RAMPAGE – Review by Case Wright, ALT Title – The Video Game Movie Curse Is Broken by Dwayne’s Awesome Arms!


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I thoroughly enjoyed this film!! Why? Because it’s a Dwayne Johnson movie.  He’s an actor, a brand, and you know what you’re going to get.  EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.  Did it have a couple of slow moments?  Yep.  Were the characters, especially the villains, one dimensional or 8-Bit?  Sure.  But, so what? Rampage is fun and sometimes it’s great to take a bath in nostalgia and see some shit blow up.

A Dwayne Johnson movie is really a sub-genre all its very own.  I won’t compare it to other movies.  His movies are also fun because we just like Dwayne Johnson so much as a Man that we feel like he’s a friend.  It becomes reflexive that we hear Dwayne Johnson has a movie out, it’s as if one of our friends just made one.  I told a guy at work that I was going to see a Dwayne Johnson movie, he knew exactly what I meant, and he referred to Dwayne Johnson as a National Treasure.  Yes, we’re now getting married in the fall and are registered at Pottery Barn.

I played Rampage when I was a wee bairn.  In fact, with the help of my friend Robbie, we stayed up all night and destroyed the whole country. Congratulations! I, like every boy in the Y-Generation, was excited for this film.  Sidenote: sorry everyone, Millenials are no more, you’ve been folded into Y, but take heart – “Even children get older, I’m gettin older …too.”

An Evil Corporation, run ostensibly by Ivanka Trump and her Generic Trump brother, create a virus that mutate ordinary animals into genetically spliced super-creatures that run amok.  That’s it- that’s the plot- and like the video game upon which it was based, Rampage the Film is beautifully Wabi Sabi.

The film begins with The Rock who is closed off from people because after seeing their terrible acts in war and poaching, he just can’t let them in. *sniff*  The Rock’s best friend is George- an albino gorilla- who can sign.  Soon, the Trump family look alikes’ experiment accidentally infects George, a wolf, a crocodile, and a partridge in a pear tree. The Partridge Monster doesn’t actually destroy anything, but he blatantly re-gifts Christmas presents; therefore, he’s the worst monster of all because he destroys your self-esteem.

George, the wolf, and crocodile get BIGGER, the government – embodied by Jeffrey Dean Morgan- try to stop the monsters, but can’t.  Jeffrey becomes an ally of The Rock, helping him along the way with helicopter keys, air strikes, and lending him his edger so The Rock can really make his lawn POP for barbecue season.  The Trumps put out a signal to draw the monsters to Chicago, hoping they’ll kill each other off.  The Trumps hope that they’ll be able to take a sample of the monster flesh, replicate it, and sell it to whomever.  It doesn’t go well.  The monsters go nuts.  I’m not going to spoil anything.  Needless to say, the last 40 minutes of the film are amazingly satisfying.

Congratulations! Dwayne you’ve done it! The Video Game Curse is Broken.

 

Lisa Marie’s Thoughts On The Oscar Nominations


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Okay, I’ve had plenty of time to think about today’s Oscar nominations and now I’m ready to share my thoughts.  Obviously, my picks were a lot different from what the Academy selected.  That’s okay.  That’s the way it goes every year.  I don’t mind being a contrarian.

So, let’s take a look at what was nominated, category-by-category.

(If you need a refresher as to what was nominated, here’s a complete list of nominees!)

Best Live Action Short, Best Animated Short, Best Documentary Short: I’m sure that these three categories are full of wonderful nominees that were created by wonderful people but I don’t believe that I’ve seen a single one of them.  So, with that in mind, I can only imagine that the Academy did a perfect job selecting all 15 of these nominees!  Good work, Academy!

Best Foreign Language Film: Again, I have seen none of the nominees so I really can’t comment one way or another.  Normally, this would make me feel like a failure but I imagine that 90% of the people reading this post are in the same boat.  I imagine Toni Erdmann will win, just because of all the good things I’ve read about it.  But, since I haven’t actually seen any of the nominees, I will refrain from making any sort of prediction.

