scr: David Gordon Green & Danny McBride & Jeff Fradley
adapted from: characters created by John Carpenter and Debra Hill
seen: Cinerama Dome at ArcLight Hollywood
ThisHalloween fan was satisfied. In ignoring all but the first film in the series, the filmmakers both explore the trauma of Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis, both gutting and bad-ass), and how that trauma is dismissed, re-interpreted, or forgotten by the world's mythologizing of a serial killer and his crimes. As a fan of true crime podcasts and docs, it hit close to home.
Venom, First Man, A Star is Born, and more - after the jump...
We're playing catch-up. Did you read the 17 capsule reviews from yesterday? Well, we've got more today, starting with...
Crazy Rich Asians
dir: Jon M. Chu
scr: Peter Chiarelli and Adele Lim
adapted from: the novel by Kevin Kwan
seen: AMC Burbank 16
A Chinese-American professor visits her Singaporean boyfriend's homeland for a wedding - only to learn that he is the scion of the country's wealthiest family, and now must guard herself against the friends and foes who question her intentions and suitability. Sexy, hilarious, heart-wrenching. Watch Constance Wu struggle to fit in as both an American and a "commoner"; behold Michelle Yeoh as she fights to not lose her son; worship Gemma Chan as she holds her head high against the pettiness around her. Costumes, production design, music like something out of a dream...or Ross Hunter's Hollywood. The most beautiful people you've ever seen on screen. I cried while talking about it the next day. It's so good!
16 more after the jump, including Mission: Impossible - Fallout, Christopher Robin, Hereditary, and more....
As of Sunday night, I have finally seen fifty (50) movies released in the United States in 2018. We haven't talked about the films of this year since April, so why don't we use this occasion to rectify that?
scr: Ol Parker, story by Ol Parker and Richard Curtis and Catherine Johnson
adapted from: the original musical play Mamma Mia! conceived by Judy Craymer and written by Catherine Johnson
seen: Regal LA Live 16
As Sophie deals with continuing her mother's legacy, we flashback to how young Donna came to Greece and collected her dot-dot-dots. This is not deep entertainment, but by God, Parker knows just how to deploy an ABBA new-mom ballad for maximum emotions. The dancing is great. The cast is having a ball. I saw it twice.
Brief notes on 16 other films - including Solo: A Star Wars Story, BlacKkKlansman, and Incredibles 2 - just after the jump...
2. Li'l Abner; 3. The Human Condition: No Greater Love
Yes, the greasy, matted hair and beard of Ivan is back, but there are some new looks to gawk at here. Like the massive Kris Kringle beard of one boyar, or the new goatee sprouting from the chin of Vladimir Staritsky, or the young Ivan'sMarilyn Quayle flip...
In second, the character-specific wigs and prosthetics for Li'l Abner. In third, the dirt and wounds of The Human Condition: No Greater Love.
Best Production Design, Best Actress, Best Picture - and more! After the jump, I mean...
2. Stephen Boyd in Ben-Hur; 3. Sô Yamamura in The Human Condition: No Greater Love; 4. Murray Hamilton in Anatomy of a Murder; 5. Joseph N. Welch in Anatomy of a Murder
When Edmond O'Brien presented the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress, he called the category "the best picture-stealer". That was more or less my criteria for this win. As the faithful, coded-gay assassin Leonard, Martin Landau is eighth-billed in the credits and number one in my heart. Landau is the one who gives Leonard a motivation beyond blind obedience to a cause, not with words, but with a walk and a glance and a sneer and the right pauses in the right places. There's a reptilian menace in his physicality, lithe but dangerous. It's a scene-stealer, a movie-stealer - it's the Best Supporting Actor performance of the year.
In second, Stephen Boyd's spurned former friend, armed with superiority and a broken heart. In third, Sô Yamamura's veteran, balancing his survival skills with what he knows to be right. In fourth, Murray Hamilton's cautious and loyal bartender proves a worthy opponent for James Stewart's defense attorney. In fifth, Joseph N. Welch's folksy, occasionally befuddled judge.
After the jump: Best Director, Best Supporting Actress, Best Sound, and more.....
2. Ivan the Terrible, Part Two: The Boyars' Plot; 3. Li'l Abner; 4. Some Like It Hot; 5. Imitation of Life
Everyone just looks so sexy, and that's before the party starts! The colors and designs that come out of the Carnaval costumes are the centerpieces: the veiled Eurydice, the armored (albeit in a way that still compliments his toned chest) Orfeu, the skeletal Death. It's breathtaking.
