The 91st Academy Awards: Comments and Concerns

It has been an absolutely astonishing year for the cinema. But for as amazing a year as 2018 had been, we’re also left with facing one of the most insulting awards seasons to have come by in recent memory. You’d think that given last year’s set of nominees they actually would have been growing progressively better, especially having given a film like Moonlight the top honour for the 2016 ceremony (and a well-deserved one at that), but after the Golden Globes came by, I was already worried that we’d already be in store for one of the absolute worst in recent memory. To think that the Oscars would already have gone far beyond that “popular film” award in order to try and raise their viewership, as if the ceremonies themselves haven’t already been stale enough (i.e. overlong montages praising the industry and shallow activism that amounts to nothing), who knew that we’d be in store for one that was so out of touch – particularly in last year’s amazingly bad timing (with it being only barely ahead of the Olympics rather than in February like they usually were)? As a supposed celebration for the cinema comes by within the year, there are many things here to be concerned about.

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Rising from the Shallow, A Star is Born is a Triumph: TIFF Review

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A Star is Born is a story that has already been remade twice prior to this, with the first remake starring Judy Garland being seen as the definitive version of the story – and it’s also one that has stayed with us in our memories for many years since. But because it’s also a story that became representative of what it feels like to go ahead and put your name out in the entertainment industry for oneself to take note of, we’ve already familiarized ourselves with it so much and for good reason at that. So with a newer take on the story being set once again around the world of music after the Barbra Streisand version, what would first-time director Bradley Cooper bring out with him and Lady Gaga playing the leads? To say the very least, the results also turned out to be so much more than what one could hope for – even myself at that. As far as the remakes of A Star is Born have gone, this truly is the best take since the Judy Garland version.

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The Curious Case of Benjamin Button – Review

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Less offensive than Forrest Gump in terms of how it alters history for the sake of its own self-important sense of sentimentality, but at the hands of David Fincher – it was the most that one can hope for with The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Granted, Forrest Gump will be among the first films that one will think of when one talks about David Fincher’s The Curious Case of Benjamin Button because the similarities within the sort of narrative experimentation which they are working with are not limited from the fact that the two of them share Eric Roth as a screenwriter but also from what they make of their setting. And for as much as I love the work of David Fincher, this was always one of my biggest struggles in regards to his filmography for by my own personal experience, it took me three attempts to make it through The Curious Case of Benjamin Button without feeling a need to fall asleep, but even describing such a film as “bloated” doesn’t even begin to cover why it’s such a frustrating, even annoying experience.

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The Insider – Review

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An on-the-spot impression left from Michael Mann’s The Insider doesn’t leave it out to be my favourite of Mann’s films (he’s done many which I find to be quite superior) but knowing what Mann is an expert with, it is still a strong footing from the great filmmaker. While it definitely contains touches that would indicate weaknesses that are strange coming from Michael Mann, there are many elements to The Insider indicative of strength, for what he leaves behind is a truly riveting piece of work as can always be expected from the great filmmaker’s very best work. It flops a little bit then and there, but it’s strong enough to warrant a watch or two. Continue reading →