The Hawaii Film Critics Society Honors The Trial of the Chicago 7 and Spike Lee!


The Hawaii Film Critics Society announced their picks for the best of 2020 yesterday and they did not pick Nomadland.  Instead, they named The Trial of the Chicago 7 as the best picture of the year and they named Spike Lee as a best director for Da 5 Bloods.  (It’s interesting that, after years of struggling to get awards recognition, Lee is feeling getting recognized for films that are nowhere close to being as effective or as revolutionary as his best work.)  Nomadland, however, did not go home empty-handed.  Frances McDormand won Best Actress and Chloe Zhao did pick up an award for her screenplay.  (Zhao won adapted screenplay.  Sorkin won original screenplay.  I dread that the same thing is going to happen on Oscar night and we’re going to have to sit through an Aaron Sorkin filibuster about protest, politics, and why women need to learn more about sports.)

(“Let me fix you,” Aaron Sorkin says as he pulls out a DVD boxset of Sports Night.)

The best thing about the Hawaii Film Critics Society is that they also gave out awards for Best Comic Book movie so congratulations, Bloodshot!  (To be honest, Bloodshot probably deserved the award because it’s not like there’s a lot of competition this year and, seriously, have you tried to sit through Birds of Prey more than once?)  Possessor won the award for Best Overlooked Film of the year.  (I agree, by the way.)  And, of course, Wonder Woman 1984 won worst film of the year, despite all of those early reviews that declared it to be “the film that we need right now.”  Then again, with the way things are going, maybe we deserve a bad movie?  Who knows?

All I do know is that I wish I lived in Hawaii and now learning that they have their own Film Critics Society, I’m probably even more likely to look into moving.  Seriously, Hawaii is beautiful and the film critics are apparently quirky.

Here are the winners!

BEST PICTURE
The Trial of the Chicago 7

BEST DIRECTOR
Spike Lee – Da 5 Bloods

BEST ACTOR
Delroy Lindo – Da 5 Bloods

BEST ACTRESS
Frances McDormand – Nomadland

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Paul Raci – Sound of Metal

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Olivia Cooke – Sound of Metal

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Aaron Sorkin – The Trial of the Chicago 7

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Chloe Zhao – Nomadland

BEST ART DIRECTION
Chris Craine and Dan Webster – Mank

BEST COSTUME DESIGN
Ann Roth – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Hoyte Van Hoytema – Tenet

BEST EDITING
Alan Baumgarten – The Trial of the Chicago 7

BEST ANIMATED FILM
Lupin III: The First

BEST DOCUMENTARY
Beastie Boys Story

BEST MAKE-UP
Mank

BEST SOUND
Sound of Metal

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross – Mank

BEST SONG
“Speak Now” – One Night in Miami…

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
Tenet

BEST STUNT WORK
Tenet

BEST NEW FILMMAKER
Regina King – One Night in Miami…

BEST FIRST FILM
Florian Zeller – The Father

BEST OVERLOOKED FILM
Possessor – Brandon Cronenberg

BEST VOCAL/MOTION CAPTURE PERFORMANCE
Jamie Foxx – Soul

BEST HORROR FILM
Relic – Natalie Erika James

BEST COMIC BOOK MOVIE
Bloodshot – Dave Wilson

BEST SCI-FI FILM
Tenet – Christopher Nolan

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
The Life Ahead – Edoardo Ponti (Italy)

BEST HAWAIIAN FILM
Waikiki – Christopher Kahunahana (Oahu)

WORST FILM OF 2020
Wonder Woman 1984

The Films of 2020: Bloodshot (dir by David S. F. Wilson)


As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 is the first year since 2008 not to feature any new Marvel films.  Despite the fact that Wonder Woman 1984 still has a Christmas release date, it wouldn’t surprise me if it still got moved back into 2021.  With the exception Tenent, 2020 has been the year of the anti-blockbuster.

I have to admit that, at first, it really bothered me that I was going to have to wait to see both Black Widow and the new Wonder Woman film but, as more time has gone by, the less I actually care about either one of them.  I think one reason why comic book films have been so popular over the past few years is because they were relentless.  There was always a new one coming out.  If you were disappointed with Captain Marvel, you could still say that the trailer for Endgame looked really good.  If you were less than thrilled with Batman v Superman, you could at least look forward to Wonder Woman.  Now that we’re no longer being inundated on a daily basis with new MCU trailers and DCEU gossip. it’s a lot easier to realize that a few of those films were surprisingly good (and I stand by my declaration that Guardians of the Galaxy was the best film of 2014) and some of them were notably bad but the majority of them were entertaining without being particularly memorable.

That bring us to Bloodshot.  Depending on whether or not Wonder Woman 1984 holds onto that Christmas release date and if The New Mutants are forgotten about, Bloodshot could down in history as the only major comic book film released in 2020.  It stars Vin Diesel as Ray Garrison, a dead Marine who is revived and turned into an invulnerable super soldier.  Dr. Emil Harting (Guy Pearce) sends Ray after the people who previously killed him and his wife, Gina (Talulah Riley).  Ray kills a lot of people over the course of Bloodshot.  He also continually wakes up in that laboratory, with no memory of who he is.  Could Harting just be using Ray to kills own enemies?  It’s possible, if just because I don’t think there’s been a heroic character named Emil in a comic book movie.

As a film, Bloodshot is …. well, it’s okay.  If you’re going to make a movie about a relentless super soldier who can’t be killed, Vin Diesel is probably the best actor that you could get to star in it.  (Yes, Dwayne Johnson could play the physical aspect of the role but his natural likability would go against the whole relentless killer thing.  Diesel, on the other hand, can actually convince you that he’s planning on murdering everyone that he sees.)  And if you need someone to play a smarmy mad scientist named Emil Harting, Guy Pearce seems like the obvious choice.  The action scenes are well-done, even if they do go a bit overboard on the slow motion.  The CGI is convincing.  When Ray gets a bit of his face blown off, it legitimately looks like a chunk of his face is breaking off of him.  (Fear not, Ray has super healing.)  Much like Ray, the film has a job to do and it doesn’t let much get in the way of doing that job.

And yet, the film itself is never exactly memorable.  There’s none of the little quirks or unexpected moments that distinguish the better comic book films.  Instead, Bloodshot feels like a throwback to the days before comic book films became a big deal.  We know that Guy Pearce is evil from the minute he shows up, just as we know that the film is going to end with a battle the involves a lot of flashy CGI.  No effort is really made to take anyone by surprise.  Bloodshot goes through the paces and hits all of the expected notes but it’s never really lively enough to be engaging on anything more than a “Hey, did you just see Vin Diesel kill that guy!?” sort of way.  Bloodshot is a film that’s just there.  Occasionally, it’s entertaining but ultimately, it’s rather forgettable.