The Central Ohio Film Critics Have Announced Their Nominations!

Here are the Central Ohio Film Critics Nominations!

Best Film

-The Big Short
Ex Machina
Inside Out
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
-The Revenant
Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens

Best Director

-Alejandro González Iñárritu, The Revenant
-Todd Haynes, Carol
-Tom McCarthy, Spotlight
-George Miller, Mad Max: Fury Road
-Ridley Scott, The Martian
-Denis Villeneuve, Sicario

Best Actor

-Matt Damon, The Martian
-Johnny Depp, Black Mass
-Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant
-Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs
-Jacob Tremblay, Room

Best Actress

-Cate Blanchett, Carol
-Brie Larson, Room
-Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn
-Charlize Theron, Mad Max: Fury Road
-Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl

Best Supporting Actor

-Benicio Del Toro, Sicario
-Tom Hardy, The Revenant
-Oscar Isaac, Ex Machina
-Mark Ruffalo, Spotlight
-Sylvester Stallone, Creed

Best Supporting Actress

-Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight
-Rooney Mara, Carol
-Rachel McAdams, Spotlight
-Alicia Vikander, Ex Machina
-Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs

Best Ensemble

-The Big Short
Ex Machina
-The Hateful Eight
Steve Jobs

Actor of the Year (for an exemplary body of work)

-Cate Blanchett (Carol, Cinderella, and Truth)
-Michael Fassbender (Macbeth, Slow West, and Steve Jobs)
-Domhnall Gleeson (Brooklyn, Ex Machina, The Revenant, and Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens)
-Tom Hardy (Child 44, Legend, Mad Max: Fury Road, and The Revenant)
-Alicia Vikander (Burnt, The Danish Girl, Ex Machina, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Seventh Son, and Testament of Youth)

Breakthrough Film Artist

-Sean Baker, Tangerine – (for producing, directing, screenwriting, film editing, cinematography, camera operation, and casting)
-Joel Edgerton, The Gift – (for producing, directing, and screenwriting)
-David Robert Mitchell, It Follows – (for producing, directing, and screenwriting)
-Daisy Ridley, Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens – (for acting)
-Jacob Tremblay, Room – (for acting)
-Alicia Vikander, Burnt, The Danish Girl, Ex Machina, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Seventh Son, and Testament of Youth – (for acting)

Best Cinematography

-Roger Deakins, Sicario
-Emmanuel Lubezki, The Revenant
-Robert Richardson, The Hateful Eight
-John Seale, Mad Max: Fury Road
-Dariusz Wolski, The Martian

Best Film Editing

-Maryann Brandon and Mary Jo Markey, Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens
-Tom McArdle, Spotlight
-Stephen Mirrione, The Revenant
-Margaret Sixel, Mad Max: Fury Road
-Joe Walker, Sicario

Best Adapted Screenplay

-Emma Donoghue, Room
-Drew Goddard, The Martian
-Nick Hornby, Brooklyn
-Charles Randolph and Adam McKay, The Big Short
-Aaron Sorkin, Steve Jobs

Best Original Screenplay

-Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve, and Josh Cooley, Inside Out
-Alex Garland, Ex Machina
-Taylor Sheridan, Sicario
-Josh Singer and Tom McCarthy, Spotlight
-Quentin Tarantino, The Hateful Eight

Best Score

-Carter Burwell, Carol
-Michael Giacchino, Inside Out
-Jóhann Jóhannsson, Sicario
-Junkie XL, Mad Max: Fury Road
-Ennio Morricone, The Hateful Eight

Best Documentary

-Best of Enemies
Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief
-The Look of Silence
-The Wolfpack

Best Foreign Language Film

-The Assassin (Nie yin niang)
-Goodnight Mommy (Ich seh, ich sech)
-The Tribe (Plemya)
-Wild Tales (Relatos salvajes)

Best Animated Film

-The Good Dinosaur
Inside Out
-The Peanuts Movie
Shaun the Sheep Movie

Best Overlooked Film

-The End of the Tour
The Gift
-Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
-Mistress America
-Slow West
-The Tribe (Plemya)

Hallmark Review: Love in Paradise (2016, dir. Sean McNamara)


