I occasionally do movie reviews, but partly because of the Oscars I’ve been on a bit of a movie binge lately. So here are the results of spending my evenings doing some focused watching.
- Spotlight: Because it won the Oscar for Best Picture, I was expecting something more than a relatively straightforward account of the Boston Globe reporters’ investigation into child abuse by priests. Certainly the subject matter is socially important and the story was well presented. The extent of cover-up by Catholic lay and Church leaders of such a heinous crime was stunning. The fact that the Globe reporters themselves had deliberately overlooked the evidence for years was not sufficiently explored.
- Room: A very sympathetic telling of the story of a teenage girl who had been abducted and kept locked in a shed for years and had given birth to a son. How she managed to keep the boy active and alive was inspiring. Brie Larson deserved the Best Actress Award for her performance. I was so relieved that they managed to escape.
- Carol: A beautifully told tale of lesbian love between a wealthy woman in an unhappy marriage and a shop girl in the 1950’s. The period and clothing were so authentically evoked that it was a pleasure to watch. Cate Blanchett as usual gives a wonderful performance.
- Trumbo: The true story of Dalton Trumbo, one of the most successful screen writers in movie history and his black-listing for being a member of the Communist Party. He managed to subvert the black-list by writing under pseudonyms and being prolific and then won Oscars for “Spartacus” and “Exodus.” The acting by Bryan Cranston (of “Breaking Bad” fame) is excellent.
- Bridge of Spies: This is an excellent movie that tells in captivating detail how an ordinary lawyer James Donovan played by Tom Hanks becomes involved in a US exchange of spies with the Soviet Union. British actor Mark Rylance won the award for best supporting actor for his role as the Soviet spy Rudolf Abel.
- The Big Short: I found this an engrossing insight into how the US market system works and how much fraud there is. It tells how only a few individuals foresaw the mortgage crash of 2008 and how they profited from it. But, I would not recommend this movie generally, it requires too much concentration.
- The Hateful Eight: This is a typically bloody, gory plot by Quentin Tarrantino, with no redeeming features. Teens should love this, the rest of us could be entertained, especially by the acting of Samuel L. Jackson. There were too many shots of horse-drawn stage-coaches in the snow.
- The Danish Girl: I must confess that I turned this off after about 15 mins. It was not my cup of tea, although others might find it entrancing.
- The Revenant: As far as I am concerned this should have been the Best Picture of the year. It was superbly acted by Leonardo De Caprio, for which he deservedly received the Oscar, and the photography was exceptional, for which it also received the Oscar. The Director Alejandro Inarritu also received the Best Director award. I have written about this movie in greater detail (see IsBlog, March 1).
I have also seen “Steve Jobs,” “Sicario,” “Brooklyn” and “The Martian,” all good films. Any movie that is not mentioned is not worth mentioning.