Asghar Farhadi has another Oscar contender on his hands...

Oscar History

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Oscar Horrors: The Sixth Sense

"I love this movie so much. And to those sad about M. Night's current career, Split with James McAvoy has gotten positive reviews!." -Connor

"Re: "Spoilers" - I can't be the only one who thinks that it's a spoiler to even be warned about a "spoiler" or a twist. It immediately puts you on guard, even if the ultimate spoiler hasn't been revealed." -The Jack

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Entries in Michael Shannon (25)


TIFF: Relating to Amy Adams in "Nocturnal Animals" and "Arrival"

Nathaniel R reporting from TIFF. The festival is winding down now but my mind keeps drifting back to the Amy Adams double feature on day two. If there were gif walls featuring all of Amy Adams close-ups in both of her movies this year, they would accurately describe this critics innermost thoughts about the movies they came from. Read on and I'll elaborate (without spoilers) though we'll obviously revisit and go into more detail when both movies actually...ahem... arrive in mid November which is unofficially 'Amy Adams Month' according to distributors.

ARRIVAL (Dir. Denis Villeneuve, US)
Paramount Pictures. Opens on November 11th

In this gripping and sensationally crafted sci-fi drama, adapted from the short story "Story of Your Life" by Ted Chiang, Amy Adams plays Dr. Louise Banks. Dr Banks is a prominent linguist who is recruited by the government to attempt to communicate with extra-terrestrials. They have arrived on Earth or, rather, are hovering above it in twelve space crafts each in a separate area of the world, appearing to do nothing at all. Will the world's fearful governments nuke the ships or can Dr Banks save the world (if it's even threatened?) by learning why they've come?

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Tweetweek at the ballet with a wacky neighbor and frosted pop tarts

Two Tweets that are consuming most parts of my brain at the moment...  


Babs getting verklempt over Hathaway is too camp for even me.

I mean. Between those two tweets who can we think of anything else now? Okay we'll try after the jump with tweets on tv feminism, Sully anticipation, Sally Field's range, and finding Mr Darcy...

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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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Throw Me to the Wolves

Team Experience from the Tribeca Film Festival - here's Jason on "Wolves."

After walking out of the screening a good friend asked me incredulously what on Earth drew me, me of all people, to go see the basketball slash gambling coming-of-age drama Wolves - I'm not exactly the choice audience for sports stories. But my answer was quick and easy: Michael Shannon and Carla Gugino, of course! And as such, Wolves is worth seeing. Those two play the parents of Anthony (a solid Taylor John Smith) and if you've ever dug watching them work, here they work! Overtime!

What they have to work with is a bit, as they say, well-worn: Shannon's father figure is a gambling addict and Gugino's mama bear has been putting up with that for too long. The film (written and directed by Bart Freundlich aka Mr Julianne Moore) leans hard on those tropes, but it also stares down with honesty and heart (mostly) and the performers are excellent enough to overcome, and carve their initials on them. It all leads pretty much where you think it will, down the court on the ever counting clock, but the circuitous route's (mostly) worth traveling.

One big exception -- there's an older basketball playing gentleman called (sigh) Socrates that fits the so-called "Magical Negro" mold so rigidly it's like an unironic Mammy suddenly stumbled out of the bushes. Socrates has no reason whatsoever to go out of his way to teach this dopey kid, much less follow him around and dispense wisdom like an automaton, yet there he always is at just the right moment with no life or interests of his own save aiding Saint Anthony. Can we move past this please? Socrates' got his own shit, son.


They Ain't Nothin' But Two Hound-dogs

Team Experience is at the Tribeca Film Festival. Here's Jason on 'Elvis & Nixon.'

We get a "Thank you, thank you very much" fairly early into Elvis & Nixon, the new comic bio-pic detailing that legendarily bizarre photograph of the musician and the politician shaking hands in 1970, and that tips the movie's hat toward its will to please - this is a genial little thing, a bejeweled trifle, that leaves these two men's storm-clouds mostly off-screen at the horizon, opting instead for a light-hearted clash of Fame and Power and the Great Men who wield either/or. At times the Jack Benny score wouldn't feel out of place.

Not that not taking itself overly serious is a demerit by any means - Michael Shannon is The King of taking himself awfully seriously, so it's a relief to see him relax here under a different crown. He never really looks the part, but then everybody looks the part enough when you slap enough Presley paraphernalia on them (there's a wry little scene where Elvis meets an Elvis impersonator at the airport that messes with these notions of identity and self) - so Shannon under-plays and amuses through that under-play, allowing everybody around him to fill in the gaps. His Elvis is one who knows what a change in temperature his very presence causes upon entering a room, so why work so hard? Everybody will remember what they remember, regardless of what he does or doesn't do.

Kevin Spacey too tries to turn Tricky Dick into a goof, but that's a taller order (Dan Hedaya did the best job I've seen in the movie Dick, by leaning hard into Nixon's oversized assholishness) and he's given less to work with than Shannon - the film's clearly more interested in its Graceland cast of characters then the White House suits; unless I'm forgetting something I don't think we ever see Spacey outside of the Oval Office? 

Anyway once the fateful meeting finally comes to pass, the movie screeches to a halt in the best sense - indeed I think it would've been a better movie had it found a way to slow time to such a standstill that it extended these scenes out for even more of its run-time. We never much care about anything else that the script tries to make us care about, but there's real burning love between its two main attractions.

Grade: B-


The Irresistible Danger of Matthias Schoenaerts and Michael Shannon

 As we continue Actor Month here's Murtada on Matthias Schoenaerts & Michael Shannon.

One might ask what do Matthias Schoenaerts and Michael Shannon have in common. A hulking body (stocky Schoenaerts and tall angular Shannon). Intensity? Yes but also a certain menacing danger that sweeps through in every performance. It's a danger that comes out sexy with Schoenaerts and somewhat evil with Shannon. One never knows what they are going to do next, and that's why they are so mesmerizing to watch.






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Midnight Special Coda

Here's Murtada with a spoilery deconstruction of one scene in Midnight Special

The coda after the ending of Jeff Nichols’ Midnight Special is between two characters that are not the family at the center of this sci fi story. The interaction between Joel Edgerton and Adam Driver made me realize why the movie left me emotionally cold. I cared more about these peripheral characters than the main characters, or the story. At least for a minute or two...

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