The Dallas-Ft. Worth Film Critics Association Names 1917 As The Best of 2019!


Reunion Tower (picture by Erin Nicole)

Here are the winners in Dallas!

BEST PICTURE

Winner: 1917

Runners-up: MARRIAGE STORY (2); PARASITE (3); THE IRISHMAN (4); ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD (5); JOJO RABBIT (6); LITTLE WOMEN (7); THE FAREWELL (8); THE TWO POPES (9); KNIVES OUT (10)

BEST ACTOR

Winner: Adam Driver, MARRIAGE STORY

Runners-up: Joaquin Phoenix, JOKER (2); Antonio Banderas, PAIN AND GLORY (3); Leonardo DiCaprio, ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD (4); Robert De Niro, THE IRISHMAN (5)

BEST ACTRESS

Winner: Scarlett Johansson, MARRIAGE STORY

Runners-up: Renée Zellweger, JUDY (2); Charlize Theron, BOMBSHELL (3); Saoirse Ronan, LITTLE WOMEN (4); Awkwafina, THE FAREWELL (5, tie); Lupita Nyong’o, US (5, tie)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

Winner: Brad Pitt, ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD

Runners-up: Willem Dafoe, THE LIGHTHOUSE (2); Joe Pesci, THE IRISHMAN (3); Al Pacino, THE IRISHMAN (4); Shia LaBeouf, HONEY BOY (5)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Winner: Laura Dern, MARRIAGE STORY

Runners-up: Margot Robbie, BOMBSHELL (2); Florence Pugh, LITTLE WOMEN (3); Jennifer Lopez, HUSTLERS (4); Annette Bening, THE REPORT (5)

BEST DIRECTOR

Winner: Sam Mendes, 1917

Runners-up: Bong Joon-ho, PARASITE (2); Martin Scorsese, THE IRISHMAN (3); Quentin Tarantino, ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD (4); Noah Baumbach, MARRIAGE STORY (5)

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

Winner: PARASITE

Runners-up: PAIN AND GLORY (2); THE FAREWELL (3); LES MISÉRABLES (4); PORTRAIT OF A LADY ON FIRE (5)

BEST DOCUMENTARY

Winner: APOLLO 11

Runners-up: ONE CHILD NATION (2); AMERICAN FACTORY (3); HONEYLAND (4); FOR SAMA (5)

BEST ANIMATED FILM

Winner: TOY STORY 4

Runner-up: I LOST MY BODY

BEST SCREENPLAY

Winner: Noah Baumbach, MARRIAGE STORY

Runner-up: Steven Zaillian, THE IRISHMAN

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

Winner: Roger Deakins, 1917

Runner-up: Hong Kyung-pyo, PARASITE

BEST MUSICAL SCORE

Winner: Thomas Newman, 1917

Runner-up: Alexandre Desplat, LITTLE WOMEN

RUSSELL SMITH AWARD (best low-budget or cutting-edge independent film)

Winner: THE LIGHTHOUSE

Here Are The Nominations Of The Seattle Film Critics Society!


The winners will be revealed on December 16th!

BEST PICTURE OF THE YEAR

1917 (Universal Pictures)
The Farewell (A24)
Ford v Ferrari (20th Century Fox)
The Irishman (Netflix)
The Lighthouse (A24)
Little Women (Sony Pictures)
Marriage Story (Netflix)
Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood (Sony Pictures)
Parasite (NEON)
Uncut Gems (A24)

BEST DIRECTOR

Robert Eggers – The Lighthouse
Greta Gerwig – Little Women
Bong Joon-ho – Parasite
Josh & Benny Safdie – Uncut Gems
Martin Scorsese – The Irishman

BEST ACTOR in a LEADING ROLE

Antonio Banderas – Pain and Glory
Robert De Niro –The Irishman
Adam Driver – Marriage Story
Joaquin Phoenix – Joker
Adam Sandler – Uncut Gems

BEST ACTRESS in a LEADING ROLE

Awkwafina – The Farewell
Scarlett Johansson – Marriage Story
Lupita Nyong’o – Us
Saoirse Ronan – Little Women
Renée Zellweger – Judy

BEST ACTOR in a SUPPORTING ROLE

Willem Dafoe – The Lighthouse
Tom Hanks – A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
Song Kang-ho – Parasite
Joe Pesci – The Irishman
Brad Pitt – Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood

