And, finally, here are the nominations of the St. Louis Film Critics Association!


As soon as I post this, I will be caught up on sharing all of the precursor awards here on the Shattered Lens (or, at the very least, all of the precursor awards that have been announced so far.  There’s several more to come).  It’s not a minute to soon either!  Tomorrow, the SAG Nominations will be announced.  That’s one of the biggest of the precursors.

Anyway, the St. Louis Film Critics Association announce their nominations yesterday.  The winners will be announced on December 17th.

Here are the nominees!

BEST PICTURE

  • “Get Out”
  • “Lady Bird”
  • “The Shape of Water”
  • “The Post”
  • “Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri”

BEST DIRECTOR

  • Greta Gerwig, “Lady Bird”
  • Jordan Peele, “Get Out”
  • Denis Villeneuve, “Blade Runner 2049”
  • Guillermo del Toro, “The Shape of Water”
  • Steven Spielberg, “The Post”

BEST ACTRESS

  • Kristen Stewart, “Personal Shopper”
  • Saoirse Ronan, “Lady Bird”
  • Sally Hawkins, “The Shape of Water”
  • Meryl Streep, “The Post”
  • Frances McDormand, “Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri”

BEST ACTOR

  • Daniel Day-Lewis, “Phantom Thread”
  • Daniel Kaluuya, “Get Out”
  • James Franco, “The Disaster Artist”
  • Tom Hanks,”The Post”
  • Gary Oldman, “Darkest Hour”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

  • Kristin Scott Thomas, “Darkest Hour”
  • Holly Hunter, “The Big Sick”
  • Laurie Metcalf, “Lady Bird”
  • Hong Chau, “Downsizing”
  • Octavia Spencer, “The Shape of Water”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

  • Michael Shannon, “The Shape of Water”
  • Sam Rockwell, “Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri”
  • Richard Jenkins, “The Shape of Water”
  • William Dafoe, “The Florida Project”
  • Woody Harrelson, “Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri”

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

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

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

BEST SOUNDTRACK

BEST EDITING

  • “Darkest Hour”
  • “The Post”
  • “Baby Driver”
  • “The Shape of Water”
  • “Dunkirk”

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS

BEST SCORE

BEST DOCUMENTARY

  • “Jane”
  • “Last Man in Aleppo”
  • “Never Say Goodbye: The Kshe Documentary”
  • “Whose Streets?”
  • “City of Ghosts”

BEST ANIMATED MOVIE

  • “Despicable Me 3”
  • “Loving Vincent”
  • The LEGO Batman Movie”
  • “Coco”
  • “Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie”

BEST FOREIGN FILM

  • “Frantz”
  • “The Square”
  • “Graduation”
  • “Land of Mine”
  • “First They Killed My Father”

BEST SCENE

  • Harlem Shuffle Opening, “Baby Driver”
  • Elio’s Dad’s Monologue, “Call Me By Your Name”
  • Stairway Fight, “Atomic Blonde”
  • Coach Directing The Tempest, “Lady Bird”
  • ‘Oh, hi, Mark,’ “The Disaster Artist

WORST FILM

Advertisements

Here Are The 20 Semi-Finalists For The Best Visual Effects Oscar!


On December 4th, the Academy announced the 20 semi-finalists who are in the running for the Best Visual Effects Oscar!

And here they are:

Playing Catch-Up With The Films of 2017: Life (dir by Daniel Espinosa)


I don’t care what Neil deGrasse Tyson says.  Space is dangerous.

Just judging by what I’ve seen in the movies, it might be a good idea for humanity to stay earthbound.  Seriously, it seems like every time a group of astronauts and scientists spend an extended period of time off of our planet, bad shit happens.  They either end up leaving behind someone on Mars or sometimes they crash land on a planet inhabited by vampires.  Occasionally, they end up with evil creatures bursting out of their chest and, if they’re not careful, they might even end up accidentally traveling all the way to Hell and back.

