Belatedly, Here Are The Nominations of the North Texas Film Critics!


Two days ago, the North Texas Film Critics Association announced their nominations for the best of 2017!

On twitter, there’s been a lot of speculation as to why the NTFCA totally snubbed Call Me By Your Name in their nominations.  Hilariously, some people — all from out-of-state, of course — are assuming that the NTFCA must be made up of evangelical, right-wingers because it’s a Texas organization.  Seriously, those people have no idea how left-wing most members of the Texas media are.  Texas may be a Republican state but most of our native film critics are somewhere to the left of Bernie Sanders.

Anyway, here are the nominees:

BEST PICTURE
“Baby Driver”
“The Big Sick”
“Dunkirk”
“Get Out”
“The Florida Project”
“Lady Bird”
“Logan”
“The Post”
“The Shape of Water”
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

BEST ACTOR
James Franco, “The Disaster Artist”
Jake Gyllenhaal, “Stronger”
Tom Hanks, “The Post”
Hugh Jackman, “Logan”
Daniel Kaluuya, “Get Out”
James McAvoy, “Split”
Kumail Nanijiani, “The Big Sick”
Gary Oldman, “Darkest Hour”
Robert Pattinson, “Good Time”
Jeremy Renner, “Wind River”
Andy Serkis, “War for the Planet of the Apes”

BEST ACTRESS
Jessica Chastain, “Molly’s Game”
Judi Dench, “Victoria & Abdul”
Gal Gadot, “Wonder Woman”
Jennifer Lawrence, “mother!”
Frances McDormand, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Brooklynn Prince, “The Florida Project”
Margot Robbie, “I, Tonya”
Saoirse Ronan, “Lady Bird”
Emma Stone, “Battle of the Sexes”
Meryl Streep, “The Post”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Mary J. Blige, “Mudbound”
Holly Hunter, “The Big Sick”
Allison Janney, “I, Tonya”
Nicole Kidman, “The Killing of a Sacred Deer”
Tatiana Maslany, “Stronger”
Laurie Metcalf, “Lady Bird”
Octavia Spencer, “The Shape of Water”
Tilda Swinton, “Okja”
Kristin Scott Thomas, “Darkest Hour”
Bria Vinaite, “The Florida Project”
Allison Williams, “Get Out”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Steve Carell, “Battle of the Sexes”
Daniel Craig, “Logan Lucky”
Bryan Cranston, “Last Flag Flying”
Willem Dafoe, “The Florida Project”
Idris Elba, “Molly’s Game”
Will Poulter, “Detroit”
Sam Rockwell, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Ray Romano, “The Big Sick”
Mark Rylance, “Dunkirk”
Patrick Stewart, “Logan”

BEST DIRECTOR
Sean Baker, “The Florida Project”
Guillermo del Toro, “The Shape of Water”
Greta Gerwig, “Lady Bird”
Patty Jenkins, “Wonder Woman”
Christopher Nolan, “Dunkirk”
Jordan Peele, “Get Out”
Steven Spielberg, “The Post”
Aaron Sorkin, “Molly’s Game”
Denis Villeneuve, “Blade Runner 2049”
Joe Wright, “Darkest Hour”

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Thimios Bakatakis, “The Killing of a Sacred Deer”
Roger Deakins, “Blade Runner 2049”
Hoyte Van Hoytema, “Dunkirk”
Matthew Jensen, “Wonder Woman”
Dan Laustsen, “The Shape of Water”
Janusz Kaminski, “The Post”
Michael Seresin, “War for the Planet of the Apes”

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
“First They Killed My Father”
“In the Fade”
“Menashe”
“Raw”
“The Square”

BEST DOCUMENTARY
“Abacus: Small Enough to Jail”
“Chasing Coral”
“City of Ghosts”
“Cries from Syria”
“An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power”
“Jane”
“Step”

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
“The Breadwinner”
“Cars 3”
“Coco”
“Despicable Me 3:
“The LEGO Batman Movie”
“Loving Vincent”

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The Detroit Film Critics Nominate James Franco!


On December 4th (see, I told you I was running behind!), The Detroit Film Critics announced their nominations for the best of 2017!  The winners will be announced tomorrow and you can see the nominees below!

