Author Archives: Josh G.
In advance of Monday morning’s Oscar noms, click inside to check out my predictions!
It’s fun to look back on a decade of moviegoing.
I’ve seen over a hundred movies in the theater, hosted many memorable Oscar parties, started (and more or less ended) this very blog, and survived the hubristic rise and fall of Moviepass. I still remember getting Netflix DVDs in the mail. My phone blew up with texts the night La La Land won, then lost, Best Picture.
I expected the experimental new Broadway revival of Oklahoma! would be intriguing, if nothing else. But I fell for the production and can’t get it off my mind. Daniel Fish and company attack the Richard Rodgers/Oscar Hammerstein II musical in a way usually reserved for Shakespeare: by taking a well-known text, stripping it down to its essence, and shaking it up to see what comes out.
I’d always wanted to see a major production of Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe’s My Fair Lady, but I was sold on the replacement casting of Laura Benanti, who hasn’t been shy about wanting to play Eliza. I can imagine sitting through a My Fair Lady without a strong Henry Higgins, but it wouldn’t work at all without an Eliza who can fully commit to the dual persona of flower girl and well-educated lady, plus sing the ravishing score. Thankfully, this beautiful revival has both.
Click to see my final ballot predictions for next Sunday’s Oscars.
Oscars luck this year didn’t hold out for everyone. Cuarón dominates and Jenkins got another screenplay nom, but Chazelle’s biopic of Neil Armstrong ran out of fuel. Awards excitement makes it easy to overlook interesting work, especially when we elevate a movie’s chances of winning over conversations against its originality. These are not your typical Oscar bait movies; each is a beautiful, highly personal movie worth watching.
What would Oscar nominations be without a few surprises?
Crossing my fingers for Ethan Hawke, Crazy Rich Asians, and the Roma women!
It’s understandable why Adam McKay’s Vice wants to remind us that Bush’s presidency was a massive failure, and he does so by focusing on the power-hungry puppeteer in the passenger seat. But this biopic of Dick Cheney, a dark quasi-comedy, feels like a debate tournament PowerPoint, not an insightful look at what makes Cheney tick. McKay reuses all of his magic tricks from The Big Short, but they don’t make sense here. Despite good performances, Vice is sophomoric, not satisfying as a traditional biopic or as a satire.
Two of this fall’s guttiest (and best) movies are led exclusively by women: Yorgos Lanthimos’ royal send-up The Favourite and Steve McQueen’s slow-burn heist thriller Widows. Queens are a dime a dozen on screen, but they seldom get to be this wild and sexual; and I can’t think of a comparable movie to McQueen’s four women (including three women of color) who finish the job their men couldn’t.
What did I think of Bohemian Rhapsody? Well, it’s exactly what I expected from a band-produced biopic of Freddie Mercury rated PG-13.
And there’s Lee Israel in Can You Ever Forgive Me?, an unrepentant, unlovable writer who, down on her luck, begins crafting fake letters from the likes of Dorothy Parker and Noel Coward.