Rewind Review: Life During Wartime

Introduction

As those who know me, and if such a person exists, cyberstalk me, know I created this blog after writing on another site, which shall remain nameless, for a while. The point is, I have material sitting around waiting to be re-used on occasion I will re-post them here. Some of those articles or reviews may have been extemporaneous at the time but are slightly random now, hence the new title and little intro, regardless enjoy!

Life During Wartime

Life During Wartime by noted and polemical independent writer/director Todd Solondz is an interesting piece indeed. Its synopsis describes it quite astutely as “Part Sequel/Part Variation” on Happiness, his 1998 film of quite some acclaim. The assessment is quite accurate as this film does manage to stand apart from the previous title as things eventually do all fit in this particular installment but the first act could be somewhat illuminated by having seen the prior, however, seeing Happiness is not necessary to enjoy this film.

This is all a credit to Solondz as basically he has created a work, in which despite the fact that these characters have prior celluloid history this tale manages to be self-contained and is not entirely dependent on the audience’s existing knowledge of the players in the drama.

What is also very interesting is that you have a cast put in a position where they must be very familiar with their previous moment, backstory or perhaps, in a few cases, react to a revelation not made on screen. There are quite a few examples, the first scene of the film between Joy (Shirley Henderson) and Allen (Michael K. Williams) is one that is in medias res in terms of the flow of the conversation. Immediately, we feel there is baggage there, they both come to tears in the discussion but we know not exactly what the baggage is right of the bat but it gets filled in later.
Similarly, Joy and her ex, Andy (Paul Reubens), have an odd late night encounter in a restaurant and nearly the whole scene plays out before our suspicions that Paul is no longer living are confirmed. All the scenes which Henderson and Reubens share are absolutely electric and the height of drama and if it was a two character film it would’ve worked just fine.

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Not that moving out of this odd series of visions that Joy has harms the film necessarily. You also have in his own thread Bill (Ciarán Hinds), who in his own way is also a ghost, in as much as he has been considered dead by his ex-wife and she said as much to her children. It is a very Ibsenesque/Bergmanesque touch to have ghosts in this tale both literally and figuratively. What we don’t necessarily know up front, if we are only seeing this film, is what Bill’s crime is for which he is being released from jail and how he connects to the rest of the characters but sure enough the answers all fall into place, the haziness dissipates and things come into focus.

Then there is the family that Bill left behind lead by a matriarch Trish (Allison Janney) and this thread focuses mostly on how she is not only dealing with her impending marriage to Harvey (Michael Lerner) but also her struggles with her son Timmy (Dylan Riley Snyder) who is about to have his Bar Mitzvah. The path they both take is ultimately the central focus as it closes out the film. The truth is disseminated by Trish but sanitized to an extent and causes some confusion. It throws the ultimate monkeywrench into Timmy’s life as he was almost certain of what it takes to be and means to be a man. The nucleus also contains some of the most compelling performances of the film, Allison Janney is once again brilliant and newcomer Dylan Riley Snyder excels dealing with very difficult material and conveying, depending upon the situation, a different level of understanding of the given circumstances.

Much of the discussion with this film deals with the acting because it is a very character-driven piece, which also manages not to be dialogue-driven, again to its benefit. Ultimately, in nearly every scene we know the subtext or at least that there is a subtext being played. One particular example is Bill’s reunion with his older son, Billy, (Chris Marquette) who knew his father wasn’t dead and what he had done. There is palpable tension but there is also restraint and we can fill in the blanks of what they mean to be saying but are not. Even though Bill eventually reveals what he is trying to ascertain by his questions we know there is more to it.

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The kudos for the cast could continue to include Helen (Ally Sheedy), the third sister in this tale, with whom Joy seeks a respite from her life. This is the kind of film that is most likely to grow upon second viewing as the first time around you are digging for answers if you don’t know them already but you are definitely focusing on what these characters are and are not saying to each other. It is a film with a social and political message to convey here and there but allows you to take it or leave it if you should so choose. It’s not an indoctrinating vehicle in the end but just a story about its people.

Todd Solondz’s latest is definitely a film worth seeing, if not once, then twice.

8/10

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Rewind Review: Dinner for Schmucks

Introduction

As those who know me, and if such a person exists, cyberstalk me, know I created this blog after writing on another site, which shall remain nameless, for a while. The point is, I have material sitting around waiting to be re-used on occasion I will re-post them here. Some of those articles or reviews may have been extemporaneous at the time but are slightly random now, hence the new title and little intro, regardless enjoy!

Dinner for Schmucks

As per usual one thing you will not find in this review is a comparison to the original, The Dinner Game. It was a film I was unaware of before this release. I will be sure to look for it. Now for the film at hand.

