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Entries in Year in Review (158)


September. It's a Wrap

We've reached the final quarter of the year? Unreal right? September was very rough off blog (personal crises for friends and family) and the movies kept us just as busy. Frankly your editor-in-chief has had a hard time remembering what day of the week it even is at this point. The head is spinning. So let October be a fresh new rebirth as we begin the march toward Oscar night. Just 151 days away! 

September often felt like a brick to the head

10 September Highlights
Best School Films - Team Experience went back to school by choosing the 10 all time best from 1955's Rebel Without a Cause through 2008's Palme d'or winner The Class
Fury Road's "Best Shots" - multiple tributes to John Seale's cinematography on Mad Max Fury Road
Fast Times - Anne Marie looked at the career of Amy Heckerling in Women's Pictures
Matt Damon's Foot in Mouth Disease - Oh Matt. Well meaning oblivious Matt
AHS Promos - Manuel argued that American Horror Story is better at the foreplay than the actual f***ing
Top Ten Summer - the Podcast team chose their favorite things about 2015's summer movies 
What's next for Jennifer Lawrence? - Murtada is keeping an eye on her 
Goodfellas turns 25 - David revisited the Scorsese classic
Jeremy Irvine talked Stonewall "no one ever sets out to make a bad movie" 
Liz Taylor's best Cleopatra looks - Abstew did the impossible choosing 10 from 65 costume changes! 

Oscar Mania
Tis the (beginning) of the season. We paid special attention to Best Picture movement, Original Song, Foreign Film, Actress, and Actor... but all of the charts are freshly updated.  

Other Happenings...
At TIFF Amir & Nathaniel reviewed 37 films (whew). But film festivals weren't the only happenings. In September we also learned that we'd get two Oscar hosts (but not who they'd be), were forced to say goodbye to master of horror Wes Craven, and celebrated Emmy night with several articles as well as actressy celebrations devoted to Regina King, and new triplecrowner Frances McDormand.

Lots of exciting new movies to talk about including Room, The Martian, Freeheld, Steve Jobs, Crimson Peak and Suffragette. We'll also have a mini 1963 celebration to include the final Supporting Actress Smackdown of the season featuring Tom Jones, The VIPs and Lilies of the Field (panelists tba very soon), a few spooky films, and more interviews, reviews, lists, and silliness. ANY REQUESTS?


"Room" is the People's Choice

Great News: Room won the People's Choice award at TIFF! 
It couldn't have happened to a more deserving film and I mean that literally since it was the best of the 29 films I caught there. Confession: I really thought that Spotlight would take it since festival goers wouldn't shut up about that one. In the past twenty years the People's Choice Award has been a very solid indicator of a future Best Picture nomination. In fact, with one exception only (Hotel Rwandaif the winner was from the States or the UK, it was nominated at the Oscars. Canadian winners (Eastern Promises and The Hanging Garden) as well as most of the non-English language winners weren't so lucky. A Best Picture nomination would be a very big deal for A24 as a young distributor but they've already released so many fine and daring films they've earned one, don't you think? 

How high would you rank the film now in your predictions? 

Winners List
People's Choice Room (Lenny Abramson)
    1st Runner Up: Angry Indian Goddesses (Pan Nalin)
    2nd Runner Up: Spotlight (Tom McCarthy)

FIPRESCI DiscoveryEva Nová (Marko Skop) 
FIPRESCI Special PresentationDesierto (Jonás Cuarón) 
NETPAC Asian Cinema AwardWhispering Star (Sion Sono) 
Toronto Platform AwardHURT (Alan Zweig) 
    Honorable Mention: Neon Bull, The Promised Land, The Clan
Best Short Maman(s) (Maïmouna Doucouré)
     Honorable Mention: Rate Me (Fyzal Boulifa) 

Best Canadian Feature Closet Monster (Stephen Dunn)
    Honorable Mention: My Internship in Canada (Philippe Falardeau)
Best Canadian First Feature Film Sleeping Giant (Andrew Cividino)
Best Canadian Short Overpass (Patrice Laliberté)
    Honorable Mention: Bacon & God's Wrath (Sol Friedman)

The odd thing about the Canadian prizes is that Closet Monster, my favorite LGBT movie from the fest, which won the "Canada Goose" for Best Canadian Film is also a First Feature; there's another prize for that that it did not win! Of the other award winners, I only managed to catch Spotlight, Room, and the Toronto Platform Honorable Mention The Clan. It's a gut-wrenching true crime drama about a notorious family in Argentina who kidnapped members of other upper class families, some of whom they knew personally, for ransom money. I suspect it will be Argentina's Oscar submission but they don't announce until the end of the month.


