For Your Consideration #5: Begin Again (dir by John Carney)


Begin_Again_film_poster_2014

Continuing my look at ten films that deserve just as much awards consideration as Birdman, Selma, and The Theory of Everything, we now turn our attention to Begin Again.  Begin Again came out this summer and did pretty well both with audiences and critics.  While everyone seems to agree that Begin Again will probably get at least a nomination for Best Original Song, I think that it’s actually worthy of even more consideration.

Begin Again is the latest film from John Carney, who previously directed one of my favorite films of all time, Once.  Admittedly, Begin Again is nowhere near as good as Once but it’s still a charming film when taken on its own terms.

Mark Ruffalo plays Dan Mulligan, a record label executive who, at the start of the film, has definitely seen better days.  His marriage is collapsing, he’s struggling to connect with his daughter (Hailee Steinfeld),  and he’s just recently been fired from the company that he helped to found.  After a day of binge drinking, Dan finds himself in a bar where he hears Gretta James (Keira Knightley) sing a song.

Dan is immediately taken with Gretta’s music but she has issues of her own.  She had just broken up with her boyfriend and songwriting partner, Dave (Adam Levine, in his film acting debut). Though initially reluctant, Gretta eventually allows Dan to attempt to sign her to his former label.  However, Dan’s former partner (played by Mos Def) refuses to sign her which leads to Dan and Gretta independently producing an album together, with the gimmick that the album will be recorded at various public locations across New York.

There’s really not that much plot to Begin Again but that’s actually a huge part of the film’s appeal.  The film rejects melodrama and easy sentimentality and instead, it focuses on the characters.  (That said, Begin Again is definitely a sentimental movie but it’s sentimental in the best possible way.)  The movie is about how two different people come together and, for their own individual reasons, create something special.  Ruffalo and Knightley have a lot of chemistry, Levine is hilariously dorky, and Mos Def is entertaining as the epitome of everything that’s wrong with the music industry.  Best of all, Begin Again — much like Once before it — perfectly captures the thrill of artistic collaboration.  The scenes of Knightley and Ruffalo recording their album are exuberant celebrations of everything that’s wonderful about performance and expression.

And, of course, the music is great!

 

Trailer: ‘Knight of Cups’ (dir. Terrence Malick)


Grinning from ear to ear as I post this. I am a huge Terrence Malick fan. His films are often rather divisive – mainly because of how incredibly subjective they are – but I personally have loved pretty much everything he has done. His 2011 film ‘The Tree of Life’  has remained in my top ten favorite films of all time since its release.

What amazes me most about the trailer for his newest film (his 3rd in 4 years!) is how it looks (narratively at least – if you can call what Malick does narratives) unlike anything he has ever done before (raves and strip clubs??). Yet visually and tonally it has his style written all over it. This makes me all the more excited to see it.

It will premiere at Berlinale in February…and hopefully the US release won’t be too far after that.

The Dallas-Ft. Worth Film Critics Love Birdman!


Dallas is my home -- deal with it, haters!

And finally, one last group of critics announced their picks for the best of the year today.  The DFW Film Critics, who represent my hometown but have somehow failed to offer me membership (and what’s going on with that!?), today announced that — in their opinion —

Birdman is the best film of 2014!

(I know that some people will probably be surprised that the DFW Film Critics did not pick Boyhood — a film that was made in, based in, and basically about Texas — for best picture.  Personally, I suspect that if Boyhood had been set in North Texas — as opposed to the Houston area and Austin — it probably would have won.)

Check out the winners below!

Best Film: Birdman

Best Actor: Michael Keaton for Birdman

Best Actress: Reese Witherspoon for Wild

Best Supporting Actor: J.K. Simmons for Whiplash

Best Supporting Actress: Patricia Arquette for Boyhood

Best Director: Alejandro G. Inarritu for Birdman

Best Foreign Language Film: Force Majeure

Best Documentary: CitizenFour

Best Animated Film: The LEGO Movie

Best Cinematography: Birdman

Best Original Score: Interstellar

The Russell Smith Award: Boyhood

Top Ten Films of the Year:

Birdman

Boyhood

The Imitation Game

The Theory of Everything

The Grand Budapest Hotel

Whiplash

Gone Girl

Selma

Wild

Nightcrawler

The Online Film Critics Check Into The Grand Budapest Hotel!


The-Grand-Budapest-Hotel-580

Along with everyone else, the Online Film Critics named their picks for the best of 2014 earlier today and they selected … THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL!

You can view a full list of nominees here.  As for the winners, they are listed below!

Best Picture
“The Grand Budapest Hotel”

Best Director
Richard Linklater, “Boyhood”

Best Actor
Michael Keaton, “Birdman”

Best Actress
Rosamund Pike, “Gone Girl”

Best Supporting Actor
Edward Norton, “Birdman”

Best Supporting Actress
Patricia Arquette, “Boyhood”

Best Adapted Screenplay
“Gone Girl”

Best Original Screenplay
“The Grand Budapest Hotel”

Best Cinematography
“The Grand Budapest Hotel”

Best Editing
“Birdman”

Best Animated Feature
“The LEGO Movie”

Best Film Not in the English Language
“Two Days, One Night”

Best Documentary
“Life Itself”

Here are the Critics Choice Nominations!


