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 Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. Also loves cats. All material herein is written and copyrighted by him, unless otherwise noted. twitter | facebook | pinterest | tumblr | letterboxd

 

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Entries in film critics (100)

Sunday
Dec082013

Boston Chooses 12 Years A Slave, Enough Said?

The Boston Society of Film Critics' (BSFC) very first Best Picture prize went to Martin Scorsese's Raging Bull (1980) and over the next 32 years they've mixed smart off the path choices with future Oscar darlings. In the past decade they seem to have mellowed and mainstreamed and unless you count a tie in 2008 (Wall•E shared the prize with Slumdog), it's been well over a decade since that grabby run when they thought outside the box consistently (1998-2001) when they were giving Best Film prizes to great movies like Out of Sight (2 below the line Oscar nods) Three Kings (0 Oscar attention) and Mullholland Dr (1 Oscar nod) which were obviously not going to play big with the Academy. (During that period they were also making interesting calls in non Oscar-baiting performances so something about the membership must have changed thereafter.

This year they've wrapped their Bostonian arms around native New Yorker Solomon Northrup in a big way giving 12 Years a Slave three top prizes. They were also kind to Nebraska and Enough Said which each won 2 prizes. Full list of winners with commentary after the jump

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Dec082013

LinkLove

Randomness
Salon Rashida Jones clarifies her earlier statements about pop stars #actinglikewhores 
Washington Post Shirley Maclaine gets the Kennedy Center Honors. What a career
Variety The Square takes the top prize at the International Documentary Awards. The doc Oscar race is really really competitive this year!
In Contention European Film Awards. We shared the winners earlier but Guy has extensive coverage
Daily News Madonna's daughter Lola plays Rizzo in Grease at NY's performing arts high school (aka the Fame school) 
Salon has a really interesting piece on the Coen Bros obsession with failure via Inside Llewyn Davis though I would suggest not reading it before you've seen the movie since it reveals virtually every pivotal plot point and punchline. Save it for later

CoSign!
Jonathan Rosenbaum on "the season of critical inflation" Yes, to this. Just yes.
John Forde on the loud reactions to diver Tom Daley's coming out
i09 Wicked imagined as an animated musical (no, not Frozen

Tis the Season of List-Making
Slant Kurt looks at 20 great shots from the film year from Spring Breakers through undersung indies like Mother of George and new treats like Her
Guardian looks at the best screen "robbers" because I guess The Great Train Robbery is coming to TV or something? (I'm not clear) from Mr Pink (interesting choice) through Bodhi (duh)
NY Post Lou Lumenick and Kyle Smith battle it out over their top ten lists - they share only Mud and Gravity
Time Magazine Richard Corliss loves The Hobbit (again? ugh) but my favorite bit is this line on Spike Jonze Her...

In a future Los Angeles so near-Utopian that no scene takes place in a car...

hee!

Saturday
Dec072013

European Film Award Wi -- what? Scorsesaywhat? 

I watched a bit of the European Film Awards live streaming earlier today and the first sight that greeted me was Anke Engelke looking like she'd stepped out of the Capitol to announce the next Hunger Games. The only thing she got wrong was that her hair and makeup were too demure. Tim said she looked a "teensy bit too lindt bunny" which made me giggle.

While attempting to watch the show I was pulled into an endless twitter debate about misogyny and glorification/condemnation thereof in The Wolf of Wall Street - a conversation which I expect will rage throughout awards season unless the veritable army of Scorsese stans succeeds in stamping out open discussion about the movie's merits; they're weirdly adamant that one should only do adrenaline fueled wolf howls at it which is, I don't mind saying, one of the worst things that can happen to a movie that merits any kind of considered conversation.

SOOOOOO, while I didn't make it all the way through the EFAs and am ashamed to note that I missed Catherine Deneuve's tribute altogether (argh) here are 5 thoughts from the ceremony...

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Dec032013

NYFCC Runners Up?

Redford's nearest rivals, Chiwetel Ejiofor & Oscar Isaac, were tied at a distant second at the NYFCCUnlike some Oscar-obsessed blogs, I don't really see much of value in sharing "runners up" from various critics orgs (running up is not winning and you can't use it as promotion unless the fine print is really really small.)

But, since NYFCC is the first and the oldest critics group, and surprised with 3 prizes for American Hustle we're not yet sick of critics prizes (that happens in about... 12 days? 7 or 8 if everyone goes samey-samey) why not talk their runners up: Lou Lumenick at the New York Post shared how the voting went down and it looks like the "almosts" went like so... Picture (12 Years a Slave lost in a squeaker), Director and Actress (David O. Russell and Amy Adams so the American Hustle voting block was strong in the final rounds. Were they true fans of the film or did they just prefer it to the others when their favorites were eliminated in the rounds of voting?), and Supporting Actress (Lupita Nyong'o). It's interesting that both Actor and Supporting Actor had no strong challenge to the eventual winners (Robert Redford & Jared Leto). Perhaps it means nothing but I find it interesting since, especially in the case of the Oscar race for Best Actor, consensus seems hard to come by as to which actor is most deserving or even which might eventually win.

Why was Redford such a clear favorite here in New York? Is it the sentimental edge from his glorious cinematic history? (That's a pretty damn strong filmography all things considered.)

