Trolls World Tour – Home Premiere

Throw your own home premiere for TROLLS WORLD TOUR this Friday!

For fun activities, Download the at Home Premiere Party Pack:

https://www.dreamworks.com/downloads/TrollsPartyPack.pdf

Also be sure to check out the “How To Draw A Troll” Tutorial Series below:

How To Draw Tiny Diamond –

How To Draw Poppy –

How To Draw Branch –

TROLLS WORLD TOUR – At home on demand April 10 on WatchTrolls.com

Official Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube | #TrollsWorldTour

Anna Kendrick and Justin Timberlake return in Trolls World Tour, an all-star sequel to DreamWorks Animation’s 2016 musical hit. In an adventure that will take them well beyond what they’ve known before, Poppy (Kendrick) and Branch (Timberlake) discover that they are but one of six different Trolls tribes scattered over six different lands and devoted to six different kinds of music: Funk, Country, Techno, Classical, Pop and Rock. Their world is about to get a lot bigger and a whole lot louder.

A member of hard-rock royalty, Queen Barb (Rachel Bloom), aided by her father King Thrash (Ozzy Osbourne), wants to destroy all other kinds of music to let rock reign supreme. With the fate of the world at stake, Poppy and Branch, along with their friends — Biggie (James Corden), Chenille (Caroline Hjelt), Satin (Aino Jawo), Cooper (Ron Funches) and Guy Diamond (Kunal Nayyar) — set out to visit all the other lands to unify the Trolls in harmony against Barb, who’s looking to upstage them all.

Cast as members of the different musical tribes is one of the largest, and most acclaimed, groups of musical talent ever assembled for an animated film. From the land of Funk are Mary J. Blige, George Clinton and Anderson .Paak. Representing Country is Kelly Clarkson as Delta Dawn, with Sam Rockwell as Hickory and Flula Borg as Dickory. J Balvin brings Reggaeton, while Ester Dean adds to the Pop tribe. Anthony Ramos brings the beat in Techno and Jamie Dornan covers smooth jazz. World-renowned conductor and violinist Gustavo Dudamel appears as Trollzart and Charlyne Yi as Pennywhistle from the land of Classical. And Kenan Thompson raps as a newborn Troll named Tiny Diamond.

Trolls World Tour is directed by Walt Dohrn, who served as co-director on Trolls, and is produced by returning producer Gina Shay. The film is co-directed by David P. Smith and co-produced by Kelly Cooney Cilella, both of whom worked on the first Trolls.

Genre: Animated Musical Adventure

Cast: Anna Kendrick, Justin Timberlake, J Balvin, Rachel Bloom, Flula Borg, Kelly Clarkson, James Corden, Ester Dean, Jamie Dornan, Gustavo Dudamel, Ron Funches, Caroline Hjelt, Aino Jawo, Kunal Nayyar, Ozzy Osbourne, Anderson .Paak, Anthony Ramos, Sam Rockwell, Betsy Sodaro, Karan Soni, Kenan Thompson, Charlyne Yi, with George Clinton and Mary J. Blige

Director: Walt Dohrn

Producer: Gina Shay

Co-director: David P. Smith

Co-producer: Kelly Cooney Cilella

2019 – Best of the Best, Worst of the Worst, Grand Totals

Hello!

It’s the 31st of December and I’m furiously typing away to put together my end of the year list.  Forget about me making a Best of the Decade list — I’d be working on it for weeks.  Instead, take a read at the movies that have sparked joy in me over the past twelve months and which have made my eyes glow red with anger. 

This year I made a promise to myself to review every new movie I had the good fortune to screen/see in theaters and I’m pleased to see that I kept that promise throughout.  It required more of my time and involved prioritizing some work but I feel the end result was worth it.  I hope to continue that as we approach the NINTH year of The MN Movie Man.  What a wild ride.

Although I’m slightly aghast at the amount of movies I saw this year (look below, I’m a bit horrified to reveal the number here), I’ve learned a lot by seeking out films that are off the beaten path and not just sticking to the mainstream releases.  Critics nowadays seem to be only bringing attention to movies that are easily accessible but I think we should all be working harder to push ourselves into highlighting and championing the smaller films that are being pushed out of theaters by an endless array of blockbusters (which I also quite like, by the way).  If you’re a critic and reading this — I challenge you to review on your blog/channel/page at least one movie a month that didn’t get a mainstream release.  It was a huge creative step forward for me this year — try it for yourself!

As always, I’ve appreciated your feedback, your patronage, and your general presence in my blog. Even if you read this everyday but have never commented or made contact I can still tell you’ve been here and that means a lot.  

If you haven’t already, make sure to follow this blog, follow me on Twitter (@joemnmovieman), follow me on Instagram, and like my Facebook page so you can help me continue spreading the news about The MN Movie Man.

Best Wishes to you and yours for a most Happy New Year!

~Joe (The MN Movie Man)

5. Us – It was just two years ago that Jordan Peele’s feature directorial debut Get Out landed on top of my Best of 2017 list. Fears of a sophomore slump were put to rest with the arrival of Us, a more straight-forward horror film from Peele that frightened me something good. There’s less of the social commentary that was present in Get Out but Us does have some interesting things to say if you read between the bloody lines. This was one of the few movies I saw twice in theaters and both times it was highly effective, thanks in no small part to Lupita Nyong’o’s incredible lead performance. Back in March I felt like Nyong’o could be an Oscar contender and hopefully in a few weeks it will happen – she’s part of an excellent cast telling Peele’s twisted tale. So good.

4. Apollo 11 – After the languid First Man in 2018, I thought I had had my fill of space movies for a bit and certainly didn’t think there was there anything more to learn about the Apollo missions that hadn’t already been covered. Then Apollo 11 snuck into theaters and sent me out of orbit with praise. A staggering documentary that features an astonishing amount of never before seen footage remastered so that it looked like it was filmed yesterday, watching this brought out the happy tears in me. Gorgeous to look at and filled with edge-of-your-seat moments, it’s one of the best documentaries I’ve ever seen.

3. The Farewell – The good buzz on The Farewell followed it into theaters after it debuted to strong acclaim in Sundance. From director Lulu Wang and based on her real life family, it’s a sweet but not saccharine look at a different culture and the way they choose to deal with death. I appreciated there were so many opportunities for viewers like myself to learn more about Chinese customs in addition to watching a beautifully touching story unfold. Known for her more comedic work, Awkwafina logged an impressive dramatic debut but the movie belongs to luminous Shuzhen Zhao as the grandmother kept in the dark by her family about her recent diagnosis of a terminal disease. You’ll cry, but not for the reasons you’d expect.

2. 1917 – Among the many successes that 1917 can claim is keeping my attention during what is traditionally a rough genre for me. Diverting from your standard war film tropes, writer/director Sam Mendes (Skyfall) and his co-writer Krysty Wilson-Cairns side-step the landmines of recreating a well-known incident from the first World War and opt to go with something more personal. Shot to look like the entire two hour movie was filmed in one take, aside from its stunning achievement in cinematography it has two appealing stars and a moving story to tell. I was fully engaged from frame one until the last credit onscreen and once this opens wide in January 2020 I think audiences will feel the same way.

1. A Hidden Life – I’ve spent the last two months since I saw A Hidden Life thinking about it almost daily and while I knew it would be in my top five of the year, it’s ability to stay so emotionally fresh with me kept pushing it higher up in the ranks. I honestly could have flipped a coin between this and 1917 but in the end writer/director Terrence Malick’s magnificent film was the only choice for me. Though it has disappointingly been given a paltry release, I’ve been urging everyone to get to the theater and see this pronto because it has some truly majestic moments that deserve to be viewed on the big screen. Malick’s film centers around a Austrian conscientious objector during WWII and the devastating effect it has not just on him but his family struggling to keep going in his absence. It’s a somber film but filled with some of the best views I saw all year and two quietly powerful lead performances that hold it all together. It will still have an impact on the small screen but if you have any chance to see A Hidden Life at your local moviehouse…do it. It’s my favorite film of the year.