Patrick Stewart picks up a nomination for Logan, which may not make a difference as far as the Oscars are concerned but which is still extremely nice to see.  Also nice to see?  That best film nomination for James Franco’s The Disaster Artist!

BEST FILM

  • The Disaster Artist
  • The Florida Project
  • Get Out
  • The Shape of Water
  • Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

BEST DIRECTOR

  • Paul Thomas Anderson, Phantom Thread
  • Sean Baker, The Florida Project
  • Greta Gerwig, Lady Bird
  • Christopher Nolan, Dunkirk
  • Jordan Peele, Get Out
  • Geuillermo del Toro, The Shape of Water

BEST ACTOR

  • Timothée Chalamet, Call Me by Your Name
  • James Franco, The Disaster Artist
  • Daniel Day-Lewis, Phantom Thread
  • Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour
  • Robert Pattinson, Good Time

BEST ACTRESS

  • Jessica Chastain, Molly’s Game
  • Sally Hawkins, The Shape of Water
  • Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
  • Margot Robbie, I, Tonya
  • Saroise Ronan, Lady Bird

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

  • Willem Dafoe, The Florida Project
  • Richard Jenkins, The Shape of Water
  • Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
  • Patrick Stewart, Logan
  • Michael Stuhlbarg, Call Me by Your Name

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

  • Tiffany Haddish, Girls Trip
  • Holly Hunter, The Big Sick
  • Allison Janney, I, Tonya
  • Melissa Leo, Novitiate
  • Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird

BEST ENSEMBLE

  • The Big Sick
  • Lady Bird
  • Mudbound
  • The Post
  • Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

BREAKTHROUGH

  • Timothée Chalamet, Call Me by Your Name (actor)
  • Gal Gadot, Wonder Woman (actress)
  • Tiffany Haddish, Girls Trip (actress)
  • Caleb Landry Jones, American MadeThe Florida ProjectGet Out, and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (actor)
  • Jordan Peele, Get Out (writer/director)

BEST SCREENPLAY

  • Guillermo del Toro, Vanessa Taylor, The Shape of Water
  • Greta Gerwig, Lady Bird
  • Emily V. Gordon, Kumail Nanjiani, The Big Sick
  • Liz Hannah, Josh Singer, The Post
  • Martin McDonagh, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
  • Jordan Peele, Get Out
  • Taylor Sheridan, Wind River

BEST DOCUMENTARY

  • The Defiant Ones
  • Human Flow
  • Kedi
  • Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond
  • Step
  • Strong Island
  • Whose Streets?

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE

BEST USE OF MUSIC

The National Board of Review Honors Greta Gerwig, The Disaster Artist, Get Out, and Wonder Woman!


The National Board of Review has spoken and the Oscar season has truly begun!

Here’s what won:

Best Picture: The Post

Best Director: Greta Gerwig for Lady Bird

Best Actor: Tom Hanks in The Post

Best Actress: Meryl Streep in The Post

Best Supporting Actor: Willem DaFoe in The Florida Project

Best Supporting Actress: Laurie Metcalf in Lady Bird

Best Original Screenplay: Paul Thomas Anderson for Phantom Thread

Best Adapted Screenplay: Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber for The Disaster Artist

Best Animated Feature: Coco

Best Documentary Feature: Jane

Best Foreign Language Film: Foxtrot

Best Ensemble: Get Out

Breakthrough Performer: Timothée Chalamet in Call Me By Your Name

Best Directorial Debut: Jordan Peele for Get Out

NBR Spotlight Award: Gal Gadot and Patty Jenkins for their collaboration on Wonder Woman

NBR Freedom of Expression Award: First They Killed My Father and Let It Fall: Los Angeles 1982–1992

Top 10 Films of 2017 (in alphabetical Order):

  1. Baby Driver
  2. Call Me By Your Name
  3. The Disaster Artist
  4. Downsizing
  5. Dunkirk
  6. The Florida Project
  7. Get Out
  8. Lady Bird
  9. Logan
  10. Phantom Thread

Top 10 Independent Films of 2017:

  1. Beatriz at Dinner
  2. Brigsby Bear
  3. A Ghost Story
  4. Lady MacBeth
  5. Logan Lucky
  6. Loving Vincent
  7. Menashae
  8. Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer
  9. Patti Cake$
  10. Wind River

Top 5 Documentaries:

  1. Abacus: Small Enough to Jail
  2. Brimstone & Glory
  3. Eric Clapton: Life in 12 Bars
  4. Faces Places
  5. Hell on Earth: The Fall of Syria and the Rise of Isis

Top 5 Foreign Language Films:

  1. A Fantastic Woman
  2. Franzt
  3. Loveless
  4. Summer 1993
  5. The Square

Lisa’s Oscar Predictions for October!


