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Oscar Watch - Post Venice/TIFF/NYFF Edition
2020.10.12 20:42 jonisantucho Oscar Watch - Post Venice/TIFF/NYFF Edition
Several months ago, right after the last Academy Awards, I posted a long, long, long list of possible contenders that had prospects to fight for the next Oscars
. It was a time of hope, of looking forward, and of positivity.
Then, COVID-19 happened.
And now, we find ourselves in a year that may change the movie industry forever, with the lack of safety of theaters in times of a pandemic accelerating the switch of mainstream audiences to streaming and VOD. These are times where some people are beginning to wonder, even after they pushed the eligibility date for two more months, why the Academy doesn’t cancel next year’s Oscars. And in this rocky terrain, we lost many contenders. Fire up the Hunger Games cannons, because these are some casualties of the season (so far). Launched to 2021:
Annette, Benedetta, Deep Water, Dune, In the Heights, King Richard, Last Night in Soho, Memoria, Nightmare Alley, Passing, Red, White and Water, Raya and the Last Dragon, The Last Duel, The Power of the Dog, Tick, Tick… Boom!, West Side Story. Unknown status / missing in action:
After Yang, Blonde, Breaking News in Yuba County, C’mon C’mon, Next Goal Wins, Stillwater, The French Dispatch, The Humans, The Tragedy of Macbeth, The Eyes of Tammy Faye, Those Who Wish Me Dead.
But even if this year isn’t as loaded with clear awards candidates, there are plenty of movies that are already drawing buzz for an Oscar season that started brewing a month ago, with the kickoff of the Venice Film Festival, and will go on for six and a half more months, when the Academy Awards take place on April 25, 2021. It’s gonna be a long, weird and rocky season, which is gonna be great to see in terms of the narratives that are coming up. -Ammonite (trailer):
When people were betting on the likelier contenders of this year, many people pointed in the direction of Francis Lee’s period drama, with previous Best Actress winner Kate Winslet and constant nominee Saoirse Ronan. Going into the premiere at Toronto, people had their eyes set in this queer romance between a paleontologist and a young wife in the coasts of England during the 19th century. But then, some things happened. First, Winslet started her promotion of the movie by talking about her regret for working with Woody Allen and Roman Polanski that sounded unconvincing to the ominous Film Twitter. Then, another queer period drama, Mona Fastvold’s The World to Come, started to take the attention away at Venice. And finally, the movie premiered. The reaction? Cold. Critics came out mixed with the movie, with many of them comparing it negatively to last year’s Portrait of a Lady on Fire, and saying that it’s too dull and alienating. Does that mean that all is lost? Not exactly. While the movie (which, considering the genre, really needs critics' support to get into the Best Picture category) has been dismissed, the acting by Winslet and Ronan has been received positively. Now that so many other contenders have been dropping out of the year, they might get some room to campaign from a (social) distance. -Another Round (trailer):
Speaking of TIFF premieres, a film that had a better time at the Canadian festival was the reunion between director Thomas Vinterberg and star Mads Mikkelsen, who reunited years after making the stirring drama The Hunt (not the one with Betty Gilpin carrying a bad political satire, the one about a Danish teacher wrongly accused of sexual abuse). This time, the material is lighter, being a dramedy about four teachers who decide to test out a theory about how people can live and work a little better if they increase the level of alcohol in their blood. Critics really liked the way the movie dealt with alcoholism, and Toronto audiences made it a runner up for the People’s Choice Award of the festival. In a year without so much exposure from other festivals, this Cannes 2020 selection could make a candidate for the Best International Film category. -Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (trailer):
Surprise, new Borat film! While Sacha Baron Cohen made headlines several times this year because of stunts that people assumed were about a second season of Who is America?, the Internet was shocked when, in early September, it was confirmed that it was actually a very niiiiice return from the journalist character that made him famous, shot during quarantine. In a matter of weeks after the reveal, the sequel got sold to Amazon Prime and got a release date for October 23. Why so soon? Well, apparently the movie, which got him in trouble with Rudy Giuliani and other people, is about Borat taking his daughter on a road trip to give her as a bride to VP Mike Pence. Even if this movie doesn’t manage to achieve the feats of the 2006 movie (which got a Best Adapted Screenplay nomination, let’s remember), it will help Baron Cohen’s image a lot, because it will come a week after his big Oscar play. -Cherry:
While everybody knows them mostly because of their contributions to the MCU, directors Joe and Anthony Russo and actor Tom Holland are trying to branch out together. Now Apple has bought into their efforts, paying more than 40 million dollars to acquire their new crime drama, about the life of former Army medic Nico Walker, who started robbing banks after his days in Iraq left him with PTSD and a pill addiction. Will Holland manage this time to escape from the shadow of “oh, jeez, Mr. Stark” Spider-Man before Chaos Walking or the Uncharted movie come out? That’s a question for another day. -Da 5 Bloods (trailer):
Talk about timing. Merely days after the country was mobilized by the police brutality that continues to divide the United States, Spike Lee premiered his new war drama on Netflix. In a vibrant, disjointed but passionate portrait of four African American veterans who return to Vietnam to search for their fallen leader and some treasure, Lee struck gold yet again with his usual fans, even though the moving of the Oscar ceremony threatened to make it harder to remind Academy voters about this movie. However, with an astounding performance from Delroy Lindo (who is confirmed to be campaigned in the Best Actor category) and a supporting turn from Chadwick Boseman which got reframed with the news of his bravery in life and death, this has what it takes to fight for a spot in the Best Picture lineup. -Everybody’s Talking About Jamie (trailer):
When it became clear that quarantine wasn’t gonna be a breeze, the first movie in consideration wise enough to move a little further ahead in the calendar was this adaptation of the hit West End production about a gay British teenager who dreams of becoming a drag queen and get his family and schoolmates to accept his sexuality. With a release date on February 26, 20th Century Studios (man, it’s weird to not use Fox in that name) hopes to strike gold, with a cast that mixes young unknowns, familiar names (Sharon Horgan, Sarah Lancashire and my boy Ralph Ineson) and the previously nominated legend that is Richard E. Grant (who is playing a former drag queen named Loco Chanelle), now taking advantage of the move of other musicals like Annette, In The Heights and West Side Story. I mean, this has at the very least some Golden Globes nods in the bag. -French Exit:
Before its premiere as the closing film of the NYFF, many pundits were expecting this surreal comedy to be somewhat of a comeback for past Best Actress nominee Michelle Pfeiffer, who here plays a close to penniless widow who moves to Paris with her son (Lucas Hedges) and cat, who also happens to be her reincarnated husband (Tracy Letts). However, the first reactions for the film adaptation of the Patrick deWitt novel were all over the place, with some people feeling cold by the execution of the weirdness and others being won over. Still, everybody had good things to say about Michelle Pfeiffer’s performance, but after the mixed reception to the rest of Azazel Jacobs’ film she really would need a lot of critics support to get anywhere near the Best Actress category. With a release date on February 12, it seems that Sony Pictures Classics is skipping the critics awards, and the distributor has a couple of big competitors above this one. -Good Joe Bell:
Every year, there are movies with big stars that go to festivals full of hope for praises and awards. Some of them work and go on, others don’t and get forgotten about. Mark Wahlberg tried to remind people that he occasionally is a good actor with a true life drama where he plays a father who decides to walk across America to raise awareness about bullying after his son, tormented for being gay, commits suicide. The film by Reinaldo Marcus Green premiered at TIFF, and the reaction was… not great. Some critics defended it, but most saw it as a flawed, baity product starring a man with a history of hate. Still, it got bought by a distributor: Solstice Studios, a new player in the game which just released its first movie, Unhinged (yup, the one about Russell Crowe road raging). While they paid 20 million dollars for Good Joe Bell, it’s clear that this won’t get near the Oscar telecast. -Hillbilly Elegy:
While many movies this year have some level of anticipation, Film Twitter is bracing for this movie in the “is this gonna be the next Green Book?” way. Ron Howard’s adaptation of J.D. Vance’s memoir about his low income life in a poor rural community in Ohio has many fearing about the overuse of tropes involving what’s called white trash porn, but rarely, Netflix has kept silent about this release. Even though it has Oscar bridesmaids Glenn Close (7 nominations) and Amy Adams (6 nominations), the streamer has not even released a photo of the movie, which supposedly will come out in November. And if you want another bad omen, take a look at the lower levels of this list by a familiar voice
. -I’m Thinking of Ending Things (trailer):
Speaking of Netflix, did you know that there is a new Charlie Kaufman there, right now? While his adaptation of the dark novel by Iain Reid, seemingly about a woman (Jessie Buckley) who is taken by her boyfriend (Jesse Plemons) to meet his parents (Toni Collette and David Thewlis), got the usual reception of confusion and praise that follows his movies, the release was followed for what befalls most of the Netflix original movies: a couple of days in the Top 10, and then it fell into the void. While Buckley and Plemons deliver great work in this demented, melancholic story, it’s hard to see this movie getting anything else than a Best Adapted Screenplay nomination for Charlie. And that’s a long shot. -I’m Your Woman:
Following the little seen but critically acclaimed Miss Stevens and Fast Color, Julia Hart started 2020 with a Disney+ adaptation of the YA book Stargirl, and now she follows it with a drama for Amazon that will have its world premiere as the opening film of the AFI fest on October 15. In this movie, Rachel Brosnahan hopes to translate her TV success with The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel to the big screen, playing a woman in the ‘70s that has to go on the run with her kid due to her husband’s crimes. -Judas and the Black Messiah (trailer):
Even if this doesn’t end up winning any awards, it has a real shot at being the best trailer of 2020. Formerly titled Jesus Was My Homeboy, this biographical drama by Shaka King tells the tale of two men: Fred Hampton (Kaluuya), an activist and Black Panther leader, and William O’Neal (Stanfield), the FBI agent sent to infiltrate the party and arrest him. While the trailer for this movie promised a release “only in theaters”, we shall see if Warner Bros backs down from that fight. -Let Them All Talk:
While we’re on the subject of Warner Bros, we have to mention what’s happening with HBO Max. While the start of the streaming service hasn’t been good (I mean, there are still people confused about that name) and it lead to some people assume will cause many firings, it has begun to make some buzzed titles on TV, like Close Enough, Raised by Wolves and the remains of the DC Universe failed streaming service. Now, to make a mark in the movie business, the streamer has a new Steven Soderbergh movie, a comedy that stars Meryl Streep as a celebrated author that takes her friends (Candice Bergen, Dianne Wiest) and her nephew (Lucas Hedges) in a cruise to find fun and come to terms with the past, while he flirts with a literary agent (Gemma Chan). While it doesn’t have a date yet, it’s confirmed to release in 2020, and at least we know that it can’t be worse than The Laundromat. -Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom:
While the expectations for the next film adaptation of an August Wilson acclaimed play were already high, the tragic death of Chadwick Boseman made this Netflix release one of the most anticipated movies of the season, considering this is his final movie. While past Supporting Actress winner Viola Davis takes the lead playing blues singer Ma Rainey in this tale of a heated recording session with her bandmates, her agent and her producer in 1927, Chadwick Boseman has a turn as the trumpeter Levee that was already being considered for awards, and now has even more people waiting to see. The thing is that one of the biggest competitions for Boseman this year will be Boseman himself, for his already acclaimed supporting turn on Da 5 Bloods, also released by Netflix. While the streamer will have to decide which of Chadwick’s performances will get the bigger campaign, this film by director George C. Wolfe has a cushy date set for December 18, and Viola is gunning hard for this movie to win. -Mank (trailer):
As you may have noticed by now, Netflix has a lot of plates spinning around this season, and this is the big one. After befriending the service with House of Cards and Mindhunter, David Fincher is going black and white to tackle a script by his late father Jack, about the making of the classic of classics, Citizen Kane. More specifically, the making of the script, with previous Oscar winner Gary Oldman playing the lead role of screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz, while accompanied by Amanda Seyfried, Lily Collins, Tuppence Middleton, Charles Dance and Tom Burke. After watching the first trailer of his satire of 1930’s Hollywood (that will release on streaming on December 4), it’s clear that this is gonna be catnip to old Academy voters, and it would be really hard for this to miss the Best Picture line up. Unless it’s a complete cinematic disaster, Mank is bank. -Minari (trailer):
While the last edition of Sundance took place in January, quarantine makes you feel like it took place two years ago. This year, the big winner of the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award in the US Dramatic Competition was a dramedy by Lee Isaac Chung, about a Korean family in the ‘80s who suddenly gets moved by their father (Steven Yeun) to Arkansas, to start a farm. Even though the reviews have been great, distributor A24 hasn’t really had a big, Oscar nominated hit for the last couple of years, and the COVID-19 crisis made them delay all their releases. But when we were ready to write this off, a new trailer for the movie came out, confirming that it’s in the game of this awards season. Maybe the pandemic will be of help to A24, considering that one of the reasons they haven’t had success is that they divided their attention into too many releases, and ended up getting not much. This time, they are betting all on Lee who, even if this doesn’t go anywhere, also has a new gig coming up as the director of the live action remake of Your Name. -News of the World (sneak peek):
So much of this year has felt like a game of chicken between a virus and movie studios. While many movies chose to skip this year altogether, Universal remains firm (for now) with its plans to open a wide movie on Christmas Day, with a Western that reunites Paul Greengrass and Tom Hanks in an enticing premise. In this drama based on Paulette Jiles’ novel, Hanks plays a traveling newsreader in the aftermath of the American Civil War, who is tasked with reuniting an orphaned girl with her living relatives. While the first sneak peek of the movie looks promising, the future is still in the air. -Nomadland (trailer):
While the world burns around Hollywood, Searchlight is betting big on Chloe Zhao’s new film. Using the strategy of taking the spotlight while the rest of the contenders is uncertain about how or when to be released, the indie drama began its journey at Venice, with critics raving about the story of a woman (two-time Oscar winner Frances McDormand) who, after losing everything in the Great Recession, embarks on a journey through the American West, living as a van-dwelling modern-day nomad. At the end of the fest, the movie won the coveted Golden Lion. To put that into perspective, the last three winners of the award were past Best Picture nominees The Shape of Water, Roma and Joker, with The Shape of Water (also distributed by Searchlight) also winning the big prize. After drawing critical acclaim following its virtual showing on TIFF and NYFF, Nomadland seems like the first lock in the Best Picture line up. Still, there are obstacles ahead. Will Zhao break the disappointment of the last few years, when deserving candidates for Best Director got blocked by the likes of Adam McKay and Todd Phillips? And will McDormand manage to get near a third Oscar, following a recent win for Three Billboards in Ebbing, Missouri? Time will tell. -On the Rocks (trailer):
While she hasn’t been near the Oscars for a while, Sofia Coppola is still a name that draws attention. This time, she opened the NYFF with a dramedy about a young mother (Rashida Jones) who reunites with her playboy father (Bill Murray, also reuniting with Sofia after Lost in Translation) on an adventure through New York to find out if her husband (Marlon Wayans) is cheating on her. The consensus seems to be that, while light and not near her best work, it’s still a fun and breezy movie, with a very good turn by Murray. While many would assume that this A24 production will disappear into the abyss when it releases on Apple TV+ on October 23, the dropping out of many candidates gives the movie a chance to, at least, fight for some Golden Globes. -One Night in Miami (sneak peek):
