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Entries in Film Bitch Awards (49)


Film Bitch Awards: Song, Score, Sound & Film Editing

Around this time of year when I abruptly stop watching movies in full (a breather if you will. It usually lasts two to three weeks) I tend to spend a lot of time skimming through films I've already seen for writing purposes or little reminders of what makes them tick (or tick me off). Scanning through Hanna recently I was amazed anew at the rich theater of its sound work. I didn't quite love the movie or even like it at all in spots and yet it's really difficult to shake.


Of course, you always notice great sound work more when you're also responding to the music and you'll see that reflected in the song, score, sound mixing and sound editing categories which contain nominations for films ranging from Drive to Captain America, The Skin I Live In to The Muppets, Moneyball to Super 8. I don't tend to write much about these categories and I don't claim to be an expert but every year I promise myself to pay a little more attention to sound and scoring. I can't say that I kept the promise in 2011 but since Hollywood was busy obsessing over silent movies (Hugo and The Artist) I'll interpret that as a deferrment.

Let's talk scoring a lot more in 2012, mmmkay?!

As for 2011, which is still going on in our world since Oscar is the New Year's Eve of the film year, I'm all about Alberto Iglesias. There are a number of composers that do multiple films a year these days. Many of them repeat themselves. I think the strain is starting to show a smidgeon with Alexandre Desplat, for example, a god among composers. He's the Jessica Chastain of composers; working round the clock and signing up for endless more projects.  But WOW with Iglesias this year. He's done great work before but The Skin I Live In and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy are both A grade scores for very different films. I'd nominated him for both but for my policy of not doing that (I treat the craft categories like Oscar treats acting. You're only allowed on nomination in a category each year).

I hope Iglesias hasn't peaked yet but if he has, you'd be hard pressed to find a better twofer from any composer in the space of a single year. Both scores really fit and elevate their films.


P.S. I've add editing to the VISUAL CATEGORIES. I meant to have more done by now but I'm told that I was wrong about their being 32 hours in every day. Who knew?



Film Bitch Awards Continue: VFX, Animation, Makeup

Film has always been a collaborative artform but the computer seems to be the great unifier these days. Is there any contribution that isn't tweaked these days in post? Maybe costumes? It's hard to know where the disciplines of stunt work, visual effects, performance capture, animation, prop and makeup effects begin and end these days but that's all right. It's always been hard to separate the film disciplines. A great many art direction nominations have happened because a cinematographer maximized the beauty of the sets and so on. What matters is that everything works in harmony to serve the movie.

We haven't really discussed The Adventures of Tintin and I'd love to hear your opinion. I was continually startled by the dense complexity of the imagery and effects but I also found the movie utterly exhausting, the movie equivalent of certain film scores by certain uh composers that begin with a climax and climax in each and every scene. I like a little more contours of beginning, middle and crescendo endings. But I had to credit its technical marvels somewhere.

My personal ballots for Visual Effects, Animated Feature and Makeup ... (the latter of which I treat more like Bafta and less like Oscar, considering hair and non-fx based makeup as well)

The Skin I Live In, Rango, The Tree of Life, Captain America: The First Avenger, Rise of the Planet of the Apes


Best Supporting Actor - Nathaniel's Ballot

Few things gave me more joy at the cinema this year than listening to Christopher Plummer discovering house music. Few things were more moving than watching Brad Pitt dig deep into a wounded father who loved but couldn't help but wound his own sons. Here are my choices for Best Supporting Actor a ballot composed of three father figures and two hedonists, one swaggeringly confident and the other self-protective but both fond of their booze.

Share your personal ballots in the comments!
and I no, I don't expect mine to line up so well with Oscar's...


Best of Year Pt 3: Nathaniel's Top Ten List

Best of Year Pt 1: Thirty-two flavors and then some. 2011 Treasures, guilty and otherwise.
Best of Year Pt 2: Tree of Life, Midnight in Paris, Young Adult, Pariah, The HousemaidShame.


And so we reach the top ten list about which I endured my usual personal angst until I finally gave up the flip flopping, the future hindsight worrying and all the old ways and accepted the new sabremetrics of the game since I had accidentally shoved 11 films in. I ran out of time outs and it was either hit publish or forfeit my chance to play this beloved listing game.

MONEYBALL (Bennett Miller)
Columbia Pictures. September 23rd.
Who knew that a film about sports strategies and mathematic calculations -- two things I personally find enormously difficult to understand and care about even less -- could be so stirring?  Thank the typically sharp writing of Aaron Sorkin and Steve Zaillian, the assured unfussy direction from Bennett Miller who really knows his way around these sharply focused biographies (see also Capote) and an intensely pleasurable star turn from a perfectly cast Brad Pitt as a former golden boy trying to up his own game before his time runs out.

CERTIFIED COPY (Abbas Kiarostami)
IFC. March 11th.
If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, than so to is the worth of any piece of art, whether it's a bonafide original or a copy. The worth of Kiarostami's dizzying intellectual game of a movie will vary greatly from viewer to viewer depending on whether they think the movie transcends its intellectual exercize. It's worth may even vary from screening to screening. For example, the first time I saw it I was riveted by the dialogue and Binoche's face though I thought it outstayed its welcome but the second time I was slightly annoyed with its archly comic tonal shift late in the film but also more impressed with its visual intricacies. Certified Copy spends a day in Tuscany with a weary antique shop owner (the exquisite Juliette Binoche as "She" --her character is never named) and an author by the name of James Miller (opera star William Schimmel). They are ostensibly strangers and their conversation about originals and copies (the subject of Miller's book) gives way to an increasingly complicated sense that the two of them are either play-acting at being lovers or are actually estranged spouses whose current union is a disappointingly inferior fascimile of its original form.

Fox Searchlight. October 21st

Martha Marcy May Marlene

With Lizzie, John Hawkes, Durkin's Team
A Perfectly Titled Time Machine
Martha Marcy May Marlene

Incantation. Puzzle. Dream.

[Review, Interview, Comic Strip]

BRIDESMAIDS (Paul Feig) Universal. May 13th
MELANCHOLIA (Lars von Trier) Magnolia. November 11th 
You're invited to a wedding. Don't start throwing rice yet. They're meant to be happy events but god do they try the patience. Especially when the bride or maid of honor is enormously depressed -- apocalyptically depressed even!

Brides, drivers and romantic troubles after the jump...

Click to read more ...


FYC Film Bitch Awards

As we race toward year's end, it's time to start thinking about The Film Experience's annual celebratory jamboree, the long-running Film Bitch Awards! Here's where I'd like your help. Though I'm already arguing with myself over the top categories and my lists of a dozen contenders fighting for each top 5 list, I could use suggestions elsewhere. The "extra" fun categories still have a ton of leeway and I've definitely nominated things I might not have thought of without a little memory jog from readers in years past.

Any FYCs? Please pass them on in the comments for the following 8 categories:


  • Best Limited or Cameo Performance (i.e. 1 or 2 scenes only)
  • Best Line Delivery
  • Action Sequence
  • Musical Sequence
  • Best Kiss
  • Best Sex Scene
  • Credit Sequence/Title Design
  • Best Scenes in General... any type


YEAR IN REVIEW begins later this week and runs long... you know how we do! 

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