Here Are The 2019 Nominations of the San Diego Film Critics Society!


On December 6th, the San Diego Film Critics Society announced their nominees for the best of 2019 and here they are!

Best Picture
1917
THE IRISHMAN
JOKER
MARRIAGE STORY
ONCE UPON A TIME… IN HOLLYWOOD

Best Director
Noah Baumbach, MARRIAGE STORY
Sam Mendes, 1917
Benny Safdie, Josh Safdie, UNCUT GEMS
Martin Scorsese, THE IRISHMAN
Quentin Tarantino, ONCE UPON A TIME… IN HOLLYWOOD

Best Actor
Christian Bale, FORD V FERRARI
Adam Driver, MARRIAGE STORY
Eddie Murphy, DOLEMITE IS MY NAME
Joaquin Phoenix, JOKER
Adam Sandler, UNCUT GEMS

Best Actress
Awkwafina, THE FAREWELL
Scarlett Johansson, MARRIAGE STORY
Lupita Nyong’o, US
Saoirse Ronan, LITTLE WOMEN
Renée Zellweger, JUDY

Best Supporting Actor
Willem Dafoe, THE LIGHTHOUSE
Al Pacino, THE IRISHMAN
Joe Pesci, THE IRISHMAN
Brad Pitt, ONCE UPON A TIME… IN HOLLYWOOD
Wesley Snipes, DOLEMITE IS MY NAME

Best Supporting Actress
Laura Dern, MARRIAGE STORY
Thomasin McKenzie, JOJO RABBIT
Florence Pugh, LITTLE WOMEN
Zhao Shuzhen, THE FAREWELL
Octavia Spencer, LUCE

Best Comedic Performance
Daniel Craig, KNIVES OUT
Eddie Murphy, DOLEMITE IS MY NAME
Sam Rockwell, JOJO RABBIT
Wesley Snipes, DOLEMITE IS MY NAME
Taika Waititi, JOJO RABBIT

Best Original Screenplay
Noah Baumbach, MARRIAGE STORY
Bong Joon Ho, Jin Won Han, PARASITE
Rian Johnson, KNIVES OUT
Benny Safdie, Josh Safdie, UNCUT GEMS
Quentin Tarantino, ONCE UPON A TIME… IN HOLLYWOOD

Best Adapted Screenplay
Greta Gerwig, LITTLE WOMEN
J.C. Lee, Julius Onah, LUCE
Todd Phillips, Scott Silver, JOKER
Taika Waititi, Christine Leunens, JOJO RABBIT
Steven Zaillian, THE IRISHMAN

Best Documentary
APOLLO 11
THE BIGGEST LITTLE FARM
LOVE, ANTOSHA
ONE CHILD NATION
THEY SHALL NOT GROW OLD

Best Animated Film
ABOMINABLE
HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON: THE HIDDEN WORLD
I LOST MY BODY
MISSING LINK
TOY STORY 4

Best Foreign-language Film
THE FAREWELL
PAIN & GLORY
PARASITE
PORTRAIT OF A LADY ON FIRE
TRANSIT

Best Costume Design
Ruth E. Carter, DOLEMITE IS MY NAME
Julian Day, ROCKETMAN
Jacqueline Durran, LITTLE WOMEN
Arianne Phillips, ONCE UPON A TIME… IN HOLLYWOOD
Anna Robbins, DOWNTON ABBEY

Best Editing
Andrew Buckland, Michael McCusker & Dirk Westervelt, FORD V FERRARI
Jennifer Lame, MARRIAGE STORY
Fred Raskin, ONCE UPON A TIME… IN HOLLYWOOD
Benny Safdie, Ronald Bronstein, UNCUT GEMS
Thelma Schoonmaker, THE IRISHMAN

Best Cinematography
Jarin Blaschke, THE LIGHTHOUSE
Roger Deakins, 1917
Hoyte Van Hoytema, AD ASTRA
Rodrigo Prieto, THE IRISHMAN
Phedon Papamichael, FORD V FERRARI

Best Production Design
Dennis Gassner, 1917
Jess Gonchor, LITTLE WOMEN
Clay A. Griffith, DOLEMITE IS MY NAME
Barbara Ling, ONCE UPON A TIME… IN HOLLYWOOD
Bob Shaw, THE IRISHMAN
Donal Woods, DOWNTON ABBEY

Best Visual Effects
1917
AD ASTRA
THE AERONAUTS
AVENGERS: ENDGAME
THE IRISHMAN

Best Use of Music
JOJO RABBIT
JOKER
ONCE UPON A TIME… IN HOLLYWOOD
ROCKETMAN
YESTERDAY

Best Ensemble
DOWNTON ABBEY
THE IRISHMAN
KNIVES OUT
MARRIAGE STORY
ONCE UPON A TIME… IN HOLLYWOOD

Breakthrough Artist
Jessie Buckley, JUDY, WILD ROSE
Julia Butters, ONCE UPON A TIME… IN HOLLYWOOD
Roman Griffin Davis, JOJO RABBIT
Kelvin Harrison Jr., LUCE, WAVES
Florence Pugh, LITTLE WOMEN, MIDSOMMAR

Here Are The 2019 Nominations of the Detroit Film Critics Society!


