The Music City Film Critics Association Names 1917 the best of 2019!


Earlier today, the Music City Film Critics Association (that would be Nashville) announced their picks for the best of 2019!  1917 was their pick for the best film of the year!

Check out all of the nominees and winners below:

Jim Ridley Award, named after the late Nashville Scene editor/writer, honoring the film that best embodies the Nashville spirit:
– Bluebird
– The Dead Center
– The Peanut Butter Falcon
– Saint Cloud Hill
– Wild Rose (WINNER)

Best Picture:
– 1917 (WINNER)
– Apollo 11
– Jojo Rabbit
– Joker
-Knives Out
-Little Women
-Marriage Story
-Once Upon a Time…In Hollywood
-Parasite
-The Irishman

Best Director:
– Sam Mendes, 1917 (WINNER)
– Greta Gerwig, Little Women
– Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon a Time…In Hollywood
– Bong Joon-ho, Parasite
– Martin Scorsese, The Irishman

Best Actor:
– Eddie Murphy, Dolemite is My Name
– Joaquin Phoenix, Joker (WINNER)
– Adam Driver, Marriage Story
– Taron Egerton, Rocketman
– Adam Sandler, Uncut Gems

Best Actress:
– Charlize Theron, Bombshell
– Awkwafina, The Farewell
– Renee Zellweger, Judy
– Scarlett Johansson, Marriage Story
– Lupita Nyong’o, Us (WINNER)

Best Supporting Actress:
– Zhao Shuzhen, The Farewell
– Jennifer Lopez, Hustlers
– Scarlett Johansson, Jojo Rabbit
– Florence Pugh, Little Women (WINNER)
– Laura Dern, Marriage Story

Best Supporting Actor:
– Shia LeBeouf, Honey Boy
– Al Pacino, The Irishman
– Joe Pesci, The Irishman
– Jonathan Majors, The Last Black Man in San Francisco
– Brad Pitt, Once Upon a Time…In Hollywood (WINNER)

Best Animated Feature:
– Abominable
– Frozen II
– I Lost My Body
– Klaus
– Toy Story 4 (WINNER)

Best Documentary:
– Amazing Grace
– American Factory
– Apollo 11 (WINNER)
– One Child Nation
– Tell Me Who I Am

Best Screenplay:
– Taika Waititi, Jojo Rabbit
– Rian Johnson, Knives Out
– Noah Baumbach, Marriage Story
– Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood
– Bong Joon-ho & Han Jin-won (story by Joon-ho), Parasite (WINNER)

Best Acting Ensemble:
– Avengers: Endgame
– Knives Out (WINNER)
– Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood
– Parasite
– The Irishman

Best Foreign Film:
– Atlantics (dir. Mati Diop)
– Pain and Glory (dir. Pedro Almodóvar)
– Portrait of a Lady on Fire (dir. Céline Sciamma)
– Parasite (dir. Bong Joon-ho) (WINNER)

Best Young Actress:
– Kyliegh Curran, Doctor Sleep (WINNER)
– Lucy Gallina, The Irishman
– Sophia Lillis, IT: Chapter 2
– Thomasin McKenzie, Jojo Rabbit
– Julia Butters, Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood
– Shahadi Wright Joseph, Us

Best Young Actor:
– Jacob Tremblay, Good Boys
– Noah Jupe, Honey Boy
– Archie Yates, Jojo Rabbit
– Roman Griffin Davis, Jojo Rabbit (WINNER)
– Evan Alex, Us

Best Action Film:
– Avengers: Endgame (WINNER)
– John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum
– Spider-Man: Far from Home
– Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Best Horror Film:
– Doctor Sleep
– It: Chapter 2
– Midsommar
– Ready or Not
– Us (WINNER)

Best Comedy:
– Booksmart
– Dolemite is my Name
– Jojo Rabbit
– Knives Out (WINNER)
– Long Shot

Best Score:
– Thomas Newman, 1917
– Hildur Guðnadóttir, Joker (WINNER)
– Randy Newman, Marriage Story
– John Williams, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
– Michael Abels, Us

Best Song:
– “Into the Unknown,” Frozen 2
– “Stand Up,” Harriet
– “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again,” Rocketman (WINNER)
– “I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away,” Toy Story 4
– “Glasgow (No Place Like Home),” Wild Rose

Best Sound:
– 1917 (WINNER)
– Apollo 11
– Ford v. Ferrari
– Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Production Design:
– 1917
– Knives Out
– Little Women
– Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood (WINNER)
– Parasite

Best Cinematography:
– Roger Deakins, 1917 (WINNER)
– Lawrence Sher, Joker
– Robert Richardson, Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood
– Hong Kyung-pyo, Parasite
– Jarin Blaschke, The Lighthouse

Best Editing:
– Lee Smith, 1917 (WINNER)
– Fred Raskin, Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood
– Yang Jin-mo, Parasite
– Thelma Schoonmaker, The Irishman

Best Music Film:
– Amazing Grace
– Blinded by the Light
– Rocketman (WINNER)
– Wild Rose
– Yesterday

The North Dakota Film Society Keeps Things Interesting!


