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Silence of the Lambs Retrospective

 

"That finger fondle is the most terrifying part of the movie; it literally sends a chill through my body every time I view it. Knowing what heinous acts he had committed, I felt very protective of Clarice and that is a testament to Foster's brilliance. I still believe the Oscar should have been split in half (Geena and Susan), but Foster's win here is more justified than The Accused."- NewMoonSon

"I do agree that the movie is well made, but it's about serial killers. Not everyone's cup of tea.." - Devon

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Entries in gender politics (146)

Wednesday
Jan132016

The Razzies Are Here (Though You Wish They Weren't)

Kieran, here. The Razzie Awards, “honoring” the worst cinematic offerings of the year have announced their nominees and it’s pretty much as expected—knee-jerk, steeped in misogyny and patriarchal nonsense (more on this later) and generally indicative that they don’t care about quality filmmaking any more than the offenders they’re highlighting. A little background on who votes on the Razzies—voting is actually open to the public. People who want to vote pay an annual fee or you can pay a whopping $500 for lifetime membership. Why would anyone ever pay to be part of this unseemly orgasm of fruitless schadenfreude, you ask? To quote Sarah Paulson’s Abby in Carol, “I can’t help you with that”.

Anyway, here are the nominees...

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Jan132016

Who will be nominated for Best Picture? Our Final Predictions.

The wisest thing to do in Oscar prediction in most years is a holistic approach. Start with Best Picture and let everything flow outward from that. Many technical or acting nominations throughout Oscar history are headscratchers unless you notice that their housing film was up for the big prize. People love what they love and they love blindly. Or, well, that's not right. That's... ungenerous. I don't think anyone is willfully myopic  -- which is why diversity in Academy membership is so important -- it's just that we all have our limitations and our fields of vision can be narrowed by any number of things including time spent looking at options.

If there were still only five. Oscar.... so manly!

For my own awards -- which statistically always include more movies than Oscars field each year -- this is probably because I see more movies and I probably fuss over my ballot more than 90% of Academy voters. They're inside the raging storm (and as some of them have told me over the years they either see movies very early before they're out in the world or well after the fact depending on their connection to the filmmakers studios and demands of current projects) while we're outside the storm looking at it and able to consider it from more vantage points. Of course that always brings the danger of overthinking it, the #1 easiest trap for pundits. "Guilty!" I shout, knowing myself

How many of these pictures will also be nominated? Last year we had 8 nominees in total.

Best Picture is unusually competitive this year and it's been a  clogged up mess. The sudden lurching away from critical darlings  Carol & Mad Mad Fury Road -- no secret at all that they're my two favorite films of the year -- that some pundits were predicting to lead the nomination tallies as recently as a week or two ago, toward more traditional Oscar Bait like The Revenant and The Big Short (read: heavily masculine, more traditional in form and message) has been a bit disheartening. I go on about this and the gender bias of Best Picture in my intermittent column at Towleroad. I am hopeful that Carol will be nominated still but it's no sure thing. I expect Carol and Room and Brooklyn are in the same 'could go either way' boat .. and together with longer shots Sicario and Inside Out -- well it's hard to miss that these are all extremely well reviewed films with female leads. So why are none of them sure things? Oscar might me walking into an #OscarsSoMale situation tomorrow morning. But we'll cross our fingers and hope voters realized during balloting that women are 50% of the human race and their stories aren't any less important and when they're told so gorgeously it'd be a real shame to pass them over. 

UPDATED CHARTS: PICTURE | DIRECTOR | ACTOR | SUPPORTING ACTORALL SOUND CATEGORIES 

Saturday
Jan092016

Podcast: Whodunnit and Whydtheydoit... "The Hateful Eight"

When the cats away the mice will play? Something like that. This week's two part podcast marks the very first without your host (none of you needed to hear me whine about The Hateful Eight again! -- plus I was sick the day of the recording). So let's see what Nick, Katey and Joe think of it in this sure to be exciting conversation; I only have a vague notion of what they each thought of it so can't wait to listen with all of you! 