Best Documentary Feature: I’m disappointed that my favorite documentary, The Witness, was not nominated.  And, quite frankly, I’m shocked that Weiner was not nominated.  That said, I can’t complain about any of the documentaries that actually were nominated.  It was a good year for documentaries.  In fact, it could be argued that it was a better year for documentaries than for features.

Should Win: O.J.: Made in America

Will Win: 13th

Best Original Song: Not a single song from Sing Street was nominated and that is amazingly disappointing.  Original song can be surprising.  Remember last year when that terrible song from SPECTRE somehow won?  That said, I’m expecting that this year will see a huge sweep by La La Land and one of its nominated songs will probably win.

Should Win: Audition (The Fools Who Can Dream) from La La Land

Will Win: City of Stars from La La Land

Best Original Score: The Neon Demon deserved a nomination but I’m not surprised it was snubbed.  There’s no way the Academy was going to honor Nicholas Winding Refn’s subversive masterpiece.  La La Land is going to win this one easily.

Should Win: La La Land

Will Win: La La Land

Best Visual Effects: I was glad to see that Kubo and the Two Strings was nominated and I wish that Arrival had been nominated as well.  I’m going to go ahead and predict that Doctor Strange will be the first MCU film to win an Oscar.

Should Win: Doctor Strange

Will Win: Doctor Strange

Best Sound Editing and Best Sound Mixing: Let’s be honest.  I couldn’t explain the difference between sound editing and sound mixing and, unless you specifically work in the sound department, neither could you.  As a result, these categories are always difficult to predict.  But Hacksaw Ridge has to get some love somewhere and I bet it would happen here if not for La La Land.

Should Win (Both): Hacksaw Ridge

Will Win (Both): La La Land

Best Makeup and Hairstyling: As soon as I saw that Deadpool wasn’t nominated here, I knew it wouldn’t be nominated anywhere.  Can you believe that fucking Suicide Squad is now an Oscar nominee?  I haven’t seen A Man Called Ove but I’m going to predict its victory because I just can’t imagine the Academy honoring either Star Trek Beyond or Suicide Squad.

Should Win: Star Trek Beyond (that had good makeup in it, right?)

Will Win: A Man Called Ove

Best Film Editing: I can’t complain about any of the films nominated here.  La La Land is pretty much a guaranteed winner here.

Should Win: La La Land

Will Win: La La Land

Best Costume Design: I was shocked that Love & Friendship was not nominated.  If La La Land sweeps, it’ll win here.  When I made out my list of my personal picks for the Oscars, I gave the costuming Oscar to La La Land but now that I’m looking at the actual nominees, I’m remembering just how good everyone looked in Allied.

Should Win: Allied

Will Win: La La Land

Best Cinematography: My personal pick for this award was The Neon Demon but it wasn’t nominated.  Out of the nominated films, I would go with Moonlight but I think La La Land is going to sweep.

Should Win: Moonlight

Will Win: La La Land

Best Production Design: Well, it won’t be Passengers!  How the Hell did that get nominated for anything?  I think, of the nominees, Arrival deserves the award for making science fiction feel and look like science fact.  But, again, I think La La Land is going to win here.  (Are you sensing a theme in my predictions?)

Should Win: Arrival

Will Win: La La Land

Best Animated Feature: I was happy that Kubo and the Two Strings, Zootopia, and Moana were all nominated.  I haven’t seen The Red Turtle or My Life as a Zucchini but, on the whole, the Academy has a record of nominating the right films for this award.  I loved Kubo and I think it might win, just because it picked up that Visual Effects nomination as well.  Zootopia, however, would allow the Academy to make a political point and Moana has Lin-Manuel Miranda.  I’m going to go out on a limb and predict a Kubo victory but I wouldn’t be surprised if any of these five nominees won.

