2018’s watch list (updating constantly)

Batman: Gotham by Gaslight *** / C

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Oscar Nomination Suspictions (and edited with reality check)

… I am not playing the “prediction” game anymore, but I will share what I feel might be nominated.

BOLDED, actual nominees.

Best Picture (8 nominees) (they were 9)

  • Call me by your name
  • Dunkirk
  • The Florida Project
  • Get Out
  • Lady Bird
  • The Post
  • The Shape of Water
  • Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri

… if 9, “The Big Sick” or “Phantom Thread” or “Darkest Hour” (reminds me of “Capote”)

Best Director

  • Greta Gerwig, Lady Bird
  • Christopher Nolan, Dunkirk
  • Jordan Peele, Get Out
  • Steven Spielberg, The Post
  • Guillermo del Toro, The Shape of Water

alternates: Paul Thomas Anderson, “Phantom Thread”; Martin McDonagh, “Three Billboards” and Luca Guadagnino, “Call me by your name”

 

Best Actress

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

alternate: Jessica Chastain, Molly’s Game (over Robbie or Streep)

 

Best Actor

  • Timothée Chalamet, Call me by your name
  • Daniel Day-Lewis, Phantom Thread
  • Tom Hanks, The Post
  • Daniel Kaluuya, Get Out
  • Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour

alternates: Denzell Washington, Roman Israel ESQ and James Franco, The Disaster Artist (but those accusations of sexual harassment before voting just derail his chances).

 

Best Supporting Actress

  • Mary J Blige, Mudbound
  • Holly Hunter, The Big Sick
  • Allison Janey, I, Tonya
  • Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird
  • Octavia Spencer, The Shape of Water

 

alternates: Hong Chau, Downsizing (but the movie tanked with critics) and Lesley Manville, Phantom Thread

 

Best Supporting Actor

  • Willem Dafoe, The Florida Project
  • Woody Harrelson, Three Billboards
  • Richard Jenkins, The Shape of Water
  • Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards
  • Michael Stuhlbarg, Call me by your name

alternates: Arnie Hammer, Call me by your name; Christopher Plummer, All the money in the world and Patrick Stewart, Logan

 

Best Original Screenplay

  • The Big Sick
  • Get Out
  • Lady Bird
  • The Shape of Water
  • Three Billboards outside of Ebbing, Missouri

alternates: Phantom Thread, The Post and I, Tonya

 

Best Adapted Screenplay

  • Call me by your name
  • Molly’s Game
  • Mudbound
  • Wonder
  • Wonder Woman

alternate: The Disaster Artist (which I think it’s done due to the Franco’s scandal) I missed Logan, which I thought too good to be true, and that it would not get in, over Wonder Woman

Short reviews (catching up)

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Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missoury *** 1/2 / C+

Maybe the overrated film of the year. It’s not without merit, and some interest, but this attempt to recapture the spirit of “Fargo” in a “Crash” key (2005’s, not the masterpiece by David Cronenbert), feels continuously forced, the situations don’t feel earned too many times, the violence goes over the top too easily and there’s an anger that requires huge suspension of disbelief, as the “ex machina” situation that propels the last quarter of the film into the ending, just when the movie seemed to not be going anywhere. Woody Harrelson is the stand out, followed by Peter Dinklage, McDormand and Rockwell have the easier roles, but as they seem to be the showiest, both are in the frontrunner status for earning Oscar gold, which I honestly think don’t deserve for this one. I’ve seen them both do better, in more interesting roles and films.

 

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Thor Ragnarok ***** / A-

Basically, the film that the MCU (and Thor) needed. A pumped up – in fun – Guardians of the Galaxy, whithout renouncing to the spirit of the source. Chris Hemsworth is allowed to finally shine in his comedic timing, star and center of the comedy (in Ghostbusters he quite outshined his costars way too often, for a non-comedian) and gives a twist to a franchise that was aimed to be a trilogy, and that we’re unexpecedly feeling it deserves way more from this… as long as the genius of Taika Waititi continues with it. Everyone involved is excellent, sets and costumes, visual effects, everything is extraordinary and it sets a new bar of what the superhero genre can achieve. One of the year’s best films, also.

