The TSL’s Horror Grindhouse: Diary of the Dead (dir by George Romero)


I have to admit that I was a little bit hesitant about watching the 2007 film, Diary of the Dead.

It wasn’t that I don’t like zombie movies.  In fact, it was the complete opposite.  I love zombie films and Night of the Living Dead is one of my favorites.  George Romero, of course, went on to make several sequels to Night of the Living DeadDawn of the Dead, Day of the Dead, and Land of the Dead are certifiable horror classics.  However, I had heard mixed things about the two zombie films that Romero directed after Land of the Dead.  Seeing as how Diary of the Dead was Romero’s second-to-last film before he passed away in 2017, I was worried that I would watch the film and discover that I hated it.  I didn’t want experience anything that would tarnish Romero’s cinematic legacy.  It didn’t help my expectations that Diary of the Dead is a found footage film and the conventions of the found footage genre tend to get on my last nerve.

(Seriously, nothing makes me throw a shoe at a screen quicker than the sound of someone in a horror movie saying, “Are you filming this?”)

But you know what?

I did watch Diary of the Dead and it’s actually not bad.  It may not reach the heights of Romero’s other zombie films but it’s definitely a worthwhile companion piece.  It opens with news reports about the start of the zombie apocalypse, meaning that Diary of the Dead is meant to take place at roughly the same time as Night of the Living Dead.  (Never mind that Diary of the Dead is full of references to YouTube and blogs and other things that most people probably couldn’t even imagine when Night of the Living Dead first came out.)  A group of film students are in the woods, filming a terrible mummy movie when they first hear reports of the dead coming back to life.  Some say that there’s no way it could be true.  Others say that something must be happening but surely the dead aren’t actually coming back to life.  They soon discover that the dead have indeed returned.

We follow the students as they travel across Pennsylvania, trying to find a place that’s safe from the Dead and discovering that there’s literally no such place left in America.  Along the way, they also discover that the government has no intention of telling the people the truth about what’s happening.  In fact, a group of national guardsmen turn out to be just as dangerous as the zombies.  In their efforts to survive, the students are forced to rely on an underground network of bloggers and video makers.

Diary of the Dead has all of the usual zombie mayhem that you would expect from a film like this but, at the same time, it’s got a lot more on its mind than just the dead returning to life.  Much as he did with Land Of The Dead, Romero uses Diary of the Dead to comment on the state of America under the Patriot Act.  With the government using the zombie apocalypse as an excuse to suspend civil liberties and increase their own power, the film’s characters are forced to depend on new and independent information sources.  It’s not hard to see the parallel that Romero is making between the War on the Living Dead and the War on Terror.  As well, making all of the characters film students allows for some discussion about whether or not horror films should simply concentrate on being scary or whether they should also attempt to deal with real-world issues.  The film leaves little doubt where Romero came down on that issue.

On the negative side, Diary of the Dead struggles a bit to overcome the limitations of its low budget and none of the characters are as compelling as Ben in Night of the Living Dead or Fran in Dawn of the Dead.  At times, you find yourself wishing that Diary of the Dead featured just one actor who was as into their role as Duane C. Jones or Ken Foree were in Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead, respectively.  But Diary of the Dead still features enough zombies and enough of Romero’s trademark political subtext to be an acceptable addition to Romero’s vision of the apocalypse.

4 Shots From 4 Haunted Films: The Haunting, Poltergeist, The Conjuring, Crimson Peak


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, the Shattered Lens gets a little bit spooky with….

4 Shots From 4 Haunted Films

The Haunting (1963, dir by Robert Wise)

Poltergeist (1982, dir by Tobe Hooper)

The Conjuring (2013, dir by James Wan)

Crimson Peak (2015, dir by Guillermo Del Toro)

Here Are Your 2017 Oscar Winners!


Here are the winners of the 90th annual Academy Awards!

