Wednesday, December 10, 2014

A Crystal Ball for the Golden Globes

My goodness, the Golden Globes are announcing their nominees tomorrow, too?! Awards Season will be the death of due time.

There's no telling which way the Globes will go -- mostly because I'm never sure what genre certain movies are pushed for -- these are the same people who felt Iron Man should compete in Drama instead of Comedy, after all. They're all crazy.

Nevertheless -- let's try it. Let's try predicting the Globes.


The Imitation Game
 (the actors, comedy/musical, and more after the jump)

The Actors Speak: SAG Award Nominees

And the Screen Actors Guild Awards film nominees for the year 2014 are:

For Best Stunt Ensemble:
GET ON UP (say what now? a sign of popularity?)

For Best Supporting Actor:

For Best Supporting Actress:
NAOMI WATTS, ST. VINCENT (whoa whaaaaat)

For Best Actor:

For Best Actress:

For Best Ensemble:

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Tuesday, December 9, 2014

I Predict....2014 SAG Awards Edition

In just a little over twelve hours, the Screen Actor Guild will announce their nominees for the 2014 film season. So what's going to make? Let this spirit show you visions of what might be....

For Best Ensemble, I predict....
BIRDMAN (because it's a large ensemble of all-stars physically sharing screen time together)
BOYHOOD (because what actor would resist an ensemble crafting characters over 12 years?)
THE IMITATION GAME (because the British are irresistible)
INTO THE WOODS (because boy do they love musicals -- see also Nine)
SELMA (because it's a large ensemble in a Historically Important film)

For Best Actor, I predict....
MICHAEL KEATON, BIRDMAN (also a frontrunner!)
DAVID OYELOWO, SELMA (purported dark-horse who's a frontrunner!)
EDDIE REDMAYNE, THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING (everyone's a frontrunner!)

For Best Actress, I predict....
HILARY SWANK, THE HOMESMAN (well, Conviction and so forth...)

For Best Supporting Actor, I predict....
ROBERT DUVALL, THE JUDGE (well, Get Low and so forth...)
J.K. SIMMONS, WHIPLASH (frontrunner!)

For Best Supporting Actress, I predict....

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Friday, October 31, 2014

13 Flicks for Halloween

Happy Halloween! 

I haven't ranked my favorite fright flicks in years -- and I won't be tonight, either! Instead, here are thirteen movies on my mind this Halloween, all after the jump. Feel free to take these as recommendations, and enjoy...

Friday, July 4, 2014

Halfway Oscar Predix: 2014 Edition

FINALLY, months later than usual, my "early bird" predictions for the Academy Awards! Not every category, though -- just the Actings, Screenplays, Picture, Director. It's hard enough to do those eight, don't make me do more!

Gone Girl
Mr. Turner


The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game

As I've usually done, I've put up the five I expect to get in, plus the next five in order of expectation. One never knows if it's going to be five or ten -- although, lately, it seems most likely that the answer is nine. Foxcatcher and Mr. Turner are Cannes titles that went over extremely well. Fury certainly looks like it has the goods, and is a World War II tale besides. Gone Girl may be just a thriller, but when Fincher's at the helm, it's never "just" anything. And Interstellar for that blockbuster VFX spectacle slot.

I imagine it'll be hard, especially with the passing of Louis Zamperini, to ignore Unbroken, and given the subject matter, so will Selma, especially a year after 12 Years a Slave (though expect to hear a lot of, "Aw, but wasn't last year enough" griping from terrible people). The Grand Budapest Hotel has what it takes to take it all the way. Birdman, perhaps, if it's more than the lead performance. And The Imitation Game, maybe.

Last year: 3/9 - American Hustle, Gravity, The Wolf of Wall Street 
Foxcatcher and The Monuments Men were both pushed to 2014; August: Osage County, The Fifth Estate, Rush and Fruitvale Station did not meet expectations; The Counselor was a full-on disaster.

Foxcatcher - Bennett Miller
Fury - David Ayer
Gone Girl - David Fincher
Mr. Turner - Mike Leigh
Selma - Ava DuVernay

Links up to my main Five in Best Pic, with the exception of Ava DuVernay in the place of Christopher Nolan. I'm going out on a limb here, I know -- DuVernay, if nominated, would be the first woman of color to be so honored, and she'd have to beat out Angelina Jolie. On the other hand, if the film is great, who can resist a narrative like that?

Last Year: 1/5 - David O. Russell, American Hustle 
Again, I had two 2014 releases in there -- Foxcatcher and The Monuments Men.

