If you want the gravy…

…You've got to get the biscuits!


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Cannes 2017: The Palme d’Or Contenders

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The 70th Cannes Film Festival kicks off today, and to mark the occasion I’ve decided to evaluate – in my own poor way – the films in contention for the festival’s top prize, the Palme d’Or.

I have provided synopses for all the contenders and trailers, when available. I have also taken a stab at guessing who’ll actually win the Palme, though my methods in doing so are wholly unscientific (unless you consider hunches to have a science of their own).

Apologies, by the way, for not breaking down the Un Certain Regard contenders and non-competitive screenings. Time and space did not allow.

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POIL DE CAROTTE Review – ****

I’d known about Poil de Carotte for many years, my father having spoken very highly of it, but despite his regard (and the general regard of the critics), the film has drifted into moderate obscurity in recent years, possibly in part due to the decline in writer-director Julien Duvivier’s reputation.

However, it’s now available through Criterion’s Eclipse series (in a set with other Duvivier films of the era), and I was finally able to see it…and I’m damned glad I did.

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The Big Screen and I, Part I

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The movie that changed everything for me. (Source)

In case you didn’t know, I like movies.

And more than that, I like going to the movies. Watching a movie at home, there are all too many distractions. In the theater, your attention is compelled. Distractions are discouraged, even penalized. In the theater, the film rules all. So I go to theater quite a bit.

But it wasn’t always that way. Growing up, going to the movies was a comparatively rare treat. It wasn’t like we couldn’t afford it – once my dad got a DVD player we began amassing a collection which now numbers in the thousands. But we didn’t go to the cinema as a matter of course.

The first film I can definitively remember seeing in the theater was The Pagemaster. I’m sure there were others before it, but I no longer have even a shadow of a memory of them. I saw Titanic at age 8 and said “Eww!” at the sex scene; I saw The Phantom Menace and hated it intensely; we went to the next town over to see Fantasia 2000 because it didn’t play everywhere in its non-IMAX release.

And of course, we saw The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Spider-Man, and so forth – we also saw both the 1998 Godzilla and Godzilla 2000. (I can also claim to have seen Alexander in the theater, for what that’s worth.) But for the most part, we watched movies at home. In 2006 – not, admittedly, a banner year for cinema – I think we only went once, to see The DaVinci Code.

It was the next year – March 9, 2007, at 9:30 p.m., to be exact – that things began to change. I didn’t become a ravenous film-goer overnight, but visit by visit my cinephilia grew, and the end result is this article; a trip down memory lane, and a long lane it is. So join me, if you will, and remember.

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THE COSMIC EYE Review – ***

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One of the most obscure American animated features I can think of.

I’d known about this 1986 feature for some years, first reading about it in VideoHound’s Movie Retriever, but it had eluded me for years; VHS copies are seemingly scarce, at least in the wild, and the DVD – part of a set compiling the works of Faith and John Hubley – is so out-of-print its very existence seems more rumor than fact. However, it is available to view online, and I finally sat down and watched The Cosmic Eye.

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Wrapping Up the 89th Academy Awards

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I really wish I hadn’t been buried in my phone.

I was too busy grumbling about a film I had never come to love, a film I had never been able to respect, even as a hypothetical winner. Too busy to notice at first the confusion in the background.

And then came the revelation. I thought it was a joke. A lot of you probably did as well. But then the La La Land team gracefully ceded the stage to the stunned and triumphant Moonlight crowd, and that perennial maverick Warren Beatty found himself at the center of the first time in Oscar history (that I know of) that the wrong name was called.

And how do I feel about it?

Read on.

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My 6th Annual Film Awards: The Complete Rankings

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6 Oscar nominations, 9 mentions on my lists…and yet it ended up with no nominations from me.

Here, for fun, are my rankings for all my award categories as they stand at the moment.

These aren’t scientific, and they aren’t authoritative. For a while, I was capping my lists at 15, and so if there’s a film or performance missing from a given category that you know I’ve seen, that might be why.

Also note that my rankings do not always correspond directly to my awards choices or my nominees. For example, I ranked Rogue One 3rd for Costume Design, but when I prepared my nominees, I swapped it out in favor of Tale of Tales.

Some lists, of course, are longer than others; in some cases I let the lists grow very long indeed so I could keep a precise ranking for a performance or film that was likely to be Oscar-nominated – Supporting Actor and Song in particular reflect this.

Enjoy. Aside from noting Oscar nominees that don’t make my lists in a given category, I will forego further annotation. At the bottom is my ranking of all 116 films I’ve seen for the year.

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Predicting the 89th Academy Awards

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The biggest possible screen for the likeliest winner…but would that make it better? (Source)

We’re getting down to the wire here, people.

I’ve watched every Picture, Director, acting, and writing nominee, and most of the tech nominees, and pored over a season’s worth of winners and nominees, to bring you a thorough overview of the nominations and a carefully considered prediction of the winners in each category.

Get comfortable, kids. We’ve got a lot of territory to cover.

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