BEST ACTRESS in a SUPPORTING ROLE

Laura Dern – Marriage Story
Jennifer Lopez – Hustlers
Florence Pugh – Little Women
Taylor Russell – Waves
Zhao Shuzhen – The Farewell

BEST ENSEMBLE CAST

The Irishman
Knives Out
Little Women
Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood
Parasite

BEST ACTION CHOREOGRAPHY

1917
Avengers: Endgame
Ford v Ferrari
John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum Shadow

BEST SCREENPLAY

The Farewell – Lulu Wang
The Irishman – Steven Zaillian
Knives Out – Rian Johnson
Marriage Story – Noah Baumbach
Parasite – Bong Joon-ho, Han Jin-won (screenplay); Bong Joon-ho (story)

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE

Frozen II – Chris Buck & Jennifer Lee, directors
How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World – Dean DeBlois, director
I Lost My Body – Jérémy Clapin, director
Missing Link – Chris Butler, director
Toy Story 4 – Josh Cooley, director

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

The Farewell – Lulu Wang, director
Monos – Alejandro Landes, director
Pain and Glory – Pedro Almodóvar, director
Parasite – Bong Joon-ho, director
Portrait of a Lady on Fire – Céline Sciamma, director

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

American Factory – Steven Bognar, Julia Reichert, directors Apollo 11 – Todd Douglas Miller, director
For Sama – Waad al-Kateab, Edward Watts, directors
Fyre – Chris Smith, director
Honeyland – Ljubomir Stefanov & Tamara Kotevska, directors

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

1917 – Roger Deakins
The Lighthouse – Jarin Blaschke
Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood – Robert Richardson
Parasite – Hong Kyung-pyo
Portrait of a Lady on Fire – Claire Mathon

BEST COSTUME DESIGN

Dolemite is My Name – Ruth E. Carter
Downton Abbey – Anna Mary Scott Robbins
Little Women – Jacqueline Durran
Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood – Arianne Phillips
Rocketman – Julian Day

BEST FILM EDITING

1917 – Lee Smith
The Irishman – Thelma Schoonmaker
Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood – Fred Raskin
Parasite – Yang Jin-mo
Uncut Gems – Ronald Bronstein, Benny Safdie

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE

1917 – Thomas Newman
Joker – Hildur Guðnadóttir
The Last Black Man in San Francisco – Emile Mosseri
Uncut Gems – Daniel Lopatin
Us – Michael Abels

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN

1917 – Dennis Gassner (Production Designer); Lee Sandales (Set Decorator)
The Irishman – Bob Shaw (Production Designer); Regina Graves (Set Decorator)
Little Women – Jess Gonchor (Production Designer); Claire Kaufman (Set Decorator)
Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood – Barbara Ling (Production Designer); Nancy Haigh (Set Decorator)
Parasite – Lee Ha-jun (Production Designer)

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS

1917 – Guillaume Rocheron, Greg Butler, Dominic Tuohy
Ad Astra – Allen Maris, Jedediah Smith, Guillaume Rocheron, Scott R. Fisher
Alita: Battle Angel – Nick Epstein, Joe Letteri, Eric Saindon
Avengers: Endgame – Dan DeLeeuw, Matt Aitken, Russell Earl, Dan Sudick
The Irishman – Pablo Helman, Leandro Estebecorena, Stephane Grabli, Nelson Sepulveda

BEST YOUTH PERFORMANCE (18 years of age or younger upon start of filming)

Julia Butters – Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood
Kyliegh Curran – Doctor Sleep
Roman Griffith Davis – Jojo Rabbit
Noah Jupe – Honey Boy

Thomasin McKenzie – Jojo Rabbit

VILLAIN OF THE YEAR

Arthur Fleck/The Joker – Joker – portrayed by Joaquin Phoenix
Red – Us – portrayed by Lupita Nyong’o
The Red Dress – In Fabric – portrayed by a red dress
Rose the Hat – Doctor Sleep – portrayed by Rebecca Ferguson

Russell Bufalino – The Irishman – portrayed by Joe Pesci

The Los Angeles Film Critics Association Honors Parasite and Jennifer Lopez


On Sunday, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association announced their picks for the best of 2019!  Parasite was named Best Picture while Jennifer Lopez finally picked up an award for her acclaimed performance in Hustlers.

