January Positivity: Without Reservation (dir by Fred Carpenter)


The 1989 film, Without Reservation, opens with a scene that should strike horror in the hearts of many viewers.

A high school basketball teams attempts to rap.  Each member of the team takes a verse, introducing themselves and struggling to come up with an appropriate rhyme to go along with their name.  I suppose that, as far as rapping goes, they’re about as skilled as you would expect any group of white, upper middle class suburban teenagers to be.  This scene goes on forever and, oddly enough, it doesn’t really have much to do with anything else that happens in the film.  One gets the feeling that it was only added to pad out the film’s 24-minute runtime.  Perhaps it was added to let the viewers know that the filmmakers weren’t stodgy old men whose knowledge of music ended with Sinatra.  No, the filmmakers were people who understood that sometimes teenagers enjoyed rap music.  They were down with the youth.

(Actually, as much as I’m making fun of the scene, it may be one of the more realistic pats of Without Reservation.  I went to an upper middle class high school in the suburbs.  The majority of my classmates were dorky white kids who thought they could rap.  Most of them were pretty bad but they were still better than the members of this film’s basketball team)

Anyway, once the rapping’s done, it’s time for six teenagers to climb into a car, drive too fast, and up getting hit by a truck.  Four of the teens suddenly find themselves apparently floating in space in the remains of their car.  They’re all dead and now, they’re waiting to find out where they’re going to go.  Do they have a reservation in Heaven or not?  Fortunately, there’s a man wearing a tuxedo (with a red bow-tie) who is working the heavenly registration desk.  He has a big, bulky, old school computer.  He asks for names and when he get them, he checks to see if they have a reservation.  He ends up telling the majority of people to step to the left, which is a polite way of saying, “Welcome to eternal damnation.”

Needless to say no one in the car has a reservation.  They all wish they could get one but it’s too late because they’re dead now.  We watch as they’re told to step to the left.  One of them ends up getting dragged over to a freight elevator and descends to the underworld.  It’s actually an oddly effective image.  If nothing else, the film does do a good job of creating an atmosphere of impending doom.  And yet, it’s hard not to feel that, like so many similar films, the main goal here is to frighten people into compliance as opposed to making a case for one belief system or another.  The emphasis is on punishment and pain and the film almost seems to encourage viewers to look down on those who don’t have reservations.  Yes, the film seems to be saying, he may be able to rap but he’s still not in the system.  Aren’t you glad that you’re not as dumb of Bill?

Anyway, Without Reservation is crudely effective, even if the ultimate message appears to be that the afterlife is a tacky resort with an out-dated computer system.

Lisa Marie’s Week In Television: 1/1/23 — 1/7/23


As the first week of January comes to a close, here’s some thoughts on what I watched!

Abbott Elementary (Wednesday Night, ABC)

Abbott Elementary returned this week with a sweet episode in which we got to see that Melissa actually is a really good teacher and that Jacob has no idea how to do a podcast.  I have to admit that I cheered a little when, at the end of the episode, Melissa revealed that, due to the contest rules being poorly written, her “classroom” had indeed won the reading competition.

The Circle (Netflix)

The Circle was back with four more episodes on Wednesday.  Marvin destroyed his game by trying to be a player while Billie-Jean and Shubham ended up getting eliminated.  (Shubham did not help himself by losing his temper while answering a “savage question.”)  I want to like Raven but the whole “everything about Raven is perfect” narrative makes it difficult.  At this point, my favorites are Tom and Xanthi & Brett.  I also have to say that I found Sam to be a lot more likable this week than I did last week.

Hell’s Kitchen (Thursday Night, FOX)

Hell’s Kitchen returned and we have finally reached my favorite part of the season, when Chef Ramsay starts to show his softer and more encouraging side and the remaining chefs finally get a chance to show how good (or bad) they can be.  Abe got sent home but he also get some words of encouragement.  That was nice.  I actually like all of the remaining chefs but it’s hard not to feel like its pretty obvious that Alex is going to win.

Law & Order (Thursday Night, NBC)

Law & Order returned with a new episode and this week and — yeesh!  After several episodes that were generally intelligent, well-done, and not too heavy-handed, this week’s episode felt like a parody of Law & Order.  This week’s murder victim was a undocumented immigrant who had been sent to New York City from Texas so, of course, we had to spend a lot of time listening to the cops talk about how heartless the governor of Texas was.  It always amuses me how this show always features a bunch of blue collar cops suddenly talking like MSNBC analysts.  I wonder if the show will do a future episode about the Democratic governor of Colorado sending people to New York?  I kind of doubt it.

Anyway, it turned out the murderer was a real estate mogul who was obviously meant to be a stand-in for one of the Trump kids.  In order to convict him, the prosecutors had to get testimony from a woman who worked in his office but — are you ready for this? — the woman was also an undocumented immigrant!  As soon as she testified, she was deported back to Lebanon.  After 20+ episodes, Sam was finally allowed to get upset about something and show a hint of personality.  Whatever else you might say about this episode, it’s nice that Sam finally got some hint of a backstory.  Up until last night, she was one of the most underwritten characters in the history of this show.

