Love on the Shattered Lens: Long Shot (dir by Jonathan Levine)


2019’s Long Shot is a film that truly took me by surprise.

I have to admit that, when I first saw the trailer for Long Shot, I had my concerns.  First off, it was an American political comedy and it’s been a while since there’s really been a good one of those.  There’s been many attempts, especially after Donald Trump was elected in 2016.  But, for the most part, the American films are always at their weakest when they try to be overly political.  There’s always a disturbing lack of self-awareness that, when mixed with the type of strident tone that can only be maintained by people who have never seriously had their ideas challenged, tends to make for a very boring viewing experience.  And, no, don’t you dare say, “What about Vice?” because Vice was freaking terrible.

Secondly, the trailer emphasized that Charlize Theron was playing the Secretary of State and that she was running to become the first woman elected President.  This led me to suspect that the film might essentially be Hillary Clinton fanfic.  Over the past few years, there’s actually been quite a few films and television show that have featured idealized versions of Hillary Clinton — i.e., all of the accomplishments without the albatross of her husband or the reputation for being casually corrupt.  (For six seasons, there was a TV show called Madam Secretary that basically only existed to present an idealized version of Hillary.)  Hillary fanfic, with its attempt to rehabilitate the image of a candidate so inept that she actually lost to Donald Trump, is always cringey.

Finally, as much as I hate to admit it, I was concerned that the film not only starred but was produced by Seth Rogen.  And don’t get me wrong.  I love Seth Rogen.  Seth Rogen is literally my favorite stoner.  I think that, with the right material, he can be one of the funniest performers around.  The problem is that, in the past, Seth Rogen has always been brilliant as long as he wasn’t talking about politics.  Whenever he started talking politics, he just turned into every other wealthy and rather self-righteous progressive.  While Rogen’s political tweets were never as banal as the thoughts of uberboomer Stephen King, there was still nothing about them that suggested that Rogen would be capable of producing one of the funniest and most good-hearted political comedies to come out in the past few years.

And so, like a lot of people, I skipped Long Shot when it was playing in theaters.  I waited until it was released on video to watch Long Shot and you know what?  It turned out that almost everything that I had assumed about Long Shot was incorrect.

Yes, it’s a very political movie but it’s also far more self-aware than I was expecting it to be.  Seth Rogen apparently knows that he has a reputation for being a very loud, knee-jerk leftie because he actually does a very good job of poking fun at his own image.  Rogen plays Fred Flarsky, a loud and crude journalist who quits his job when he discovers that the underground newspaper that he was working for has been purchased by Parker Wembley (Andy Serkis, playing a not-at-all disguised version of Rupert Murdoch).  Fred is about as far to the Left as one can be and he tends to assume that all of his associates agree with him, even though he never bothers to ask them.  One of the best scenes in the film comes when his best friend, Lance (O’Shea Jackson, Jr.), reveals to a stunned Fred that he’s not only a Republican and a Christian but that he’s been one the entire time that he’s known Fred.  Fred never caught on because he just assumed that Lance, being black, would naturally be a Democrat.  When Lance asks Fred why he thought Lance wore a cross around his neck, a befuddled Fred can only reply that he thought it was “cultural.”  It’s a great scene and one that’s wonderfully played by Rogen and Jackson and it works precisely because it remains true to what we’ve seen of both characters.  Almost everything that Lance says over the course of the movie does reflect a traditionally conservative mindset but, like Fred, we don’initially don’t notice because Lance is being played by Ice Cube’s son.  When Fred discovers that Lance is a Republican, it doesn’t change Fred’s mindset but it does teach him that progressives can be just as guilty as conservatives when it comes to making assumptions about people based on where they’re from or what they look like.  As a stunned and chastened Fred puts it, “I’m a racist, you’re a Republican, I don’t know what the fuck’s going on.”

Secondly, the film’s romance is incredibly charming.  Charlize Theron plays Charlotte Field, the Secretary of State who used to be Fred’s babysitter.  After they run into each other at a reception, Charlotte hires Fred to work as a speech writer for her nascent presidential campaign.  You would not expect Charlize Theron and Seth Rogen to have a ton of romantic chemistry but they do.  Theron is an underrated comedic actress and there’s a lot of fun to be had in just listening to her and Rogen bounce lines off of each other.  In fact, as funny as Rogen is, I’d have to say that Charlize Theron is even funnier.  One of the highlights of the film is when Fred and Charlotte sneak away to a club, where they dance and end up taking ecstacy.  Over course, as soon as the drugs kick in, a major diplomatic crisis breaks out and an extremely high Charlotte has to deal with a hostage crisis.  Theron appears to be having a ball with the role and really, this is the film for which she should have been Oscar nominated.  Theron convinces us that 1) she’s a masterful diplomat, 2) that she could be elected President of the United States, and 3) that she could fall in love with someone as messy as Fred without sacrificing her own ambitions.

