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Entries in film critics (157)

Monday
Jan042016

A Bigger Link

/Film the first footage from Disney's Moana
Playbill Rapper Daveed Diggs on getting his shot on Broadway's smash hit Hamilton expanding the world. (I hope to one day see this show. C'mon lottery gods!)
Gizmodo an exo suit from Edge of Tomorrow constructed from junk!
MNPP pic of the day Matthias Schoenaerts in A Bigger Splash 


Comics Alliance apparently director James Gunn says Captain America: Civil War is awesome and this has excited the internet for some reason. Next time someone OUTSIDE of Marvel's employ enthuses about one of their movies early, get back to us?
The Envelope thinks that Mad Max Fury Road and Carol will lead Oscar nominations (with 9 each). I dare not hope that this is true because that's just so much fabulousness in one Oscar year.
/Film claims that the breakout character of Star Wars is TR-8R -- this shows how well we've been following Star Wars stanning because who knew?
Cinema Blend Joss Whedon talks about why he's done with Marvel 
Reverse Shot a deeply insightful look at Star Wars: The Force Awakens - it's possible that f I've linked to this before but even so, it's a must read. 
Towleroad Matt Bomer covers Men's Fitness credits Channing Tatum for his current peak physique

Hateful Tangents
Interview talks to Demian Bichir about his first gig with Tarantino. Bichir gave the second best performance in it if you ask me because he realized in the absence of being given a real character to play, play a Real Character.
Slate the Movie Club is in session and it's hilarious and thoughtful as always. They argue over whether The Hateful Right is "ineffably evil", share the joys of Spy and Carol, and observe tricky critical duties as with Tangerine and The Danish Girl. Bonus points for the "f*** this thing" cat gif.
Cinematic Corner on her issues with the heroism of rapists and murderers in The Hateful Eight.

I'm trying to let hate for Hateful Eight go, I really am. But it's like an exorcism. It takes time and I guess I've still got some pea soup to vomit up. I've made no secret that I personally despise this movie -- but I have been reading reviews with kind of a morbid fascination because of how much people try to say it's still somehow a good movie after lining up their lengthy issues with it. I'm not the only one who has noticed this

It is not a good movie. In fact it's kind of a betrayal of Tarantino by Tarantino because it's him fucking up things he used to do better than anyone. There is zero depth to the characterizations beyond the most simplistic "What a character!" outline, the gore (such as exploding heads) adds nothing other than wank-bank material for sadists, the dialogue is severely lacking in his usual cleverness, and worst of all Tarantino displays none of his usual skill at that constant electric hum of "shit is about to go down!" that powers all of his best films. The only tension in this particular movie is wondering when the shit will finally go down so that it will end. If you think of all of his best films the tension is alive in every scene. The scenes repeatedly feel dangerous as if anything might happen. And something nearly always does. Here we basically have any of those individual scenes only they're now 3 hours long and the tension just goes out of it completely because who cares?

In short, stop justifying this work people; It's okay to think a movie is terrible when it is! Most great auteurs have a dud (or five) somewhere in their filmography. If we try to convince ourselves that every thing a single person makes is masterful, we are denying our own critical faculties and it also makes our love for their true masterpieces highly suspect.  For instance here are a five filmmakers I regularly cite when people ask me for "all time favorites": Haynes, Almodovar, Cameron, Minnelli, Hitchcock. All of them have made a film or films that were not that great or that I could not personally connect to. That does not lessen their genius for me. That just means they're human and it helps me to appreciate their masterworks more because I know the love is true and not me trying to argue myself into fandom.

Try this at home. Realize that The Hateful Eight is a shit movie and go back to loving any of his much better films. And cry with me when The Hateful Eight takes Oscar nominations from far more deserving players in ten days time.

On to Happier Thoughts...
Anne Hathaway shared a photo of herself on Instagram pregnant in a bikini!

She did this in order to kill off a paparazzi's shot at making a ton of money off of creeping on her at the beach. Smart girl. We don't follow celebrity pregnancies so have no idea when she's due but it looks like soon... CONGRATS TO ANNIE & HUSBAND.