The show certainly tried to tug at the heart strings with this episode but it was so just so heavy-handed and clumsily written that it had the opposite effect.

Madoff: The Monster of Wall Street (Netflix)

This is Joe Berlinger’s latest Netflix true crime docuseries.  Over the course of four episodes, Berlinger explores the story of Bernie Madoff.  When I started watching, I was skeptical because I really didn’t feel that there was much left to be said about Bernie Madoff but both Berlinger and the show did a good job of explaining not only what Madoff did but also how he was able to get away with it for so long.  Along with taking a look at Madoff’s life, the film also examined the people that he hurt (including his two sons, both of whom emerge as tragic figures).

One thing that I did learn is that, while Madoff did handle accounts for a lot of famous and rich people, the majority of his clients were just normal people who were looking for someone to handle their retirement funds.  These people were victimized twice, both by Madoff and then by the government regulators.  Despite the fact that none of these people knew about Madoff’s crimes, many of them lost their homes and were driven into bankruptcy when they were ordered to help pay back the money that Madoff had stolen.

The film features a lot of footage of the now-deceased Madoff being interviewed in prison.  Even imprisoned and shunned by his family, Madoff still didn’t seem to feel that he had done anything wrong.  This is probably the first Madoff documentary that has really convinced me that Bernie Madoff really was as evil as everyone says.

Night Flight (Night Flight+)

On Friday night and Saturday morning, I watched the Parts 3 and 4 of Night Flight’s 1983 New Year celebration.  The music was good.  The stand-up comedians were bad.  A surprisingly coherent Ozzy Osbourne was interviewed about whether or not he had actually bitten the head off of a bat.  He said it was an accident and assured the interviewer that the rabies shots were not fun.

Tough as Nails (Wednesday Night, CBS)

The blue collar reality show is back.  To be honest, this show would be more interesting if it was office workers and executives being forced to do things like build buildings and unclog drains.  But whatever.  I like Phil Keoghan as the host.  Just as with The Amazing Race, he seems to genuinely care about the people competing.

The Twilight Zone (Sunday and Monday, SyFy)

On New Year’s Day, SyFy had their annual Twilight Zone marathon!  I watched a few episodes, in between watching movies and doing other things.  I caught the Monsters Are Due On Maple Street and the one where Burgess Meredith breaks his reading glasses and realizes that he’ll never be able to read another book.  Unfortunately, I did not catch the one with William Shatner and the Gremlin on the wing.

I watched a few more episodes on Monday.  Again, I missed the Gremlin on the wing but I did see the one with the guy who was dreaming about being on death row.  That’s personal favorite of mine.

Everything Wins In Florida


Yesterday, the Critics Association of Central Florida announced their picks for the best of 2023!

And here they are!

Best Picture
Winner: Everything Everywhere All At Once
Runner-up: Top Gun: Maverick

Best Director
Winner: Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert – Everything Everywhere All At Once
Runner-up: Steven Speilberg – The Fabelmans

Best Actor
Winner: Brendan Fraser – The Whale
Runner-up: Austin Butler – Elvis

Best Actress
Winner: Michelle Yeoh – Everything Everywhere All At Once
Runner-up: Cate Blanchett – TÀR

Best Supporting Actor
Winner: Ke Huy Quan – Everything Everywhere All At Once
Runner-up: Brendan Gleeson – The Banshees Of Inisherin

Best Supporting Actress
Winner: Angle Bassett – Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
Runner-up: Stephanie Hsu – Everything Everywhere All At Once

Best Cast
Winner: Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery
Runner-up: Everything Everywhere All At Once

Best Screenplay
Winner: Everything Everywhere All At Once
Runner-up: Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

Best International Film
Winner: RRR
Runner-up: Decision To Leave

Best Documentary
Winner: All The Beauty And The Bloodshed
Runner-up: Good Night Oppy

Best Animated Film
Winner: Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio
Runner-up: Marcel The Shell With Shoes On

Best Cinematography
Winner: Top Gun: Maverick
Runner-up: Avatar: The Way Of Water

Special Honor – Golden Paw For Best Animal Performance Winner
The Horses of Nope / The Donkeys of EO (TIE)

Best Production Design
Winner: Babylon
Runner-up: Everything Everywhere All At Once

Best Makeup And Hairstyling
Winner: The Whale
Runner-up: Everything Everywhere All At Once

Best Costume Design
Winner: Elvis
Runner-up: Everything Everywhere All At Once

Special Honor – Best First Feature
Marcel The Shell With Shoes On

Best Visual Effects
Winner: Avatar: The Way Of Water
Runner-up: Everything Everywhere All At Once

Best Stunt Coordiantion
Winner: Top Gun: Maverick
Runner-up: Everything Everywhere All At Once

Special Honor – Best Choreography
RRR

Best Score
Winner: The Batman
Runner-up: Babylon

Best Original Song
Winner: “Hold My Hand” – Top Gun: Maverick
Runner-up: “Naatu Naatu”- RRR

Best Central Florida Film
Winner: Calendar Girls

Best Achievement in Diversity
Winner: Nope

Here Are the 2022 Nominations of the San Francisco Bay Area Film Critics Circle!


