4 Shots For 4 John Carpenter Films: Halloween, The Fog, Christine, They Live


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

This October, we’ve been using 4 Shots from 4 Films to pay tribute to some of our favorite horror filmmakers!  Today, we honor the one and only John Carpenter!

4 Shots From 4 John Carpenter Films

Halloween (1977, dir by John Carpenter)

The Fog (1980, dir by John Carpenter)

Christine (1983, dir by John Carpenter)

They Live (1988, dir by John Carpenter)

 

Halloween Havoc!: CHRISTINE (Columbia 1983)


cracked rear viewer

Stephen King turned 70 last month, and the Master of Horror’s grip on the American psyche is stronger than ever, thanks to the unprecedented horror hit IT!, now playing at a theater near you. King’s macabre novels have been adapted for the screen since 1976’s CARRIE with  varying degrees of success; some have been unabashed genre classics, others complete bombs, most lie somewhere in the middle.

Top: Stephen King 1983
Bottom: John Carpenter 1983

Director John Carpenter had a string of successes beginning with 1978’s seminal slasher film HALLOWEEN, but his 1982 remake of THE THING, now considered a masterpiece of the genre, was a box office disappointment. Carpenter took on King’s novel CHRISTINE as a work-for-hire project. I recently watched it for the first time, and think not only is it one of the best adaptations of King’s work to hit the screen, it’s one of Carpenter’s best horror…

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4 Shots From 4 Films: Special John Carpenter Edition


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

This October, I am going to be using our 4 Shots From 4 Films feature to pay tribute to some of my favorite horror directors, in alphabetical order!  That’s right, we’re going from Argento to Zombie in one month!

Today’s director is the man who put Halloween on the map and a personal favorite of TSL editor-in-cheif Arleigh Sandoc’s, John Carpenter!

4 Shots From 4 Films

Halloween (1977, dir by John Carpenter)

The Fog (1980, dir by John Carpenter)

The Thing (1982, dir by John Carpenter)

Christine (1983, dir by John Carpenter)

The Things You Find on Netflix: Christine (dir by Antonio Campos)


I really regret that I didn’t get a chance to see Christine when it played here last year.  I wanted to but the movie was only in theaters for a week and then it vanished.

I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised that Christine didn’t become a blockbuster.  I imagine that most potential viewers were turned off by the fact that 1) it wasn’t a remake of the movie about the killer car and 2) it was based on the true story of a reporter who, in 1974, committed suicide on live television.  I imagine that, to many people, the film sounded like it would be indescribably sad.  It certainly sounded that way to me.  That’s why, when the movie opened at the Dallas Angelika, I said, “I’ll see it next week.”  Of course, by the time “next week” rolled around, the movie was gone.

And that’s a shame.  I just watched Christine on Netflix and I discovered that it was one of the best films of 2016.  Yes, it is a sad film but it’s also a frequently fascinating one.  The movie may tell the story of a tragedy but it’s anchored and enlivened by a brilliant performance from Rebecca Hall.  People who love movies, of course, already know that Rebecca Hall is a brilliant actress but, unfortunately, she rarely gets the roles in the films that she deserves.  As of this writing, her most financially successful film was probably The Town and, in that film, she was pretty much wasted in a nothing role.  She is perfectly cast in Christine, perhaps as perfectly cast as any performer could ever hope to be.

Rebecca Hall plays Christine Chubbuck, a reporter who was based in Sarasota, Florida.  In 1974, she started a newscast by announcing, “”In keeping with Channel 40’s policy of bringing you the latest in ‘blood and guts’, and in living color, you are going to see another first—attempted suicide.”  She then drew a gun from a shopping bag that was sitting behind the anchor desk.  As thousands watched, she shot herself in the back of the head.

Along with the gun, the shopping bag had contained the homemade puppets that Christine used whenever she volunteered at the local children’s hospital.  On the anchor desk, among her papers, was a news report that she had written the previous night, announcing that “Local news personality Christine Chubbuck” had shot herself on live television and had been taken to the hospital in critical condition.  Christine, who was reportedly frustrated both personally and professionally, was briefly the number one story in the nation.