List-Mania
Top Tens: Variety (Guy Lodge),  The Telegraph (Robbie Collins); Slate (Dana Stevens); Pop Culture Crazy (Kacey Bange)
Lists Lists ListsGothamist (Best Celebrity Subway Sightings); Pajiba (Seriously F*** That Guy - a retrospective of rage); Pajiba (5 Most Intriguing new Netflix Series. They don't mention Daredevil because it's about new series but season 2 kicks off in March, fwiw); Forbes releases their "30 Under 30" List which includes both of The Force Awakens new stars, natch, as well as all three Straight Outta Compton leads. 

First Oscar Commercial of the New Year
Chris Rock kinda sorta prophesies those annual nasty post-show reviews you read every year.

 

Sunday
Jan032016

National Society of Film Critics: Love for Spotlight, Carol, Creed....

The last important critics awards have been announced and in the week of Oscar nomination voting too. Though they went with many of the names that have previously mentioned at other stops, they made one particularly welcome new call in Michael B Jordan as Best Actor? But are Oscar voters still looking for suggestions? When you've got a field as potentially anemic as this year's Best Actor race where no one seems all that enthused about the very famous probabilities, dig a little deeper. It can only help! The NSFC, formed in 1966 and the third most important US critics group outside of NYFCC and LAFCA (yes some members overlap since "National" includes multiple cities) spread the wealth. Only Spotlight and Carol took more than one prize. 

The winners and runners up are after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Dec302015

3 Hateful Links. 16 Nicer Ones.

As you may have heard The Hateful Eight expanded a smidge early today into nearly 2000 theaters after the success of its roadshow weekend. So here are 8 links about the movie because we're feeling masochistic...

Variety The Hateful Eight is leading current movies in spending the most for TV ads
Deadline an interview with Hateful Eight's costume designer Courtney Hoffman. (Everyone knows I hate the movie but I actually liked her work in it a lot!)
Awards Daily Sasha struggles to suss out what Tarantino is doing with Daisy (Jennifer Jason Leigh) in The Hateful Eight and tries to make sense of the many journalist opinions on whether its an inherently "misogynist" work. I'd love to defend Tarantino on this front personally but I have to face facts. He hasn't written a good female character since Inglorious Basterds. He's lost that particular skill. But I don't think he's misogynist so much as betraying his ultimate misanthropy with his ugliest most masturbatory movie.

Escape From Minnie's Haberdashery (for more hospital climes)
Gothamist Russell Crowe throwing tantrums again -- this time about hoverboards 
Guardian I'm eager to hear what our resident Australian Glenn thinks of their choices for best Aussie films of the year 
Gawker "the year in Gay"
Empire first look at Michael Fassbender in Assassin's Creed
Vanity Fair picks the best new TV characters of the year from series including Daredevil, Empire, UNReal, Fresh Off the Boat and more
Antagony & Ecstasy Tim's razor sharp review of 45 Years is a must-read but then so is his...
Antagony & Ecstasy ...review of Carol. Basically he continues to be one of the web's most underappreciated frequently inspired film critics.

Meanwhile on Jakku...
Variety Carrie Fisher on her body shamers 
imgur "how BB-8 works"
NPR Nigerians are getting excited about Star Wars... in large part thanks to John Boyega 
i09 going to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens a second time? i09 has a list of 23 things to watch out for
LA Times talks to the designers of Mad Max, Star Wars, and Mockingjay sequels on their dives into genre work
LA Times and here's a dissenting voice on the cultural phenomenon if you're not feeling the love 
Reverse Shot has an amazingly insightful lengthy review of The Force Awakens that grapples with the film only speaking its own Star Wars language and impatiently exploiting old adventures to venture out on new ones.  

Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe are "Nice Guys" - Movies are make believe! 

2016?
We're so not ready to go there. It's not really our practice at TFE to look ahead to the following year before the Oscars wrap (the true end to the film year) but I have bookmarked this article "61 Original Movie We're Dying to See in 2016" because it's cute on the rare occasion that people realize that non-sequels exist. The Guardian has no such anti-sequel slant in their "75 films we're excited about" and they go full in for any movie that drives traffic so say hello to the superhero films even the ones that are daring us to agonize over how bad they might be like the scowl-a-thon of Batman v Superman. 

 

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.

 

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