The Los Angeles Film Critics' Association (LAFCA) announced the awards winners today. The critics' associations awards are the precursors to the Academy Awards.
RUNNER-UP: La La Land
WINNER: Barry Jenkins, Moonlight
RUNNER-UP: Damien Chazelle, La La Land
WINNER: Adam Driver, Paterson
RUNNER-UP: Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea
WINNER: Isabelle Huppert, Elle
RUNNER-UP: Rebecca Hall, Christine
Best Supporting Actor
WINNER: Mahershala Ali, Moonlight
RUNNER-UP: Issy Ogata, Silence
Best Supporting Actress
WINNER: Lily Gladstone, Certain Women
RUNNER-UP: Michelle Williams, Manchester by the Sea
WINNER: Your Name
RUNNER-UP: The Red Turtle
Best Foreign Language Film
WINNER: The Handmaiden
RUNNER-UP: Toni Erdmann
WINNER: I Am Not Your Negro
RUNNER-UP: OJ: Made in America
WINNER: Efthymis Filippou and Yorgos Lanthimos, The Lobster
RUNNER-UP: Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea
WINNER: Bret Granato, Maya Mumma, Ben Sozanski, OJ: Made in America
RUNNER-UP: Tom Cross, La La Land
Best Production Design
WINNER: Ryu Seong-hee, The Handmaiden
RUNNER-UP: David Wasco, La La Land
Best Music Score
WINNER: Justin Hurwitz, La La Land
RUNNER-UP: Mica Levi, Jackie
WINNER: James Laxton, Moonlight
RUNNER-UP: Linus Sandgren, La La Land
New Generation Award
WINNER: Trey Edward Shults and Krisha Fairchild, Krisha
Belated Film News -- The National Board of Review announced the winners during Tuesday, November 29, 2016. The precursor awards provides some indication of where the Awards race is headed, in terms of prognosticating the Golden Globe Awards and the Academy Awards. I've seen plenty films to somewhat predict the nominees, but I am unable to foretell the winners right now. I will scribe a few discussion pieces, regarding the Awards race -- once I witness the major contenders such as "Manchester by the Sea", "La La Land", and "Fences" (I promise you).
Best Film: Manchester by the Sea
Best Director: Barry Jenkins, Moonlight
Best Actor: Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea
Best Actress: Amy Adams, Arrival
Best Supporting Actor: Jeff Bridges, Hell or High Water
Best Supporting Actress: Naomie Harris, Moonlight
Best Original Screenplay: Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea
Best Adapted Screenplay: Jay Cocks and Martin Scorsese, Silence
Best Animated Feature: Kubo and the Two Strings
Breakthrough Performance (Male): Lucas Hedges, Manchester by the Sea
Breakthrough Performance (Female): Royalty Hightower, The Fits
Best Directorial Debut: Trey Edward Shults, Krisha
Best Foreign Language Film: The Salesman
Best Documentary: O.J.: Made in America
Best Ensemble: Hidden Figures
Spotlight Award: Creative Collaboration of Peter Berg and Mark Wahlberg
NBR Freedom of Expression Award: Cameraperson
Hell or High Water
La La Land
Top Five Foreign Language Films
Land of Mine
Top Five Documentaries
The Eagle Huntress
Miss Sharon Jones!
Top Ten Independent Films
20th Century Women
Eye in the Sky
Hello, My Name Is Doris
Morris From America
2016 is nearing to the holidays – Christmas and New Year’s Day. It is time to discuss the films as the awards potential and recapping the year in various perspectives. 2016 is the year that the mainstream movies consistently underwhelmed and yet, the family oriented cartoon movies saved the day.
“Norm of the North” did not properly introduce what was about to come – the likes of “Kung Fu Panda 3” (a decent sequel!), “Zootopia”, “The Jungle Book” (mixture of live action and animation), “Finding Dory”, “The Secret Life of Pets”, “Sausage Party”, “Storks”, “Trolls”, and “Moana”. The final cartoon is Illumination Entertainment’s “Sing” – debuting during Wednesday, December 21, 2016. Based on the marketing campaign, “Sing” is animals meeting American Idol and The Voice.
