Golden Globes 2018 – Film Predictions

We are now full swing into award season. The Golden Globes ceremony is just around the corner and, obviously, I had to get my predictions out there! So, without further ado, let us start!

Best Motion Picture – Drama

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Will Win: The Shape Of Water. The aesthetics, the setting, the matter at hand, all of these are elements that Guillermo Del Toro has explored in other entries of his filmography, but perhaps never better than here.

Should Win: Call Me By Your Name. Luca Guadagnino film came out of nowhere to conquer over our hearts in a way very few films have done. The coming-of-age story that Elio goes through is one of the most charming and heartbreaking tales of the year. Oh, and the Armie Hammer dance scene is gold.

Dark Horse: Dunkirk.

Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy

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Will Win: Get Out. Feels so wrong for this film to be in this category, but you cannot deny that it is the best film of the lot (closely followed by Lady Bird, though). Jordan Peele’s directorial debut is an incredible achievement in story telling and, with films like these, the horror genre is in good hands.

Should Win: Get Out. It will honestly be the biggest shock of the night if Get Out goes home without the award.

Dark Horse: The Disaster Artist.

Best Performance By An Actress – Drama

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Will Win: Frances McDormand. While I’m not the biggest fan of Three Billboards, it’s hard to deny Frances McDromand’s performance is a highlight with its right amount of drama and comedy.

Should Win: Sally Hawkins. Part of the success of The Shape Of Water is due to the simplicity of Sally Hawkins’ mute performance.

Dark Horse: Jessica Chastain.

Best Performance By An Actor – Drama

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Will Win: Gary Oldman. The actor’s performance in Darkest Hour has been picking up steam since TIFF and doesn’t seem like it’s going to slow down anytime soon.

Should Win: Timothée Chalamet. This incredibly genuine performance from such an young actor deserves to be recognised by what is is: the best performance of the lot.

Dark Horse: Daniel Day-Lewis.

Best Performance By An Actress – Musical Or Comedy

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Will Win: Saoirse Ronan. I can’t begin to tell you how good this performance is. So sincere, touching on everything everyone has been through when they felt like an outsider.

Should Win: Saoirse Ronan. All the awards.

Dark Horse: Margot Robbie.

Best Performance By An Actor – Musical Or Comedy

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Will Win: James Franco. It would be very easy to deliver a caricature of Tommy Wiseau in The Disaster Artist. It’s a lot harder to deliver a performance that humanises the actor and his dream.

Should Win: Daniel Kaluuya. His performance in Get Out has it all and, while more underplayed than Franco, it carries just as much power.

Dark Horse: Hugh Jackman.

Best Performance By An Actress in a Supporting Role

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Will Win: Octavia Spencer. Once again, she delivers an entertaining heartfelt performance, in a role which is somewhat different from everything else the actress has ever done.

Should Win: Laurie Metcalf. I’m trying not to let my admiration for Lady Bird show too much, but Laurie Metcalf’s performance is, perhaps, the core of the film and everytime she is on screen, the momentum is elevated.

Best Performance By An Actor in a Supporting Role

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Will Win: Christopher Plummer. The behind-the-cameras story will ultimately prevail here, I feel. Nontheless, Christopher Plummer delivers one of the best performances of his illustrious career.

Should Win: Willem Dafoe. In The Florida Project, he is the definition of a supporting actor, helping the film to remain focused and cohesive.

Best Director

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Will Win: Christopher Nolan. Dunkirk might be the most director-driven film of the year and I believe that will be enough to get the British director the award.

Should Win: Guillermo Del Toro. Again, every element of The Shape Of Water has the touch of the director, making for a film which feels like a single unit.

Dark Horse: Ridley Scott.

Best Screenplay

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Will Win: Greta Gerwig. Lady Bird is the film with most heart of the year. It’s one of the best coming-of-age stories of the decade and the screenplay was the foundation to it all.

Should Win: Greta Gerwig. Come ooooooooon!

Dark Horse: Aaron Sorkin.

What do you think? 

Upgrade – Review

Leigh Whannell has directed, written, starred in, and produced in some impressive horror films. Now he’s back for Upgrade, his greatest creation yet.

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Set in a new dystopian world, Upgrade revolves around Grey Trace,  a mechanic who deals in fixing up retro cars for rich clients as the world becomes more reliant on technology such as self-driving cars. His latest client boy genius Eron Keen whose technological advances have Grey’s wife Asha impressed. On their way back from an impromptu meet and greet,  Grey and Asha’s car gets into an unexpected accident and they are attacked by unknown assailants; killing Asha and leaving Grey paralyzed. Keen approaches with a solution – a new bug which can replicate his central nervous system called STEM.  However, when Grey decides to track down those who murdered Asha, STEMS connection to his subconscious begins to have a horrifying effect.

Logan Marshall-Green (whose likeness to Tom Hardy has been brought up repeatedly and it’s hard not to see the Venom star in Marshall-Green’s eyes) is magnetic as Grey. Here, he has to simulate a broken man made well again due to robotics. Not just any robotics, but artificial intelligence. When STEM is finally fused with him, Marshall-Green adds a stiffness to Grey’s movements. Small tasks such as grabbing a glass of whiskey or walking across a room feel off, just slightly to make it unnerving. His mesmeric and energised performance escalates brilliantly when he gives full control of his limbs, Marshall-Green has to operate as such – giving realistic facial expressions as though his body was independent from his  Like The Invitation, Marshall-Green is just fantastic to watch.