Best Picture — The Shape of Water

Best Director — Guillermo Del Toro for The Shape Of Water

Best Actor — Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour

Best Actress — Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Best Supporting Actor — Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Best Supporting Actress — Allison Janney, I, Tonya

Best Original Screenplay– Jordan Peele, Get Out

Best Adapted Screenplay — James Ivory, Call Me By Your Name

Best Animated Feature — Coco

Best Production Design — The Shape of Water

Best Cinematography — Blade Runner 2049

Best Costume Design — Phantom Thread

Best Film Editing — Dunkirk

Best Hair and Makeup — Darkest Hour

Best Sound Mixing — Dunkirk

Best Sound Editing — Dunkirk

Best Visual Effects — Blade Runner 2049

Best Original Score — The Shape of Water

Best Original Song — “Remember Me” from Coco

Best Foreign Language Film — A Fantastic Woman

Best Documentary Feature — Icarus

Best Animated Short — Dear Basketball

Best Live Action Short — The Silent Child

Best Documentary Short — Heaven is a Traffic Jam on the 405

Here Are The 90th Oscar Nominations!


You know that I’ve had a busy Tuesday when I’m only now getting around to posting the 90th Annual Oscar nominations!

Here they are.  Nominees in bold appear on both the Academy’s list and my list of the films that I would have nominated if I was the one solely in charge!

Best Picture:

Call Me By Your Name,

Darkest Hour,

Dunkirk,

Get Out,

Lady Bird,

Phantom Thread,

The Post,

The Shape of Water

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri

Best Director

Paul Thomas Anderson for Phantom Thread

Guillermo Del Toro for The Shape of Water

Greta Gerwig for Lady Bird

Christopher Nolan for Dunkirk

Jordan Peele for Get Out

Best Actor

Timothee Chalamet in Call Me By Your Name

Daniel Day-Lewis in Phantom Thread

Daniel Kaluuya in Get Out

Gary Oldman in Darkest Hour

Denzel Washington in Roman Israel Esq.

Best Actress

Sally Hawkins in Shape of Water

Frances McDormand in Three Billoards Outside Ebbing Missouri

Margot Robbie in I, Tonya

Saoirse Ronan in Lady Bird

Meryl Streep in The Post

(At this point, I got tired of typing out all of the nominees myself and I did a cut and paste from the list of nominees posted at Awards Watch.  Please thank Awards Watch by visiting their wonderful site.)

Actor in a Supporting Role

WILLEM DAFOE
The Florida Project
WOODY HARRELSON
Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri
RICHARD JENKINS
The Shape of Water
CHRISTOPHER PLUMMER
All the Money in the World
SAM ROCKWELL
Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri

Actress in a Supporting Role

MARY J. BLIGE
Mudbound

ALLISON JANNEY
I, Tonya
LESLEY MANVILLE
Phantom Thread
LAURIE METCALF
Lady Bird
OCTAVIA SPENCER
The Shape of Water

Writing (Original Screenplay)

THE BIG SICK
Written by Emily V. Gordon & Kumail Nanjiani
GET OUT
Written by Jordan Peele
LADY BIRD
Written by Greta Gerwig
THE SHAPE OF WATER
Screenplay by Guillermo del Toro & Vanessa Taylor; Story by Guillermo del Toro
THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI
Written by Martin McDonagh

Writing (Adapted Screenplay)

CALL ME BY YOUR NAME
Screenplay by James Ivory
THE DISASTER ARTIST
Screenplay by Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber
LOGAN
Screenplay by Scott Frank & James Mangold and Michael Green; Story by James Mangold
MOLLY’S GAME
Written for the screen by Aaron Sorkin
MUDBOUND
Screenplay by Virgil Williams and Dee Rees

Animated Feature Film

THE BOSS BABY
Tom McGrath and Ramsey Naito
THE BREADWINNER
Nora Twomey and Anthony Leo
COCO
Lee Unkrich and Darla K. Anderson
FERDINAND
Carlos Saldanha
LOVING VINCENT
Dorota Kobiela, Hugh Welchman and Ivan Mactaggart

