If you want the gravy…

…You've got to get the biscuits!



"Machu Picchu." (Source)

“Machu Picchu.” (Source)

For the first time in a while, I sit down to write a review without knowing what rating I’ll give the film in question. Mississippi Grind, in evoking the low-key, ambiguous character pieces of the 70s, could end up at any one of several places along my critical spectrum. Of course, it could be argued I get a little too tied up in those five stars and 100 points, but I’ve been applying them to films for years now, and it’s not like Mississippi Grind is the kind of game-changing film to break the pattern. (If anything, the film which has most defied my scale has been Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas.)

One might say it’s an unshowy film about showiness. Or a con film without a con. It’s the kind of film which had me waiting for the other shoe to drop, but it rarely does in quite the way I expected. I don’t think it quite packs that extra punch to make it a great film, but it is without doubt a good one.

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We all knew this would be a major Oscar contender from the outset. Last year’s winner for Director (and Picture, and Screenplay) teams up with a cinematographer who’s just won back-to-back Oscars, a star who’s widely considered damnably overdue, a co-star who’s very hot at the moment (and has two other major films this year), and a strong up-and-comer (Domhnall Gleeson). They shoot on location in Canada in the dead of winter, and planned to shoot in sequence (apparently, they weren’t able to), and release the film right in the thick of December.

They know what they’re doing.

And, while I really need to see this trailer in a theater to get the maximum effect, I won’t lie; my interest is being maintained. I could see this being overwrought and too self-serious, but I could also see it being surreal and haunting. It’s a little hard to tell just how good a performance DiCaprio is giving, but I doubt he’ll disappoint. Hopefully future trailers will show more of the rest of the cast, but for now we’ve got Lubezki’s incredible cinematography and Iñárritu’s vivid direction to whet our appetites. The mountain of skulls in particular could be one of the year’s defining images.

I’m predicting many nominations, with Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Actor, Supporting Actor, Cinematography, Editing, Makeup/Hairstyling, Score, Sound Mixing, and Sound Editing being the strongest possibilities.

And here we’ve got the latest from my nemesis…David O. fucking Russell. Read on:

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