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Added to this is a strong support performance by Betty Gabriel (of Get Out fame) as Detective Cortez, a voice of reason in a hellish technological landscape. Harrison Gilbertson and Benedict Hardie also put in decent villainous roles as the tech genius Eron Keen and the stoic enhanced soldier Fisk respectively.

Whannell’s direction and writing really brings Upgrade to life. Though the set-up is heavy in particular horror tropes – in a particular Grey’s wife dying, Grey being injured, and then he goes on a revenge spree – and these slow the beginning. Which very well may be Whannell’s intention because after the first fight sequence, a switch is flicked and the ferocity of the film kicks itself up several notches and never backs down.  With such fluid direction, the movie takes you on a fast and heart-racing adrenaline ride with fun scenes and fantastic twists within the story. The film leaps and bounds with sheer entertainment.

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What’s most enjoyable about this film is that without dating it or showing us how we became to be so technologically dependent. There’s inventive science in here too such as guns embedded into arms and lens that record everything.  This affects the film by making it more realistic and a gritty tone that isn’t forced. There’s also some beautiful scenery making the blood really pop.

Producer Jason Blum has mentioned in a recent Q&A that there were plans for a potential sequel which follows an all too familiar horror trope as well. Whatever happens with whatever franchise they are planning, Upgrade stands as terrific action-horror piece alone.

A fun and fevered bit of technological savagery.

Upgrade is out on DVD & Blu-Ray now! 

Detroit – Review

The Detroit riot is one of the darkest chapters of the American civil rights era. With African American’s denied every civil liberty in their own country and abused by the institution’s meant to protect them, riots were sadly inevitable. Over five days two thousand buildings were destroyed, seven thousand were arrested, and,  in one horrific event,  three lives were lost during a motel raid. The new film, directed by Kathryn Bigelow, aims to tell what happened inside that hotel.

Even with its rich and tragic source material and despite its cast and direction, Detroit is a superficial look at police brutality. At time’s vicious and raw in its depiction but the narrative’s lack of context and perspective makes this a race relation film to appease the masses.

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Set during the five-day riots that levelled Detroit in 1967 and after the raid of a bar, the city rebels against the brutality faced by residents from police. Seeking sanctuary at The Algiers Motel are  singer Larry (Algee Smith), his friend Fred (Jacob Latimore), a war veteran Greene (Anthony Mackie) and two young women. All become embroiled in another raid overseen by violent officer Philip Krauss, (Will Poulter) and security guard Melvin Dismukes, (John Boyega). Inside the residents are brutalised and made to play a vicious game where their lives hang in the balance.

The film marks the third collaboration between director Kathryn Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal. The pair previously worked together on The Hurt Locker as well as Zero Dark Thirty. For the film, screenwriter Boal interviewed the surviving hotel residents to gain insight into what happened.

Despite the producer’s research, the film demonstrates a frustrating lack of context. A small animation establishes a post-civil war era with a police force ‘known to be aggressive’. A straight forward, borderline civil, bar raid is used as the catalyst for the riots, before all hell breaks loose on the city streets. The sheer volume of oppression, dehumanisation, and brutality faced by the residents is never established. The following riot scenes play out as a warning to the ‘irresponsible’ inhabitants, who are ultimately only harming themselves. Without solid context of what triggered the riots, the film starts on shaky ground.

Yet quickly the narrative introduces us to Krauss who shoots a black man in the back as if he is hunting game. Wrong as this may be, he is let back on the streets and soon himself, his fellow officers, and Dismukes converge on The Algiers Motel, after hearing a random gun shot. Once inside the hotel walls the film does not let up on the violence and abuse the inhabitants will endure. This is the film’s most engaging yet horrendous sequence: A prolonged assault on the residents and the audience who are pulled into the violence with them. Bigelow has created atmosphere and intensity through her use of the camera. Her style puts you into the small confides of the motel and the events playout in horrific real time. The motel hallway acts as centre stage while each resident is pulled into smaller rooms that become torture chambers. The cinematic style captures the fear of the events while always placing the police in the position of power and abuser.

In the film’s final act, the events are played out in court for politics, misconception, and an all-white jury to deliberate. Mirroring almost every unnecessary death of an unarmed black citizen in America, the ending is predestined.

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The narrative revolves around multiple characters until they collide at the motel. Despite what you learn of these characters, none feel truly developed. No more so than John Boyega’s Melvin Dismukes. His motivations are never really established, despite claiming to stay to deescalate the situation. He has little dialogue throughout the film and despite Boyega’s strong screen presence, his role becomes lost amongst other players.. As an ensemble cast you could not put more talent on a screen than seen in Detroit. Yet with these underwritten  characters, the talent feels lost. Boyega and Mackie, in particular, feel underused. The two strongest characters play out against one another as Larry and Officer Krauss portray one victim and abuser.

Smith’s Larry makes for the most varied of the motel residents, torn between wanting to leave the motel alive but wanted to also stand his ground. With the exception of an outbreak of song (mid motel raid), his characters pulls you into his dilemma and his fears.

Opposite this is baby faced Will Poulter. Playing a character with such deep-rooted racism, he cannot concede that he has done anything unlawful, despite witnessing his repeated crimes. Able to switch from cold and calm to malicious, this is a new direction for the actor and his abilities on screen.

For the masses Detroit is a fresh, brutal and harrowing depiction of police brutality. For those who have always known this was a deep-seated issue,  the lack of context and wonky perspective makes the film a rehash of an obvious reality. Harrowing it may be at times, with a brilliant cast, but this is not the film the victims and survivors of the riots deserved.

Detroit is out in cinemas now!