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Entries in Year in Review (106)

Tuesday
Dec242013

Merry Link-Mas

Grantland Mark Harris on The Good Wife and Scandal and TV trends in 2013
Variety on that misleading marketing campaign for Frozen and how it paid off. I feared this would happen, not the success but the "our lie worked!" part. I firmly believe that the movie would have been just as successful if they hadn't lied about what it was. Any movie that drops in the low teen percentile from week to week at the box office was going to be a huge smash hit regardless. People love this one and are either returning or telling all their friends that it's great.

Fun 2013 Lists!
The Wire talks the 13 best SNL skits of the year. I rarely watch the show so this all felt new to me!
The Playlist Redbox's most rented titles in 2013 reveal the immense popularity of Melissa McCarthy. I wonder what she's charging now per film?
Junkee Glenn looks at the best of Queer cinema
Towleroad I neglected to share it but I love this 'most powerful coming out stories of the year' and how did I not write about Maria Bello!
The New Yorker's 13 most read posts
Huffington Post Huffpo reviews the year and all the things white people stole from black people from Miley Cyrus twerking to Julianne Hough's Halloween "black face" and dubs this 'the year of cultural appropriation.' Oh, HuffPo, that's EVERY year in our regurgitated pop culture 

And Check This Out...

click to enlarge

The most popular TV show set in each state as determined by Business Insider. Hat tip to i09 for this juicy discovery. A lot of it is just as you'd expect (The Golden Girls for Florida!, Seinfeld for New York!) but others are more surprising or like memory jogs. If you're from the States do you like your state's representative show?

Thursday
Dec192013

20:13 for 2013 screen capping fun!

Six long years ago I ran a popular series called 20:07 where I shared freeze frames for various films at the 20th minute and 7th second of the film. T'was super fun and popular and every once in a while we bring it back.  So here we are at the tail end of 2013! These are screencaps from the 20th minute and 13th second (or thereabouts - streaming titles do not always promote accuracy of screencapping) from films released this year that are already available for home viewing*

Which of these seven movies did you see? Do they bring back fond memories? 

Feels as if the world is perfect. Like it's never going to end..."

Spring Breakers. James Franco's Alien enters seconds later. It is going to end.

 

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Dec152013

Year in Review: Box Office Bonanzas

YEAR IN REVIEW FESTIVITIES BEGIN NOW! 
Cue: confetti, trumpets, fainting women, ornery cinephiles, and orgasmic actressexuals™. This is Part One of Millions! Hundred$ of Million$

We'll start with the commerce and work our way to the art. So herewith the tops in various money categories for your mental ledgers.

Top Per-Screen Arthouse Opening
BLUE JASMINE $102,011 (6 Theaters)
Runner Up: INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS $101,353 (4 Theaters)
* Disclaimer both AMERICAN HUSTLE & FROZEN beat these numbers but those were fake-outs clearly on their way to wide mainstream moviehouses, rather than intended as platform specialty films.

Woody Allen's 'Streetcar meets Madoff Scandal' hit started even stronger than his biggest modern hit Midnight in Paris. It didn't end up making as much but then Blue Jasmine was a fair bit more depressing and riches to less riches is elemental to its DNA. Meanwhile the Coen Bros, like Woody Allen but with more regular crossover potential, can always bank on a hardcore fanbase to sell out those initial shows.

Katniss, McConaughey & McCarthy, Iron Men and Naked French Lesbians after the jump

Click to read more ...

Monday
Dec092013

The AFI Lists. Useful or Redundant?

Earlier today we heard the AFI Lists for film and television. I immediately wondered what purpose they served. There are so many lists these days that are like spotlights on "CONSENSUS!" that the very act of publishing them feels redundant. With so many talking heads commenting on the Oscar race each year, both full time specialists and average reporters who become part time "experts" by virtue of, um, grist for the content mill, consensus is no longer an interesting thing to "find" or "capture" because it is so very inescapable.  AFI's list looks EXACTLY like an Oscar pundits chart, whereas in year's past they seemed to be about 70% Oscary 10% populist and 20% random. In fact, it looks the Gurus of Gold made it!

The AFI Top Ten (Motion Pictures)
12 YEARS A SLAVE
AMERICAN HUSTLE
CAPTAIN PHILLIPS
FRUITVALE STATION
GRAVITY
HER
INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS
NEBRASKA
SAVING MR. BANKS
THE WOLF OF WALL STREET 

In fact it's identitical to the current Gurus of Gold top ten chart but for one switcheroo: the pundit chart includes Lee Daniels' The Butler instead of Fruitvale Station. Interestingly enough, both Best Picture hopefuls come from the Weinstein Company who are our usual Oscar champs but seem to be struggling with traction this year. In fairness, The Butler was never expected to place during "critic's week" but if it doesn't perform well at SAG and the Globes in a couple of days, it's Oscar dreams will die.