One of the things that this film does rather effectively is that it puts its cast in a position to shine. Steve Carrell is at his Brick Tamland best in this part, though clearly brighter. Paul Rudd is most at home as a straight man and does a fine job here. Zach Galifianakis shows a different kind of character than he brought to the screen in The Hangover. Jemaine Clement brings his offbeat, irreverence in a role tailored for him and in an inspired piece of casting it was good to see Ron Livingston, of the soon-to-be-classic Office Space, play the kind of character he despised in that film
One great thing this film does is that it manages to avoid Sorry For Him Syndrome. This is a risk that comedies like this face and that Jay Roach has failed at on occasion. When dealing with a protagonist in a comedy who has the world come caving in on him usually through unfortunate coincidence there is a chance that it will be taken too far and thus you start to feel sorry for him and it ceases to be funny. It’s a bullet the director didn’t quite dodge in Meet the Parents but does here. How that happens is that ultimately you realize that Tim (Paul Rudd) is in the wrong for putting Barry (Steve Carell) in this situation.

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Another thing that is rather surprising is that even in a film that typically gravitates towards lowbrow humor it does manage to create a lovable loser and build his character through a few montages. It uses his unusual taxidermy art to show who he is. Which is crucial with a character who is so seemingly socially inept and unintelligent it is necessary to make the audience understand him and give him some dimension.

Similarly, the building of Barry’s nemesis is also deft as Therman (Zach Galifianakis) is first just his workplace nemesis and then permeates Barry’s whole existence.

The only danger the film ever really runs into is just becoming too convoluted in the number of ways Tim’s life gets messed up by this one chance encounter. However, the film does have the predictability that allows you to know that things will resolve themselves and all you’re really anticipating is the dinner itself which thankfully dominates the third act though it could’ve gone a bit longer.

DINNER FOR SCHMUCKS

With many technical positives going for it that brings us to the crux of the matter: How funny is it? It’s pretty funny, it’s not hysterical but definitely good for a laugh and worth checking out.
It is a film that may grow on replay value but is unlikely to ever reach any sort of classic status on that basis like Anchorman did.
In the end this is a return to form for Jay Roach as one of the better comedy directors around. It’s a funny, wacky good-natured romp.

7/10

Rewind Review: Me and Orson Welles

Introduction

As those who know me, and if such a person exists, cyberstalk me, know I created this blog after writing on another site, which shall remain nameless, for a while. The point is, I have material sitting around waiting to be re-used on occasion I will re-post them here. Some of those articles or reviews may have been extemporaneous at the time but are slightly random now, hence the new title and little intro, regardless enjoy!

Me and Orson Welles

When a film is called Me and Orson Welles and it deals with a fictionalized reality as an audience member it is very difficult not to get sidetracked by the artifice of recreating a reality and how accurate we interpret that reality to be. It can be extraordinarily easy to be distracted by props, sets and the casting decisions. This film never allows that to become a focus because all those decisions are so spot on that you are allowed to fall softly into the story as if you were falling into a down comforter.

Through the course of it you almost need to remind yourself that these are interpretations of the historical figures and that they are wonderful because the tale takes over in full force. To bring to a close this portion of the discussion Christian McKay is absolutely uncanny in his portrayal of Orson Welles. He is made to look like him and what’s most important he sounds a great deal like him. Similarly Joseph Tupper playing the important supporting role of Joseph Cotten was as impressive.
What truly works in this film is that you see the tale through the eyes of a youth instead of having Welles being front and center. It makes it a memoir, albeit a fictionalized one and less of a biopic which has completely different trappings. It also gives us someone to sympathize with, another character who is also, for the most part, observing the proceedings. However, that task is no easy one and is deftly handled by Zac Efron. It is another example of Richard Linklater having absolute confidence in the tale he’s telling and not being worried about the association a casting choice might create. As much as School of Rock is a Jack Black movie watch Black’s other work and you’ll see Linklater had much to do with it.

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Efron, however, is by no means a prop. Yes, he does sing on occasion here but he is also the engaging eye through which we view this tale. The end of the film is somewhat open but what is pleasurable is that a subplot that easily and unobtrusively inserts itself in each act is resolved as its end-piece. What is also thrilling to witness is the recreation of the production of Julius Caesar which is not only well-shot, well-edited and also narratively tells the tale and gives you a sense of the accomplishment this is based of rehearsal scenes and also the tremendous success the show. This sequence is even humorously capped with Welles waiting for his curtain call saying “How do I top this?”
Having mentioned the sets, costumes and props earlier each of them was great in this particular production. Sets in particular because street scenes were shot in England. The props shine almost immediately with Efron flashing a train ticket. The costumes were also spot on, they typically only are noticed in period pieces because people want to believe they’ve been transported in time and that accuracy is important but bad decisions are noticeable and there are none here in that regard.
As enjoyable as it is, there is the duplicity of the tale towards the end and also it does get a little long in the tooth in the second act but overall it is very much worth the time and quite an exciting venture.
8/10

Rewind Review: The Social Network

The Social Network. I’ll put it this way: I think it was probably the best possible execution of a concept doomed to fail. The overwhelming question that kept occurring to me as I was watching it was “Why?” Why is this a movie and why am I watching it? My time may have been better spent playing Farmville, something I rarely if ever do.” I exaggerate only to highlight the doldrums this film dwells in for far too long to call it anything but a bad film. The film’s first scene is a fascinating interplay between Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) and Erica Albright (Rooney Mara). This is the apex of the film sadly it comes very early in the proceedings. You get a perfect illustration as to who Mark is but he doesn’t really change.

