Archive for the ‘Guillermo del Toro’ Category

90th Academy Awards

The 90th Academy Awards / The Oscars

Sunday 4th March 2018

OSCAR WINNERS AT THE 90TH ANNUAL ACADEMY AWARDS

Best Picture: The Shape of Water

Best Director: Guillermo del Toro – The Shape of Water

Best Actor: Gary Oldman – Darkest Hour

Best Actress: Frances McDormand – Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri

Best Supporting Actor: Sam Rockwell – Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri

Best Supporting Actress: Allison Janney – I, Tonya

Best Original Screenplay: Jordan Peele – Get Out

Best Adapted Screenplay: James Ivory – Call Me by Your Name

Best Cinematography: Roger Deakins – Blade Runner 2049

Best Costume Design: Mark BridgesPhantom Thread

Best Make up & Hairstyling: David Malinowski, Lucy Sibbick and Kazuhiro Tsuji – Darkest Hour

Best Visual Effects: Richard R. Hoover, Paul Lambert, Gerd Nefzer and John Nelson – Blade Runner 2049

Best Film Editing: Lee Smith – Dunkirk

Best Sound Editing: Alex Gibson and Richard King – Dunkirk

Best Sound Mixing: Gregg Landaker, Gary A. Rizzo and Mark Weingarten – Dunkirk

Best Production Design: Paul Denham Austerberry, Jeff Melvin and Shane ViseauThe Shape of Water

Best Documentary Feature:  IcarusDan Cogan & Bryan Fogel

Best Original Score: Alexandre DesplatThe Shape of Water

Best Animated Feature Film: Coco

Best Foreign Language Film: A Fantastic Woman directed by Sebastian Lelio (Chile)

71st BAFTA Awards

THE  71st BAFTA AWARDS /

THE BRITISH ACADEMY FILM AWARDS

Took place on Sunday 18th February 2018 in London at the Royal Albert Hall

BAFTA WINNERS IN THE FILM CATEGORY:

Best Film: Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri

Best Director: Guillermo del Toro – The Shape of Water

Outstanding British film: Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri directed by Martin McDonagh

Best Actor: Gary Oldman – Darkest Hour

Best Actress: Frances McDormand – Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri

Best Supporting Actor: Sam Rockwell – Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri

Best Supporting Actress: Allison Janney – I, Tonya

Rising Star Award: Daniel Kaluuya

Best Visual EffectsBlade Runner 2049

Best Production Design: The Shape of Water

Best Adapted Screenplay: James Ivory – Call Me by Your Name based upon the novel by Andre Aciman

Best Original Screenplay: Martin McDonagh – Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri

Best Editing: Baby Driver

Best Costume Design: Phantom Thread

Best Original Score: Alexandre Desplat – The Shape of Water

Best Hair and Makeup: Darkest Hour

 

 

Seducing an Amphibian

The Shape of Water

Director: Guillermo del Toro

Cast: Sally Hawkins, Doug Jones, Michael Shannon, Octavia Spencer, Richard Jenkins, Michael Stulbarg, David Hewlett, Martin Roach

Mexican director Guillermo del Toro reinvents cinematic magic realism in this darkly sublime fantasy adventure The Shape of Water featuring a stand out performance by British actress Sally Hawkins and character actor Michael Shannon.

Set in a covert government laboratory in Baltimore in the early 1960’s at the height of the cold war, The Shape of Water deftly weaves an extraordinary and compelling story of a young mute woman Elisa Esposito played by Hawkins (Happy Go Lucky, Blue Jasmine) who along with her co-worker Zelda Fuller played by Oscar winner Octavia Spencer (The Help) play observant cleaners in this secret facility ruled by the vain and cruel manager, Richard Strickland, wonderfully played with an ambivalent menace by Oscar nominee Michael Shannon (Nocturnal Animals, Revolutionary Road).

Elisa lives with a repressed homosexual Giles who is struggling to reignite his graphic design business. Giles is played with an exuberant flair by Oscar nominee Richard Jenkins (The Visitor).

What is so magnificent about The Shape of Water is the brilliant script co-written by del Toro and Vanessa Taylor and the intriguing plot is underscored by a tantalizing musical score by Oscar winner Alexandre Desplat who also provided the fantastic original score for director Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel.

Highlighting the duplicitous Cold War, is the fastidious scientist Dr Robert Hoffstetler beautifully played by character actor Michael Stuhlbarg (A Serious Man, Trumbo, Miles Ahead).

Eliza, the sexually charged mute cleaning lady develops a sensual bond of the most unusual nature with the Amphibian man played by Doug Jones, who is both exotic, dangerous and restorative. This Amphibian was discovered in the South American jungle and worshipped as a God by the indigenous tribes only to be snatched by sinister American agents to be used as a guinea pig in a space race against the murky and nefarious Soviets.

The Shape of Water is an intelligently woven allegorical tale about the exotic entering a decade of American consumerism which was as paranoid as it was dictatorial: the 1960’s. Set against the Cold War, this augmented paranoia is heightened through various well placed TV images of the rising tensions of the civil rights movements permeating in the background, along with many other counter-cultural movement which eventually undid the 1960’s completely and changed America forever.

