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Post-Oscars Post

Nomadland has garnered much acclaim and commentary leading up to its well-deserved best picture win at the April 25 Oscars when its director Chloé Zhao became the first woman of colour to receive the best director award.   (So far it’s streaming only on Disney+.  Her previous work The Rider, also superb, is on Amazon Prime.)  Nomadland , for which Frances McDormand also received a best actress Oscar, had previously earned four major British academy awards (Baftas)—best picture, director, actress, and cinematography.  The film’s observational realism casts some actual “nomads”—aging itinerant van dwellers who make ends meet by picking up occasional temp jobs at places like Amazon warehouses.  That is the subject of the short documentary “Camperforce” which can be watched here: https://www.moviemaker.com/the-real-nomadland-doc-follows-elderly-camperforce-living-in-rvs-working-for-amazon/ .  [The film has drawn some criticism but for a vigorous defence see: https://www.independent.co.uk/a

Post-Easter Viewing Update:

First the news that as of today the Disney+ streaming platform’s “Star” channel has added Nomadland , much acclaimed for its documentary-like realism and my best film of 2020, to its lineup.  (The movie is a favorite for the best picture Oscar to be announced April 25.  For more see: https://ew.com/awards/oscars/chloe-zhao-nomadland-oscars/ .) Disney is better known for more fantastical fare.  Interestingly, Nomandland’s Chinese-born director Chloé Zhao has since helmed the latest Marvel epic Eternals , so perhaps the connection is not so unusual.  Of course there’s tons more on the Disney platform including a new Falcon and the Winter Soldier series if you are into the superhero genre.  I’m not but the first episodes are directed by Canadian Kari Skogland and I was intrigued enough to watch a couple.  There’s a new “Captain America”, references to “post-blip” in the Marvel cinematic universe, and something about vaccines having been stolen, which I guess is a thing now.  As if the 24

Second March Movie Post

This is a special day because it was my mom’s birthday and she had 102 wonderful years.   So I am remembering her fondly and her lively interest in current events. Thinking of aging wisely and gracefully, David Attenborough continues to put out engaging documentaries about the natural world.   On the BBC Earth channel (available through Amazon Prime Video) is David Attenborough’s Light on Earth (A+) which probes the many wonders of bioluminescence. On Netflix I also recommend the six-episode series Night on Earth (A) which explores many aspects of nature after dark. It is accompanied by final hour-long film about how ultra-sensitive night vision cameras and thermal imaging were used to capture astonishing images in the dark.   Also on Netflix, the highest recommendation to David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet (A+ https://www.attenboroughfilm.com/ ) which he describes as his “witness statement”. Ontario is entering the Covid “red zone” again which means theatres closing. I’m st

My Take on the Best Dramas and Best Docs of 2020

  The Oscar nominations were announced this morning and streaming services are heavily represented with Netflix’s Mank scoring a leading 10 nominations. Check out the full list here: https://variety.com/2021/film/news/2021-oscars-nominations-list-nominees-1234928711/ .   Winners will not be known until April 25. What follows are my choices for the best dramas and docs of 2020 (with the caveat that I have yet to be able to see several potential contenders, notably: News of the World, Minari, The Father , and Promising Young Woman among others). With theatres mostly closed, almost all of these were seen via streaming services.   You will note that all of my top dramas are also American productions. 2020 was anything but a normal year for movie releases. But here’s hoping that the big screen experience will return in force later this year.   Best Dramas 1.       Nomadland (U.S.)   The best by far, this is only the third feature by director Chloé Zhao who, although she grew up

First March Post

This has been a dark winter for theatres but with some reopening as of March I was thrilled to be able to see several titles on the big screen: Our Friend at Ottawa’s surviving repertory independent theatre, the Mayfair (it opened during the Depression in 1932 so has seen lean times before), and at a Cineplex Judas and the Black Messiah , both reviewed below.   On the small screen, although I get HBO I’d missed last year’s 6-episode series I Know This Much is True (A) but was turned on to stream it after Mark Ruffalo won a Golden Globe best actor award for his exceptional performance in the dual role of identical twin brothers, one of whom is a paranoid schizophrenic.   In the first minutes there is a horrific act of self-mutilation, and that’s just the beginning of the family trauma and tragedy.   Not an easy watch but rewarding if one sticks with it. There are also many new series being added to streaming services.   I’ll just mention a couple.   Apple TV+ is rolling out more of