Hi, everyone!

It’s time for me to post my monthly Oscar predictions!  With Oscar season finally getting started, things are starting to become a lot more clearer.  At the same time, especially when compared to the previous few years, it’s hard not to feel as if there’s a lot more uncertainty than usual.

For months, people were convinced that The Post was going to be the big Oscar contender but rumor has it that the film’s a bit of a mess.  I can’t say that I’m surprised.  Tom Hanks, Meryl Streep, and Steven Spielberg teaming up for a celebration of the press?  That sounds like exactly the type of project that will bring out everyone’s worst, most mawkish instincts.

With the downfall of Hollywood power players and monsters like Harvey Weinstein, the Oscar outlook becomes even more hazy.  If ever there’s been a year for the Academy to make a statement, this would be it.  But will they have the courage?  On the one hand, the Academy has made an attempt to broaden their membership and to bring in new voices and perspectives.  On the other hand, Oscar host Jimmy Kimmel has already said he won’t be mentioning anything about Weinstein (or, I assume, James Toback or Kevin Spacey) during next year’s ceremony.  Is the Academy going to make a statement or are they just going to try to pretend like nothing’s happened?

Could next year be the year that the Oscars embrace genre films?  Some of the biggest disappointments of the year have been the movies that would typically contend for Oscars.  Meanwhile, some of the most acclaimed films of the year — Get Out, It, Wonder Woman, Logan, — are all so-called genre films.

For my predictions below, I’ve decided to live in a world where the Academy embraces genre films.  These predictions may be totally off but screw it.  It’s the night before Halloween and I’m going to have fun.  Besides, I can make a case for every single prediction found below.

Check out my predictions for January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, and September!

Best Picture

Call Me By Your Name

Darkest Hour

The Disaster Artist

Dunkirk

Get Out

It

Logan

The Shape of Water

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Wonder Woman

Best Director

Guillermo Del Toro for The Shape of Water

Martin McDonagh for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Christopher Nolan for Dunkirk

Jordan Peele for Get Out

Joe Wright for Darkest Hour

Best Actor

James Franco in The Disaster Artist

Andrew Garfield in Breathe

Jake Gyllenhaal in Stronger

Gary Oldman in Darkest Hour

Harry Dean Stanton in Lucky

Best Actress

Gal Gadot in Wonder Woman

Sally Hawkins in The Shape of Water

Frances McDormand in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Margot Robbie in I, Tonya

Emma Stone in Battle of the Sexes

Best Supporting Actor

Willem DaFoe in The Forida Project

Armie Hammer in Call Me By Your Name

Sam Rockwell in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Adam Sander in The Meyerowitz Stories

Patrick Stewart in Logan

Best Supporting Actress

Mary J. Blige in Mudbound

Allison Janney in I, Tonya

Melissa Leo in Novitiate

Laurie Metcalf in Lady Bird

Kristin Scott Thomas in Darkest Hour

Lisa’s Early Oscar Predictions for June


Hi there!

Well, it’s time for me to make my monthly Oscar predictions!  Though my predictions are no longer “too early,” they are still definitely early.  Most of these predictions are based on a combination of wild speculation and wishful thinking.

For instance, do I really think that Wonder Woman will be an Oscar contender?

Well, I think it could be.  I’d like it if it was.  If really pressed, I’ll say that I think it has a better chance of being nominated than Logan does.  And, as you’ll remember, I had Logan listed as a best picture nominee back in March.

I guess what I’m saying is that these predictions should always be taken with a grain of salt.  To be honest, right now, the only precursor that we have is Cannes and Cannes is notoriously unreliable when it comes to being used as a tool to predict what will actually be nominated.

