Oscar Nominations 2019 Analysis: Snubs, Surprises & the unstoppable Roma train

Oscar nominations have been announced at long last by the comical, sleep-starved duo of Kumail Nanjiani and Tracee Ellis Ross, and this year, snubs and surprises abound, with several in the major categories, which I will discuss. I will run through how my predictions, as you’ll find in earlier posts on this blog, fared, and what the Academy’s choice of nominees spells for the films in contention going forward.

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Black Panther Thoughts/Analysis/Review (some spoilers)

Hey guys,

I recently watched Black Panther in theatres, as I’m sure many of you also have, given the hype surrounding it, so here goes my thoughts on the film.

Firstly, I must say I found it overall to be a good experience. To begin, I thought the characters were all really interesting in their own right. I thought Okoye, Nakia and Shuri, played by Danai Gurira, Lupita Nyong’o and Letitia Wright respectively, were amazing as the supporting cast – in fact, they almost felt like co-leads with their unique personalities and significant parts to play in the storyline. The spear-wielding Okoye gave me hands down the most badass fight sequences of the movie. I thought the establishing shot of her, in a meditative position made of almost perfect symmetry, is testament to her unmovable loyalty to Wakanda, and a reflection of those values. Nakia holds her own alongside T’Challa as his romantic interest. The establishing sequence, where she stops T’challa from killing a soldier who’s ‘just a boy’ immediately reveals her very innate humanity, which permeates throughout the film. Perhaps Letitia Wright is the biggest breakout here for me though – Shuri offered some of the film’s lightest and most humorous moments with her witty and playful nature. Also, as a side note, I thought her sense of style in the movie was amazing! I felt it really fuelled her image as a modern, in-with-the-times sort of girl who’s taking on the world one vibranium-powered invention at a time.

As for the titular character himself, I thought he was well-developed and powerfully played. Interesting to me are the tensions he grappled with regarding the distinctions between a good and great leader; it seems he realises towards the end that being a good leader overreached that of being a great leader. As his father says near the start (which I can’t quote word for word because I can’t remember it fully haha), it is hard for a good man to be king. Killmonger may have made a great leader with his thirst for justice and conquest, but it is T’challa’s goodness that will drive Wakanda in the correct direction; as we see towards the end, he initiates outreach programmes rather than employing aggressive methods of expansion. This goodness prevails of course, and the final scene of Killmonger and T’challa together against the Wakandian sunset is definitely defining; by bringing Killmonger to overlook Wakanda, literally, instead of slaying him on the spot, as Killmonger had unsuccessfully done earlier, the two leaders behold the beauty of Wakanda, especially Killmonger, who perhaps even accepts the notion that it was a beauty worth keeping and not destroying through conquest. It is all too late however, as Killmonger decides to end his life on his own accord, a final testament to how despite everything, he did not belong.

Onto the more technical aspects of the film, I thought the visuals were absolutely stunning. The highlights for me were the establishing shots of the Jabari kingdom and of course the extended action sequence in Busan, which offered non-stop thrills and laughs. The score was almost amazing; I thought it had a very nice blend of tribal and modern hip-hop & techno music, which is in line with one of the film’s main themes; which is the clash of old vs new, traditional vs modern, and how Wakanda needed to strike a balance between both. While M’Baku criticised Shuri’s disrespect for tradition, Nakia disagreed with Okoye’s traditional mindset of unmovable loyalty to the throne. The Elders do not see reason to involve themselves in worldly matters, while W’Kabi expresses a need to do so before the rest of the world catches up. As visible, the tensions are very blurred and grey, and I think it is solved to some extent at the close of the film, where T’challa initiates his outreach program, straying from the traditional way of keeping to themselves, while not going the way of modern times, which is established to be wrought with violence.

I guess those are some of the more prominent thoughts that came to my mind after the film… overall, I thought it was a splendid film! 🙂

Rating: 8.5/10

 

 

 

 

 

 

Avengers: Age of Ultron Trailer (Discussion/Thoughts)

Hey guys!

So unless you haven’t been on the internet for the past week or so, you’d probably know that the first Avengers: Age of Ultron trailer came out awhile back; apparently it was meant to be attached to a certain Agents of Shield episode (which I watch), but it was leaked so we got it early (thanks lol). And omg it’s pretty amazing. Currently on Youtube, it’s at about 43 million views (and climbing by the second), and I remember when it first came out, 301 views changed instantly to millions within a day lol.

But anyway, I’ll just give a quick breakdown of the trailer and stuff… plus some views on it. I further discuss it below, with some “research” I did to help. This was the “commentary-esque” kind of thing I wrote down the first second time I watched it.

