Please don’t tell me “there’s nothing to see, nothing’s playing.”
On Friday, four potential Best Picture nominees open at the same time. They are “Truth,” “Room,” “Beasts of No Nation.” and “Bridge of Spies.”
This a huge bounty. You could literally spend all weekend watching four of the best films of this year, or any year.
Of course, “Beasts” will also be available on Netflix. Many theater chains don’t want to show it because they’re angry about it being available on Netflix day and date. Cary Fukunaga — of “True Detective” season 1 fame, and “Sin Nombre”– directed this mind blowing piece about child soldiers. Idris Elba is absolutely riveting, and easily a candidate for Best Actor. The kids are all actors but they’re so good you’ll wonder.
“Room” directed by Lenny Abrahamson is just as harrowing. Brie Larson (Best Actress nom for sure), Joan Allen (Supporting) and a kid named Jacob Tremblay are unforgettable in a most unusual story: Brie’s character is 24, and she’s been locked in a crazy guy’s one room backyard shed for 7 years. Her family assumes she’s dead. During this time she’s given birth to Jack, who turns 5 on the day we meet them. You may think, I don’t want to see this. You are wrong. I discovered that a few minutes in. Emma Donoghue wrote the screenplay from her novel. This will be a much talked about film. Exquisite and unique.
“Truth” offers Robert Redford as Dan Rather and Cate Blanchett as producer Mary Mapes in the story of how these two smart people got themselves fired from CBS News in 2004. Basically, the company threw them to the wolves. I still have questions about what happened. But the film is very very well made. Blanchett is over the top great. Redford has to be nominated, even if it’s for Supporting. An all-star supporting cast doesn’t hurt, either.
“Bridge of Spies” is Steven Spielberg’s first film since “Lincoln.” This is also historical, but the story is less well known. Francis Gary Powers was shot down in a spy plane over Russia in 1962. This is not so much about him but about the lawyer (Tom Hanks) assigned to get him back by trading him with a Russian spy (Mark Rylance). The Coens rewrote the original, a little stodgier script. The result is kind of a magic marriage between “Fargo” humor and Spielberg’s Americana. Hanks and Rylance are brilliant. Spielberg continues to create iconic moments in film history. It’s so annoying how good a filmmaker he really is.