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Entries in Year in Review (126)

Friday
Jul062012

Halfway 2012. Supporting Actors (Thus Far)

We're surveying the "best" of the year thus far even if the pickings are slim. Previously we covered Actress, Actor and Picture. Now, the gentlemen in the sidelines.

SUPPORTING ACTOR  January through June Releases
Surveying what we've seen so far in this particularly category is challenging. In ensemble pieces from The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel to To Rome With Love, there just wasn't a breakout performance that rose so far above the film's limitations that you had to praise it. Mark Ruffalo's funny Hulk and Michael Fassbender's suave killer in The Avengers and Haywire respectively came closest but were better showcases for the commanding charisma of the actors than their actual skills. So if I had to turn in a ballot RIGHT NOW (god forbid) it'd go like so... 

Explanations and Team Experience survey  if you click to continue...

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Jul052012

Halfway House 2012. Lead Actor (Thus Far)

It's part three of our Halfway Mark rundown as we survey the film year thus far from January through June releases. It's been crickets thus far in terms of possible Oscar players (with the exception of one of these men -- but we'll get to him in a minute.) but that doesn't mean there isn't work to appreciate.

If I was forced to draw up a ballot right now...

explanations and Team Experience commentary after the jump

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Jul042012

Halfway House 2012. Best Picture (Thus Far)

HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY! We're taking stock and talking 2012 crop now that the year is half over. If you asked me to nominate for "Best Picture" right now, here are the titles I'd scribble in the air with sparklers... in alpha order.  I fully expect 2 or 3 of them to be written in ink at the end of the year in my top ten list.

 

The Avengers (review)
Let's not overstate. Popcorn entertainment occassionally does come better than this but The Avengers is still pretty damn fun and clever as it hurdles the complicated 'how on earth do you combine all these franchises into one?' question with confidence and humor. It's easy to forget how wrong this could have gone. Well done Joss Whedon. Extra bonus points for redeeming the two most previously disappointing characters (The Black Widow and The Hulk) by making them the unexpected key pieces of this jigsaw puzzle.

Beasts of the Southern Wild
(capsule)
Benh Zeitlin's evocative utopia/dystopia journey is like nothing you've ever seen. So get to seeing it the first chance you get. We'll obviously be talking about it more as the year wears on and top ten lists and awards begin looming.

Bullhead (review)
Michael R. Roskam's brooding tragedy-laced crime drama about a lonely cattle farmer and illegal growth hormones was nominated for Best Foreign Film last year. It finally hit US cinemas this year. They always make us wait. 

Declaration of War 
Valérie Donzelli's restless, experimental retelling of her own traumatic experience as a new parent of a sick child with then boyfriend Jérémie Elkaïm(also playing a version of himself) was a bracing experiene and even an oddly joyful movie. Though it was clearly a longshot for Oscar play (they didn't nominate it for foreign film) I'm glad France submitted it bringing it to our attention here. 

 A Festive 4th of July with Dallas and the Kings of Tampa


Magic Mike (review)
Steven Soderbergh's nuanced observational portrait of a stripper/entrepeneur facing the uncertain future has stylish filmmaking, good solid laughs, and better character portraits than you usually get on the peripheries of the narrative. 

Moonrise Kingdom
(capsule)
Not since The Royal Tenenbaums have Wes Anderson's form and content enjoyed a marriage this whimsical, aching and bittersweet. It's multifaceted and, better yet, enjoyable on serious and silly levels depending on your mood. Seems likely to reward us on future viewings. 

Runners up? Not really. Those six stand head and shoulders, even groins in Mike's case, above the pack. Don't miss any of them. If I had to make a top ten list this early with so few films seen (yikes) 7 through 10 in descending order would go to... no I can't it's too unsatisying... I can't I ca... oh, all right

JUST 4 OSCARY FUN...
Try to imagine what would happen if the year ended right now. Which films do you think would make Oscar's BP list? It has to be films that are eligible (i.e. released already) so I'm feeling like there's no way it wouldn't be these five: Avengers, Beasts of, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, The Hunger Games and Moonrise Kingdom... with Hunger Games losing a Best Director opportunity to Steven Soderbergh for Magic Mike. I've got this alternate reality all figured out! Marketable skill.

