The New York Film Critics Circle Embraces Lady Bird


On Thursday, the New York Film Critics Circle announced their picks for the best of 2017!  For best picture, they selected Lady Bird.  If nothing else, that’s a relief to those of us who were scared the entire precursor season would be dominated by The Post.

Here are the winners:

Best Film – “Lady Bird”
Best Director – Sean Baker, “The Florida Project”
Best Actor – Timothee Chalamet, “Call Me by Your Name”
Best Actress – Saoirse Ronan, “Lady Bird”
Best Supporting Actor – Willem Dafoe, “The Florida Project”
Best Supporting Actress – Tiffany Haddish, “Girls Trip”
Best Screenplay – Paul Thomas Anderson, “Phantom Thread”
Best Animated Feature – “Coco”
Best Non-Fiction Film – “Faces Places”
Best Foreign Language Film – “BPM (Beats Per Minute)”
Best Cinematography – Rachel Morrison, “Mudbound
Best First Film – Jordan Peele, “Get Out”
Special Achievement Award – Molly Haskell

Lisa’s Oscar Predictions For November


Well, it’s that time again!  It’s time for me to update my predictions for what will be Oscar-nominated in January.

This is also the point of the year when, for better or worse, the Oscar race starts to get a bit clearer.  I guess it’s time for me to stop pretending that either It or Wonder Woman is going to be nominated for best picture.  *Sigh*  That said, there still might be a few surprises.

(At least, I hope there will be…)

Be sure to check out my predictions for January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, and October!

Best Picture

Call Me By Your Name

The Disaster Artist

Dunkirk

The Florida Project

Get Out

Lady Bird

Logan

Phantom Thread

The Post

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Best Director

Sean Baker for The Florida Project

Greta Gerwig for Lady Bird

Christopher Nolan for Dunkirk

Jordan Peele for Get Out

Steven Spielberg for The Post

Best Actor

Timothée Chalamet in Call Me By Your Name

Daniel Day-Lewis in Phantom Thread

James Franco in The Disaster Artist

Tom Hanks in The Post

Gary Oldman in Darkest Hour

Best Actress

Judi Dench in Victoria and Abdul

Frances McDormand in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Margot Robbie in I, Tonya

Saorise Ronan in Lady Bird

Meryl Streep in The Post

Best Supporting Actor

Willem DaFoe in The Florida Project

Armie Hammer in Call Me By Your Name

Woody Harrelson in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Sam Rockwell in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Mark Rylance in Dunkirk

Best Supporting Actress

Tiffany Hadish in Girl Trip

Holly Hunter in The Big Sick

Allison Janney in I, Tonya

Melissa Leo in Novitiate

Laurie Metcalf in Lady Bird

A Movie A Day #325: Damnation Alley (1977, directed by Jack Smight)


Anyone who has seen Damnation Alley knows that the only thing that matters is the Landmaster.

Damnation Alley has a slight plot.  A nuclear war has knocked the Earth off of its axis.  The skies are green and purple.  The scorpions are huge and the cockroaches eat humans.  Crazed survivors are living like savages, attacking anyone that they come across.  When a radio signal seems to indicate that there might still be civilization in Albany, four military men (George Peppard, Jan-Michael Vincent, Paul Winfield, and Kip Niven) decide to drive across the country to check it out.  To reach Albany, they will have to cross an inhospitable stretch of land called Damnation Alley.  They will be making the journey in two Landmasters, amphibious vehicles that provide RV comfort with the extra advantage of a rocket launcher.  Along the way, they fight scorpions, roaches, and pick up some extra passengers (Dominique Sanda and Jackie Earle Haley).

The radioactive sky looks cool but otherwise, the scorpions and the cockroaches are all obviously fake and no one in the cast makes any effort to do more than recite their lines.  But no one who has watched Damnation Alley cares about any of that.  We just want to drive a Landmaster.

There is nothing that the Landmaster cannot do.  It  can speed across desert sand.  It can tear up city streets.  It can break through walls.  It can turn into a boat.  It can fire missiles.  It also appears to be bigger on the inside than the outside, just like the TARDIS.  Either that or whoever did the set design for Damnation Alley was not detail-oriented.

Despite the awe-inspiring Landmaster, Damnation Alley was neither a critical nor a box office hit.  It was one of two science fiction films released by 20th Century Fox in 1977.  The other one was Star Wars, which was a good movie but didn’t have a Landmaster.

As for the Landmaster itself, it currently resides in California and has appeared in a handful of other movies.  Sadly, it missed out on the opportunity to appear in any of the Smoky and the Bandit movies.  Burt Reynolds driving a Landmaster?  That would have been box office gold.

Right, Burt?

Is There Any Justice For “Justice League” ?


Trash Film Guru

You’ve heard the scuttlebutt by now, of course — Justice League is a mess; Henry Cavill’s face looks ridiculous thanks to the shooting-schedule-necessitated decision to “erase” his mustache by means of CGI; the 9th-inning additional re-shoots are easy to spot; the so-called “DCEU” is doomed thanks to this film’s poor box office performance.

Some of these points are legit (the flick is certainly uneven, tonally and structurally, Cavill’s MIA ‘stache is conspicuous in its absence, the re-shoots (and brighter, “happier” color grading) undertaken by “relief” director Joss Whedon don’t fit in with Zack Snyder’s material), while others are clearly over-stated (the sub-$100 million opening weekend has been largely off-set by a stronger than expected “hold” over the five-day Thanksgiving holiday period), but at the end of the day, even after filtering out the noise (much of it generated by a certain competing comic-book-publisher-turned-movie-studio), the simple fact remains — this is…

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Music Video of the Day: Psycho Killer by Smoke Season (2016, dir by Scott Fleishman)


Hi!  Lisa here, with our final music video of November!

This, of course, is a cover of the Talking Heads song.

As for the video, I like it.  It’s got atmosphere.  It makes me want to lock the doors, stock up on the pepper spray, and be thankful that I live in an open carry state.

Enjoy!

A Movie A Day #324: The Housekeeper (1987, directed by Ousama Rawi)


Eunice Parchman (Rita Tushingham) has always had a secret.  She is dyslexic.  When she was in school, the kids made fun of her for saying, “god” instead of “dog.”  When she grew up, her cruel father threatened to send her to a special school so that she could learn how to read.  Eunice suffocated him with a pillow and then moved to America, where she was hired as a housekeeper.  Eunice is a good housekeeper except she can not read any of the directions that her obnoxious employers leave for her.  When she befriends a religious fanatic (Jackie Burroughs) and accidentally overwaters her employer’s prized orchids in the same week, it can only lead to one thing, a shotgun rampage.

When I was growing up, The Housekeeper (also known as A Judgement In Stone) used to show up regularly on television.  As far as I know, it is the only horror film to have been inspired by dyslexia.  Eunice is so paranoid about people discovering that she can’t read that she is willing to murder to protect her secret.  It does not help that, in America, she works for the Coverdales, a family that is so obnoxious that they probably would give her a hard time about being dyslexic.  The film takes its time to get going but Rita Tushingham gives a good performance and all of her victims are so annoying that it won’t upset anyone when Eunice takes her revenge on them.  The best part of the film is the performance of Jackie Burroughs as an insane religious fanatic who brags about her sex life at a revival meeting.