La La Land Review

La La Land Review

“La La Land” is the movie that Damien Chazelle has wanted to make for a while. Unfortunately, you can’t be a new director in Hollywood and get given loads of money to make an extravagant musical without proving yourself. His solution? Make one of the best films of 2014 in “Whiplash,” a film that would go on to win awards at the Sundance Film Festival and receive a plethora of Oscar nominations.

With such high praise underneath his belt, he was given free-lance to go big and strive high with “La La Land.” And he did just that. “La La Land” pays homage to the magical Hollywood musicals of years gone by, but with more style and an increased sense of extravagant atmosphere.   The production design is beautiful and well crafted with the assured directorial hand of Chazelle.

While I had some premonitions about Emma Stone being cast as one of the main roles, she continues to build on the talent she displayed in “Birdman” and gives a very strong performance filled with diverse subtle emotions. And her singing voice is better than what I expected. While I don’t agree that she was the best female acting performance of the year, she will probably will the Oscar and I won’t have a lot of issues with it.

I’m not normally a big fan of musicals, but when I initially saw this film, I rather enjoyed it and thought it was a well-made film even if it wasn’t my favorite from that year. After seeing it a second and third time, though, I’ve developed more issues with the film.

Firstly, I think Ryan Gosling was the completely wrong actor to cast in this role. I have nothing against Gosling as an actor and enjoy his performances in films like “Drive,” “Blue Valentine” and “The Place Beyond the Pines.” While he isn’t appalling in this film, he does nothing to help the movie and there are a plethora of other actors that would have given better performances. I think it’s laughable that he was nominated for Best Actor at the Oscars this year.

The second major problem I have with the movie is the script. The screenplay really isn’t anything special and some of the dialogue is obnoxious at times. Also the story doesn’t have a direction or sense of purpose until the final twenty minutes of the film, but that is too late for a feature length film to have a sense of significant purpose. It seems that they focused too much on the production than the actual writing, which is the opposite of how Chazelle was in “Whiplash.”

All in all I think “La La Land” is a beautiful film to look at and is really well directed. It does a good job of respecting the musicals of the last century and will appease musical fans everywhere. It manages to bring back a sense of magic that is lost in modern Hollywood films and I will always respect that. It will win many Oscars because it is Hollywood’s love child and the Academy will try their best to give it as many awards as possible.

But I personally don’t love the film. I think it’s good but I won’t rave about it and think “Arrival,” “Hell or High Water,” “Manchester by the Sea,” and most importantly, “Moonlight” are much better films. Definitely worth the watch if you are a film fan or like musicals, but I will be disappointed when it inevitably wins the Oscar for Best Picture this year.
La La Land (2016): 3/4 stars

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Captain American: Civil War Review

For anybody who’s been hanging around me recently, or reads a majority of my reviews, it’s not secret that I’ve become tired of superhero movies, especially Marvel films. Every superhero movie is the same basic storyline but with a different superpower, seemingly indestructible character, or obscene villain. Marvel are the worst because every one of their superhero movies is covered with a sugar coating and takes no risks in challenging conventional superhero movie themes or even attempts to make a film that discusses deep emotional topics in any depth. Granted there are few superhero movies that can achieve this feat, with “The Dark Knight” being the only one that is able to be a crime noir and superhero movie simultaneously. Marvel films tend to be entertaining but have no emotional substance that sticks with you after the movie and follow a basic formula that makes money but creates nothing new or innovative. Marvel’s idea of innovation is “how many different superheroes can we put in one movie to get the most money.” “The Avengers” was not innovative in the slightest, and actually had annoyingly dull plot for any person that could get past seeing the plethora of action heroes on the screen fighting side by side.

“Captain America: Civil War” didn’t start well. The opening action sequence had all the major pitfalls that modern summer blockbusters have in the fact that there was just too much going on, and some of the characters that have no powers seem to be immortal. I can’t imagine Scarlett Johansson can slide off a motorcycle and just move straight into a sprint. She has to have a least some skid marks on her legs and maybe she’s more badass than I am but I would need to take at least a two minute breather after having that happen to me. I was worried this was going to be another movie that was all about action and seeing heroes fighting each other without having any relevant story, but I was wrong.