Foreign Language Film

A FANTASTIC WOMAN
Chile
THE INSULT
Lebanon
LOVELESS
Russia
ON BODY AND SOUL
Hungary
THE SQUARE
Sweden

Documentary Feature

ABACUS: SMALL ENOUGH TO JAIL
Steve James, Mark Mitten and Julie Goldman
FACES PLACES
Agnès Varda, JR and Rosalie Varda
ICARUS
Bryan Fogel and Dan Cogan
LAST MEN IN ALEPPO
Feras Fayyad, Kareem Abeed and Søren Steen Jespersen
STRONG ISLAND
Yance Ford and Joslyn Barnes

Documentary (Short Subject)

EDITH+EDDIE
Laura Checkoway and Thomas Lee Wright
HEAVEN IS A TRAFFIC JAM ON THE 405
Frank Stiefel
HEROIN(E)
Elaine McMillion Sheldon and Kerrin Sheldon
KNIFE SKILLS
Thomas Lennon
TRAFFIC STOP
Kate Davis and David Heilbroner

Music (Original Score)

DUNKIRK
Hans Zimmer
PHANTOM THREAD
Jonny Greenwood
THE SHAPE OF WATER
Alexandre Desplat
STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI
John Williams
THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI
Carter Burwell

Music (Original Song)

MIGHTY RIVER
from Mudbound; Music and Lyric by Mary J. Blige, Raphael Saadiq and Taura Stinson
MYSTERY OF LOVE
from Call Me by Your Name; Music and Lyric by Sufjan Stevens
REMEMBER ME
from Coco; Music and Lyric by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez
STAND UP FOR SOMETHING
from Marshall; Music by Diane Warren; Lyric by Lonnie R. Lynn and Diane Warren
THIS IS ME
from The Greatest Showman; Music and Lyric by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul

Film Editing

BABY DRIVER
Paul Machliss and Jonathan Amos
DUNKIRK
Lee Smith
I, TONYA
Tatiana S. Riegel
THE SHAPE OF WATER
Sidney Wolinsky
THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI
Jon Gregory

Cinematography

BLADE RUNNER 2049
Roger A. Deakins
DARKEST HOUR
Bruno Delbonnel
DUNKIRK
Hoyte van Hoytema
MUDBOUND
Rachel Morrison
THE SHAPE OF WATER
Dan Laustsen

Production Design

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST
Production Design: Sarah Greenwood; Set Decoration: Katie Spencer
BLADE RUNNER 2049
Production Design: Dennis Gassner; Set Decoration: Alessandra Querzola
DARKEST HOUR
Production Design: Sarah Greenwood; Set Decoration: Katie Spencer
DUNKIRK
Production Design: Nathan Crowley; Set Decoration: Gary Fettis
THE SHAPE OF WATER
Production Design: Paul Denham Austerberry; Set Decoration: Shane Vieau and Jeff Melvin

Costume Design

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST
Jacqueline Durran
DARKEST HOUR
Jacqueline Durran
PHANTOM THREAD
Mark Bridges
THE SHAPE OF WATER
Luis Sequeira
VICTORIA & ABDUL
Consolata Boyle

Makeup and Hairstyling
DARKEST HOUR
Kazuhiro Tsuji, David Malinowski and Lucy Sibbick
VICTORIA & ABDUL
Daniel Phillips and Lou Sheppard
WONDER
Arjen Tuiten

Sound Mixing

BABY DRIVER
Julian Slater, Tim Cavagin and Mary H. Ellis
BLADE RUNNER 2049
Ron Bartlett, Doug Hemphill and Mac Ruth
DUNKIRK
Mark Weingarten, Gregg Landaker and Gary A. Rizzo
THE SHAPE OF WATER
Christian Cooke, Brad Zoern and Glen Gauthier
STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI
David Parker, Michael Semanick, Ren Klyce and Stuart Wilson