One of the more interesting things about the suicide of Christine Chubbuck is that it happened in 1974, long before YouTube, Facebook Live, or Twitter.  Chubbuck’s suicide was only aired once and the footage has subsequently vanished.  If Christine Chubbuck, or anyone else, committed suicide on television today, it would immediately be all over the internet.  We would end up seeing, at the very least, clips of it on an almost daily basis.  Sadly, we would see it so much that we would probably become desensitized to it.  Since Christine Chubbuck’s death was recorded but remains unseen, both she and her suicide have achieved an almost mythical quality.  One can look at the details of Christine Chubbuck’s death and see almost anything that they want.

Christine follows the last few months of Chubbuck’s life.  As played by Rebecca Hall, Christine is confident enough that she can imagine interviewing Richard Nixon but insecure enough to obsess over whether she was nodding too much while the imaginary President gave his imaginary answer.  She lives with her mother (J. Smith-Cameron), a self-described hippie who keeps making references to a breakdown that Christine had in Boston.  When she complains about the pressure that she’s under to sensationalize the news, her boss dismisses her with “You’re a feminist!”  (He says it like an accusation.)  When she gives in and purchases a police scanner so that she can find the stories that the boss is demanding, she ends up spending most of her night listening to two cops brag about “how far” they got with their girlfriends the night before. When she goes to the doctor to complain about chronic stomach pain, she’s told that she has to have an ovary removed and she’ll probably never be able to conceive.  When she thinks that she finally has a date with the man who she’s been crushing on, she is instead dragged to an empty-headed encounter group.  Her group partner has a slick answer for every problem that Christine has until Christine says that she’s thirty and she’s still a virgin.

“Oh,” her partner replies, flummoxed.

In the film, Christine struggles with both depression and, in my opinion, bipolar disorder as well.  Unfortunately, for her mental well-being, she’s a woman in 1974.  The only thing that the world has to offer her are vapid self-affirmation (“I’m okay, you’re okay!  I’m okay, you’re okay!” one co-worker chants at a particularly dramatic moment) and sexist bosses who dismiss what is clearly a manic episode as either “being moody” or “being difficult.”  Speaking as someone who is very sensitive as to how mental health issues are portrayed onscreen, all I can say is that Christine gets it right.

I’m probably making this film sound like the most depressing movie ever made and it’s definitely not a happy film.  I had tears in my eyes by the end of it.  At the same time, it’s also a compulsively watchable character study.  Rebecca Hall gives such a good and brave performance as Christine that you can’t look away, even when you feel like you should.  Rebecca Hall is also ably supported by Michael C. Hall, Tracy Letts, Morgan Spector, Timothy Simons, and Maria Dizzia, who all play her sometimes sympathetic, sometimes annoyed co-workers.

Now, I do think that I should warn anyone from thinking that Christine is a 100% accurate look at Christine Chubbuck’s life and death.  The film left me so moved that I actually did some research and I came across this article from the Washington Post — Christine Chubbuck: 29, Good-Looking, Educated, A Television Personality. Dead. Live and in Color.  After reading the profile, it was easy to see that the film did take some dramatic license.  However, it was also easy to see that Christine gets the essence of the story right.

If, like me, you missed Christine in the theaters, you can now see it on Netflix.  And you should!

Here Are The 2016 Nominations From The Casting Society of America!


The Academy really should give out an Oscar for Best Casting.  But until they do, we’ll just have to be happy with the annual nominations from the Casting Society of America!

Here are the 2016 nominations.  (It’s interesting to note that this is the third guild to nominate Deadpool.  How many heads would explode is Deadpool somehow landed a best picture nomination?  That probably won’t happen but the wild speculation is the best part of Oscar season!)