The film will toy with time going from one deposition in either of the two lawsuits and back in time to illustrate points and there are several cuts that will remind you of Citizen Kane aside from the fact that, you know, Citizen Kane was about something and larger than life and not about a new hybrid between jerk and nerd- a nerd-jerk. Zuckerberg has no “Rosebud” at the end he just realizes maybe I was a jerk and tries to add the girl he offended on Facebook and obsessively hits refresh waiting for her to accept. He hasn’t changed. Thanks.

It’s a film that after a certain point lacks a necessary ebb-and-flow. The question is how the accusations that he stole Facebook come about, once that comes out the question that remains is “if.” In my estimation it’s very clear that he did which is why much of the rest of the film is very academic and uninteresting, just details. It didn’t really hold any surprises.

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The performances help elevate the film to a level which makes at least tolerable. Andrew Garfield is fantastic as Eduardo Saverin and what’s most impressive is his mastery of a Brazilian accent which is not one that registers in the realm of stereotype so he did some serious research it would seem. Justin Timberlake is surprisingly very good in the role of Sean Taylor. It is also worth noting that thanks to some movie magic and really good acting Armie Hammer plays the role of both Winklevoss twins tremendously.  As for Eisenberg what can be said? He plays the character very well it’s just the character that’s a turn-off but judging by the body of work he has you can see he does have the range to play both very likable and unlikable characters.

The film is at times stimulating intellectually and others emotionally but never both at the same time. All too frequently it is neither.

While I didn’t care for it and was on more than one occasion bored I won’t actively lobby against people watching. It’s definitely the kind of movie you shouldn’t take someone else’s word on, but I was resoundly unimpressed and can only accurately convey my opinion. At times I can try and surmise what an audience might feel but I won’t here.

The Social Network

It seems all the defining of generation talk and the importance of the film is being discussed by those who are older than the characters in the film but furthermore the social import of this film is being inferred by Facebook and its impact, whatever you think it may be, and not by the film itself. The film is nothing more than a glorified docudrama full of sound and fury which signifies nothing and not a good nothing like Seinfeld but just nothing. It’s a wasteland, the epitome of cinematic existentialism: why is this here and why am I watching it?

As I stated at the beginning as much as the experience was displeasing just based on the inherent flawed mechanics of the narrative I can only down-grade it so much. Make no mistake about it this film, much like the real Facebook, has no dislike button, but if it did I’d click it.

5/10

Review: Shrek Forever After

Shrek Forever After is a merely passable Shrek, if you’ll forgive the oddly coined phrase. It does not have the originality, freshness and vibrancy that the first two have and even falls a little short of the third installment. It’s not so much the retread factor that leads to this feeling of being underwhelmed so much as it just the uninspired effort of this film’s storyline.

The story being singled out because plot-wise there’s nothing technically wrong. Things happen pretty much as they should here and it even throws in a twist or two. However, to quote Rumplestiltskin in this very same film the “metaphysical paradox” is a rather unnecessary encumbrance to an extent.

The film seeks to tell a story about “the grass not being greener on the other side” and “how lucky you are” by having Shrek suffer a sort of existential crisis and not really feeling like an Ogre. Which is all well and good. In fact, his ennui and the demonstration thereof leads to the best bit of filmmaking in the whole picture when we get a quick quotidian montage showing just how bored with his life Shrek had gotten.

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So the film is well set-up it’s just how they decide to convey the aforementioned lessons that’s a bit convoluted. Shrek ends up being tricked into signing a contract which changes the past and of course has a very convenient escape clause. Which is all very convenient after its complicated.

It’s just a tired premise that’s applied to characters which were fresh at a time. It’s funny but it riffs on the same things too frequently such as the annoying kid who wants Shrek to roar or Puss in Boots fat jokes. They are funny but just very frequent.

Most of the voice talents are all fine and don’t really stand out too prominently except perhaps for Antonio Banderas as Puss in Boots. The real stand out is Walt Dohn as Rumpelstitlskin who brings energy,verve and pizzazz to his roles and is really one of the bright spots of the film.

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As for the 3D, it’s not in your face but it certainly doesn’t look bad at all. It’s most definitely not a con job as some recent 3D experiences have been.

While it may not be the best note for this franchise to go out on let us hope it is truly the final chapter. Perhaps the only thing worse than closing your franchise in less-than-stellar fashion is lying about the fact that its over.

Review: Sherlock Holmes

As it turns out Robert Downey, Jr. was in fact the best choice available, barring British talents, to play Sherlock Holmes. What is unfortunate is that the material that he was equipped to play it with was not quite up to snuff. While the script did allow Holmes many quips and chances to engage in fisticuffs it didn’t provide a typical Holmes tale or even a very good one.

