Here’s The Teaser for Mother!


Here’s the teaser for Mother!  The full trailer drops on the 8th.

No one seems to be really sure what Mother! is about.  It appears to be a horror/thriller sort of thing but, with Darren Aronofsky directing, it’s safe to assume that there will be all sorts of layers of meaning.  Along with starring Jennifer Lawrence (who, after Joy and Passengers, could really use a movie that’s worthy of her talents), Mother! also features Javier Bardem, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Ed Harris.  Judging by how the majority of this teaser goes out of it’s way to portray Jennifer Lawrence as being isolated in a big house, I wouldn’t be surprised to discover that Bardem, Pfieffer, and Harris all plays figments of Lawrence’s imagination.

Who knows?  We’ll find out on September 15th!

The San Diego Film Critics Society Pick The Best of 2016 Come Hell or High Water!


hell-or-high-water

The San Diego Film Critics Society announced their picks for the best of 2016 earlier today and guess what?  They did not give best picture to Moonlight.  They did not give best picture to La La Land (though it did come in second in the voting).  They didn’t even give best picture to Manchester By The Sea.

No — San Deigo gave best picture to Hell or High Water!

Here’s the rest of the winners from San Diego:

Best Picture: HELL OR HIGH WATER
Runner Up: LA LA LAND

Best Director: David Mackenzie, HELL OR HIGH WATER
Runner Up: Damien Chazelle, LA LA LAND

Best Actor, Male: Casey Affleck, MANCHESTER BY THE SEA
Runner Up: Viggo Mortensen, CAPTAIN FANTASTIC

Best Actor, Female: Sonia Braga, AQUARIUS
Runner Up: Emma Stone, LA LA LAND

Best Supporting Actor, Male – Tied: Ben Foster, HELL OR HIGH WATER & Mahershala Ali, MOONLIGHT

Best Supporting Actor, Female: Michelle Williams, MANCHESTER BY THE SEA
Runner Up: Judy Davis, THE DRESSMAKER

Best Comedic Performance: Ryan Gosling, THE NICE GUYS
Runner Up: Alden Ehrenreich, HAIL, CAESAR!

Best Ensemble: HELL OR HIGH WATER
Runner Up: HIDDEN FIGURES

Breakthrough Artist: Lily Gladstone, CERTAIN WOMEN
Runner Up: Lucas Hedges, MANCHESTER BY THE SEA

Best Original Screenplay: Taylor Sheridan, HELL OR HIGH WATER
Runner Up: Efthimis Filippou, Yorgos Lanthimos, THE LOBSTER

Best Adapted Screenplay: Whit Stillman, LOVE & FRIENDSHIP
Runner Up: Taika Waititi, HUNT FOR THE WILDERPEOPLE

Best Documentary: WEINER
Runner Up: GLEASON

Best Animated Film: KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS
Runner Up: APRIL AND THE EXTRAORDINARY WORLD

Best Foreign Language Film: MOUNTAINS MAY DEPART
Runners Up – Tied: MOTHER (EMA), NERUDA

Best Editing: Blu Murray, SULLY
Runner Up: Joan Sobel, NOCTURNAL ANIMALS

Best Cinematography: Giles Nuttgens, HELL OR HIGH WATER
Runners Up – Tied: James Laxton, MOONLIGHT, Linus Sandgren, LA LA LAND

Best Production Design: HAIL, CAESER! 
Runner Up: LA LA LAND

Best Visual Effects: THE JUNGLE BOOK
Runner Up: ARRIVAL

Best Costume Design: Mary Zophres, LA LA LAND
Runner Up: Madeline Fontaine, JACKIE

Best Use of Music in a Film: SING STREET
Runners Up – Tied: JACKIE, LA LA LAND

Body of Work: Michael Shannon – NOCTURNAL ANIMALS, MIDNIGHT SPECIAL, LOVING, ELVIS & NIXON

VGM Entry 36: Mother, Batman, Goemon


VGM Entry 36: Mother, Batman, Goemon
(Thanks to Tish at FFShrine for the banner)

A lot of solid Nintendo soundtracks were released in 1989, and I can’t touch on all of them, but here are a few other noteworthies I can’t justify passing over.

