Total Pageviews

Wednesday, November 23, 2016


Bask in Moonlight.

Moonlight is the original, nuanced, indie drama we’ve been waiting for all year. It’s a coming-of age story told in three parts, each titled from the nicknames of the central character: Little, Chiron and Black.

Director Barry Jenkins shows us young man's struggle to find himself by following the heartbreaking journey of Chiron from age nine to adult. Chiron is repeatedly asked, “Who is you?” and so is the audience.

Moonlight tenderly touches on themes of African-American masculinity, class, race, family and drug abuse in ways that are rarely depicted onscreen.

Simply put: To the moon and back. It’s the intimate, indie drama we’ve waited for all year. Jenkins is a new voice in cinema and he and his film will surely have a powerful presence in awards season.

Award potential: Look for nominees in all major Oscar categories beginning with Best Picture. It’s a lock for a nom for the SAG’s ensemble cast award as well.

The acting awards are tricky, as three actors played the quiet Chiron, but I’d look to Mahershala Ali in the Best Supporting Actor category for his scene-stealing role as father-figure Juan. Naomie Harris is a lock for Best Supporting Actress. Janelle Moneae won’t be recognized for her work here but may be nominated against Naomie for her work in the upcoming movie Hidden Figures.

The Ten Buck Review: Worth ten bucks.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Hell or High Water

best picture nominees
Hell, yes.

“A Texas Ranger hunts bank robbers in West Texas” may not sound like the setup for a movie set in contemporary times nor does it hint that this was one of the best films of 2016, but both are correct.

Scottish director David Mackenzie, writer Taylor Sheridan (Sicario) and cinematographer Giles Nuttgens have created a bold, original film that can confidently sit on a shelf with Bonnie and Clyde, Thelma and Louise and No Country For Old Men.

The story follows brothers Toby and Tanner (Chris Pine and Ben Foster) on a bank-robbing spree that is being followed, ahem, hunted by Texas Ranger Marcus (Jeff Bridges in full Tommy Lee Jones mode) and his half-Comanche partner Alberus (Gill Birminham). It's a solid heist story, but it's something a little more too; it's a tale of small-scale justice that is in shocking synch with rebel America.

Rich dialogue. Handsome cinematography. Sizzling soundtrack. Standout performances. It's one of the best films of the year.

Simply put: It's a modern (but sepia-tone) classic that shouldn’t be missed.

Award potential: If Oscar voters remember all the way back to August, it should rack up nominations for Best Picture, Best Cinematography, Best Original Screenplay, Best Actor Jeff Bridges (who milks every line like the pro he is), and Best Score (Nick Cave and Warren Ellis) — maybe more.

The Ten Buck Review: Worth ten bucks.

Friday, November 11, 2016

15 BEST PICTURE CONTENDERS FOR 2017 (and when you can see them)

does emma stone have an oscar
Ooh, la, la-la-land! 
It’s that time of year when Oscar caliber films fall out of the sky and into theaters. Five of this year’s top films are in theaters at this writing, with three more to follow before December.

Yeah, it's too early to predict the ten Best Pictures as some of these will definitely lose momentum before January (Sorry Warren Beatty), but these dozen films are a safe bet to be totally ten-buck-worthy (and one of them features the future Han Solo). Enjoy!


Hell or High Water
Brothers Toby and Tanner (Chris Pine and Ben Foster) are on a bank-robbing spree in West Texas, and a Texas Ranger, Best Actor frontrunner Jeff Bridges, is on to it. It’s a beauty and it’s sensational.
On Demand now for sale, rental begins Tuesday, November 22.

A young man deals with his dysfunctional home life and comes of age in Miami during the "War on Drugs” era. The New York Times recently asked “Is this 2016’s best movie?” I’ll find out this week.
In theaters now.

British-American drama starring Joel Egerton and Ruth Nega as Richard and Mildred Loving, the plaintiffs in the 1967 U.S. Supreme Court decision Loving v. Virginia, which invalidated state laws prohibiting interracial marriage. Directed by Jeff Nichols (Mud).
In theaters now.

Birth of a Nation
The controversial film based on the story of Nat Turner, the enslaved man who led a slave rebellion. Directed by and starring Nate Parker.
In theaters now.

Hacksaw Ridge
Speaking of controversial directors, we also have Mel Gibson's new film. WWII American Army Medic Desmond T. Doss (Andrew Garfield) refuses to kill people and becomes the first Conscientious Objector in American history to be awarded the Medal of Honor.
In theaters now.

Manchester by the Sea
Lee (Casey Affleck) returns to his North Shore hometown and separated wife (Michelle Williams). Written and directed by Kenneth Lonergan (You Can Count On Me). A likely contender in many categories.
In theaters November 18.

Rules Don’t Apply
This year’s Hollywood film that honors itself, Rules Don’t Apply, follows the romantic relationship between a young actress (Lilly Collins) and her driver (Alden Ehrenreich, the future Han Solo), which is forbidden by their employer Howard Hughes (Warren Beatty). This is Beatty’s first directorial effort since Bulworth (1998). Also starring Annete Benning and Matthew Broderick.
In theaters November 23.

Australian-American-British drama that follows Saroo (Dev Patel) on his search for his long lost family. Also starring Rooney Mara, David Wenham and Nicole Kidman. It’s a Weinstein film.
In theaters November 25.


Actress frontrunner Natalie Portman plays Jacqueline Kennedy  in the days when she was First Lady in the White House.
In theaters December 2.

La La Land
This year’s early front-runner is a romantic musical set in L.A. starring likely Best Actress winner Emma Stone, Ryan Gossling and J.K. Simmons — directed by Damien Chazelle (Whiplash).
In theaters December 9.

The Founder
Supersized biopic of Ray Kroc (Michael Keaton) maneuvered himself into a position to buy the 1950s burger operation of Mac and Dick McDonald and create a billion-dollar fast food empire.

In theaters December 16.

Patriots Day
Sgt. Saunders (Mark Wahlberg) joins Boston Marathon bombing survivors, first responders and other investigators in a race against the clock to hunt down the suspects. Directed by Peter Berg (Lone Survivor).
In theaters December 21.

A historical drama set in the seventeeth century follows two Portuguese Jesuit priests (Andrew Garfield, Adam Driver) who face violence when they travel to Japan to locate their mentor (Liam Neeson) and propagate Christianity. Directed by Martin Scorsese.
In theaters December 23.

Hidden Figures
Three women at NASA (Taraji P. Henson,Octavia Spencer and Janelle MonĂ¡e) provide NASA with important mathematical data  and play key roles behind the launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit.
In theaters December 25.

Set in 1950s Pittsburgh, a former baseball  player (Denzel Washington), now working as a waste collector,  struggles to provide for his wife (Viola Davis) and family. This Best Picture front-runner is based on the play of the same name and directed by Denzel Washington.

In theaters December 25.