Saturday, March 10, 2018

Movie Watching 2018

It took a while before I finally found myself at the movie theater this year but when I did, I ended up watching one film after another in quick succession. In fact, I watched three movies in a span of three days. Thankfully, everything I saw was really good.

The Greatest Showman

I watched this film because of word-of-mouth. I didn't really know about it until I kept seeing my friends heap praised upon it on social media. Thankfully I did see it because I thoroughly enjoyed it. While it is supposed to be based on the life if P.T. Barnum, a lot of liberties were taken and it is not historically accurate. I will also say that the story is quite light and the character development was a bit thin. So why did I love this movie? It's the music and the production numbers. Not only are the songs catchy, some of them are downright anthemic. Never Again has been covered so many times by singers who want to showcase their vocal talent. This is Me was nominated for Best Song at the Oscars for its inspirational message of strength and courage and accepting and being proud of for who you are. Rewrite the Stars has such a pop appeal that I've heard it many times on the radio already. My personal favorite though is not one of the common favorites among people. From Now On is sung close to the end and is about forgiveness and redemption, and it has a gospel feel to it that makes your heart soar. While the music alone would have been enough, the production that accompanies each song just take the experience to the next level. The soundtrack has been playing in my head since I watched the film and I desperately want to find a karaoke bar where I can sing songs from the movie. :)

The Post

As a Meryl Streep fan, there was no way I was going to miss The Post. The fact that she was nominated for her 21st acting Oscar for her performance in this film made me want to see it even more. While it seemed like a bit of a cerebral political drama during the first half, it became almost edge-of-your-seat suspenseful as it started building up towards what I felt was one of the most critical moments of the film. I won't spoil you by telling you what it is, but I have to say that Meryl absolutely sells that scene. This movie gave me the same vibe I got watching Frost/Nixon many years ago. I guess I'm not the only one who loved it since it was also nominated for Best Picture at The Oscars. While the film is set in the mid-1960s, it highlights the criticality of freedom of the press, which is just as relevant today as it was back then. The line "The free press was to serve the governed, not the governors" resonated with me a lot and I wish more people understand this concept and fight to uphold to it.

The Shape of Water

Because it was Oscar season this month, it was natural for many Oscar nominees to be shown at the movie theaters. The Shape of Water had been reaping a lot of awards and the sea creature element made me very curious to see it. As expected, this film, which took home a few Oscars including Best Picture and Best Director for Guillermo Del Toro, was a well-crafted and beautiful piece of storytelling. I will spoil you a bit here and say that it is a love story (although I guess you can kind of figure that out from the movie poster) that is strange and thrilling and suspenseful and romantic. The lead actress, Sally Hawkins, puts in a scintillating performance and really makes you feel for and relate to her character, despite the very unusual and unique circumstances in which she finds herself. I will say though that while I found this film to be tremendously good and satisfying to watch, it's not something I would have thought would take home an Oscar Best Picture trophy. Still, it is definitely worth seeing and I do recommend it.

Black Panther

Of all the films I watched so far this year, Black Panther is the only one that came out in 2018 (the other three came out in 2017 and in fact, all other three were nominated for Oscars). I think it is incredible to see a black superhero in a leading role. The fact that he is joined by a black cast in a film that celebrates black culture and pays homage to Africa makes it even more groundbreaking. While I can attempt to write about the value of this film, I will instead direct you to this article by Time on how Black Panther marks a major milestone. Apart from its cultural significance, it is also a really good superhero movie with fantastic action sequences, good storytelling, and well-written and well-developed characters that you can't help but root for. Here's a bit of trivia: Black Panther is currently the highest ranked Marvel movie on Rotten Tomatoes in terms of critics score.

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