This movie has the strongest plotline of any Marvel Cinematic Universe film since “Iron Man” (excluding the X-men films). There are discussions of terrorism, public hysteria, accountability, family, betrayal, and difference in views on justice. It took the accountability discussion that “Batman V Superman” started and advanced it further, which wasn’t exactly a difficult task to accomplish. At the end, though, I was still annoyed. This movie has a two and half hour run time and it asked all these tough questions, but was scared to answer them. Instead of expanding and finding an array of answers for the themes it discusses, such as family, friendship, and betrayal, it decided to waste about forty-five minutes of run time on actions sequences that would bring in large audiences and cash the checks.

That disappoints me. We’ve all seen these actions sequences before and they rarely change from movie to movie. What we haven’t seen is an in depth analysis of the relationship between these characters, and we almost had it in this movie. Yet, we didn’t. Marvel is clearly a studio that cares more about making money than making anything of substance. “The Dark Knight” sticks with people after they watch it, but no Marvel film has done that with me except for the first “Iron Man.” I would love to see what would happen if they gave this story over to an independent studio that wasn’t concerned with making money or breaking box office records because I think we would have a much better story than what we were given. The movie is at its best when the characters are interacting with dialogue about their responsibility and place in the world, but we just don’t get enough to make this movie an incredibly worthwhile experience for me. I wasn’t upset that I saw this movie and it definitely wasn’t a waste of money, but I have no desire to see it again and I will view it as a great opportunity missed. It provides moments of good entertainment and there are strong sequences when the focus is on the dialogue, but it has too many pitfalls for me to fully enjoy it.

 

Captain America: Civil War (2016): 2.5/4 stars

Underlying Message in “The Jungle Book”

Growing up as a young child, I had a select set of movies that I loved to watch. “Toy Story,” “Lion King,” “Hercules,” “Bug’s Life,” and the timeless “The Jungle Book.” When I found out that there was going to be a live action remake of the film, I could hardly contain my joy and anticipation to see this film. I saw the film this weekend and it met all of my expectations; it was beautifully made with seamless incorporation of special effects and live-action acting. The voice cast is abundantly brilliant: Bill Murray, Ben Kingsley, Scarlett Johansson, Christopher Walken, and Idris Elba- who just might have the most immaculate voice to ever come from the British Isles. The sounds, the sights, and the excitement were all there, and “The Jungle Book” has become one of my favorite films of 2016 so far.

The movie is phenomenal in its ability to bring me back to childhood- that sense of innocence and joy. I fell in love with the marvelous array of characters for the first time and there is so much more to this movie than what is on the surface of the screen. This film is so much more than a remake of a timeless classic, more than just a way to help young adults relive their childhoods, and more than just a showcase of special effects brilliance. This film has an underlying message about what it truly means to be a person and humans are capable of. For those that have not seen the remake yet, the film focuses more on the protagonist, Mowgli, than the adventure and the music that is synonymous with the original. While these two elements play a key role in the movie, watching Mowgli grow as an individual is the most prominent story arc, a stark difference from the animated original. Mowgli has lived his entire life in the jungle trying to fit in. He has ideas, creativity levels, and ingenuity is not found in the jungle and is not expressed by the animal species that he calls his family. Throughout the entirety of the film, Mowgli is told by a majority of the characters that he cannot use the tools and inventions he makes because they simply are not made for animals to use. Man’s inventions led to fire, which is a prominent form of destruction and concern for the animal species living in the jungle. Mowgli is encouraged to suppress his ingenuity in order to fit in better with those around him. In the end, however, it is this inventiveness that becomes the tool that allows him to be the strong protagonist the film needs.

Watching this film reminded me a lot about our current situation. We have the ability to create so many amazing things. We can go to the moon, travel internationally without difficulty, create these brilliant works of architecture, and erect cities that seemingly defy logic. But, we also have the potential to cause massive harm to the world around us. Just as the fire can destroy the jungle in the film, our inventions can and have had drastic impacts on the world. We are reaching a point of desperation in terms of salvaging the health of the natural world because of our ignorance and desire to keep creating more. Despite this fact, this film serves as a timely reminder that while we may be prone to causing harm to the world around us, we have the capability to make things right again. With our creativity, unique sense of innovation, and necessary tools we can right the wrongs that we have caused and create a world in which we live in harmony with the natural species around us. We are special because we have the ability to create so much good in our lives. If Mowgli was able to create a way to save the jungle, we as a people can come together to create a way that will save our planet. This film, on the surface, may be a simple remake of a beloved animated film, but it has so much more to say in the way of showing us our true potential as human beings. And I think we can do right by that message.