Long Shot has its flaws, of course.  Andy Serkis is a bit too over-the-top in his villainy and the film has a 125-minute running time, which is way too long for what is essentially a fairly simple romantic comedy.  Some of the scenes of Fred and Charlotte traveling around the world probably could have been cut without harming the story.  There’s an environmental subplot that feels a bit too obvious and there’s a joke about Fred accidentally ejaculating on his own face that’s never as funny as the film seems to think that it is.

That said, Long Shot is often a surprisingly charming film.  (I know what some of you are saying: “Yes. Lisa Marie, Seth Rogen ejaculating on his beard sounds really charming.”  I know, I know.  But the majority of the film is charming.)  If you missed it when it came out the first time, give it another chance.

“Black Panther” : Hail To The King


Let’s be honest — as was the case with last year’s Wonder Woman (in fact probably to an even greater degree), Black Panther was a cultural phenomenon before it was even released, and in future it will be examined as such. As something more than a movie. As something that resonated within, and reverberated throughout, the zeitgeist. Its trajectory in that regard is largely unwritten to this point, but can be predicted with a fair amount of certainty : near-universal praise will come first, followed by the inevitable backlash, followed by an almost apologetic, “ya know, maybe we were too hard on this thing that we loved at first” sort of acceptance. If we could just skip all that, and take it as a given, it would save us all a lot of time and effort — but it’s on the way, so tune in or out of all that as you see fit. My concerns here are considerably more prosaic : to talk about the movie as what it began “life” as, to wit — “just” a movie.

For what it’s worth (which may not be much), I’m tempted to agree, to an extent, with those who are pointing out that simply seeing this flick is in no way an act of “resistance” in and of itself : after all, if the fact that the first thing that runs in theaters before the film starts is a commercial for Lexus cars featuring Chadwick Boseman in full Panther gear isn’t enough to clue you in to the reality that, at the end of the day, this is much more about profits than it is about politics, then the product placement within the film itself should do the job — and at the end of the day, one of the largest corporations in the world, founded by noted racist Walt Disney, is still the one making all the money off it. If, then, shelling out ten or fifteen bucks to watch Black Panther is an inherently defiant or dissident act (and I’m not saying it is), then it’s a highly commodified and co-opted one.

All that being said, when a film is released out into the world, particularly a film with as much fanfare attached to it as this one, there are gonna be ripples that emanate out from it — and among the millions of kids, in particular, who watch this flick, the seeds of an interest in African culture are sure to be sown, and the more they follow the metaphorical stalks that grow and flower from those seeds, the more they’ll discover things like historical resistance to colonialism, exploitation, capitalism, and the like. So while Black Panther may not be a radical (or even a particularly political) work in and of itself, it may inspire some radicalism in the future — one can only hope, at any rate.

But that’s pure speculation at this point, so let’s talk about what we know for certain.

One thing anyone who follows this site, or my work anywhere else, absolutely knows is that I’m no fan of Marvel Studios product in general. Unlike, apparently, most people, I find the overwhelming majority of Marvel flicks to be hopelessly redundant, formulaic, lowest-common denominator fare directed in a flat and lifeless “house style” with no particular visual flair, no particularly standout performances, no particular vision to do anything but get audiences keyed up for the next one. They exist as a self-perpetuating celluloid organism, one with no distinct personality but a lot of business sense and promotional muscle. This has been going on for so long, and with so much box office success, that I went into flick essentially expecting more of the same — sure, I knew it had a predominantly-black cast, and was set in Africa (albeit in a fictitious country), but that doesn’t mean that director Ryan Coogler was going to break the mold in any appreciable way. Hell, it doesn’t even mean that he would be allowed to do so. Happily, my pessimism was turned on its ear almost from word the word “go” here.

Black Panther looks different, feels different, because it is different. Coogler and co-screenwriter Joe Robert Cole certainly capture the dynamism, the energy, the Afro-futurism that has been a part of King T’Challa’s backstory since Jack Kirby created the character and his world (nope, we don’t lay any credit at Stan Lee’s feet around these parts, but I’m not getting into the “whys and wherefores” of that right now because, shit, I don’t have all night), but advance it all considerably, absorbing the extra layers added onto the mythos by the likes of Don McGrregor, Billy Graham, Christopher Priest, Reginald Hudlin, and Ta-Nehisi Coates over the years, and coming out with something uniquely suited to cinema and very much of the “now.” There’s a hard-driving and kinetic sense of energy to this film that the so-called “MCU” has been missing since it inception, and if you’re among the small number of those who agree with my assessment that most of these flicks play out more like two-hour TV episodes than proper movies, you can relax : this is as bold, brash, and big as it gets. This is blockbuster fare not only in name, but in execution, with visual effects that amaze, sets that inspire awe, cinematography that commands attention, action that sizzles, a script that charges forward, and music that slicks that trajectory along. This is arresting cinema that doesn’t even give you the option to leave your seat.