Jude Law conversely is a rather good Watson but unfortunately too much of his time is spent quibbling with Holmes about Holmes’s meddling in his personal affairs, being resistant and then comes the detective work. Watson is an illustration of the problem with this film is that if you sample ten minutes it seems like two would be banter; one would be tailing, five would be fighting and the next two would be retiring to quarters and not much was discussed along the way and deductions are all rattled off by Holmes at the end. We as an audience are given no chance to ponder for ourselves and then be in awe of Holmes and then deduce what we couldn’t.

Much of the film seemed to be superfluous. An example would be Holmes’ boxing match. In the prologue scene we already saw how he intellectualizes hand-to-hand combat so there’s no purpose to it in the story except to show that he practices which means we could most definitely do without it in the cut.

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Then you get Irene Adler, played by Rachel McAdams, who for all her sordid involvement in the entanglements of the plot could not have been a more one-dimensional character. She comes out of nowhere, we learn next to nothing of her visually and it all comes out in the dialogue with Holmes in the middle and end.

This film also falls into the trapping of too much action being a bad thing. After a while it just becomes monotonous to the extent that even though there are things in the fight worth noticing we never pause to reflect upon them. Not only that but the climactic fight on the not-quite-complete Tower Bridge could have been lifted from any action film and didn’t suit Sherlock Holmes.

It was good that the prologue wasn’t really just an open-and-shut case; of course, we don’t realize that for a time. The plot that Holmes embroils himself, which involves a secret society whose aim is so ludicrous that it raised the stakes to the point of disinterest and we really can’t feel any genuine panic as an audience because the aims of the criminals are so ludicrous and there is little to no reason to believe they can achieve said aims.

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Oddly, it wasn’t the fighting in Sherlock Holmes that was most bothersome but the plotline and furthermore the execution thereof. For the sequel, which we know now will happen, perhaps the action can take a back seat and allow the detective work more than a few furtive minutes to make its impact.

4/10

Rewind Review: Cop Out

Cop Out is the kind of film that shows you the proof is in the pudding, meaning all the pre-release news, trailers and other miscellanea don’t give you a true insight into the quality of a film. Examples here are plentiful. There is of course the title controversy – Kevin Smith, the director (this was the first film he directed that he did not write), wanted to name the film A Couple of Dicks after a line in the film and using the archaic slang for detective as a double entendre. That was shot down for advertising reasons as the title would limit their TV ads to late night. Then the trailer looked funny in parts and in others not so much. Anyway, I digress.

Cop Out is one hell of a movie that proves that Kevin Smith knows how to make a funny movie, whether he penned it or not, but it also does much more than that. It also ends up being a pretty good action crime movie at the same time, and what’s more neither of the two is ever struggling with the other. They balance perfectly together right from the first viewing. It’s in the neighborhood of the Edgar Wright/Simon Pegg “Blood and Ice Cream Trilogy” (Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, third film yet to be) in terms of being a spoof, an homage and a film of the genre at the same time.

The film benefits tremendously from the unlikely pairing of Bruce Willis and Tracy Morgan. They’re not the first two you’d think of when trying to pick foils but man did it ever work here. However, a comedy can only be a true success when it also has memorable turns from the supporting cast. This film also has the benefit of that in many areas. First there’s Seann William Scott, who it may be safe to say has never been better, as the wild Parkour-practicing criminal the partners frequently run into. Then there’s Susie Essman in a very memorable one scene appearance as a woman who is being robbed and who takes no crap. And most importantly amongst the supporting stars is Ana de la Reguera as Gabriela, the Spanish-speaking kidnapping victim they happen upon.

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The soundtrack to this film is noticeably good and does have a few toe-tappers that complement the score, which was somewhat reminiscent of action films of the 1980s, quite nicely.

The film starts with a very funny scene illustrating Paul’s (Tracy Morgan) odd interrogation techniques, which not only set the film up as an homage but also gets him the information he was after. The scene that follows that will kick the film off and send them on their mission as rogue cops. It’s a really well-structured beginning. Also, there is some character-building in as much as Jimmy (Bruce Willis) has a personal stake in retrieving something stolen from him which he planned to sell in order to pay for his daughter’s wedding. While Paul is haunted by the thought of his wife cheating on him and that paranoia is played on through suppositional flashes in which he imagines their exaggerated courtship to tremendous humorous effect.

The dialogue also needs to be cited for its excellence, while that should seem obvious it’s not always necessarily true. Take Dave, (Seann William Scott) the confrontational thief, he is constantly pestering Paul with games of shadow, knock-knock jokes and other nonsense but the film is somewhat conscious of this silliness and even plays up that for more comedy when they have an exchange of “Duck season!” “Rabbit season!”

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Cop Out is an uproariously funny film that doesn’t throw plot completely out the window as has you engaged in all elements of the tale.

10/10

2015 BAM Awards Shortlists

Here we are again my friends on the day of the BAM Awards shortlist. Now, this shortlisting process works a bit differently than other shows so here are some guidelines to bear in mind.