Following her recent Oscar and Emmy wins for If Beale Street Could Talk and Watchmen, Regina King is still striking hard, and this time, she’s doing it as a director. For her big screen debut as a filmmaker, she chose to adapt Kemp Powers’ play that dramatizes a real meeting on February 25, 1964, when Muhammad Ali (Eli Goree) followed an iconic win with a hangout session with Malcolm X (Kingsley Ben-Adir), Sam Cooke (Leslie Odom Jr.) and Jim Brown (Aldis Hodge). Opening at Venice, the film received glowing reviews, with many praising King (even though some said that the movie doesn’t fully translate the play to the film medium) and the actors’ performances, especially Ben-Adir and Odom Jr. (who, it should be said, also wrote an original song for the end credits of the movie, which could help his Oscar chances). Amazon Prime is hoping that this is their big contender this year, with plans of a theatrical release on Christmas and a streaming release on January 15. Judging by the praise this got at festival season, it has a chance to go a long way. -Over the Moon (trailer):
In a year with not that many contenders for Best Animated Feature, Netflix is betting on a musical adventure directed by the legendary Glen Keane, a classic Disney animator who recently won an Oscar for Best Animated Short for co-directing Dear Basketball. While our expectations were lowered by the first trailer for the movie, centered around a Chinese girl who builds a rocket ship and blasts off to the Moon in hopes of meeting a legendary Goddess, it’s still safe to assume that it has a shot at being nominated for something. Netflix also hopes that you like its big candidate for Best Original Song
, which really, really sounds like a Disney ballad. -Pieces of a Woman:
While this year doesn’t have the amount of surprise contenders that a regular Oscar season usually has, we still have some movies that sneaked through festival season. The first one was the new, somber drama by Hungarian director Kornél Mundruczó, known for the doggy uprising pic White God, and the not-so-well-received sci-fi Jupiter’s Moon. This time, we follow a woman (Vanessa Kirby) whose life is torn apart after a home birth at the hands of a flustered midwife (Molly Parker) ends in tragedy, and then leads to a court battle that also makes her confront her husband (Shia LaBeouf) and her domineering mother (Ellen Burstyn). While the movie had mixed reactions, Kirby had plenty of raves in her direction, particularly concerning her performance during a 25-minute birth sequence that is said to be brutal. That brutality paid off, though, because Kirby ended up winning Best Actress at Venice, and Netflix bought the movie, which also has Martin Scorsese as an executive producer. If the Academy wants to crown a new face in the scene, Kirby is the one who will be targeted, following her acclaimed turn in The Crown and her supporting roles in blockbusters like Mission Impossible: Fallout and Hobbs & Shaw. -Promising Young Woman (trailer):
When theaters started to close because of the pandemic, Universal started the push of their movies going straight to VOD, with titles including Trolls World Tour and Never Rarely Sometimes Always. However, there was a title that was supposed to premiere in April, and then suddenly disappeared from existence. It was the directorial debut of actress Emerald Fennell, who wrote a black comedy with touches of a thriller, centered on a woman in her thirties (Carey Mulligan) whose bright future was derailed by a traumatic event, and who’s now looking for revenge. While the reaction to its premiere at Sundance wasn’t enough to consider a Best Picture run, the twisted performance by Mulligan earned her the best praise since the last time she was nominated for an Oscar, a decade ago for An Education. Now, Focus Features is planning to open the movie at Christmas, and are positioning Carey for a run at Best Actress. -Rebecca (trailer):
When the news came out saying that Ben Wheatley would adapt Daphne du Maurier’s psychological thriller novel for Netflix, many were shocked. Some people considered the chance that this was an awards play by the cult director, who is doing the same work that earned Alfred Hitchcock his only Best Picture win. But seeing the trailer for this new version, with Lily James playing the newly married young woman who finds herself battling the shadow of her husband's (Armie Hammer) dead first wife Rebecca, we have to wonder if there’s a point to the existence of this remake. We will find out if there’s any awards chances for this movie on October 21, when it releases on streaming. Let’s hope that Kristin Scott Thomas has something to play with as Mrs. Danvers. -Respect (trailer):
Every year, there’s one or two actors who announce to the world “I want an Oscar” and campaign like their lives depended on it. Last time, it was Taron Egerton (accompanied by Elton John, who actually ended up winning another Oscar). This year, it is the turn of Jennifer Hudson, who is playing Aretha Franklin in a biopic directed by first timer Liesl Tommy, and who’s hoping that this attempt at awards ends up more like Dreamgirls than like Cats. She has been doing announcement trailers (a year in advance), quarantine tributes, award show tributes, and every possible thing to get the industry to notice that she’s playing Aretha. Hey, Rami Malek and Renee Zellweger did it in the last few years, why can’t she. With a release date of January 15, Hudson wants that gold. -Soul (trailer):
Disney may be the studio that suffered the biggest hit because of the pandemic. Their parks are a loss, most of their big productions had to stop because of quarantine, and theaters in many parts of the world are closed. After the failure of Tenet for Warner Bros. and the experiment of the mouse house of charging people 30 dollars to see Mulan (which didn’t work at all), many wondered if Disney was gonna delay the new production by Pixar, written and directed by Pete Docter, who brought Oscar gold to his home with Up and Inside Out. The movie, which centers on a teacher (Jamie Foxx) who dreams of becoming a jazz musician and, just as he’s about to get his big break, ends up getting into an accident that separates his soul from his body, had a lot of promise, but the speculation of lost money was also a concern. Finally, Disney decided to release the movie on Christmas, but only on Disney Plus, causing another failure for theaters, but assuring that Disney at least can get more subscribers to its streaming service. And the movie? Well, it just premiered at the London Film Festival, and the critics are saying it’s Pixar at its best, with praises going from the look, to the script by co-director Kemp Powers (who also wrote the play of One Night in Miami, so he has many chances for a nod), to the score by Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross and Jon Batiste. That means that it’s already a top contender to win Best Animated Feature, and this may not be the only category in which the movie is gonna get nominated. -Supernova (trailer):
If there’s a theme this year in terms of Oscar contenders, it might be dementia. One of the examples of this is a small road movie directed by Hairy Macqueen, which premiered to good reviews at the San Sebastian festival. This drama centers on a trip taken by Sam (Colin Firth) and Tusker (Stanley Tucci), partners for 20 years, who travel across England reuniting with friends and family, because Tusker was diagnosed with early onset dementia. While usually the big awards role is usually the one of the person who suffers the illnesses, some reviewers are calling Firth’s work as the supporting companion some of the best of his career. With Bleecker Street buying the rights for a US release, this is a little film that could still make some moves. -Tenet (trailer):
For the first five months of quarantine, the big narrative in the world of film was “Christopher Nolan is gonna save cinemas”. But after postponing the release of the mind bending actioner for months on end, creating big demands and expectations to theater owners, and finally releasing as the sacrificial lamb of Hollywood, Warner Bros ended up seeing the opposite effect. Even though Tom Cruise loved to be back at the movies, critics didn’t share enough excitement to make a spy movie that goes backwards worth the possibility of dying of coronavirus. The audiences didn’t show up as much, and those who did attend, mostly complained about the sound mixing and the plot. After all the sacrifice, it’s highly unlikely that Tenet goes beyond technical awards. Let’s start the “Travis Scott for Best Original Song” campaign now, before it’s too late. -The Boys in the Band (trailer):
The Ryan Murphy blank check for Netflix has been interesting to follow. On the one hand, we have his new TV shows, which go from not existing (The Politician), to alternate movie history that doesn’t know how alternate history works (Hollywood), to a challenge of how much TV will you stomach if Sarah Paulson and other middle aged actresses are campy in it (Ratched). And now, we are seeing his producing hand over the movie side, which starts with the new film adaptation of the cult play from 1968, which was already a movie in 1970 and recently jumped to Broadway in 2018. The cast from the recent Broadway production (which includes Jim Parsons, Zachary Quinto, Matt Bomer and Andrew Rannells) stars in Joe Mantello’s movie, telling the story of a group of gay friends in pre-Stonewall New York who reunite for a birthday party and end up revealing a lot of open wounds. While this movie got good reviews from critics, it kinda disappeared without a sound after beginning to stream on Netflix at the end of September. Unless the service wants to campaign for Golden Globes, this film is lost in the algorithm. -The Devil All the Time (trailer):
Another September release on Netflix was the new psychological thriller by Antonio Campos (Simon Killer, Christine) who didn’t manage to continue his streak of intense and terrifying character dramas with his messy adaptation of the dark novel by Donald Ray Pollock. Wasting a cast that includes Tom Holland, Sebastian Stan, Robert Pattinson, Mia Wasikowska, Eliza Scanlen, Bill Skarsgard, Jason Clarke and Riley Keough, this twisted period piece managed to stay for a while in the Top 10, but the reactions from critics were mixed, and audiences were busy asking what was happening with Pattinson’s Southern accent (which with The King makes two years in a row, baby). The many prognosticators who had hopes for an awards play moved on a while ago. -The Father (trailer):
It’s safe to say at this point that Anthony Hopkins is a lock for a Best Actor nomination at the next Oscars. After its premiere in Sundance, every prognosticator pointed in his direction, and for the next few months he swept praise for his harrowing portrayal of an old man grappling with his age as he develops dementia, causing pain to his beleaguered daughter (recent winner Olivia Colman, who also got praised). Sony Pictures Classics will make Florian Zeller’s adaptation of his acclaimed play its big contender of the season, using Hopkins (who this year got a nom for The Two Popes) as a starter to also get Colman, Zeller and the movie nominated. -The Human Voice (trailer):
And speaking of Sony Pictures Classics, it’s almost safe to say that they have another Oscar in the bag this year. That’s because they just bought Pedro Almodóvar’s short film, his English-speaking debut that is an adaptation of the play by Jean Cocteau. In his version (that was acclaimed by critics after premiering in Venice), Tilda Swinton plays the woman waiting at the end of a phone, expecting to hear from his ex-lover who abandoned her. Considering how the competition for Best Live Action Short Film has become somewhat lacking in the last few years (I mean, have you seen Skin), this should be an easy award to win, especially considering how beloved Almodóvar is in the Academy, which nominated him this year for the great Pain and Glory. -The Life Ahead:
While we’re talking about legends, it’s time to talk about Sophia Loren. 16 years after her last leading role in a movie, the Italian icon returns with a drama that was bought by Netflix, who plans to campaign for her as Best Actress and for the movie in the Best International Film category. Directed by Edoardo Ponti (who is also Sophia’s son), this movie centers on a Holocaust survivor who takes in a 12-year-old boy who recently robbed her, in a contemporary adaptation of Romain Gary’s novel The Life Before Us. Netflix has set a date for November 13 to release this movie, and the campaign seems to be about the narrative of seeing Loren winning another Oscar 60 years after she won her first one for Two Women, by Vittorio De Sica. -The Midnight Sky:
Based on the novel Good Morning, Midnight, this collaboration between George Clooney and Netflix is once again making us ask one thing. Are we gonna get the director Clooney of Good Night and Good Luck, or are we gonna get the director Clooney of Leatherheads, The Ides of March, The Monuments Men and Suburbicon? Let’s hope he breaks his streak of blandness with this sci-fi story, which makes us think a little bit of Gravity: A lonely scientist in the Arctic (Clooney) races to stop a group of astronauts led by Felicity Jones from returning to a devastated Earth. With a release set for December, we have to hope that this is more than some Top 10 filler that will evaporate from existence in a week’s time. -The Prom:
In probably the biggest blank check of the Ryan Murphy deal with Netflix, this musical he’ll direct is based on the Tony-nominated show about a group of Broadway losers (Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman, Andrew Rannells and James “boo” Corden) who try to find a viral story to get back in the spotlight, and end up going to a town in Indiana to help a lesbian high school student who has been banned from bringing her girlfriend to the prom. While it’s clear that this December 11 release is gonna sweep the Golden Globes, the emptiness of this year compared to others could clear the way for some Oscar nominations, including Meryl and the obligatory original song added to a preexisting musical for easy clout. -The Trial of the Chicago 7 (trailer):
When it was announced that Paramount was selling Aaron Sorkin’s new movie to Netflix, some people saw it as a studio dumping a failed awards vehicle to be forgotten. However, the excuse that Sorkin wanted to release this movie before the US presidential elections seems to be true, because critics really enjoyed his old school courtroom drama, centered around the trial on counter cultural activists in the late ‘60s. Everybody praised uniformly the huge cast, that includes Sacha Baron Cohen, Eddie Redmayne, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Jeremy Strong, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Frank Langella, William Hurt, Michael Keaton and Mark Rylance, which guarantees a SAG awards nomination (but makes it difficult to decide which actors will actually get nominated for Oscars). With a reaction that brings to mind the days of A Few Good Men and is the best reception he got since his Oscar winning script for The Social Network, the film faces a couple of hurdles. First of all, it got positioned as the frontrunner in the Best Picture race by some people, which instantly puts a target on its back. Then, we have to consider that the movie releases on Netflix this Friday, October 16, which makes it the first big contender this year to face the world, and which in these times of lockdown will probably make the reception to Marriage Story and The Irishman from last year look like a walk in the park. I mean, there are some people who aren’t swayed by Sorkin, and for good reason
. -The United States vs. Billie Holiday:
While Paramount was quick to hand The Trial of the Chicago 7 to Netflix, there’s another movie that the studio kept to play in the upcoming awards season. This biographical drama follows the life of another famous musician, Billie Holiday (Andra Day), and we see the journey of her career in jazz as she is targeted by the Federal Department of Narcotics with an undercover sting operation led by Federal Agent Jimmy Fletcher (Trevante Rhodes), with whom she had a tumultuous affair. While the movie counts with a screenplay credit by Pulitzer winner Suzan-Lori Parks, the big question mark is the film’s director, Lee Daniels, who hit it big with Precious and then had results that were disastrous (The Paperboy) or financially successful, but not awards-wise (Lee Daniels’ The Butler). However, Paramount trusts in this movie, and with a release date on February 12, they want to make a splash. -Wolfwalkers (trailer):
While the attempts by Apple TV+ to establish themselves as a player in the TV world go from trainwrecks (See) to forgettable (The Morning Show) to eventually great (see Ted Lasso, everybody, this is not a joke), their plans to make a name in the film business have something to do with this year’s Oscars. While Cherry can come or go, they have a solid contender for the Best Feature Documentary with Boys State, but their big dog this year is the new movie by Cartoon Saloon, an Irish studio responsible for the acclaimed The Secret of Kells, The Song of the Sea, and The Breadwinner, all of which were nominated for Best Animated Feature. This time, Tomm Moore and Ross Stewart direct a story about a young apprentice hunter who journeys with her father to Ireland to help wipe out the last wolf pack. But everything changes when she befriends a free-spirited girl from a mysterious tribe rumored to transform into wolves by night. After getting critically acclaimed following its premiere at TIFF, this is a surefire contender for this year’s Best Animated Feature category, and Apple is gonna parade it before its streaming release on December 11. Also, while you watch that, you could watch a couple of episodes of Ted Lasso, too. It’s a really good show, it’s all I’m saying.
