Here’s Yet Another Black Widow Trailer!


It’s a new month and that means that it’s time for a new Black Widow trailer. How long have we been waiting for this film now? Where that old lady from Titanic? Has it really been over 80 years? I think that’s an exaggeration but we have been waiting for quite a while now.

Personally, I just hope this movie provides some sort of justice for the character. I’m still massively annoyed with how Natasha was treated in Avengers: Endgame and hearing that Black Widow 1) takes place before Endgame and 2) features Florence Pugh as the character who took Natasha’s place in the comic books does not particularly make me happy. At this point, though, I’ve been waiting so long to see the film that I’m just hoping Scarlett at least gets to beat a few people up with style.

Here’s the latest trailer. Black Widow will finally be released on July 9th!

Six Actresses Who I Hope Will Win Their First Oscar In The Next Ten Years


Continuing the theme from my previous post, here are 6 actresses who I sincerely hope will have won their first Oscar by the time that the 2031 ceremony rolls around.

Saoirse Ronan

Admittedly, Saoirse Ronan is an obvious pick. She’s only 27 years old and she’s already been nominated for four Academy Awards and five BAFTAs and she’s got the type of filmography that most performers can only dream of. For a while there, it looked like she was running the risk of being typecast as everyone’s demure girlfriend but, ever since she starred in Brooklyn, she’s proven that she’s capable of playing a lot more and she’s established herself as one of the best and most consistently interesting actresses around.

Personally, I would have given her the Oscar for Brooklyn. I also would have given her an Oscar for Lady Bird. This upcoming year, she’s going to appear in Wes Anderson’s The French Dispatch and in an as-of-yet untitled murder mystery, in which she’ll co-star with Sam Rockwell. It’s really not a question of whether Saoirse Ronan will win an Oscar. It’s a question of when. She’s already overdue.

Scarlett Johansson

Much like Saoirse Ronan, Scarlett Johansson feels a bit inevitable. She’s both a star and an artist and she’s shown good instincts when it comes to picking both commercial and challenging material. She can be just as credible in an MCU film as she is in films like Lost in Translation, Marriage Story, JoJo Rabbit, and Under the Skin. Admittedly, Black Widow doesn’t seem like an Oscar film but still, it seems like only a matter of time until she gets the right role.

Jessie Buckley

Buckley deserved to win an Oscar last year for her performance in Wild Rose. This year, she deserved a nomination for her performance in i’m thinking of ending things. She’s got the Maggie Gyllenhaal-directed The Lost Daughter coming up this year, in which she’ll be playing a younger version of a character played by Olivia Colman. Buckley seems to be destined to get her first nomination sometime soon.

Thomasin McKenzie

I was a bit surprised that Thomasin McKenzie wasn’t nominated for either Leave No Trace or JoJo Rabbit. Seriously, her performance in JoJo Rabbit held the entire film together and prevented it from just becoming another awkward comedy about Hitler. This year, McKenzie will be appearing in Edgar Wright’s Last Night In Soho, opposite Anya Taylor-Joy. Last Night in Soho has been described as being a “psychological horror film.” Horror is a genre that, the recent success of Get Out aside, traditionally struggles with getting Academy recognition but, still, anything is possible and McKenzie has proven herself to be one of the most talented actresses out there.

Zoe Kazan

Zoe Kanzan may not be as well-known as some of the actresses on this list but she’s given two of the best performances of the last ten years, in 2012’s Ruby Sparks and 2018’s The Ballad of Buster Scruggs. She may not appear in a lot of movies but the ones that she does appear in are always better due to her presence. If that’s not awards-worthy, then what is?

Aubrey Plaza

If this seems like a strange pick to you, you obviously haven’t seen Ingrid Goes West.

Agree? Disagree? Do you have a pick of your own you’d like to mention? Let us know in the comments!

Here’s The Latest Trailer For Black Widow!


The Black Widow in happier times

As I’ve said before, both on this site and on twitter, I have mixed feeling about the upcoming Black Widow film. On the one hand, Natasha was my favorite member of the Avengers and I’m glad that she’s finally getting a solo film. On the other hand, it annoys me that she’s only getting a solo film after being killed off in Avengers: Endgame. Don’t even get me started on the screwed-up logic of her sacrificing her life when Clint was the one who had basically spent 5 years killing everyone that he met. Natasha may have made mistakes when she was a spy but at least she was never a serial killer!

