Vote on these awards here.
- Don’t Think Twice
- The Handmaiden
- The Lobster
- Nocturnal Animals
All right. This is the last big guild we get. (Might be the last guild to announce period, I’m not sure.) In 12 days, the Academy announces their nominees, and after that it’s just a matter of waiting.
So let’s see what the directors have for us…
Let’s talk about 2016. Though you may understandably be reluctant so to do.
I don’t think many will disagree when I say this has been a bad year. They might take exception to the word “bad.” Which is fair. It might be better to say this year has been so crushingly weak.
But do the next two months offer some hope of salvation? That’s what I hope to determine.
After impressing me greatly with the haunting Prisoners and the marvelously maddening Enemy, I was eager to see what Denis Villeneuve would do next. Then, this opened at Cannes, to solid but not outstanding reviews, and the trailers failed to truly excite me. So my level of anticipation dropped accordingly. Then subsequent reviews proved more favorable, so much so that it now sits at 93% on Rotten Tomatoes–and I thought Villeneuve might have done it again after all.
I should have trusted my initial reaction. While not a bad film by any means, Sicario lacks a real reason for existing, and fails to say much about cartels or the War on Drugs that hasn’t been said before, nor does it feature such compelling characters or such dazzling craftsmanship as would compensate. It’s well done in most every aspect, but never takes that vital leap into being something special.
(NOTE: I also saw The Martian this weekend, and quite liked it, but I’d like to see it again before writing my review.)
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:
Let’s go to it, shall we?
I don’t know if this is a brilliant thriller, or just a brilliant tease. But brilliant it is, and so merciless in its manipulation of the audience that, were it a person, you might want to slap it–which might just be the response director Denis Villeneuve and screenwriter Javier Gullón wanted. What is exceedingly clear is the greatness of Jake Gyllenhaal’s dual performance, the skill of Villeneuve’s direction, and the overwhelming atmosphere they both create, one which suggests Hitchcock, Cronenberg, and Kafka, one which suggests perverse manipulation, existential horror, and cosmic confusion. The film’s epigraph, “Chaos is order yet undeciphered”, is delightfully obnoxious and perfectly chosen.