3 items from 2017
Over the weekend, the 2017 Venice Film Festival handed out their awards, with Guillermo del Toro’s ravenously received The Shape of Water taking the top prize. While the Golden Lion isn’t quite an Academy Award barometer, it’s nothing to sneeze at either. This marks an important point in the road, as things are heating up. We’re not yet at the precursor season, but any feather in your hat right now is a boon for a contender. As such, del Toro has to consider himself in a very nice place. The next few months will still be about getting the proverbial ducks in a row. The real fun is still to come. Obviously, the Golden Lion went to del Toro’s highly praised movie, as The Shape of Water got the first big awards season boost. It took home the top prize, while other highlighted winners include Charlie Plummer »
- Joey Magidson
It’s a testament to the unfeasible beauty of the cast of Jim Sheridan’s tearjerker that Poldark’s Aidan Turner, present in a supporting role, looks distinctly average by comparison. But all the smouldering gorgeousness of Rooney Mara, Theo James, Jack Reynor and Eric Bana can’t dress up this mawkish slog of a movie. Adapted from the book by Sebastian Barry, the story deals with subject matter that has already been tackled with more heartbreaking humour in Philomena and more biting fury in The Magdalene Sisters. Credit must go to Vanessa Redgrave, however, playing a woman who has been institutionalised since she was in her 20s and acting everyone else off the screen.
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- Wendy Ide
Like a prodigal son, Hollywood is again returning to religion.
Since the 1980s, Hollywood has been criticized (with justification) for depicting any religious believer as mindless, evil or both. Filmmakers this year treat them with respect.
“Silence” and “Hacksaw Ridge” daringly center around devout Christians. Religious beliefs have a positive effect on the lead characters in other 2016 films, including “Fences,” “Hidden Figures,” “Jackie,” “Mr. Church,” even “The Conjuring 2.”
Studios have their own belief system, and it’s based on recent hits. Hollywood loves stories about an individual whose principles are challenged, but usually the protagonist is a superhero, cop or animated creature.
“Silence” depicts the culture clash of Western Christians with Japanese. The long legacy of the “white savior” is turned upside down, and the film raises issues of faith, doubt, personal integrity, and the fine line between belief and stubborn pride. To its credit, “Silence” raises questions that audience members must answer. »
- Tim Gray
3 items from 2017
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