Author: Richard Newby

2014 Critics’ Choice Movie Award Nominations

  Started in 1996, the Critics’ Choice Movie Awards are presented by the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA). The BFCA is composed of radio, television, and online film critics from across America. In the their 15 years of existence, the BFCA’s choice for Best Picture has won the Oscar for Best Picture, 12 times. Awards will be and broadcast on January 19th.   BEST PICTURE Birdman Boyhood Gone Girl The Grand Budapest Hotel The Imitation Game Nightcrawler Selma The Theory of Everything Unbroken Whiplash   BEST DIRECTOR Wes Anderson – The Grand Budapest Hotel Ava DuVernay – Selma David Fincher – Gone Girl Alejandro G. Inarritu – Birdman Angelina Jolie – Unbroken Richard Linklater – Boyhood   BEST ACTOR Benedict Cumberbatch – The Imitation Game Ralph Fiennes – The Grand Budapest Hotel Jake Gyllenhaal – Nightcrawler Michael Keaton – Birdman David Oyelowo – Selma Eddie Redmayne – The Theory of Everything   BEST ACTRESS Jennifer Aniston – Cake Marion Cotillard – Two Days, One Night Felicity Jones – The Theory of Everything Julianne Moore – Still Alice Rosamund Pike – Gone Girl Reese Witherspoon – Wild   BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR Josh Brolin – Inherent Vice Robert Duvall – The Judge Ethan Hawke – Boyhood Edward Norton – Birdman Mark Ruffalo – Foxcatcher J.K. Simmons – Whiplash   BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS Patricia Arquette – Boyhood Jessica Chastain – A Most...

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High Fantasy Stakes: Exploring a Genre

Next week Peter Jackson concludes his time in Middle-Earth with The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies, and thus will conclude audiences’ cinematic journey into the world of high fantasy for some time.  To get nerdily precise for a moment, high fantasy (a term coined by author Lloyd Alexander) bears a distinction from contemporary fantasy or magical realism by taking place in a world with entirely different geographies from our own, populated by mythic creatures such as elves, dragons, dwarves, wizards and the like. These worlds are often characterized by clothing and weapons that are medieval in design, and...

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Criterion Discovery: Gimme Shelter

Background Gimme Shelter was released in 1970 and directed by Albert and David Maysles, and Charlotte Zwerin. The film was released by Criterion on December 1st, 2009 as spine #99. The Maysles Brothers and Zwerin also directed spine #122, The Salesman, and The Maysles Brothers directed spine #123, Grey Gardens, and spine #361, The Beales of Grey Gardens. Story The documentary follows The Rolling Stones on their 1969 US tour, and its violent conclusion at the Altamont Free Concert in Northern California. Film Often considered one of the greatest documentaries of all time, Gimme Shelter is known for its...

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The Imitation Game

Overview: Following the UK’s declaration of war against Germany, a group of cryptanalysts led by mathematician Alan Turing create the first digital computer in order to break the German military’s coded messages and put an end to WWII. With the lives of many in his hands, Turing is placed between the logic and emotion that governs his life. Distributed by Studio Canal/The Weinstein Company. 2014; Rated PG-13; 114 minutes Crafting an Enigma: Morten Tyldum takes Andrew Hodges’ biography Alan Turing: The Enigma and condenses it into a carefully plotted and suspenseful historical thriller. Along with screenwriter Graham Moore, Tyldum...

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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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