Sunday, February 26, 2017

On the 2017 Oscars

The Pics

Previous Reviews
Hail, Caesar/Deadpool
Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice
Mr. Right
The Nice Guys
Finding Dory
Cafe Society/Ghostbusters
Collateral Beauty

Hell or High Water:  Wittier, more tightly written version of No Country for Old Men.

Everybody Wants Some!!:  At one point a character states "It's all about finding tangents within the framework" while taking a bong hit.  I doubt any scene could more perfectly describe Richard Linklater's aesthetic.

Everybody Wants Some!! is a fantastic exploration of masculinity and fraternity, and how it can be both wonderful and toxic.  I think what elevates this movie from good to great is the end, when the jocks crash the theater party.  On the surface the two groups couldn't seem more different; but we get to see that for both groups, the excitement and fear of a once-big fish moving to a bigger pond is universal.  Zooey Deutch is a revelation in this act - she steals all her scenes and manages to create a character every bit as compelling as any of the baseball players.  I would really love to see a sequel to this movie about her quest to find her place within the collegiate theater world.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

On Moonlight

Moonlight begins with the camera following Juan (Mahershala Ali) out of his car.  It constantly pans around to survey the neighborhood, while rotating around Juan and his friend before eventually settling into a static frame.  The scene efficiently gives us a sense of place and makes its world feel lived-in; moreover, the camera movement evokes the feelings of one both anxiously surveying for danger and frantically trying to find his/her place in the world.  Even though the main character isn't in the scene, the camera moves as if it were from his point of view.  We don't know it yet, but the camera has already put us into his frame of mind and hinted at how his story is going to unfold.

On Fist Fight

Fist Fight takes place on the chaotic last day of the year at Roosevelt High School.  Tensions are high as the teachers must navigate senior pranks and job/budget cuts.  For Andy Campbell (Charlie Day), whose wife is pregnant and whose young daughter is fretting over her upcoming talent show and general popularity, the day is extra stressful.  When Campbell witnesses Ron Strickland (Ice Cube) lash out at a miscreant student by using an axe to chop the student's desk in half, Campbell is eventually forced by the school principal (Dean Norris) to either rat out Strickland or lose his job.  When Campbell opts for the former, Strickland challenges him to the titular fist fight after school.  Word of the fight spreads all around town, resulting in several gags and jokes as movie builds up to the fight before settling into its limp ending.