The African-American Film Critics Association Honors Us


The African American Film Critics Association has selected Jordan Peele’s Us as the best film of the year!

Here’s a full list of their winners:

Best Film: “Us” (Universal Pictures)

Best Director: Jordan Peele (“Us,” Universal Pictures)

Best Actor: Eddie Murphy (“Dolemite Is My Name,” Netflix)

Best Actress: Lupita Nyong’o (“Us,” Universal Pictures)

Best Supporting Actor: Jamie Foxx (“Just Mercy,” Warner Bros. Pictures)

Best Supporting Actress: Da’Vine Joy Randolph (“Dolemite Is My Name,” Netflix)

Best Breakout Performance: Kelvin Harrison, Jr. (“Waves,” A24)

Best Animated Film: “Abominable” (Universal Pictures)

Best Documentary: “The Black Godfather” (Netflix)

Best Foreign Film: “Parasite” (Neon)

Best Independent Film: “The Last Black Man in San Francisco” (A24)

Best Screenplay (Presented with The Black List): Bong Joon-ho, “Parasite” (Neon)

Impact Award: “Queen & Slim” (Universal Pictures)

We See You Award: Taylor Russell (“Waves,” A24)

The AAFCA 2019 Top Ten Films

1. “Us” (Universal Pictures)

2. “Dolemite Is My Name” (Netflix)

3. “Just Mercy” (Warner Bros. Pictures)

4. “Clemency” (Neon)

5. “The Irishman” (Netflix)

6. “Queen & Slim” (Universal Pictures)

7. “Waves” (A24)

8. TIE “Parasite” (Neon) and “Atlantics” (Netflix)

9. The Farewell (A24)

10. “Harriet” (Focus Features)

4 Shots From 4 Films: Escape Room, Happy Death Day 2U, Midsommar, Us


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!

This October, we’re using 4 Shots From 4 Films to look at some of the best years that horror has to offer!

4 Shots From 4 2019 Films

Escape Room (2019, dir by Adam Robitel)

Happy Death Day 2U (2019, dir by Christopher Landon)

Midsommar (2019, dir by Ari Aster)

Us (2019, dir by Jordan Peele)

 

 

4 Shots From 4 Films: Get Out, Happy Death Day, It, The Ritual


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!

This October, we’re using 4 Shots From 4 Films to look at some of the best years that horror has to offer!

4 Shots From 4 2017 Horror Films

Get Out (2017, dir by Jordan Peele)

Happy Death Day (2017, dir by Christopher Landon)

It (2017, dir by Andy Muschietti)

The Ritual (2017, dir by David Bruckner)

Horror Film Review: Us (dir by Jordan Peele)


“They’re us,” a child says in Jordan Peele’s second film, Us.

And indeed, they are.  Us suggests that everyone has at least one doppelganger, living underground in conditions of absolutely misery and awkwardly imitating the same lives as those above ground, just without any of the rewards that those of us above-ground take for granted.  Those underground are known as the Tethered, because they’re permanently tied to those of us above ground.  Of course, what’s easily overlooked is that we’red tied to them as well.  Or, at least, we are until someone picks up a knife or a pair of scissors and violently severs the connection.

It’s probably not a coincidence that the film’s title — Us — can just as easily be read as U.S, as in the United States.  Jordan Peele may have said that he wanted Us to be a full-on horror film, as opposed to Get Out‘s mix of comedy, horror, and social commentary, but Us definitely has its political subtext, with the Tethered meant to stand in for every marginalized group that has been pushed underground by American society.  Though the film may have been inspired by an episode of The Twilight Zone, it actually has more in common with the classic British shocker, Death Line (a.k.a. Raw Meat.)  There’s not a huge amount of difference between the largely mute Tethered and the pathetic cannibal in Death Line who, after growing up in the British Underground, is capable of only telling his victims to “Mind the doors.”

If nothing else, Us proves that Jordan Peele actually is a good filmmaker with a firm grasp on how to make an effective horror movie.  Get Out was good but also, I think, a bit overpraised by mainstream critics who often seemed to not realize just how much, in their attempts to make sure that we understood just how much they loved and understood the movie, they sounded like Bradley Whitford bragging about how he would have voted for Obama a third time.  When Us came out, a lot of viewers were waiting to see if Peele’s second film could possibly live up to all the hype surrounding its director and, for the most part, it does.

