Mini reviews of Oscar nominated films (2017)

oscar2017

Come inside, you’ll find 2 or 3 lines of opinions about the Oscar nominated movies I’ve seen so far in the order I did so: “Arrival“,  “Hell or High Water“, “Hacksaw Ridge“, “Nocturnal Animals“, “Moonlight” and “La La Land“.

 

Light SPOILERS after the jump, BE AWARE.

 

 

ARRIVAL

It’s got Amy Adams’ performance and a couple of phenomenal panoramic shots going for it, but “Arrival” is not as solid as they say. If the concept was to make a dramatic alien movie, as opposed to an action-packed-effect-heavy one, that script was supposed to be sculpted to perfection. Which they didn’t do, the story is decent but haphazardly told. It has a lot of inconsistencies and it doesn’t generate empathy for the characters. At least I couldn’t care less about them

 

HELL OR HIGH WATER

Made for the Oscars and forgettable, maybe nothing special, but “Hell or High Water” is a well produced, executed and served movie that´s got spectacular performances. Highly impressed with Chris Pine, who held his own acting-wise to the legend Jeff Bridges and the always underrated Ben Foster.

 

HACKSAW RIDGE

The battle scenes are badass and make for 50% of “Hacksaw Ridge” and I still think it’s the corniest film of the decade. In spite of how ridiculous it seemed to me, I consider Mel Gibson an extremely competent director, albeit not much of an original one. Praise where is due, the original score is the most obnoxious of the season if you ask me.

 

NOCTURNAL ANIMALS

Aesthetically phenomenal and unsettling, but empty and lifeless. At first I thought it would burn me to death in my seat and it ended up diluting into nothing. I was invested in the movie, so much so that I spent three hours looking up interpretations about the ending on the now defunct IMDB forums. They were all idiotic. I wasn’t missing anything. Still, solid performances and cold-as-ice images.

 

MOONLIGHT

There are very few movies that tell a story so clearly and manage to also be poetry in motion. What I admire most about “Moonlight” is Barry Jenkins‘ directing, with a lesser filmmaker at the helm  this movie could have been so ordinary, so pedestrian. He was the brightest star even though most of the acting performances were off the charts. As far as I’m concerned this is the most serious piece of work to win Best Picture since “No Country for Old Men“.

 

LA LA LAND

I enjoyed this film so much that I would rewatch it even though I thought the original songs were despicable, absolutely awful. To me “La La Land” seemed to  follow a “movie + song + movie +song” structure and didn’t feel like a real musical, and maybe that’s one reason for its success. I admire that it proposes ideas and the smart use of special effects; this one was made with a hundred green screens and it’ll still pass the test of time, It will not look ridiculous in two years like “Doctor Strange” or whatever…

Last but not least, I’d like to reassure the world that losing Best Picture was the best thing that could happen to Damien Chazelle. At 32, he still has something to do.

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And that’s it.
In agreement with The Academy, who would have thought?
Come back in 2018 for another round.

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