Ganbare Goemon 2 (Konami, 1989) added a lot to the sound of the original 1986 Goemon titles (Legend of the Mystical Ninja series in the west), maintaining the same style but adding a percussion track and much more complimentary and varied tone selections. I’ve not managed to find a satisfactory answer as to who composed it though. Tomoya Tomita, Koji Murata, and Michiru Yamane have all been credited here an there without any explanation as to their different rolls, and I’m pretty sure at least the latter two were definitely involved in some capacity, but I can’t be sure.

Konami has a long history of botching the names of their video games, and the Goemon series is no exception. For instance, I have seen sites unattentively list authorship credits as: “Goemon: Satoko Miyawaki. Goemon 2: Michiru Yamane”. But not only was there no game in the Goemon series actually titled Goemon or Ganbare Goemon, there were two games titled Ganbare Goemon 2. Different sub-titles sort this out, but I don’t trust the creators of massive composer compilation lists to have attentively adhered to this.

In so far as the original Mr. Goemon was released on arcade and the third Ganbare Goemon title was an MSX port of the first NES game (I’m not sure why it’s listed separately), calling the 1989 instalment Ganbare Goemon 2 was a fair move. The confusion in this instance did not arise until Konami decided to release Ganbare Goemon 2: Kiteretsu Shogun Magginesu in 1993. (If you add them all up, the second “Goemon 2” was the tenth Goemon video game.)

At any rate, you’re hearing Ganbare Goemon 2, no subtitle, and it was released in 1989. Enjoy.

Nobuyuki Hara and Naoki Kodaka composed Batman (Sunsoft, 1989) in the wake of Mega Man 2, when the bar for NES action game soundtracks was through the roof. I certainly don’t think it’s as good as Takashi Tateishi’s historic work, but it demands an honorable mention. Its most famous track, first in this compilation, feels straight out of a Castlevania game, whereas the second song here kicks off with more of a Mega Man vibe. All the while it is consistently driven by a forceful bass which really best defines the soundtrack. It is in large part the consequence of Hara and Kodaka landing on highly complimentary bass and drum tones which seem to mutually emphasize each other. The bass track is also much more complex in a lot of these songs than was typical for Nintendo music, and the dark, punchy vibe is perfectly suited for a Batman-themed action game.

Similarly, the frequent employment of Castlevania-style melodies is less a ripoff than a completely appropriate sound for the game. I mean, it could be a total coincidence that they sound alike at all. What is our hero here supposed to be again? Oh yeah, a bat.

Or it could be the case that Hara and Kodaka were avid fans of contemporary video game musicians and incorporated the best of every world with conscious intent. A lot of amazing works have derived from calculated stylistic fusions, and I would not rule out either possibility.

And then there is Mother (Nintendo, 1989). If you ever played Earthbound on the SNES, its music is etched into your memory whether you like it or not. Earthbound was the sequel, and Mother has still yet to be released outside of Japan today. I was a cool little middle school computer nerd who managed to get his hands on a fan-translated ROM, but having succeeded in acquiring it, I promptly lost all interest in actually playing it. It’s a shame, because now I am completely perplexed as to how these two games overlapped. The gameplay is literally identical to the SNES sequel, and I’m not wholly convinced that the plot is not as well. Likewise, quite a number of the songs of Earthbound first appear in Mother, including a lot of the battle themes. Keiichi Suzuki and Hirokazu Tanaka remained partners for both titles, and there is hardly any break where one lets off and the other begins. The original was certainly one of the most unique compositions on the Nintendo, but the same can be said for its sequel on the SNES despite the music really not changing much.

This compilation is really one of garudoh’s weaker efforts, and I can’t easily provide you with many alternatives, so I may leave most of the Mother discussion for Earthbound when I get to it.

But on a final note, here is one of the revisited battle themes in its original form, just to give you an idea of how effective Keiichi Suzuki and Hirokazu Tanaka’s drum and bass emphasis was even on a system as limited as the NES.

Top 25 Films of 2010


I’ve been slacking off about getting this particular list down and posted, but with film news being quite slow outside of Oscar-related items I thought it was time to get my lazy ass to get this done. Some of the titles I’ll mention are favorite films of 2010 for me while others only made it onto the list not because I liked or even enjoyed them, but they were just well-executed and made.

A couple of the titles I’ve listed also made their premiere’s in their home country earlier than 2010, but it wasn’t until this past year that they were shown here in the U.S. thus it qualifies as a 2010 for me. For those who have seen the very final title on my list should know that this is one title that I definitely didn’t find entertaining at all, but found it to be as daring and as subversive as another film made decades before it which received similar negative reactions from many: Pier Paolo Pasolini’s Salo.