Anyways, that’s all the news from the last few months of festivals. No matter what happens next, this is gonna be a long, long, long race.
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2020.09.02 02:06 pantangeli September US releases include: 'I'm Thinking of Ending Things' (Sept 4 - Netflix); 'The Devil All the Time' (Sept 16 - Netflix) and the long-awaited 'Antebellum' (Sept 18 - Premium VOD)
For featured films and other September releases click here
Summary - September has some interesting releases IMO, including the three films noted in the title. To view this month's list of films, click the link above for Posters, Descriptions and Trailers.
I'm a huge fan of dark comedy and, with elements of thrillehorror, Charlie Kaufman's adaptation of I'm Thinking of Ending Things
sounds like a perfect watch for me. I'm also looking forward to seeing Jesse Plemons and Toni Collette-- two of my favorite actors.
The story in The Devil All the Time
sounds a bit cliche and it also appears to be the farthest from the horror genre but that's OK. There looks to be some creepy bits and the cast, headed up by Tom Holland, Robert Pattinson and Riley Keough, is outstanding.
We've been waiting for Antebellum
for a while (April 24 original release date) but the wait is finally over Sept 18th. Lionsgate scrapped the planned theatrical release, opting instead for Premium VOD for $19.99.
The rest of the releases seem mediocre at best. The Immortal
anthology stars Tony Todd, so I'll take a look just for that. Immortal was due initially on Sept 1, but apparently was pushed back to Sept 8. Let it Snow,
out of the Ukraine & Georgia (but filmed in English), will probably be a mess. I'm a sucker for Winter horror, though, and it features some beautiful cinematography.
HBO's miniseries The Third Day
, starring Jude Law and Naomie Harris, looks interesting. Based on the trailer, it's a mash up of genres with elements of drama/mystery/thriller & horror. Will it all work? I'll probably give it a chance.
Films mentioned: I'M THINKING OF ENDING THINGS
(Sept 4) - Nothing is as it seems when a woman experiencing misgivings about her new boyfriend joins him on a road trip to meet his parents at their remote farm.
Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cDTg62vsV4U IMMORTAL
(Sept 8) - Thrown into the face of death only to emerge unharmed, characters are left staring at their lives in the face with uncertainty and fear like they’ve never imagined.
Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aDXQ8w50MRA THE THIRD DAY
(Sept 14) - This limited series is told in two parts, “Summer” and “Winter.” In Summer a man named Sam is drawn to the mysterious British island of Osea, while Winter follows single mother Helen as she comes to the island seeking answers.
Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T43V6z9wYyE THE DEVIL ALL THE TIME
(Sept 16)- Sinister characters converge around a young man devoted to protecting those he loves in a postwar backwoods town teeming with corruption and brutality.
Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EIzazUv2gtI ANTEBELLUM
(Sept 18) - Successful author Veronica Henley finds herself trapped in a horrifying reality and must uncover the mind-bending mystery before it's too late.
Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7MPib67BDHY LET IT SNOW
(Sept 22) - Separated from her fiance after sneaking onto a restricted slope, Mia, a free riding snowboarder, must survive not only against nature, but the masked snowmobile rider in black who's out for her blood.
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2020.05.08 22:25 mardfet [SPOILERS] Finally watched 'The Lodge' last night and...hm...
First off, I was really looking forward to this based on Sundance buzz and the trailer, but didn't get a chance to see it in theaters because it didn't play anywhere near me. I saw it was getting really negative audience reactions which is par for the course for this kind of indie horror title, so I was looking forward to checking it out. After seeing it, though? Ehhh
Now personally, I don't like movie criticism that's based on "why did the character do X?" because I think it's generally a lazy form of critique. For this film, however, I can't possibly accept some of the character decisions because they're not only pants-on-head idiotic but also crucial to the plot.
The fact that the father not only decides to break off his marriage to start dating a woman he found WHILE RESEARCHING THE CULT SHE SURVIVED, which is almost bad enough, he then decides to leave this mentally unstable woman with her children, alone in an isolated environment, and give her access to a fucking gun? I almost couldn't believe what I was seeing. The worst part was you could just as easily remove the part of him showing her where the gun was and just have her find it later.
Anyways, in terms of the actual film, it has a lot going for it, which makes those stupid choices much more frustrating. Visually I generally liked the aesthetic choices, with the exception of the super close ups with the very shallow depth of field. They just felt distracting and thrown in randomly. The design of the actual cabin was great, it felt like the color choices they used helped make it feel very cozy and warm in certain scenes and very cold and frightening in others. It reminded me a lot of It Comes at Night (which also stars Riley Keough coincidentally). The performances were all quite good, namely the kids. I mean the older son is already an established actor so that wasn't too surprising but the younger daughter was phenomenal.
I heard a lot of people complaining that this was a 'slow burn', which kind of surprised me because I never really felt bored during any part of it, but it definitely feels less than the sum of its parts. Some moments did genuinely have me on edge, but I found much more dramatically interesting than scary at all, even though it completely relies on an indefensibly stupid choice that borderline breaks the film. It's far from the best of the recent wave of 'elevated' indie horror, but it's not without its merits, either.
Curious to hear what others thought of this one.
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2020.02.18 01:12 jonisantucho Oscars 2021: An inside look (like, really inside) to 50 possible contenders in the next awards race
Another Oscar ceremony happened, and we got our fair share of joy and disappointment. After Parasite surprised the world and took Best Picture, it seems like the game has changed for the awards race, now that non-English speaking films can actually fight and be recognized as well as classics as… Green Book. The Oscar race is still full of pain and glory, and even though the year has barely started, we have a bunch of movies that are fighting for air. And here’s 50 of them. Yes, I had some free time in my hands and this is a cool hobby, so I took the liberty to introduce most of the movies that will have Film Twitter entertained for the following 12 months. I say most, because there are always contenders who come out of nowhere later in the year, so this is the starter set. Here we go. -Annette:
Since Parasite’s road to the Oscars started at Cannes, it seems fair to talk about a movie that is circling a premiere in the world stage that is set in France. After delivering weird, indie classics like Mauvais Sang and Holy Motors (yes, the kind of movies that make you seem like a snob when you recommend them to people), Leos Carax is making his first movie spoken in the English language… and it has a musical screenplay written by the cult rock duo of Sparks. Recently robbed Adam Driver and previous Oscar winner Marion Cotillard sing in this tale of a stand-up comedian and a famous soprano singer who rise and fall in Los Angeles while their daughter is born with a special gift. It seems like a wild bet, but we already know that Carax is a master with musical moments, so this is one of the most intriguing question marks of the year. -Ammonite:
It’s time to talk narratives. On the one hand, we have Kate Winslet, a known name who hasn’t been very successful in the Oscar race since her Oscar win for The Reader over a decade ago (with the exception being her supporting performance in Steve Jobs, where she had a weird accent). On the other, we have Saoirse Ronan, a star on the rise who keeps collecting Oscar nominations, with 4 nods at the age of 25, including her fresh Best Actress loss for Little Women. What happens if we put them together in a drama set in the coasts of England during the 19th century where both of them fall for each other?
That’s gonna be a winning formula if writedirector Francis Lee (who tackled queer romance in his acclaimed debut God’s Own Country) nails the Mary Anning story, and Neon (the distribution company founded three years ago that took Parasite to victory) is betting on it. -Benedetta:
We know the Paul Verhoeven story. After isolating himself from Hollywood for over a decade, he took Isabelle Huppert to an Oscar nominated performance with the controversial, sexy, dark and funny thriller Elle. Now, he’s back with another story that perks up the ears, because now he’s covering the life of Benedetta Carlini, a 17th-century lesbian nun who had religious and erotic visions
. If you know Paul, you already can tell that this fits into his brand of horniness, and a possible Cannes premiere could tell us if this has something to carry itself to Oscar night. -Blonde:
With a short but impactful directorial credits list that takes us from Chopper, to The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford to Killing Them Softly, Andrew Dominik is back with a film about Marilyn Monroe, a woman who has transcended the ideas of fame and stardom, in ways that are glamorous and nightmarish at the same time. After failing to launch with Naomi Watts or Jessica Chastain,the rising Ana de Armas takes the lead
in the retelling of Monroe’s troubled life based on Joyce Carol Oates’ novel, which is said to be covered in the screenplay as somewhat of a horror movie. We don’t know what that means yet, but Netflix is gonna push hard for this one, especially considering how the Academy loves throwing awards to stars playing previous stars, and that also can possibly include co-stars Bobby Cannavale and Adrien Brody. -Breaking News in Yuba County:
While he hasn’t gone back to the heights of his success achieved by the box office and award success of The Help (a movie that did not age well), Tate Taylor is still enjoying himself economically due to recent thrillers like The Girl on the Train and Ma. For his next movie, he’s made a dramedy that once again reunites him with Oscar winner Allison Janney, where she plays a woman who has to keep appearances and a hidden body when she catches her husband cheating on her, and then he dies of a heart attack. With a cast that also includes Mila Kunis, Regina Hall, Awkwafina, Samira Wiley, Wanda Sykes, Jimmi Simpson and Ellen Barkin, this could be a buzzy title later this year. -C’mon C’mon:
You may love or hate whatever Joaquin Phoenix did in Joker, but you can’t deny the benefit of playing the Crown Prince of Crime in an Oscar-winning performance. The blank check that you share with indie directors afterwards. Now that Joaquin’s cultural cachet is on the rise, Mike Mills gets to benefit with this drama that stars Phoenix and Gaby Hoffmann, with him playing an artist left to take care of his precocious young nephew as they forge an unexpected bond over a cross country trip. We only have to wonder if A24 will do better with this movie’s Oscar chances compared to 20th Century Women. -Cherry:
After killing half the universe and bringing them back with the highest grossing movie of all time, where do you go? For Joe and Anthony Russo, the answer is “away from the Marvel Cinematic Universe”. The Russo brothers are trying to distance themselves and prove that they have a voice without Kevin Feige behind them, with a crime drama that’s also different than their days when they directed You, Me and Dupree or episodes of Arrested Development and Community. To help them in the journey, they took Tom Holland (who also needs to distance himself from Spider-Man, lest he ends up stuck to the character in the audience’s eyes) to star in a crime drama based on former Army medic Nico Walker’s memoir about his days after Iraq
, where the PTSD and an opioid addiction led him to start robbing banks. -Da 5 Bloods:
After bouncing back from a slump with the critical and commercial success of BlackKklansman, Spike Lee is cashing a Netflix check to tell the tale of four African American veterans who return to Vietnam to search for their fallen leader and some treasure. With a cast that includes Delroy Lindo, Clarke Peters, Isiah Whitlock Jr, Paul Walter Hauser and Chadwick Boseman, this sounds like an interesting combo, although we still should remember the last time that Spike tried his hand at a war movie, with the dull Miracle at St. Anna. -Dune:
If you are on Reddit, you probably know about the new film by movies
’ new Messiah, Denis Villeneuve. While the epic sci-fi novel by Frank Herbert is getting a new chance in the multiplexes after that David Lynch movie that was forgotten by many, some are hoping that this will be the beginning of a new franchise (as seen by the release date of December 18, taking the spot of the usual Star Wars opening), and a return to the whole “remember when stuff like Return of the King or Fury Road were nominated for Best Picture?” question. Timothee Chalamet will be riding a lot of hope, and sandworm. -Everybody’s Talking About Jamie:
As you start to see, there are several musicals that are gonna be fighting for attention over the next year, and Annette was the first one. Now, we also have this adaptation of the hit West End production
, that centers around a gay British teenager who dreams of becoming a drag queen and get his family and schoolmates to accept his sexuality. With a cast that mixes young unknowns, familiar Brits (Sharon Horgan, Sarah Lancashire and my boy Ralph Ineson) and the previously nominated legend that is Richard E. Grant (who is playing a former drag queen named Loco Chanelle), the creative team of the stage musical will jump to the big screen with the help of Fox Searchlight (sorry, just Searchlight), who has clear Oscar hopes with a release date right in the middle of awards heat, on October 23. -Hillbilly Elegy:
Even though the Parasite victory gave many people hope for a new Academy that stops recognizing stuff like previous winner Green Book… let’s be honest, the Academy will still look for movies like Green Book. This year, many people are turning their eyes towards Ron Howard’ adaptation of J.D. Vance’s memoir about his low income life in a poor rural community in Ohio, filled with drugs, violence and verbal abuse. If this sounds like white trash porn, it doesn’t help to know that Glenn Close, who has become the biggest living Oscar bridesmaid with seven nominations, will play a character called Mamaw. And if that sounds trashy, then you have to know that Amy Adams, who follows Glenn with six nominations, is playing her drug-addicted, careless daughter. I don’t want to call this “Oscar bait”, but it sure is tempting. -I’m Thinking of Ending Things:
After his stopmotion existential dramedy Anomalisa got him a Best Animated Feature nomination at the Oscars but at the same time bombed at the box office, Charlie Kaufman is getting the Netflix check. This time, he’s adapting the dark novel by Iain Reid, about a woman (Jessie Buckley, who is on the rise and took over the role after Brie Larson had to pass) who is taken by her boyfriend (Jesse Plemons) to meet his parents (Toni Collette and David Thewlis), in a trip that takes a turn for the worse. If Kaufman can deliver with this one, it will be a big contender. -In the Heights:
Yes, more musicals! This time, it’s time to talk about Lin-Manuel Miranda’s first Tony-winning musical, that was overshadowed because of his other small play about some treasury secretary. Now, his Broadway ensemble tale about life in a neighborhood in Washington Heights is jumping to the movie screen with Jon Chu at the helm
, following the success of Crazy Rich Asians. This Latino tale mixes up-and-comers like Anthony Ramos (who comes straight from Hamilton and playing Lady Gaga’s friend in A Star is Born), names like Corey Hawkins and Jimmy Smits (who is pro bits), and Olga Merediz, who starred in the Broadway show as Abuela Claudia and who could be the early frontrunner for Best Supporting Actress, if Chu allows her to shine like she did onstage. -Jesus Was My Homeboy:
When looking at up-and-coming Black actors right now in Hollywood, two of the top names are Daniel Kaluuya and Lakeith Stanfield, who already appeared in the same movie in Get Out, which earned Kaluuya a Best Actor nomination. This time, they share the screen in Shaka King’s retelling of the story of Fred Hampton (Kaluuya), an activist and Black Panther leader… as well as the story of William O’Neal (Stanfield), the FBI agent sent by J. Edgar Hoover to infiltrate the party and arrest him. With the backing of Warner Bros, this will attempt to make an impact with a clash of actors that will have to fight with an August release date, not the ideal time to release an awards movie. -King Richard:
Starting with Suicide Squad, Will Smith has been trying to prove that he’s back and better than ever. Some attempts to get back to the top of the A-list (Aladdin, Bad Boys For Life) have worked, while others (Gemini Man, Spies in Disguise)... have not. But Will is still going, and now he’s going for his next prestige play as he plays Richard Williams, the coach and father of the tennis legends Venus and Serena, who pushed them to their full potential. While it’s weird that the father of the Williams sisters is getting a movie before them, it does sound like a meaty role for Smith, who has experience with Oscar notices with sports biopics because of what he did with Michael Mann in Ali. Let’s hope director Reinaldo Marcus Green can take him there too. -Last Night in Soho:
Every year, one or two directors who have a cool reputation end up in the Dolby Theatre, and 2020 could be the year of Edgar Wright. After delivering his first big box office hit with Baby Driver, the Brit is going back to London to tell a story in the realm of psychological horror
, which has been supposedly inspired by classics like Don’t Look Now and Repulsion. With a premise that supposedly involves time travel and a cast that includes Anya-Taylor Joy, Thomasin McKenzie, Matt Smith and Diana Rigg, Wright (who also co-wrote this with Krysty Wilson-Cairns, who was just nominated for Best Original Screenplay for her work in 1917) is making a big swing. -Let Them All Talk:
Every year there’s more new streaming services, and that also means that there’s new players in the Oscar game. To secure subscribers to the new service, HBO Max has secured the rights to the next Steven Soderbergh movie, a comedy that stars Meryl Streep as a celebrated author that takes her friends (Candice Bergen, Dianne Wiest) and her nephew (Lucas Hedges, again) in a journey to find fun and come to terms with the past. The last time that Soderbergh and Streep worked together, the end result was the very disappointing The Laundromat. Let’s hope that this time everything works out. -Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom:
Now that Netflix got the deal to adapt August Wilson’s acclaimed plays with Denzel Washington’s production company, the next jump from the stage to the screen is a meaty one. Viola Davis is playing blues singer Ma Rainey in this tale of a heated recording session with her bandmates, her agent and her producer in 1927, with a cast that also includes Chadwick Boseman, Glynn Turman and Colman Domingo. The Tony nominated play
talked about race, art and the intersection of the two, and it’s gonna be explosive to see that unfold on screen, even if director George C. Wolfe’s previous filmography isn’t very encouraging. -Macbeth:
In a shocking development, the Coen brothers are no more. Well, just this time. For the first time in his career, Joel Coen is making a movie without Ethan, and it’s a Shakespeare adaptation. Denzel Washington is playing the man who wants to be king of Scotland, and Frances McDormand is playing his Lady Macbeth. While this just started filming and it will be a race to finish it in time for competition in the awards race, the potential is there, and this project has everybody’s attention. -Mank:
After scoring 24 Oscar nominations and only winning 2 awards last Sunday, Netflix has to wonder what else must they do to get in the club that awards them. They tried with Cuarón, they tried with Scorsese, they tried with Baumbach, they tried with two Popes, and they still feel a barrier. Now, the big gamble for awards by the streamer in 2020 comes to us in the hands of David Fincher, who is basically their friend after the rest of Hollywood denied him (Disney dropped his 20,000 Leagues adaptation, HBO denied the US remake of Utopia, and Paramount drove World War Z 2 away from him). In his first movie since 2014’s Gone Girl, David will go black and white to tackle a script by his late father about the making of the classic of classics, Citizen Kane, with previous Oscar winner Gary Oldman playing the lead role of screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz. Will the Academy fall for the ultimate “power of da moviesshhh” story? -Minari:
Sundance can be hit or miss with the breakout films that try to make it to the Oscars. However, you can’t deny the waves made by A24 when they premiered Lee Isaac Chung’s new drama
there, ending up winning the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award in the US Dramatic Competition. If Parasite endeared Academy voters to Korean families, Steven Yeun hopes that the same thing happens with this story, where he plays a father in the ‘80s who suddenly decides to move his family to Arkansas to start a farm. Even though the reviews have been great, we must also remember that last year, A24 had in their hands The Farewell, another Sundance hit about an Asian family that ended up with no Oscar nominations. Let’s hope that this time, the Plan B influence (remember, that’s Brad Pitt’s production company, of Moonlight and 12 Years a Slave fame) makes a difference. -Next Goal Wins:
It’s a good time to be Taika Waititi. Why? Taika Waititi can do what he wants. He can direct a Thor movie, he can win an Oscar for writing a comedy set in WW2 about a Third Reich boy who has an Imaginary Hitler friend, or he can pop up in The Mandalorian as a droid. Taika keeps winning, and he wants more. Between his press tour for Jojo Rabbit and his return to the MCU, he quickly shot an adaptation of a great documentary about the disgraced national team of American Samoa
, one of the worst football teams known to man, as they try to make the cut for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Everybody loves a good sports comedy, and Searchlight bets that we’ll enjoy this story led by Michael Fassbender as the new (and Dutch-American) coach in town
who tries to shape the team for victory. -News of the World:
Seven years after their solid collaboration in Captain Phillips, Paul Greengrass and Tom Hanks reunite for more awards love in what seems to be Universal’s main attraction for the Oscars. This time, Hanks stars in a Western drama based on Paulette Jiles’ novel where he plays a traveling newsreader in the aftermath of the American Civil War who is tasked with reuniting an orphaned girl with her living relatives. With a Christmas release date, Universal is betting big in getting the same nomination boost that 1917 is enjoying right now, and the formula is promising. -Nightmare Alley:
Following his Best Picture and Best Director wins for The Shape of Water, everybody in Hollywood wondered what would Guillermo del Toro do next. Well, as Del Toro often does, a little bit of everything and nothing. Some projects moved (as his produced Pinocchio movie on Netflix, or his Death Stranding likeness cameo), others stalled and die (like his proposed Fantastic Voyage remake). But now he’s rolling on his next project, a new adaptation of the William Lindsay Gresham novel that already was a Tyrone Power film in 1947. This noir tale tells the story of a con man (Bradley Cooper) who teams up with a psychiatrist (Cate Blanchett) to trick people and win money, and how things get out of control. With a cast that also includes Toni Collette, Willem Dafoe, Rooney Mara and more, this could play well if it hits the right tone. -Nomadland:
There’s breakout years, and then there’s the amazing potential of Chloe Zhao’s 2020. On the one hand, after making Hollywood notice her skill with the gripping story of The Rider, she got the keys to the MCU kingdom to direct the next potential franchise of Kevin Feige, The Eternals. And just in case, she also has in her sleeve this indie drama that she wrote and directed beforehand, with two-time Oscar winner Frances McDormand playing a woman
who, after losing everything in the Great Recession, embarks on a journey through the American West, living as a van-dwelling modern-day nomad. If Chloe nails these two films, it could be the one-two punch of the decade. -One Night in Miami:
Regina King is living her best life. Following her Oscar win for Best Supporting Actress in If Beale Street Could Talk and the success that came with her lead role in the Watchmen show on HBO, the actress is jumping to a new challenge: directing movies. For her big screen debut, she’s adapting Kemp Powers’ play that dramatizes a real meeting on February 25, 1964
, between Muhammad Ali, Malcolm X, Sam Cooke and Jim Brown. -Over the Moon:
After earning praise and Oscar nominations with I Lost My Body and Klaus, Netflix will keep its bet on animated movies with a film directed by the legendary Glen Keane. Who? A classic Disney animator responsible for the design of characters like Ariel, the Beast, Aladdin, Pocahontas, Tarzan and more](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2jRkx2PNVr8
), and who recently won an Oscar for Best Animated Short for Dear Basketball, which he co-directed with the late Kobe Bryant. Now, he brings us a musical adventure centered around a Chinese girl
who builds a rocket ship and blasts off to the Moon in hopes of meeting a legendary Moon Goddess. -Passing:
It’s always interesting when an actor jumps behind the camera, and Rebecca Hall’s case is no exception. For her directorial debut, Hall chose to adapt Nella Larsen’s acclaimed novel set in Harlem in the 1920s, about two mixed race childhood friends (Ruth Negga and Tessa Thompson) who reunite in adulthood and become obsessed with one another's lives. With a premise that explores tough questions about race and sexuality, it looks like a tricky challenge for a first timer, but it would be more impressive if Hall manages to rise over the challenge. -Prisoner 760:
An interesting part of following the awards circuit is looking at when it's appropriate to talk about touchy subjects in recent history. I’m saying that because this next movie tells the real life tale of Mohamedou Ould Slahi (Tahar Rahim), a man who, despite not being charged or having a set trial, is held in custody at Guantanamo Bay, and turns towards a pair of lawyers (Jodie Foster and Shailene Woodley) to aid him. Based on the famous journal that the man wrote while he was being detained, the movie (that also counts with Benedict Cumberbatch) is directed by Kevin Macdonald who, a long time ago, helped Forest Whitaker win Best Actor for The Last King of Scotland. Could he get back in the race after almost 15 years of movies like State of Play? -Raya and the Last Dragon:
This year, Walt Disney Animation Studios’ bet for the Oscars is a fantasy tale set in a mysterious realm called Kumandra
, where a warrior named Raya searches for the last dragon in the world. And that dragon has the voice of Awkwafina. Even though they missed out last Oscars when Frozen II got the cold shoulder by the Academy in Best Animated Feature, this premise looks interesting enough to merit a chance. One more thing: between last year’s Abominable, Over the Moon and this movie, there’s a clear connection of animated movies trying to appeal to Chinese sensibilities (and that sweet box office). -Rebecca:
It’s wild to think that the only time that Alfred Hitchcock made a film that won the Oscar for Best Picture was with 1940’s adaptation of Daphne du Maurier’s psychological thriller novel, more muted and conventional than his more known classics. Now, Ben Wheatley and Netflix are giving the Gothic story a new spin, with Lily James playing the newly married young woman who finds herself battling the shadow of her husband's (Armie Hammer) dead first wife, the mysterious Rebecca. The story is a classic, and we have to see how much weird Wheatley stuff is in the mix. -Red, White and Water:
Between 2011 and 2014, Jennifer Lawrence was everywhere and people loved it. She was America’s sweetheart, the Oscar winner, Katniss Everdeen. But then, everything kinda fell. Those X-Men movies got worse and she looked tired of being in them, her anecdotes got less charming and more pandering to some, she took respectable risks that didn’t pay off with Red Sparrow and Mother!, and some people didn’t like that she said that it wasn’t nice to share private photos of her online. Now, she looks to get back to the Oscar race with a small project funded by A24 and directed by Lila Neugebauer in her film debut, about a soldier who comes back to the US after suffering a traumatic brain injury in Afghanistan. Also, Brian Tyree Henry is in this, and it would be amazing if he got nominated for something. -Respect:
You know what’s a surefire way to get Academy voters’ attention? Play a real singer! Rami Malek took a win last year for playing Freddie Mercury, Renee Zellweger just won the gold after portraying Judy Garland, and now Jennifer Hudson wants more Oscar love. Almost 15 years after taking Best Supporting Actress for her role in Dreamgirls, Hudson will try to get more by playing soul legend Aretha Franklin, in a biopic directed by first timer Liesl Tommy that practically screams “give me the gold”. How am I so sure? Well, see the teaser that they released in December (for a movie that opens in October)
, and tell me. It will work out better for Hudson than Cats, that’s for sure. -Soul:
Unless they really disappoint (I’m looking at you, The Good Dinosaur, Cars 2 and Cars 3), you can’t have the Oscars without inviting Pixar to the party. This year, they have two projects in the hopes of success. While in a few weeks we’ll see what happens with the fantasy family road trip of Onward, the studio’s biggest bet of the year clearly is the next existential animation written and directed by Pete Docter, who brought Oscar gold to his home with Up and Inside Out. The movie, which centers on a teacher (voice of Jamie Foxx) who dreams of becoming a jazz musician and, just as he’s about to get his big break, ends up getting into an accident that separates his soul from his body, had a promising first trailer
, and it also promises a score by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, as well as new songs by Jon Batiste. The only downside so far for the marketing was the fact that the trailer reveal led people to notice a suspicious trend involving black characters when they lead an animated movie
When Leonardo DiCaprio finally touched his Academy Award, an alarm went off in the mind of a portion of Internet users, who have made their next crusade to give themselves to the cause of getting Christopher Nolan some Oscar love. And his next blank check, an action thriller involving espionage and time travel
, could pull off the same intersection of popcorn and prestige that made Inception both a box office hit and a critically acclaimed Oscar nominee. It helps to have a cast of impressive names like John David Washington, Elizabeth Debicki and Robert Pattinson, as well as a crew that includes Ludwig Goransson and Hoyte van Hoytema. In other words, if this becomes a hit, this could go for a huge number of nominations. -The Devil All the Time:
As you may have noticed by now, Netflix is leading the charge in possible Oscar projects. Another buzzy movie that comes from them is the new psychological thriller by Antonio Campos, a filmmaker known for delivering small and intimate but yet intense and terrifying dramas like Simon Killer and Christine. Using the novel by Donald Ray Pollock, Campos will follow non-linearly a cast of characters in Ohio between the end of World War II and the beginning of the Vietnam War, with the help of an interesting cast that includes Tom Holland, Sebastian Stan, Robert Pattinson, Mia Wasikowska, Eliza Scanlen, Bill Skarsgard, Jason Clarke and Riley Keough. -The Eyes of Tammy Faye:
After being known as a sketch comedy goofball because of The State, Wet Hot American Summer and Stella, Michael Showalter reinvented himself as a director of small and human dramedies like Hello, My Name is Doris and The Big Sick. For his next project, he’s gonna mix a little bit of both worlds, because he has before him the story of the televangelists Tammy Faye Bakker (Jessica Chastain, who has been really trying to recapture her early ‘10 awards run to no avail) and Jim Bakker (Andrew Garfield, who was previously nominated for Hacksaw Ridge, instead of Silence, because why). With a real life tale that involves Christian theme parks, fraud and conspiracies, this is the kind of loud small movie that Searchlight loves to parade around, especially as an actors showcase (Jojo Rabbit being the most recent example). The first image looks terrifying, by the way. -The Father:
It’s weird to be in the middle of February and say that there’s already a frontrunner for the Best Actor race at the next Oscars. After its premiere in Sundance a couple of weeks ago, every prognosticator pointed in the direction of Anthony Hopkins (recently nominated for Best Supporting Actor in The Two Popes), who delivers a harrowing portrayal of an old man grappling with his age as he develops dementia, causing pain to his beleaguered daughter (recent winner Olivia Colman, who also got praised). With reviews calling it a British answer to Amour (in other words: it’s a hard watch), Florian Zeller’s adaptation of his acclaimed play not only benefits from having Hopkins and Colman together as a selling point
, because it was acquired by Sony Pictures Classics, a distributor with experience in getting Academy voters to watch adult movies with heavy themes. If you don’t believe me, watch how they got Julianne Moore a win for Still Alice, as well as recent nominations for Isabelle Huppert for Elle, Glenn Close for The Wife, and Antonio Banderas for Pain and Glory. They know the game, and they are going to hit hard for Hopkins and Colman. -The French Dispatch: If you saw the trailer, we don’t need to dwell too much on the reasons.
