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Here are the nominees for Best Actor in a Leading Role:

Timothee Chalamet – Call Me By Your Name

Daniel Day-Lewis – Phantom Thread

Daniel Kaluuya – Get Out

Gary Oldman – Darkest Hour

Denzel Washington – Roman J Israel Esq.

Who I’m Cheering For: Multiple names I admire on this list, but looking at all the names above, I realized I’m screaming the loudest on Sunday if Kaluuya wins.

Who Should Win: If the critieria is ‘degree of difficulty within the film they’re nominated for’, it would have to be one of the kids: Chalamet or Kaluuya.

Who Will Win: Commissioner Gordon is due for his ‘lifetime achievement Oscar’.  And I’m fine with that.





Here are the nominees for Best Actress in a Supporting Role:

Mary J. Blige – Mudbound

Allison Tanney – I, Tonya

Lesley Manville – Phantom Thread

Laurie Metcalf – Lady Bird

Octavia Spencer – The Shape of Water

Who I’m Cheering For: You know how a part of you always remembers someone from the first time you saw them?  Octavia Spencer will always be ‘Lady in Alley’ from S.W.A.T (the movie) to me.  Silly I know, but it’s an ‘actor paying their dues, moving up the ranks’ thing.  I know this isn’t her year though.

Who Should Win: One of the two ‘difficult mother’ characters; their movies fall apart without them.  I think Allison has more goodwill at this moment.

Who Will Win: Allison Tanney.  Fine by me.




Here are the nominees for Best Actor in a Supporting Role:

Willem Dafoe – The Florida Project

Woody Harrelson – Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Richard Jenkins – The Shape of Water

Christopher Plummer – All the Money in the World

Sam Rockwell – Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Who Should Win: Hmmm.  I thought the most standout of these five was Dafoe.  A completely different turn than his trademark roles.

Who I’m Cheering For: Dafoe, for the reason above.  Plummer getting nominated is already quite a ‘F*** You’ to Spacey, isn’t it?

Who Will Win: There’s a 10 percent chance that two nominations for Ebbing will split the vote for him, but based on momentum you got to thank Sam Rockwell completes his victory tour.

‘Strong Island’



‘Strong Island’ is another film that’s compelling both for what’s on screen, and also for how perfectly timely it is with larger discussions happening in 2018 America.

Nominated this year in the Best Documentary – Feature category, the skeleton of the story is way too familiar to everyone now: a young black man is murdered, the local police look at the evidence and drift toward the attitude of ‘Well, he wasn’t an angel…’

Yance Ford (the director, the sibling of the victim, and if I’m not mistaken, the first transgender person nominated in this category) gives us enough time with all the judicial elements of the story to upset anyone with a conscience.  The true gift of the film is in the time spent (and the focus) on how a crime like this, the sudden, unnecessary death of a young man, implodes the whole family unit.  (There’s a larger metaphor in there for the black experience in America if you wanted to go there.)

Powerful film.  Now streaming on Netflix.





Nominated for Best Documentary Feature, ‘Icarus’ is one of those films where the larger implications stick with you a little more than what you see on the screen.  Especially right now…

Doing well but never really excelling as a cyclist, Bryan Fogel (also our narrator) hooks up with Girgory Rodchenkov, a leading Russian scientist in the field of ‘sports medicine’.  What starts out as a ‘wink wink nudge nudge’ light hearted relationship (with Fogel using my needles on a daily basis than I ever want to see in my life), first turns a little more serious as the Russian team (the ENTIRE Russian team) is briefly banned from competing in the Olympics, then turns legitimately scary as Grigory escapes Russia (leaving his wife and family behind), and eventually ends up in witness protection in America as he goes into detail, on the record, with how Russia has essentially, a state sponsored doping program, and uses the former KGB to make sure its athletes don’t get caught.

Fascinating for what it is, as a documentary on 21st century sports.  Interesting because of what else we’ve essentially proven about Russia bending and breaking all protocols to get what it wants and end up on top.