  1. Black Swan
  2. True Grit
  3. Inception
  4. Restrepo
  5. Winter’s Bone
  6. The Fighter
  7. The King’s Speech
  8. Kick-Ass
  9. The Last Exorcism
  10. Animal Kingdom
  11. Un prophète
  12. Lebanon
  13. Let Me In
  14. Despicable Me
  15. The Social Network
  16. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
  17. Toy Story 3
  18. Waiting for Superman
  19. How To Train Your Dragon
  20. The Town
  21. Mesrine
  22. Mother
  23. Carlos
  24. Blue Valentine
  25. A Serbian Film

If Lisa Marie Determined The Oscar Nominees…


With the Oscar nominations due to be announced this week, now seems like a good time to indulge in something I like to call “If Lisa Marie Had All The Power.”  Listed below are my personal Oscar nominations.  Please note that these are not the films that I necessarily think will be nominated.  The fact of the matter is that the majority of them will not.  Instead, these are the films that would be nominated if I was solely responsible for deciding the nominees this year.  Winners are listed in bold.

Best Picture

Animal Kingdom

Black Swan

Exit Through The Gift Shop

Fish Tank

Inception

The King’s Speech

Never Let Me Go

127 Hours

Somewhere

Winter’s Bone

Best Actor

Patrick Fabian in The Last Exorcism

Colin Firth in The King’s Speech

James Franco in 127 Hours

Andy Garcia in City Island

Ben Stiller in Greenberg

Best Actress

Katie Jarvis in Fish Tank

Jennifer Lawrence in Winter’s Bone

Natalie Portman in Black Swan

Noomi Rapace in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

Emma Stone in Easy A

Best Supporting Actor

Christian Bale in The Fighter

Aaron Eckhardt in Rabbit Hole

Andrew Garfield in Never Let Me Go

John Hawkes in Winter’s Bone

Ben Mendelsohn in Animal Kingdom



Best Supporting Actress

Elle Fanning in Somewhere

Rebecca Hall in Please Give

Chloe Grace Moretz in Kick-Ass

Hailee Steinfeld in True Grit

Jacki Weaver in Animal Kingdom

(That’s right, everyone.  It’s a tie between the youngest nominee and the oldest nominee.  Don’t you just love the Oscars?)

Best Director

Andrea Arnold for Fish Tank

Darren Aronofsky for Black Swan

Danny Boyle for 127 Hours

Sofia Coppola for Somewhere

Christopher Nolan for Inception

Best Original Screenplay

Animal Kingdom

Black Swan

Fish Tank

Inception

The King’s Speech

Best Adapted Screenplay

Never Let Me Go

127 Hours

Rabbit Hole

Toy Story 3

Winter’s Bone

Best Editing

Black Swan

Exit Through the Gift Shop

Inception

127 Hours

Somewhere

Best Cinematography

Black Swan

Somewhere

True Grit

Twelve

Winter’s Bone

Best Art Direction

Black Swan

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part One

Inception

The King’s Speech

Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World

Best Sound Mixing

Black Swan

Inception

Secretariat

Stone

Toy Story 3

Best Sound Editing

The Expendables

Inception

Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World

Secretariat

Toy Story 3

Best Costume Design

Black Swan

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part One

Robin Hood

The Wolf Man

Best Original Score

Black Swan

Inception

Machete

127 Hours

Tron: Legacy

(Yes, I know that the Academy has ruled that the original score for Black Swan is not eligible to be nominated.  However, these are my nominations and I make the rules.)

Best Visual Effects

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part One

Inception

Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World

Splice

Tron: Legacy

Best Makeup

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part One

Let Me In

127 Hours

Splice

The Wolf Man

Best Song 

“Better Days” from Eat Pray Love

“Bound Together” from Burlesque

“Dear Laughing Doubters” from Dinner For Schmucks

“Sticks and Stones” from How To Train Your Dragon

“You Haven’t Seen The Last of Me” from Burlesque

Best Documentary Feature

Best Worst Movie

Exit Through the Gift Shop

Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work

Restrepo

Winnebago Man

Best Animated Feature

How To Train Your Dragon

A Town Called Panic

Toy Story 3

(Again, I am aware that the Academy ruled that A Town Called Panic isn’t eligible and again, I don’t care.)

