Film Review: The Kitchen (dir by Andrea Berloff)


Eh.  Who cares?

I mean, seriously, do you understand what I mean?  Sometimes, you just see a film that leaves you feeling so indifferent that it’s a struggle to even think of anything to say about it.  That’s the way I feel about The Kitchen, which is neither bad enough to hatewatch nor good enough to recommend.  It’s a mediocre film, one that would be totally forgettable if not for a few remarkably inept choices made by the director and the cast.

Melissa McCarthy is Kathy Brennan.  Tiffany Haddish is Ruby O’Connell.  Elisabeth Moss is Claire Walsh.  The year is 1978 and all three of them live in the Hell’s Kitchen section of New York.  All three of them are also married to men who are involved with the Irish Mob.  When their husbands all get busted by the FBI and the new mob boss refuses to help the three women pay the bills, they team up and take over the neighborhood themselves.  With the help of their number one enforcer, Gabriel O’Malley (Domhnall Gleeson), the women prove that they can be even more ruthless than their husbands and their competitors.

And really, this should have been fun.  I’m all about girl power and I’m half-Irish.  If I was going to join the mob, I would definitely join the Irish Mob.  But, seriously, The Kitchen is not just a mess but it’s a dreadfully heavy-handed mess as well.  I knew that this film was going to suck as soon as James Brown started singing, “This is a man’s world,” over the opening credits because it was just such an obvious choice to go with.  To me, picking the song showed that the filmmakers weren’t really interested in giving too much thought to what the film was about.  Instead, they just said, “Hey, that’s a really on-the-nose choice!  Let’s go with it!”  About an hour later, Clare and Gabriel were making love while Carry On My Wayward Son blasted on the soundtrack and I found myself wondering if this film’s soundtrack was put together by listening to a random classic rock station and just jotting down the names of the first ten songs that were played.

Adding to the disappointing atmosphere of the film is a talented cast, everyone of whom appears to be acting in a different movie from everyone else.  Melissa McCarthy, for instance, gets all of the dramatic scenes but gives a comedic performance, one that feels like it’s been assembled from outtakes of the “awkward humor” bits of Ghostbusters.  Tiffany Haddish is ruthless but it’s a very one-note type of ruthlessness.  It gets boring after a while.  Elisabeth Moss gives the best performance out of the three but her character often seems to be pushed to the side.  Once Claire starts threatening to shoot people, you can tell that the film doesn’t know what to do with her.

You also have to feel bad for the supporting cast, all of whom deserve better than this film.  Annabella Sciorra plays a Mafia wife who walks up to the women in the middle of the street and tells them that they’re just like Gloria Steinem and, when she shows up, you can’t help but think that Sciorra would have been a better pick for the role of Kathy than Melissa McCarthy.  Then Common shows up as an FBI agent because, for some reason, Common always plays a member of law enforcement in films like this.  Margo Matindale gets a few good scenes as an Irish mafia matriarch but her character disappears from the film far too quickly.

It’s a mess of a film.  Kathy, Ruby, and Claire’s rise to power happens too abruptly to be credible and none of the subsequent betrayals make much sense.  Appropriately, for a gangster film, it’s violent but the violence is so repetitive that it gets a little bit dull after a while.  None of the characters are really memorable enough for their subsequent deaths to generate much of a reaction.  An hour into the film, you just find yourself thinking, “Oh, hey, that dude’s dead now.  Yay, I guess.”  Much like Captain Marvel, The Kitchen often seems to only be interested in girl power as a way to disguise the fact that the script kind of sucks.  I kept waiting for one of the male gangsters to shout, “The ancient prophecy said that I will be defeated by no man!,” just so Melissa McCarthy could respond, “Yes …. by no man!” It didn’t happen but maybe they’ll get around to it in the sequel.

Here’s The Trailer For The Kitchen


The Kitchen, which will be coming out in August, is one of those films about which I am cautiously optimistic.

It’s about three women in 1970s New York.  Each one is married to a member of the Irish mafia.  When their husbands all end up getting arrested by the FBI, the women take control of the rackets themselves.  This, of course, brings them into conflict with the old and patriarchal Italian mob.

It is it a comedy?  Well, it does star TIffany Haddish and Melissa McCarthy as two of the of the wives.  However, though they both may be thought of as being primarily comedic actresses, Haddish is a critical favorite right now and McCarthy has two Oscar nominations despite the fact that she’s appeared in some truly terrible movies over the past few years.  Both of them have proven that they can handle drama just as well as comedy.

So, is this a drama?  Well, as you can see in the trailer below, it does appear to feature Elisabeth Moss falling in love with violence.  In fact, the trailer features a few people getting killed but it also appears to take a rather jaunty approach to all the death.  “Oh look!  He’s sitting on the toilet and he got shot!”