Should Win: Kubo and the Two Strings

Will Win: Zootopia Kubo and the Two Strings Moana Zootopia Kubo and the Two Strings

Best Adapted Screenplay: With La La Land likely to sweep the technical awards and Manchester By The Sea and Moonlight set to pick up some acting awards, this category will give the Academy a chance to acknowledge Arrival.

Should Win: Arrival

Will Win: Arrival

Best Original Screenplay: I think this is one of the few awards that La La Land will not win.  This category gives the Academy a chance to honor Hell or High Water.

Should Win: Hell or High Water

Will Win: Hell or High Water

Best Supporting Actress: Viola Davis is a guaranteed winner, even though her performance was a lead role.

Should Win: Naomie Harris, Moonlight

Will Win: Viola Davis, Fences

Best Supporting Actor: I was really happy to see that Michael Shannon got a nomination because Shannon is a great actor who always seems to be taken for granted.  That said, Mahershala Ali is almost as much of a lock as Viola Davis.

Should Win: Mahershala Ali, Moonlight

Will Win: Mahershala Ali, Moonlight

Best Actress: Let’s just get this out of the way.  Amy Adams not only deserved a nomination, she also deserved the Oscar.  Arrival works because of a twist that occurs halfway through the film.  The twist works because of Amy Adams’s performance.  If not for Amy Adams, Arrival would never have been nominated for best picture.  The fact that she was not nominated will be remembered as one of the biggest mistakes in Academy history.

This morning, I was happy to see that a lot of people on twitter agreed with me about the Amy Adams snub.  What took me by surprise was how many people also agreed with me that Meryl Streep essentially took a spot that should have been given to Amy Adams.  This morning, among other things, I discovered that there’s actually a growing backlash against the annual tradition of automatically nominating Meryl Streep, regardless of whether the film was any good or not.

Could Meryl win yet again?  It depends on whether or not the Academy wants to hear another Meryl Streep speech.  Given the political climate, I wouldn’t discount that as a possibility.  Since I’m on the subject and it’s possible that everyone stopped reading a few categories ago, I’m going to go ahead and admit my unpopular opinion.  While I’m definitely not a fan of the new President, Meryl’s Golden Globe speech felt like almost a parody of upper class white liberalism.  Listening to her, it was easy to imagine Meryl at a cocktail party, bragging about how she’s on a first name basis with her maid.

But, I’m in the minority as far as that opinion is concerned.  The Industry loved Meryl’s speech and, after Donald Trump’s overreaction to it, giving an Oscar to Meryl and giving her a chance to repeat the speech on a much bigger stage would be the perfect way to give the finger to the current administration.

That said, I think Emma Stone will be carried along in the La La Land sweep.  Whether justified or not, many members of the Academy will look at her character and see themselves.

Should Win: Amy Adams in Arrival (Yes, she wasn’t nominated but she should still win, goddammit.)

Will Win: Emma Stone in La La Land

Best Actor: Could anyone other than Casey Affleck win this one?  Denzel Washington is popular and giving him an Oscar for Fences would be a nice to way to reward all of the effort that he put into bringing this acclaimed play to the screen.  Affleck was sued for sexual harassment by a producer and a cinematogrpaher and ended up settling with both of them.  However, I doubt if it will stop him from winning the Oscar.  If the allegations were going to hurt Affleck’s chances, it would have happened long before now.

As for the nominees — well, I have no complaints.  While I wasn’t as impressed with Affleck’s performance as some, I think he did well enough. I would have liked to have seen either Sully‘s Tom Hanks or Hell or High Water‘s Chris Pine nominated.  I’m glad that Andrew Garfield picked up his first nomination.

Should Win: Denzel Washington, Fences

Will Win: Casey Affleck, Manchester By The Sea

Best Director: I’m going to go out on a limb and predict a minor upset.  I think La La Land is going to win in a lot of categories but I think that Moonlight‘s Barry Jenkins will win this Oscar.  Best Picture and Director have been split fairly regularly over the past few years and, after both the #OscarsSoWhite controversy and the 2016 presidential election, it may be felt that it’s time for a black director to finally win the Oscar.  Based on the skill shown in Whiplash and La La Land, Damien Chazelle will have other opportunities.

