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« Best of '15: Red Carpet Beauty | Main | Who Wore It Best? Todd Haynes Edition »

Batman v Running Time, Ex Machina v Blockbusters, and More

Can you believe Christmas is just 3 days away? Eeep how fast the month has gone. Let's jump right into news & links...

Women and Hollywood well, this is good timing. Charlotte Rampling is getting an eight film retrospective in NYC starting Wednesday... just in time to remind East Coast AMPAS members of her brilliance before balloting. Do NOT miss The Night Porter (1974) or Under the Sand (2000) if you haven't seen them.
THR looks at make or break moments coming in 2016 from Batman v Superman to MTV's Shannara Chronicles
Comics Alliance Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is apparently 151 minutes long. Yikes. Here's an idea: cut the death of little Bruce's parents because how many times we gotta see that origin story. The entire world knows it. No need for "previously ons" at this point.
The Wrap Dustin Lance Black and Gus Van Sant are working together again post-Milk. The new project is a miniseries When We Rise about the gay rights movement kicking off with the Stonewall riots

Variety Guy Ritchie's untitled King Arthur movie has been pushed back to 2017 
Variety Star Wars pay scales... back end bonuses don't kick in until the film grosses one billion dollars. Not that it won't pass that in record time (it's already over half a billion globally after that first weekend)
Slash Film modern movies getting the old VHS cover treatment
W Magazine the most provocative fashion photography of 2015. Miley Cyrus, Jessica Chastain, and Cate Blanchett among the subjects
W Magazine Bryan Cranston does a dramatic reading of Drake's "Hotline Bling"
AV Club charts the 24 times 2015 totally lost its shit. Outrage culture is exhausting! 

/Film Cuteness. You can sit in a BB-8 chair (row BB, seat 8 in the balcony) while watching movies in the El Capitan in Los Angeles through February 7th.
The Guardian on the Bechdel Test's origins and Star Wars. Good history feminist politics piece but for the very odd suggestion that gays aren't interested in seeing heterosexual romance onscreen. What the what now? History (and LGBT culture) does not remotely support this notion.
i09 on the devolution of the fan fiction trope "the Mary Sue" with the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens 
Gawker the complete history of Quentin Tarantino's use of the N word, used 65 times in The Hateful Eight which is second only to its use in Django Unchained  

Prize-Giving. Tis the Season
Playbill The Sydney Theater Award nominees for 2015 have been announced for fans of Aussie actors (i.e. everyone). Cate Blanchett and Hugo Weaving are among them
St Louis Film Critics chose Spotlight as Best Picture and Leo & Brie as best leading actors
Nevada Film Critics Society gave those exact same top 3 prizes but since The Revenant won four prizes it feels like the defacto winner

And Finally...
The Academy has announced the 10 finalists for Best Visual Effects, chosen from that longlist of 20 we shared earlier. The 5 Oscar nominees will come from these 10 pictures...


  • Ant-Man
  • Avengers: Age of Ultron
  • Ex-Machina
  • Jurassic World
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Martian
  • The Revenant
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens
  • Tomorrowland
  • The Walk


The most surprising miss among the earlier semi-finalists is probably Spectre since James Bond films generally make the finals in the Daniel Craig era, don't they? But this category gets more competitive every year. I'm suddenly less confident about my current predictions (Avengers, Jurassic, Mad Max, Martian, Star Wars). Might Ex Machina, which hasn't left the awards conversation despite an April bow and is 1000% deserving of this particular nomination, actually make it despite not being of their preferred size and with the effects actually in a supporting role for a change? 

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Reader Comments (11)

kudos to dustin lance black for getting off tom daley long enough to type something - i know i wouldn't...

December 22, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterpar

An Ex Machina nomination would be the most interesting thing to happen in the visual fx category in years. How far back do you have to go to find a film that managed a nomination on such a low budget? I'm pretty sure District 9 is the most modestly budgeted visual fx nominee since 2000 and that was budgeted at twice Ex Machina's 15 million.

December 22, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMichael C.

par - you always always crack me up. thank you.

MICHAEL -- you're alive! i am now rooting so hard for this since you're absolutely right. it would be such a rare gift to us all

December 22, 2015 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Ex Machina should take this. The Costume Design Winner is often criticized as Most Costume Design. Same thing happens with Visual Effects. The Walk would be worthy also, IMO. Haven't seen The Revenant yet, but from the previews, it looks like a good choice, too.

December 22, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterPatryk

Patryk, ditto what you said. Sometimes it's incredibly difficult to get excited about the technical Oscar categories because the voters seem to think that more means better. I'm far more impressed with how much a film like Ex Machina or 2012's Chronicle were able to accomplish with smaller budgets than the standard big-budget action movie. How many more times can we be in awe of the destruction of New York or whichever city for which it serves as stand in?

In light of the criticism of Hollywood's most recent (white-washed) take on Stonewall I'm curious to see wht Black and Van Sant's approach will be to the material. I'll approach with skepticism.

December 22, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterTroy H.

Some of the quotes in that Tarantino piece make him sound very delusional. You'd think by now he'd just stop answering questions on the subject (not that I condone his actions).

December 22, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMDA

Michaecl C! Come back. I love your reviews!

December 22, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterLe Coruptor

Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice is 143 minutes long (subtract for credits). 80-90 of those minutes will be mind numbing action scenes.

December 22, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterVolvagia

Ex Machina is absolutely incredible. No other Visual FX film wowed me more this year (plus, that white dress at the end!).

December 22, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMareko

Thank you for the link to the St. Louis Film Critics list.

December 22, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterforever1267

Katey needs to do a piece on Ex Machina's effects to help those guys score a nomination, a la Dallas Buyers Club!

December 24, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterLucky

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