But what of the acting, you ask? It ranges from good to great, and thankfully the great includes the key players : Chadwick Boseman is regal yet human, fallible, relatable in the film’s central role: Forest Whitaker embodies aged wisdom tinged with regret as high priest Zuri; Michael B. Jordan is the first truly formidable villain, crucially one with a compelling backstory and some entirely valid philosophical viewpoints, as Killmonger; Martin Freeman not only reprises, but considerably expands, his already-extant “MCU” role of CIA agent Everett K. Ross with heart, humor, and brains; Sterling K. Brown makes the most of limited but significant screen time as T’Challa’s late uncle, N’Jobu; Andy Serkis — as a human this time! — chews up the screen with dangerous charm as Ulysses Klaue (or “Klaw,” as the comics would have it). These guys are all tops, really. And yet —

It is the women that carry this film. Whether we’re talking about Lupita Nyong’o as T’Challa’s love interest Nakia, a determined, fiercely independent, and soulful force that isn’t just her partner’s “equal,” but his conscience; Danai Gurira as General Okoye, head warrioress of the Dora Milaje, who embodies martial discipline and loyalty with the controlled fury of a hurricane ready to strike at any moment; Angela Basset as Queen Mother Ramonda, a living embodiment of grace, stature, and tradition; or Letitia Wright as younger sister Shuri, part “Q” to T’Challa’s “Bond,” part grounding and humanizing influence, part Moon Girl-style intellectual prodigy — as in life, it is the women that both make this movie’s men what they are, while also being complete and fully-realized in and of themselves. African history is far less patriarchal than is commonly believed, and in Wakanda that proud matriarchal lineage is exemplified, modernized, magnified — and honored.

Most films reflect the moment. Others define the moment. Black Panther goes one further by creating the moment. It’s as near to flawless as big-budget blockbusters get and eschews the too-common-flaw that movies made on this scale have of dumbing things down to appeal to the masses. Coogler and company instead trust those same masses to be intelligent enough to meet them on their level, and to respond to being talked “up,” rather than “down,” to. By believing that the world was not just ready, but eager, for something that goes far beyond mere spectacle — something that challenges the intellect while speaking to the heart — they have woken what could very well be a sleeping giant.

Now, let’s just keep our fingers crossed they’ve spurred that giant to do something more than simply go out and buy luxury cars.

What If Lisa Picked The Oscar Nominees: 2017 Edition


With the Oscar nominations due to be announced tomorrow, now is the time that the Shattered Lens indulges in a little something called, “What if Lisa had all the power.” Listed below are my personal Oscar nominations. Please note that these are not the films that I necessarily think will be nominated. The fact of the matter is that the many of them will not. Instead, these are the films that would be nominated if I was solely responsible for deciding the nominees this year. Winners are starred and listed in bold.

(You’ll also note that I’ve added four categories, all of which I believe the Academy should adopt — Best Voice-Over Performance, Best Casting, Best Stunt Work, and Best Overall Use Of Music In A Film.)

(Click on the links to see my nominations for 201620152014201320122011, and 2010!)

Best Picture

Baby Driver

The Big Sick

The Disaster Artist

*A Ghost Story*

It

Kedi

Lady Bird

The Meyerowitz Stories

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Wonder Woman

Best Director

Greta Gerwig for Lady Bird

Patty Jenkins for Wonder Woman

*David Lowery for A Ghost Story*

Martin McDonagh for Three Billboard Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Andy Muschietti for It

Edgar Wright for Baby Driver

Best Actor

*Sam Elliott in The Hero*

James Franco in The Disaster Artist

Jake Gyllenhaal in Stronger

Daniel Kaluuya in Get Out

James McAvoy in Split

Robert Pattinson in Good Time

Best Actress

Gal Gadot in Wonder Woman

Sally Hawkins in Maudie

Frances McDormand in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Cynthia Nixon in A Quiet Passion

Aubrey Plaza in Ingrid Goes West

*Saoirse Ronan in Lady Bird*

Best Supporting Actor

Woody Harrelson in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Sam Rockwell in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Adam Sandler in The Meyerowitz Stories