On the one hand, we have the style of Wes Anderson, a filmmaker who has become a name in both the critics circle and the casual viewer, with his last two movies (The Grand Budapest Hotel and Isle of Dogs) earning several Oscar nominations, including Best Picture for the one with Gustave H. Then, we have a long cast that goes from the director’s regulars like Bill Murray to new stars like Timothee Chalamet, and also includes people like Benicio del Toro. The only thing that could endanger the Oscar chances for this is that the story, an anthology set around a period comedy with an European riff on The New Yorker, will alienate the average Academy member. -The Humans:
There’s the prestige of a play, and then there’s the prestige of a Tony-winning play. Playwright Stephen Karam now gets to jump to the director’s chair to take his acclaimed 2016 one-act story
to the big screen, and A24 is cutting the check. Telling the story of a family that gets together on Thanksgiving to commiserate about life, this adaptation will be led by original performer Jayne Houdyshell (who also won a Tony for her stage performance), who’ll be surrounded by Richard Jenkins, Beanie Feldstein, Amy Schumer, Steven Yeun and June Squibb. If it avoids getting too claustrophobic or stagey for the cinema, it will be a good contender. -The Last Duel:
Always speedy, Ridley Scott is working on his next possible trip to the Oscars. This time, it’s the telling of a true story in 14th-century France, where a knight (Matt Damon) accuses his former friend (Adam Driver) of raping his wife (Jodie Comer), with the verdict being determined by the titular duel. It’s a juicy story, but there was some concern when it seemed that the script was only being written by Damon and Ben Affleck (who’ll also appear in the film). A rape story written by them after the Weinstein revelations… not the best look. But then, it was revealed that they were writing the screenplay with indie figure Nicole Holofcener, who last year was nominated for an Oscar for her script for Can You Ever Forgive Me? Let’s hope that the story is told in a gripping but not exploitative way, and that it doesn’t reduce the role of Comer (who deserves more than some of the movie roles that she’s getting after Killing Eve) to a Hollywood stereotype. -The Power of the Dog:
We have to talk about the queen of the indie world, we have to talk about Jane Campion. More than a decade after her last movie, Bright Star, the Oscar and Palme d’Or winner for The Piano returns with a non-TV project (see Top of the Lake, people) thanks to Netflix, with a period drama centered around a family dispute between a pair of wealthy brothers in Montana, Phil (Benedict Cumberbatch) and George Burbank (Jesse Plemons), after the latter one marries a local widow (Kirsten Dunst). According to the synopsis, “a shocked and angry Phil wages a sadistic, relentless war to destroy her entirely using her effeminate son Peter as a pawn”. Can’t wait to see what that means. -The Prom:
Remember the Ryan Murphy blank check deal with Netflix that I mentioned earlier? Well, another of the projects in the first batch of announcements for the deal is a musical that he’ll direct, adapting the Tony-nominated show about a group of Broadway losers
(now played by the one and only Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman, Andrew Rannells and, uh, James Corden, for some reason) who try to find a viral story to get back in the spotlight, and end up going to a town in Indiana to help a lesbian high school student who has been banned from bringing her girlfriend to the prom. The show has been considered a fun and heartwarming tale of acceptance, so the movie could be an easy pick for an average Academy voter who doesn’t look too hard (and you know that the Golden Globes will nominate the shirt out of this). It’s funny how this comes out the same year than Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, and then it’s not funny realizing that Film Twitter will pit the two movies against each other. -The Trial of the Chicago 7:
After getting a taste of the director’s taste with Molly’s Game, Aaron Sorkin wants more. For his second movie, he’s tackling one of his specialties: a courtroom drama. And this one is a period movie centered around the trial on countercultural activists in the late ‘60s, which immediately attracts a campaign of how “important” this movie is today’s culture. To add the final blow, we have a cast that includes Sacha Baron Cohen, Eddie Redmayne, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Jeremy Strong, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Frank Langella, William Hurt, Michael Keaton and Mark Rylance. If Sorkin can contain himself from going over the top (and with that cast, it would be so easy to surrender to bouts of screaming and winding speeches), this could be one of the top contenders. -Those Who Wish Me Dead:
Having made a good splash in the directorial waters with Wind River, Taylor Sheridan (also known for writing the Sicario movies, the Oscar-nominated Hell or High Water or that Yellowstone show that your uncle raves about on Facebook) returns with yet another modern Western. For this thriller based on the Michael Koryta novel, Angelina Jolie stars as a survival expert in the Montana wilderness who is tasked with protecting a teenager who witnessed a murder, while assassins are pursuing him and a wildfire grows closer. -Untitled David O. Russell Project:
Following the mop epic Joy, that came and went in theaters but still netted a Best Actress nomination for Jennifer Lawrence, the angriest director in Hollywood took a bit of a break (it didn’t help that he tried to do a really expensive show with Amazon starring Robert De Niro and Julianne Moore that fell apart when the Weinstein exposes sank everything). Now, he’s quickly putting together his return to the days of Oscar love that came with stuff like The Fighter, Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle, with a new movie that is set to star Christian Bale, Margot Robbie and Michael B. Jordan. Even though we don’t know many details (some people are saying the movie is called Amsterdam) except for the fact the movie hasn’t started shooting yet, David is a quick guy, so he’ll get it ready for the fall festival circuit. If there’s one thing that David O. Russell knows (apart from avoid getting cancelled for abusing people like Lily Tomlin, Amy Adams and his niece), it’s to make loud actor showcases. -Untitled Nora Fingscheidt Project:
When Bird Box became one of the biggest hits on Netflix history, the streamer decided to keep itself in the Sandra Bullock business. Sandy’s next project for Ted Sarandos is a drama where she plays a woman who is released from prison after serving time for a violent crime, and re-enters a society that refuses to forgive her past. To get redemption, she searches her younger sister she was forced to leave behind. With the direction of Fingscheidt, who comes from an acclaimed directorial debut with Systemsprenger (Germany’s submission to the last Academy Awards), and a cast that also includes Viola Davis, Vincent D’Onofrio and Jon Bernthal, this will also hopefully try its luck later this year. -Untitled Paul Thomas Anderson Project:
We don’t know if this movie will be ready for the end of the year (although last time, he managed to sneak Phantom Thread under the buzzer and earn several Oscar nominations, including Best Picture), but PTA is apparently gonna start to shoot it soon, with the backing of Focus Features. After several movies with prestige locations and intricate production design, Film Twitter’s Holy Spirit will go back to the San Fernando Valley in the 1970s, to tell the story of a high school student who is also a successful child actor. -Stillwater:
Tom McCarthy’s recent career is certainly puzzling. After delivering the weird lows of The Cobbler, he bounced back with the Best Picture winner that was Spotlight. And following that, he… helped produce the 13 Reasons Why series. And following that… he made Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made, a Disney+ original movie. Now, he’s back to the award race with a drama starring Matt Damon, who plays a father who rushes from Oklahoma to France to help his daughter (Abigail Breslin), who is in prison after being suspected for a murder she claims she didn’t commit. -West Side Story:
To close things, we have to see one of the possible big contenders of the season, Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of the iconic musical that translates Romeo and Juliet to the context of a street gang war in 1950s New York. While the decision to adapt again something that has been a classic both in Broadway and in movie theaters almost 60 years ago is a challenge, the idea of Spielberg doing a musical closer to the stage version with Tony Kushner as the writer is too tempting for the average Academy voter, who is already saving a spot in major categories in case Steven nails it in December. However, there’s two question marks. First, how well will Ansel Elgort and newcomer Rachel Zegler
stand out in the roles of Tony and Maria? And second, will In the Heights steal some of the thunder of this movie by being, you know, more modern?
