The Denver Film Critics Society Honors The Trial of The Chicago 7

Somehow, I guess I missed the Denver Film Critics Society announcing their nominations.  Oh well, no worries!  We’ve got both their nominations and their winners listed below!  (The winners are in bold.)

The Denver Film Critics Society decided to buck the trend a little bit by giving their best picture award to Aaron Sorkin’s The Trial of the Chicago 7 as opposed to Nomadland.  However, they still gave their best director award to Chloe Zhao.  For some reason, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the same thing happen at the Oscars.  In fact, if The Trial of The Chicago 7 does somehow win best picture, I’m hoping that Zhao or someone other than Sorkin win Best Director.  There’s only so many Aaron Sorkin speeches that one can take during the course of one night.

Among the other winners in Denver: Carey Mulligan won Best Actress of Promising Young Woman, Chadwick Boseman took Best Actor for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Ellen Burstyn won Best Supporting Actress for Pieces of a Woman while Sacha Baron Cohen won Best Supporting Actor for The Trial of the Chicago 7.

Here’s the full list:

Best Picture
“The Trial of the Chicago 7”
“First Cow”

Best Director
Chloe Zhao – “Nomadland”
David Fincher – “Mank”
Aaron Sorkin – “The Trial of the Chicago 7”
Pete Docter – “Soul”
Lee Isaac Chung – “Minari”

Best Actress
Frances McDormand – “Nomadland”
Viola Davis – “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”
Carey Mulligan – “Promising Young Woman”
Elisabeth Moss – “The Invisible Man”
Vanessa Kirby – “Pieces of a Woman”

Best Actor
Chadwick Boseman – “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”
Gary Oldman – “Mank”
Delroy Lindo – “Da 5 Bloods”
Riz Ahmed – “Sound of Metal”
Steven Yuen – “Minari”

Best Supporting Actress
Olivia Colman – “The Father”
Amanda Seyfried – “Mank”
Ellen Burstyn – “Pieces of a Woman”
Youn Yuh-jung – “Minari”
Maria Bakalova – “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm”

Best Supporting Actor
Bill Murray – “On the Rocks”
Chadwick Boseman – “Da 5 Bloods”
Bo Burnham – “Promising Young Woman”
David Strathairn – “Nomadland”
Sacha Baron Cohen – “The Trial of the Chicago 7”

Best Sci-Fi/Horror
“The Vast of Night”
“The Invisible Man”

Best Animated Feature
“The Wolf House”
“Over the Moon”

Best Comedy
“The Personal History of David Copperfield”
“The Climb”
“Palm Springs”
“Birds of Prey”
“The Forty-Year-Old Version”

Best Visual Effects
“The Midnight Sky”
“The Invisible Man”
“Birds of Prey”

Best Original Screenplay
Aaron Sorkin – “The Trial of the Chicago 7”
Radha Blank – “The Forty-Year-Old Version”
Pete Docter, Mike Jones & Kemp Powers – “Soul”
Lee Isaac Chung – “Minari”
Emerald Fennell – “Promising Young Woman”

Best Adapted Screenplay
Jonathan Raymond & Kelly Reichardt – “First Cow”
Chloe Zhao – “Nomadland”
Ruben Santiago-Hudson – “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”
Kemp Powers – “One Night in Miami”
Charlie Kaufman – “I’m Thinking of Ending Things”

Best Documentary
“Boys State”
“All In: The Fight for Democracy”
“The Social Dilemma”
“The Truffle Hunters”
“Dick Johnson Is Dead”

Best Original Song
“Poverty Porn” – “The Forty-Year-Old Version”
“Speak Now” – “One Night in Miami”
“Wear Your Crown” – “The Prom”
“Rocket to the Moon” – “Over the Moon”
“Hear My Voice” – “The Trial of the Chicago 7”

Best Original Score
Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross – “Soul”
Alexander Desplat – “The Midnight Sky”
Terence Blanchard – “One Night in Miami”
Ludwig Goransson – “Tenet”
Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross – “Mank”

Best Non-English Language Feature
“The Life Ahead”
“Martin Eden”
“Another Round”
“I’m No Longer Here”

A Few Thoughts On The Walking Dead 7.1 “The Day Will Come When You Won’t Be” (dir by Greg Nicotero)


Well, we can all breathe again.

Tonight saw the premiere of the seventh season of The Walking Dead.  All this summer, we’ve been wondering who Negan would end up killing with Lucille, his barbed wire-covered bat.  Glenn seemed to be the obvious candidate, particularly since he had already miraculously (and, some would say, implausibly) escaped certain death on the show and he was also Negan’s victim in the comic.

However, none of us wanted it to be Glenn.  Ever since the show began, Glenn has been one of the most popular characters.  In many ways, he served as a stand-in for the audience.  Sure, everyone loves Darryl and Michonne but Glenn …. well, there was just something special about Glenn.  Whereas both Darryl and Michonne were born warriors and Rick Grimes was a former police officer who had been trained to think quickly in a crisis, Glenn was just a pizza delivery boy.  He was the guy who, by all logic, should not have survived the first week of the zombie apocalypse.  And yet, he did survive.  For sic seasons, we watched as Glenn grew and developed as a character.  When he “married” Maggie, it was more than just a plot twist.  It was proof that, even in the worst of circumstances, love could survive.

