‘Bridge Of Spies’: Review

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Maybe the best and highest compliment I can give to Bridge Of Spies is how confident it looks and feels at all times. Having the best of the best with Steven Spielberg directing, Tom Hanks in the lead role and fantastic visual cinematographer in Janusz Kaminski, the film is such a tight and straightforward thriller that never seems to waste a scene and everything that you’re seeing on screen or every camera movement means something.

The story, as such, is relatively straightforward Tom Hanks is James B. Donovan, tasked with defending Rudolf Abel, played my stage actor Mark Rylance, a suspected soviet spy. On the other side of the world, an American spy gets captured by the Russians, uh, spying on them, and thus Donovan is tasked with traveling to Russia and facilitating a trade amongst countries of the two spies.

The role is exactly in Hanks’ wheelhouse, and he’s perfect in it as he’s been doing for years, playing Donovan as this hearty American who fights for the good of the common man and sticks up for his beliefs, all the while providing for his perfect 1950’s family back home. Not that this is a knock against him or anything, but it just plays into the ease of the film, that you totally feel Hanks as this character, like you’ve been seeing it and him for years. It’s an instant bond and connection that indebts the character immediately to the audience.

Rylance is great in a subdued performance and one that plays off Hanks well in the opportunities they get and actually manages to form this strong bond between the two with little much even spoken to each other, but rather their actions and mutual respect which develop it more than such words probably could.

The script is maybe somewhat surprisingly penned by the Coen brothers, but maybe not so in that it’s really good. It’s sharp and pushes the action along nicely and never seems as long as its two hour and fifteen minute running time. It has small doses of humour, nothing really Coen-esque, but that style really wouldn’t fly for this type of film, and they’re obviously more than up to the task.

It’s really hard to find much fault in the film, as I mentioned before, all the elements from in front and behind the camera come together in a pretty perfect marriage. It’s really reminiscent of an old school Hollywood picture and Hanks seems totally in tune with his whole “modern Jimmy Stewart” thing. The thins is, too, it would almost seem like Oscar bait on the outset, but it never plays like that at all, or seems heavy handed in the least to try and hit on those things that Oscar voters love. Now, I’m sure it’ll get some love at the Awards, at least nominations wise, but I don’t foresee it being a heavy favourite at all or something to dominate all categories. It’s just a well-done, grown-up film that executes everything within it exceedingly, but never coming close to being overwrought.

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The 86th Annual Academy Awards Nominations Reaction

(ABC)

(ABC)

Best Picture:

Pretty great list of films, only haven’t seen Nebraska (which I’m almost literally dying to see) and Philomena, which I didn’t think it was necesary to see, but maybe I’m wrong. As with others, I can’t believe Inside Llewyn Davis didn’t get nominated, such a wonderful film in so many ways, and a Coen Brothers film, okay then. I think Before Midnight should be here, but of course it wouldn’t, it’s cool.

Best Actor:

Perfect list. Ejiofor deserves to win, but who knows.

Best Actress:

I’m a Bullock fan all the way, but I know Blanchett has been getting a lot of praise going into awards season. She is fantastic in Blue Jasmine, indeed, but really don’t think she matches Bullock in Gravity.

Best Supporting Actor:

Jonah Hill was good in The Wolf Of Wall Street, but not as great to get Oscar-worthy claim, but okay. I think Jared Leto takes this, but it’s a worthy category all around.

Best Supporting Actress:

Fine category, but I don’t think anyone has a chance against J-Law, and rightfully so.

Best Director:

I think Cuaron wins this like he won the Golden Globe, he tackled something unseen before in film, and even with the quality of director, I think he wins.

Best Documentary:

The only I’ve seen is The Act Of Killing, and it’s a juggernaut, I’d think it wins.

Best Adapted Screenplay:

Great selection, anyway it could go. As good as Before Midnight is, I think it’s down between 12 Years A Slave and The Wolf Of Wall Street. Might be a toss up.

Best Original Screenplay:

Her should take this in a great category.

A kind of more shorter and abrupt post than I expeceted, and also didn’t expect to predict winners, but here we are. I’ll probably predict EVERY category right before the awards, but these are just some quick reaction thoughts after the nominations have been posted. All in all, though, this has been one of my favourite years of film in recent memory, where I’ve trully loved quite a films as standouts like Before Midnight, 12 Years A Slave, The Wolf Of Wall Street, Gravity Inside Llewyn Davis, Her and Dallas Buyers Club. Just great stuff all around.

‘Inside Llewyn Davis’: Review

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Inside Llewyn Davis really just classic Coen themes. You’ve got your introspective character on some sort of journey, usually snarky in some sort of way/kind of an asshole, bizarre characers being met along the way, SYMBOLISM, music and so on. It’s all here, and it’s all so goddamn great.

After watching Treme for the last few years I absolutely how it didn’t give a fuck about the story and would just show people singing a song for, like four minutes or show, not-outwardly pushing any plot along, but creating an experiene and an atmosphere. I love shows/movies that don’t care about typical format and just do what they feel. Well, “Davis” is like that in so many ways, and chief among them its reliability  on music and its presence in the film. We learn so much about these characters when they sing, branching out in to how they perform and what they sing, it’s as much character development as anything else. It’s not a “musical” film, but rather a film that happens to have musical moments and uses that device to further the characters.

Of course it’s 1000x better when you have this quality of acting skill to back everything up. I’m pretty sure I hadn’t heard of Oscar Isaac before this, but holy shit whoever casted him deserves a shiny gold ribbon because he’s utterly perfect. Not only can he actually sing wonderfully, but he’s that perfect mix of sad-sack and motivational that makes you always hope for the best with him. I was just constantly amazed at the depths he would go to and how terrifically he embodied the role, and it’s a shame he’s not really getting recognized in awards season, even with the stiff competition.

I really loved the film twofold as a character study and as a journey or adventure film, but if you really want to get down to it, they really fit into the same category. I still find it hard to believe that the Coen’s can keep topping themselves, but they seemingly do it every year or so, and this is no different. It’s a new approach they haven’t taken before, yet the themes and subject matter are still so familiar that it feels so very “Coen.”

9/10