4 Shots From 4 Films: Mirrormask, Enter the Void, Pina, Post Tenebras Lux


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 is all about letting the visuals do the talking.

4 Shots From 4 Films

Mirrormask (2005, directed by Dave McKean)

Mirrormask (2005, directed by Dave McKean)

Enter the Void (2009, directed by Gaspar Noe)

Enter the Void (2009, directed by Gaspar Noe)

Pina (2011, directed by Wim Wenders)

Pina (2011, directed by Wim Wenders)

Post Tenebras Lux (2012, directed by Carlos Reygadas)

Post Tenebras Lux (2012, directed by Carlos Reygadas)

The WAFCA Has Spoken


I don’t know much about the Washington Area Film Critics Association but, just judging from the films that they chose to nominate for being the best of 2011, they would appear to have better taste than most film critics. 

(Seriously, film critics are the worst.)

They announced their picks for the best of 2011 earlier today and here’s a complete list of their nominees and winners.  If nothing else, this year’s Oscar race is certainly shaping up to be a bit more interesting than last years. 

Best Film:
*The Artist
The Descendants
Drive
Hugo
Win Win

Best Director:
Woody Allen (Midnight in Paris)
Michel Hazanavicius (The Artist)
Alexander Payne (The Descendants)
Nicolas Winding Refn (Drive)
*Martin Scorsese (Hugo)

Best Actor:
*George Clooney (The Descendants)
Jean Dujardin (The Artist)
Michael Fassbender (Shame)
Brad Pitt (Moneyball)
Michael Shannon (Take Shelter)

Best Actress:
Viola Davis (The Help)
Elizabeth Olsen (Martha Marcy May Marlene)
Meryl Streep (The Iron Lady)
Tilda Swinton (We Need to Talk About Kevin)
*Michelle Williams (My Week with Marilyn)

Best Supporting Actor:
Kenneth Branagh (My Week with Marilyn)
*Albert Brooks (Drive)
John Hawkes (Martha Marcy May Marlene)
Christopher Plummer (Beginners)
Andy Serkis (Rise of the Planet of the Apes)

Best Supporting Actress:
Bérénice Bejo (The Artist)
Melissa McCarthy (Bridesmaids)
Carey Mulligan (Shame)
*Octavia Spencer (The Help)
Shailene Woodley (The Descendants)

Best Acting Ensemble:
*Bridesmaids
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
The Help
Hugo
Margin Call

Best Adapted Screenplay:
*Alexander Payne and Nate Faxon & Jim Rash (The Descendants)
Tate Taylor (The Help)
John Logan (Hugo)
Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin (Moneyball)
Bridget O’Connor & Peter Straughan (Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy)

Best Original Screenplay:

Woody Allen (Midnight in Paris)
Michel Hazanavicius (The Artist)
Tom McCarthy (Win Win)
Annie Mumolo & Kristen Wiig (Bridesmaids)
*Will Reiser (50/50)

Best Animated Feature:
The Adventures of Tintin
Arthur Christmas
Puss in Boots
*Rango
Winnie the Pooh

Best Documentary:
Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey
Buck
*Cave of Forgotten Dreams
Into the Abyss: A Tale of Death, A Tale of Life
Project Nim

Best Foreign Language Film:
13 Assassins
Certified Copy
I Saw the Devil
Pina
*The Skin I Live In

Best Art Direction:
Lawrence Bennett, Production Designer, and Gregory S. Hooper, Art Director (The Artist)
Stuart Craig, Production Designer, and Stephenie McMillan, Set Decorator (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2)
*Dante Ferretti, Production Designer, and Francesca Lo Schiavo, Set Decorator (Hugo)
Jack Fisk, Production Designer, and Jeanette Scott, Set Decorator (The Tree of Life)
Rick Carter, Production Designer, and Lee Sandales, Set Decorator (War Horse)

Best Cinematography:
Guillaume Schiffman (The Artist)
Robert Richardson (Hugo)
Manuel Alberto Claro (Melancholia)
*Emmanuel Lubezki (The Tree of Life)
Janusz Kaminski (War Horse)

Best Score:
*Ludovic Bource (The Artist)
Cliff Martinez (Drive)
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo)
Howard Shore (Hugo)
John Williams (War Horse)

The Toadsuckers Have Spoken: 15 Semi-Finalists for Best Documentary And Still No Room for Werner Herzog


Yesterday, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences released the titles of the 15 semi-finalists for the Best Feature Length Documentary Oscar.  This list will, of course, be narrowed down to the 5 final nominees.

Without further ado, here’s the 15 semi-finalists:

  • Battle for Brooklyn(RUMER Inc.)
  • Bill Cunningham New York(First Thought Films)
  • Buck(Cedar Creek Productions)
  • Hell and Back Again(Roast Beef Productions Limited)
  • If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front(Marshall Curry Productions, LLC)
  • Jane’s Journey(NEOS Film GmbH & Co. KG)
  • The Loving Story(Augusta Films)
  • Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory(@radical.media)
  • Pina(Neue Road Movies GmbH)
  • Project Nim(Red Box Films)
  • Semper Fi: Always Faithful(Tied to the Tracks Films, Inc.)
  • Sing Your Song(S2BN Belafonte Productions, LLC)
  • Undefeated(Spitfire Pictures)
  • Under Fire: Journalists in Combat(JUF Pictures, Inc.)
  • We Were Here (Weissman Projects, LLC)

My response as I look at this list is: “Huh?”  Which is to be expected because I live in Flyover country and, as a result, our local theaters don’t get sent all that many documentaries.  Still, I have to say that, as someone who tries her darndest to keep up with these things, I’m not familiar with a lot of these films.  I saw Buck in the theaters and I watched Bill Cunningham New York via OnDemand after my sister recommended it to me.  I meant to see Project Nin when it briefly played at the Dallas Angelika but, for whatever reason, I missed it.  (I may have been burned out on movies about chimpanzees after seeing Rise of the Planet of the Apes.)  I’ll definitely see Paradise Lost 3 if it ever manages to get down to my part of the world.

If anything surprises and disappoints me, it’s that Werner Herzog’s Cave of Forgotten Dreams isn’t on the semi-finalist list.  Neither are two other documentaries that I loved — Jig and Resurrect Dead.  (I have to admit that I’m not sure if those two films were submitted for consideration or if they would have even been eligible to be considered.  I just know that I enjoyed them when I saw them OnDemand.)  I’m also surprised that The Paper isn’t on the list of semi-finalists.  I haven’t actually seen The Paper but just judging from the trailer and the subject matter (The New York Times struggling to remain relevent), it seemed like the type of documentary that traditionally seems to get nominated.

Finally, despite the fact that I haven’t seen it, I would kinda like to see Paradise Lost 3 win the award if just to honor the entire Paradise Lost series.  After all, if not for those films, the West Memphis 3 would still be sitting in prison.  Every year, during the Academy Awards ceremony, we have to sit through some pompous speech about how documentaries can change the course of history.  Well, the Paradise Lost films actually did and, again taking into consideration that I haven’t seen the actual film yet, it seems like that deserves to be honored, no?

(And before any of you excitable types start bitching and whining — and you know who you are — Undefeated is a documentary about a high school football team and should not be mistaken for The Undefeated, the documentary about Sarah Palin that also came out this year.)