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Oscar Nominations 2018 Best Picture – what’s your call?

Oscar Nominations 2018 Best Picture – what’s your call?

written by Souranath Banerjee

Oscar Nominations 2018 Best Picture: Hosted by Jimmy Kimmel (for the second time), on this March 4th evening we have a date with our beloved movies from 2017 – the nominations for the Oscars – The 90th Academy Awards ceremony traditionally presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS).

After last year’s La La Land hiccup and Moonlight‘s sudden triumph speculating this year’s Best Picture has certainly become more difficult a task but have to admit the fun remains the same, even more!

In total nine nominations for Best Picture and I have listed them according to my order of liking, in a way keeping my favourite one in the number 1 spot. You all do your own homework, predict, guess and wonder, and let’s see who can hit the bull’s eye!

9. Darkest Hour

A historical biography directed by Joe Wright which in total has six Oscar nominations this year!

The film revolves around the early days of World War II when Churchill was appointed the British Prime Minister and showed immense character that changed history forever.

Gary Oldman is undoubtedly an actor par excellence and his performance as Winston Churchill is awe-inspiring (every chance of winning the Male Leading Role). But I am real doubtful about the movie winning big this year.

8. Dunkirk

Directed by Christopher Nolan and brilliant music by Hans Zimmer (will probably win the for his Original Score).

Another film about World War II portraying the tensed war-front drama when soldiers from Belgium, the British Empire and France were at the mercy of the German Army.

In total eight nominations, though there are no acting or writing nominations and I think the movie won’t run till the end round of this year’s Oscar race.

7. The Post

The epic battle between the press and the government, a dangerous mission taken up by female newspaper publisher and a hard-driving editor to unmask a massive coverup.

Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks together, that too directed by Steven Spielberg – this movie seems to be the perfect Oscar recipe but yet for me this is not really the Best Picture of last year.

6. Lady Bird

A delightful coming of age story of an artistically inclined seventeen-year-old girl and her chemistry between her friends and relatives – especially the love-hate relationship with her mother.

Directed by Greta Gerwig and brilliantly performed by Saoirse Ronan this is one film I absolutely enjoyed watching but still am not so sure about its Oscar win.

5. Phantom Thread

Paul Thomas Anderson collaborates with none other than Daniel Day-Lewis (supposed to be his last movie as an actor).

Superbly artistic, a visual treat that portrays the early world of fashion through the romance between a renowned dressmaker and his muse – a beautiful and determined young girl.

But then again the movie winning the Oscar – a bit doubtful scenario.

4. Get Out

An African-American guy meets his white girlfriend’s parents for the weekend but things are not exactly what it seems to be. There lies some dark dangerous secrets that changes his life forever.

Now a low budget horror thriller gets nominated in the Best picture category – well, that’s a first!

Jordan Peele‘s direction and Daniel Kaluuya acting are spot on; though honestly to me the film apparently doesn’t look like a tough competition as an Oscar contender but you never know, unpredictability is the name of the game!

3. Call Me by Your Name

A summertime gay romance between a 17-year-old boy and a twenty-something man who has visited Italy as the young boy’s father’s research assistant.

(Click for Review)

A beautifully shot film directed by Luca Guadagnino and superb performances by Armie Hammer and Timothée Chalamet. Though not nominated in the direction, cinematography or editing categories it is a tough aim for the big spot but then if the movie snatches the Oscar I would  say it totally deserved it.

2. The Shape of Water

An incredible love-story between a mute lady-janitor and an amphibious creature that being held captive at a top secret research facility.

With 13 nominations, directed by acclaimed filmmaker Guillermo del Toro and a superb performance by Sally Hawkins this visually stunning movie probably has the highest bets for the award. My favourite too. Fingers crossed!

1. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Three billboards asking for justice – a mother’s unique way of challenging the authorities who failed to capture her daughter’s murder.

Directed by Martin McDonagh and a powerhouse of brilliant acting from Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson and Sam Rockwell (sure will get awards for Female Leading Role or/and Supporting Male Role).

With total seven nominations, brilliantly written and shot with great precision – this is my most favourite film of last year and I hope this film gets its due i.e the Oscar of course!

Similar Interest: Best of 2017 you may have missed!

Similar Interest: Best of World Cinema 2017

Poster courtesy: www.imdb.com

Call Me by Your Name – BEST OF 19TH MUMBAI FILM FESTIVAL 2017!

Call Me by Your Name (2017)

written by Souranath Banerjee

Call Me by Your Name Review: Intoxicatingly romantic, intensely erotic and definitely the best ‘Coming-of-age love story’ of our time! 