Podcast: Top Tens of Summer 2015

For this week's edition of the podcast, Katey, Joe, Nathaniel and Nick reunite to share their top tens of summer movie season. We allowed ourselves full movies, single moments, general themes. It's a free form top ten roundelay. 

Topics include but are not limited to... 
Mad Max: Fury Road, I'll See You In My Dreams, Jurassic World, The Avengers: Age of Ultron, Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, Far From the Madding Crowd, The Man From U.N.C.L.E., Diary of a Teenage Girl, Amy, Trainwreck, A Little Chaos, Ricki and the Flash, Joss Whedon, Amy Poehler, Elizabeth Banks, Jada Pinkett Smith, Andie MacDowell, footwear, camera-shaking music, counterprogramming and more...

You can listen to the podcast here at the bottom of the post or download from iTunes. Continue the conversation in the comments. Share your top ten anything from the summer movie season!

Summer Top Tens


August. Is (Basically) A Wrap

Goodbye Summer 2015. We have a couple of post-mortems coming on the summer movie season and also the companion podcast to the 1954 smackdown... but those will essentially be epilogues to this hot month. And "hot" was literal rather than superlative. Aren't you glad summer is ending? Fall is often the best season, cinematically and weather-wise

Random Highlights ICYMT
HBO LGBT Manuel on memorable characters in The Wire, Carnivàle and Sopranos
Batgirl RIP Yvonne Craig (sniffle)
The Huston Family Acting Dynasty I mean... why not? 
Chicken Run (2000) for "Best Shot" fun
And the Honorary Oscar Goes to... Debbie, Gena and Spike! 
Junebug 10th anniversary 
"I Love Myself" Hailee Steinfeld and other Oscar nominated would be pop stars 
Viola Davis we celebrated her 50th and looked at upcoming projects. The triple crown is on its way 

List Mania
Sing Along greatest movie songs of the 1980s. Do you know them by heart?
24 Lily Tomlin Films - how many have u seen?
100 Things I Love About the Movies off the top of my head 
Jennifer Lawrence Happy 25th Jose celebrated with her best looks 
Highest Paid Actress via Forbes 

Reviewish (all formats): Ricki and the Flash (Nathaniel), Fantastic Four (Tim), The Man From UNCLE (Kyle), Woman in Gold (Nathaniel), Queen of Earth (Glenn), The Riot Club (David), Mr Robot & Humans S1 (Lynn & Nathaniel), Masters of Sex S3 (Deborah, Manuel, David, and Dan)

Finally... did you enjoy our Ingrid Bergman Centennial? We covered Intermezzo (1939), Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde (1941), For Whom the Bell Tolls (1942), Notorious, (1946), Joan of Arc (1948), Journey to Italy (1954), Indiscreet (1958), The Inn of Sixth Happiness (1958),Cactus Flower (1969), Murder on the Orient Express (1974) and her final movie Autumn Sonata (1978). For fun, and because she's arguably the definitive romantic heroine among movie stars, her ten best screen kisses. Thanks to Team Experience for doing this. You can read about our team here if you've ever been like "who is writing this wonderful piece that I'm reading?"

COMING IN SEPTEMBER: Nathaniel and Amir report from TIFF, Jose will be looking at festival fashions, and the Emmy Awards are nearly upon us, too. New movies will include Sleeping With Other PeopleEverest, Sicario, and The Intern. As for retrospectives, we'll look back at Postcards from the Edge and Goodfellas for their 25th birthdays and hit a few 1963 offerings in honor of the final Supporting Actress Smackdown of the year: it's Lilies of the Field versus Tom Jones versus VIP. Visit us daily, okay? xo


What's the best scene from summer movie season?

Team Experience will be sharing highlights of their summer viewing in a week but until then, out of curiousity... What would you name the best single scene of the summer movie season? Here are a bakers dozen of candidates that thrilled yours truly...