Full Review of the movie to come later

Reflection on Amelie

When watching most films that are produced in Hollywood today, they all follow a similar formula: introduce the characters, follow a linear plot line, climax, and ending. Some films can stray away from this linear trend; “Memento,” “Pulp Fiction,” and “Atonement” all had disjointed methods of telling their story in terms of events happening chronologically, but in the end they all make sense and come together when the credits roll. We don’t see as much abstract filmmaking anymore. It’s hard to find events happening for no reason with any explanation, simply because the director wants something to happen. There are hints of this lost surrealist and impressionist magic that used to be so prevalent in French cinema while watching “Amelie.” While it does still follow a relatively understandable story, there are certain events and moments in the film that feel as if what we are watching what could be a dream, something that doesn’t quite make sense but still connects to the context of the film enough for it to make sense and be accepted by a somewhat general audience.

I rather enjoy this method of filmmaking because for me, watching movies serves as an escape from the real world. Just as falling asleep into a dream can be an escape for some, becoming consumed by a particular world created on a screen is a relaxing escape for me. When watching surrealist influenced cinema, this feeling is enhanced further, and a sort of magic that only comes about from movies begins to take shape. Most modern movies have lost that sense of magic in my mind, which is a shame because I can’t see it ever making a comeback with the mindset that the current public has towards films and the economic forces driving the American film industry. These various creative techniques aren’t fully utilized by modern directors for fear that general audiences will reject the concepts and images as not mainstream enough to be successful in a film industry that is controlled so much by economic success.

As much as I love this abstract and unique way of making films, there is a pitfall in the removal of a more relatable human element because all art, including cinema, should be created to tell a story or portray a human emotion that puts the human experience into a personified form. By creating these events that have no relation to or distract from the center story piece of the film, it can create this sense of a false reality that ultimately takes away a human element from the heart of the film. It becomes harder to relate to the characters on an emotional level when they are viewed as a figment of a dream rather than a real person that can form a connection with a general audience. This film brings about some conflict for me because it reminds me how I enjoy both of these somewhat different elements of cinema and how hard it is to combine the two. While this film does a relatively good job of combining these two ideals, repeating this is no easy feat and is one of the reasons why this movie is so brilliant in my mind. Still, I wouldn’t mind seeing a slight return to prominence for surrealist film techniques in modern cinema.

2016 Oscar Predictions

With the Oscars tonight at 7 pm ET, here are my predictions for who will and who should be the winners in each of the major categories at this year’s Academy Awards. Who will win the race for Best Picture? Will “The Revenant” win big, or will “Mad Max” defy all the odds and bring home a slew of awards? Here’s what I think will happen.

Best Picture:

-Who Will Win: The Revenant

-Who Should Win: Spotlight

This is probably the most interesting Best Picture race we’ve had for a while. Everything about “The Revenant” epitomizes what the Academy looks for in films, and winning the BAFTA for Best Picture certainly helps. That being said, I still stand by the fact that “Spotlight” is by far the best film from this year, does many more things better than “The Revenant,” and should be honored accordingly. Still, don’t be surprised if the Academy develops a soft spot and gives the idea to dark horse film “Room.”

Best Director:

-Who Will Win: Alejandro G. Inarritu (The Revenant)

-Who Should Win: George Miller (Mad Max Fury Road)

While Inarritu and his crew went through hell to create “The Revenant,” I still think that George Miller produced a better piece of directorial work, a kin to what we saw from Ang Lee in “Life of Pi.” I think the Academy will give it to Inarritu, especially if “The Revenant” wins Best Picture, but George Miller did a better job with his film.

