spotlight-movie-posterHello again lovely Collective reader, That Geek Online here again with a Best Picture nominee film review; Spotlight. I just got home from seeing this film, I have sat down with my tea, and the Spotlight soundtrack is playing on my headphones. Yes, this is my Oscar’s season ritual, and yes I know I am super weird. Being only the second film (out of eight) that I have seen, I can’t say it is my favorite YET, but it did catch my attention. And not only did it catch my attention, it KEPT my undivided attention for two hours and 7 minutes. Directed by Tom McCarthy, this true story of a team of reporters uncovering a child molestation cover-up scandal will stay with you long after you leave the theatre.

Spotlight has six Academy Award nominations this year: Best Picture, Directing, Supporting Sctor (Mark Ruffalo), Supporting Actress (Rachel McAdams), Film Editing, and Writing (original screenplay). As far as acting goes, Mark Ruffalo shines in this film at Michael Rezendes. Both Ruffalo and Michael Keaton put extensive research into their roles, as this is a true story and it’s important that the actor be as similar to their real-life counterpart as possible. For example, Michael Keaton was able to get ahold of video and audio of Walter Robinson and did an impression of him on their first meeting. “How did you know everything about me, we just met?” was Robinson’s response. Mark Ruffalo was just as detail oriented with his character, asking the real Michael Rezendes to say his lines for him during every break. Their dedication to the performance is the driving force of this film and Ruffalo’s competition is tough for supporting actor, but he has a solid shot at the win. Walter Robinson summed it up perfectly when describing Keaton in the film; “It’s like watching yourself in a mirror, yet having no control over the mirror image.”

Fox Searchlight
Fox Searchlight

Recommended for those who enjoy discussions of pop culture and theatre

Birdman (2014) is a dark dramedy written and directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu, starring Michael Keaton as the titular character. One of the eight Academy Award nominations for Best Picture this year, the plot circles around themes of ego, culture, and the price of fame, ultimately settling on the question, “What do we really want from life?” In fact, the film opens with a quote from American author Raymond Carver: “And did you get what you wanted from this life, even so?”

Fox Searchlight
Fox Searchlight

Riggan Thomson (Michael Keaton) is a has-been action blockbuster star who dreams of making a comeback in the form of his new play–his adaptation of a Raymond Carver work that he’s directing and starring in. The first act of the film gives us tension in a last-minute actor switch, which allows Mike Shiner (Edward Norton) to shake things up with his unpredictable temperament and method acting. As the last minute rehearsals and preview nights lead up to big opening, Thomson is plagued by thoughts of self doubt, tension with his daughter, Sam (Emma Stone), and a desire to prove that he is “more” than his stint as the fictional film superhero “Birdman.” 

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Highly Recommended

The Oscars are less than two weeks off, and the Collected Mutineer has reviewed three of the Best Picture nominations so far. When we were deciding who would review which film, I pushed men, women, and children aside in my eagerness to claim Boyhood. Why? Well, let’s talk about what the film is about.

The film follows the life of Mason from the age of five until the age of eighteen. It is the brainchild of Richard Linklater, who both wrote and directed the film over a period of twelve years, allowing for the actors to age at the same rate as their characters. The plot may seem simple, but as the film tries to maintain a stance of realism, we come to understand that “real life” is rarely simple. This is not Leave it to Beaver; grittiness and heartbreak mark the milestones of Mason’s life as much as love and laughter. 

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The Imitation Game is one of the most talked about films of 2014. There has been Oscar buzz regarding Benedict Cumberbatch’s performance as Alan Turing, and it isn’t difficult to understand why. The story of the famed mathematician and his team at Bletchley Park during World War II is one of adventure, emotional trauma, and what it’s like to be an outsider. While the movie can technically be classified as a biopic, it is so much more than that—it portrays an important message about how we choose to treat our fellow human beings.

**If you don’t know the historical facts about Alan Turing, I suggest you skip this review as it contains minor spoilers.**