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2020.02.07 21:21 SheCalledMePaul What's Happening in CT! 2/7/20 - 2/9/20
Friday, February 7th, 2020:
- "The Color Purple" February 5 - 9 The Foxwoods Broadway Series. Don't miss the Tony Award-winning Broadway smash hit The Color Purple at Foxwoods Resort Casino. The Color Purple is the 2016 Tony Award® winner for Best Musical Revival! Hailed as “a direct hit to the heart” (The Hollywood Reporter), this joyous American classic conquered Broadway in an all-new "ravishingly reconceived production that is a glory to behold” (The New York Times). With a soul-raising, Grammy®-winning score of jazz, gospel, ragtime and blues, The Color Purple gives an exhilarating new spirit to this Pulitzer Prize-winning story. Don’t miss this stunning re-imagining of an epic story about a young woman’s journey to love and triumph in the American south. Experience the exhilarating power of this Tony-winning triumph that New York Magazine calls “one of the greatest revivals ever.” Fri. 8 p.m., Sat. 2 p.m. & 8 p.m., Sun. 1 p.m. & 6 p.m., $40-$70,Fox Theater at Foxwoods Resort Casino, 350 Trolley Line Blvd. Mashantucket, CT
- CT Guitar Festival, 7-9 It's time for the 3rd Annual Connecticut Guitar Festival!!! World music duo "Instruments of the People", jazz legend Joe Carter, and acclaimed classical guitarist Mak Grgic take the main stage at Westport Library TONIGHT to officially begin Suzuki Schools' "Connecticut Guitar Festival". Don't miss this amazing night of music for only $10 a ticket., 7pm-9pm, The Westport Library, 20 Jesup Rd Westport, CT
- "Sylvia", February 7 - 23 *Sylvia introduces us to the characters of Greg and Kate, who have entered the empty-nest time in life and have moved to Manhattan after 20 years in the suburbs. Greg is struggling with being dissatisfied with his job while Kate is excited about her new teaching opportunities and new found freedom. However, life has a way of giving you what you think you don’t want and that’s when Greg finds Sylvia, a street-smart lab/poodle mix, and brings her home only to promptly become a wedge in Greg and Kate’s marriage. Sylvia, while a comedy, has touching moments about relationships, nature, and growing older.Fri. 8 p.m., Sat. 4 p.m. & 8 p.m., Sun. 2 p.m., $35-$65,*Music Theatre of Connecticut, 509 Westport Ave. Norwalk, CT
- 94th Annual Jumpfest Winter Festival - Eastern States Ski Jumping Championship, February 7 - 9 Excitement returns to Salisbury February 7-9, 2020 when the Salisbury Winter Sports Association (SWSA) hosts the 94th Annual Jumpfest, a three-day celebration and competition featuring the best junior ski jumpers in the eastern United States. The jumpers you watch We make our own snow. Even if the Winter looks brown outside your window, it's white over at Satre Hill thanks to our two state-of-the-art snow guns. We will do our part to keep you warm with blazing bonfires hot food and beverages hot and cold- but do dress warm- it's Winter outside! If you have never seen ski jumping live, you have never truly witnessed the sport. Standing amidst the ringing cowbells, with crowds cheering on their favorites, hearing skis slapping against the landing hill as these brave jumpers soar up to 200 feet through the air at speeds up to 50 miles an hour, is something you must experience. Various times, various prices, some free, Satre Ski Hill, 80 Indian Cave Rd.(off Rte. 44) Salisbury, CT
- Central CT Beer Shuttle, February 7 *Friday night beer shuttle to Relic Brewing, Better Half Brewing, Witchdoctor Brewing and Firefly Hollow .There are three sessions to choose from. $20, includes transportation only. Must pre-purchase tickets online. Please be outside of the breweries at these designated times to catch the shuttle. We will wait approx. 5 minutes per stop but are not responsible for you missing the shuttle.*5:30 p.m.-10 p.m. $20, Firefly Hollow Brewing, 139 Center St, Bristol, CT
- Atlantic Broadband Garde Cinema Series: "Parasite", February 7 Bong Joon Ho brings his work home to Korea in this pitch-black modern fairy tale. Meet the Park family, the picture of aspirational wealth. And the Kim Family, rich in street smarts but not much else. Be it chance or fate, these two houses are brought together and the Kims sense a golden opportunity. Masterminded by college-aged Ki-woo, the Kim children expediently install themselves as tutor and art therapist to the Parks. Soon, a symbiotic relationship forms between the two families. The Kims provide “indispensable” luxury services while the Parks obliviously bankroll their entire household. When a parasitic interloper threatens the Kims’ newfound comfort, a savage, underhanded battle for dominance breaks out, threatening to destroy the fragile ecosystem between the Kims and the Parks.The 2020 Atlantic Broadband Garde Winter Cinema Series Pass brings you – for one package price – twenty or more critically acclaimed and Oscar and Golden Globe nominated films with state-of-the-art 4K digital projection and full surround sound. Limited availability so buy today. Rated R. 7:30pm, $12 ticket, series pass $62, Garde Arts Center, 325 State St. New London, CT
Saturday, February 8th, 2020:
- Monster Jam, February 8 - 9 Monster Jam brings high-octane entertainment to the XL Center. These action packed live events showcase some of the most recognizable Monster Jam trucks in the world, performing jaw-dropping displays or gravity-defying feats. Sat. 1 p.m. & 7 p.m., Sun. 1 p.m. $15-$50, XL Center, 1 Civic Center Plaza, Hartford, CT
- Atlantic Broadband Garde Cinema Series: "Uncut Gems", February 8 Howard Ratner (Adam Sandler), a charismatic New York City jeweler, is always on the lookout for the next big score. When he makes a series of high-stakes bets that could lead to the windfall of a lifetime, Howard must perform a precarious high-wire act, balancing business, family, and encroaching adversaries on all sides, in his relentless pursuit of the ultimate win. Rated R, $12, 7:30pm
- Boozin' In Your Onesie Bar Crawl Hartford, the weather is cold & you want to be comfy... What better way to be than Boozin' In Your Onesie @ The World's Most Comfortable Bar Crawl on FEB. 8th, 3pm-10pm, $18.75-$29.99,Hartford, CT (DOWNTOWN)
- Celebrate Chinese New Year in the Elm City, February 8 New Haven Museum is partnering with the Yale-China Association for Lunarfest 2020. Activities include children’s arts and crafts; music; dance; Tai Chi and Qigong; shadow puppetry; theatre; exhibits, and more. Lunarfest begins at 10 a.m. with a colorful lion and dragon dance parade from Church/Elm to the corner of Whitney/Trumbull, and a lion dance "meet and greet" on Whitney Ave. at 11 a.m. The fun moves indoors at 1 p.m. at several locations: William L Harkness Hall (WLH) (100 Wall St.; Affinity Federal Credit Union (55 Whitney Ave.); Ely Center of Contemporary Art (51 Trumbull St.); Office of International Students & Scholars (421 Temple St.); Yale-China (442 Temple St.); New Haven Free Public Library (133 Elm St.), Rosenfeld Hall (109 Grove, enter on Temple), and New Haven Museum (114 Whitney Ave.), 10 a.m.- 5 p.m, free, New Haven Museum, 114 Whitney Ave.New Haven, CT
- Atlantic Broadband Garde Cinema Series: "1917", February 8 Director: Sam Mendes, Writers: Sam Mendes, Krysty Wilson-Cairns, Stars: Andrew Scott, Benedict Cumberbatch, Mark Strong, Studio: DreamWorks/Universal, Awards: Two Golden Globes (Best Picture, Director), Three Critics Circle Awards (including Best Director), Nominations: 10 Oscars (including Best Picture), Schofield and Blake, two young British soldiers during the First World War, are given a seemingly impossible mission. With time against them, they must deliver a message, deep in enemy territory, that will stop their own men, and Blake’s own brother, walking straight into a deadly trap. Rated R. 3pm, $12, Garde Arts Center, 325 State St., New London, CT
Sunday, February 9th, 2020:
- Rock & Roll Playhouse: Music of Phish for Kids, February 9 The Rock and Roll Playhouse, a family concert series hosted at historic music venues across the country, allows kids to “move, play and sing while listening to works from the classic-rock canon” (New York Times). Performing songs created by the most iconic musicians in rock history, The Rock and Roll Playhouse band offers its core audience of families with children age ten and under games, movement, stories and an opportunity to rock out in an effort to educate children and explore their creativity. The Rock and Roll Playhouse is an early and often first introduction to a child’s lifelong journey with live music and rock and roll. 11:30am, $15 in advance, $17 at the door. The Warehouse at Fairfield Theatre Company,7 0 Sanford St. Fairfield, CT
Find more things to do here!
Or check out a newly released movie such as:
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2020.02.06 05:34 _that_random_guy_ The Lodge release?
I've been really looking forward to The Lodge for a while now and has a February 7 release date, but it's nowhere to be seen near me for this weekend.
It's listed as a wide release from what I see. Was the date moved again?
To fill in the required characters, it stars Riley Keough, Jaeden Martell, and Richard Armitage and is from the directors of Goodnight Mommy.
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2019.01.30 15:52 santaschesthairs 2019 is looking to be a really, really exciting year for film. I’ve compiled a comprehensive list of 50+ upcoming original/adapted films that are showing real promise, and 25+ major franchise/sequel films. Includes summaries, links, and details. Enjoy!
TL;DR: this year is insane.
Let me dive right in - hopefully I hit the 300 character minimum.
A horror film from break-out director Ari Aster (Hereditary).
A young couple travels to Sweden to visit their friend’s rural hometown and attend its mid-summer festival. What begins as an idyllic retreat quickly descends into a bizarre and violent competition at the hands of a pagan cult. Directed by Ari Aster. Starring Florence Pugh, Jack Reynor, Will Poulter and William Jackson Harper.
A sci-fi film with Brad Pitt - I’m itching for a trailer.
Army Corps engineer Roy McBride embarks on a mission across the galaxy to discover the truth about his father, who disappeared in space 20 years ago while searching for signs of alien life. Directed by James Gray. Starring Brad Pitt, Tommy Lee Jones and Ruth Negga.
Rian Johnson is a touch controversial after The Last Jedi, but he's undeniably very talented. He directed the best Breaking Bad episode after all.
Modern-day murder mystery in the classic Agatha Christie whodunit style. Directed by Rian Johnson (The Last Jedi, Ozymandias). Starring Daniel Craig, Lakeith Stanfield, Chris Evans, Michael Shannon, Christopher Plummer, Ana de Armas, Jamie Lee Curtis and Toni Collette.
A Scorsese film with Netflix that’s gone seriously over-budget, bound to be enjoyable.
A mob hit man recalls his possible involvement with the slaying of Jimmy Hoffa. Starring Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Harvey Keitel, Joe Pesci and Ray Romano.
A Greta Gertwig film with an outstanding cast. I’m excited. I also have a feeling this will have some play in the 2019 Oscars
Four sisters come of age in America in the aftermath of the Civil War. Directed by Greta Gertwig. Starring Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, Eliza Scanlen, Florence Pugh, Laura Dern, Meryl Streep, Timothée Chalamet, James Norton, Louis Garrel and Bob Odenkirk.
You’ve probably already seen the trailer. An art-world horror-satire from Dan Gilroy, on Netflix in Feb.
Big money artists and mega-collectors pay a high price when art collides with commerce. After a series of paintings by an unknown artist are discovered, a supernatural force enacts revenge on those who have allowed their greed to get in the way of art. Directed by Dan Gilroy. Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo and Toni Collette.
Adam Sandler taking on a serious role by the directors of Good Time (2017). If it has any of the same intensity or grit as Good Time this could be awesome.
Set in the diamond district of New York City, Howard Ratner, a jewelry store owner and dealer to the rich and famous, must find a way to pay his debts when his merchandise is taken from one of his top sellers and girlfriend. Directed by the Safdie brothers. Starring Adam Sandler, Idina Menzel, Lakeith Stanfield and The Weeknd.
This got pretty great reviews at Sundance, I’m excited.
The story of Daniel Jones, lead investigator for the US Senate’s sweeping study into the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program, which was found to be brutal, immoral and ineffective. With the truth at stake, Jones battled tirelessly to make public what many in power sought to keep hidden. Directed by Scott Z. Burns. Starring Adam Driver, Annette Bening, Jon Hamm and Jennifer Morrison.
Ford v. Ferrari
Awesome cast, great story, and directed by the guy behind Logan.
Follows an eccentric, determined team of American engineers and designers, led by automotive visionary Carroll Shelby and his British driver, Ken Miles, who are dispatched by Henry Ford II with the mission of building from scratch an entirely new automobile with the potential to finally defeat the perennially dominant Ferrari at the 1966 Le Mans World Championship. Directed by James Mangold. Starring Christian Bale, Matt Damon, Jon Bernthal and Tracy Letts.
This got some pretty great reviews at Sundance.
Legendary late-night talk show host’s world is turned upside down when she hires her only female staff writer. Originally intended to smooth over diversity concerns, her decision has unexpectedly hilarious consequences as the two women separated by culture and generation are united by their love of a biting punchline. Directed by Nisha Ganatra. Starring Emma Thompson Mindy Kaling.
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
A faded TV actor and his stunt double embark on an odyssey to make a name for themselves in the film industry during the Helter Skelter reign of terror in 1969 Los Angeles. Directed by Quentin Tarantino. Cast includes Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie, Al Pacino, Timothy Olyphant, Tim Roth, Kurt Russell, Michael Madsen, Bruce Dern, Dakota Fanning,James Marsden, Damian Lewis, Luke Perry, Emile Hirsch, Damon Herriman and Scoot McNairy. jesus christ i cannot wait
If this is as spoopy as the trailer uh oh.
Husband and wife Gabe and Adelaide Wilson take their kids to their beach house expecting to unplug and unwind with friends. But as night descends, their serenity turns to tension and chaos when some shocking visitors arrive uninvited. Directed by Jordan Peele. Starring Lupita Nyong'o
, Winston Duke
, Elisabeth Moss and Tim Heidecker
Next film from the guy behind the VVitch
The story of an aging lighthouse keeper named Old who lives in early 20th-century Maine. Directed by Robert Eggers. Starring Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson.
Really good reviews, sci-fi that looks like it could be pretty trippy.
A father and his daughter struggle to survive in deep space where they live in isolation. Directed by Claire Denis. Starring Robert Pattinson.
A Terrence Mallick movie, so it's going to be divisive, but the plot does have potential.
Told through real wartime letters, this love story finds a couple in conflict with the members of their close-knit town, their church, their government, and even their friends — all of which brings them to a dramatic choice. Directed by Terrence Mallick. Starring August Deihl and Valerie Pachner.
I know every movie is called a sign of the times, but this one seems particularly geared towards the current politics. Really good Sundance reviews.
A star athlete and top student, Luce’s idealized image is challenged by one of his teachers when his unsettling views on political violence come to light, putting a strain on family bonds while igniting intense debates on race and identity. Directed by Julius Onah. Starring Kelvin Harrison Jr., Naomi Watts, Tim Roth and Octavia Spencer.
This one just got rave reviews at Sundance.
A quiet film student begins finding her voice as an artist while navigating a turbulent courtship with a charismatic but untrustworthy man. Directed by Joanna Hogg. Starring Honor Swinton-Byrne, Tom Burke, Tilda Swinton and Richard Ayoade.
Untitled Noah Baumbach Project
This one is obviously a bit unknown. But the cast looks amazing, and if it turns out as good as The Meyerowitz Stories, I can't wait to watch. Will be a Netflix film. Directed by Noah Baumbach. Starring Adam Driver, Scarlett Johannsen, Laura Dern and Greta Gertwig.
Great reviews from Sundance, 100% on RT as of now.
The story of a child star attempting to mend his relationship with his law-breaking, alcohol-abusing father over the course of a decade, loosely based on Shia LaBeouf’s life. Directed by Alma Har’el. Starring Shia LaBeouf, Lucas Hedges and yada yada.
Queen & Slim
Very interesting premise, and Daniel Kaluuya.
The film centers on a black man and black woman who go on a first date that goes awry after the two are pulled over by a police officer at a traffic stop. They kill the police officer in self-defense and rather than turn themselves in, they go on the run. Directed by Melina Matsoukas. Starring Daniel Kaluuya and Jodie Turner-Smith.
Another film with good reviews out of Sundance.