Here’s a full list of the winners:

Best Picture

  • “PARASITE”

Runner-up: “THE IRISHMAN”

Best Foreign-Language Film

  • “PAIN AND GLORY”

Runner-up: “PORTRAIT OF A LADY ON FIRE”

Best Director

  • Bong Joon Ho, “PARASITE”

Runner-up: Martin Scorsese, “THE IRISHMAN”

Best Actor

  • Antonio Banderas – “PAIN AND GLORY”

Runner-Up: Adam Driver – “MARRIAGE STORY”

Best Actress

  • Mary Kay Place, “DIANE”

Runner-up: Lupita Nyong’o, “US”

Best Supporting Actress

  • Jennifer Lopez, “HUSTLERS”

Runner-up: Zhao Shuzhen, “THE FAREWELL”

Best Supporting Actor

  • Song Kang Ho, “PARASITE”

Runner-Up: Joe Pesci, “THE IRISHMAN”

Best Cinematography

  • Claire Mathon, “PORTRAIT OF A LADY ON FIRE” & “ATLANTICS”

Runner-Up: Roger Deakins, “1917”

Best Screenplay

  • Noah Baumbach, “MARRIAGE STORY”

Runner-Up: Bong Joon Ho and Han Jin Won, “PARASITE”

Best Music/Score

  • Dan Levy, “I LOST MY BODY”

Runner-Up: Thomas Newman, “1917”

Best Documentary/Nonfiction Film

  • “AMERICAN FACTORY”

Runner-up: “APOLLO 11”

Best Animation

  • “I LOST MY BODY”

Runner-Up: “TOY STORY 4”

Best Production Design

  • Barbara Ling, “ONCE UPON A TIME … IN HOLLYWOOD”

Runner-up: Ha Jun Lee, “PARASITE”

Best Editing

  • Todd Douglas Miller, “APOLLO 11”

Runner-up: Ronald Bronstein & Benny Safdie,” UNCUT GEMS”

Douglas Edwards Experimental Film

  • THE GIVERNY DOCUMENT, Ja’Tovia Gary

New York Film Critics Circle Honor The Irishman, Banderas, and Nyong’o!


The New York Film Critics Circle just voted on and announced their picks for the best of 2019!  (It took about four and a half hours, which is quick by NYFCC standards.)  The Irishman winning Best Picture isn’t a shock but just check out some of the other winners!  The Safdie Brothers for best director!  Lupita Nyong’o and Antonio Banderas for best lead performances!  Check out all the love given to international films!

Now, just because a critics group embraces a film or performance, that doesn’t mean the Oscars will do the same.  (Last year, for instance, Regina Hall was deservedly named best actress but was snubbed by the Academy.)  Still, these awards will keep these names in the conversation and both Banderas and Nyong’o — who, despite their acclaimed performances, have been overshadowed by Adams Driver and Sandler and Renee Zellweger — will probably see at least a little renewed interest as a result of these wins.

Here are the NYFCC winners!

  • Best Picture: The Irishman
  • Best Director: The Safdie Brothers for Uncut Gems
  • Best Screenplay: Quentin Tarantino for Once Upon A Time In Hollywood
  • Best Actress: Lupita Nyong’o in Us
  • Best Actor: Antonio Banderas in Pain & Glory
  • Best Supporting Actress: Laura Dern in Marriage Story and Little Women
  • Best Supporting Actor: Joe Pesci in The Irishman
  • Best Cinematography: Claire Mathon, Portrait of a Lady on Fire
  • Best Non-fiction Film: Tamara Kotevska, Ljubomir Stefanov, “Honeyland” (NEON)
  • Best Foreign Language Film: “Parasite” (South Korea)
  • Best Animated Feature: Jérémy Clapin, “I Lost My Body” (Netflix)
  • Best First Film: Mati Diop, “Atlantics”
  • Special Award For Career Achievement: Randy Newman
  • Special Award: Indie Collect

 

The Satellites Really Like Ford V Ferrari


The Satellite Nominations were announced earlier today and they appear to really, really like Ford v. Ferrari.

Now, you may be asking yourself, “Who gives out the Satellites?”  They are awarded by the International Press Academy.  They should not be mistaken for the Golden Globes, which are given out the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.  Instead, the Satellites should probably be considered the Golden Globes’s less popular cousins.  Unlike the Globes, they haven’t really proven themselves to be reliable as a precursor.

Anyway, here are the Satellite Film Nominations.  If you want to see their television nominations, click here!

