Film Review Friday 003

And the Nominees are...

The Academy Awards, the big momma of award shows, the culmination of this year's greatest films come to show off their stuff at the Dolby Theater, alas this is how things used to be. These days it seems as though anything that screams "MURRICA" will receive a nomination, "but Sushami, Bradley Cooper is incredible!". Yes, this is true, our friend Bradley Cooper is quite genius in his acting, wait who am I kidding DiCaprio is a million times better and still hasn't won an Oscar. Some say I am still angry about last year's DiCaprio snub, and I am, but Matthew McConaughey is definitely a great actor, so all is forgiven. Mostly because American Hustle won nothing! (That movie was actually one of the first films that I had to turn off midway, that's how bad it was). Though as we near the Oscars, we have now had a week to think about which films will win their categories, and the more I think about it, the more I disagree with a lot of the choices.

For starters, how does a film like Nightcrawler not get a nomination for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor in a Leading Role, Cinematography, the list goes on and on. That is the biggest bone I have to pick with this award show, the fact that very well deserving films receive little to no recognition for their extraordinary performance. With that, films such as American Sniper receive large praises and words of wonder because it screams freedom and the American way, sure it is an anti-war movie, it's a Clint Eastwood film, Bradley Cooper is a dream, MURRICA, with all this there's no way a film like Whiplash, which is worthy of Best Picture, will win because it is over shadowed by this dark entity known as "American Sniper". I have seen two of the films nominated for Best Picture, The Grand Budapest Hotel and Whiplash. I would have seen Foxcatcher, but because the best movies get limited releases I missed my chance, same with Boyhood and Birdman, though it does not really matter since Foxcatcher was snubbed in the Best Picture category. My brother recently rented Boyhood, I'll most likely take the time to watch that one. As for the remainder of the films in the category, The Imitation Game, Selma, The Theory of Everything and American Sniper, well 2 of those movies are guilt trips, I think you can guess which ones they are, though I do love Stephen Hawkings it is kind of an Oscar bait film in my opinion. Imitation game I just haven't had the time to go see it, same with American Sniper (mainly wanting to see it because Clint Eastwood is an idol of mine) and as for Selma, good lord, no offence to anybody it's not a race reason, but it's just a huge Oscar bait film, if you don't see it or don't like it you are basically a racist Nazi. Back to American Sniper, Cooper is once again nominated for best actor, wow interesting, that's 3 years in a row, Silver Linings, American Hustle, American Sniper, yup, three years in a row... At least Carell and Keaton are nominated, I honestly wouldn't mind Cumberbatch winning because he is a dragon after all and I love his acting, but I also wouldn't have minded having Miles Teller getting nominated either because he drummed his way to the top. I really enjoy the Best Actress category this year, one of the actresses are part of one Best Picture flick and that is it, the rest are from different movies that aren't a part of the Best Picture crowd, that's really good, some diversity in the nominees! I also really enjoy how Meryl Streep is once again nominated, she's just a doll isn't she?

This year, like other years has still managed to piss me off, The Lego Movie wasn't even nominated, and that was definitely the best animated film of the year... These are the kinds of things that consistently anger me when it comes to this award show, the lack of professionalism, at least in my opinion there is a large lack, but I'm just some guy writing some review, right? Although Nightcrawler is quite absent we find it in the Best Original Screenplay category and if anything I hope it wins, as much as I love Wes Anderson I just think Nightcrawler had the better screenplay in terms of messages and ideas. They really need to have a Foreign Film category that isn't limited to Foreign Languages, because The Babadook was an incredibly well made Australian film and it deserves recognition for being an incredible horror thriller. At least the rest of the categories are quite faire in my opinion, Interstellar is nominated for things it definitely should be nominated for, score, sound, etc. That's what made the movie better where it was lacking tremendously. All in all the nominees are a piss off, but there are also films that are very well deserving of being there, and I guess all we have to do is wait and see what happens.