I have to admit I was scared going into this. Based on the plot summary it sounded like it was going to be Strawberry Summer Retread: A Country Wedding, Part II. Strawberry Summer was the epic disaster that I can’t possibly summarize and A Country Wedding was about 90 minutes of snide, stupid, ignorant, and redneck dialogue that made both of the characters look like hicks. Also, this movie was directed by the man who keeps bringing us Baby Geniuses sequels and directed 3 Ninjas: High Noon at Mega Mountain (1998). So you can imagine my trepidation going into this movie. But how bad could it be? I mean I like Luke Perry. Well, it turned to out to reasonably good. It has it’s problems, but it’s not bad at all.

First things first though. With this movie, and Jesse Stone: Lost In Paradise, Luke Perry is yet another of the Beverly Hills, 90210 crowd to make their way to Hallmark:

James Eckhouse in Second Chances
Jason Priestley in Expecting A Miracle
Jennie Garth in The Last Cowboy
Shannon Doherty in Growing The Big One
Tori Spelling in Family Plan

Those are just the ones I have reviewed. However, I’m pretty sure we haven’t seen Gabrielle Carteris, Joe E. Tata, Carol Potter, or Brian Austin Green yet. Ian Ziering is busy fighting sharks. And yes, I am aware that Tiffani Thiessen was in Northpole, but I haven’t seen it so it doesn’t count. Same goes for those other Luke Perry Hallmark movies as well.

But back to this movie. It opens up with Luke in front of a green screen, then we get the title card, before it cuts back to this.


I know his character’s name is Avery Ford, but I don’t care. He is Dylan McKay to me now and always. So Dylan here is an aging star of westerns called Aim To Please. And look! They were made by the same people who worked on this film.


Notice that includes Luke Perry himself as a producer. Dylan isn’t a happy man. He doesn’t like hocking beans. Now we meet Heather (Emmanuelle Vaugier) and her father Casey (Tom Butler).


Turns out Casey is a fan of Dylan’s work as a western star. Also, it turns out the hotel/ranch is in Montana. And by Montana, they mean Agassiz, British Columbia, Canada. Well, at least for these shots.



I have to assume the main set is also in the area, but I couldn’t pin it down. They also do a reasonably good job with the license plates too. I think all the major cars in the movie have Montana plates on them.


So, how is Dylan going to end up in the country you ask? Nearly the same way as in Strawberry Summer. The hotel is in trouble and she figures since her father is a bit of a celebrity cowboy it might be mutually beneficial for her and Dylan if he pays a PR visit. But unlike Strawberry Summer, the first words out of Dylan’s mouth are that she could be a crazy person like Kathy Bates in Misery.


I don’t care that he goes anyways. I am just grateful this movie acknowledged that fact. Strawberry Summer just glosses over that she is an obsessed fan who uses her personal connections to lure a celebrity to her small town because she believes she can fix him. Thank you Luke Perry, Tippi Dobrofsky, and Neal Dobrofsky for writing that into this film.

After landing, Dylan buys some boots because you know, he’s just an actor, not a real cowboy. That’s where a problem with this film is. Also, it’s a little wishy washy about it. She kind of acts like the girl in A Country Wedding even commenting on his obviously new and not really his boots. In her case though, it’s not that she’s being a jackass and more that for some reason she doesn’t know what acting is. If Anthony Hopkins had shown up in town, then would she have been expecting him to be a cannibal? The wishy washy part is that basically nobody else thinks that way. Certainly not the father who makes it very clear he knew he wasn’t a real cowboy. He’s an actor who plays one in movies. Movies that happen to make him happy when he watches them.

Well, they go through the standard city slicker in the country bit. Yes, that includes this nonsense.


But what’s nice is that this tapers off within the first 30 minutes or so of the movie. The rest of the time is Dylan, Heather, and Casey just getting to know each other and themselves better. Dylan already knew he wasn’t super happy with where he was in his life, but it won’t mean that he just up and stops acting. That’s one of the really nice things about this movie. He finishes the film with a much more moderate and realistic response to his time with Heather and Casey. Heather gets to know Dylan and generally begins to appreciate what her father sees in him. Up till then she didn’t watch his movies. They don’t take that as far as I would have liked, but it’s quite implied that she understands his acting has brought her dad happiness. As for the dad, it’s a win win situation for him. He gets to hang out with his favorite actor and his daughter is happy as she grows closer to Dylan. At least as close as most Hallmark romances do before just having them end up together.