Tuesday
Dec032013

Do the NYFCC Hustle

The New York Film Critics Circle, the oldest such organization in the country, provided us with a surprise bang this morning. Like Jennifer Lawrence playing with her "science oven" in American Hustle their announcement leaves visible scorch marks, as if awards season has just blasted off like a rocket. 

Whether or not these prizes have a lasting impact is yet to be determined. Some will say that the one-two punch of the Gotham Awards and  NYFCC not awarding 12 Years a Slave with their best feature is a sign. But it may well just be a coincidence and could even be good for the film; it's better to be a wildly special underdog than a frontrunner with heavy baggage when you have three whole months left to carry oneself across the finish line. 

Picture American Hustle
Director Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave
Actress Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine
Actor Robert Redford, All is Lost
Supporting Actress Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle
Supporting Actor Jared Leto, Dallas Buyer’s Club

Critics prizes, even the once holy trinity (NYFCC, LAFCA, and NSFC) don't mean as much as the internet likes to pretend. With roughly 30 other critics organizations handing out prizes each year now, and those same critics groups often behaving like Oscar pundits instead of critics, I'd argue that the value of critics prizes has greatly depreciated from market saturation and loss of identity. The thing that constitutes bragging rights these days seems to be domination (who can win the most?) rather than key victories. 

Screenplay American Hustle
Foreign Film Blue is the Warmest Color
Animated Film Hayao Miyazaki’s The Wind Rises
Non Fiction Film Sarah Polley’s Stories We Tell
First Film Ryan Coogler’s Fruitvale Station
Cinematography Bruno Delbonnel for Inside Llewyn Davis
Special Award Frederick Wiseman, documentarian

Do you think they did the "special award" for Frederick Wiseman solely because they didn't give him best documentary for At Berkeley? And, referencing the most recent podcast, am I the only person who isn't wild for the cinematography in Inside Llewyn Davis?

For what it's worth, American Hustle (which is under critical embargo until tomorrow), is very entertaining and also very fresh in the minds of voters having been screened just this past weekend. And Jennifer Lawrence is also very fresh (and entertaining) in it. 

[More on their voting and runners up here]

Wednesday
Oct022013

Which Films Inspire The Best Reviews?

I have no idea why i illustrated this post with The Impossible newspaper adIf you read The Film Experience I assume you're also the type that absorbs at least a few (and possibly a lot more) film reviews on a regular basis. Now, reviews aren't the founding principle of this blog, as regular readers now. We've always been more adept at commentary on specific angles (performances, shots, Oscar races, single moments, whole careers, etc...), than the traditional "it just opened so let's review it" model.

But lately I've been thinking about why the traditional review is more of a struggle for me to write than other types of articles and I've also been enjoying a moment off-blog where I'm appreciating the beauty of extremely well written ones and hoping they inspire me to step it up. I've long thought about coming up with some sort of series to celebrate great critics.

Which got me to wondering... 

Which films prompt the best reviews?

I don't think it's as simple as "bad movies that are fun to hate" or "auteur movies" or "the ____ genre" ...so I'd love to hear your opinion on the whats and whys. Here's a way to make the question simpler to digest: Which two or three movies this year prompted the most reviews you found interesting and which led you to seek out the most reviews? Why do you think they did that? 

Wednesday
Sep182013

Linking Time

Hollywood Will the ending of August Osage County screened at TIFF be the ending it has in theaters? The film might not be "locked" just yet
Pajiba on social media, celebrity, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Town & Country & BuzzFeed suddenly the internet noticed Clint's son Scott Eastwood (also an actor). I think he looks like a douchey fratboy but the internet don't care. The internet wants what it wants. Weirdly T&C claims he's channeling leading men of the sixties but the only movie star I'm seeing in the photos is a bit of Young Clint Eastwood... the nose mostly.

Awards Daily helps you keep track of the upcoming awards calendar
Sketchy Details yes! another Short Term 12 convert. We must grow and grow, the Short Term 12 fan club.
New York Post check out this Taiwanese movie theater and it's hand painted movie posters
Vulture the final season of Mad Men will be split in two. Mad Men until 2015!  Anything that makes it last longer is A OK by me but I've been reading nasty comments online about it. A lot of "that show has outstayed its welcome" comments (some by people who admit they don't watch it). Sigh. This is why we can't have nice things. If every show on tv was even a third as good as Mad Men at its weakest,  television would be an infinitely better place.
Variety in other Mad Men news, Oscar winner Robert Towne (Chinatown) has joined the writing table for the final season 

Must Reads with a Longer Running Time
New York Times Terrific insightful confessional by Lisa Schwarzbaum on Blue Jasmine, an old Lucille Ball television movie, modern women's picture and "fear of baglady-dom" 
IndieWire surveys critics on the best of TIFF 13. I love seeing survey results but it usually mightily depresses me since as insightful as critics can be I find that they're usually not very strong when it comes to judging acting. Even if Gravity grows on me (possible) I am 99.9% likely to maintain that the star performances are serviceable but ungreat and obviously so. And yet Sandra Bullock has a higher rank in Best Lead performance than Huppert, Gheorghiu, Streep, or Chastain? Absurd.
Peter Taggart very funny conversation about this year's forthcoming Emmy awards and who should win.

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