Friday, March 16, 2018

And Now The Screening Starts...

I have not seen very many new releases so far this year - just ten in three months! Here are a few thoughts on what I have seen...

dir/scr: Alex Garland, based on the novel by Jeff VanderMeer
seen: Pacific's The Grove Stadium 14

All the tweets I saw about how "mind-blowing" this movie is, could not prepare me for how often I dropped my jaw and silent-screamed at the screen. I don't know what to say because half the experience is the surprise and realization of what this kooky little flick is doing, and the less you know, the better. Just see it so we can bond over the dreamy climax, a sequence that had my brain at a meditative level that felt almost religious, spiritual. Annihilation, man. Wow.

More after the jump, including Fifty Shades FreedBlack Panther, and even a friend's film!

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Super Last-Minute Oscar Predictions

Best Picture
It's the most up-in-the-air category this season, making for one of the most exciting Best Picture races in history. Best Picture is decided by a preferential ballot system that I am not going to explain but recommend you look up, which for many means that the least divisive nominee with the most fans wins - thus, The Shape of Water, which few dislike and which won the big prize at the PGA Awards and DGA Awards. But each Oscar year tends to follow a pattern, meaning your Best Picture winner is most likely whoever's won the most going in - thus, Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri, which triumphed at the SAG Awards, Golden Globes, and BAFTA Awards. But also, the past four winners first triumphed in the Best Film category at the Independent Spirit Awards - thus, Get Out, which just became the latest to win that honor on the eve of the Academy Awards.

(twists and turns, after the jump....)

Friday, March 2, 2018

The 1982 Retro Hollmann Awards, Part Two

Yesterday, Victor/Victoria and Poltergeist led the pack with two wins each out of the nine categories. Today, we conclude our trip back to 1982. Again, check out the 1982 Retro Hollmann Awards Nominations and Top Ten for more context.

Now - on with the show!

Best Editing

The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas
David Bretherton / Nicholas Eliopoulos / Walt Hannemann / Pembroke J. Herring / Jack Hofstra

2. Tootsie; 3. The Road Warrior; 4. The Long Good Friday; 5. Edo Porn

Everything hits at the right time in The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas: every dance step, musical sting, double entendre. It takes its time for "Hard Candy Christmas" and the date night between Mona and Ed Earl, then ramps up the energy for "The Aggie Song", "Little Bitty Pissant Country Place" and the encounter between Ed Earl and Melvin P. Thorpe. Not a wasted moment.

In second, the laughs and confusion of Tootsie. In third, the high-speed action of The Road Warrior. In fourth, the violence of The Long Good Friday. In fifth, the erotic exuberance of Edo Porn.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

The 1982 Retro Hollmann Awards, Part One

It's the 1982 Retro Hollmann Awards, celebrating the best in cinema 35 years ago!

For full context, remember to check out the Top Ten, which includes a complete list of the film screened. Also, take a look at the Retro Hollmann Awards Nominations, for a complete list of the nominees.

With the exception of Best Ensemble, which doesn't exist at the Oscars, the categories are presented in the same order as they were at the original 55th Academy Awards on April 11, 1983. Shall we begin?

Best Ensemble
Come Back to the 5 & Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean
Scott Bushnell

2. Fast Times at Ridgemont High; 3. Eating Raoul; 4. Tootsie; 5. Best Friends

If you want an effective cast, have them do the play first! It worked for Fences, and it worked for Come Back to the 5 & Dime Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean, which transfers the entire cast from the original Broadway production to the big screen. Smart move for a story about women who've known each other 20 years; there's a real sense that everyone not only knows one another but has for decades. An easy, unmistakable familiarity.

In second, the students and faculty of Ridgemont High. In third, the offbeat assemblage of personalities in Eating Raoul. In fourth, Tootsie's New York showbiz types. In fifth, the families at the center of Best Friends.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

The 1982 Hollmann Award Nominees

The 90th Academy Awards are just five days away, but here at the Silver Screening Room, it's still 1982. You've taken a look at my Top Ten of that year - now I present the complete best-ofs: the nominees for the 1982 Retro Hollmann Awards. Order of categories was decided by random drawing. So let's begin with...

Best Adapted Screenplay

The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas
Larry L. King & Peter Masterson and Colin Higgins
based on the musical play by Larry L. King and Peter Masterson

Edo Porn
Kaneto Shindô
based on the play Hokusai Manga by Seiichi Yashiro

Fast Times at Ridgemont High
Cameron Crowe
based on his book

The Thing
Bill Lancaster
based on the short story "Who Goes There?" by John W. Campbell Jr. (alias Don A. Stuart)

Blake Edwards
based on the 1933 film written by Reinhold Schünzel

The rest of the nominees, starting with Best Actor, after the jump....

Monday, February 26, 2018

My Top Ten of 1982

After two months, I am ready to unveil my Top Ten of 1982. Before I do, I'd be remiss not to name some honorable mentions... Blade Runner and Fast Times at Ridgemont High.


Blade Runner's groundbreaking future-noir aesthetics. Come Back to the 5 & Dime Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean's incredible ensemble of women. Fast Times at Ridgemont High's poignant sense of humor. Their absence from the Top Ten is greatly felt, and is in no way a reflection of their quality. I wish I had room in my Top Ten for thirteen titles, but that's not how numbers work. As it stands now, these will do. The Top Ten of 1982, in alphabetical order, after the jump...

Saturday, February 24, 2018

It Might Be You: Best Picture, 1982

We make a big deal of "precursors" in today's awards landscape, with a full nine awards ceremonies to go before we get to the Oscars: the BAFTAs, the Golden Globes, LAFCA, NYFCC, National Board of Review, National Society of Film Critics (NSFC), Critics' Choice Awards, SAG Awards, PGA Awards....and that's just if you're following Best Picture! To try to predict how this year's Oscars may turn out, those of us obsessed with awards look to these nine bodies to help us see which way the wind is blowing. In a year like 2017, that's proving especially difficult.

Here, let's look at the nine films currently nominated for Best Picture, and see which ones have already won a Best Film prize:

Call Me By Your Name: LAFCA
Darkest Hour 
Get Out
Lady Bird: Golden Globes (Musical/Comedy)NSFC, NYFCC
Phantom Thread
The Post: National Board of Review
The Shape of Water: Critics' Choice Awards, PGA Awards
Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri: BAFTA Awards, Golden Globes (Drama), SAG Awards (Ensemble, which many consider the Best Picture equivalent at SAG)

It's a much bigger spread than usual. Compare that to 1982. Back then, there were only six awards besides the Oscars competing for attention - no PGA, no SAG, no Critics' Choice - but they all still played before the Academy Awards. No one dare compete outright with The Big One. Here's how things went then:

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial: Golden Globes (Drama), LAFCA
Gandhi: BAFTA Awards, Golden Globes (Foreign Film - they used to put the Brits in this category and it's bonkers), National Board of Review, NYFCC
Tootsie: Golden Globes (Musical/Comedy), NSFC
The Verdict

It also looks fairly spread out, but Gandhi has the edge, having won over the British Film Academy, the Hollywood Foreign Press, the National Board of Review, and the New York Critics. And of course, what wound up happening Oscar Night?

A different time, but now, as then, people like to make a statement with their vote. Obviously you have to like the film, but as Attenborough and Kingsley averred in their speeches, a vote for Gandhi is a vote for world peace. What is the equivalent in 2017? What film not only represents the best in filmmaking, but the best of intentions? And will that combination result in an Oscar win?

We'll find out March 4th. Until then, let's look at the Best Picture lineup of 1982. After the jump...