For that matter, it might be a good idea to also stop listening to Bill Nye.  I’ve seen enough movies to know better than to trust science.  Did you know that every time a revived corpse has gone on a killing spree, a scientist has been to blame?  In the movies, science always says it’s going to make the world a better place but ultimately, it just seems to make things worse.

Consider Life, for instance.

This science fiction film, which came out earlier this year and didn’t stick around in theaters for very long, opens with the crew of the International Space Station taking questions from a group of school children on Earth.  Everyone is really excited because a probe has been picked up evidence that there was once extraterrestrial life on Mars.  Starting from one cell, the scientists have managed to clone an alien organism.  (Or something like that.  Wisely, the movie doesn’t waste too much time on how all of this actually works.)  The school kids name the organism Calvin.

Isn’t that cute?

But here’s the thing.  Life is a science fiction/horror movie hybrid and, as a result, we already know that it was a mistake to bring that alien to life.  We know that almost everyone in that space station is going to die a terrible death.  It doesn’t matter that the scientists are played by people like Jake Gyllenhaal, Ryan Reynolds, and Rebecca Ferguson  We know what is going to happen because we’ve all seen at least one movie in the Alien franchise.  We know what’s going to happen and, when things start to fall apart, the entire audience nods and says, “I told you so.”

That’s not to say that Life doesn’t work.   Life may be predictable but that’s actually a part of the film’s charm.  This is the type of film that you need to watch with a group of your loudest and snarkiest friends.  (I watched it with my sisters during the 4th of July weekend.  We all love Jake.  We all love Ryan.  Things got a bit out of hand.)  You don’t watch Life because you’re looking for an upbeat portrait of space exploration.  You watch Life so that you can yell, “No, don’t bring Calvin to life!  No, you idiot!  Don’t go into space!  Don’t lock yourself in the lab!  HAVEN’T ANY OF YOU SCIENTISTS EVER SEEN A HORROR MOVIE BEFORE!?”

(Indeed, one of the unexpected pleasures of Life was seeing that even brilliant people will do stupid things when confronted by the unknown.)

That said, Life occasionally caught me off guard.  It’s not that I was shocked to see the members of the cast being picked off one by one by Calvin.  Instead, I was shocked by the film’s relentlessly dark and bleak vision.  For a film called Life, it’s ultimately all about death.  Just because a character is being played by a big star, that doesn’t mean they won’t end up with Calvin entering their body and graphically devouring them from the inside out.  Calvin was a truly frightening creation and director Daniel Espinosa does a good job of capturing the claustrophobia and clutter of the space station.  Even if they didn’t exactly break any new ground, Espinosa and screenwriters Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick deserve a lot of credit for pursuing the film to its dark conclusion.  In space, they seem to suggest, there is no hope.

In conclusion, the main lesson of Life seems to be this: outer space is a terrible place and the worst thing that humanity can do is leave the planet.  Science is going to be the death of us.  Neil deGrasse Tyson has a lot to answer for.

Here’s The Super Bowl Spot For Life!


Apparently, there was a Super Bowl spot for a film called Life.  Somehow, I missed it.  Maybe it aired while I was outside, trying to convince the cat to come inside.

Who knows!?

But, what that in mind, here is the Super Bowl spot for Life!  Ryan Reynolds and Jake Gyllenhaal play astronauts and attempt not to get sued by whoever owns the rights to Alien.

BlizzCon 2014: Two Videos Worth Watching from Saturday


All of the meat and cheese of BlizzCon’s content is traditionally crammed into Friday. They open with a bang, throw all of the big news at you all at once, and then spend Saturday giving you some time to soak it in. Lots of Q&A panels are the norm, along with a growing collection of e-sports grand finals and a big rock concert to send you off in style. 2014 was no different, and there is certainly no major news to bring to the table, but it was nevertheless a day full of entertaining events, and I would like to share with you my two favorites.

