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The Film Experience™ was created by Nathaniel R


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Entries in film critics (109)

Thursday
Dec182014

Boyhood Trophies. Nightcrawler Sweeps. Plus: A Bunch of Oscar Chart Updates

Pro Boyhood. Meh on Gone GirlAs you have undoubtedly heard by now even President Barack Obama has boarded the Boyhood train, declaring it the best of the year... that he has seen (it might surprise you to hear that presidents don't have a lot of time for moviegoing). FLOTUS, who helped hand out the Oscar for Best Picture to Argo if you'll recall, offers up no "Best" opinion to People Magazine but randomly shares that she didn't think Gone Girl was all that and preferred the book.

Where were we? Oh yes. Regional critics groups are feeling a tiny bit friskier than usual. No, they really are. Oh sure there is a lot of hive mind action happening (Boyhood, Arquette, J.K., Citizen Four etcetera) but it's not quite as lockstep as it has been in recent years.

Since we last spoke a few more cities have weighed in and it's semi-interesting at least to see a range of Best Actress choices (Reese & Rosamund) and how about San Diego's total unblinking obsession with Nightcrawler?

Lou Bloom must have given them the hard sell. Lou Bloom got that job. [More...]

Click to read more ...

Monday
Dec152014

Critical Kudos Continue: Kansas, San Francisco, Dallas, OFCS

(We interrupt your Missi experience this morning to bring you more awards news. Missi returns this afternoon for two final posts.)

The Film Critic (a monolith) floats in his room this month contemplatively, aging rapidly before our eyes. A difficult choice faces him/her: Birdman or Boyhood? After the jump see which cities chose what and which categories they're allowing themselves to have a little fun with...

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Dec142014

Awards Roundup & Predictions: A Circus That Never Shuts Down!

I swear to you that I've been working my ass off of late but somehow TFE has fallen further and further behind. Let's blame the traffic nightmares in NYC of late (I normally subway it but with that fractured toe there were many cabs), that long Thanksgiving weekend, all the free food and drink consumed at various schmoozy Oscar campaign events and 1:1 interviews. These last are truly the Bermuda triangle of time-suckage. Interviews themselves generally last between 15-20 minutes but somehow they can consume entire days. I wish that I were exaggerating (since I love doing them) but I'm not what with travel time, scheduling negotiations, waiting time, rescheduling snafus, and then the only way those interviews gets to you: transcription time and article construction)

Wah Wah. I'll shut up. First world Oscar pundit problems! The inimitable Missi arrives soon (and while she's entertaining you we get caught up behind the scenes and update every single Oscar chart so comment on those right here )  After the jump all the stuff we haven't talked about yet (EFA Awards, Regional Critics Prizes + "Critics Choice" Predictions).

Can Unbroken start sprinting after a very rough week? Just how hot is Ida? Will the BFCA swarm around their fall favorite Gone Girl? 3...2...1... GO!

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Dec102014

‘Selma’ Wins Big at the AAFCA Awards & NAACP Image Award Nominations

Margaret here with a look at the nominees for the 2014 NAACP Image Awards, as well as the winners of the African American Film Critics Association year-end prizes.

It continues to be a good season for Selma, which racked up eight Image Award nominations-- especially impressive when you consider that there are only seven categories. (Six of its nominations are for acting.) Period drama Belle and James Brown biopic Get On Up both received five nominations each, and the music industry romantic drama Beyond the Lights earned three.

The AAFCA announced their awards, naming Selma best picture alongside nine other outstanding films. The AAFCA Top Ten Films of 2014 are as follows in order of distinction: 

  • SELMA
  • THE IMITATION GAME
  • THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING
  • BIRDMAN
  • BELLE
  • TOP FIVE
  • UNBROKEN
  • DEAR WHITE PEOPLE
  • GET ON UP
  • BLACK OR WHITE

A complete list of AAFCA winners, and Image nominees (some interesting stuff - now with double the Viola Davis!)  after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Dec062014

Boston Critics Regain Their Mojo: Pierce 'Snow' and 'Skin'

CORRECTION & APOLOGY: I had originally stated these were the winners for the Boston Society of Film Critics, a group with a long fascinating history. Unfortunately, as is all too common these days these prizes are from an upstart critics group from the same city, the Boston Online Film Critics Association*.

