Ford v Ferrari
Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood
My Overall Thoughts:
This is a year with some great films in the running for Best Picture and the debate has been fierce over which is truly the best. The fact that 4 of these films received at least 10 Oscar nominations shows how dominant these films can be. There was an early front runner that was toppled over the past few weeks and now there are two films vying for the chance to take home Gold.. guess we’ll have to wait until Oscar night to truly find out…
9. Ford v. Ferrari – Really enjoyable racing film that works even better due to the way that they develop the characters. This film shows how two great minds from different aspects of racing were able to come together to change the face of the sport in such a short time period. Damon and Bale are both amazing in these roles and allow us to care so much about what happens to them. The racing scenes are shot in a very personal fashion which makes the viewer feel s if they are right there in the car with the driver going around the course at top speed. As good of a film as this is, I’m still a bit shocked that it got an Oscar nomination for Best Picture, because unlike the rest of the crop, this film doesn’t have a powerful message behind it. Regardless, they give us one Hell of a ride here…
8. Little Women – Great adaptation of this classic story. The way that they chose to tell the tale in a non-linear fashion actually enhances things so much more because we don’t have to wait so long to see how events affect one another. The cast is superbly chosen and they give us some really talented actresses to play the main roles which adds so much more to the impact of events. The story is told in a very modern way which works in helping make things feel even more accessible to a modern audience. Gerwig knows how to put together a film like this really well and makes it even more curious to see what she has for us in the future.
7. The Irishman – Another great gangster epic by Scorsese but unfortunately fails to really bring anything new to the table. The story is long yet never feels boring because it tries to be so comprehensive in all that it does. The cast is spectacular and De Niro, Pesci, Pacino all give us great performances (as usual). The biggest problem with this film is the fact that it tries to tell a story over too many decades and something feels missing along the way. The story itself is based on real events, but since parts of the film cannot be corroborated, we will have to take their word for it which also is a slight strike against it. Scorsese is able to give us an epic feel for this story while also introducing us to new characters who are intriguing to meet. This film have been part of the big debate over theatrical releases vs Netflix releases and both sides of the argument have great points, but this film has received lots of backlash due to it being a Netflix film and might make it go 0-10 on Oscar night which would be quite a blow both for those associated with the movie and for those advocating the Netflix style of film making.
6. Joker – Very intriguing look at the psychological profile of a man with mental issues as he takes a downward spiraling journey into madness due to everything going on around him. The film does a great job looking at the social aspects of society which has crossed many lines along the way. They cleverly deal with the effects of reality TV even though this story takes place over 3 decades ago. There is no question as to how amazing Phoenix’s performance is and he easily eclipses every other acting performance of the year and perhaps even longer than that. Love the way that parts of this film are presented in an ambiguous way since we never find out what is reality and what is just in the mind of the character. Quite glad that they chose not to take this story into the direction of a superhero film because it works really well as is. Not a pleasant film to watch and it won’t be something to rewatch often, but still extremely well made.
5. Jojo Rabbit – Brilliant idea that is executed so well by Waititi. The story starts off seeming like a normal film about Nazis, but quickly makes the turn to show us the absurdity and silliness of it all. I can understand the backlash that this film has gotten, especially from the Jewish community (my own), but when one looks deeper into this film, they see that it doesn’t glorify at all what the Nazis did and gives things a very unique spin which is actually a very powerful one. The story unfolds in a great way and allows us to see how the main character’s viewpoints are slowly changed as he begins to see the truth that goes on around him. The film wisely gives us everything from a child’s perspective because that helps make it much easier to accept the truth of it all. Johansson, Rockwell and especially Waititi help enhance the message of this film.
4. Marriage Story – Unique film that takes a very touchy subject and doesn’t sugarcoat it at all. Both Johansson and Driver give career defining performances here and both deservingly were nominated for Oscars for their performances. Unfortunately, neither will be taking home Gold on Sunday night for these roles and the question actually remains as to whether this film will manage to walk away with any of the 6 Oscars it is nominated for. Its best bet is Dern for Best Supporting Actress who seems like a shoe in, but might be the category that will surprise everyone. The story moves along at a great pace and the attention to detail with the characters and the scenarios that they encounter help enhance this film so much. In addition to Dern, Liotta and Alda are also both great in supporting roles and show the true face of what people need to deal with during a divorce that slowly gets out of hand. Not an easy film to watch since it presents too many situations that are all too real, yet that is part of what makes this film so powerful.
3. Parasite – Great premise that somehow manages to stay so thrilling and suspenseful the whole way through due to the way that things play out. The story is built up really well and we get to see how different the upper and lower classes of society may seem to be, but that it all is largely due to perspective on things and not wholly on reality of the situations. The characters are developed really well and allow us to get a real understanding of who they are and where they want to be despite life placing them where they are. Definitely deserving of its 6 Oscar nominations and will most definitely go home with the award for Best International Feature. Any of the other awards are still up for grans even though it has widely been discussed in the Best Picture category also since it seems to have a high chance there too.
2. Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood – Another amazing Tarantino film that is superb on so many levels. The film creates the perfect atmosphere for this kind of story and the build up during the first half has great pay offs during the second half. The cast is amazing and they all fit in so well with the story and atmosphere of it all. Pitt is the obvious standout here and will hopefully take home Gold for this (supporting) role. The music and characters help set the place and time and Tarantino’s dialogue is once again so realistic and exquisite throughout. Some people fault this film for its re-imagining of history, but I loved the way they did it because it shows how even little changes in routine could possibly lead to a very different outcome. Not Tarantino’s best but still quite close.
1. 1917 – Amazing film that is enhanced even more on an IMAX screen. The story pays so much attention to details and allows the viewer to get the feeling as if they are right there on this journey with these characters. The idea to have this film seem and look as if it is done in one shot and in real time has been blasted by some as just a gimmick, but even if that is true, they are still able to create something wondrous to experience. The characters are developed really well and I love the way that they meet minor characters along the way and we get to know what is needed about them but then the story moves along on its own path. This is the film to currently beat at the Oscars next week and it seems as if it is the front runner for both Best Director and Best Picture, (along with a few of the technical categories) but we will have to wait to see if that actually happens. The story is told from a very personal place which helps enhance the way one perceives everything going on. Love how the film adds so much to the table for the discussion about the importance of films being seen in the theater as opposed to on the small screen. If it wins big next week, those on that side of the debate will have even more ammunition to try and prove that they are right.
Do I agree with the Oscar winner? – Yes and No! Parasite is a great film, but it wasn’t the very best this year but I guess the voters wanted to show more love for a foreign film and this was their way of showing it!
Let me know what you think about these films and my rankings!