The Shape of Water: entertaining but where did the 13 Oscar nods come from?

The Shape of Water is a beautiful, entertaining film by the Mexican director Guillermo del Toro. The film is his take on many monster movies of the past, most prominently The Creature from Black Lagoon. The film features excellent performances from Sally Hawkins and Michael Shannon. 

But 13 Oscars? Seems like it is just one of those feel-good auteur pieces that the MPAA members go nuts about from time to time - Shakespeare in Love, The Artist and La La Land immediately come to mind. 





American Made - believable only because its real

This is one of those stories that pass the reasonability test only because they are real. Tom Cruise's "American Made" is the unbelievable but true story of Barry Seal, an American pilot who becomes  embroiled in all sorts of international crime and espionage. This is such a great crime-caper, the kinds we so rarely get these days. It is just so much fun to just sit back and watch as layers and layers of insanity get piled on top of each other and you must suspend your disbelief because you know this (or something really close to this) actually happened. Reminded me to Charlie Wilson's War - another Great American intelligence film where the consequences of seemingly simple actions are so profound. 

The haunting drama of Wind River

Maybe its something about the brutality of snow in the paradoxical claustrophobia of wide wilderness of snow-capped mountains that makes something about winter so haunting and self-reflecting. "Wind River" was easily one of the best films I saw this year. It is a haunting story of a brutal death/murder in the strange, melancholic back country of Wyoming. 

The film is sad and beautiful. Jeremy Renner has grown so much as an actor. Elizabeth Olsen is easily the top Olsen sister.