If you want the gravy…

…You've got to get the biscuits!

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Golden Globes Results + Analysis

Steve Jobs poster

Not the biggest winner of the night, but perhaps the biggest success story of the night. (Source)

We’ve got a lot to talk about.

There were some real surprises this year.

And by that, I mean that I was proven wrong.

And I’d like to understand why.

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National Board of Review 2015 Winners!

Mad Max retro poster

I need to sit down for a moment.

The NBR has become one of my very favorite awards groups.

Do you know why?

Hit that jump and let’s dig right the fuck in.

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Look into my eyes. Look into my soul. (Source)

He’s still staring right into my soul.

I opted to review these films together because each is a little miracle; each represents the best effort in a long while from a director who seemed to have left his best days behind him. The Martian is the greater triumph in that respect–I’m not a big fan of Lincoln or Tintin (War Horse is pending further review), but they’re a damn sight better than The Counselor or Exodus: Gods & Kings–but I’m very glad to have both.

Moreover, when you take away the career-revival narrative, you’re left with two excellent films. And that’s what matters most.

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INTERSTELLAR Review – ****

The IMAX exclusive poster--better than any of the other official posters. ()

The IMAX exclusive poster–better than any of the other official posters. (Source)

The rise of television in the 1950s put pressure on the studios to make films which offered an experience beyond what television could provide. Cinerama, CinemaScope, stereophonic sound–all were developed to make films bigger, broader, deeper–to make films events. Films aren’t so often billed as true events anymore. (Props to Universal for touting David Lynch’s Dune as such.) But every so often, a film comes around, so ambitious, so huge, so theatrical, that it merits the status of an event. And Interstellar, my friends, is an event.

It’s a film which begins with the premise that Earth was not meant to be humanity’s only home, and then asks the question–where, then, will humanity live? It throws at us science so dense, so abstractly theoretical, that it verges on fantasy–those viewers without the benefit of extensive scientific knowledge (i.e., me) may be content to sit back, at least the first time, and let Nolan’s ambitious spectacle envelop them. And it did. It most certainly did.

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I waited over a year for this? ()

I waited over a year for this? (Source)

The name Terry Gilliam and the words “checkered career” seem to go hand in hand. After Time Bandits was a hit, both Brazil and The Adventures of Baron Munchausen fell victim to studio politics, and the latter, which had gone well over-budget, was a massive bomb. But The Fisher King was a success (even winning an Oscar for Mercedes Ruehl’s performance), and 12 Monkeys became his biggest hit to date. Then Fear and Loathing was a failure on its initial release (though it has since become a classic), and worse, Gilliam got bogged down for years in attempting to make his Don Quixote film (which he’s still trying to do).

He eventually moved on, to the moderately successful but quickly forgotten The Brothers Grimm and the generally derided Tideland. The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus did well overall and got two Oscar nominations, but that didn’t prevent his next film from taking forever to come out, and even then only in limited release. And sadly, it’s not hard to see why. Despite its strengths, mostly due to the cast, The Zero Theorem feels like a retread of Gilliam’s past glories without any of their thematic depth and not enough of their resonance.

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I like the UK poster design better than the American version, but points off for not including Dujardin.

I like the UK poster design better than the American version, but points off for not including Dujardin.

Some spoilers.

Once this was pushed back from a holiday release date to February, despite early rumors that it would be a major Oscar contender, I knew something was not quite right. And sure enough, while not a bad film, The Monuments Men is nowhere near the level of an Oscar contender, and even the weakest Best Picture nominee (Dallas Buyers Club) is a more successful film. Taken on its own, Monuments Men has its moments, but is overall too serious to be a romp and too light to be an effective war film. What George Clooney was trying to say with this film is not clear, as murky as it is.

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