The winners will be announced on January 8th …. which is tomorrow!  So, the suspense won’t last that long.

Here are the nominees:

Best Picture
“Everything Everywhere All at Once”
“TÁR”
“The Banshees of Inisherin”
“The Fabelmans”
“Women Talking”

Best Director
Charlotte Wells, “Aftersun”
Daniel Kwan, Daniel Scheinert, “Everything Everywhere All at Once”
Martin McDonagh, “The Banshees of Inisherin”
Sarah Polley, “Women Talking”
Steven Spielberg, “The Fabelmans”
Todd Field, “TÁR”

Best Original Screenplay
Charlotte Wells, “Aftersun”
Daniel Kwan, Daniel Scheinert, “Everything Everywhere All at Once”
Martin McDonagh, “The Banshees of Inisherin”
Todd Field, “TÁR”
Tony Kushner, Steven Spielberg, “The Fabelmans”

Best Adapted Screenplay
Kazuo Ishiguro, “Living”
Rebecca Lenkiewicz, “She Said”
Rian Johnson, “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery”
Samuel D. Hunter, “The Whale”
Sarah Polley, “Women Talking”

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

Best Actress
Aubrey Plaza, “Emily the Criminal”
Cate Blanchett, “TÁR”
Danielle Deadwyler, “Till”
Emma Thompson, “Good Luck to You, Leo Grande”
Mia Goth, “Pearl”
Michelle Yeoh, “Everything Everywhere All at Once”

Best Supporting Actor
Anthony Hopkins, “Armageddon Time”
Barry Keoghan, “The Banshees of Inisherin”
Ben Whishaw, “Women Talking”
Brendan Gleeson, “The Banshees of Inisherin”
Ke Huy Quan, “Everything Everywhere All at Once”
Tom Hanks, “Elvis”

Best Supporting Actress
Angela Bassett, “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”
Claire Foy, “Women Talking”
Dolly De Leon, “Triangle of Sadness”
Jamie Lee Curtis, “Everything Everywhere All at Once”
Kerry Condon, “The Banshees of Inisherin”
Nina Hoss, “TÁR”

Best Animated Feature
“Apollo 10½: A Space Age Childhood”
“Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio”
“Marcel the Shell With Shoes On”
“Puss in Boots: The Last Wish”
“Turning Red”

Best International Feature Film
“All Quiet on the Western Front”
“Argentina, 1985”
“Close”
“Decision to Leave”
“EO”

Best Documentary Feature
“All That Breathes”
“All the Beauty and the Bloodshed”
“Bad Axe”
“Fire of Love”
“Good Night Oppy”
“Navalny”

Best Cinematography
Ben Davis, “The Banshees of Inisherin”
Claudio Miranda, “Top Gun: Maverick”
Florian Hoffmeister, “TÁR”
Janusz Kaminski, “The Fabelmans”
Kim Ji-yong, “Decision to Leave”
Linus Sandgren, “Babylon”

Best Production Design
Florencia Martin (production designer), Anthony Carlino (set decorator), “Babylon”
Hannah Beachler (production designer), Lisa K. Sessions (set decorator), “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”
Jason Isvarday (production designer), Kelsi Ephraim (set decorator), “Everything Everywhere All at Once”
Mark Tildesley (production designer), Michael Standish (set decorator), “The Banshees of Inisherin”
Rick Heinrichs (production designer), Elli Griff (set decorator), “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery”

Best Film Editing
Blair McClendon, “Aftersun”
Eddie Hamilton, “Top Gun: Maverick”
Mikkel E.G. Nielsen, “The Banshees of Inisherin”
Monika Willi, “TÁR”
Paul Rogers, “Everything Everywhere All at Once”
Tom Cross, “Babylon”

Best Original Score
Alexandre Desplat, “Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio”
Carter Burwell, “The Banshees of Inisherin”
Hildur Guðnadóttir, “Women Talking”
John Williams, “The Fabelmans”
Justin Hurwitz, “Babylon”

Special Citation for Independent Cinema
“Emergency”
“Servants”
“Topside”

Here Are The 2022 Nominations of the Hawaii Film Critics Society!


Woo hoo!  I love Hawaii!

Here are the nominations!

BEST PICTURE
Everything Everywhere All At Once
Top Gun: Maverick
The Menu
Tár
Babylon

BEST DIRECTOR
The Daniels, Everything Everywhere All At Once
Todd Field, Tár
Martin McDonagh, The Banshees of Inisherin
Damien Chazelle, Babylon
Steven Spielberg, The Fabelmans

BEST ACTOR
Colin Farrell, The Banshees of Inisherin
Austin Butler, Elvis
Brendan Fraser, The Whale
Ralph Fiennes, The Menu
Tom Cruise, Top Gun: Maverick

BEST ACTRESS
Michelle Yeoh, Everything Everywhere All At Once
Cate Blanchett, Tár
Margo Robbie, Babylon
Anya Taylor-Joy, The Menu
Mia Goth, Pearl

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Ke Huy Quan, Everything Everywhere All At Once
Brendan Gleeson, The Banshees of Inisherin
Barry Keoghan, The Banshees of Inisherin
Brad Pitt, Babylon
Colin Farrell, The Batman

