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Carol is genius - we asked the team 'why'


"Peaking at the right time" - Mark

"Todd Haynes. his power his influence his acclaim and yes genius!" - Jows


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Entries in Carol (30)


Carol Leads Spirit Award Nominations

The Film Independent Spirit Award Nominations are out with Carol leading the way with six nominations. Cary Joji Fukunaga, who the Spirits have always loved, is also on fire with five nominations for his Netflix streaming Beasts of No Nation

Yes, darling, six nominations!


Two Oscar threats (Carol & Spotlight) two singular critical darlings (Anomalisa & Tangerine) and one whatsit straddling the line between TV & Movie & New Distribution Models (Beasts of No Nation). A shortlist with strong range of comedy, drama, procedural, romance, and queer content.

Sean Baker and his movie camera, the iPhoneBEST DIRECTOR

  • Sean Baker, Tangerine
  • Cary Joji Fukunaga, Beasts of No Nation
  • Todd Haynes, Carol
  • Charlie Kaufman & Duke Johnson, Anomalisa
  • Tom McCarthy, Spotlight
  • David Robert Mitchell, It Follows

The critical darling horror flick It Follows (reviewed) just missed the Feature list but was probably close given that it forced a six-wide category for direction. Fun Fact: This is Todd Hayne's sixth (!) nomination at the Spirits for Best Director, which means that, yes, he has been nominated in this category for every single one of his theatrically released features. He's only won it once though (2002's Far From Heaven). More after the jump...

Click to read more ...


Box Office: Katniss Reigns (Softly) While Spotlight Gains

[Whistles Katniss theme]

As expected Katniss and her unmerry band of rebels dominated the weekend box office as The Hunger Games franchise finally wrapped up. Though this is the softest opening yet for the franchise it's not soft enough to end Hollywood's love of splitting final chapters into two for no good narrative reason so the trend will obviously continue for now. (sigh). I personally have no real ill will for this franchise  (it's okay but I bowed out after the second film -- just too dull for my personal tastes) but The Film Experience does have official stance ill will for franchise decisions that no reasonable trustworthy person could ever claim were based on anything other than milking more money from fans. "Event" showbiz is fun but the first priority really should be to the generous fan bases of serial cinema -- Hollywood owes fans good storytelling, not padding to take more of their paycheck once you've hooked them. You're not drug dealers, movie studios, you're showmen! Putting on a great show needs to be your priority. Hopefully the upcoming slate of finale splitting franchises fail in much more embarrassing / decisive ways so -- Hollywood deserves the wrist-slapping.

(Nov 20th-22nd)
01 Hunger Games 4 (4,175 screens) $101 new Hunger Games & Oscar
02 Spectre (3,659 screens) $14.6 (cum. $153.7) Review
03 Peanuts Movie (3,671 screens) $12.8 (cum. $98.9)
04 The Night Before (2,960 screens) $10.1 new
05 Secret in Their Eyes (2,392 screens) $6.6 new
06 Love the Coopers (2,603 screens) $3.9 (cum. $14.8) 
07 The Martian (2,086 screens) $3.7 (cum. $213) Podcast
08 Spotlight (598 screens) $3.6 (cum. 5.8) First Impression
09 The 33 (2,452 screens) $2.2 (cum. $9.9)
10 Bridge of Spies (1,532 screens) $1.9 (cum. $65.1) Review, Tom Hanks
11 Goosebumps (1,787 screens) $1.7 (cum. $76) First Impression
12 Brooklyn (113 screens) $1.1 (cum. $2.1) Review, Saoirse & Best Actress
13 Hotel Transylvania 2 (828 screens) $.7 (cum. $166.4) on director Genndy Tartakovsky
14 Prem Ratan Dhan Payo (283 screens) $.6 (cum. $3.9)
15 Suffragette (517 screens) $.5 (cum. $3.5) Carey's Performance, Review

Among the limited releases Spotlight and Brooklyn had the strongest per screen totals. Hopefully they'll stay strong in wider release since at heart they're quite accessible entertainments and it's infinitely depressing that anything non-genre that aims for adult audiences and quality these days is automatically viewed as "specialized" in its appeal. Room, a much trickier sell than either of those premise-wise is having a tougher time expanding but if the A24 Best Picture hopeful can hold out until top ten lists and awards noms give it some extra juice it should do well. It's already gathered a reasonable $2.8 million in its first month or so in release.

In extremely miniscule release Todd Haynes's latest masterpiece Carol earned a robust quarter million on just 4 screens... though in rather frustrating news it seems to be sticking to its originally aborted release date (opposite Star Wars) in terms of when it will show up in a lot of sizeable markets and won't be in some other smaller markets until Christmas day and beyond. In short: we're not sure when to schedule our proposed Carol week since it's going to take forever for many of you to see it. We feel your pain; you don't deserve the torturous wait.

What did you see this weekend? 
I had a homebody weekend looking at screeners for Black Mass (for the first time), Truth (again), and the first half of Jessica Jones (Netflix).



This weekend is an important one for a myriad of reasons: Quality Best Picture candidates Brooklyn and Spotlight are expanding; The Hunger Games is wrapping up; two foreign Oscar submissions are arriving (Lithuania's lesbian romance Summer of Sangaille and France's must-see Mustang); the all star remake of the Oscar-winning Argentinian film The Secret in Their Eyes is upon us; People are prepping their Thanksgiving festivities. But all of those reasons pale in comparison to the big news:

Todd Haynes' exquisite 50s romantic drama Carol starring Cate Blanchett & Rooney Mara is now in theaters!

Sadly Carol is only on 4 screens which means many readers will have something of a wait to experience its glory. We'll hold off on going Carol-mad just yet though we're planning a whole Carol week (for real, DATES TBA) but we'll wait until more of you have seen it so we can get detailed.

