Magazine article Variety

Dancing around the Big Issue

Magazine article Variety

Dancing around the Big Issue

Article excerpt

Drama and comedy split spotlight in writing category


Hell or High Water 1

Writer: Taylor Sheridan

Heist thriller, modern Western, social commentary - Sheridan's tart, observant script, which first drew industry attention as a 2012 Black List title, about a pair of bank robbers (Chris Pine and Ben Foster) with a personal score to settle and the savvy Texas Ranger (Oscar nominee JeffBridges) on their trail draws elements from all three genre types to both inform and deepen its central, character-driven storyline. The result is at once a crowd-pleasing crime picture and a pensive study of people struggling to maintain their dignity in a landscape in which honesty and respect fail to take root. The crisp, often wry dialogue, rich with Southwestern lingo and delivered with relish by the solid cast (especially in the salty exchanges between Bridges and partner Gil Birmingham and the brittle closing talk between Bridges and Pine), adds grit to a thriller where the central crimes carry less heat than the long-simmering motivations behind them.

La La Land 2

Writer: Damien Chazelle

Chazelle's retro-glamorous and gloriously stylish "La La Land" has hit the highest of Oscar notes with 14 nominations, including a coveted nom for Chazelle for original screenplay. Tied with "Titanic" and the classic 1950 Bette Davis starrer "All About Eve" for the most nominations, Chazelle's big-screen musical with soaring songand- dance numbers and a bittersweet ending has drawn comparisons to "Singin' in the Rain." Critics have hailed Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone as the updated versions of Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds. Having already won the Golden Globe for screenplay and up for a Writers Guild Award, "La La Land," with its snappy dialogue and clever lyrics, could stand to make a clean sweep come Oscar night, including another writing prize for Chazelle.

The Lobster 3

Writers: Yorgos Lanthimos and Efthimis Filippou

The absurdist film imagines a future where singles have 45 days to couple up at The Hotel or face being turned into an animal of their choice. Colin Farrell sells the role as a mousy man marching toward an unavoidable fate, although an early scene has him memorably reacting to the news by the matterof- fact hotel hostess that even if turned into an animal, he might still find a mate in the animal kingdom. He opts to try a love connection with a heartless woman who kills his brother/dog, an act that finally elicits strong emotion and homicidal tendencies from him. …

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