Archive for January, 2018

Why These Are The Most Woke Oscar Nominations, Ever

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Dee Rees, director of Mudbound, is the first African American woman to receive an Oscar screenplay nomination in 45 years.

Dee Rees, director of Mudbound, is the first African American woman to receive an Oscar screenplay nomination in 45 years.

If inclusivity and diversity are the standard, a case can be made that these are the most woke Oscar nominations ever.

Oscar voters choices were more representative in terms of race and gender than ever before, especially in light of the 2016 Oscar white-out, proving that last year’s best picture win for the gay African-American story “Moonlight,” was not a fluke.

This year’s highlights include:

*Dee Rees is the first black woman in 45 years nominated for her “Mudbound” screenplay and only the second ever;

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Desire Designed To Happen In “Phantom Thread”

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“Phantom Thread” is about him. But it’s also about her.

During the scene in Paul Thomas Anderson’s film where fastidious high fashion dressmaker Daniel Day-Lewis and his muse played by German actress Vicky Kreips first meet, I thought: He’s dressing her with his eyes. .

He dresses 1950s royalty and debutantes and becomes obsessed with designing for her form. Dismissive and covetous, he has a need for her, just not her presence.

And this gives her emotional leverage.

Somewhere between her slurping tea and crunching toast – their sounds amusingly heightened –  and his mercurial outbursts at his loss of privacy, they find a weird middle ground and become collaborators out of mutual self interest.

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Jack Black Is “The Polka King”

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You don’t have to be Polish to enjoy “The Polka King,” on Netflix, but it helps.

The horn driven duple time sounds of Jan Lewan, the Pennsylvania Grammy nominee known by the film’s title sobriquet and enthusiastically played by Jack Black, are the heartbeat of polka music and familiar to anyone who grew up with  Fritz the Plumber, or something like it, on the radio in the background.

The multiple rousing musical scenes include a dancing chicken and bear as part of a ten piece orchestra fronted by a handkerchief waving Black bursting out of sequined leisure suits, with Jason Schwartzman on clarinet.

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“The Post” Is Prologue

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Like the joke about the sunburned zebra “The Post” – opening Friday – revisits the days when newspapers were read all over.

It’s been called newspaper porn for its scenes of rolling presses, the rat-a-tat-tat of typewriters, pressmen in paper hats, men throwing the latest edition from moving trucks to curbside vendors.

One observer gushed about a scene where a copy chief editing a groundbreaking story on deadline scratches out the very first sentence.

That’s authenticity. The premise is less so.The Washington Post was a supporting player in reporting the Pentagon Papers, chronicling US involvement in Vietnam.

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“I, Tonya” Is Knee Cappingly Good

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“I, Tonya” is a daffy biopic, told not in a lightly frosted way, but as a dark comedy of errors.

As the personal pronoun of the title implies, this is Tonya Harding’s story told from the perspective of an unreliable witness to her own life.

Believe her at your peril but its hard not to err on her side of a story younger people don’t know but their elders remember.

“I, Tonya” will amuse both. Harding was a champion Olympic ice skater implicated in the 1994 knee capping of competitor Nancy Kerrigan an event that remains in the public imagination years later.

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