Toasting some of the Big Films of the Year

The week’s “Wine and Film, A Perfect Pairing Podcast” on reVolver Podcasts we toast the start of what Gary likes to say  is “the best time of the year,” at least film wise. The opening of all the big films, the potential Academy Award contenders and a celebration of art in film, instead of just another rehashed comic book…though, yes, we do agree there are some good ones out there.

This year looks to be great, as Gary outlines below. And, of course, the show has some great wine pairings, like a few favorites from regions like Sonoma, and our friend Mac McDonald of Vision Cellars, Argentina with a stellar Malbec, and a toast to great directors with wine from Francis Ford Coppola.

Follow the link here to listen to the show, just click “episode 19.” Or, you can listen on iTunes, Spotify or Google Play Music.

Next week we raise a glass to the end of this year’s political season with some of the best political movies of all time. Aren’t we all glad it is about over. Cheers!

la-la-land-festival-poster

The months of November and December are a wonderful time for a film critic because most of the Oscar nominated films arrive during the next two months. Every week puts a smile on my face knowing this one might be the one, this one might take me to another level, and knock me out of my seat.

Yes, there have already been some heavy hitting contenders including “The Jungle Book,” “Captain America: Civil War,” and my favorite film so far this year, Jeff Bridges in “Hell Or High Water.” A modern day western about west Texas bank robbers and the Texas Ranger out to catch them. A brilliant, well written drama and a cinematic cousin to the Oscar winner, “No Country For Old Men.”

I also think Tom Hanks has a chance to be nominated for “Sully,” simply on the basis of his understand, dignified performance in a beautiful, soft spoken, film. Hanks continues his tradition of fine work as an actor and his “Sully” is a thing of beauty.

“Loving” also looks fascinating to me, as it tackles the true story of Richard and Mildred Loving who took their case all the way to the Supreme Court in 1967 because of a Virginia law prohibiting interracial marriage. Arkansas writer/director Jeff Nichols is one of the best currently working. He directed “Mud” with Matthew Mcconaughey, and two unique Sci Fi films, “Take Shelter,” and “Midnight Special.”

“Collateral Beauty” stars Will Smith in a modern day twist on “It’s A Wonderful Life,” playing a tragic man who retreats inside himself while his friends try to help him confront his grief. The exceptional cast includes Hellen Mirren, Kate Winslet, Keira Knightley, and Edward Norton. My fingers are crossed for this one directed by David Frankel (“The Devil Wears Prada”).

Ben Fountain’s award winning novel, “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk,” has been transformed into a feature film directed by one of the best, Ang Lee (“Brokeback Mountain,” “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” “Life Of Pi”). Part Iraq battle film and part Victory tour, the movie culminates during a nationally televised halftime presentation on Thanksgiving during a Dallas Cowboys football game. Wow!

The last time Ben Affleck directed a film he won the Oscar for, “Argo,” and his next is an impressive looking 1920’s prohibition gangster film called, “Live By Night.” Affleck also stars alongside Chris Cooper, Sienna Miller, Elle Fanning, and the always intimidating Brendan Gleeson.  Affleck knows how to make movies (“Gone Baby Gone,” “The Town”) and a December release date means the studios agree.

I can’t wait to see, “Arrival,” starring Amy Adams as a linguist hired to communicate with a series of strange spacecrafts hovering over the planet. Jeremy Renner and Oscar winner Forest Whitaker co star in one of the big hits of the Toronto Film Festival and is directed by visionary Canadian film maker, Denis Villeneuve (“Prisoners,” “Sicario”).

Everyone is talking about, ”La La Land,” a musical set on the streets of Los Angeles starring Ryan Gosling as a jazz musician who falls in love with an actress played by Emma Stone. A film about dreams both personally and professionally in  a city that can be hard and difficult on dreams. The images are breathtaking, the songs all original, and the city of Los Angeles is the perfect setting for star crossed lovers.
This one has the potential to knock me out.

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