Should Win: Denis Villeneuve, Arrival

Will Win: Barry Jenkins, Moonlight

Best Picture: Though I don’t necessarily think it was one of the best films of the year, I would have loved it if Deadpool had actually scored a nomination.  It would have been an unexpected surprise and it would have shaken up a race that’s gotten rather predictable.

But no.  Deadpool received no nominations and the expected films were nominated.  Perhaps the only thing that could be considered surprising (though not that surprising)  was that Martin Scorsese’s passion project, Silence, was not only snubbed for best picture but also only picked up one nomination. Passengers picked up more nominations that Martin Scorsese’s latest film.  When it comes to total number of nominations, Silence is tired with Suicide Squad.

La La Land is going to win.  It’s probably going to win nearly all 14 of the Oscars it has been nominated for.  My pick for the best film of 2016 was American Honey.  Of the nominees, I think Arrival is the one that deserves to win.  But La La Land is an exuberant valentine to both the Academy and the industry.

La La Lands going to win.

Should Win: Arrival

Will Win: La La Land

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Here Are The Oscar Nominations!


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Here are the Oscar nominations.  La La Land tied Titanic’s record with 14 nominations and I’m going to predict right now that it’ll win nearly everything that it’s been nominated for.  Amy Adams was totally snubbed.  Meryl Streep was technically nominated for Florence Foster Jenkins but we all know it was actually for her Golden Globes speech.

I may have more to say about this later but until then, here are the noms:

Best Picture

  • “Arrival”
  • “Fences”
  • “Hacksaw Ridge”
  • “Hell or High Water”
  • “Hidden Figures”
  • “La La Land”
  • “Lion”
  • “Manchester by the Sea”
  • “Moonlight”

Best Director

  • Mel Gibson – “Hacksaw Ridge”
  • Kenneth Lonergan – “Manchester by the Sea”
  • Barry Jenkins – “Moonlight”
  • Denis Villeneuve – “Arrival”
  • Damien Chazelle – “La La Land”

Best Actor

  • Casey Affleck – “Manchester by the Sea”
  • Andrew Garfield – “Hacksaw Ridge”
  • Ryan Gosling – “La La Land”
  • Viggo Mortensen – “Captain Fantastic”
  • Denzel Washington – “Fences”

Best Actress

  • Isabelle Huppert – “Elle”
  • Ruth Negga – “Loving”
  • Natalie Portman – “Jackie”
  • Emma Stone – “La La Land”
  • Meryl Streep – “Florence Foster Jenkins”

Best Supporting Actor

  • Mahershala Ali – “Moonlight”
  • Jeff Bridges – “Hell or High Water”
  • Lucas Hedges – “Manchester by the Sea”
  • Dev Patel – “Lion”
  • Michael Shannon – “Nocturnal Animals”

Best Supporting Actress

  • Viola Davis – “Fences”
  • Naomie Harris – “Moonlight”
  • Nicole Kidman – “Lion”
  • Octavia Spencer – “Hidden Figures”
  • Michelle William – “Manchester by the Sea”

Best Original Screenplay

  • “20th Century Women”
  • “Hell or High Water”
  • “La La Land”
  • “The Lobster”
  • “Manchester by the Sea”

Best Adapted Screenplay

  • “Arrival”
  • “Fences”
  • “Hidden Figures”
  • “Lion”
  • “Moonlight”

Best Animated Feature

  • “Kubo and the Two Strings”
  • “Moana”
  • “My Life as a Zucchini”
  • “The Red Turtle”
  • “Zootopia”

Best Production Design

  • “Arrival”
  • “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”
  • “Hail, Caesar!”
  • “La La Land”
  • “Passengers”

