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Entries in Best Picture (283)

Thursday
Apr112019

April Foolish Predictions #7: Screenplay, Director, and Best Picture

Taika Waitita directing Scarlett Johansson on the set of "JoJo Rabbit"

Our annual way-too-early Oscar predictions are nearing completion! Only lead actor, and both actress categories left to go. Today the big one BEST PICTURE, as well as both screenplay races, and the Best Director contest. The latter looks really exciting (at least at this way-too-early juncture) because the competition appears to be more gender-balanced than usual with a handful of female directors in the mix. Imagine that! Of course the year might not play out like that once the films are screened, but here's hoping the female directed pictures deliver in a can't-be-denied kind of way.

Tuesday
Mar122019

Nathaniel's (Belated) Top Ten List of 2018

by Nathaniel R

Given that we're two months into a new year, the best cinema of 2018 is receding in our mind's eye, still shimmering but moving out of focus. But so much vivid color and feeling remains. Before we are fully blinded to its beauties (until, that is, they are "old films" and we can revisit) by a whole new batch of cinematic images to obsess over, here's one last post to honor the year that was. Here's your host's choices for the 25 best films of 2018.

This year's HONORABLE MENTIONS are a varied bunch taking us from horny self-discovery in Swedish woods to a trash-heap island in Japan. Strangely, grief was the year's most defining theme across genres as diverse as horror, tragicomedy, bopics, thrillers, character studies, and romantic dramas.

The films are listed in loosely ascending order, though we always reserve the right to change our minds where lists and rankings are concerned:

  • Paddington 2 (Paul King, UK) If all franchises were crafted with this much heart and warmth and wit, Hollywood wouldn't feel souless at all.
  • Border (Ali Abassi, Sweden) A refreshing oddity which totally commits to its own hybrid identity as its protagonist discovers hers.
  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (Ramsey, Persichetti, and Rothman, US) If all superhero movies were this fun, inclusive, and inventive, they'd deserve their now automic success in the marketplace.
  • First Man (Damien Chazelle, US) A nation's epic ambitions paired with a marriage's intimate drama. So elegantly crafted.
  • Burning (Lee Chang-dong) as elusive and mysterious as a cat that doesnt want to be seen, until it saunters boldy into sight to stare you down.
  • First Reformed (Paul Schrader, US) The year's most disturbing drama. Hard to shake and necessary.
  • Widows (Steve McQueen) Overstuffed and strangely paced, but reverberating with provocative ideas and juicy characters. 
  • Capernaum (Nadine Labaki, Lebanon) For all that urgency and visceral feeling, not to mention one of the great child performances.
  • Support the Girls (Andrew Bujalski, US) for its ramshackle charms and subtle character-portrait
  • Hereditary (Ari Aster, US) What a calling card debut, from that dollhouse opening shot all the way through that psychotic break ending, a new horror classic. 

RUNNERS UP. Oh, if there were room in the top ten for all of these...

Click to read more ...

Monday
Mar112019

25th Anniversary: "Four Weddings and a Funeral"

by Deborah Lipp

Four Weddings and a Funeral turns 25 today. This is probably not also the number of times I’ve seen it, but it might be. I’m sure if you add the times Professor Spouse and I have each seen it, we exceed that number.  To say, therefore, that this is a beloved movie is a ridiculous understatement.

Here’s what we’re going to cover after the jump to celebrate its birthday...

  • Four Weddings is highly quotable
  • It features the best use of "fuck," and its variations, this side of Get Shorty
  • Screenwriter Richard Curtis excels at movies that are kind-heartd and generous
  • Four Weddings isn't perfect, but I will teach you the trick of making it perfect

Click to read more ...

Monday
Mar042019

Green Book's Post-Oscar Bump and New Releases

What did you see this weekend? I only took in Greta before getting sick but I keep meaning to get to How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World. It was, essentially, the last weekend of the 2018 film year, since most of the major Oscar winners got one last expansion before they depart theaters (almost of all of them are already on DVD). They're milking that golden cow, they are! So, we thought we'd share everything in wide release and the corresponding chart toppers in limited for a really full box office picture this weekend. Ready? Deep breath. Let's go.

Weekend Box Office (Actuals)
(March 1st-3rd)

W I D E
PLATFORM / LIMITED
1 How to Train Your Dragon 3 $30 (cum. $97.6) on 4286 screens
1 🔺  Apollo 11 $1.6 on 120 screens *NEW*  
2 🔺 A Madea Family Funeral  $27 on 2442 screens *NEW*
2 🔺  Everybody Knows $467k on 209 screens (cum. $1.2)

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Mar032019

Podcast: Reflecting on the big show. Plus "Greta"

with Nathaniel R, Murtada Elfadl and Nick Davis

 

A week after the Oscars we reflect on the big night. Which wins will age well? Was this a fluke year or telling for the future? Should actors speak out on their problematic films? As an after-dinner mint, we nibble on Neil Jordan's stalker thriller Greta with Isabelle Huppert and Chloe Moretz. 

You can listen to the podcast here at the bottom of the post or download from iTunesContinue the conversations in the comments, won't you? 

Reflecting back on Oscar Night.

Wednesday
Feb272019

Why Green Book's win made me cringe. (It's not what you think.)

By Lynn Lee

I heaved a heavy sigh the moment Green Book won best picture.  But not for the reasons many of the rest of you probably did.

No, my heart sank because, dear readers, I like Green Book.  Liked it when I saw it, still like it now after all the controversies that failed to derail its path to Oscar.  Liked it enough to cringe at the thought of how exponentially the animus it’s already generated would grow following its victory, and how quickly it would be added to lists of the Academy’s Worst Decisions Ever...

Click to read more ...