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Warm up to these Oscar contenders & more

January 30, 2020
By Tony Rutherford , Graffiti

The holidays are over and so, too, the holiday blockbusters - Frozen 2, Rise of Skywalker, Little Women, Jumanji - are moving on.

Now comes the hybrid winter awards season, where the peer-honored niche films gain enough buzz to go on a wide release pattern.

Based on the crafts (Producers Guild, Directors Guild, Screen Actors Guild), "1917" has risen to a favorite for the year's best picture. It's getting a little heat from "Little Women" and "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood," with the international made "Parasite" stirring a lot of buzz. If it prevails, "Parasite" would be the first Koren film to gain a Best Picture nomination.

Receiving universal acclaim, it's a rich-versus-poor social satire which morphs into a black comedy with elements of horror and thrills.

Joon-ho Bong, director, presents class division in the "most accessible and humorous way while being able to shock his viewer; and everything from the performance of the cast, to the script, to the cinematography and to the production is flawless and jaw dropping," wrote one critic, hailing it a "masterpiece."

"Parasite" has not played yet on the big screen in medium markets. Should it claim a few of its six Oscar nominations, that might change. One critic warns: Please see the original Korean version, don't wait for a US director to re-make it (and presumably "ruin" the film).

Horror , generally, scares viewers from the frost, but neither "The Grudge" or "The Turning" have bubbled.

Based on "Turn of the Screw," The Turning updates the childhood possession trope to 1994, where teacher Kate (Mackenzie Davis) is hired as the governess to young Flora (Brooklynn Prince), whose last tutor disappeared mysteriously. As if the creepy house and tragic history weren't enough, she starts having strange visions.

The "Innocents" is regarded as the best novel adaptation, but the opening has parallels to "Dark Shadows," the cult vampire/horror afternoon serial. Shadows opened with the Dracula theme then moved into "Screw" introducing West Virginian David Selby as Quentin.

Horrors continue on cinematics plates as "Gretel and Hansel," a twist on the fairy tale, with Sophia Lillis, Alice Krige, Jessica De Gouw and Charles Babalola rounds out January.

Valentine's Day looms with a Blumhouse adaptation of "Fantasy Island," starring Maggie Q, Lucy Hale, Portia Doubleday and Michael Pena. Mr. Roarke makes the secret dreams of his lucky guests come true at a luxurious but remote tropical resort. But when the fantasies turn into nightmares, the guests have to solve a mystery or die.

The dirty footed family of "Quiet Place" return in March for a second adventure, now, facing outside perils of not making noise.

Finally, Don't count "1917" out if you generally despise war films. Set in World War I, the film follows two soldiers on foot attempting to deliver a message and prevent a massacre. It's a two man journey for survival that stops at an abandoned farm where an enemy plane spots the two soldiers.

Tony Rutherford is a film reviewer for HuntingtonNews.net and a member of the Huntington Regional Film Commission.

 
 

 

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