Steve Carell, Foxcatcher
Benedict Cumberbatch, The Imitation Game
Michael Keaton, Birdman
David Oyelowo, Selma
Timothy Spall, Mr. Turner

Spall is the no-brainer -- character actor, been in a number of beloved films, liked, always working, never-nominated. It's His Time. Which is also what gets Michael Keaton in for Birdman, a film that not only riffs on Keaton's own persona, but is also directed by an Oscar darling. I don't think, a year after 12 Years a Slave, the Academy will be able to ignore Selma, no matter how many people whine about going back to that well (and they will, make no mistake), so Oyelowo gets in. Cumberbatch and Carell I'm most iffy on.

Last Year: 3/5 - Christian Bale, American Hustle; Leonardo DiCaprio, The Wolf of Wall Street; Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave 
For the second year in a row! Let's hope that kind of pattern sticks!

Amy Adams, Big Eyes
Emily Blunt, Into the Woods
Julianne Moore, Maps to the Stars
Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl
Mia Wasikowska, Tracks

Cannes love doesn't always translate into Oscar love; nevertheless, let's see if Julianne Moore's aging actress can get in -- it worked for Gloria Swanson, Bette Davis, Annette Bening, etc. I know nothing about Gone Girl, but others who've read it refer to Rosamund Pike's character being the female lead. And dammit, isn't it time we honor Pike for something? One could say the same for Emily Blunt, and while I know that Meryl Streep's witch is the standout character, the synopsis makes it sound like the story revolves around the Baker and His Wife -- so let's take a chance. Mia Wasikowska's been terrific for a long time -- is the solo desert trek the one that gets her in? And, of course, Amy Adams, who even if she's left off the ballot, will make it to the Hollywood Reporter roundtable.

Last Year: 0/5
Hahahaha! In my defense, I predicted Julia Roberts, not expecting them to toss her into Supporting, especially since she's the center of the film.

Mark Ruffalo, Foxcatcher
Liev Schreiber, Pawn Sacrifice
J.K. Simmons, Whiplash
Channing Tatum, Foxcatcher
Christoph Waltz, Big Eyes

With the most recent Foxcatcher teaser focusing on Channing Tatum, it appears that he may be co-lead with Steve Carell. But come on -- when was the last time you saw that kind of honesty in a campaign? I believe Ruffalo can make it, that Waltz will be embraced once more, that Simmons can spin his Sundance buzz into a nomination, and that Schreiber has a Russian accent in a hooky role (the rival to American chess master Bobby Fischer).

Last Year: 0/5
BUT BUT BUT -- Bruce Dern made it into Lead. So, come on. Am I really that wrong?

Dorothy Atkinson, Mr. Turner
Keira Knightley, The Imitation Game
Margot Robbie, Suite Francaise
Naomi Watts, St. Vincent
Reese Witherspoon, Inherent Vice

Atkinson caught some attention at Cannes, and Keira Knightley has been putting in great work for a decade now. The rest of the lineup I'm not as confident in. I know nothing of Suite Francaise, but I know Margot Robbie is wicked hot -- and following up the Long Island sexpot of The Wolf of Wall Street with this kind of period role is sure to get some attention. Naomi Watts looks to be sexy, funny, and Russian in the St. Vincent trailer -- do you think she and Liev practiced constantly at home? Witherspoon is also in Wild this year, which may be too similar to Tracks to get traction -- but perhaps a role in Paul Thomas Anderson's hippie noir will do the trick.

Last Year: 0/5
You know what? Never mind. Ignore this whole post. Though again -- category fraud is what did me in. This time, I anticipated fraud for Streep, but they put her in Lead instead.

Birdman - Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu/Nicolas Giacobone/Alexander Dinelaris/Armando Bo
Boyhood - Richard Linklater
The Grand Budapest Hotel - Wes Anderson/Hugo Guinness
Mr. Turner - Mike Leigh
Selma - Ava DuVernay/Paul Webb

Last Year: 2/5 - American Hustle; Nebraska

Foxcatcher - E. Max Frye/Dan Futterman, based on an unpublished manuscript by Mark Schultz
Gone Girl - Gillian Flynn, based on her novel
Inherent Vice - Paul Thomas Anderson, based on the novel by Thomas Pynchon
Rosewater - Jon Stewart, from Then They Came for Me by Maziar Bahari/Aimee Molloy
Unbroken - Joel & Ethan Coen/Richard LaGravenese/William Nicholson, from the book by Laura Hillenbrand

Last Year: 2/5 - 12 Years a Slave; Before Midnight

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Tuesday, July 1, 2014

1953 Retro Hollmann Awards: Part 3 -- The End!

Here endeth my month-long celebration of the films of 1953. Of the twelve categories we've seen so far, eight films have been honored: The Cruel Sea (Sound), The Importance of Being Earnest (Costume Design, Ensemble), Man on a Tightrope (Makeup), Mogambo (Actor), Pickup on South Street (Supporting Actress, Original Screenplay, Editing), The Robe (Score, Production Design), Titanic (Supporting Actor) and War of the Worlds (Visual Effects).

