4 Shots From 4 Texas Films: Dazed and Confused, Primer, Tree of Life, A Ghost Story


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.

Today is Texas Independence Day!

In honor of my home state, here are….

4 Shots From 4 Texas Films

Dazed and Confused (1993, dir by Richard Linklater)

Primer (2004, dir by Shane Carruth)

Tree of Life (2011, dir by Terrence Malick)

A Ghost Story (2017, dir by David Lowery)

The San Diego Film Critics Society Gives Some Love To Buster Scruggs!


On Firday, the San Diego Film Critics Society announced their nominations for the best of 2018 and, to their credit, they showed a lot of love to the Coen Brother’s fascinatingly strange western anthology film, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs!

(That’s Buster up at the top of the post.  He’s only in the movie for about 20 minutes but you’ll never forget him.)

Here are the nominations from San Diego!

Best Picture
THE BALLAD OF BUSTER SCRUGGS
THE FAVOURITE
GREEN BOOK
LEAVE NO TRACE
A QUIET PLACE

Best Director
Bo Burnham, EIGHTH GRADE
Debra Granik, LEAVE NO TRACE
John Krasinski, A QUIET PLACE
Peter Farrelly, GREEN BOOK
Yorgos Lanthimos, THE FAVOURITE

Best Actor, Male
Christian Bale, VICE
Ethan Hawke, FIRST REFORMED
Viggo Mortensen, GREEN BOOK
John C. Reilly, THE SISTERS BROTHERS
Lucas Hedges, BOY ERASED

Best Actor, Female
Carey Mulligan, WILDLIFE
Glenn Close, THE WIFE
Lady Gaga, A STAR IS BORN
Melissa McCarthy, CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME?
Elsie Fisher, EIGHTH GRADE

Best Supporting Actor, Male
Joel Edgerton, BOY ERASED
Mahershala Ali, GREEN BOOK
Richard E. Grant, CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME?
Sam Elliott, A STAR IS BORN
Timothée Chalamet, BEAUTIFUL BOY

Best Supporting Actor, Female
Alia Shawkat, BLAZE
Nicole Kidman, BOY ERASED
Nina Arianda, STAN & OLLIE
Thomasin McKenzie, LEAVE NO TRACE
Zoe Kazan, THE BALLAD OF BUSTER SCRUGGS

Best Comedic Performance
Awkwafina, CRAZY RICH ASIANS
Hugh Grant, PADDINGTON 2
Jason Bateman, GAME NIGHT
Jesse Plemons, GAME NIGHT
Ryan Reynolds, DEADPOOL 2

Best Original Screenplay
Bo Burnham, EIGHTH GRADE
Bryan Woods, Scott Beck, John Krasinski, A QUIET PLACE
Joel Coen, Ethan Coen, THE BALLAD OF BUSTER SCRUGGS
Nick Vallelonga, Brian Hayes Currie, Peter Farrelly, GREEN BOOK
Wes Anderson, ISLE OF DOGS

Best Adapted Screenplay
Armando Iannucci, David Schneider, Ian Martin, Peter Fellows, Fabien Nury, THE DEATH OF STALIN
David Lowery, THE OLD MAN & THE GUN
Debra Granik, Anne Rosellini, LEAVE NO TRACE
Joel Edgerton, BOY ERASED
Nicole Holofcener, Jeff Whitty, CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME?

Best Documentary
FREE SOLO
LOVE, GILDA
RBG
THREE IDENTICAL STRANGERS
WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR?

Best Animated Film
HAVE A NICE DAY
INCREDIBLES 2
ISLE OF DOGS
RALPH BREAKS THE INTERNET
SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE

Best Foreign-language Film
CAPERNAUM
COLD WAR
THE GUILTY
ROMA
SHOPLIFTERS

Best Costume Design
Sandy Powell, THE FAVOURITE
Guy Speranza, STAN & OLLIE
Lindy Hemming, PADDINGTON 2
Mary E. Vogt, CRAZY RICH ASIANS
Mary Zophres, THE BALLAD OF BUSTER SCRUGGS

Best Editing
Christopher Tellefsen, A QUIET PLACE
Jamie Gross, David Egan, GAME NIGHT
Joel Coen, Ethan Coen, THE BALLAD OF BUSTER SCRUGGS
Patrick J. Don Vito, GREEN BOOK
Yorgos Mavropsaridis, THE FAVOURITE