 

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The Disaster Artist **** / B

Fuelled by an outstanding James Franco impersonation of Tommy Wisseau, the film certainly trascends the anecdotic situation, mesmerizing the spirit of Tim Burton’s “Ed Wood”, but certainly also, there’s little more than a surface of friendship and achieving success in the unexpected way. On filmmaking level, Franco does not impress that much beyond the point that his direction doesn’t attract attention to itself, which is certainly no small achievement anyways, but the film becomes more enjoyable than important when the dust settles.

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It **** / B

So far, among the best Stephen King adaptations to date. It’s no “The Shinning”, nor “Carrie”, though, but certainly up there among the ones that needs to be seen. I’m holding a better grade, mostly because it’s the first half of the final film, and I think it deserves to be judged as one. But so far, it’s pretty great.

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Star Wars: The Last Jedi ** 1/2 / D

Yes, it’s the best Star Wars film in visuals, by a landslide. But it is also a mess that continuously jumps the shark, and that only got me interested in the Casino planet part, when it dared to do some social and political commentary… have we forgotten that a WAR has motivations? I’m as much in shock by the general critical reception of this film, as I was in the even worse “The Force Awakens”. Thankfully, “Rogue One” gave me hopes to finally see another great Star Wars film again. Some day. Not this one.

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Justice League *** / C

So, this is folks, what happens when you try to rush a reunion film without properly introducing the characters. Not as bad as Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice, but the final battle in Russia became a blur to me, and I would have fallen asleep if it was not for all that noise. Saving grace: Jason Momoa. I need an Aquaman in my life. Period.

Best Films, yearly (1970-now)


2015 Mad Max: Fury Road

2014 Stranger by the Lake (L’Inconnu du Lac – El Desconocido del Lago)

2013 The Wolf of Wall Street (El Lobo de Wall Street)

2012 Life of Pi (La Vida de Pi)

2011 The Tree of Life (El Árbol de la Vida)

2010 The King’s Speech (El Discurso del Rey)

2009 In the Loop

2008 The Dark Knight (El Caballero Oscuro)


2007 Hairspray

2006 Borat: Cultural Learnings of America to Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan

2005 Brokeback Mountain

2004 Hero

2003 Lost in Translation

2002 Bowling for Columbine


2001 Hedwig and the Angry Inch

2000 Requiem for a Dream


1999 Fight Club


1998 El Milagro de P. Tinto

1997 Chasing Amy

1996 Trainspotting

1995 Babe

1994 Pulp Fiction

1993 The Piano


1992 Unforgiven


1991 JFK


1990 The Godfather, Part III


1989 Do the Right Thing


1988 Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown


1987 Good Morning, Vietnam


1986 Little Shop of Horrors


1985 The Color Purple

1984 Amadeus


1983 Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life


1982 John Carpenter’s The Thing


1981 Raiders of the Lost Ark


1980 Airplane!


1979 Apocalypse Now


1978 The Deer Hunter


1977 Annie Hall


1976 Network


1975 Dersu Uzala


1974 Day for Night (La Nuit Américaine)


1973 The Exorcist


1972 Cabaret


1971 A Clockwork Orange (La Naranja Mecánica)


1970 M.A.S.H.

2017’s Watch List (and rank)

