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Oscar History

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Oscar Horrors: Kathy Bates in Misery

"A miracle of a performance." -Mike

"Horrible, unwatchable performance." -Patryk

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Entries in film festivals (326)


NewFest: "Don't Call Me Son", "Esteros", and "Paris 05:59"

NewFest, New York's LGBT Festival, runs through Tuesday. Here's Chris on three of the festival's foreign selections...

Don't Call Me Son
Anna Muylaert continues to explore complex family dynamics in Don't Call Me Son, her follow-up to last year's Brazilian Oscar submission The Second Mother. Teenage Pierre (Naomi Nero) and his younger sister have their lives upended when their mother is jailed for stealing them at birth, thrusting them apart and into the homes of their birth parents. Further complicating the film's identity politics is Pierre's burgeoning gender dysphoria...

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Middleburg Day 2: The Salesman, Manchester by the Sea, Women in Hollywood

by Nathaniel R

On the first full day at the Middleburg Film Festival after that cathartic teary opening with Lion, I attempted to schedule a horseback ride for the full Middleburg experience. The town is known for its rich horses & hunting history and you can see horses and foxes in sculpture form and in signs and logos in the charming little town. Rain got in the way of a ride but all was not lost since a beautiful black and white cat named Callisto greeted me inside the stable at practically a full gallop and began rubbing up all over me. Dear reader, I can assure you that her love was requited! She was 21 years old but super friendly, spry and playful so the country life has obviously been kind to her. One can assume the horses also love her as she hasn't been stepped on. 

So back to the movies I went, a perfect activity for rainy days even when you aren't at a film festival.

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Middleburg Day 1: "Lion" is a winner

By Nathaniel R

Sheila Johnson welcomes you!Salamander

Middleburg Film Festival, now in its fourth year and just an hour outside of Washington DC, is a rising festival to watch. Most of the festival's big events take place at the Salamander Resort and Spa which sits on 340 beautiful acres. The rooms are gorgeous -- I even have a nice little terrace to sit on while typing up these diaries for you. In short, this is a destination festival rather than a 'drop in for a film or two or two after work' type big city festival. Emma Stone and Damien Chazelle are coming into town for La La Land and other luminaries appear for their films, too.

The festival, which has an Oscar hopeful heavy lineup, was founded by the African-American billionaire Sheila Johnson (co-founder of BET network) who welcomed us to the opening night screening. The event was in the resort's huge ballroom and I was surprised to be very happy and pleased with the screen size and sound since non-traditional venues at regional festivals can sometimes present challenges.

 The opening night film was the lost child / adoption drama Lion. True to early buzz we've heard the movie is quite wonderful...

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NYFF 2016 Wrap-Up. So Many Fine Films!

That's a wrap on the New York Film Festival which hosted the world premieres of 20th Century Women, The 13th, and Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk. But in festival season there's never any downtime. I'm off to Middleburg, Virginia tomorrow to try out a new festival. This one is just a weekend long fest with beautiful scenery -a baby Northeastern Telluride I suppose? LionLoving, La La Land, and Land of Mine (Denmark's Oscar submission) as well as some movies that don't begin with the letter "l" are screening. 

But meanwhile back in New York City, our hometown festival wrapped this Sunday. Here are all the reviews in case you missed any. Thanks again to Jason, Manuel, Bill, and Murtada for bringing this festival to you!