BIG BUDGET – COMEDY

  • Deadpool”  Ronna Kress, Jennifer Page (Location Casting), Corinne Clark  (Location Casting)
  • “Hail, Caesar!”  Ellen Chenoweth, Susanne Scheel (Associate)
  • “La La Land”  Deborah Aquila, Tricia Wood
  • “Rules Don’t Apply”  David Rubin, Melissa Pryor (Associate)
  • “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot”  Bernard Telsey, Tiffany Little Canfield, Jo Edna Boldin (Location Casting), Conrad Woolfe (Associate), Marie A.K. McMaster (Associate)

BIG BUDGET – DRAMA

  • “Arrival”  Francine Maisler, Lucie Robitaille (Location Casting)
  • “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”   Fiona Weir, Jim Carnahan (Location Casting)
  • “Hidden Figures”  Victoria Thomas, Jackie Burch (Location Casting), Bonnie Grisan (Associate)
  • “Nocturnal Animals”  Francine Maisler
  • “The Girl on the Train”  Kerry Barden, Paul Schnee, Joey Montenarello (Associate), Adam Richards (Associate)

STUDIO OR INDEPENDENT – COMEDY

  • “20th Century Women”  Laura Rosenthal, Mark Bennett
  • “Bad Moms”  Cathy Sandrich Gelfond, Meagan Lewis (Location Casting)
  • “Café Society”  Juliet Taylor, Patricia DiCerto, Meghan Rafferty (Associate)
  • “Hell or High Water”  Richard Hicks, Jo Edna Boldin, Chris Redondo (Associate), Marie A.K. McMaster (Associate)
  • “The Edge of Seventeen”  Melissa Kostenbauder, Coreen Mayrs (Location Casting), Heike Brandstatter (Location Casting)

STUDIO OR INDEPENDENT – DRAMA

  • “Captain Fantastic”   Jeanne McCarthy, Angelique Midthunder (Location Casting), Amey Rene (Location Casting)
  • “Jackie”  Mary Vernieu, Lindsay Graham, Jessica Kelly (Location Casting)
  • “Lion”  Kirsty McGregor
  • “Loving”  Francine Maisler, Erica Arvold (Location Casting), Anne N. Chapman (Location Casting), Michelle Kelly (Associate)
  • “Manchester By the Sea”  Douglas Aibel, Carolyn Pickman (Location Casting), Henry Russell Bergstein (Associate)

LOW BUDGET – COMEDY OR DRAMA

  • “Christine”  Douglas Aibel, Stephanie Holbrook, Tracy Kilpatrick (Location Casting), Blair Foster (Associate)
  • “Goat”  Susan Shopmaker, D. Lynn Meyers (Location Casting)
  • “Hello, My Name is Doris”  Sunday Boling, Meg Morman
  • “Moonlight”  Yesi Ramirez
  • “White Girl”  Jessica Daniels

ANIMATION

  • “Finding Dory”  Kevin Reher, Natalie Lyon
  • “Moana”  Jamie Sparer Roberts, Rachel Sutton (Location Casting)
  • “The Jungle Book”  Sarah Halley Finn, Tamara Hunter (Associate)
  • “The Little Prince”  Sarah Halley Finn, Tamara Hunter (Associate)
  • “Zootopia”  Jamie Sparer Roberts

The Indiana Film Journalists Honor Moonlight and Rebecca Hall!


moonlight

The Indiana Film Journalists announced their picks for the best of 2016 on the 19th!  Along with picking Moonlight for best film, they also gave best actress to the destined-to-be-nominated-some-day Rebecca Hall for Christine!

