Independent Spirit Awards Nominations: 2016

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The great biopic that didn’t get its due. (Source)

The Independent Spirits announced their nominations the other day. Should’ve written it up then, but better late than never.

I will say, before we break it all down…there aren’t a ton of surprises here. More by omission than by anything else.

Really, I’m just biding my time until the 29th, which is when the NBR announces their top 10 and winners. Next to Oscar nominations day, it’s my own favorite awards event.

But let’s not slight the Indies. Let’s dig in.

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2016 Rising: The Grand Finale and Predicting My Awards

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I like the poster. I liked the trailer. Will I like the film? (Source)

Let’s talk about 2016. Though you may understandably be reluctant so to do.

I don’t think many will disagree when I say this has been a bad year. They might take exception to the word “bad.” Which is fair. It might be better to say this year has been so crushingly weak.

But do the next two months offer some hope of salvation? That’s what I hope to determine.

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Gotham Awards 2016

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A striking poster for what might turn out to be one of the year’s best films. (Source)

It’s starting, kids.

If I haven’t said it before, I’ll say it now: I have no damn clue what the Oscars are going to look like this year. I’ll go into why more comprehensively in a future post (hopefully within the next 2-3 days), but suffice to say today’s nominations give us the first semblance of a foundation to build a season on.

Let’s dig right in.

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DON’T THINK TWICE Review – ****

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This may not be a great year, but it’s been a hell of a good one for comedies. (Source)

Sometimes, you see a film at the exact right moment and it hits the exact right buttons so as to send you out on a cloud, convinced you’ve seen a great film, certain you’ve got a new favorite to add to your repertoire, and eager to evangelize about its virtues to the world.

Don’t Think Twice is such a film. I needed so warm and funny a film the day I saw it (more precisely, the specific time of that day), and based on my experiences of doing improv comedy in college, and my knowledge of what is to be a performing artist, it rang entirely true. It may not be a perfect film, and no future viewing is likely to benefit from the circumstances which made this one so uniquely rewarding, but it is an excellent film and one I can heartily recommend.

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HIGH-RISE: Final Review – ***½

“We want you to lead a delegation.” “To where, the United Nations?” “To the supermarket.”

As of this writing, High-Rise ranks very highly in several of my awards categories, and for good reason: in certain particulars it’s an unqualified success. It’s superbly directed, gorgeously designed and photographed, and well acted. Its best scenes can be treasured by the keen viewer.

And yet, it is not even in my top 10 films of the year to date, and a lot of it comes down to the story. Based on J.G. Ballard’s 1975 novel, I am not entirely sure how much High-Rise has to offer a contemporary audience. But is the issue the source material, or the way director Ben Wheatley and Amy Jump brought it to the screen?

I previously published my initial thoughts on the film with the proviso that they would be incorporated into my final review. That is precisely what I have done here.

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