Playing Catch-Up: Love & Friendship (dir by Whit Stillman)


love__friendship_poster

Earlier this week, I named Pride and Prejudice and Zombies as the worst Jane Austen adaptation of 2016.  Of course, I understand that Pride and Prejudice and Zombies isn’t really a Jane Austen adaptation.  Instead, it’s an adaptation of a jokey novel that took Austen’s characters and combined them with zombies.  But you know what?  Nobody would have given a damn if the name of that book and that movie didn’t include three words:  Pride.  And.  Prejudice.  That’s the power of Jane Austen.

But anyway, my point is that Pride and Prejudice and Zombies was pretty much a low point as far as Jane Austen films are concerned.  Fortunately, 2016 also saw the release of a very enjoyable and entertaining Jane Austen film named Love & Friendship and, even better, Love & Friendship was based on something that Austen actually wrote.

Of course, though Austen may have written the novella Lady Susan, it wasn’t published until long after her death and there’s speculation that it was an unfinished (or abandoned) first draft.  In fact, it’s debatable whether or not Lady Susan was something that Austen would have ever wanted to see published.  While it shares themes in common with Austen’s best known work, it also features a lead character who is far different from the stereotypical Austen heroine.  Lady Susan Vernon is vain, selfish, manipulative, and unapologetic about her numerous affairs.  She’s also one of the wittiest of Austen’s characters, a woman who is capable of identifying and seeing through the hypocrisies of 18th century society.

In Love & Friendship, Susan is played by Kate Beckinsale, who does a great job in the role.  One of the best things about Love & Friendship is that it serves to remind us that Kate Beckinsale is a very good actress, even when she isn’t dealing with vampires and Lycans and all that other Underworld stuff.  Lady Susan is a recent widow and has been staying, with her daughter, Frederica (Morfydd Clark), at the estate of Lord and Lady Manwaring (Jenn Murray and Lochlann O’Mearáin) .  That’s a good thing because, as a result of the death of her husband, Lady Susan is now virtually penniless and homeless.  But, once it becomes obvious that Susan is having an affair with Lord Manwaring, she and Frederica are kicked out of the estate.

They eventually find themselves living with Susan’s brother-in-law, Charles (Justin Edwards) and Charles’s wife, Catherine (Emma Greenwell).  Susan, realizing that she needs to find not only a rich husband for Frederica but also one for herself, immediately starts to scheme to win the hand of Catherine’s brother, Reginald DeCourcy (Xavier Samuel).  Meanwhile, Susan also tries to arrange for Frederica to marry the hilariously slow-witted Sir James Martin (Tom Bennett).  Needless to say, things do not go quite as plan and it’s all rather chaotic and hilarious in its wonderfully refined way.

Director Whit Stillman, who has spent his career making refined and witty movies about morality and manners, is the ideal director for Austen’s material and he’s helped by an extremely witty (and, with the exception of Chloe Sevigny, very British) cast.  In the role of Susan, Kate Beckinsale is a force of nature and Tom Bennett is hilariously dense as Sir James, the type of well-meaning dunce who is literally stumped when someone asks him, “How do you do?”  Never before has dullness been so hilariously performed and Bennett’s performance really is a minor miracle.

Love & Friendship was a wonderful excursion into Austenland.  It didn’t even require zombies to be enjoyable.

 

Here Are The Nominations Of The Online Film Critics Society!


oj

The Online Film Critics Society announced their nominations today.  Along with the usual suspects, the 7 and a half hour documentary OJ: Made in America also picked up a nomination for best picture.