Visually, The Shape of Water is rich with symbolic imagery and director Guillermo del Toro relishes in mixing the brutal with the gorgeous.

The love of cinema shines through in The Shape of Water, which I consider to be del Toro’s best work with the exception of his Oscar winning foreign language film, Pan’s Labyrinth.

The performances by a mostly ensemble cast are exemplary in a film that will dazzle the senses aided by exceptionally high production values and a quirky story which is both lyrical and tragic.

Highly recommended viewing, The Shape of Water gets a film rating of 9 out of 10.

 

 

75th Golden Globe Awards

75th GOLDEN GLOBE AWARDS

Took place on Sunday 7th  January 2018 hosted by

the Hollywood Foreign Press Association in Beverly Hills, California

GOLDEN GLOBE WINNERS IN THE FILM CATEGORIES:

Best Film Drama: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Best Film Musical or Comedy: Ladybird

Best Director: Guillermo del Toro – The Shape of Water

Best Actor Drama: Gary Oldman – Darkest Hour

Best Actress Drama: Frances McDormand – Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri

Best Actor, Musical or Comedy: James Franco – The Disaster Artist

Best Actress, Musical or Comedy: Saoirse Ronan – Lady Bird

Best Supporting Actor: Sam Rockwell – Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri

Best Supporting Actress: Allison Janney – I, Tonya

Best Foreign Language Film: In the Fade directed by Fatih Akin (France/Germany)

60th BAFTA Awards

THE  60TH BAFTA AWARDS /

THE BRITISH ACADEMY FILM AWARDS

Took place on Sunday 11th February 2007 in London

BAFTA WINNERS IN THE FILM CATEGORY:

The Queen

Best Film: The Queen

united_ninety_three

Best Director: Paul Greengrass – United 93

last_king_of_scotland

Best Actor: Forest Whitaker – The Last King of Scotland

Best Actress: Helen Mirren – The Queen

little_miss_sunshine_ver4

Best Supporting Actor: Alan Arkin – Little Miss Sunshine

dreamgirls

Best Supporting Actress: Jennifer Hudson – Dreamgirls

Rising Star Award: Eva Green

Best British Film: The Last King of Scotland

Best Original Screenplay: Michael Arndt for Little Miss Sunshine

Best Adapted Screenplay: Peter Morgan and Jeremy Brock – The Last King of Scotland

untitled

Best Costume Design: Pan’s Labyrinth

Best Foreign Language Film: Pan’s Labyrinth directed by Guillermo del Toro (Mexico/Spain)

Source: 60th BAFTA Awards

The Jaeger Effect…

Pacific Rim

pacific_rim_ver3

Director: Guillermo del Toro

Cast: Charlie Day, Charlie Hunnam, Idris Elba, Clifton Collins Jnr, Diego Klattenhoff, Max Martini, Rinko Kikuchi, Ron Perlman, Burn Gorman

Acclaimed Mexican director Guillermo del Toro’s much anticipated 3D sci-fi film Pacific Rim is imaginative, rich and definitely needs to seen in a 3D cinema with digital surround sound to fully savour the cinematic spectacle.

Moving away from the American-centric location of many recent blockbusters most notably Iron Man 3 and Man of Steel, del Toro firmly aims Pacific Rim at a broader international audience as he centers most of the mind bending action in Hong Kong. Avoiding choosing a purely American cast, del Toro selects a relatively unknown ensemble to head up Pacific Rim, from the buff and gorgeous British actor Charlie Hunnam (looking ever more spectacular in 3D and last seen in Children of Men and Nicholas Nickleby) as the brooding Jaeger fighter pilot Raleigh Beckett and Rinko Kikuchi from Babel fame as Mako, the Japanese love interest who has to come to terms with aliens attacking Tokyo and join humanity to fight the horrific creatures along with Ron Perlman (Hellboy) as Hannibal Chou as a shady Kaiju bones scavenger and British actor Idris Elba as Stacker Pentecost the Jaeger central commander. Look out for a humorous performance by Charlie Day (Horrible Bosses) as the geeky scientist Dr Newton Geiszler who has to discover what the Kaijus really want with planet Earth along with Max Martini as Herc Hansen.

pacific_rim_ver15_xlg

Warning to most audiences, that if you don’t like Monsters and Robots, don’t see Pacific Rim. However if you have followed del Toro’s cinematic rise to fame from the imaginatively rich Hellboy franchise to the critically acclaimed Spanish language fantasy Pan’s Labyrinth then fans will not be disappointed.