24 minutes 
00:01 Introductions & Teasings
02:00 Quentin Tarantino's The Hateful Eight: moviegoing crowds, racial & gender controveries, Agatha Christie mysteries
19:00 Reader Question: Three comedy performances that went wildly underappreciated this past year. Nick, Katey and Joe each pick a favorite. 

Part 2 will be up shortly

You can listen to the podcast here at the bottom of the post or download from iTunes

The Hateful Eight. Intermission and All...

Wednesday
Dec302015

Q&A: Oscar Ceremonies, Sex Work, and... The Warlocks of Eastwick? 

Soon, we'll be buried in an avalanche of awards news again so tonight a brief respite from the current Oscar race. It's Q&A time. Here are eight reader questions I chose to answer. I skipped anything on Category Fraud because I feel so exhausted by that fight ("though undeterred in my moral superiority!" he says arms akimbo and chin up, like a superhero with cape billowing behind him, sworn to upheld 'the Awards Way') and I might have to freak out all over again on nomination morning so let's ignore it for now.

MDA: What 2015 release that you were looking forward to watching disappointed you the most?

NATHANIEL: It feels stranger to answer with a film I liked, especially one that's already getting a critical rethink by way of surprise top ten placements but maybe Magic Mike XXL? While I admire its super cajzh vibe and its focus on female pleasure, I'm puzzled as to why they went more demure with the sequel when they kept promising it would be more stripperific i.e. what everyone expected from Soderbergh's first brilliant film (which you'll remember was a Bronze medalist for Best Picture right here.)

Another big disappointment was Sisters. It's totally funny don't get me wrong. But that's all it is. It's strange that we know that Tina Fey can write brilliant comic masterworks (30 Rock, Mean Girls) but keeps wasting her star power and comic gift on propping up other people's wildly underwritten cliché-filled scripts. I'm beginning to wonder is she even wants to make another comedy classic? Perhaps she's fine coasting until retirement. But it's hard to not wonder what could be if she'd only apply herself again. 

EZ: I hereby grant you special powers to go back in time and attend an Academy Awards Ceremony of your choosing. Which year do you choose and why?

NATHANIEL: This question sounds nice until you realize the genie has only granted you one wish instead of three.  So stingy!

Retro Oscar Races, Domnhall Gleeson, Bridget Jones's Baby, and more 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. 

 

Tuesday
Dec222015

Cinematic Lumps of Coal: 15 Worst of '15

They've been naughty. So we shan't be nice. Rather than choosing the 15 worst movies (we skip a lot of stuff that looks atrocious), here are 15 matters of annoyance within the movies of 2015, whether the movies were decent or terrible. Vague/light spoilers ahead.

15 Lumps of Coal From '15
Links go to past articles about the film or reviews if they exist

15 Grab Bag of Undelights
Afew I couldn't fit in below: Chris Hemsworth's wandering accent in In The Heart of The Sea often within the same scene. Is this First Mate Australian, British, or from the Bronx?; The way Mother Malkin's (Julianne Moore) red hair stays that way when she shifts into dragon form in The Seventh Son. That was cute with Madame Mim in The Sword in the Stone but in "realistic" cgi not so much; and, the perpetual agony of trailers that take you from the beginning to the end of a movie (Room and The Revenant are the latest victims) spoiling every story beat.

14 Longwindedness
In nearly great movies (Clouds of Sils Maria 124 min), good movies (Saint Laurent 150 min.), divisive movies (I'm still making up my mind about The Revenant okay? 156 min), and arthouse curiousities (Arabian Nights, Vol II 131 min., Love 135 min.) alike the tendency in contemporary cinema is to let the camera linger here and there and everywhere and also to include entire sections that add nothing particularly new to the plot or our understanding of character or theme if narrative isn't the movie's main thrust. Don't misunderstand: a good lingering camera can be among the greatest of things but if you're running over 90 minutes please justify it with new information. Shave 10 minutes (or a lot more in some cases) off any of these movies and they're instantly improved. 

13 more after the jump...

Click to read more ...