“Sausage Party” is the adults’ only animated film that chronicles the various foods discovering the “Great Beyond” also known as the folks consuming them. Hilarious and poignant, “Sausage Party” demonstrates the mainstream cinema demands the additional films that travel beyond the stereotypes. However, unlikely to receive the Best Animated Feature nomination due to the fact it is mindless entertainment.
“Moana” and “Zootopia” are the couple personal favorite films. Whereas “Zootopia” delivers a potent message without adding “being politically correct” component, “Moana” surpasses the smash hit “Frozen” (2013).
“The Jungle Book”, “The Secret Life of Pets”, and “Trolls” are delightful cartoons. It appears the moviegoing public is receiving “The Secret of Life Pets 2” in a couple years – uh, okay and yay. The minions alone sell Illumination Entertainment in my perspective. “The Jungle Book” provides the visual spectacle that left many of us in awe. It is one film that the Academy will ignore due to the fact it is partially live action (boo!).
“Finding Dory” miraculously received the perfect grade – A via yours truly. Who does not love the Pixar Animation Studios? It is the perfect sequel; however, Pixar should stop producing the sequels to retain their excellent reputation. Like, did we really request “Cars 3”? Uh, no. Produce a cartoon that will knock our socks off, such as one of my all time favorite films – “Inside Out” (2015).
The kiddie flicks stunned this film critic. Indeed, the few mishaps include “Ratchet & Clank” and “Ice Age: Collision Course”. Nonetheless, the adults moderately resorted to the brilliant animation to receive the finest cinema available. I constantly begged that the mainstream live action movies matched the cartoons’ awesomeness. Let’s hope the 2017 revitalizes the mainstream cinema as a whole. Not just the kiddie films shine, but the adult oriented fare provides the plenty smiles.
I witnessed “Arrival” twice during the theatrical run. Indeed, Denis Villeneuve’s science fiction masterpiece is able to endure the multiple viewings and still remain brilliant. With that said, I will discuss why “Arrival” deserves to receive the Best Picture nomination in lieu of zero movie reviews during the weekend. However, I am able to promise you – I will finally review Kenneth Lonergan’s “Manchester by the Sea” – finally playing at the Downer Theatre in Milwaukee, Wisconsin during the Saturday, December 10, 2016. Be on the lookout.
The 89th Academy Awards will occur in two months – Sunday, February 26, 2016. The brainy science fiction films are rare to receive the Best Picture nominations. Alfonso Cuaron’s “Gravity” (2013) received the Best Picture nomination a few years ago and hence, “Arrival” could receive the nomination as well.
Based on the films I’ve witnessed thus far, the following films are the Best Picture contenders.
~”Hell or High Water”
Based on the short narrative “The Story of Your Life” by Ted Chiang, the expert linguist Dr. Louise Banks (Amy Adams) and the theoretical scientist Ian Donnelly (Jeremy Renner) communicate with one of the twelve heptapods to comprehend their unique language.
You may notice that I completed the Introduction to Interpersonal Communication course. Haha. By the way, the spoilers may be disclosed here.
“Arrival” is simply more than the typical science fiction film. It examines how the language influences how people (and aliens) interact and the dimensions of the interpersonal relationships. The language is essential – allows us to communicate and establish the impersonal and interpersonal relationships. Banks and Donnelley eventually decode the language. “Arrival” underlines the language comprehension and hence, the aliens do not literally attack the humans. Consider the various notions beyond the genre and “Arrival” delivers the robust potential to be a significant player during the Awards race.
I experienced the inner body experience during the initial “Arrival” screening and alas, the rare occurrence did not arise once more. Nonetheless, “Arrival” is a sight to behold.
In simple terms – The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences: Please do not overlook the excellent “Arrival” during the voting process.
The eagle signifies good luck. My late Grandpa desired to be reincarnated as an eagle and accordingly, I always stare at the sky to witness Grandpa soaring above during the Summer. “The Eagle Huntress” is able to directly strike a chord to some folks.
Daisy Ridley narrates the inspirational documentary film. The thirteen year old girl Aisholpan Nurgaiv prepares to become the first female eagle hunter to the Kazakh family (twelve generations) in Mongolia.
