Shape of Water
Guillermo del Toro’s “The Shape of Water” is a masterfully directed film with passionate performances, impactful story aspects, and an encapsulating visual and musical design. Three actors play Guillermo del Toro’s main type of character, the marginal and invisible. Sally Hawkins stars as the intrepid Elisa, a mute janitor and lovely bachelorette. Richard Jenkins plays the earnest and impeccable Giles, Elisa’s neighbor. Octavia Spencer rounds off the group as the boisterous and big hearted Zelda, Elisa’s closest friend. Doug Jones brings the film’s iconic creature to life, by wearing a detailed and attractive full body suit covered in makeup and aided by animatronic mechanisms and later added digital enhancements. The film’s music is transportive, and the teal and blue color scheme incorporated in the production and costume design is mesmerizing. After awhile of watching this film in theatres, “The Shape of Water” looks less like a motion picture and more like an art gallery painting.
In an interview with ABC, Guillermo del Toro describes “The Shape of Water” as “fairytale for troubled times,” it is a masterpiece that captivates hearts and shines light on the invisible, the disabled, the oppressed, and the feared. It’s a thrilling and emotionally ripe romance that goes beyond the constraints of human perception and worldviews.
British director Christopher Nolan’s “Dunkirk” is an unprecedented haunting retelling of the British evacuation from Dunkirk beach, and it submerges audiences in a world of sound, fear, shock, and survival. The film’s nature is almost primal, depicting British soldiers clinging to life as they are bombed from the skies by faceless enemies. Though they are not named, every fallen lad in this film is seen as a loss and every survivor is a triumph. What fully immerses audiences in this story are this film’s technical aspects. “Dunkirk” features audial art that is able to keep viewers on edge fearing when the next bomb may drop. The mixing of the natural sounds of spitfires and the restless waves of the English channel surround and captivate critics and audiences’ ear drums. The film was shot entirely on IMAX cameras, the most expensive and heaviest cameras, each weighing 240 pounds. The “Dunkirk” team strapped these cameras to handheld rigs, spitfire planes shooting at each other, and the nose of a jet that was tracking these two spitfires.
Lady Bird is one of the most compelling, painfully accurate and emotionally human experiences audience members may ever have in theatres, at home, or anywhere in their life. This film’s story is honest but beautiful, and it’s characters are timeless and tangible. It seems every character believes they are the protagonist, which makes each performance in this ensemble stand out in its own exceptional way. Saoirse Ronan is the rebellious yet kind hearted Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson and Laurie Metcalf is her well-intentioned and high-spirited mother.
The best part of “Lady Bird” is its real to life screenplay. Though some audience members may believe this film’s lifelike dialogue was partly improvised, Gerwig ensured that the film’s dialogue is word accurate to her script. Though the film is not purposefully heart wrenching or intentionally depressing, it has the ability to stir up palpable and painful emotions. This makes it sound like the screenplay is just going to be another pity fest full of clichés, but “Lady Bird” is not cliché. This film has the guts to do what most slice of life movies are scared to do, be true to life. It does not matter how, but anyone who is a fan of cinema, a son or daughter, mother or father or a lover of life should see “Lady Bird.”
Debut writer and director Jordan Peele’s “Get Out” features realistic performances, sincere dialogue addressing implicit racism, and worthwhile moments of minimalist horror. “Get Out’s” greatest aspect is its cast. Daniel Kaluuya stars in the shining role of Chris, a loving and down to Earth photographer who has to spend an awkward week at his girlfriend’s house. Since the primary goal of Peele’s screenplay is placing audiences in Chris’ proverbial shoes, Kaluuya’s genuine reactions to the bizarre events happening around him and his real sense of dread and fear are a great benefit for audiences. These scenes are handled in an honest manner that promotes empathy for the movie’s protagonist and anyone audience members may know who would be in a situation similar to Chris’. Peele’s story also does a good job delving into the realm of the weird, using minimalistic horror oddities and the occasional jump scare. The only major detractions from this film are its off-putting pacing, occasionally inconsequential scenes, and its bombastic ending. These can reduce this movie’s impact and can be more than enough to deter this movie’s less than casual viewers. Those who stick around for the whole film, though, are in for a unique experience.
Darkest Hour’s greatest aspect is Gary Oldman’s towering performance as Prime Minister Winston Churchill. When Churchill is on screen, all eyes and ears are on him. Audiences wait on baited breath to hear his words of wisdom, absolute nonsense, rapidly composed writings, perpetuous mumblings, accreditation for his allies, bitter contempt for his enemies, quiet thoughts on truth and fiery words to fight for survival no matter the cost. One does not know what Churchill will say next, but one knows they cannot wait to hear him say it. The film’s extraordinary makeup department gives Oldman’s performance an extra edge allowing him to completely vanish into his character. These geniuses changed Commissioner Gordon from “The Dark Knight” into a picture perfect stocky and fired up Winston Churchill. On top of Oldman’s indomitable ownership of his character, “Darkest Hour” has superb direction, innovatively engaging scene design, captivating cinematography and a penetrating screenplay. It is a political thriller that does not bore or disappoint.
Controversy at the Oscars
Written By Nicole Markert
Within Hollywood, there is no hiding that there is a social revolution taking place. The exposure of Harvey Weinstein and his treatment of women in the entertainment industry spurred a global conversation with the hashtag “Me too”, a viral phenomenon where many women (and some men) started to share their experiences with sexual assault and workplace harassment. This topic in particular was discussed in one of my previous Waltonian article titled, “To Mend What Is Broken”. These ever occurring injustices within the industry started a much needed conversation about what had been kept under wraps for long and about what we all must do to combat it. In response, many stars have taken an initiative to keep this movement going, such as founding “Times Up”, an organization that aims to raise money and provide defense services to people who have experienced harassment. In addition,, there has also been a push for a more diverse Hollywood.
As the Oscars approach, one wonders what exactly will occur during this long awaited award show. Attendees at The Grammys and The Golden Globes displayed fabulous support for Times Up. Even though this is progress in the fight against harassment in Hollywood, there are still remaining controversial concerns. For example, there is the fact that only 11 awards out of the 86 that were given away the night of the Grammys were given to women. There is also an issue regarding racial diversity that is looming over the Oscars ever since the hashtag “#OscarsSoWhite” emerged on social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook to protest the lack of diversity in regards to women and people of color.
While it is no question that diversity within these award shows need to be expanded, it is also important to celebrate the wins when they arise such as the success with Moonlight from last year’s show, and the nominations of Jordan Peele’s “Get Out” and Greta Gerwig’s “Lady Bird”. It must also be noted that while there were not too many women to win Grammy awards at this year’s show, there were a considerable amount of people of color who walked out winners such as Bruno Mars and Kendrick Lamar, Mars leaving with 11 awards in total. However, with the backlash that both of these award shows faced in the wake of their televised debut, the Oscars have a lot of expectations to fulfill.
Jimmy Kimmel, the late-night talk show host who will preside over the show for a second time, says that he will actively try to tackle the issue of gender inequity and sexual harassment.
At the Television Critics Association gathering in Pasadena, Calif., earlier this month, Kimmel stated “Suffice it to say, I am sure that it will be part of the subject matter of the show, unless there’s a nuclear weapon headed toward Sacramento that night.”
Source: The Washington Post