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Best Picture Preview: Reviews of Black Panther, A Star is Born, VICE and BlackkKlansman

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Best Picture Preview: Reviews of Black Panther, A Star is Born, VICE and BlackkKlansman

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With the Academy Awards just around the corner, I decided to take it upon myself to watch and review each of the Oscar movies nominated this year for Best Picture. With eight films up as nominees, I decided to split the reviews into two parts in order to better focus on the films. These films are being reviewed in no particular order, and I’ll be giving my general opinion of the movie instead of using a rating system or comparing them to each other. Without further ado, let’s get into the 2018 Nominees for Best Picture.

Black Panther:

The first film I saw that was up for a Best Picture nominee this year was Black Panther, and I’ll preface this review by saying that I’m not a giant fan of superhero movies in general. I don’t know much about the Marvel or DC Extended Universes, and I don’t know anything about the characters outside of the Marvel movies. That being said, I think Black Panther is a decent superhero movie overall. The acting and editing was passable in the movie, and the only major aspect of the film that stood out to me was the costume design (one of the six other nominations that the film ended up with for the Oscars). If you’re looking for a solid superhero movie to watch or are a big fan of the character itself, I’d say give Black Panther a watch. Although, if you’re not a huge fan of the Marvel franchise or superhero movies in general, you shouldn’t feel pressured into watching it.

The costume design in Black Panther was one of the most impressive aspects of the film to me.

A Star Is Born:

The next film I saw which was nominated for Best Picture was A Star Is Born, starring Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga. Fair warning, this film is a heavier one and touches on topics such as substance abuse and depression and is one of the more heart-wrenching films nominated this year. What starts as a love story between a rockstar named Jackson Maine (Bradley Cooper) and an unknown musician named Ally (Lady Gaga), shows Ally’s eventual rise into stardom and then slowly turns into a downward spiral as Jackson struggles with substance abuse. Overall, the film had an excellent use of music, and I really enjoyed the believability of the chemistry between Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga’s characters throughout the movie. I had never seen Lady Gaga as much of a serious actor before seeing this film, but it definitely proves her as someone that knows their craft. I especially liked how much Bradley Cooper acted like a ‘rockstar’ during the movie as you could practically smell the cigarettes and booze whenever he walked on screen which was really interesting to watch. If I could change anything about the movie, it felt a little too long for my taste. A few of the concert scenes dragged on for what felt like a really long time, and even though I enjoyed the music, they could still be shortened down. The film also felt a little predictable, but I’ll cut it some slack since this film has been remade a number of times. In the end, if you like Lady Gaga, Bradley Cooper, or just the style of music from the trailer, you’ll probably like this film quite a lot.

VICE:

One of the more recent films I’ve seen which is nominated for Best Picture this year is VICE, starring Christian Bale and Sam Rockwell. First things first, this film is most impressive to me in terms of the casting, make-up, and dedication from the actors and not necessarily the script or editing. Christian Bale’s transformation into Dick Cheney makes this film worth watching on its own and the make-up and acting from both him and Sam Rockwell is fantastic. As for the other actors in the movie, Steve Carrell and Amy Adams both did a decent job playing their characters, although their transformation wasn’t nearly as impressive compared to the other actors. While this movie definitely isn’t for everyone, I really enjoyed the acting in it and was at least able to take that away from it. As for things I didn’t enjoy about the film, the editing felt extremely flashy and overbearing at points and got to the point where I was feeling nauseous while watching the film. If I could change anything about this movie, I think that the editing could have been toned down throughout the second half as it was distracting from the overall plot of the movie. I was also extremely bored throughout most of the second half of the film, which isn’t what you’d expect from “comedy drama” like the film claims it is on its website. If you’re interested in seeing how much of a transformation Christian Bale has had because of this movie, I would check out the trailer. Otherwise, I would only recommend this film if you’ve really wanted to see it or if you really want to see all of the films up for Best Picture, as this one is nowhere near one of my favorites from this year.

Christian Bale’s transformation into Dick Cheney showed his dedication to his role.

BlackkKlansman:

The final film that I watched was my favorite of the four. BlackkKlansman, starring John David Washington and Adam Driver, follows Ron Stallworth (John David Washington), an African-American detective that decides to infiltrate the Ku Klux Klan, with help of another detective, Flip Zimmerman (Adam Driver). Overall, the film has excellent editing, great pacing and is a really well-polished final product. The premise of the movie was something that I hadn’t seen before, and even though it was a little predictable at points, it always kept my attention and I was never bored during the movie. Additionally, John David Washington had really good comedic timing throughout, and the writing made the film feel tense when it needed to be while still allowing it to work in parts with humor. Adam Driver’s character felt a little boring in the movie, but even though he wasn’t great, it didn’t take down the overall quality of the movie at all. I don’t want to spoil it much, but if the premise of the film seems at all interesting to you, I’d definitely suggest seeing this movie, as it’s one of my favorites that is up for Best Picture this year.

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About the Contributors
Will Eikenbary, A&E Editor

Hi my name is Will Eikenbary! I am the Arts & Entertainment Editor for Westside Wired this year. I am currently a sophomore and this is my second year...

Aayushi Chaudhary, Feature Editor

Hi my name is Aayushi Chaudhary! I am a Feature Editor for Westside Wired this year. I am currently a Sophomore and this is my second year on Wired. If...

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