Monday, 27 February 2017

Winners of the 89th Academy Awards

If you have already seen the 89th Academy Awards or if you haven't, here is the announcement of the winners. The announcement for Best Picture was a big blooper with a mix-up of envelopes, 'La La Land' was mistakenly announced when the actual award for 'Best Picture' goes to 'Moonlight'. It was a bitter disappointment for me that I expected the first to win in that category. This has been a bungling moment in the history of the Oscars. 

On a positive note, 'Zootopia' won this year's best animated feature and 'La La Land' recieved six awards including Best Director, Best Actress for Emma Stone, see below for a full list of Oscar winners.

Best Visual Effects
The Jungle Book - Robert Legato, Adam Valdez, Andrew R. Jones and Dan Lemmon

Best Film Editing
Hacksaw Ridge - John Gilbert

Best Costume Design
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them - Colleen Atwood

Best Makeup and Hairstyling
Suicide Squad - Alessandro Bertolazzi, Giorgio Gregorini and Christopher Nelson

Best Cinematography
La La Land - Linus Sandgren

Best Production Design
La La Land - Sandy Reynolds-Wasco & David Wasco 

Best Sound Mixing
Hacksaw Ridge - Kevin O'Connell, Andy Wright, Robert Mackenzie and Peter Grace

Best Sound Editing

Arrival - Sylvain Bellemare

Best Original Song
"City of Stars" from La La Land - Music by Justin Hurwitz and Lyric by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul

Best Original Score
La La Land - Justin Hurwitz

Best Animated Short Film
Piper - Alan Barillaro and Marc Sondheimer

Best Live Action Short Film
Sing - Kristof Deak and Anna Udvardy

Best Documentary - Short Subject
The White Helmets - Orlando von Einsiedel and Joanna Natasegara

Best Documentary - Feature
O.J.: Made in America - Ezra Edelman and Caroline Waterlow

Best Foreign Language Film
The Salesman (Iran) in Persian - Asghar Farhadi

Best Animated Feature Film
Zootopia - Byron Howard, Rich Moore and Clark Spencer

Best Writing - Adapted Screenplay
Moonlight - Barry Jenkins and Tarell Alvin McCraney from In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue by Tarell Alvin McCraney 

Best Writing - Original Screenplay
Manchester by the Sea - Kenneth Lonergran

Best Supporting Actress
Viola Davis - Fences as Rose Lee Maxson

Best Supporting Actor
Mahershala Ali - Moonlight as Juan

Best Actress
Emma Stone - La La Land as Mia Dolan

Best Actor
Casey Affleck - Manchester by the Sea as Lee Chandler

Best Director
Damien Chazelle - La La Land

Best Picture
Moonlight - Adele Romanski, Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner 

Academy Honorary Awards
Jackie Chan
Anne V. Coates
Lynn Stalmaster
Frederick Wiseman

Monday, 20 February 2017

Hidden Figures Review

Hidden Figures

Release Date: 5th February 2017 - Australia

Production Companies
20th Century Fox
Fox 2000 Pictures
Chernin Entertainment
Levantine Films
TSG Entertainment (made in association with)

20th Century Fox Australia

Genre: Drama

Rating: PG

Runtime: 127 minutes

Budget: $25,000,000

Box Office Gross: $235,956,898

Plot Summary
The inspirational true story of the first female African-American mathematician Katherine Johnston, and her two colleagues Dorothy and Mary Jackson, whose groundbreaking calculations helped NASA catch up in the "Space Race" with the Soviet Union and allowed John Glenn to become the first American astronaut to successfully make a complete orbit of the Earth.

In addition to helping launch John into orbit, the brilliant women crossed gender and race lines, defied expectations and battled stereotypes. In the process, they inspired generations of people to aim high and dream big.