Honorable Mentions: Parasite (2019), Ad Astra, Avengers: Endgame, Bombshell, Crawl, Doctor Sleep, Knives Out, Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood, Premature, Queen & Slim, Ready or Not, The Irishman, Saint Frances, The Kid Who Would Be King, The Mustang

5. Dumbo (2019) – Even though Disney will wind up the year the most profitable studio thanks to their owning most of the big franchise pictures that made billions, they can’t escape that they released some stinkers in 2019 as well. You’ll notice their live-action remake of Aladdin is down in Dis(Honorable) mentions and while a live-action The Lion King didn’t totally sully the memory of the animated original it didn’t make the kind of money it was predicted to. I actually enjoyed the new Lady & The Tramp on Disney+ but Tim Burton’s update of Dumbo was a real mess. Adding new characters, taking what was a simple story, and drowning it in excess, it was an eye-sore and it made my butt-sore. They say an elephant never forgets but they’d definitely make an effort after watching this three-ring disaster.

4. Serenity (2019) – One of the first movies I saw in theaters last January was the much-delayed Serenity. Boasting a bevy of A-list Oscar favorites, this mystery wanted to be steamy and twisty but would up being a laughably bad attempt at meta-filmmaking that was sunk quickly after opening. Relying on one totally crazy twist that isn’t hard to spot, actually, viewers didn’t watch the movie as much as they sort of just bore witness to it all falling apart in front of them. I like almost everyone in this and would never turn my nose up at a modern day noir, but the route Serenity travels on is too far-fetched. Jump ship on this one fast.

3. Her Smell – Numerous critics I respect have Her Smell on their Best of the Year list and would probably be wide-eyed to see it as my #3 worst of the year but this experience in agony was too much to handle. Star Elisabeth Moss earned praise for diving head-first into the role of a self-destructive singer whose years of hard living alienate her from everyone she loves but it comes off like Moss was just riffing in rehearsal and it was caught on camera. The move alienates you almost from the start and spends it’s first hour following Moss as her character embarks on a repulsive spiral into darkness. Full disclosure – I watched this for about twenty minutes before fast-forwarding to the latter half which I had heard made the first part worth the wait. It didn’t.

2. Aquarela – I honestly have never tried so hard not to fall asleep in the middle of a movie than I have watching this documentary. Boasting new filming techniques and shown with a frame rate to create images that felt close to lifelike, the bells and whistles can’t mask this is a supremely boring film. Charting various forms of water, it’s almost entirely dialogue-free and set to a score that will have you plugging your ears if you haven’t already run for the door. About halfway through, I got the feeling audiences were being tested on their stamina in finding the end purpose and eventually allowed myself to close my eyes. I didn’t fall asleep but could have easily conked out – yet I kept one eye open just so can say that “I Survived Aquarela”.

1. Child’s Play (2019) – Let’s not fool ourselves into thinking the original Child’s Play from 1988 was some untouchable classic – because watching it again shortly after seeing this heinously awful remake (as a palate cleanser) reminded me the one that started it all has its share of clumsy moments. Yet it remains a well-oiled machine of a film, occasional issues aside. That’s not the case with this ill-advised update that’s almost insulting to watch. No real thought went into this, including the performances. Aubrey Plaza should be fined some sort of audience taxation for her dreadful acting – the crummy new doll is even a better actor than her. I was so mad coming out of this movie…and I’m still mad today. Worst of the year, no question about it.

Dis(Honorable) Mentions: Aladdin (2019), Yesterday, Vox Lux, Trick (2019), Lucy in the Sky, Climax, Brightburn

Most Misunderstood: Alita: Battle Angel – this is one that had so much potential but perhaps was too big of a reach even for it’s high-flying filmmakers. I enjoyed this overblown sci-fi film boasting impressive visuals and a motion-captured leading actress. True, this was adapted from an Asian source and the American-ization of it didn’t help, but I have a feeling this is one that people will discover as time goes on and wonder why the hinted at sequel never materialized. A disappointing box office take likely means we won’t get a follow-up on the same scale…but perhaps goodwill will win out.
Honorable Mention: Black Christmas (2019)

Joe’s Humble Pie Award of 2019 (movies that turned out differently than I expected going in): Angel Has Fallen – A silly Gerard Butler vehicle gets some extra attention on my end of the year list? Well it deserves it for being an entertaining entry in Butler’s surprise franchise that casts him as a government agent protecting our national security. The first film, Olympus Has Fallen, was mediocre but fun while the sequel, London Has Fallen, is ghoulishly terrible. I didn’t have high hopes for this one because it seemed to come out of nowhere, but the sneak attack worked to its advantage. Totally was better than I ever thought it would be.
Honorable Mention: Midway (2019)

Two Movies You Probably Haven’t Seen But Should: Wild RoseLuce – I already feel like I’ve been talking about Wild Rose too much and I’m building people up to be let down but it truly is one of those rare indie films that has the goods but not many people have caught on yet. Star Jessie Buckley (Judy) turns in one of my favorite performances of the year, her acting is grand but her singing is off the charts. She could record an album tomorrow and have an entirely other career if she wanted. Sort of in the vein of A Star is Born but not nearly as tragic, it’s my new “go-to” when people ask me what they should watch.
Special mention to Luce for featuring Octavia Spencer’s best performance to date, which ironically isn’t getting any attention in the end of the year awards. What Spencer does in this adaptation of a play is nothing less than extraordinary and coupled with star on the rise Kelvin Harrison, Jr. (Waves), Naomi Watts, and Tim Roth you have a recipe for a movie that’s challenging and will spark discussions after. Absolutely keep your eye open for this one to show up on streaming services soon.

Others to Consider:

Absentia
American Factory
Border (Gräns)
Capernaum (Capharnaüm)
Fighting with My Family
Food Coop
Haunt
Juliet, Naked
Minding the Gap
Science Fair
Secrets & Lies
Swallow
Sweetheart
Tea with the Dames
The Boys from Brazil
The Invitation
The Lost City of Z
The Slumber Party Massacre
The Wedding Banquet (Xi yan)
To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before
Vampire Circus

Click HERE for a full listing of films seen in 2019
Total Movies Seen in the Theater: 150
Total Movies Seen at Home: 286
Grand Total for 2019 (not counting films seen multiple times): 430
Where I Saw the Most Movies – Showplace ICON (46!!)

Free Screening ~ 1917

Hello!

One of the very best movies of the year is set for limited release later in December and won’t be opening in Minnesota until January 10th…but we lucky Minnesotans have a special opportunity to see an advanced screening of 1917 on Wednesday, December 11 at Marcus Oakdale Cinema.

Visit this sign-up link: 1917 Free Screening (https://forms.gle/jTtcbAgNkybRyENT7) to request a screening pass.  You’ll receive information back with details on the screening — make sure to spread the word!

Here’s a special tip from The MN Movie Man — arrive early to get the best seat.  These advance screenings often have a line to get in and are overbooked to ensure capacity.  This is one movie you should try to avoid seeing from the front row on the far left if you don’t have to 🙂

Here’s the official information: From the director of Skyfall, 1917 is a World War 1 epic telling the story of a heroic and impossible mission undertaken by two British soldiers.

I saw the movie last week and while my full review isn’t quite ready for publication, I can tell you it’s going to finish high in my Best of the Year list.  It’s already been nominated for a number of critics awards and you can expect it to receive love from the Golden Globes and Oscars when they announce their nominations in a few weeks.  This is a great opportunity to see the movie before anyone else does — definitely do go!

Nominations – Film Independent Spirit Awards

Here we go!  The first major awards nominations have been announced and they are the Film Independent Spirit Awards.  Voted on by members of Film Independent with the intention to select winners from films with smaller budgets representing the best of the year and celebrating inclusion and diversity, this tends to be a fun show with a wiiiiiiiide range of films.  It can be hard to predict the nominees and often hard to predict the winners.  Several of the titles below are movies that have received festival runs or East/West coast qualifying releases so far, meaning most of middle America hasn’t seen them yet, but I’m sure looking forward to a number of them.  There will be some overlap of nominees with the Oscars (held the next day) but I hope the tradition continues where it’s not across the board winners throughout the season.

Thankfully, these nominations are announced so early that you have enough time to seek these movies out well beforehand!  So…get to watching!  Don’t forget to bookmark here for all your top award season coverage.

