Just Mercy Review

Destin Daniel Cretton directed a generic biopic, based on the unfair treatment and systemic racism towards the black community, by the corrupt Alabama police force. Yes, these stories are powerful, when executed by talented actors, such as Jamie Foxx and Michael B. Jordan. Of course, it holds important values, which should be enforced in today’s society but these stories are getting repetitive and it’s frustrating to watch. Stories such as this one, involving wrongful conviction and mass incarceration are unfortunately still a harsh reality in America.

Does this film evoke an emotional response? Yes.

Are the actors delivering an important story in order to show this corruption in America? Yes.

However, within the past couple of years we’ve seen this narrative multiple times. We need more stories that have black actors in different roles. For every biopic that involves segregation or police brutality, there are only one or two films that break the character mould.

To make matters worse America is still in this state, the corruption is still there and it hasn’t gotten better, it just looks different. So showing the past and spreading hope that it should have changed, is ineffective because unless the system changes, these films are sadly a reality for so many people and shouldn’t be produced globally for mass consumption as Oscar bait any longer.

The film is purely used as Oscar bait. Yes, it has very important content but the actors are the reason this film was watchable. The pacing was extremely slow and the only scenes that really grabbed me were the scenes between Jamie Foxx and Michael B. Jordan. They were both incredibly strong together and they drove the narrative forward but it just wasn’t enough for me.

2020 Golden Globe Nominations

Bright and early this morning, the 77th Annual Golden Globe Nominations were announced. The ceremony will be held on Sunday, January 5th, where we will find out the winners.

The nominations are as follows and the early predictions will be added as well.

BEST MOTION PICTURE – DRAMA
“1917″
The Irishman
Joker
Marriage Story
The Two Popes

Early Prediction: If the HFPA goes the Netflix route, The Irishman will win edging out Marriage Story and The Two Popes. If they decide not to go that route, then I would like Joker to win, but 1917 would be the surprise.

BEST MOTION PICTURE – MUSICAL OR COMEDY
Dolemite Is My Name
Jojo Rabbit
Knives Out
Once Upon A Time in Hollywood
Rocketman

Early Prediction: Rocketman would be the ideal winner because it’s the “Musical or Comedy” category BUT one of two outcomes could possibly happen… if Once Upon A Time in Hollywood is going to go all the way to the Oscars, then it could definitely take it OR Knives Out will likely be the winner.

BEST DIRECTOR
Bong Joon Ho, “Parasite
Sam Mendes, “1917”
Todd Phillips, “Joker
Martin Scorsese, “The Irishman
Quentin Tarantino, “Once Upon A Time in Hollywood

Early Predictions: Martin Scorsese for The Irishman would be the safe bet but again, it’s a Netflix picture and that could harm the chances. I’ve been saying that Quentin Tarantino is owed and he could only go all the way with Once Upon A Time in Hollywood, considering the content. A very nice surprise would be Bong Joon Ho for Parasite because the film is very well done.

BEST ACTOR – DRAMA
Christian Bale, “Ford v. Ferrari
Antonio Banderas, “Pain and Glory”
Adam Driver, “Marriage Story
Joaquin Phoenix, “Joker
Jonathan Pryce, “The Two Popes

Early Predictions: It’s nice to see Christian Bale and Antonio Banderas nominated! I also would have given the spot to Jonathan Pryce for The Two Popes over Robert De Niro in The Irishman because he was very good and it’s such an interesting role. The race is definitely between Joaquin Phoenix for Joker and Adam Driver for Marriage Story. Both performances were fantastic in their own way, so we’ll see how this plays out.

BEST ACTRESS – DRAMA
Cynthio Erivo, “Harriet”
Scarlett Johansson, “Marriage Story
Saorise Ronan, “Little Women”
Charlize Theron, “Bombshell”
Renee Zellweger, “Judy

Early Predictions: It’s going to Renee Zellweger for Judy and we all know this.

BEST ACTOR – MUSICAL OR COMEDY
Daniel Craig, “Knives Out
Leonardo DiCaprio, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Taron Egerton, “Rocketman
Roman Griffin Davis, “Jojo Rabbit
Eddie Murphy, “Dolemite Is My Name

Early Predictions: Incredibly happy to see Eddie Murphy back on the slate and newcomer Roman Griffin Davis as well! My heart definitely wants Taron Egerton to get the recognition for Rocketman but I have a feeling it will go to Daniel Craig for Knives Out. His role of Detective Benoit Blanc was fantastic.

