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Entries in Clemency (5)

Friday
Sep272019

Thoughts I had... while staring at new movie posters

You know how this works. Thoughts as they come without self-editing...

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Mar282019

Another Look at 'Clemency'

by Murtada Elfadl

Hodge and Chukwu at ND/NF

Chinonye Chukwu’s Clemency opened the New Directors/New Films fest in New York last night. I got the chance to see it again and any reservations I had about it went away. This is a new version that is tighter than the one I saw at Sundance. While the changes are miniscule, they really pull the film together and focus its story. At Sundance I praised the central performance of Alfre Woodard as a prison warden managing a prison that includes a death row. However I thought the film meandered and was repetitive.

Not anymore!

Now it centers Woodard’s dealing with the processing of one death row inmate (Aldis Hodge) and the forces both against him and defending him. The focus is still on the toll all this takes on the psyche of Woodard’s Bernadine; so she is still front and center and owns the film. What is around her now flows easier and the film’s message about capital punishment remains potent. Chukwu won Sundance grand jury prize making history as the first black woman to do so. Clemency announces her as an exciting new director.

Oscar Chances: Obviously Woodard is its biggest and perhaps only chance at Oscar. The performance is there and so are the critical plaudits, however she needs a patient release plan to allow the film to reach its audience (The Wife playbook if you will). Other than that I see this as a film that Gothams/Indie Spirits will fall in love with - with possible nominations for film, director and supporting actor (Aldis Hodge).

Wednesday
Feb062019

Podcast: Oscar's Self Destruction, Guild Prizes, and Sundance Winners

with Nathaniel R and Murtada Elfadl 

 In this episode Murtada and Nathaniel sound off on Sundance buzz, and the current madness of the awards race and Oscar's late-life identity crisis and one shockingly ill-thought-out decision after the next, ad infinitum.

Index (58 minutes)
00:01 Sundance buzz: The Farewell, Clemency, One Child Nation, Them That Follow , and The Report
17:25 Recent guild prizes: Bryan Singer & Rami Malek's Bohemian Rhapsody and how everything keeps going wrong this awards season.
22:34 Bo Burnham's Eighth Grade's surprise DGA win
26:00 Oscar's identity crisis and its increasingly terrible decisions. Murtada tries to talk Nathaniel off the ledge.
36:00 Spike Lee and Bradley Cooper at the DGAs and guilds confusion about Best Picture
45:40 Trying to survive Oscar's dwindling sense of self and we're back to Sundance to talk about next year's Oscar possibilities, especially in regards to Clemency
56:00 Annie Awards and wrap-up

Referenced in the Podcast
Nathaniel's "Awards Season is Killing Me" Rant
DGA winners
• Murtada's Sundance Coverage

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? 

Sundance Glory / Oscar Doom

Tuesday
Jan292019

Sundance: Great acting in "Clemency," an education in "The Report"

Murtada Elfadl reporting from Sundance

Should we react to movies based on content or artistic merit? I struggled with two movies at Sundance this week which had incendiary, important content and tackled either a crucial part of history or provided necessary social commentary. Artistically, however, I found both Clemency and The Report lacking...

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Nov292018

Sundance 2019 Lineup: Lots of Promising Topics and Great Actresses

The Sundance Film Festival runs January 24th through February 3rd next year. Let's look at the five of the key program lineups in brief. Which films are you most excited about. TFE might be going this year, we're not yet sure.

U.S. DRAMATIC COMPETITION

Alfred Woodard stars in "Clemency"

16 World Premieres will be competing for the Sundance crown (won last year by The Miseducation of Cameron Post). The new crop is all writer/directors (except where noted) and Sundance has been very careful about diversity, noting in their press release that the US dramatic competition section is 53% female directors, 41% directors of color and 18% LGBTQ directors. But they had a ton to choose from which helps with diversity. There was a record number of submissions for the 2019 festival with 4,018 features hoping to be selected, 1767 if those made from within the US...

Click to read more ...