January Positivity: The Gathering (dir by Daniel Carrales)


The 1998 film, The Gathering, is about people who keep having visions.

Michael Carey (Daniel Kruse), for instance, is a successful advertising executive who suddenly sees a portal forming high in the sky and people turning into globes of light as they are transported upward.

His wife is at the playground, talking to her best friend about what a drag her husband has become ever since he got on the whole religious kick when suddenly, she has a vision in which all of the children have vanished.

Michael’s mother-in-law gets the worst of it.  She’s a professor at the local college and she’s introduced explaining to a student that the only way to pass her class is to be an atheist.  (The student needs to call a lawyer, to be honest.)  Suddenly, the professor is having all sorts of visions, that majority of which involve her betraying people to a shadowy government organization.  She betrays her best friend and colleague.  She betrays her own daughter.  She betrays everyone.

While his wife and his mother-in-law shrug off the visions and claim that there must be a normal explanation for why they’re all visualizing a similar future, Michael turns into an evangelist and starts telling everyone about what he’s seeing.  He is especially upset when he discovers that one of his clients is going to be at the forefront of encouraging everyone to get a microchip inserted under their skin.  (We already know from the professor’s visions that people who don’t have the chip will be hunted down and killed in the streets.)  People start to feel a bit uncomfortable around Michael.  He loses his job and his family but still, when the portal appears in the sky, he’s among those who vanish.  His wife and his mother-in-law are not lucky, which sounds like the start of a really sexist joke.  (“Those seven years between the rapture and the second coming were the first peace and quiet I got during my entire marriage!”)

Clocking in at 57 minutes, The Gathering was produced and released at a time when the Left Behind books were climbing the best seller charts.  It pretty much follows the same formula as those books, with the emphasis less on being a Christian and more on imagining the misery that awaits everyone who isn’t.  In this film, if you’re not a believer, you’re going to be stuck in a world where all of the color has been desaturated and everyone has to wear really ugly, communist-style clothes.  It’s a world where the government monitors everyone’s actions and where questioning those in charge can lead to you being either executed or sent to reeducation camp.  When viewed today, the film feels more like a political tract than a religious one, with the smug but bland and process-obsessed villains serving as a perfect representation of what almost everyone hates about dealing with the bureaucratic state.

Not surprisingly, the film’s budget is low.  There are a few effective shots.  I liked the way that the clouds would “speed up” whenever anyone was starting to have a vision but then the extremely cheap-looking portal appeared in the sky and ruined the illusion.  The film is quickly paced and its portrayal of life under a dictatorship feels believable.  At the same time, a lot of the acting is amateurish and the film itself seems to be more about scaring people than making a case for its beliefs.  It really does seem like the intended audience for this film were people who just wanted to imagine their atheist neighbors having to dress like Trotsky.  But, hey, at least it’s less than an hour long.

The Alliance of Women Film Journalists Honors Banshees


Here are the 2022 picks for the best (and, in some cases, worst) of 2022 from The Alliance of Women Film Journalists!

Best Film
The Banshees of Inisherin
Everything Everywhere All at Once
The Fabelmans
TÁR
The Woman King
Women Talking

Best Director
Daniel Kwan & Daniel Scheinert, Everything Everywhere All at Once
Martin McDonagh, The Banshees of Inisherin
Sarah Polley, Women Talking
Gina Prince-Bythewood, The Woman King
Steven Spielberg, The Fabelmans
Charlotte Wells, Aftersun

Best Actor
Austin Butler, Elvis
Colin Farrell, The Banshees of Inisherin
Brendan Fraser, The Whale
Paul Mescal, Aftersun
Bill Nighy, Living
Jeremy Pope, The Inspection

Best Actress
Cate Blanchett, TÁR
Viola Davis, The Woman King
Danielle Deadwyler, Till
Vicki Krieps, Corsage
Emma Thompson, Good Luck to You, Leo Grande
Michelle Yeoh, Everything Everywhere All at Once

Best Supporting Actor
Brendon Gleeson, The Banshees of Inisherin
Brian Tyree Henry, Causeway
Barry Keoghan, The Banshees of Inisherin
Eddie Redmayne, The Good Nurse
Ke Huy Quan, Everything Everywhere All at Once
Ben Whishaw, Women Talking

Best Supporting Actress
Angela Bassett, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
Jessie Buckley, Women Talking
Hong Chau, The Whale
Kerry Condon, The Banshees of Inisherin (TIE)
Jamie Lee Curtis, Everything Everywhere All at Once (TIE)
Janelle Monáe, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

