My Predictions for the 90th Academy Awards, Part II

oscar-guy

Image by The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

Enough time has passed since I posted Part I of my Oscar predictions and now it is time to carry on with Part II, which covers more of the technical categories. Let’s begin.

Best Original Song:

  • “Mighty River,” Mudbound
  • “Mystery of Love,” Call Me by Your Name
  • “Remember Me,” Coco
  • “Stand for Something,” Marshall
  • “This is Me,” The Greatest Showman

I predict that the Oscar will go to:

“This is Me,” The Greatest Showman

Best Score:

  • Hans Zimmer, Dunkirk
  • Jonny Greenwood, Phantom Thread
  • Alexandre Desplat, The Shape of Water
  • John Williams, Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi
  • Carter Burwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

I predict that the Oscar will go to:

Alexandre Desplat, The Shape of Water

Alexandre Desplat

Image by AP, via THR

Best Editing:

  • Paul Machliss & Jonathan Amos, Baby Driver
  • Lee Smith, Dunkirk
  • Tatiana S. Riegel, I, Tonya
  • Sidney Wolinsky, The Shape of Water
  • Jon Gregory, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

I predict that the Oscar will go to:

Lee Smith, Dunkirk

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Image by Matt Grobar (via Deadline)

Best Cinematography:

  • Roger Deakins, Blade Runner 2049
  • Bruno Delbonnel, Darkest Hour
  • Hoyte van Hoytema, Dunkirk
  • Rachel Morrison, Mudbound
  • Dan Lausten, The Shape of Water

I predict that the Oscar will go to:

Roger Deakins, Blade Runner 2049

deakins

Image by PremiumBeat

Best Adapted Screenplay:

  • James Ivory, Call Me by Your Name
  • Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber, The Disaster Artist
  • Scott Frank, James Mangold & Michael Green, Logan
  • Aaron Sorkin, Molly’s Game
  • Virgil Williams, Mudbound

I predict that the Oscar will go to:

James Ivory, Call Me by Your Name

ivory

Image by Calgary Herald

Best Original Screenplay:

  • Emily V. Gordon & Kumail Nanjiani, The Big Sick
  • Jordan Peele, Get Out
  • Greta Gerwig, Lady Bird
  • Guillermo Del Toro & Vanessa Taylor, The Shape of Water
  • Martin McDonagh, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

I predict that the Oscar will go to:

Jordan Peele, Get Out

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Image By Peabody Awards (Keegan-Michael Key / Jordan Peele), via Wikimedia Commons

I’m done with the technical! The Big Six are on deck, and will be unveiled next week!

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The Ninetieth Oscar Nominees!

oscar-guy

Image by The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

We’ve waited, we’ve wondered and now the moment movie fans have been clamoring for has come! For the 90th time, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announces their nominees for this year’s Academy Awards Ceremony. Let’s dive in shall we?

Best Documentary Feature:

  • Abacus: Small Enough to Jail
  • Faces Places
  • Icarus
  • Last Men in Aleppo
  • Strong Island

Best Foreign Language Film:

  • A Fantastic Woman
  • The Insult
  • Loveless
  • On Body and Soul
  • The Square

Best Costume Design:

  • Jacqueline Durran, Beauty and the Beast
  • Jacqueline Durran, Darkest Hour
  • Mark Bridges, Phantom Thread
  • Luis Sequiera, The Shape of Water
  • Consolata Boyle, Victoria & Abdul

Best Visual Effects:

  • Blade Runner 2049
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
  • Kong: Skull Island
  • Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi
  • War for the Planet of the Apes

Best Animated Feature:

  • The Boss Baby
  • The Breadwinner
  • Coco
  • Ferdinand
  • Loving Vincent

Best Production Design:

  • Beauty and the Beast
  • Blade Runner 2049
  • Darkest Hour
  • Dunkirk
  • The Shape of Water

Best Original Song:

  • “Mighty River,” Mudbound
  • “Mystery of Love,” Call Me by Your Name
  • “Remember Me,” Coco
  • “Stand for Something,” Marshall
  • “This is Me,” The Greatest Showman