Best Film
Winner: “Moonlight”
Runner-up: “Hell or High Water”
Other Finalists (listed alphabetically):
American Honey”
“Arrival”
“Deadpool”
“Everybody Wants Some!!”
“La La Land”
“The Lobster”
“Manchester by the Sea”
“Sing Street”

Best Animated Feature
Winner: “Kubo and the Two Strings”
Runner-Up: “Sausage Party”

Best Foreign Language Film
Winner: “The Handmaiden”
Runner-Up: “A Man Called Ove”

Best Documentary
Winner: “O.J.: Made in America”
Runner-Up: “Weiner”

Best Original Screenplay
Winner: Kenneth Lonergan, “Manchester by the Sea”
Runner-up: Taylor Sheridan, “Hell or High Water”

Best Adapted Screenplay
Winner: Barry Jenkins, “Moonlight”
Runner-up: Eric Heisserer, “Arrival”

Best Director
Winner: Damien Chazelle, “La La Land”
Runner-up: Kenneth Lonergan, “Manchester by the Sea”

Best Actress
Winner: Rebecca Hall, “Christine”
Runner-up: Natalie Portman, “Jackie”

Best Supporting Actress
Winner: Viola Davis, “Fences”
Runner-up: Naomie Harris, “Moonlight”

Best Actor
Winner: Casey Affleck, “Manchester by the Sea”
Runner-up: Ethan Hawke, “Born to Be Blue”

Best Supporting Actor
Winner: Mahershala Ali, “Moonlight”
Runner-up: Jeff Bridges, “Hell or High Water”

Best Vocal/Motion Capture Performance
Winner: Alan Tudyk, “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”
Runner-up: Nick Kroll, “Sausage Party”

Best Ensemble Acting
Winner: “Everybody Wants Some!!”
Runner-up: “Don’t Think Twice”

Best Musical Score
Winner: Mica Levi, “Jackie”
Runner-up: Justin Hurwitz, “La La Land”

Breakout of the Year
Winner: Robert Eggers, “The Witch”
Runner-up: Sasha Lane, “American Honey”

Original Vision Award
Winner: “The Lobster”
Runner-up: “Sausage Party”

The Hoosier Award 
Winner: Andrew Cohn, “Night School”

The Women Film Critic Circle Honors Hidden Figures And Ghostbusters!


ghostbusters-2016-cast-proton-packs-images

The Women Film Critics Circle has announced their picks for both the best and the worst of 2016! And here they are:

BEST MOVIE ABOUT WOMEN
Hidden Figures
BEST MOVIE BY A WOMAN
13TH
BEST WOMAN STORYTELLER [Screenwriting Award]
13TH, Ava DuVernay
BEST ACTRESS
Natalie Portman, Jackie
BEST ACTOR
Casey Affleck, Manchester By The Sea
BEST YOUNG ACTRESS
Hailee Steinfeld, The Edge Of Seventeen
BEST COMEDIC ACTRESS
Kate McKinnon, Ghostbusters
BEST FOREIGN FILM BY OR ABOUT WOMEN
The Handmaiden
BEST DOCUMENTARY BY OR ABOUT WOMEN
13TH
BEST FEMALE IMAGES IN A MOVIE
Hidden Figures
WORST FEMALE IMAGES IN A MOVIE
Neighbors 2
BEST MALE IMAGES IN A MOVIE
Loving
WORST MALE IMAGES IN A MOVIE
Dirty Grandpa
WOMEN’S WORK/BEST ENSEMBLE
Hidden Figures
SPECIAL MENTION AWARDS COURAGE IN FILMMAKING
Ava DuVernay, 13TH
COURAGE IN ACTING [Taking on unconventional roles that radically redefine the images of women on screen]
Rebecca Hall, Christine
*ADRIENNE SHELLY AWARD: For a film that most passionately opposes violence against women
American Honey
*JOSEPHINE BAKER AWARD: For best expressing the woman of color experience in America
Hidden Figures
*KAREN MORLEY AWARD: For best exemplifying a woman’s place in history or society, and a courageous search for identity
Hidden Figures
*THE INVISIBLE WOMAN AWARD: [Performance by a woman whose exceptional impact on the film dramatically, socially or historically, has been ignored]
The women of Hidden Figures
BEST SCREEN COUPLE
Loving
BEST FEMALE ACTION HERO
The women of Ghostbusters

Here Are The Nominees of the Detroit Film Critics Society!


hell-or-high-water

The winners will be announced on the 19th!