There is a little subplot with a guy who wants to do something by buying her place, but I really don’t know why they even bothered with it. It barely comes into play.

However, there are two things to notice in this movie.


In that scene the guy who wants to buy up the place shows up to harass Heather. Luke Perry goes right into classic Dylan McKay for that moment. You know, those scenes when he would walk right over and tell someone to back off if they were bothering one of his friends. It’s suddenly Beverly Hills, 90210 for that moment and she might as well be Kelly.

The other thing.


That is Matt Frewer as the local doctor, and that scene is a major missed opportunity. Do you see it? Let me change the line: Name is Marion, but people call me Max. Boom! A John Wayne reference, which was done that way in One Starry Christmas, plus a reference to Matt Frewer as Max Headroom. Too bad.

Ultimately what do you have with Love in Paradise? You have Strawberry Summer and A Country Wedding put into a blender and mixed by screenwriters who knew what they were doing. It works. There are cliches they could have left out, and moments they could have shot for something more meaningful, but it’s Hallmark. I will gladly praise the ones that really rise above, but I’m not going to come down on this one hard for it’s flaws. I recommend it.

The National Society Of Film Critics Honors Spotlight!


Last year, the National Society of Film Critics kept things interesting by naming Goodbye To Language as best picture.  This year, they went with Spotlight, just like everyone else.  However, Michael B. Jordan did win best actor for Creed so there was at least that.

1. Michael B. Jordan (Creed) 29 points
2. Geza Rohrig (Son of Saul) 18
3. Tom Courtenay (45 Years) 15

1. Charlotte Rampling (45 Years) 57
2. Saoirse Ronan (Brooklyn) 30
3. Nina Hoss (Phoenix) 22

1. Mark Rylance (Bridge of Spies) 56
2. Michael Shannon (99 Homes) 16
3. Sylvester Stallone (Creed) 14

1. Kristen Stewart (Clouds of Sils Maria) 53
2. Alicia Vikander (Ex Machina) 23
3. Kate Winslet (Steve Jobs) 17
3. Elizabeth Banks (Love & Mercy) 17

1. Spotlight (Josh Singer and Tom McCarthy) 21
2. Anomalisa (Charlie Kaufman) 15
2. The Big Short (Charles Randolph and Adam McKay) 15

1. Carol (Ed Lachman) 25
2. The Assassin (Mark Lee Ping-bin) 22
3. Mad Max: Fury Road (John Seale) 12

1. Spotlight (Tom McCarthy) 23
2. Carol (Todd Haynes) 17
3. Mad Max: Fury Road (George Miller) 13

1.Todd Haynes (Carol) 21
2. Tom McCarthy (Spotlight) 21 (because he was on fewer ballots)
3. George Miller (Mad Max: Fury Road) 20

1. Timbuktu (Abderrahmane Sissako) 22
2. Phoenix (Christian Petzold) 20
3. The Assassin (Hou Hsiao-hsien) 16

1. Amy (Asif Kapadia) 23
2. In Jackson Heights (Frederick Wiseman) 18
3. Seymour: An Introduction (Ethan Hawke) 15

Lisa Plays Catch-Up: A Pigeon Sat On A Branch Reflecting On Existence (dir by Roy Andersson)

With 2015 now over, it’s time for me to both make out my end-of-the-year lists and take a look at the films that I saw last year that I have yet to get around to reviewing.  In other words, it’s time to play catch up!


A Pigeon Sat On A Branch Reflecting On Existence is a Swedish film but, just from the title, you probably guessed that this was a European film.  After all, an American film would never have a title quite that long or passive.  We prefer our titles to be short and punchy and to the point: Taken, Spotlight, Die Hard, Concussion.  A Pigeon Sat On A Branch Reflection On Existence is a title that is full of ennui and existential considerations.