Best Score:

  • Hans Zimmer, Dunkirk
  • Jonny Greenwood, Phantom Thread
  • Alexandre Desplat, The Shape of Water
  • John Williams, Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi
  • Carter Burwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Best Editing:

  • Paul Machliss & Jonathan Amos, Baby Driver
  • Lee Smith, Dunkirk
  • Tatiana S. Riegel, I, Tonya
  • Sidney Wolinsky, The Shape of Water
  • Jon Gregory, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Best Cinematography:

  • Roger Deakins, Blade Runner 2049
  • Bruno Delbonnel, Darkest Hour
  • Hoyte van Hoytema, Dunkirk
  • Rachel Morrison, Mudbound
  • Dan Lausten, The Shape of Water

Best Adapted Screenplay:

  • James Ivory, Call Me by Your Name
  • Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber, The Disaster Artist
  • Scott Frank, James Mangold & Michael Green, Logan
  • Aaron Sorkin, Molly’s Game
  • Virgil Williams, Mudbound

Best Original Screenplay:

  • Emily V. Gordon & Kumail Nanjiani, The Big Sick
  • Jordan Peele, Get Out
  • Greta Gerwig, Lady Bird
  • Guillermo Del Toro & Vanessa Taylor, The Shape of Water
  • Martin McDonagh, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Best Actress in a Supporting Role:

  • Mary J. Blige, Mudbound
  • Allison Janney, I, Tonya
  • Lesley Manville, Phantom Thread
  • Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird
  • Octavia Spencer, The Shape of Water

Best Actor in a Supporting Role:

  • Willem Dafoe, The Florida Project
  • Woody Harrelson, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
  • Richard Jenkins, The Shape of Water
  • Christopher Plummer, All the Money in the World
  • Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Best Actress in a Leading Role:

  • Sally Hawkins, The Shape of Water
  • Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
  • Margot Robbie, I, Tonya
  • Saoirse Ronan, Lady Bird
  • Meryl Streep, The Post

Best Actor in a Leading Role:

  • Timothée Chalamet, Call Me by Your Name
  • Daniel Day-Lewis, Phantom Thread
  • Daniel Kaluuya, Get Out
  • Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour
  • Denzel Washington, Roman J. Israel Esq.

Best Director:

  • Christopher Nolan, Dunkirk
  • Jordan Peele, Get Out
  • Greta Gerwig, Lady Bird
  • Paul Thomas Anderson, Phantom Thread
  • Guillermo Del Toro, The Shape of Water

Best Picture:

And there you have it! The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Class of 2017-18! Check back in a couple of weeks to see my official predictions leading up to the big night on March 4, 8:00PM on ABC, with none other than Jimmy Kimmel presiding as the Master of Ceremonies! I’m really excited!

Here are my Critics Choice Award Predictions!

CRITICS-CHOICE-MOVIE-AWARDS

Image by BFCA

Awards season is just getting started! The Golden Globes have come and gone and now on deck, are the calls made by the Broadcast Film Critics Association. The 23rd Annual Critics Choice Awards are imminent and as a critic myself, here is how I see the film categories shaking out:

Best Young Actor/Actress:

  • McKenna Grace, Gifted
  • Dafne Keen, Logan
  • Brooklynn Kimberly Prince, The Florida Project
  • Millicent Simmonds, Wonderstruck
  • Jacob Tremblay, Wonder

This critic would choose:

Dafne Keen, Logan

dafne

Image by D Dipasupil

Best Acting Ensemble:

  • Dunkirk
  • Lady Bird
  • Mudbound
  • The Post
  • Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

This critic would choose:

The Post

thepost

Image by 20th Century Fox & DreamWorks Pictures

Best Animated Feature:

  • The Breadwinner
  • Coco
  • Despicable Me 3
  • The LEGO Batman Movie
  • Loving Vincent

This critic would choose:

Coco

Image by Disney-Pixar

Best Visual Effects:

  • Blade Runner 2049
  • Dunkirk
  • The Shape of Water
  • Thor: Ragnarok
  • War for the Planet of the Apes
  • Wonder Woman

This critic would choose:

Blade Runner 2049

bladerun

Image by Warner Bros., Scott Free Productions and Columbia Pictures

Best Score:

  • Alexandre Desplat, The Shape of Water
  • Jonny Greenwood, Phantom Thread
  • Dario Marianelli, Darkest Hour
  • Benjamin Wallfisch & Hans Zimmer, Blade Runner 2049
  • John Williams, The Post
  • Hans Zimmer, Dunkirk

This critic would choose:

Hans Zimmer, Dunkirk

hans_zimmer_2014

Image By JannikSet1 (Own work), via Wikimedia Commons

Best Song:

  • “Evermore”, Beauty & The Beast
  • “Mystery of Love”, Call Me By Your Name
  • “Remember Me”, Coco
  • “Stand Up for Something”, Marshall
  • “This is Me”, The Greatest Showman

This critic would choose:

“This is Me”, The Greatest Showman

Best Foreign Language Film:

  • BPM
  • A Fantastic Woman
  • First They Killed My Father
  • In the Fade
  • The Square
  • Thelma

This critic would choose:

In the Fade

in_the_fade

Image by Bombero International

Best Costume Design:

  • Renée April, Blade Runner 2049
  • Mark Bridges, Phantom Thread
  • Jacqueline Durran, Beauty & The Beast
  • Lindy Hemming, Wonder Woman
  • Luis Sequeira, The Shape of Water

This critic would choose:

Mark Bridges, Phantom Thread

bridges

Image by Jeff Vespa

Best Editing:

  • Michael Kahn & Sarah Broshar, The Post
  • Paul Machliss & Jonathan Amos, Baby Driver
  • Lee Smith, Dunkirk
  • Joe Walker, Blade Runner 2049
  • Sidney Wolinsky, The Shape of Water

This critic would choose:

Paul Machliss & Jonathan Amos, Baby Driver

paul-machliss-jonathan-amos

Image by Sony Pictures

Best Production Design:

  • The Shape of Water
  • Murder on the Orient Express
  • Dunkirk
  • Blade Runner 2049
  • Beauty & The Beast
  • Phantom Thread

This critic would choose:

Blade Runner 2049

bladerun

Image by Warner Bros., Scott Free Productions and Columbia Pictures

Best Cinematography:

  • Roger Deakins, Blade Runner 2049
  • Hoyte van Hoytema, Dunkirk
  • Dan Lausten, The Shape of Water
  • Rachel Morrison, Mudbound
  • Sayombhu Mukdeeprom, Call Me By Your Name

This critic would choose:

Roger Deakins, Blade Runner 2049

roger

Image by Todd Williamson

Best Original Screenplay:

  • Guillermo Del Toro & Vanessa Taylor, The Shape of Water
  • Greta Gerwig, Lady Bird
  • Emily V. Gordon & Kumail Nanjiani, The Big Sick
  • Liz Hannah & Josh Singer, The Post
  • Martin McDonagh, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
  • Jordan Peele, Get Out

This critic would choose:

Jordan Peele, Get Out

jordan_peele_peabody_2014_28cropped29

Image By Peabody Awards (Keegan-Michael Key / Jordan Peele), via Wikimedia Commons

Best Adapted Screenplay:

  • James Ivory, Call Me By Your Name
  • Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber, The Disaster Artist
  • Dee Rees & Virgil Williams, Mudbound
  • Aaron Sorkin, Molly’s Game
  • Jack Thorne, Steve Conrad & Stephen Chbosky, Wonder

This critic would choose:

James Ivory, Call Me By Your Name

ivory

Image by Jim Spellman/WireImage

Best Supporting Actress:

  • Mary J. Blige, Mudbound
  • Hong Chau, Downsizing
  • Tiffany Haddish, Girl’s Trip
  • Holly Hunter, The Big Sick
  • Allison Janney, I, Tonya
  • Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird
  • Octavia Spencer, The Shape of Water

This critic would choose:

Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird

metcalf

Image by Kevin Mazur – © WireImage.com

Best Supporting Actor:

  • Willem Dafoe, The Florida Project
  • Arnie Hammer, Call Me By Your Name
  • Richard Jenkins, The Shape of Water
  • Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
  • Patrick Stewart, Logan
  • Michael Stuhlbarg, Call Me By Your Name

This critic would choose:

Arnie Hammer, Call Me By Your Name

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Image By Bex Walton from London, England (Armie Hammer on the Nocturnal Animals red carpet), via Wikimedia Commons

Best Actress:

  • Jessica Chastain, Molly’s Game
  • Sally Hawkins, The Shape of Water
  • Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
  • Margot Robbie, I, Tonya
  • Saoirse Ronan, Lady Bird
  • Meryl Streep, The Post

This critic would choose:

Sally Hawkins, The Shape of Water

mjk35110_sally_hawkins_28maudie2c_berlinale_201729_28cropped29

Image by Martin J. Kraft, via Wikimedia Commons

Best Actor:

  • Timothée Chalamet, Call Me By Your Name
  • James Franco, The Disaster Artist
  • Jake Gyllenhaal, Stronger
  • Tom Hanks, The Post
  • Daniel Kaluuya, Get Out
  • Daniel Day-Lewis, Phantom Thread
  • Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour

This critic would choose:

Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour

gary_oldman_by_gage_skidmore

Image by Gage Skidmore, via Wikimedia Commons

Best Director:

  • Guillermo Del Toro, The Shape of Water
  • Greta Gerwig, Lady Bird
  • Martin McDonagh, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
  • Christopher Nolan, Dunkirk
  • Luca Guadagnino, Call Me By Your Name
  • Jordan Peele, Get Out
  • Steven Spielberg, The Post

This critic would choose:

Guillermo Del Toro, The Shape of Water

guillermo_del_toro_by_gage_skidmore_3

Image by Gage Skidmore, via Wikimedia Commons

Best Picture:

  • The Big Sick
  • Call Me By Your Name
  • Darkest Hour
  • Dunkirk
  • The Florida Project
  • Get Out
  • Lady Bird
  • The Post
  • The Shape of Water
  • Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

This critic would choose:

And there we have it! That is how I think the 23rd Annual Critics Choice Awards are going to shake out on Thursday. I’ll be where I’ll be to cover them, so be sure to stay on my social media profiles for updates! Olivia Munn will host the event, which will be broadcast on The CW Network at 8:00 PM.

Rejoice! The Critics Choice Nominations Are Here!

CRITICS-CHOICE-MOVIE-AWARDS

Image by BFCA

I completely missed the announcements but what a wonderful treat to learn that they are here for all of us to see! The 23rd Annual Critics Choice Awards are upon us and the Broadcast Film Critics Association has declared who they considered to be the best of the best films of 2017. Let’s take a look at the nominees, shall we?

Best Young Actor/Actress:

  • McKenna Grace, Gifted
  • Dafne Keen, Logan
  • Brooklynn Kimberly Prince, The Florida Project
  • Millicent Simmonds, Wonderstruck
  • Jacob Tremblay, Wonder

Best Acting Ensemble:

  • Dunkirk
  • Lady Bird
  • Mudbound
  • The Post
  • Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Best Animated Feature:

  • The Breadwinner
  • Coco
  • Despicable Me 3
  • The LEGO Batman Movie
  • Loving Vincent

Best Visual Effects:

  • Blade Runner 2049
  • Dunkirk
  • The Shape of Water
  • Thor: Ragnarok
  • War for the Planet of the Apes
  • Wonder Woman

Best Score:

  • Alexandre Desplat, The Shape of Water
  • Jonny Greenwood, Phantom Thread
  • Dario Marianelli, Darkest Hour
  • Benjamin Wallfisch & Hans Zimmer, Blade Runner 2049
  • John Williams, The Post
  • Hans Zimmer, Dunkirk

Best Song:

  • “Evermore”, Beauty & The Beast
  • “Mystery of Love”, Call Me By Your Name
  • “Remember Me”, Coco
  • “Stand Up for Something”, Marshall
  • “This is Me”, The Greatest Showman

Best Foreign Language Film:

  • BPM
  • A Fantastic Woman
  • First They Killed My Father
  • In the Fade
  • The Square
  • Thelma

Best Costume Design:

  • Renée April, Blade Runner 2049
  • Mark Bridges, Phantom Thread
  • Jacqueline Durran, Beauty & The Beast
  • Lindy Hemming, Wonder Woman
  • Luis Sequeira, The Shape of Water

Best Editing:

  • Michael Kahn & Sarah Broshar, The Post
  • Paul Machliss & Jonathan Amos, Baby Driver
  • Lee Smith, Dunkirk
  • Joe Walker, Blade Runner 2049
  • Sidney Wolinsky, The Shape of Water

Best Production Design:

  • The Shape of Water
  • Murder on the Orient Express
  • Dunkirk
  • Blade Runner 2049
  • Beauty & The Beast
  • Phantom Thread

Best Cinematography:

  • Roger Deakins, Blade Runner 2049
  • Hoyte van Hoytema, Dunkirk
  • Dan Lausten, The Shape of Water
  • Rachel Morrison, Mudbound
  • Sayombhu Mukdeeprom, Call Me By Your Name

Best Original Screenplay:

  • Guillermo Del Toro & Vanessa Taylor, The Shape of Water
  • Greta Gerwig, Lady Bird
  • Emily V. Gordon & Kumail Nanjiani, The Big Sick
  • Liz Hannah & Josh Singer, The Post
  • Martin McDonagh, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
  • Jordan Peele, Get Out

Best Adapted Screenplay:

  • James Ivory, Call Me By Your Name
  • Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber, The Disaster Artist
  • Dee Rees & Virgil Williams, Mudbound
  • Aaron Sorkin, Molly’s Game
  • Jack Thorne, Steve Conrad & Stephen Chbosky, Wonder

Best Supporting Actress:

  • Mary J. Blige, Mudbound
  • Hong Chau, Downsizing
  • Tiffany Haddish, Girl’s Trip
  • Holly Hunter, The Big Sick
  • Allison Janney, I, Tonya
  • Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird
  • Octavia Spencer, The Shape of Water

Best Supporting Actor:

  • Willem Dafoe, The Florida Project
  • Arnie Hammer, Call Me By Your Name
  • Richard Jenkins, The Shape of Water
  • Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
  • Patrick Stewart, Logan
  • Michael Stuhlbarg, Call Me By Your Name

Best Actress:

  • Jessica Chastain, Molly’s Game
  • Sally Hawkins, The Shape of Water
  • Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
  • Margot Robbie, I, Tonya
  • Saoirse Ronan, Lady Bird
  • Meryl Streep, The Post

Best Actor:

  • Timothée Chalamet, Call Me By Your Name
  • James Franco, The Disaster Artist
  • Jake Gyllenhaal, Stronger
  • Tom Hanks, The Post
  • Daniel Kaluuya, Get Out
  • Daniel Day-Lewis, Phantom Thread
  • Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour

Best Director:

  • Guillermo Del Toro, The Shape of Water
  • Greta Gerwig, Lady Bird
  • Martin McDonagh, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
  • Christopher Nolan, Dunkirk
  • Luca Guadagnino, Call Me By Your Name
  • Jordan Peele, Get Out
  • Steven Spielberg, The Post

Best Picture:

  • The Big Sick
  • Call Me By Your Name
  • Darkest Hour
  • Dunkirk
  • The Florida Project
  • Get Out
  • Lady Bird
  • The Post
  • The Shape of Water
  • Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

The full list of nominees can be found right here! The 23rd Annual Critics Choice Awards will be televised on The CW Network on January 11, 2018 at 8:00. My personal predictions should be posted before then so stay tuned. So exciting!

Review: Dunkirk

The man who gave audiences Memento, The Dark Knight Trilogy, Inception, The Prestige and Interstellar returns to take audiences back in time to a small, but not insignificant chapter in the history of World War II.

Nazi Germany has enveloped 400,000 French and British soldiers to the beaches of Dunkirk and the possibility of escape is practically perilous in every direction. Pinned to just one location, the enemy takes their time picking off their forces and destroying whatever hope of escape in their wake. Land, sea and air, the Allied Forces are in a bind, and the British government at the order of Prime Minister Churchill has little alternative but to requisition and commandeer civilian water craft to travel across the channel and bring their boys home.