Best Cinematography
Alexander Dynan, FIRST REFORMED
Alfonso Cuarón, ROMA
Bruno Delbonnel, THE BALLAD OF BUSTER SCRUGGS
Joshua James Richards, THE RIDER
Magnus Nordenhof Jønck, LEAN ON PETE

Best Production Design
Adam Stockhausen, READY PLAYER ONE
Fiona Crombie, THE FAVOURITE
Hannah Beachler, BLACK PANTHER
John Paul Kelly, STAN & OLLIE
Tim Galvin, GREEN BOOK

Best Visual Effects
BLACK PANTHER
CHRISTOPHER ROBIN
ISLE OF DOGS
PADDINGTON 2
READY PLAYER ONE

Best Use Of Music In A Film
BAD TIMES AT THE EL ROYALE
BLAZE
BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY
GREEN BOOK
A STAR IS BORN

Best Ensemble
THE BALLAD OF BUSTER SCRUGGS
BOY ERASED
THE FAVOURITE
GAME NIGHT
GREEN BOOK

Best Breakout Artist
Thomasin McKenzie, LEAVE NO TRACE
Elsie Fisher, EIGHTH GRADE
Rami Malek, BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY
Charlie Plummer, LEAN ON PETE
Bo Burnham, EIGHTH GRADE

Trailer Round-Up: First Man, The Predator, How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, Bad Times At The El Royale, The Old Man & The Gun, Operation Finale, A Star is Born, and The Girl In The Spider’s Web


There were a lot of interesting trailers released this week.  Among those that I’ve already looked at: Suspiria, Widows, White Boy Rick, Wreck-It Ralph 2Bumblebee, The Lego Movie Part Two, Halloween, Billionaire Boys Club, 14 Cameras, and Siberia.

Here’s the best of the rest!

First Man is Damien Chazelle’s follow-up to La La Land.  In this one, Ryan Gosling plays the first man to ever step on the moon.  Many critics, including me, expect this will be a definite Oscar contender.  (Chazelle may even find himself competing once again with Barry Jenkins, whose If Beale Street Could Talk is also considered to be a possible contender.)

Here’s the second trailer for The Predator, which emphasizes action above all else.  (Check out the first trailer here.)

Here’s the trailer for the third installment in the beloved How To Train Your Dragon franchise, The Hidden World!

Here’s the trailer for Bad Times At The El Royale, which is either going to be brilliant or totally suck.  I don’t really see any middle ground here.

Normally, I would be tempted to roll my eyes at something like The Old Man & The Gun.  I mean, didn’t Robert Redford say that he wasn’t going to make another movie until climate change was defeated or something like that?  However, this film was directed by David Lowery, who was also responsible for the best film of 2017, A Ghost Story!  So, I will definitely give this one a chance.  Here’s the trailer:

Here’s the trailer for Operation Finale, a dramatization of the 1960 intelligence operation that led to the capture of Nazi war criminal Adolph Eichmann.  Why do we need this movie?  Go to YouTube and read some of the comments left under this trailer.  With anti-Semitism on the rise and more and more people buying into the despicable BDS movement, this is a story that needs to be told.  Hopefully, Operation Finale will do it justice.

Damn, Bradley Cooper’s got a pretty good singing voice!  Check out the trailer for A Star is Born if you need proof.

And lastly, here’s the trailer for The Girl In The Spider’s Web.

Hilariously, there’s a lot of people bitching about the fact that Rooney Mara will not be playing Libseth in The Girl In The Spider’s Web.  Folks, there’s only one Lisbeth Salander and it’s not Rooney Fucking Mara.  Noomi Rapace was, is, and always will be the only Libseth Salander who really matters!

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!

 

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)

A Halloween Film Review: A Ghost Story (dir by David Lowery)


To quote Taking Back Sunday:

“What’s it feel like to be a ghost?”

That’s the question that is asked in the hauntingly beautiful film, A Ghost Story.

How to describe the plot of A Ghost Story?  It’s not going to be easy because A Ghost Story is a film that defies easy description or categorization.  It’s power comes less from the specifics of the story and more from the mood that it creates.  A Ghost Story makes you think and it makes you feel and, to a certain extent, you’re just going to have to take my word on that.  This is one of those film that, to truly understand, you simply must see.