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0.07 – 0.10: that scenery looks expensive already

0.16: this reminds me of civil war for some reason :O

0.22 ooo Capt.

0.25 Finally some Hawkeye

0.26 THOR

0.30 Creepy Banner

0.32 …. Ultron?

0.40 omg

0.48 where is that it looks beautiful

0.53-0.57 chills

0.59 Black Widow?

1.02 ULTRON

1.04 QuickSilver and Scarlet Witch… traitors? :O Is this some Zoe Saldana situation like in GOTG again? Aaron and Elizabeth look awesome tho.

1.06-1.07 holy shit

1.08 what does he see lol

1.09 what was that

1.18-1.19 chillsss

1.20 – 1.24 omg this scene. I heard that apparently it took 2 years to fully create :O. (Hulk vs Iron Man) And it’s a large part to do with the whole “civil war” storyline apparently.

1.26 Some “SHIELD” action

1.28 – 1.30 Their powers look so cool :D. TBH I think what I’m looking forward most to in this Avengers is Scarlet Witch/QuickSilver. Also because I love both Aaron and Elizabeth.

1.33 ..Andy Serkis?

1.35 Hulk/Black Widow?

1.36 Ballet?

1.37 HAWKEYE

1.41 – 1.45 2 years in the making

1.46 – 1.47 lol they always show Scarlet/QuickSilver back2back

1.49 omg

1.52 OMG (THE BROKEN SHIELD)

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OK, so as you can infer from that incoherent rambling, there are so many questions to be asked about this upcoming film, and this trailer has just thrown even more questions at our faces. I did do a little bit of research, and found out some stuff out:

Firstly: Andy Serkis. So rumour has it that Andy Serkis is actually playing the Marvel comic book villain Ulysses Klaw, a villain  which is apparently kind of discernible from that one shot in the trailer where we see him. (at 1.33) Here is the shot:

serkis-avengers-630x420

The evidence I found is as follow:

” …First of all, with his unique chin-strap beard and odd haircut, he looks like the spitting image of his comic book counterpart. And then there’s the fact that Serkis’ character appears to be on a freighter with “Zanzibar” written on its side, which isn’t far from Black Panther’s fictional African nation of Wakanda.”

(credit: http://screencrush.com/avengers-2-andy-serkis-ulysses-klaw/)

Does that mean we might have a Black Panther movie sooner than we think? :O Those people at Marvel sure love toying with us.

Next, CIVIL WAR.

First of all, the Hulk vs Iron Man fight scene looks AWESOME already, can’t wait. Plus throughout the trailer, you can definitely see a lot of unrest within the Avengers, including that scene where Thor lifts Tony by his throat, Tony’s line: “It’s the end, the end of the path I started us on.” Plus of course the broken shield… what does that mean?

Though one scene that caught my eye was at 1.35, where Hulk/Black Widow appear to be sharing a Spock/Kirk moment of some sort, and that tells me that The Avengers likely won’t go completely all out against each other in this second instalment (a little like the start of the first one), though… it’s bound to happen soon.

Oh yea, and I’m really hoping that they put more of Hawkeye in this. From this trailer alone, I can’t really tell anything about how big a role he will play in the movie, or if he takes on any epic scenes etc, but since he’s been completely overlooked in pretty much all the Phase 2 movies, I’m hoping they’ll give him a big part here.

Next, Scarlet/QuickSilver. I’ve seen the X-Men version of QuickSilver (played by Evan Peters), and they seem to be completely different people altogether (which is good, I guess). Physically, there are some similarities (Crystal finds Aaron more attractive though), but the “flash” animation (sorry, DC) looks different, plus that scene of 1.04 made me have a darker view of the two of them. (A bit like Zoe in GOTG) We’ve all seen the Captain America end-credits scene, with the two of them, and I remember my heart beating so quickly at the last part, where Scarlet Witch is controlling those little cube things.

I like her look here; it’s quite similar to the one in the comics, and her powers look rather similar as well. I’ve a feeling the highlight for me in this film would be every time her hand glows red with power.

Oh yea, and I kind of have to add the fact that Aaron and Elizabeth played husband/wife in Godzilla early this year, and now they’re playing siblings, lol. Reminds me so much of Shailene/Ansel in Divergent/The Fault in Our Stars.

Anyway, that’s about it from me, and overall, the trailer was, to put it simply, awesome. If you haven’t already watched it, you have to watch it here.

What do you think? You picked out anything else from the trailer?

Please comment/follow/share!

-J.K