Anyway, these predictions will probably be good for a laugh or two next February.  Be sure to check out my previous predictions for January, February, March, April, and May!

Best Picture

The Beguiled

Blade Runner 2049

Call Me By Your Name

Darkest Hour

Detroit

The Disaster Artist

Dunkirk

Goodbye, Christopher Robin

Mudbound

Wonder Woman

Best Director

Sofia Coppola for The Beguiled

Simon Curtis for Goodbye, Christopher Robin

Christopher Nolan for Dunkirk

Dee Rees for Mudbound

Joe Wright for Darkest Hour

Best Actor

Chadwick Boseman in Marshall

Hugh Jackman in The Greatest Showman

Gary Oldman in Darkest Hour

Robert Pattinson in Good Time

Joaquin Phoenix in You Were Never Really Here

Best Actress

Judi Dench in Victoria and Abdul

Kirsten Dunst in Woodshock

Gal Gadot in Wonder Woman

Carey Mulligan in Mudbound

Michelle Pfieffer in Where Is Kyra?

Best Supporting Actor

Steve Carell in Battle of the Sexes

James Franco in The Disaster Artist

Woody Harrelson in The Glass Castle

Jason Mitchell in Mudbound

Adam Sandler in The Meyerowitz Stories

Best Supporting Actress

Melissa Leo in Novitiate

Julianne Moore in Wonderstruck

Margot Robbie in Goodbye, Christopher Robin

Kristin Scott Thomas in Darkest Hour

Naomi Watts in The Glass Castle

Film Review: Wonder Woman (dir by Patty Jenkins)


Wonder Woman is awesome!

I spent a while trying to think of the best way to begin this review.  There’s a lot to be said about Wonder Woman, as both a film and as a character.  Over the next few weeks, we’re going to be flooded with think pieces.  Is Wonder Woman too feminist or not feminist enough?  Does Wonder Woman herald a new direction for the DC Expanded Universe or is it destined to just be an anomaly among the ruins of crap like Man of Steel and Suicide Squad?  Does it announce the arrival of new star?  Is Wonder Woman pro-war or a plea for peace?  Does Wonder Woman live up to the rapturous early reviews or is it destined to suffer the same fate as the initially acclaimed, later-reviled Ghostbusters reboot?

Those are all legitimate questions.  They’re all worthy of debate and discussion.  And I look forward to reading everyone’s thoughts on blah blah blah blah….

Yes, Wonder Woman is empowering, both as a film and as a character.  It’s amazing to think that, with all the super hero adaptations that have come out over the past ten years, Wonder Woman is the first one to center around a female super hero.

Yes, Wonder Woman does finally prove that DC Expanded Universe can produce a good film, though I do have to say that two of the best things about Wonder Woman is that it had very little to do with any of the other DCEU films and it felt more like an MCU film.  With the period setting (the film takes place during World War I) and it’s weary view of the wars that men fight, Wonder Woman has far more in common with the first Captain America film than it does with Man of Steel.

Yes, Gal Gadot is going to be a huge star and her performance here suggests that she has range beyond action films and comic book melodramas.

Yes, Wonder Woman is a plea for peace but it’s a sincere and honest plea and one that does not ignore the realities of human nature.

And, finally, yes, Wonder Woman deserves those good reviews and I believe it will stand the test of time.

When all is said and done, what really matters is that Wonder Woman is freaking awesome!  The teaming of director Patty Jenkins and star Gal Gadot has resulted in one of the most entertaining and exciting comic book movies of recent times.  Usually, I resent it when an audience breaks into applause at the end of a movie, largely because it makes me feel as if I’m being pressured to make a snap judgment about a movie’s worth before I’ve had time to give it proper thought.  However, this time, when the applause broke out at the Alamo Drafthouse, I happily joined in.

I could be wrong about this but I don’t think Wonder Woman is ever actually called “Wonder Woman” at any point during the film.  If she was, I missed it and I’m sure someone will correct me in the comments.  Instead, she is referred to by her proper name, Diana.  When the film opens (after the obligatory modern-day prologue), Diana is a child living on the island of Themyscira, the home of the legendary Amazons.  Diana is the only child among the Amazons.  The daughter of Queen Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen), Diana dreams of becoming a warrior but her mother refuses to allow it.  When Diana is trained, it’s in secret by her aunt, General Antiope (Robin Wright).  At one point, Antiope tells Diana that if she’s going to be warrior, she’s going to have to be prepared to fight for everything.  No victory, Antiope tells her, will ever come easily.  I nodded at that line and I’m sure every other woman in the audience did so as well.  We understood what Antiope was saying.

