Category Oscar Season

The Beguiled

Sofia Coppola’s revisionist take on The Beguiled is at turns a romance, a savage fable, a brightly lit noir; and it’s that languid uncertainty—the promise that her story could go in any direction—that sustains the movie’s dreamy suspense.

A Quiet Passion

The words the happy say Are paltry melody But those the silent feel Are beautiful— Emily Dickinson’s sister-in-law comes over in the wee hours, alarmed to see a light on, only to find Emily awake and preparing to write poetry in the quiet of the night. The look on Emily’s face is beautiful as she […]

Breaking Down the Best Picture Box Office

Our contemporary Best Picture nominees rarely are the year’s highest-grossing hits. We can chalk this up to many factors, some of which I’ll explore; but however we slice it, Best Pictures are no longer the movies that all Americans have seen.

GET OUT

I re-watched Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner before catching Jordan Peele’s Get Out in theaters. Many critics have suggested Peele plays off the earlier movie’s title and crowd-pleasing comedy-of-manners style. Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner was old-fashioned when it opened in 1967. Sidney Poitier was a big star at the time; he was the only […]

MOONLIGHT

Forget Rogue One and the latest Marvel face-off: The last scene of Moonlight rivals both for intensity and suspense. Without giving everything away, we watch two men circling each other, nothing exchanged but conversation and a cup of tea. Plenty of things feel unspoken. They haven’t seen each other in years; each became someone the other didn’t expect. And we can’t […]

Oscars Week: My Ballot for Oscars 2017

Here’s my final ballot for this Sunday’s Academy Awards. I predict La La Land will clean up with 9 wins, meaning this will be the most boring Oscars since Gravity swept the tech awards. Still, only one acting category is a sure thing (here’s looking at you, Ms. Davis!), so I’m ready for a good surprise or two.   […]

Oscars Week: Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda

It’s always instructive who merits an Oscar campaign and who doesn’t. The three ladies of Hidden Figures would have had better odds if their highly successful movie had premiered earlier in the season. As it played out, there was only one vulnerable slot in Supporting Actress, and Octavia Spencer snuck in. Similarly, with so much talent in Moonlight, […]

The 2016 Oscar Season

With the 89th Academy Awards a week from today, I’m thinking back about the 2016 season. And yes, I’m still catching up on last year’s movies! It’s always a scramble to see all the major nominees…

Hacksaw Ridge

There are two movies in Hacksaw Ridge: the well-meaning tale of good-natured pacifist Desmond Doss; and the brutal, otherworldly days he spent at war. These two pieces feel so disparate in tone and entertainment value that it’s easy to conclude the filmmakers are more fascinated by the battle story. A few critics have credited the director […]

20th Century Women

We watched 20th Century Women after the Women’s March on January 21, and it was an inspiring second bill. Despite its title, Mike Mills’ movie doesn’t pretend to capture all women from the last century, or even all women from Santa Barbara, 1979 (where he sets his story). His movie looks to understand three very specific […]