It’s Cultural Crusade Tuesday! And the road towards potential Oscar nominees continues and last week I watched four movies that pack varying amount of Oscar heat. I just love doing this although it’s hard work sometimes because it’s keeping track of movies, it’s going to the movies every week, sometimes twice a week, finding out when the DVDs are coming out etc. It’s at least 2-4 movies a week for two months. For now, it’s just a guessing game, before the nominees are announced at the end of January. So I try to fit in as many movies as I can get my hands on, movies with some potential to become nominated. Here are four movies like that, I saved the best for the last.
Collateral Beauty (2016)
Oh, I wanted this to be good so bad. Because I do like Will Smith. And I adore Helen Mirren. It’s a straight-forward story, it’s a story of dealing with grief. The trailer, it made me think that it’s a story that has some supernatural elements but those are the ones that made it interesting. It’s not unusual for a trailer to be misleading, but usually, it’s only on the tone and the order of certain scenes. What ‘Collateral Beauty’ marketed in its trailer is a completely different premise and story as the one shown to me. I don’t want to spoil anything, in case you want to see it yourself sometimes. But for me, it felt tainted. In the middle of the movie I decided that it’s probably a good choice, but I couldn’t get over the fact that I didn’t get to see the movie I paid for. All the philosophy remained shallow, hollow and at some point even cheesy. The ultimate thing, the one about ‘collateral beauty’, I simply didn’t get it. And I’m not sure whether the filmmakers themselves knew what kind of message they wanted to give in the end. And the so-called plot-twists, two of them at the end, I didn’t care about them at all. I guess they just had to be there to create some excitement. And judging by the reaction of my fellow movie goers, it was surprising. Not me though, I saw it coming miles away. I blame my Dom Sir Atticus for that, because He’s insanely good at guessing plot lines and twists long before they happen and He does not hesitate to share them with me while we are watching movies. I guess I’ve picked up some plot-guessing skills from Him without me noticing. Anyhoo, ‘Collateral Beauty’ has so much potential to be a fantastic movie, a beautiful one even, but unfortunately fell short due to false marketing, shallowness and unnecessary plot twists. All the actors, especially Ms Mirren is very good. Well, maybe except Keira Knightly, I just don’t like her acting style and considering what role she’s supposed to take on, it’s anything bus convincing.
My IMDb rating: 6 stars out of 10
Love and Friendship (2016)
Simply delightful! *spoken in my best effort at the British accent* Now I start to see the appeal of period movies and books now, although I’ve always known the appeal of historical stories in the book form. But to hear the dialogue in the proper accent, it’s something else. Kate Beckinsale’s Lady Susan Vernon is simply phenomenal. The chit chats between her and her American friend Mrs Johnson are my favorite moments in the entire movie. The calm and subtle little stabs and sarcasm and that SHAAAADE. Now that’s gossiping with style and class. 😀 Nothing much really happens here but the dialogue is the gold of this movie, so that you know what you are getting into. It’s just a story of the widow Lady Susan Vernon looking for a suitable husband for her daughter, and at the same time for herself. Cos, why the hell not? 😀 Lady Susan is, of course, my favorite, especially when she’s interacting with Mrs Johnson. But another absolutely hilarious character is definitely the husband candidate Sir James Martin, the actor Tom Bennett’s portrayal of the silly Sir James made me laugh out loud the most. 😀 If you’ve never like period movies, give this a chance. I don’t know about you, but I feel like I get smarter after watching or reading something with so much smart dialogue.
My IMDb rating: 8 stars out of 10
Everybody Wants Some!! (2016)
It’s the 80s! The decade with the oddest fashion in clothes and facial hair, the decade that brought us endless shitty but good movies. And ‘Everybody Wants Some!!’ is definitely a love song for that decade, it felt like watching a movie from that decade except better acting and faster dialogue. 😛 I know this to be a spiritual sequel to ‘Dazed and Confused’ from the 90s which was about the 60s. I haven’t seen it but the cast is definitely interesting (Milla Jovovich and Matthew McConaughey among others). Back to this one, it’s definitely the slice of life kind of movie. We follow college boys, a baseball team of them and their dorm and partying life a few days before the classes begin. Nothing much really happens, but it’s definitely entertaining to watch them partying like crazy. I’ve read someone commenting about why all the actors look like they are at their 30s. Well, maybe because they probably are. 😀 But remembering the old photos of my dad and mom, they did hella old when they were at their 30s during the 80s. It’s like the oldest looking decade. 😀 Anyway, if you want some nostalgia, ‘Everybody Wants Some!!’ won’t disappoint.
My IMDb rating: 7 stars out of 10
Hacksaw Ridge (2016)
I really enjoy a good war movie, especially the ones based on a true story. I like historical stories in general, and we all know that reality can be more amazing than fiction. ‘Hacksaw Ridge’ is one such story about incredible courage, tenacity and just… grit. In Finland, they sometimes would translate the title of the movie to make them more approachable and they are usually ridiculous. But this time they did a good job, they gave an additional Finnish title to the movie, translating into ‘unarmed soldier’. And that’s what this story about. It’s the story of a WWII American army medic named Desmond T. Doss and because of his beliefs and religion, he refused to touch a gun, not talking about firing one and killing the enemy with it. Understandably, he faced so many obstacles to just get himself on the battlefield, because who would want to fight alongside someone who is quite incapable of protecting your back and saving your life even if he wants to. In the beginning of the movie, I was thinking the same thing. If I’m going into the battle, I want my team to be with me and do the hard things whenever necessary. And in war, killing can get quite necessary. But then Desmond got me on his side in the middle of the movie with this one quote:
“With the world so set on tearing itself apart, it don’t seem like such a bad thing to me to want to put a little bit of it back together.”
You can call him naive, or foolish. I see him as courageous and to see someone with such strong faith, he strengthened my faith too. I’m not religious but I do want to believe in the goodness of people. It’s just that this world has too many things trying to get me believe otherwise. But Desmond T. Doss gave a very strong boost to my belief. I cried so so many times during the movie, all through the process when Desmond spent all that time to save all those men. There are many kinds of war heroes, but never have I ever seen anyone as brave and good as Desmond T. Doss. Andrew Garfield was the perfect choice to play the role of Doss. His natural good humor, his almost blue-eyed belief and friendliness, his portrayal of Desmond is very touching and believable. Some might argue that the movie was unnecessarily violent and graphic, but when you have this certain man sitting in the director’s chair, you should know what you would be getting before you walk in the theater. And I’ve always appreciated unadulterated and graphic violence because that’s what violence is. It’s supposed to be quick, merciless, bloody, messy and absolutely disgusting. War is not supposed to be pretty. It’s supposed to shock you to your core. And ‘Hacksaw Ridge’ was a very raw depiction of war, thanks to this certain director. I have only one thing to say about the director: what a comeback, Mr Gibson, what a comeback.
My IMDb rating: 9 stars out of 10