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2016 Rising: The Grand Finale and Predicting My Awards

the-founder-poster

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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ALOHA Review – *½

I'm not sure what this poster is saying, other than there are white people and we're in Hawaii. But this sure as shit isn't The Descendants. (Source)

I’m not sure what this poster is saying, other than there are white people and we’re in Hawaii. But this sure as shit isn’t The Descendants. (Source)

I knew from the trailer that Aloha would be a pretty pathetic excuse for a film–any film that highlights one of its worst jokes (the hysterically dated Flava Flav reference) and then drops that joke from the final film doesn’t have its head in the right place, and neither did Cameron Crowe, whose writing and direction are objectively bad and subjectively sad–the man who won an Oscar for writing Almost Famous and coined two of the most recognizable film quotes in Jerry Maguire has come to this, a film which makes no sense and offers less entertainment.

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Awards upon Awards! Boston, Los Angeles, Boston Online, New York Online, plus Washington D.C. nominations and British Independent Winners

Richard Linklater's grand experiment. ()

The experiment is paying off.

Got a lot to cover, so I’m not going to waste any time. Today the Boston Film Critics, L.A. Film Critics, New York Online Film Critics, and British Independent Film Awards all announced their picks, and yesterday the Washington D.C. Film Critics announced their nominations, while the Boston Online Film Critics (and I do believe there is some overlap) announced their winners–and boy, did they make me happy!

All results obtained from the excellent Awards Daily (the editorializing is all me).

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BIRDMAN, or THE UNEXPECTED VIRTUE OF IGNORANCE Review – ****

"You're scared to death, like the rest of us, that you don't matter! And you know what? You're right. You don't." ()

“You’re scared to death, like the rest of us, that you don’t matter! And you know what? You’re right. You don’t.” (Source)

To what degree can a few seconds impact an entire film? In his review of Thelma and Louise, Roger Ebert argues that the climactic shot ends a few seconds too soon, and as such robs the film as a whole of just enough power that it doesn’t get **** from him. And in the case of Birdman, there are a few moments, which add up to less than a minute of the film’s two hours, which haunt me enough that I cannot rank it higher (as of this writing, I put it at #8 for the year). (Addendum: after further meditation, I’ve decided that these elements are not quite as damaging as I first surmised, so I’m bumping my score up a point, and the film up to #6.)

But at the same time, so much of the film is so good–so well directed and so richly acted–that even considering those troubling moments, I cannot rank it less than ****. One could fairly dispute whether it says anything truly new about the nature of acting and about role-playing in general, but it whatever it says, it says it in a tremendously entertaining fashion.

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Predicting my 4th Annual Film Awards: Second Round

Do I think it'll be a contender? Read on. ()

Do I think it’ll be a contender? Read on. (Source)

It’s been three months since my first attempt at predicting what I’ll nominate come January, and it seems to me, with the Venice and Telluride film festivals underway (and once the Toronto festival is over, I’ll go over what films are looking good, which are looking iffy or bad, which are now on my radar which previously weren’t, etc.), it’s a good time to take another look at what I’ll be trumpeting this year.

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