Academy Awards? The 2017 Soggz-Blogscars

Take a drink every time someone makes a speech about Trump, chug a drink for every tweet he writes in response after. Sad!

It’s that time of the year again for the night where filmmaking, screen acting, writing, directing, and animation are all celebrated and awarded…and hey, they actually nominated minorities this time!

Now that I got that joke out of the way, welcome to the 1st annual “Soggz-Blogscars”, where I, Soggz, will be your host and give you the rundown of my personal picks and honorable mentions for a select few of the Oscar Award Categories. These past few weeks, I bought the pass for Regal Cinema’s “Best Picture Film Festival” and got to see all 9 nominees for Best Picture. Let it be known that I think there isn’t a single “bad” movie here. I’m used to mostly spending money on movies where things are blowing up and someone is struggling with their powers up until they have to fight a disposable villain we’ll never see again…BUT since I adult nowadays I can afford to make more time for film, and I absolutely loved what I saw. True, the Oscars do hold some amount of pretentiousness and there always are a fair number of snubs (Sorry Amy Adams…I’m sure Leo knows the feel and he’s all better now!), but I do enjoy the Oscars and usually make time for it even if I haven’t seen the best pictures. That being said, I do resent the fact that there’s a big possibility of “La La Land” sweeping everything (Hollywoo just LOOOVES getting its own ego stroked) because there ARE better movies out there, especially this year…so I’m hoping that this post brings some of those to light.

Like I said, these are my PERSONAL opinions. Please do not come after me with an ax when “La La Land” doesn’t get best picture (better I break it to you now). These are SUBJECTIVE viewpoints. Here we go!
*indicates that I didnt get to see every nominee in the category, so can be taken with a grain of salt

Best Lead Actor: Denzel Washington – Fences

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There could be a movie advertised about Denzel riding a unicycle for 2 hours while juggling sex toys and I would still be interested in what he would bring to the table as an actor. This man just overflows with talent and I was blown away by what I was watching. I think it says a lot when an Actor gets you to absolutely loath the character he is playing. Not in the sense of being a villain or a well-written antagonist, but just that every scene he was in made me want to punch his character, Troy Maxson, right in the face. The best part is that he gets the audience to sympathize with him for JUST A SECOND…then goes back to being horrible again. If you’re a fan of excellent acting, you HAVE to see “Fences”.

Honorable Mention (HM): Casey Affleck – Manchester by the Sea

Best Lead Actress*: Emma Stone – La La Land

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As much as I like bagging on the movie, It does deserve to be commended for certain things they did very well. For me, this was Emma Stone’s career performance..honestly, I’m just happy she’s no longer playing high school girls…or a “half asian” (lol…). The part that really sealed it for me was her performance of the “Audition” (Fools who Dream). Plus, in all her scenes with Gosling, I just thought she was the much more charismatic one…sorry, ladies.

HM: Natalie Portman – Jackie

Best Supporting Actor: Dev Patel – LionDev Patel stars in LIONI’m so happy to say that I finally don’t hate this guy. Dev Patel gives the best performance of his career and one of the best performances in general. For those who don’t know, he only appears into the movie after an hour, to play the main character as a young adult (who we only see as a child in the first hour). I just thought it was incredibly impressive for Dev Patel to deliver on what the film had already set up before his appearance, and on the true story of the main character. Of all the nominees for best picture, “Lion” was the one that brought me to tears. I had my foot in my mouth while leaving the theater…the same guy that is forever associated with the ruined version of one of my favorite fictional characters was now compelling me to actually cry and feel for this character. While its always good for me to see a fellow brown guy out there, its WAY better for me to see one giving an Oscar-worthy performance.

HM: Mahershala Ali – Moonlight

Best Supporting Actress: Viola Davis – Fences

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Almost everything I mentioned for Denzel can be said for Viola, she absolutely nailed what it was to be this motherly, concerned, nurturing woman that just wants the best for everyone around her. She was on par with Denzel’s acting, even outshining him in a number of scenes. On review, Viola was the ONLY redeeming factor of that dumpster fire “Suicide Squad” because she brought Amanda Waller from my childhood cartoons to life. She even recently got her Hollywoo Star of Fame and I’m SO happy. Viola…keep being awesome.

HM: Octavia Spencer – Hidden Figures

Best Director: Hacksaw Ridge

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To be honest, I wanted to hate this film SO much as I walked into it. If I recall, the thought process was “Really…do we need ANOTHER WW2 movie with too much blood and gore? One directed by Mel Gibson? Didn’t this guy burn all his bridges yet? And why can’t Andrew Garfield just go away already? (#NotMySpiderman)” After walking out, I just couldn’t say anything bad. These were some of the best directed battle scenes since “Saving Private Ryan”. The movie was telling the story of a pacifist, and instead of glorifying wars as something for honor or thrill, we saw absolute horror to the point where adults would have nightmares.

HM: La La Land

Cinematography*: Arrival

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It is tougher for me to get detailed about Cinematography and Visual effects because I didn’t actually go to Film School..but hey, cool things look cool. Arrival was beautifully shot, even outside of the scenes where Amy Adams confronted the Aliens. I actually also thought the “flashback (heh)” scenes were done pretty well and almost makes sense why they were shot that way once the big plot-point of the movie is dropped on us.

HM: La La Land

Visual EffectsJungle Book

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I know, I know…how could I betray the Marvel Cinematic Universe. While “Doctor Strange” was trippy and a blast in IMAX, the remake of Jungle Book had the absolute best CGI that I’ve ever seen, and sets a new bar. Not only that, but if I recall correctly, its ALL BLUE SCREEN. They CREATED a darn Indian jungle and all these animals…and that’s pretty cool. Throw in the fact that this kid was acting alongside characters that weren’t actually there too.

