Wow, being 100% complete on one year’s worth of Oscar nominations and being prepared the most I have ever been for the telecast this Sunday, and also for Diane and I’s 10th Annual and last Oscar party, feels great. Doing this was one of my ‘bucket list’ items and I’m glad I completed it at only 32, thanks to a lot of things (Netflix, Hulu, dark web illegal shit, last minute screenings, friends of friends). It was also a fucking beating, time consuming, and I’m never going to do it again. So here is part 11 of my Oscar catch up. I’m finally done. For the rest of the year you will be getting only 2019 movie reviews. Here we go:
MIRAI (Nominated for Best Animated Feature)
I’ve never really ‘gotten’ anime I guess you could say. Other than being into the Pokemon video games and watching several episode of the cartoon when I was younger, to watching several episodes of Full Metal Alchemist when I was older, I never really gotten into it or care for it. So take my review of Mirai with a grain of salt, especially if you are an anime fan. That being said, the movie was okay. I really think it was nominated as a “we need a fifth nominated film, here’s your consolation prize as there weren’t other noticeable U.S. films this year, and we usually include one Japanese anime film on here per year now so we aren’t labeled racist or non-diverse.”
If you look really hard at it while watching it, you could compare it to The Boss Baby, with Alec Baldwin. It’s about a young little brat kid that has a new sister, and imagines a bunch of scenarios in his mind about interacting with past and future versions of his ancestors, parents, and his new little sister Mirai, in order to become a better person, but most importantly, a role model for his little sister. The main version that comes to him is his “sister that is older from the future.” The film didn’t really get going for me until the last 15-20 minutes, with awesome imagery and animation that reminded me of watching Little Nemo and the Adventures in Slumberland when I was a little kid.
The animation is great too, always love and miss 2D renderings all the time at the same time. It was just that I was mostly bored while watching it. It didn’t click with me. The Japanese anime humor flies way over my head and I honestly just don’t get it. But if you are a lover of anime and a pretty decent story, this film is definitely right up your alley. Hell there could’ve been a much worse fifth nomination this year…like Smallfoot maybe? I don’t know, didn’t see it but heard it was shit.
NEVER LOOK AWAY (Nominated for Best Foreign Language Film and Cinematography)
And yet another foreign language film I found to be more engaging, engrossing, and entertaining than Roma, and this son of a bitch is 3 hrs and 8 minutes long! I can’t decide if I like this or Capernaum better but I know that both completely blow Roma out of the water for me (even though I still find Roma to be a very good cinematic achievement…technically not narratively). Never Look Away takes place between right around 1937 and goes to 1961. It chronicles the the life of a painter named Kurt Barnett and his life as a child dealing with the end of World War II and the tragic death of his beautiful aunt, through socialist expressionism, all the way to where art became extremely experimental and avant-garde. His life consists of meeting and falling in love with a beautiful designer student while also trying to find his true voice as an artist in a profession that is constantly changing. While he is the narrative focus we also get a B Plot of a Nazi Professor named Carl Seeband and his role in the Nazi eugenics program. I would explain what that is, but the movie does that well enough for you and you can look it up on your own, it’s quite malicious and horrifying. Plus if I keep going with the plot I’m going to ruin the entire thing for you, best to check it out for yourself.
To say that these two stories intertwine at some point is a given, and you would think that I would complain that by the way these two stories come together are too much of a coincidence for me (I complained about this in my review of Border), however, with the 3 hour run time, and the ultimate conclusion/resolution to the film, the film easily earns its couple of happenstances and the ending thankfully foregoes a cliched confrontation that so many movies have done before. The film is also nominated for Best Cinematography, and I also agree that its nomination in this category was well deserved. Cinematographer Caleb Deschanel (who is Zooey and Emily’s father) enriches the screen with beautiful imagery of a pre, present, and post war country. It get even better in the latter half of the film with Carl trying his hand at creating different forms of art, especially the climax.
The acting in here is great as well, so great in fact that about 15 minutes into the film I didn’t even realize I was reading subtitles to get what was going on. Although the main actor Tom Schilling looks like if Jeremy Renner and Devon Sawa fucked and had a baby. It was a little distracting at times because I wanted to prove that all three of them were related. The actor that plays the Nazi Professor, Sebastian Koch, is great here as well, and some of you may recognize him from some American films/television programs like A Good Day To Die Hard or Homeland. Here he gets a lot of scenery to chew and does it well. Anyway, the story here is magnificent and if you really like foreign films and don’t mind reading subtitles, the 3 hours wasn’t just necessary for me to appreciate all that was necessary in this story to tell, but also flew by like watching Titanic or Gone With The Wind. It’s an epic story told with epic perfection.