Updates to Come – 1/28/23

To creep on what I’m watching and what might be up for the BAM Awards next year, follow me on Letterboxd.

Coming up soon will also be my Film Discoveries list which is making a comeback this year.

Following the BAM honorees posts and Oscars live blog I’ll post my 10 best list for those still curious.

2022 BAM Award Nominations

Nominations are complete. Follow-up posts to come. Awards announced on March 11th.

Best Picture

Armageddon Time 

Avatar: The Way of Water

Crimes of the Future

The Cursed

Everything Everywhere All at Once

The Fabelmans

Prey

Smile

The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent

The Woman King

Best Director

James Cameron Avatar: The Way of Water

David Cronenberg Crimes of the Future

Jame Gray Armageddon Time

Steven Spielberg The Fabelmans

Dan Trachtenberg Prey

Most Overlooked Picture

Armageddon Time 

Brian and Charles

The Cursed

Lyle, Lyle Crocodile

Mad God

Best Foreign Film

Not awarded.

Best Editing 

David Brenner, James Cameron, John Refoua, Stephen E. Rivkin Avatar: The Way of Water

Sarah Broshar, Michael Kahn The Fabelmans

Christopher Donaldson Crimes of the Future

Elliot Greenberg Smile

Yorgos Mavropsaridis The Cursed

Best Actress

Jamie Lee Curtis Halloween Ends

Viola Davis The Woman King

Amber Midthunder Prey

Michelle Williams The Fabelmans

Michelle Yeoh Everything Everywhere All At Once

Best Actor

Kevin Bacon They/Them

Austin Butler Elvis

Nicolas Cage The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent

Daniel Craig Glass Onion

Viggo Mortensen Crimes of the Future

Best Supporting Actress

Asia Argento Dark Glasses 

Angela Bassett Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

Jamie Lee Curtis Everything Everywhere All At Once

Stephanie Hsu Everything Everywhere All At Once

Thuso Mbedu The Woman King

Best Supporting Actor

Anthony Hopkins Armageddon Time 

Judd Hirsch The Fabelmans 

Pedro Pascal The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent 

Ke Huy Quan Eveything Everywhere All At Once 

Donald Sutherland Mr. Harrigan’s Phone

Best Performance by a Young Actress in a Leading Role

Madalen Mills Tiger Rising 

Ryan Kiera Armstrong Firestarter

Rakel Lenora Fløttum The Innocents

Violet McGraw A Christmas Mystery

Momona Tamada Secret Headquarters

Gabriella Uhl 13: The Musical 

Best Performance by a Young Actor in a Leading Role

Winslow Fegley Lyle, Lyle Crocodile

Eli Golden 13: The Musical 

Brooks Repeta Armageddon Time

Walker Scobell The Adam Project

Mason Thames The Black Phone

Rueby Wood Better Nate Than Ever

Best Performance by a Young Actress in a Supporting Role

Aria Brooks Better Nate Than Ever

Alma Brynsmo Ramstad The Innocents

Julia Butters The Fabelmans

Mykal-Michelle Harris Cheaper by the Dozen

Millie Kiss The Cursed

Madeleine McGraw The Black Phone

Best Performance by a Young Actor in a Supporting Role

Jack Champion Avatar: The Way of Water

Max Mackintosh The Cursed

Daniel Ranieri The Tender Bar

Javon ‘Wanna’ Walker Samaritan

Jaylin Webb Armageddon Time

Xinyu Zhang Dark Glasses

Best Youth Ensemble

Trinity Jo-Li Bliss, Jack Champion, Britain Dalton, Bailey Bass, Duane Evns, Jr. Avatar: The Way of Water

Kylie Rodgers, Andre Robinson, Kaylee Blosenski, Aryan Simhadri, Leo Abelo Perry, Mykal-Michelle Harris, Christian Cote, Sebastian Cote, Alijah Francis Cheaper by the Dozen

Max Mackintosh, Tommy Rodger, Millie Kiss, Tom Sweet, Áine Rose Daley The Cursed

Mateo Zoryon Francis-DeFord, Keeley Karsten, Alina Bruce, Julia Butters, Birdie Borria, Sophia Kopera, Sam Rechner, Oakes Fegley, Isabelle Kusman, Chandler Lovelle The Fabelmans

