All right, the Oscars aired last weekend, but I still hadn't got around to the final three Best Picture nominees so here you go:
ArrivalDenis Villeneuve's Arrival sits quite nicely as a high concept science fiction film that in many ways is a throwback to late 70s science fiction focusing on issues of language like Riddley Walker, Juniper Time or The Ophiuchi Hotline. The film follows Earth's reaction to the appearance of alien spacecraft and their attempts to understand the language of the creatures within. An intriguing film that asks for multiple viewings.
Mel Gibson's Hacksaw Ridge is almost two films; the first half being the story of a Seventh Day Adventist named Desmond Doss (played by Andrew Garfield) who enlists in the American military during the Second World War, but attempts to work in such a way as to remain true to his religious convictions, specifically to never handle a gun. The film moves from his initial attempts to impress the importance of his beliefs upon his superior officers and moves into a courtroom drama towards the halfway point. The second half of the film follows Doss into active service and works hard to show the horror of the Pacific theater of war. It's not for those with a weak stomach, but strives to show a different measure of the term heroism. In the end I'm not sure if I would ever re-watch it, but I certainly enjoyed it the first time.
Manchester by the SeaKenneth Lonergan's Manchester by the Sea is a drama following a man who has been put in the position of looking after his teenaged nephew after the boy's father has died. The story is straight-forward, but as with Fences is full of deep characterization and some pretty amazing performances. Well worth the watch.
1 month ago