Movie Review – Roma – Alfonso Cuaron and his Netflix Masterpiece

oscars statue for the awards ceremony
The big one: this year’s Oscar Awards Ceremony

I decided to do a movie review of Roma for a couple of reasons. It’s not a widely-released in movie theaters in the US, and it will not be a part of the AMC Theaters Best Picture Showcase (#AMCBPS) despite being one of the eight nominated films for Best Picture.

Why? From what I read, in short, the movie rights were not released to American theaters: only to Netflix.

[pullquote]Colonia Roma is a neighborhood in Mexico City, set in 1970 and 1971. It is not the name of the leading actress, like I thought.[/pullquote] This movie is said to be 90 percent of scenes from Director Alfonso Cuaron’s childhood memories, based upon a nanny he adored named Libo (hence, the tribute during the credits). The story is mainly about a nanny, Cleo, who struggles with her life once she becomes pregnant and abandoned by the baby’s father. While, at the same time, she nurtures four children of a mom (Sofia) that also becomes abandoned by her husband.

I won’t write much about this storyline to avoid spoilers.

However, here are several random notes to give you some perspective. The entire movie is told via English subtitles, so don’t look away; you need to be focused. [Ed note: no way could we do Peetimes for a subtitled movie.]

More notes: the riot in the movie is known as the Corpus Christie Massacre. There’s one male nude scene. There’s a very graphic scene involving Cleo’s baby at birth that is a little disturbing; so brace yourself. Cleo and Sofia share a knowing look of despair without words, when a wedding is taking place next to them while they eat ice cream with the children.  [pullquote position=”right”]It’s obvious the pain the two women are feeling, as they both struggle putting their life back on track after their devastating heartbreaks.[/pullquote] I found it odd the children got painful sunburns during their beach visit, but the mom didn’t have any sunscreen.  Interesting that huffing in the 70’s is equivalent to juuling now.

How many dead animals can one person have in one house? Oh my! Taxidermy overload.  Also noteworthy was how families back in the day had one television, and everyone sat together and watched the same TV shows.

[pullquote]The scene I adored the most was when Cleo laid head-to-head with PePe (the youngest child) while he was mad at his brother who just hurt his feelings. This scene showed you how passionate and aware Cleo was about those children.[/pullquote]

Cuaron filmed this movie in Mexico City, which resulted in several mis-dated appearances regarding the airplanes and automobiles seen.

Finally, the ending took me by surprise, as I thought there was going to be another scene to wrap up the story, but there wasn’t.  Let me know if you felt the same way.

[pullquote position=”right”]You will likely enjoy this movie, despite the subtitles.  [/pullquote]The problems women experienced in the 70s is the same today, but now more women are smarter, stronger, and better equipped as Female Masterpieces to survive life’s roadblocks and setbacks.

Catch it on Netflix before the Oscars air on February 24. 

Movie Grade: B

RunPee and the 2019 Oscars – Predictions for the 2018 Movie Awards

Highlights, Comments, and Acceptance Videos for the 76th Annual Golden Globes

RunPee and the 2019 Oscars – Predictions for the 2018 Movie Awards

oscars statue for the awards ceremony
The big one: this year’s Oscar Awards Ceremony

The 2019 Oscar nominees will be announced on Tuesday, January 22.  It has been a wild awards season full of uncertainty, surprises, upsets, and scandal.  The nominations from the 2018 movies may bring their own share of upsets and surprises. Here are my predictions for what Tuesday morning will bring. (NOTE: All links go to RunPee’s movie reviews. If there is no link, we didn’t review it.)

Best Picture  – Under the current rules, there can be up to ten Best Picture nominees.  I’m predicting nine for this year. These are my choices in no particular order.  

  1. Black Panther

Black Panther has been preordained as a Best Picture nominee since it came out last year.  Like Straight Outta Compton was, this is one of the most successful movies of the year, both financially and critically.  If it does not get nominated, the Academy needs to take a long, hard look at itself. After Straight Outta Compton‘s snub, the Academy has done a lot of work to increase the diversity of its membership.  This is an exciting year, because there may be multiple films by people of color eligible for a Best Picture nomination including BlacKkKlansman, Crazy Rich Asians, If Beale Street Could Talk, and my beloved dark horses The Hate U Give and Sorry to Bother You (go watch them!). 

 

  1. A Star Is Born

The belle of the ball.  The early front runner.  As RuPaul might say, “You are safe.  Step to the back of the stage.”  Everyone knows this one is getting nominated.  It doesn’t make it any less of an achievement for Bradley Cooper, who struck gold with his directorial debut. 

 

  1. Green Book

This is the crowd pleaser.  From the first screenings at film festivals, audiences have been in love with this comedy about reconciliation, based on a true story.  There’s no way this doesn’t get nominated.

 

  1. Bohemian Rhapsody

Whatever plays for 2-3 weeks at Thanksgiving at the local arthouse ALWAYS goes to the Oscars.  This year, it was Bohemian Rhapsody and Boy Erased.  If it weren’t for Mary Poppins opening, they would have played Bohemian Rhapsody for an extra month probably.  A Golden Globes win for Best Picture has guaranteed this nomination. 