Now, we come to the Big Four -- Picture, Director, Actress, Adapted Screenplay -- plus Cinematography, and just to mess with ya, Original Song.

5. "Kid's Song/Because We're Kids" from The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T
Music by Friedrich Hollaender
Lyrics by Dr. Seuss

3. "The Deadwood Stage" from Calamity Jane
Music by Sammy Fain
Lyrics by Paul Francis Webster

2. "Just Blew in from the Windy City" from Calamity Jane
Music by Sammy Fain
Lyrics by Paul Francis Webster

4. "Hi-Lili, Hi-Lili, Hi-Lo" from Lili
Music by Bronislau Kaper
Lyrics by Helen Deutsch

1. "The Blue Pacific Blues" from Miss Sadie Thompson
Music by Lester Lee
Lyrics by Allan Roberts

Weren't that lovely? Continue after the jump, as we wrap up 1953...

Monday, June 30, 2014

1953 Retro Hollmann Awards: Part 2

It's Day Two of the Retro Hollmann Awards, honoring the best of 1953! 

Yesterday, The Cruel SeaPickup on South Street, Titanic, and The War of the Worlds all picked up one award each; The Importance of Being Earnest got two!

And this is a rare treat -- one of the acting categories here doesn't have a single Oscar nominee to correspond with! Is it Best Actor? Best Supporting Actress? Find out as the awardage continues...

3. Beneath the 12-Mile Reef
Bernard Herrmann

4. Invaders from Mars
Raoul Kraushaar

2. Lili
Bronislau Kaper

1. The Robe
Alfred Newman

5. Shane
Victor Young

So closes the entertainment portion. Continue after the jump for more...

Sunday, June 29, 2014

1953 Retro Hollmann Awards: Part 1

And so begins the first day of the Retro Hollmann Awards of 1953!

It was a long process, a marathon of "this one, no this one!" Constant changes, choices worthy of Sophie. Finally culminating in what you now see here.

What did I have to choose from, though? You know I saw more than just the Academy Award Nominees. Here is the complete list of 1953 releases I saw, in alphabetical order:

The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T
Above and Beyond
All the Brothers were Valiant
The Band Wagon
Battles of Chief Pontiac
Beneath the 12-Mile Reef
The Big Heat
The Bigamist
A Blueprint for Murder
Calamity Jane
Call Me Madam
Captain Scarface
The Captain's Paradise
City That Never Sleeps
The Cruel Sea
The Desert Rats
Fear and Desire
From Here to Eternity
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
Girl on the Run
Glen or Glenda?
The Hitch-Hiker
House of Wax
How to Marry a Millionaire
I, the Jury
I Confess
The Importance of Being Earnest
Invaders from Mars
The Joe Louis Story
Julius Caesar
Kiss Me Kate
Knights of the Round Table
The Limping Man
Little Fugitive
The Man in the Attic
Man on a Tightrope
Martin Luther
The Maze
Miss Sadie Thompson
The Mississippi Gambler
The Moon is Blue
The Naked Spur
Peter Pan
Pickup on South Street
The Robe
Roman Holiday
Sins of Jezebel
Small Town Girl
Stalag 17
The Story of Three Loves
Torch Song
War of the Worlds
Wicked Woman
The Wild One
Young Bess

That's a total of 65 films, the usual amount for the Retro series. I know that seems low, but I do what I can.

The first six categories, for a total of 18, are: Best Sound, Best Visual Effects (an honorary award to War of the Worlds, that year, but I'll give it a full category), Best Supporting Actor, Best Costume Design, Best Ensemble (not an Academy category), and Best Editing!

Shall we begin?

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Picture, 1953

Whew! Sorry for the delay! But now, without any further ado, the nominees for Best Picture, 1953!

(After the jump, I mean)

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Actress, 1953

Talk about thinking with your dick. 

We have Leslie Caron, all wide-eyed innocence in Lili. We have Audrey Hepburn, all wide-eyed innocence in Roman Holiday. And we have Maggie McNamara, all side-eyed semi-innocence in The Moon is Blue. All short-haired brunettes being romanced by older men, all new stars (though Caron had recently burst onto the scene in Best Picture An American in Paris). 