Best Feature
A Hidden Life
Clemency
The Farewell
Marriage Story
Uncut Gems

Best First Feature
Booksmart
The Climb
Diane
The Last Black Man in San Francisco
The Mustang
See You Yesterday

Best Director
Robert Eggers (The Lighthouse)
Alma Har’el (Honey Boy)
Julius Onah (Luce)
Benny Safdie, Josh Safdie (Uncut Gems)
Lorene Scafaria (Hustlers)

Best Screenplay
Noah Baumbach (Marriage Story)
Jason Begue, Shawn Snyder (To Dust)
Ronald Bronstein, Benny Safdie, Josh Safdie (Uncut Gems)
Chinonye Chukwu (Clemency)
Tarell Alvin McCraney (High Flying Bird)

Best Female Lead
Karen Allen (Colewell)
Hong Chau (Driveways)
Elisabeth Moss (Her Smell)
Mary Kay Place (Diane)
Alfre Woodard (Clemency)
Renée Zellweger (Judy)

Best Male Lead
Chris Galust (Give Me Liberty)
Kelvin Harrison Jr. (Luce)
Robert Pattinson (The Lighthouse)
Adam Sandler (Uncut Gems)
Matthias Schoenaerts (The Mustang)

Best Documentary
American Factory
Apollo 11
For Sama
Honeyland
Island of the Hungry Ghosts

Best Supporting Female
Jennifer Lopez (Hustlers)
Taylor Russell (Waves)
Zhao Shuzhen (The Farewell)
Lauren “Lolo” Spencer (Give Me Liberty)
Octavia Spencer (Luce)

Best Supporting Male
Willem Dafoe (The Lighthouse)
Noah Jupe (Honey Boy)
Shia Labeouf (Honey Boy)
Jonathan Majors (The Last Black Man in San Francisco)
Wendell Pierce (Burning Cane)

Robert Altman Award
Noah Baumbach, Douglas Aibel, Francine Maisler, Alan Alda, Laura Dern, Adam Driver, Julie Hagerty, Scarlett Johansson, Ray Liotta, Azhy Robertson, Merritt Wever (Marriage Story)

Best First Screenplay
Fredrica Bailey, Stefon Bristol (See You Yesterday)
Hannah Bos, Paul Thureen (Driveways)
Bridget Savage Cole, Danielle Krudy (Blow the Man Down)
Jocelyn Deboer, Dawn Luebbe (Greener Grass)
James Montague, Craig W. Sanger (The Vast of the Night)

Best Editing
Julie Béziau (The Third Wife)
Ronald Bronstein, Benny Safdie (Uncut Gems)
Tyler L. Cook (Sword of Trust)
Louise Ford (The Lighthouse)
Kirill Mikhanovsky (Give Me Liberty)

Best Cinematography
Todd Banhazl (Hustlers)
Jarin Blaschke (The Lighthouse)
Natasha Braier (Honey Boy)
Chananun Chotrungroj (The Third Wife)
Pawel Pogorzelski (Midsommar)

Best International Film
Invisible Life, Brazil
Les Miserablés, France
Parasite, South Korea
Portrait of a Lady on Fire, France
Retablo, Peru
The Souvenir, United Kingdom

John Cassavetes Award
Burning Cane
Colewell
Give Me Liberty
Premature
Wild Nights With Emily

Producers Award
Mollye Asher
Krista Parris
Ryan Zacarias

Someone to Watch Award
Rashaad Ernesto Green (Premature)
Ash Mayfair (The Third Wife)
Joe Talbot (The Last Black Man in San Francisco)

Truer Than Fiction Award
Khalik Allah (Black Mother)
Davy Rothbart (17 Blocks)
Nadia Shihab (Jaddoland)
Erick Stoll, Chase Whiteside (América)

Annual Bonnie Award
Marielle Heller
Kelly Reichardt
Lulu Wang

Final Oscar Predictions and Rankings

Here we are!  The big day!  It feels like this awards season has gone on forever and a never ending barrage of controversy from the host, to the length of the telecast, to what awards might not be presented live on the telecast.  At the end of the day, the 91st Academy Awards will be a hostless affair and feature only four of the five musical performances.  All the winners will be announced live and aside from that many of the races are coming down to a photo finish.  As it usually the case, many pundits (myself included) are having last-minute buyers remorse and flip-flopping on who they think the winners will be.

The time has come, however, to shore up my picks and below you’ll see my rankings by film/nominee in each category representing my overall picks as well as a Will Win and Should Win.  Hopefully, this will give me a little room to put out into the ether some last minute good vibes for nominees that may not be coming into the night as favorites but who could leave the ceremony with an Oscar in hand.

Also, this is the first year I’ve seen all the nominees and while I’m not sure how much of a edge that gets me because the Oscars are nothing if not unpredictable when it comes down to it.  I do think, though, that critics/movie fans worth their salt need to look beyond commercial films or buzzed about titles and seek out the nominees that might not be the most talked about.  It felt good to see everything and go into the night understanding what the winners were up against.

BEST PICTURE
A Star is Born
The Favourite

Black Panther
BlacKkKlansman
Roma
Green Book
Bohemian Rhapsody
Vice

Will Win: All signs point to Roma becoming the first foreign language film to win the Best Picture Oscar.  
Should Win: My heart hurts that the raw energy of A Star is Born and the audacious pluck of The Favourite won’t be rewarded.

BEST DIRECTOR
Spike Lee, BlacKkKlansman
Yorgos Lanthimos, The Favourite
Alfonso Cuaron, Roma
Pawel Pawlikowski, Cold War
Adam McKay, Vice

Will Win: Alfonso Cuaron’s winning for Roma seems like a foregone conclusion.
Should Win:
Spike Lee – I just feel deep down this award was meant for him this year.

BEST ACTOR
Bradley Cooper, A Star is Born
Rami Malek, Bohemian Rhapsody
Viggo Mortensen, Green Book
Christian Bale, Vice
Willem Dafoe, At Eternity’s Gate

Will Win: Rami Malek – a strong performance but it’s not near the level of work that the person I think should win put in.  Malek has played the game this season, though, and when he wins it will be because he gladhanded his way into voters hearts.
Should Win: 
Bradley Cooper – I just can’t believe Cooper didn’t walk away with this award.  He was responsible for so much behind the scenes with A Star is Born and then to turn in this kind of performance?  It’s remarkable.  I do think his lack of presence with voters hurt him — he likely thought he had it in the bag and didn’t put the same kind of effort that Malek did.  Which is too bad because the award should be given to the performance, not the person.

BEST ACTRESS
Melissa McCarthy, Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Glenn Close, The Wife
Olivia Colman, The Favourite
Lady Gaga, A Star is Born
Yalitza Aparicio, Roma

Will Win: Glenn Close – it’s not, um, close, to her finest work but it’s definitely her time to take home Oscar gold.
Should Win:
Melissa McCarthy gave the best performance of any of the nominees.  No question.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Richard E. Grant, Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Sam Elliott, A Star is Born
Mahershala Ali, Green Book
Adam Driver, BlacKkKlansman
Sam Rockwell, Vice

Will Win: It’s category fraud since he’s without question the co-lead of Green Book, but Mahershala Ali is heading for his second Oscar.
Should Win: If there’s one wish I had for Oscar night it would be that Rami Malek would be blanked for Best Actor.  If had two wishes, the second would go toward hoping Richard E. Grant would be a surprise upset in this race.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Rachel Weisz, The Favourite
Regina King, If Beale Street Could Talk
Emma Stone, The Favourite
Amy Adams, Vice
Marina de Tavira, Roma

Will Win:
Regina King is such a strong force in If Beale Street Could Talk and she’s well liked by nearly everyone in The Academy.  I found the performance to be slightly one-note but the note is almost always played in perfect pitch.
Should Win: Rachel Weisz – though she’ll split the vote with her co-star, Weisz has the trickiest role of the other two ladies in The Favourite.  Seeing the movie again recently only confirmed that she’s the MVP of that movie.

BEST EDITING
Barry Alexander Brown, BlacKkKlansman
Yorgos Mavropsaridis, The Favourite

John Ottman, Bohemian Rhapsody
Patrick J. Don Vito, Green Book
Hank Corwin, Vice

Will Win: Seems like people want to reward John Ottman for taking the mess that was Bohemian Rhapsody and fashioning it into something that could be released.  Still, if you’ve seen the film you’d know that the editing is amateur hour all the way.
Should Win:
BlacKkKlansman has so little excess fat on it, it’s streamlined which adds to its breathlessness.