Bill Skarsgard in It

*Patrick Stewart in Logan*

Jason Sudekis in Colossal

Best Supporting Actress

Holly Hunter in The Big Sick

Catherine Keener in Get Out

Sophia Lillis in It

*Laurie Metcalf in Lady Bird*

Carey Mulligan in Mudbound

Ella Rumpf in Raw

Best Voice-Over or Stop Motion Performance

Will Arnett in The LEGO Batman Movie

Gael Garcia Bernal in Coco

Bradley Cooper in Guardians of the Galaxy, Volume 2

Doug Jones in The Shape of Water

*Andy Serkis in War for the Planet of the Apes*

Dan Stevens in Beauty and the Beast

Best Original Screenplay

The Big Sick

Get Out

A Ghost Story

*Lady Bird*

The Meyerowitz Stories

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Best Adapted Screenplay

Before I Fall

*The Disaster Artist*

It

Logan

Their Finest

Wonder Woman

Best Animated Film

Cars 3

Coco

*The Lego Batman Movie*

Leap!

Best Documentary Feature

Karl Marx City

*Kedi*

Risk

Step

Strong Island

32 Pills: My Sister’s Suicide

Best Foreign Language Film

First They Killed My Father

Frantz

*Kedi*

Raw

Best Casting

The Big Sick

Detroit

Dunkirk

Get Out

Lady Bird

*The Meyerowitz Stories*

Best Cinematography

Blade Runner 2049

Dunkirk

*A Ghost Story*

It

Lost City of Z

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Best Costume Design

Beauty and the Beast

The Beguiled

Free Fire

Thor: Ragnarok

Victoria & Abdul

*Wonder Woman*

Best Editing

*Baby Driver*

Before I Fall

Dunkirk

A Ghost Story

It

Wonder Woman

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

The Disaster Artist

Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2

Lady MacBeth

Logan Lucky

My Cousin Rachel

*Thor: Ragnarok*

Best Original Score

Blade Runner 2049

A Ghost Story

*Good Time*

Dunkirk

The Shape of Water

Wind River

Best Original Song

“Buddy’s Business” from Brawl In Cell Block 99

“Evermore” from Beauty and the Beast

“Friends are Family” from The Lego Batman Movie

“How Does A Moment Last Forever” from Beauty and the Beast

“Myron/Byron” from The Meyerowitz Stories

*”The Pure and the Damned” from Good Time*

Best Overall Use Of Music

Atomic Blonde

*Baby Driver*

The Disaster Artist

Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2

Thor: Ragnarok

T2: Trainspotting

Best Production Design

*Beauty and the Beast*

The Beguiled

Blade Runner 2049

It Comes At Night

Logan

Thor: Ragnarok

Best Sound Editing

Baby Driver

*Dunkirk*

Kong: Skull Island

Spider-Man: Homecoming

War For The Planet of the Apes

Wonder Woman

Best Sound Mixing

Baby Driver

*Dunkirk*

Kong: Skull Island

Spider-Man: Homecoming

War For The Planet of the Apes

Wonder Woman

Best Stuntwork

Baby Driver

Dunkirk

Logan

Spider-Man: Homecoming

Thor: Ragnarok 

*Wonder Woman*

Best Visual Effects

Blade Runner 2049

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Spider-Man: Homecoming

Thor: Ragnarok

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

*War For The Planet of the Apes*

Films Listed By Number of Nominations

9 Nominations — Wonder Woman

7 Nominations — Baby Driver, Dunkirk, It, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri

6 Nominations — A Ghost Story, Lady Bird, Thor: Ragnarok

5 Nominations — Beauty and the Beast, The Disaster Artist, The Meyerowitz Stories

4 Nominations — The Big Sick, Blade Runner 2049, Get Out, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Logan, Spider-Man: Homecoming, War For The Planet Of The Apes

3 Nominations — Good Time, Kedi, The LEGO Batman Movie

2 Nominations — Before I Fall, The Beguiled, Coco, Kong: Skull Island, Raw, Shape of Water

1 Nominations — Atomic Blonde, Brawl in Cell Block 99, Cars 3, Colossal, Detroit, First They Killed My Father, Frantz, Free Fire, The Hero, Ingrid Goes West, It Comes At Night, Karl Marx City, Lady MacBeth, Leap!, Logan Lucky, Lost City of Z, Maudie, Mudbound, My Cousin Rachel, A Quiet Passion, Risk, Split, Step, Strong Island, Stronger, T2: Trainspotting, Their Finest, 32 Pills: My Sister’s Suicide, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, Victoria & Abdul, Wind River

Films Listed By Number of Wins

3 Oscars — A Ghost Story, Lady Bird

2 Oscars — Baby Driver, Dunkirk, Good Time, Kedi, War For the Planet of the Apes, Wonder Woman

1 Oscar — Beauty and the Beast, The Disaster Artist, The Hero, The LEGO Batman Movie, Logan, The Meyerowitz Stories, Thor: Ragnarok

Will the Academy be smart enough to agree with me?  Probably not.  We’ll see what happens tomorrow!