BEST PICTURE

BEST DIRECTOR

BEST ACTOR

  • CASEY AFFLECK – MANCHESTER BY THE SEA
  • JOEL EDGERTON – LOVING
  • ANDREW GARFIELD – HACKSAW RIDGE
  • RYAN GOSLING – LA LA LAND
  • DENZEL WASHINGTON – FENCES

BEST ACTRESS

  • AMY ADAMS – ARRIVAL
  • ANNETTE BENING – 20TH CENTURY WOMEN
  • REBECCA HALL – CHRISTINE
  • RUTH NEGGA – LOVING
  • NATALIE PORTMAN – JACKIE
  • EMMA STONE – LA LA LAND

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

  • VIOLA DAVIS – FENCES
  • ELLE FANNING – 20TH CENTURY WOMEN
  • GRETA GERWIG – 20TH CENTURY WOMEN
  • FELICITY JONES – A MONSTER CALLS
  • MICHELLE WILLIAMS – MANCHESTER BY THE SEA

BEST ENSEMBLE

BEST BREAKTHROUGH

  • MAHERSHALA ALI – MOONLIGHT, HIDDEN FIGURES – ACTOR
  • KELLY FREMON CRAIG – EDGE OF SEVENTEEN – DIRECTOR/WRITER
  • LUCAS HEDGES – MANCHESTER BY THE SEA – ACTOR
  • BARRY JENKINS – MOONLIGHT – DIRECTOR/WRITER
  • TREVANTE RHODES – MOONLIGHT – ACTOR
  • TREY EDWARD SHULTS – KRISHA – DIRECTOR/WRITER

BEST SCREENPLAY

  BEST DOCUMENTARY

  • 13TH
  • GLEASON
  • LIFE, ANIMATED
  • O.J.: MADE IN AMERICA
  • TICKLED
  • WEINER

Weiner_(film)

The Los Angeles Film Critics Honor Isabelle Huppert, Adam Driver, and Moonlight


moonlight-620x360

Oscar season continued today, with the Los Angeles Film Critics Association (LAFCA) naming their picks for the best of 2016!

Best Picture
Winner: MOONLIGHT
Runner-up: LA LA LAND

Best Director
Winner: Barry Jenkins, MOONLIGHT
Runner-up: Damien Chazelle, LA LA LAND

Best Actor
Winner: Adam Driver, PATERSON
Runner-up: Casey Affleck, MANCHESTER BY THE SEA

Best Actress
Winner: Isabelle Huppert, ELLE and THINGS TO COME
Runner-up: Rebecca Hall, CHRISTINE

Best Supporting Actor
Winner: Mahershala Ali, MOONLIGHT
Runner-up: Issey Ogata, SILENCE

Best Supporting Actress
Winner: Lily Gladstone, CERTAIN WOMEN
Runner-up: Michelle Williams, MANCHESTER BY THE SEA

Best Screenplay
Winner: Efthymis Filippou and Yorgos Lanthimos, THE LOBSTER
Runner-up: Kenneth Lonergan, MANCHESTER BY THE SEA

Best Cinematography
Winner: James Laxton, MOONLIGHT
Runner-up: Linus Sandgren, LA LA LAND

Best Production Design
Winner: Ryu Seong-hee, THE HANDMAIDEN
Runner-up: David Wasco, LA LA LAND

Best Editing
Winner: Bret Granato, Maya Mumma, Ben Sozanski, OJ: MADE IN AMERICA
Runner-up: Tom Cross, LA LA LAND

Best Music/Score
Winner: Justin Hurwitz, Benj Pasek, Justin Paul, LA LA LAND
Runner-up: Mica Levi, JACKIE

Best Foreign-Language Film
Winner: THE HANDMAIDEN
Runner-up: TONI ERDMANN

Best Documentary/Non-Fiction Film
Winner: I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO
Runner-up: OJ: MADE IN AMERICA