Earlier on Friday, the Detroit Film Critics Society released their nominations for the best of 2019!

Now, back in 2018, the DFCS honored some great films that were overlooked by the Academy, films like Eighth Grade, A Quiet Place, and First Reformed.  I mean, I really, really loved the 2018 DFCS awards.  And you know what?  I’m pretty happy with what they came up with for 2019 as well!  I especially like the nomination for Anna Paquin in The Irishman.  With all the overblown controversy about how many lines she spoke in the film, it is often overlooked that she gave a great performance and, with just the power of her withering glare, pretty much transformed Peggy into the conscience of the film.

Here are the DFCS nominees for the best of 2019!  The winners will be announced on December 9th!

BEST PICTURE
The Irishman
Jojo Rabbit
Marriage Story
Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood
Parasite

BEST DIRECTOR
Noah Baumbach – Marriage Story
Bong Joon-ho – Parasite
Martin Scorsese – The Irishman
Quentin Tarantino – Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood
Taika Waititi – Jojo Rabbit

BEST ACTRESS
Scarlett Johansson – Marriage Story
Julianne Moore – Gloria Bell
Lupita Nyong’o – Us
Charlize Theron – Bombshell
Renee Zellweger – Judy

BEST ACTOR
Robert De Niro – The Irishman
Adam Driver – Marriage Story
Robert Pattinson – The Lighthouse
Joaquin Phoenix – Joker
Adam Sandler – Uncut Gems

SUPPORTING ACTOR
Willem Dafoe – The Lighthouse
Tom Hanks – A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
Joe Pesci – The Irishman
Brad Pitt – Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood
Sam Rockwell – Richard Jewell
Wesley Snipes – Dolemite Is My Name

SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Kathy Bates – Richard Jewell
Laura Dern – Marriage Story
Scarlett Johansson – Jojo Rabbit
Anna Paquin – The Irishman
Florence Pugh – Little Women

BEST SCREENPLAY
The Irishman
The Lighthouse
Marriage Story
Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood
Parasite

BEST ANIMATED FILM
Frozen II
How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World
I Lost My Body
Klaus
Toy Story 4

BEST USE OF MUSIC
1917
Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood
Rocketman
Uncut Gems
Wild Rose

BEST ENSEMBLE
Dolemite Is My Name
The Farewell
The Irishman
Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood
Parasite

BEST DOCUMENTARY
Amazing Grace
Apollo 11
Horror Noire: A History of Black Horror
Knocking Down the House
Rolling Thunder Review: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese

BREAKTHROUGH
Ana de Armas – actress (Knives Out, The Informer, Yesterday)
Jessie Buckley – actress (Wild Rose, Judy)
Kaitlyn Dever – actress (Booksmart, Them That Follow)
Aisling Franciosi – actress (The Nightingale)
Paul Walter Hauser – actor (Richard Jewell)
Florence Pugh – actress (Fighting with My Family, Midsommar, Little Women)
Lulu Wang – director (The Farewell)
Olivia Wilde – director (Booksmart)

Here’s The Trailer For Black Widow!


You would think that I would be super excited about the fact that my favorite MCU character, the Black Widow, is finally getting her own solo film.  (That Brie Larson’s anemic Captain Marvel got her solo film before the Black Widow is an injustice that I’ll never get over.)  And I guess I am excited.  The trailer, which you can watch below, is pretty good.  It looks like an attempt to bring some Bourne/007 action to MCU and that would seem like the perfect approach to take to the character.

If I’m less than enthusiastic, it’s because 1) I’m still upset over what happened to the Black Widow in Avengers: Endgame and 2) this film is a prequel as opposed to a sequel.  Which means that, despite starring Scarlett Johansson, the film is not going to open with the Natasha coming back to life.  (You have to wonder if, with recent events. anyone in the MCU regrets killing off one of their best characters as opposed to letting Jeremy Renner’s archer take the fall.)  Florence Pugh, in Black Widow, is playing a character who apparently took over the Black Widow name in the comic books so here’s my fear: the film will feature a mid-credits scene of Florence Pugh at Natasha’s grave, announcing that she’ll carry on her legacy.  That’s my fear.