Christopher Nolan’s take on these accounts is segmented into three perspectives on this account of history. The Mole follows a young French and British soldier navigating the beaches trying to find someway back home; The Sea features a father and son and a friend in their sea vessel crossing the channel upon hearing the order to rescue as many men as they can; The Air follows two fighter pilots soaring through the skies above the madness, shooting down German fighter planes bent on sinking anything that floats. These three perspectives all tie together to illustrate the power of the human instinct of survival. These three perspectives are the crux of Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk.

dunkirk-poster

Image by Warner Bros. and Syncopy

Nolan told this story in three parts; I will describe this movie in three words: elegant, explosive and unyielding.

Going into this movie, I was concerned that Nolan’s take on this war story would be too clean and that might hinder its appeal as a war movie when compared to a classic war dramas such as Saving Private Ryan, The Hurt Locker or last year’s Oscar winning Hacksaw Ridge because those movies truly captured the essences of war; the gore, the graphic imagery, the bloodshed, the need to illustrate that war is hell upon seeing it unfold all around the characters for the audiences to witness themselves. Dunkirk was my boom or bust movie of the year and after seeing it, in IMAX which is the way it was intended to be seen, this movie went BOOM! A loud, resonating BOOM upon the senses that did not let up in the slightest!

My concerns going into this movie? Decimated as I watched it unfold before my eyes! Just because Nolan didn’t go excessive on bloodshed, doesn’t mean he hindered this movie; you don’t need blood or grandiose practical effects to illustrate the horrors of war! Every time a bullet fired, I jumped. Every time I saw a bomb go off or a missile or a torpedo down a ship, I was jolted. Every time a dogfight happened in the sky, I held my breath! Every time the situation became more and more dire in these three arcs, the tension just kept building and building and the suspense was as remorseless like the wind and rain in a hurricane! Nolan just brought his strengths as a filmmaker and storyteller to depict a “back against the wall” situation where individuals had to use whatever resources they could to see tomorrow and the need for bodily harm or horror was not necessary in the slightest to accomplish that.

What’s more impressive about Dunkirk is that the enemy’s presence is felt rather than seen. From the first frame, audiences see the little fliers floating from the sky onto the soldiers saying “We surround you!” you don’t see the enemy, but the presence of danger is felt every second and the tension of this film feeds off that tension for strength.

Nolan intended for Dunkirk to be seen as a story of survival and he wrote and executed this core aspect of the picture with extraordinary distinction! The focus of Dunkirk was never about winning, it was about bringing these soldiers home from extreme danger and knowing that in surviving, they were victorious! I had my doubts whether or not he could pull this off but with this powerful script, impeccable execution, the stunning cinematography of Hoyte van Hoytema, the awesome music of Hans Zimmer giving this picture atmosphere where dialogue is scarce, the sound effects, Lee Smith’s editing which came together beautifully as the film went on, Nathan Crowley’s production design, Dunkirk is an outstanding achievement in filmmaking and should become the crown jewel in Christopher Nolan’s body of work so far.

This movie isn’t so much about the actors but what the actors do in the film, in these roles. The collection of Fionn Whitehead, Damien Bonnard, Aneurin Barnard, Barry Keoghan, Mark Rylance, Tom Glynn-Carney, Tom Hardy, Jack Lowden, Kenneth Branagh, James D’Arcy, Cillian Murphy and Harry Styles all do a solid job with the parts they have been given, but the true star of the show is the suspense and the tension that fills up the screen when all of the technical aspects behind the camera come together.

Dunkirk is elegant is how it is shown and heard on screen but the subject matter is brimming with explosive technical execution, resulting in an unyielding cinematic experience that should not be missed! It is the most phenomenal experience I have had this year at the movies!

