“Moonlight” is an extraordinary slice-of-life film, representing in the best sense what cinema is all about: to take us to places where we may not typically go in our life or imagination.
The film’s unusual cinematography elevates the material to a dream-like state, which contrasts with remarkably realistic performances and a spare soundtrack that makes the film even more captivating.
“Moonlight” is based on a semi-autobiographical play, “In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue,” by Tarell Alvin McCraney, with the screenplay written by the film’s director Barry Jenkins.
Well, it wasn’t exactly: #oscarsowrong, or #wrongenvelopeplease, but among the dozens who entered the annual Lehigh Valley Press Focus section “Readers Pick the Oscars” contest, not one person correctly picked all Oscar recipients in the contest’s seven categories.
It was another good year at the movies in 2016.
In North America, movies grossed $11.4 billion in 2016, besting the record of $11.1 billion in 2015.
Walt Disney Studios held the top three positions: “Finding Dory,” $486.3 million; “Rogue One,” and “Captain America: Civil War.”
None of these was a Best Picture nominee for the Academy Awards, to be telecast at 8 p.m. EST Feb. 26. Here are my picks for the seven categories of the Lehigh Valley Press “Readers Pick the Oscar recipients” contest:
“Good fences make good neighbors.”
- Robert Frost,
“Fences,” the film version of August Wilson’s 1987 Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning play is set in Pittsburgh circa 1956 where Troy (Denzel Washington, who also directs), is a municipal garbageman and former Negro League baseball player standout.
Troy and his wife, Rose (Viola Davis), have a son, Cory (Jovan Adepo, TV’s “The Leftovers,” 2015-17, in his theatrical feature debut), who excels at academics and football in high school and is being scouted for a college scholarship.
After seeing “The Founder,” you may never look at a Big Mac the same way.
For that matter, you may never think about a fast-food restaurant the same way, either.
“The Founder” is about Ray Kroc (a splendid Michael Keaton), a milkshake device salesman who bought out the McDonald brothers, Richard “Dick” McDonald (a great Nick Offerman) and Maurice “Mac” MacDonald (a fine John Carroll Lynch), whose San Bernardino restaurant was the model for fast-food efficiency.
“Hidden Figures,” as with a few of 2016’s outstanding films (“Loving,” “Jackie” and “The Beatles: Eight Days A Week - The Touring Years”), takes place roughly more than half a century ago, in the early 1960s, which seems to have been a more innocent time in the United States.
What “Jackie” concentrates on, and does so very well, is the days after the Nov. 22, 1963, JFK assassination when the Kennedy Administration “Camelot” was manufactured by Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy with the implicit and complicit cooperation of Theodore H. White, who wrote about the myth for Life magazine.
To power-phrase, it was the best of times and it was the best of times in Lehigh Valley regional theater in 2016.
There didn’t seem to be a down side to the up side of theater in the Allentown, Bethlehem and Easton area, which continued with a robust mix of the innovative and familiar in-locally-produced shows, plus national touring productions that stopped in the Valley.
It seems that Valley residents who are theater-goers and those who travel to the Valley to see theater couldn’t get enough.
It is, after all, named “Star Wars.”
“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” if not all “Wars,” has enough martial-arts, battles and aerial dogfights to please the ardent “Mortal Kombat” or “Call of Duty” gamer.
“Rogue One,” billed as the first stand-alone in the “Star Wars Anthology,” won’t disappoint “Star Wars” aficionados, should entertain the casual “Star Wars” fan and impress movie-goers.
So far, “Manchester by the Sea” is the awards’ season and critics’ darling.
This reviewer isn’t buying it.