Apparently, the Black Widow solo film takes place in between Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War and it seems very likely that it’s also going to serve as an origin story for a character played by Florence Pugh, who may end up becoming the new Black Widow. I hope that’s not true but, from what I’ve heard, it seems probable. I’m not particularly excited about the prospect of that happening. I don’t want a replacement Black Widow. I want the original to come back to life and I want Clint to do the right thing.

To be honest, though, I’m now at a point where I just want to see the damn movie. That release date has been moved around so much that I no longer care whether or not the film’s any good or not. I don’t care whether or not they’re going to do the right thing and resurrect Natasha from the dead. I JUST WANT TO SEE THE DAMN MOVIE! Hell, I’ll even spend the extra 30 to see it in Disney Plus, I don’t care. I JUST WANT TO SEE THE MOVIE!

Anyway, with all that in mind, Black Widow is going to be released on July 9th and it’s about time! Here’s the latest trailer:

If Lucy Fell (1996, directed by Eric Schaeffer)


Lucy (Sarah Jessica Parker) and Joe (Eric Schaeffer) are two platonic best friends and roommates.  They have a pact.  If they don’t find true love by the time Lucy turns 30, they’ll hold hands while jumping off of the Brooklyn Bridge.  Now, Lucy’s 30th birthday is rapidly approaching and Lucy still hasn’t found the right man!  Meanwhile, Joe is obsessed with Jane (Elle MacPherson) but he hasn’t had sex in five years!  It looks like Lucy and Joe are going to have to commit suicide.  They made a pact, after all and single New Yorkers don’t break pacts.  Fortunately, things start to look up when Joe finally talks to Jane and Lucy meets a weirdo artist named Bwick (Ben Stiller).  Or could Lucy and Joe are actually meant to be together?

If Lucy Fell was briefly a big deal in 1996 because it featured both supermodel Elle MacPherson and Ben Stiller.  (It’s easy to forget how popular Ben Stiller was in the mid-90s.)  Once the film came out, people discovered that it was actually about the bland characters played by Sarah Jessica Parker and Eric Schaeffer and the film bombed at the box office.  Though it may be forgotten today, If Lucy Fell is still the epitome of the type of independent romantic comedy that a lot of directors made in the 90s.  Take a plot line that probably wouldn’t have made it beyond the table read if it was an episode of Friends (it’s interesting to note that both MacPherson and Stiller later made guest appearances on that sitcom), toss in some “alternative” music, and beg someone with a well-known name to take a supporting role.  The film is also interesting as an example of how a generally unappealing actor can play the lead in a romantic comedy and get to make out with both Elle MacPherson and Sarah Jessica Parker.  Just write and direct the film and then cast yourself in the lead role.  Congratulations to Eric Schaeffer for figuring it all out.

I’ve been feeling nostalgic for the 90s.  I guess everyone eventually feels nostalgic for the decade in which they grew up.  But nostalgia can be a harsh taskmaster and it’s important to remember that not all 90s independent films were Pulp Fiction and Fargo.  Quite a few of them were If Lucy Fell.  Ben Stiller has some funny moments, though they’re so cartoonish that they seem like they belong in a different film.  Elle MacPherson is beautiful, even if her character never makes sense.  Sarah Jessica Parker seems like she deserves better than everything the film offered to her.  Eric Schaeffer is dull but at least he got along with the director.  12 year-old Scarlett Johansson has a small role.  If Lucy Fell was a film that could only have been made in 1996 and it was forgotten by 1997.

Here’s What Lisa Wants To Win At The Oscars


Once Upon A Time In Hollywood (2019, dir by Quentin Tarantino)

Yesterday, I posted my list of the film and performers that I believe will win Oscars tonight.

Below is a different list.  This is what I wish would win tonight.  These are the nominees that I would vote for if I was a member of the Academy.  Now, to be honest, there were a lot of films and performances that I liked that were not nominated.  My favorite film of 2019 was The Souvenir.  It received zero Oscar nominations.  But, for the purposes of this list, I’ve limited my choice to the actual nominees.

So, here we go:

Best Picture — 1) Once Upon A Time In Hollywood 2) The Irishman 3) Parasite 4) 1917 5) Joker 6) JoJo Rabbit 7) Little Women 8) Ford v Ferrari 9) Marriage Story

Best Director — Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

Best Actor — Joaquin Phoenix, Joker

Best Actress — Scarlett Johansson, Marriage Story

Best Supporting Actor — Joe Pesci, The Irishman

Best Supporting Actress — Laura Dern, Marriage Story

Best Original Screenplay — Parasite

Best Adapted Screenplay — The Irishman

Best Animated Feature Film — I Lost My Body

Best International Feature Film — Parasite

Best Documentary Feature Film — The Edge of Democracy (which I didn’t even really like, it’s just the only nominee that I’ve seen)

