Saturday, February 18, 2017

Jim: The James Foley Story - 1 nomination and Trolls - 1 nomination

*Just a brief reminder that due to the Oscars' shortened timeline from nomination announcements to broadcast, I have to combine reviews of many films.  Today I present two nominees for Original Song. The tone of the two films and the two nominees couldn't be more opposite to each other, but the other song nominees have been reviewed in other posts - see Animated Feature for the song from Moana, and La La Land for the two nominated songs from that film.

Original Song - "Can't Stop the Feeling" - Music and Lyric by Justin Timberlake, Max Martin and Karl Johan Schuster

ADORABLE little Trolls tells the story of a community of Trolls who escaped certain destruction by the Bergens, evil giants who love to eat them!  After a 20 year exile from their home, trolls just wanna have fun and sing and dance and party and they forget that when you make too much noise, the Bergens can find you. They make just this mistake and the majority of the troll community is swept up and taken back to the Bergen village to be eaten, and to allow the goofy king to have his first taste of delicious troll.  But little Polly the troll (Anna Kendrick), who was not swept up in the mayhem is determined to rescue her friends, and she makes her begrudging, doomsday planning friend Branch (Justin Timberlake) help her.  The cast of talented singers make this animated musical a true delight.  I'm not sure that it will work for other adults - I'm pretty easily delighted - and when I saw this film, my son pointed out that I was laughing at more of the jokes than the kids in the theatre, but having said that, your average kid will love the film, and with all of the wonderful songs in it, you just might also.

Jim: The James Foley Story
Original Song - "The Empty Chair" - Music and Lyric by J. Ralph and Sting

This documentary follows the extraordinary life of James Foley who was a "conflict photojournalist," or someone who specialized in traveling to war torn places to document what was happening.  This kind of work took him to the most dangerous places in the world - Libya, Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq - all the places you think of when you think of countries decimated by fighting.  He put himself in precarious situations, but was beloved by his friends, fellow journalists, and, of course, his family.  In 2012, Jim was captured by ISIS and eventually beheaded.  This film recounts that story in vivid detail.  The song, "The Empty Chair," is beautiful and haunting and truly a standout.  This film's nomination almost begs to recognize HBO, a true leader in the world of the documentary genre.  In the last several years, you'd be hard pressed to find an Oscars nomination season that doesn't include HBO in its list.  For those of us who love documentaries, we owe a great debt of gratitude to Sheila Nevins and her team.

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