Taraji P. Henson - Katherine G. Johnston
Octavia Spencer - Dorothy Vaughan
Janelle MonĂ¡e - Mary Jackson
Kevin Costner - Al Harrison 
Kirsten Dunst - Vivian Mitchell
Jim Parsons - Paul Stafford
Glen Powell - John Glenn
Mahershala Ali - Col. Jim Johnson
Aldis Hodge - Levi Jackson
Kimberly Quinn - Ruth
Olek Krupa - Karl Zielinski
Kurt Krause - Sam Turner
Ken Strunk - Jim Webb
Lidya Jewett - Young Katherine Coleman
Donna Boscoe - Mrs. Joylette Coleman
Ariana Neal - Joylette Johnson
Saniyya Sidney - Constance Johnson
Zani Jones Mbayise - Kathy Johnson
Tre Stokes - Levi Jr.
Selah Kimbro Jones - Carolyn Marie Jackson
Corey Mendell Parker - Howard Vaughan
Ashton Tyler - Leonard Vaughan
Alkoya Brunson - Kenneth Vaughan
Karah Kendrick - Younger
Joylette Coleman
Jaiden Kane - Joshua Coleman
Gregory Alan Williams - Marion Smithson
Maria Howell - Ms. Summer
Arnell Powell - Professor Graves
Dane Davenport - Alan Shepard
Evan Holtzman - Deke Slayton
Travis Smith - Scott Carpenter
Scott Michael Morgan - Bill Calhoun

Screenplay/Producer/Director - Theodore Melfi
Based on the Book/Executive Producer - Margot Lee Shetterly
Screenplay - Allison Schroeder
Executive Producers - Jamal Daniel, Kevin Halloran, Ivana Lombardi, Mimi Valdes and Renee Witt
Producer/Music - Pharrell Williams
Producers - Peter Chernin, Donna Gilgotti and Jenno Topping
Co-Producer - Kimberly Quinn
NASA Consultant - Sheva Moore
Production Designer - Wynn Thomas
Costume Designer - Renee Ehrlich Kalfus
Cinematography - Mandy Walker
Special Effects Supervisor - Mark R. Byers
Film Editor - Peter Teschner
Music - Hans Zimmer and Benjamin Wallfisch

I have recently viewed a few of the new released movies contending for Oscar nominations, one of these is HIDDEN FIGURES. This historically dramatic film was based on an overlooked moment of history, the movie's plot was a surprise to me as I never thought it'd be about three black women wanting to change the history of NASA and face their struggles of being discriminated. I didn't watch any movies that took place in a time of segregation back when Martin Luther King had yet to introduce the civil rights policy in America. I am deeply moved by this feature and I find HIDDEN FIGURES to be very interesting in its perspective at showing the African American involvement in the space program. It justifies its appeal to modern audiences into watching a film that consists of a dramatic storyline of female empowerment and equality. 

The actresses like Taraji P. Henson and Octavia Spencer brought out their compelling performances in the movie with other cast members, Kevin Costner, Kristen Dunst and Jim Parsons also standing out with their huge parts in the movie. The latter being the very reason that I wanted to see HIDDEN FIGURES since I am a fanatic of THE BIG BANG THEORY sitcom.

Educational and incredible, this is a must-see drama for all ages. It is a film that will continue to please audiences for years to come.

Star rating: (8/10) Very Good Movie

Monday, 13 February 2017

La La Land Review

La La Land

Release Date: 12th January 2017 - Australia

Production Companies 
Summit Entertainment
Black Label Media
TIK Films Limited
Gilbert Films
Marc Platt Productions


Genre: Musical

Rating: M

Runtime: 128 minutes 

Budget: $30,000,000

Box Office Gross: $446,092,357

Plot Summary 
Mia, an aspiring actress who works in a coffee shop in a busy Hollywood studio lot in between auditions, keeps bumping into the disgruntled Sebastian, a dedicated yet stubborn jazz musician who dreams of opening his own jazz club one day.

The two finally get along together and Mia even begins to love jazz, but she also begins to lose faith in herself when yet another audition goes wrong. Sebastian believes in her and convinces her to give it one last shot, but she feels he's selling out when he joins a popular band as a keyboard player in an effort to make money for the two of them. Their struggles and differences drive a wedge between them.

Emma Stone - Mia
Ryan Gosling - Sebastian 
J. K. Simmons - Bill
Rosemarie DeWitt - Laura
John Legend - Keith
Jason Fuchs - Carlo
Finn Wittrock - Greg
Josh Pence - Josh
Callie Hernandez - Tracy
Jessica Rothe - Alexis
Sonoya Mizuno - Caitlin
Claudine Carino - Karen (The Waitress)
Tom Everett Scott - David
Damon Gupton - Harry
Meagen Fay - Mia's Mom

