Forget Boyhood, Birdman and all the other Oscar shenanigans. The film that really got the short shrift from the Academy for…reasons, is Selma. In the opinion of yours truly, this film deserved at the very least Best Picture, Best Director for the remarkable Ava DuVernay and without question Best Actor, because David Oyelowo gives one of the great modern screen performances. His MLK is human, vulnerable, stubborn, courageous and a kaleidoscope of other qualities we all have in us. The danger with these types of biopic is always elevating the lead character to god-like status (see: Gandhi, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom), but this is a film about people, and the very real need for change as more than just a high-minded idea. Never more relevant to contemporary America than right now, Selma is a great film that will be remembered in years to come as a defining statement on American life.
It’s six movies for the price of one! This anthology of short films connected by the shared theme of revenge provides endless laughter, shock and on-point observation through its variety of variously-unhinged characters pushed to their limit by the vicissitudes of fate. Though diverse in length and subject matter, all six tales share the same wicked, pitch-black sense of humour. There are plenty of moments where you won’t know if you’re watching comedy or tragedy, and that’s all part of the fun. To anyone unsure, I would simply say that the first scene is one of the most brilliant openings to a film I have seen in years and if it doesn’t hook you, nothing will.
Let’s get some honesty out in the open here: I was one of the few people to really enjoy Taken 2. Yes, I was annoyed that Bryan Mills’ family members still allowed themselves to get snatched willy-nilly but it was enjoyable stuff and Liam Neeson’s career renaissance as a buster of heads is delightful. No one actually gets taken in this third installment, but rest assured plentiful henchmen are dispatched with wonderful disregard for the laws of physics. Without spoiling the plot for those of you who actually want to watch this one, things take a serious turn when Bryan’s ex-wife is targeted by some very bad baddies, and he is left with no choice but to beat the living sh*te out of everyone in sight. Which, it turns out, he’s still really good at. To be avoided if you like your films: 1. intellectual 2. evenly-paced 3. coherent. But to be rushed to if you like your films: 1. suuuper fun 2. completely silly 3. smashy-smashy-egg-man.
posted by Dave