Colossal ***** / A+
Get Out ***** / A+
Blade Runner 2049 ***** / A+
Call me by your name ***** / A
The Shape of Water ***** / A
Lady Bird ***** / A
Logan ***** / A
T2: Traispotting ***** / A
Coco ***** / A-
Okja ***** / A-
Thor: Ragnarok ***** / A-
The Post ***** / A-
I, Tonya **** 1/2 B+
El Bar **** 1/2 / B+
Train to Busan **** 1/2 B+
Spiderman: Homecoming **** 1/2 B+
Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2 **** 1/2 / B+
The LEGO Batman Movie **** 1/2 / B+
Tom of Finland **** / B
Battle of the Sexes **** / B
Split **** / B
It **** / B
God’s Own Country **** / B
Darkest Hour  **** / B
The Disaster Artist **** / B
The Autopsy of Jane Doe **** / B
Wonder Woman **** / B-
Murder in the Orient Express **** / B-
I am a Hero **** / B-
Tour de Pharmacy **** / B-
It stains the sand red **** / B-
Kong: Skull Island *** 1/2 / C+
Three Billboards outside of Bedding, Missouri *** 1/2 / C+
Seoul Station *** 1/2 / C+
BearCity 3 *** 1/2 / C+
Dunkirk *** / C
Happy Death Day *** / C
Girls Trip *** / C
Justice League *** / C
Boss Baby *** / C
Life *** / C
Star Wars: The Last Jedi ** 1/2 / D
The Mummy ** / D
Rings ** / D
Beauty and the Beast ** / D
Guardians ** / D
Alien: Covenant * / E
Geostorm 1/2* / F
The Emoji Movie 1/2* / F
(to be updated)
Best Picture: “Colossal”
Best Director: Nacho Vigalondo, Colossal
Best Actress: Anne Hathaway, Colossal
Best Actor: Timothee Chalamet, Call me by your name
Best Supporting Actress: Alison Janney, I, Tonya
Best Supporting Actor: Ewen Bremner, T2: Trainspotting
Best Original Screenplay: Colossal
Best Adapted Screenplay: T2: Trainspotting
Best Cinematography: Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Best Production Design: Thor: Ragnarok
Best Costume Design: Thor: Ragnarok
Best Film Editing: Get Out
Best Score: Thor: Ragnarok
Best Sound: Logan
Best Sound Mixing: The LEGO Batman Movie
Best Visual Effects: Kong: Skull Island
Best Make Up: Thor: Ragnarok
Best Film not in English Language: El Bar, by Álex de la Iglesia (Spain)
Best Animated Feature: The LEGO Batman Movie

Goodbye, Facebook. Goodbye, Twitter.

“We live in dangerous days…

… to say what you think, it’s to dig your own grave”.

Sinnèad O’Connor

 

So yeah, I did it again. I grew tired of overall stupidity and witch-hunting and I closed both my Facebook and Twitter accounts. Some random guy – who said to be a lawyer – accused me of committing a hate crime mainly for allowing me to offer a different version of some events that happened a couple of days before, and that had the whole country in a crazed state of mind… some other versions to the one spread by mainstream media, and that actually swapped roles of executioner and victim, providing a possible explanation as a death because of self-defense, was in the opinion of this guy, a “justification of murder”… he was also outraged because I said the value of one loss with some circumstances isn’t the same of another loss in different circumstances, and that was supposedly a hate crime, so he told me he had reported me to the police right away, without even asking what I was actually meaning with my words.

I hope I never have this guy as a lawyer, because his procedure did jump over crime investigation, the pressumption of inocence and the fact that circumstances result in different kind of sentences taking into account every known fact not only about the events but even about the victim itself. You know, basic legal knowledge, which I happened to respect and he was blaming me for doing so, and not embracing the general histeria caused by the first version of the events (the man, having been assasinated for wearing suspenders colored as the spanish flag… the newer version had the victim bullying the supposed murderer and his friends, and attacking them with a knife as they were leaving the bar, tired of his attitude… the first version was told by a friend of the victim who had posed with him with a t-shirt featuring “Hail Hitler” in big capital letters).

In any country, this wouldn’t be a reason to be afraid of legal action. In Spain, precedents abound of “no cases” that has ended with people in jail, always in the same sense… someone politically on the left, criticizing anything from the extreme right. It does not matter it is a misunderstanding. If someone want to exploit it, to set a new example that forces people to extreme censorship when criticizing the extreme right, it’s done, and your life is ruined.

Even worse, the “gag law” (Ley de Seguridad Ciudadana / Law of Citizen Security) basically forbids taking any proof of foul game by the security forces, while at the same time warrants a pressumption of truth for any claim by them… making it illegal to use a photo, a video or a sound recording to prove your innocence once you’re accused of anything.

In Facebook and Twitter, this has resulted in a case of mass hysteria, with bloggers, and anonymous users being sued or even imprisoned because some comment. And the intention of the two parties likely to rule the country in the near future, is to even make this law tigher and stronger, as still some sentences end in absolution, which are promptlyt appealed by the state.