Aisholpan is the victor of the Golden Eagle Festival and hence, shatters the eagle hunter barrier. The males usually eagle hunt and of course, Aisholpan receives disapproval via the elders. Nonetheless, the supportive parents and siblings encourage the determination and the motivation.
The misleading marketing does not announce the audience must read subtitles. Well, folks, you are required to read subtitles here. Like I’ve previously said concerning “A Man Called Ove” (En man som heter Ove), do not allow the subtitles frighten the shit out of you. (Immediately adapt if you’re a cinephile.)
It is devastating that we must resort to independent filmmakers, such as Otto Bell to discover female empowerment. Just pondering the fact may evoke some sobs. You may recognize males dominate everything if you witness a sufficient quota of movies (hint: visit the cinema every week and see everything, ranging from mainstream films to independent fare). In simple terms, “The Eagle Huntress” underlines “females are awesome” without constantly lecturing the fact.
The American cinema must endure the extensive journey to “girl power” in movies. I ponder “we’re almost there” following some screenings and unfortunately, Hollywood is extremely distant to warranting females leading the way.
You may be glad that “The Eagle Huntress” exists – demonstrates genuine female empowerment. The sequels are not pressuring the female domination for once. You may be acclimated to narrative films; however, provide the chance to documentaries. The documentary films chronicle the stories as well.
The women deserve equal opportunities, regardless of the circumstances. Thank you to Aisholpan – demonstrating you are able to follow your heart and dreams. B
Love is priceless and beautiful – individual and collective. We feel love all the time, regardless of the circumstances. Jeff Nichols’ latest film “Loving” is an understated and relevant sight to behold. “Midnight Special” (2016) is one of my favorite films and accordingly, “Loving” moderately succeeded to surpass the aforementioned film.
The interracial couple Mildred Jeter (Ruth Negga) and Richard Loving (Joel Edgerton) is sentenced to prison in Virginia during 1958. The interracial marriage violates the anti-miscegenation laws. The Loving family resides in Washington, D.C. and creep into Virginia to reunite with their respective families. Furthermore, Mildred and Richard accuse the state of Virginia and the Supreme Court provides the unanimous decision in “Loving v. Virginia” – the laws prohibiting interracial marriage are unconstitutional.
The United States is still forging equality – there is a long way before the country is balanced, regardless of age, race, ethnicity, and the like. Women are still underpaid and African Americans are considered to boast a criminal background. The stereotypes remain prominent in this day and age. “Loving” demonstrates equality must be justified in the eyes of the law. The personal and impersonal risks emerge and one must confront the “small battles” and the “big war”.
Poignant and subtle, Negga and Edgerton are the ideal couple. The facial expressions indicate everything with and without dialogue. The Loving duo requested to be absent during the Supreme Court hearing. Like the Loving family, “Loving” is reserved – a subtle character study that regularly isolates itself. The screenplay is frequently detached and stiff causing some tedious moments, especially during the second act. The Loving family accomplishes the crucial life events – married, construct a nice home, and nurture the children. You may desire to witness additional events during the life.
“Loving” is able to hit home, whether you like or dislike to admit it. Love exists in our essence and hell yes, the film delves into the core – damn genuine that you cannot ignore the fact. You may recognize “Loving” is special if investigating beyond your relatives. Love is love. Love conquers all. B+
For Your Consideration: Best Picture, Best Actress in a Leading Role (Ruth Negga), Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Joel Edgerton), and Best Original Screenplay
The Brief Review
“Rules Don’t Apply” chronicles the driver Frank Forbes (Alden Ehrenreich) and the determined actress Marla Mabrey (Lily Collins) are employed by Howard Hughes (Warren Beatty). Hughes implements the guideline: No employee is allowed to have any relationship whatsoever with a contract actress.
“Rules Don’t Apply” provides the mundane film related behind the scenes narrative and hence, you may frequently snooze. Mr. Beatty boasts good intentions; however, the unclear motive does not allow “Rules Don’t Apply” to smoothly progress. Some restrictions are superior to zero limitations in this instance. C
Have a blessed Thanksgiving, my readers.
Robert Zemeckis stunned me with “The Walk” (2015) and his latest film reflects what we call “the prestige picture” – intends to receive a million Awards nominations.
