Here Are The Winners of 2020 Hollywood Music In Medi Awards


The winners are listed in bold!

ORIGINAL SCORE – FEATURE FILM
DA 5 BLOODS (Netflix) – Terence Blanchard
THE LIFE AHEAD (LA VITA DAVANTI A SE) (Netflix) – Gabriel Yared
MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM (Netflix) – Branford Marsalis
MANK (Netflix) – Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross
THE MIDNIGHT SKY (Netflix) – Alexandre Desplat
NEWS OF THE WORLD (Universal Pictures / Netflix) – James Newton Howard
PIECES OF A WOMAN (Netflix) – Howard Shore
THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7 (Netflix) – Daniel Pemberton

ORIGINAL SCORE – INDEPENDENT FILM
THE 24TH (Vertical Entertainment) – Alex Heffes
AMMONITE (Neon) – Dustin O’Halloran, Volker Bertelmann
THE GLORIAS (LD Entertainment / Roadside Attractions) – Elliot Goldenthal
MINARI (A24) – Emile Mosseri
SHIRLEY (Neon) – Tamar-kali
WILD MOUNTAIN THYME (Bleecker Street Media) – Amelia Warner

ORIGINAL SCORE – ANIMATED FILM
THE CROODS: A NEW AGE (Universal Pictures) – Mark Mothersbaugh
ONWARD (Walt Disney Studios) – Mychael Danna, Jeff Danna
SHAUN THE SHEEP: FARMAGEDDON (Netflix) – Tom Howe
SOUL (Walt Disney Studios) – Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross, Jon Batiste
WOLFWALKERS (Apple TV+) – Bruno Coulais

ORIGINAL SCORE – SCI-FI/FANTASY
THE NEW MUTANTS (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures / Disney+) – Mark Snow
THE OLD GUARD (Netflix) – Volker Bertelmann, Dustin O’Halloran
PALM SPRINGS (Neon) – Matthew Compton
TENET (Warner Bros. / HBO Max) – Ludwig Görannson
WONDER WOMAN 1984 (Warner Bros. / HBO Max) – Hans Zimmer

ORIGINAL SCORE – HORROR FILM
ANTEBELLUM (Lionsgate Films) – Nate Wonder, Roman GianArthur
THE DARK AND THE WICKED (RLJE Films / Shudder) – Tom Schraeder
THE EMPTY MAN (Walt Disney Studios) – Christopher Young, Lustmord
THE INVISIBLE MAN (Universal Pictures) – Benjamin Wallfisch
SWALLOW (IFC Films) – Nathan Halpern

ORIGINAL SCORE – DOCUMENTARY
ATHLETE A (Netflix) – Jeff Beal
CRIP CAMP (Netflix) – Bear McCreary
DAVID ATTENBOROUGH: A LIFE ON OUR PLANET (Netflix) – Steven Price
JOHN LEWIS: GOOD TROUBLE (Magnolia Pictures / Participant) – Tamar-kali
RISING PHOENIX (Netflix) – Daniel Pemberton

ORIGINAL SONG – FEATURE FILM
“Fight for You” from JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH – Written by H.E.R., Dernst Emile II, Tiara Thomas. Performed by H.E.R. (Warner Bros. / HBO Max)
“Hear My Voice” from THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7 – Written by Daniel Pemberton, Celeste. Performed by Celeste (Netflix)
“Húsavík (Hometown)” from EUROVISION SONG CONTEST: THE STORY OF FIRE SAGA – Written by Savan Kotecha, Rickard Göransson, Fat Max Gsus. Performed by Will Ferrell, Rachel McAdams, Molly Sandén (Netflix)
“The Plan” from TENET – Written by Jacques Webster II, Ebony Naomi Oshunrinde, Ludwig Göransson. Performed by Travis Scott (Warner Bros. Home Entertainment / HBO Max)
“Poverty Porn” from THE FORTY-YEAR-OLD VERSION – Written by Radha Blank, Khrysis. Performed by RadhaMUSPrime (Netflix)
“Seen (lo Sì)” from THE LIFE AHEAD (LA VITA DAVANTI A SE) – Written by Diane Warren, Laura Pausini, Niccolò Agliardi. Performed by Laura Pausini (Netflix)
“Speak Now” from ONE NIGHT IN MIAMI – Written by Leslie Odom Jr., Sam Ashworth. Performed by Leslie Odom Jr. (Amazon Studios)
“Tigress & Tweed” from THE UNITED STATES VS. BILLIE HOLIDAY – Written by Raphael Saadiq, Andra Day. Performed by Andra Day (Hulu)