Walker Scobell, Keith L. Williams, Momona Tamada, Abby Jane Witherspoon, Kezii Curtis Secret Headquarters

Mason Thames, Madeline McGraw, Miguel Cazarez Mora, Rebecca Clarke, J. Gaven Wilde, Spencer Fitzgerald, Jordan Isaiah White, Brady Ryan, Tristan Pravong, Jacob Moran, Brandy Hepner, Banks Repeta The Black Phone

Best Cast

Boyd Holbrook, Kelly Reilly, Alistair Petrie, Roxane Duran, Nigel Betts, Stuart Bowman, Simon Kunz, Amelia Crouch, Max Mackintosh, Tommy Rodger, Áine Rose Daly, Millie Kiss, Tom Sweet, et al. The Cursed

Michelle Yeoh, Stephanie Hsu, Ke Huy Quan, James Hong, Jamie Lee Curtis, Tallie Medel, Jenny Slate, Biff Wiff, et al. Everything Everywhere All At Once

Michelle Williams, Paul Dano, Seth Rogen, Gabriel Labelle, Mateo Zoryon Francis-DeFord, Keeley Karsten, Alina Bruce, Julia Butters, Birdie Borria, Judd Hirsch, Sophia Kopera, Jeannie Berlin, Robin Bartlett, Sam Rechner, Oakes Fegley, Isabelle Kusman, Chandler Lovelle, et al. The Fabelmans

Daniel Craig, Edward Norton, Janelle Monáe, Kathryn Hahn, Leslie Odom Jr.,Kate Hudosn, Dave Bautista, Jessica Henwick, Madeline Cline, Noah Segan, Jackie Hoffman, Dallas Roberts, Ethan Hawke, Hugh Grant et al. Glass Onion

Viola Davis, Thuso Mbedu, Lashana Lynch, Sheila Atim, John Boyega, Jordan Bolger, Hero Fiennes Tiffin, Jimmy Odukoya, Masali Baduza, Jayme Lawson, Adrienne Warren, Chioma Umeala,  et al. The Woman King

Best Original Screenplay

Sean Ellis The Cursed

Tom Gormican, Kevin Etten The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent

Daniel Kwan, Dan Scheiner Everything Everywhere All at Once

Jordan Peele Nope 

Steven Spielberg, Tony Kushner The Fabelmans

Best Adapted Screenplay

Patrick Aison, Dan Trachtenberg, Jim Thomas Prey

David Cronenberg Crimes of the Future

Scott Derrickson, C. Robert Cargill and Joe Hill The Black Phone

James Vanderbilt, Guy Busick, Kevin Williamson Scream

Rian Johnson Glass Onion

Best Cinematography

Bruno Delbonnel The Tragedy of MacBeth

Janusz Kaminski The Fabelmans 

Charlie Sarroff Smile

Larkin Seiple Everything Everywhere All At Once

Mandy Walker Elvis

Best Visual Effects

Avatar: The Way of Water

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

Everything Everywhere All At Once

Nope

Prey

Best Score

Terence Blanchard The Woman King

Cody Carpenter, John Carpenter, Daniel A. Davies Firestarter 

Howard Shore Crimes of the Future

Cristobal Tapia de Veer Smile

John Williams The Fabelmans

Best Soundtrack

The Adam Project

Elvis  

Metal Lords

Minions: The Rise of Gru Spirited

Spirited

Best Song

“The Bloodmaster” Eli Golden, Frankie McNellis, JD McCrary, Lindsey Blackwell, Shechinah Mpulwana, Nolen Debuc, & Ensemble 13: The Musical

“On Broadway (Busking Version)” Rueby Wood, Lucky Chops  Better Nate Than Ever

“Machinery of Torment” Skullflower Metal Lords

“One Way or Another” Bette Middler, Sarah Jessica Parker & Kathy Najimy Hocus Pocus 2

“Good Afternoon” Spirited Ryan Reynolds, Will Ferrell, The Spirited Ensemble Spirited

