By: Nathan MacKinnon
I’m finally getting the chance to talk about what I love, and no, it’s not chocolate dipped strawberries. Although they’re extremely delicious and appropriate for various occasions, they’re – sadly – not the topic in question for today. If you’re still reading this article and not questioning my sanity, I guess I’d better tell you; I wish to talk about cinema. After the biggest awards night of the year – the Oscars – you’re probably asking yourself some questions. Which movie is the best to watch? Which is the worst? How many movies was Tom Hardy in? Did Leo actually win or am I dreaming? Who in the world was that dude from Bridge of Spies and how did he beat Rocky? No one can beat Rocky!
Don’t worry. I’m here to give you the rundown of the winning films of 2015. I have seen the majority of the winning films and wish to give you, oh wonderful reader, the guidance needed to cascade yourself with cinema.
Bridge of Spies: Directed by Steven Spielberg.
Based on a true story, this film stars Tom Hanks as the key negotiator within a hostage exchange in the 1960s. Whenever Mr. Hanks and Mr. Spielberg get together, it’s usually cinema gold. People flocked to this film, anticipating the likes of Saving Private Ryan in film prowess. Sadly, this film does disappoint on some levels. For instance, the film lacks good pacing and slows at some parts, leading to unavoidable boredom. The performances aren’t life-changing, and even though the Academy felt that Mark Rylance deserved the Oscar for best supporting actor, his performance was not the best, considering the packed lot of other contenders. Bridge of Spies seemed like it made the Oscars because of Spielberg and Hanks. If those names weren’t placed on the movie poster, it might not have been so widely-acclaimed. Don’t go and run to this film, it’s your basic period piece of suspense and substance.
The Martian: Directed by Ridley Scott
This sci-fi comedy stars Matt Damon as an astronaut stuck on Mars after a freak accident. He is then tasked with the difficult trial of survival on a deserted planet. This film felt like it really lacked identity. It struggles finding its own tone. One minute the film is trying to be funny, the next it’s serious. This leads to issues, especially when a serious tone is taken. Dangerous situations can’t really be taken as dire, for the tone is too comedic, and this confusion only dismantles any shot at suspense. That being said, the film does do well in presenting a relatable voice, one that is real. A huge kudos to Matt for delivering such a joyous effort. This film is worth seeing, but it does not challenge or change much for the viewer. ”Was I right to laugh?” is a common inner-thought.
Mad Max: Fury Road: Directed by George Miller
This film was a genuine surprise. It found its specific tone and played heavily within it, delivering a powerful performance.This film stars Tom Hardy as Mad Max, a shady individual given the opportunity to be the hero, even when he doesn’t really want it. The film also stars Charlize Theron as Imperator Furiosa, a powerful female deliverer and the real antagonist of the film. No longer is the female role designated as the “Princess in Distress”; Furiosa brings down the enemy with girth – a sight beautiful to behold in modern cinema. Where this film truly separates itself from the regular action thriller genre is within its pacing. From the very start, the film feels like it’s running down hill, explosion after explosion. It is hard to blink without missing something! The problem with lightning fast pacing is keeping it up. Most action movies tend to have a decompression period; a place to breathe for the characters, just before another big fight. The lack of this all-too-important component leads to an artificial taste of action and leaves the viewer feeling like they’re constantly on their feet. The whole world is beautifully crafted: costumes, CG, makeup, and various different production stations come together to create a surreal world. Definitely go watch this film – and that’s coming from someone who genuinely dislikes the basic big-budget action film.
Room: Directed by Lenny Abrahamson
This Irish-written film is also outstanding. It does not need the explosions and extra destruction to reel the viewer into a story of sheer perseverance and growth. A mother and her son have been trapped within a tiny shed-like room for seven years, and what unfolds in the rest of the story will tug on many heartstrings. This film is beautiful in its simple delivery of human emotion. Brie Larson stars as the kidnapped woman, turned mother. She does not overplay her role, casting a beautiful elegance, even in such dire conditions. Young Jacob Tremblay does really well for his age, playing the son who has never seen the outside world. Ms. Larson totally deserved the Oscar; her personal tone certainly warranted the award. When watching this film, which is a must, really pay attention to the perspective shots – the ones that are shot to portray the vision of the character. These shots are often overused, leaving the viewer with an artificial feel. In this film, it only brings to attention the reality of the character. Especially when the little boy sees the world for the first time; it’s a moment that I still think about today. A film hasn’t done that to me in a while! What a delightful surprise.
The Revenant: Directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu
Well, I really don’t want to say a whole lot about this film till you see it. Which is hard for me because I usually love talking about movies. These types of films only come ever so often, an experience unlike anything you’ll ever see. I could go on for hours, it is a personal favourite of mine. So, please watch this film, then come talk to me. I am not even gonna explain what’s it about, or what to look at when viewing. The truth is, we all will leave the film a little differently. I could go watch it for a fourth time and I’d still get something new out of it. So, experience this masterpiece of cinema, then come running to me. I am excited to see what you truly get out of it.
Here’s the my review of Spotlight, the Best Picture Award WInner.
Spotlight: Directed by Tom McCarthy
This film does deserve the Oscar. Even though I absolutely loved The Revenant, this film is a better blend of story and technical appeal. This film stars multiple big names, like Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams, and Michael Keaton. They all play reporters within the Spotlight division of the Boston Globe. This surprisingly true story looks at how these journalists uncover a massive scandal within the Catholic Church. I’ll be honest, I was scared when I started this film, political dramas are usually too slow and drawn out. Heavy on plot and short on technical appeal. Well, I was wrong. The shot composition is superb, especially for a political drama. Just watch the tracking shots of characters walking through their office or out at a park. These kind of shots are so rarely used in the genre and bring a refreshing taste to any viewer. It’s also paced beautifully, leading one plot point to another simply, yet powerfully, like Ping Pong. With no real drag in plot, there is no point where the viewer wants to press the fast forward button. Mark Ruffalo drives the acting the heaviest, bringing a reserved role out of it’s shell at the best of times. I was even surprised by how powerful his character seemed, even though he wasn’t expressing any sort of rage or anger. He showed that yelling and screaming isn’t the only way of showing real emotion. I had heard great things about the film, and even with that in mind, I gasped in astonishment. The plot helped the actors do almost perfectly, which was launched by the shot composition. All these points are rarely placed together in unison, which created a revitalized and original view of the political genre. I, the film guy that usually loves to hate on movies, couldn’t find something off-putting. This film just felt right, like the example of when a director is able to put every piece of the puzzle together. A written masterpiece, I was speechless. If you’re gonna see any film this year, watch this one. Whether you’re an actor, a film guy or a classic joe, it doesn’t matter. Everyone will appreciate the film differently. The deserving winner of Best Picture.
You agree? Disagree? Come and see me, I am totally down to here your opinion!