Best Cinematography

  • “Arrival”
  • “La La Land”
  • “Lion”
  • “Moonlight”
  • “Silence”

Best Costume Design

  • “Allied”
  • “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”
  • “Florence Foster Jenkins”
  • “Jackie”
  • “La La Land”

Best Film Editing

  • “Arrival”
  • “Hacksaw Ridge”
  • “Hell or High Water”
  • “La La Land”
  • “Moonlight”

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

  • “A Man Called Ove”
  • “Star Trek Beyond”
  • “Suicide Squad”

Best Sound Mixing

  • “Arrival”
  • “Hacksaw Ridge”
  • “La La Land”
  • “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”
  • “13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi”

Best Sound Editing

  • “Arrival”
  • “Deepwater Horizon”
  • “Hacksaw Ridge”
  • “La La Land”
  • “Sully”

Best Visual Effects

  • “Deepwater Horizon”
  • “Doctor Strange”
  • “The Jungle Book”
  • “Kubo and the Two Strings”
  • “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”

Best Original Score

  • “Jackie”
  • “La La Land”
  • “Lion”
  • “Moonlight”
  • “Passengers”

Best Original Song

  • “Audition (The Fools Who Dream)” from “La La Land”
  • “Can’t Stop the Feeling” from “Trolls”
  • “City of Stars” from “La La Land”
  • “The Empty Chair” from “Jim: The James Foley Story”
  • “How Far I’ll Go” from “Moana”

Best Documentary Feature

  • “Fire at Sea”
  • “I Am Not Your Negro”
  • “Life, Animated”
  • “OJ: Made in America”
  • “13th”

Best Foreign Language Film

  • “Land of Mine”
  • “A Man Called Ove”
  • “The Salesman”
  • “Tanna”
  • “Toni Erdmann”

Best Live Action Short

  • “Ennemis Interieurs”
  • “La Femme et le TGV”
  • “Silent Nights”
  • “Sing”
  • “Timecode”

Best Documentary Short

  • “Extremis”
  • “4.1 Miles”
  • “Joe’s Violin”
  • “Watani: My Homeland”
  • “The White Helmets”

Best Animated Short Film

  • “Blind Vaysha”
  • “Borrowed Time”
  • “Pear Cider and Cigarettes”
  • “Pearl”
  • “Piper”

What if Lisa Picked The Oscar Nominees — 2016 Edition


With the Oscar nominations due to be announced tomorrow, now is the time that the Shattered Lens indulges in a little something called, “What if Lisa 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 many 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 starred and listed in bold.

(You’ll also note that I’ve added four categories, all of which I believe the Academy should adopt — Best Voice-Over Performance, Best Casting, Best Stunt Work, and Best Overall Use Of Music In A Film.)

(Click on the links to see my nominations for 20152014, 2013, 2012, 2011, and 2010!)

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Best Picture

*American Honey*

Arrival

Hell or High Water

Kubo and the Two Strings

La La Land

Love & Friendship

A Monster Calls

Moonlight

The Neon Demon

The Nice Guys

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Best Director

*Andrea Arnold for American Honey

Shane Black for The Nice Guys

Barry Jenkins for Moonlight

David MacKenzie for Hell or High Water

Nicholas Winding Refn for The Neon Demon

Denis Villeneuve for Arrival

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Best Actor

Andrew Garfield in Hacksaw Ridge

Ryan Gosling in The Nice Guys

Tom Hanks in Sully

Chris Pine in Hell or High Water

Ryan Reynolds in Deadpool

*Denzel Washington in Fences

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Best Actress

*Amy Adams in Arrival

Kate Beckinsale in Love & Friendship

Viola Davis in Fences

Sasha Lane in American Honey

Emma Stone in La La Land

Anya Taylor-Joy in The Witch

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Best Supporting Actor

*Mahershala Ali in Moonlight

Tom Bennett in Love & Friendship

Jeff Bridges in Hell or High Water

Alden Ehrenreich in Hail Caesar!