In second, the royal robes become part of the plot in Ivan the Terrible, Part Two: The Boyars' Plot. In third, the comic book colors - capital-c Costumes - in Li'l Abner. In fourth, the dresses fit for all shapes, sizes, and sexes in Some Like It Hot. In fifth, the fashionable gowns and practical housecoats of Imitation of Life.
More, including Best Actor, Best Original Song, and Best Visual Effects, after the jump....
The nominations for the 1959 Retro Hollmann Awards are here! 63 films screened, 27 nominated across 18 categories. The order of the presentation of categories was decided by random drawing - Best Picture is somewhere in the midst of it all.
Meant to put this up last week, but I was struck down by an illness that kept me weak and in bed. Now, finally, the grand finale of the 1959 Oscars - Best Picture of the Year!
But soft - this ain't the end of 1959 just yet. I saw 63 films from this year (going by US release dates), so you know I have a Top Ten and some Retro Hollmann Awards on the way! Many of these films, while not up for Oscar, were nominated by other awards bodies throughout 1959, so make sure you checkouteverysinglecategorypage, from Best Actress to Best Actor to this one, for brief thoughts on those.
And now - the nominees for Best Picture....after the jump.....
Often the basis of a great film script...is someone else's story. In fact, this year sees two remakes among the nominees! Another two nominees are based on fictionalizations of true stories. And Room at the Top is a straight up book. Let's get into them, after the jump.
Now that we've honored The Nun's Story for its lead actress and score, Porgy and Bess for its orchestrations, and Wild Strawberries for its screenplay, its time to let another film into the fold. And we'll do that by looking at the nominees for Best Supporting Actor, made of four first-timers, only two of whom would be back for more.
Hugh Griffith in Ben-Hur
Notes: First of two nominations, first and only win; National Board of Review Winner for Supporting Actor
An unlikely winner, Griffith's Sheik Ilderim is just a dash less broad than you think it is. He has a fantastic scene where he entices Stephen Boyd's Messala to take a very rich gamble on the chariot race. And he's a good time entertaining Judah Ben-Hur in his tent, trying to get him to belch in appreciation of the fine dining. It's some welcome comic relief that goes beyond the dye job, but I'm still shocked this is the performance from Ben-Hur that got nominated.
Arthur O'Connell in Anatomy of a Murder
Notes: Second of two nominations
Folksy alcoholic attorney whose arc from mess who can't get hired to unexpected hero of the hour plays more or less in the background, subtly. It helps that his second chance comes up within the first thirty minutes of the movie. O'Connell, to his credit, does not overplay a moment. Not the drunkenness, not the career rehab, not the chemistry with James Stewart: it's all natural.
George C. Scott in Anatomy of a Murder
Notes: First of four nominations
Much like the character, a performance that sneaks up on you. Quiet at first, with a respectfully condescending manner that grates - Scott even gives him an odd highfalutin' accent: something about his vowels sounds practiced, a great choice that makes Claude Dancer's distance from this small town even more deliberate. And when he fights, he fights hard: the sweaty, clobbering evisceration he attempts on Mary Pilant; the quiet, confident redirection he gives the local DA; his "embarrassed" manipulation of Laura Manion's rape accusations - this guy plays to win.
Robert Vaughn in The Young Philadelphians
Notes: First and only nomination; Golden Globe Nominee for Supporting Actor
Mind-boggling. How is this the sole performance to be honored by the Globes and the Oscars? He's solid, delivers witticisms with the appropriate drollness, plays pathetic drunkenness at the just the right pitch for this kind of movie, but that's it. It's not especially unique or revelatory - it just...is.
Ed Wynn in The Diary of Anne Frank
Notes: First and only nomination
Wynn is convincing as the oft-annoyed, doom-and-gloom dentist who can't stand the close quarters of the attic. He annoys you to the brink of insanity, but then there's this hopelessness in his slackened face and downcast eyes. He's our last hint of what's happening outside, and it's not pretty. Wynn, mostly known as a comic actor, delivers the goods.