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara, The Favourite
Paul Schrader, First Reformed
Alfonso Cuaron, Roma
Adam McKay, Vice
Brian Hayes Currie, Peter Farrelly and Nick Vallelonga, Green Book

Will Win: This is a close race with many wanting to reward Paul Schrader, even if First Reformed isn’t in the same league as his classic scripts for Taxi Driver or Raging Bull.  I’m still betting on The Favourite to win.
Should Win:
The Favourite – it’s the best shot it has at a sure-thing Oscar tonight, despite tying Roma for the most nominations.

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty, Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Spike Lee, David Rabinowitz, Charlie Wachtel and Kevin Willmott, BlacKkKlansman
Barry Jenkins, If Beale Street Could Talk
Bradley Cooper, Will Fetters and Eric Roth, A Star is Born
Joel Coen, Ethan Coen, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

Will Win: The team from BlacKkKlansman are the likely victors, only because this might be the only time of the night to give Spike Lee an Oscar.
Should Win:
If you’ve read Lee Israel’s book that Can You Ever Forgive Me? was based off, I’m told you’d know why Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty deserve the award for taking source material and expanding its ideas for the screen.  Just look what they did with Richard E. Grant’s character who only briefly turns up in the book but becomes a solid supporting player in the movie.

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
Capernaum {Lebanon}
Roma {Mexico}
Shoplifters {Japan}
Never Look Away {Germany}
Cold War {Poland}

Will Win: Roma – the groundswell for this makes it almost an unstoppable force.  Only Cold War (the worst of the five) could upset it should voters not want to vote for Roma here and in Best Picture.
Should Win:
Capernaum – far more involving from a narrative perspective than Roma ever was, I can see why some people are turned off at the subject matter.  It’s still the best of the five nominees.

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Robbie Ryan, The Favourite
Matthew Libatique, A Star is Born
Lukasz Zal, Cold War
Alfonso Cuaron, Roma
Caleb Deschanel, Never Look Away

Will Win: Alfonso Cuaron for Roma
Should Win:
Robbie Ryan’s cinematography for The Favourite was, like the film, inventive and unexpected.

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN
Fiona Crombie and Alice Felton, The Favourite
John Myhre, Gordon Sim, Mary Poppins Returns
Hannah Beachler, Black Panther
Nathan Crowley and Kathy Lucas, First Man
Eugenio Caballero and Barbara Enriquez, Roma

Will Win: The team behind The Favourite created a period-perfect world that was meticulous and gorgeous.
Should Win:
The Favourite

BEST SOUND MIXING
A Star is Born
Bohemian Rhapsody
Black Panther

First Man
Roma

Will Win: Bohemian Rhapsody
Should Win:
A Star is Born

BEST SOUND EDITING
A Quiet Place
Bohemian Rhapsody
Black Panther
First Man
Roma

Will Win: Bohemian Rhapsody
Should Win:
A Quiet Place

BEST COSTUME DESIGN
Ruth E. Carter, Black Panther
Alexandra Byrne, Mary Queen of Scots
Sandy Powell, The Favourite
Sandy Powell, Mary Poppins Returns
Mary Zophres, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

Will Win: Ruth E. Carter – every other nominee had some sort of point of reference to work with but Carter created these stupendous designs from scratch using new technologies.  That should absolutely get her the Oscar.
Should Win:
Ruth E. Carter

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
Free Solo
Minding the Gap
RBG
Of Fathers and Sons
Hale County This Morning, This Evening

Will Win: Free Solo – even if the subject wasn’t such a fascinating guy, the effort that went into making this was Herculean in scope.
Should Win:
Free Solo

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Incredibles 2
Isle of Dogs
Ralph Breaks the Internet
Mirai

Will Win: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse – no other nominee comes close.
Should Win:
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
Avengers: Infinity War
First Man
Ready Player One
Solo: A Star Wars Story
Christopher Robin

Will Win: Avengers: Infinity War – the sheer magnitude of effects is impressive, and that is doesn’t look like a cartoon is why it should be rewarded.
Should Win:
First Man – the subtle work that went into sending Neil Armstrong to the moon doesn’t overshadow the action and mostly goes unnoticed.  The best visual effects are the ones that we believe to be true.

BEST MAKEUP & HAIRSTYLING
Border
Vice
Mary Queen of Scots

Will Win: Vice – Christan Bale’s performance would be just the glorified impression it is without the work here.
Should Win: Border – if more people had been able to see this movie, they would be on board for voting.  The full body transformation accomplished here was stunning.

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
Nicholas Britell, If Beale Street Could Talk
Terence Blanchard, BlacKkKlansman
Ludwig Goransson, Black Panther
Alexandre Desplat, Isle of Dogs
Marc Shaiman, Mary Poppins Returns

Will Win: Nicholas Britell’s score for If Beale Street Could Talk was almost another character.  It’s beautiful.
Should Win:
Britell

BEST ORIGINAL SONG
“Shallow”, A Star is Born
“The Place Where Lost Things Go”, Mary Poppins Returns
“All the Stars”, Black Panther
“I’ll Fight”, RBG
“When A Cowboy Trades His Spurs For Wings”, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

Will Win: “Shallow”
Should Win:
“Shallow”- If this doesn’t win it would be the capper on the cruel journey A Star is Born has gone on these last few months of coming into the awards season as the frontrunner only to be usurped by movies that aren’t nearly as universally liked.

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT
Period. End of Sentence
Black Sheep
End Game
Lifeboat
A Night at the Garden

Will Win: Black Sheep – this was a rough bunch this year and this was probably the best of the four fairly depressing entries.  I don’t think it’s a true documentary, though, which put it out of the running in my book.
Should Win: Period. End of Sentence – I guess I’m just favoring work this year that uplifts and this documentary has its heart in the right place and put it to good use.  I can’t believe some of the comments I’ve read about how male voters will likely be turned off because talking about women’s mestrual cycles was “icky”.

BEST ANIMATED SHORT
Late Afternoon
One Small Step
Bao
Animal Behaviour
Weekends

Will Win: Bao – shown in front of Incredibles 2 this summer, it’s the one most voters will have seen, even if it’s not the strongest of the bunch…or even one of the better Pixar shorts.
Should Win:
Late Afternoon – the animation may be simplistic but the journey it takes you on is anything but.  It’s the clear winner for me.

BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT
Marguerite
Mother
Detainment
Fauve
Skin

Will Win: Skin – it’s the most cinematic of all but voters knowing the director went on to make a full length film with the same title loosely based on the same subject might want to hold their vote to see how that one turns out.
Should Win: Marguerite – the least problematic of all the nominees and also the least outright depressing. Like the animated short Late Afternoon, it’s a small, simple tale beautifully told.

2018 – Best of the Best, Worst of the Worst, Grand Totals

Hello!

Wow!  Here we go into our year EIGHT of The MN Movie Man.  I can’t believe it! 

Below I’ve compiled my list of the best and worst of 2018.  As is typically the case, by the time it came to make this list things became a bit of a jumble and I decided to choose the movies that I had the strongest reaction to when I saw them.  I don’t revisit movies often but anything in the Top 5 are films that I’d add to my collection.  I also cheated a little bit…but it’s my blog so I can do what I want 🙂

As always, I’ve appreciated your feedback, your patronage, and your general presence in my blog. Even if you read this everyday but have never commented or made contact I can still tell you’ve been here and that means a lot.  

If you haven’t already, make sure to follow this blog, follow me on Twitter (@joemnmovieman), and like my Facebook page so you can help me continue spreading the news about The MN Movie Man.

Best Wishes to you and yours for a most Happy New Year!

~Joe (The MN Movie Man)

5. A Quiet Place – John Krasinski always felt like he’d best be remembered for playing Jim on NBC’s The Office but after writing/directing this spine-chilling genre film I’d be willing to bet they’ll also mention A Quiet Place in a list of his major accomplishments.  Turning a horror film on its ear and making it a metaphor about parenting was a smart move in keeping things in unfamiliar territory to audiences.  With his wife in the leading role and two dynamite child actors as their children, Krasinksi assembled a perfect roster across the board.  It was scary, it was emotional, and it was fantastically well made with a high re-watchability factor.  Super.

