In college Jake and I started making a list each year after the Oscar nominees came out and attempted to watch most of them before the Academy Awards Ceremony. The Oscar-nominated movies are always some of our favorites because they are usually telling a deeper story and they require more brain power than a normal movie. Lately our Sunday afternoons have been movie time so I wrote a review on some of our favorites below in case you can't decide on what to see your next movie night.
Here are some of the movies nominated for 2016 Oscars - the asterisked ones are the ones we've seen so far. I recommend all of them but one.
Best picture nominees:
*Spotlight - winner
*The Big Short
*Mad Max: Fury Road
*Room (I loved the book, and the movie)
Bridge of Spies (@ Redbox, also want to see)
Other movies with nominations (not a full list):
The Danish Girl
Steve Jobs (@ Redbox, want to see)
The Hateful Eight
Straight Out of Compton (@ Redbox, want to see)
This won best picture this year, and overall it was a really great movie. I think it was well-written, I loved the actors and I thought they all really meshed well together (I also really like Rachel McAdams). The movie is a bit difficult to watch, it tells the story of "spotlight" an investigative journalist team who tells the story of the many child sex abuse cases from Catholic priests, and the efforts that were made to conceal these incidents. These issues were broader than anyone initially thought and turned out to be worldwide in incidence. I'm not a proponent of "taking the church down" and I don't think that's what the movie is really about. Personally, I think stories like this occasionally need to be told to remind us all and maybe prevent future incidents or at least set up precautions to prevent future incidents.
The Big Short
I'm not going to lie, although it was one of the best movies I've seen this year, I was terrified and appalled at everything that happened in this "based on a true story"film (especially about some of the facts they showed that can lead us to another crisis like this). It's a somber movie, and it's a complex movie about a complex issue (the housing market collapse). The movie follows the few investors who decided to bet against the housing market when they saw something years before anyone else could see, or cared to see. They made a lot of money. The movie does an okay job at attempting to explain the financial and banking terms to us "common folk" but because I am very picky and want to know everything that goes on, I wasn't satisfied with the explanations and still had to discuss the specific events that led up to all of this with Jake. The main ideas are told well and everyone should be able to understand, but the small banking and "betting against the housing market" details aren't described that well. Go see this one.
I hated this. Don't rent it unless you like lots of explosions and car chases and scary costumes (ex: teeth on chastity belts). The story is not very deep and it's essentially just a two hour car chase. They won a lot of Academy Awards, but notice it was all for sound, sound editing, costumes, and production design. If you care what it's about , it's a scary dystopian world in the future where everyone are savages and hardly talk. I'm sure they would argue there's a deeper message about preserving the environment or something, but I don't care.
If I had to describe this movie in one sentence I'd say that a man almost dies multiple times but somehow doesn't. I was a little preoccupied with how his wounds and injuries were healing so nicely so quickly but it's really about revenge, culture, and man vs. nature. A frontiersman is left for dead by his hunting-mates and multiple bad things happen and he learns a lesson....I don't want to give it all away. One of my favorite things about this movie was the costumes and the Native American lessons I noticed (lessons/fables from old stories I remembered from my Anthropology years - now I'm in my Anthropologie years but that's a different story) the lessons were hardly noticeable if you weren't paying attention to the details, but I recognized them right away. The costumes of frontiersman and French fur traders and Natives I thought were so realistic. Supposedly the main character was based on a real man who claimed all of these events were true.
The Martian - This was surprisingly really funny! and visually impressive! If you want a not-so-serious movie but one that still keeps you on the edge of your seat go see this one.
Joy - Excellent movie, Jennifer Lawrence did amazing and I teared up multiple times. Keep in mind it's not the real Joy's true life story, just based on her life. Definitely worth your time!