BFCA

This morning, the Broadcast Film Critics Association announced their nominations for the best of 2014!  No sooner had I started to dismiss Unbroken as a contender then the BFCA nominated not only the film for best picture but Angelina Jolie for best director as well.

As opposed to a lot of critics group, the BFCA is considered to be a pretty strong and influential precursor.  So, if anyone should be worried by today’s nominations, it might be those hoping to see Foxcatcher and Steve Carell nominated in January.

The BFCA awards will be broadcast on A&E on January 15th.

Best Picture
“Birdman”
“Boyhood”
“Gone Girl”
“The Grand Budapest Hotel”
“The Imitation Game”
“Nightcrawler”
“Selma”
“The Theory of Everything”
“Unbroken”
“Whiplash”

Best Director
Wes Anderson, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
Ava DuVernay, “Selma”
David Fincher, “Gone Girl”
Alejandro González Iñárritu, “Birdman”
Angelina Jolie, “Unbroken”
Richard Linklater, “Boyhood”

Best Actor
Benedict Cumberbatch, “The Imitation Game”
Ralph Fiennes, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
Jake Gyllenhaal, “Nightcrawler”
Michael Keaton, “Birdman”
David Oyelowo, “Selma”
Eddie Redmayne, “The Theory of Everything”

Best Actress
Jennifer Aniston, “Cake”
Marion Cotillard, “Two Days, One Night”
Felicity Jones, “The Theory of Everything”
Julianne Moore, “Still Alice”
Rosamund Pike, “Gone Girl”
Reese Witherspoon, “Wild”

Best Supporting Actor
Josh Brolin, “Inherent Vice”
Robert Duvall, “The Judge”
Ethan Hawke, “Boyhood”
Edward Norton, “Birdman”
Mark Ruffalo, “Foxcatcher”
J.K. Simmons, “Whiplash”

Best Supporting Actress
Patricia Arquette, “Boyhood”
Jessica Chastain, “A Most Violent Year”
Keira Knightley, “The Imitation Game”
Emma Stone, “Birdman”
Meryl Streep, “Into the Woods”
Tilda Swinton, “Snowpiercer”

Best Adapted Screenplay
“Gone Girl”
“The Imitation Game”
“Inherent Vice”
“The Theory of Everything”
“Unbroken”
“Wild”

Best Original Screenplay
“Birdman”
“Boyhood”
“The Grand Budapest Hotel”
“Nightcrawler”
“Whiplash”

Best Art Direction
“Birdman”
“The Grand Budapest Hotel”
“Inherent Vice”
“Interstellar”
“Into the Woods”
“Snowpiercer”

Best Cinematography
“Birdman”
“The Grand Budapest Hotel”
“Interstellar”
“Mr. Turner”
“Unbroken”

Best Editing
“Birdman”
“Boyhood”
“Gone Girl”
“Interstellar”
“Whiplash”

Best Costume Design
“The Grand Budapest Hotel”
“Inherent Vice”
“Into the Woods”
“Maleficent”
“Mr. Turner”

Best Hair & Makeup
“Foxcatcher”
“Guardians of the Galaxy”
“The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies”
“Into the Woods”
“Maleficent”

Best Score
“Birdman”
“Gone Girl”
“The Imitation Game”
“Interstellar”
“The Theory of Everything”

Best Song
“Lost Stars” from “Begin Again”
“Big Eyes” from “Big Eyes”
“Yellow Flicker Beat” from “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1″
“Everything is Awesome” from “The LEGO Movie”
“Glory” from “Selma”

Best Visual Effects
“Dawn of the Planet of the Apes”
“Edge of Tomorrow”
“Guardians of the Galaxy”
“The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies”
“Interstellar”

Best Animated Feature
“Big Hero 6″
“The Book of Life”
“The Boxtrolls”
“How to Train Your Dragon 2″
“The LEGO Movie”

Best Foreign Language Film
“Force Majeure”
“Ida”
“Leviathan”
“Two Days, One Night”
“Wild Tales”

Best Documentary Feature
“CITIZENFOUR”
“Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me”
“Jodorowsky’s Dune”
“Last Days in Vietnam”
“Life Itself”
“The Overnighters”

Best Acting Ensemble
“Birdman”
“Boyhood”
“The Grand Budapest Hotel”
“The Imitation Game”
“Into the Woods”
“Selma”

Best Young Actor/Actress
Ellar Coltrane, “Boyhood”
Ansel Elgort, “The Fault in Our Stars”
Mackenzie Foy, “Interstellar”
Jaeden Lieberher, “St. Vincent”
Tony Revolori, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
Quvenzhane Wallis, “Annie”
Noah Wiseman, “The Babadook”

Best Action Movie
“American Sniper”
“Captain America: The Winter Soldier”
“Edge of Tomorrow”
“Fury”
“Guardians of the Galaxy”