The North Dakota Film Society is a new regional critics group.  They were formed just last year and today, they announced their inaugural nominees for their first batch of film awards.

And what can I say about these nominees other than the fact that they are freaking awesome!  Only with the regular suspects — Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, Parasite, and Marriage Story — they also nominated Midsommar and The Lighthouse!

Seriously, I can only hope that this group is as consistently interesting over the upcoming year!

Here are the nominees:

BEST PICTURE:

  • THE LIGHTHOUSE
    Directed by Robert Eggers; Produced by Rodrigo Teixeira, Jay Van Hoy, Robert Eggers, Lourenco Sant’Anna, Youree Henley
  • MARRIAGE STORY
    Directed by Noah Baumbach; Produced by Noah Baumbach, David Heyman
  • MIDSOMMAR
    Directed by Ari Aster; Produced by by Thomas Benski, Fredrik Heinig, Pelle Nilsson, Ben Rimmer, Philip Westgren
  • ONCE UPON A TIME…IN HOLLYWOOD
    Directed by Quentin Tarantino; Produced by David Herman, Shannon McIntosh, Quentin Tarantino
  • PARASITE
    Directed by Bong Joon ho; Produced by Bong Joon Ho, Sin-ae Kwak

BEST DIRECTOR:

  • Ari Aster
    MIDSOMMAR
  • Robert Eggers
    THE LIGHTHOUSE
  • Bong Joon Ho
    PARASITE
  • Benny Safdie & Josh Safdie
    UNCUT GEMS
  • Quentin Tarantino
    ONCE UPON A TIME…IN HOLLYWOOD

BEST ACTRESS:

  • Awkwafina
    THE FAREWELL
  • Scarlett Johansson
    MARRIAGE STORY
  • Lupita Nyong’o
    US
  • Florence Pugh
    MIDSOMMAR
  • Saoirse Ronan
    LITTLE WOMEN

BEST ACTOR:

  • Leonardo DiCaprio
    ONCE UPON A TIME…IN HOLLYWOOD
  • Adam Driver
    MARRIAGE STORY
  • Robert Pattinson
    THE LIGHTHOUSE
  • Joaquin Phoenix
    JOKER
  • Adam Sandler
    UNCUT GEMS

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS:

  • Laura Dern
    MARRIAGE STORY
  • Jennifer Lopez
    HUSTLERS
  • Florence Pugh
    LITTLE WOMEN
  • Margot Robbie
    ONCE UPON A TIME…IN HOLLYWOOD
  • Zhao Shuzhen
    THE FAREWELL

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR:

  • Willem Dafoe
    THE LIGHTHOUSE
  • Tom Hanks
    A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD
  • Al Pacino
    THE IRISHMAN
  • Joe Pesci
    THE IRISHMAN
  • Brad Pitt
    ONCE UPON A TIME…IN HOLLYWOOD

BEST SCREENPLAY:

  • THE LIGHTHOUSE
    Written by Robert Eggers, Max Eggers
  • MARRIAGE STORY
    Written by Noah Baumbach
  • MIDSOMMAR
    Written by Ari Aster
  • ONCE UPON A TIME…IN HOLLYWOOD
    Written by Quentin Tarantino
  • PARASITE
    Written by Bong Joon Ho, Jin Won Han

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY:

  • A HIDDEN LIFE
    Director of Photography: Jorg Widmer
  • JOKER
    Director of Photography: Lawrence Sher
  • THE LIGHTHOUSE
    Director of Photography: Jarin Blaschke
  • ONCE UPON A TIME…IN HOLLYWOOD
    Director of Photography: Robert Richardson
  • PARASITE
    Director of Photography: Kyung-pyo Hong

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN:

