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Entries in film critics (147)

Sunday
Dec202015

Link Brunch

Now with unlimited mimosas

Towleroad a Russian distributor is planning some law-defying cinephilia -- they're going to release Carol despite Russia's absurdly homophobic "anti-propaganda" law 
Marvel 2016 is Captain America's 75th anniversary so they'll be the new film Captain America: Civil War as well as a 2 hour TV special "75 Heroic Years" to air on ABC on January 19th
Pajiba clears up what the word "spoiler" means since the internet is always confused about it
MNPP Save the date - new Michael Fassbender picture on Oct 13th, 2017
Comics Alliance forget what we said earlier about Nicole Kidman co-starring in Wonder Woman. Apparently they coudln't work out schedules. The'll presumably be looking for another iconic star in Kidman's age range for the Queen of the Amazons  

List-Mania
Associate Press and Rolling Stone have best albums lists for 2015. Adele's "25" and Madonna's "Rebel Heart" make both of the top 10s
i09 best comics and graphic novels of the year
Film Comment picks the 20 best undistributed films of the year. I haven't seen even one of them which is strange given multiple festivals this year
THR the Women Film Critics Circle goes all in for Suffragette with 7 (!!!) awards. This is a group I'd love to sing praises to except so often their ideas about gender seem reductive / surface level. I like Suffragette just fine but in no way does its topic (women's voting rights) make it a better film about women than say Carol or Brooklyn or even less high profile pictures like Grandma or I'll See You In My Dreams or Mustang you know? They also say super strange things like this:

The Invisible Woman Award (performance by a woman whose exceptional impact on the film dramatically, socially or historically, has been ignored): Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl

How, exactly, has a performance with that much Oscar buzz from a new star the media is fawning all over having a wildly successful ubiquitous breakout year count as "invisible"?

a long time ago in a galaxy far far away...
Vogue a grown Star Wars fan remembers her adolescent obsession with the series and debates whether or not to go to the new film
Vanity Fair looks at the origins of Star Wars - an indie film no studio wanted to make
Movie City News the 5 things David Poland hated about Episode 7 (SPOILERIFFIC obviously). Agree completely on #1 (oy!) and sort of on #2 and #3. Don't understand #4 or especially #5 as I loved the Darth Vader obsession -- a great dark mirror to our own Star Wars fixations only embedded organically into the actual narrative.
The Incredible Suit 'froths at the cock' (sorry) for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Funny review  

Tuesday
Dec152015

Contrarian Corner: Mad Max Fury Road

Lynn Lee test-drives a new, potentially recurring feature wherein TFE members voice dissent on Oscar hopefuls and critical darlings.

If you’re on this site, it’s safe to assume you pay attention to movie critics. It’s also a fair bet you’re likely—or at least more likely than the average person—to agree with the critics when they coalesce around a particular movie. But if you’re like me, every once in a while a film comes along that generates a level of critical enthusiasm you just don’t get. You’d like to share or at least understand it, but instead find yourself feeling like the lone non-believer in a church full of the radiant converted.

That’s how it’s been for me and Mad Max: Fury Road, which met with rave reviews and solid box office when it hit theaters this summer. More recently, it’s picked up a raft of critics’ awards and nominations that have kept it in the Oscars conversation - not just in the technical categories but the majors, including picture and director. Any doubt about its chances stems from the fact that it’s a “genre” film, not its intrinsic merits, which most agree transcend its genre. [More...]

Click to read more ...

Monday
Dec142015

Awards Update: "Mad Max" for OFCS / "Youth" for EFA 

Michael Caine finally takes a prize for YOUTH. But is it too little too late for Oscar to notice?ICYMI in Awardage
"Previously on The Precursors..."  Gotham, Spirit, OFCS, NBR, NYFCC, LAFCA, BSFC, SAG Noms, SAG Ensemble, Golden Globes, Nominee Reactions, BFCA Noms

The Online Film Critics Society jumped on Furiousa's rig to go on George Miller's wild apocalyptic ride.  Mad Max Fury Road took 4 prizes, the clear winner of their annual honors. Carol won both acting awards for women because that's the world we live in... I could see this happening at Oscar too if they also embrace Rooney Mara's fraudulent "supporting" campaign (sigh). I love both of those performances so I want to be happy about it but... you know... it ain't right. Unless they actually tie for Best Actress. But that's only happened once, so...

Kudos to OFCS for breaking the critical sweep for Amy in documentary -- it seemed strange given the hundreds of documentaries released each year that only one film would win things. They went with The Look of Silence.

More on online critics and the European Film winners after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Dec132015

Toronto ♥ Tom Hardy, "Carol" and "Phoenix"

The Film Experience loves Toronto. Not only is it home to the best festival, TIFF, but it's also full of Canadians and our own Amir Soltani. On top of those two pluses, the Toronto Film Critics Association includes great critics like Calum Marsh, Bill Chambers and Angelo Murrada (the latter two have guested on "Smackdowns" right here!). The TFCA was established in 1997 and gave their first Best Film prize to Atom Egoyan's brilliant movie The Sweet Hereafter. This year double prizes for Carol, Ex Machina, and Phoenix and a prize for Tom Hardy for playing double as the twin Krays in Legend.