So, a lot of us told ourselves that there was no way that Glenn would die.  We told ourselves that Glenn was too popular of a character.  We mentioned all the other times that the show had led us to believe it was going to follow the plot of the comics just to suddenly go in a totally opposite direction.

Myself, I believe that Negan would kill Abraham.  Abraham seemed like the obvious choice, popular enough that his death would mean something but, at the same time, not so popular that the show would risk losing any viewers by killing him.

I was so confident in my prediction that I ever decided to make it official:

And I was right.

But I was also very wrong.

It took about 25 minutes for tonight’s episode of The Walking Dead to get around to showing us who Negan killed.  The episode really pulled out the suspense and I have to admit that I was worried they were going to go the entire hour without letting us know for sure.  (I remember Lost used to do that and it would drive me crazy.)  And when we saw Negan beat Abraham to death, I think a lot of people said, “Poor Abraham but at least it wasn’t Glenn…”

And then, a few minutes later, Darryl charged Negan and, after Darryl was subdued, Negan responded by beating Glenn to death.

(As Jeffrey Dean Morgan, who was so chillingly good as Negan, pointed out on The Talking Dead, Glenn would not have died if not for Darryl’s actions.)

It was hard to watch.  You can say that it’s just a TV show and that there are bigger things to worry about than the fate of a fictional character but, at that moment, it felt as if I was watching an old friend die.  For seven years, Glenn has been one of the show’s constants.  He’s been one of the few stable elements of The Walking Dead.  He’s always been there.

And now, he’s not.

While we were all still trying to recover from the deaths of both Glenn and Abraham, Negan was busy breaking Rick.  Rick has always been the leader.  He’s always been the guy who you can count on to ultimately do whatever needed to be done to protect the group.  Rick was the one who stepped up to shoot Sophia when she came out of that barn.  Rick was the one who, no matter how bad things got, everyone felt they could depend on.  In a world where it was often hard to find meaning or morality, Rick has always stood for something more than just ruthless survival.  And yet, last night, we saw a totally defeated Rick.  Not only did Rick watch helplessly as two of his people were brutally murdered but he was also nearly forced to chop off Carl’s hand.

(I know that a lot of viewers — myself included — were expecting Negan to chop off Rick’s hand in the RV.)

As I watched that scene with Rick and Carl, I couldn’t help but think about the biblical tale of Abraham and Isaac, a story that I have always hated.  God ordered Abraham to sacrifice his son and he waited until Abraham raised the knife to say, “Stop, it was just a test of your faith.”  (Abraham is so overjoyed that he never stops to ask, “What type of God would ask me to do something so terrible in the first place?”)  When Negan ordered Rick to chop off Carl’s hand and then stopped him only after he raised the hatchet, it was Negan’s way of saying that, for all intents and purposes, he is God.

Again, it wasn’t easy to watch.  But at least Maggie doesn’t appear to be ready to surrender.  Rick may have been broken.  Darryl may now be a hostage.  But Maggie is going to keep fighting.

Finally, I have to say that, after watching all of this, I am so incredibly thankful for Chris Hardwick and Talking Dead.  When Chris opened the show by promising that we were going to talk through what we had just witnessed, he wasn’t kidding.  Tonight’s episode of Talking Dead felt like a televised group therapy session.  It helped to see Steven Yeun and Michael Cudlitz on that stage with the rest of the cast.  After we just watched, we needed to see them all together.  We needed to see them laughing and joking and crying and hugging.  We needed that catharsis.

Talking Dead served as a reminder that it was just a TV show and nobody had really died.

So, why do so many of us still feel like we just said goodbye to a member of our family?

One final thought:

RIP, Abraham and Glenn




Trailer: The Walking Dead Season 4 “Don’t Look Back”


“I see a bad moon rising.”

It’s just less than a month away until the second half of The Walking Dead season 4 begins.

This fourth season of AMC’s massively popular survival-horror series has had a sort of resurgent year. New showrunner Scott M. Gimple has done a good job in fixing some of the issues that popped up during previous showrunner Gen Mazzara’s tenure during the final stretch of season 3. While Gimple has done a good job the show still has some issues when it comes to stand-alone episodes as we saw with the two-parter that reintroduced the Governor.

The ultimate payoff of that two-parter led to the ending that should’ve been the season finale of season 3. The showdown and final attack on the prison was as exciting as how Kirkman wrote it for the comics. There were even scenes that seemed to have been lifted from the pages. With Rick and those who survived the prison assault now thrown to all points of the compass it brings up some interesting prospects of seeing the group trying to survive on the road not as a coherent veteran team, but in piecemeal.

With the Governor and most of his people dead the show will now have room to introduce some new characters. These characters should be familiar to fans of the comics and it will be interesting how Gimple and his stable of writers will be able to translate them from pages to the small screen.

The Walking Dead returns on AMC on February 9, 2014.