Then there's Ava Gardner -- few considered her a good actress, all considered her one of the sexiest sirens to ever hit the screen. The first we see of her in Mogambo, she's in the shower, rebuffing Clark Gable -- but you know from her body language (cue Ursula) that she's open to a roll in the sack. A great performance, though.

Another great performance? Deborah Kerr in From Here to Eternity. Her persona was positively virginal; here, she's an adulterous wife getting hot and heavy in the sand with Burt Lancaster. Va-va-voom! A big star, she's here in the Lead category -- though in my mind, she's strictly supporting.

None of these are bad performances, but when three of these roles have sex at the forefront, and three of them are wispy dream girls (look at you, Maggie McNamara, getting into both categories), it ain't exactly the talent that's being evaluated here. Especially when, waiting in the sidelines, is 50-year-old Jean Arthur being amazing in Shane, but you know. Not sexy enough.

But there's no sense in getting huffy -- these are all fine performances. Here are the nominees for Best Actress...

Director, 1953

Of all the categories, this and Best Picture were the two that had me in constant back-and-forth. At first, for instance, I gave George Stevens a lower score -- but the more I thought of Shane, the more I appreciated, admired, and adored it. Then there was my own wrassling with the results -- no, it can't be. That can't be my choice!

But it is. As unexpected as it may seem, I gotta be me.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Song, 1953

Damnably late, I know, and sadly I must dash off quickly -- it's my bedtime, you know. It's for the best -- now I won't keep you long from the Songs!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Screenplay, 1953

The final writing category was, then, simply known as Screenplay, cluing us in to the fact that the nominated scribes were not the originators of these tales, but the ones who knew how to flesh them out for cinematic purposes.

In retrospect, the idea of dividing the categories between Original and Adapted seems kind of obvious. Alas, this would not be done until 1956, which meant another coupla confusing years where original properties like Love Me Or Leave Me were nominated beside true adaptations like East of Eden.

Thus this lineup. Although let me quell those fears -- this is just a curious lineup. As far as quality goes, it's actually pretty legit!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Actor, 1953

I can already tell that this year's Retro Hollmann Awards are going to be most unusual. That's all I'm gonna say about that for now...

This lineup for Best Actor is an intriguing one, a telling one. Burt Lancaster credited From Here to Eternity with changing his career, allowing studio execs to see him as more than beefcake, but as a real actor. William Holden's career was already on the rise after his nominated turn in Sunset Blvd; Stalag 17 could only cement his status as a star, and the Lead Actor nomination is evidence of that: he's one part of a large ensemble. Marlon Brando was the sole Streetcar Named Desire cast member not to win an Oscar, but he was still a Hollywood heavy-hitter: top billing and a Lead Actor nomination for what is essentially one scene in a two-hour flick. Montgomery Clift was a beauty who pioneered the brooding, sensitive male Brando and James Dean would popularize -- this was his third nomination. And Richard Burton was starting out on his Hollywood career, after garnering attention -- and a Supporting Actor nod -- for his performance in My Cousin Rachel.

With the exception of Burton, who is mostly defined by the Taylor years, these are actors one immediately thinks of when one thinks of 50s Hollywood. Without exception, they are all timeless icons, actors every movie lover should know.

And here they are, together at last.....

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Color Cinematography, 1953

As promised, my look at the nominees for Color Cinematography.

Yeah, that's all the intro you need. Carry on.

Supporting Actress, 1953

Did you ever know that Best Supporting Actress is among my top five Favorite Categorie at the Oscars? If you've been a longtime reader, you probably did. If you're new here -- hi, I adore Supporting Actresses!

Of course, not all of Oscar's contenders are actual supporting roles. Geraldine Page is clearly the female lead of Hondo -- but I guess only pixie ingenues get lead campaigns for their film debuts. And Grace Kelly and Ava Gardner are co-leads of Mogambo, both vying for the affections of Clark Gable. Hers you could argue a little more about, but there's no doubt in my mind...

For more fun, check out Stinkylulu's write-up of this year -- he makes a strong case, even if I don't agree at all with his assessment of Kelly and her film. But you'll see. Just continue after the jump...  

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Score, 1953

A good chunk of my iTunes is devoted to film music -- even more than Christmas music, which I have a healthy collection of (not mentally healthy, tho).

Not to take the Academy to task too much for what was left out -- for the most part, this is a solid line-up -- but I do think it's surprising that Alfred Newman's work on Best Picture nominee The Robe was left off (something which caused Franz Waxman to resign from the Academy). What can ya do?

