Tag Archives: Oscars

Short ‘n’ Sweet Reviews: Manchester By the Sea, Hidden Figures & Fences

One more sleep until the Oscars and here are some more of the big contenders: Continue reading Short ‘n’ Sweet Reviews: Manchester By the Sea, Hidden Figures & Fences

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FILM REVIEW: Lion

Lion (Garth Davis, 2016)

Many will be familiar with Saroo Brierley’s story, having previously been covered some years back by 60 Minutes. Now it gets the big screen treatment in Lion. Five-year-old Saroo (Sunny Pawar) gets lost in Calcutta, India, 1600km from home, unable to find his way back to his brother Guddu (Abhishek Bharate) and mother Kamla (Priyanka Bose). Living on the streets for three weeks before being transferred to an orphanage, Saroo is then adopted by Australian couple Sue (Nicole Kidman) and John Brierley (David Wenham) and goes to live with them in Hobart. As an adult, Saroo (now played by Dev Patel) becomes fixated on finding his birth mother to let her know he is safe, turning to Google Earth for help. Continue reading FILM REVIEW: Lion

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: Spotlight

Spotlight (Tom McCarthy, 2015)

It’s apt that on the first day that Cardinal Pell testified via video link as part of the Royal Commission into child sexual abuse in the Catholic church, that Spotlight took home the Oscar for Best Picture. Spotlight takes us back fifteen years to 2001, when the Boston Globe’s ‘Spotlight’ team investigated the cover-up of child sexual abuse by priests in the Boston area.  It’s chilling to watch as the journalists react incredulously to the possibility of there being approximately 90 pedophile priests in the area, given what we know now about how far-reaching these heinous crimes were. The end credits list the cities all over the world to have uncovered further abuse – it is sickening stuff. Continue reading FILM REVIEW: Spotlight

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 Danish Girl

The Danish Girl (Tom Hooper, 2015)

Something smells like Oscar bait. Or maybe it’s just Tom Hooper. The Danish Girl has more than a whiff of Hooper’s usual winning formula which has previously resulted in Oscar glory for The King’s Speech (which won awards for best picture, director, original screenplay, and actor), and Les Misérables (wins in smaller categories, with further nominations including best picture). His latest effort is arguably of the same quality, however Hooper and the film have missed out on directing and picture nominations this year. Is that because the Academy know his game all too well now, or because they aren’t sold on the subject matter? Continue reading FILM REVIEW: The Danish Girl

FILM REVIEW: Carol

Carol (Todd Haynes, 2015)

Patricia Highsmith (author of The Talented Mr Ripley and The Two Faces of January) wrote The Price of Salt under a pseudonym back in 1952, based loosely on her own experiences. In 1990 the book was republished under her real name, and retitled Carol at her request. Screenwriter Phyllis Nagy – who has only previously written one other screenplay, Mrs. Harris – wrote the first draft of the screenplay twenty years ago. Now after eleven years in development Carol has finally made it to the big screen under the very capable direction of Todd Haynes (Far From Heaven). Continue reading FILM REVIEW: Carol