Best Art Direction

Andrew Babbitt Glass Onion

Rossitsa Bakeva Barbarian 

Mark Beneceraff Armageddon Time

Dylan Cole, Ben Procter Avatar: The Way of Water

Paulo Gonçalves, Patrick Schmitt The Cursed

Best Costume Design 

Ruth E. Carter Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

Madeline Fontaine The Cursed

Catherine Martin Elvis 

Gersha Phillips The Woman King

Stephanie Porter Prey

Best Sound Editing and Mixing 

Johnny Burn, Keith Kohn Nope

Dave Chrastka Avatar: The Way of Water

Dave Grimaldi, Angelo Palazzo The Adam Project

Dan Kenyon Smile

Gary Rydstrom, James Mather, Al Nelson Top Gun: Maverick

Best Makeup

Alexandra Anger Crimes of the Future

Mark Coulier and Shane Thomas Elvis

Clarisse Domine The Cursed

Camille Friend, Joel Harlow Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

John Russell, Natasa Krstic Hellraiser

Best Documentary

Not Awarded 

Robert Downey Jr. Award for Entertainer of the Year

TBA

Ingmar Bergman Lifetime Achievement Award

TBA

Special Jury Award

TBA

Neutron Star Award

TBA

Mini-Review: Malandro (A Opera do Malandro)

I first wrote about this movie for a version of the Underrated Dramas series that Rupert Pupkin Speaks started that I spun-off on my page:

When playing national word-association most will mention football (soccer) when it comes to Brazil. I would hope they would also mention music at some point if pressed for more words. Chico Buarque is among Brazilian music’s legendary names. Here you have a film that’s a dramatization of songs he wrote, but also quite a telling and compelling drama. The images I always associated with these songs in my mind here are given form and context in a great way, incorporating period and obfuscated commentary.

This is one that I know definitely qualifies for the underrated simply because of how overlooked it is. Firstly, there is the fact of the pure lack of unavailability with regards to the title. With a surge in interest in works from Brazil in the 1980s with some of its successful films like Pixote, the rise of Sonia Braga in Hollywood and Marîlia Pera in indies here, the film came here and even had a VHS release.

That’s how I saw it as a rental from Movies Unlimited. All the historical and social context about Brazil in 1941 aligning itself with the Nazi Germany against popular sentiment, is conveyed through the tale. The word malandro is a very specifically Brazilian describing a sort of wiseguy, a guy on the wrong side of the law and tracks whose not a hardened criminal and looking to have good time. It also helps that he’s often referred to that way so it becomes almost like a common noun rather than an adjective.

Not speaking Portuguese really only robs you some of the lyrics, but the music and singing are great and the meaning of the songs are well portrayed in subtitles if not poetic any longer.

It’s a wonder this film has not been restored and repacked on Blu-ray from some repertory label. If you can track it down it’s well worth it.

Mini-Review: Gung Ho (1986)

This is a film that I saw in my high school economics class. Aside from playing the stock version of fantasy sports before the tech bubble burst (so it was really fun) we saw a few films. This was one of them and I found it quite funny. Because “underrated” is such troublesome term one of the parameters I used was the film’s Rotten Tomatoes score. A 35 certainly does rank as a film that was roundly dismissed.

Some may think of Ron Howard as a director without a signature, but I tend to see him as more the invisible hand type who is versatile, a poor man’s modern-day Michael Curtiz. Aside from that Michael Keaton stars in this movie and he automatically makes anything better, and it’s indisputably ‘80s in its political incorrectness.

Rewind Review: The American

It is oft preached that the marketing of a film is not supposed to factor into a film review and rest assured it will not affect this one. However, I do have a bone to pick with that notion because it does ask that the film reviewer be somewhat super-human and wipe all preceding knowledge of the film from their brain. An instruction as futile as when a judge asks a jury to disregard a certain piece of evidence. I know said thing and can’t un-know it. Having said all that it is extraordinarily disappointing that The American is packaged in its trailer as something it is not. However, its failing as a film and its false advertising are mutually exclusive. It does not work as what it is based on those given circumstances not based on what it was sold to be.