  • THE LIGHTHOUSE
    Production Designer: Craig Lathrop; Set Decorator: Ian Greig
  • JOJO RABBIT
    Production Designer: Ra Vincent; Set Decorator: Nora Sopkova
  • MIDSOMMAR
    Production Designer: Henrik Svensson
  • ONCE UPON A TIME…IN HOLLYWOOD
    Production Designer: Barbara Ling; Set Decorator: Nancy Haigh
  • PARASITE
    Production Designer: Ha-jun Lee

BEST EDITING:

  • THE IRISHMAN
    Editor: Thelma Schoonmaker
  • JOJO RABBIT
    Editor: Tom Eagles
  • THE LIGHTHOUSE
    Editor: Louise Ford
  • ONCE UPON A TIME…IN HOLLYWOOD
    Editor: Fred Raskin
  • PARASITE
    Editor: Jinmo Yang

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE:

  • JOKER
    Composer: Hildur Guonadóttir
  • LITTLE WOMEN
    Composer: Alexandre Desplat
  • MARRIAGE STORY
    Composer: Randy Newman
  • MIDSOMMAR
    Composer: The Haxan Cloak
  • US
    Composer: Michael Abels

BEST ORIGINAL SONG:

  • “Glasgow (No Place Like Home)”
    WILD ROSE
    Music and lyrics by Mary Steenburgen
  • “A Glass of Soju”
    PARASITE
    Music and lyrics by Bong Joon Ho and Jung Jae-Il
  • “I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away”
    TOY STORY 4
    Music and lyrics by Randy Newman
  • “I’m Gonna Love Me Again”
    ROCKETMAN
    Music and lyrics by Elton John and Bernie Taupin
  • “Into the Unknown”
    FROZEN II
    Music and lyrics by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez

BEST INTERNATIONAL FEATURE:

  • HONEYLAND
    Directed by Tamara Kotevska and Ljubomir Stefanov
    (Macedonia)
  • LES MISERABLES
    Directed by Ladj Ly
    (France)
  • PAIN AND GLORY
    Directed by Pedro Almodóvar
    (Spain)
  • PARASITE
    Directed by Bong Joon Ho
    (South Korea)
  • PORTRAIT OF A LADY ON FIRE
    Directed by Céline Sciamma
    (France)

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE:

  • AMERICAN FACTORY
    Directed by Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert
  • APOLLO 11
    Directed by Todd Douglas Miller
  • THE BIGGEST LITTLE FARM
    Directed by John Chester
  • HONEYLAND
    Directed by Tamara Kotevska and Ljubomir Stefanov
  • ONE CHILD NATION
    Directed by Nanfu Wang and Jialing Zhang

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE:

  • FROZEN II
    Directed by Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee
  • I LOST MY BODY
    Directed by Jérémy Clapin
  • KLAUS
    Directed by Sergio Pablos
  • MISSING LINK
    Directed by Chris Butler
  • TOY STORY 4
    Directed by Josh Cooley

Cinemax Friday: Dead By Dawn (1998, directed by James Salisbury)


Tim Marsh (Bill Ferrell) makes a lot of money and is married to the sexy and beautiful Wendy (Shannon Tweed) but he still thinks of himself as being a loser.  He’d much rather have the life of his old high school buddy, Don White (Ted Prior).  Don is a former baseball player who is opening his own car dealership and is married to a much younger woman named Kim (Jodie Fisher).

One day, Don lets Tim drive his BMW, which Don brags was a gift from Ed McMahon.  Tim loves the car and, while driving it, feels more alive than he has in years.  Don then offers to allow Tim to sleep with his wife.  Tim says that there’s no way that he would ever cheat on Wendy but Don insists.  Eventually, after a party to celebrate Don’s new business, Tim takes Don up on his offer.  The next morning, after Tim has returned home to Wendy, someone murders Kim in her sleep.

Guess who the police suspect?

Dead By Dawn is typical of the low-budget, erotic thrillers that used to dominate late night Cinemax.  Most of these films had plots that could best be described as neo-noir and Dead By Dawn is no different.  Not much happens in Dead By Dawn.  Since there are only four main characters and one of them dies about an hour into the movie, it’s pretty easy to figure out who is double crossing who.  The main problem with the film is that it asks us to believe that Tim would cheat on Shannon Tweed instead of getting down on his knees every day and thanking God that a loser like him managed to marry … well, Shannon Tweed.

