Oscar night 2016

Son of Saul is a film I have no desire to see.

OscarsIt’s an odd thing that I always record Oscar night, which will be a week from today, on the DVR. I never watch it in real time, and it usually takes me five or six days to get through, by which time I know, of course, who won.

Sure I can find the “best moments” online – and I’ve stopped trying to hide myself from those – but I seldom watch them when they just pop up, because I like to see these things in the context of the evening.

Actress Jada Pinkett-Smith announced her boycott of the Academy Awards because, of the twenty acting slots, none of the nominees were black. Or Hispanic. Or Asian. Director Spike Lee and Jada’s husband Will Smith followed suit.

Larry Wilmore did a bit on The Nightly Show that wasn’t terribly funny, but had elements of truth. Blacks get nominated when they are slaves (12 Years a Slave), or still feeling the sting of slavery (e.g., the Help). The joke is that the filmmakers should have made Michael B. Jordan in Creed, or the cast of Straight Outta Compton, more tied to their slave roots.

When there’s a lack of diversity, in any organization, there’s a recognition that “something” should be done. Continue reading “Oscar night 2016”

MOVIE REVIEW: Brooklyn

Brooklyn was the first film The Wife and I saw at the Spectrum Theatre since it was taken over by Landmark Theaters.

brooklyn-movie-saoirse-ronan1The very first time I saw Saorise Ronan on screen in the wonderful The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014), I realized I’d seen her before, as a much younger actress. It’s those eyes. As it turns out, she was in Atonement (2007).

In the movie Brooklyn, though, she is the protagonist Eilis Lacey, a young woman in her native Ireland, who has few prospects in her hometown. Her beloved sister Rose encourages her to leave her and their widowed mother and move to America. Specifically, she’ll live in a certain NYC borough in a boarding house with other, mostly beautiful women, and their crusty but caring landlady (the wonderful Julie Walters).

Eventually, Elias finds love with a plumber named Tony (Emory Cohen). But a tragic turn forces Eilis to deal with changing realizations about her homeland and her own sense of self-worth.

There were only 2 negative reviews at Rotten Tomatoes out of 152. One read: “Wonderful performances but do we really care about a teenager from Ireland trying to decide between guys?” This person is right about their performances but has totally missed the point of this film, which is that leaving home is sometimes exquisitely difficult.

There are LOL moments involving the boarding house dinner table and at Tony’s home. Jessica Paré played Miss Fortini, Eilis’ supervisor at a fancy department store not unlike Macy’s of the 1950s with a nice mix of sternness and compassion. But you may be inclined to hiss at the screen when Brid Brennan’s crotchety Miss Kelly, Elias’ part-time employer in Ireland appears on the screen.

I’m not familiar with the work of director John Crowley, but writer Nick Hornby was executive producer of two films I liked, About a Boy and An Education, and screenwriter for the latter.

Not incidentally, this was the first film The Wife and I saw at the Spectrum Theatre since it was taken over by Landmark Theaters, on Black Friday night. One change: those cards we used to buy, 10 for $80, are now gone, replaced by a booklet one can purchase, 25 tickets for $200. Also, they don’t take Discover, but they do accept American Express.