In 1918, for the first time in centuries, a man reaches the island.  His name is Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) and he’s an American spy.  No sooner does Steve’s plane crash on the beach then a boat full of Germans arrive.  After a genuinely exciting battle (perhaps the first exciting action scene to appear in any of the DCEU films), Steve reveals that the world is at war.  Suspecting that it is the influence of Ares, the god of war, that is causing people to kill one another, Diana defies her mother’s orders and leaves the island with Steve.  Steve’s goal is to keep the Germans from developing and deploying a lethal gas.  Diana, meanwhile, plans to track down and kill Ares.

While Steve is convinced that, as a result of human nature, wars are inevitable, Diana is resolute in her belief that all the evil in the world can be linked to Ares.  Their conflicting world views give Wonder Woman far more emotional depth and intellectual resonance than any of the other films that have, so far, been a part of the DC Expanded Universe.  By refusing to indulge in portentous hypermasculinity, it avoids becoming a pretentious slog like Man of Steel or Batman v Superman.  By refusing to treat war, death, and violence as a joke, it avoids falling into the soulless trap that imprisoned Suicide Squad.  When Diana runs and leaps into battle, she’s not just fighting for good against evil.  She’s fighting for the soul of humanity.

Some of the action scenes in Wonder Woman are nothing less than amazing.  The scene where Diana crosses the aptly named “No-Man’s Land” is destined to be remembered as a classic moment in comic book cinema.  I don’t want to spoil too much of the film but I will say that you’ll also never forget the way that Diana takes out a German sniper.  It’s an amazing moment, one that is matched by the film’s final battle.  Again, I don’t want to spoil anything so I’ll just say that the film’s finale brought tears to my eyes.

After providing Batman v Superman with its only good moments, Gal Gadot finally gets the film that she deserves and she gives an amazing performance.  As played by Gadot, Diana is confident but never arrogant, occasionally naive but never foolish.  She’s a fighter, one who refuses to surrender even when the rest of the world tells her to go home.  (There’s a rather interesting throw-away line, in which Steven’s secretary says that she’s looking forward to getting to vote in her first election.  Wonder Woman is saving a world that wouldn’t even allow her a voice in selecting the man who are constantly putting it in danger.)  Gal Gadot gives a charismatic and star-making performance.

Also giving a good performance — perhaps a career best if you take Hell or High Water out of the equation — is Chris Pine.  When Pine first appears, he seems to be doing a riff on his too-perfect Prince Charming performance in Into the Woods.  But, as the film progresses, Pine brings unexpected depth to this role.  Special mention should also be made of David Thewlis, who may not have a huge role but who makes the most of his limited screen time.

But, with all that in mind, the most important thing that I can tell you about Wonder Woman is that the film is an absolute blast, a fast-paced and exciting action film that is complimented by strong performances and an unexpectedly poignant subtext.

It’s empowering.

It’s entertaining.

It’s worthy of the applause that filled the Alamo Drafthouse.

In short, it’s absolutely awesome.

See it this weekend.

(Now, Marvel, where’s that Black Widow movie that y’all better be developing?)

Here’s The Final Trailer For Wonder Woman!


Oh God.

Every few months, a new DCU trailer is released and everyone says that the DCU is finally going to be as good as the MCU.

Man of Steel was going to be an Oscar contender.

Batman v Superman was going to be the epic that made us reconsider everything we thought we knew about super hero films.

Suicide Squad was going to be the most fun that anyone had ever had at the movies.

Now, everyone’s saying that Wonder Woman is going to be the first good DCU movie.  Well, I certainly hope that’s the case.

The latest (and final) trailer seems to confirm that the best thing that Wonder Woman has going for it is Gal Gadot.  The trailer also has a self-aware feel to it that I hope will be present in the actual film.  After three films that took themselves way too seriously, the DCU needs to have a little fun.

Anyway, here’s the trailer!