Every year, the office betting pool helps to mitigate the sad and infuriating injustices of the Oscars. Invariably, a far more deserving and talented actor goes home empty-handed, while the Jared Letos and Matthew McConaugheys of the world walk away with a bundle of little gold men. But hey! At least you won $5.
For those of you who feel a bit out of the loop, 3Below Theaters & Lounge is currently running a crash course on some of the Academy’s favorites for 2019.
Best of the second-run picks is Roma, which deserves to be seen on something larger than a TV. In this widescreen portrait of a year of living dangerously in Mexico City, director Alfonso Cuaron stands up for the essence of cinema even as the art form seems to be shifting toward virtual reality, animation and big-budget streaming serials.
While The Wife squanders sturdy acting for a script that’s not very informed about the literary life, it certainly gives veteran actor and nominee Glenn Close something she can sink her teeth into.
Wes Anderson’s intricate Isle of Dogs is one of the two serious contenders for best animated film, besides Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. It makes for an interesting Oscar clash between a sharp franchise and Anderson’s miniature and very personal tale. The moving If Beale Street Could Talk shows how a romantic a film can be in 2018. RBG is the shoe-in for best documentary, mostly because of public love for the unsinkable Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Shoplifters won the Palme d’Or at Cannes. Despite strong competition, it has a shot at the Oscar for best foreign film, given that director Hirokazu Kore-Eda is cinema’s most talented living kid-wrangler. An extended family, from grandma on down, is packed into a shabby, traditional, open-to-the-elements Tokyo house. Its members are marginal types, a gang of people in legit and semi-legit business. The hapless dad is a Fagin, teaching his foster kid how steal from stores. This unusual take on city life is unexpectedly poignant. And Kore-Eda isn’t an erotic director, but this time around he has a very strong female force in his cast in the person of the charming Sakura Andoscruffy, sly and completely impertinent.
Lastly, Best Picture finalist Bohemian Rhapsody is playing.
Not a fan now. Wasn’t a fan then, eitherback when FM radio cranked out more Queen than you would have believed possible. Denizens of the era kept getting rolled over by Queen’s juggernaut of anthem rock, engineered for sports arenas. “No time for losers?” Yes, time for losers. As per Shoplifters, losers are interesting. Note that 3Below offers a regular Bohemian Rhapsody, as well as (groan, agony) a singalong.
Various Oscar Nominated Films
Thru Feb 21
3Below Theaters & Lounge, San Jose