Best Film Carol
Best Director
Todd Haynes, Carol
Best Actress
Nina Hoss, Phoenix
Best Actor
Tom Hardy, Legend

This is the second year in a row that Tom Hardy has won TFCA's Best Actor prize. He took it last year for his solo act Locke. He really should attend their awards dinner as double-thanks. Or pop in on next year's live vote debate to put in his two cents about his successor.

Best Supporting Actress Alicia Vikander, Ex Machina
Best Supporting Actor
Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies
Best Screenplay
The Big Short, adapted by Charles Randolph & Adam McKay from the non-fiction book
Best First Film
Ex Machina d. Alex Garland

Best Animated Film Shaun the Sheep Movie (Aardman) d. Mark Burton & Richard Starzak
Best Documentary Look of Silence d. Joshua Oppenheimer
Best Foreign Language Film Phoenix (Germany) d. Christian Petzold

Phoenix, one of the year's biggest foreign hits, took two prizes

The TFCA also hands out a Best Canadian Film prize but that one comes with nominations and is announced at their awards dinner. Here's hoping Closet Monster gets a nomination.

 

Monday
Dec072015

OFCS Falls For Category Fraud

The Online Film Critics Society have released their annual nominations. They're the oldest of the many critics group which sprung up with "online" in the title back in the days when there was more of a clear line between print and web. This year unfortunately they've signed up for Category Fraud endorsing both Alicia Vikander and Rooney Mara's "supporting" campaigns so it's difficult to take them seriously. If we can't defeat the spreading cancer of category fraud this year with so much attention paid to how ridiculous it is to call protagonists in their own films "supporting" -- even among groups who aren't generally eager to "predict" Oscars with their nominations (and OFCS has been blessedly free of that curse in the past) -- than perhaps the war will never be won. It's all so very discouraging because it makes the honors feel cheap and gamed as opposed to fairly won.

the war on drugs will never be won. perhaps the war on category fraud is just as eternal

As such it's difficult to find joy in happy results like Cynthia Nixon nominated for James White (despite a very low profile and only $52,000 in ticket sales to date) and Sicario, which we'd feared would be forgotten coming on strong. In fact Denis Villeneuve's drug war thriller led the nominations alongside Carol. The complete OFCS nominations are at their site if you're interested.

UPDATE: I have heard from a few members of the OFCS expressing their displeasure with the results and/or this post. Like the BFCA (of which I am a member) there were internal discussions about this before they voted. (Full disclosure: at least two of our own contributors are members of the OFCS). There are people within the organization who are against category fraud but voting within all awards bodies is a matter of math and majority rules.  I don't really expect BFCA to self-correct on this next week when the nominations come out but it's good that there's at least been a discussion for once. Internally the BFCA has suggested to members that Rooney Mara should be considered a lead, despite what the campaign says, but they are still free to vote as they will. We'll see.

Sunday
Dec062015

LAFCA Winners (Plus: NYFCO Madness)

 With today's announcement of the Los Angeles Film Critics Associations winner the die is set for critics awards. People can argue until pigs fly about whether and how and to what extend critics awards affect Oscar voters but here is a fairly universal consensus among people in the know: these things only matter to the extent they convince voters to attend that particular screening or put that specific screener on top of their to-watch stack. And the two critics groups that voters hear most about and are thus most likely to be influenced by are the two most prestigious coastal giants, LAFCA and NYFCC (who already announced with Carol winning big).

Will Oscar voters take MAD MAX: FURY ROAD seriously or just think "action film"

LAFCA 2015 Winners
Film Spotlight (ru: Mad Max: Fury Road)
Director
George Miller, Mad Max Fury Road (ru: Todd Haynes, Carol)
Actress
Charlotte Rampling, 45 Years (ru: Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn)
Actor
Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs (ru: Geza Rohrig, Son of Saul)
Supporting Actress
- Alicia Vikander - Ex Machina (ru: Kristen Stewart, Clouds of Sils Maria)
Supporting Actor
- Michael Shannon, 99 Homes (ru: Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies) 

More and a very cool bit of trivia after the jump via Joe Reid...

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Dec062015

Boston Film Critics choose hometown heroes -- "Spotlight" for Best Picture

Every other year the BSFC chooses the future Oscar winner as their Best Picture. Look at the evidence: 2009 The Hurt Locker; 2010: The Social Network; 2011: The Artist; 2012: Zero Dark Thirty; 2014: 12 Years a Slave; 2015: Boyhood. Before that it's a little bumpier statistically since 2008 saw a tie between Slumdog Millionaire (the eventual Oscar winner and WALL•E, a much more deserving (and braver) choice. But it was only in 2006 with The Departed that they started lining up regularlyt. Before then Boston could often be counted on for more iconoclastic choices like Mulholland Drive, Out of Sight, Three Kings, Trainspotting, Bull Durham, Ran, etcetera. They've been handing out awards since 1980 when Raging Bull won their inaugural Best Picture award.

Here's what they chose this year...

Click to read more ...