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Monday, November 30, 2015

We Need to Talk About What's Going On This Award Season

Guys, it's about that time. I'm started to get worried. I am putting a lot of hope into The Hateful Eight--partly because my excitement for a new Tarantino movie knows no bounds, and partly out of sheer desperation. I have been binge watching "Oscar bait" films for the last several weeks and I am B-O-R-E-D. I cannot believe the excessive number of bland films people are calling "the front-runners"this season. Like, for real?

Granted, I still have a few films on my slate to see (and I won't reveal here which ones I have left, but they're very few) and a few more reviews to post. But something tells me that, yet again, the most interesting films are going to be the ones that no one is trying to give any award to. And that sucks balls (#sorrynotsorry, there was no better way to  express that). You know s**t is rough if The Hollywood Reporter features this uninspired group of individuals as their leading ladies this season. It's not that these actresses aren't good. They're all great. But save for Charlotte Rampling (who I'll talk about later in this piece) and maybe Brie Larson, it's just so expected. All are in dramas, all of them are white, and too many of them are either in real-life stories or costume dramas. Does this storyline sound familiar? It should; I wrote the same thing last year.

But unlike last year, when there was a plethora of other films that I thought were more award-worthy than the ones touted, we are experiencing a desert this year. Again, there's still The Hateful Eight, Gawd willing. And yes, a few other great ones, including the criminally underrated Advantageous and What Happened, Miss Simone?--neither of which anyone else seem to be raving about. Which leaves the remaining hot garbage so many others have put on their top ten lists. There are 5-10 films that get nominated in each category, and that's going to be a major feat this year. Even without having seen Creed yet, I almost want to give it some love just to diversify the conversation. I won't praise a film I haven't seen yet, though, after all I'm not The Hollywood Reporter (or too many of my other fellow film critics). But I will talk about these three duds that I haven't already panned on this site over the past few weeks:

BROOKLYN: Listen, I love Saoirse Ronan. She's young, talented, and chooses projects that
highlight her strengths as an actress. In that respect, she's a smart talent. But, my Gawd, this might be the most boring movie I've seen this year so far--and I've seen a lot of dumb ones. She plays a young Irish woman who moves to Brooklyn in the 1950s to start a new life for herself. Yada yada yada...she's torn between her past life and new one....yada yada yada. Needless to say, Ronan is the only good thing in a horribly bland film, which actually eclipses her. She becomes lost in it. There just really isn't anything about this film--not even the obligatory grand cinematography found in most period films--that is memorable or in the least bit interesting.

45 YEARS: So let's talk about Charlotte Rampling, Hollywood Reporter cover girl. She's a solid actress, no doubt. I only remembered this after referring to her IMDB page after watching the film and not being able to place her. She's been in over one hundred movies, some of which I have seen (like Never Let Me Go and Melancholia), but 45 YEARS is the film that has apparently elevated her to superstar status--oddly enough, since it seems more like half a film. It's about a married couple whose relationship is challenged once a former love re-enters the picture. And that's it. There are no dramatic arguments, no threats of a dissolution, not really even a real conversation about the former relationship that is now looming over their heads. It's just a lot of polite squabbles that are truthfully not well written. The actors (both Rampling and co-star Tom Courtenay) are committed to each scene, which seems like 45 years of nothingness. I may or may not have internally yelled at the screen a few times. I couldn't help myself.

And lastly:

YOUTH: With no sarcasm, I will say that this is a very lovely film to look at. Absolutely gorgeous. In fact, I propose that it gets re-released as a silent film. Why? Because each frame is like its own separate story that I would much rather dissect without the dialogue, which is remarkably cliched. Let me set it up for you: Michael Caine and Harvey Keitel are aging artists in deep reflection (or more accurately at times, denial) of their mature stage in life--and live out their senior life crisis through the crises of much younger souls. Namely, Rachel Weisz and Paul Dano's characters, who are far more engrossing to watch on screen. Not because of their ages (that would be a cheap shot), but because there is conflict in their storylines--no matter how frivolous it may seem as a young man who peaked as a child actor and a woman whose failed marriage has her in a tailspin, respectively. And I'd even throw in Jane Fonda, whose character, a veteran Hollywood star, serves as a mirror of the two lead characters' lives. But as much potential as the supporting characters have, and how beautiful the film looks, I would have traded it all for a good book and a warm bath. (P.S. YOUTH also has the annoying cliche of a naked young model hanging out in a pool with two old men wearing trunks...because Hollywood). *Sigh*

Here's hoping for better films to come....


Brittani Burnham said...

I hope there's more films to come as well. I've seen my fair share of good ones so far, but you're right. Not many, but I still have a lot to see.

Having finished reading Brooklyn recently, I am looking forward to the film. I think Saoirse will be wonderful.

Courtney Young said...

Bland is absolutely right...I'm so glad someone else said it! This might be the worst year in movies that I can remember. I saw both Room and Carol last month, and (i hate to break it to you), but I was BORED. I don't see the hype around Room whatsoever outside of Larson's performance, which (at the same time) doesn't warrant her the Oscar just yet. And Carol? It's a beautiful film, but very much Lifetime movie with A+++ performances. My opinions are so taboo, but that's how I'm feeling this year.... :(

Terrance Porter said...


tara charles said...

It's a wonder you're a film critics at all. ''Brooklyn'' is a wonderful, well-made, brilliantly acted film. The CRITICS love it and audiences too. Better than most that are in the Oscar mix.

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