Due to deadlines I was unable to fully cover the recent Academy Awards, but then I am not the only one in the media to let it slide.
The event is certainly lacking in its prestige and while many of the recipients are worthy, the event did seem to be overshadowed by Everything Everywhere All at Once and quite honestly it is not the best film of the last 12 months. That said it is an improvement on some recent winners.
I have mentioned previously that the Oscars has got itself in a bit of a confused state. They feel the blockbusters ought to be overlooked but this hasn’t always been the case and I think there would have been few disagreements if Top Gun Maverick picked up the top prize as it should have.
Back to this week and a fourth outing for a popular recent franchise, a number of event cinema productions and more on past awards.
For booking details, visit wtwcinemas.co.uk
John Wick Chapter 4
This week’s new action packed release is the latest in the Keanu Reeves-led stylish and violent revenge action series. This one does come with a warning though: it is long!
It is following a pattern, with the first film run time of 100 minutes, chapter two was 122 minutes and chapter 3 in at 130 minutes – but this is running at 169 minutes.
My main concern is with a fifth film on the horizon, we may have to request the reintroduction of an interval.
The first film saw retired hitman Wick back on the trail of those who killed his dog and stole his car.
Using his contacts and the safe hotel The Continental he managed to right that wrong but being back active aroused plenty of interest and in the meantime Wick has caused a storm and has made himself the top bounty in the world.
The syndicate that controls the hit man world is the High Table and they have had enough of John and have made him the number one target.
With a shipload of assassins on his tail, Wick is encouraged that he may become free of their pursuit if he challenges and defeats the High Table master. There is a parade of action sequences with increasingly imagined weapons of choice including a pencil.
Returning cast members include Ian McShane and Laurence Fishburne. With Donnie Yen and Bill Skarsgaard as new adversaries this is definitely another high-end explosive adventure.
80 for Brady
At the other end of the scale of violence, or so I am led to believe, is comedy 80 for Brady with an all-star cast.
The movie is inspired by the true story of four best friends and New England Patriots fans who take a life-changing trip to Super Bowl LI to see their hero Tom Brady play, and the chaos that ensues as they navigate the wilds of the biggest sporting event in the country.
Despite the massive sporting premise this is just a vehicle for the film which is very funny, heart-warming and, when you have Sally Field, Rita Moreno, Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda heading the cast, there are some high quality performances throughout.
A real feelgood film.
Life of Pi National Theatre Live
One of the most anticipated theatre productions is being broadcast to cinemas on March 30.
Puppetry, magic and storytelling combine in a unique, Olivier Award-winning stage adaptation of the best-selling novel.
After a cargo ship sinks in the middle of the vast Pacific Ocean, a 16-year-old boy named Pi is stranded on a lifeboat with four other survivors – a hyena, a zebra, an orangutan and a Royal Bengal tiger. Time is against them, nature is harsh, who will survive?
Filmed live in London’s West End and featuring state-of-the-art visuals, the epic journey of endurance and hope is bought to life in a breathtaking new way for cinema screens.
Silver Screen returns tomorrow with a new feature for some venues, the award nominated Tár.
It stars Cate Blanchett as Lydia Tár, the ground-breaking conductor of a major German orchestra. We meet Tár at the height of her career, as she’s preparing both a book launch and much-anticipated live performance of Mahler’s Fifth Symphony.
With the multiple pressures placed upon her and her very complicated personal life, the stresses of the multiple events takes their toll on Lydia with powerful results.
The Silver Screen is Thursday morning at 11am. Tickets are £4.30 each which includes a hot drink and a biscuit.
In this weekly piece I am taking a look back over my time in the cinema and I have had some amazing interviews recently with fellow colleagues and there are plenty more to come.
This week though I would like to reflect more on my opening notes and the changes in the Oscars.
Regular readers will know of my fondness for films and this has always been the case, but I became more aware of the Academy Awards and their prestige in the 1990s.
I know it is unfair to compare decades but Schindler’s List, Forrest Gump, The Silence of the Lambs and Titanic are just four of the winners in this decade and all of these films were box office successes too.
Into the noughties we had Lord of the Rings: Return of the King clean up at one ceremony. Chicago, No Country for Old Men and Gladiator are other popular wins. I could go back over the decades with more examples but my point is box office successes could be award winners.
In contrast I for one would struggle to list the last five winners and even the last ten have been less than memorable. There are of course contributing factors and the socio-economic landscape has changed. But even if we take the covid out of the equation there were some dubious winners prior to that.
I have said before and reiterate that the Academy Awards needs a popular public category to reflect the movie-going audience and the category should be a minimum financial threshold and purely cinematic release before streaming or VOD.
I don’t want to name any films but I know there are plenty of nominated movies that when screened at the cinema are absolute duds, yet a critic might like the cinematography or the realism.
What the academy must remember is that cinema-going is an entertainment business and too many popular choices are missing out due to their commercial success.
If they open up the awards they may actually get more of the big stars attending next year’s ceremony too. The last five winners Everything Everywhere, CODA, Parasite, Nomadland and Green Book – the last I have the biggest issues with as it beat out Black Panther, BlacKKKlansmann and Bohemian Rhapsody, a shocking decision.