The French Resistance mercenary Mariane Beausejour (Marion Cotillard) and the intelligence officer Max Vatan (Brad Pitt) connect behind the enemy lines during 1942. Ms. Beausejour is speculated to be a German spy and Mr. Vatan is requested to murder his wife.
“Allied” is self explanatory – the couple ignites the relationship, the inevitable marriage, and the spouse discovers the husband or wife is a spy. It is akin to the previous espionage narratives – add some stunning production values and boom, a cinematic masterpiece (nope). The exquisite production and costume design does not equal the decent and tedious narrative. Cotillard and Pitt provide admirable spark and banter. Zemeckis could’ve accomplished a motion picture superior to “Allied” – he moderately abandons the touch in the midst of begging the Academy here.
You may not deny the awesome duo – Cotillard and Pitt, regardless of the disappointment. B
For Your Consideration: Best Production Design and Best Costume Design
“Frozen” (2013) was the sensation a few years ago; however, “Moana” easily surpasses the wintery tale by a huge margin. Moana understands how to guide the seas with prowess. You’re welcome!
The sea enthusiast Moana (voiced by Auli’i Cravalho) and the demigod Maui (Dwayne Johnson) returns the heart of Te Fiti. Moana discovers her identity along the way.
You may ponder “Frozen” is awesome prior to the “Moana” screening. Think again. “Moana” currently possess the Best Movie Musical status. Adios to “Frozen”. “How Far I’ll Go” is my personal favorite song. “Moana” deserves the Best Animated Feature, Best Original Score, and Best Original Song (various selections) consideration. You may be unable to stop humming the tunes following the screening.
“Moana” provides the typical companionship narrative; however, delve further and relevant notions expose themselves. The townspeople and the gorgeous islands represent Hawaii and counterparts and accordingly, the exquisite animation may outshine “Zootopia” (2016). “Moana” reinforces the animated movies are enjoying the Golden Age as of late.
“Moana” boasts excellent Broadway potential. The exhilarating narrative would flawlessly transition to the stage. (Hire Lin-Manuel Miranda to scribe the book and additional Broadway songs. He accomplished the phenomenon “Hamilton”, for peatsake.)
“Moana” is one of my favorite films and indeed, an awesome film that travels beyond the sand. A
Kelly Fremon Craig’s directorial debut “The Edge of Seventeen” is able to strike a chord to almost everyone. We endured teen angst back in the day. There is a sense of nostalgia if you’re eighteen or older here.
The high school student Nadine (Hailee Steinfeld) discovers the best friend Krista (Haley Lu Richardson) is dating the brother Darian (Blake Jenner). Nadine discloses personal information to the history instructor Mr. Bruner (Woody Harrelson) and flirts with Erwin (Hayden Szeto) during the history class.
“The Edge of Seventeen” is the flawless and accessible film. Nadine appears to be the reflection of myself. I precisely connected to Nadine’s antics and the whole nine yards. Let’s be real here though: I rarely underage drink and disobey my parents. Nadine boasts one close friendship – Krista. Same here – I enjoy one devoted friendship – Terra. Nadine faces the difficulty to socialize (me too, girlfriend!). Whereas Nadine bitches to Mr. Bruner, I bury myself in movies to escape the socialization. The minor complaint is the instructors do not drive the students' home due to the non professionalism component.
“The Edge of Seventeen” emerges more than the simple coming of age narrative. It easily taps into the zeitgeist – from Nadine impatiently anticipating to be the adult to the mother Mona (Kyra Sedgwick) acknowledging the “favorite child” (the brother Darian). Nadine initially desires to commit suicide; however, eventually recognizes she is able to accept Krista and Darian as a couple. “The Edge of Seventeen” politely confesses the face palm moments. Nadine accidentally text messaged Nick Mossman (Alexander Calvert), Nadine exceedingly grumbles, and demands the advice via Mr. Bruner. In simple terms, Mr. Bruner is akin to the stepparent here.
Sweet and humorous, “The Edge of Seventeen” may be the modern coming of age classic. A
For Your Consideration: Best Picture, Best Actress in a Leading Role (Hailee Steinfeld), and Best Original Screenplay
Review Structure Key
Regular reviews ~ Word count varies.
Mini reviews ~ Positives and negatives (+/-) analysis.
Brief reviews ~ One hundred words, more or less.