erik lundegaard

Movies - Awards posts

Thursday December 12, 2013

7 Thoughts on A.O. Scott's Top 10 Movies of 2013

A.O. Scott has published, after numerous throat clearings and various condemnations (“The problem is you,” he writes), his top movies of 2013.

Immediate thoughts:

  • A six-way tie for No. 10? That's a bit of a cheat. At least he recognizes it.
  • Wait, he actually places “American Hustle” and “Spring Breakers” at the same level? Tied for No. 10? The former is one of the best while the latter is just ... boring. Tits and ass were never so boring.
  • Wait, he actually places “Lee Daniels' The Butler” (No. 9) one place above “American Hustle” (tied for 10th)? I guess he likes his history neat. 
  • Wait, he actually places “Frances Ha” (No. 7) three places above “American Hustle” (tied for 10th)?
  • Wait, he also includes, but not in the top 15, the painful “Before Midnight”? I guess a lot of critics like that. It's got dialogue. Inane dialogue, but dialogue.
  • The Coens at No. 1? I hold out hope. I see it tonight.
  • I get the six-way pile-up at No. 10: Here's the acquisitive vapidity of our culture represented in American movies. But there's a difference between Gatsby's shirts, and why he has them, and Alien's shorts, and why he has them. There's a difference between “The Bling Ring,” where the kids still seem like real kids, and “Spring Breakers,” where they rarely do. Where you have trouble differentiating them. Which, yes, is the point, or part of it I assume, but it still doesn't make it interesting. Not to mention that reality intrudes upon Gatsby in the end while fantasy intrudes upon our pistol-packing spring-break girls. Sorry, but I could write an entire essay dissecting what's wrong with A.O. Scott's No. 10 picks. Maybe I will.

Spring Breakers

Exploitation flick through an arthouse filter equals dullsville ... and No. 10 on A.O. Scott's list.

Posted at 08:58 AM on Dec 12, 2013 in category Movies - Awards
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Monday December 09, 2013

LA Films Critics Includes Three Ties Among Its Year-End Awards

Where's Joe Biden when you need him?

The L.A. Film Critics Association (LAFCA) obviously needs another member since it included three ties among its year-end awards, including best picture. And that's without runners up. They were announced yesterday.

Here are the winners:

Picture: “Gravity” and “Her” (TIE)
Director: Alfonso Cuaron, “Gravity”
Actor: Bruce Dern, “Nebraska”
Actress: Cate Blanchett, “Blue Jasmine,” and Adele Exarchopoulos, “Blue Is the Warmest Color” (TIE)
Supporting actor: James Franco, “Spring Breakers,” and Jared Leto, “Dallas Buyers Club” (TIE)
Supporting actress: Lupita Nyong’o, “12 Years a Slave”
Screenplay: Richard Linklater, Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy, “Before Midnight”
Foreign-language film: “Blue Is the Warmest Color”
Documentary/nonfiction film: “Stories We Tell”
Animation: “Ernest & Celestine”
Cinematography: Emmanuel Lubezki, “Gravity”
Film editing: Alfonso Cuaron and Mark Sanger, “Gravity”
Production design: K.K. Barrett, “Her”
Music score: T Bone Burnett, “Inside Llewyn Davis”

Thoughts:

  • Despite the split vote, “Gravity” is the obvious winner, since it won three other awards, too. Thoughts:
  • “Stories We Tell” again? It's a fine doc but not so fine that it wins every time. This is getting boring already.
  • Linklater, Delpy and Hawke for best screenplay? I'm sorry but that's one overrated movie.
  • They're making me watch “Spring Breakers.” Damn them.
  • I like Dern in “Nebraska” fine but I'd still go McConaughey in “Dallas Buyers Club.”
  • The actress category is the toughest in years. Those two plus Judi Dench in “Philomena.”
  • “Her” hasn't come out yet here but “Gravity”? A great spectacle, a fine action fllick, but otherwise ...

The count so far from three critics groups: “Her” (1.5), “American Hustle” (1), “Gravity (.5). And we're just getting started.

Gravity

”Gravity" holds: Four awards, including half a best pic.

Posted at 07:42 AM on Dec 09, 2013 in category Movies - Awards
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Wednesday December 04, 2013

National Board of Review Falls in Love with 'Her'

The National Board of Review, usually the first voice in the year-end movie round-up, but usurped yesterday by NYFCC, went with Spike Jonze's “Her,” starring Joaquin Phoenix and the voice of Scarlett Johansson, as the best movie of the year.

Its picks:

  • Best Film: Her
  • Best Director: Spike Jonze, Her
  • Best Actor: Bruce Dern, Nebraska
  • Best Actress: Emma Thompson, Saving Mr. Banks
  • Best Supporting Actor: Will Forte, Nebraska
  • Best Supporting Actress: Octavia Spencer, Fruitvale Station
  • Best Original Screenplay: Joel and Ethan Coen, Inside Llewyn Davis
  • Best Adapted Screenplay: Terence Winter, The Wolf of Wall Street
  • Best Animated Feature: The Wind Rises
  • Breakthrough Performance: Michael B. Jordan, Fruitvale Station
    Breakthrough Performance: Adele Exarchopoulos, Blue is the Warmest Color
  • Best Directorial Debut: Ryan Coogler, Fruitvale Station
  • Best Foreign Language Film:  The Past
  • Best Documentary: Stories We Tell
  • William K. Everson Film History Award: George Stevens, Jr.
  • Best Ensemble:  Prisoners
  • Spotlight Award: Career Collaboration of Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio
  • NBR Freedom of Expression Award: Wadjda
  • Creative Innovation in Filmmaking Award: Gravity

Unlike the NYFCC list, this is mostly movies I haven't seen because they're either not out yet or haven't arrived in Seattle yet. Immediate thought: “Prisoners”??? Secondary thought: Octavia Spencer? Tertiery thought: Breakthrough performance for Michael B. Jordan? Didn't these critics watch “The Wire? Final thought: Is Forte really better than Leto in ”Dallas Buyers Club“ or Michael Fassbender in ”12 Years“?

