These are golden days for movie fans, and the start of a very big week. Our critic David Edelstein has a Sneak Preview:
Let’s talk about the all-important holiday movie season. What’s that, you say? The holidays ended weeks ago? Ah, yes, but now is when 98% of the country can finally see the movies critics gushed about that were only in theaters in New York and L.A. to qualify for awards.
With Oscar nominations set to be announced Tuesday, now is actually peak holiday-movie season!
And you don’t just get to see these movies -- you can be part of the backlash against them! Or, the backlash against the backlash!
Take “La La Land,” Damien Chazelle’s eye-candy musical with the inhumanly-gorgeous Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling. Critics fell all over themselves in December. Now all I hear is: “The singing and dancing aren’t exactly ‘Singin’ in the Rain.’” “It misrepresents jazz.” “It’s too white.”
I’ll start a backlash against the backlash: It moves like an old-fashioned escapist dream with a modern emotional toughness. When people complain about “La La Land,” I go, “La la la la.”
- “La La Land” director Damien Chazelle knows why you love Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling
- New York Film Critics Circle names “La La Land” year’s best
Barry Jenkins’ “Moonlight” is another awards-season biggie that makes some people say, “I don’t get the hype.” Well, in a way, they’re right; it’s a gentle, slow-paced exploration of sexual and racial identity, so delicate that critical hype bruises it.
So don’t go in expecting to be blown away and, maybe, you’ll be blown away!
- Review: Heartache painted by “Moonlight”
- What Mahershala Ali hopes “Moonlight” audiences will take away (“CBS This Morning”)
- Actress Naomie Harris and director Barry Jenkins on humanity of “Moonlight” (“CBS This Morning”)
- L.A. film critics name “Moonlight” best of 2016
- “Moonlight” sweeps at Gotham Awards
There’s also gobs of hype about “Fences,” based on August Wilson’s great play about a husband and father warped by racism into a big jerk. My problem is it still feels like a play, and Denzel Washington -- dynamic as he is -- needed a director to take him down a peg. Except he was the director, and he was swinging for the fences (a.k.a. the Oscars) …
- Denzel Washington on movie revival of iconic play, “Fences” (“CBS This Morning”)
- Viola Davis pulls no punches (“Sunday Morning”)
- Viola Davis on her role in “Fences”
- Denzel (“60 Minutes”)
… where the frontrunner is Casey Affleck for his portrait of a man in a fog of grief in “Manchester By the Sea.” You can see that, too, if you like your sadness unleavened by even a tinge of hope.
- Review: Heart-wrenching “Manchester by the Sea”
- Casey Affleck’s time has come, again (“Sunday Morning”)
- “Manchester by the Sea” nabs top National Board of Review honor
There hasn’t been much hype about “20th Century Women,” Mike Mills’ bittersweet tribute to women who helped him to become a man. One is his mother, played by Annette Bening in the year’s most vivid performance. I don’t get why people aren’t falling on their knees and singing odes to joy, because Annette Bening makes every movie a holiday.