  1. The list is going up now to assure it is live 0n 12/24/2015. Films viewed between 12/24/2015 by me are still eligible and may be considered for when nominations come out on 1/2/2016.
  2. Films on the shortlist are those that will be eligible for awards, plus, all viewed films from 12/24/2015-12/31/2015. Limited allowances are made for sins of omission, as I human and a one-man committee and can make errors. The nominees will be final.
  3. Only films I’ve personally viewed are eligible. A complete list of eligible titles will be posted when the nominees come out.
  4. These lists represent a reduction of 50-66% of the considerations field.
  5. Some categories will be without a shortlist because the consideration field is so small there’d be minimal drama in the nominating process.
  6. Lastly, I welcome your comments and opinions on nominees and the honorees but the decision in the end is mine alone. If my choices bother you that much WordPress is free, you can pick your own winners.

Without further ado this year’s lists:

Best Picture

No shortlist.

Best Foreign Film

Cub (2014, Artsploitation Films)

Futuro Beach
Life According to Nino
Metalhead
Traitors

Love Me
The Nun
God’s Slave
Wiplala
T.I.M.
Kick It (Cool Kids Don’t Cry)

Antboy 2: Revenge of the Red Fury
Aferim!
13 Minutes
Human Capital
Reckless
A Wolf at the Door
Cub

The Boy in the Mirror (O Menino no Espelho)
Secrets of War

Best Documentary

Will not be awarded due to insufficient viewings.

Most Overlooked Picture

Praia do Futuro (2014, Strand Releasing)

Futuro Beach
All the Wilderness
Life According to Nino
Metalhead
The Nun
Wiplala
Charlie’s Country

T.I.M.
Kick It (Cool Kids Don’t Cry)
Antboy 2: Revenge of the Red Fury
Still
Aferim!

13 Minutes

Reckless

Big Game
A Wolf at the Door
Cub
Bloody Knuckles
Little Glory

The Boy in the Mirror (O Menino no Espelho)
Dark Places
Secrets of War
The Activist

Best Director*

It Follows (2014, Radius-TWC)

Paddington
Cinderella
It Follows
Charlie’s Country
Mad Max: Fury Road
T.I.M.
Kick It (Cool Kids Don’t Cry)
Inside Out
Still
Slow West
Aferim!
Human Capital
Mr. Holmes
The Gift
Cub
Creed
Dark Places
Bloody Knuckles
Krampus
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

*Names of directors are redacted until nominations are announced to de-emphasize name recognition and focus solely on the work that was perceived to have been done.

Best Actress

Human Capital (2014, Film Movement)

Julianne Moore Still Alice
Chaimae Ben Acha Traitors
Viktoria Spesvitseva Love Me
Lily James Cinderella
Pauline Etienne The Nun
Maika Monroe It Follows
Alicia Vikander Ex Machina
Charlize Theron Mad Max: Fury Road
Britt Robertson Tomorrowland
Kristen Wiig A Deadly Adoption
Melissa McCarthy Spy
Sarah Chronis Reckless
Valeria Bruni Tedeschi Human Capital
Kristen Stewart American Ultra
Laura Linney Mr. Holmes
Rebecca Hall The Gift
Leandra Leal A Wolf at the Door
Charlize Theron Dark Places
Ariana Rivoire Marie’s Story
Daisy Ridley Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Best Actor

Jurassic World (2015, Universal)

Bradley Cooper American Sniper
Kevin Hart The Wedding Ringer
Wagner Moura Futuro Beach
Ben Whishaw Lilting
Taron Egerton Kingsman: The Secret Service
Vegar Hoel Dead Snow 2: Red vs. Dead
Ushan Çakir Love Me
Richard Madden Cinderella
Kevin Costner McFarland USA
Mathieu Almaric If You Don’t, I Will
Tom Hardy Child 44
Will Ferrell Get Hard
Domhnall Gleeson Ex Machina
James Rolleston The Dead Lands
Harrison Gilbertson My Mistress
David Gulpilil Charlie’s Country
Tom Hardy Mad Max: Fury Road
George Clooney Tomorrowland
Will Ferrell A Deadly Adoption
Aiden Gillen Still
Michael Fassbender Slow West
Arnold Schwarzenegger Maggie
Chris Pratt Jurassic World
David Sandberg Kung Fury
Richard Roy Sutton William’s Lullaby
Jay Duplass Creep
Ed Helms Vacation
Andrew Sensenig We Are Still Here
Nat Wolff Paper Towns
Wagner Moura Father’s Chair
Teodor Corban Aferim!
Christian Friedel 13 Minutes
Fabrizio Bentivoglio Human Capital
Marwan Kenzari Reckless
Samuel L. Jackson Big Game
James Ransone Sinister 2
Jesse Eisenberg American Ultra
Sir Ian McKellen Mr. Holmes
Jason Bateman The Gift
Milhem Cortaz A Wolf at the Door
Michael B. Jordan Creed
Josh Hutcherson The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2
Jeremy Sumpter The Squeeze
Nicholas Hoult Dark Places
Tye Sheridan Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse
Dylan Minnette Goosebumps
Matt Damon The Martian
Adam Boys Bloody Knuckles
Cameron Bright Little Glory
Adam Scott Krampus
John Boyega Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Chadwick Brown The Activist

Best Supporting Actress

Traitors (2014, Film Movement)