On to the ones what made it!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Story and Screenplay, 1953

The Story and Screenplay category -- five contenders, and not a single one a Best Picture nominee! And boy they run the gamut: a movie I still haven't seen; a MUSICAL (how often do those get nods anymore?); a British war drama; a western with a small ensemble; and Titanic, accomplishing what the later 1997 film could not: get credit for the writing.

Shall we?

Monday, June 9, 2014

Color Art Direction, 1953

Another week, another peek -- at the 1953 Academy Award Nominees! Exactly one week ago, we started off by looking at the contenders for Black and White Art Direction; now, we're looking at their more colorful cousins!

While I wasn't exactly sure if these were the best representatives of this category, I will say this: all five of these films are a bit of terrific. Knights introduced me to the greatness of one Robert Taylor; Lili and Young Bess surprised me; The Story of Three Loves was at least 2/3 an interesting flick (anthologies -- why do people do those?); and The Robe is a Biblical epic.

Shall we have a look at their looks?

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Black-and-White Cinematography, 1953

Well, as Blanche Devereaux would say, "Better late than pregnant." But hey -- I was busy this weekend, being the Best Man for my best friend's wedding. Congratulations, you two!

But -- back to business, and our continuing coverage of the 1953 Oscars. Tonight: the nominees for Best Cinematography, Black-and-White. 

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Supporting Actor, 1953

Yeah, this is what you all wanted, right? The stars. The faces. Never mind musical arrangements or monochromatic sets -- we want to see acting at the edges!

Well, here ya go. And what a neat mix this is, too: a child, a stage vet, a star looking for a comeback, a previous nominee, and the future star of Green Acres. And all in genuine supporting roles!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Motion Picture Story, 1953

Hollywood was so complicated! Back in the day, it took three categories to honor the writers: Screenplay, which seemed to primarily honor adaptations; Story and Screenplay, which is the equivalent to Original Screenplay; and Story, which we don't have anymore, and which, for some reason was separate from the other category? As best as I can tell, it was used when the Story and the Screenplay were written by different people, so at least it was an attempt to distinguish between the creative individuals who contribute to a film.

Still, there is some understandable confusion, especially when some are credited with "From a story by", which sounds like an adaptation, but often isn't. Like, OK -- it's weird that the original Roman Holiday is nominated here and in Screenplay, but not in Story and Screenplay; the confusion also led to a nomination for Louis L'Amour for Hondo, even though he only wrote the original short story and had no hand in the adaptation. With such problems, it's no wonder the category was discontinued in 1957.

But that's in another four years. 'Til then, here's who benefited...

Monday, June 2, 2014

Black-and-White Art Direction, 1953

It's here! My look at the Academy Award nominees of 1953 is here!

Our journey begins with the nominees for Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Black-and-White. Ah, yes, that era when the color line divided Costumes, Art Direction and Cinematography. It makes sense -- color really does have the edge when it comes to those first two, since it can use reds and blues and greys to make a statement

But those black-and-white artists weren't just putzin' around, as you'll see.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Party Like It's 1953!

Tomorrow marks the true beginning of the 1953 retrospective!

This marks the 6th Retrospective on the Silver Screening Room. Previously, I've applauded the Academy's laurels for My Fair Lady; meh'd The Godfather: Part II; wept with Schindler's List; enjoyed The Sting; and celebrated my favorite film, Nashville. But 1953 offers new challenges, new discoveries, and new categories -- well, old categories, but new to me -- well, OK, not new to me since I've been well-versed in all things Oscar for years, get it.


As with the other years, I'll be covering certain Oscar categories, offering my reactions to the nominees, and sharing who I'd vote for. But because it's 1953 -- a time when color and black-and-white had equal screen time, writing credits were more complicated, and musicals were so numerous they had their own category -- we have even more categories to cover than usual. Quelle fun!

This week, we take a look at Black-and-White Art Direction-Set Decoration, Motion Picture Story, Musical Score, Supporting Actor, and Black-and-White Cinematography. The films we cover are:

The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T (score)
Above and Beyond (story)
The Band Wagon (score)
Calamity Jane (score)
Call Me Madam (score)
The Captain's Paradise (story)
The Four Poster (cinematography)
Hondo (story)
From Here to Eternity (supporting actor, cinematography)
Julius Caesar (art direction, cinematography)
Kiss Me Kate (score)
Little Fugitive (story)
Martin Luther (art direction, cinematography)
The President's Lady (art direction)
Roman Holiday (art direction, story, supporting actor, cinematography)
Shane (supporting actor)
Stalag 17 (supporting actor)
Titanic (art direction)

And if you can't wait for my posts, please -- check out the Casting Coup Week I indulged in with Andrew (Encore Entertainment) last week, where we recast the Best Picture nominees of this year -- From Here to Eternity, Julius Caesar, The Robe, Roman Holiday and Shane.