Best Actor in an Action Movie
Bradley Cooper, “American Sniper”
Tom Cruise, “Edge of Tomorrow”
Chris Evans, “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”
Brad Pitt, “Fury”
Chris Pratt, “Guardians of the Galaxy”

Best Actress in an Action Movie
Emily Blunt, “Edge of Tomorrow”
Scarlett Johansson, “Lucy”
Jennifer Lawrence, “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1″
Zoe Saldana, “Guardians of the Galaxy”
Shailene Woodley, “Divergent”

Best Comedy
“Birdman”
“The Grand Budapest Hotel”
“St. Vincent”
“Top Five”
“22 Jump Street”

Best Actor in a Comedy
Jon Favreau, “Chef”
Ralph Fiennes, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
Michael Keaton, “Birdman”
Bill Murray, “St. Vincent”
Chris Rock, “Top Five”
Channing Tatum, “22 Jump Street”

Best Actress in a Comedy
Rose Byrne, “Neighbors”
Rosario Dawson, “Top Five”
Melissa McCarthy, “St. Vincent”
Jenny Slate, “Obvious Child”
Kristen Wiig, “The Skeleton Twins”

Best Sci-Fi/Horror Movie
“The Babadook”
“Dawn of the Planet of the Apes”
“Interstellar”
“Snowpiercer”
“Under the Skin”

Here Are The Chicago Film Critics Association Nominations!


Happy Valentine's Day!

Finally, from the former hometown of Al Capone and President Obama, here are the Chicago Film Critic Associations Nominations!

BEST PICTURE
Birdman
Boyhood
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Under the Skin
Whiplash

BEST DIRECTOR
Wes Anderson, The Grand Budapest Hotel
David Fincher, Gone Girl
Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Birdman
Richard Linklater, Boyhood
Christopher Nolan, Interstellar

BEST ACTOR
Benedict Cumberbatch, The Imitation Game
Jake Gyllenhaal, Nightcrawler
Michael Keaton, Birdman
David Oyelowo, Selma
Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything

BEST ACTRESS
Marion Cotillard, Two Days, One Night
Scarlett Johannson, Under the Skin
Julianne Moore, Still Alice
Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl
Reese Witherspoon, Wild

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Josh Brolin, Inherent Vice
Ethan Hawke, Boyhood
Edward Norton, Birdman
Mark Ruffalo, Foxcatcher
J.K. Simmons, Whiplash

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Patricia Arquette, Boyhood
Jessica Chastain, A Most Violent Year
Laura Dern, Wild
Agata Kulesza, Ida
Emma Stone, Birdman

BEST ORIGNAL SCREENPLAY
Birdman, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Nicolas Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris and Armando Bo
Boyhood, Richard Linklater
Calvary, John Michael McDonagh
The Grand Budapest Hotel, Wes Anderson
Whiplash, Damien Chazelle

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn
The Imitation Game, Graham Moore
Inherent Vice, Paul Thomas Anderson
Under the Skin, Walter Campbell
Wild, Nick Hornby

BEST FOREIGN-LANGUAGE FILM
Force Majeure
Ida
Mommy
The Raid 2
Two Days, One Night

BEST DOCUMENTARY
Citizenfour
Jodorowsky’s Dune
Last Days in Vietnam
Life Itself
The Overnighters

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
Big Hero 6
The Boxtrolls
How to Train Your Dragon 2
The Lego Movie
The Tale of the Princess Kaguya

BEST ART DIRECTION/PRODUCTION DESIGN
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Interstellar
Into The Woods
Only Lovers Left Alive
Snowpiercer

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Birdman
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Ida
Inherent Vice
Interstellar

BEST EDITING
Birdman
Boyhood
Gone Girl
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Whiplash

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
Birdman
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
Interstellar
Under the Skin

MOST PROMISING PERFORMER
Ellar Coltrane, Boyhood
Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Belle/Beyond the Lights
Jack O’Connell, Starred Up/Unbroken
Tony Revolori, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Jenny Slate, Obvious Child
Agata Trzebuchowska, Ida

MOST PROMISING FILMMAKER
Damien Chazelle, Whiplash
Dan Gilroy, Nightcrawler
Jennifer Kent, The Babadook
Jeremy Saulnier, Blue Ruin
Justin Simien, Dear White People

The Kansas City Film Critics Circle Honors Birdman!


Birdman

Did you know that the Kansas City Film Critics Circle is apparently the oldest critics organization in America?  It’s true!

Anyway, here are their picks for the best of 2014!  Let’s just call this: Birdman Soars In Kansas City!

BEST PICTURE
Birdman

BEST DIRECTOR
Richard Linklater, Boyhood

BEST ACTOR
Michael Keaton, Birdman

BEST ACTRESS
Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Edward Norton, Birdman

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Patricia Arquette, Boyhood

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Birdman

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Obvious Child

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
Ida

BEST ANIMATED FILM
The Lego Movie

BEST DOCUMENTARY
CITIZENFOUR

BEST SF/FANTASY/HORROR FILM
The Babadook