Best Actor in a Leading Role:

-Who Will Win: Leonardo DiCaprio

-Who Should Win: Leonardo DiCaprio

While I don’t think that this role is particularly deserving of winning an Oscar, DiCaprio does deserve one for his career and this is probably the best year to give him one since the rest of the competition doesn’t present a stand out performance like the past five years have. Don’t be surprised if Michael Fassbender (Steve Jobs) or Eddie Redmayne (The Danish Girl) snags the award from underneath DiCaprio’s nose, but I wouldn’t bet on it.

Best Actress in a Leading Role:

-Who Will Win: Brie Larson

-Who Should Win: Brie Larson

This is a lock at this point. Only Blanchett (Carol) stands a vague chance of taking the award, but it’s Larson’s to win.

Best Actor in a Supporting Role:

-Who Will Win: Sylvester Stallone

-Who Should Win: Mark Rylance

Stallone is not bad in “Creed” but at the same time, he is far from Oscar worthy in my opinion. That being said, he has been continuously recognized at various awards stages this year and it’s easy to see the Academy following suit. Mark Rylance is the best of those nominated, but this category will be overshadowed by the fact that Idris Elba (Beasts of No Nation) wasn’t nominated despite being the best supporting performance of the year in my opinion.

Best Actress in a Supporting Role:

-Who Will Win: Kate Winslet

-Who Should Win: Kate Winslet

Rooney Mara might pull off the upset but Winslet has been the best through and through all throughout this awards season.

Best Animated Feature:

-Who Will Win: Inside Out

-Who Should Win: Inside Out

Pixar’s best film in the past few years isn’t going to miss out on winning another golden statue for the animation studio giants.

Best Cinematography:

-Who Will Win: The Revenant

-Who Should Win: The Revenant

Emmanuel Lubezki is on track to win an unprecedented third straight Best Cinematography award at the Oscars and after seeing the beauty that is “The Revenant,” it’s hard to see him losing this one.

Best Costume Design:

-Who Will Win: The Revenant

-Who Should Win: Carol

“The Revenant” will continue its string of Oscar awards by winning this category, but if I was able to vote, I would give it to “Carol” especially since the movie has been snubbed in so many categories despite being the third best film this year in my opinion.

Best Documentary Feature:

-Who Will Win: Amy

-Who Should Win: Amy

All the documentaries this year were phenomenal, but “Amy” has been the stand out since the summer and should be rightfully rewarded.

Best Film Editing:

-Who Will Win: Mad Max Fury Road

-Who Should Win: Mad Max Fury Road

Considering the amount of film that Miller had to go through when crafting this film, it would be a crime if “Mad Max” didn’t win this award.

Best Foreign Language Film:

-Who Will Win: Son of Saul

-Who Should Win: Son of Saul

Almost as much of a lock as Larson for best actress or “Inside Out” for animated feature, “Son of Saul” should ease to a victory in this category.

Best Visual Effects:

-Who Will Win: The Revenant

-Who Should Win: Mad Max Fury Road

The visuals in “The Revenant” are beautiful and the bear scene is brilliantly crafted but it’s hard to ignore the visual effects that drive “Mad Max” to greatness. The cornerstone of the film, the visuals for George Miller’s epic adventure are too great to ignore, but I feel that the Oscars are going to have a soft spot for “The Revenant” in this category

Best Writing Adapted Screenplay

-Who Will Win: The Big Short

-Who Should Win: The Big Short

Stimulating dialogue is what carries this film through its entirety. I didn’t particularly like the film for reasons that you can see in my previous review, but I have to admit that it is probably the most likely winner in this category.

Best Writing Original Screenplay

-Who Will Win: Spotlight

-Who Should Win: Spotlight

The dialogue and writing in “Spotlight” is so deliberate and brilliantly crafted that there’s no way that it should lose this award in my mind.

Best Makeup and Hair:

-Who Will Win: Mad Max Fury Road

-Who Should Win: Mad Max Fury Road

Best Music (Original Score):

-Who Will Win: Carol

-Who Should Win: Carol

Best Music (Original Song):

-Who Will Win: Earned It

-Who Should Win: Earned It

 

Who do you think will win big at the Oscars tonight? Let me know in the comments section.