Review: Spectre

What if everything in the Daniel Craig era of James Bond movies led to something bigger, more resolute? All the death and destruction from Casino Royale to Quantum of Solace to Skyfall, what if there was something that connected everything and Bond is finally exposed to something menacing that lurks in the shadows? These questions are ultimately answered in the 24th James Bond film titled Spectre.

Image by Sony and MGM

The future of MI6 is at a crossroads, especially the 00-program courtesy of a man named Max Denbigh, played by Andrew Scott, and Bond certainly isn’t making things easier for M, played by Ralph Fiennes, but Bond is on to something bigger when he finds a man named Sciarra and connects him to this wide-reaching yet sinister organization led by a man named Oberhauser, played by Academy Award winner Christoph Waltz, who strikes a chord in Bond’s memory.

Bond, accompanied by the fetching Dr. Madeleine Swann, played by Léa Seydoux, set out to uncover the terrible truth about Spectre before their wicked schemes are set in motion, which could pit the future of global security in their hands.

Sam Mendes’ previous Bond film, Skyfall, set the bar extremely high for Bond films to come, especially Spectre. Is Spectre as good as Skyfall? No, but it has all the classic motifs and trademark features to classify it as an homage to the classic 007 features known by fans of the franchise and I enjoyed Spectre because it felt familiar to the classic Bond movies.

Image By http://www.GlynLowe.com from Hamburg, Germany, via Wikimedia Commons

Despite all the turmoil and the uncertainty of the future with the character, I’m a fan of Daniel Craig as James Bond and in watching Spectre you get the feeling that his journey with the character is coming to an end yet the door is open for him to return if he elects to do so. I hope he does return-in fact, I believe he is under contract for one more James Bond movie-yet I completely understand if he should walk away.

The returning cast including Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris, Rory Kinnear, Ben Whishaw and Jesper Christensen, they do as well as can be expected considering we know them in these roles already.

The cast of newcomers including Waltz, who may not give a Hans Landa-level villain performance but is satisfying-particularly when the (not-so)-unexpected twist of his character is revealed-from start to finish. The Bond woman Lucia Sciarra, played by Monica Belluci, and the Bond girl Dr. Swann, played by Seydoux, give adequate performances, yet Stephanie Sigman’s character is kinda left high and dry. Dave Bautista’s Mr. Hinx may not have any speaking lines but he is an imposing figure in the feature, derived from many iconic henchmen villains from classic Bond lore, such as Jaws.

The thing to understand about Spectre is the theme is staunchly different compared to the theme of Skyfall. In Skyfall, the overarching theme is that Bond is back and I believe that that theme was derived from the turmoil the studios were facing during pre-production and when the film was greenlit, they were trying to bring Bond back with a bang and did so splendidly. With Spectre it was a touch different.

Image by Angela George, via Wikimedia Commons

In Spectre, the ghosts of Bond’s past, particularly the ghosts in the Daniel Craig era, they are resurrected to steer his character towards something that connects everything together and I found this a very cunning device for Sam Mendes to use, a thoughtful gesture on his exit from the Bond series.

I think the writing of Spectre was very proper. John Logan, Neal Purvis, Jez Butterworth and Robert Wade truly did well in creating continuity from the previous Bond films to lead to something rather significant and I think the writing of the film makes sense. Sometimes the writing of the film opts to take the easy way out and thus compromises the film’s integrity, but there was no lasting damage.

Hoyte van Hoytema’s cinematography is superb. The opening Dia De Los Muertos sequence is a fluid and seamless long-take/tracking shot and he truly flexed his creative muscles at balancing giving Spectre artistic beauty yet honing in on the raw slam-bang action that comes with a James Bond film. Lee Smith’s editing is adequate enough to showcase what Hoytema caught on camera but the skills to edit this movie don’t measure up to getting the footage on camera.

To recap, I classify Spectre as a traditional James Bond movie, that is more shaken than it is stirred and I encourage readers to see it if they haven’t done so already. It isn’t Skyfall. Skyfall set the bar pretty high, but it is worth seeing and it has a lot of the classic James Bond tropes.

Sidenote-This review is something of a milestone for me because I started this blog after my mom gave me the idea to blog about movies after we left a screening of Skyfall three years ago. How far we’ve come!