Also in the conversation:
Fred Astaire, On the Beach (Golden Globe Nominee for Supporting Actor) - A surprise snub, though maybe his come-and-go "British" accent was a hurdle. His scientist-turned-lush is a welcome change of pace: cynical, straight, but not without heart. *****
Stephen Boyd, Ben-Hur (Globe Winner for Supporting Actor) - As Messala, the villain and object of Ben-Hur's obsessive revenge quest, Boyd is, surprisingly, the film's beating heart. There is always something going on just beneath the surface. You can't take your eyes off him. *****
Peter Finch, The Nun's Story (BAFTA Award Nominee for British Actor) - BAFTA had no lead/supporting distinctions, but he's probably in less than 15 minutes of the movie; still, he has a great impact, and you miss him...much like Hepburn's nun. *****
Laurence Olivier, The Devil's Disciple (BAFTA Award Nominee for British Actor) - A scream as a British commander during the Revolutionary War. No villain; indeed, he's almost comic relief, in an already light film! ****
Tony Randall, Pillow Talk (Golden Globe Nominee for Supporting Actor) - Funny; delivers dick jokes with class. ***
Joseph N. Welch, Anatomy of a Murder (Golden Globe Nominee for Supporting Actor) - As the out-of-town judge with the Huckleberry Hound voice, Welch steals the movie with aw-shucks comic timing and dignity. *****
Donald Wolfit, Room at the Top (BAFTA Award Nominee for British Actor) - Chummy, commanding, polite even when seething. ****
Griffith benefited from the Ben-Hur sweep.
But I just don't see it. In fact, I only see one nominee that comes close to deserving the Oscar...
GEORGE C. SCOTT
ANATOMY OF A MURDER
In our next adventure, we'll look at Best Director: Jack Clayton (Room at the Top), George Stevens (The Diary of Anne Frank), Billy Wilder (Some Like It Hot), William Wyler (Ben-Hur), and Fred Zinnemann (The Nun's Story).
A music break, and a large one at that. If you've been here before, you may recall that the category for Music Score used to be split into two categories: Original and Adapted. The names sometimes changed - this year, they were called Scoring of a Dramatic/Comedy Picture and Scoring of a Musical Picture - but the kinds of films nominated in each category remained the same. The one exception would probably be On the Beach, whose "original score" gets quite a boost from its use of "Waltzing Matilda."
Let's have a listening party, shall we? Starting, after the jump, with.....
We began our 1959 adventure yesterday with the nominees for Best Actress; today, we look at Best Original Screenplay. Long the place to honor comedies and foreign films, the 1959 roster is made up entirely of just such films. Oh yes - according to the WGA Awards, which at this point divided nominees by genre and not by whether they were original or adapted, even North by Northwest is a comedy. Do we agree? Did it deserve to lose to Pillow Talk? Check after the jump, will ya?
Meant to post a tease earlier this month, but what are you gonna do? Starting tomorrow, we take a look at the films of 1959, featuring:
Winner: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor (Charlton Heston), Best Supporting Actor (Hugh Griffith), Best Dramatic Score, Best Cinematography - Color, Best Art Direction-Set Decoration - Color, Best Film Editing, Best Costume Design - Color, Best Sound Recording, Best Visual Effects
Winner: Best Foreign Language Film
The Diary of Anne Frank
Winner: Best Supporting Actress (Shelley Winters), Best Cinematography - Black-and-White, Best Art Direction-Set Decoration - Black-and-White
A Hole in the Head
Winner: Best Original Song ("High Hopes")
Winner: Best Original Screenplay
Porgy and Bess
Winner: Best Musical Score
Room at the Top
Winner: Best Actress (Simone Signoret), Best Adapted Screenplay
Some Like It Hot
Winner: Best Costume Design - Black-and-White
....and many, many more, including non-Oscar-nominated films like A Summer Place, House on Haunted Hill, and The Crimson Kimono!
It all starts tomorrow with Best Actress: Doris Day in Pillow Talk, Audrey Hepburn in The Nun's Story, Katharine Hepburn in Suddenly, Last Summer, Simone Signoret in A Room at the Top, and Elizabeth Taylor in Suddenly, Last Summer.
2. James L. Brooks for Broadcast News; 3. Bernardo Bertolucci for The Last Emperor; 4. Steven Spielberg for Empire of the Sun; 5. John Huston for The Dead
Itami's satirical chops are on display in both The Funeral and Tampopo, but the latter is truly remarkable for the way it combines comical observations on the culture, etiquette and fetishization of food with loving tributes to various genres: western, romance, gangster pic, erotica, etc. It's hilarious, even absurd, yet there's a throat-catching beauty to Tampopo's hopes, to a homeless man's attention to cuisine, to a dying man's final words to his mistress being a cherished recipe. There's a real fascination and love of life and people here.