Best Documentary Short Subject — Learning to Skateboard in a War Zone (If you’re a girl)

Best Live Action Short Subject — Nefta Football Club (that’s for you, Jason)

Best Animated Short Film — Sister

Best Original Score — 1917

Best Original Song — I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away from Toy Story 4

Best Sound Editing — 1917

Best Sound Mixing — 1917

Best Production Design — Parasite

Best Cinematography — The Lighthouse

Best Makeup and Hairstyling — Judy

Best Costume Design — Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

Best Editing — The Irishman

Best Visual Effects — Avengers: Endgame

Lisa Reviews An Oscar Nominee: Marriage Story (dir by Noah Baumbach)


The Oscar nominations were announced earlier today and, as happens every year, some of the nominations were met with acclaim while others left observers scratching their heads.  Right now, on twitter, there’s a fierce debate going on between those who think Joker deserved all of its nominations and those who believe that the Academy has once again deliberately snubbed women and people of color.

As for me, I’m just shaking my head at all the nominations for Marriage Story.  I get the feeling that, out of all of the recently unveiled best picture nominees, Marriage Story is the one that we will have forgotten about within the next year.  It’s an acclaimed film and I’m happy that Scarlett Johansson finally got a nominations (two nominations, as a matter of fact, as she was also nominated for Best Supporting Actress for Jojo Rabbit) but, in the end, Marriage Story feels rather hollow.

Marriage Story is about the end of a marriage.  Charlie Barber (Adam Driver) is a New York-based theatrical director.  Nicole Barber (Scarlett Johansson) is his wife.  Nicole is an actress who, before she married Charlie, was best known for appearing topless in a teen comedy.  Charlie is often credited with having resurrected her career.  On the surface, they’re the perfect New York couple.  However, when we first meet them, their marriage is coming to an end.  Charlie, we learn, cheated on Nicole with a production assistant.  Nicole wants to go to Los Angeles so that she can star in a television series and have a career that’s not dependent upon her husband.  Caught in the middle of all this is their son, Henry (Azhy Robertson).

At first, Charlie and Nicole agree to an amicable split, one with no lawyers and no accusations.  That doesn’t last.  Nicole hires the cheerfully ruthless Nora Fanshaw (Laura Dern).  Charlie, after moving out to Los Angeles, finds himself torn between hiring either the the kindly (but ineffectual) Bert Spitz (Alan Alda, in a role he was born to play) or the somewhat sinister (but definitely effective) Jay Marotta (Ray Liotta, also in a role that he was born to play).  While both Charlie and Nicole try (and often) fail to maintain a civil relationship for Henry’s sake, their attorneys go to war.

There’s a lot of good things to be said about Marriage Story.  Though I think that his truly award-worthy work for 2019 was not in this film but instead in The Report, Adam Driver does a good job with role of Charlie.  Scarlett Johansson, who has so often been unfairly overlooked at awards time, again proves herself to be one of the best actresses around.  Dern, Alda, and Liotta are well-cast as three very different (but very recognizable) attorneys.  Noah Baumbach’s script has several good lines.  The scene where Nicole’s sister is awkwardly recruited to serve Charlie with the divorce papers is both funny and cringey.  The much-acclaimed scene where Charlie and Nicole go from having a polite (if awkward) conversation to yelling at each other is definitely effective even if it’s power has been diluted by it’s subsequent reinvention as a twitter meme.

That said, Marriage Story ultimately left me feeling dissatisfied.  It’s pretty much an open secret that the film is based on Noah Baumbach’s divorce from Jennifer Jason Leigh and, watching the film, you can’t help but feel that you’re only getting one side of a very complex story.  My first warning sign came when Nicole left for Los Angeles and the film cut to her on the set for her new television series.  Marriage Story goes so overboard in portraying Nicole’s show as being vapid and silly that you can’t help but feel that we’re meant to look down on Nicole for abandoning Charlie’s avant-garde theater productions to star in it.  We’re meant to say, “She gave up Broadway so she could star in some second-rate Marvel show!?”  From the claim that no one took Nicole seriously until Charlie married her to it’s portrayal of her being easily manipulated by her attorney, there’s a pettiness to the film’s portrayal of Nicole.