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Kerry Condon, The Banshees of Inisherin
Stephanie Hsu, Everything Everywhere All At Once
Angela Bassett, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
Jamie Lee Curtis, Everything Everywhere All At Once
Jean Smart, Babylon

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Everything Everywhere All At Once
The Banshees of Inisherin
The Menu
Tár
The Fabelmans

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Women Talking
Top Gun: Maverick
She Said
The Whale
Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

BEST ART DIRECTION
Babylon
Elvis
Everything Everywhere All At Once
RRR
Avatar: The Way of Water

BEST COSTUME DESIGN
Babylon
Everything Everywhere All At Once
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
Elvis
The Fabelmans

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Babylon
Top Gun: Maverick
Everything Everywhere All At Once
Tár
Avatar: The Way of Water

BEST EDITING
Everything Everywhere All At Once
Top Gun: Maverick
Babylon
Elvis
Avatar: The Way of Water

BEST ANIMATED FILM
Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio
The Bad Guys
Puss in Boots: The Last Wish
Marcel the Shell With Shoes On
Turning Red

BEST DOCUMENTARY
Sr.
Good Night Oppy
Fire of Love
Three Minutes: A Lengthening
All The Beauty and the Bloodshed

BEST MAKE-UP
The Batman
The Whale
Elvis
Babylon
Everything Everywhere All At Once

BEST SOUND
Top Gun: Maverick
Avatar: The Way of Water
Elvis
RRR
The Fabelmans

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
Babylon
Avatar: The Way of Water
The Batman
The Banshees of Inisherin
Women Talking

BEST SONG
“Lift Me Up” (Black Panther: Wakanda Forever)
“Ciao Papa” (Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio)
“Naatu Naatu (Telugu)” (RRR)
“Hold My Hand” (Top Gun: Maverick)
“This Is A Life” (Everything Everywhere All At Once)

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
Avatar: The Way of Water
RRR
Top Gun: Maverick
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
Everything Everywhere All At Once

BEST STUNT WORK
Top Gun: Maverick
RRR
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
Avatar: The Way of Water
Everything Everywhere All At Once

BEST NEW FILMMAKER
John Patton Ford, Emily the Criminal
Charlotte Wells, Aftersun
Elegance Bratton, The Inspection
Lee Jung-jae, Hunt
Carlota Pereda, Piggy

BEST FIRST FILM
Aftersun
Turning Red
Hunt
The Bad Guys
The Bobs Burgers Movie

BEST OVERLOOKED FILM
After Yang
The Unbearable Weight of Immeasurable Talent
The Outfit
Emily the Criminal
Zero Fucks Given

BEST VOCAL/MOTION CAPTURE PERFORMANCE
Sigourney Weaver, Avatar: The Way of Water
Ewan McGregor, Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio
Antonio Banderas, Puss in Boots: The Last Wish
Zazie Beetz, The Bad Guys
Rosalie Chiang, Turning Red

BEST HORROR FILM
Pearl
The Black Phone
Barbarian
Smile
Terrifier 2

BEST COMIC BOOK MOVIE
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
The Batman
Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness
Black Adam
DC League of Super Pets

BEST SCI-FI FILM
Everything Everywhere All At Once
Nope
Prey
Lightyear
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
RRR (India)
All Quiet on the Western Front (Germany)
Decision To Leave (South Korea)
Bardo, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths (Mexico)
Argentina, 1985 (Argentina)

BEST HAWAIIAN FILM
The Wind and the Reckoning (dir. David L. Cunningham) (Hawaii)
Waterman (dir. Isaac Halasima) (Oahu)
Cane Fire (dir. Anthony Banua-Simon) (Kauai)
Ala Moana Boys (dir. Keli’i Grace) (Oahu)
Last Hawaiian Sugar (dir. Deja Bernhardt) (Maui)

WORST FILM OF 2022
Blonde
Morbius
Firestarter
The 355
Thor: Love and Thunder

Banshees Wins In San Diego


Yesterday, the San Diego Film Critics Society announced their picks for the best of 2022.

And here they are:

Best Picture
THE BANSHEES OF INISHERIN (WINNER)
ELVIS
EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE
THE FABELMANS
TÁR (RUNNER UP)

Best Director
Edward Berger, ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT
Todd Field, TÁR
Daniel Kwan, Daniel Scheinert, EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE (WINNER)
Martin McDonagh, THE BANSHEES OF INISHERIN
Steven Spielberg, THE FABELMANS (RUNNER UP)

Best Actor
Austin Butler, ELVIS (RUNNER UP)
Colin Farrell, THE BANSHEES OF INISHERIN (WINNER)
Ralph Fiennes, THE MENU
Brendan Fraser, THE WHALE
Gabriel LaBelle, THE FABELMANS

Best Actress
Cate Blanchett, TÁR (RUNNER UP)
Danielle Deadwyler, TILL (WINNER)
Regina Hall, HONK FOR JESUS. SAVE YOUR SOUL.
Michelle Williams, THE FABELMANS
Michelle Yeoh, EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE

Best Supporting Actor
Brendan Gleeson, THE BANSHEES OF INISHERIN (WINNER)
Brian Tyree Henry, CAUSEWAY (RUNNER UP)
Barry Keoghan, THE BANSHEES OF INISHERIN
Ke Huy Quan, EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE
Mark Rylance, BONES AND ALL

Best Supporting Actress
Kerry Condon, THE BANSHEES OF INISHERIN (WINNER)
Jamie Lee Curtis, EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE
Nina Hoss, TÁR
Stephanie Hsu, EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE (RUNNER UP)
Lashana Lynch, THE WOMAN KING

Best Comedic Performance
Nicolas Cage, THE UNBEARABLE WEIGHT OF MASSIVE TALENT
Daniel Craig, GLASS ONION: A KNIVES OUT MYSTERY (RUNNER UP)
Brian Tyree Henry, BULLET TRAIN
Brad Pitt, BULLET TRAIN
Daniel Radcliffe, WEIRD: THE AL YANKOVIC STORY (WINNER)

Best Youth Performance (For a performer under the age of 16)
Jalyn Hall, TILL (RUNNER UP)
Madeleine McGraw, THE BLACK PHONE
Banks Repeta, ARMAGEDDON TIME (RUNNER UP)
Malea Emma Tjandrawidjaja, AFTER YANG
Jaylin Webb, ARMAGEDDON TIME (RUNNER UP)

Best Original Screenplay
Keith Beauchamp, Chinonye Chukwu, Michael Reilly, TILL
Todd Field, TÁR
Daniel Kwan, Daniel Scheinert, EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE (WINNER)
Martin McDonagh, THE BANSHEES OF INISHERIN (RUNNER UP)
Seth Reiss, Will Tracy, THE MENU

Best Adapted Screenplay
Edward Berger, Lesley Paterson, Ian Stokell, ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT (WINNER)
Guillermo del Toro, Patrick McHale, Gris Grimly, Matthew Robbins, GUILLERMO DEL TORO’S PINOCCHIO (RUNNER UP)
Samuel D. Hunter, THE WHALE (RUNNER UP)
David Kajganich, BONES AND ALL (RUNNER UP)
Sarah Polley, Miriam Toes, WOMEN TALKING (RUNNER UP)

Best Documentary
ALL THE BEAUTY AND THE BLOODSHED
FIRE OF LOVE (RUNNER UP)
GOOD NIGHT OPPY
NAVALNY
WILDCAT (WINNER)

Best Animated Film
GUILLERMO DEL TORO’S PINOCCHIO (WINNER)
MARCEL THE SHELL WITH SHOES ON (RUNNER UP)
PUSS IN BOOTS: THE LAST WISH
TURNING RED (RUNNER UP)
WENDELL & WILD

Best Foreign Language Film
ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT (WINNER)
CLOSE
DECISION TO LEAVE
HAPPENING (RUNNER UP)
RRR

Best Editing
David Brenner, James Cameron, John Refoua, Stephen E. Rivkin, Ian Silverstein, AVATAR: THE WAY OF WATER
Sarah Broshar, Michael Kahn, THE FABELMANS (RUNNER UP)
Mikkel E. G. Nielsen, THE BANSHEES OF INISHERIN
Jonathan Redmond, Matt Villa, ELVIS (RUNNER UP)
Paul Rogers, EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE (WINNER)

Best Cinematography
Russell Carpenter, AVATAR: THE WAY OF WATER
Ben Davis, THE BANSHEES OF INISHERIN (RUNNER UP)
Janus Kaminski, THE FABELMANS
Sayombhu Mukdeeprom, THIRTEEN LIVES
Linus Sandgren, BABYLON (WINNER)

Best Production Design
Katie Byron, DON’T WORRY DARLING
Rick Carter, THE FABELMANS (RUNNER UP)
Rick Heinrichs, GLASS ONION: A KNIVES OUT MYSTERY
Jason Kisvarday, EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE
Florencia Martin, BABYLON (WINNER)

Best Visual Effects
AVATAR: THE WAY OF WATER (WINNER)
DOCTOR STRANGE IN THE MULTIVERSE OF MADNESS
EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE
GUILLERMO DEL TORO’S PINOCCHIO
TOP GUN: MAVERICK (RUNNER UP)

Best Costume Design
Jenny Beavan, MRS. HARRIS GOES TO PARIS (RUNNER UP)
Ruth E. Carter, BLACK PANTHER: WAKANDA FOREVER
Catherine Martin, Rachelle Mejia, ELVIS (WINNER)
Marci Rodgers, TILL
Mary Zophres, BABYLON

Best Sound Design
AVATAR: THE WAY OF WATER
BULLET TRAIN
ELVIS (RUNNER UP)
TÁR
TOP GUN: MAVERICK (WINNER)

Best Use of Music
THE BANSHEES OF INISHERIN
ELVIS (WINNER)
THE FABELMANS
TÁR (RUNNER UP)
WEIRD: THE AL YANKOVIC STORY

Breakthrough Artist
Jessie Buckley, WOMEN TALKING
Austin Butler, ELVIS (WINNER)
Danielle Deadwyler, TILL (RUNNER UP)
Anna Diop, NANNY (RUNNER UP)
Taylor Russell, BONES AND ALL (RUNNER UP)