ACTRESS IN A MOTION PICTURE DRAMA

  • Alfre Woodard, “Clemency”
  • Charlize Theron, “Bombshell”
  • Cynthia Erivo, “Harriet”
  • Helen Mirren, “The Good Liar”
  • Renee Zellweger, “Judy”
  • Scarlett Johansson, “Marriage Story”

ACTOR IN A MOTION PICTURE DRAMA

  • Adam Driver, “Marriage Story”
  • Antonio Banderas, “Pain and Glory”
  • Christian Bale, “Ford v Ferrari”
  • George MacKay, “1917″
  • Joaquin Phoenix, “Joker”
  • Mark Ruffalo, “Dark Waters” 

ACTRESS IN A MOTION PICTURE, COMEDY OR MUSICAL

  • Awkwafina, “The Farewell”
  • Ana De Armas, “Knives Out”
  • Constance Wu, “Hustlers”
  • Julianne Moore, “Gloria Bell”

ACTOR IN A MOTION PICTURE, COMEDY OR MUSICAL

  • Adam Sandler, “Uncut Gems”
  • Daniel Craig, “Knives Out”
  • Eddie Murphy, “Dolemite Is My Name”
  • Leonardo DiCaprio, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”
  • Taron Egerton, “Rocketman”
  • Taika Waititi, “Jojo Rabbit”

ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

  • Jennifer Lopez, “Hustlers”
  • Laura Dern, “Marriage Story”
  • Margot Robbie, “Bomshell”
  • Penelope Cruz, “Pain and Glory”
  • Nicole Kidman, “Bombshell”
  • Zhao Shuzhen, “The Farewell”

ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

  • Anthony Hopkins, “The Two Popes”
  • Brad Pitt, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”
  • Joe Pesci, “The Irishman”
  • Tom Hanks, “A Beautiful Day in The Neighborhood”
  • Willem Dafoe, “The Lighthouse”
  • Wendell Pierce, “Burning Cane”

MOTION PICTURE, DRAMA

  • 1917 Universal Pictures
  • Bombshell Lionsgate
  • Burning Cane Array Releasing
  • Ford v Ferrari Twentieth Century Fox
  • Joker Warner Bros.
  • The Lighthouse A24
  • Marriage Story Netflix
  • Two Popes Netflix

MOTION PICTURE, COMEDY OR MUSICAL

  • Hustlers STX Entertainment
  • Knives Out Lionsgate
  • Once Upon a Time in Hollywood Columbia Pictures
  • Rocketman Paramount
  • The Farewell A24
  • Uncut Gems A24

MOTION PICTURE, INTERNATIONAL

  • Atlantics, Senegal
  • Beanpole, Russia
  • Les Miserables, France
  • Pain and Glory, Spain
  • Parasite, Korea
  • Truth and Justice, Estonia
  • Portrait of a Lady on Fire, France
  • The Painted Bird, Czech Republic

MOTION PICTURE, ANIMATED OR MIXED MEDIA

  • A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon Netflix
  • Alita: Battle Angel Twentieth Century Fox
  • Buñuel in the Labyrinth of the Turtles GKIDS
  • How to Train Your Dragon 2: The Hidden World Universal Pictures
  • The Lion King Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
  • Toy Story 4 Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
  • Weathering With You GKIDS

MOTION PICTURE, DOCUMENTARY

  • 63 Up BritBox
  • Apollo 11 Neon
  • Citizen K Greenwich Entertainment
  • Honeyland KJ Films
  • One Child Nation Amazon Studios
  • The Apollo HBO Documentary
  • The Cave National Geographic Documentary Films
  • FOR SAMA PBS

DIRECTOR

  • Bong Joon Ho, “Parasite”
  • James Mangold, “Ford v Ferrari”
  • Noah Baumbach, “Marriage Story”
  • Pedro Almodóvar, “Pain and Glory”
  • Sam Mendes, “1917″
  • Quentin Tarantino, “Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood”

SCREENPLAY, ORIGINAL

  • Bong Joon Ho, “Parasite”
  • Jez Butterworth, John-Henry Butterworth, and Jason Keller, “Ford v Ferrari”
  • Lulu Wang, “The Farewell”
  • Noah Baumbach, “Marriage Story”
  • Pedro Almodóvar, “Pain and Glory”
  • Quentin Tarantino, “Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood”