 

Finally, Here Are The Winners From The Indiana Film Journalists Association!


Okay, one final precursor to share with everyone today.  The Indiana Film Journalists Association announced their picks for the best of 2017 on Monday.  They really liked Lady Bird and The Shape of Water.  They also liked Harry Dean Stanton for his final film role.

Best Film

Winner: “Lady Bird”
Runner-up: “The Shape of Water”

Other Finalists (listed alphabetically):

“Blade Runner 2049”
“Brigsby Bear”
“Dunkirk”
“The Florida Project”
“Get Out”
“The Post”
“Star Wars: The Last Jedi”
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

Best Animated Feature

Winner: “Coco”
Runner-Up: “Loving Vincent”

Best Foreign Language Film

Winner: “Faces Places”
Runner-Up: “BPM (Beats Per Minute)”

Best Documentary

Winner: “Let It Fall: Los Angeles 1982-1992”
Runner-Up: “Liyana”

Best Original Screenplay

Winner: Greta Gerwig, “Lady Bird”
Runner-up: Jordan Peele, “Get Out”

Best Adapted Screenplay

Winner: Scott Frank, James Mangold and Michael Green, “Logan”
Runner-up: Hampton Fancher and Michael Green, “Blade Runner 2049”

Best Director

Winner: Greta Gerwig, “Lady Bird”
Runner-up: Guillermo del Toro, “The Shape of Water”

Best Actress

Winner: Saoirse Ronan, “Lady Bird”
Runner-up: Sally Hawkins, “Maudie”

Best Supporting Actress

Winner: Laurie Metcalf, “Lady Bird”
Runner-up: Allison Janney, “I, Tonya”

Best Actor

Winner: Harry Dean Stanton, “Lucky”
Runner-up: Gary Oldman, “Darkest Hour”

Best Supporting Actor

Winner: Willem Dafoe, “The Florida Project”
Runner-up: Doug Jones, “The Shape of Water”

Best Vocal/Motion Capture Performance

Runner-up: Sean Gunn & Bradley Cooper, “Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2”

Best Ensemble Acting

Winner: “The Florida Project”
Runner-up: “The Post”

Best Musical Score

Winner: Alexandre Desplat, “The Shape of Water”
Runner-up: Hans Zimmer and Benjamin Wallfisch, “Blade Runner 2049”

Breakout of the Year

Winner: Timothée Chalamet, “Call Me by Your Name” and “Lady Bird”
Runner-up: Kogonada, “Columbus”

Original Vision Award

Winner: “Loving Vincent”
Runner-up: “Brigsby Bear

The Hoosier Award

Winner: “Columbus”
(As a special award, no runner-up is declared in this category.)

The Los Angeles Online Film Critics Society Honors The Shape of Water and Hugh Jackman!


The Los Angeles Online Film Critics Society has named their picks for the best of 2017!

Best Picture
“The Shape of Water”

Best Actress
Sally Hawkins – “The Shape of Water”

Best Actor
Gary Oldman – “Darkest Hour”

Best Supporting Actress
Allison Janney – I, Tonya

Best Supporting Actor – TIE
Patrick Stewart – “Logan ”
Michael Stuhlbarg – “Call Me by Your Name”

Best Adapted Screenplay
Aaron Sorkin – “Molly’s Game”

Best Original Screenplay
Jordan Peele – “Get Out”

Best Male Director
Guillermo del Toro – “The Shape of Water”

Best Female Director
Greta Gerwig – “Lady Bird”

Best Animated Film
“Coco”

Best Foreign Film
“The Square”

Best Documentary – TIE
“Jane”
“Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond”

Best Visual Effects
“War for The Planet of the Apes”

Best Cinematography
Roger Deakins, “Blade Runner 2049”

Best Blockbuster
“Wonder Woman”

Best Independent Film
“Lady Bird”

Best First Feature
Jordan Peele, “Get Out”

Best Comedy or Musical
“The Big Sick ”

Best Action/War
“Baby Driver”

Best Sci-Fi/Horror
“Get Out ”

Best Actor or Actress 23 and Under
Saoirse Ronan, “Lady Bird”

Best Stunt Work
“Baby Driver”

Best Score
Alexandre Desplat, “The Shape of Water”

Best Editing
Paul Machliss and Jonathan Amos, “Baby Driver”

Best Visual Effect Performance
Andy Serkis, “War for the Planet of the Apes”

Special Awards 

Trailblazer Award: Jessica Chastain

LAOFCS Achievement Award: Hugh Jackman

The Utah Film Critics Tell A Ghost Story


The Utah Film Critics Association picked one of my favorite films of the year for best picture!  Good for them!

