Charming is the best way to describe the young actress, Saoirse Ronan. Her charm permeates this entire film to the point it earned her an Oscar nomination for Best Actress in a Leading Role. Ronan portrayal is fragile and forceful as an Irish immigrant settling in 1950s Brooklyn and being tugged in both directions by love. Those loves are made incarnate by American actor Emory Cohen and Irish actor Domhnall Gleeson. Writer Nick Hornby creates a subtle script from Colm Toibin’s novel which pulled down another Oscar nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay. Built for Oscar season, it’s no surprise it got nominated for Best Picture. It appears the academy has to nominate at least two period pieces for Best Picture each year, and at least one of these period pieces has to have some sort of accented actors. The pace waltzes slow at times, but the idea of diversity and immigration woven into a love story revolving around the charismatic Ronan makes this one worth a watch.
“The Big Short”
The first time writer/director Adam McKay (“Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy” and “Step Brothers”) has made a movie without Will Ferrell, and it earned him five Oscar nominations (including Best Picture and Best Director) and one win for Best Adapted Screenplay. What with elections abounding around us, it’s a timely story about how a few Wall Street antiheroes predicted the housing bubble and decided to bet against it. The cast is a director’s dream team of talent – Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Brad Pitt, Melissa Leo and Marisa Tomei – to name a few. Bale’s quirky performance snagged him an Oscar nod for Best Supporting Actor. Carell’s off-kilter timing probably should’ve gotten him one too, but there are only so many slots. “The Big Short” makes a big impact – worth a watch.
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“The Good Dinosaur”
Last year was the first time Pixar released two films in the same year. The first film they dropped, “Inside Out,” investigated the awkwardness of coming of age, loneliness and the loss of innocence. Then, there’s this film that investigates an alternate earth where dinosaurs didn’t die and humans have to coexist. Well, it also dips its toes into some environmental issues, but mostly it’s about family and tolerating differences. Typical Pixar stuff, even if it’s on the lower echelon of the Pixar scale. There are a couple of A-list actors in the voice lineup – Jeffrey Wright and Frances McDormand. These ordinary Pixar movies make the other Pixar movies like “Toy Story 3,” “Up” and “Inside Out” so extraordinary. “The Good Dinosaur” isn’t great, but it is good and worth a watch.