“Deadpool” has Changed the Game for Superhero Movies

Unless we’re talking about “The Dark Knight,” every superhero movie is made with one sole purpose: money. Box office ticket stubs are the only thing that matter to studio executives when they sign up to invest in the newest feature film from Marvel or DC film studios. Some of the directors may say that they wish to reach new narrative grounds for a superhero film, but at the end of the day, whether they do or not will not largely affect the success of the film. Get a well-known superhero, a relatively famous cast, and some grand special effects sequences and you’re guaranteed at least $400 million in box office rewards. Besides “The Dark Knight” which redefined the concept that a superhero movie could also work as a complex crime noir, no other superhero film has contributed greatly to the history of cinema, and it doesn’t appear that any will any time soon. Some will argue that “The Avengers” changed cinema history by interweaving multiple story arcs, but that’s not special. The comic book did it first.

Since all superhero movies are just means to generate obscure amounts of profits, the ideal rating for all superhero films is PG-13. All the new wave Marvel films and superhero movies of old are either rated PG-13 or PG; it is incredibly rare to see an R-rated superhero film. There are a few exceptions to this rule. “Watchmen” was given an R-rating and the same with “Kickass,” but “Watchmen” is based off a very violent graphic novel and “Kickass” uses its violence as an added form of parody to enhance to comedic undertones of the film. Even then, “Kickass” only made $96 million at the box office and “Watchmen” made $185 million, probably because it had such a strong fan base from the graphic novel. These numbers aren’t bad per say, but compare that to the fact that “Ant-man,” which is one of the lesser Marvel films, pulled over $500 million at the box office and the difference between R-rated and PG-13 rated films becomes evident. “Captain America: The Winter Solider” made over $700 million and “The Avengers” made over $1.5 billion worldwide. PG-13 films make more money than R-rated films, meaning it would be stupid for a company to turn their current superhero flick into a violent R film and risk losing that money.

“Deadpool,” however, has done something unprecedented. As of February 16th, less than a full week after its release, and “Deadpool” has already managed to earn just under $300 million at the worldwide box office, with $163 million of that coming in the United States. It’s on course to overtake some PG-13 rated superhero films and will set records for highest grossing R film before it’s time in the theaters is done. “Deadpool” has the potential to single-handedly change superhero movie history by showing that it is possible for a film to be rated-R and still make large sums of money at the box office. I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw an increase in the amount of R-rated superhero movies over the next few years after the final box office numbers for this fowl-mouthed, blood-spewing action film are recorded.

Looking back at previous superhero films and one dud that could have been salvaged by a change in mindset is “X-men Origins: Wolverine.” While there were many things wrong with this film, one of the worst things about it was the vast amount of violence that was made to look unrealistic by the decision to show no blood in order to protect that precious PG-13 rating. Back when the film was released, it was normal to assume that the film would’ve made less money if it had been transformed into an R, essentially wiping out large audience demographics. If the film were more open to the idea of having an R-rating, then maybe we would have had a gritty and more thrilling experience than what we actually had. The same goes for the upcoming film “Suicide Squad.” The trailer looks dark and alluring, but it was recently announced that the film would be rated PG-13 instead of the R that so many people, myself included, were hoping for. We have yet to see it, but it may be a film that would be more enjoyable with the freedom that comes with having an R-rated film. Hopefully the success of “Deadpool” will change this perception that all superhero movies need to be rated PG-13 in order to make more money, and we will start getting movies that have a grittier and more impressionable effect on the viewer.

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“Deadpool” is in theaters now across the country

Predictions for the Golden Globes

Post by Stephen Feely

The Golden Globes are this Sunday night and as promised, here are my picks for what I think the winners will be:

Motion Picture Drama: Spotlight

Spotlight is by far the best film of the year, with every aspect of it being perfect. There are some critics that think this award isn’t as set in stone as I do, but I can’t see any movie topping it. There’s a slight chance that Carol might sneak something, but that would surprise me.

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Lead Actor Drama: Dicaprio;  The Revenant

While I haven’t seen The Revenant yet, the buzz around DiCaprio’s performance is undeniable, making him the favorite. DiCaprio has garnered so much respect throughout his career that it only seems fair to give him the recognition he deserves in an incredibly challenging role.

Lead Actress Drama: Brie Larson; Room

Cate Blanchett’s performance in Carol is extraordinary, but Brie Larson is an unstoppable force in Room, and the Golden Globes owe her one after snubbing Short Term 12 in so many areas.