Best Original Screenplay
Charlotte Wells, Aftersun
Martin McDonagh, The Banshees of Inisherin
Daniel Kwan & Daniel Scheinert, Everything Everywhere All at Once
Steven Spielberg & Tony Kushner, The Fabelmans
Todd Field, TÁR
Dana Stevens & Maria Bello, The Woman King

Best Adapted Screenplay
Edward Berger, Lesley Patterson, & Ian Stokell, All Quiet on the Western Front
Rian Johnson, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery
Rebecca Lenkiewicz, She Said
Samuel D. Hunter, The Whale
Sarah Polley, Women Talking
Alice Birch, Emma Donoghue, & Sebastian Lelio, The Wonder

Best Animated Film
Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio (Guiilermo del Toro and Mark Gustafson)
Marcel the Shell with Shoes On (Dean Fleischer-Camp)
Puss in Boots: The Last Wish (Joel Crawford and Januel Mercado)
The Sea Beast (Chris Williams)
Turning Red (Domee Shi)
Wendell & Wild (Henry Selick)

Best Documentary
All That Breathes (Shaunak Sen)
All the Beauty and the Bloodshed (Laura Poitras)
Descendant (Margaret Brown)
Fire of Love (Sara Dosa)
Good Night Oppy (Ryan White)
The Janes (Tia Lessen and Emma Pildes)

Best Non-English-Language Film
All Quiet on the Western Front
Bardo
Decision to Leave (TIE)
Happening
RRR (TIE)
Saint Omer

Best Ensemble Cast (Casting Director)
The Banshees of Inisherin (Louise Kiely)
Everything Everywhere All at Once (Sarah Finn)
Triangle of Sadness (Pauline Hansson)
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (Sarah Finn)
The Woman King (Aisha Coley)
Women Talking (John Buchan & Jason Knight)

Best Cinematography
Ben Davis, The Banshees of Inisherin
Roger Deakins, Empire of Light
Larkin Seiple, Everything Everywhere All at Once
Janusz Kamiński, The Fabelmans
Claudio Miranda, Top Gun: Maverick (TIE)
Polly Morgan, The Woman King (TIE)

Best Editing
Jonathan Redmond & Matt Villa, Elvis
Paul Rogers, Everything Everywhere All at Once
Monika Willis, TÁR
Eddie Hamilton, Top Gun: Maverick
Terilyn A. Shropshire, The Woman King
Roslyn Kalloo & Chris Donaldson, Women Talking

EDA FEMALE FOCUS AWARDS
These awards honor WOMEN only.

Best Woman Director
Chinoye Chukwu, Till
Marie Kreutzer, Corsage
Gina Prince-Bythewood, The Woman King
Sarah Polley, Women Talking
Maria Schrader, She Said
Charlotte Wells, Aftersun

Best Woman Screenwriter
Alice Birch, The Wonder & Mothering Sunday
Rebecca Lenkiewicz, She Said
Sarah Polley, Women Talking
Domee Shi, Turning Red
Dana Stevens and Maria Bello, The Woman King
Charlotte Wells, Aftersun

Best Animated Female
Connie – Isabella Rossellni (Marcel the Shell with Shoes On)
Izzy – Keke Palmer (Lightyear)
Kat – Lyric Ross (Wendell & Wild)
Kitty Softpaws – Salma Hayek (Puss in Boots: The Last Wish)
Mei – Rosalyn Chiang (Turning Red)
Ming – Sandra Oh (Turning Red)

Best Woman’s Breakthrough Performance
Frankie Corio, Aftersun
Danielle Deadwyler, Till
Stephanie Hsu, Everything Everywhere All at Once
Thuso Mbedu, The Woman King
Amber Midthunder, Prey
Sadie Sink, The Whale

Outstanding Achievement by a Woman in the Film Industry
* Viola Davis for getting “The Woman King” made as her lifetime passion project and creating opportunities for other women creatives.
* Nina Menkes and Maria Giese for making “Brainwashed,” analyzing and illustrating the misogynistic representation of women in Hollywood movies.
* Domee Shi for being the first woman to direct a film for Pixar and for becoming Pixar’s VP of Creative
* Jacqueline Stewart for ongoing advocacy of the underrepresented and becoming president of the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures.
* Michelle Yeoh – lifetime achievement award.