Check out the winners below:

Best Picture
A Ghost Story
runner-up: Dunkirk

Best Director
Christopher Nolan, Dunkirk
runner-up: David Lowery, A Ghost Story

Best Actor, Female
Sally Hawkins, The Shape of Water
runner-up: Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Best Actor, Male
Andy Serkis, War for the Planet of the Apes
runner-up: James Franco, The Disaster Artist

Best Supporting Actor, Female
Tatiana Maslany, Stronger
runner-up: Allison Janney, I, Tonya

Best Supporting Actor, Male
Willem Dafoe, The Florida Project
runner-up: Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Best Adapted Screenplay
Hampton Fancher and Michael Green, Blade Runner 2049
runner-up: Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber, The Disaster Artist

Best Original Screenplay
Jordan Peele, Get Out
runners-up: Greta Gerwig, Lady Bird and Martin McDonagh, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (tie)

Best Cinematography
Roger Deakins, Blade Runner 2049
runner-up: Hoyte van Hoytema, Dunkirk

Best Score
Alexandre Desplat, The Shape of Water
runner-up: Hans Zimmer & Benjamin Wallfisch, Blade Runner 2049

Best Documentary Feature
Jane
runner-up: Chasing Coral

Best Animated Feature
Coco
runner-up: The LEGO Batman Movie

Best Non-English Language Film
Thelma
runners-up: Raw and A Fantastic Woman (tie)

Here Are The Nominations From The Houston Film Critics!


This year, Houston proved once again that Texas is better than the upper 48.  In the face of adversity, Texans came together and helped each other out and basically but the rest of America to shame.

Then to top it all off, The Houston Film Critics got together and came up with an intriguing list of the films and performances that they consider to be the best of 2017!

Love you, Houston!

Here are their nominations:

Picture:
The Big Sick
Call Me By Your Name
Dunkirk
The Florida Project
Get Out
Lady Bird
Logan
The Post
The Shape of Water
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Director:
Guillermo del Toro, “The Shape of Water”
Greta Gerwig, “Lady Bird”
Christopher Nolan, “Dunkirk”
Jordan Peele, “Get Out”
Steven Spielberg, “The Post”

Actor:
Timothee Chalamet, “Call Me By Your Name”
James Franco, “The Disaster Artist”
Daniel Kaluuya, “Get Out”
Robert Pattinson, “Good Time”
Andy Serkis, “War for the Planet of the Apes

Actress:
Sally Hawkins, “The Shape of Water”
Frances McDormand, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Brooklyn Prince, “The Florida Project”
Margot Robbie, “I, Tonya”
Saoirse Ronan, “Lady Bird”

Supporting Actor:
Willem Defoe, “The Florida Project”
Richard Jenkins, “The Shape of Water”
Sam Rockwell, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Patrick Stewart, “Logan
Michael Stuhlbarg, “Call Me By Your Name”

Supporting Actress:
Holly Hunter, “The Big Sick”
Allison Janney, “I, Tonya”
Dafne Keen, “Logan
Laurie Metcalf, “Lady Bird”
Octavia Spencer, “The Shape of Water”

Screenplay:
“The Big Sick,” Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani
“Get Out,” Jordan Peele
“Lady Bird,” Greta Gerwig
“The Post,” Elizabeth Hanna and Josh Singer
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” Martin McDonagh

Cinematography:
Blade Runner 2049,” Roger Deakins
“Call Me By Your Name,” Sayombhu Mukdeeprom
“Dunkirk,” Hoyte van Hoytema
“The Shape of Water,” Dan Laustsen
“Wonder Wheel,” Vittoria Storaro

Animated Film:
“The Breadwinner”
“Coco”
“Despicable Me 3”
The Lego Batman Movie
“Loving Vincent”

Original Score:
Blade Runner 2049,” Ben Wallfisch and Hans Zimmer
“Dunkirk,” Hans Zimmer
“The Post,” John Williams
“The Shape of Water,” Alexandre Desplat
War for the Planet of the Apes,” Michael Giacchino

Best Original Song:
“Evermore” (“Beauty and the Beast”)
“I Get Overwhelmed” (“A Ghost Story”)
“Never Forget” (“Murder on the Orient Express”)
“Remember Me” (“Coco”)
“Visions of Gideon” (“Call Me By Your Name”)

Foreign Language Film:
“BPM”
“Blade of the Immortal”
“First They Killed My Father”
“The Square”
“Thelma”

Documentary Feature:
“Faces Places”
“Jane”
“Kedi”
“Step”
“The Work”

Visual Effects:
Blade Runner 2049
“The Shape of Water”
War for the Planet of the Apes

Poster:
Baby Driver
It
“Logan Lucky”
“Mother”
“The Shape of Water”

Texas Independent Film Award:
A Ghost Story
“Mr. Roosevelt”
“Mustang Island”
“The Secret Life of Lance Letscher”
Song to Song

Belatedly, Here Are The Nominations of the North Texas Film Critics!