Best Picture

Arrival
The Handmaiden
Hell or High Water
Jackie
La La Land
Manchester By the Sea
Moonlight
O.J.: Made in America
Paterson
The Witch

Best Animated Feature

Finding Dory
Kubo and the Two Strings
Moana
The Red Turtle
Zootopia

Best Director

Damien Chazelle – La La Land
Barry Jenkins – Moonlight
Pablo Larraín – Jackie
Kenneth Lonergan – Manchester By the Sea
Denis Villeneuve – Arrival

Best Actor

Casey Affleck – Manchester By the Sea
Adam Driver – Paterson
Ryan Gosling – La La Land
Viggo Mortensen – Captain Fantastic
Denzel Washington – Fences

Best Actress

Amy Adams – Arrival
Isabelle Huppert – Elle
Ruth Negga – Loving
Natalie Portman – Jackie
Emma Stone – La La Land

Best Supporting Actor

Mahershala Ali – Moonlight
Tom Bennett – Love & Friendship
Jeff Bridges – Hell or High Water
Lucas Hedges – Manchester By the Sea
Michael Shannon – Nocturnal Animals

Best Supporting Actress

Viola Davis – Fences
Lily Gladstone – Certain Women
Naomie Harris – Moonlight
Octavia Spencer – Hidden Figures
Michelle Williams – Manchester By the Sea

Best Original Screenplay

Hell or High Water – Taylor Sheridan
Jackie – Noah Oppenheim
La La Land – Damien Chazelle
The Lobster – Yorgos Lanthimos, Efthymis Filippou
Manchester By the Sea – Kenneth Lonergan

Best Adapted Screenplay

Arrival – Eric Heisserer, Ted Chiang
Elle – David Birke, Philippe Djian
Love & Friendship – Whit Stillman
Moonlight – Barry Jenkins, Tarell Alvin McCraney
Nocturnal Animals – Tom Ford

Best Editing

Arrival – Joe Walker
Cameraperson – Nels Bangerter
Jackie – Sebastian Sepulveda
La La Land – Tom Cross
Moonlight – Joi McMillon, Nat Sanders

Best Cinematography

Arrival – Bradford Young
Jackie – Stéphane Fontaine
La La Land – Linus Sandgren
Moonlight – James Laxton
The Neon Demon – Natasha Braier

Best Film Not in the English Language

Elle – France
The Handmaiden – South Korea
Neruda – Chile
The Salesman – Iran
Toni Erdmann – Germany

Best Documentary

13th
Cameraperson
I Am Not Your Negro
O.J.: Made in America
Weiner

Best Non-U.S. Release

After the Storm
The Death of Louis XIV
The Girl With All the Gifts
Graduation
Nocturma
Personal Shopper
A Quiet Passion
Staying Vertical
The Unknown Girl
Yourself and Yours

Here Are The North Carolina Film Critics Association Nominations!


For Christmas, there was a temporary pause in the flood of precursor awards.  Now that Christmas has passed, Oscar season is back in full swing.

Today, the North Carolina Film Critics Association announced their nominations for the best of 2016!

And here they are:

BEST NARRATIVE FILM
Arrival
Hell or High Water
La La Land
Manchester by the Sea
Moonlight

BEST DOCUMENTARY FILM
13th
I Am Not Your Negro
Life, Animated
O.J.: Made in America
Weiner

BEST ANIMATED FILM
Finding Dory
Kubo and the Two Strings
Moana
Sausage Party
Zootopia

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
Elle
The Handmaiden
A Man Called Ove
Toni Erdmann
Things to Come

BEST DIRECTOR
Damien Chazelle — La La Land
Barry Jenkins — Moonlight
Kenneth Lonergan — Manchester by the Sea
David Mackenzie — Hell or High Water
Chan-woo Park — The Handmaiden

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Chung-hoo Chung — The Handmaiden
James Laxton — Moonlight
Giles Nuttgens — Hell or High Water
Linus Sandgren — La La Land
Bradford Young — Arrival

BEST SPECIAL EFFECTS
Arrival
Captain America: Civil War
Doctor Strange
Jungle Book
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

BEST ACTOR
Casey Affleck — Manchester by the Sea
Joel Edgerton — Loving
Ryan Gosling — La La Land
Viggo Mortensen — Captain Fantastic
Denzel Washington — Fences