EDA SPECIAL MENTION AWARDS

Grand Dame Award for defying ageism.
Jamie Lee Curtis
Viola Davis
Emma Thompson
Michelle Yeoh

Most Egregious Lovers’ Age Difference Award
Confess Fletch – Jon Hamm (born 1971) and Lorenza Izzo (born 1989)
Crimes of the Future – Viggo Mortensen (born 1958) and Lea Sedoux (born 1985)
Deep Water – Ben Affleck (born 1972) and Ana de Armas (born 1988)
Eiffel – Romain Duris (born 1974) and Emma Mackey (born 1996)

She Deserves A New Agent Award
(AWFK note: This is not a put down. On the contrary, it suggests that the actor is better than the role she’s been given.)
Ana de Armas, Blonde
Bryce Dallas Howard, Jurassic World: Dominion
Margot Robbie, Babylon
Rebel Wilson, Senior Year

Most Daring Performance
Cate Blanchett, TÁR
Viola Davis, The Woman King
Danielle Deadwyler, Till
Emma Thompson, Good Luck to You, Leo Grande
Michelle Yeoh, Everything Everywhere All at Once

Time Waster Remake or Sequel Award
Firestarter
Halloween Ends
Jurassic World: Dominion
Pinocchio (Disney’s)

AWFJ Hall of Shame Award (Women and men are eligible)
* Alec Baldwin and the crew of “Rust” for continuing to deny responsibility for the on set shooting that killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins. The situation is still messy. A wrongful death lawsuit was settled, but the criminal investigation continues. In November, Baldwin sued crew members for giving him the loaded prop gun that killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins. News reports say Baldwin also texted Hutchins’s husband, Matthew, saying that the gun was never meant to be fired at a particular camera angle.
* “Blonde” and Andrew Dominik
* Will Smith for his behavior at the Oscars and in the aftermath.
* Harvey Weinstein for everything and forever.

Here Are the 2022 Nominees Of The Set Decorators Society of America!


With all the attention to the various critics groups that have been announcing their picks for the best of 2022, it really is the Guilds that give us the best indication of what films are truly in the hunt for Oscar glory.  With that in mind, here are the 2022 nominations of the Set Decorators Society of America!  The winners will be announced on February 14th.

Contemporary Film
Bardo, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths
Bullet Train
Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery
TÁR
Top Gun: Maverick

Period Film
Amsterdam
Babylon
Elvis
The Fabelmans
White Noise

Fantasy/Science Fiction Film
Avatar: The Way of Water
The Batman
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
Don’t Worry Darling
Everything Everywhere All at Once

Musical/Comedy Film
Bros
Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile
Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical
Spirited
The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent

The Columbus Film Critics Association Name Banshees The Best of 2022!


The Columbus Film Critics Association has announced their picks for the best of 2022!

And here they are:

Best Film
1. The Banshees of Inisherin
2. Everything Everywhere All at Once
3. Tár
4. Aftersun
5. Women Talking
6. Glass Onion
7. The Fabelmans
8. Marcel the Shell with Shoes On
9. The Menu
10. Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio

Best Director
Todd Field, Tár (RUNNER UP)
Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, Everything Everywhere All at Once (WINNER)
Martin McDonagh, The Banshees of Inisherin
Sarah Polley, Women Talking
Steven Spielberg, The Fabelmans

Best Lead Performance
Cate Blanchett, Tár (WINNER)
Olivia Colman, Empire of Light
Danielle Deadwyler, Till
Colin Farrell, The Banshees of Inisherin
Ralph Fiennes, The Menu
Brendan Fraser, The Whale (RUNNER UP)
Mia Goth, Pearl
Paul Mescal, Aftersun
Margot Robbie, Babylon
Michelle Williams, The Fabelmans
Michelle Yeoh, Everything Everywhere All at Once

Best Supporting Performance
Angela Bassett, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
Kerry Condon, The Banshees of Inisherin (RUNNER UP)
Jamie Lee Curtis, Everything Everywhere All at Once
Paul Dano, The Fabelmans
Dolly De Leon, Triangle of Sadness
Brendan Gleeson, The Banshees of Inisherin (WINNER)
Barry Keoghan, The Banshees of Inisherin
Janelle Monáe, Glass Onion
Keke Palmer, Nope
Ke Huy Quan, Everything Everywhere All at Once

Best Ensemble
The Banshees of Inisherin (WINNER)
Everything Everywhere All at Once
The Fabelmans
Glass Onion (RUNNER UP)
Women Talking

Actor of the Year (for an exemplary body of work)
Hong Chau, The Menu and The Whale (RUNNER UP)
Jamie Lee Curtis, Everything Everywhere All at Once and Halloween Ends
Colin Farrell, The Banshees of Inisherin, The Batman, and Thirteen Lives (WINNER)
Mia Goth, Pearl and X
Tilda Swinton, The Eternal Daughter, Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio, and Three Thousand Years of Longing
Anya Taylor-Joy, Amsterdam, The Menu, and The Northman