Best Foreign Language Film

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (Sweden)

Mother (South Korea)

OSS 117 – Lost in Rio (France)

Police, Adjective (Romania)

A Prophet (France)

(While the Academy considers one submission per country for this award, I’m simply using it to recognize the best foreign language film released in the U.S. last year.  Or, at least, the best one that I got a chance to see.)

So, since I love lists, here’s a final tally of films by nominations:

10 Nominations — Black Swan

9 Nominations — Inception

7 Nominations — 127 Hours

5 Nominations — Somewhere, Winter’s Bone

4 Nominations — Animal Kingdom, Fish Tank, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, The King’s Speech, Toy Story 3

3 Nominations — Exit Through The Gift Shop, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, Never Let Me Go, Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World

2 Nominations — Burlesque, How To Train Your Dragon, Rabbit Hole, Secretariat, Splice, Tron: Legacy, True Grit, The Wolf Man

1 Nomination — Best Worst Movie, City Island, Dinner For Schmucks, Easy A, Eat Pray Love, The Expendables, The Fighter, Greenberg, Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work, Kick-Ass, The Last Exorcism, Machete, Mother, OSS 117 — Lost in Rio, Please Give, Police, Adjective, A Prophet, Restrepo, Robin Hood, Stone, A Town Called Panic, Twelve, Winnebago Man

0 Nominations — The Social Network

And lastly, here’s a tally by imaginary Oscars won:

5 Oscars — Black Swan

2 Oscars — Toy Story 3

1 Oscar — Animal Kingdom, Burlesque, Exit Through The Gift Shop, Fish Tank, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Inception, Never Let Me Go, 127 Hours, Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, Somewhere, Tron: Legacy, Twelve, Winter’s Bone, The Wolf Man

0 Oscars — The Social Network

(One final note: A big thank you to my sister, Erin Nicole Bowman, who created the banners used in this post.)

Who the Hell Are These People?


With the Golden Globe nominations set to be announced on Tuesday, I figured now would be a good time to recap which films and performances have already been honored by the various critics groups. 

One thing that I discovered as I researched this is that there are a lot of critics groups out there!   I don’t know who half these people are and most of them probably won’t have any bearing at all on who is actually nominated come Oscar time.  But since I’m a lover of trivia and lists, there you go.

The following films and performances were honored by either The National Board of Review, the D.C. Film Critics, the Boston Society of Film Critics, The New York Film Critics Online,The Los Angeles Film Critics, The Indiana Film Journalists, The Southeastern Film Critics, The New York Film Critics Circle, or the San Francisco Film Critics.

Best Picture:

The Social Network (All.  That’s right, it’s a clean sweep for an above average film.)

Best Director:

Darren Aronofsky for Black Swan (S.F)

Olivier Assayas for Carlos (LAFC)

David Fincher for The Social Network (BSFC, DC, NBR, NYFCC, NYFCO, SEFC, S.F.)

Christopher Nolan for Inception (IFJ)

Best Actor:

Jesse Eisenberg (BSFC, NBR)

Colin Firth for The King’s Speech (DC, LAFC, NYFCC, SEFC, S.F.)

James Franco for 127 Hours (IFJ, NYFCO)

Best Actress:

Annette Bening for The Kids Are All Right (NYFCC)

Kim Hye-ja for Mother (LAFC)

Jennifer Lawrence for Winter’s Bone (DC)

Lesley Manville for Another Year (NBR)

Natalie Portman for Black Swan (BSFC, IFJ, NYFCO, SEFC)

Michelle Williams for Blue Valentine (S.F.)

Best Supporting Actor:

Niels Arestrup for A Prophet (LAFC)

Christian Bale for The Fighter (BSFC, DC, IFJ, NBR, NYFCO)

John Hawkes for Winter’s Bone (S.F.)

Mark Ruffalo for The Kids Are All Right (NYFCC)

Geoffrey Rush for The King’s Speech (SEFC)

Best Supporting Actress:

Melissa Leo for The Fighter (DC, NYFCC, NYFCO)

Juliette Lewis for Conviction (BSFC)

Hailee Steinfeld for True Grit (IFJ, SEFC)

Jacki Weaver for Animal Kingdom (LAFC, NBR, S.F.)