 

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Motion Picture Comedy: The Martian

It may not be an actual comedy, despite what the category suggests, and that could cause some decrease in votes received, yet The Martian is still head and shoulders better than any other film nominated in this exceptionally weak section.

 

Lead Actor Comedy: Steve Carell, The Big Short

Mark Ruffalo and Al Pacino starred in non-event films and Carell was better than his counterpart, Christian Bale, in the Big Short. While The Martian may be a better film than The Big Short, Steve Carell is one of the standout strong points from The Big Short and is proving himself as a serious actor.

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Lead Actress Comedy: Amy Schumer, Trainwreck

A category that really has nothing to talk about for any of its nominees. Ultimately, Schumer will win because 1) her drunken speech will be the best one and 2) the Globes will want her to host next year, so this will be the best way to appease her.

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Best Director: Tom McCarthy, Spotlight

I wouldn’t be particularly surprised if Todd Haynes or George Miller win for Carol or Mad Max respectively, as each did amazing work, but Tom McCarthy directed the most complete film of the year and should be rightly awarded for doing so.

 

Supporting Actress: Alicia Vikander, Ex Machina

A category that could really go in any direction with the competition all being relatively close to each other in terms of quality, I think Vikander will be honored with the award for a brilliant performance as a robot with human emotion and also to help make up for the fact that there’s no way she could compete with Blanchett and Larson for the lead actress award.

 

Supporting Actor: Idris Elba, Beasts of No Nation

An actor that has been continuously underappreciated by American audiences, Elba will add to his haul of Golden Globes from his performances in Luther with his brilliant performance as child army leader in Africa. Mark Rylance could very well will to give Bridge of Spies at least one win from the night, but Elba is the more important performance in his respective film.

 

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Screenplay: Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer, Spotlight

While Tarantino always produces quality screenplays, the dialogue in Spotlight is not only engaging but is crafted to a near perfect T to give this very touchy subject the right amount of respect and drama it deserves.

 

Animated Picture: Inside Out

One of the best years for animated features is still topped off by the insanely creative return to form for Pixar in Inside Out. Bright, vibrant, and deeply emotional, this film is the highlight in a stacked category.

 

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Foreign Language Film: Son of Saul

It won the Cannes Film Festival and that alone is reason enough to give the award to this Hungarian concentration camp drama.

That closes out my predictions for who will take home prizes at this year’s Golden Globes. Time will tell how accurate my powers of prognostication really are.

Golden Globe Nomination Thoughts

Oh how I love awards season.  I don’t, however, like it for the red carpet, the who wore it better specials, or other trash fashion shows.  I, unlike most people it seems like, actually enjoy awards season for the nominations and to see who goes home the winner.  I love the nominations almost as much as watching the shows because it presents the perfect platform for me to complain about those who were selected for the shortlists and those who were left out.  Now, I have the utmost respect for those who choose the nominees and understand that everyone has their own opinion, but as a stubborn British young adult, I like to think my opinion is the right one and people should listen to me.  Plus, what would be the point of these awards if it didn’t open the door to potential debate, right?

For this article, I’m going to go down the list of nominations and at the end of each section I’ll make comments on my thoughts of each of the categories.  I won’t make any predictions for the winners because I will do that in a different article that I will write later on this week.  I’m also restricting myself to commenting on the movie categories since I don’t watch enough TV to be comfortable making reputable judgments.  So without further ado, let’s take a look at the nominations for the 2016 Golden Globe Awards.

Best Motion Picture (Drama): Carol, Mad Max, The Revenant, Room, and Spotlight

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My thoughts: This is an overall solid list with some great films and no real clunkers (albeit I haven’t seen the Revenant yet since it won’t be released until January, but the reviews so far have been very positive).  I am intrigued by the “Mad Max” nomination, however.  “Mad Max” is a great film and one that I have adored from this year, but I’m not convinced it is a film that belongs on this list.  There are other “Drama” films that have been released this year that could have been nominated such as “Creed”, “Bridge of Spies”, “Sicario” and my personal favorite “Beasts of No Nation.” “Mad Max” is a great film, but I don’t think it should have been nominated over these options, especially “Beasts of No Nation.”