So, basically, on paper, we still have freedom of speech. But at the same time, the consequences of using it, could end your life as you know it.

“Colossal” vs. “Wonder Woman”. 2 different concepts of “girl power”.

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Let me put this straight away: “Colossal” is a movie for the XXIst Century woman, while “Wonder Woman” is a film for the woman of the 1st half of the XXth Century… not only because its date setting, but also because their inner developements.

Patty Jenkins’ “Wonder Woman” is a fine film whose background, reflects a concept of “girl power” in a – literally – spartan kind of way. A woman can be as hard, as unbeatable warrior, as any man, even more so, in the case of the Amazons. Diana Prince not only plays the “fish out of water” role, but also serves as shock value to her male counterparts. If the background wasn’t World War I, and the framing, the military – with only minor detours into the ordinary life – it could be kind of forgiven its cliched and dated message… however, the subtext is basically a promotion of the association of “girl power” with joining the military, which frankly, smells rotten but unsurprising being an american blockbuster with extraordinary high budget and deeply rooted in a comic book created in war times (1st appearance, december 1941, the month of the attack over Pearl Harbor!) and haven’t been really updated for the big screen outing, to be more in sintony with more civilized times in which fighting aren’t the primary source – or at least, shouldn’t be – for gender empowering.

In exchange, Nacho Vigalondo’s “Colossal”, desguised as an sci-fi dramedy extravaganza, juggles effortlessly with concepts like gender violence, emotional blackmail, addiction and its steps, and benefits of its extremely modest budget (it may feel amazing to learn that despite its top-notch visual effects, it costed around 5 million dollars all together), to keep everything restrained and down to the basics, without distracting the audience from the core themes, Vigalondo is interested in offering to his audience. While Diana Prince is a warrior, Anne Hathaway’s Gloria, in “Colossal”, is a different kind of heroine, a way different one.

Gloria is in the middle of a crises that is drowning her into alcoholism. She’s just not that deep so far – as subtlely hinted by Vigalondo, in her sudden stop of drinking alcohol and turn into water and soft drinks – but she’s already lost control of herself and her boyfriend basically demands a break. She goes back to the basics, more pointless about her own problems that she believes herself and falls prey to an old schoolmate and friend who had too obviously fallen for her long ago. So, yeah, here’s your usual rom-com, with an alcoholic twist, the audience expects. But then, there’s the kaiju McGuffin, and how it developes actually launch the film into more interesting and daring material, becoming a film about abuse, emotional blackmail, the dehumanization of the people we can’t see, the lack of remorse for the consequences of our actions (when we don’t have to face them ourselves, or can’t be blamed on us), and Vigalondo delivers a climax that shows us what (girl) power really is, to literally get rid of submission by throwing the problem away and acknowledging both power and limitations, both weakness and strenght. The final shot – Anne Hathaway deserves an Oscar nom just for that, in my opinion – is both hilarious and trascendent, in a way that few directors apart from Vigalondo, can achieve.

With going into spoilerish territory, the main difference between “Wonder Woman” and “Colossal”, comes in the way the main “interest” of the female protagonist is handled and developed. SPOILER: Chris Pine’s character serves as link, as introduction into the modern society for Gal Gaddot’s Diana, also as love interest, later as “damsel in distress” in a role reversal that is later annihilated by his own sacrifice – so Diana can go on, into the sequel, expected to be set many years after. The whole thing feels superficial and basically with minor changes to the average screenwritting for blockbusters. On the other hand, in “Colossal”, Jason Sudeikis’ character starts as a friendly face, sympathetic, only later we discover that HE is the real alcoholic, that HE gets drunk with his new found power, that HE will abuse Gloria and that HE is the subtle villain that makes the audience shake. The shot of his feet while he stumbles on the playground while Gloria cries in despair, and we hear the consequences, have to be among the most chilling and effective in the recent years. While Chris Pine’s character sacrificed himself, therefore the woman ultimately owed the victory to a man, in Colossal is Gloria’s empowering, intelligence and resolution that allows herself to get rid of an horrifying menace.  END SPOILER.

Colossal: ***** / A

Wonder Woman: **** / B