Oscars make history, quietly, with transgender nominees

By : wire report
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ABOVE: Daniela Vega from “A Fantastic Woman.”

NEW YORK (AP) — Oscar nods for women and minorities drew many of the headlines in Tuesday’s nominations, but this year’s Academy Awards also mark a breakthrough for transgender filmmakers.

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Screened Out – Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

By : Stephen Miller
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Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterson, Dan Fogler, Alison Sudol, Samantha Morton, Colin Farrell, Carmen Ejogo, Jon Voight

Really, it should be called Fantastic Bits and Where to Find Them. They’re here – the magical moments Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling has always provided – spread throughout this, her first direct-to-film writing. However, her many, many, many ideas would really wow us if they strongly connected to each other.

You do have Newt Scamader (Redmayne), bringing his case of magical creatures into 1920s New York. For Potter fans – and I fully admit I’m one of them – this is wondrous stuff. Because we remember Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is the famous textbook Harry Potter uses under Hagrid’s tutelage. We’ve heard of Newt before, but we didn’t know his back-story.

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Screened Out – The Danish Girl

By : Stephen Miller
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Eddie Redmayne, Alicia Vikander, Amber Heard, Ben Whishaw

This is a good film. It should’ve been amazing, illuminating and transformative.

There must be more to gender dysmorphia than what Eddie Redmayne shows for much of The Danish Girl. Is it simply the desire to touch silky fabrics and pose like girls in 1920s cigarette ads?

There also is more to Lili Elbe, the first person to undergo gender reassignment surgery. The Danish Girl is slow, lacking emotional punch. It’s also all small moments of understated drama cut short by painterly views of Denmark, Dresden, and Paris.

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Screened Out – Jupiter Ascending

By : Stephen Miller
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Mila Kunis, Channing Tatum, Eddie Redmayne, Sean Bean

What a very, very expensive piece of cheese! If you think about this movie afterwards – and I suggest you don’t – the galaxy-sized plot holes and unanswered questions will make you giggle! However, you get to see every penny of the $175 million budget. It wasn’t spent on a particularly original script. Or, obviously, an acting coach. In fact, if Oscar voters see this before casting this year’s ballot, Eddie Redmayne’s acting will guarantee Michael Keaton the win.

Not that Jupiter Ascending doesn’t have it’s own trashy D-list charm. It’s visually stunning – an all-out attack on the optic nerves. Every so often, it actually recognizes what unapologetic garbage it is and adds a Fifth Element level of humor.

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Screened Out – The Theory of Everything

By : Stephen Miller
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Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones, Charlie Cox, Emily Watson

What an odd choice! Stephen Hawking is one of the great scientific thinkers of our time – a brilliant mind struck by Lou Gehrig’s disease, bound to a wheelchair, and speaking through a computer. He penned the truly world-changing book A Brief History of Time. Those of us who know more of his biography may marvel at his having three kids and a twenty-year marriage. This exceedingly romantic flick delves into his relationship with his wife, Jane Wilde.

This biopic’s concentration on love certainly humanizes Hawking. Unfortunately, Everything is also short on Hawking’s scientific ponderings, filled with schmaltzy moments, and oftentimes burdened with protracted scenes. What makes it a worthy film are small artistic touches by director James Marsh (Man on a Wire) and the extraordinarily strong performances by its leads, Jones (Spiderman 2) and especially Redmayne (Les Miserables, My Week with Marilyn).

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