But for now a little silly stanning to celebrate. You see, whilst I was in Los Angeles I was able to interview five key members of Carol's mega-talented team. As something of a goof about my own obsession but a goof that spiralled out of control and into actual reality I started each Carol interview with the same question and here are the actual answers...


Affonso Gonçalves, Editor: Sure. Let's start with that. [Laughter] I don't get called that - I'm going to tell my mom.

Judy Becker, Production Designer: Well, the question is 'why is Todd such a genius?' Todd is a genius.

Phyllis Nagy, Screenwriter: Practice. [Laughter]

Carter Burwell, Composer: Um... [long silence]

And we conclude with Sandy Powell the much lauded costume giant who has three Oscars to show for it... but curiously none from her Todd Haynes' collaborations.

NathanielR: I started this as a joke about my Carol obsession this morning but I've literally asked everyone why they're a genius today. So...

Sandy Powell: [Interrupting] You've asked every single person?

Nathaniel: Yes.

Sandy: Has anyone admitted to being a genius?

Nathaniel R: Phyllis.

Sandy: [LAUGHTER] I can say why everyone else is a genius but I don't think I can say why I am!



Full Carol interviews are coming. Stay tuned...






Special Report: Spirit Awards Preview/Predictions

?????The Spirit Award nominations are announced a week from today. Here's special guest and our podcast cohort Joe Reid to preview/predict the nominations.

The 2015 Film Independent Spirit Awards will announce their nominations next Tuesday, the earliest full slate of nominations (the Gothams can call me when they get supporting categories) and for many the clearest opening bell for awards season. After them, the critics awards start rolling in, then the Golden Globe nominations, and by then we're off to the races. I have always found the Spirits to be the most difficult to predict and the most fun. Partly because they happen so early in the season but also partly because the qualifications are always just a bit mysterious.

A reminder, per the Spirits' rules and regs: to qualify, a film must be an American film made for under $20 million, and have either been released in theaters in 2015 or played one of six major U.S. festivals (Sundance, Los Angeles, New Directors/New Films, New York, Telluride, Toronto). Of course, even with those rules, there are splittable hairs. 

predictions after the jump

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Gotham Nominees: Teenage Girls, Lesbian Romances,Trans Women

You might think that October is too early to get nominations for Best of the Year but you'd be wrong. 

Diary of a Teenage Girl scored big leading the Gotham nominations

At least according to the IFP Gotham Independent Film Awards. They're the East Coast answer to the Indie Spirit Awards and perhaps we're imagining it but it's almost as if they announce earlier every year.  They're also juried which is why their nominations are sometimes really cool / odd. Like most of the Oscar precursors worth loving, Gotham marches to their own drum. So what's the takeaway and reward for these films? A fresh flag planted down that you really should watch them and for indie films, that's a big deal.

The biggest winners this morning are surely Tangerine (3 nominations) and The Diary of a Teenage Girl (4 nominations). Both were hits at Sundance and well reviewed when they arrived but both are small enough to slip through "Best of" cracks on critics list and with awardage. But both are strong enough filmmaking visions and entertaining and even accessible enough that with enough concentrated attention it will be possible to imagine them cracking a surprise big nomination somewhere... like, say, The Golden Globes. 

The other big winner is everyone -- we finally have an awards lineup that in interested in female voices.  Full list follows 

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Q&A: Anderson's Playthings, Genius Toons, Scream Queens, and "Making Of" Dramas

Have you missed the Q&A series? I have so it's back. You asked questions so I chose two handfuls to answer. Let's just get right to it. 

Andrew: What actors would you like to see Wes Anderson work with in the future?

As you all know, directors who reuse actors delight our particular cinephilia. There's something that's wonderfully fantasy sandbox about it. Like you're inside that auteurs head when they're playing and these are their favorite toys. So I hope Anderson keeps reusing his regulars but especially I hope he reunites with Anjelica Huston (who seems to have been replaced by Frances McDormand and Tilda Swinton). Three actors he's only used once were total surprise revelations within his diorama world: Gene Hackman & Gwyneth Paltrow (Royal Tenenbaums) and Ralph Fiennes (Grand Budapest Hotel) so more surprises like that would be welcome. Therefore I am naming eight actors that I either can totally picture within his worlds or can't picture at all: Donald Sutherland, Christina Ricci, Jake & Maggie Gyllenhaal (together!), Tommy Lee Jones, Michael Shannon, and finally Viggo Mortensen and Nicole Kidman simply because they're both impossible to imagine!

Lyn: In the last six months, what is the moment you've had in a cinema that has left you the most exhilarated / surprised / excited?

the answer and nine more questions after the jump...

Click to read more ...


Podcast: Carol Aird of Manhattan, Mark Watney of Mars.

Katey, Joe, Nathaniel and Nick, get stranded on Mars with Astronaut Matt Damon. After rescuing each other they fall for shopgirl Rooney Mara with Cate Blanchett. Yes, we're discussing Ridley Scott's The Martian (now playing at a theater near you) and Todd Haynes's Carol (opening November 20th but surely already playing in your head).

Nathaniel is sick -- apologies for the vocal germs! --  so Katey hosts this one. 

43 minutes 
00:01-14:30  The Martian. How often must mankind save Matt Damon? 
14:31-40:00  The miraculous healing powers of Carol. Struggling with/loving on Rooney's remoteness and Blanchett's range and roll. 
40:01-43:00 Oscar fanfare / Sign-offs

You can listen to the podcast here at the bottom of the post or download from iTunes. Continue the conversation in the comments won't you? Especially those two prompt questions: What did you think of The Martian and when were you most turned on by Cate Blanchett?

Carol and The Martian