Tag Archives: sally hawkins

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.

Godzilla Roars On To The Scene

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Monster movies tend to lean towards the cult film crowd. There are exceptions though. Just about every movie fan and even quite a few casual fans have experienced the greatness of a Godzilla film at one time or another, whether it’s one of the classics (no matter how cheesy the graphics) or one of the terrible (1998’s debacle). They have a draw to them like disaster movies, superhero movies or even film noir.
Warner Brothers is the latest to take on the ultimate monster that is Godzilla. This marks the 60th anniversary of the 1954 classic that shook and even started the cult film phenomena. This was Japan’s political and social response and commentary on the bombings 9 years earlier of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The last Godzilla film was made 10 years ago when Toho productions announced they wouldn’t make another Godzilla for at least 10 years and through a peculiar series of events Warner Brothers came to make a 3D IMAX version of Godzilla. Let’s just say they used every day and every dollar over that 10 year span to nail it!
The film starts in Japan in 1999 with an American nuclear engineer and his wife (played by Bryan Cranston and Juliette Binoche) headed to work on a fateful day. When seismic activity draws Joe Body’s (Cranston) attention, the nuclear plant immediately becomes in danger. The trouble is Brody recognizes this is no normal seismic activity. He recognizes a pattern which leads to a 15 year long search for what caused the meltdown and the death of his wife. This draws his now adult son back to Japan to retrieve him after being arrested in the quarantined area. A series of events leads him to believe his father and eventually make his way back to his home in San Francisco to keep his family safe when a new beast named Mutos is discovered and headed for any nuclear source it can find. This eventually awakens Godzilla, who members of a company called, Monarch, have been tracking since the detonation of the atom bomb.
It soon becomes aware that Godzilla, despite his destruction and destructive ability, is not quite the enemy. Battles ensue and everything we love about Godzilla movies present themselves. A wild ride is everything short of an understatement.
The film has it all. It’s scary, it’s intense, it has story and perfect character development. It has enough to please hardcore fans, including a very small and brief Mothra reference, and enough to make newly introduced movie goers, intense vintage fans.
Godzilla takes quite awhile to make his first appearance, an homage to Spielberg’s Jaws. When Godzilla makes his first full appearance you can’t help but smile and be filled with excitement and almost want to cheer because Hollywood has finally lived up to what true fans have always hoped for. The battles are not over done and the 3D is used just right. The fades and everything is directed so well you can’t help but walked out satisfied.
Godzilla needs to be seen in IMAX 3D to be fully experienced but it will not at all be lost on a normal viewing screen. You will enjoy it at home, when it comes out, but you are doing yourself a serious disservice not seeing it in theaters. One thing is for sure, Godzilla is everything movie fans have wanted and is everything it should be. DON’T MISS IT!

Blue Jasmine Has Woody Allen Set The Standard Again

BLUE-JASMINESome talents, it seems, never age. This leads me to once again talk about Woody Allen, whom if you know anything about my writing, I am a big fan of. I was introduced at a young age to his wit with the film Radio Days and a deep admiration blossomed from there. It became about more than his humor, but it was the style of writing and directing and not to mention, Woody himself. The leads nicely into his latest film, Blue Jasmine.

Blue Jasmine may be one of Woody’s most accomplished works as far as writing and character development. It is the story of the very self absorbed, wealthy, socialite type named Jasmine (Cate Blanchett). She is recently single, broke and a total wreck. She makes her way to her sisters home in San Francisco to start a new life.  Thats where the trouble blossoms more than it already has. Her sister, whom she is not blood related due to the both of the being adopted, and her are very different people. Ginger (Sally Hawkins) is the antithesis of her sister. A blue collar worker who is attracted to a blue collar man. Her First Husband, Augie (Andrew Dice Clay), was a hard working loving man who hits it fairly big in the lotto by winning $200,000 and reluctantly trusts Jasmine’s husband, Hal (Alec Baldwin) to help him invest instead of starting his own company. Hal would later be arrested for crooked business practices and everyone involved goes broke. This leads to Ginger and Augie getting a divorce and Jasmine moving in with Ginger. From moment one, Jasmine criticizes everyone she meets in San Francisco, including her sister and her new boyfriend, Chilli (Bobby Cannavale). While trying to decide what to do with her life, she attempts to become an interior designer while the whole time just wanting to once again be a wealthy wife.

The story is one of Woody’s best developed and most character engaging stories. With stellar performances up and down, with Blanchett and the Dice man standing above them all, the story comes together and clearly points out how everyone has been affected by the scandal. Jasmine, who can’t lay off the Xanax and vodka, appears to be pulling out of her severe slump and depression yet can’t stop thinking and dwelling over every detail of her failed marriage. It’s not just her marriage that she feels has failed, she feels failed in her whole life.

Cate Blanchett completely embodies the character and so wonderfully delivers the nervousness and anxiety that accompanies most Allen films and dialogue.

Blue Jasmine is without a doubt the most serious Oscar contender to be released yet this year. With writing and acting nominations to pop up all over the blue-jasmine-1map. Woody recently won for his writing of Midnight In Paris, which has been compared to some of his finest work ever. There is no doubt in my mind this will list on his top ten all time films, along with the credit of resurrecting Andrew Dice Clay’s career in a new area and shows the man has more talent than just a vile sense of humor.

Missing this film is a gross misjudgment amongst movie fans, whether you are a fan of Woody or not it’s a film that seems timely and true to life.