Oscar History

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Entries in thriller (7)


Review: Red Sparrow 

by Eric Blume

The Russian Tourism Board won’t likely be sponsoring the film Red Sparrow, the new spy movie from Hunger Games director Francis Lawrence.  Other than featuring some very chic ushankas on a very attractive cast, this film makes Russians look very nasty, just like we’ve always imagined them to be for the movies.  Lawrence’s conception of the country illustrates his wonderfully corny, often thrilling, mysterious, and silly/serious approach into old-fashioned espionage that we don’t see much of nowadays.

Lawrence starts his film where he should:  firmly on the face of his leading lady, Jennifer Lawrence, sporting a bangs-heavy brown wig.  She’s a famous ballet dancer in Moscow, and the director steals a bit of the feverish tone of Black Swan in her early scenes.  The plot unravels in a series of crosses, double-crosses, and reverses that include her involvement with a US spy played by Joel Edgerton...

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Months of Meryl: Still of the Night (1982)

Hi, we’re John and Matt and, icymi, we are watching every single live-action film starring Streep...

#7 — Brooke Reynolds, a Waspy urbanite and unlikely femme fatale with a shady past and a killer blonde bob.

MATTHEW: No actor, not even the oft-cited Greatest Actress of All Time, is immune to the inevitable and indisputable stinker. Seven projects in and just touching the surface of true-blue movie stardom, Meryl Streep finally made her first real turkey...

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Blueprints: "Get Out"

We’re right in the middle of the awards race heat. Jorge takes a look at one of the most celebrated screenplays of last year, and how the meaning of its words change upon a second reading.

[Caution! Spoilers ahead for Get Out!]


Get Out has rightfully been one of the most acclaimed movies of the year. It’s genre-bending reflection on white liberalism is a seamless blend of comedy, horror, and satire. As it goes with all great movies, it all goes back to the script. Jordan Peele’s screenplay plays with the audience’s expectations masterfully, packing it with thrills and reveals and twists.

There is a twist about two thirds into Get Out, where a character who we thought was on Chris’s side (and therefore, the audience’s) turns out to have been in on it the entire time, the reveal done with only the jingle of keys... 

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The Furniture: Atomic Blonde's Neon Nihilism

"The Furniture," by Daniel Walber, is our weekly series on Production Design. You can click on the images to see them in magnified detail. 

The design of Atomic Blonde is, well, cool. The colors are cool and the vibe is cool, in a very straightforward way. It’s nothing like the characters, who constantly double-cross each other. The twists and turns of this last-minute Cold War spy movie keep coming until its final moments. Everyone is suspicious, even if it’s not obvious.

Yet the landscape upon which Lorraine (Charlize Theron) and Percival (James McAvoy), the Brits, Americans, French, Russians, West Germans and East Germans play is remarkably uniform. Perhaps this is because the film, directed by David Leitch (John Wick) and written by Kurt Johnstad (300) sees them all as working the same game. It’s a bit like the moral landscape of Sicario, the nihilism of film noir without any of its grand mysteries. The question is no longer “What is evil?” but rather “Why are all these people who signed up for a violent and amoral profession behaving so violently and without morals?”

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Review: "The Snowman"

by Eric Blume

There aren’t words in the English language which can adequately describe how terrible The Snowman is.  Talented director Tomas Alfredson (Let the Right One In and Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy) has let the press know that “10-15% of the screenplay” was never shot during principal photography, which certainly explains why nothing in the movie makes a shred of sense.  

The film might be about a detective (Michael Fassbender) who is partnering but not partnering with another detective (Rebecca Ferguson) to track someone who may or may not be a serial killer, the identity of whom may or may not be traced back to a prologue which is undeniably heavy-handed and portentous...

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Saturn Award Nominations: Rogue One... and Hidden Figures?

The Saturn Awards were created over 40 years go to honor the then generally dishonored genres of sci-fi fantasy and horror. Whether they're still needed in a pop culture climate that veritably worships these things is up for debate. But even if they are -- and its certainly true that genre shows and films are still considered poor cousins to more respectable "drama" and "biopics" when it comes to mainstream awards --  are the Saturn Awards the ones to do it?

Now in their 43rd year, they seem to have lost the thread a little. They have so many categories it feels like they're eager to displace the Grammys, Satellites, or BFCA for "MOST!" and in addition to the ridiculous amounts of categories, they have 6 to 8 nominees per category which negates the need to have much in the way of discernment as to what constitutes "best". The problem in a nutshell: It's great to have an awards group that can say "Captain America: Civil War is superb" with a straight face, but when they also hold up Batman v Superman for the same honor, it kind of kills the impact.

Rogue One leads the nominees with 11 nominations. All 41 categories and more commentary after the jump... 

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Teaser for Sundance Midnight Selection "Bad Day for the Cut"

Hello! New contributor Robert Balkovich here.

For those of us not #blessed enough to nab tickets to the festivals our joy comes from scouring the internet for trailers, stills, reviews, and any other new morsels of info about the upcoming films. Today we've got a new teaser for revenge thriller out of Norther Ireland Bad Day for the Cut, which is premiering in Park City as part of the increasingly prestigious Sundance Midnight selection. Lovers of thick Irish brogues and morally ambiguous murder rampages rejoice!

Slightly NSFW teaser after the jump...

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