The Square (Sweden – 2017)

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Our series on Oscar contenders continues…

When the nominees for the 90th Academy Awards will be announced, next January, Cannes’ Palm d’Or, Ruben Östlund’s The Square, will probably be one of the lucky five in the ‘Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film’ category.

After humble beginnings with intriguing contemporary low budget character (and behavior) studies, Gitarrmongot (2004), Involuntary (De Ofrivilliga, 2008) and Play (2011), Östlund hit it big on the festival circuit in 2014 with the celebrated Force Majeure (Turist). A career build up that led to this more sophisticated new opus.

In the acerbic comedy-drama, The Square, Christian, a big time modern art museum curator in Stockholm, faces crisis on multiple fronts, both professionally and personally. By trying to create controversy, the young public relation team of the museum get plenty of what they asked for. Too much of it. And while trying to handle the situation, getting out of control, Christian must also Continue reading

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Lady Bird (US – 2017)

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When the tricky Oscar buzz is at the gate, there is usually one or two Indie contenders. This year, actress Greta Gerwig’s second film as adirector, Lady Bird, falls into such category. It is praised in almost every lists around.

An partially agreeable coming-of-age comedy drama boosting lovable performance by lead actress Saoirse Ronan ( Hanna, Atonement, Brooklyn), Lady Bird introduces us into the world of Christine a young adolescent woman, in Sacramento, year 2002. Bored by how life goes on in her city, she dreams of going to college in NY.

Through one year in the life of Christine we get episodic honest drama and humor with friends, parents, teachers, etc. Nice.

But…

The Oscar buzz for this film is beyond me. We’ve (approximately) seen this Continue reading

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (US – 2017)

 

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It is Academy Awards contenders season and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is out tomorrow with great expectations. The film stars Frances McDormand, Sam Rockwell and Woody Harrelson. Martin McDonagh (In Bruges, Seven Psychopaths) directs.

Mildred Hayes (McDormand) wants justice. Months have passed since her daughter was brutally raped and murdered and there is still no clues. She decides to rent three Billboards just outside of her hometown of Ebbing, Missouri, to deliver an intense and controversial message directed at the authorities, thus turning the village upside down. It creates a confrontation with the people of Ebbing, especially with the assistant sheriff, Dixon (Sam Rockwell), an immature and violent man.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is an open field for acting performances. Frances McDormand as a stubborn mother out for justice seems like a natural and she delivers with passion and conviction. We want to follow that mother in Continue reading

Coco (US 2017 – Pixar)

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Pixar’s new Animated extravaganza, Coco, is out this Wednesday. The Oscar contender (and favorite to win the animated category) features the voices of Gael García Bernal and Anthony Gonzalez.

In Coco, Miguel’s dreams suffer from decades of family ban on music. But the aspiring musician finds himself locked in the Land of the dead where he meets a gallery of colorful characters. Miguel tries to unveil the secrets of his family history.

Directors Lee Unkrich & Adrian Molina and their team deliver, as always with Pixar, a vivid fast pace episode, this time with Mexican flavor. The music by Oscar winner Michael Giacchino (Up, Ratatouille), provides the sonic answer to the action and colors on screen, with rhythms Continue reading

Racer and the Jailbird (le Fidèle – Belgium, 2017)

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Oscar nominated  (Best Foreign Language Film Bullhead, 2011) Michaël R. Roskam’s Racer and the Jailbird (Le fidèle) is an Oscar contender. It stars Matthias Schoenaerts (Bullhead, Rust and Bone) and Adèle Exarchopoulos (Blue is the Warmest Color). Following The Drop (2014), his English speaking excursion with Tom Hardy and Noomi Rapace, Roskam gets back to his lucky charm with, Schoenaerts.

Upper class Bibi (Exarchopoulos) lives for high drive adrenaline. She satisfies her desire for it as a race driver. Comes Gigi (Schoenaerts) and she falls for him. Coming from a more troubled background, Gigi, posing as an Import-Export guy, has a double life in which he is part of a childhood gang doing various robberies and Brinks jobs.

Roskam boosts good performances from the cast and there is chemistry between the two leads.  Good, since ssentially Racer and the Jailbird is a drama, borderline Continue reading