John Goodman in 10 Cloverfield Lane

Patrick Stewart in Green Room

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Best Supporting Actress

*Naomie Harris in Moonlight

Felicity Jones in A Monster Calls

Riley Keough in American Honey

Jena Malone in The Neon Demon

Helen Mirren in Eye in the Sky

Angourie Rice in The Nice Guys

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Best Voice Over and/or Stop Motion Performance

Auli’i Cravalho in Moana

Ellen DeGeneres in Finding Dory

Ginnifer Goodwin in Zootopia

*Liam Neeson in A Monster Calls

Art Parkinson in Kubo and the Two Strings

Charlize Theron in Kubo and the Two Strings

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Best Original Screenplay

American Honey

*Hell or High Water

Kubo and the Two Strings

La La Land

The Nice Guys

The Witch

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Best Adapted Screenplay

*Arrival

The Jungle Book

Love & Friendship

Moonlight

A Monster Calls

Sully

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Best Animated Film

Finding Dory

*Kubo and the Two Strings

Moana

Sausage Party

The Secret Life of Pets

Zootopia

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Best Documentary Feature

The Confessions of Thomas Quick

Holy Hell

O.J.: Made in America

Rigged 2016

Weiner

*The Witness

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Best Casting

*American Honey

Everybody Wants Some!!

La La Land

Moonlight

Hell or High Water

Green Room

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Best Cinematography

American Honey

Arrival

Hell or High Water

La La Land

Moonlight

*The Neon Demon 

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Best Costume Design

The Conjuring 2

Hail, Caesar!

La La Land

*Love & Friendship

The Nice Guys

The Witch

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Best Editing

Arrival

Hell or High Water

Kubo and the Two Strings

*La La Land

Moonlight

A Monster Calls

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Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Captain America: Civil War

Deadpool

Doctor Strange

Everybody Wants Some!!

Hail, Caesar!

*The Neon Demon

Best Original Score

Hell or High Water

Kubo and the Two Strings

*La La Land

Moana

Moonlight

The Neon Demon

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Best Original Song

*”Audition (The Fool Who Dreams)” from La La Land

“How Far I’ll Go” from Moana

“Waving Goodbye” from The Neon Demon

“I’m so Humble” from Pop Star: Never Stop Never Stopping

“Drive It Like You Stole It” from Sing Street

“Go Now” from Sing Street

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Best Overall Use Of Music

*American Honey

The Conjuring Part Two

Hell or High Water

La La Land

The Neon Demon

Sing Street

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Best Production Design

Arrival

Don’t Breathe

Green Room

The Neon Demon

La La Land

*10 Cloverfield Lane

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Best Sound Editing

Captain America: Civil War

Deadpool

*Hacksaw Ridge

La La Land

A Monster Calls

Sully

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Best Sound Mixing

Captain America: Civil War

Deadpool

Hacksaw Ridge

A Monster Calls

La La Land

*Sully

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Best Stunt Work

Captain America: Civil War

*Deadpool

Doctor Strange

Hacksaw Ridge

Jason Bourne

The Legend of Tarzan

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Best Visual Effects

Arrival

*Doctor Strange

The Jungle Book

Kubo and the Two Strings

A Monster Calls

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Films Listed By Number of Nominations:

13 Nominations — La La Land

1o Nominations — Hell or High Water

9 Nominations — Moonlight, The Neon Demon

8 Nominations — American Honey, Arrival, Kubo and the Two Strings, A Monster Calls

6 Nominations — The Nice Guys

5 Nominations — Deadpool, Love & Friendship

4 Nominations — Captain America: Civil War, Hacksaw Ridge, Hail Caesar!, Moana, Sully

3 Nominations — Doctor Strange, Green Room, Sing Street

2 Nominations — The Conjuring 2, Everybody Wants Some!!, Fences, Finding Dory, The Jungle Book, 10 Cloverfield Lane, The Witch, Zootopia