SCREENPLAY, ADAPTED

  • Anthony McCarten, “The Two Popes”
  • Edward Norton, “Motherless Brooklyn”
  • Matthew Michael Carnahan, Mario Correa, Nathaniel Rich, “Dark Waters”
  • Steven Zaillian, “The Irishman”
  • Taika Waititi, “Jojo Rabbit”
  • Todd Phillips & Scott Silver, “Joker”

ORIGINAL SCORE

  • Thomas Newman, “1917″
  • Marco Beltrami & Buck Sanders, “Ford v Ferrari”
  • Randy Newman, “Marriage Story”
  • Robbie Robertson, “The Irishman”
  • Terence Blanchard, “Harriet”
  • Hildur Guonadottir, “Joker”

ORIGINAL SONG

  • Don’t Call Me (Angel), “Charlie’s Angels”
  • Into the Unknown, “Frozen II”
  • (I’m Gonna) Love Me Again, “Rocketman”
  • Spirit, “Lion King”
  • The Ballade of the Lonesome Cowboy, “Toy Story 4”
  • Swan Song, “Alita: Battle Angel”

CINEMATOGRAPHY

  • Dick Pope, “Motherless Brooklyn”
  • George Richmond, “Rocketman”
  • Lawrence Sher, “Joker”
  • Phedon Papamichael, ASC, GSC, “Ford v Ferrari”
  • Rodrigo Prieto, “The Irishman”
  • Roger Deakins, “1917”

FILM EDITING

  • 1917
    Lee Smith, ACE
  • Ford v Ferrari
    Michael McCusker, ACE
    Andrew Buckland
  • Joker
    Jeff Groth
  • Marriage Story
    Jennifer Lame, ACE
  • Rocketman
    Chris Dickens
  • The Irishman
    Thelma Schoonmaker

SOUND (EDITING AND MIXING)

  • 1917
    Oliver Tarney
    Stuart Wilson
    Scott Millan
    Mark Taylor
  • Avengers: Endgame
    Shannon Mills
    Daniel Laurie
    Tom Johnson
    Juan Peralta
    John Pritchett, CAS
  • Ford v Ferrari
    Donald Sylvester
    Paul Massey
    David Giammarco
    Steven A. Morrow, CAS
  • Joker
    Alan Robert Murray
    Tom Ozanich
    Dean Zupancic
  • Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
    Wylie Stateman
    Mark Ulano, CAS
    Michael Minkler, CAS
    Christian P. Minkler, CAS
  • Rocketman
    Matthew Collinge
    John Hayes

VISUAL EFFECTS

  • Alita: Battle Angel
    Joe Letteri
    Eric Saindon
  • Avengers: Endgame
    Dan DeLeeuw
    Matt Aitken
    Russell Earl
    Dan Sudick
  • The Lion King
    Robert Legato, ASC; Andrew R. Jones
    Adam Valdez; Elliot Newman
  • Ford v Ferrari
    Olivier Dumont
    Mark Byers
    Kathy Segal
  • Joker
    Edwin Rivera
    Mathew Giampa
    Bryan Godwin
  • The Irishman
    Pablo Helman

ART DIRECTION & PRODUCTION DESIGN

  • 1917
    Dennis Gassner
    Lee Sandales
  • Ford v Ferrari
    François Audouy
    Peter Lando
  • Joker
    Mark Friedberg
    Laura Ballinger
  • Motherless Brooklyn
    Beth Mickle
    Michael Ahern
  • Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
    Barbara Ling
    Nancy Haigh
  • The Two Popes
    Mark Tildesley
    Saverio Sammali

COSTUME DESIGN 

  • Dolemite Is My Name
    Ruth E. Carter
  • Joker
    Mark Bridges
  • Judy
    Jeny Temime
  • Rocketman
    Julian Day
  • The Two Popes
    Luka Canfora
  • Downton Abbey
    Caroline McCall
    Anna Robbins
    Susannah Buxton
    Rosalind Ebbutt

Lisa Marie’s Oscar Predictions for October


Well, the Oscar season is finally here and it looks like the competition is going to be fierce!  It seems like every day, a new contender is being crowned at yet another festival.  Below, you’ll find my predictions for October but, honestly, it’s still difficult to narrow down all of the possible contenders to just 10 films, 5 directors, and 20 actors.

But let’s give it a shot, anyways!

To see how my thinking has (or has not) evolved, be sure to check out my predictions for January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, and September!