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Friday, May 30, 2014

Casting Coup Week: From Here to Eternity

Here 'tis! The final edition of Casting Coup Week, leading up to a retrospective of the films of 1953, starting Monday!

There's been quite a bit of fun between Andrew of Encore Entertainment and myself. You've seen us agree on Princess Ann in Roman Holiday and Diana in The Robe; we had our own interpretations of Julius Caesar; and even when we agreed on actors, we disagreed about who they should play, for Shane.

Now we come to the winner for Best Picture of the Year -- From Here to Eternity.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Casting Coup Week: Shane

Casting Coup Week is also up, followed by my retrospective of 1953. You should also check out Andrew's offerings over at his blog, but since you're already here, why not take in my re-casting of Shane?

You won't see little Joey Starrett represented here. I'm not about to try to remember all these damn kids.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Casting Coup Week: Roman Holiday

Casting Coup Week continues, as we play catch-up with a double-header. First The Robe; now, Roman Holiday, the film that swept ingenue Audrey Hepburn to stardom. And the rest, as they say, is history.

I'm sure you'll think my Princess Ann is predictable, since I said as much on Twitter not too long ago. Still, take a look -- not just at what I think, but at what Andrew has to say, too.

Casting Coup Week: The Robe

Casting Coup Week continues with our second nominee of 1953 -- the winner of Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Color and of Best Costume Design, Color. Yes, it's the Cinemascope Christian epic THE ROBE.

Be sure you check out Andrew's picks as well!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Sunday, May 25, 2014

The Year is 1953....

Well, friends, here it is -- after months of work, I'm finally ready to address the films of 1953.

This originally began in December. I thought I'd blast through it, like I did with 1973, before plunging into 1932-33 -- you know, to coincide with the Oscars in March. And now it's Memorial Day weekend. Things happen.

A lot of this comes from the availability of some of the films -- why The President's Lady isn't available on Amazon, streaming, or even YouTube, is anyone's guess -- but mostly I was just drained. My day job as producer and head writer for Hollywood Today at BiteSizeTV is really kicking into high gear -- we did Sundance, we did Oscars, and there's more happening that I can't quite discuss, but hope to soon. Is it work? Of course it is! Is it rewarding? Like you wouldn't believe.

Humblebrag aside....

You know all about 1953, right?

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Saturday, March 1, 2014


Ugh, so at this point I either get them all out now or don't get them out at all. So, without any ceremony whatsoever, in a move akin to that of the 2007 Golden Globes, here are the winners of the 2013 Hollmann Awards:

The Gold Rush: A Conversation About Oscars, Part One

Growing up, my group of friends saw every movie we could together; as we got older, we followed the Oscar race as one unit, mapping out routes to the various art-houses we needed to visit, comparing notes, choosing sides. Ten years later, we're still at it -- and thus, the Gold Rush series, an annual conversation between myself and The March King, who I've known since I was nine.

The conversation is in two parts; check out part two over at Who is the March King.

March King: So the Oscars are almost here. Are you ready?

Silver Screener: You are so much more ready than I am. I think Picture, Director, the Actors and Original Screenplay are the only ones where I've seen every nominee.

MK: Oh? What are you missing from Adapted Screenplay?

SS: Before Midnight. I've never seen any of the other ones, and I kept telling myself, "Oh, I'll double feature them, my friends have them, I'll just borrow them, and then I'll watch Before Midnight."

For all I know, they're spies.
MK: Oops. (Laughs.) It was really good. I'm sorry you haven't caught it yet.

SS: It's just one of those things. Like, everything I missed was just one of those things. "Oh I CAN'T see The Grandmaster, I simply MUST see Last Vegas." (Laughs.) So when I say "just one of those things", I mean odd prioritizing, but at the same time, come on -- who knew The Grandmaster was going to be a player in TWO categories, neither of them Foreign Film?

MK: Dude, The Grandmaster may not have been amazing, but I can't deny its innate beauty. Totally accepting of its nods. It really could run away with cinematography.

Though Gravity is...well let's just say it holds a very dear place in my heart.

SS: Yeah, I don't think any other movie has a shot in that category. It'll be nice to see Lubezki FINALLY get an Oscar.

Gravity was your favorite of the year, right? I know it was in your Top Ten.