As for Charlie, he’s presented as being flawed but, as the film progresses, it’s hard not to notice that almost all of his flaws can also serve as a humble brag.  He’s a little dorky,  He’s too intense.  He works too hard.  Sometimes, he has a hard time not being the director.  Almost all of Charlie’s flaws are the type of stuff that people mention in job interviews whenever they’re asked to name their biggest weakness.  “Well, I guess I am a bit of a perfectionist, sometimes….” It’s hard not to feel that, despite a few scenes where Nicole gets to open up, the film is really only interested in Charlie’s perspective.  By the end of the film, Marriage Story reduces Nicole to merely being an obstacle standing in the way of Charlie and his son and it’s hard not to feel that both the character and the actress who plays her deserves better than that.  The film goes from being Marriage Story to simply being Charlie’s Story.

While you’re watching the film, it’s easy to get swept up in Driver and Johansson’s performances.  It’s only afterwards, when you really think about it, that you come to realize that Marriage Story doesn’t really add up to much.  It’s a good acting exercise and I’m sure that it will be popular among community theater actors who have been asked to prepare a monologue for their next audition.  But the whole is ultimately far less than the sum of its parts.

Lisa Marie’s Oscar Predictions For December


Well, here we go!

This is my last set of Oscar predictions for the year.  With the critics groups and some of the guilds having now announced their picks for the best of 2019, the Oscar picture is now a lot more clear.  Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, Parasite, The Irishman, 1917, and Marriage Story all seem to be guaranteed to pick up a nomination.    

I am going to go out on a limb and predict that, despite being ignored at SAG and by the Golden Globes, Uncut Gems will get some nominations as well.  Right now, the film just seems to have momentum on its side.  Realistically, I’m not a 100% convinced that it’ll be nominated, not the way I am with some other films.  It’s divisive film and I’m sure that some people think that rewarding Adam Sandler will just lead to him using his newfound respect to get a theatrical release for the next Grown Ups sequel.  But I’m going to take a chance and go with it.

(Of course, Nightcrawler and Jake Gyllenhaal also had a lot of momentum a few years ago and ended up getting totally shut out of the Oscars.)

Below are my predictions for December.  If you want to see how my thinking has evolved, be sure to check out my predictions for January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, and November!

Best Picture

1917

Bombshell

The Irishman

JoJo Rabbit

Little Women

Marriage Story

Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

Parasite

Uncut Gems

Best Director

Bong Joon-ho for Parasite

Sam Mendes for 1917

The Safdie Brothers for Uncut Gems

Martin Scorsese for The Irishman

Quentin Tarantino for Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

Best Actor

Leonardo DiCaprio for Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

Adam Driver for Marriage Story

Taron Egerton for Rocketman

Joaquin Phoenix for Joker

Adam Sandler for Uncut Gems

Best Actress

Scarlett Johansson for Marriage Story

Luptia Nyong’o for Us

Saoirse Ronan for Little Women

Charlize Theron for Bombshell

Renee Zellweger for Judy

Best Supporting Actor

Willem DaFoe in The Lighthouse

Tom Hanks in A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood

Al Pacino for The Irishman

Joe Pesci for The Irishman

Brad Pitt for Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

Best Supporting Actress

Laura Dern in Marriage Story

Scarlett Johansson in JoJo Rabbit

Jennifer Lopez in Hustlers

Florence Pugh in Little Women

Margot Robbie in Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

 

The Oscar nominations will be announced on January 13th!

Happy New Year, everyone!

Oscar, in happier times

The Nevada Film Critics Society Name Marriage Story As The Best of 2019!


Here’s a full list of the winners in Nevada:

Best Film: Marriage Story

Best Director: Noah Baumbach – Marriage Story

Best Actor: Adam Driver – Marriage Story
Best Actress (tie): Scarlett Johansson – Marriage Story & Charlize Theron – Bombshell
Best Supporting Actor: Joe Pesci – The Irishman
Best Supporting Actress: Jennifer Lopez – Hustlers

Best Original Screenplay: Quentin Tarantino – Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Best Adapted Screenplay: Taika Waititi – Jojo Rabbit

Best Animated Movie: Toy Story 4
Best Documentary: Apollo 11

Best Production Design: Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Best Cinematography: 1917
Best Visual Effects: Avengers: Endgame

 

The Utah Film Critics Association honors Parasite and 1917!


On Sunday, the Utah Film Critics Association announced their picks for the best of 2019 and it was another good showing for Parasite!  The film picked up awards for best picture, best screenplay, and best non-English language film.  Meanwhile, 1917 took awards for direction and cinematography while Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson took home the acting awards for Rise of Skywalker and Avengers: Endgame …. just kidding!  They both won for Marriage Story.

Here are the winners!

Best Picture: Parasite. Runner-up: Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood.

Best Achievement in Directing: Sam Mendes, 1917. Runner-up: Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood.