Breakthrough Film Artist
Austin Butler, Elvis – (for acting) (RUNNER UP)
Hong Chau, The Menu and The Whale – (for acting)
Zach Cregger, Barbarian – (for directing, screenwriting, and acting)
Gabriel LaBelle, The Fabelmans – (for acting)
Charlotte Wells, Aftersun – (for directing and screenwriting) (WINNER)

Best Cinematography
Russell Carpenter, Avatar: The Way of Water
Ben Davis, The Banshees of Inisherin
Claudio Miranda, Top Gun: Maverick (WINNER)
Linus Sandgren, Babylon
Hoyte Van Hoytema, Nope (RUNNER UP)

Best Film Editing
Sarah Broshar and Michael Kahn, The Fabelmans
Bob Ducsay, Glass Onion
Eddie Hamilton, Top Gun: Maverick (RUNNER UP)
A. Sreekar Prasad, RRR
Paul Rogers, Everything Everywhere All at Once (WINNER)

Best Adapted Screenplay
Guillermo del Toro and Patrick McHale, Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio
Dean Fleischer-Camp, Jenny Slate, and Nick Paley, Marcel the Shell with Shoes On
Samuel D. Hunter, The Whale
Rian Johnson, Glass Onion (RUNNER UP)
Rebecca Lenkiewicz, She Said
Sarah Polley and Miriam Toews, Women Talking (WINNER)

Best Original Screenplay
Todd Field, Tár
Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, Everything Everywhere All at Once (WINNER)
Martin McDonagh, The Banshees of Inisherin (RUNNER UP)
Jordan Peele, Nope
Seth Reiss and Will Tracy, The Menu
Steven Spielberg and Tony Kushner, The Fabelmans

Best Score
Michael Abels, Nope
Carter Burwell, The Banshees of Inisherin
Alexandre Desplat, Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio (WINNER)
Justin Hurwitz, Babylon (RUNNER UP)
Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, Bones and All
John Williams, The Fabelmans

Best Documentary
All the Beauty and the Bloodshed (WINNER)
Fire of Love (RUNNER UP)
Good Night Oppy
Moonage Daydream
Navalny
Sr.

Best Foreign Language Film
All Quiet on the Western Front (RUNNER UP)
Decision to Leave (WINNER)
RRR
Saint Omer

Best Animated Film
Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio (RUNNER UP)
Mad God
Marcel the Shell with Shoes On (WINNER)
Puss in Boots: The Last Wish
Turning Red

Best Comedy
The Banshees of Inisherin
Everything Everywhere All at Once (RUNNER UP)
Glass Onion (WINNER)
The Menu
Triangle of Sadness
The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent

Best Overlooked Film
After Yang (WINNER)
Confess, Fletch
God’s Country
Men
The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent (RUNNER UP)

Here’s The Trailer for Renfield


The trailer for Renfield has been getting a lot of attention today.  Due to be released on April 14th, Renfield stars Nicholas Hoult as the title character, who was Dracula’s unfortunate servant.  However, most of the attention generated by the trailer has been directed towards Nicolas Cage playing the role that many feel he was born to play.

Check out the trailer:

This could be good, despite the fact that I usually have my doubts about films that come out in April.  I like Nicholas Hoult.  I love Nic Cage.  So, we’ll see hop for the best and we shall see what happens!

Retro Television Reviews: City Guys 3.11 “Marriage Go Around” and 3.12 “Movin’ On Up”


Welcome to Retro Television Reviews, a feature where we review some of our favorite and least favorite shows of the past!  On Thursdays, I will be reviewing City Guys, which ran on NBC from 1997 to 2001.  The entire show is currently streaming on Tubi!

If I can turn it in tomorrow, it’ll be alright….

Episode 3.11 “Marriage Go Round”

(Dir by Frank Bonner, originally aired on October 23rd, 1999)

It’s marriage class!  The class — which, of course, includes Jamal, Chris, L-Train, Al, Dawn, and Cassidy — is divided into couples.  Ms. Nobel assigns the couples and, for a few weeks, they pretend to be married and deal with any complications that come up.  Ms. Nobel also decides what the complications are going to be.  Why does Ms. Nobel get all this power?

Anyway, Jamal gets mad because Chris is “married” to Jamal’s previously never seen or acknowledged girlfriend.  (Apparently, Jamal broke up with the white girl who had the racist father.)  Jamal spends the entire show worrying that he’s going to lose his girlfriend and then he does lose his girlfriend but who cares?  We’ve never seen this person before.  Meanwhile, L-Train is assigned to marry a girl who thinks that she’s too good for him, Al is assigned to marry Dawn, and Jamal is assigned to marry Cassidy.  Considering that Chris is supposedly in love with Cassidy, wouldn’t it have made more sense for him to be jealous of Jamal than for Jamal to be jealous of Chris?