Two days ago, the North Texas Film Critics Association announced their nominations for the best of 2017!

On twitter, there’s been a lot of speculation as to why the NTFCA totally snubbed Call Me By Your Name in their nominations.  Hilariously, some people — all from out-of-state, of course — are assuming that the NTFCA must be made up of evangelical, right-wingers because it’s a Texas organization.  Seriously, those people have no idea how left-wing most members of the Texas media are.  Texas may be a Republican state but most of our native film critics are somewhere to the left of Bernie Sanders.

Anyway, here are the nominees:

BEST PICTURE
“Baby Driver”
“The Big Sick”
“Dunkirk”
“Get Out”
“The Florida Project”
“Lady Bird”
“Logan”
“The Post”
“The Shape of Water”
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

BEST ACTOR
James Franco, “The Disaster Artist”
Jake Gyllenhaal, “Stronger”
Tom Hanks, “The Post”
Hugh Jackman, “Logan”
Daniel Kaluuya, “Get Out”
James McAvoy, “Split”
Kumail Nanijiani, “The Big Sick”
Gary Oldman, “Darkest Hour”
Robert Pattinson, “Good Time”
Jeremy Renner, “Wind River”
Andy Serkis, “War for the Planet of the Apes”

BEST ACTRESS
Jessica Chastain, “Molly’s Game”
Judi Dench, “Victoria & Abdul”
Gal Gadot, “Wonder Woman”
Jennifer Lawrence, “mother!”
Frances McDormand, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Brooklynn Prince, “The Florida Project”
Margot Robbie, “I, Tonya”
Saoirse Ronan, “Lady Bird”
Emma Stone, “Battle of the Sexes”
Meryl Streep, “The Post”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Mary J. Blige, “Mudbound”
Holly Hunter, “The Big Sick”
Allison Janney, “I, Tonya”
Nicole Kidman, “The Killing of a Sacred Deer”
Tatiana Maslany, “Stronger”
Laurie Metcalf, “Lady Bird”
Octavia Spencer, “The Shape of Water”
Tilda Swinton, “Okja”
Kristin Scott Thomas, “Darkest Hour”
Bria Vinaite, “The Florida Project”
Allison Williams, “Get Out”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Steve Carell, “Battle of the Sexes”
Daniel Craig, “Logan Lucky”
Bryan Cranston, “Last Flag Flying”
Willem Dafoe, “The Florida Project”
Idris Elba, “Molly’s Game”
Will Poulter, “Detroit”
Sam Rockwell, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Ray Romano, “The Big Sick”
Mark Rylance, “Dunkirk”
Patrick Stewart, “Logan”

BEST DIRECTOR
Sean Baker, “The Florida Project”
Guillermo del Toro, “The Shape of Water”
Greta Gerwig, “Lady Bird”
Patty Jenkins, “Wonder Woman”
Christopher Nolan, “Dunkirk”
Jordan Peele, “Get Out”
Steven Spielberg, “The Post”
Aaron Sorkin, “Molly’s Game”
Denis Villeneuve, “Blade Runner 2049”
Joe Wright, “Darkest Hour”

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Thimios Bakatakis, “The Killing of a Sacred Deer”
Roger Deakins, “Blade Runner 2049”
Hoyte Van Hoytema, “Dunkirk”
Matthew Jensen, “Wonder Woman”
Dan Laustsen, “The Shape of Water”
Janusz Kaminski, “The Post”
Michael Seresin, “War for the Planet of the Apes”

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
“First They Killed My Father”
“In the Fade”
“Menashe”
“Raw”
“The Square”

BEST DOCUMENTARY
“Abacus: Small Enough to Jail”
“Chasing Coral”
“City of Ghosts”
“Cries from Syria”
“An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power”
“Jane”
“Step”

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
“The Breadwinner”
“Cars 3”
“Coco”
“Despicable Me 3:
“The LEGO Batman Movie”
“Loving Vincent”

Florida Wins With The San Francisco Film Critics!


Yesterday, the San Francisco Film Critics Circle announced their picks for the best of 2017!

You can check out their nominations here and their winners below!