Virginia Madsen All the Wilderness
Kristen Stewart Still Alice
Rifka Lodeizen Life According to Nino
Soufia Issami Traitors
Cate Blanchett Cinderella
Noomi Rapace Child 44
Louise Bourgoin The Nun
Isabelle Huppert The Nun
Katarina Schüttler 13 Minutes
Matilde Gioli Human Capital
Fabiula Nascimento A Wolf at the Door
Evelien Bosmans Cub
Phylicia Rashad Creed
Chloë Grace Moretz Dark Places
Sarah Dumont Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse
Isabelle Carré Marie’s Story
Bruna Amaya Casa Grande
Suzana Pires Casa Grande
Toni Collette Krampus
Krista Stadler Krampus
Carrie Fisher Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Best Supporting Actor

Josh Gad The Wedding Ringer
Clemens Schick Futuro Beach
Jesuíta Barbosa Futuro Beach
Nicholas Hoult Young Ones
Hillmar Wollan III Metalhead
Kevin Hart Get Hard
Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa Little Boy
Oscar Isaac Ex Machina
Sonny Young Still
Kodi Smit-McPhee Slow West
Ethan Drumm William’s Lullaby
Skyler Gisondo Vacation
Austin Abrams Paper Towns
Justice Smith Paper Towns
Michael Douglas Ant-Man
Burghart Klaußner 13 Minutes
Fabrizio Gifuni Human Capital
Tygo Gernandt Reckless
Joel Edgerton The Gift
Sylvester Stallone Creed
Tye Sheridan Dark Places
Richard Kind Inside Out
King Orba The Activist
Harrison Ford Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Seth Rogen The Night Before
David Koechner Krampus
Michael Spears The Activist

Best Performance by a Young Actress in a Leading Role

Without a shortlist because the consideration field is so small, it will be a fully nominated category.

Best Performance by a Young Actor in a Leading Role

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Kodi Smit-McPhee All the Wilderness
Rohan Timmermans Life According to Nino
Kodi Smit-McPhee Young Ones
Sasha Mylanus Wiplala
Jakob Salvati Little Boy
Dyon Wilkens T.I.M.
Victor Papadopoulos Kick It (Cool Kids Don’t Cry)
Oscar Dietz Antboy 2: Revenge of the Red Fury
Kodi Smit-McPhee Slow West
Robert Daniel Sloan Sinister 2
Maurice Luijten Cub
Levi Miller Pan
Lino Facioli The Boy in the Mirror (O Menino no Espelho)
Emjay Anthony Krampus
Maas Bronkhuyzen Secrets of War
Graham Verchere Jim Henson’s Turkey Hollow

Best Performance by a Young Actress in a Supporting Role

Antboy 2: Revenge of the Red Death (2014, Attraction Distribution_

Isabelle Fuhrman All the Wilderness
Diljá Valsdóttir Metalhead
Eloise Webb Cinderella
Kee Ketelaar Wiplala
Claudia Kanne T.I.M.
Astris Juncher-Benzon Antboy 2: Revenge of the Red Fury
Mia Xitali Max
Alyvia Alyn Lind A Deadly Adoption
Giovana Rispoli The Boy in the Mirror (O Menino no Espelho)
Stefania LaVie Owen Krampus

Best Performance by a Young Actor in a Supporting Role

William's Lullaby (2014, Nicholas Arnold Productions)

Sávio Ygor Ramos Futuro Beach
Carl-Magnus Adner Dead Snow 2: Red vs. Dead
Kyle Cattlet Poltergeist
Thomas Robinson Tomorrowland
Samuel Ting Graf Antboy 2: Revenge of the Red Fury
Ty Simpkins Jurassic World
Toby Bisson William’s Lullaby
Pierce Gagnon Tomorrowland
William Ulrik Græsli Kick It (Cool Kids Don’t Cry)
Art Parkinson San Andreas
Steele Stebbins Vacation
Lucas Jade Zumann Sinister 2
Dartanian Sloan Sinister 2
Milo Parker Mr. Holmes
Joes Brauers Secrets of War

Best Cast

 

Paddington
Futuro Beach
All the Wilderness
Dead Snow 2: Red vs. Dead
Kingsman: The Secret Service
Life According to Nino

Cinderella

Wiplala

It Follows
Antboy 2: Revenge of the Red Fury
Still

Mad Max: Fury Road
Tomorrowland

Kick It (Cool Kids Don’t Cry)

13 Minutes
Human Capital
Sinister 2

Mr. Holmes

The Gift

Cub

Creed
Dark Places
Krampus
Nickelodeon’s Ho Ho Holiday Special
Secrets of War
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Best Youth Ensemble

Life According to Nino (2014, Waterland/Family Affair/Attraction)

Paddington
Life According to Nino
Wiplala
The Outlaw League
Kick It (Cool Kids Don’t Cry)
Antboy 2: Revenge of the Red Fury
Sinister 2
Cub
The Boy in the Mirror (O Menino no Espelho)
The Peanuts Movie
Krampus
Nickelodeon’s Ho Ho Holiday Special
Secrets of War

Best Original Screenplay

Futuro Beach
All the Wilderness
Life According to Nino
Metalhead
It Follows
Charlie’s Country
Mad Max: Fury Road
Inside Out
Still

Slow West
Kung Fury
T.I.M.