Anyway, here’s the trailer:

Here’s The Poster For Black Widow!


Usually, I only share trailers but I simply had to share the first official movie poster for the MCU’s Black Widow, which will be coming out in May of 2020.

Seriously, this is so kickass!

Now, before you read any further, I guess I should say that I’m about share a spoiler from Avengers: Endgame.  I think everyone in the world has seen that movie by now and, if you haven’t, you probably don’t care about the MCU or any of that other stuff.  But still, just in case, consider this to be your SPOILER WARNING:

I really liked Avengers: Endgame but I do have to admit that it really pissed me off that they killed off Natasha.  Storywise, there was no reason to kill off Natasha.  If anyone in that scene needed to redeem themselves by sacrificing their life for the greater good, it was Clint!  After all, Clint’s the one who spent the past few years going around the world and killing anyone who he felt didn’t deserve to still be alive.  (And yes, Clint killed a drug lord at the start of the film and drug lords are evil but he also killed everyone who worked for the drug lord and some of those people were probably decent people who were doing what they had to do to survive or provide for their families.)  The whole movie felt like it was set up for Clint to finally prove he deserved to be an Avenger by sacrificing his life.  Instead, they killed off Natasha and it just felt totally wrong.

(It also felt rather cynical.  Of course, they couldn’t kill Clint.  They needed Jeremy Renner around to appear in the show about Hawkeye’s daughter that’s going to be on the new Disney streaming service.)

As the first woman to be prominently featured in multiple MCU films, Natasha was always my favorite Avenger and killing her off before she even got to star in her own movie just felt totally wrong to me.  (The fact that Brie Larson’s dull Captain Marvel got her own showcase before the Black Widow will always bug me.)  Still, I did take some solace from the fact that, even after Natasha’s death, there was still a Black Widow movie scheduled to come out and Scarlett Johansson would be starring in it.

Of course, then I found out that the Black Widow film is a prequel and it also sounds like the film’s ultimate goal might be to introduce Florence Pugh as the new Black Widow.  Don’t get me wrong.  Florence Pugh is one of the best actresses around but still, Scarlett Johansson will always be the Black Widow to me and the character’s pointless death will always bother me.  So, up until a few minutes ago, I was not quite as enthusiastic about seeing the Black Widow film as you might normally expect me to be.

But, seriously, this poster is freaking perfect.  It’s everything you would want a poster for a Black Widow stand alone film to be.  I hope the movie itself lives up to fierceness in Natasha’s eyes.

I guess I’ll find out in May!

What If Lisa Had All The Power: 2019 Emmy Nominations Edition


In a few hours, the 2019 Emmy nominations will be announced!

Since I love awards and I love making lists, it’s an annual tradition that I list who and what would be nominated if I had all the power.  Keep in mind that what you’re seeing below are not necessarily my predictions of what or who will actually be nominated.  Many of the shows listed below will probably be ignored tomorrow morning.  Instead, this is a list of the nominees and winners if I was the one who was solely responsible for picking them.

Because I got off to a late start this year, I’m only listing the major categories below.  I may go back and do a full, 100-category list sometime tomorrow.  Who knows?  I do love making lists.

Anyway, here’s what would be nominated and what would win if I had all the power!  (Winners are listed in bold.)

(Want to see who and what was nominated for Emmy consideration this year?  Click here!)

(Want to see my picks for last year?  Click here!)

(Want to see my picks for 2012?  I know, that’s kinda random.  Anyway, click here!)

Programming

Outstanding Comedy Series

Barry

Brooklyn Nine-Nine

GLOW

It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

One Day At A Time

Veep

Vida

Outstanding Drama Series

Better Call Saul

Dynasty

Flack

Game of Thrones

The Magicians

My Brilliant Friend

Ozark

You

Outstanding Limited Series

Chernobyl

Fosse/Verdon

The Haunting of Hill House

I Am The Night

Maniac

Sharp Objects

True Detective

A Very English Scandal

Outstanding Television Movie

The Bad Seed

Bandersnatch (Black Mirror)

Brexit

Deadwood

King Lear

Native Son

No One Would Tell

O.G.