I hope to one day have my film nominated for an Oscar, just so that if I win, and I will win, I can bring out a speech that will shock everybody watching, I just hope that my film will be deserving of the win and that I won't be stealing it from something better. The way things are looking now, American Sniper will win most of the awards because of what it entitles, which is not fair at all but hey, what can you do about that. I just really hope Whiplash wins something, and Nightcrawler pulls away with Original Screenplay, I'll be happy. Grand Budapest Hotel doesn't need to win anything, it's already a winner in my books and the reason I am saying this about Grand Budapest and not about Whiplash is because Whiplash fought really hard to be there, we all wanted it to be nominate for Best Picture but we didn't get our hopes up because it was a long shot, and now that it is actually there it needs to go the whole way. These are mostly my opinions but I seem to share them with many others, and I say to those people; don't worry, one day the awards will be fair and those who worked so hard and those who are deserving will come home with that big gold trophy, but until then keep enjoying the films you find deserving because to a filmmaker if you enjoy the work we put out, that is already a victory.

Sushami Pomerleau-Piquette


We All Go A Little Mad Sometimes: A Retrospective Review of Psycho

In 1960, Alfred Hitchcock shocked audiences from around the world with his groundbreaking horror/thriller masterpiece Psycho. Whether it is the loveable villain Norman Bates, the Bates Motel, the infamous shower scene, or one of the most famous music scores in film history produced by Bernard Herrmann, Psycho has managed to continue frightening audiences since its release. In just over 50 years, the film has spawned several sequels, documentaries, and even a shot-by-shot remake—not to mention the countless DVD releases and most recently, Universal has released a 50th Anniversary Blu-Ray edition, which is the best the film has looked since its original 35mm print release.  Historically, Psycho is a groundbreaking film in terms of its content, revolving around the Production Codes of its time. Psycho is the first film to show a toilet being flushed and the first film to show an unmarried couple in the same bed during the opening scene.

The film begins with recently divorced, Sam Loomis (John Gavin) and secretary Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) in a hotel room, discussing Sam’s financial problems.  This conversation provokes Marion into stealing $40,000 from a client so she can help her financially troubled boyfriend.  While travelling to bring Sam the $40,000, Marion encounters a storm and is forced to spend a night at the Bates Motel.

It is not until thirty minutes into the film, that we are finally introduced to Norman Bates.  Bates is a timid man, who lives with his mother in the house that overlooks the motel. Bates is an extremely sympathetic character; he is a loner with no friends except his mother.  When he asks Marion to have dinner with him, we want her to say yes, because we realize he is reclusive and needs someone to talk to.  Little do we know, Norman Bates is a schizophrenic killer who brutally kills Marion Crane in the shower, a few moments later.

The shower scene is by far the most well-known and frightening scene in the film.  The quick cuts, close-ups, and high-pitched sound of the screeching violin make the shower scene one of the best death scenes in cinematic history.  The legacy of this scene has not only influenced an entire population of people to lock their bathroom door before they shower but also, it has become the fundamental setup for a death scene in the horror genre.  The quick cuts matched with frightening music are now the staple of every death scene in the horror genre. Where Psycho still makes audiences cringe is that Hitchcock’s cuts (roughly 50) are so fast that audiences are not sure what they have seen, so they are forced to use their imagination, which is generally more psychologically frightening than what is actually being shown on screen. When it is finally revealed at the very end when Marion Crane’s body is lying lifeless in the tub and the blood is going down the drain, the audience cannot help but feel that they just witnessed a truly frightening crime.  

The theme of the “split-personality,” is quite common in horror films today.  Generally speaking, those films (Hide & Seek, Identity) that use the split-personality twist are examples of lazy writing and films that want to cash in on the twist-ending fad (something that I blame M. Night Shyamalan for).  Where Psycho differs from those films is that the ending thematically makes sense and that it is imperative in understanding the deterioration of Norman Bates’ psyche.  The twist is shocking because we are sympathetic to Norman and it hurts us to believe he is the killer. This is brilliance on the part of Hitchcock.

Psycho is a fantastic film that is full of many twists, turns, and surprises.  Psycho is a masterpiece that uses the flawed human psyche to create one of the most haunting and memorable film villains of all time.  For a film to be 52 years old and still have the ability to shock modern audiences shows brilliance on the part of Alfred Hitchcock. Hitchcock proves that he is truly the “Master of Suspense.” 


Justin Kueber