1 Nomination — The Confessions of Thomas Quick, Don’t Breathe, Eye in the Sky, Holy Hell, Jason Bourne, The Legend of Tarzan, O.J.: Made in America, Pop Star: Never Stop Never Stopping, Rigged 2016, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Sausage Party, The Secret Life of Pets, Weiner, The Witness

Films Listed By Number of Oscars Won:

4 Oscars — American Honey

3 Oscars — La La Land

2 Oscars — Arrival, Moonlight, The Neon Demon

1 Oscar — Deadpool, Doctor Strange, Fences, Hacksaw Ridge, Hell or High Water, Kubo and the Two Strings, Love & Friendship, A Monster Calls, Sully, 10 Cloverfield Lane, The Witness

Will the Academy agree with my predictions?  Probably not but we’ll find out on Tuesday!

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The North Texas Critics Association Names La La Land The Best of 2016!


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I have to admit that I’m starting to reach the point that I always reach during Oscar season.  This is the point where I say, “How many different groups of critics are there!?”

Anyway, the North Texas Critics Association have announced their picks for the best of 2016!  There are my people (in that we all live in North Texas and probably make a lot of jokes about pasty yankee tourists coming down from the North and sweating like pigs) and they picked La La Land as the best of the year.  I’ll be seeing La La Land this weekend so I’ll let you know if they were right.

Best Film
1. La La Land
2. Manchester by the Sea
3. Moonlight
4. Hacksaw Ridge
5. Loving
6. Arrival
7. Captain Fantastic
8. Nocturnal Animals
9. Jackie
10. The Birth of a Nation

Best Director
1. Damien Chazelle (La La Land)
2. Barry Jenkins (Moonlight)
3. Mel Gibson (Hacksaw Ridge)
4. Denis Villeneuve (Arrival)
5. Kenneth Lonergan (Manchester by the Sea)

Best Actress
1. Natalie Portman (Jackie)
2. Emma Stone (La La Land)
3. Amy Adams (Arrival)
4. Emily Blunt (The Girl on the Train)
5. Ruth Negga (Loving)

Best Actor
1. Casey Affleck (Manchester by the Sea)
2. Ryan Gosling (La La Land)
3. Denzel Washington (Fences)
4. Andrew Garfield (Hacksaw Ridge)
5. Don Cheadle (Miles Ahead)

Best Supporting Actress
1. Michelle Williams (Manchester by the Sea)
2. Viola Davis (Fences)
3. Naomie Harris (Moonlight)
4. Octavia Spencer (Hidden Figures)
5. Janelle Monae (Hidden Figures)

Best Supporting Actor
1. Michael Shannon (Nocturnal Animals)
2. Mahershala Ali (Moonlight)
3. Dev Patel (Lion)
4. Jeff Bridges (Hell or High Water)
5. Lucas Hedges (Manchester by the Sea)

Best Cinematography
1. Linus Sandgren (La La Land)
2. James Laxton (Moonlight)
3. Simon Duggan (Hacksaw Ridge)
4.  Bradford Young (Arrival)
5. Stephane Fontaine (Jackie)

Best Animated Film
1. Zootopia
2. Kubo and the Two Strings
3. Sing

Best Documentary
1. Gleason
2. 13th
3. Tower
4. Wiener
5. The Eagle Huntress

Best Foreign Language Film
1. Elle
2. The Handmaiden
3. Hunt for the Wilderpeople
4. The Salesman

5.  Toni Erdmann

The Online Film Critics Society Declares Moonlight To Be The Best


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The Online Film Critics Society announced their picks for the best of 2016 yesterday!  You can check out the nominees here and the winners below!

