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: Room

I heard people sobbing for joy halfway through the movie Room.

room_movieThe Wife and I saw the movie Room more than a week ago at the Spectrum Theatre in Albany. Yet I have had a difficult time writing about it.

One reason is that the less one knows, going in, the better the story. What I will say is that the film is based on the 2010 novel by Irish-Canadian author Emma Donoghue, though it does not adhere entirely to the source material.

I had thought, incorrectly, the story was derived from the Cleveland captivity story that came to light in 2013. I believed that in particular because Room, the movie, takes place in Akron, and I recognized those Ohio license plates.

While I’ve seen only three of the five nominees for Best Actress, I’m willing to cede the Oscar to Brie Larson, who was excellent as Joy, kidnapped for seven years. Just as good, though, is young Jacob Tremblay as Jack. The movie falls apart if one doesn’t believe that the boy was born in captivity, living in Room that his mother tries to make as “normal” as possible.

Room has been nominated as Best Picture, and rightly so. It has understandably reviewed extremely well.

I’m glad I saw the movie in the theater. While the subject matter was tough, it never felt exploitative. I thought the way the film compared the impact of the captivity on the captives, versus how it affected Joy’s parents (Joan Allen, William H. Macy). The black woman cop, played by Amanda Brugel, was great.

I came out of the film feeling exhilarated that someone could put together two disparate sides of a coin and make it work so well. I heard people sobbing for joy halfway through the movie. The Wife, conversely, thought it was too intense for her taste, though she thought it was very well made.

My feeling is to see Room, preferably in one sitting, optimally on the big screen, for I believe watching it in pieces will alter its impact negatively.

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