The Post

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The Post is the latest film from Steven Spielberg, and follows the true story of a cover-up that spanned four U.S. Presidents and pushed Kay Graham (Meryl Streep) the country’s first female newspaper publisher and her editor Ben Bradlee (Tom Hanks) to join an unprecedented battle between journalist and government.

There isn’t much to be said about why everyone is seeing this movie: Nothing can possibly go wrong when you have a trio like Spielberg, Hanks, and Streep, right? Well, the three of them continue to prove themselves in this timely tale of one of the biggest battles the press has ever faced, and how the biggest secrets of the Vietnam War were exposed to the public. Nobody could have delivered a story like this better than Spielberg himself, with the energy he brings into his sets and his extended camera movements (shot incredibly by frequent Spielberg collaborator Janusz Kaminski) never leaving the film. Meryl Streep is at her best (like always) as an important female figure in the history of the press, as Kay Graham was the first female head of the newspaper and helped publish classified secrets in the Washington Post. The strength she gives to her strong lead will captivate the audience and even have them clapping at some of Streep’s best moments in the film. Teaming up with Spielberg once again is the one and only Tom Hanks, whose talent is once again evident as the spirited Ben Bradlee who never loses faith in Graham and in the Post. Hanks and Streep have great chemistry and always demonstrate dedication to their roles and bring a lot of what makes Graham and Bradlee so important to the screen quite convincingly. This historical topic has a very important story that wasn’t just relevant then, it still is now. This movie is about telling the truth and about the freedom of the press, which we mustn’t forget is supported by the First Amendment. What happened then may happen in the future, and we must fight to let our people know what is really going on and not let the government punish what is supported by the Constitution. This is a very relevant theme to today’s politics and journalism, and I learned a lot from this fascinating story about perseverance and taking risks to do what’s right. Nobody could have executed this story better than Steven Spielberg, and I don’t think we could have asked for a better Kay Graham than Meryl Streep (same with Hanks for Bradlee). Streep’s empowering female protagonist is powerfully portrayed, as women were facing sexism while mostly men worked at these kind of jobs. Graham took a leap and brought the Post and this country to where it was today, and this kind of leading role is what will inspire many. Although a few scenes were a little long/slow-paced, and some of the editing could have used a little more music, speaking of which is incredibly done by John Williams, but other than that, I don’t see a reason why not to go see this relevant and thought-provoking true story that’s now in theaters and bound to shine at this year’s Oscar season.

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The 75th Golden Globe Awards

The 75th annual Golden Globes were tonight! As a big fan of cinema and of the awards, I of course was watching. There were definitely some big surprises, some good and some a little disappointing. However, I was mostly pleased by the winners of tonight. My in-depth thoughts are below the winners list. In case you didn’t catch them, here are the winners of tonight’s Golden Globe Awards:

Best Picture – Drama: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Best Picture – Musical or Comedy: Lady Bird

Best Director: Guillermo del Toro – The Shape of Water

Best Actor – Drama: Gary Oldman – Darkest Hour

Best Actress – Drama: Frances McDormand – Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Best Actor – Musical or Comedy: James Franco – The Disaster Artist

Best Actress – Musical or Comedy: Saoirse Ronan – Lady Bird

Best Supporting Actor: Sam Rockwell – Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Best Supporting Actress: Allison Janney – I, Tonya

Best Screenplay: Martin McDonagh – Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Best Original Score: Alexandre Desplat – The Shape of Water

Best Original Song: “This is Me” – The Greatest Showman

Best Animated Feature: Coco

Best Foreign Language Film: In the Fade (Germany/France)