In second, James L. Brooks' finds the right comic tone in Broadcast News. In third, Bernardo Bertolucci's epic intimacy in The Last Emperor. In fourth, Steven Spielberg's staggering scale in Empire of the Sun. In fifth, John Huston's authentic party dynamics in The Dead.
Best Actress, Best Picture, and more after the jump - starting with Best Original Screenplay....
Part One of the 1987 Retro Hollmann Awards begins....now!
Best Production Design
Empire of the Sun
Norman Reynolds, production designer
Charles Bishop, supervising art director
Harry Cordwell / Michael Ford, set decorator
2. La Bamba; 3. The Last Emperor; 4. Tampopo; 5. The Lost Boys
The vast layout of the airfield-adjacent prison camp alone earns Empire of the Sun its place here; doubly so for the details within, from the hierarchy of the American barracks to the lack thereof in the English ones to the scarceness of the hospital. There's also the abandoned stadium, filled with riches confiscated from white man's mansions. The mansions themselves, going from pristine to abandoned to newly-decorated. And the recreation of 1930s Shanghai and its foreign concessions.
In second, La Bamba's rags to riches as expressed through living conditions and performance venues. In third, The Last Emperor's time-sealed Forbidden Kingdom, superficial Manchukuo, and anonymous grey prison. In fourth, Tampopo's ramen houses, hotel rooms, dishes. In fifth, The Lost Boys' vampire cave, cluttered family home.
Just below the jump is my winner for Best Supporting Actress - and long after it, my pick for Best Score. Much more in between, so do continue...
A difficult top ten to make, but here we finally are! In alphabetical order, here were my favorites of the 71 films I screened for the 1987 retrospective.
dir/scr: Luis Valdez
pr: Bill Borden, Taylor Hackford
cin: Adam Greenberg
A biopic of the short-lived teenage singer Ritchie Valens, La Bamba surprises with the equal weight and focus it puts on his whole family: Esai Morales as ne'er-do-well brother Bob, Rosanna De Soto as loving and shrewd momager Connie, and Elizabeth Peña as Bob's baby-momma Rosie. I love the way the film handles cultural identity - Ritchie doesn't speak Spanish and has never been south of the border, but he's still classified as a Mexican...even though his label has him change his name from Valenzuela to something more mass-palatable! Mind, that's just one part as experienced by Ritchie; it's through Bob's experiences that we see the vicious cycle that both keeps Mexican-Americans down and vilifies them for not "trying harder". A keenly-observed, intelligent film, politically and musically. And if you don't fall in crush with Lou Diamond Phillips here, I don't understand you, and I'm not sure I want to.
Now we come to it - the Best Picture nominees of 1987. Broadcast News, up for seven Academy Awards, named Best Film by the New York Film Critics' Circle. Fatal Attraction, up for six Academy Awards, named Best Dramatic Film by the People's Choice Awards. Hope and Glory, up for five Academy Awards, Golden Globe winner for Best Picture - Comedy or Musical, named Best Picture by the Los Angeles Film Critics Association. The Last Emperor, up for nine Academy Awards, Golden Globe winner for Best Picture - Drama, named Best Film by British Academy of Film and Television Arts. Moonstruck, up for six Academy Awards.
The winner was...
The nominees - ranked, from lowest- to highest-scored, after the jump....
On Twitter, the great Nick Davis, a man who has seen every performance nominated for the Best Actress Oscar from 1927 through to the present, named 1987 as among the greatest lineups in the category's history. From my limited exposure, I may have to agree. Each nominee is a gay-gasp icon, every performance perfectly realized, and here's the fun part: there are more Best Picture nominees here than in Best Actor, a rarity. And I just love that we get to say "Academy Award-winning actress Cher."
For the first time in its history, the Best Director lineup at the Academy Awards had noroom for Americans! That was the controversy at the time, at least, and became the subject of many an article about the nominations. It's perhaps a wee overstated: this isn't exactly a group of Hollywood outsiders, and even the ones that were wouldn't remain so for very long.