Best Lead Performance, Male: Adam Driver, Marriage Story. Runner-up: Joaquin Phoenix, Joker.

Best Lead Performance, Female: Scarlett Johansson, Marriage Story. Runner-up: Lupita Nyong’o, Us.

Best Supporting Performance, Female: Florence Pugh, Little Women. Runner-up: Rebecca Ferguson, Doctor Sleep.

Best Supporting Performance, Male: Joe Pesci, The Irishman. Runner-up: Willem Dafoe, The Lighthouse.

Vice/Martin Award for Performance in a Science-Fiction, Fantasy or Horror Film: Robert Downey, Jr., Avengers: Endgame. Runner-up: Lupita Nyong’o, Us.

Best Original Screenplay: Bong Joon-ho and Jin Won Han, Parasite. Runner-up: Rian Johnson, Knives Out.

Best Adapted Screenplay: Greta Gerwig, Little Women. Runner-up: Taika Waititi, Jojo Rabbit.

Best Cinematography: Roger Deakins, 1917. Runner-up: Jarin Blaschke, The Lighthouse.

Best Original Score: Matt Morton, Apollo 11. Runner-up: Dan Levy, I Lost My Body.

Best Film Editing: Todd Douglas Miller, Apollo 11. Runner-up: Andrew Buckland, Michael McCusker and Dirk Westervelt, Ford v Ferrari.

Best Documentary Feature: Apollo 11. Runner-up: Hail Satan?

Best Animated Feature: I Lost My Body. Runners-up: How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World and Toy Story 4.

Best Non-English Language Feature: Parasite. Runner-up: Portrait of a Lady on Fire.

 

The Dallas-Ft. Worth Film Critics Association Names 1917 As The Best of 2019!


Reunion Tower (picture by Erin Nicole)

Here are the winners in Dallas!

BEST PICTURE

Winner: 1917

Runners-up: MARRIAGE STORY (2); PARASITE (3); THE IRISHMAN (4); ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD (5); JOJO RABBIT (6); LITTLE WOMEN (7); THE FAREWELL (8); THE TWO POPES (9); KNIVES OUT (10)

BEST ACTOR

Winner: Adam Driver, MARRIAGE STORY

Runners-up: Joaquin Phoenix, JOKER (2); Antonio Banderas, PAIN AND GLORY (3); Leonardo DiCaprio, ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD (4); Robert De Niro, THE IRISHMAN (5)

BEST ACTRESS

Winner: Scarlett Johansson, MARRIAGE STORY

Runners-up: Renée Zellweger, JUDY (2); Charlize Theron, BOMBSHELL (3); Saoirse Ronan, LITTLE WOMEN (4); Awkwafina, THE FAREWELL (5, tie); Lupita Nyong’o, US (5, tie)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

Winner: Brad Pitt, ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD

Runners-up: Willem Dafoe, THE LIGHTHOUSE (2); Joe Pesci, THE IRISHMAN (3); Al Pacino, THE IRISHMAN (4); Shia LaBeouf, HONEY BOY (5)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Winner: Laura Dern, MARRIAGE STORY

Runners-up: Margot Robbie, BOMBSHELL (2); Florence Pugh, LITTLE WOMEN (3); Jennifer Lopez, HUSTLERS (4); Annette Bening, THE REPORT (5)

BEST DIRECTOR

Winner: Sam Mendes, 1917

Runners-up: Bong Joon-ho, PARASITE (2); Martin Scorsese, THE IRISHMAN (3); Quentin Tarantino, ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD (4); Noah Baumbach, MARRIAGE STORY (5)

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

Winner: PARASITE

Runners-up: PAIN AND GLORY (2); THE FAREWELL (3); LES MISÉRABLES (4); PORTRAIT OF A LADY ON FIRE (5)

BEST DOCUMENTARY

Winner: APOLLO 11

Runners-up: ONE CHILD NATION (2); AMERICAN FACTORY (3); HONEYLAND (4); FOR SAMA (5)

BEST ANIMATED FILM

Winner: TOY STORY 4

Runner-up: I LOST MY BODY

BEST SCREENPLAY

Winner: Noah Baumbach, MARRIAGE STORY

Runner-up: Steven Zaillian, THE IRISHMAN

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

Winner: Roger Deakins, 1917

Runner-up: Hong Kyung-pyo, PARASITE

BEST MUSICAL SCORE

Winner: Thomas Newman, 1917

Runner-up: Alexandre Desplat, LITTLE WOMEN

RUSSELL SMITH AWARD (best low-budget or cutting-edge independent film)

Winner: THE LIGHTHOUSE