Scattered Frames: The Contenders – Part I
Hello everyone! I’ve upped my cinematic intake considerably in the last few weeks in preparation for Hollywood’s biggest night, but I’m still trying to find the time to write about them and get back to regular posting. I seriously do not know how you all do it! RESPECT! Anyhoo, here’s the first batch of short and sweet reviews about some of this year’s main award contenders. Hope you enjoy!
Whiplash: An energetic exercise in holding the viewer’s attention, and them holding their breath for an hour and a half. Sharp, expertly written and anchored by a scorching performance by J.K. Simmons, Whiplash instantly became my favorite film of 2014 and I doubt any other will be able to top it. Fantastic cinematography and, of course, soundtrack, to boot. Joins the select list of films that I actually wish were longer. 4.5/5
Into the Woods: It is so sad to think that the man who directed this disappointing mess is the same who made the flawless (yes, you read that right) Chicago. Into the Woods is long, mostly boring and stuck in a very awkward place between dark and family-friendly. But, most infuriating of all, it’s so stupid: the songs, the dialog, the characters’ actions. Skip this one; after all, you can see Meryl Streep and Emily Blunt being awesome in much better movies. 2/5
The Theory of Everything: Straightforward biopic gets extra points for eschewing the genre formula and focusing on the love story (and both of its protagonists) instead of Hawking’s achievements as a physicist (there’s plenty of that too, don’t fret). The eye-popping cinematography perfectly frames two of the year’s strongest performances: Felicity Jones as Jane Hawking, whose book this film is based on; and Eddie Redmayne, who pretty much becomes Stephen Hawking (aren’t you tired of hearing that already?) 3.5/5
Still Alice: Julianne Moore is superb as a woman losing herself to Alzheimer’s disease at the young age of 50. She expertly conveys the terror and helplessness of such a situation and is the reason why this otherwise disposable film will be remembered from here on out. Alice’s predicament made a teary mess of me several times, I’ve got to say. One thing that surprised me, though, is how no one talks about Kate Bosworth’s performance in this? Very solid supporting work. 3/5