Best Ensemble
THE BANSHEES OF INISHERIN (RUNNER UP)
EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE (WINNER)
GLASS ONION: A KNIVES OUT MYSTERY
THE MENU
WOMEN TALKING (RUNNER UP)

Special Award for Body of Work – 3 Credits
Colin Farrell, AFTER YANG, THE BANSHEES OF INISHERIN, THE BATMAN, THIRTEEN LIVES – Winner
Ethan Hawke, THE BLACK PHONE, THE NORTHMAN, RAYMOND & RAY, GLASS ONION: A KNIVES OUT MYSTERY – Runner Up
Florence Pugh, DON’T WORRY DARLING, PUSS IN BOOTS: THE LAST WISH, THE WONDER – Runner Up

Here Are The 2022 Nomination of Georgia Film Critics Association!


The winners will be announced on January 13th!

Best Picture
“After Yang”
“The Banshees of Inisherin”
“Decision to Leave”
“Everything Everywhere All at Once”
“The Fabelmans”
“Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery”
“Nope”
“RRR”
“Tár”
“Top Gun: Maverick”

Best Director
“Decision to Leave” – Park Chan-wook
“Everything Everywhere All at Once” – Daniels (Dan Kwan, Daniel Scheinert)
“The Fabelmans” – Steven Spielberg
“Nope” – Jordan Peele
“Tár” – Todd Field

Best Actor
Austin Butler (“Elvis”)
Colin Farrell (“The Banshees of Inisherin”)
Brendan Fraser (“The Whale”)
Park Hae-il (“Decision to Leave”)
Paul Mescal (“Aftersun”)

Best Actress
Cate Blanchett (“Tár”)
Danielle Deadwyler (“Till”)
Tang Wei (“Decision to Leave”)
Michelle Williams (“The Fabelmans”)
Michelle Yeoh (“Everything Everywhere All at Once”)

Best Supporting Actor
Brendan Gleeson (“The Banshees of Inisherin”)
Brian Tyree Henry (“Causeway”)
Judd Hirsch (“The Fabelmans”)
Barry Keoghan (“The Banshees of Inisherin”)
Ke Huy Quan (“Everything Everywhere All at Once”)

Best Supporting Actress
Angela Bassett (“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”)
Kerry Condon (“The Banshees of Inisherin”)
Jamie Lee Curtis (“Everything Everywhere All at Once”)
Stephanie Hsu (“Everything Everywhere All at Once”)
Janelle Monáe (“Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery”)
Keke Palmer (“Nope”)

Best Original Screenplay
“The Banshees of Inisherin” – Martin McDonagh
“Everything Everywhere All at Once” – Daniels (Dan Kwan, Daniel Scheinert)
“The Fabelmans” – Steven Spielberg, Tony Kushner
“Nope” – Jordan Peele
“Tár” – Todd Field

Best Adapted Screenplay
“After Yang” – Kogonada
“Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery” – Rian Johnson
“Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio” – Guillermo del Toro, Matthew Robbins, Gris Grimly, Patrick McHale
“She Said” – Rebecca Lenkiewicz
“Women Talking” – Sarah Polley, Miriam Toews

Best Cinematography
“Bardo: False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths” – Darius Khondji
“The Batman” – Greig Fraser
“The Fabelmans” – Janusz Kaminski
“Nope” – Hoyte Van Hoytema
“Top Gun: Maverick” – Claudio Miranda

Best Production Design
“Avatar: The Way of Water” – Dylan Cole, Ben Procter, Vanessa Cole
“Babylon” – Florencia Martin, Anthony Carlino
“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” – Hannah Beachler, Lisa K. Sessions
“Elvis” – Catherine Martin, Karen Murphy, Beverley Dunn
“Everything Everywhere All at Once” – Jason Kisvarday, Kelsi Ephraim

Best Original Score
“Babylon” – Justin Hurwitz
“The Batman” – Michael Giacchino
“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” – Ludwig Göransson
“The Fabelmans” – John Williams
“Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio” – Alexandre Desplat
“Nope” – Michael Abels

Best Original Song
“Carolina” – Taylor Swift (“Where the Crawdads Sing”)
“Ciao Papa” – Alexandre Desplat, Roeban Katz, Guillermo del Toro (“Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio”)
“Hold My Hand” – Lady Gaga, BloodPop, Benjamin Rice (“Top Gun: Maverick”)
“Lift Me Up” – Tems, Rihanna, Ludwig Göransson, Ryan Coogler (“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”)
“Naatu Naatu” – M.M. Keeravani, Kaala Bhairava, Rahul Sipligunj (“RRR”)

Best Ensemble
“The Banshees of Inisherin”
“Everything Everywhere All at Once”
“The Fabelmans”
“Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery”
“Women Talking”

Best International Film
“All Quiet on the Western Front”
“Argentina 1985”
“Close”
“Decision to Leave”
“RRR”

Best Animated Film
“Apollo 10 ½: A Space Age Childhood”
“Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio”
“Marcel the Shell with Shoes On”
“Puss in Boots: The Last Wish”
“Turning Red”