A headstrong Chinese-American woman returns to China when her beloved grandmother is given a terminal diagnosis. Billi struggles with her family’s decision to keep grandma in the dark about her own illness as they all stage an impromptu wedding to see grandma one last time. Directed by Lulu Wang. Starring Awkwafina.
A comedy with a cool cast by Jonathan Levine.
A political journalist tries to hook up with his old babysitter, who now holds an important government position. Directed by Jonathan Levine. Starring Seth Rogen, Charlize Theron and Alexander Skarsgård.
I was disappointed with Bohemian last year, so I'm reminding myself to be sceptical, but I hope this is excellent. Trailer here.
The story of Elton John's life, from his years as a prodigy at the Royal Academy of Music through his influential and enduring musical partnership with Bernie Taupin. Directed by Dexter Fletcher. Starring Taron Egerton (as Elton), Jamie Bell, Richard Madden and Bryce Dallas Howard.
Based on the bestselling book. Director of Brooklyn.
A boy in New York is taken in by a wealthy family after his mother is killed in a bombing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. In a rush of panic, he steals ‘The Goldfinch’, a painting that eventually draws him into a world of crime. Directed by John Crowley. Cast includes Ansel Elgort, Finn Wolfhard, Aneurin Barnard, Oakes Fegley, Ashleigh Cummings, Willa Fitzgerald and Nicole Kidman.
Big Time Adolescence
It's a little too early to tell from the Sundance reviews, but I really hope this is good. Pete Davidson and the guy who plays Sam in American Vandal star.
A 16 year old virgin with a growth hormone deficiency slowly gets corrupted by his hero, an aimless college dropout. Directed by Jason Orley. Starring Pete Davidson and Griffin Gluck.
The cast for this Netflix action thriller is awesome. If the trailer and director is anything to go by though, this looks really promising.
Struggling to make ends meet, former special ops soldiers reunite for a high-stakes heist: stealing $75 million from a South American drug lord. Directed by J.C. Chandor (Margin Call). Starring Ben Affleck, Oscar Isaac, Charlie Hunnam and Pedro Pascal.
I hope this is amazing, but the premise sounds incredibly difficult to pull off. Good cast and director, so fingers crossed. I'm using the book description here.
A dystopian world where all living creatures can hear each other's thoughts in a stream of images, words, and sounds called Noise. Directed by Doug Liman (Edge of Tomorrow). Starring Tom Holland and Daisy Ridley.
The Rosie Project
Few details are out. Ryan Reynolds, based on a good book.
An unlucky-in-love university professor creates an elaborate questionnaire in an effort to find a wife and meets an unconventional woman who doesn’t match any of his “requirements”, but might be the perfect woman for him. Directed by Ben Taylor. Starring Ryan Reynolds.
The Beach Bum
The trailer looks completely wack. Make sure you watch it:
An irreverent comedy about the misadventures of Moondog, a rebellious stoner and lovable rogue who lives large. Directed by Harmony Korine (Spring Breakers). Starring Matthew McConaughey, Snoop Dogg, Zac Efron and Isla Fisher.
I don't know much about this one, but the director previously made Snowpiercer, Okja and my favourite, Memories of Murder. I'm excited.
All unemployed, Ki-taek’s family takes peculiar interest in the Parks for their livelihood until they get entangled in an expected incident. Directed by Bong Joon-Ho. Starring Song Kang-ho, Lee Sun-kyun, Jo Yeo-jeong and Choi Woo-shik.
I Am Mother
This one comes from nowhere. An indie sci-fi with with an interesting plot, and good Sundance reviews.
A teenage girl is raised underground by a robot “Mother”, designed to repopulate the earth following an extinction event. But their unique bond is threatened when an inexplicable stranger arrives with alarming news.0 Directed by Grant Sputore. Starring Hillary Swank , Clara Rugaard-Larsen and Rose Byrne.
Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile
You’ve more than likely heard of this one. Ted Bundy film starring Zac Efron. I’m not sure how excited I am for the film, but Efron’s performance is apparently very good.
A chronicle of the crimes of Ted Bundy, from the perspective of his longtime girlfriend, Elizabeth Kloepfer, who refused to believe the truth about him for years. Directed by Joe Berlinger. Starring Lily Collins
, Zac Efron and John Malkovich
The second film from the director of the Babadook. Really promising (and slightly divisive) reviews out of Sundance. Fun fact: you can kinda measure the divisiveness of a film on RT by comparing the percentage meter with the average rating. If the percentage is high but the average rating is low
, it shows that the film is all-round solid and inoffensive. If the percentage rating is lower but the average rating is still high/moderate
, it means there’s a large gap between those who loved and didn’t like it. Anyway, back to the Nightingale. I’m excited - doubly so since it’s an Aussie film.
In 1829, Claire, a 21-year-old Irish convict, chases a British soldier through the rugged Tasmanian wilderness, bent on revenge for a terrible act of violence he committed against her family. She enlists the services of an Aboriginal tracker named Billy, who is also marked by trauma from his own violence-filled past. Directed by Jennifer Kent. Starring Aisling Franciosi, Sam Claflin, Damon Herriman and Ewen Leslie.
The Dead Don't Die
Another awesome cast, definitely one to look forward to. The plot summary isn’t out, but it’s a comedy zombie flick. Directed by Jim Jarmusch. Starring Bill Murray, Adam Driver, Selena Gomez, Chloë Sevigny, Austin Butler, Steve Buscemi and Tilda Swinton.
Tilda Swinton seems to be working a lot, woah.
Memoria revolves around a character (portrayed by Tilda Swinton) who suffers from exploding head syndrome, a psychological condition in which a person experiences loud noises when falling asleep or waking up. Directed by Apichatpong Weerasethakul. Starring Tilda Swinton and Jeanne Balibar.
Where'd You Go, Bernadette
The trailer for this, particularly the music, wasn’t good. The content of the trailer shows a lot of potential though, and the book is apparently really good. Also: Richard Linklater.
When architect-turned-recluse Bernadette Fox goes missing prior to a family trip to Antarctica, her 15-year-old daughter Bee goes on a quest with Bernadette’s husband to find her. Directed by Richard Linklater. Starring Cate Blanchett ,Emma Nelson, Billy Crudup, Kristen Wiig, Judy Greer and Laurence Fishburne.
A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
Tom Hanks seems made for this role. Should be good.
The story of Fred Rogers, the honored host and creator of the popular children’s television program, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood (1968). Directed by Marielle Heller. Starring Tom Hanks, Matthew Rhys and Chris Cooper.
High Flying Bird
I’ll make this quick: Excellent reviews so far. Netflix in Feb. Steven Soderbergh. Shot on an iPhone. Moonlight writer.
During an NBA lockout, a sports agent, Dean, presents his rookie client, Erick Scott, with an intriguing and controversial business opportunity. Directed by Steven Soderbergh (Ocean’s 11). Starring André Holland Zazie Beetz Jeryl Prescott Kyle MacLachlan Caleb McLaughlin Zachary Quinto.
I don’t know much about this one but the plot intrigues me. For some reason it reminds me of Denis Villeneuve's early film, Incendies (if you haven’t watched yet, make it your next film - it’s incredible.)
A young couple not ready to expect their first baby track down a cradle, only to make a discovery that will change their family forever. Directed by Hope Dickson Leach. Starring Jack O'Connell and Lily Collins.
The Woman in the Window
A Rear Window-esque movie with a great cast and director. Really hoping this is great, cos I love these kind of plots.
An agoraphobic woman living alone in New York begins spying on her new neighbors only to witness a disturbing act of violence. Directed by Joe Wright. Starring Amy Adams, Gary Oldman, Julianne Moore and Wyatt Russell.
The plot is crazy, but the cast and director can definitely pull it off.
Henry Brogen, an aging assassin tries to get out of the business but finds himself in the ultimate battle: fighting his own clone who is 25 years younger than him and at the peak of his abilities. Directed by Ang Lee. Starring Will Smith, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Clive Owen and Benedict Wong.
The Last Black Man in San Francisco
Yet another film with great reviews from Sundance.
Jimmie Fails dreams of reclaiming the Victorian home his grandfather built in the heart of San Francisco. Joined on his quest by his best friend Mont, Jimmie searches for belonging in a rapidly changing city that seems to have left them behind. Directed by Joe Talbot. Starring Jimmie Fails, Jonathan Majors, Rob Morgan and Tichina Arnold.
Blinded by the Light
Sundance musta been real great this year, cos once again we have another movie with good reviews out of it. Apparently wholesome and inspiring.
In 1987, during the austere days of Thatcher’s Britain, a teenager learns to live life, understand his family, and find his own voice through the music of Bruce Springsteen. Directed by Gurinder Chadha. Starring Viveik Kalra, Nell William and Hayley Atwell.
Before You Know It
Good reviews. Sundance. Family comedy.
A long-kept family secret thrusts codependent, thirty-something sisters Rachel and Jackie Gurner into a literal soap opera. A journey that proves that you really can come of age, at any age. Directed by Hannah Pearl Utt. Starring Hannah Pearl Utt, Jen Tullock and Judith Light.
SUNDANCE. GOOD. ZOMBIES. COMEDY.
A washed-up musician teams up with a teacher and a kids show personality to protect young children from a sudden outbreak of zombies. Directed by Abe Forsythe. Starring Lupita Nyong'o, Josh Gad, Alexander England and Nadia Townsend.
I'll watch anything Taika makes, but this looks insane - one of my most hyped. (I accidentally deleted this from the list while editing!!)
Jojo Rabbit is about a young boy living during World War II. His only escapism is through his imaginary friend, an ethnically inaccurate version of Adolf Hitler, who pushes the young boy’s naive patriotic beliefs. However, this all changes when a young girl challenges those views and causes Jojo to face his own issues. Directed by Taiki Watiti. Starring Taiki Watiti (as Adolf Hitler), Roman Griffin Davis
, Thomasin McKenzie, Scarlett Johansson
, Sam Rockwell
, Rebel Wilson and Alfie Allen
The Lodge A spoopy film that was well received at Sundance.
Two siblings spend the night alone with their new stepmother. Stuck in a remote mountain cabin, the trio are terrorised by a supernatural force. Directed by Veronika Franz, Severin Fiala. Starring Riley Keough, Jaeden Lieberher and Lia McHugh.
World War I film. Plot unknown. Directed by Sam Mendes. Cinematography by Roger Deakins.
Dragged Across Concrete
Two policemen, one an old-timer, the other his volatile younger partner, find themselves suspended when a video of their strong-arm tactics becomes the media’s cause du jour. Low on cash and with no other options, these two embittered soldiers descend into the criminal underworld to gain their just due, but instead find far more than they wanted awaiting them in the shadows. Directed by S. Craig Zahler. Starring Mel Gibson, Vince Vaughn, Don Johnson and Jennifer Carpenter.
I’m Thinking of Ending Things
A Charlie Kaufman film, set for Netflix.
An unexpected detour causes a woman who is trying to figure out how to break up with her boyfriend to rethink her life. Directed by Charlie Kaufman. Starring Brie Larson and Jesse Plemons.
My thoughts Feel free to ignore lol
After finally managing to finish this compilation, reading plots and wikis and watching trailers, I cannot believe how many good films there are coming out. This is reminding me of 2017, when I made a similar post - and 2017 was an absolutely amazing year overall, especially in light of the relative disappointment of 2018. There’s just so much promise in every category - horror, thriller, biopics, drama, action, comedy… and if you count zombie films as a genre unto themselves, then yeah, that too.
Of course, I cannot wait for Tarantino’s flick. But after that it’s hard to pick ordered favourites - Knives Out, The Dead Don’t Die, Us, The Report and Luce are films I cannot wait for, but there are so
many others I’m pumped for - and I haven’t even gone into the blockbusters.
For the franchise and sequel films, I haven’t gone to the effort of adding plot and cast details. They’re huge, you’ll hear all about them anyway.
Franchise/Sequel/Remake films Godzilla: King of the Monsters Star Wars: Episode IX Zombieland 2: Double Tap Pokémon: Detective Pikachu The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part Avengers: Endgame Captain Marvel Joker Toy Story 4 Shazam! It: Chapter Two John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum Spider-Man: Far from Home Lion King Dumbo Aladdin The New Mutants Alita: Battle Angel Hellboy Dark Phoenix Men in Black International Fast & Furious presents: Hobbs & Shaw Artemis Fowl Charlie’s Angels Kingsman 3 Sonic the Hedgehog Frozen 2
I’m genuinely delirious. I told myself I would get this post done before I went to sleep and I am now totally exhausted. There were far more movies than I anticipated. This year is ridiculous and it has been mean to me. Of course, if I missed anything let me know and I’ll add it once I’ve woken up!
Oh, and if you want to follow me on Letterboxd: https://letterboxd.com/xaviertobin/
Hope you enjoy! :)
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2018.06.04 07:36 TSLPDustin S02E10 - It Comes at Night Official Discussion
Disclaimer: This is an official discussion thread. Spoilers will remain untagged. If you have not seen the film or listened to our episode, we highly recommend you refrain from continuing until you’ve seen the film and/or listened to our episode. Please report broken links or out of date information. Title: It Comes at Night Year:
Secure within a desolate home as an unnatural threat terrorizes the world, a man has established a tenuous domestic order with his wife and son. Then a desperate young family arrives seeking refuge. Director(s):
Trey Edward Shults Starring:
Rotten Tomatoes Score:
- Joel Edgerton
- Riley Keough
- Christopher Abbott
- Carmen Ejogo
- Kelvin Harrison
- Griffin Robert Faulkner
88% Rotten Tomatoes Page: It Comes at Night IMDb Rating:
★★★★★★☆☆☆☆ (56,090 votes) IMDb Page: It Comes at Night Where to Watch: YouTube Google Play Amazon Our Episode: Click here to listen on iTunes Clue for Next Week’s Episode:
“When was the last time you went to the library?”
Be sure to enter the contest code you heard from this episode into the comments below. The winner will be announced in next week's episode.
