The 2019 Oscars: Best Picture Nominations – Watched, Reviewed and Ranked

So this without a doubt has to be one of the most embarrassing selection of best picture nominations I’ve seen in quite some time. When I look back at the piece I did last year on the 2018 nominations for the Oscars (click this link to check that out), I wish for a list as strong and full of such incredible films as that. I vividly remember struggling to rank those films, as almost all of them were full of something that was genuinely special; I struggled too not give them all the top spot for one reason or another.

However, this year, I find myself struggling to decide which one of these films is worse. Don’t get me wrong, a number of these films are good – and one in particular holds within it the same special magic that many of last year’s nominations had – but that’s the problem, most of them are only good films, while some actually outstanding films seems to have been ignored completely (‘First Man’ or ‘You Were Never Really Here’, for example). Minus a few of them, there’s nothing on this list that stands out to me as a film I remember having a significant impact on me. For most of these films, when I was writing the review for them, I remember how underwhelmed or how forgettably fine I was with them. To look at this list and see some of the films that are now being given a significant spotlight to shine makes me… sad.

Anyway, enough with my frustrated ramblings. Let’s get on with the ranking and find out where each film falls on the list. Read more

Review – Vice

Vice, written and directed by Adam McKay, is a film that always felt on the verge of ascending into something truly incredible; something that completely captivated you – and that’s all because of the film’s primary focus (Dick Cheney and the tornado of people around him) and the actors that perfectly embody some of history’s most defining politicians. But… there is one massive and obtrusive obstacle in the way of this really good film from being something truly great, and that is Adam McKay’s ‘shock and awe’ style directing, and frankly… his ego. So, the question is: does this film’s incredibly rich characters and its monumentally important story break through all the nonsense of Adam McKay’s writing and directing and deliver something worth seeing? Well, let’s figure that out together in this review, shall we? Read more

The 2018 Oscars – Best Picture Nominations: Watched, Reviewed and Ranked

This year’s best picture category has some incredible films – seriously, this is such a strong year. I’ve been doing this for a long time; seeing every film nominated for best picture, reviewing them and then ranking them, and 2018 is the year in which I have had the most difficulty trying to rank the films (I’ve reordered my list over a dozen times; never feeling fully confident in my ranking of them). I could easily and happily give six of the films on this list the top spot. They all in different ways and for different reasons deserve the number 1 spot. So, it has been really challenging for me to try to figure out an order that saw nearly every film landing in the right spot on the list.

I think I’ve finally done it… I think I’m now comfortable with where each film has landed on the list. But I know that because of how good so many of these films are, that many people will ultimately disagree with my ranking. I want you to know that it pains me to have to give some of these films lower rankings – but what would be the point in listing them if I was just going to give most of them the top spot. So, let’s get past this rambling section where I try to justify my ranking, and get on with the reason you clicked on this piece in the first place. Here is my ranking of the best picture nominations. Read more

Review – Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, written and directed by Martin McDonagh, almost feels as if it’s towering over you, like a monument to the unfiltered failings of humanity – a monument that demands that you pay it the attention it deserves. You’ll find yourself happily willing to do this, because of how impressively balanced the film is; being both unforgivingly honest and also genuinely funny. Also because of its characters, who challenge you (on a multitude of levels), the performances that astound you, and multiple plot strands that have you hooked from the beginning and throughout. The film is one that you want to engage with, but also slightly fear. The levels of quality on show in this turbulent, challenging film, make it one I’m excited to write about, so come along as I review it, won’t you? Read more