Not surprisingly, Shannon Tweed gives the film’s best performance.  Because of her background as a Playboy playmate and her relationships with Hugh Hefner and Gene Simmons, it’s often overlooked that Shannon Tweed was a fairly good actress who had the ability to be both sexy and believable.  She had a down-to-Earth quality to her that was lacking in most of the other direct-to-video vixens of the 90s.  She was the sex symbol who you could imagine running into at the grocery store.

When compared to some of the other films that we all remember from late night Cinemax, Dead By Dawn is fairly tame but aficionados of Shannon Tweed’s film career should enjoy it.

The Alliance of Women Film Journalists Name Parasite The Best of 2019


With the Oscar nominations approaching, the Alliance of Women Film Journalists have announced their picks for the best of 2019 and it’s another victory for Parasite!

Check out the AWFJ’s winners below:

  • Best Film
    PARASITE
  • Best Director
    Bong Joon-ho, PARASITE
  • Best Screenplay, Original
    PARASITE, Bong Joon-ho
  • Best Screenplay, Adapted
    LITTLE WOMEN, Greta Gerwig
  • Best Documentary
    APOLLO 11
  • Best Animated Film
    I LOST MY BODY
  • Best Actress
    Lupita Nyong’o, US
  • Best Actress in a Supporting Role
    Florence Pugh, LITTLE WOMEN
  • Best Actor
    Adam Driver, MARRIAGE STORY
  • Best Actor in a Supporting Role
    Brad Pitt, ONCE UPON A TIME…IN HOLLYWOOD
  • Best Ensemble Cast – Casting Director
    LITTLE WOMEN, Kathy Driscoll and Francine Maisler
  • Best Cinematography
    1917, Roger Deakins
  • Best Editing
    THE IRISHMAN, Thelma Schoonmaker
  • Best Non-English-Language Film
    PARASITE

EDA FEMALE FOCUS AWARDS
These awards honor WOMEN only.

  • Best Woman Director
    Celine Sciamma, PORTRAIT OF A LADY ON FIRE
  • Best Woman Screenwriter
    Greta Gerwig, LITTLE WOMEN
  • Best Animated Female
    Bo Peep, Annie Potts in TOY STORY 4
  • Best Breakthrough Performance
    Florence Pugh, MIDSOMMAR, LITTLE WOMEN and FIGHTING WITH MY FAMILY
  • Outstanding Achievement by A Woman in The Film Industry
    Ava DuVernay for creating ARRAY and championing women in film

EDA SPECIAL MENTION AWARDS

  • Actress Defying Age and Ageism
    Zhao Shuzhen, THE FAREWELL
  • Bravest Performance
    Aisling Franciosi, THE NIGHTINGALE
  • Actress Most in Need Of A New Agent
    Anne Hathaway, THE HUSTLER and SERENITY
  • Most Egregious Lovers’ Age Difference Award
    THE PUBLIC: Emilio Estevez (57) and Taylor Schilling (35)
  • Remake or Sequel That Shouldn’t Have Been Made
    CHARLIE’S ANGELS
  • AWFJ Hall of Shame Award
    HFPA for excluding women nominees in major Golden Globe categories.

4 Shots From 4 Films: Happy Birthday Walter Hill!


4 Shots From 4 Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 Shots From 4 Films lets the visuals do the talking.

Today is Walter Hill’s birthday!

Can you dig it?

4 Shots From 4 Films

Hard Times (1975, directed by Walter Hill)

The Warriors (1979, directed by Walter Hill)

The Long Riders (1980, directed by Walter Hill)

Southern Comfort (1981, directed by Walter Hill)

Lisa Reviews An Oscar Nominee: Raging Bull (dir by Martin Scorsese)


This is not my favorite Martin Scorsese film.

I feel like I have to make that clear from the start because, for many people, this is their favorite Scorsese film.  Though it may have gotten mixed reviews when it was first released, it is now regularly described as being the high point of Scorsese’s fabled collaboration with Robert De Niro.  This was also the first film that Scorsese made with not only Joe Pesci but at also Frank Vincent as well.  (In fact, the whole scene in Goodfellas where Pesci and De Niro nearly stomp Vincent to death is a bit of an homage to a scene in Raging Bull.  Of course, Vincent got his revenge on Pesci in Casino.)  This film earned Martin Scorsese his first Oscar nomination for best director and it’s regularly cited as being one of the greatest film ever made.