Best Motion Picture (Comedy):  The Big Short, Joy, The Martian, Spy, Trainwreck

My Thoughts: I’m not the world’s biggest fan of the Best Picture nomination being broken up for Drama and Comedy but I tend to not have an issue with it at the Golden Globes since the Academy Awards extended their nomination list to exceed five films.  Still, I have more issues with this list than the Drama category.  “Joy” hasn’t been released yet so I can’t comment but most of the reviews that have come in so far have been very average.  Also, while Spy and Trainwreck are decent films it does seem a bit of stretch for me to nominate these films.  There are other comedy films out there that are better such as “Inside Out”, “Slow West”, and “Me, Earl, and the Dying Girl.” If we’re basing these movies solely on how funny they are, I can understand “Spy”, but then “The Martian” being nominated wouldn’t make sense since it is a drama with some funny moments.  This category should evaluate comedy films on how good they are overall, and in this case the three aforementioned films that didn’t receive nominations should all have been nominated over “Joy”, “Trainwreck”, and “Spy.”

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Best Director:  Todd Haynes (Carol), Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (The Revenant), Tom McCarthy (Spotlight), George Miller (Mad Max), Ridley Scott (The Martian)

My Thoughts: I don’t have many issues with this list.  While I don’t agree that “Mad Max” should be a Best Picture nominee, George Miller did a fantastic job directing the film and should be recognized.  I would’ve liked to see Cary Fukunaga (Beasts of No Nation) on this list but I can live without it. I am glad to see Inarritu on this list after hearing that “The Revenant” was shot with all natural lighting…God bless his soul for attempting that.

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Best Actress in Motion Picture Drama: Cate Blanchett (Carol), Brie Larson (Room), Rooney Mara (Carol), Saoirse Ronan (Brooklyn), Alicia Vikander (The Danish Girl)

My Thoughts:  This list is exactly right.  Good job Golden Globes!

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Best Actor in  Motion Picture Drama: Bryan Cranston (Trumbo), Leonardo DiCaprio (The Revenant), Michael Fassbender (Steve Jobs), Eddie Redmayne (The Danish Girl), Will Smith (Concussion)

My Thoughts: Are we still on a “Theory of Everything” high for Eddie Redmayne? Potentially, but I can’t argue too much with the nomination, despite the film being overwrought with awards cliches.  I haven’t seen “Concussion” since it hasn’t been released yet, but it’ll be interesting to see how Smith’s performance stacks up to Jonny Depp (Black Mass), the actor who was definitely snubbed in this category.  Also, I am surprised to not see Tom Hardy in this category after his dual performance in “Legend.” Tough year for male acting.

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Best Actress in Motion Picture Comedy: Jennifer Lawrence (Joy), Melissa McCarthy (Spy), Amy Schumer (Trainwreck), Maggie Smith (The Lady in the Van), Lily Tomlin (Grandma)

My Thoughts: Now, I can understand the Best Picture nominations being broken up into those for Drama and those for Comedy since it allows the Golden Globes to give more recognition to various films, but it seems a bit redundant to continue this categorical separation through to the actors’ awards. None of these female nominations (besides potentially Jennifer Lawrence) are particularly noteworthy or comparable in any way to the talent that has been pulled in the Drama section. Yes, it is easier to act in a Drama and to be recognized as more influential so it is tough for the Comedy actors to compete, however, when the options are so slim, such as they are for this year, it doesn’t make sense to keep the award. Every now and then they may be a phenomenal performance in a Comedy film and that is great, but they can be recognized in a general acting award rather than splitting the group up. These nominations are fine for the category, but the category itself seems unnecessary and redundant, with its weaknesses very visible during this round of nominees.

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Best Actor in a Motion Picture Comedy: Christian Bale (The Big Short), Steve Carell (The Big Short), Matt Damon (The Martian), Al Pacino (Danny Collins), and Mark Ruffalo (Infinity Polar Bear)

My Thoughts: While this set of nominees is slightly stronger than their female counterparts, I still have the same argument that I made above. The Supporting Actor/Actress award isn’t divided into two categories based on Drama or Comedy, so neither should the main acting awards. Get rid of these categories, I don’t want to see them ever again.