 As you may have noticed, this episode was recycled from an old episode of Saved By The Bell.  It wasn’t that good of an idea when Saved By The Bell did it.  It’s even dumber when it gets the City Guys treatment.

Episode 3.12 “Movin’ On Up”

(Dir by Frank Bonner, originally aired on October 30th, 1999)

Rock TV (that’s this show’s version of MTV) is holding auditions for the cast of the latest season of Reality House (a.k.a. The Real World).  Chris, Jamal, L-Train, Al, Dawn, and Cassidy show up late for the auditions and then get into a loud argument about who is to blame.  The producer is so impressed by their argument that he hires them on the spot!  As he puts it, they’ve got “in-your-face, New York attitude!”

The Gang becomes reality stars!

They move into a loft but apparently, there’s not enough conflict and Chris and Jamal overhear the show’s producer talking about cancelling the season.  Chris and Jamal decide to manufacture conflict to keep the season going.  Isn’t that what the show’s producers are supposed to be doing?  

Seriously, as a committed reality TV fan, this episode offended me.  Why would you ever cast a reality show with an uneven number of men and women?  Why would you pick people who already know each other?  Why would you not toss someone in specifically to start conflict?  Where’s the naïve newcomer from the Midwest?  Where’s the frustrated artist with terrible personal hygiene?  Where’s the girl who won’t shut up about being a virgin?  Where’s the frat boy with a drinking problem?  I mean, no wonder no one is watching this show!

While the gang appears on reality TV, Ms. Nobel deals with a terrible new assistant named Marcy.  It was pretty dumb.  Even dumber is that Ms. Nobel somehow got involved in telling Chris and Jamal how to behave on the reality show.  Why does Ms. Nobel get involved in everything?  Is running a high school really that easy of a job that she can just spend all of her time hanging out at the diner and the reality show loft?

The episode ended with the TV show still going and everyone still living in the Loft so I guess this reality show angle is going to be the new thing.  I guess we’ll find out for sure next week!

Music Video of the Day: Thinking About You by Calvin Harris and featuring Ayah Marar (2013, dir by ????)


Who are you thinking about?

By the way, I recently heard that some people can’t stand it when people in relationships refer to each other as “babe.”  Personally, I think it’s cute.  It’s also a good way to remind someone that they are loved despite the fact that you might be asking them to take down their favorite work of art until after your aunt visits.  “Take that down,” sounds mean but “Hey, babe, how about we take this down for a few hours?” sounds sweet and fun!  Not only are you using a term of affection but you’re also assuring them that it will only be for a few hours and hey, maybe you’ll do something special to celebrate its return to the wall, right?

Anyway, I like this video.  It’s very celebratory.  It captures the feeling of being young, having too many resources, and just letting the day take to wherever it’s going to lead.  It’s all about freedom and enjoying the life that you have while you have it.  In today’s world, so many people seem to feel that they have an obligation to be miserable all the time.  Seriously, though, you’ve got your entire life to be miserable.  Today, just enjoy yourself.  The world won’t end.

Enjoy!

Lyrics:

If I told you, that this couldn’t get better baby
And your heartbeat, it lets me know you feel the same.
I can hold you, keep you safe until you fall asleep.
Never worried, cause I can give you what you need.

Now everything I do, is all for loving you.
Its not something that we’re used to.
No other way to say, I need you every day.
And now I’m gonna change my ways.
And it’s a part of you, I never wanna lose.
I’ll do anything you want me to.
Like any other day, I know I’ll find a way-aa-aay.
And if ever I’m alone you’ll say.

I’ll be thinking about you.
I’ll be thinking about you.
I’ll be thinking about you.
I’ll be thinking about you.
I’ll be thinking about you.
I’ll be thinking about you.
I’ll be thinking about you.
I’ll be thinking about you.

In a moment, I know that everything could change.
And I know that, my life would never be the same.
You’re the only one that’s making sense to me.
When I close my eyes, you’re the one, I see.
There’s no other way I could ever be … Without you babe.

Now everything I do, is all for loving you.
Its not something that we’re used to.
No other way to say, I need you everyday.
And now I’m gonna change my ways.
And it’s a part of you, I never wanna lose.
I’ll do anything you want me to.
Like any other day, I know I’ll find a way-aa-aay.
And if ever I’m alone you’ll say.

I’ll be thinking about you.
I’ll be thinking about you.
I’ll be thinking about you.
I’ll be thinking about you.
I’ll be thinking about you.
I’ll be thinking about you.
I’ll be thinking about you.
I’ll be thinking about you.