Sunday, 4 March 2018


This has to be some kind of new record for me.  I've seen seven of the nine Oscar nominations for Best Picture this year, and I would have seen eight, if this weren't Victoria, where movies rarely stay for more than a week or so.  However, Victoria is also the reason I've seen the seven films; we now live within easy walking distance of two of the city's four multiplexes, and one of the city's two art-house cinemas.  (Also, this is one year when I actually wanted to see most of the films -- except Get Out, because I'm not great with horror flicks, no matter how witty.)

One film I caught last summer.  Younger daughter wanted to see Dunkirk because Harry Styles is in it.  I was keen to see Kenneth Branagh and Mark Rylance.  It was clever and sprawling; I'm not sure it would work on a small screen.

We saw The Darkest Hour because Gary Oldman is a front-runner for Best Actor.  Excellent cast, dark, bleak -- and I'm afraid I nodded off at one point.  Woke up and Churchill was sitting in the Underground - had no idea why.

The Post is another Stephen Spielberg patriotic epic; it reminded me strongly of Lincoln in scope and attitude.  It's set up - probably not deliberately - to segue into 1976's All the President's Men.  It has Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep, fer gawd's sake, and has proved to be extraordinarily well-timed.  Recent events in the current American administration have made it all too pertinent, and there's more than a nod to the renewed awareness of women's rights - or lack thereof.

Lady Bird was our New Year's Day film this year.  I like Saoirse Ronan, and have always adored Laurie Metcalf.  The film is charming, heartbreaking - and also a bit alarming that we're clearly moving into Aughties nostalgia - the film is set between Autumn 2002 and 2003.

The Resident Fan Boy loved The Shape of Water -- I didn't.  He says it's because I'm not crazy about science fiction.  Maybe he's right.  I thought the art direction was amazing, with the feel of the early 1960s -- even though there's not enough men wearing hats; they wore hats, people.  However, I didn't enjoy the gratuitous violence, particularly an unnecessary scene showing the villain rutting his helpless wife. This was a long movie, that somehow didn't find the time for character development.

Elder daughter particularly wanted to see Call Me By Your Name.  I don't think she did, but I just managed to catch it yesterday, when it showed up unexpectedly at the art-house cinema.  It's undeniably well-done, and is being sold as a bitter-sweet coming-of-age flick.  Okay, a seventeen-year-old boy falls in love with a twenty-four-year-old man.  It's 1983, just before AIDS became well-known.  It's Italy.  The parents are unobtrusive, and understanding - as is the shoved-to-one-side girlfriend.  Suppose females were cast in the lead roles.  Would it be believable?  Would it be uncomfortable, rather than bitter-sweet?

Which brings me to Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri, a film I was rather scared to see, as I've seen a live production of The Pillowman, and a "live-stream" Cineplex presentation of an English production of Hangmen, both harrowing, both by Martin McDonagh, who wrote and directed this film.  I did know that this would mean fabulous writing.  And I adore Frances McDormand.

So I went. By myself.  And was engrossed.

Wonderful acting.  Character development.  Unpredictable plot.  We have a winner.

Tonight, I'll watch the Academy Awards.  I may be tempted to throw snack food at the screen, although,  if Three Billboards doesn't win it, I'll be fine if Lady Bird does.  I have a feeling The Shape of Water will win, so I'm keeping the vacuum cleaner charged.