The NBR also does a top 10 list, sans ”Her,“ and in lame alphabetical order:

Top Films
12 Years a Slave
Fruitvale Station
Gravity
Inside Llewyn Davis
Lone Survivor
Nebraska
Prisoners
Saving Mr. Banks
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
The Wolf of Wall Street

First thought: ”Prisoners“? Second thought: ”Wait. 'Lone Survivor'? The thing with Marky Mark? Really?“ Third thought: Hollywood REALLY needs to do a better job of getting its better movies out a little earlier.

More interesting, but also in alphabetical order, is NBR's list of top 5 foreign-language films and top 5 docs. Good to see ”A Hijacking“ on the former; sorry ”Muscle Shoals“ isn't on the latter:

Top 5 Foreign Language Films

Beyond the Hills
Gloria
The Grandmaster
A Hijacking
The Hunt

Top 5 Documentaries

20 Feet from Stardom
The Act of Killing
After Tiller
Casting By
The Square

The Board's history is a mixed bag. Counting back to 2000 from 2012, these are its best films of the year: ”Zero Dark Thirty,“ ”Hugo,“ ”The Social Network,“ ”Up in the Air,“ ”Slumdog Millionaire,“ ”No Country for Old Men,“ ”Letters from Iwo Jima,“ ”Good Night, and Good Luck,“ ”Finding Neverland,“ ”Mystic River,“ ”The Hours,“ ”Moulin Rouge,“ ”Quills." A few odd years there from 2000 to 2006.

Spike Jonze's "Her"

Hey everybody who isn't in NY or LA: another movie to possibly look forward to.

Posted at 06:37 PM on Dec 04, 2013 in category Movies - Awards
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Tuesday December 03, 2013

New York Film Critics Circle Picks the Best of 2013

So it starts.

The New York Film Critics Circle has announced its 2013 award winners. The only film with more than one award is David O. Russell's “American Hustle,” the best picture winner, which also picked up best screenplay and best supporting actress nods:

  • Best Picture: American Hustle
  • Best Director: Steve McQueen 12 Years a Slave
  • Best Screenplay: American Hustle
  • Best Actress: Cate BlanchettBlue Jasmine
  • Best Actor: Robert RedfordAll Is Lost
  • Best Supporting Actress: Jennifer Lawrence – American Hustle
  • Best Supporting Actor: Jared LetoDallas Buyers Club
  • Best Cinematography: Bruno Delbonnel – Inside Llewyn Davis
  • Best Documentary: Stories We Tell
  • Best First Film: Ryan CooglerFruitvale Station
  • Best Animated Film: The Wind Rises
  • Best Foreign Language Film: Blue is the Warmest Color
  • Special Award: Frederick Wiseman

Not a bad list, from what I've seen. I'll see “American Hustle” next week. I'm still chomping at the bit for “Llewyn Davis.” Review for “Blue is the Warmest Color” up soon.

NYFCC doesn't have a bad history. Its recent best picture winners: “Zero Dark Thirty,” “The Artist,” “The Social Network,” “The Hurt Locker,” “Milk,” “No Country for Old Men” and “United 93.”

American Hustle

“American Hustle” cast. L-R: Lois Lane, Rocket Raccoon, Hawkeye, Batman and Mystique.

Posted at 09:12 PM on Dec 03, 2013 in category Movies - Awards
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Sunday May 26, 2013

Winners at Cannes: 'Blue,' Bejo, Bruce

No, not that Bruce.

The Cannes 2013 jury, led by Steven Spielberg, announced its winners today:

  • Palme d'Or: “Blue is the Warmest Color”
  • Grand Prix: “Inside Llewyn Davis”
  • Actor: Bruce Dern, “Nebraska,” directed by Alexander Payne
  • Actress: Berenice Bejo, “The Past”
  • Director: Amat Escalante, “Heli”
  • Screenplay: Jia Zhangke, “Tian Zhu Ding” (“A Touch of Sin”)
  • Jury Prize: “Soshite Chichi Ni Naru” (“Like Father, Like Son”), directed by Kore-Eda Hirokazu

I also heard good things about James Gray's “The Immigrant,” starring Marion Cotillard and Joaquin Phoenix; J.C. Chandor's “All is Lost,” starring Robert Redford; James Toback's “Seduced and Abandoned,” about the difficulty of raising money for movies; and Steven Soderbergh's “Behind the Candelabra,” about Liberace, which P and I are about to watch on HBO.

Someday. Someday.

Zoe Saldana and Marion Cotillad and Cannes 2013

Zoe Saldana and Marion Cotillard standing together at Cannes and destabilizing the beauty balance in the world.

Posted at 08:54 PM on May 26, 2013 in category Movies - Awards
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