The young BOFCA (now in its third year) seem to have issued some sort of challenge to the far more famous BSFC. The BSFC has had a place of honor in critics circles in that, for many years of their history, they seemed less interested in the Oscar race than actually offering an opinion on the best of a given film year which is, we unfortunately need reminding, the entire purpose of critical year-end prizes. In recent years their choices have seemed as Oscar driven as 90% of the critics groups that exist today. So perhaps the younger organization will remind them of their roots in iconoclastic choices?

The new group has taken the entire year into account, and given December the shrug but for two prizes for the Belgian film Two Days One Night (adding another feather in Marion Cotillard's cap after her NYFCC win). 

PICTURE: Snowpiercer
DIRECTOR: Alejandro González Iñárritu, Birdman
ACTRESS: Marion Cotillard, Two Days One Night
ACTOR: Brendan Gleeson, Calvary
SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Tilda Swinton, Snowpiercer
SUPPORTING ACTOR: Edward Norton, Birdman
SCREENPLAY: John Michael McDonagh, Calvary
FOREIGN FILM: Two Days One Night

DOCUMENTARY: Life Itself
ANIMATED FILM: The LEGO Movie
CINEMATOGRAPHY: Birdman 
EDITING: James Herbert & Laura Jennings, Edge of Tomorrow
ORIGINAL SCORE: Mica Levi, Under the Skin

 THE BOSTON ONLINE FILM CRITICS ASSOCIATION NAMES THEIR TEN BEST FILMS OF THE YEAR:

  1. SNOWPIERCER
  2. UNDER THE SKIN
  3. BOYHOOD
  4. ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE
  5. THE BABADOOK
  6. TWO DAYS ONE NIGHT
  7. BIRDMAN
  8. CALVARY
  9. INHERENT VICE
  10. SELMA

 * P.S. Again my apologies. I would not have given this organization and entire post to themselves had I realized they were a new group. The fact remains that no matter how interesting your choices, each city does not need multiple competing critics groups. And the proliferation of so many new groups, correctly or incorrectly, suggests that they are formed by people who cannot get into the pre-existing group. I don't know if this is the case in Boston but with the walls having all but vanished between Print and Online there seems little point in "Online" organizations these days as all former print sources are now online. 

 

Monday
Dec012014

NYFCC Loves Legos, Nuns, and Boyhood

The NYFCC (New York Film Critics Circle), one half of the two crucial critics prizes for each film year (the other half being the LAFCA who announce soon) gathered this morning for prize time. Their annual game of combative rounds winnowing their choice down to one (usually) in their categories resulted in big wins for Boyhood and really important gets for two key actors.


PICTURE Boyhood
It could well be a steamroller with critics groups. Unless Selma and Birdman get scrappy
DIRECTOR Richard Linklater, Boyhood
We can safely call him locked up for his first Oscar nomination in this category after two nominations for writing
SCREENPLAY The Grand Budapest Hotel
This is the only category that Wes Anderson has ever had real luck in with awards bodies. Can Budapest find a way to slip into the Best Picture Oscar field and change that?

ACTRESS Marion Cotillard, The Immigrant & Two Days, One Night
An enormously important get for Cotillard who has found it a real struggle to connect with awards bodies since her Oscar win for what ironically is an arguably lesser performance than the ones she's been trotting out regularly lately
SUPPORTING ACTRESS Patricia Arquette, Boyhood
So pleased that this grounded affecting performance has garnered such praise this year. It's a real treat coming from an actress that hasn't been overused overpraised much in her career.

ACTOR Timothy Spall, Mr. Turner
Another enormous "must have" for the preliminary rounds. Spall is up against a super tight Best Actor field and every mention counts towards keeping his name out there. They really should have released this movie earlier. I struggle to understand Sony Pictures Classics preference for late December which often kills "small" films with too little too late push
SUPPORTING ACTOR J.K. Simmons, Whiplash
Looks likely  march to the Oscar with no problem. Which is sad for Mark Ruffalo (Foxcatcher) and Edward Norton (Birdman) who are both still waiting and both so worthy this year

CINEMATOGRAPHY Darius Khondji, The Immigrant
So underappreciated
ANIMATED FILM The LEGO Movie
Unsurprising and I expect all the flyover state critics prizes to go the same way. The real question as precursor season heats up is which littler film gets some mentions.
FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM Ida
If Ida dominates this field in the precursors might we see it pop up in one or two additional Oscar categories? Wouldn't that be neat?
DOCUMENTARY Citizenfour
A possible steamroller for the non-fiction prizes
FIRST FEATURE Jennifer Kent, The Babadook
Don't miss our interview with this hot new talent. I told her we were wondering about her future and she said "I'm wondering about my future, too!"