• Chez Andie. Magic Mike XXL 
The Opera House. Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation (and where the hell has this Rebecca Ferguson woman been all our lives?)
The Dream. Inside Out
• A Dangerous Dance. Tom at the Farm 
Furiosa vs. Max. Mad Max: Fury Road - That chained throwdown with Immortan Joe's harem as audience
Saving the Barn. Far From the Madding Crowd. Schoenaerts to the rescue!
Karaoke Night. I'll See You In My Dreams 
Birth of The Vision. Avengers: Age of Ultron. Damn but it's good to see Paul Bettany floating, mysterious, forehead bejewelled, and airbrushed red 
Laced Drink. The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Elizabeth Debicki is everything, in OR out of focus
Nested Flashback. Ant-Man. Starring Michael Peña 
Commercial on Loop. The D Train Jack Black's James Marsden obsession begins
Stepmom Stakes ClaimRicki and the Flash. It's always special and too rare to see an actress challenge Meryl Streep to a duel in a face off scene. Go Audra!
Visiting an Old Friend. Grandma. It's been a good summer for Sam Elliott. See also: I'll See You In My Dreams

I wanted to list something from A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence but since the whole thing is brilliant short vignettes, it would take up half the list.

Please do share your favorites! 


July. It's a Wrap

One more hot month before Prestige awards-hunting Season. Are you getting excited yet? If you have been away at the beach here are 12 highlights of the month for your reading pleasure.

Halfway Mark - Best of January through June 
Rhythm Hunger Nation - Katniss Everdeen does her best Janet Jackson 
Blurb Whore - Nathaniel's on a movie poster! 
Oldest Living Screen Stars - all 200 of them from de Havilland to Eastwood
Titus Andromedon and the "GBF" investigating the 'type' post Emmy noms
[Safe] & Sunset Boulevard - made for awesome "Best Shot" episodes  
Oscars vs. Blockbusters? - Not that simple  
Jake vs Jake - which kind of Gyllenhaal?  

"CAN SHE BEAT 'THE MRS TOM CRUISE' THING?" (hilarity in old headlines)Nicole Kidman's Breakout Year - part of our '95 retrospective
Omar Sharif (RIP) - we said goodbye twice: once for Hollywood, once for Egypt
The Revenant Buzz - are Oscar campaigns starting early or are they fending off "troubled" buzz? 

The 1995 Smackdown this Sunday

Ricki and The Flash, Grandma, Mistress America, Shaun the Sheep, Chicken Run, Angels in America, a small screen series, and more. Plus: Jennifer Lawrence turns 25. Viola Davis turns 50. And all month long we'll celebrate THE INGRID BERGMAN CENTENNIAL. P.S. Our year of the month will be 1954 so which movies would you love to read about? 



If I don't share this list now, "Mad Max Fury Road" won't be on it! 

A final "halfway mark" note. These are...

THE 10 BIGGEST 2015 MOVIES AT THE US BOX OFFICE (jan thru july 4th weekend)

chart via box office mojo

Imperator Furiosa by Cameron Stewart

I share this list only because I love Mad Max Fury Road so much and this is both the first moment (it just crawled over San Andreas) and the last in which it will be a 'top ten movie' for 2015... well, until critics top ten lists emerge but that's a different kind of List Olympics.

Minions, opening today, will surely kick it out of this box office giants chart in the next three days alone. Minions advertising is so oppressive that I imagine every child in the nation wants to see it and every parent has a migraine from hearing about it. (It wouldn't surprise me to hear that they spent as much on P&A as they stand to earn on opening weekend. The first film Despicable Me opened with $53 million and ended with $251 milliion. The second film Despicable Me 2 opened with $83 million and ended with $368 million. So who knows how high this one could go). Maybe it'll end up as the 3rd biggest grosser of 2015 when all is said and done since only Star Wars can will challenge Jurassic World's supremacy from the first half.

Are you like "shut up about 'they year is half over'?"
If your answer to that question is 'yes,' too bad. It is! It's been a decent year thus far in cinema but also a curiously shallow one in terms of mainstream films worth getting excited about. So many weekends have been bereft of interesting or exciting looking choice that it's kind of no wonder that Jurassic World was breaking box office records. It had no competition for like a whole month, aside from the surprise excellence of Inside Out.

Halfway There ~ Year in Review. Nine Parts
pt. 1 Oscar Acting Chart
pt. 2 10 Best Leading Performances
pt. 3 Animation from Strange Magic to Inside Out 
pt. 4 Ubiquitous Alicia Vikander 
pt. 5 Oscar Chart Updates - All Categories
pt. 6 Best Supporting Performances 
pt. 7 Top Ten List
pt. 8 Best Screen Animals  
pt. 9 Eye Candy