 

  1. Boy Erased

See above.  Strong performances by Lucas Hedges and Nicole Kidman make this one of the most powerful films of the year. 

 

  1. Vice

With a Best Actor and Best Director nomination likely, a Best Picture nomination is a lock for this Dick Cheney biopic.

 

  1. The Favourite

Living up to its title, this has been a critical and Hollywood favorite, racking up praise, awards, and nominations.  It truly is a “favorite.”  While I personally am not a fan, I’d be surprised if it doesn’t make the list. 

 

  1. BlacKkKlansman

Spike Lee’s masterpiece is one of the few summer films that’s so undeniable Oscar still remembers it, come winter.  The epilogue is a punch in the gut I can still feel. 

 

  1. A Quiet Place

A Quiet Place is this year’s Get Out.  It’s not a socially conscious satire.  However, A Quiet Place is the most talked about (and least talked during) horror movie of the year.  Sorry, Hereditary.  It did well at the box office, and it’s been shortlisted for at least one Oscar: Best Original Score. 

 

If there is a rare tenth slot this year, it goes to Crazy Rich Asians.  It is the first major film to feature an Asian-American cast since The Joy Luck Club twenty-five years ago.  That’s something worth celebrating.   

 

Sadly, this leaves First Man, Can You Ever Forgive Me?, and If Beale Street Could Talk on the sidelines.  

 

Best Actress

Lady Gaga, A Star Is Born

Glenn Close, The Wife

Melissa McCarthy, Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Olivia Colman, The Favourite

Saoirse Ronan, Mary Queen of Scots

 

Everyone has been whispering about an Oscar for Lady Gaga since A Star Is Born came out.  Glenn Close was a personal favorite before she won the Golden Globe. Just saying.  The Wife is a career highlight.  Melissa McCarthy showed the range of what she can do, from comedy to drama, in Can You Ever Forgive Me?  Olivia Colman will ride the praise for The Favourite to a nomination.  Mary Queen of Scots has been playing for over a month at the arthouse.  I’m going to go out on a limb, and say that audiences know something the odds makers don’t.  Maybe I’m blinded by my admiration for her, but I predict Saoirse Ronan is going to pull an upset and fill the fifth slot.  It’s not like she’s a stranger to the red carpet. 

 

Best Actor

Christian Bale, Vice

Rami Malek, Bohemian Rhapsody

Bradley Cooper, A Star Is Born

Lucas Hedges, Boy Erased

Viggo Mortensen, Green Book

 

Bale and Malek embody the men they are playing to a degree you forget you aren’t watching the real thing.  It would be a major upset if Bradley Cooper does not get a nomination for A Star is Born.  Lucas Hedges followed up Manchester By the Sea with another heartbreaking performance.  Viggo Mortensen makes it here by good will.  I like Green Book.  I liked Ryan Gosling in First Man, and Jonathan Pryce in The Wife better. 

 

Best Supporting Actress

Nicole Kidman , Boy Erased

Emma Stone, The Favourite

Rachel Weisz, The Favourite

Regina King, If Beale Street Could Talk

Amy Adams, Vice

 

Kidman excels at sentimental mother roles.  And she has at least one great scene in Boy Erased.  Stone and Weisz have been seen as competitors in this race, much like they were on-screen.  For all the pairs that publicists hoped would get nominated together this year (Ali and Mortensen for Green Book, Carell and Chalamet for Beautiful Boy), these two are the surest thing this side of A Star is Born. Regina King is a character actress that is loved by her peers.  She won the Golden Globe.  She may well win the Oscar.  Amy Adams has one of the best scenes of the year early on in Vice.  She’s also an Oscar favorite with several nominations. 

 

Best Supporting Actor

Sam Elliott, A Star is Born

Mahershala Ali, Green Book

Richard E. Grant, Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Timothy Chalamet, Beautiful Boy

Steve Carell, Vice

 

Despite being snubbed by the Globes, I’m confident Sam Elliott is going to get a nomination.  (Isn’t it time?)  Ali’s nomination is similarly a foregone conclusion.  Grant is a respected British character actor with a decent amount of buzz behind his performance.  Chalamet gave a powerful portrayal of drug addiction and recovery.  I’m going to throw a monkey wrench into the works by predicting it will be Steve Carell rather than Sam Rockwell who gets nominated for the movie Vice.  Rockwell’s portrayal of George W. Bush is featured in the trailer and has garnered more attention.  But it’s Carell as Donald Rumsfeld who really steals the movie.  This makes the race a bit awkward by pitting Carell against his Beautiful Boy co-star Chalamet.  I’m still holding out hope though that the Academy will surprise me though, and fill one of these slots (not Sam’s!) with Russell Hornsby from The Hate U Give or Josh Hamilton from Eighth Grade (Best. Dads. Ever.).