ORIGINAL SONG – INDEPENDENT FILM
“Everybody Cries” from THE OUTPOST – Written by Rod Lurie, Larry Groupé, Rita Wilson. Performed by Rita Wilson (Screen Media Films)
“I’ll Be Singing” from WILD MOUNTAIN THYME – Written by Amelia Warner, John Patrick Shanley. Performed by Sinéad O’Connor (Bleecker Street Media)
“Rain Song” from MINARI – Written by Emile Mosseri, Stefanie Hong. Performed by Yeri Han (A24)
“Staring At A Mountain” from NEVER RARELY SOMETIMES ALWAYS – Written by Sharon Van Etten. Performed by Sharon Van Etten (Focus Features / HBO Max)

ORIGINAL SONG – ANIMATED FILM
“Carried Me With You” from ONWARD – Written by Brandi Carlile, Phil Hanseroth, Tim Hanseroth. Performed by Brandi Carlile (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures / Disney+)
“Feel the Thunder” from THE CROODS: A NEW AGE – Written by Alana Haim, Danielle Haim, Este Haim and Ariel Rechtshaid. Performed by HAIM (Universal Pictures)
“Free” from THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN – Written by Diane Warren. Performed by Charlie Puth (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures / Disney+)
“Just Sing” from TROLLS WORLD TOUR – Written by Max Martin, Justin Timberlake, Ludwig Göransson, Sarah Aarons (Universal Studios)
“Rocket to the Moon” from OVER THE MOON – Written by Christopher Curtis, Marjorie Duffield, Helen Park. Performed by Cathy Ang (Netflix)
“Stand for Hope – When I Stand with You” from TWO BY TWO: OVERBOARD! – Written by Eímear Noone. Performed by Sibéal (Entertainment One)

ORIGINAL SONG – DOCUMENTARY
“The Future” from THE WAY I SEE IT – Written by Aloe Blacc. Performed by Aloe Blacc (Focus Features)
“How Can I Tell You?” From NASRIN – Written by Lynn Ahrens, Stephen Flaherty. Performed by Angelique Kidjo (Virgil Films & Entertainment)
“Never Break” from GIVING VOICE – Written by John Legend, Nasri Atweh, Benjamin Hudson McIldowie, Greg Wells, John Stephens. Performed by John Legend (Netflix)
“Only The Young” from MISS AMERICANA – Written by Taylor Swift, Joel Little. Performed by Taylor Swift (Netflix)
“See What You’ve Done” from BELLY OF THE BEAST – Written by Mary J. Blige, Nova Wav, DJ Camper. Performed by Mary J. Blige (PBS)
“Turntables” from ALL IN: THE FIGHT FOR DEMOCRACY – Written by Janelle Monáe. Performed by Janelle Monáe (Amazon)

ORIGINAL SCORE – INDEPENDENT FILM (FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
ALL AGAINST ALL (Fivia) – Kristian Sensini
BLACK BEACH (eOne Films Spain) – Arturo Cardelus
BLIZZARD OF SOULS (DVĒSEĻU PUTENIS) (Access – A / Pandastorm) – Lolita Ritmanis
SUMMER KNIGHT (China Film Administration) – Min He
ZERØ (Nemesis Media) – Ricardo Curto

OUTSTANDING MUSIC SUPERVISION – FILM
Angela Leus – TROLLS WORLD TOUR (Universal Studios)
Bonnie Greenberg – THE LIFE AHEAD (LA VITA DAVANTI A SE) (Netflix)
Guy C. Routte – THE FORTY-YEAR-OLD VERSION (Netflix)
Linda Cohen – THE HIGH NOTE (Focus Features)
Lynn Fainchtein – THE UNITED STATES VS. BILLIE HOLIDAY (Hulu)
Sue Jacobs – PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN (Focus Features)
Tom MacDougall – SOUL (Walt Disney Studios)

SOUNDTRACK ALBUM
ASSASSIN’S CREED VALHALLA (Lakeshore Records)
BILL & TED: FACE THE MUSIC (Lakeshore Records)
JINGLE JANGLE: A CHRISTMAS JOURNEY (Atlantic Records)
ONWARD (Walt Disney Records)
PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN (Capitol Records)
SOUL (Walt Disney Records)
THE EDDY (Sony Classical)

Here Are The 2020 Nominations of Hollywood Music In Media Awards!


