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Entries in Jeff Nichols (10)

Tuesday
Dec202016

Catching up w/ Critics Prizes: Chicago, London, Kansas City, and SEFCA

Another week another big round of critics prizes. As previously noted we only cover about 16 groups (for sanity purposes) so here were a fourth of them as announced these past few days.

CHICAGO FILM CRITICS ASSOCIATION

Chicago's association was first established in 1988 with a Best Picture prize for Mississippi Burning of all things. This year they liked The Handmaiden so much that it even broke into their Best Picture nomination, a rarity for the group. The last foreign language film to do so with Chicago was Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon back in 2000. It won three prizes, just shy of what Manchester by the Sea managed...

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Tuesday
Nov152016

On Ruth Negga's emotional power in "Loving"

by Murtada

Ruth Negga gives Loving its heart and soul. From the very first frame, director Jeff Nichols relies on her expressive face to tell the story of Mildred and Richard Loving, the mixed race couple at the center of 1967 Supreme Court ruling that changed anti-miscegenation laws. The Lovings paved the way for generations of mixed race families. Nichols starts with Negga, his camera moving into a close up. A silent moment as we take in her big-eyed, made-for-cinema face. Then the line “I’’m pregnant” and we're swept right into this couple’s story. No need for us to see how they met and fell in love. Negga tells us the whole story with her face and delivery of that line.

Throughout the film, which puts the court cases to the periphery, it’s Negga's face that continues to tell the story...

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Friday
Nov042016

Posterized: Jeff Nichols

With the romantic civil rights drama Loving opening in limited release today let's survey the short career (thus far) of writer/director Jeff Nichols. He turns 38 in a month but he's already made 5 pictures. With each subsequent effort pictures he seems to edge a wee bit closer to mainstream awareness and already has critics in his corner. The Oscar attention that will likely hit Loving, which focuses on Richard (Joel Edgerton) and Mildred Loving (Ruth Negga) and their battles with Virginia's anti-miscegenation laws, will be a major step in that direction. None of his films to date have received an Oscar nomination of any kind though they've been in the "best of year" conversations.

How many of his films have you seen?


Shotgun Stories (2007) - Spirit Award John Cassavettes Nominee
Take Shelter (2011) -5 Spirit Award nominations with 1 win, Gotham Nominations for Feature & Ensemble
Mud (2013) - Spirit Award Best Direction Nomination, Robert Altman Award Win
Midnight Special (2016) 
Loving (2016) - Gotham Nominations for Best Actor and Best Actress

Fun Trivia Note: Michael Shannon has appeared in every single one of the director's films. In Loving though he only has a bit role as a magazine photographer who takes famous photos of the couple at home which raises their profile nationally.

Tuesday
Nov012016

Doc Corner: Revisiting 'The Loving Story'

For this weeks edition of Doc Corner we are celebrating the release of Jeff Nichols' Loving by looking back at the documentary that was quite clearly a heavy inspiration on it.

That Richard and Mildred Loving often got overlooked for their unwilling but necessary part in the civil rights movement is hardly surprising when you watch The Loving Story, Nancy Buiski’s sober and low-key documentary from 2011. The pair, quiet and dignified, do not make for the sort of protagonists that make traditional narratives – a comment that has come up throughout the festival release of Jeff Nichols’ feature adaptation. Theirs is a story of quiet suffering; their victory an almost anticlimactic ‘duh’ moment that it’s easy to see why it has taken so long to get films made about them.

But it is that very reserved nature that makes their story equally compelling. Mildred, especially, is a woman whose soft-spoken nature so often goes unseen by storytellers throughout moments of great historical upheaval. Buiski’s film doesn’t try to pad it out with flash and narrative diversions. Instead it lets the humanity of its story and the relevance of its themes permeate across wisely assembled talking heads (including the couple’s only surviving child, Peggy) and a treasure trove of fascinating archival footage, newsreels, and family photographs that makes up the bulk of the film’s short yet resourceful runtime.

The entire story of the Loving v Virginia case holds relevance today in the face of race and same-sex marriage. Their story is one of barbaric cruelty where they were subjected to being woken up in the middle of night with flashlights in their faces, their relationship opened up to the inspection and scrutiny of hate-filled bigots in positions of power.

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Friday
Jul152016

Yes No Maybe So: "Loving"

As far as first looks go, the La La Land trailer might have sucked all the air out of the room this week, but we also got a trailer for another Oscar hopeful: Cannes entry Loving. It left Cannes empty handed for prizes, but there was pletny of praise for the film and buzz for leading lady Ruth Negga. You can bank we'll be talking about this one before it finally arrives stateside in November all the way to the big show.

While that transfixing glimpse at Land was more a feast for the eyes and ears, the Loving trailer goes right for the heart. I know I'm higher on Jeff Nichols than most of Team Experience, so I can admit that I'm a little biased on the film already, even if I agree that his other film this year Midnight Special was his weakest. After flirting with fable and genre in his past three films, how will a more straight forward narrative work for the auteur this time?

Does the trailer make us any more or less excited? Let's break it down after the jump...

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Monday
Apr252016

Everybody Wants Some Podcasting !!

NathanielNick, and Joe kick off a whole new season of the podcast by hitting the road with Michael Shannon and family in Midnight Special and going back to college with Richard Linklater's baseball boys in Everybody Wants Some!! We believe its our 8th season, so we'll just go with that.

42:30 minutes 
00:01 The Crucible Broadway & Film
02:12 The Slumdog Oscar Year
05:00 Everybody Wants Some!! delightful & sexy
15:00 Pro & Con on Midnight Special
32:00 Hello My Name is Doris,  Zootopia
40:30 Favorite Prince songs

You can listen to the podcast here at the bottom of the post or download from iTunes. Please continue the conversation in the comments. Did you "want some!!" and where do you fall in the all-over-the-place reactions to Midnight Special.

Everybody Wants Season Debut