The first is a documentary called “Looking for Group”. In celebration of the ten year anniversary of World of Warcraft, Blizzard created a one hour documentary about how the game came to be. The film leaves a lot to be desired from the players’ perspective. Blizzard took up a great deal of the time archiving fan experiences in the game–a married couple talks about first meeting in Stormwind, a teen reflects on growing up playing the game with his father, a handicapped woman remembers playing WoW to help mentally recover from her accident. It is probably incredible for a game developer to think that they made that much of an impact on peoples’ lives, but anyone who has played the game long enough has run into situations like this before. It’s nothing particularly novel or exciting for the fans. But the film also incorporates plenty of behind-the-scenes looks into how the company has operated over the years and the personalities leading the charge. I found the details on the early developmental years of the game especially interesting. If you have ever enjoyed World of Warcraft, it’s worth taking an hour to watch this:

The second video I want to share with you might take some persuasion. When your two favorite professional sports are golf and Starcraft, it is really hard to make friends. But such is my fate. Despite all of the columns I was pumping out Friday, I actually did manage to watch live all 30 matches of the Starcraft II World Championship Series Global Finals that took place at BlizzCon. MMA knocking off Bomber 3-1 might have been the biggest upset, but Classic’s rocky 3-2 finish over herO made MMA’s path to the final round feel easy. Life ultimately outclassed him 4-1 in a way that was certainly impressive but not exceptionally fun to watch. The real excitement came in the bottom bracket semi-finals. Life and TaeJa breezed their ways past San and INnoVation 3-0 and 3-1 respectively, and both players looked to be at the peak of their game rolling into the semi-finals. Life ultimately progressed to the finals 3-2 in what was surely the most intense series of the event. The video below was my favorite match of that series. It starts off with both players taking extremely aggressive and risky stances–in Life’s case one you would almost never see at this level. I’m not going to spoil who wins, but the 24 minute length of the video should tell you that both players move beyond the opening chaos. Neither player is willing to put on the breaks all game, forcing some really unconventional gameplay. With practically perfect micro on both fronts, we get to see what a top tier SC2 match ought to look like–two masterminds who can’t hope to surpass the other’s technical precision and have to bluff, gamble, and predict moves ahead of time to pull off a win.

I suppose that a lot of e-sports boil down to mind games as a sort of maximum skill level is reached. The glory of Starcraft II is that reaching that threshold is so difficult even many of the pros in the global finals succumb to error in basic techniques and strategy. That was not the case this weekend with TaeJa and Life, and that is what made this series my favorite at BlizzCon 2014.

And lastly, for those of you who were actually watching yesterday, what did you think of Metallica? I had a lot of fun on IRC during the closing ceremonies trash talking Lars, predicting what song would come next, and blabbering about metal in general. How did this band selection rank for you in the annals of BlizzCon closing ceremonies? Blizzard have offered a lot of variety in their selections over the years. From the somewhat genre-appropriate (Metallica), to the big ticket, high-budget rock sensation (Foo Fighters), to the bottom-barrel (Blind-182), to the in-house absurd (Lvl 80 Tauren Chieftain), we’ve seen a lot. Is it enough? Blizzard is all about nerd aggro. It is the heart and soul of their ethos. I’ve long thought a fantasy-oriented power metal band would be the best choice to reflect that. Even if most of the spectators had never heard of Blind Guardian before, you know they would bring the house down. Amon Amarth, Dethklok, Iced Earth, Iron Maiden, and Rhapsody of Fire were some of the other names that got dropped. Of course the most popular choice for a future BlizzCon was GWAR.

This will be my last post on BlizzCon 2014. Thanks for reading! Here are links to my previous entries:

BlizzCon 2014: Day 1 Recap, Cinematics & Gameplay

BlizzCon 2014: “Overwatch Unveiled”

BlizzCon 2014: Opening Ceremony, Overwatch Announced as New Franchise

BlizzCon 2014: Rumors and Speculations