For those of you who are still struggling to make your predictions as to which which films will be in the hunt for the Best Score and Best Song Oscars, the Hollywood Music In Media Awards are here to help out!  They released their nominations yesterday.  Below, you’ll find the nominees for the best in film.  If you want to see their TV and video game nominations, click here!

The main thing I like about the nominations below is that there’s a lot of them.  I support anything that adds a little more chaos and variety to awards season.  Keep everyone guessing!

Here are the film nominations:

ORIGINAL SCORE – FEATURE FILM
DA 5 BLOODS (Netflix) – Terence Blanchard
THE LIFE AHEAD (LA VITA DAVANTI A SE) (Netflix) – Gabriel Yared
MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM (Netflix) – Branford Marsalis
MANK (Netflix) – Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross
THE MIDNIGHT SKY (Netflix) – Alexandre Desplat
NEWS OF THE WORLD (Universal Pictures / Netflix) – James Newton Howard
PIECES OF A WOMAN (Netflix) – Howard Shore
THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7 (Netflix) – Daniel Pemberton

ORIGINAL SCORE – INDEPENDENT FILM
THE 24TH (Vertical Entertainment) – Alex Heffes
AMMONITE (Neon) – Dustin O’Halloran, Volker Bertelmann
THE GLORIAS (LD Entertainment / Roadside Attractions) – Elliot Goldenthal
MINARI (A24) – Emile Mosseri
SHIRLEY (Neon) – Tamar-kali
WILD MOUNTAIN THYME (Bleecker Street Media) – Amelia Warner

ORIGINAL SCORE – ANIMATED FILM
THE CROODS: A NEW AGE (Universal Pictures) – Mark Mothersbaugh
ONWARD (Walt Disney Studios) – Mychael Danna, Jeff Danna
SHAUN THE SHEEP: FARMAGEDDON (Netflix) – Tom Howe
SOUL (Walt Disney Studios) – Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross, Jon Batiste
WOLFWALKERS (Apple TV+) – Bruno Coulais

ORIGINAL SCORE – SCI-FI/FANTASY
THE NEW MUTANTS (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures / Disney+) – Mark Snow
THE OLD GUARD (Netflix) – Volker Bertelmann, Dustin O’Halloran
PALM SPRINGS (Neon) – Matthew Compton
TENET (Warner Bros. / HBO Max) – Ludwig Görannson
WONDER WOMAN 1984 (Warner Bros. / HBO Max) – Hans Zimmer

ORIGINAL SCORE – HORROR FILM
ANTEBELLUM (Lionsgate Films) – Nate Wonder, Roman GianArthur
THE DARK AND THE WICKED (RLJE Films / Shudder) – Tom Schraeder
THE EMPTY MAN (Walt Disney Studios) – Christopher Young, Lustmord
THE INVISIBLE MAN (Universal Pictures) – Benjamin Wallfisch
SWALLOW (IFC Films) – Nathan Halpern

ORIGINAL SCORE – DOCUMENTARY
ATHLETE A (Netflix) – Jeff Beal
CRIP CAMP (Netflix) – Bear McCreary
DAVID ATTENBOROUGH: A LIFE ON OUR PLANET (Netflix) – Steven Price
JOHN LEWIS: GOOD TROUBLE (Magnolia Pictures / Participant) – Tamar-kali
RISING PHOENIX (Netflix) – Daniel Pemberton