Sound Editing

BABY DRIVER
Julian Slater
BLADE RUNNER 2049
Mark Mangini and Theo Green
DUNKIRK
Richard King and Alex Gibson
THE SHAPE OF WATER
Nathan Robitaille and Nelson Ferreira
STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI
Matthew Wood and Ren Klyce

Visual Effects

BLADE RUNNER 2049
John Nelson, Gerd Nefzer, Paul Lambert and Richard R. Hoover
GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2
Christopher Townsend, Guy Williams, Jonathan Fawkner and Dan Sudick
KONG: SKULL ISLAND
Stephen Rosenbaum, Jeff White, Scott Benza and Mike Meinardus
STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI
Ben Morris, Mike Mulholland, Neal Scanlan and Chris Corbould
WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES
Joe Letteri, Daniel Barrett, Dan Lemmon and Joel Whist

Short Film (Animated)

DEAR BASKETBALL
Glen Keane and Kobe Bryant
GARDEN PARTY
Victor Caire and Gabriel Grapperon
LOU
Dave Mullins and Dana Murray
NEGATIVE SPACE
Max Porter and Ru Kuwahata
REVOLTING RHYMES
Jakob Schuh and Jan Lachauer

Short Film (Live Action)
DEKALB ELEMENTARY
Reed Van Dyk
THE ELEVEN O’CLOCK
Derin Seale and Josh Lawson
MY NEPHEW EMMETT
Kevin Wilson, Jr.
THE SILENT CHILD
Chris Overton and Rachel Shenton
WATU WOTE/ALL OF US
Katja Benrath and Tobias Rosen

Congratulations to all the nominees!

Here’s What Won At The Golden Globes!


Check out the nominations here and the winners below!

Best Picture (Drama) — Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Best Picture (Comedy) — Lady Bird

Best Director — Guillermo Del Toro, The Shape of Water

Best Screenplay — Martin McDonagh, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri

Best Actor (Drama) — Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour

Best Actor (Comedy) — James Franco, The Disaster Artist

Best Actress (Drama) — Frances McDormand, Three Billboard Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Best Actress (Comedy) — Saoirse Ronan, Lady Bird

Best Supporting Actor — Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Best Supporting Actress — Allison Janney, I, Tonya

Best Animated Feature Film — Coco

Best Foreign Language Film — In the Fade

Best Original Song — “The Is Me” from The Greatest Showman

Best Original Score — Alexandre Desplat, The Shape of Water

 

Lisa’s Oscar Predictions For December!


With awards season now in full swing, I’m a lot more confident when it comes to making my Oscar predictions.  While I don’t know if it’s possible to guess with one hundred per cent accuracy, I would say that I’m 99.9% sure that these predictions are going to line up with January’s nominations.

If I’m wrong … well, keep it to yourself.

Be sure to check out my earlier predictions for November, October, September, August, July, June, May, April, March, February, and January.

Best Picture

Call Me By Your Name

The Disaster Artist

Dunkirk

The Florida Project

Get Out

Lady Bird

The Post

The Shape of Water

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri

Best Director

Guillermo Del Toro for The Shape Of Water

Greta Gerwig for Lady Bird

Christopher Nolan for Dunkirk

Jordan Peele for Get Out

Steven Spielberg for The Post

Best Actor

Timothee Chalamet in Call Me By Your Name

Daniel Day-Lewis in Phantom Thread

James Franco in The Disaster Artist

Daniel Kaluuya in Get Out

Gary Oldman in Darkest Hour

Best Actress

Sally Hawkins in The Shape of Water

Frances McDormand in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Margot Robbie in I, Tonya

Saoirse Ronan in Lady Bird

Meryl Streep in The Post

Best Supporting Actor

Willem DaFoe in The Florida Project

Woody Harrelson in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Christopher Plummer in All The Money In The World

Sam Rockwell in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Michael Stuhlbarg in Call Me By Your Name

Best Supporting Actress

Mary J. Blige in Mudbound

Tiffany Haddish in Girls Trip

Holly Hunter in The Big Sick

Allison Janney in I, Tonya

Laurie Metcalf in Lady Bird

In case you’re wondering which sites I use to keep informed about the developments in the Oscar race, my two favorites are Awards Circuit and Awards Watch.  Both of them are more than worth a visit and are run by people who have a much better track record than I do, as far as predicting these things is concerned!

