Reviews of Movies, TV shows & metro Detroit Restaurants

Short movie & TV show reviews and metro Detroit restaurant reviews

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Reviews & Ratings for the 2016 Best Picture Nominees

I have seen all 8 Best Picture nominees, so here are my reviews & ratings for each of them.

Brooklyn (

I walked out of Brooklyn thinking that it may have been my favorite Best Picture nominee and the more I think about it, the more I believe that be the case. So yeah...this is my favorite amongst the nominees. This is such a sweet, wonderful movie with a great story. Movies like this are few & far between in this age of superheros, sequels, remakes, etc. I’m a sucker for a good love story. Take a love story with an Irish immigrant trying to make her way in 1950s Brooklyn and I am really a sucker for that. This movie has a good mix of drama, romance, and humor (the scenes of the girls eating dinner at the table in the boarding house are hilarious). Saoirse Ronan’s performance stands out so much in this movie and that’s a big part of what makes this story work so well. I pretty much loved this movie...9.0/10 stars.

Bridge of Spies (

Steve Spielberg, Tom Hanks, and an awesome performance by Mark Rylance (well deserving of his Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor) make Bridge of Spies an awesome movie. This movie is based on the true story of James B. Donovan (Hanks) and how he helped negotiate the exchange of Francis Gary Powers (Austin Stowell) for Soviet spy Rudolf Abel (Rylance) in 1962 during some of the most tense moments of the Cold War. Even though I knew the outcome of the story, this movie still kept me at the edge of my seat. And it does this with essentially no action, which many directors are incapable of doing. But this is Steven Spielberg...enough said. This is a fantastic movie that I thoroughly enjoyed...8.5/10 stars.

Spotlight (

Best Picture Oscar-nominated movies should stir up emotions within us and pretty much all of them did one way or another for me (even Mad Max: Fury Road, but more on that movie below). Spotlight definitely did this for me as I was at times disgusted & pissed off as well as joyous & thankful. I was disgusted & pissed off about the scandal that this movie is about, priests molesting children in Boston (and unfortunately, all over the world). I was joyous & thankful due to those who unearthed this story and brought it to the light of day, the Boston Globe reporters who are depicted so wonderfully in this movie. If there was an Oscar for best cast, this movie would win it hands down because everyone in this movie works so well together, like a well-oiled machine. This is another great movie which I really liked...8.5/10 stars.

The Martian (

First of all, The Martian is not a comedy even though it was categorized as such for the Golden Globe Awards and thus won the Globe for Best Musical or Comedy. It does however have funny moments, which add to its charm and entertainment value, which it has plenty of. I was talking to my brother Brian about this movie recently and we are both engineers. We talked about how this movie appeals to the scientist/engineer in us as well as the sheer entertainment it brings to the viewer. Matt Damon is at his best as Mark Watney, the astronaut who is left for dead on Mars and finds ways to survive & eventually communicate with Earth. I am a big fan of this movie...8.5/10 stars.

The Big Short (

The Big Short requires you to pay attention. There is fast-paced dialogue and some pretty complex discussions about how Wall Street works & what went down during the financial crisis of 2007-08. Fortunately for the audience, there are some awesome cameos to help explain the various financial concepts. These cameos are brilliant and add to the charm of this movie. As I mentioned above in my review of Spotlight, emotions are at play with this movie as well. So much of it is humorous until you realize what happened back then: People lost tons of money all because of greedy Wall Street assholes. And what happened to those assholes? Most of them got bailed out and/or suffered no repercussions. And how does that leave the viewer feeling after this wonderful ride of a movie? Pissed off. Even the guys who saw this coming and made tons of money because of it don’t feel good about it because they profited from so many others getting screwed over. This is yet another movie that brings out a variety of emotions and it does so brilliantly. This movie tells a compelling story with fantastic performances (most notably Christian Bale & Steve Carell) and it’s great cinema...8.5/10 stars.

Room (

When I first read about Room, I didn’t think I’d want to see it because it just sounded like it’d be a difficult movie to watch since a good chunk of it is how a woman & her son are being held captive by a psychopath. Then the Oscar nominations came out and I knew that I’d HAVE to see it. And I am glad that I did. Continuing my theme regarding emotions, this movie runs the complete gamut: Sadness, anger, disgust, anxiety, happiness, and joy. The performances of Brie Larson as Ma and Jacob Tremblay as her son Jack (How is this kid NOT nominated for an Oscar?) really carry this movie, especially throughout the difficult to watch first half. I truly enjoyed the journey this movie took me on...8.5/10 stars.

The Revenant (

The Revenant is an epic movie and has some of the most stunning cinematography I’ve seen in years. At times, it is also very difficult to watch due to the struggle it depicts, Hugh Glass’ journey of revenge. I know that the actors were put through hell in the making of this movie, which is a testament to them. Leonardo DiCaprio’s performance as Glass is astounding in spite of having very little dialogue. He proves that he’s one of the best actors of his time and he should finally win that ever elusive Best Actor Oscar. I left this movie thinking that it was very good, but not feeling great about it or even really entertained by it due to it being so powerful. I believe that Mark DiStefano of The Cornell Daily Sun does an excellent job of describing this movie (especially how “it does not have the emotional heft to match the operatic grandeur of its settings and cinematography”) and you can find his take on the movie at:

Did I like this movie? Yes and it is worthy of all of its nominations...8.0/10 stars.

Mad Max: Fury Road (

I am going to keep this short. How in the hell is this movie nominated for Best Picture (and Best Director)? It’s just not an Oscar-worthy movie as there isn’t much to it, neither from a story perspective nor from an emotional perspective. This movie did stir up my emotions, ones of disbelief & confusion. I can understand how it’s nominated for technical awards, but Best Picture AND Best Director? Come on! Needless to say, I didn’t really like this movie at all...3.0/10 stars.

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