THE POST

Streep. Hanks. Spielberg. Oscar? Please. Frances is better off in Missouri. With two nods  (for Queen Meryl and the movie) after leading the pack at the Globes, this intrepid and alarmingly uncanny account that exposes the massive cover-up of government secrets spanning three decades has gained access to both critics’ pads and viewers’ hearts.

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Ben Bradlee (Tom Hanks) and Katharine Graham (Meryl Streep)

Set in 1971’s Washington D.C., this six-time Golden Globe contender shines a spotlight on the unflinching quest for truth led by the iconic newspaper’s publisher and editor, Katharine Graham and Ben Bradlee. Facing imprisonment and likely, the end of their careers, she must decide to green-light the publication of the renowned Pentagon Papers. As you will remember from the beginning of this paragraph, the early 70s were still very much a man’s world, and despite having earned every millimeter of ink, the honorable publisher was often talked over or underestimated.

Left to make the paramount decision of whether to unmask a corrupt Nixon administration and be personally singled out –it leaving an indelible stain on the paper’s reputation she so fought hard to safeguard– Kay eventually authorizes the move and all hell was loose… for the better.

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Kay gives a discerning look to one of his (male) colleagues

Writing about how Meryl Streep excels herself over and over forces me to edit all my previews reviews. Because in this movie, we see a bold yet cautious, groundbreaking but unassuming, discreet but lauded protagonist who is her own person. None of her previous characters –Miranda, Clarissa, Jane, Francesca, Donna, Madeline or even Margaret– bear resemblance to her because she makes the movie. She builds the narrative with all the tiny gestures, looks, sighs and postures we fans take such enormous pleasure in, and that, in a nutshell, explain the power of Meryl Streep’s presence.

Another reason her Kay Graham feels so real and urgent is the real life performer’s journalistic moment last year: after calling out the absolute lack of compassion and decency of the current administration while risking her own 45-year-old golden reputation, Meryl warned that “violence invites violence” and asked to support the Committee of Journalists to “safeguard the truth.” Her real-life principles and sheer grit and grace made her the obvious choice, and we’re infinitely grateful.

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The lady makes the decisions

Hanks, on his part, is brilliant as the potty-mouthed, forward-thinking editor Ben Bradlee. His performance has been deemed one of his recent best and makes his fifth collaboration with Spielberg an enormously enjoyable one. The supporting cast (TV blue-eyed kids Odenkirk and Paulson) cunningly serve as the narrative’s supporters, voicing the comments of surprise and admiration we movie-goers hold in our minds as we watch. Costumes are on absolute point, and the script… well, the script deserves another paragraph (keep reading!).

Written by first-time screenwriters Liz Hannah and Josh Singer, the theme of the prom tour has been “2017 was the year to make this movie.” “Treason,” “collusion,” “delegitimization of the press…” All the key terms are discreetly wrapped, seamlessly drawing the parallels between two corrupt, silencing and unwanted administrations where groundbreaking change is painfully desired – you get a car for guessing that. (I know, I’m Gemini.) So, now time’s up on gender inequality, let’s keep working to ensure time’s up on not having consequences of a dangerous President’s actions.

Get yourself queen-sized popcorn and go see this movie today. A masterfully portrayed account about truth, justice, equality and guts. It’s a great one.

Genre: Drama.

Original release: January 12, 2018.

Country: United States.

Awards: 6 Golden Globe nominations.

Grade: A++

All images are taken from Google.

 

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NOELIA L.

Oftentimes, we go to the cinema for mere escapism, to be transported to a galaxy far, far away and immerse ourselves in the lives of others, but today it is about Kathryn Bigelow’s award-winning crime drama Detroit.

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Not only isn’t this film really about pain, it also overcomes the social temptation to make it about the emotional duress experienced by African-Americans during the riots of the late 1960s. It is only barely about the Algiers Motel Incident, in which three innocent black men were murdered and several others were assaulted and humiliated by three white police officers.

The duality of appearance is a significant theme of Detroit, with heroes in street clothes and villains often wearing a badge or military rank. But the reversal of our expectations isn’t as simple as the metaphorical if not literal expression of black and white. The cast is cohesive and honest; their performances are creating with authenticity and driven by a cause bigger than personal rewards.

Given the setting of the film, the music is incredible too –– and yet even the alluring sounds of our favourite Motown hits are sounded with a profoundity and bitterness, as it provides a sad contrast to what we’re seeing played out in front of us.

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Detroit is an important and thoughtful history reminder if not an outright lesson from fifty years ago. And in these times of Black Lives Matter and countless videos of police abusing and killing black men, it feels sadly prescient.

Genre: Crime drama.

Director: Kathryn Bigelow.

Original release: August 4, 2017.

Country: United States.

Awards: 4 NACP Image Award nominations.

Grade: A

All images are taken from Google.

THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI

Raw, dark, human nature at its most natural. Whether it wins big or not (and much to  us ‘The Post’ fans’ disappointment, it might) Martin McDonagh’s latest hit has undoubtedly seduced both critics and moviegoers.

Set in the southern city of Ebbing, Missouri, this visceral punch in the gut sees McDormand as a weatherbeaten, toughest among tough woman who has lost her daughter to rape. Infuriated as the passive Police unit only lets time pass, she rents three billboards demanding to know why and as sadly expected, she only causes stirring among neighbors.