Performer

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series

Iain Armitage in Young Sheldon

Ted Danson in The Good Place

Bill Hader in Barry

Pete Holmes in Crashing

Glenn Howerton in A.P. Bio

Andy Samberg in Brooklyn Nine Nine

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series

Penn Badgley in You

Jason Bateman in Ozark

James Franco in The Deuce

John Krasinski in Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan

Bob Odenkirk in Better Call Saul

Dominic West in The Affair

Outstanding Lead Actor In a Limited Series

Hugh Grant in A Very English Scandal

Jared Harris in Chernobyl

Jonah Hill in Maniac

Chris Pine in I Am The Night

Sam Rockwell in Fosse/Verdon

Henry Thomas in The Haunting of Hill House

Outstanding Lead Actor In An Original Movie

Benedict Cumberbatch in Brexit

Anthony Hopkins in King Lear

Rob Lowe in The Bad Seed

Ian McShane in Deadwood

Timothy Olyphant in Deadwood

Jeffrey Wright in O.G.

Outstanding Lead Actress In A Comedy Series

Melissa Barrera in Vida

Kristen Bell in The Good Place

Alison Brie in GLOW

Rachel Brosnahan in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

Julia Louis-Dreyfus in Veep

Zoe Perry in Young Sheldon

Outstanding Lead Actress in A Drama Series

Emilia Clarke in Game of Thrones

Gaia Girace in My Brilliant Friend

Maggie Gyllenhaal in The Deuce

Laura Linney in Ozark

Margherita Mazzucco in My Brilliant Friend

Anna Paquin in Flack

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series

Amy Adams in Sharp Objects

India Eisley in I Am The Night

Carla Gugino in The Haunting of Hill House

Charlotte Hope in The Spanish Princess

Emma Stone in Maniac

Michelle Williams in Fosse/Verdon

Outstanding Lead Actress in an Original Movie

Shannen Doherty in No One Would Tell

Chelsea Frei in Victoria Gotti: My Father’s Daughter

McKenna Grace in The Bad Seed

Paula Malcolmson in Deadwood

Molly Parker in Deadwood

Christina Ricci in Escaping The Madhouse: The Nellie Bly Story

Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Comedy Series

Fred Armisen in Documentary Now!

Andre Braugher in Brooklyn Nine Nine

Anthony Carrigan in Barry

Tony Hale in Veep

Sam Richardson in Veep

Stephen Root in Barry

Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Drama Series

Jonathan Banks in Better Call Saul

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau in Game of Thrones

Peter Dinklage in Game of Thrones

Giancarlo Esposito in Better Call Saul

Peter Mullan in Ozark

Luca Padovan in You

Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Limited Series

Stephen Dorff in True Detective

Timothy Hutton in The Haunting of Hill House

Chris Messina in Sharp Objects

Stellan Skarsgard in Chernobyl

Justin Thereoux in Maniac

Ben Whishaw in A Very English Scandal

Outstanding Supporting Actor In An Original Movie

Jim Broadbent in King Lear

Bill Camp in Native Son

Theothus Carter in O.G.

Rory Kinnear in Brexit

Gerald McRaney in Deadwood

Will Poulter in Bandersnatch (Black Mirror)

Outstanding Supporting Actress in A Comedy Series

Caroline Aaron in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

Alex Borstein in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

Anna Chlumsky in Veep

Sarah Goldberg in Barry

Rita Moreno in One Day At A Time

Sarah Sutherland in Veep

Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Drama Series

Summer Bishil in The Magicians

Elisa Del Genio in My Brilliant Friend

Julia Garner in Ozark

Lena Headey in Game of Thrones

Elizabeth Lail in You

Shay Mitchell in You

Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Limited Series

Jessie Buckley in Chernobyl

Patricia Clarkson in Sharp Objects

Sally Field in Maniac

Patricia Hodge in A Very English Scandal

Connie Nielsen in I Am The Night

Emily Watson in Chernobyl

Outstanding Supporting Actress In An Original Movie

Kim Dickens in Deadwood

Florence Pugh in King Lear

Margaret Qualley in Favorite Son

Emma Thompson in King Lear

Emily Watson in King Lear

Robin Weigert in Deadwood

 

Outlaw King Official Trailer


Outlaw King

Who here has seen Braveheart?

I’m quite sure that a huge number of people have seen Mel Gibson’s second film as director which won him two Oscars: for Best Director and Best Film. While his career has seen it’s major up’s and down’s, he still has done some great work behind the camera as a director.

Now, what does this all mean to this new Netflix Original film coming out this year called Outlaw King? The answer is not much other than both film share a particular historical character in the Scottish king Robert the Bruce. In Gibson’s film he’s a supporting character whose motivations could be seen as very pragmatic and bordering on the villainous.