Best Picture

1917

Bombshell

The Irishman

JoJo Rabbit

Little Women

Marriage Story

Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

Parasite

The Two Popes

Waves

Best Director

Noah Baumbach for Marriage Story

Bong Joon-ho for Parasite

Sam Mendes for 1917

Martin Scorsese for The Irishman

Quentin Tarantino for Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

Best Actor

Antonio Banderas in Pain & Glory

Leonardo DiCaprio in Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

Taron Egerton in Rocketman

Eddie Murphy in Dolemite Is My Name

Joaquin Phoenix in Joker

Best Actress

Scarlett Johansson in Marriage Story

Saoirse Ronan in Little Women

Charlize Theron In Bombshell

Alfre Woodard in Clemency

Renee Zellweger in Judy

Best Supporting Actor

Sterling K. Brown in Waves

Jamie Foxx in Just Mercy

Anthony Hopkins in The Two Popes

Al Pacino in The Irishman

Brad Pitt in Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

Best Supporting Actress

Laura Dern in Little Women

Jennifer Lopez in Hustlers

Thomasin McKenzie in JoJo Rabbit

Margot Robbie in Bombshell

Zhao Shuzhen in The Farewell

 

Horror Film Review: Interview With The Vampire (dir by Neil Jordan)


Oh, poor Claudia.

There are a lot of vampires and other cursed beings wandering through the 1994 film adaptation of Interview With A Vampire but Claudia (Kisten Dunst) is the only one for whom I have any sympathy.

Louis (Brad Pitt) may be the main character and the vampire giving the interview but it’s hard to have much sympathy for him.  He’s just such a whiny little bitch.  The Louisiana aristocrat is transformed into a vampire in 1791 and basically spends the next 200 years complaining about it.  You want to have sympathy for him but sometimes, you just have to accept stuff and move on.  It doesn’t help that Brad Pitt, who has always given his best performances when cast as men of action, is somewhat miscast as the effete and self-loathing Louis.

Lestat (Tom Cruise) may be the most charismatic of the vampires but he’s never exactly sympathetic.  He turns Louis into a vampire and then spends years following him across Louisiana and Europe.  Lestat is decadence personified and he never whines and, as a result, he’s far more enjoyable to spend time with than Louis.  Cruise is as perfectly cast as Lestat as Pitt was miscat as Louis.  Lestat is a star and Tom Cruise has always been one of the few true movie stars around.  That said, Lestat is still far too self-indulgent and thoughtlessly self-destructive to really be a sympathetic character.  Instead, he’s like Lord Byron, destroying happy families but at least writing a poem about it afterwards.

Armand (Antonio Banderas) runs the Théâtre des Vampires in Paris and he becomes Louis’s companion for a time.  Louis is charismatic because he’s played by Antonio Banderas but, ultimately, he proves to be a rather ineffectual leader.  Armand puts on a good show but, in the end, that’s all he has to offer.  He’s a bit shallow, despite all of the theatrics.

Santiago (Stephen Rea) isn’t sympathetic at all but at least he really seems to get into being evil.  Good for him!

And then there’s Daniel Malloy (Christian Slater), the journalist who conducts the interview with Louis.  In the film, Malloy starts out as a cynic, the type of writer who theatrically pours himself a glass of whiskey before dramatically turning to his typewriter.  All he needs is a fedora with a press pass tucked into the headband.  It’s difficult to take him seriously.

But then there’s Claudia.  Poor Claudia.  In the book, Claudia was only five years old when she was turned into a vampire.  In the movie, she’s played by 12 year-old Kirsten Dunst and it’s left ambiguous as to how young Claudia actually was when Lestat turned her into a vampire, though it’s still made clear that was too young to be cursed without her consent.  Claudia becomes Lestat and Louis’s companion.  Louis treats her like the daughter that he will never have.  Lestart treats her like an apprentice, teaching her how to kill.  Claudia grows up but is forever trapped in the body of a child.  It’s impossible not to feel sorry for Claudia, who never asked to become a vampire, who indeed was just turned so that Lestat could use her as a pawn to keep control of Louis.  Claudia spends a good deal of the movie in a rage and who can blame her?

Interview With A Vampire is a messy and uneven film.  Brad Pitt is miscast and the whole film is oddly paced, with the New Orleans scenes taking too long and the Paris scenes going by almost too quickly.  At the same time, Tom Cruise brings the proper joie de mort to the role of Lestat and Claudia and her fate will simply break your heart.  Interview With The Vampire is not the best vampire movie that I’ve ever seen but it definitely has its pleasures.