4. A Star is Born (2018) – After three previous versions of A Star is Born the question everyone wanted to know was if the story of a fading rock star falling in love with a pop star as she rises to fame would work in a modern setting.  Coupled with a stellar soundtrack and the kind of movie star chemistry you rarely see in these days, Bradley Cooper’s directorial debut was a knockout.  The first hour is better than most entire films released in 2018 and even if the second half can’t quite reach those same heights the work done by Lady Gaga and Cooper (not to mention Sam Elliott) is remarkable.  It’s even better on repeat viewings.

3. If Beale Street Could Talk – when the screening of this one was over I wasn’t quite sure what I thought about it, it’s one that will stick to your bones for many days to come.  In the days and weeks that have followed since I saw this Barry Jenkins adaptation of James Baldwin’s short novel, I’ve found it hard to get it out of my mind or shake it’s unforgettable imagery.  The performances are phenomenal and haunting – the way Jenkins has many of the actors deliver their lines directly to camera has a chilling effect you won’t soon forget.  A lyrical and beautifully constructed work of art.

2. Love Simon / Crazy Rich Asians – hooray for the return of the romantic comedy!  2018 had two shining examples of excellent romantic comedies and I couldn’t be happier to have them on my best of the year list.  Though it may teeter on the side of comedic drama, Love Simon is a sweet tale of a high schooler coming to terms with his sexuality and learning to be OK with it.  Crazy Rich Asians is the mega hit that heralded the return of the outright rom-com to cinemas that wasn’t afraid to be big and bold.  Often with these movies the main characters get overshadowed by showier supporting characters and it’s true that both of these offerings have memorable supporting players – but the difference is that the lead characters are written well enough that they remain as interesting as everyone else on screen.  More of these movies, please and thank you!

1. The Favourite – To be honest, I’m surprised this one found its way to the top of my list, but in looking at the movies I saw last year none struck the same clarion chord of expertise in quite the way that The Favourite did.  It’s absolutely not going to be everyone’s cup of English Breakfast tea but for those that are willing to tilt their head slightly to the side and see things askew, they’ll get a kick of this bawdy trip to Queen Anne’s court.  Everything about the production is sublime, from the costumes to the set dressings all the way up to the leading performances of a trio of excellent ladies.  I still think Rachel Weisz gave one of my favorite performances of the year in a very tricky role that could have gone into high camp.

Honorable Mentions: Mary Queen of Scots, Paddington 2, A Simple Favor, Roma, Overlord, Widows, Mary Poppins Returns, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Mission: Impossible – Fallout, Revenge

 

5. Book Club – a movie featuring talented actors Jane Fonda, Mary Steenburgen, Candice Bergen, and Diane Keaton should be smart, finely tuned, and relevant.  Book Club is none of these things.  A lame-brained comedy that feels like it came out 20 years too late puts the four women in numerous embarrassing situations and asks them to recite godawful dialogue.  I took my mom to see this on Mother’s Day and felt like I had to ask for a do over the next weekend.

4. The Happytime Murders – I’ll admit it: I laughed at this movie…because there are a few jokes so repulsively blunt that you can’t help but stammer out a guffaw at what you just heard a blue felt puppet say to similarly pilling creation from the son of Jim Henson.  Having seen the foul-mouthed musical Avenue Q on Broadway, which gleefully advertises “Full Puppet Nudity” I get that there are jokes to be made as a commentary but the difference between that Tony winning show and this future Razzie winner, is that this movie has no creative bone in its body.  It’s just a series of sex jokes that are only funny because a puppet is saying them.

3. Breaking In – I’ve been a fan of Gabrielle Union for a while now and she deserves better than bargain-basement projects like Breaking In.  A basic cable style movie that somehow was picked up by a major studio and released to unsuspecting audiences paying full price, this was a brainless effort from all that touted a poster image of Union looking ready to kick butt but instead featured her as a character that made a series of totally idiotic moves.  Worst of all was Breaking In’s arrival in the midst of the #TimesUp movement because it features horrific treatment of women and one totally unnecessary death that I’m guessing will be enough for some viewers to turn it off when watching.

2. Holmes & Watson / Tag – I’m including Holmes & Watson and Tag together on this list because both feature stupid guys doing stupid things.  Holmes & Watson is yet another opportunity for Will Ferrell to cash a check for doing the same old schtick while Tag is an exhausting exercise in toxic masculinity run amok.  Chuck both of these in the trash bin and call it a day.

1. Welcome to Marwen – It’s been a few weeks since I’ve seen Welcome to Marwen and I’m still seething mad at how bad it was.  Director Robert Zemeckis wastes a great cast in his misguided exercise bringing the documentary Marwencol to life as a feature film.  What made sense in a documentary setting completely fails to translate to a narrative feature and audiences are left to white-knuckle it through very disconcerting scenes of exploitation of women and those suffering from mental health issues.  Universal Pictures should be ashamed of themselves for distributing this one.  Total garbage.

Dis(Honorable) Mentions: Mortal Engines, Solo: A Star Wars Story, The Girl in the Spider’s Web, Christopher Robin, Fifty Shades Freed, Night School, Pacific Rim: Uprising, First Man, Red Sparrow, Tomb Raider (2018)

Most Misunderstood: Suspiria – Oh boy this was a divisive movie!  Fans of Dario Argento’s classic original were aghast at what director Luca Guadagnino did to the relatively simple outline of the original.  I, for one, was happy to see that Guadagnino dug a little deeper than Argento did and brought out even darker elements to an already pitch black tale of witchcraft running rampant at a Germany dance academy.  This was a long movie with several horrifying sequences but I found it a thrilling and exciting undertaking.  More risks like this need to be taken, even if they don’t fully succeed or, in this case, make any money.
Honorable Mention: The Meg

Joe’s Humble Pie Award of 2018 (movies that turned out differently than I expected going in): Game Night – I fully expected Game Night to be another one of Jason Bateman’s smug comedies with him rolling his eyes and having some snarky comment at every turn.  Actually, there’s a lot of that going on here but it works to Bateman’s advantage because it fits in perfectly with the tone of the film.  Buoyed by a strong supporting cast, including Rachel McAdams in a delightful turn and Jesse Plemons as a deadpan dud, and some genuine twists that keep the film from getting too far ahead of its audience, this was a more than pleasant surprise.  Several points off for spoiling one of the best jokes in the trailer, though.  Tsk Tsk.
Honorable Mention: Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again

Movies You Probably Haven’t Seen But Should

A Star is Born (1937)
A Star is Born (1954)
Alpha 
Apostle
BlacKkKlansman 
Can You Ever Forgive Me? 
Eighth Grade
Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool 
Ghost Stories
Grand Canyon
Lean on Pete
Pick of the Litter
Rocky
Rocky II
Rocky Balboa
Searching 
Strong Island
The Harvey Girls

Click HERE for a full listing of films seen in 2018
Total Movies Seen in the Theater: 128
Total Movies Seen at Home: 184
Grand Total for 2018 (not counting films seen multiple times): 309
Where I Saw the Most Movies – AMC Southdale (35!)

Oscars – Final Predictions

The Oscars, hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, air Sunday, March 4 on ABC

BEST PICTURE
1. Call Me By Your Name
2. Darkest Hour
3. Dunkirk
4. Get Out
5. Lady Bird
6. Phantom Thread
7. The Post
8. The Shape of Water
9. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Will Win: Dunkirk 
Should Win: Get Out
Why?: OK…I predict I’m going to be wrong here and that’s OK with me.  I just figured in a year where there is no clear favorite, the preferential ballot that is used to determine Best Picture might just come out in Dunkirk‘s favor.  Hard to believe that less than six months ago (and after Get Out was released), Dunkirk was the favorite to win this award.  I’d love to see Get Out win here but wouldn’t be upset if Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri or The Shape of Water were named either.

BEST DIRECTOR
1. Guillermo del Toro, The Shape of Water
2. Greta Gerwig, Lady Bird
3. Paul Thomas Anderson, Phantom Thread
4. Christopher Nolan, Dunkirk
5. Jordan Peele, Get Out

Will Win: Guillermo del Toro
Should Win: Guillermo del Toro
Why?: del Toro is loved in Hollywood and his movie is so totally his vision that it would be hard to deny him the award for his efforts.