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Mahershala Ali — Moonlight
Jeff Bridges — Hell or High Water
Ben Foster — Hell or High Water
Lucas Hedges — Manchester by the Sea
Sam Neill — Hunt for the Wilderpeople

BEST ACTRESS
Annette Bening — 20th Century Women
Kate Beckinsale — Love & Friendship
Ruth Negga — Loving
Natalie Portman — Jackie
Emma Stone — La La Land

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Viola Davis — Fences
Greta Gerwig — 20th Century Women
Naomie Harris — Moonlight
Nicole Kidman — Lion
Michelle Williams — Manchester by the Sea

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Damien Chazelle — La La Land
Barry Jenkins — Moonlight
Kenneth Lonergan — Manchester by the Sea
Mike Mills — 20th Century Women
Taylor Sheridan — Hell or High Water

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Tom Ford — Nocturnal Animals
Eric Heisserer — Arrival
Seo-kyeong Jeong and Chan-wook Park — The Handmaiden
Whit Stillman — Love & Friendship
Taika Waititi — Hunt for the Wilderpeople

KEN HANKE MEMORIAL TAR HEEL AWARD
(To an artist or film with a special connection to North Carolina.)
Anthony Mackie
Jeff Nichols
Starving the Beast

The Alliance of Women Film Journalists Announced Their Picks For The Best of 2016!


american_honey_poster

The Alliance of Women Film Journalists (of which I am not a member and what’s up with that!?) announced their picks for the best of 2016 earlier this week.

And here they are:

AWFJ BEST OF AWARDS
These awards are presented to women and/or men without gender consideration.
Best Film
Arrival
Hell or High Water
La La Land
Manchester by the Sea
Moonlight

Best Director
Damien Chazelle – La La Land
Barry Jenkins – Moonlight
Kenneth Lonergan – Manchester by the Sea
David Mackenzie – Hell or High Water
Denis Villeneuve – Arrival

Best Screenplay, Original
20th Century Women – Mike Mills
Hail Caesar – Joel Coen and Ethan Coen
Hell or High Water – Taylor Sheridan
La La Land – Damien Chazelle
Manchester by the Sea – Kenneth Lonergan

Best Screenplay, Adapted
Arrival – Eric Heisserer
Lion – Luke Davies
Love & Friendship – Whit Stillman
Moonlight – Barry Jenkins
Nocturnal Animals –Tom Ford

Best Documentary
13th – Ava DuVernay
Gleason – Clay Tweel
I Am Not Your Negro – Raoul Peck
OJ Made in America – Ezra Edelman
Weiner – Elyse Steinberg and Josh Kriegma

Best Animated Film
Finding Dory – Andrew Stanton andAngus MacLane
Kubo and the Two Strings- Travis Knight
Moana – Ron Clements, Don Hall, John Musker, Chris Williams
Zootopia – Byron Howard, Rich Moore, Jared Bush

Best Actress
Amy Adams – Arrival
Isabelle Huppert – Elle
Ruth Negga – Loving
Natalie Portman – Jackie
Emma Stone – La La Land

Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Viola Davis – Fences
Greta Gerwig – 20th Century Women
Naomie Harris – Moonlight
Octavia Spencer – Hidden Figures
Michelle Williams – Manchester by the Sea

Best Actor
Casey Affleck – Manchester By The Sea
Joel Edgerton – Loving
Ryan Gosling – La La Land
Tom Hanks – Sully
Denzel Washington – Fences

Best Actor in a Supporting Role
Mahershala Ali – Moonlight
Jeff Bridges – Hell or High Water
Ben Foster – Hell or High Water
Lucas Hedges – Manchester By the Sea
Michael Shannon – Nocturnal Animals

Best Ensemble Cast – Casting Director
20th Century Women – Mark Bennett and Laura Rosenthal
Hail Caesar – Ellen Chenoweth
Hell or High Water – Jo Edna Boldin and Richard Hicks
Manchester by the Sea – Douglas Aibel
Moonlight – Yesi Ramirez