ORIGINAL SONG – FEATURE FILM
“Fight for You” from JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH – Written by H.E.R., Dernst Emile II, Tiara Thomas. Performed by H.E.R. (Warner Bros. / HBO Max)
“Hear My Voice” from THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7 – Written by Daniel Pemberton, Celeste. Performed by Celeste (Netflix)
“Húsavík (Hometown)” from EUROVISION SONG CONTEST: THE STORY OF FIRE SAGA – Written by Savan Kotecha, Rickard Göransson, Fat Max Gsus. Performed by Will Ferrell, Rachel McAdams, Molly Sandén (Netflix)
“The Plan” from TENET – Written by Jacques Webster II, Ebony Naomi Oshunrinde, Ludwig Göransson. Performed by Travis Scott (Warner Bros. Home Entertainment / HBO Max)
“Poverty Porn” from THE FORTY-YEAR-OLD VERSION – Written by Radha Blank, Khrysis. Performed by RadhaMUSPrime (Netflix)
“Seen (lo Sì)” from THE LIFE AHEAD (LA VITA DAVANTI A SE) – Written by Diane Warren, Laura Pausini, Niccolò Agliardi. Performed by Laura Pausini (Netflix)
“Speak Now” from ONE NIGHT IN MIAMI – Written by Leslie Odom Jr., Sam Ashworth. Performed by Leslie Odom Jr. (Amazon Studios)
“Tigress & Tweed” from THE UNITED STATES VS. BILLIE HOLIDAY – Written by Raphael Saadiq, Andra Day. Performed by Andra Day (Hulu)

ORIGINAL SONG – INDEPENDENT FILM
“Everybody Cries” from THE OUTPOST – Written by Rod Lurie, Larry Groupé, Rita Wilson. Performed by Rita Wilson (Screen Media Films)
“I’ll Be Singing” from WILD MOUNTAIN THYME – Written by Amelia Warner, John Patrick Shanley. Performed by Sinéad O’Connor (Bleecker Street Media)
“Rain Song” from MINARI – Written by Emile Mosseri, Stefanie Hong. Performed by Yeri Han (A24)
“Staring At A Mountain” from NEVER RARELY SOMETIMES ALWAYS – Written by Sharon Van Etten. Performed by Sharon Van Etten (Focus Features / HBO Max)

ORIGINAL SONG – ANIMATED FILM
“Carried Me With You” from ONWARD – Written by Brandi Carlile, Phil Hanseroth, Tim Hanseroth. Performed by Brandi Carlile (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures / Disney+)
“Feel the Thunder” from THE CROODS: A NEW AGE – Written by Alana Haim, Danielle Haim, Este Haim and Ariel Rechtshaid. Performed by HAIM (Universal Pictures)
“Free” from THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN – Written by Diane Warren. Performed by Charlie Puth (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures / Disney+)
“Just Sing” from TROLLS WORLD TOUR – Written by Max Martin, Justin Timberlake, Ludwig Göransson, Sarah Aarons (Universal Studios)
“Rocket to the Moon” from OVER THE MOON – Written by Christopher Curtis, Marjorie Duffield, Helen Park. Performed by Cathy Ang (Netflix)
“Stand for Hope – When I Stand with You” from TWO BY TWO: OVERBOARD! – Written by Eímear Noone. Performed by Sibéal (Entertainment One)

ORIGINAL SONG – DOCUMENTARY
“The Future” from THE WAY I SEE IT – Written by Aloe Blacc. Performed by Aloe Blacc (Focus Features)
“How Can I Tell You?” From NASRIN – Written by Lynn Ahrens, Stephen Flaherty. Performed by Angelique Kidjo (Virgil Films & Entertainment)
“Never Break” from GIVING VOICE – Written by John Legend, Nasri Atweh, Benjamin Hudson McIldowie, Greg Wells, John Stephens. Performed by John Legend (Netflix)
“Only The Young” from MISS AMERICANA – Written by Taylor Swift, Joel Little. Performed by Taylor Swift (Netflix)
“See What You’ve Done” from BELLY OF THE BEAST – Written by Mary J. Blige, Nova Wav, DJ Camper. Performed by Mary J. Blige (PBS)
“Turntables” from ALL IN: THE FIGHT FOR DEMOCRACY – Written by Janelle Monáe. Performed by Janelle Monáe (Amazon)

ORIGINAL SCORE – INDEPENDENT FILM (FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
ALL AGAINST ALL (Fivia) – Kristian Sensini
BLACK BEACH (eOne Films Spain) – Arturo Cardelus
BLIZZARD OF SOULS (DVĒSEĻU PUTENIS) (Access – A / Pandastorm) – Lolita Ritmanis
SUMMER KNIGHT (China Film Administration) – Min He
ZERØ (Nemesis Media) – Ricardo Curto