BEST ACTRESS – MUSICAL OR COMEDY
Awkwafina, “The Farewell”
Ana de Armas, “Knives Out
Cate Blanchett, “Where’d You Go Bernadette”
Beanie Feldstein, “Booksmart
Emma Thompson, “Late Night

Early Predictions: Awkwafina for The Farewell is most likely the front runner in this case and I’m torn because Ana de Armas did a fantastic job in Knives Out. I’m beyond happy for Beanie Feldstein because she was lovely in Booksmart.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Tom Hanks, “A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood”
Anthony Hopkins, “The Two Popes
Al Pacino, “The Irishman
Joe Pesci, “The Irishman
Brad Pitt, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Early Predictions: THIS… this is the toughest category. I want Brad Pitt to go all the way because he deserves it for this role in Once Upon A Time in Hollywood. This whole category is stacked and they all deliver such wonderful performances. If I had to choose between Pacino and Pesci… it would be Joe Pesci all the way. It’s what it is.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Kathy Bates, “Richard Jewell”
Annette Bening, “The Report
Laura Dern, “Marriage Story
Jennifer Lopez, “Hustlers
Margot Robbie, “Bombshell”

Early Predictions: Laura Dern. Marriage Story. Would I like to see Margot Robbie for Bombshell come out of nowhere? Yes. Literally anyone else in that category can win instead of Jennifer Lopez for Hustlers.

BEST SCREENPLAY
The Irishman
Marriage Story
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
​“Parasite
The Two Popes

Early Predictions: This is also a tough category… I would give it to Parasite because the concept of the story is very well written and the pacing for the con job is great. Safe bet would definitely be Marriage Story because everyone loves a good divorce drama.

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
“1917”
Joker
“Little Women”
Marriage Story
“Motherless Brooklyn”

Early Predictions: Hildur Guðnadóttir for Joker. Go listen to that score right now.

BEST ORIGINAL SONG
“Beautiful Ghosts” – CATS
“I’m Gonna Love Me Again” – Rocketman
“Into the Unknown” – Frozen 2
“Spirit” – The Lion King
“Stand Up” – Harriet

Early Predictions: I would love if “I’m Gonna Love Me Again” from Rocketman wins, it’s such a beautiful song and it’s so meaningful to Elton John.

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
“Frozen 2”
“How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World”
The Lion King
“Missing Link”
Toy Story 4

Early Predictions: First off…. The Lion King (2019) has been classified as a live action film, so I have no idea why it’s nominated for Best Animated Feature. I would like if Missing Link takes it because there are three sequels in the running. No Abominable? What’s that about?

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
“The Farewell”
“Les Misérables”
“Pain and Glory”
Parasite
“Portrait of a Lady on Fire” 

Early Predictions: Parasite, hands down.

Side Note: Extremely sad that Honey Boy and Uncut Gems didn’t receive any nominations. I would have loved to see the Safdies and Adam Sandler get the recognition for their incredible work and of course Shia LaBeouf for that Screenplay nomination, even Alma Har’el for Director. Truly hoping that things shift with the other awards.

The following predictions for Television will be in BOLD.

BEST TELEVISION SERIES – DRAMA
“Big Little Lies”
“The Crown”
“Killing Eve”
“The Morning Show”
Succession

BEST TELEVISION SERIES – COMEDY
“Barry”
Fleabag
“The Kominsky Method”
“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”
“The Politician”

MINISERIES OR TELEVISION FILM
“Catch-22”
Chernobyl
“Fosse/Verdon”
“The Loudest Voice”
“Unbelievable” 

BEST ACTOR TV SERIES – DRAMA
Brian Cox, “Succession”
Kit Harington, “Game of Thrones”
Rami Malek, “Mr. Robot”
Tobias Menzies, “The Crown”
Billy Porter, “Pose”

BEST ACTRESS TV SERIES – DRAMA
Jennifer Aniston, “The Morning Show”
Jodi Comer, “Killing Eve”
Nicole Kidman, “Big Little Lies”
Reese Witherspoon, “The Morning Show”
Olivia Colman, “The Crown”

BEST ACTOR TV SERIES – COMEDY
Ben Platt, “The Politician”
Paul Rudd, “Living With Yourself”
Rami Yousef, “Rami”
Bill Hader, “Barry”
Michael Douglas, “The Kominsky Method”

BEST ACTRESS TV SERIES – COMEDY
Christina Applegate, “Dead to Me”
Phoebe Waller-Bridge, “Fleabag”
Natasha Lyonne, “Russian Doll”
Kirsten Dunst, “On Becoming a God in Central Florida”
Rachel Brosnahan, “Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”

BEST ACTOR – MINISERIES OR TELEVISION FILM
Chris Abbott, “Catch 22”
Sacha Baron Cohen, “The Spy”
Russell Crowe, “The Loudest Voice”
Jared Harris, “Chernobyl”
Sam Rockwell, “Fosse/Verdon”