13 Minutes
Sinister 2
American Ultra
The Gift
Cub

Bloody Knuckles
Casa Grande
Krampus
Nickelodeon’s Ho Ho Holiday Special
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
The Activist

Best Adapted Screenplay

Paddington
Cinderella
Tomorrowland
Antboy 2: Revenge of the Red Fury
Vacation
Aferim!
Human Capital

Mr. Holmes
Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation

Dark Places
Creed
Marie’s Story
Secrets of War

Best Score

Paddington
Futuro Beach
Life According to Nino
Cinderella

Wiplala
It Follows
Mad Max: Fury Road
Inside Out
Slow West
Jurassic World
Kung Fury
Jupiter Ascending

Ant-Man
Sinister 2
Mr. Holmes

The Gift
Cub
Goosebumps
Crimson Peak
The Good Dinosaur
Dark Places
The Peanuts Movie
Krampus
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Best Editing 

Paddington
Futuro Beach
All the Wilderness
Metalhead
Cinderella

It Follows
Charlie’s Country
Mad Max: Fury Road
Inside Out
Still
Jurassic World
13 Minutes
Human Capital
Sinister 2
Mr. Holmes

The Gift
Cub
Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation

Bloody Knuckles
Creed
The Good Dinosaur
Dark Places
Krampus
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
The Activist

Best Sound Editing/Mixing

Paddington
Dead Snow 2: Red vs. Dead
Kingsman: The Secret Service
Cinderella
It Follows
Avengers: Age of Ultron
Mad Max: Fury Road
Tomorrowland
Slow West
Jurassic World

Kung Fury
Ant-Man
13 Minutes
Big Game

Sinister 2
American Ultra
Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation

Goosebumps
The Martian
The Boy in the Mirror (O Menino no Espelho)
Creed
The Good Dinosaur
Krampus
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Best Cinematography

Paddington
Futuro Beach
All the Wilderness
Life According to Nino
Young Ones
Metalhead

The Nun
Mad Max: Fury Road

T.I.M.
Slow West

Aferim!

13 Minutes

Human Capital

Sinister 2

Mr. Holmes
Cub
Crimson Peak
Creed
Dark Places
Krampus
Secrets of War
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Best Art Direction

Paddington
All the Wilderness
Life According to Nino
Jupiter Ascending
Cinderella
Charlie’s Country
Mad Max: Fury Road
Tomorrowland

T.I.M.
Aferim!
13 Minutes
Human Capital
Sinister 2
Ten Thousand Saints
Mr. Holmes

Cub
The Martian
Crimson Peak
The Boy in the Mirror (O Menino no Espelho)
Dark Places
Krampus
Nickelodeon’s Ho Ho Holiday Special
Secrets of War
Jim Henson’s Turkey Hollow
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Best Art Direction

Paddington
Jupiter Ascending
Child 44
The Nun
Little Boy
Mad Max: Fury Road
Tomorrowland

Antboy 2: Revenge of the Red Fury
Slow West
Aferim!

13 Minutes
Sinister 2
Ten Thousand Saints

Mr. Holmes
Cub

Crimson Peak
The Boy in the Mirror (O Menino no Espelho)
Casa Grande
Krampus
Nickelodeon’s Ho Ho Holiday Special
Secrets of War
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Best Makeup

Paddington
Dead Snow 2: Red vs. Dead
Jupiter Ascending
Metalhead

Cinderella
It Follows

Mad Max: Fury Road
We Are Still Here
Human Capital
Sinister 2
Mr. Holmes

Cub
Crimson Peak
Bloody Knuckles
Creed
Dark Places
Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse
Krampus
Jim Henson’s Turkey Hollow
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Best Visual Effects

Paddington
Jupiter Ascending
Cinderella
Ex Machina
Mad Max: Fury Road
Tomorrowland
T.I.M.
Jurassic World
Kung Fury
Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation
Goosebumps
The Martian
Bloody Knuckles
Krampus
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Best (Original) Song

“London is the Place for Me” D-Lime and Tabago Crusoe Paddington
“Svarthamar” Performers TBA Metalhead

Juntos (Together)” Juanes McFarland USA
“See You Again” Furious 7
“Rock Over Tokyo” Tennis Pro Big In Japan
“Universal Fanfare” Minions
“Kiss from a Rose” Vacation
“Look Outside” Paper Towns
“Summer Breeze” Vacation
“Walley World Theme” Vacation
“Universal Fanfare” Minions
“Feels Like Summer” The Baa Baa Shop Quartet Shaun the Sheep Movie
Campfire song Cub
“Lord Knows/ Fighting Stronger” Creed
“Grip” Creed
“Wrecking Ball” Seth Rogen and Miley Cyrus The Night Before
“Silent Night” Miley Cyrus A Very Murray Christmas
“Krampus’ Karol of the Bells” Krampus

Best Soundtrack

No shortlist.

