Tag Archives: octavia spencer

Review: The Shape Of Water

Two and half years ago I wrote a post about how the creativity in the movie industry seems to be all but dead. I still wholeheartedly believe that but, like I said before there are some exceptions to this. Guillermo del Toro is maybe the leader of the original filmmakers in Hollywood. His 2006 film, Pan’s Labyrinth was one of the most creative films to hit cinemas in quite some time. He then brought the futuristic sci-fi action movie, Pacific Rim to theaters. This year he gave us yet another truly original story to life with The Shape Of Water. With an all-star cast including a slew of Oscar nominees, Sally Hawkins, Michael Shannon, Richard Jenkins and Oscar winner Octavia Spencer he brings his monsters back to life in beautiful style.

Set in the 1950s cold war in a highly secret government facility a mute cleaning woman who lives a small life who’s only friends are a fellow cleaning woman who looks out for her played by Octavia Spencer and her artist neighbor played by Richard Jenkins. When a secret project is brought into the facility by the nearly sadistic leader played by Michael Shannon. When Elisa (Hawkins) looks into the project too closely and discovers an amphibious creature which appears to be half man she finds herself unusually drawn to him and forms a friendship in secret. When the Russians begin trying to capture the creature she forms a plan with her friends to take him out of the facility and bring him home to keep him from being experimented on. They soon pull off an unlikely heist which brings the creature to her home and has the government on a search to bring him back to the facility and keep him out of Russian hands. Elisa soon forms an even deeper bond with the creature that leads them to attempt to flee from everyone they know.

The mind of del Toro is something of people like Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, George Lucas (early Lucas) and Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry, in our own time. It has been recognized by critics and award committees and fans worldwide. He has used the film medium to bring his creatures, or as he refers to them, monsters, to life. What makes it wonderful to experience is not just his creativity but the beauty in which he makes his worlds come to life. He is not just creative but he is a great filmmaker and has a unique vision. He has a great sense of character and emotion that all great filmmakers have, which is what makes them great. His mind and worlds can captivate every cinephile and bring them into a new place which is what movies are all about. The Shape Of Water is rightfully being recognized all over this year as one of the years best movies and rightfully so. While his style and worlds may not be for everyone, those with a desire for originality will find The Shape Of Water a refreshing new find. We can only wait for his next creation to be taken away to another fascinating world and time.

Billy Crystal An “Artist” When It Comes To Oscar Night

Whether your ballots are busted or you were happy to see all the winners, one things for sure The Academy Awards are done and handed out and the opinions are flooding thru every form of media available. With a few surprises as always, the heavy favorites won what most everyone expected.

Billy Crystal looked at home back at the helm of Hollywoods biggest night and he did not disappoint. He gave the show a flow and grace with a few jabs that were very funny and yet no one could be offended. He has just enough clout, class and polish to be the best host since Johnny Carson made it an art form.

The show truly started with a bang when Sasha Barron Cohen graced the red carpet as the dictator, the title character from his forthcoming movie. During his interview he made an uncomfortable reference to his “friend” Saddam Hussein and carried an urn which was supposed to be the ashes of Kim Jung Il which he proceeded to dump all over a shocked Ryan Seacrest. It was a great moment that so many people across America loved seeing. This effectively ended his stint on the red carpet while Seacrest got vacuumed off during a commercial. The comedy wasn’t as controversial for the rest of the show but there were enough good moments, peaking with Will Ferrell and Zach Galifinakis presenting best song in hysterical fashion.

On to the awards! Early on it appeared to be Hugo’s night while it seemed to hoard a lot of the technical awards. The biggest surprise, if you can really call it that, was when Woody Allen collected yet another Oscar for his mantle. Allen was one of the few to beat the artist in a nice win for best original screenplay. The Descendants only walked away with one statue as well winning for best adapted screenplay. Moneyball was totally shutout as was Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. the Help won only one award as well when the strong favorite, Octavia Spencer took home best supporting actress.

Christopher Plummer became the oldest actor to take home an Oscar at 82 years old just 2 years younger than Oscar himself as he made reference to in his acceptance speech, for which he also seemed to be given a time leeway.

It was after all of this that The Artist then took over. First on the checklist was Michel Hazanavicius being awarded best director beating out 4 powerful and great film makers by the names of Allen, Scorsese, Malick and Payne. Jean Dujardin then went on to beat Hollywoods virtual “man of the year” in George Clooney for best actor.

The Artist wouldn’t win best actress but most likely only because they didn’t have a nominee. Nearly 30 years since her last Oscar win, Meryl Streep would be back accepting the award over her friend Viola Davis and a, dare I say, disappointed Michelle Williams who, although I’m sure was very happy for Meryl, had a look of disappointment on her face. I must say my heart broke a little for Viola as she poured every ounce she had into her role and it meant so much to her.

The final and most coveted award, not surprisingly went to The Artist. It was the first movie to win best picture in black and white since Schindler’s List. It was very much the type of picture the Academy loves, different, well acted and made with a director with a unique vision. It may not have been the BEST overall movie, but it non the less was very much to Oscar’s liking. It was a fine evening with no real shocking or controversial moments other than, did we see Jennifer Lopez’s nipple? It’s a topic for debate but it was a night truly for Hollywood and whether or not the people who you wanted to win, did or not, it was a great show and that’s what Hollywood does best.

Emma Stone Leads A Powerhouse Cast In The Help

It is without question that Emma Stone is one of Hollywood’s brightest stars on the rise. Her role in the Oscar nominated movie, The Help does nothing but prove that. While she may be overshadowed by the brilliant performances of Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer, she non the less proves her worth.

She first came to light in the incredibly funny Greg Mottola movie, Superbad alongside Oscar nominee, Jonah Hill. She has since gone on to be nominated for a Golden Globe for her role in the somewhat cheesy teen movie Easy A.

Her ability to choose diverse and unique roles is what has catapulted her to he front of the line. The Help is no doubt her shinning achievement thus far. It was a courageous challenge to take the role in a movie that has brought both high acclaim and scornful criticism.

The Help is the story of an aspiring journalist in 1960’s Mississippi, which was the center of the segregated world at the time, and her mission to tell the story of well to do families maids who at the time were a majority of the african american race. Met with much reluctancy she does convince two of the local maids to help her start telling their story. After a series of events, nearly all the local maids begin to open up and help her tell their stories. After publishing their stories in a book it sets the town a buzzing. Her book is a true success and she is offered a job in NYC but wants to stay in Mississippi but is then convinced she needs to go.

The movie is a reflection on the ignorance and mistreatment that went on at a pivotal time in American history. It is a fictional story that is no less powerful just because it may not be completely true. It in no way is meant to reflect negatively on the black race in any way. It is however a story that needs to be told so that we as a society may never forget the misguided treatment of others and never repeat our horrid mistakes.

However it is a story that can’t be told without striking a nerve on some in a negative way. As with every movie or story, there is no pleasing everyone, people will find a negative view and hold on to it. Some may ask why we need to be reminded of such horrible times and actions and may say that it will only promote others to act that way or have those negative views. This could not be further from the truth. It is the same reason that we learn of these things in school or that Holocaust stories are still told to this day. It is only so that we may not have the unfortunate result of repeating history that we continue to learn.

The Help is a powerful and wonderful film if looked at in the correct and positive way. With a cast that without a doubt is one of the finest acting ensembles in recent memory. With Viola Davis proving she may be the best working actress right now and Octavia Spencer breaking out in her role as Millie, The Help may not win the best picture of the year but there is no doubt it very well is one of the best.