Writer/Director - Damien Chazelle
Executive Producer/Unit Production Manager - Michael Beugg
Executive Producers - Mike Jackson, Thad & Trent Luckinbill, Jasmine McGlade, Molly Smith and Ty Stiklorius
Executive Producer/Music &
Lyrics: Start the Fire - John Legend
Producers - Fred Berger, Gary Gilbert,
Jordan Horowitz and Marc Platt
Production Designer - David Wasco
Costume Designer - Mary Zophres
Choreographer - Mandy Moore
Director of Photography - Linus Sandgren
Film Editor - Tom Cross
Lyricists - Benj Pasek and Justin Paul
Songs: Music - Justin Hurwitz

A completely refreshing modern take of a musical that relives the vintage style of films like Gene Kelly's SINGIN' IN THE RAIN. Very few people have not seen LA LA LAND since it was released in 2016 - it was destined to take home the Oscars in this year. The audiences were very attracted to Damien Chazelle's painstakingly jazz-themed musical after the director's success with the release of WHIPLASH. It is a love story set in the present day that ends in a bittersweet note as the two dreamers become separated by the demands of show-biz. LA LA LAND was a sure fire hit as most audiences were favourable to its passion although some were less than ecstatic. 

The film has shades of romantic comedy and melodrama and was brilliantly lavished with a superb script. There's a blend of beautiful music compositions, splendid cinematography and stunningly choreographed musical numbers that were the showstoppers to this bonafide musical. I am not surprised that actors Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling have worked together in one other feature prior to LA LA LAND. The lead characters were perfect in their own unique roles, particularly Stone whose character like herself was an actress who dreams of living her life as a leading lady. Gosling, however was a man with many talents emerges in a romantic lead role as a struggling jazz musician. In preparation for their roles, they have been going through singing and piano lessons. The chemistry between these actors was very subtle but full of heart and sorrow.

You don't want to miss the film as many people were lined up in the cinemas to see it upon it's release. LA LA LAND is truly ahead of its time being the best musical made in many years. I highly recommend that if you want see a musical then now's the time to experience the music and beat.

Star rating: (10/10) Best Movie Ever

Monday, 6 February 2017

Lion Review


Release Date: 19th January 2017 - Australia 

Production Companies 
The Weinstein Company (presents)
Screen Australia (in association with)
See-Saw Films
Aquarius Films (in association with)
Sunstar Entertainment (in association with)
Narrative Capital

Transmission Films

Genre: Drama

Rating: PG

Runtime: 118 minutes

Budget: $12,000,000

Box Office Gross: $140,312,928

Plot Summary 
Five-year old Saroo gets lost on a train which takes him thousands of kilometres across India, away from home and family. Saroo must learn to survive alone in Kolkata, before ultimately being adopted by an Australian couple. Twenty five years later, armed with only a handful memories, his unwavering determination, and a revolutionary technology known as Google Earth, he sets out to find his lost family and finally return to his first home.

Sunny Pawar - Young Saroo
Dev Patel - Saroo Brierly
Nicole Kidman - Sue Brierly
Rooney Mara - Lucy 
David Wenham - John Brierly
Abhishek Bharate - Guddu 
Priyanka Bose - Kamia
Khuski Solanki - Young Shekila 
Shankar Nisode - Shankar
Tannishtha Chatterjee - Noor
Nawazuddin Siddiqui - Rawa
Rita Boy - Amita 
Surojit Das - Shonedeep/
Haunted Boy
Deepti Naval - Mrs. Sood
Menik Gooneratne - Swarmina 
Keshav Jedhav - Young Mantosh
Divian Ladwa - Mantosh Brierly
Todd Sampson - Provost
Pallavi Sharda - Prama 
Sachin Joab - Bharat
Arka Das - Sami
Emille Cocquerel - Annika

Director - Garth Davis
Adapted from the Book "A Long Way From Home" - Saroo Brierly
Screenplay - Luke Davis
Executive Producers - Andrew Fraser, David Glasser, Daniel Levin, Shahen Mekertichain and Bob & Harvey Weinstein 
Producers - Iain Channing, Annie Fielder and Emile Sherman
Production Designer - Chris Kennedy
Costume Designer - Cappi Ireland
Director of Photography - Greig Fraser
Film Editors - Alexandre de Francheschi
Music - Volker Bertelmann and
Dustin O'Halloran

A truly incredible moving biopic of a young boy's struggle to survive in India before being adopted, then his uplifting journey as an adult to locate his lost family seemed very meaningful and surprising for an Oscar-worthy contender. The first half of the movie reduces me to tears with its heart wrenching scenes, it feels like watching AN AMERICAN TAIL all over again. Thankfully, it shifted from its depression to the backbone of its inspirational and heart-warming drama.

