Tag Archives: Oscars 2016

FILM REVIEW: La La Land

La La Land (Damien Chazelle, 2016)

Writer/director Damien Chazelle first came to our attention with Whiplash in 2014. That film, about a jazz student’s sacrifices in the pursuit of success, was my favourite film of the last five, if not ten, years. I’m yet to come across someone who did not like it (and if that person does exist, what the hell is wrong with you?) With similar themes to Whiplash, La La Land follows struggling actress Mia (Emma Stone) and struggling jazz artist Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) as they find love and try to follow their dreams. But with ambition comes sacrifice, and underneath the surface of 1950s-inspired fantasy is 2016’s reality (no, not the disastrous political situation but the average LA artist’s reality). Continue reading FILM REVIEW: La La Land

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FILM REVIEW: Brooklyn

Brooklyn (John Crowley, 2015)

There’s usually always at least one British period piece nominated for Best Picture. And it’s normally nice, quaint, but often just there because that sort of film is expected to be. This year that place was filled by Brooklyn, based on the novel by Colm Toibin, adapted for the screen by Nick Hornby, and directed by John Crowley. It follows young Eilis (Saoirse Ronan) as she emigrates from Ireland to America in the 1950s. The posh English accents are out, and something slightly different from the norm is in. Continue reading FILM REVIEW: Brooklyn

FILM REVIEW: The Big Short

The Big Short (Adam McKay, 2015)

Full disclosure: I’m not what you would call *interested* in finance – my eyes tend to glaze over when people start talking about stocks and super and whatever the hell else. But I became the tiniest bit more intrigued after J.C. Chandor’s brilliant Margin Call in 2011, set during the beginnings of the Global Financial Crisis. The script was phenomenal, the performances flawless, and it achieved the seemingly unachievable: making finance interesting. So four years later along comes The Big Short. A film with even greater buzz, greater Oscar chances, and a hot-arse cast. I was excited. Continue reading FILM REVIEW: The Big Short

FILM REVIEW: Room

Room (Lenny Abrahamson, 2015)

The inner workings of a child’s mind can be difficult for adults to conceptualise, even with all that is known of developmental psychology. This becomes all the more difficult when creating characters who are outside the developmental norm, whether this is due to genetic or environmental differences. And yet, a handful of authors have been able to successfully channel these young individuals, with Emma Donoghue, author of Room, among them. Her novel is written from the perspective of five-year old Jack, who lives with his Ma in what is simply named ‘Room’. Having never seen the outside world, his experience of his limited surroundings and his understanding of what is beyond them is fascinating subject matter. Continue reading FILM REVIEW: Room

FILM REVIEW: The Revenant

The Revenant (Alejandro G. Iñárritu, 2015)

If Leo doesn’t win his Oscar next month people will collectively lose their shit. After his sensational work in The Wolf of Wall Street he goes all out in The Revenant. Battling freezing temperatures and hazardous terrain during filming, he carries a 2.5 hour film without much in the way of dialogue. It’s no mean feat. Continue reading FILM REVIEW: The Revenant

FILM REVIEW: Inside Out

Inside Out (Pete Docter & Ronaldo Del Carmen, 2015)

Ever since Pixar announced the concept for Inside Out I’ve been waiting with bated breath. I get excited for almost every Pixar film regardless because THEY’RE PIXAR, HELLO! (Toy Story! Cars! Finding Nemo!), but given my work as a school counsellor, I was even more pumped than usual. Because it has ALL THE FEELS! Or at least five of the big ones. Continue reading FILM REVIEW: Inside Out