My Ratings: 4.3/5

‘Sexual awakening’ is a tried and tested theme and some brilliant movies in the past like Moonlight and Blue Is the Warmest Color have portrayed the typical indecisiveness of the young curious mind in the most engaging and cinematic ways possible.

But then Call Me by Your Name though delving with the similar adolescent dilemma hits the audience as the fresh morning air and takes away our breath by the sheer beauty and subtleness of the story and its charming characters!

Set in early 1980, surrounded by the dreamy countryside of Northern Italy, stands a picturesque villa in the midst of lush green valleys, fruit orchards and blue lagoons, and there blooms an illicit love story – an irresistible chemistry between a seventeen year old boy and a man in his mid twenties that finally oozes into one of the most emotionally captivating relationships painted on celluloid!

‘Call me by your name and I’ll call you by mine.’ 

Elio (Timothée Chalamet) the young son of an archeology professor meets Oliver (Armie Hammer), a handsome American graduate student, who visits as an intern for the summer – and those six weeks Call-Me-by-Your-Nameof summer changes their lives forever. Especially Elio’s as the story is being told mostly from his perspective – not only does he discover love but he also reinvents himself.

Now the genius of director Luca Guadagnino (famous for the films I Am Love and A Bigger Splash) is not only in unfolding passion in the most lucid and eloquent manner (almost as if in slow motion) but also for treating the characters with electric erotism and yet never being carried away to the extent of indelicacy.

Never objectifying the central characters, never categorising their desires (both the leading men are shown with relationships with women as well), titillating but always with an uncanny sense of Call-Me-by-Your-Namespontaneous sophistication – both James Ivory (writer) and Luca Guadagnino (director) have adopted André Aciman‘s novel and made it into something very special and ageless!

And kudos to the exceptional performances by Armie Hammer and Timothée Chalamet – they have managed to perfectly portray the volatility of their relationship. And a special mention to Michael Stuhlbarg specially for his brilliant father-son dialogue delivery towards the end of the movie. Classic!

Poetic, alluring and ageless, as beautiful as the nude Greek male torsos that keep appearing in the film at regular intervals – probably the symbol for the eternal signature of love and passion.

Certainly one of the best films of the year!

Poster courtesy: www.imdb.com

The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015)

The Man from U.N.C.L.E. review.

written by Souranath Banerjee.

My Ratings: 3.7/5.

Warner Bros. was trying to make this film for over a decade, but due to numerous casting changes and even directors being swapped the project was hold for a long time.

But finally it’s here, the famous 1964 television series called the The Man from U.N.C.L.E. is now made into a feature film by none other than Guy Ritchie (his first on digital medium). 

man-from-uncle-poster6After directing a string of entertaining films like Snatch. (2000), Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998) and recently a couple of Sherlock Holmes films, Guy Ritchie comes up with this period action comedy and tries his best to cover up the film’s lack of story content with his trademark fast-paced cinematic style.

The basic concept though is very interesting – a story based in the 60s when supposedly US (CIA) and Russia (KGB) joined hands to stop some mysterious organization from developing a nuke.

The cold war tension of that era is very well exploited as the two agents (Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer) from the rival countries repeatedly try to outmatch each other even though they are supposed to be working as a team (this being the main source of comedy in the film).

man-from-uncle-poster8Alicia Vikander becomes an accomplice to this deadly spy game and three of them together form a spy team called U.N.C.L.E (United Network Command for Law and Enforcement).

Elizabeth Debicki and Luca Calvani decently plays their parts as the evil masterminds desperate to control the world. And then there is Hugh Grant, a cameo worth mentioning. 

Shot mostly in Italy, thanks to Oliver Scholl‘s production design and Elli Griff‘s set decoration the film managed to recreate the glamourous 60s pretty well. Many actual vintage costumes were used by costume designer Joanna Johnston and the lavish cars (Jaguars and Ferraris) were a real treat to watch!

man-from-uncle-poster7But i feel in such stylized Guy Ritchie films a lot of credit actually goes to the teamwork of the cinematographer (John Mathieson) and the editor (James Herbert) and then of course the pumped up music that maintains the pace of the film (thanks to composer Daniel Pemberton).

Overall after a lot of split-screen editing, car racing and pretty close range bullets firing – action, comedy, love, drama, when you come out of the cinema hall you will feel entertained but won’t be able to tell anything particularly that you liked about the film.

May be you don’t have to. Just go and get entertained!