OUTSTANDING MUSIC SUPERVISION – FILM
Angela Leus – TROLLS WORLD TOUR (Universal Studios)
Bonnie Greenberg – THE LIFE AHEAD (LA VITA DAVANTI A SE) (Netflix)
Guy C. Routte – THE FORTY-YEAR-OLD VERSION (Netflix)
Linda Cohen – THE HIGH NOTE (Focus Features)
Lynn Fainchtein – THE UNITED STATES VS. BILLIE HOLIDAY (Hulu)
Sue Jacobs – PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN (Focus Features)
Tom MacDougall – SOUL (Walt Disney Studios)

SOUNDTRACK ALBUM
ASSASSIN’S CREED VALHALLA (Lakeshore Records)
BILL & TED: FACE THE MUSIC (Lakeshore Records)
JINGLE JANGLE: A CHRISTMAS JOURNEY (Atlantic Records)
ONWARD (Walt Disney Records)
PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN (Capitol Records)
SOUL (Walt Disney Records)
THE EDDY (Sony Classical)

The New York Film Critics Online Embrace Mudbound and the Florida Project!


Mudbound

On December 10th, the New York Film Critics Online and made their picks for the best films of 2017.  They also gave Mudbound its first prize for Best Picture, even if it did have to share it with The Florida Project.

PICTURE
The Florida Project (A24) (tie)
Mudbound (Netflix) (tie)

DIRECTOR
Dee Rees for Mudbound (Netflix)

ACTOR
Gary Oldman for Darkest Hour (Focus)

ACTRESS
Margot Robbie for I, Tonya (Neon)

SUPPORTING ACTOR
Willem Dafoe for The Florida Project (A24)

SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Allison Janney for I, Tonya (Neon)

SCREENPLAY
Jordan Peele for Get Out (Universal)

BREAKTHROUGH PERFORMER
Timothée Chalamet for Call Me By Your Name (Sony Pictures Classics)

DEBUT DIRECTOR
Jordan Peele for Get Out (Universal)

ENSEMBLE CAST
Mudbound (Netflix)

DOCUMENTARY
Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story (Zeitgeist)

FOREIGN LANGUAGE
In the Fade (Magnolia)

ANIMATED
Coco (Disney/Pixar)

CINEMATOGRAPHY
Dan Laustsen for The Shape of Water (Focus)

USE OF MUSIC
Steven Price (music by) and Kristen Lane (music supervisor) for Baby Driver (TriStar)

TOP TEN FILMS (Alphabetical)

  • “Call Me by Your Name” (Sony Pictures Classics)
  • “Dunkirk” (Warner Bros.)
  • “The Florida Project” (A24)
  • “Get Out” (Universal Pictures)
  • “I, Tonya” (NEON)
  • “Lady Bird” (A24)
  • “Mudbound” (Netflix)
  • “Phantom Thread” (Focus Features)
  • “The Post” (20th Century Fox)
  • “The Shape of Water” (Fox Searchlight Pictures)

Suicide Squad Drops By the MTV Movie Awards


Suicide Squad

Let’s get this out of the way and just say that Warner Bros. executives and major shareholders are none too pleased by the reception from both critics and the general audience when it comes to Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. Not a very good start to their planned DC Extended Universe. While fanboys from both DC and Marvel have been going at it for weeks now, there’s at least some bright spot ahead for DC in their summer tentpole release Suicide Squad.

Even with rumors of extended reshoots to add more levity and fun to balance out public’s perception that the DC films are too dour and dark (grimdark even), Suicide Squad still remains one of the more anticipated films of the summer.

During this year’s MTV Movie Awards, DC and Warner Brothers released the newest trailer for what they’re hoping will sell the DCEU to the audience what Batman v. Superman could not and that’s a fun comic book film that understands dark and serious doesn’t have to mean not fun.

Suicide Squad is set for an August 5, 2016 release date.

Review: Fury (dir. by David Ayer)


Fury

“Ideals are peaceful. History is violent.”

1998 saw the release of Steven Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan.

Prior to this most films depicted World War II as a noble endeavor that needed to be done to help rid the world of Hitler and the horror he was inflicting upon Europe (beyond if given the chance). It gave birth to the “Greatest Generation” that people still look up to even to this day. These were young men who volunteered for a conflict that would change history and for the millions involved. Yet, World War II films were always cut and dried. It was always the good guys (American, British, Canadian, etc…) fighting against the nameless and efficient Nazi war machine.