Those five movies are arguably the only five that'll have enough devotees to cry "it's going to happen!" in five more months... even if it isn't in most of those cases. Do you agree? Or do you think something heartwarming / messagey (like The Intouchables?) or something critically supported but divisive (like Magic Mike) would surprise and knock the not-beloved-but-way-successful Hunger Games out?

Most importantly: What would your ballot look like so far? And do you think anything we've seen yet is going the distance to an Oscar nomination.

Read Also "Best Of..." Actress, Actor , Supporting Actor and Supporting Actress

Sunday
Jul012012

Halfway House 2012. Lead Actress (Thus Far)

Don't you love to take stock every six months? At the very least it's a good excuse for list-making. Lists! Wheeee. If all Academy members did this before they sent in their nominee ballots in January, we might end up with a spread of nominees that wasn't so December slanted. I never decide who to vote for this early but I do draw up lists of performances I enjoyed /  respected to consider again later in the year when all the advertising rushes in an effort to shape the highly malleable collective subconscious and thus, votes.

If I had to draw up a ballot right now:

Oscar thoughts and other fine performances after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Jun302012

June. It's a Wrap

The halfway mark. Gulp. What do we have to show for it? Perhaps a renewed sense of purpose? We're crawling our way back after a very difficult May/early June. Here were ten highlights from the month that was.

Frock of Ages Joanna & I had a laugh -- make that several-- discussing recent premiere fashions
How Long Since You've Seen The Matrix? A look back at the beloved 1999 reality bender. "There is no spoon."
Seven Ways... that Waiting For the New James Bond Movie (Skyfall) is Exactly Like Waiting for the New Woody Allen Movie  (To Rome With Love)
True Blood Sinks / Teen Wolf Rises time to pass the (supernatural) torch 

On Screen Beauty and Jean Harlow who died young 
Oscar Prediction Updates it had to be done.
Isabelle Adjani and The Story of Adele H "Best Shot" returned with a rarely discussed but interesting historic Oscar bid. "Best Shot" needs fresh blood. Won't you join us soon?
Twins! We spent our time under Gemini discussing them touching on films like Minority Report, Star Wars, The Witches of Eastwick, Showgirls, Interview with the Vampire and more...

Most Discussed: Burning Question: What is your "stand alone" film?  
Michael wondered what movie you alone consider a masterpiece.
Most Eyeballs: Thoughts I Had While Staring at the Magic Mike poster  
Not all of them were lust-based, honest.

I meant to end June with a little "see? This blog is totally worth a dime a day" (see the sidebar subscription box) but I'll give you one more month to consider and hit you up in July when I've fully recovered from May. God, that was rough. What's coming in July? Magic Mike and Other Cinematic Strippers, Halfway Mark Madness, Farewell My Queen (2012), Batman and Spider-Man (you can't really avoid them), Picnic (1956), Pink Narcissus (1971), Beasts of the Southern Wild interviews, The Lost Boys (1987) anniversary, more webcomix (I so need to make them), and the first wave of a big Gene Kelly Centennial Retrospective. I hope you love him as much as I do because I need his wide smiled high leaping toe tapping joy in my life right now. 

Thursday
Jun282012

Halfway There... Almost

What's on your cinematic mind when it comes to 2012? Our Halfway Mark Specials begin this Sunday so I'm curious how the year is shaping up for you so far? Has your moviegoing been light or heavy? thrilling or filled with disappointed? Or maybe you're stuck in the inbetween.

Here's what I've personally seen or reviewed so far...

  • If I haven't discussed it which 2012 release would you most like to read about?
  • Of those we have discussed on the blog, which would you like to keep on discussing? 
  • Which halfway mark topic -- don't worry we'll talk Oscar -- do you have a lot to say about?