Pacific Rim is set in a 21st century shattered world where giant descendants of dinosaurs known as Kaijus emerge out of the earth’s core and start attacking all the major cities of the Pacific Rim from Cabo in Mexico to Sydney to Hong Kong. To combat these giant sea beasts hugely inspired by Japanese monster movies and anime, humanity has built these huge robotic war machines known as Jaegers which honestly make Transformers look like Lego pieces. The script and backstory does not deliver too much on motive or plot, but del Toro gets straight to the point – Monsters attacking the World and Humans are fighting back using massive Robots. The result is some fascinating visual effects and superb set designs paying homage to Blade Runner and Total Recall, making Pacific Rim in 3D resemble a mixture of Hellboy and Battleship on acid!

The intricacies of operating the Jaegers involves two fighter pilots mentally connecting in a visual process known as drifting overseen by a frenetic controller, the Elvis inspired central ops Tendo Choi played by Clifton Collins Jnr (Capote) so that they can both symbiotically operate these giant robots (Jaegers) and combat the blue blooded snarling monsters known as Kaiju’s.

Pacific Rim has been hugely popular in the Asian markets and when watching the spectacular Hong Kong harbour battle sequence it’s not difficult to see why. Unfortunately the enormity of both Jaegers and Kaiju’s battling each other using tankers and skyscrapers inevitably dwarfs any real human interactions displaying that del Toro deliberately went for cinematic style over substance in what is imaginatively a hugely impressive cinematic experience but don’t expect the character depth or emotion displayed in Pan’s Labyrinth. This is del Toro on a massive budget appealing to a much larger audience and in this regard, Pacific Rim succeeds on every monstrous level and surely will be in line for a Visual Effects Oscar.

See it to believe it and Pacific Rim is not only big in Japan!

Never Lets the Imagination Perish

Fantasy of a unique kind

Fantasy of a unique kind

Pan’s Labyrinth cemented Guillermo del Toro’s reputation as a magical and visionary filmmaker, the Oscar winning Spanish fantasy film about a girl who discovers a secret world beyond anyone’s imagination in the lush forest while escaping the brutality of the Spanish civil war. The Mexican born film-director Del Toro first attracted attention with his visionary look in Hellboy, released in 2004 starring a relatively unknown cast including Ron Perlman, Selma Blair and the brilliant John Hurt. Hellboy featured a storyline about a Devil-shaped child born during World War II at the height of Nazi power in Europe.

As an adult, Hellboy is confined like most supernatural beings to the Centre for paranormal research in New Jersey, USA and is eventually called upon to combat the forces of darkness as unleashed by a Nazified leader who is part mutant part machine. Hellboy was a secret sensation at the box office and Del Toro would have liked to do a sequel but according to Hollywood legend the studios were initially reluctant to invest so much in a novice director’s wild imagination.

The Spanish language film, Pan’s Labyrinth, changed all that receiving a critical reception on the international film festival circuit from Cannes to Berlin and went on to win several Golden Globes and Oscar awards most notably for make-up and art direction. Now with studio financial backing, Del Toro was able to lavish his attention on Hellboy’s sequel the far superior and hugely fantastical follow-up, which is extremely rare even by Hollywood standards, for most sequels seldom eclipse the original film.

Meet the Golden Army... del Torro's imagination unleashed

Meet the Golden Army… del Torro’s imagination unleashed

Hellboy II: The Golden Army, for any fantasy fan, is a visual feast and a rare glimpse into one man’s extraordinary imagination so skilled and detailed as well as amplified and bold, as to make him a worthy rival of Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Hellboy, played with absolute relish by Ron Perlman is reunited with fire girl Liz Sherman played by a sexy Selma Blair and Doug Jones makes the most of a much larger role as Abe Sapien, the half-fish, half-man creature who unsuspectingly falls in love with the elf Princess Nuala as they all set out to defeat the Princesses evil twin brother Prince Nuada played by former pop star Luke Goss, who is wildly intent on unleashing the dormant potential of The Golden Army, creatures created by some seriously twisted trolls. The storyline which features a multitude of amazing creatures, most notably in the Troll market sequence and some equally lavish sets at the courts of the Elves, also is a pastiche of scenes from War of the Worlds, Indiana Jones and the Star Wars trilogy, displaying not only Del Toro’s talent as a director but his vast visual and filmic repertoire.

So with all this fantasy, do the characters suffer at the indulgence of breathtaking special effects? Absolutely not. After an initial battle between Hellboy and some ungodly creations from evil tooth fairies to a ferocious fauna-hued monster, there are some solid character building scenes with loads of wit, smart references to the Romantic poetry of Tennyson to music by Vivaldi, while Del Toro allows some ironic allusions to contemporary visual society from the media to Youtube, from the ordinary unbeliever to those that hoard antiquities.

Hellboy II: The Golden Army is confidently rooted in the realms of fantasy and lavish fairytales and would most definitely appeal to anyone who cherishes the imaginative view of society as opposed to a strictly empirical and conventional world. More significantly, this film as I am sure the director believes, reaffirms the vital importance of our own imagination in a world which seems determine to vanquish any real originality.  Visionary, brilliant and thoroughly entertaining, I was equally fortunate to witness such an amazing and technically superior creation on the big screen, as like all great film’s its impact will surely diminish when scene on DVD. Never let your imagination perish and indulge in some spectacular fantasy…

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