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And There Came The 2018 Oscars… Best Director

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Oscars 2018

The Academy Awards Ceremony is Sunday, March 4.

Leading up to the event, And There Came A Day presents a predictions for the major categories.


Best Director 2018


Christopher Nolan, Dunkirk

Jordan Peele, Get Out

Greta Gerwig, Lady Bird

Paul Thomas Anderson, Phantom Thread

Guillermo del Toro, The Shape of Water


Christopher Nolan, Dunkirk

Greta Gerwig, Lady Bird

It is not fair to choose two here, I know, but Christopher Nolan is so very good and deserves recognition here. His eye is so sharp and his narrative style so distinctive. Dunkirk is brilliant and can be watched over-and-over again with new nuances playing for the audience.

But no one can deny the achievement Greta Gerwig’s Lady Bird is. Touching, painful and perfect in tone, the movie is a revelation showcasing its cast and Gerwig’s touch as a director. This was a world I recognized and one that felt so very lovingly rendered.


Guillermo del Toro, The Shape of Water

It is impossible to ignore what Guillermo del Toro accomplished with The Shape of Water. It is the kind of film that I hold so perfectly in my memory that I am afraid to watch it again though, when I do, I know what I will find: choices of color and design and symbol and art that are all but unmatched by the rest of the Best Director nominees. The direction here is so good I feel as though The Shape of Water would play equally well in another language or as as silent film.


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Dunkirk – A Movie Review

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The true story behind Dunkirk is stunning: during World War II, 400,000 Allied soldiers were trapped on the beaches of Dunkirk, France awaiting some kind of rescue. The tactical decision to not send significant forces to their aid is surely not easily made, but, to do so could mean the crippling of the English army, navy and air force and could hand Germany the keys to overrunning Europe.

The men on the beaches of Dunkirk are essentially on their own.

Into this scenario, steps writer/director Christopher Nolan. Deservedly regarded as one of the best creators in film today, Nolan may have just directed his best movie to date. Without question, Dunkirk solidifies Nolan’s already sterling reputation. Sparse, spare and deeply affecting, Dunkirk unfolds with minimal dialogue and at a breakneck pace – a pace metered by the ticking of a stopwatch.

Time is an important element of the movie, perhaps the most important: how long will it take to get to a rescue boat, how long can the spitfires remain in the air, how long before the “little navy” is within range of the beach? Time is also an element that Nolan cleverly manipulates and, in that manipulation, lies the riveting excellence of the film.

Dunkirk is a really, really good movie.

And then, suddenly, it is a brilliant one.

It would not be fair to spoil how good Nolan here. Suffice it to say that this movie is as much about a writer/director’s prowess as any recent release of which I can think. A thinking person’s film about war, a summer blockbuster, a harrowing true story, Dunkirk wildly succeeds at being all 3.

The movie is short, which is something of a surprise for a Christopher Nolan film. Typically, Nolan’s movies are broadly scripted and involved and lengthy as well. Coming in at well under two hours, Dunkirk feels over before it starts and leaves one wanting to queue up for a repeat viewing.

From Tom Hardy’s (hey, can we ever see the guy’s entire face?) spitfire pilot, to Kenneth Branaugh’s Commander Bolton, to Mark Rylance’s Mr. Dawson, the actors are as good as their director. Each creates an indelible impression as do the young men (most notably a terrific Harry Styles) whose stories of trying to survive the beach tie the film together. As Dunkirk is very much a textbook on “show, don’t tell,” the cast has to make the most of the moments they are given. All of them do.

Dunkirk may well win Christopher Nolan his first Best Director Oscar and the movie is all-but certain to be nominated for Best Picture. Whatever accolades it receives, Dunkirk deserves.

There is not another movie like it in theaters now. They may not be another war movie like it, either.

Dunkirk showcases a master filmmaker at the top of his game.


DUNKIRK receives FIVE TICKING WATCHES out of a possible FIVE.

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