Manchester by the Sea, 20th Century Women, and Aquarius

28 Reviews
13th (Ava DuVernay's documentary on mass incarceration) - Glenn
20th Century Women (Mike Mills '70s beauty with Annette Bening) - Nathaniel
Abacus (documentary from Steve James of Hoop Dreams fame) - Jason
Aquarius (Brazil's starring Sonia Braga) - Manuel
The B-Side: Elsa Dornan's Portrait Photography (documentary) - Manuel
Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk (Ang Lee's experimental 3D/4K film) - Nathaniel
Brillo Box (3 ¢ off) (documentary on the 60s art world) - Jason
Certain Women (Kelly Reichardt's 3 act) - Jason
Everything Else (Starring Oscar-nominated Adriana Barraza)  -Manuel
Graduation (from the director of 4 Months 3 Weeks and 2 Days) - Bill
Hermia & Helena (Directed by Matías Piñeiro) - Bill
I, Daniel Blake (this year's Palme D'or Champ) - Jason
Jackie (Pablo Larraín directs Natalie Portman as Jackie Kennedy) - Nathaniel
Julieta (Almodóvar's latest, Spain's Oscar submission) - Manuel
The Lost City of Z (an old fashioned epic from James Gray) - Jason
Manchester by the Sea (Kenneth Lonergan's Oscar hopeful) - Jason
Moonlight (the life of a gay black man) - Murtada/Manuel/Nathaniel
My Entire High School Sinking Into the Sea (animated / experimental) - Manuel
Neruda (Pablo Larrain's movie about the poet on the run) - Nathaniel
The Ornithologist (a surreal queer Portuguese journey)  - Nathaniel
Paterson (Directed by Jim Jarmusch starring Adam Driver) - Jason
Personal Shopper (Olivier Assayas & Kristen Stewart reunion) -Jason
Staying Vertical (from the director of Stranger by the Lake) - Jason
Things To Come (starring Isabelle Huppert) - Jason
Toni Erdmann (Germany's comic Oscar submission) - Jason
Uncle Howard (a documentary about a filmmaker who died of AIDS) - Jason
The Unknown Girl (from Belgium's Dardenne brothers) - Manuel
Yourself and Yours (Hong SangSoo's ambiguous romantic drama) - Manuel


Q&As (Adam Driver, Naomie Harris, and Kenneth Lonergan) - Murtada
Q&As (Mike Mills on Annette Bening) - Murtada
Q&As (Pablo Larraín and Natalie Portman) - Murtada
Michelle Williams in Manchester (Her Oscar Moment?) - Murtada 


NYFF: Uncle Howard & Brillo Box (3 ¢ off)

Here's Jason reporting from NYFF on two docs that deal with a younger generation being affected and influenced by the art dealings of their elders.

It seems like every other gay person that I meet has a gay aunt or uncle who informed their childhood in some way - I never did; the closest I got was a friend of my mother's who was whispered about as a weird bachelor type, but he was out of her life before I was born. But you remember such things, small weird whispers as they are, when they're your singular life-line to a big world actually existing out there where you can figure your own stuff out. 

I don't know or care if director Aaron Brookner is gay himself but you get the same sensation from watching Uncle Howard, his new documentary on his uncle, a film-maker who died at the age of 34 from AIDS - the thirst to eat up all he can about this fabulous person who lived a fabulous life in the margins of his own, and what that was like for him... 

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NYFF: Getting High With Staying Vertical

Here's Jason reporting from the NYFF on the new film from the director of Stranger by the Lake.

With a movie like Staying Vertical it's tempting to go look up the definition of "queer" in the dictionary and start off with that - that would do a lot of my work for me. Because make no mistake about it - Staying Vertical is queer. It is queer as in it is strange, and it is queer as in it is not precisely heterosexual. It is that kind of off-putting gay guy in the corner of the party who's laughing at something even though nobody is talking to him. It's a good thing that I am that gay guy at every party, so me and Staying Vertical, we kinda hit it off.

Everybody won't. (The bane of my existence, y'all.)...

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NYFF - Abacus: Small Enough to Jail

Here's Jason reporting from the New York Film Festival with the latest doc from the director of Hoop Dreams.

At first Abacus: Small Enough to Fail plays like a game of chicken that director Steve James is playing with our sympathies - Bankers, the premiere villains of the 21st century, who might as well come with their own lightning strike and accompanying thunder-crack on the soundtrack, are here our Heroes. You'd be forgiven for spending the first act or so asking yourself, as the drama unfolds - am I really sympathizing with these people?

And James doesn't mess around, aiming straight for our sentimental jugulars...

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