Best Documentary Film
“All That Breathes”
“All the Beauty and the Bloodshed”
“Descendant”
“Fire of Love”
“Good Night Oppy”
“Navalny”

Breakthrough Award
Danielle Deadwyler
Stephanie Hsu
Tenoch Huerta
Gabriel Labelle
Amber Midthunder

Oglethorpe Award for Excellence in Georgia Cinema
“Bad Dream” (short; Camilo Diaz Caro, Colby Hollman)
“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” (Ryan Coogler, Joe Robert Cole)
“Devotion” (J.D. Dillard, Jake Crane, Jonathan Stewart)
“Emergency” (Carey Williams, K.D. Dávila)
“Glitter Ain’t Gold” (short; Christian Nolan Jones)
“Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul.” (Adamma Ebo)
“I Want You Back” (Jason Orley, Isaac Aptaker, Elizabeth Berger)
“The Menu” (Mark Mylod, Seth Reiss, Will Tracy)
“Refuge” (Erin Levin Bernhardt, Din Blankenship)
“Till” (Chinonye Chukwu, Michael Reilly, Keith Beauchamp)

The National Society Of Film Critics Honors TAR!


Here are the winners from one of my favorite groups of critic, the National Society of Film Critics!

Best Picture
Winner: TÁR (61 points)
Runners-up: AFTERSUN (49 points) & NO BEARS (32 points)

Best Director
Winner: Charlotte Wells, AFTERSUN (60 points)
Runners-up: Park Chan-wook, DECISION TO LEAVE (47 points) & Jafar Panahi, NO BEARS (36 points)

Best Actress
Winner: Cate Blanchett, TÁR (59 points)
Runners-up: Michelle Yeoh, EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE (38 points) Tilda Swinton, THE ETERNAL DAUGHTER, and Michelle Williams, THE FABELMANS (27 points)

Best Actor
Winner: Colin Farrell, AFTER YANG and THE BANSHEES OF INISHERIN (71 points)
Runners-up: Paul Mescal, AFTERSUN (55 points) & Bill Nighy, LIVING (33 points)

Best Supporting Actress
Winner: Kerry Condon, THE BANSHEES OF INISHERIN (57 points)
Runners-up: Nina Hoss, TÁR (43 points) & Dolly de Leon, TRIANGLE OF SADNESS (35 points)

Best Supporting Actor
​Winner: Ke Huy Quan, EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE (45 points)
Runners-up: Brian Tyree Henry, CAUSEWAY (35 points) & Barry Keoghan, THE BANSHEES OF INISHERIN (27 points)

Best Screenplay
Winner: Todd Field, TÁR (61 points)
Runners-up: Martin McDonagh, THE BANSHEES OF INISHERIN (42 points) & James Gray, ARMAGEDDON TIME (18 points)

Best Cinematography
Winner: Michał Dymek, EO (62 points)
Runners-up: Hoyte van Hoytema, NOPE (37 points) & Kim Ji-yong, DECISION TO LEAVE (34 points)

Best Nonfiction Film
Winner: ALL THE BEAUTY AND THE BLOODSHED (46 points)
Runners-up: DESCENDANT (40 points) & ALL THAT BREATHES (27 points)

Best Film Not In The English Language
Winner: EO (43 points)
Runners-up: NO BEARS (37 points) & DECISION TO LEAVE (34 points)

Retro Television Reviews: California Dreams 3.6 “The Long Goodbye” and 3.7 “Trust Me”


Welcome to Retro Television Reviews, a feature where we review some of our favorite and least favorite shows of the past!  On Saturdays, I will be reviewing California Dreams, which ran on NBC from 1992 to 1996.  The entire show is currently streaming on YouTube!

Do surf dudes still have attitude in 2023?  I was going to suggest watching California Dreams to find out but, then again, today’s episodes are from 1994 so I guess that wouldn’t really answer the question.

Oh well, onward to the reviews….

Episode 3.6 “The Long Goodbye”

(Dir by Patirck Maloney, originally aired on October 15th, 1994)

In a rare nod to continuity, Nikki Cox returns as Sly’s blind girlfriend, Allison!

Sly is being so nice and considerate to Allison that it leads to Lorena and Sam realizing that Tony and Jake are totally inconsiderate pigs who won’t even hold open a door for them!  Instead of changing their ways, Tony and Jake demand that Sly stop being so romantic.  Sly, however, is devoted to Allison and he even joins the track team so that he can give her a letterman’s jacket and ask her to be his “exclusive” girlfriend.  Allison takes her to Sharky’s to pop the question and attempts to convince her that they’re at a romantic French restaurant by having Tony speak with a French accent.  Tony’s accent is terrible.  Allison sees right through him….