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2017.05.29 21:12 party_daz The best Starz original TV series
From its launch in 1994 to re-branding in 2005 Starz was primarily a movie-based service. In 2005 the channel began to introduce original programming to compete with rival premium TV services HBO and Showtime. Even though Starz has still yet to produce as many prestigious TV Series to be considered in the same league as HBO or Showtime, they have had some great shows throughout the years. And some mediocre ones too to be honest, the channel had some rough patches and the start to the their eventually wonderful original TV Series catalog didn’t go as well as they’d hope. Crash -based on the 2004 academy award winning film of the same name – was their first original series, a series that premiered in 2008 and also one you might not have heard of because it didn’t gather much of a buzz. The series ran for 2 seasons before the death of lead actor Dennis Hopper in May 2010 lead to its abrupt end. Weirdly coincidental this is only the first of two times the lead actor in a Starz original series died, as Andy Whitfield star of Starz first original hit series Spartacus suffered a similar fate in September 2011 after only one season, which lead to a recasting of the role. Crash is a series I myself have not seen because it isn’t available for streaming online, not even on Starz on Demand. Gravity, Head Case and Hollywood Residential are other early short-lived Starz Originals that are also not readily available to watch online. So the wild guess here is these shows are average at best so Starz prefer to keep them buried.
After a collage of misses Starz started to find its stride in 09-10 with the arrivals of Party Down, Spartacus, and the historical drama adapted from the Ken Follett novel that earned them their first Primetime Emmy Award, The Pillars of the Earth. Spartacus soon after became Starz first original hit series with its gory, bloody and softcore-porn level erotic blended style. After Spartacus ended these are aspects most Starz Original Series seemed to have acquired as the network to this day continues to follow in the footsteps of Spartacus producing dark-themed TV Series with extra added gory and strong sexual content. It has become quite the modus operandi for the network. By 2014 Starz was known for having mostly short-lived series with Camelot, Boss and Magic City, all canceled after only one-two seasons. But the quality of their shows were definitely improving and miniseries The White Queen – co-produced with BBC One – was even more proof. Black Sails became Starz longest running TV Series ending with 4 seasons (if you identify ‘Gods of the Arena’ as a separate miniseries prequel to Spartacus), and with their current series such as Power, Outlander etc. and very promising upcoming series The White Princess and American Gods, Starz continue their slow but steady ride up the ladder to being recognized as one of the best television network. So let’s take a look into Starz Network’s catalog and track record by ranking their top 10 best original series:
10) Ash vs Evil Dead (2015 – ongoing)
Starz continues to solidify itself as the ‘land of gore’ with a continuation of Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead trilogy titled ‘Ash vs Evil Dead’. Instead of going down the ‘gritty drama’ route of shows like The Walking Dead, or taking the ‘straight horror’ approach of Fede Alvarez’ Evil Dead remake, creators Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell fully embrace the over-the-top goofiness and playful tone of Evil Dead II and Army of Darkness, while still delivering the scares of the first film and plenty of bloody gore. Seeing Bruce Campbell step back into this iconic character is simply hilarious; it still fits him like a glove or, perhaps more accurately in his case, a chainsaw. But there was never a doubt in my mind that he would deliver as it seems Ash is a character Campbell was born to play. The production values in general are quite good, and the writing is what you’d expect from a Evil Dead TV Series. But while this show is great it is most definitely not for everyone, and can be easily cast off as too comical or too gory. Evil Dead is beloved cult-franchise though so this series isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
9) Power (2014 – ongoing)
Even though Power has had quite a landslide drop in quality since its first season, one cannot deny that its first season was quality television and arguably one of the best TV seasons of 2014. The Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson executive produced series revolves around a wealthy businessman based in New York, Jamie Saint Patrick A.K.A ‘Ghost’ who is a known club owner but also as one of the most notorious drug dealers in New York City. Being a Starz Original Series and all, Power is not lacking of good production and visuals, and even had good writing to back those up in the first 2 seasons with many plot twists and edge-of-your-seat moments, which kept viewers anxiously awaiting the next episode. But with its previously aired season 3 it’s clear the writers have no idea what direction they want the story to go, and the show’s quality has dropped to that of a mere cliche Broadcast TV drama but this time trying to use gratuitous steamy sex scenes to cover up a badly written script. The first season did leave quite an impact on viewers though, as Power continues to break many records for the Starz network. Even though it was an underwhelming season, the season 3 premiere of Power was the most viewed episode of any Starz series; and Power by itself is the most watched Starz original series ever beating Spartacus, Outlander and Black Sails. So it wouldn’t feel right leaving Power off this list now would it?
8) Black Sails (2014 – 2017)
If you ask most people about Black Sails, they’ll probably say it’s a series that got off to a rough start but got better with time. It is an action-adventure with quite a few flaws and mishaps, and while the first season might have felt a bit underwhelming to some, with a bigger budget, better writing and better action sequences season 2 made for a thrilling pirate drama. The characters in Black Sails are imaginative marauders alongside strong ambitious females, all played by a strong cast and none lacking depth at all. The productions values were great where visuals, writing, sets and costumes were concerned. Black Sails could’ve arguably been Starz next Spartacus but it was focused on being more complex, adding pirate politics into the mix and following along the lines of historical events. This is something the action-sex craved subscribers wouldn’t expect from a Starz Original action series, especially not one based on pirates. So being, Black Sails’s semi-pretentious dialogue and gratuitous scenes where characters have dragged out conversations about politics and whatnot, gave a lot of its episodes a prolonging experience for viewers and may have been the reason Black Sails fell under the radar for many. But even so the series was able to develop a dedicated cult-like fan base. Season 2 was were Black Sails hit its peak – well in my opinion at least -. With seasons 3 & 4 being good follow-ups, Black Sails is definitely good enough to be one of Starz highlights, and if my sources are correct, might be Starz most expensive series to date with a 8 million USD per episode budget.
7) The Missing (2014 – ongoing) [co-produced with BBC One]
Though both seasons of The Missing told 2 different stories of 2 separate kidnapping cases, the 2 seasons had much in common. Both are told over multiple timelines and are set in multiple locations throughout Europe. The Missing is the mysterious and emotional series which not only tells the story of its victims, but shows that a kidnapping is a stressful and sorrowful situation for everyone involved. With the season season’s plotline being more intriguing and darker than the first, there is such a brooding moodiness and at the same time a gleaming beauty to how everything is shot, and the dark mood seen in the lighting and how the scenery is like a character of its own are furthermore striking. The music score is not overused or intrusive, yet is enough to compliment the mood and make the series even more atmospherically haunting and distinctive. Story wise it is slow-burner, and takes on topics such as pedophilia,rape and abuse which makes it harder to watch for some viewers. But given Starz reputation for dark-themed TV Series, The Missing is a British series that is perfect for the network.
6) Party Down (2009 – 2010)
Let’s admit Starz doesn’t do too well when it comes to comedies. Not even their newer comedies Blunt Talk and Survivor’s Remorse lives up to their own potential. Party Down is one major exception. For one this show had an amazing cast. Kristen Bell, Adam Scott, Ryan Hansen etc. The synopsis of this show is that people who work for this crummy cater waiter company are entitled to their dignity. It deals with inequality and unfairness unflinchingly, but also with good humor. Party Down is pervasively bleak but also riotously funny. It was canceled after 2 seasons because of low viewership. Starz mishandled this show from day one, from not securing actors’ contracts correctly to not marketing the series properly. This is the one series I know Starz regret not running with a bit longer.
5) Flesh and Bone (2015)
Starz like to make series that target specific demographics. But Flesh and Bone is a series that gathered quite the controversy when viewers saw it portray the ballet world in such a dark, dreary, negative light. But what else would you expect from a Starz series? Sharing a similar tone as The Missing, Flesh and Bone covers topics such as incest, abuse and rape in such a darkly manner it makes a premise one would not expect to be this disturbing very hard to watch. But once you get around watching it, you’ll realize that Flesh and Bone is a great miniseries with a compelling story, but sadly one that should’ve had a sequel. Flesh and bone follows a young girl who runs away from home and comes to New York to join a ballet company. Sarah Hay plays our main character, a ballet dancer named Claire with a very dark past mostly rooted from her sadistic brother. Flesh and Bone remains one of Starz most visually pleasing shows, with fantastic cinematography and lighting which perfectly fits the mood. The pacing throughout most of this 8-episode miniseries was pretty consistent until it took a big jump to the finale, leaving viewers with some unanswered questions. Reason being, Flesh and Bone was initially not going to be a miniseries but because of production issues Starz decided not to move forward with a second season. Despite that Flesh and Bone was able to give viewers a mostly satisfying ending, and was good enough to be #5 on this list.
4) Outlander (2014 – ongoing)
If Starz was looking for another hit series after Spartacus they definitely found one in Outlander. This mash-up of sci-fi fantasy, action-adventure, and historical fiction is arguably the best thing Starz has going on currently. Based on the Diana Gabaldon book series there is no other network that could’ve adapted these books so perfectly to highlight almost every single detail (well, maybe HBO). The locations and sets evoke each of the time periods portrayed. The costumes and music are a perfect match, and it seems the lead actress Caitriona Balfe was born to play Claire Fraser. The series might be a bit slow-paced at times but for a book series over 800 pages long I’m quite content that Starz chose to develop this story properly, instead of giving it ‘The White Queen effect’ of cramming 3 books into 10-episodes. But a well paced story isn’t the only thing Outlander is known for; it is praised by many critics for being the best portrayal of sex on television. Having great sex scenes and ton of nudity is an accolade Starz Originals have been running away with for years now I guess.
3) Magic City (2012 – 2013)
Magic City is just another Starz Original where sex and nudity is just apart of the art to be honest. Set in the late 1950’s in the era of a flashy and turbulent Miami Beach, Magic City was quite a voyeuristic experience with beautifully nude women and rich men wandering around while drama unfolds in the Miramar Playa Hotel. Sounds a bit cliche if you haven’t seen it, but Magic City is unique in that the 1950’s was never before portrayed in such a raw and erotic manner. As we know, all TV Series, Movies etc. starts with the writing, and the Starz presentation of Magic City was one of the best written shows at the time of its premiere. The writing was consistently good. In essence the writers with great creative craft and skill, wrote a movie that ran about 24 hours while maintaining consistency in the storyline and the character development. The acting top to bottom was good; Jeffrey Dean Morton, Danny Houston, Steven Straight, and all the rest was quite the dream cast. Unfortunately, Magic City did not live long enough to finish telling its story. It was canceled because it was deemed “too expensive to produce”. Production issues has become quite the annoyance in Starz Original Series throughout the years ending many of its potentially great series before its time. Even so, Magic City is a fantastic watch and is easily one of Starz best series to date.
2) The Girlfriend Experience (2016 – ongoing)
My guess is most people would pass it off as another prostitute fluff show after watching a few episodes, but trust me The Girlfriend Experience offers much more than realistically bland sex scenes. The show takes a cold, intriguing look into the world of escorting. But this series is way more character-driven than plot-driven, as it takes a deep and somewhat mysterious look inside – the Riley Keough played main character – Christine Reade’s psyche. The Girlfriend Experience did a great job characterizing Christine’s borderline near-sociopathic personality and transformation into the world of sex-for-pay. Christine is a smart, bold and easily the most complex of any other character from a Starz Original Series. It’s amazing how she schemes around every obstacle thrown in front of her and can swiftly make the best out of the worst situation. Complimented by an amazing electronic-genre soundtrack and stunning visuals, the writers should also be commended for a well written and structured script. They took many twists and turns and pulled off some of the most intense episodes I’ve ever seen. ‘Boundaries’, ‘Blindsided’ and ‘Separation’ were the best in the series with very chilling pay-offs. This show certainly knows how to build up the tension to a point where it’s scary. The Girlfriend Experience is a slow-burner but never feels drawn out due to the episodes being only 24-26 minutes. This short episode format worked quite well and allowed it to faultlessly jump from scene to scene without any notified timeline. I would love to see more TV adapt the International style of 30 minute dramas. With that being said, a 2nd season of The Girlfriend Experience has been commissioned with a new cast and new stories making it an anthology series. Until another season is released for critiquing, The Girlfriend Experience remains the most intense and one of the best Starz Original Series.
1) Spartacus (2010 – 2013)
Spartacus still remains Starz most prominent and prestigious TV Series. It is a visual hybrid between ‘Gladiator’ and ‘300’, but with way more sex and action sequences than HBO’s ‘Rome’ could even imagine. There’s no other show on television that can do what Spartacus did; giving viewers a great deal of fight scenes and erotica while still telling a well-paced, progressive story. For the ones that want to see fights, blood, brutality, sex and men looking like gods etc. this is a show for you. But despite its gruesomeness, Spartacus is cooled down by it’s editing and special effects which gives it a distinctive comical tone. And yes, the CGI wasn’t traditionally good, but that’s just another quirky aspect that fitted in well with the show’s overall comical appeal. Spartacus did not have a compelling first episode though. I know people would see the substandard pilot episode and dismiss it as time-wasting perversity. And they would be mistaken. The series builds on itself as it goes along, increasing the stakes, throwing in some genuine twists and shocks you won’t see coming. The plot is so varied, so deep, full of plot twists and unpredictable outcomes that you may find yourself glued to the screen. The characters are quite imaginative and overtime gained so much depth and perspective. The late, lamented Andy Whitfield is all heart is still the best Spartacus there is. Spartacus: Blood and Sand is most definitely one of the greatest TV seasons of all time. Having to continue the series without Andy was quite unfortunate. A drop in quality was hardly visible but no one season of Spartacus was as prestigious as its first.
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2016.04.11 21:12 NicholasCajun The Girlfriend Experience - Series Premiere Discussion Thread [SPOILERS]
TV series based on Steven Soderbergh's "The Girlfriend Experience", which centered on the life of a New York call girl. Cast:
Links: The whole first season is now available online on the Starz website.
- Riley Keough as Christine Reade
- Paul Sparks as David Tellis
- Mary Lynn Rajskub as Erin Roberts
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2013.07.03 14:15 theorangestreak Since she is all over the news this morning for having a potential date with Rob Pattinson, I present Elvis' granddaughter, Riley Keough.