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Oscar winner Frances McDormand (Mildred Hayes) and the three controversial billboards

McDormand is stellar as Mildred Hayes, conveying the sheer pain such an event causes, especially when played out so absolutely publicly. She’s not the only one to receive a Globe, though, as her “favorite cowboys” Sam Rockwell and Woody Harrelson were also awarded and nominated respectively.

DETROIT

Guest-written by CAE candidate Noelia Lezameta

Oftentimes, we go to the cinema for mere escapism, to be transported to a galaxy far, far away and immerse ourselves in the lives of others, but today it is about Kathryn Bigelow’s award-winning crime drama Detroit.

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John Boyega as officer Dismukes

Not only isn’t this film really about pain, it also overcomes the social temptation to make it about the emotional duress experienced by African-Americans during the riots of the late 1960s. It is only barely about the Algiers Motel Incident, in which three innocent black men were murdered and several others were assaulted and humiliated by three white police officers.

The duality of appearance is a significant theme of Detroit, with heroes in street clothes and villains often wearing a badge or military rank. But the reversal of our expectations isn’t as simple as the metaphorical if not literal expression of black and white. The cast is cohesive and honest; their performances are creating with authenticity and driven by a cause bigger than personal rewards.

Given the setting of the film, the music is incredible too –– and yet even the alluring sounds of our favourite Motown hits are sounded with a profoundity and bitterness, as it provides a sad contrast to what we’re seeing played out in front of us.

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Riots break out to the fear of Detroit’s African Americans

Detroit is an important and thoughtful history reminder if not an outright lesson from fifty years ago. And in these times of Black Lives Matter and countless videos of police abusing and killing black men, it feels sadly prescient.

Genre: Crime drama.

Director: Kathryn Bigelow.

Original release: August 4, 2017.

Country: United States.

Awards: 4 NACP Image Award nominations.

Grade: A

All images are taken from Google.

WONDER

Roberts and Tremblay is as superb a combination as it looks. ‘Wonder’ is the feel-good movie of 2017: touching, fun and educational for everyone. A plea to #ChooseKind in the face of the battle everyone goes through daily.

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Nate (Wilson), Auggie (Tremblay), Olivia (Vidovic) and Isabel (Roberts)

Set in 2017, ‘Wonder’ shines a light on the unusual and apparently doomed life of a kid named Auggust Pullman (young prodigy Jacob Tremblay, Room). His disease, Treacher Collins Syndrome, which saw him be born with a facial distortion, causes apathetic children to turn their backs on him as he joins school for the first time. His parents Isabel and Nate (Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson) have, most understandably, always been focused on him at his sister Olivia’s expense.

The first half of the movie delves into Auggie’s adaptation to his new environment. Against all the odds, he makes a new friend who ends up being a doubtful one, and in the process learns more about resilience than any other juvenile might ever do. The second half smartly goes through a series of flashbacks that show why some of those doubtful individuals in his atmosphere behave the way they do.

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An insecure Auggie struggles to fit in at school

‘Wonder’ is the thoughtful, tear-jerking film we knew we needed at the end of such a year. The acting mesmerizes, especially Roberts’ and Tremblay’s and the script is an uncorny reminder of how long a way being kind goes. A completely recommendable watch, to children and teens above all.

Genre: Family drama.

Original release: November 16, 2017.

Country: United States.

Awards: 2 Golden Globe and 1 SAG nominations.

Grade: B

All images are taken from Google.

 

BATTLE OF THE SEXES

“Empowering” is a word loosely used these days. A speech, a commercial or a poster are often described as such. But ‘Battle of the Sexes’ deserves every letter, as its masterful direction, screenplay and cast come together to depict a refreshingand possibly never more neededreal story that failed to get the coverage it deserved.

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Oscar winner Emma Stone and nominee Steve Carell as Billie Jean Kind and Bobby Riggs.

Set in 1973, this riveting production starring everyone’s imaginary BFFs Emma Stone and Steve Carell as tennis giants Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs, infuses their famous match with thrill, truth and a raw call for equality. It also delves into the LGBTQ reality of the 70s, which makes Billie Jean’s marriage stumble.

Sarah Silverman and Alan Cumming are a casting delight as King’s manager and stylist, bringing the humanity this actually-disheartening story needs. Costume, characterization and production design all hit the nail on the head, but it’s Simon Beaufoy’s script that truly shines: besides treating the real facts with respect, rigour, passion, vindication and an attractive dose of sassiness rightfully warms hearts and ignites spirits. And we saw that Billie for President sign at the end (the picture was shot before the election).

Emma Stone and Steve Carell give career-defining performances, in an unpredictable yet wished for turn, both receiving Globes and SAG nods. She’s authentic, vulnerable yet strong, caring yet firm and he brings the Carell inherent charm, acting like a hilarious, unfair and all-for-show mysoginist that our inner selves can’t help but love so much because it’s Steve Carell.

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The originals.

Will it make it to the Academy? Stone could pull a Diane Keaton in Something’s Gotta Give and rig in a Lead Actress nomination. It’s Queen Meryl’s year, though, so nothing needs to be said. Odds aside, I couldn’t recommend highly enough this poignant and all-important story that seems so overwhelmingly empowering today. Personally, my favorite this year. This being said and quoting Laur Dern, may it all continue.

Genre: Sports dramedy.

Original release: September 22, 2017.

Country: United States.

Awards: 2 Golden Globe and 1 SAG nominations.

Grade: A+

All images are taken from Google.