Best Animation
Winner: YOUR NAME.
Runner-up: THE RED TURTLE

New Generation Award

Douglas Edwards Independent/Experimental Film/Video Award
THE ILLINOIS PARABLES from writer-director Deborah Stratman

Here Are The Independent Spirit Award Nominations!


american_honey_poster

Before I forget, The Independent Spirit Award Nominations were announced earlier today!  In a year that has yet to see a Spotlight, a Mad Max, or even a Big Short, the Oscar race remains undeniably murky.  Maybe the Spirit nominations will help to clarify things.

(Sad to say but I haven’t seen most of the films that were nominated.  They’ve either just opened down here in Dallas or they’ll be opening next month.  So, you’ll have to forgive me if I can’t provide much commentary beyond saying that I look forward to seeing and reviewing them all for myself!)

(I will say, however, that I’m happy to see that American Honey was nominated because, even though I missed seeing the film, it’s directed Andrea Arnold.  Arnold’s previous film, Fish Tank, is pretty much one of my essential movies.)

Here are the nominees!

BEST PICTURE
“American Honey”
“Chronic”
“Jackie”
“Manchester by the Sea”
“Moonlight”

BEST DIRECTOR
Andrea Arnold, “American Honey”
Barry Jenkins, “Moonlight”
Pablo Larraín, “Jackie”
Jeff Nichols, “Loving”
Kelly Reichardt, “Certain Women”

BEST ACTOR
Casey Affleck, “Manchester by the Sea”
David Harewood, “Free In Deed”
Viggo Mortensen, “Captain Fantastic”
Jesse Plemons, “Other People”
Tim Roth, “Chronic”

BEST ACTRESS
Annette Bening, “20th Century Women”
Isabelle Huppert, “Elle”
Sasha Lane, “American Honey”
Ruth Negga, “Loving”
Natalie Portman, “Jackie”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Ralph Fiennes,  “A Bigger Splash”
Ben Foster, “Hell or High Water”
Lucas Hedges, “Manchester by the Sea”
Shia LaBeouf, “American Honey”
Craig Robinson, “Morris from America”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Edwina Findley, “Free In Deed”
Paulina Garcia, “Little Men”
Lily Gladstone, “Certain Women”
Riley Keough, “American Honey”
Molly Shannon, “Other People”

BEST SCREENPLAY
“Hell or High Water”
“Little Men”
“Manchester by the Sea”
“Moonlight”
“20th Century Women”

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Ava Berkofsky, “Free In Deed”
Lol Crawley,”The Childhood of a Leader”
Zach Kuperstein,”The Eyes of My Mother”
James Laxton,”Moonlight”
Robbie Ryan,”American Honey”

BEST FILM EDITING
Matthew Hannam,”Swiss Army Man”
Jennifer Lame,” Manchester by the Sea”
Joi McMillon, Nat Sanders, “Moonlight”
Jake Roberts, “Hell or High Water”
Sebastián Sepúlveda, “Jackie”

BEST DOCUMENTARY
“13th”
“Cameraperson”
“I Am Not Your Negro”
“O.J.: Made in America”
“Sonita”
“Under the Sun”

BEST INTERNATIONAL PICTURE
“Aquarius” (Brazil)
“Chevalier” (Greece)
“My Golden Days” (France)
“Toni Erdmann” (Germany and Romania)
“Under the Shadow” (Iran and U.K.)

BEST FIRST FEATURE
“The Childhood of a Leader”
“The Fits”
“Other People”
“Swiss Army Man”
“The Witch”

BEST FIRST SCREENPLAY
“Barry”
“Christine”
“Jean of the Joneses”
“Other People”
“The Witch”

JOHN CASSAVETES AWARD (best feature made for under $500,000)
“Free In Deed”
“Hunter Gatherer”
“Lovesong”
“Nakom”
“Spa Night”

The_Witch_poster