BEST ACTOR
1. Timothee Chalamet, Call Me By Your Name
2. Daniel Day-Lewis, Phantom Thread
3. Daniel Kaluuya, Get Out
4. Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour
5. Denzel Washington, Roman J. Israel, Esq.

Will Win: Gary Oldman
Should Win: Gary Oldman
Why?: Even though Oldman has his fair share of detractors after some questionable remarks made in a magazine several years ago, he earns and deserves this award.  After Best Supporting Actress, this is the closest thing to a lock.

BEST ACTRESS
1. Sally Hawkins, The Shape of Water
2. Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
3. Margot Robbie, I, Tonya
4. Saoirse Ronan, Lady Bird
5. Meryl Streep, The Post

Will Win: Frances McDormand
Should Win: Frances McDormand
Why?: Divisive as the movie is, it’s hard to deny McDormand’s powerful turn in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.  Ronan will win her Oscar soon and if Robbie keeps up the good work she’ll be back in the race in no time.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
1. Willem Dafoe, The Florida Project
2. Woody Harrelson, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
3. Richard Jenkins, The Shape of Water
4. Christopher Plummer, All the Money in the World
5. Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Will Win: Sam Rockwell
Should Win: Sam Rockwell
Why?: While two people from the same film nominated in the same category often means both go home empty-handed (hello deserving winner Sigourney Weaver and Joan Cusack from Working Girl!), this year Rockwell will beat out Harrelson and the rest of the guys for this award.  His character has polarized audiences and critics but he’s so well liked in Hollywood and has turned in consistently fine work for over a decade, this is another easy one to call.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
1. Mary J. Blige, Mudbound
2. Allison Janney, I, Tonya
3. Lesley Manville, Phantom Thread
4. Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird
5. Octavia Spencer, The Shape of Water

Will Win: Allison Janney
Should Win: Laurie Metcalf
Why?: My heart breaks for this category since there are SO many deserving nominees.  Janney is so damn popular and respected (with good reason!) in the industry that the odds are locked in her favor for the win.  Still, as memorable as she is in the role it doesn’t seem like a huge stretch which is why my vote would go to Metcalf’s performance in Lady Bird.  It’s a much more challenging role to navigate and she does it with ease.  The best of all possible worlds would have Manville best them all — she’s really terrific.

BEST EDITING
1. Baby Driver
2. Dunkirk
3. I, Tonya
4. The Shape of Water
5. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Will Win: Dunkirk
Should Win: Dunkirk
Why?: Dunkirk may not be winning the top honors this year but expect it to do well in the technical categories.  While you could prepare for a I, Tonya spoiler, your safe bet is to fly Dunkirk‘s friendly skies.

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
1. Guillermo del Toro, The Shape of Water
2. Greta Gerwig, Lady Bird
3. Emily V. Gordon & Kumail Nanjiani, The Big Sick
4. Martin McDonagh, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
5. Jordan Peele, Get Out

Will Win: Get Out
Should Win: The Big Sick
Why?: This is another almost impossible category to select the “Best of”.  I loved all of these films so would be fine with any of them going home a winner.  Seeing that The Big Sick got left off of some key categories (Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress), I’d jump for joy if they got some recognition here.  Still, though it has a weak third act, the power of Get Out will push it to the front of the line.

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
1. Scott Frank & James Mangold, Logan
2. James Ivory, Call Me By Your Name
3. Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber, The Disaster Artist
4. Aaron Sorkin, Molly’s Game
5. Virgil Williams & Dee Rees, Mudbound

Will Win: Call Me By Your Name
Should Win: Call Me By Your Name
Why?: James Ivory is a legend in the business and has never won an Oscar.  At 89, expect him to pick up his first Oscar for Call Me By Your Name (a movie he at one time was going to direct as well)

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
1. A Fantastic Woman
2. The Insult
3. Loveless
4. On Body and Soul
5. The Square

Will Win: A Fantastic Woman
Should Win: A Fantastic Woman
Why?: I usually make a point to see all of these nominees but this year proved a bit more difficult to catch them all.  Luckily, the one I did see is the favorite to win.  Let’s go with A Fantastic Woman from Chile, featuring transgender actress Daniela Vega who will also be presenting at the ceremony.

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
1. Roger Deakins, Blade Runner 2049
2. Bruno Delbonnel, Darkest Hour
3. Hoyte van Hoytema, Dunkirk
4. Dan Laustsen, The Shape of Water
5. Rachel Morrison, Mudbound

Will Win: Roger Deakins
Should Win: Roger Deakins
Why?: 14th time’s the charm?  OMG, if Roger Deakins doesn’t win this award I’ll be SO upset.  After 13 nominations, it’s more than his time.  It helps the work is stellar so it won’t feel like an award for cumulative work.

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN
1. Beauty and the Beast
2. Blade Runner 2049
3. Darkest Hour
4. Dunkirk
5. The Shape of Water

Will Win: The Shape of Water
Should Win: Blade Runner 2049
Why?: Lots of credit goes to the design of The Shape of Water for adding to its fantasy fairy tale feel.  I won’t be upset when it wins but felt that the sets and art direction for Blade Runner 2049  were a huge part of making that film so intoxicating to look at.

BEST SOUND MIXING
1. Baby Driver
2. Blade Runner 2049
3. Dunkirk
4. The Shape of Water
5. Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Will Win: Dunkirk
Should Win: Baby Driver
Why?: Expect Dunkirk to succeed in another technical category, even though some of the dialogue was hard to hear (maybe that was intentional?)  Baby Driver has a more than decent shot to best Dunkirk…but only in this category.

BEST SOUND EDITING
1. Baby Driver
2. Blade Runner 2049
3. Dunkirk
4. The Shape of Water
5. Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Will Win: Dunkirk
Should Win: Dunkirk
Why?: It’s Dunkirk, right?

BEST COSTUME DESIGN
1. Beauty and the Beast
2. Darkest Hour
3. Phantom Thread
4. The Shape of Water
5. Victoria & Abdul

Will Win: Phantom Thread
Should Win: Phantom Thread
Why?: People were shocked when The Shape of Water recently won top honors at the Costume Guild ceremony and when you think about the monster suit (yep, that’s a costume) it’s easy to see why people were impressed.  Still, the gowns and natty clothing created for Phantom Thread are almost another fully-realized character.

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
1. Abacus: Small Enough to Jail
2. Faces Places
3. Icarus
4. Last Man in Aleppo
5. Strong Island

Will Win: Face Places
Should Win: Strong Island
Why?: Agnès Varda is the oldest nominee for an Oscar and the well-regard French auteur looks likely to win her first Oscar for a film I sadly haven’t seen.  I have seen Strong Island on Netflix, however, and it blew me away.  Gotta go with my heart on this one.

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
1. The Boss Baby
2. The Breadwinner
3. Coco
4. Ferndinand
5. Loving Vincent

Will Win: Coco
Should Win: Loving Vincent
Why?:  Everyone loves the emotional Coco and for good reason.  PIXAR always makes a beeline to your heartstrings and that usually means a win in this category.  I’d love to see it go to the gorgeous Loving Vincent, a fully hand-painted film that was totally electrifying to watch.  I’ve heard rumors that The Boss Baby is making a late in the game come from behind play but I’m praying this baby goes to bed early…I couldn’t stand that film.

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
1. Blade Runner 2049
2. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
3. Kong: Skull Island
4. Star Wars: The Last Jedi
5. War for the Planet of the Apes

Will Win: War for the Planet of the Apes
Should Win: War for the Planet of the Apes
Why?: You want to know why War for the Planet of the Apes is going to win?  Because the first two movies didn’t and they both deserved it.  Here’s a chance to reward the trilogy.

BEST MAKEUP & HAIRSTYLING
1. Darkest Hour
2. Victoria & Abdul
3. Wonder

Will Win: Darkest Hour
Should Win: Darkest Hour
Why?: While Wonder has the potential to spoil the night for Darkest Hour in this category, I wouldn’t count on Darkest Hour losing seeing that the make-up is praised right alongside Gary Oldman’s work in nearly every review.