So, I’m going to guess that this film is going to try to balance both comedy and drama.  That approach, when it works, can lead to wonderful things.  And when it doesn’t work …. well, let’s not even think about it.

I will say this — the trailer’s glimpse of 42nd Street is gorgeous!

Anyway, here’s the trailer for Widows …. I mean, The Kitchen:

Lisa Marie’s Oscar Predictions for December


Well, it’s that time of the month!

It’s time for me to post my Oscar predictions.  With precursor season in full swing, the Oscar picture has become a lot clearer.

If you want to see how my thinking has evolved over the year, be sure to check out my predictions of January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, and November!

Also, keep in mind — these are not necessarily my picks for the best of the year.  I’ll be posting those during the second week of January.  Instead, these predictions are based on the precursor awards and just my own guesses based on the Academy’s past picks.

Best Picture

BlackKklansman

Black Panther

The Favourite

Green Book

If Beale Street Could Talk

Roma

A Star is Born

Vice

Best Director

Ryan Coogler for Black Panther

Bradley Cooper for A Star is Born

Alfonso Cuaron for Roma

Yorgos Lanthimos for The Favourite

Adam McKay for Vice

Best Actor

Christian Bale in Vice

Bradley Cooper in A Star is Born

Ethan Hawke in First Reformed

Rami Malek in Bohemian Rhapsody

Viggo Mortensen in Green Book

Best Actress

Yalitza Aparicio in Roma

Glenn Close in The Wife

Olivia Colman in The Favourite

Lady Gaga in A Star is Born

Melissa McCarthy in Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Best Supporting Actor

Mahershala Ali in Green Book

Timothee Chalamet in Beautiful Boy

Sam Elliott in A Star is Born

Richard E. Grant in Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Michael B. Jordan in Black Panther

Best Supporting Actress

Amy Adams in Vice

Regina King in If Beale Street Could Talk

Thomasin McKenzie in Leave No Trace

Emma Stone in The Favourite

Rachel Weisz in The Favourite

 

The Phoenix Critics Circle Lifts The Favourite Out Of The Ashes


On Sunday, the Phoenix Critics Circle announced their picks for the best of 2018 and The Favourite was their favorite!

Click here for a full list of nominees and check out the winners below!

BEST PICTURE
The Favourite

BEST COMEDY FILM
Eighth Grade

BEST SCIENCE FICTION FILM
Annihilation

BEST HORROR FILM
Hereditary

BEST ANIMATED FILM
Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
Roma

BEST DOCUMENTARY
Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

BEST MOVIE BASED ON A COMIC BOOK OR GRAPHIC NOVEL
Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse

BEST ACTOR
Ethan Hawke, First Reformed

BEST ACTRESS
Melissa McCarthy, Can You Ever Forgive Me?

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Richard E Grant, Can You Ever Forgive Me?

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Regina King, If Beale Street Could Talk

BEST DIRECTOR
Alfonso Cuarón, Roma

BEST SCREENPLAY
Deborah Davis & Tony McNamara, The Favourite

BEST SCORE
Nicholas Britell, If Beale Street Could Talk

Here Are The 2018 Houston Film Critics Society Nominations!


Finally, the only state that matters is starting to make it’s voice heard in this year’s Oscar race!

On Sunday, the Houston Film Critics Society announced their nominations for the best of 2018.  Houston really, really liked both The Favourite and If Beale Street Could Talk.  The winners will be announced on January 3rd.

Here are the nominees!

Best Picture
A Star is Born
Black Panther
BlacKkKlansman
Eighth Grade
If Beale Street Could Talk
The Favourite
First Reformed
Green Book
Hereditary
Roma
Vice

Best Director
Bradley Cooper, A Star is Born
Alfonso Cuaron, Roma
Barry Jenkins, If Beale Street Could Talk
Yorgos Lanthimos, The Favourite
Adam McKay, Vice

Best Actor
Christian Bale, Vice
Bradley Cooper, A Star is Born
Ethan Hawke, First Reformed
Rami Malek, Bohemian Rhapsody
Viggo Mortensen, Green Book

Best Actress
Glenn Close, The Wife
Toni Collette, Hereditary
Olivia Colman, The Favourite
Lady Gaga, A Star is Born
Melissa McCarthy, Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Best Supporting Actor
Mahershala Ali, Green Book
Timothee Chalamet, Beautiful Boy
Adam Driver, BlacKkKlansman
Richard E. Grant, Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Michael B. Jordan, Black Panther

Best Supporting Actress
Amy Adams, Vice
Claire Foy, First Man
Regina King, If Beale Street Could Talk
Emma Stone, The Favourite
Rachel Weisz, The Favourite