Casey Affleck plays C and Rooney Mara plays M.  They live in a small house, near Dallas.  They’re like any couple, really.  Sometimes, they appear to be in love.  Sometimes, they appear to be on the verge of breaking up and never seeing each other again.  Sometimes, they are happy.  Sometimes, they are sad.  The film starts with an almost random series of scenes, showing their life together.

Suddenly, we see a smashed car sitting in front of the house.

Just as abruptly, we’re in the hallway outside a sterile hospital room.  We can see that, inside the room,  M is staring down at a body on a slab.  The body has been covered with a sheet.  M leaves.  Slowly, the sheet-covered body sits up.  We watch as the sheet-covered ghost walks down the hallways of the hospital.  Briefly, it pauses to look at what appears to be a portal to … somewhere else.  The ghost does not enter the portal and the portal closes.

We spend the rest of the movie following that sheet-covered ghost as he wanders through our world.  No one living sees it and the ghost never says a word.  He watches as M mourns over his passing.  Time passes.  People enter and leave the house.  Life goes on but the ghost is stuck forever where he is, powerless to do anything other than occasionally break a dish, play a piano, or open a book.  Time passes.  The ghost sees the future, the past, and the present.  Why is the ghost still there?  Does the ghost know?  Is the ghost just waiting for someone who it has forgotten?

If I’m making A Ghost Story sound like a sad movie … well, it is.  There are moments of humor, largely coming from the fact that the ghost is literally a sheet with some eye holes.  For the most part, though, this film is a somber meditation on life, death, and what makes it all worth the trouble.  It’s a film that makes you wonder whether you would have entered that portal or if you too would have returned to your old house so that you silently watch the world go on without you.

From the stillness of the morgue to the view of a futuristic cityscape that the ghost can see but probably no longer appreciate, director David Lowery gives some truly beautiful and haunting images while telling this story.  (It’s not surprising to learn that the Dallas-based Lowery previously worked on Shane Carruth’s Upstream Color.)  A Ghost Story came out earlier this year and really didn’t get the attention that it deserved.  It’s a thought-provoking film and definitely one of the best of the year.

Ten Years #25: Cracker


Decade of last.fm scrobbling countdown:
25. Cracker (1,162 plays)
Top track (52 plays): Big Dipper, from The Golden Age (1996)
Featured track: One Fine Day live, originally from Forever (2002)

Most people my age have heard Cracker, but they might not remember the name. You know, Cracker, that two-hit wonder from the early 90s that wrote “Low” and “Teen Angst (What the World Needs Now)”. Like most of you, I never bothered actually picking up a Cracker album while they were popular. They only stumbled into my discography through an impulse buy when I saw their first Best Of compilation, Garage D’Or (2000), near a checkout register in Best Buy. I thought, “Oh, greatest hits? I thought they only had two,” and I picked it up to see what I was missing. For a while afterwards I was convinced that they must have had a dozen radio singles that I was just a little too young to remember, but the truth of it sank in over time: One of the greatest rock bands of my generation had slipped through the cracks.

Well, my obsession with Cracker ran for a year or two before I eventually forgot about them, and they might have been lost to me forever if I hadn’t happened to find myself in San Antonio, Texas, with a car for the first time in two years and nothing better to do with it. I did a last.fm search on upcoming gigs in Austin, saw Cracker were playing that evening, and took off. Any band would have sufficed, but these guys blew me away. Their performance defied anything you might expect out of aging rock stars. With an intimate connection to the music and the audience, it was as if they had just recorded the material yesterday; They were overlooked American legends in their prime playing in a venue small enough to make eye contact. To top it off, they even offered a tip of the hat to a semi-local country legend. (They covered Ray Wylie Hubbard’s “Up Against the Wall, Redneck Mother”.) I’ve gone out of my way to catch Cracker live every time they’ve played near me since, and I’m never disappointed.

I will never know why Cracker were not as successful as Pearl Jam or Tom Petty or any of the other rock legends I grew up with, because I honestly think they’re on par. David Lowery’s lyrical whit and sardonic vocals pair up perfectly with Johnny Hickman’s tasteful blues rock guitar to create one of the most readily identifiable and creative duos in the business.