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
1. Carter Burwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
2. Alexandre Desplat, The Shape of Water
3. Jonny Greenwood, Phantom Thread
4. John Williams, Star Wars: The Last Jedi
5. Hans Zimmer, Dunkirk

Will Win: Alexandre Desplat
Should Win: Jonny Greenwood
Why?: Most signs point to Desplat emerging victorious but I challenge you to find a more beautiful score to any move released in 2017 than what Johnny Greenwood created for Phantom Thread.  C’mon Academy, get this one right.

BEST ORIGINAL SONG
1. “Mighty River” Mudbound
2. “Mystery of Love” Call Me By Your Name
3. “Remember Me” Coco
4. “Stand Up for Something” Marshall
5. “This is Me” The Greatest Showman

Will Win: “This is Me”
Should Win: “Remember Me”
Why?: Last year I gritted my teeth with Pasek and Paul won an Oscar for composing a song from La La Land but this year I think they might actually deserve it.  Still, I found more emotional resonance in Coco‘s beautiful nominated tune.

Best Documentary Short
1. Edith + Eddie
2. Heaven is a Traffic Jam on the 405
3. Heroin(e)
4. Knife Skills
5. Traffic Stop

Will Win: Edith + Eddie
Should Win: Heaven is a Traffic Jam on the 405
Why?: Sentiment will carry Edith + Eddie over the finish line but that movie had too many one-sided conversations to feel truly complete.  I found Heaven is a Traffic Jam on the 405 to be an unflinching look at mental illness and how one artist tries to emerge from the darkness.  It was magnificent and deserves an Oscar.

Best Animated Short
1. Dear Basketball
2. Garden Party
3. Lou
4. Negative Space
5. Revolting Rhymes

Will Win: Dear Basketball
Should Win: Garden Party
Why?: Here’s another one that would see like a no-brainer if you truly watched every nominee.  Despite it’s dark twist, Garden Party’s hyper-realistic animation made it the best of the bunch of the nominees this year but somehow the favor seems to be falling on Dear Basketball.  Though animated by the legendary Glen Keane and scored by John Williams, it’s a vanity project love letter from Kobe Bryant to himself that was the absolute worst nominee.  Yuck.

Best Live Action Short
1. DeKalb Elementary
2. The Eleven O’clock
3. My Nephew Emmett
4. The Silent Child
5. Watu Wote/All of Us

Will Win: Watu Wote/All of Us
Should WinDeKalb Elementary
Why?: In terms of crafting a complete story arc within the confines of the Live-Action Short narrative, Watu Wote/All of Us is the clear victor.  For purely emotional raw reaction, I can’t imagine a more deserving winner than the timely DeKalb Elementary.   DeKalb is 20 minutes long and is the kind of riveting, body-tense, make you sweat kind of project that’s unforgettable.

The Golden Globes – Final Picks!

Who will win tonight at the Golden Globes?  Predicated winners are denoted with a (*)

 

Best Motion Picture, Drama
Call Me By Your Name
Dunkirk
The Post
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
*The Shape of Water

Best Motion Picture, Comedy or Musical
The Disaster Artist
Get Out
The Greatest Showman
I, Tonya
*Lady Bird

Best Director, Motion Picture
*Guillermo Del Toro, The Shape of Water
Martin McDonagh, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Christopher Nolan, Dunkirk
Ridley Scott, All the Money in the World
Steven Spielberg, The Post

Best Screenplay, Motion Picture
The Shape of Water
*Lady Bird
The Post
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Molly’s Game

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture, Drama
Timothée Chalamet, Call Me by Your Name
Daniel Day-Lewis, Phantom Thread
Tom Hanks, The Post
*Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour
Denzel Washington, Roman J. Israel, Esq.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture, Drama
Jessica Chastain, Molly’s Game
Sally Hawkins, The Shape of Water
*Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Meryl Streep, The Post
Michelle Williams, All the Money in the World

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture, Comedy or Musical
Steve Carell, Battle of the Sexes
Ansel Elgort, Baby Driver
*
James Franco, The Disaster Artist
Hugh Jackman, The Greatest Showman
Daniel Kaluuya, Get Out

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture, Comedy or Musical
Judi Dench, Victoria & Abdul
Helen Mirren, The Leisure Seeker
Margot Robbie, I, Tonya
*Saoirse Ronan, Lady Bird
Emma Stone, Battle of the Sexes

Best Performance by a Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture
*
Willem Dafoe, The Florida Project
Armie Hammer, Call Me by Your Name
Richard Jenkins, The Shape of Water
Christopher Plummer, All the Money in the World
Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Best Performance by a Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture
Mary J. Blige, Mudbound
Hong Chau, Downsizing
Allison Janney, I, Tonya
*
Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird
Octavia Spencer, The Shape of Water

Best Original Song in Motion Picture
“Home,” Ferdinand
“Mighty River,” Mudbound
*“Remember Me,” Coco
“The Star”, The Star
“This Is Me,” The Greatest Showman

Best Original Score in a Motion Picture
Carter Burwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
*
Alexander Desplat, The Shape of Water
Jonny Greenwood, Phantom Thread
Hans Zimmer, Dunkirk
John Williams, The Post

Best Foreign Film
A Fantastic Woman
First They Killed My Father
In the Fade
Loveless
*The Square

Animated Feature Film
The Boss Baby
The Breadwinner
*Coco
Ferdinand
Loving Vincent

TV Nominations

Best TV Series, Drama
The Crown
Stranger Things
Game of Thrones
This Is Us
*
The Handmaid’s Tale

Best Comedy Series
Black-Ish
*The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Master of None
SMILF
Will & Grace

Best TV Miniseries or Movie
*
Big Little Lies
Fargo
Feud: Bette and Joan
The Sinner
Top of the Lake: China Girl

Best Performance by an Actor in a TV Series, Drama
*
Sterling K. Brown, This is Us
Freddie Highmore, The Good Doctor
Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul
Liev Schreiber, Ray Donovan
Jason Bateman, Ozark

Best Performance by an Actress in TV Series, Drama
Caitriona Balfe, Outlander
Claire Foy, The Crown
Maggie Gyllenhaal, The Deuce
Katherine Langford, 13 Reasons Why
*Elisabeth Moss, The Handmaid’s Tale

Best Performance by an Actor in TV Series, Comedy
Anthony Anderson, Black-ish
Aziz Ansari, Master of None
Kevin Bacon, I Love Dick
William H. Macy, Shameless
*Eric McCormack, Will and Grace

Best Performance by an Actress in TV Series, Comedy
Pamela Adlon, Better Things
Alison Brie, G.L.O.W.
*Rachel Brosnahan, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Issa Rae, Insecure
Frankie Shaw, SMILF

Best Performance by a Supporting Actor in TV
David Harbour, Stranger Things
Alfred Molina, Feud: Bette and Joan
Christian Slater, Mr. Robot
*Alexander Skarsgard, Big Little Lies
David Thewlis, Fargo

Best Performance by Supporting Actress in TV
*
Laura Dern, Big Little Lies
Ann Dowd, The Handmaid’s Tale
Chrissy Metz, This is Us
Michelle Pfeiffer, The Wizard of Lies
Shailene Woodley, Big Little Lies

Best Performance by an Actor in a TV Miniseries or Movie
*Robert De Niro, The Wizard of Lies
Jude Law, The Young Pope
Kyle MacLachlan, Twin Peaks: The Return
Ewan McGregor, Fargo
Geoffrey Rush, Genius

Best Performance by an Actress in a TV Miniseries or Movie
Jessica Biel, The Sinner
*Nicole Kidman, Big Little Lies
Jessica Lange, Feud: Bette and Joan
Susan Sarandon, Feud: Bette and Joan
Reese Witherspoon, Big Little Lies

2017 – Best of the Best, Worst of the Worst, Grand Totals

Well hello there!  

So here we are about to start the SEVENTH year of this blog!  Hard to believe it and boy, does time fly.  Below I’ve compiled my list of the best and worst of 2017.  As is typically the case, by the time it came to make this list things became a bit of a jumble and I decided to choose the movies that I had the strongest reaction to when I saw them.  I don’t revisit movies often but anything in the Top 5 are films that I’d add to my collection.  

