“Black Panther” is a landmark film for Marvel Studios and one of their very best.
Just when you think that the comic superhero movie is all but played out, along comes “Black Panther” from Marvel Studios. This superb comic book adaptation by filmmaker Ryan Coogler and his co-screenwriter Joe Robert Cole honors the original work by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, as well as the previous 17 films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, yet it feels fresh and unique on many levels. It not only has a black lead (Chadwick Boseman), but the main supporting characters are all black women. The film touches on themes of racism, globalism, and ecology. The gorgeous tribal costumes and CGI Wakanda, Africa settings are stunning creations. And its message of racial and female empowerment makes it vital and timely. 2018 already has one of its best films.
2018’s Oscar-nominated shorts have a lot of lessons for writers.
Since 2012, the AMPAS has been releasing their Oscar-nominated Animated and Live Action Shorts nationwide in theaters to an enthusiastic public. For screenwriters, these mini-films offer a number of invaluable storytelling lessons. Because of time constraints, every moment is crucial. Characters must be established immediately. And narrative arcs are often completed in a matter of minutes. More and more, shorts are also a way for the budding screenwriter to produce an actual film. And under Academy rules, student shorts can compete against studio entries. The long and short of it is that these films are a must-see for movie fans and scripters.
“The Shape of Water” blends fantasy, morality and horror into a steady stream.
Guillermo del Toro is a filmmaker of singular vision. His movies are almost always morality tales, uniquely blending elements of fantasy, romance, and horror into a seamless mix. In “The Shape of Water”, he and fellow screenwriter Vanessa Taylor tell the story of Elisa (Sally Hawkins), a mute custodian at a high-security government laboratory who finds love with a captured humanoid-amphibian creature. Their fable has many layers, including adult themes of sexuality, oppression, and bigotry. It may take place in 1962, but it is all about our modern world in America. Maybe that’s why it has resonated with so many, including all branches of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, garnering 13 Oscar nominations this year.