Unfortunately, Allison is moving away!  She’s been accepted at a prep school in Chicago, one that will prepare her to teach blind children.  Sly, as usual, acts like a jerk and all of the Dreams gang up on him for being distant with Allison after learning that she’s leaving but honestly, Sly’s reaction was realistic.  That doesn’t mean that Sly wasn’t wrong for 1) refusing to return Allison’s calls and 2) trying to go on a date on the same night that Allison was having her going-away party but people do stupid things when their heart is broken.  And, just like many people do in real life, Sly eventually saw the error of his ways and he had a rather sweet conversation with Allison at the party.  It’s a shame that Allison left the series as Nikki Cox and Michael Cade had a far more believable chemistry than the show’s main couples.

Speaking of which, this episode featured a rather stupid subplot in which Tony and Jake attempted to be more romantic by pretending to be the lead characters of the romance novel that Tiffany is reading.  Needless to say, this leads to Renaissance costumes and fencing.  It’s pretty dumb (though Jay Anthony Franke and Williams James Jones deserve some credit for the extent to which they threw themselves into it) but it’s also an indication of just how different season 3 of California Dreams was from season 2 of California Dreams.  

All that said, this was definitely one of the better episodes of California Dreams and, again, credit for that goes to Michael Cade and Nikki Cox and their ability to bring some much-needed reality to the show’s musical hijinks.

Episode 3.7 “Trust Me”

(Dir by Patrick Maloney, originally aired on October 22nd, 1994)

Sly has entered the Dreams into a music video contest!  The only problem is that Jake and Mark have yet to finish writing the lyrics for the Dreams’s newest song.  Maybe they should give Matt Garrison a call and ask for his advice.

Not wanting to visit his creepy uncle, Mark spends the weekend at Lorena’s loft.  He and Jake are supposed to be working on the song but Lorena would rather have fun and watch movies!  Jake accuses Lorena of being a distraction.  Jake and Lorena fight and later, after Jake has gone home for the night, Mark kisses Lorena.  Uh-oh!

Mark, it appears, misinterpreted the fight.  It turns out that Lorena and Jake fight all the time and it’s actually a huge part of what they enjoy about their relationship.  Feeling guilty, Mark writes and then sings a song about how he kissed Lorena.  Jake loses it and refuses to perform with Mark.  Fortunately, two bullies show up at Sharky’s and try to give Jake a hard time.  When Mark stands up to the bullies, it leads to a brawl and a renewed friendship.  Yay!

But did the Dreams wins the contest?  We never find out.

As for the episode itself, it provided a showcase for the two newest members of the cast and Diana Uribe and Aaron Jackson both did a really good job.  I could relate to Lorena because I’ve had the same “You’re a distraction” line tossed at me and it definitely hurts.  And Aaron Jackson totally sold the scene where he nervously sang Jake the lyrics about kissing Lorena.  All in all, this was another good episode.

Way to go, Dreams!

A Blast From The Past: What Made Sammy Speed?


From 1959, here’s a short film that asks the question, “What made Sammy speed?”

(I’m going to guess that the title is meant to pay homage to the novel, What Makes Sammy Run?)

Sammy Robertson (played, in flashbacks, by David Felshaw) was a popular high school student until he was killed when his car collided with a truck.  A local detective tries to figure out what caused the accident to happen.  To be honest, I’m not really sure why there’s any question as to why it happened.  Sammy was speeding.  He ran a stop sign.  The truck crashed into his car.  It’s tragic and there’s definitely a lesson to be learned about paying attention to the road but it’s not particularly complicated.  It really doesn’t seem like the sort of thing that would require a massive criminal investigation.  It’s not like Sammy was smuggling drugs or drinking or driving or anything like that.  At most, the cops might want to ask themselves why the stop sign was at such a strange angle.

Still, since there’s apparently no other crimes being committed in this town, the detective spends a few days talking to Sammy’s relatives and his friends and trying to figure out why Sammy felt it was okay to speed.  (The driver of the truck, meanwhile, is totally let off the hook.  How fast was he going because it looks like he really messed up Sammy’s car.)  The detective learns that Sammy’s father wasn’t a particularly good driver.  He learns that Sammy’s little brother looked up to Sammy whenever he would drive fast.  He learned that Sammy’s friends were impressed by his car and his total lack of concern when it came to safety.  (That said, most of them still refused to ride with him.  They knew better than to risk their chances to attend the next sock hop.)  He learns that, shortly before the accident, Sammy’s boss couldn’t give him a raise and that Sammy failed in his attempts to join the school’s baseball team.  Broke and not destined for athletic glory, Sammy needed to feel like a man so he ignored the speed limit and the stop sign.  He had issues with authority, the detective tells us.

Yes, the detective tells us a lot.  That’s because this is a Sid Davis production and no Sid Davis production was complete without a judgmental narrator.  In this case, the narrator decides that everyone was to blame for Sammy driving too fast so I guess the message here is to let a bad player on the team and always give your employees a raise whether you can afford it or not.  If you don’t, the worst possible thing that could happen will happen.  That was another frequent Sid Davis lesson.  The worst always happens, no matter what.  That said, my main takeaway from this film was that Sammy was just naturally self-destructive.  It really doesn’t sound like anyone could have saved Sammy.  Sammy’s enemy was not the coach, his boss, his father, the cops, or even his little brother.  Sammy’s greatest enemy was himself.

Anyway, here’s a blast from the past from 1959.  Watch it the next time you’re tempted to drive too fast.