Sunny Pawar and Dev Patel both nail their performances as the young and adult Saroo with the first for his youthful optimism and Patel with self-dignity and reliance. I must admit, I would have been proud to see both of the main actors to share the Best Actor nomination instead of Patel being named as Best Supporting Actor. Pairing with them is Aussie legend Nicole Kidman in the role of Saroo's adoptive and supportive mother, her character is well acted and gives credibility to the story.

It was worthwhile to see the film that wasn't as revolutionary as some believe, it stands as one of the great dramas I have reviewed. If you have no feelings about this feature than you truly have no soul.

Star rating: (8/10) Very Good Movie

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Hellboy II: The Golden Army Review

Hellboy II: The Golden Army

Release Date: 28th August 2008 - Australia

Production Companies
Universal Pictures
Relativity Media (in association with)
Dark Horse Entertainment (in association with)
Lawrence Gordon Productions
International Filmproduktion Eagle
Mid Atlantic Films

Universal Pictures Australia

Genre: Action

Rating: M

Runtime: 115 minutes

Budget: $85,000,000

Box Office Gross: $160,388,063

Plot Summary
The fate of mankind hangs in the balance when a ruthless prince awakens an unstoppable army of creatures and wages war with the human world. It's up to Hellboy and his team of paranormal outcasts to face off with the forces of darkness in the ultimate battle of good versus evil!

Ron Perlman - Hellboy
Selma Blair - Liz Sherman
Jeffrey Tambor - Tom Manning
Doug Jones - Abe Sapien
John Alexander - Johann Krauss/Bethmoora Goblin
James Dodd - Johann Krauss
Seth MacFarlane - Johann Krauss (Voice)
Luke Goss - Prince Nuada 
Anna Walton - Princess Nuala
John Hurt - Trevor "Broom" Bruttenholm
Brian Steele - Wink/Various
Andrew Hefler - Agent Flint
Ivan Kamaras - Agent Steel
Mike Kelly - Agent Marble
Monse Ribe - Young Hellboy
Roy Dotrice - King Balor 
Jimmy Kimmel - Himself (Cameo)

Story/Screenplay/Director - Guillermo del Toro
Based on Dark Horse Comic 
Producer/Visual Consultant -
Mike Mignola
Executive Producer - Chris Symes
Producers - Lawrence Gordon, Mike Richardson and Lloyd Levin
Co-Producer - John Swallow
Production Designer - Stephen Scott
Costume Designer - Sammy Sheldon
Creature and Makeup Effects Designer - Mike Elizalde
Director of Photography - Guillermo Navaro
Stunt Coordinator - Bradley James Allan
Visual Effects Supervisors - Mike Wassel, Jeppe N. Christensen
Visual Effects Consultant - Christopher Cram
Animation Supervisor - Anders J.L. Beer
Film Editor - Bernat Vilaplana
Music - Danny Elfman


2009 Academy Awards
Best Makeup - Mike Elizade and Thomas Floutz (Nominated) 

The supernatural phenomenon of HELLBOY has a change of atmosphere with the sequel THE GOLDEN ARMY going straight to fantasy-based than dark and gothic like the first HELLBOY instalment. Guillermo del Toro has reprised his creative control of HELLBOY as the director in the sequel through his newfound prestige with the success of his foreign-language dark fantasy PAN'S LABYRINTH. Though THE GOLDEN ARMY is almost alike to the first hit in varying degrees while keeping the frenetic pace of the fun and action. It's almost as if Guillermo del Toro is directing a film where the title character crosses over with a fantasy world similar to his previous art movie.

The story isn't as strong as the original, though it picks up soon after the first movie ended. Ron Perlman still has the acting chops for his renowned performance of Hellboy as some of the original cast reprised their roles in the GOLDEN ARMY. Actor/animator Seth MacFarlane is surprisingly added as the voice of Johann Krauss, the team's ghostly and masked strategist and leader. The visuals remained intact, but are improved in so much when the effects team began to realise the quality that was used in the original film.

That being said, HELLBOY II: THE GOLDEN ARMY is indeed a great feature and instalment and is certainly worth keeping the expectations from many audiences it pleases. This movie is a must-see for comic book fans and viewers alike who have yet to see both original and THE GOLDEN ARMY back-to-back.

Star rating: (8/10) Very Good Movie