Before I talk about my thoughts on the winners, I’ll talk about the ceremony as a whole. First of all, Seth Meyers was a terrific host, and his opening monologue was absolutely entertaining and he had some hysterical remarks on Harvey Weinstein and many other topics. I’ve loved watching his show so I was glad when he was announced as host, and he definitely didn’t disappoint. He had me laughing throughout the whole time, and I would love to see him host next year. Another big moment for the awards was Oprah Winfrey winning the Cecil B. DeMille award, given every year to a celebrity whose lifetime achievements in their careers have been exceptional. With all the incredible show hosting, acting, and humanitarian work Oprah was achieved, as well as the joy she has given everyone (this was evident when multiple winners yelled her name as soon as they got on screen), I would say she has earned this award quite well. Now, I’d like to talk about a few great moments on the show. First of all, James Franco’s acceptance speech for an award he completely deserved. He won for playing Tommy Wiseau in The Disaster Artist, and he invited the real Wiseau on screen to accept it with him, which pleased many fans of the film like me. In an inspirational moment at the end of his speech, he thanked his brother Dave Franco (who starred alongside him in the film) and said he loves him more than anything and thanks his mother for giving Dave to him. As an older brother, this moment touched me deeply, and it was a beautiful moment between these two awesome brothers who have both come so far in showbusiness. Now, let’s talk about the winners. I have to say that these winners were quite deserving. There were some big surprises and only a few disappointed me. Alexandre Desplat won Best Score for his work in The Shape of Water, which I loved but I think Hans Zimmer should have won for Dunkirk. His music in that film was something else, on a new level of composing, like nearly all his scores. I saw him perform live a few months back and every one of his scores is something marvelous. I also think Christopher Nolan should have won Best Director, because Dunkirk was the film of his career with the praise it got, and it was his directing at his best. Nolan is my all-time favorite director and though Guillermo del Toro did a wonderful job with The Shape of Water, I would have loved to see Nolan win. One more disappointment was the song “This is Me” winning over “Remember Me” from Coco. I haven’t seen The Greatest Showman yet but I’ve heard the song that won and it isn’t that great, while “Remember Me” was something emotional that inspired and touched all viewers. That’s it for my negative shockers, now the rest of the winners I was very pleased with. James Franco for The Disaster Artist, Saoirse Ronan for Lady Bird, Gary Oldman for Darkest Hour, and Allison Janney for I, Tonya were all well deserved in their amazing work. Although Lady Bird wasn’t my favorite of the nominees for Comedy (my favorite was Get Out), I think it was a well-deserved win because it was an exceptional directorial debut for Greta Gerwig and a great representation of youth in our country and had a terrific female lead. Now, the biggest shocker of them all definitely pleased me. Sally Hawkins was the frontrunner to win Best Actress and Willem Dafoe was predicted to win Supporting Actor but those wins ended up going to Frances McDormand and Sam Rockwell for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. I think McDormand and Rockwell deserved their wins 100% as they were the best in their category. Martin McDonagh won the screenplay award for that film, which he completely deserved for his absolutely brilliant writing for the film. His career his been so impressive and his films are very overlooked, until now. The biggest surprise for us was that this movie ended up winning the biggest award of them all, Best Drama. I was expecting The Shape of Water to win because it had 7 nominations, or Dunkirk because of its grand prestige, but I am completely in favor of Three Billboards winning this award. Its themes about anger and grief, and its relevance because of the exposure of many rapists lately, makes it a worthy winner, and though I would have also loved Dunkirk to win, Three Billboards deserved it all the way and I recommend you check it out if you haven’t already. This awards ceremony was overall awesome and I hope you all enjoyed it too! If you have any opinions about the winners that agree or disagree with mine, let me know!

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The Shape of Water

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The Shape of Water is the latest other-worldly story written and directed by Guillermo del Toro, set against the backdrop of Cold War era America circa 1962, where a mute janitor working at a lab falls in love with an amphibious man being held captive there and devises a plan to help him escape. Guillermo del Toro has recieved acclaim throughout his career for being a visionary director and writer, and his ability to bring fantasy stories like this one with as little CGI as possible is incredible. He’s finally getting Oscar buzz for The Shape of Water, his latest film that, while the concept of a character bonding with a creature of some sort and trying to save it from those attempting to kill it having been depicted in many films such as E.T.How to Train Your Dragon, and Beauty and the Beast, this one is far different in execution — and definitely not a film for kids. There is strong sexual content and violence, but it fits the overall tone and themes the movie is meant to deliver. Sally Hawkins is absolutely fantastic in the leading role of Eliza, and she delivers one of the greatest performance of the year — and her character has absolutely no dialogue! She is able to deliver an emotional performance with only her expressions, and she makes us care for her character deeply without having to speak a word. Another excellent performance is from Michael Shannon, who plays the main antagonist who is filled with rage and hate against the creature and anyone who gets in his way of hurting it. Octavia Spencer, who plays Eliza’s best friend at work, has some great moments of both humor and emotion, and Richard Jenkins and Michael Stuhlbarg are very good too. Not to mention Doug Jones, who plays the creature himself, with lots of costumes and makeup and no CGI for his transformation, which helps his performance feel more realistic and interactive with the other actors in the film.

Guillermo del Toro has stated that this is the movie he is most proud of, and it’s not hard to see why. He such a great eye for these stories and has a creative way of telling them, not just with his style but also with his writing. First of all, his directing of the film is marvelous, with some beautiful ways of capturing certain images and everything looks so artistic throughout the film. The production design and colors also stand out, and del Toro constantly references classic cinema throughout, there’s even a scene where Hawkins imagines herself dancing with the creature in a ’50s-style musical number. The music from Alexandre Desplat is also very nice to hear and it’s one of his best scores in recent years. Not only does the film look majestic, but the writing is very good because although the concept isn’t the most original, the themes and turns the plot takes are unexpected and different. Guillermo del Toro writes and creates this story like a fairy tale, like he does most of his stories, and though it’s not a literal fairy tale, he treats every character importantly and brings this story to life as if it’s a Pan’s Labyrinth-esque fantasy tale. The themes aren’t mostly about being kind to those who are different, about about those who feel lonely and incomplete, and how we try to fulfill ourselves. There is a lot of gore and nudity in the film, which may disturb some, so just a warning to those who don’t like explicit content. The overall plot may feel weird if you think watching a romance between a woman and a creature will disturb you, but the writing feels complex and the story is thrilling and powerful, bringing the story to life on the big screen very effectively. Although some of the scenes without Hawkins on screen felt less intriguing than the scenes with Hawkins as Eliza and Jones as the creature, and the ending, while not bad at all, felt a little bit like a missed opportunity, this joins Pan’s Labyrinth as one of del Toro’s best films, and the awards buzz for this one is quite well deserved, so I recommend you check this one out in theaters before the awards come around.

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