Best Picture — The Florida Project

Best Director — Guillermo Del Toro for The Shape of Water

Best Actor — Andy Serkis in War for the Planet of the Apes

Best Actress — Margot Robbie in I, Tonya

Best Supporting Actor — Willem DaFoe in The Florida Project

Best Supporting Actress — Laurie Metcalf in Lady Bird

Best Foreign Language Film — BPM

Best Animated Film — Coco

Best Documentary — Faces Places

Best Cinematography — Roger Deakins, Blade Runner 2049

Best Production Design — Paul D. Austerberry, The Shape of Water

Best Editing — Paul Machliss and Jonathan Amos, Baby Driver

Best Original Screenplay — Jordan Peele, Get Out

Best Adapted Screenplay — James Ivory, Call Me By Your Name

Best Original Score — Johnny Greenwood, Phantom Thread

Special Citation (for that underrated indie gem) — Brimstone & Glory

Marlon Riggs Award: Peter Bratt

Here Are The 2017 Nominations of the San Francisco Film Critics Circle!


Yesterday, the San Francisco Film Critics Circle announced their nominees for the best of 2017!  The winner will be announces tomorrow!

Like almost all of the precursors so far, San Francisco seems to really like The Shape of Water.

Best Picture
CALL ME BY YOUR NAME
THE FLORIDA PROJECT
GET OUT
THE SHAPE OF WATER
THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI

Best Director
Sean Baker  – THE FLORIDA PROJECT
Guillermo del Toro  – THE SHAPE OF WATER
Greta Gerwig  – LADY BIRD
Christopher Nolan  – DUNKIRK
Jordan Peele – GET OUT

Best Actor
Timothee Chalamet – CALL ME BY YOUR NAME
James Franco  – THE DISASTER ARTIST
Daniel Kaluuya  – GET OUT
Gary Oldman – DARKEST HOUR
Andy Serkis  – WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES

Best Actress
Annette Bening – FILM STARS DON’T DIE IN LIVERPOOL
Sally Hawkins – THE SHAPE OF WATER
Frances McDormand  – THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI
Margot Robbie – I, TONYA
Saoirse Ronan – LADY BIRD

Best Supporting Actor 
Willem Dafoe  – THE FLORIDA PROJECT
Armie Hammer – CALL ME BY YOUR NAME
Richard Jenkins – THE SHAPE OF WATER
Sam Rockwell  – THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI
Michael Stuhlbarg  – CALL ME BY YOUR NAME

Best Supporting Actress
Holly Hunter – THE BIG SICK
Allison Janney – I, TONYA
Melissa Leo – NOVITIATE
Lesley Manville – PHANTOM THREAD
Laurie Metcalf – LADY BIRD

Best Foreign Language Film
BPM
A FANTASTIC WOMAN
FRANTZ
IN THE FADE
THE SQUARE

Best Animated Feature
THE BREADWINNER
COCO
THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE
LOVING VINCENT
YOUR NAME

Best Documentary
BRIMSTONE & GLORY
CITY OF GHOSTS
DAWSON CITY: FROZEN TIME
FACES PLACES
JANE

Best Cinematography
BLADE RUNNER 2049 – Roger Deakins
DUNKIRK – Hoyte van Hoytema
THE FLORIDA PROJECT – Alexis Zabe
THE SHAPE OF WATER – Dan Laustsen
WONDER WHEEL – Vittorio Storaro

Best Production Design
BLADE RUNNER 2049  – Dennis Gassner
DUNKIRK  – Nathan Crowley
PHANTOM THREAD  – Mark Tildesley
THE SHAPE OF WATER  – Paul D. Austerberry
WONDERSTRUCK – Mark Friedberg

Best Editing
BABY DRIVER – Paul Machliss and Jonathan Amos
BLADE RUNNER 2049 – Joe Walker
DUNKIRK – Lee Smith
THE POST – Michael Kahn
THE SHAPE OF WATER – Sidney Wolinsky

Best Screenplay (original)
THE BIG SICK – Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon
GET OUT – Jordan Peele
LADY BIRD  – Greta Gerwig
THE SHAPE OF WATER  – Guillermo Del Toro and Vanessa Taylor
THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI  – Martin McDonagh

Best Screenplay (adapted)
THE DISASTER ARTIST  – Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber
CALL ME BY YOUR NAME  – James Ivory
MOLLY’S GAME – Aaron Sorkin
MUDBOUND  – Dee Rees and Virgil Williams
WONDERSTRUCK  – Brian Selznick

Best Original Score
BLADE RUNNER 2049  – Hans Zimmer and Benjamin Wallfisch
DUNKIRK  – Hans Zimmer
PHANTOM THREAD  – Jonny Greenwood
THE SHAPE OF WATER  – Alexandre Desplat
WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES – Michael Giacchino

Special Citation (for that underappreciated indie gem)
BRIMSTONE & GLORY
COLUMBUS
THE OTHER KIDS