Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Best Picture Shenanigans: Mad Max, Spotlight, and The Big Short

Alright, since I"m knocking out all these Best Picture movies pretty fast, here's like, three different movie reviews for the price of one. Just kidding, I don't have ads. Maybe I should do that?

Mad Max: Fury Road

This movie is pretty much the best car chase ever. EVER.
Have no idea what's happeneing? That's okay, just know that it's awesome.
I mean, there's a dude with a flamethrower guitar, like for real.
Also, I'm amazed at how Tom Hardy can act with like literally two thirds of his face covered all the time.
Anyway, Mad Max kind of came out of nowhere over the summer. Since everyone was getting pumped about Age of Ultron (and subsequently let down HARD), this movie, after several years of buildup and a cast change (Mel Gibson is ((thankfully)) nowhere to be found), had a lot of stuff riding on it (Terribly sorry about the pun). You've got Tom Hardy in the title role, being awesome.
But the real big deal here is Charlize Thereon as Imperator Furiosa. You know that female action hero that Marvel has refused to release a movie for, or the one that every other movie has turned into a sex kitten? Furiosa is all your dreams come true. She's awesome, she kicks butt, and she's got a great story. That's not even to mention the band of pregnant ladies she's helping escape the citadel.
You've got Nicholas Hoult being crazy too, which he does a good job with.
The film is visually stunning, always exciting, and completely unique.
Will it win Best Picture: Probably not, but hey, if it does, I'll drink to that.


When I went into this movie, I was readying myself for a movie that was going to be hard to watch with lots of A-listers yelling at each other. Thank God that is not the case. Spotlight manages to strike the perfect balance between a watchable movie and an expose' on an awful series of events.
The acting is excellent, very down to Earth, not a lot of showing off just for the sake of it. I especially enjoyed Michael Keaton (who is redeeming himself after Birdman for me). Despite being an all star cast, I actually believed them as all of these normal people.
It's about the Boston Globe reporters tasked with the investigation of allegations of abuse within the Catholic church. Not exactly your usual Friday night fare but it's a beautifully and tastefully done piece that cuts straight to the heart without any excess vanity.
Spotlight is not a melodrama. That is precisely why it works. Absolutely worth seeing.
Will it win Best Picture? Signs point to yes. And I'd be perfectly happy with that.

The Big Short

Just a note: if you're photosensitive, I wouldn't really recommend seeing this movie. The editing is frantic and could cause seizures if you're sensitive to that.
Anyway, on to the movie.
I didn't love this film despite its best efforts. I laughed a couple of times, but most of the time it just felt rather meh.
Christian Bale's character takes up far too much time in this movie for a character that easily could have been developed in two or three scenes. The movie soars whenever Ryan Gosling is on screen, and Steve Carrell is basically playing Michael Scott with anger issues, which can be kind of fun. The ending is effective, but it just takes too long to get there. The pacing is the Achilles tendon of this movie. It's alternately lightning fast and slow as molasses.
I liked the devices they use to explain some of the more complicated economic stuff (i.e. Margot Robbie sipping champagne in a bathtub, Selena Gomez playing poker, Anthony Bourdain cooking stew) but I still felt confused for chunks of the film (my mom did too, so it's not just me being two weeks into AP Econ).
Ultimately, those of you who loved The Wolf of Wall Street will probably either find a kindred spirit or an eager ripoff.  I am somewhere in the middleground on that one.
Will it win Best Picture? Not a chance.

I'll be back in the next couple of days with The Revenant, Carol, The Danish Girl, Room, and whatever else I can squeeze in.


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