Best Cinematography
Arrival – Bradford Young
Hell or High Water – Giles Nuttgens
La La Land – Linus Sandgren
Manchester by The Sea – Jody Lee Lipes
Moonlight – James Laxton

Best Editing
Arrival – Joe Walker
I Am Not Your Negro — Alexandra Strauss
La La Land – Tom Cross
Manchester By The Sea – Jennifer Lame
Moonlight – Joi McMillon and Nat Sanders

Best Non-English-Language Film
Elle – Paul Verhoeven, France
Fire At Sea – Gianfranco Rossi, Italy
The Handmaiden – Chan-Wook Park, South Korea
Julieta – Pedro Almodovar. Spain
Toni Erdmann – Maren Ede, Germany

EDA FEMALE FOCUS AWARDS
These awards honor WOMEN only

Best Woman Director
Andrea Arnold – American Honey
Ava DuVernay -13TH
Rebecca Miller – Maggie’s Plan
Mira Nair – Queen of Katwe
Kelly Reichardt – Certain Women

Best Woman Screenwriter
Andrea Arnold – American Honey
Rebecca Miller – Maggie’s Plan
Kelly Reichardt – Certain Women
Lorene Scafaria – The Meddler
Laura Terruso – Hello, My Name is Doris

Best Animated Female
Dory in Finding Dory –Ellen DeGeneres
Judy in Zootopia – Ginnifer Goodwin
Moana in Moana – Auli’i Cravalho

Best Breakthrough Performance
Sasha Lane – American Honey
Janelle Monáe – Moonlight and Hidden Figures
Madina Nalwanga – Queen of Katwe
Ruth Negga – Loving

Outstanding Achievement by A Woman in The Film Industry
Ava DuVernay – For 13TH and raising awareness about the need for diversity and gender equality in Hollywood
Anne Hubbell and Amy Hobby for establishing Tangerine Entertainment’s Juice Fund to support female filmmakers
Mynette Louie, President of Gamechanger Films, which finances narrative films directed by women
April Reign for creating and mobilizing the #OscarsSoWhite campaign

EDA SPECIAL MENTION AWARDS

Actress Defying Age and Ageism
Annette Bening – 20th Century Women
Viola Davis – Fences
Sally Field – Hello, My Name is Doris
Isabelle Huppert – Elle and Things to Come
Helen Mirren – Eye in the Sky

Most Egregious Age Difference Between The Lead and The Love Interest Award
Dirty Grandpa – Robert De Niro (b. 1943) and Aubrey Plaza (b. 1984)
Independence Day: Resurgence – Charlotte Gainsbourg (b 1971) and Jeff Goldblum (b 1952)
Mechanic Resurrection – Jason Statham (b. 1967) and Jessica Aba (b. 1981)
Rules Don’t Apply – Warren Beatty (b. 1937) and Lily Collins (b. 1989)

Actress Most in Need Of A New Agent
Jennifer Aniston – Mother’s Day and Office Christmas Party
Melissa McCarthy – The Boss and Ghostbusters
Margot Robbie – Suicide Squad and Tarzan
Julia Roberts – Mother’s Day
Shailene Woodley – Divergent Series

Bravest Performance
Jessica Chastain – Miss Sloane
Naomie Harris – Moonlight
Isabelle Huppert – Elle
Sasha Lane – American Honey
Ruth Negga – Loving

Remake or Sequel That Shouldn’t have been Made
Ben-Hur
Ghostbusters
Independence Day: Resurgence
The Magnificent Seven
My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2

AWFJ Hall of Shame Award
Sharon Maguire and Renee Zellweger for Bridget Jones’s Baby
Nicholas Winding Refn and Elle Fanning for The Neon Demon
David Ayer and Margot Robbie for Suicide Squad
David E. Talbert and Mo’Nique for Almost Christmas

The St. Louis Film Critics Love La La Land


la-la-land-full-poster-image-691x1024

La La Land got even more love this weekend when the St. Louis Film Critics announced their picks for the best of 2016!