Political subtext aside, this is the all-out horror film that Peele promised, full of jump scares, disturbing imagery, and just enough humor to keep things from getting too unbearably nightmarish.  (As bad as you might feel for Elisabeth Moss’s character and her family, it’s hard not to appreciate the irony of the film’s Alexa-substitute misunderstanding a command to call the police.)  Interestingly enough, the Tethered are pretty much homicidal as soon as they come above ground.  This isn’t a case where a tragic misunderstanding leads to bloodshed that could have been avoided.  No, this is a case where the Tethered have spent decades trapped and out-of-sight and they’re pissed off about it.  Just because the Tethered may be us, that doesn’t mean that they’re going to have any sympathy for us when they finally do track us down.  In the style of Wes Craven’s The Hills Have Have Eyes, Us follows a perfect family as they eventually find themselves resorting to the same violence as the Tethered, in an attempt to save not only their lives but also the lifestyle that they’ve come to take for granted.  The Tethred are us indeed.

The film is well-acted, with Lupita Nyong’o standing out as both the mother of an imperiled family and her doppelganger, who has spent years underground and who is one of the few Tethered to be able to speak.  Of course, there’s a twist at the end of the movie and I won’t ruin it here, other than to say that it’s effectively done and will actually make you reconsider everything that you’ve just seen.

Us is another triumph from Jordan Peele.  Even more importantly, it’s an undeniably effective horror film.

Here’s The Super Bowl Teaser for Jordan Peele’s The Twilight Zone!


Did you know there’s a new Twilight Zone coming out?

Yes, again.

There’s actually been quite a few Twilight Zone revivals but this latest one involves Jordan Peele, who is a certified superfan of the show.  I mean, Get Out basically was a feature length Twilight Zone episode and Us was apparently inspired by the show.

Plus, the new Twilight Zone is going to be online which, in theory, means a bit less censorship.  That’s always a good thing.

Here’s the Super Bowl spot for Jordan Peele’s Twilight Zone!

Here is the Us Super Bowl Trailer!


It’s Super Bowl Sunday here in the States, which means that it’s time for me to watch the commercials while everyone else watches the game.  Every year, all of the big upcoming movies drop new trailers during the Super Bowl.  It’s kinda like the studios are saying, “Sorry for all the crap we dumped on you in January.  Believe it or not, we’ve actually got some movies worth seeing coming out!”

So, let’s get things started tonight by sharing the Us Super Bowl commercial!  Us is Jordan Peele’s follow-up to Get Out.  Judging from this trailer, it would appear that Us is even more of a straight-up horror film than Get Out was.

Seriously, this trailer is hella creepy!  Check it out:

“They’re us.”

Agck!

Here’s The Trailer For Us!


Last year, Jordan Peele set the world on fire with his directorial debut, Get Out.

Next year, he’ll be releasing his second film, Us.  Will this film be able to live up to the huge expectations that were engendered by the unexpected success of Get Out?  We’ll find out in March!

For now, here’s the trailer, which has some hella creepy moments:

Weekly Trailer Round-Up: Joker, Stan & Ollie, Ralph Breaks The Internet, The Oath, Solis, The Haunting of Hill House, The Twilight Zone


Despite the success of Wonder Woman, DC Entertainment has still struggled when it comes to crafting a compelling cinematic universe.  The upcoming Joker is not an official part of the DCEU but that could change if the film is a success.  An origin story, Joker features Joaquin Phoenix taking on the role of the clown prince of crime.  Though it will be over a year before we see the final results, director Todd Phillips has released a teaser, showing us Phoenix in his Joker makeup.

In Stan & Ollie, Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy finally get the biopic treatment, with John C. Reilly in the role of Hardy and Steve Coogan as Laurel.

Along with playing Oliver Hardy, John C. Reilly will also be returning to the role of Ralph in Ralph Breaks The Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2.  The mayhem continues on November 2nd.

In The Oath, all Americans are required to sign a loyalty oath the day after Thanksgiving.  A new red band trailer for this dark comedy was released this week.

In Solis, Steven Ogg plays an astronaut who is trapped on a spacecraft that is on a collision course with the sun.  That’s not a good place to be.

Just in time for Halloween, Netflix will be reimagining The Haunting of Hill House as a ten-episode television series.  The show drops on October 12th.

Finally, The Twilight Zone is returning once again, this time under the direction of Jordan Peele.  The CBS All Access show will premiere in 2019.

Other trailers that were released this week:

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!