Outlaw King, by Scottish director David MacKenzie (who directed the great Hell or High Water), will tell the story of the legendary Scottish king Robert the Bruce who won Scotland’s independence from England where William Wallace ultimately failed to do.

I am going on a hunch that Outlaw King will treat Robert the Bruce in a more sympathetic light than how Gibson’s film portrayed him. This time around we have Chris Pine in the role of Robert the Bruce.

As seen in the trailer, it looks like Netflix’s several billion dollar spending spree has come not just luring prominent filmmakers and producers to the streaming site but also allow them the resources to make a film as lush and beautiful as any made under the remaining big studios.

Let’s hope Outlaw King is more on the level of Mudbound and less like Bright.

Film Review: The Commuter (dir by Jaume Collet-Sera)


It’s January, which means that it’s time for another silly action movie starring Liam Neeson.  Ever since Taken was first released way back in 2008, Liam has been a regular fixture during the first few months of each new year, either killing terrorists or killing gangsters.  Regardless of the film, he’s always a world-weary guy who loves his family and who has a unique set of skills.  The specific skills may change from film to film but they all pretty much have to do with killing people.

For instance, in the latest Liam Neeson action film, The Commuter, Liam plays Michael MacCauley.  Michael may currently sell life insurance but he used to be a detective with the NYPD.  Judging by some of the things that Michael does over the course of this film, being a detective in New York City apparently requires you to have a set of skills that one would normally associate with James Bond or Jason Bourne.  However, Michael left all of that behind.  Sure, he might still get together with his former partner (Patrick Wilson) for a beer and he still complains about his former captain (Sam Neill).  But Michael’s in the insurance game now.  As he explains it, he’s nearly 60, he’s got a teenage son getting ready for college, and he has two mortgages to pay off.  Michael and his family still haven’t recovered from the recession.  Don’t get him started on Goldman Sachs…

It sure is a good thing that Michael has that good job!

Except, of course, he doesn’t.  One day, Michael arrives at the office, is given a rather weak severance package, and is told that his services will no longer be needed.  Wondering how he’s going to tell his wife and son that their lives are pretty much over, Michael wanders around New York, gets a little drunk, and then eventually boards the train that will take him back home.

Michael is a regular on the train.  As is quickly made clear, he knows all of the other regular commuters, like grizzled old Walt (Jonathan Banks) and neurotic Tony (Andy Nyman).  He’s also still enough of a cop that he notices people who are riding the train for the first time.  For instance, there’s Joanna (Vera Farmiga).  Joanna sits down in front of him and strikes up a conversation.  She asks him what he would do if she told him that there was a bag full of money in one of the air conditioning vents but that, if he takes the money, he’s agreeing to do something for her.  When Joanna gets off at the next stop, Michael checks the vent.  The money’s there and now, so is the task.  Michael has to find and identify one passenger on the train.  If he doesn’t, his family dies…

Even by the standards of a Liam Neeson action film, The Commuter is a deeply silly movie.  However, that very silliness is the key to the film’s appeal.  After getting off to a strong start with a witty montage of Michael repeatedly waking up and leaving for work day-after-day, The Commuter settles down and it seems as if it’s going to be a typical Liam Neeson action film.  However, as the film progresses, things get just more and more bizarre.  Suddenly, Michael is getting into brutal fist fights in empty train cars.  No one in the movie ever seems to care that, every time they see Michael, he’s a little bit more beaten up than he was the last time.  Suddenly, out of nowhere, trains are careening out of control, people are getting shoved in front of buses, and men with snakes tattooed on their neck are giving Michael the side eye.  At one point, Michael nearly gets crushed underneath the train and then has to run and leap to get back on.  You find yourself wondering how a 60 year-old insurance salesman is managing to do all of this.  (The answer, of course, is that he’s Liam Neeson and Liam Neeson can do anything…)

A little over an hour into the film, The Commuter hits an operatic level of silliness, one that will probably never be equaled by any other movie that Liam Neeson ever makes.  If you stop too long to think about any of it, the movie will fall apart.  To be honest, very little of what Michael does make sense but the conspiracy that’s taking advantage of him makes even less sense.  The bad guys are either incredibly stupid or incredibly brilliant, depending on what the story requires from scene to scene.

But no matter!  This is the fourth film that director Jaume Collet-Sera has made with Liam Neeson.  None of their collaborations make much sense but all of them are entertaining as long as you’re willing to sit back, relax, and don’t overthink the logic of what you’re watching.  Much as he did with The Shallows, Collet-Sera makes good use of the film’s limited setting and Neeson is his usual grizzled but charismatic self.  The Commuter is about as silly as can be but it’s an undeniably entertaining thrill ride.