Now streaming on Netflix.





Definitely lost in the phenomenon of ‘Black Panther’ this weekend, Chris Rock has a new stand up special on Netflix.  As much as I love Chappelle, some of his silliness isn’t working the same way it did years ago.  ‘Tambourine’ is interesting just to see how Rock is adapting and changing as life goes on.

The leather jackets have been replaced with jeans; some of the youthful aggression has been replaced with the oft repeated ‘peace means a lot more now.’  Chris opens up about being a divorced dad and his own infidelity, as candid with the mike as I can ever remember him being.  But it’s still Chris Rock, the jokes come fast and are on point.  The meaning of ‘Tambourine’ is good, another sign of maturity that is part of evolving.

Definitely worth checking out; streaming on Netflix.




Malcolm X, Do the Right Thing, Coming to America…Black Panther is in the pantheon of great black films, immediately.

So what can I say that hasn’t been hot taked to death already?  I picked a few things…

  • Stakes – Yes, I’m going to use ‘the Dark Knight’ as one of the best examples, but it’s true: even in Marvel movies, if it feels like the villain gets NO real wins or causes no real consequence…kind of takes you out of it a bit.  Taking over the world?  Ehhh…everything else better be perfect.  Beating the hero in a battle and genuinely creating a long term change in the protagonist and their world?  That’s how its done.
  •   Mike – I never doubted Michael B’s ability to play a villain.  But I loved, LOVED how this particular villain takes advantage of that vulnerability and sensitivity that Mike has done in everything from ‘the Wire’ to ‘Fruitvale Station’.  A lot of the love for Killmonger comes from him being a hurt, vindictive person pushing it to its extreme (as opposed to an asshole whose evil just for the sake of being evil).
  • Coogler – The ‘weakness’ of the film to me is the action sequences.  And they’re not remotely bad; it’s just we’ve all been conditioned at this point to turn our brains off a bit when it’s ‘super CGI time’ in superhero movies.

Then my boy Ben sent this to me.  I don’t want to anoint Ryan as ‘our Spielberg/Scorsese’, even after a weekend like this…but…LISTEN TO HOW MUCH THOUGHT AND DETAIL WENT INTO THIS…


So yeah, enter your superlative here.  Looking forward to seeing it again.




The weekend!

Next week? All movie reviews here.  So wanted to bring the heat to start a three day weekend (for most of us).

Forgot how much funny this video was.  Busta was THE Guy for a minute.

Back Monday night to give my thoughts on Wakanda on the big screen.  Enjoy the long break folks.


‘Call Me By Your Name’



Liked it.  Didn’t love it til the end.

In recent memory, ‘Brokeback Mountain’ is an excellent story of forbidden love; ‘Blue is the Warmest Color’ feels more three dimensional (and more explicit sexually).   ‘Call Me By Your Name’ is strong for what it is; a young man discovers his sexuality and comes of age in the 80s when his father’s attractive grad assistant comes to town.  But, to me at least, it’s more about their physical connection than a deep emotional one.  Timothee Chalamet is fully arrived as a kid who can own a movie, Armie Hammer unfortunately seems to be stuck in that ‘Looks like a movie star, sounds like a movie star, but is he a movie star?’ box.  It’s a solid film for 100 minutes.

Then, and I’m not the first to say this, Michael Stuhlbarg puts a button on the story of the film with a speech so perfect in expressing the unconditional love of a parent, the rareness of experiencing a white hot passionate love (and how most people settle), how love changes over time as your mind gets smarter but your body gets weaker…I was irrationally upset he didn’t get a Best Supporting Actor nomination just for that speech.  It was that good.

So worth seeing this movie just for the ending.




My Frat ‘DJ Joe Brooks’ sent me his Valentine’s Day mix last night.  It’s a nice blend of old school, blue eyed soul and reggae.  Good music choice to start this week.