BEST ACTRESS – MINISERIES OR TELEVISION FILM
Michelle Williams, “Fosse/Verdon”
Helen Mirren, “Catherine the Great”
Merritt Wever, “Unbelievable”
Kaitlyn Dever, “Unbelievable”
Joey King, “The Act”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR – SERIES, MINISERIES OR TELEVISION FILM
Alan Arkin, “Kominsky Method”
Kieran Culkin, “Succession”
Andrew Scott, “Fleabag”
Stellan Skarsgård, “Chernobyl”
Henry Winkler, “Barry”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS – SERIES, MINISERIES OR TELEVISION FILM
Meryl Streep, “Big Little Lies”
Helena Bonham Carter, “The Crown”
Emily Watson, “Chernobyl”
Patricia Arquette, “The Act”
Toni Collette, “Unbelievable”

Luce Review

Luce is an incredible narrative and it’s one of the best adaption I’ve seen from a play.

Julius Onah and JC Lee penned a screenplay that is so rich with content, preconceived ideals and filled with deceit. He highlights the education system in America and the stereotypes students are faced with. It handles tokenism in schools and the treatment by certain educators. The film is so well written, that every single interaction throughout will leave you on edge because of the dialogue and the way these actors executed it.

Kelvin Harrison Jr. gives such a nuanced performance. He’s reserved, cunning and extremely private. His character, Luce, hides himself because of the pressures of being perfect that surrounds him. His parents have pushed him to be the best person that he could be and that pressure pushes him to the edge. It’s an internalized performance but his composure and the change he made to his voice really made this his breakout role.

Octavia Spencer was terrifying as Ms. Wilson. As the teacher who wants her star students to progress to her standards, she was aggressive, stern and on a power trip. She wanted her black students to understand the societal pressure that came with a stereotype and she wanted to mould them in a different way. Onah also highlights the high school experience quite nicely and deals with racism in the education system, in a more demanding way.

I loved the pacing of this film and how the pieces came together slowly. Onah utilized his actors in the frame, he planted objects throughout the film and he placed seeds in every viewers mind. At the beginning, he focused on the lockers and that was the seed for the viewer, the story became more complex and you couldn’t stop watching.

Ford v Ferrari Review

Ford v Ferrari is one of the best racing films I’ve seen in a very long time. It’s a true underdog story and the film takes the audience on a journey of discovery and being pushed to the very limit.

James Mangold’s direction should not go unnoticed, as his vision of racing and what the track looks like from a driver’s perspective made for interesting framing. Everything within the shot was angled perfectly while driving and the editing, from driver to any other part of the car, made it for an exciting ride. The Director of Photography, Phedon Papamichael, made such beautiful compositions and the vibrant colours throughout the film made it so much richer. Every aspect of this film hit the mark but the one thing I noticed above all else was Marco Beltrami’s whomping score that accompanied each scene. Beltrami’s score fluctuated as races went on and even listening to it separately, will bring you back to the track at Le Mans ’66.

The heart of this film is Christian Bale’s portrayal of Ken Miles. He was a laidback, rugged and sometimes hot headed mechanic, who loved to race cars. Bale gave an excellent performance and the reason why he was the heart of this film, was because of how much passion he brought to the character. This film shows how important having passion for your work can be, especially when pushing the pedal to the limit and surpassing your own goals. It doesn’t matter what people think of you and in Miles’ case, the suits at Ford didn’t appreciate his “beatnik” nature and didn’t think he was suited to be a “Ford Driver”. Miles knew he was the man for the job because he could feel the car, the track and the engine vibrate through him, in order to get the job done. Bale radiated confidence, love and knowledge for racing and it was fantastic work.

Ken Miles couldn’t achieve this feat without his partner in crime and close friend Carroll Shelby, played wonderfully by Matt Damon. Damon truly hasn’t been this in tuned with a character since Good Will Hunting and his closed off nature as Shelby, unfolded nicely in the final act. Damon was reserved and had a more internalized role, but always managed to have a soft spot for his buddy Miles because he believed in him. It always takes that one person to believe in the other to make them get to where they need to be. Damon and Bale had wonderful chemistry and the friendship was effortless on screen.

To round out the cast, Caitriona Balfe as Mollie Miles was wonderful and I loved that she was the female counterpart to her husband. There’s one scene where she’s driving while talking to Ken and it’s such a strong exchange between the both of them. The rising star, Noah Jupe, who has stolen my heart this year was wonderful as Peter Miles. The father/son relationship between Bale and Jupe was so heartwarming and the passion for racing was definitely passed down.

Ford v Ferrari is definitive magic on the race track and no one has done it like James Mangold. It shows the history of car manufacturing and the many trials the Ford plant had to go through before perfecting their own brand. It also shows how far we’ve come as a society and then many different companies that have tried to create a brand.