Best Documentary:

Exit Through The Gift Shop (DC, IFJ, NYFCO)

The Inside Job (NYFCC, SEFC)

Last Train Home (LAFC)

Marwencol (BSFC)

The Tillman Story (S.F.)

Waiting For Superman (NBR)

Best Animated Feature:

How To Train Your Dragon (IFJ)

The Illusionist (NYFCC)

Toy Story 3 (BSFC, DC, LAFC, NBR, NYFCO, SEFC, S.F.)

Best Adapted Screenplay:

The Social Network (BSFC, DC, IFJ, LAFC, NYFCO, SEFC, S.F.)

Best Original Screenplay:

Inception (DC)

The Kids Are All Right (NYFCC)

The Kings Speech (SEFC, S.F.)

  

The L.A. Film Critics Have Spoken


A whole lot of critics’ groups announced their picks for the best films and performances of the year today and the New York Film Critics are voting as I type.  I’m on lunch from work right now so a full list will have to wait until later tonight.  For now, I’m just going to share the choices made by the Los Angeles Film Critics.  The L.A. Critics are one of the big three as far as critics groups are concerned. 

As I’ve said before, I think professional film critics are overrated but I just love awards.  And, of course, all of these December awards tend to serve as a precursor for who and what will receive Oscar nominations next year.  At their best, these groups can remind Academy voters of films and performances that they might otherwise overlook.  Certainly, if Jacki Weaver receives a deserved nomination for Animal Kingdom, it’ll be largely due to organizations like the National Board of Review and the L.A. Film Critics.

Anyway, since my time is limited, I’m going to simply post the winners and then add a few comments on my own.

PICTURE:

  • “The Social Network”
  • Runner-up: “Carlos”

DIRECTOR:

  • Olivier Assayas, “Carlos,” and David Fincher, “The Social Network” (tie)

ACTOR:

  • Colin Firth, “The King’s Speech”
  • Runner-up: Edgar Ramirez, “Carlos”

ACTRESS:

  • Kim Hye-ja, “Mother”
  • Runner-up:  Jennifer Lawrence, “Winter’s Bone”

SUPPORTING ACTOR:

  • Niels Arestrup, “A Prophet”
  • Runner-up: Geoffrey Rush, “The King’s Speech”

SUPPORTING ACTRESS:

  • Jacki Weaver, “Animal Kingdom”
  • Runner-up: Olivia Williams, “The Ghost Writer”

SCREENPLAY:

  • Aaron Sorkin, “The Social Network”
  • Runner-up: David Seidler, “The King’s Speech”

 

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM:

  • “Carlos”
  • Runner-up: “Mother”

ANIMATION:

  • “Toy Story 3″
  • Runner-up: “The Illusionist”

DOCUMENTARY / NON-FICTION FILM:

  • “Last Train Home”
  • Runner-up: “Exit Through the Gift Shop”

CINEMATOGRAPHY:

  • Matthew Libatique, “Black Swan”
  • Runner-up: Roger Deakins, “True Grit”

MUSIC/SCORE:

  • Alexandre Desplat, “The Ghost Writer,” and  Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, “The Social Network” (tie)

PRODUCTION DESIGN:

  • Guy Hendrix Dyas, “Inception”
  • Runner-up: Eve Stewart, “The King’s Speech”

NEW GENERATION:

  • Lena Dunham, “Tiny Furniture”

DOUGLAS E. EDWARDS INDEPENDENT/EXPERIMENTAL FILM/VIDEO:

  • “Film Socialism”

LEGACY OF CINEMA AWARDS:

  • Serge Bromberg, “Henri-Georges Clouzot’s Inferno,” and the F.W. Murnau Foundation and Fernando Pena for the restoration of “Metropolis”

CAREER ACHIEVEMENT:

  • Paul Mazursky

The main news here, I guess, is just how well foreign language films did in the voting.  I haven’t seen Carlos and seeing as how I’m basically in fly-over country, I doubt I’ll get a chance to see it before the Oscar nominations are announced.  I do have Mother on DVD and I’m going to watch it sometime before the start of the new year.  It’s also nice to see some attention being given to A Prophet.

Obviously, I’m disappointed not to see more love for Black Swan but I guess it’s to be expected as Black Swan is one of those films that people either love madly or hate with a passion.  I think that’s why The Social Network will win big at the Oscars this year.  It’s well-made and offensive only if you’re 1) female or 2) Mark Zuckerberg.