Best Screenplay
Bo Burnham, Eighth Grade
Deborah Davis & Tony McNamara, The Favourite
Paul Schrader, First Reformed
Barry Jenkins, If Beale Street Could Talk
Adam McKay, Vice

Best Cinematography
Rachel Morrison, Black Panther
Linus Sandgren, First Man
Robbie Ryan, The Favourite
James Laxton, If Beale Street Could Talk
Alfonso Cuaron, Roma

Best Animated Film
Incredibles 2
Isle of Dogs
Mirai
Ralph Breaks the Internet
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Best Original Score
Ludwig Göransson, Black Panther
Justin Hurwitz, First Man
Nicholas Britell, If Beale Street Could Talk
Alexandre Desplat, Isle of Dogs
Thom Yorke, Suspiria

Best Original Song
“All the Stars,” Black Panther
“Ashes,” Deadpool 2
“Hearts Beat Loud,” Hearts Beat Loud
“Revelation,” Boy Erased
“Shallow,” A Star is Born

Best Foreign Language Film
Burning
Border
Cold War
Roma
Shoplifters

Best Documentary Feature
Free Solo
Minding the Gap
RBG
Three Identical Strangers
Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

Texas Independent Film Award
1985
An American in Texas
The Standoff at Sparrow Creek
Support the Girls
Tejano

Visual Effects
Black Panther
First Man
Mission: Impossible – Fallout

Best Poster
BlacKkKlansman (two)
Mandy
Suspiria (two)

Best Worst Film of the Year
The 15:17 to Paris
The Happytime Murders
Life Itself
Peppermint
Venom

The Boston Society Of Film Critics Honors If Beale Street Could Talk and Lynne Ramsay!


Earlier today, the Boston Society of Film Critics announced their picks for the best of 2018.  Along with selecting If Beale Street Could Talk as best picture, they also gave best director to You Were Never Really Here‘s Lynne Ramsay.

Best Film: If Beale Street Could Talk
Runner-up: Shoplifters

Best Director: Lynne Ramsay (You Were Never Really Here)
Runner-up: Yorgos Lanthimos (The Favourite)

Best Actor: John C. Reilly (Stan & Ollie)
Runner-up: Ethan Hawke (First Reformed)

Best Actress: Melissa McCarthy (Can You Ever Forgive Me?)
Runner-up: Sakura Ando (Shoplifters)

Best Supporting Actor: Richard E. Grant (Can You Ever Forgive Me?)
Runners-up (tie): Brian Tyree Henry (If Beale Street Could Talk) and Steven Yeun (Burning)

Best Supporting Actress: Regina King (If Beale Street Could Talk)
Runner-up: J. Smith-Cameron (Nancy)

Best Ensemble: Shoplifters
Runner-up: The Favourite

Best Screenplay: Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty (Can You Ever Forgive Me?)
Runner-up: Tamara Jenkins (Private Life)

Best Documentary: Won’t You Be My Neighbor?
Runner-up: Three Identical Strangers

Best Animated Film: Isle of Dogs
Runner-up: Ralph Breaks the Internet

Best Foreign Language Film: Shoplifters
Runner-up: Cold War

Best New Filmmaker: Bo Burnham (Eighth Grade)
Runner-up: Ari Aster (Hereditary)

Best Cinematography: Alfonso Cuarón (ROMA)
Runner-up: Lukasz Zal (Cold War)

Best Editing: Tom Cross (First Man)
Runner-up: Bob Murawski and Orson Welles (The Other Side of the Wind)

Best Original Score: Nicholas Britell (If Beale Street Could Talk)
Runner-up: Justin Hurwitz (First Man) and Jonny Greenwood (You Were Never Really Here)

The Vancouver Film Critics Circle Announce Their Nominations For The Best of 2018!


On Friday, the Vancouver Film Critics Circle announced their nominations for the best of 2018!

Best Picture
The Favourite
First Reformed
Roma

Best Actor, Male
Ethan Hawke, First Reformed
Viggo Mortensen, Green Book
Christian Bale, Vice

Best Actor, Female
Melissa McCarthy, Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Olivia Colman, The Favourite
Regina Hall, Support the Girls

Best Supporting Actor, Male
Mahershala Ali, Green Book
Peter Bogdanovich, The Other Side of the Wind
Richard E. Grant, Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Steven Yeun, Burning

Best Supporting Actor, Female
Rachel Weisz, The Favourite
Emma Stone, The Favourite
Claire Foy, First Man

Best Director
Yorgos Lanthimos, The Favourite
Paul Schrader, First Reformed
Alfonso Cuarón, Roma

Best Screenplay
Bo Burnham, Eighth Grade
Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara, The Favourite
Paul Schrader, First Reformed

Best Foreign Language Film
Burning
Roma
Shoplifters

Best Documentary
Free Solo
Minding the Gap
Won’t You Be My Neighbor?