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BLADE RUNNER 2049 Review – ****

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Orange and teal. Human and replicant. Real and unreal.

Coming out of Blade Runner 2049 a second time, I felt assured in saying what I had initially hesitated to claim: that this is a great film, a true epic, a sequel which can hold its own against a formidable forebear, and which stands on its own as a most impressive piece of entertainment, and one of the year’s best films.

As promised, I will echo my response to Mad Max: Fury Road and interweave my present thoughts on the film with my initial impressions. But I think there was a greater leap in my estimation of the film in question with Fury Road than with 2049; there, I hadn’t fully grasped that I was indeed dealing with a masterpiece, while here, I suspected – I wanted badly to believe – that I was, and the second viewing confirmed that.

As before, I will do my best to avoid spoilers, but if you wish to go into the film knowing as little as possible, and I strongly recommend you do, now is the time to leave.

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My 6th Annual Film Awards: Your Winners

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Striding right along to that win.

I may not do this again.

In 2014, the fewest votes any category got was 77. In 2015, it was 45. This year, no category got more than 17 votes.

I don’t know why. I did my damnedest to get the word out. I used Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and even Instagram to try and draw voters. And none of it seemed to take. Were the nominees uninspiring? Was I too pushy? Did you just not want to be reminded of 2016?

If you’re inclined to answer, please give me your thoughts in the comments. I’d really love to hear them. And I do want to say how much I appreciate those of you who did vote. I only wish there were more of you.

The nominees are listed here; my winners, here. And now, your winners.

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My 6th Annual Film Awards: The Nominations

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Best Picture:

  • Christine
  • Don’t Think Twice
  • Elle
  • Fences
  • The Handmaiden
  • Indignation
  • Jackie
  • The Lobster
  • Nocturnal Animals
  • Weiner

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Directors Guild Award Nominations 2016

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Not too shabby for a first-timer. (Source)

All right. This is the last big guild we get. (Might be the last guild to announce period, I’m not sure.) In 12 days, the Academy announces their nominees, and after that it’s just a matter of waiting.

So let’s see what the directors have for us…

  • Damien Chazelle, La La Land
  • Garth Davis, Lion
  • Barry Jenkins, Moonlight
  • Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester By the Sea
  • Denis Villeneuve, Arrival

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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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SICARIO Review – ***½

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Take your pick, they’re both good posters. Better than the movie, even.

After impressing me greatly with the haunting Prisoners and the marvelously maddening Enemy, I was eager to see what Denis Villeneuve would do next. Then, this opened at Cannes, to solid but not outstanding reviews, and the trailers failed to truly excite me. So my level of anticipation dropped accordingly. Then subsequent reviews proved more favorable, so much so that it now sits at 93% on Rotten Tomatoes–and I thought Villeneuve might have done it again after all.

I should have trusted my initial reaction. While not a bad film by any means, Sicario lacks a real reason for existing, and fails to say much about cartels or the War on Drugs that hasn’t been said before, nor does it feature such compelling characters or such dazzling craftsmanship as would compensate. It’s well done in most every aspect, but never takes that vital leap into being something special.

(NOTE: I also saw The Martian this weekend, and quite liked it, but I’d like to see it again before writing my review.)

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TRAILER SALAD X: THE HYPER-ULTRA-SUPER-SUPREME-ULTIMATE-PLUPERFECT COMBO-MEGAPACK including THE REVENANT and JOY

We all knew this would be a major Oscar contender from the outset. Last year’s winner for Director (and Picture, and Screenplay) teams up with a cinematographer who’s just won back-to-back Oscars, a star who’s widely considered damnably overdue, a co-star who’s very hot at the moment (and has two other major films this year), and a strong up-and-comer (Domhnall Gleeson). They shoot on location in Canada in the dead of winter, and planned to shoot in sequence (apparently, they weren’t able to), and release the film right in the thick of December.

They know what they’re doing.

And, while I really need to see this trailer in a theater to get the maximum effect, I won’t lie; my interest is being maintained. I could see this being overwrought and too self-serious, but I could also see it being surreal and haunting. It’s a little hard to tell just how good a performance DiCaprio is giving, but I doubt he’ll disappoint. Hopefully future trailers will show more of the rest of the cast, but for now we’ve got Lubezki’s incredible cinematography and Iñárritu’s vivid direction to whet our appetites. The mountain of skulls in particular could be one of the year’s defining images.

I’m predicting many nominations, with Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Actor, Supporting Actor, Cinematography, Editing, Makeup/Hairstyling, Score, Sound Mixing, and Sound Editing being the strongest possibilities.

And here we’ve got the latest from my nemesis…David O. fucking Russell. Read on:

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