The Walking Dead – Behind the Scenes Sizzle Reel (AMC)

It’s now just a little over a month to go before one of the most anticipated new shows on TV hits the airwaves. AMC’s tv series adaptation of Robert Kirkman’s critically-acclaimed and fan favorite comic book series The Walking Dead will premiere on Halloween night 2010 at 10pm. The show will also premiere within days in over 40-plus countries which would be an unprecedented feat for a first time tv series.

Frank Darabont and his band of writers seem to have taken Kirkman’s story and made the necessary changes to make it work on tv. One aspect of Kirkman’s storytelling was how some people thought it to be too expositionary. This left each page with too much talking while at the same time not fleshing out each character to be distinct from each other. While I can see that I don’t buy into that particular flaw in the story too much. This is a story of the end of the world and stress definitely plays a key role in how everyone reacts to their new environment.

From the AMC “sizzle” reel the network has released just in the last few days it looks like the show’s writers have taken Kirkman’s story, ideas and dialogue and made them flow much more naturally. Final judgement on whether this actually happens will have to wait until the show premieres, but Darabont has always been a writers first and filmmaker second so I definitely have much faith that he and his team will come out with a great product that takes the best from the comic book and trims the fat and gristle off by the wayside.

There’s also one thing the “sizzle” reel above shows which should answer the trepidations that some of the comic book’s fans have had since hearing th news of the adaptation. This was whether AMC will keep the gore and violence from the comic books or will it be toned down. From the looks of some of the scenes shown in the reel above the gore and violence is on-hand and from the look of things this may be the most gory thing on tv that’s not premium cable. I see blood, gore, viscera and all the nice gooey things that happens when a body’s insides are exposed to the environment. YUM!

Halloween 2010 needs to come now, but until then revisiting the comic books the series is adapting is a good way to pass the time.

Source: io9

The Walking Dead – Official Series Trailer (AMC)

Well, it’s now official. AMC has finally released the very same trailer that people not fortunate enough to have attended San Diego Comic-Con last month. This trailer is under 5 minutes long and it’s the same one those who attended the Comic-Con panel for the show saw. Only shaky and grainy bootleg copies of the trailer has been seen outside of that panel. While some bootleg versions were quite good in quality they’re still not a substitute for the official release of the same trailer by AMC for everyone to watch.

This official trailer release was also AMC’s way of finally announcing the premiere date of the 90-minute pilot episode (directed by showrunner and producer Frank Darabont). The pilot will premiere worldwide on Halloween Night, October 31, 2010. While some thought the pilot will premiere early on AMC’s “Fearfest” campaign for October I think it’s appropriate that the series premieres on Halloween Night. I can definitely see many fans of the comic book series planning their Halloween parties to include group watch of the pilot episode the very same night.

Still two months away and this trailer definitely doesn’t make the wait any easier.

Source: The Walking Dead (AMC)

The Walking Dead – 5 New Pics from AMC

The parade of new promo materials from AMC in regards to their upcoming zombie apocalypse tv series, The Walking Dead, continues with the release of 5 new production photos from the pilot episode (directed by series producer and showrunner, Frank Darabont).

From what I could gather from these five new production photos these shots were taken probably close to the end of the pilot as Rick makes his way into Atlanta in search of Lori and Carl, his wife and son. There’s no denying that I’m very hyped for this show to air. The comic book has been an obsession of mine for over 5 years now and going onto its 6th year.

If we’re to believe what Darabont, Kirkman and Hurd have mentioned before, during and after San Diego Comic-Con then AMC have been very hands-off about how to handle the violence and gore in The Walking Dead as a tv adaptation. While these photos doesn’t show much gore outside of the numerous zombie make-up effects there’s the 4th pic that shows what could be the series’ very first gore money-shot. The angle is all wrong in the shot, but if they sot it from a higher angle as well then here’s to hoping they show some of it. It definitely will show some sort of gutmunching.

One thing which was mentioned during the Q&A at the panel for The Walking Dead at Comic-Con was a possibility of the first season being shown as B&W just like Darabon’t B&W version of his own apocalptic-horror, The Mist. The series won’t be shown in B&W when it premieres, but Darabont is hoping that when the first season dvd comes out that a B&W version may just be included. Here’s to hoping that he does do what he’s hoping for.

Below are the same 5 pics from above but treated as if taken from a B&W airing.

Source: AMC – The Walking Dead Gallery

The Walking Dead Comic-Con Bootlegged Trailer

It may be weeks before AMC puts up a much more high-quality version of this trailer, but until then this is the only one non-Comic-Con goers can watch. The trailer definitely shows enough of what Darabont and his writers are going for to assuage any fear I have that they’re straying too far away from Kirkman’s laid out plans and that they may be staying too loyal to the original source.

I really like how the trailer shows enough scenes from the comic book’s first couple issues that fans have memorized. This series (6 episodes in total) will definitely be the show to watch this coming tv season. That scene with the zombies swarming in, around and over the tank sent chills up my spine.

I also love how loud and well the panel attendees received the trailer. Now time for the series to impress the non-fans. If the series does that then The Walking Dead will join Mad Men and Breaking Bad in creating a trifecta of the best shows on basic cable and probably tv in general.