Reviews of Movies, TV shows & metro Detroit Restaurants

Short movie & TV show reviews and metro Detroit restaurant reviews

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Reviews & Ratings for the 2017 Best Picture Nominees

I have seen all of this year’s Oscar Best Picture nominees. I don’t always like every nominee, but this year I did. Here are my ratings & quick reviews for each of them.

Unless you are on a different planet, you know that La La Land is the odds-on favorite to win Best Picture. I have a hard time arguing with that because it is a wonderful movie. The costumes, singing, choreography, story-telling, and performances by the actors are all awesome. It has an “old school” Hollywood feel to it even though it’s set in modern day Hollywood. Plus it’s a “feel good” story about people following their dreams which is very refreshing. La La Land is a true joy to watch and completely sucked me in...9.0/10 stars.

Hidden Figures is a wonderful movie. I’m a sucker for good historically-based movies and this one did not disappoint me. The story of the black women who worked for NASA during the space race couldn’t have come at a better time in our country’s history. Their story is a great one to tell, one that I didn’t know anything about until this movie came out (along with an episode of the cool NBC show Timeless). All of the performances by the 3 main actresses are great, with my favorite performance given by Janelle Monáe as Mary Jackson. The movie also depicts the racism & sexism the era its set in very accurately. I truly loved this movie...9.0/10 stars.

When it comes to movies (or anything, for that matter...especially LIFE!), I love happy endings. That’s why I enjoy romantic comedies so much as they usually end happily. Lion has a wonderful happy ending and therefore, I loved it. The story of Saroo (based on an amazing true story) and how he went from being a dirt poor child in India to a young adult in Australia who wants to find out where that child came from is truly heartwarming. While there are heartbreaking moments in this movie, the joy felt at the end overcomes all of those times. This is such a wonderful movie...9.0/10 stars.

I thoroughly enjoyed Arrival and I think Amy Adams got robbed by not being nominated for Best Actress for her performance in this movie as she was awesome in it. I was very enthralled by this movie and when the “twist” occurred in it, it made me re-think everything I had just seen. I walked out not knowing 100% of what I had just witnessed and thanks to Wikipedia, I was able to confirm what I thought happened. And it was awesome! The visual effects & cinematography and sound effects are pretty amazing, which is what this movie is probably best known for. Plus who doesn’t like a movie about aliens coming to Earth? Any movie that is well-acted with a great story that also makes you think & is visually stunning is always going to be something I like and Arrival is just that...9.0/10 stars.

Manchester by the Sea (

When I tried to describe Manchester by the Sea to my sister-in-law Tina, I was struggling for the right words to describe it. I went to Rotten Tomatoes and found this perfect description from Adam Graham of The Detroit News: “It's painful and tragic, yet it's cut with elements of humor and laughter. Just like life.” Casey Affleck’s performance makes this movie what it is and as far as I am concerned, it’s an Oscar-worthy performance. This is a very serious movie, but the moments of humor are refreshing and definitely made me laugh out loud at times (sometimes I was the only person in the theater laughing!). I enjoyed this movie...8.5/10 stars.

I am a bit of a World War II history buff, so anytime a movie about that war comes out, it gets my attention. I didn’t know the story of American Army Medic Desmond T. Doss until I watched Hacksaw Ridge and it’s a great story of a truly heroic American. We hear so many stories of heroism coming out of that war (just watch Band of Brothers) and this story fits in right with the rest of them. The movie depicts Doss’ story in a very realistic fashion from his experiences during boot camp to his heroics during the Battle of Okinawa. This is an excellent movie...8.5/10 stars.

While I was watching Fences, I felt like I was watching a play because it’s very minimalistic (no large set pieces, visual effects, etc.) and it’s very much dialogue driven. Of course, this makes sense because the movie is based on the very successful play of the same name. This wasn’t distracting though as it IS a very good movie with some awesome performances. As great as Denzel is in the lead role (Troy Maxson), it’s Viola Davis’ performance as Troy’s wife Rose that makes this movie so good. I can’t see how she doesn’t win an Oscar for that performance. While hard to watch at times, I did like it...8.0/10 stars.

Hell or High Water is a good movie, but I am not sure it’s worthy of being nominated for an Oscar. I definitely enjoyed watching it and pretty much love Jeff Bridges. I think my favorite aspect of this movie is the relationship between Bridges’ character Marshall Marcus Hamilton and his partner, Gil Birmingham’s Marshall Alberto Parker. The dialogue between these two while they chase down the bank robbing brothers (Tanner & Toby Howard played by Ben Foster & Chris Pine respectively, another great duo in this movie) is fantastic. While I didn’t love this movie, I did like it...7.0/10 stars.

I understand why Moonlight is nominated for Best Picture. I just didn’t find it to be that great. I liked it, but I didn’t love it and it wasn’t Oscar-worthy in my mind. The journey it portrays of its main character Chiron (aka Little and/or Black) is at times sad, funny, tragic, and ultimately satisfying. The performances by all of the actors, especially the 3 who portray Chiron at the various stages of his life are great. While I do like Mahershala Ali as an actor, I personally did not think his performance warrants a Best Supporting Actor award, but I know I am in the minority with regards to this. Moonlight is a good movie...7.0/10 stars.

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