Ugh, you and me both, Daniel
MK: Actually, it gets trumped by two others. Her; and Rush, which sadly didn't even get a Best Picture nominee but that's kind of the story of the year... a lot of weird snubs.

SS: I'm actually VERY shocked by the absence of Rush from a lot of categories: Editing, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Supporting Actor -- even the lack of a SAG Ensemble nod!

MK: Yeah, Supporting Actor is my biggest with this movie. Sure, Her was ignored for Best Actor with Joaquin Phoenix, but almost more importantly to me was the absence of Daniel Brühl. He WAS Rush.

SS: And should have been campaigned as lead!

MK: That is the truth. Daniel Brühl was a confoundedly second-billed main character.

But while we're on that subject, who do you have taking Supporting Actor?

SS: As in who do I think or who do I wish?

MK: Let's try both.

SS: I THINK Jared Leto's unstoppable. I WANT Michael Fassbender to stop him.

MK: Glad to see we're on the same page there. I just want Michael Fassbender to win for everything and get some credit. But Jared Leto's been around for a while and while his story is not as impressive as Matthew McConaughey's... by that I mean I actually really like Matthew McConaughey as an actor now... I do think Leto gave a quality performance for once.

SS: Ehhhhhhh

You know, I think Leto's good, and I like Matthew McConaughey, but I'm just not seeing it for these roles. I think both actors are more effective as screen presences than as completely immersive performers.

MK: Understandable. I want Chiwetel Ejiofor over McConaughey as well actually, so I suppose you have a point.
SS: Fassbender is a performer that *is* completely immersive, meanwhile. And I agree with you on Ejiofor. Especially since the two of them work opposite ends of the spectrum brilliantly: Fassbender, the master, drunken and drooling; Ejiofor, the slave, quiet and dignified.

God I love that movie.

MK: So damn good!

SS: Absolutely!

Which makes it a shame that it's probably going to lose all but Adapted Screenplay.

MK: What what what?? You don't think 12 Years a Slave wins Best Picture?

SS: I actually do think it takes Best Picture, but I also think it's going to be a real battle in that category

MK: Gotcha. Who in your mind are the heavy weights?

SS: 12 Years a Slave, Gravity, and American Hustle.

Though I am ready for a Philomena upset.


Oh, you'd just love that, wouldn't you?
MK: That would be so awesome! Philomena deserves some serious credit. I don't think anybody saw Steve Coogan coming this far, but I really enjoyed his film.

SS: Oh, it's FINE. I know you had it in your top ten, and I guess I see what people like about it, but it just wasn't registering for me.

Although I do think it deserves to win Original Score.

MK: Hmmm... Yes.

But then, that category is ridiculously confusing. It's hard to really call the Gravity score a "score"... it's really more a massive composite of sound effects that coexist with the movie. And I'm surprised Saving Mr. Banks is technically eligible.

SS: Oh, I disagree re: Gravity. There's a lot of violin and brass work, if memory serves. And a wailing woman. I think it's the frontrunner, actually. I don't care much for it, but there it is. And there's more original scoring in Saving Mr. Banks than it seems. It's just very... unnoteworthy?

I'm not crazy about that category this year.

MK: Music is usually one of the more intriguing things about the Oscars, but not so much this year.

SS: For the first time in a while, Song is a better category!

MK: Agreed, but with an awkward asterisk in the form of a dismissed nominee.

It's not that I think Alone Yet Not Alone had a chance in hell at winning this thing... it's just, the Academy acted with literally no class in this situation.

SS: Yeah, that was bullshit. I smell a Weinstein-ian rat.

God forbid we get a nominee that wasn't pre-approved by the Globes and a million FYC ads.

MK: Not for another year I guess. But then we do have some really interesting candidates still standing.

SS: We do! And commercially successful ones, too!

MK: "The Moon Song" from Her was very honestly quite an important cog in that movie. 

SS: YES -- narratively-based music FTW!

MK: And "Let It Go" from Frozen was a show stopper; in the poppiest possible way.


SS: And the BEST way possible. I think it wins in a walk.

MK: I keep assuming it's already won, but there's still a full day to go. You never know.

SS: I would DIE.

Some would say I'd be...FLOORED.


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Thursday, January 16, 2014

The 2013 Oscar Nominees!

Like Benedict Cumberbatch in August: Osage County, I am broken up over missing the Oscar nominees. It's the first time I've missed the announcement since 2006, so it's a terrible, terrible feeling to have. But then I remember, "Molly, you in Sundance, girl." Ah, yes. That's fine, then. It's okay.

The nominees are....

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Lucky Guess?: Oscar Predix, 2013

I didn't mean to predict every Oscar category, but boy, once I got going, I just could not stop!