Rewind Review: Pandorum

Many times when learning about film you hear the flow of action described as peaks and valleys, a rollercoaster or even an electrocardiograph. Pandorum however has but one peak which is built up to for about 20 to 30 minutes and is thereafter followed by a steady descent into the absurd and unbearable.

When the film is contained to just Payton (Dennis Quaid) and Bower (Ben Foster), both having recently awoken from hypersleep and trying to both figure out what has happened to their ship and how they can repair it, the tension is palpable. As each new character is introduced more details are unfurled that just make the film descend further into the ludicrous and becomes more and more uninteresting.

The problem that faces this film is that it’s trying way too hard to be smart. There are twists to be found here but too many and nealy too hard to follow at times. They are not easy to guess but they are ludicrous and two are discovered in one minute of action towards the end regarding Quaid’s character. Not only are these twists difficult to accept so is Bower’s new attitude towards Payton, which seems based on our knowledge of Payton, not his own.

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There is more fiction than science, which is not a problem in and of itself, however, the discovery of what Pandorum is, combined with the explanation of what the creatures are is so much hokum that it’s hard to deal with. The nature of the beasts attacking them on the ship is intended to make it more frightening than it was but it failed on that account … miserably.

It’s also very strange in as much as this movie seems dissatisfied with being a horror/sci-fi story alone instead it was decided that every one of the characters Payton runs into should hit first and ask questions later and be so adept at hand-to-hand combat that it seems as if a Kung Fu movie broke out. One of the least compelling things that can possibly happen is to have an extended fight sequence when we, like the protagonist, are in search of answers.
There is also a lack of logic by our supposed hero, who due to the fact that we meet him in a state of amnesia after having slept for years, is very vaguely drawn. While they barely escaped a siege by the monsters he walks about a pod area mumbling incoherently about finding his wife, which would be understandable to an extent if only it didn’t last so long that Nadia played by Antje Traue, Germany’s answer to Milla Jovovich in every way (both good and bad), tells him twice that they should be on the move.

pandorum

Leaving significant plot details aside, to avoid spoilers, this film also features the most ridiculous and improbable “cliffhanging” scene ever. Payton crosses a bridge to try and get to the reactor to reset it. It collapses Nadia holds his hands and holds him up while Manh (Cung Le) reaches down and grabs the iron bridge and holds it up during a very long scene. As if this wasn’t bad enough there is a sea of monsters inexplicably lying down below as if they had all dropped E or something.

The acting for the most part ranges from flat to bad with the exception of Dennis Quaid who was rather good. It’s just unfortunate that the story surrounding his character was one of the many fatal flaws in this film.

It’s possible to go further into the details of this story and why it falls very short. The fact of the matter is that each twist renders it more and more futile and makes it a more wasted experience. It takes great potential and a few decent ideas and twists them so much all hope of quality is wrung out of the fabric of the story. The intelligent becomes pedantic and the fascinating becomes futile and facile. It starts as a film made for adults and ends as a tale for children, both of whom have their intelligence insulted. The lead was buried in this story and instead of being cute with tricks and twists they would’ve been better off telling a slightly longer more straight forward tale in proper chronology, without the amnesia aspect and the potential for drama is already better.

Rewind Review: Shutter Island

Shutter Island is a film which is impossible to discuss without going into full detail so the first thing that needs stating is that there are spoilers herein; forewarned is forearmed. It is a film with a massive twist and it hinges upon it, for better or worse the twist colors your outlook on the entire film. In this case sadly it was for worse.

The last half hour of the film revels in unraveling the delusional existence of our protagonist and does so to such painstaking, pace-killing means that it seems to be patting itself on the back and saying “Oh, the cleverness of me.” One cannot argue it is cleverly done and the loose ends do end up being reconnected with what the reality of the situation is but the problem remains do you like the movie more after the twist or come to dislike it. That is one of the pitfalls of twists.

When such a brilliantly intricate MacGuffin has been constructed and we are later told it’s false and our hero is a victim and the villains are heroes it’s a hard pill to swallow. The film that had been unfolding was beautifully done and even if the pace was starting to suffer I was committed to that story, and though the twist could be seen coming a mile away it still hurt the film terribly when it happened and you wish it hadn’t. It seems like a filmmaker the caliber of Scorsese wouldn’t need to fall into one of the new Hollywood mantras which is “We have to outsmart the audience.” Scorcese was the very man who told a very straight forward story a few years ago and won an Oscar which he earned hands down in every scene of the film, save for the last one (that rat was just too much).

shutter-island-fire-dream

So what do you come away with from this film? You get one of DiCaprio’s finest performances in quite some time but the overall effect of the film is diminished. Not only do we discover the reality we were asked to believe was false but then our hero still is unable to maintain his grip on reality after a new breakthrough, it’s almost like you wasted your time twice.

Twists can either being mind-blowing or a total letdown and ultimately a reversal of fortune and this was the latter. Great cinematography and a haunting and effective score are all for naught. Even without twists the dream sequences were too many and too long. The film was flawed but enjoyable but the twist rendered it bad and wasteful.

4/10