In time, so many of these films followed the same formula that character stereotypes came about. We always had the cynical, older veteran who becomes a sort of father figure to a hodge-podge group of young, untested soldiers. What these films also had in common was the fact that they remain bloodless despite the nature of the story being told. Some filmmakers would try to buck this time-tested formula (Sam Fuller being the most prominent), but it would take 1998’s Saving Private Ryan to set a shift in how we saw World War II.

Spielberg lifted the rose-colored glasses from the audience and dared to show that while noble, World War II was still war and it still had the horror and brutality that all wars have. 2014’s Fury by David Ayer would continue this exploration of the last “Good War” in it’s most gritty and blood-soaked detail.

The film shows the last gasp of the German war machine as Hitler gives one of his final orders for the German people to repel the invading Allies. It was to be a scorched earth defense. Whether by choice or forced into this desperate tactic, every man, woman and child was to take up arms to their last breath to defend the Fatherland. It’s in this nightmare scenario that we find the veteran Sherman tank crew led by Don “Wardaddy” Collier trying to survive these final days til war’s end. Their home for the last two and a half years since North Africa has been a modified Sherman tank they call Fury. It’s a crew that’s been battle tested from the sands of North Africa, the maze-like hedgerows of France’s bocage and now the countryside of Germany itself.

We can see right from the start that this crew has been through hell and back many times and already resigned to going through hell many more times before they can eveb think of getting back home. It’s a crew that’s already lost one of it’s own minutes into the film. Wardaddy (Brad Pitt) looms over his crew like a weary father figure. This ragtag group consists of Bible (Shia LaBeouf) as the born-again Christian who sees their survival battle after battle as a sign that God’s grace is upon Fury and her crew. Then we have Gordo (Michael Peña) who has been so traumatized by the war and what he has had to do to survive that he has numbed himself from these memories by being in a constant state of drunkenness. Lastly, we have the tank’s loader Grady (Jon Bernthal) whose misanthropic attitude comes as a crude and brutish counterpoint to Bible’s religious fervor. Into this misanthropic soup of a crew comes in the replacement to their recently killed comrade.

Logan Lerman’s character, the young and naive clerk typist Norman Ellison, becomes the audience’s eyes in the brutal world of Fury and her crew. We’re meant to see the war’s brutality and horror not through the jaded and cynical eyes of Wardaddy and his men, but through a young man who has never killed an enemy or even fired a weapon in anger. Norman becomes the surrogate through which we determine and decide whether there is such a thing a nobility and honor in war.

Honor and nobility have always been used by those always willing to go to war to convince the young and impressionable to follow them into the breach. Fury takes these two words and what they represent and muddies them through the muck and gore left behind with each passing battle and tries to see if they remain unchanged on the other side. Norman is a literal babe in the woods as he must adapt or die in a war nearing it’s end but also becoming even more deadly and dangerous than ever. His very naivete quickly becomes a hindrance and a real danger to Wardaddy and his crew. He’s not meant for this world but has had it thrust upon him.

The film treats Norman’s humanity as a liability in a war that strips it from everyone given enough time. We see Wardaddy attempt to speed up the process during a tense sequence where Norman’s being forced to shoot a German prisoner. It’s a sequence of events that’s both unnerving and disturbing as we see the veteran soldiers encircling Norman and Wardaddy cheering or looking on with indifference in their eyes. They’ve all been in something similar and one can only imagine what they had to do to make it this far.

Fury straddles a fine line between showing and explaining it’s themes to the audience. It’s to David Ayer’s skill as a writer that the film’s able to use some finely choreographed scenes both violent and peaceful to make a point about war’s effect on it’s participants both physically and mentally. Whether it’s through several well-choreographed battle scenes to a sequence of tense and quiet serenity in the apartment of two German women that bring back the plantation segment from Coppola’s Apocalypse Now Redux, the film does a great job in showing how even when stripped down close to the bone, Wardaddy and his veteran crew still has semblance of humanity and the honor and nobility they all began the war with.