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Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture: Jane Fonda (Youth), Jennifer Jason Leigh (The Hateful Eight), Helen Mirren (Trumbo), Alicia Vikander (Ex Machina), Kate Winslet (Steve Jobs)

My Thoughts: Not an overwhelming abundant category of talent this year, but still a decent enough list to make things interesting. No standouts, but a lot of great performances all around make this one of the more competitive categories of this season. Congratulations to Alicia Vikander for being nominated twice for two different movies. Also, I love seeing “Youth” and “Ex Machina” getting some recognition since they were two great films that flew under the radar this year.

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Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture: Paul Dano (Love and Mercy), Idris Elba (Beasts of No Nation), Mark Rylance (Bridge of Spies), Michael Shannon (99 Homes), Sylvester Stallone (Creed)

My Thoughts: I think this list is great and that the Golden Globes did a great job of recognizing some performances in lesser known films such as Paul Dano in “Love and Mercy” and Michael Shannon in the great “99 Homes.” Idris Elba and Mark Rylance should be the frontrunners for this award after each were brilliant in their respective roles. Stallone is an interesting one for me though. While he is actually quite good in “Creed” I would argue that Seth Rogen’s performance in “Steve Jobs,” Jason Segel’s performance in the great indie film “End of the Tour,” and Benicio Del Toro’s thrilling role in “Sicario” all could have jumped Stallone for a spot on this list.  Jacob Tremblay also did a phenomenal job in “Room.”

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Best Screenplay: Emma Donoghue (Room), Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer (Spotlight), Charles Randolph and Adam McKay (The Big Short), Aaron Sorkin (Steve Jobs), Quentin Tarantino (Hateful Eight)

My Thoughts: Despite it not being released to the general public yet, is anyone really surprised to see Tarantino on this list? He is the master of screenplay writing and most have to think he is a favorite for this award another time around. I thought the screenplay for “Bridge of Spies” or “End of the Tour” could have made a push here but all in all I’m pretty content with the quality of the list.

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Best Animated Motion Picture Award: Anomalisa, The Good Dinosaur, Inside Out, The Peanuts Movie, Shaun the Sheep

My Thoughts: The Best Animated Motion Picture Award is always terribly under appreciated in my opinion because animated films can be some of the best of the year. “Inside Out” should have been nominated for the Best Picture Comedy award at this year’s Golden Globes and I would be willing to make an argument that it should be nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars as well. Overall, though, this is an incredibly stacked group from the creative brilliance of “Inside Out” to the narrative strengths of “Shaun the Sheep” to the apparent excellent animation in “Anomalisa.” This has been one of the best years for animated films in some time. Not since 2009 when we were gifted with “Up,” “Coraline,” and “Fantastic Mr. Fox” have we been so spoilt, and I think this year may be even better in terms of overall, consistent quality.

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Best Foreign Language Film: The Brand Testament, The Club, The Fencer, Mustang, Son of Saul

My Thoughts: If “Son of Saul,” the winner of the Grand Prix at the Cannes film festival, didn’t make this list I would be done with the Golden Globes entirely so good for them for getting at least that right. While I can’t judge a lot of this list since I haven’t seen the four other entries, I still believe I hold the right to be utterly baffled by the decision to leave “Timbuktu” out of this list. “Timbuktu” currently sits in my Top 10 films of the year and will be tough to knock it down, so it blows my mind that it didn’t receive a nomination.

Which movies did you hope to see but didn’t? Any movies or performances you are happy to see nominated? Do you think I’m talking a bunch of nonsense? If so, leave me a comment and let me know your thoughts on this year’s Golden Globe nominations.

About My Blog

Because it’s now the summer and I have ample amounts of free time on my hands, I’ve started that I am going to start writing my thoughts and opinions on the various movies I watch as well as how I feel about certain movies that have yet to come out.  I figured writing on a blog like this would be better than constantly pestering my friends, who quite frankly don’t care about movies as much as I do, each time I see a new film and want to talk about it.  If anyone actually bothers to read my reviews then feel free to post any comments that you want!  I love to have discussions about my views on movies and always want to hear what other people have to say as well.  Also if there’s any particular movie you want me to write about, then just let me know and I’ll get on that right away.  Hope everyone enjoys reading these, and if not it doesn’t matter because I’m going to enjoy writing nonetheless.