not like.)

Manchester by the Sea - yes, as depressing as rumored. A good story but if there's a movie with a more unpredictable, worse ending, I can't recall what it is other than, maybe, Ole Yeller.

Skip Manchester if you are experiencing an emotional upset, are downfallen, sick, sad, disturbed about the presidency, Ziki, alt-right, global warming or romantic ventures, need a pedicure, money, drugs, or can't find the remote. No to Best Picture (Carla:  I'm not sure how Rafi will like Manchester.  Better to stay at home.)

Lion - great all the way around.  Will win Best Picture unless (likely) overtaken by Fences (the trailer looks so mundane) or Hidden Figures, two movies of color and Figures about women, both very much in vogue today.  Neither movie have I seen but that's not stopping me to predict Hidden Figures (women and black women) will win.  

The prime weakness in Lion (they all have weaknesses) was the rush to finish the search.  More time should have been devoted to the hunt for his homeland rather than the buildup.  You'll understand if you see it.  

Nicole Kidman in Lion is good, but not good enough to be nominated for Best Supporting Actress, let alone  win. (Carla: Lion is a yes for Rafi.)

The Salesman - nominated for Best Foreign Language Film.  Dull.  One of those you keep hoping will take off, but it never leaves the runway. Acting, commendable, but nothing to write Aunt Frances  about. This is a "psychological thriller"?  Maybe to friends of the producer, to Iranians, or the critics (they are so predictable) but not to those of us accustomed to "psychological thrillers." (Carla:  No)

And that's all she wrote!



Carla Danziger said...

Hey, Patricia! I could just hear you hootin' and hollerin' when LA LA LAND producer Jordan Horowitz announced "It was a mistake" and MOONLIGHT won Best Picture. It deserved it! Such joyous news for Director Barry Jenkins and all! Your commentary on the films amused me greatly with your asides to me, though it may have confused your other readers. You were right, I declined to see THE SALESMAN--I am too squeamish! It won for best foreign film. I liked LA LA LAND a lot (Rafi hasn't seen it.) It is a wonderful feel-good movie, and like other people connected to Princeton, NJ, I am proud that Damien Chazelle is a Princeton High School alum! Bravo! And double bravo to how gracefully all LA LA Landers gave up their Best Movie Oscars. HIDDEN FIGURES deserved Oscars; it's excellent! LION based on the true life experience of Saroo Briefley, is such a moving, potentially heartbreaking story--with a happy ending! Thanks to determined Saroo and Google Earth! (Nicole Kidman seemed to do the best with the tough role she had to play!) We may agree or disagree about movies, but the Oscars are a reminder of the tremendous talents of those in the arts--who enrich us all. And your blogs--usually about the greater Washington,DC, area--informs us readers about the many interesting places and opportunities abounding there! Many thanks!

Patricia Leslie said...

Hi Carla!

So happy your comment made it to the page! Thank you for writing heartfelt commentary. Hurray for PrincetonHS! Yes, you are definitely right about the wealth of talent and stories up on the screen and on the stage, too. Believe me THE SALESMAN is not scary in the least. Rather sad and lifeless. Not worth your time. It's one of those "critic's movies," the kind that leave many of us flummoxed and saying "whhhaaaatttt?" Just my opinion, that's all! Thanks again for writing!