Hopefully I'll be able to watch the actual announcement Thursday morning, but if I don't, it'll be because I'm busy setting up BiteSize TV for success at the Sundance Film Festival. Yes, we will be streaming live content from Park City, Utah, and it is going to be a damn good time! So, worthy reason to miss out on the noms. Though I probably won't -- it's news, after all.

Anyway, my predictions are....after the jump, of course. Take a look.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Crystal Ball for the Globes

The Golden Globes air tomorrow night, and while I did not post about the nominees, I may as well speculate on who I think will win. It's always a fun, loose event, enjoyable to watch - and that was before they got Tina Fey and Amy Poehler to host. Twice.

So! Predictions! If I haven't followed a category with "should win", it means the win I predict is also the one I want. And, of course, movies only, since I know next to nothing about what goes on in the TV world...

PICTURE: Gravity
should win: 12 Years a Slave
ACTOR: Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club
should win: Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave) or Robert Redford (All is Lost)
ACTRESS: Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine

PICTURE: American Hustle
ACTOR: Leonardo DiCaprio, The Wolf of Wall Street
should win: Oscar Isaac (Inside Llewyn Davis) or Joaquin Phoenix (Her)
ACTRESS: Amy Adams, American Hustle

DIRECTOR: Alfonso Cuaron, Gravity
should win: Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave
SCREENPLAY: Eric Warren Singer/David O. Russell, American Hustle
should win: John Ridley, 12 Years a Slave
SUPPORTING ACTOR: Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club
should win: Michael Fassbender, 12 Years a Slave
SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle
should win: Sally Hawkins, Blue Jasmine
SCORE: Steven Price, Gravity
should win: Alexander Ebert, All is Lost
SONG: "Let It Go", Frozen
FOREIGN FILM: Blue is the Warmest Color

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Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The 2013 Hollmann Award Nominees!

Not to steal the DGA's thunder, but for some reason I decided today would be the perfect day to announce the nominees for the Eighth Annual Hollmann Awards! You've seen the Top 24, you've stewed over the Longlists -- now, prepare to be scandalized (or not -- I'm not the most unpredictable).

Like last year, the categories are presented in the order in which I figured them out, with the exception of Best Picture, which of course is all the way at the end. And, of course, this is a graphics-heavy post, so get ready.

The nominees are...after the jump.

Friday, January 3, 2014

The Longlists of 2013!

Clearly, I'm the kind of guy who functions best when he's making lists of film stuff. Yesterday, the Top 24 of the year; today, the Longlists for the Hollmann Awards!

The idea for the longlists began with BAFTA, which did this for years, the last time being 2011. It was a fun way of winnowing the field, not just in Best Picture, but in every category -- in my case, 18. It helps you get your thoughts in order, gives you a smaller pool to think over, allows you to annoy others prematurely as they see their favorites already discounted.

So, following are the semi-finalists -- 15 in each category, unless otherwise specified. You of course know the Best Picture lineup, but let's give you a reminder, with the remainder after the jump:

(10 semi-finalists)
12 Years a Slave
Ain't Them Bodies Saints
All is Lost
American Hustle
Blue Jasmine
The Lords of Salem
Spring Breakers

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Top 24 of 2013

Most people do a Top 10. Many others stretch it to a Top 25. I do both, usually ranking 25 - 11 and teasing the semi-finalists for my own Best Picture award. 

But not this year. This year, The Silver Screening Room is stopping at 24. Why? The answer is simple: no film was worthy of taking that 25th slot. I know that sounds snotty, but it's true. I went through a number of titles in my head for the final slot, switching it out again and again not because of the quality of the other films, but because of the qualms I had with whatever fell into 25. And why make a list of what I consider to be the best if everything is asterisked with misgivings? No, in this case, less truly is more.

So, after the jump are my Top 24 of 2013. And if you're saying to yourself, "Oh, did he not see [whatever]?" you can see the full list of 91 films (plus the Top Ten of 1993!) right here. Meanwhile:

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

My Top Ten....of 1993

With 2013 behind us, it's time to look back at the year that's been. You know what that means: HOLLMANN AWARDS! Tomorrow, my Top 25; Friday, my longlists in all 18 categories.

But before we get to 2013....I have yet to share my Top Ten for 1993! So, that first; then, right below, the complete list of films I saw in 2013.

1. Six Degrees of Separation
dir: Fred Schepisi
scr: John Guare, from his play
cin: Ian Baker
Winner: Picture, Actor (Donald Sutherland), Actress (Stockard Channing)
Nominee: Production Design, Ensemble