In Hail Caesar!, the latest from the Coen Brothers, Baird Whitlock (George Clooney) is an actor during the Golden Age of Hollywood. He is introduced on-screen in a meta framing—a screening within a screening—portraying a Roman leader in a historical epic a la Spartacus. During filming of this movie, Whitlock is drugged and kidnapped.
Hail Caesar! is the Coen Brothers’ love letter to classical Hollywood cinema. The standard genres of the period are represented: Westerns, historical epics, Broadway musical adaptations, bourgeois romance, etc.
The structural issue of this love letter is that Continue reading Hail Caesar! (2016) Movie Review
Jafar Panahi’s Taxi begins on an extended POV take of a taxi picking up passengers in Tehran. These passengers engage in a long debate over the ethics of execution as a deterrent of crime. It is a strangely humorous meditation in the poetic form of bickering.
Taxi is a series of vignettes told exclusively from Continue reading Taxi (2015) Movie Review
Over, the short film from director Jorn Threlfall, begins quietly. We get static long shots of a suburban street. At 11:45 pm. Then at 7:30 pm. The first two minutes are silence, save for ambient noise, as we see a couple park their car and cross the street, where they see a letter and a bouquet of flowers near the median. They speculate that someone has died there.
The story soon becomes clear. In reverse chronological order, we get to see Continue reading Over (2015) Short Film Review
It seems that the entire world is on his side. But is the Academy on his side?
Leonardo DiCaprio being “continuously” snubbed from an Oscar win at Best Actor has essentially become a meme at this point. And I’ll be the first to admit that Continue reading Will Leonardo DiCaprio Finally Win His Oscar?
2016 is proving to be a hard year to predict the Academy Award Best Picture race. The seeming frontrunners going into the Golden Globes were Spotlight and The Revenant. The Revenant came out of the Globes on top, while also picking up awards for Best Director and Best Actor for Leonardo DiCaprio (this appears to finally be his year for the Oscar, barring something crazy happening at the SAG awards, but that is an entirely different article).
The first wrench thrown at the Oscar race came during the Producers Guild Awards, where Continue reading Breaking Down the 2016 Oscar Best Picture Race
The five nominated short films in the animated category are diverse in animation style and narrative content, but they all have clear ups and downs. Below are my mini reviews for these five mini movies.
Sanjay’s Super Team
Sanjay’s Super Team, from Pixar, opens on a dichotomy of old and young ideals in an Indian household.
The animation sports the usual Continue reading 2016 Academy Award Nominated Animated Short Films Review
Anomalisa begins on chatter over a black screen. This chatter is clearly multiple people, but the voices are distinctly similar to each other. This fades in on a lush cloudscape with an airplane emerging out of the grey. Inside the plane is Michael Stone (David Thewlis), a man famous for writing a book about good customer service.
Michael lives in a world of isolation. On a trip to give a self-help speech, he is completely Continue reading Anomalisa (2015) Movie Review