This can only mean two things:

 

  1. The AFI committee this year is secretly composed of only BFCA members and they're aiming to exactly predict the Best Picture race.
  2. It's a weak year for British pictures in terms of American traction. Since the AFI only looks at American pictures, strong British Oscar contenders sometimes automatically make the AFI list more interesting because they have to look elsewhere to fill the top ten. The only exclusion that might not be worrying awards strategists today is the exclusion of Philomena (also from Weinstein Co!) which is directed by, written by and stars Brits... and therefore ineligible. 

 

The American Film Institute also releases a television list for some reason despite the name of their organization. That went like so...

The AFI Top Ten - Television
THE AMERICANS
BREAKING BAD
GAME OF THRONES
THE GOOD WIFE
HOUSE OF CARDS
MAD MEN
MASTERS OF SEX
ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK
SCANDAL
VEEP

And I think it's a (slightly) more interesting list in that it looks a little more like the AFI lists of yore in that it's partially awardsy but also kind of guilty pleasure buzz-sensitive. Or maybe it's just more interesting because people can actually enjoy these shows instead of the movie list which is (sigh) heavily titled towards movies that have just opened or haven't opened... just like the critics awards. It's still fairly Emmy correlative but there's no Homeland or Modern Family so that's something. I haven't had time to write about it but I am head over heels in love with / in lust for /  in awe of Masters of Sex, which is the single best show on television at the moment. It's so assured, so fresh, so perfectly cast... and weirdly gets better every single week. I really can't get over it. I look forward to each new episode like I haven't looked forward to any tv show's new episode in years. 

Saturday
Nov302013

November. It's a Wrap.

In Case You Missed Them... here are a dozen highlights from the month that was as we round the corner into the last leg of 2013 and sprint towards Oscar nominations.

My imaginary Actress Roundtable for THR. They need to mix it up a little for freshness. I've added Léa, Sandra and Margo.

Emma Thompson's Shoes... Nathaniel meets the actress over cocktails
Hollywood Actress Roundtable Oprah gushes over Lupita. Octavia and Amy listen. Julia and Emma steal the spotlight
Naomi Watts' Rough Year Paging Lacuna, Inc 
She's Finally Got It Angela Lansbury & Honorary Oscars
International Transgendered Day an Oscar Trivia List 
Critics Choice Young Actor/Actress Ballots who should be on them? 
Animated Features 2003 the 10th anniversary of a key Oscar shortlist
The Best Man Holiday opens big 

Frozen = Wicked is this the closest we're getting to the stage musical onscreen? 
Michelle Pfeiffer for American Horror Story? why she probably won't do it
Melissa McCarthy in The Heat her best line readings
Yes No Maybe So: Noah two of every what in Aronofsky's ark?
Julia Louis-Dreyfus the interview 

Coming in December
New releases American Hustle, August: Osage County and Wolf of Wall Street. Plus interviewpalooza with stars from Dallas Buyers Club, 12 Years a Slave. And, of course, YEAR IN REVIEW MADNESS

Sunday
Nov242013

Male Acting 2013: Lopsided Embarrasment of Riches

It's that time of year when we have to start taking stock of the year and prepping all that delicious Year in Review nonsense that goes on forever (aka 2 months at least). I can't help myself with the listing from December through January (and sometimes beyond). We already surveyed impossible ballot decisions when it comes to the women. So now it's time for the men. I thought about delaying this another week since the great remaining unseens for me are male-centric. I'll see Out of the Furnace, American Hustle and Wolf of Wall Street all within the next 8 days and will try and catch up with Rush, too... if only because, generally speaking, I adore Mr Daniel Brühl.  

We'll start with the weakest of the four acting quadrants both historically speaking and this year, too. Even in this meager list of 12 men I'm considering (before those last four key films) two of them are arguable leads...

SUPPORTING ACTOR - my longlist ballot
in no particular order

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Nov062013

Paging Lacuna, Inc. - Naomi Watts' 2013 is One She'd Rather Forget!

One of my favourite movie-going memories of 2013 was seeing the trailer for Adore play before a bemused sold out opening weekend audience at Blue Jasmine. Amongst the scattered laughs was one lady a row or two behind me who uttered to her companion, “What is Naomi Watts doing?” She, and the rest of us, are sadly still waiting for an answer. On the heels of that Oscar nomination for The Impossible, Watts has since appeared in two films that have literally been laughed off of cinema screens.

[Adore and Diana giggles after the jump...]

Click to read more ...