Even more importantly, 1980’s Raging Bull has been described — by none other than the director himself — as the film that saved Martin Scorsese’s life.  Like a lot of his contemporaries, Scorsese got hooked on cocaine during the 70s.  He even nearly died of an overdose.  De Niro, who has been on Scorsese to direct Raging Bull for years, visited him in the hospital, brought him the script, told him to clean up his act, and make the film.  When Scorsese started to work on the film, he assumed it would be his last.  Whether Scorsese thought he would be dead or if he just thought he’d retire, I’m not sure.  Still, if Raging Bull had not rejuvenated Scorsese’s love of cinema, he wouldn’t have subsequently directed some of the greatest films ever made.  So, regardless of anything else, we have to be thankful that De Niro kept pushing Scorsese to direct Raging Bull.

The film itself is a biopic of Jake LaMotta (Robert De Niro), a brutal boxer who destroys opponents in the ring while destroying everyone who loves him outside of the ring.  He’s the type of guy who takes joy in destroying one opponent’s face just because his wife, Vicki (Cathy Moriarty), said that the guy was handsome.  When he’s forced to take a dive in order to win a title shot, he sobs in the locker room and it’s as close to being sympathetic as Jake gets.  The rest of the movie, he spends his time terrorizing his wife and taking out his frustrations on his loyal brother, Joey (Joe Pesci).

Most boxing films tend to present boxers as being lovable lugs, guys who might not be too smart but who have found the one thing that they’re good at.  (Think of the pre-Creed Rocky films.)  In Raging Bull, there’s nothing lovable about Jake.  He’s an animal, an angry man who fights because that’ the only way that he knows how to relate to the world.  He’s the type of guy who spends all of his time looking for an excuse to get mad and throw a punch.  The most dangerous thing you can do is make a joke in the presence of Jake LaMotta because, as portrayed in this film, he’s such an idiot that his reaction will always be to see it as a provocation.  From beginning to end, he’s a loathsome figure but the young De Niro was such a charismatic actor that you keep watching because — much like Vicki — you keep hoping that you’ll see some glimmer of humanity and some chance of redemption.

Reportedly, Scorsese and De Niro feel that the end of Raging Bull does provide Jake with some redemption.  Having lost everyone that ever loved him, an overweight Jake runs a sleazy nightclub and makes a fool of himself reciting dramatic monologues.  The production actually shut down so that De Niro could overeat and gain all the extra weight and it is shocking to see him go from being a handsome, athletic man to a fat slob whose shirt can’t even cover his belly.  No longer a boxer, Jake is now a faded D-list celebrity.  Now that he can’t fight and he can’t make money for the mob and the gamblers, no one cares about him.  That’s unfortunate for Jake but I have to say that I’ve never seen much redemption in Jake’s fate.  If anything, I was just happy that Vicki finally got away from him.

Raging Bull is a film that’s easier to admire than to actually like.  It’s impossible not to appreciate the black-and-white cinematography or the performances of De Niro, Pesci, and Cathy Moriarty.  As directed by Scorsese, the boxing scenes are horrifying brutal, to the extent that you find yourself wondering how anyone could enjoy the sport.  (When a spray of Jake’s blood hits the people in the first row, you can’t help but think that they’re all getting what they deserved.)  That said, the film’s never been a favorite of mine because, as well done as it is, Jake LaMotta never seems like he’s worth spending two hours with.

Obviously, a lot of people disagree with me on that.  Raging Bull received 8 Oscar nominations.  Robert De Niro won Best Actor.  Raging Bull, itself, lost Best Picture to Robert Redford’s Ordinary People.

Music Video Of The Day: Golden Years by David Bowie (1975, directed by ????)


Four years ago, at the age of 69, David Bowie died of liver cancer.  Just as how there was no way that we couldn’t highlight a Bowie video on his birthday, there’s also no way that, on this day, we can’t share another video from him.

Golden Years was one of Bowie’s signature tunes.  Angela Bowie claimed that the song was written for her but David never denied or confirmed that claim.  David Bowie did say that he originally tried to give the song to Elvis Presley but Elvis turned it down.  At that time, Elvis probably did not want to be reminded that he was in his “golden years.”

In 1975, in the days before MTV, music videos were often simply performance clips.  The video for Golden Years was taken from Bowie’s performance on Soul Train.  Bowie appeared on the show on November 4th, 1975 and he performed both Golden Years and Fame.  Bowie was only the 2nd white artist to ever appear on Soul Train.  (The first was Elton John.)  A lifelong fan of American R&B, Bowie was a huge Soul Train fan and was reportedly so nervous about appearing on the show that he actually got a little drunk before his performance.

David Bowie, R.I.P,