The Things You Find On Netflix: The Laundromat (dir by Steven Soderbergh)


To say that Meryl Streep gives a bad performance in The Laundromat actually does a disservice to your average, run-of-the-mill bad performance.

Meryl Streep instead gives an absolutely terrible performance in The Laundromat, playing not one, not two, but three characters.  One of the characters is Ellen Martin, a middle-class widow from Michigan whose attempts to collect a fair settlement after the death of her husband provides a portal in the world of shady con men and corrupt financial institutions.  One of the characters is a secret, which means that Meryl wears a lot of make-up and frumpy clothes.  That said, from the minute the character appeared on screen, I went, “Oh, there’s Meryl again.”  Then, in her third role, Meryl plays herself, demanding campaign finance reform and striking a Statue of Liberty pose while holding a hairbrush instead of a torch.

Really, it’s the type of horrendous performance that could only be delivered by a truly great actress.  (If Meryl Streep is the modern Norma Shearer, this is her Romeo and Juliet.)  Watching Meryl Streep play the role of Ellen, It occurred to me that Meryl is one of those actresses who is incapable of being authentic but who can certainly act the Hell out of pretending to be authentic.  You never forget that Meryl Streep is acting and that’s one reason why her best performances are usually the ones where she’s playing theatrical characters, whether they’re politicians like Margaret Thatcher, celebrities like Julia Child, or the Witch in Into the Woods.  But when you cast Meryl as someone who is basically supposed to be a member of the “common people,” it just doesn’t work.  Laura Dern, Laurie Metcalf, Allison Janney, even Annette Bening probably could have done a decent job playing Ellen Martin but Meryl is just too Meryl.  As for her other two performances in The Laundromat, they don’t work because one is meant to be a joke on the audience and the other is just a retread of her standard “I’m just a middle class woman from New Jersey and I love the little people” awards show speech.

Of course, The Laundromat itself is a remarkably bad film.  Again, it takes a lot of talent to make a film this bad.  Watching the film, I found myself wondering why, at this point in his celebrated career, Steven Soderbergh would decide to become a second-rate Adam McKay, especially when McKay himself is just a third-rate Jean-Luc Godard?  The film is structured so that, while Ellen is obsessing on why she’s getting screwed over by the insurance companies, we’re also treated to scenes of Gary Oldman and Antonio Banderas talking directly to the camera and explaining to use why the poor are always going to get screwed over by the rich.  That’s probably true but the film gets so heavy-handed in its execution that the resulting migraine is going to be due less to outrage and more due to the sledgehammer that Soderbergh takes to your head.

Along with Ellen’s story, we also get to see several other stories featuring people and their money.  Jeffrey Wright is a crooked accountant who has two families.  And then there’s an African businessman who bribes his wife and daughter with shares in a non-existent company and then we take a trip to China, where we learn about cyanide and organ harvesting. And yes, I get it.  It shows how a crime committed in China is ultimately felt by a widow living in Michigan.  But one can’t help but wish that Soderbergh had just focuses on one story, instead of trying to imitate the worst moments of The Big Short.

Gary Oldman and Antonio Banderas are technically playing the film’s villains but they’re both so charming that The Laundromat at times seems like more of a recruiting film for aspiring money launderers than anything else.  (To continue the Adam McKay comparison, it’s a bit like how Vice actually left audiences feeling sympathy for Dick Cheney as opposed to writing petitions to send to The Hague.)  It desperately wants to leave us outraged but Soderbegh gets so caught up in his own cutesy storytelling techniques that it just leaves us feeling somewhat annoyed.  Watching the film, one gets the feeling that the perfect directors for The Laundromat would have been the Coen Brothers, who are capable of outrage but whose detached style would have kept them from bludgeoning the audience with it.  Soderbergh is too angry to be effective.

As I said, there’s a lot of talented people involved in The Laundromat.  It’s full of people who have done great work in the past and who will do great work in the future.  As for The Laundromat, it’s a legitimate contender for the biggest disappointment of the year.

Lisa’s Oscar Predictions For September


With the help of the festivals, the Oscar picture became a bit clearer this month.  Perhaps the biggest news is that the initial response to Harriet, which many people expected to be this year’s front runner, was decidedly lukewarm.  The other big news?  The Irishman, according to those who have seen it, may be Scorsese’s best yet.

Below, you’ll find my Oscar predictions for September.  If you want to see how my thinking has evolved over the course of this year, be sure to check out my predictions for January, February, March, April, May, June, July, and August!