As a war film, Fury brings a type of combat to the bigscreen that has rarely been explored and never in such a realistic fashion as we watch tank warfare at it’s most tactical and most horrific. Ayer doesn’t fall for the jump cut style that many filmmakers nowadays sees as a way to convey the chaos of battle. Ayer and cinematographer Roman Vasnayov have planned every sequence to allow the audience to keep track of the two opposing sides and their place in the battle’s geography. And just like Spielberg’s own Saving Private Ryan, Fury shows the very ugly and bloody side of World War II. There’s a lot of bodies being blown apart and torn to chunks of meat yet they never seem to come off as gratuitous. Every bloody moment makes a point on the horrors of war and the level of inhumanity that another man inflicts on another man.

If there’s something that Fury does lag behind on it would be some of the narrative choices dealing with Norman’s character. The film takes place literally over a day’s time and the quick change in Norman’s mentality about the war seem very sudden and abrupt. While this day in the life of Fury and her crew worked well in Ayer’s past films (both as writer or director) here it puts Ayer stuck in a corner that made it difficult to fully justify Norman’s sudden change of heart from babe in the woods to hardened Nazi-killer. We can see throughout the film that the war is affecting him in ways that could lead up to this change, but to have it happen in just under a day really stretches it’s believability to the breaking point.

Yet, despite this the film is able to stay on course and recover from this misstep on the strength of Ayer’s direction and the performances of the ensemble cast. Brad Pitt has been the focus of the media campaign leading up to the release of Fury, but every actor who comprises the crew of Fury leave their own mark in the film. Shia Labeouf has had a tough past year both professionally and personally, but one has to admit that performances like the one he had in Fury is a reminder that he’s a damn fine good actor. Whether this film has become the path to his redemption in the eyes of the public is irrelevant. One doesn’t need to like the man to respect the talent he’s able to put up on the screen.

Awards season is in full swing as Fall 2014 arrives and Fury makes it’s case known that genre films (and make no mistake this is a genre film) can more than hold it’s own with the more dramatic life-exploring films that critics tend to put on the pedestal as examples of great filmmaking. While Fury is not perfect it is a very good film full of great performances that just misses being great.

 

Trailer: Fury (International)


Fury-2014-Movie-Banner-Poster

I must admit that World War II films are a favorite of mine. Even bad ones I tend to enjoy. Whether it’s alternate fantasy fares like Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds or something that combines historical accuracy with dramatic license like Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan, the World War II genre always manage to hit straight and true to my film wheelhouse.

This October there looks to be another World War II film that seems almost tailor-fit for me. I’m talking about David Ayer’s follow-up to his underappreciated film End of Watch. This follow-up is Fury and tells the story of an American tank crew in the waning days of World War II in Europe. Just from the two trailer released I already know that I’m seeing this. Ayer looks to be exploring the bond of a tank crew that has seen war from the deserts of Africa and now to the urban and forested landscapes of Germany.

The film is already getting major buzz as a major contender for the upcoming awards season and I, for one, hope that it’s a well-deserved buzz. Even with Shia LaBeouf being part of the cast is not dampening my excitement for this film. Even if it doesn’t live up to the hype I know that I’ll probably still end up enjoying it.

This trailer looks to be selling the utter brutality and carnage of World War II’s final days in Europe when German forces were literally fighting for their homeland and that makes for a desperate enemy (who still had weapons and soldiers that were still hands down better than what the Allies had one-on-one).

On a side note, I like the fact that the tracers in the film actually look like tracers which means they look like freakin’ laser blasts. That’s how tracers behave.

Fury is set to hit theaters on October 17, 2014 in the United States and October 22, 2014 internationally.

Trailer: Gravity (Official Teaser)


gravity-movie-poster-20131

It’s been almost 7 years since Alfonso Cuarón had directed a film. His last one, Children of Men, was such an underappreciated piece of scifi filmmaking. Now, after all these years, he returns to the scifi genre for his latest film due out later this fall.

Gravity stars George Clooney and Sandra Bullock as a pair of astronauts who have become stranded in space after their space shuttle explodes and takes out the space station they’ve been sent to. The film literally is about just the characters Clooney and Bullock plays. It’s quite the sparse cast, but should also make for an interesting drama about two individual who must find a way to save themselves after being stranded in space with no way to contact Earth.

The film will be filmed fully digital with the 3D coming by way of post-production conversion. Even from the sequences put in the teaser it gives hints at 3D that looks to wow and immerse rather than annoy.

Gravity is set for an October 4, 2013 release date.