What The American turns out to be is a deliberately paced, OK, slow film, which is a character study and not an action film in the mold of James Bond or the Bourne series. However, in this thoughtful character study several facets come up short and when several pieces are just a little below par the whole suffers.

I am not one who wants to impose a moderate to fast pace on every film. Each film needs to find its own rhythm like a piece of music. However, some films do not find it going either too fast or too slow. So there is no aversion to a slow-moving tale here especially considering my fondness for the more than seven-hour-long Satantango, what that film has going for it was that it needs its time and The American does not. There are silences for the sake of silences, moments of thought where we can’t read the subject and scenes that could easily be shorter or excised altogether.

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One way in which this film overstays its welcome is by having too many scenes where we go back and forth between Jack and Mathilde and Jack and Clara as if his affections are somehow torn when we know if he’s going to be drawn to anyone it’ll be the latter. This is the least of the film’s issues however.

The relationship with Father Benedetto also becomes ultimately unsatisfying. First, it seems it will be a one time encounter. Then it becomes a a daily ritual but the decision to go back and see him again isn’t made on screen. The meetings, which are several, in the end serve almost no purpose the priest confesses a secret to Jack but not the other way around. In the end Jack just says “Sorry, Father” after the priest witnesses his “profession” but what does that serve? It was already a given that Jack was tired of this life and wanted out so ultimately the whole relationship serves no function in the plot.

As intimated above there are in this film beats you could drive a bus through, long pauses for us to watch mainly Clooney thinking, however, rarely can we glean anything off his stone-faced expression, which is fine as long as pace doesn’t suffer. To watch him work methodically and expertly on his munitions are some of the best moments this film has to offer playing into the fascination we can have with watching people simply behave as has been demonstrated in countless films. The issues begin when the actions stop and we watch a character think. If we don’t catch a glimmer of what that notion is it is time wasted on the screen, and far too much time in this film is wasted.

the-american-6The smallest things could’ve been done to tighten the edit. One small example: Jack makes repeated calls from phone booths to his contact. Each time he does we must hear the phone ringing and rarely if ever do we L-cut. We sit and watch and wait for the phone to be answered, if there is no dramatic reason, no significance attached to the continued ringing of the phone so why must we sit there and watch it and listen to it?In the end the plot is more than a bit contrived as the target of the hit is revealed. The end of the film is even more contrived and the coup de grace of contrivance is that we must wait for a butterfly, an animal which through the language of this film has become synonymous with our protagonist, flutter off the frame for the film to end.

The one thing that can be said in favor of The American without reservation is that it does get one talking afterward, which few films do anymore but there are far too many things that keep it from reaching its potential.

2023 on The Movie Rat

Since Pestilence has made itself omnipresent in our lives things have been slow on this blog.

However, even before this New Year began I started working on making this year more active on this blog than 2022 was, with the most recent post being in June.

The first bit of business is that the BAM Awards will be occurring with nominations coming on January 23rd and honorees being announced on March 11th. Each a day before the Oscars do their thing. Yes, I will live blog the Oscars if only since at this rate Timothée Chalamet will likely be in a sheer dress.

But there will be short films posted, some reviews, and if I get to writing them some thoughts on the current state of things because Warner Bros. Discovery by themselves are giving us all enough to be angry about.

More to follow soon. Happy new year, such as it is.

Immersion Therapy For Homophobes

A while back I wrote I wanted to post more Film Thought pieces and things like digging into ideas rather than outright reviews, writings focused on aspects of films, nuances of narrative, or overviews of the industry. Of yet that’s not happened, but something struck me today as I thought of the mindnumbing outrageaholics review-bombing Lightyear simply for featuring a same-sex couple kissing. What struck me was a brief poem, as only so much needs to be said about people who can’t deal with the cinematic mirror reflecting all of life. Without further preamble, my poem “Immersion Therapy for Homophobes.”

Immersion Therapy for Homophobes

by Bernardo Villela

Pry open each eyelid
as A Clockwork Orange instructed. 

Turn out the lights,
project the sights,

of kisses censored from their lives,
like in Cinema Paradiso, proving love thrives.