Here at Plot and Theme, March promises to be an especially exciting month, especially compared to the relative doldrums of the year so far. There have been extremely strong stand-outs so far (see Get Out), but like most Januaries and Februaries, there is much more trash than anything else. So, for this State of the Blog, I’ll be a little more forward-looking. I’ll definitely remark on the best films I saw and reviewed in February, and briefly discuss the tedious and unremarkable Oscars night. But I’ll spend most of my time in anticipation of the movies releasing this month and the pieces I will look to write.
Without a doubt, Get Out was the best film released in theaters in February, and I absolutely loved seeing it and writing about it. Melding social commentary with genre is a tried-and-true method, and Jordan Peele is already a master at it. In a recent interview, he expressed a desire to continue on making movies in this vein – genre film plus “social evils”. If Peele actually follows this trajectory, film lovers will be the beneficiaries.
I also saw two great foreign films in February, both highly charged with sexuality and utterly powerful in their own ways. These were Paul Verhoeven’s Elle, and Park Chan-wook’s The Handmaiden. Please brave the subtitles for these two – they are absolutely fantastic. If you want to learn more about them, check out my reviews (linked above).
Now, to Oscar Night. Despite the paucity of surprises, it seems fairly clear to me that the highest-quality was rewarding in practically every instance. I would have preferred a non-Disney film win best animated feature, but I don’t want to detract from Zootopia, which is a fantastic film. As for the larger awards, the only one I wanted to go differently was lead actress, where I would have preferred Isabelle Huppert (the lead in the aforementioned Elle) over Emma Stone. Kenneth Lonergan and Barry Jenkins winning awards for screenplays was dead-on, Damien Chazelle winning director was fine, and Moonlight winning Best Picture (eventually) was absolutely perfect. It was my #1 film of the year, and I am happy to see it succeed. (By the way, Plot and Theme has been around for two Oscars, and my #1 film has won Best Picture both times).
The hoopla at the end was certainly unprecedented, but everyone should relax and move on with their lives. There was no conspiracy, no idiots in charge to be mad at, no robbing of La La Land or Moonlight of any accolade, and no real damage done. It’s an awards show, and after an honest mistake, the award was awarded.
Now, on to March. We’ve got barn-burners throughout. Logan is up first, but we’ll also get Kong: Skull Island, Beauty and the Beast, Power Rangers, Life, and Ghost in the Shell. There are some additional curiosities in the wide releases, like The Zookeeper’s Wife and CHiPs, which I will never capitalize correctly because of a reason none of you care about. The less said about The Boss Baby, the better. I’d put most of my chips on Logan and Beauty and the Beast for which movies will rise to the top, and they are the two I am most excited about. I want to enjoy Life, but I feel like it may be too derivative (italics optional).
There aren’t many indies that I have my eyes on this month, but maybe something will jump out and surprise me. Raw, a weird sexual horror/thriller about a vegetarian who goes to vet school and weird things happen, may be the one I am most likely to look out for. If anyone out there has an indie flick or two they’re looking forward to, please let me know so that it registers on my radar as well.
As for writing, you can expect my long-form review of Stanley Kubrick’s Spartacus at the end of the month. I’ve only seen the film once before, and it was about seven years ago, so I am excited to go through it with some kind of many-toothed comb. I’m also working through my third (and probably last) piece on The Silence of the Lambs, analyzing a single scene. If I get all that done, I’d also like to write an essay on the best movie in The Terminator franchise, and why it is the original.
That’s a lot. I better get to work. As always, I’d love your comments, shares, thumbs-ups, and other electronic-based “Nice Work” stickers that you feel like giving out (include Bitcoin; check out the “donate” tab at the top if interested). Plot and Theme is starting to rack up organic traffic in the searchy engines, and I am sure that your eyeballs have contributed to that in small ways. Keep it up, and thanks for reading!