Author: Richard Newby

2014 NYFCC Awards

  Awards season has officially begun! The New York Film Critics Circle announced their award winners this morning. Founded in 1935, The NYFCC is comprised of film critics from New York City’s most esteemed newspapers and magazines. Members include critics from The New Yorker, The Village Voice, Time, Indiewire, and Rolling Stone. The NYFCC awards have consistently been considered the earliest indicators of the films and talents that will likely be nominated for Academy Awards in January. Voting began at 9:30 this morning in New York and results were tweeted out as the decisions were made. Best Picture: Boyhood...

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Akira

Overview: In 2019, thirty-one years after a powerful force known as Akira destroyed Tokyo and set off World War III, Neo-Tokyo has become flooded with gang violence, political unrest, and religious zealots. When a young man displays telekinetic powers similar to that of Akira, he is captured by the government and sets off events leading to the creation of a new universe.  Distributed by Toho. 1988; Rated R; 124 Minutes Cultural Memory: Imagine for a moment that Philip K. Dick and Carl Sagan had a love child who grew up to write an X-Men arc. That is Akira. Katsuhiro...

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5 Best/5 Worst Movie Prosthetics

It’s actors’ job to completely immerse themselves in the characters they portray. Some have gone the way of gaining or losing varying amounts of weight in order to alter their appearance for a role. But, there’s only so many physical alterations these performers can make to their features. For the rest we rely on the magic (or lack thereof) of movie make-up and prosthetics. At their best, prosthetics ease the viewer into their suspension of disbelief, at their worst, they become distractions that hamper the performance at stake. In Foxcatcher, Steve Carell’s chilling transformation into John du Pont is...

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10 Best Dramatic Turns by Comedic Actors/Actresses

In a few days we’ll get to witness Steve Carell make a stunning transformation in Bennett Miller’s Foxcatcher. Early reviews have already pegged Carell for an Oscar nomination and Miller, who previously scored Jonah Hill an Oscar nomination, may have the distinction of bringing two actors from the Apatow productions over to the dramatic side of Hollywood. Like Carell and Hill before Miller, there have been many comedians (particularly women) who are unfairly pigeonholed into their genre. But every so often these comedians are allowed breakout and truly showcase their versatile acting abilities. Some have been rewarded far more...

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Five Plot Ideas for Toy Story 4

As you surely know by now, last week Disney and Pixar announced plans for Toy Story 4. The news was met with a mixed response of understandable dread and cautious anticipation. We love the characters, but we also know how fourth movies have traditionally panned out (the exception being Rocky IV, naturally). Toy Story 3 ended on such a strong note and no one wants to be left with the bad taste of franchise fatigue. But with the right idea, Toy Story 4 could surprise us all and break the curse of “fourquels.” So go ahead and have your...

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Whiplash

Overview: A drum student’s academic and professional career are put on the line when he catches the attention of a vicious music conductor whose methods will either make him great or kill him in the process. 2014; Sony Pictures Classics; Rated: R; 106 min. Sweat and Blood: Writer and director, Damien Chazelle imbues Whiplash with all the tension of the very best thrillers and all the sweat and blood of the greatest boxing dramas. Part of what makes the film so great is how unexpectedly brutal it is. This is no traditional A Star is Born journey. Anytime the...

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B2BO: The Imitation Game

Will It Make A Good Film?: The Imitation Game Expected Release Date: November 28th Director: Morten Tyldum Based On: Alan Turing: The Enigma by Andrew Hodges Overview: Alan Turing, a mathematician, logician, philosopher, and cryptanalyst, was one of the premier minds of the 20th century. His code breaking methods and development of computer science proved pivotal to the Allies winning WWII. The ever curious Turing was a man who was as much interested in science as he was the human spirit. But his brilliant career was cut short when prosecution for his homosexuality led to his suicide. For decades...

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Memories, Masks, and Misdirection: Unlocking the Films of Christopher Nolan

It’s been said that across his or her career, a writer is only telling one story. They deceive readers into thinking it’s a new tale, by dressing it up in different ways through changing the characters, structure, genre, and events. But the essence of those stories, the way the writer views people and the world, remains relatively unchanged. While I’m not convinced this is entirely true, I think there is truth in this notion and what can be said of writers can also apply to directors. Nolan has offered many visions to us, presented in such a manner that...

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10 Short Horror Films You Can Watch Right Now

With the long lineup of Halloween parties and festivities, you may not have the time for full-length horror movies. So how will you stay awake through the night? We’ve got you covered with 10 shots of adrenaline (in no particular order), guaranteed to keep you up and keep the nightmares at bay…for a little while at least. 1.  Red Balloon (2010) Directed by Damien Mace and Alexis Wajsbro Red Balloon is a well-shot and tense entry in the babysitter horror trope. It takes a few cues from John Carpenter’s Halloween, and while it’s not wholly original, the creative ways...

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Netflix Hidden Gem #10: The Crow

The Crow Director: Alex Proyas Genre: Action/Fantasy Miramax Entertainment Premise: On the night before Halloween, musician Eric Draven (Brandon Lee) and his fiancé Shelly are planning for their wedding when they are brutally murdered by a gang. A year later, Draven is resurrected by the Crow, a supernatural force that seeks out restless souls and gives them a chance to find peace. In face paint and leather, Draven uses his supernatural abilities to hunt down those responsible for his tragedy. The Crow is a film both born and resulting in the tragedy of loss. The comic book of the...

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Dear White People

Overview: Tensions come to a head at an Ivy League college where black students struggle to define themselves while confronting institutional racism and their own prejudices. 2014; Roadside Attractions; Rated: R; 100 min. Who Am I?: Identity is the central issue of Justin Simien’s film. Simien explores a variety of voices and his film is driven by the intelligence of his script and the honest power of the performances. Dear White People is made up of multiple (and eventually intersecting) storylines, each displaying the power of white privilege and its effects on black status.  Dear White People never makes...

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The Fly (1986)

Overview: A socially-awkward scientist invents teleportation pods, but upon testing the machine his DNA becomes mixed with a fly’s, resulting in a grotesque transformation. Distributed by 20th Century Fox. 1986; Rated: R; 96 minutes. Body Horror: Before tackling The Fly, David Cronenberg had already proven himself as the master of using body horror to comment on society and the self. While the 1958 version of The Fly, based on George Langelaan’s short story, is notable for the B-movie awesomeness of sticking the head of a fly on the body of a man, Cronenberg’s take is more horrific and human....

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