At first glance — and I write this from an American point of view — A Pigeon Sat On A Branch Reflection On Existence seems like almost a parody of an experimental European art film.  The performances are low-key and unemotional.  The humor is often dark, cynical, and deliberately obscure.  The film is full of long takes and medium shots, with the camera never moving.  This is a film that demands more than a little patience from the viewer.  I ended up loving it but I have a feeling that a lot of people will give up on the film after the first 15 minutes or so.

Believe it or not, this is not a film about a pigeon.  Instead, it’s a collection of small and increasingly absurd scenes, some of which are connected and some of which are not.  Some characters appear in more than one scene and some do not.  The two most prominent characters are two dour-faced salesman of novelty items.  “We want to help people have fun,” they repeatedly say in the flattest possible tone.  They sell vampire teeth and a mask that they call Uncle One Tooth.  (Whenever they pull out the Uncle One Tooth mask, it leads to someone screaming in horror.)  They also sell bags of laughter, little bags that laugh when you open them and then keep laughing until they suddenly stop.  One of the salesman is feeling depressed and no longer wants to keep selling novelties.  The other salesman has to continually beg him to leave his apartment.

At one point, the two salesman enter a small diner and you can’t help but notice that, looking out the front windows, the diner appears to be sitting in the middle of an apocalyptic wasteland.  Eventually, a group of 18th century soldiers march by and decide to enter the diner.  They are followed by their leader, a preening martinet on a horse who orders that all women leave the diner.  Later, we return to the diner and so do the soldiers.  They’ve obviously lost whatever battle they were fighting but they still stand at attention when the horse reenters the diner, mounted by their dying (or possibly dead) leader.

And it’s all very odd but yet also very fascinating.  The film is so deadpan and so unashamedly absurd in its humor that it’s impossible not to enjoy.  Or at least, that’s the case up until the final 10 minutes or so, at which point the audience is confronted by a crowd of obviously wealthy people casually watching a group of slaves being horrifically burned alive.

What does all this mean?  I think a better question would be, “Does this mean anything at all?”  That said, A Pigeon Sat On A Branch Reflecting On Existence is a fascinating film for audiences that are willing to take a chance on something different.

It’s also currently available on Netflix!

I watched it so you don’t have to: “My Boyfriend’s Back” (1993)


I watched it so you don’t have to: “My Boyfriend’s Back” (1993)

My boyfriend is back


“He died for me, He came back from the dead for me, He ate somebody for me.”

I’ll get back to that, but let’s get the technicalities out of the way first!


Andrew Lowery as Johnny Dingle (Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Nothing, Clerks)

Traci Lind as Missy McCloud (Voyager, Fame, 21 Jump Street)

Minor roles by:

Philip Seymour Hoffman, Cloris Leachman, Matthew McConaughey, Renée Zellweger (You might have heard of them.)

Directed by:

Bob Balaban (Nurse Jackie, The Twilight Zone, plus much more)

Written by:

Dean Lorey (Arrested Development, ‘Til Death)


To impress his wanna be girlfriend (Lind), Johnny (Lowery) decides to stage a convenience store robbery. In that staging he is killed and comes back as a zombie. Just before dying, Johnny asked Missy to the prom and she accepts.

As Johnny comes back as a zombie, he tries to integrate back into society. Facing anti-zombie discrimination. Missy finally agrees to got to prom with him in his zombie state. Going to the prom, Johnny finally disitergrates into his un-dead form.

While he made it to Heaven, he was let known that his original death was a mistake and he is given another chance. Put back in the point of the robbery, and knowing he was never meant to die, Johnny dives infront of the bullet. The bullet, caught by a locket he made of Missy and himself in the first grade, he is saved. Missy and Johnny go to the prom and (presumably) live happily ever after.


Honestly, going in, I really wanted to hate this movie. It has all the cheesy plot lines. Boy loves girl, boy dies for girl, boy comes back for girl, she ends up loving him. But if I am going to be honest, this movie was really cute. And to get back to my original quote, yeah, that worked!

Since “My Boyfriend’s Back” is not in public domain, I can’t give you a link to the entire movie, but here is a trailer if you like! 🙂