Wednesday, January 10, 2018

The 2017 Hollmann Awards Nominations

Presenting the nominees for the 2017 Hollmann Awards! 128 films considered in 18 categories, whittled down to just five spots each. The order of the categories was decided by writing them down on pieces of paper, crumpling them, scrambling them up, and selecting willy-nilly. Not even Best Picture is safe from the randomness.

The nominees are...after the jump.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Revolutionary, Cinema

The moment I heard about 1987: When the Day Comes, I knew I had to see it. The film's plot - the true story of the suspicious death of 21-year-old student Park Jong-chul in police custody and its subsequent coverup - and the promise of a sprawling examination of the events from the POV of reporters, government officials, activists, and lawyers, brought to mind Costa-Gavras' incendiary Z (the 1969 film that also depicted the murder and coverup of a leftist activist). This is the event that, along with the Gwangju Massacre (depicted in A Taxi Driver) and President Chun Doo-hwan's deferment of direct presidential elections, led to the June Uprising demonstrations that helped bring South Korea out of the grip of military dictatorships and into democracy. I had to see it.

Alas, it was not to be. December 29th, I went out to catch the new release at CGV Cinemas...and was informed that for its first week of exhibition, 1987 would be exclusively screened sans subtitles. Fair enough! The same thing happened with The Fortress earlier this year, and Missing Woman the year before. Ah, well, so it would not make it to my 2017 Top Ten or Hollmann Awards, but at least I would be able to catch it a week later, away from the glut of movie screenings that the last two weeks of December tend to become, able to appreciate the film on its own merits. And this morning, I did just that.

My reaction, after the jump....

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Who's Getting A Globe?

The 75th Golden Globes are tonight! I have seen all but nine of the movies nominated - Jesus, when I see that number, it feels like a lot. Oh, well.

Anyway, in the 14 film categories: what will win, and what deserves to win? Let's go through it!

Best Motion Picture - Drama

Will win: The Shape of Water. You wouldn't think the human-monster love story would be the least divisive movie of any lineup, but 2017 was full of surprises.

Should win: The Post. Solid studio filmmaking, stellar cast, surprisingly fun.

WHO WON: Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri. Goddamn.

Best Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama

Will win: Timothée Chalamet, Call Me By Your Name. I don't see a lot stopping his awards season momentum. People love him! And while Gary Oldman's playing Winston Churchill, if the HFPA liked him, this probably wouldn't be his first nomination.

Should win: Daniel Day-Lewis, Phantom Thread. So petty! So hilarious!

WHO WON: Boy was I wrong! Oldman wins!

Best Actress in a Motion Picture - Drama

Will win: Sally Hawkins, The Shape of Water. Even though Frances McDormand may be overdue for a win from the Globes (it's never happened!), the group's international makeup will probably benefit Hawkins, who also won their Musical/Comedy prize for Happy-Go-Lucky nine years ago.

Should win: Hawkins. Besides the rest of that mishegas above, she's also really fucking good in her movie. This and Maudie are great showcases for her superlative physicality.

WHO WON: Ai-yi-yi, McDormand.

Comedy categories and more, after the jump....

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Top Ten of 2017

Before I unveil my Top Ten of the Year, there's something I forgot to do in yesterday's ranking of my Top 25 - 11: honorable mentions. As I mentioned, there were a number of movies that almost made it, but I just couldn't find room for. A special salute (and apology) to those flicks:

The Battleship Island
Ingrid Goes West
The Last Jedi
The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)
Murder on the Orient Express
Oklahoma City
Professor Marston and the Wonder Women
A United Kingdom

And now, my Top Ten of 2017, presented in alphabetical order...after the jump...

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

The Best of 2017, Part One

2017 was a very backloaded year as far as quality cinema goes...or so I thought. But in compiling this year's Top 25, I realized just how many gems there were, so many that I almost made this a Top 30! Consider these my recommendations - if you've missed out on any, correct that immediately!

What follows are the first 15 entries in my Top 25. For the full list of the 127 films that qualified, click here.

Let's begin with.....

25. God of War
dir: Gordon Chan
scr: Frankie Tam, Maria Wong, MengZhang Wu
cin: Takuro Ishizaka
seen: AMC Atlantic Times Square 14, Monterey Park, CA

A historical war epic in which the tattered forces of the Ming army go up against Japanese pirates. A great showcase for the martial artists at the core of its ensemble and a fascinating pulling-back of the curtain on military strategy. Deep character work, with its surprising admiration for the Japanese tacticians and its feminist portrayal of the main character's wife: not a mere general's bride, she is her husband's equal in strength and cunning, even leading a co-ed army of villagers against invaders.

24-11, after the jump...

Monday, January 1, 2018

Coming Attractions: Most Anticipated 2018

Happy New Year! And happy week o' lists, as we look back at the year that was in movies...

But first! The year ahead! These are the fifteen titles that I'm most looking forward to in 2018...

15. Halloween

release date: October 19th
dir: David Gordon Green
scr: Green/Danny McBride, based on characters created by John Carpenter & Debra Hill
David Gordon Green - a very solid director - has the direct blessing of John Carpenter himself, and Jamie Lee Curtis is back as Laurie Strode. Apparently this film is ignoring every Halloween film after the original, which is kind of a shame, but I guess there's no other way to bring Laurie back, considering the events of Halloween: Resurrection (I'm not apologizing if that's a spoiler for you - that movie is all about Busta Rhymes and Tyra Banks). Yours truly owns every Halloween film on BluRay, so yeah, I'm here for it.

Musicals, dogs, klansmen and more, after the jump...

Saturday, December 30, 2017

That's All, Folks!

The final films I saw in 2017...

dir: David Ayer
scr: Max Landis

Straight-faced take on fantasy creatures in a modern setting is pretty neat, but the lack of coherent follow-through on characters and plotlines - you know, the story - feels like a bad call! Hardly the worst of the year, if only because, come on, how can you feel strongly one way or the other about this movie?

Nuns, assassins, and Golden Globe nominees after the jump...