Posts Tagged ‘Octavia Spencer’

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.

 

 

65th BAFTA Awards

THE  65th BAFTA AWARDS /

THE BRITISH ACADEMY FILM AWARDS

Took place on Sunday 12th February 2012 in London

BAFTA WINNERS IN THE FILM CATEGORY:

The artist

Best Film: The Artist

Best Director: Michel Hazanavicius – The Artist

Best Actor: Jean Dujardin – The Artist

iron_lady_ver2

Best Actress: Meryl Streep – The Iron Lady

beginners

Best Supporting Actor: Christopher Plummer – Beginners

help

Best Supporting Actress: Octavia Spencer – The Help

tinker_tailor_soldier_spy 1

Best British Film: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy directed by Tomas Alfredson

Best Original Screenplay: Michel Hazanavicius – The Artist

Best Adapted Screenplay: Bridget O’ConnorPeter Straughan – Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Best Costume Design: Mark Bridges – The Artist

The Skin I live In

Best Foreign Language Film: The Skin I Live In directed by Pedro Almodovar

Source: 65th BAFTA Awards

69th Golden Globe Awards

69th Golden Globe Awards

Took place on Sunday 15th January 2012 hosted by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association

Golden Globe Winners in The Film Categories:

descendants

Best Film Drama: The Descendants

The artist

Best Film Musical or Comedy : The Artist

Best Actor Drama: George Clooney – The Descendants

iron_lady_ver2

Best Actress Drama: Meryl Streep – The Iron Lady

Best Actor Musical or Comedy: Jean Dujardin – The Artist

my_week_with_marilyn_ver2

Best Actress Musical or Comedy: Michelle Williams – My Week with Marilyn

beginners

Best Supporting Actor: Christopher Plummer – Beginners

help

Best Supporting Actress: Octavia Spencer – The Help

hugo_ver3

Best Director: Martin Scorsese – Hugo

A Separation nader_and_simin_ver2

Best Foreign Language Film: A Separation (Iran)

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/69th_Golden_Globe_Awards

Freeloaders Revolt

Snowpiercer

snowpiercer_ver27

Director: Bong Joon Ho

Cast: Chris Evans, Tilda Swinton, Jamie Bell, Octavia Spencer, John Hurt, Ed Harris, Ewen Bremner, Kang-ho Song, Alison Pill, Luke Pasqualino, Tomas Lemarquis

South Korean director Joon Ho Bong creates an innovative cinematic allegorical thriller Snowpiercer based on the French graphic novel Le Transperceneige featuring a truly international cast headed by Captain America star Chris Evans along with Tilda Swinton, Jamie Bell, Octavia Spencer, Kang-ho Song, John Hurt and Ewen Bremner.

snowpiercer_ver8

Set in 2031 in a second ice age, a glacial earth has completely frozen over due to an industrial accident in a bid to stop climate change, when industrialists released a chemical CW7 into the planet’s atmosphere. The remaining survivors on earth are bound up and segregated on a fast moving train known as Snowpiercer, a futuristic and brutal version of the Ark, on a circuitous track around frozen waste land.

The train is segregated into first class, economy class and the filthy freeloaders at the tail, squashed into sordid living conditions desperate to survive and are unwittingly fed blocks of protein. Naturally an uprising ensures led by Curtis played by Evans and spurned on by Gilliam to storm the different sections and finally reach the front of the train and confront the enigmatic industrialist Wilford, who built the train prior to the post-apocalyptic freeze.

snowpiercer_ver10

Snowpiercer is brutal, truly inventive cinema, a chilling allegory on the nature of unrelenting climate change and a horrifying indictment on the nature and savagery inherent in humanity. As Curtis and his gang of misfits storm various sections of the train from a hermetic aquarium to a bizarre brainwashing kindergarten to a debauched drug fueled rave, each section unravels and the perfect order of the passengers is permanently disrupted.

snowpiercer_ver9

The direction by Joon Ho Bong is flawless if somewhat stylized and the sound editing is fantastic, but what really makes Snowpiercer so innovative is its unique conceptualization ably assisted by a strong cast helped by a host of best supporting actors including Swinton as the Scottish accented Mason, Octavia Spencer (The Help) as Tanya and capped off by Ed Harris (The Hours, Pollock) as the chillingly demented industrialist Wilford, who is a perfect foil to Curtis’s plan of insurrection.

snowpiercer_ver3

Snowpiercer is unique, violent, bizarre and utterly thought-provoking, a truly original semi apocalyptic thriller with grand Orwellian themes framing the fast speeding narrative. In the tradition of Terry Gilliam’s Brazil or more recently the Denzel Washington thriller The Book of Eli, Snowpiercer fits into that strange subgenre of sci-fiction mixed with apocalyptic fantasy. Chris Evans is superb as the brave leader Curtis along with an energetic Jamie Bell as Edgar last seen as an S & M Master in Lars Von Trier’s Nymphomaniac.

Snowpiercer is riveting, strange and surreal, showing to what bloody depths humans will descend to, when their survival is threatened by a ravaged and inhospitable climate.

84th Academy Awards

84th Academy Awards

26th February 2012

Oscar Winners at the 84th Annual Academy Awards

The artist

Best Film: The Artist

Best Director: Michel HazanaviciusThe Artist

Best Actor: Jean Dujardin – The Artist

iron_lady_ver2

Best Actress: Meryl Streep – The Iron Lady

beginners

Best Supporting Actor: Christopher Plummer – Beginners

help

Best Supporting Actress: Octavia Spencer – The Help

midnight_in_paris

Best Original Screenplay: Woody Allen – Midnight in Paris

descendants

Best Adapted Screenplay: Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon and Jim Rash for The Descendants based upon the novel by Kaui Hart Hemmings

A Separation nader_and_simin_ver8

Best Foreign Language Film: A Separation directed by Asghar Fahadi (Iran)

Best Documentary Feature: Undefeated by T. J. Martin, Dan Lindsay &  Richard Middlemas

hugo_ver3

Best Cinematography – Robert Robertson – Hugo

Best Make Up – Mark Coulier and J. Roy Helland – The Iron Lady

Best Costume Design – Mark Bridges – The Artist

girl_with_the_dragon_tattoo

Best Film Editing – Angus Wall and Kirk Baxter – The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Best Visual Effects – Hugo

Source:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/84th_Academy_Awards

 

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