BEST FILM: “La La Land” (Runner-up: Manchester By The Sea and Hell or High Water)

BEST DIRECTOR: Damien Chazelle, “La La Land” (Runner-up: Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester By The Sea and Denis Villeneuve, Arrival)

BEST ACTOR: Casey Affleck, “Manchester by the Sea” (Runner-up: Joe Edgerton, Loving)

BEST ACTRESS: Isabelle Huppert, “Elle” (Runner-up: Natalie Portman, Jackie)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Mahershala Ali, “Moonlight” (Runner-up: Lucas Hedges, Manchester By the Sea)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Viola Davis, “Fences” (Runner-up: Michelle Williams, Manchester By The Sea)

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: Whit Stillman, “Love and Friendship” (Runner-up: Eric Heisserer, Arrival)

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: Taylor Sheridan, “Hell or High Water” (Runner-up: Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester By The Sea)

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY: Linus Sandgren, “La La Land” (Runner-up: James Laxton, Moonlight)

BEST EDITING: Sebastian Sepulveda, “Jackie” (Runner-up: Hacksaw Ridge and La La Land)

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN: “The Handmaiden” (Runner-up: Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them, Jackie, La La Land)

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS: “The Jungle Book” (Runner-up: Doctor Strange)

BEST MUSIC SCORE: Justin Hurwitz, “La La Land” (Runner-up: Mica Levi, Jackie)

BEST MUSIC SOUNDTRACK: “Sing Street” (Runner-up: La La Land)

BEST SONG: “Audition (The Fools Who Dream)” from “La La Land” (Runner-up: City of Stars, La La Land)

BEST ACTION: “Captain America: Civil War” (Runner-up: Doctor Strange)

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE: “Zootopia” (Runner-up: Kubo and the Two Strings)

BEST COMEDY: “Hail, Caesar!” (Runner-up: Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping)

BEST DOCUMENTARY: “I Am Not Your Negro” (Runner-up: Weiner)

BEST HORROR/SCI-FI: “The Witch” (Runner-up: Arrival)

BEST FOREIGN FILM: “Elle” (Runner-up: The Handmaiden)

BEST SCENE: Opening Traffic Jam, “Another Day of Sun!” in “La La Land” (Runner-up: “If only it where that simple” from Hail Caesar!)

WORST: “Warcraft” (Runner-up: The Angry Birds Movie)

 

The Austin Film Critics Association Has Announced Their Nominations!


moonlightThe Austin Film Critics Association announced their nominees for the best of 2016 earlier today!  So, let’s see what my fellow Texans selected:

Best Film:

Best Director:

Best Actor:

  • Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea
  • Colin Farrell, The Lobster
  • Denzel Washington, Fences
  • Joel Edgerton, Loving
  • Ryan Gosling, La La Land

Best Actress:

  • Amy Adams, Arrival
  • Annette Bening, 20th Century Women
  • Isabelle Huppert, Elle
  • Natalie Portman, Jackie
  • Ruth Negga, Loving

Best Supporting Actor:

Best Supporting Actress:

  • Greta Gerwig, 20th Century Women
  • Michelle Williams, Manchester by the Sea
  • Min-hee Kim, The Handmaiden
  • Naomie Harris, Moonlight
  • Viola Davis, Fences

Best Original Screenplay:

Best Adapted Screenplay:

  • Eric Heisserer, Arrival
  • Luke Davies, Lion
  • Park Chan-wook, Jeong Seo-kyeong, The Handmaiden
  • Tom Ford, Nocturnal Animals
  • Whit Stillman, Love & Friendship

Best Cinematography:

Best Score:

Best Foreign-Language Film:

  • The Brand New Testament
  • Elle
  • The Handmaiden
  • Things to Come
  • Toni Erdmann

Best Documentary:

  • 13th
  • I Am Not Your Negro
  • O.J.: Made in America
  • Tower
  • Weiner

Best Animated Film:

Best First Film:

  • The Birth of a Nation
  • The Edge of Seventeen
  • Krisha
  • Swiss Army Man
  • The Witch

The Robert R. “Bobby” McCurdy Memorial Breakthrough Artist Award:

Best Austin Film:

  • Loving (dir. Jeff Nichols)
  • Midnight Special (dir. Jeff Nichols)
  • Slash (dir. Clay Liford)
  • Tower (dir. Keith Maitland)
  • Transpecos (dir. Greg Kwedar)

la-la-land-full-poster-image-691x1024

The San Diego Film Critics Society Pick The Best of 2016 Come Hell or High Water!


hell-or-high-water

The San Diego Film Critics Society announced their picks for the best of 2016 earlier today and guess what?  They did not give best picture to Moonlight.  They did not give best picture to La La Land (though it did come in second in the voting).  They didn’t even give best picture to Manchester By The Sea.

No — San Deigo gave best picture to Hell or High Water!

Here’s the rest of the winners from San Diego:

Best Picture: HELL OR HIGH WATER
Runner Up: LA LA LAND

Best Director: David Mackenzie, HELL OR HIGH WATER
Runner Up: Damien Chazelle, LA LA LAND

Best Actor, Male: Casey Affleck, MANCHESTER BY THE SEA
Runner Up: Viggo Mortensen, CAPTAIN FANTASTIC

Best Actor, Female: Sonia Braga, AQUARIUS
Runner Up: Emma Stone, LA LA LAND

Best Supporting Actor, Male – Tied: Ben Foster, HELL OR HIGH WATER & Mahershala Ali, MOONLIGHT

Best Supporting Actor, Female: Michelle Williams, MANCHESTER BY THE SEA
Runner Up: Judy Davis, THE DRESSMAKER

Best Comedic Performance: Ryan Gosling, THE NICE GUYS
Runner Up: Alden Ehrenreich, HAIL, CAESAR!

Best Ensemble: HELL OR HIGH WATER
Runner Up: HIDDEN FIGURES

Breakthrough Artist: Lily Gladstone, CERTAIN WOMEN
Runner Up: Lucas Hedges, MANCHESTER BY THE SEA

Best Original Screenplay: Taylor Sheridan, HELL OR HIGH WATER
Runner Up: Efthimis Filippou, Yorgos Lanthimos, THE LOBSTER

Best Adapted Screenplay: Whit Stillman, LOVE & FRIENDSHIP
Runner Up: Taika Waititi, HUNT FOR THE WILDERPEOPLE

Best Documentary: WEINER
Runner Up: GLEASON

Best Animated Film: KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS
Runner Up: APRIL AND THE EXTRAORDINARY WORLD

Best Foreign Language Film: MOUNTAINS MAY DEPART
Runners Up – Tied: MOTHER (EMA), NERUDA

Best Editing: Blu Murray, SULLY
Runner Up: Joan Sobel, NOCTURNAL ANIMALS

Best Cinematography: Giles Nuttgens, HELL OR HIGH WATER
Runners Up – Tied: James Laxton, MOONLIGHT, Linus Sandgren, LA LA LAND

Best Production Design: HAIL, CAESER! 
Runner Up: LA LA LAND

Best Visual Effects: THE JUNGLE BOOK
Runner Up: ARRIVAL

Best Costume Design: Mary Zophres, LA LA LAND
Runner Up: Madeline Fontaine, JACKIE

Best Use of Music in a Film: SING STREET
Runners Up – Tied: JACKIE, LA LA LAND

Body of Work: Michael Shannon – NOCTURNAL ANIMALS, MIDNIGHT SPECIAL, LOVING, ELVIS & NIXON