Best Picture — Moonlight

Best Animated Feature — Kubo and the Two Strings

Best Director — Barry Jenkins, Moonlight

Best Actor — Casey Affleck, Manchester By The Sea

Best Actress — Natalie Portman, Jackie

Best Supporting Actor — Mahershala Ali, Moonlight

Best Supporting Actress — Naomie Harris, Moonlight

Best Original Screenplay — Hell or High Water, Taylor Sheridan

Best Adapted Screenplay — Arrival, Eric Heisserer

Best Editing — La La Land, Tom Cross

Best Cinematography — La La Land, Linus Sandgren

Best Film Not In The English Language — The Handmaiden

Best Documentary — OJ: Made in America

 

Film Review: Moonlight (dir by Barry Jenkins)


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I’m going to start this review of Moonlight by affirming something that you’ve either heard or, if you’ve seen the film, that you already know.

Moonlight is one of the best films of 2016.  Many critics have declared it to be the best.  When the Academy Award nominations are announced next month, Moonlight will receive several of them.  Barry Jenkins will not only be the fourth black filmmaker to be nominated for best director but he may very well be the first to win.  Personally, I would rate Arrival and Kubo and the Two Strings higher than Moonlight but I certainly won’t complain if Moonlight wins every Oscar that it’s nominated for.  It’s a powerful and personal film, one that might make you cry and will definitely make you think.  It sticks with you, from the brilliant opening to the powerful closing shot.  In a weak year for films, Moonlight stands one of the few legitimately great releases of 2016.

Moonlight is a film in three parts, all dealing with the life of Chiron.  Though he rarely speaks and often keeps his feelings hidden behind a wall of pain and deception, Chiron is one of the most fascinating characters that you’ll ever get to know.  Growing up in Miami, he seems to be destined to be forever on the outside.  In a country that protects whiteness and celebrates wealth, he’s black and he’s poor.  In a social environment that values being hard and demands an almost cartoonish masculinity, Chiron is sensitive and gay.

When we first meet Chiron, he’s a child nicknamed Little and he’s played by Alex Hibbert.  When we first see him, he’s fleeing both school bullies and a homelife that’s dominated by his abusive, crack-addicted mother, Paula (Naomie Harris, giving a brave and raw performance that reminds you of just how wasted she was in the role of Moneypenny in SPECTRE).  The only positive influence in Chiron’s life is a Cuban drug dealer named Juan (Mahershala Ali, who gives a performance of amazingly subtle power) and Juan’s girlfriend, Teresa (Janelle Monae).  Juan is the one who teaches Chiron how to swim.  He’s the one who tells Chiron that he can be more than he realizes.  Juan is the one who encourages Chiron to be himself, regardless of what the rest of the world demands that he be.  And yet, Juan is also the one who sells the drugs that are destroying Chiron’s mom.

We also see Chiron as an awkward and withdrawn teenager and this time, he’s played by Ashton Sanders.  Chiron struggles with his attraction to his best friend, Kevin (Jharrel Jerome) and does his best to avoid a terrifying bully named Terrel (Patrick Decile).

And finally, we meet Chiron as a muscular and sometimes menacing adult and he’s now played by Trevante Rhodes.  It’s when we meet the adult Chiron that we suddenly understand why the film was structured the way that it was.  As intimidating and noncommunicative as adult Chiron may be, we know who he really is.  We know that he’s still the same kid who we first saw hiding inside an abandoned apartment.  When Chiron received an unexpected phone call from Kevin (now played, quite poignantly, by Andre Holland), he’s forced to confront who he truly is.  It leads to … well, I don’t know how to tell you what it leads to without spoiling the film for you.  I will say that the film ends with a haunting image, one that will stick with you long after the film ends.

Moonlight is a heartfelt and incredibly moving film, one that will challenge all of your preconceived notions and one that will stick with you long after you see it.  Brilliantly directed and acted, Moonlight is a film full of beautiful, haunting, and often dream-like images.  (Cinematographer James Laxton is almost as important to the film’s success as director/screenwriter Barry Jenkins.)  And you definitely should see it if you haven’t.

It’s one of the best of 2016.

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