Now, admittedly, there’s still an element of wishful thinking in some of the predictions below.  For instance, it would be an interesting narrative development if Adam Sandler and Eddie Murphy were both nominated for best actor.  That doesn’t mean that it’s going to happen but both of them have received a lot of early acclaim for their yet-to-be released films this year.  They’re contenders, even if their reputations may make them long shots.  What’s the point of making predictions if you can’t have a little fun?

Joker is going to get big Oscar punch.  I do think it’s going to probably be a bit too controversial to pick up a Best Picture nomination but I’m still going to go ahead and put down Joaquin Phoenix as a best actor nominee.

Bombshell is the new title of Jay Roach’s Fox News film.  To me, it doesn’t sound like it’s going to be that good and, quite frankly, Jay Roach’s films usually prove that just being obsessed with politics doesn’t necessarily mean that you have anything interesting to say about the topic.  That said, if Vice (a film that even leftist film critics criticized as being heavy handed and cartoonish) could pick up a best picture nomination last year, then I’m going to assume Bombshell could do the same.  With both the presidential election and possible impeachment trial looming, it’s reasonable assume that certain Academy members will be even more obsessed with politics than usual.

Meryl Streep for The Laundromat?  Why not?  They’ll nominate Meryl for anything, regardless of how bad the movie is.

Here are the predictions for this month!

Best Picture

1917

Bombshell

The Farewell

A Hidden Life

The Irishman

JoJo Rabbit

Marriage Story

Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

Parasite

Waves

Best Director

Bong Joon-ho for Parasite

Terrence Malick for A Hidden Life

Martin Scorsese for The Irishman

Quentin Tarantino for Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

Taika Waititi for JoJo Rabbit

Best Actor

Antonio Banderas in Pain & Glory

Leonardo DiCaprio in Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

Eddie Murphy in Dolemite Is My Name

Joaquin Phoenix in Joker

Adam Sandler in Uncut Gems

Best Actress

Cynthia Erivo in Harriet

Scarlett Johansson in Marriage Story

Charlize Theron in Bombshell

Alfre Woodard in Clemency

Renee Zellweger in Judy

Best Supporting Actor

Sterling K. Brown in Waves

Jamie Foxx in Just Mercy

Anthony Hopkins in The Two Popes

Al Pacino in The Irishman

Brad Pitt in Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

Best Supporting Actress

Annette Bening in The Report

Scarlett Johansson in JoJo Rabbit

Jennifer Lopez in Hustlers

Zhao Shuzhen in The Farewell

Meryl Streep in The Laundromat

Lisa’s Early Oscar Nominations for August


It’s the time of the month again!

It’s time for me to share my early Oscar predictions!  With the Telluride and Venice Film Festivals currently underway, the Oscar picture does seem to be a little bit less murky.  But then again, we should remember that appearances can be deceiving.  Last year, at this time, most people were still expecting a First Man vs. Beale Street vs. A Star is Born Oscar race.

These predictions below take into account the reports that have been coming back from Telluride and Venice.  If you want to see how my thinking has evolved over the year, be sure to check out my predictions from January, February, March, April, May, June, and July!

And now, for what their worth, here are my predictions for August:

Best Picture

1917

A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood

The Farewell

Ford v Ferrari

Harriet

A Hidden Life

The Irishman

Little Women

Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

Waves

Best Director

Kasi Lemmons for Harriet

Terrence Malick for A HIdden Life

Sam Mendes for 1917

Trey Edward Shults for Waves

Martin Scorsese for The Irishman

Best Actor

Antonio Banderas in Pain & Glory

Leonardo DiCaprio in Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

Eddie Murphy in Dolemite is My Name

Joaquin Phoenix in Joker

Adam Sandler in Uncut Gems

Best Actress

Awkwafina in The Farewell

Cynthia Erivo in Harriet

Saoirse Ronan in Little Women

Alfre Woodard in Clemency

Renee Zellweger in Judy

Best Supporting Actor

Sterling K. Brown in Waves

Willem DaFoe in The Lighthouse

Anthony Hopkins in The Two Popes

John Lithgow in Bombshell

Brad Pitt in Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

Best Supporting Actress

Penelope Cruz in Pain & Glory

Scarlett Johansson in Jojo Rabbit

Nicole Kidman in The Goldfinch

Margot Robbie in Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

Zao Shuzhen in The Farewell