As always, I’ve appreciated your feedback, your patronage, and your general presence in my blog. Even if you read this everyday but have never commented or made contact I can still tell you’ve been here and that means a lot.  My readership and subscriptions leveled off a bit in early 2017 but picked up nicely in the second half of the yearand it’s all thanks to your word of mouth, likes, and shares.  If you haven’t already, make sure to follow this blog, follow me on Twitter (@joemnmovieman), and like my Facebook page so you can help me continue spreading the news about The MN Movie Man.

Best Wishes to you and yours for a most Happy New Year!

~Joe (The MN Movie Man)


5. The Big Sick – while it didn’t exactly become ‘the little indie that could’ as expected, The Big Sick stuck around for a long time in theaters based on positive word of mouth alone and in Hollywood that kind of buzz is worth more than gold.  Writer/star Kumail Nanjiani’s true story on how he met his future wife and, through a stressful series of events, his future in-laws is a wonderfully comic look at love and family.  In our current political climate, it’s also a deft look at cultural stereotypes within the family structure of immigrants and how the second generations are cutting their own path toward the Great American Dream.

4. Blade Runner 2049 – A forward-thinking sequel to the futuristic 1982 cult classic, Blade Runner 2049 should have done much better at the box office and I’m still puzzled as to why this one fizzled so fast.  Big, bold, and beautiful, I saw this one twice in theaters and could have gone a few more times had the fall not gotten so cramped.  Director Denis Villeneuve (Prisoners, Enemy, Sicario), continues to be a force to be reckoned with and he gathered the best and brightest in front of and behind the camera to create a spectacular sci-fi epic.  Special mention to Dutch breakout Sylvia Hoeks who gets my vote for Best Villain of 2017.

3. Phantom Thread – this one isn’t out in many theaters yet so my full review is pending but this late-breaking film quickly jumped to my Best of the Year list.  I’ve been completely off the Paul Thomas Anderson bandwagon for the last few films (Inherent Vice was on my worst of list in 2015) but I’m applying for membership to his fan club after this strikingly gorgeous beautiful film he’s delivered.  It’s rich on multiple levels, not only in the ornate fashions on display but in the deeply emotional performances from star Daniel Day-Lewis (Lincoln) and two strong female supporting characters Vicky Krieps and Lesley Manville (Maleficent).  This one really knocked me over and blew my socks off…really sublime.

2. The Lost City of Z – Released in April 2017, you’d be forgiven if you’ve missed out on The Lost City of Z.  It’s so very, very good that it’s more than a minor heartbreak that it didn’t get the proper attention when it arrived in theaters.  I think the marketing from Amazon Studios really failed this film which should have been delayed to later in the fall for a more prestige release date.  Based on the bestselling novel, The Lost City of Z is a haunting tale of adventure and obsession that has stuck with me ever since I saw it.  The performances are stellar (who knew Pacific Rim’s Charlie Hunnam had it in him or that The Rover’s Robert Pattinson could be so compelling?) and director James Gray’s paces the film so well that the lengthy running time will surely fly by.  Seek this one out at all costs – you’re missing something special!

1. Get Out – Comedian Jordan Peele’s directorial debut captured lightning in a bottle and has kept that energy going ever since its release almost a year ago.  On its way to Oscar nominations for Best Picture and Best Screenplay (and perhaps one for Best Director?), Get Out is hands down the most original and entertaining film I saw throughout 2017.  I missed the critics screening for this one so found myself paying for a mid-week showing several weeks after it came out.  The reactions of the packed audience were but a ¼ of the fun to be had, I’ve watched it again at home and it works just as well.  Peele masterfully commands our attention in this Stepford Wives-esque tale of a white girl bringing her black boyfriend home to meet her parents.  Nothing is what it seems on their posh estate and the deeper we dive down Peele’s rabbit hole the more intriguing the picture becomes.  Scary, funny, on message, and supremely timely, Get Out is the kind of authentic filmmaking that’s becoming a rarity in Hollywood.  Just plain perfect.

Honorable Mentions: Atomic Blonde, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Lady Bird, Breathe, Call My By Your Name, Logan, Novitiate, The LEGO Batman Movie, The Post, IT, Wonder Woman, Personal Shopper

5. Goodbye Christopher Robin – I love Winnie-the-Pooh.  I did not love Goodbye Christopher Robin, a syrupy biopic on the man who created the lovable bear that lived in the Hundred-Acre Wood.  According to the filmmakers, A.A. Milne and his wife (a woefully terrible Margot Robie, Suicide Squad) were largely absentee parents that wound up exploiting their only child’s imagination for his stuffed animals for financial gain.  A late breaking and purely cinematic change of heart in Milne is the stuff of trite redemption stories but by the time it arrives the damage has extended too far into our consciousness.

4. mother! – Oh, how I was looking forward to this one.  This is one movie that had all the cards stacked in its favor.  An air of mystery, a celebrated director, a bankable movie star lead, and a supporting cast of solid actors that each have headlined their own film.  How did this one go so wrong?  mother! winds up on this list for being intensely unlikable at its best and practically unwatchable at its worst (which is most of the time).  An intriguing first 45 minutes (featuring the wonderfully feline Michelle Pfeiffer, Grease 2) gives way to utter insanity and culminates with a series of stomach churning developments.  Movies should always have an element of challenge to them but this one pushes the wrong buttons.

3. Roman J. Israel, Esq – Last year Denzel Washington had two movies that debuted to different receptions (Fences and The Magnificent Seven).  In 2017, Washington appeared in but one film, this severely misguided legal drama from writer/director Dan Gilroy (who was at the helm for the superb Nightcrawler in 2014) and the problems it has are too numerous to count.  It’s hackneyed plea for social justice reform reeks of half-baked rewrites and last-minute fixes and the supporting characters are but mere stereotypes. Even the reliable Washington is bizarrely off his game here, the Oscar buzz around his performances is mystifying.

2. Wish Upon – even thinking about this one again makes me mad.  Best to just tell you it’s horrible and barely coherent and leave it there.

1. The Snowman – unquestionably the poorest film released in 2017 and maybe one of the worst films of the last decade, The Snowman is uniquely terrible.  It’s a film that’s awful from almost the first frame and never even makes the effort to better itself.  That it’s filled with A-list stars and based off an international bestseller is bad enough, but most of the reasons it’s the worst of the worst is old fashioned bad filmmaking.  An embarrassingly heinous film and one that I’m sure will quickly be jettisoned from the resumes of everyone involved.  Let this one melt and never be heard from again.

Dis(Honorable) Mentions: Last Flag Flying, A Bad Mom’s Christmas, Home Again, Justice League

Most Misunderstood: Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets – Make no mistake about it, this movie is absolutely bonkers and will likely only appeal to the very (very) open-minded.  I’ve found myself in opposition with critics and spoon-fed audiences that have trouble with these outlandish sci-fi yarns (see my lone-wolf praise for John Carter) but I can also understand where their fears come from.  I wasn’t prepared to love this one but it was so gaga in the visuals department and so unpretentious in its goal to jolt your senses that I had to give it some well-deserved major kudos.
Honorable Mention: Downsizing, The Greatest Showman

Joe’s Humble Pie Award of 2017 (movies that turned out differently than I expected going in): Darkest Hour – True story, but I was really dreading seeing this slice of life biography on Winston Churchill.  Knowing that it covered the same period that was depicted so masterfully in Dunkirk, I just couldn’t muster any kind of excitement for it even after hearing that Gary Oldman’s performance as Churchill was an Oscar shoo-in.  While it isn’t a perfect film due to some pacing issues, director Joe Wright (Anna Karenina) and Oldman gave audiences a rarity: edge-of-your-seat entertainment with a story anyone that has ever taken a history class was already well-aware of.
Honorable Mention: Brad’s Status, Personal Shopper

Movies You Probably Haven’t Seen But Should

A Cure for Wellness

All I See Is You

Annabelle: Creation

Beatriz at Dinner

Certain Women

Gifted

God’s Own Country

Ingrid Goes West

Interiors

Life, Animated

Personal Shopper

Southside With You

Stronger

The Florida Project

The Handmaiden

The Lost City of Z

Tickled

Toni Erdmann

Click HERE for a full listing of films seen in 2017
Total Movies Seen in the Theater110
Total Movies Seen at Home176
Grand Total for 2017 (not counting films seen multiple times)278
Where I Saw the Most Movies – Showplace Icon (41!)