HM: Doctor Strange

Best Makeup and Hair Design: Literally anything but Suicide Squad because there’s no way in hell that flaming sack of crocodile turd should win an Oscar for anything that would validate the BS version of my beloved DC universe that WB is churning out

I know 0 about hair and makeup. I just really don’t like “Suicide Squad”…seriously WB, get it together (Even my Oscars post had to have some mention of comic book movies).

Best Animated Feature Film*: Zootopia

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Joke of the year, to be honest.

“Zootopia” was one of the most pleasant surprises of 2016. I’m not going to lie, the animated movies have lost me lately (probably because I’m 22..) where I feel like they’re re-tellings/cliches or I feel as if all the ones from my childhood were better (s/o Emperor’s New Groove). For me currently, I want an animated movie not only to be kid-friendly but to also have a message in there for the adults or tell a compelling story with more mature themes. Don’t get me wrong, I love animation…but I find myself mostly indulging in the shows/movies with adult themes, some even with an R-rating. “Zootopia” absolutely knocked it out of the park for me, and this is my favorite thing from Disney since “Tangled”. Plus, we FINALLY got people to shut up about “Frozen”!

HM: Kubo and the Two Strings

Best Picture: Okay…so before I do this one, I just wanted to give a little run-down of how I rate an Oscar nominated/critically acclaimed film, because its much different from how I rate anything from nerd culture. To me, the most important factors are: storytelling, acting, cinematography, social importance, consistency of themes, and overall message. Art of all kinds is so important because its meant to make us feel things and grow as people. Art IS a form of education, and that’s said as a really stupid kid who learned a lot of lessons from movies or music…and a really sad/angry kid who could only express himself through dancing. Its on artists to give an audience some perspective, entertain them, and to pour passion into their projects. So when I look at all 9 nominees…the best one for me ends up being..

Hidden Figures

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Everyone NEEDS to see this movie. You’re really missing out if you don’t…especially with the current political climate, this movie is so optimistic and important and tells the story of American Heroes. It was as uplifting as “La La Land” while being as socially important as “Moonlight”, and I truly think everyone can enjoy and learn from this film. Those are my thoughts on this years Oscar’s! Hope you all have fun tonight and just remember, even if the awards don’t go the way you want them to, these great films will always be there for us to come back to and for audiences to enjoy/learn from! Look forward to my review of “Logan” next week! SOGGZ OUT.

HM: Lion & Hacksaw Ridge

 

The Lego Batman Movie – Movie Review

First Lesson: Life Doesn’t Give you Seat-belts

In 2014, Warner Animation Group gave us a movie that most of us thought would just be a shameless plug to sell some plastic toys…and we were right, in a sense. The only thing was that none of us expected what we got: An amazing animated movie with a great voice-acting cast, pristine animation, and an actual plot that made some adults cry like babies and made other adults buy new lego sets (the latter for me, personally). Out of all the funny lego characters we got, Will Arnett’s hilarious narcissistic and edgy take on Batman stood out in that movie…so much that here we are in 2017 with the spin-off “Lego Batman” movie, and a “Lego Ninjago” movie coming soon as well.

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Because “The Lego Movie” revolved around original characters like Emmett, Lord Business, etc, The comedy in that movie had to also have a sense of originality and had to come from the situations that the characters were in. With a property like Batman that’s been having its own movies since the 60’s, however, that wasn’t as necessary. Reviewing and recommending this movie is fairly simple: IF you like self-referencing humor and the Batman films, you will absolutely love this movie. This movie is a spoof of the property, made obvious through the medium of legos and the animation style. The more Batman you’ve seen, the better. If the Batman films and comics are always fresh in your head, you will catch all the humor and it will be a delight.

Aside from that, just wanted to mention a few things I liked and noticed:

  • This movie BARELY takes a break. It is joke after punchline after pun after self-burn after…you get the idea. If you’re in a low energy mood, this is NOT the film for you. I personally wish I wasn’t as tired when I saw it, I probably would’ve enjoyed it even more. There is a slower section in the 2nd act, but it is mainly to focus on the story…which even comedic movies need, so no complaints there.

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  • Dear Lord, some of these references were just marvelous (DCous?…get it?..sorry). There’s the things you would expect them to make fun of (Suicide Squad, BvS, Shark-Repel-ant, Batman brooding) and then there’s some stuff that I haven’t heard been referenced in a while. One of my personal favorites was Joker explaining his plan to a Security Guard, and the guard telling him its going to fail so he brings up some of Joker’s other failed plans…specifically “That one time with the parade and the Prince music” (Burton’s Batman movie in 1989). I couldn’t hold in my laughter during some of these even if I was one of the only ones laughing.
  • The dynamic with Joker wanting Batman’s attention like an overly attached crush was one of the best parts of the movie. It was just really funny to see a spoof of Joker having a purpose, I honestly didn’t expect that much thought to go into this when they just as easily could’ve went: “Oh Joker’s crazy anyway, lets just have him do clown things and focus the movie more on Batman giving one-liners”…but wow, they actually gave the audience something to work with and it’s great.

You probably saw this coming already, but since I love spoofs and meta-jokes, and since you all know my feelings about Batman as a superhero, I’m giving the Lego Batman movie a 9/10. 

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This was no doubt a shorter review since there wasn’t much to go into, but expect a longer review for “Logan” which comes out in about a month…which I am SO excited for. It took me a while to get started for 2017, but be on the lookout because some cool stuff that is out of the usual realm of film reviews is coming soon. Thanks for reading!

That’s all for now,
Soggz Out!

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