 

 

Here Are The 2017 Nominations of The Florida Film Critics!


Oddly, the Florida Film Critics showed very little love to The Florida Project.  The acclaimed film only received one nomination, for Willem DaFoe.

BEST PICTURE

  • “Call Me By Your Name”
  • “Dunkirk”
  • “Get Out”
  • “Lady Bird”
  • “The Shape Of Water”
  • “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

BEST DIRECTOR

  • Christopher Nolan – “Dunkirk”
  • Greta Gerwig – “Lady Bird”
  • Guillermo del Toro – “The Shape of Water”
  • Jordan Peele – “Get Out”
  • Martin McDonagh – “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

BEST ACTOR

  • Daniel Kaluuya – “Get Out”
  • Gary Oldman – “Darkest Hour”
  • James Franco – “The Disaster Artist”
  • Robert Pattinson – “Good Time”
  • Timothée Chalamet – “Call Me By Your Name”

BEST ACTRESS

  • Cynthia Nixon – “A Quiet Passion
  • Frances McDormand – “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
  • Margot Robbie – “I, Tonya”
  • Sally Hawkins – “The Shape of Water”
  • Saoirse Ronan – “Lady Bird”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

  • Armie Hammer – “Call Me By Your Name”
  • Barry Keoghan – “The Killing of A Sacred Deer”
  • Michael Stuhlbarg – “Call Me By Your Name”
  • Sam Rockwell – “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
  • Willem Dafoe – “The Florida Project”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

  • Allison Janney – “I, Tonya”
  • Holly Hunter – “The Big Sick”
  • Hong Chau – “Downsizing”
  • Laurie Metcalf – “Lady Bird”
  • Mary J. Blige – “Mudbound”

BEST ENSEMBLE

  • “Dunkirk”
  • “Get Out”
  • “I, Tonya”
  • “Lady Bird”
  • “The Big Sick”
  • “The Shape Of Water”
  • “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

  • “Get Out”
  • “Lady Bird”
  • “The Big Sick”
  • “The Shape Of Water”
  • “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

  • “Call Me By Your Name”
  • “Marjorie Prime”
  • “Molly’s Game”
  • “The Disaster Artist”
  • “The Lost City of Z”
  • “Wonderstruck”

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

  • “Blade Runner 2049”
  • “Dunkirk”
  • “Personal Shopper”
  • “The Post”
  • “The Shape of Water”
  • “Wonderstruck”

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS

BEST ART DIRECTION/PRODUCTION DESIGN

  • Blade Runner 2049”
  • “Dunkirk”
  • “Phantom Thread”
  • “The Shape of Water”
  • “Wonderstruck”

BEST SCORE

  • “Blade Runner 2049”
  • “Dunkirk”
  • “Phantom Thread”
  • “The Shape of Water”
  • “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

BEST DOCUMENTARY

  • “Dawson City: Frozen Time”
  • “Ex Libris: New York Public Library”
  • “Faces Places”
  • “Jane”
  • “Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold”
  • “Kedi”

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

  • “BPM”
  • “First They Killed My Father”
  • “Loveless”
  • “The Ornithologist”
  • “The Square”

BEST ANIMATED FILM

BEST FIRST FILM

BREAKOUT AWARD

  • Barry Keoghan
  • Greta Gerwig
  • Jordan Peele
  • Millicent Simmonds
  • Timothée Chalamet