 

Best Director

Bradley Cooper, A Star Is Born

Alfonso Cuaron, Roma

Spike Lee, BlacKkKlansman

Peter Farrelly, Green Book

Adam McKay, Vice

 

Bradley Cooper nailed it with his first feature.  Not only did he make an entertaining film, he made a love story that feels authentic.  Alfonso Cuaron dug into his childhood memories to bring to life a similarly authentic story.  Spike Lee made a humorous, suspenseful, moving meditation about race in America.  Peter Farrelly took us on a road trip that changed the lives of two men.  Adam McKay made a brave film about politics and power.  There are no real surprises in my choices.  This is the same lineup as the Globes and the Directors Guild nominations.  If I had my druthers, Bo Burnham (Eighth Grade) or Damien Chazelle (First Man) would take Peter Farrelly’s slot. 

 

Best Original Song

Shallow,” A Star is Born

“A Place Called Slaughter Race,” Ralph Breaks the Internet

“Trip a Little Light Fantastic,” Mary Poppins Returns

“The Place Where Lost Things Go,” Mary Poppins Returns

“All the Stars,” Black Panther

 

Shallow” is a lock.  Of course, A Star Is Born is going to get a Best Song nomination.  If Ralph Breaks the Internet‘s side-splittingly funny, “A Place Called Slaughter Race” doesn’t get nominated, there is no justice.  It’s a send up of the classic Disney princess “I Want” song (“Part of Your World”, etc.) And I’m dying for a Randy Newman cover version.  Who do you think they’ll get to sing it at the Oscars? 

It’s not unusual for Disney to have more than one song nominated from the same film (The Lion King had three).  So I think both shortlisted Mary Poppins songs could make it through, though “Light Fantastic” is the ear worm.  I’m giving the final slot to “All the Stars” though it could go to “Girl in the Movies” by Dolly Parton from Dumplin’.  She has been nominated twice before.

 

Best Original Screenplay

Green Book, Nick Vallelonga, Brian Currie, and Peter Farrelly

Vice, Adam McKay

Eighth Grade, Bo Burnham

First Reformed, Paul Schrader

A Quiet Place, Bryan Woods, Scott Beck, and John Krasinski

 

Green Book: how do you not nominate the crowd-pleaser?  For Vice, McKay not only had to do exhaustive research, he employs several unique narrative devices.  Bo Burnham managed to capture not only the awkwardness of middle school, but to tell it from the point of view of a teenage girl.  Paul Schrader wrote one of the two best movies about faith this year.  (Disobedience was the other one.  Watch them both.)  A Quiet Place was one of the most unique theatrical experiences of the year.  The first sequence is its own horror short film that should be used to teach would-be screenwriters how to tell a story visually. 

 

Best Adapted Screenplay

If Beale Street Could Talk, Barry Jenkins

Can You Ever Forgive Me?,  Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty

Black Panther, Ryan Coogler and Joe Robert Cole

A Star Is Born, Eric Roth and Bradley Cooper & Will Fetters

BlacKkKlansman, Spike Lee, Charlie Wachtel, David Rabinowitz and Kevin Willmott

 

Barry Jenkins didn’t just tell a story.  He found ways to add power to James Baldwin’s words through imagery.  Can You Ever Forgive Me? found the humanity in two hard to love people. 

Out of the comic books (Black Panther) came one of the most empowering films of all time.  The fourth version of A Star Is Born made us fall in love again.  BlacKkKlansman delivered a necessary message through an entertaining story. 

 

Best Animated Film

Incredibles 2

Ralph Breaks the Internet

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Mirai

Isle of Dogs

 

This is the same lineup as the Globes, but these are simply the five best animated films that came out this year.  If I could find anything artier or weirder to put in Mirai‘s spot, I would have, because Oscar would too.  (See My Life As a Zuchini.)

 

Incredibles 2 was the sequel that goes bigger than the original.  It was huge summer fun and everything I love about Pixar.  Ralph Breaks the Internet was…a little less fun but still had lots of laughs and lots of heart and the ultimate song (see above).  Spider-Man was an unexpected roller-coaster ride full of surprises.  I’m pulling for it to win.  Mirai was a sweet anime about family and heritage.  Isle of Dogs was Wes Anderson’s tale of a boy in search of his dog, in a world where dogs have been banned. 

 

I’m predicting Mirai in the fifth slot but the Academy could go more commercial and choose Teen Titans Go to the Movies, Hotel Transylvania 3 (such a let-down after 2!), Sherlock Gnomes, or Smallfoot instead. 


 

Kumail Nanjiani (The Big Sick—amazing rom com!) and Tracee Ellis Ross (Black-ish) will announce the nominees live on Tuesday, January 22 at 8:20 am ET/5:20 am PT.  

You can live stream it at Oscar.com or watch the Oscars live on TV Sunday, Feb 24th. Check my predictions then, and find out if I was way off base or right on the money!  Feel free to make your own predictions in the comments below. Check back here for more awards coverage! And don’t forget to use the Run Pee app for those lengthy, bladder-busting awards bait movies.  

Highlights, Comments, and Acceptance Videos for the 76th Annual Golden Globes

Movie Review – Bohemian Rhapsody – Queen Will Rock You

Movie Review – Black Panther – One Incredible Party

Movie Review – A Star Is Born

Movie Review – BlacKkKlansman