Say what you will about the Academy Awards – that’s the Oscars, if you don’t know it yet – but it has given cinephiles worldwide many of the best movies! Every year, we look forward to the nominated films and watch them so we can judge for ourselves. Here are five of these films that are garnering serious Oscar buzz, most of which will likely be screened at Maya Cinemas.
Women can carry out heists, too, and there’s nowhere better than to see them being badass about it than in Hollywood movies. But Widows isn’t your usual all-woman team carrying out a heist – it’s a masterful film my Steve McQueen that combines the entertainment value of pure pulp movies and the searing commentary on social ills. It’s a film about societal inequity, of the rich stealing from the poor, and of risking it all to take what should be ours or never getting any at all.
The plot is simple on the outside – four widows attempt a heist based on the detailed plan of one of their criminal husbands. But therein stops its apparent simplicity because nothing is ever simple in Chicago, as well as with the combination of criminality and dirty politics. Be prepared for the emotional whoop that the film gives and the powerful performance of its female protagonists – Viola Davis is brilliant here and Michelle Rodriguez shows a dramatic side we didn’t know she has.
If Beale Street Could Talk
Barry Jenkins, who is best known for his groundbreaking work in Moonlight, brings to the screen a wonderful adaptation of James Baldwin’s acclaimed novel, If Beale Street Could Talk. The film has been called extraordinary by critics since it premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and it’s easy to see why.
The story tells of childhood friends, Tish (KiKI Layne) and Fonny (Stephan James), who became a married couple. Fonny was falsely accused of rape and Tish, with the support of their family and friends, finds evidence that will exonerate him of the crime. Tish is pregnant, a situation that can make her quest more difficult.
If Beale Street Could Talk has a more structured storytelling style than Moonlight but Jenkins uses a back-and-forth style to allow the audience a deeper understanding of the protagonists’ relationships. Jenkins has mastered the art of the body language such that the audience is drawn deeper into love, and that’s exactly what this movie is – about love, both romantic and familial.
A Star Is Born
Bradley Cooper has proven that he has serous directing skills with his debut, A Star Is Born, while Lady Gaga may yet prove that, indeed, she’s the total package – she can dance, sing and act! This is a crowd-pleasing film that appeals to both the fans and the critics, a combination that has generated Oscar buzz for it.
The story has been told countless of times in Hollywood but thanks to the stars’ nuanced performances, it looks and feels new even to jaded critics. Jackson Maine (Cooper) is a grizzled alt-country superstar and struggling alcoholic who meets Ally Campana, a talented songwriter and singer, in a drag club. He takes her under his wing and the two fall in love but show business being what it is, tensions arise between the two when Ally’s star rises as Jackson’s star takes a nosedive.
Will their relationship survive? We all know the answer to that one because this film is a reimagining of the Hollywood classic of the same title starring the legendary Barbra Streisand. But we still want to see it because, come on, it’s Bradley and Lady Gaga, and we love the soundtrack.
Creepy doesn’t even begin to describe the horrors that happen to Annie and her family, and it’s what makes Hereditary among the few horror movies that may make it to the Oscars. Annie Graham (Toni Collette) is a mother and artist struggling with her mother’s death while also working on dioramas supposedly depicting her own mental state and her family’s life. Her family – Peter, a pothead; Charlie, a teenager with a dead stare; and Steve, her kind but stoic husband who only wants peace for his family.
While every family has its issues, the Graham family has more than its fair share. The family has to deal with haunting family legacies and demons that will leave audiences questioning whether what they see onscreen are real or the product of Annie’s overactive imagination.
Timothée Chalamet may be nominated for his turn as a meth addict in the drama film Beautiful Boy while Steve Carell proves once again that he’s a great drama actor who can also make us laugh. The film itself is based on the memoirs of real-life persons depicted by these two excellent actors – David Sheff’s Beautiful Boy: A Father’s Journey Through His Son’s Addiction and Nic Sheff’s Tweak: Growing Up on Methamphetamines.
The story revolves around Nic, a meth addict whose addiction threatens his relationship with his father, David. Even as David pulls him from the brink several times, each time feels like Nic is getting farther and farther away.
Ask Maya Cinemas about screening times for these movies and plan on seeing them. Your life will be enriched for it, we promise you.