Canada's Norman Jewison already had five Oscar nominations at this point, while Britain's John Boorman was previously up as producer-director of Deliverance; his fellow countryman Adrian Lyne gave the world Flashdance and 9 1/2 Weeks. Sweden's Lasse Hallström was a newcomer, but he adapted very well to Hollywood life: two Best Picture nominees (The Cider House Rules, Chocolat), two Nicholas Sparks flicks (Dear John, Safe Heaven), and two more "dog" pictures (Hachi, A Dog's Purpose). Italy's Bernardo Bertolucci, though nominated for The Conformist and Last Tango in Paris, always did his own thing, more of an outsider. But not on this Oscar night...
There are two kinds of movies usually guaranteed a spot in this category: historical epics, and anything scored by John Williams. For the former, the obvious representatives are The Last Emperor, the almost three-hour bio of the last representative of empirical rule in China, Pu Yi, and Empire of the Sun, Steven Spielberg's three-hour narrative of a young English boy's experiences in a Japanese POW camp in China; for the latter, look no further than the sexy supernatural fantasy-comedy The Witches of Eastwick...and also Empire of the Sun. Double-dipping! We may be tempted to include Cry Freedom in the historical epic category, but good Lord, no. Which just leaves The Untouchables, a 1920s-set gangster thriller, scored by the legendary Ennio Morricone.
I find Cong Su's remarks, as translated by David Byrne, about wishing for more interest in the arts of China especially poignant, given that, as the only Chinese composer on the film, his work is relegated to but one track - "Lunch" between Peter O'Toole's Reginald Johnston and Wu Tao's young Pu Yi.
Anyway. Let's listen to the music, shall we? After the jump....
I love Best Original Song. It's such a kooky category for the Academy to stubbornly cling to, all while neglecting stunt performers, casting directors, and more options for hair and makeup. The 1980s were the heyday for this category, giving us TOP 40 hits and karaoke classics like "Fame", "Take My Breath Away", "Flashdance...What a Feeling", "I Just Called to Say I Love You" - and of course, this year's winner.
Honestly, I think the latter half of the 2010s is proving to be one of the stronger periods, as well, but take a look at the full slate of 1987's nominees and tell me this isn't a formidable lineup. Well, mostly.
This has got to be the first time this happened in Academy Awards history: the studio made the right call...but the voters committed category fraud! Two of the nominees for Best Supporting Actor - Broadcast News' Albert Brooks and Cry Freedom's Denzel Washington - were being pushed for Lead by their respective campaigns. Washington even received a Golden Globe nomination in that category. Yet when the nominations were announced, both men found themselves here.
Another arguably leading man taking up a spot was Street Smart's Morgan Freeman. Though already named Best Supporting Actor by NSFC, the LA Film Critics Association, and Independent Spirit Awards, Freeman's Bill the Butcher to Christopher Reeve's Amsterdam Vallon. Also: this was the first time in history two black men were nominated in the same acting category.
1987's Best Supporting Actress lineup was all first-timers, which wouldn't happen again until 1995. But these weren't new names on the block, by any means. Anne Archer, the youngest, was Miss Golden Globe 1971, while 59-year-old Anne Ramsey was the newest kid on the block - and she'd been in movies since...well, since Anne Archer was Miss Golden Globe. The other nominees were first lady of the Argentine theatre and star of 1985's Foreign Language Film Winner The Official Story Norma Aleandro; Broadway vet and New York character actress Olympia Dukakis; and Golden Age stalwart, Maisie star, and pioneering four-time Emmy nominee Ann Sothern, in what would be her final role (she retired, deciding the nomination was the right high note to go out on).
And of course, only one could win, though it wasn't exactly a shock. Only one of these five actresses had been previously named Best Supporting Actress by the Golden Globes, LA Film Critics Association and National Board of Review, in addition to being nominated by the New York Film Critics Circle. It was the same actress whose own cousin Michael was also in the running for a nomination - that of President of the United States.
Not a surprise...but that doesn't make it any less wonderful! Let's talk more about each nominee, after the jump...
We're taking a look at the 60th Academy Awards for the next two weeks. Don't you think we owe it to ourselves to watch the opening number from that year?
The year is 1988. The host is Chevy Chase. And when you tune your TV to ABC, this is what you see:
The best part is obviously the dancing Oscars around 5:22, a genuinely thrilling effect. The second best part is the cut to the unamused actors at 6:34. "Ugh, please don't involve me," Michael Douglas wants to scream. Meryl looks mildly amused until she realizes she's on. Albert Brooks is actively hiding!
Tomorrow, we dig into Best Supporting Actress. Do join us...
Each of these film involves something that isn't human...sometimes not of this world...monsters - but not necessarily monstrous.
Harry and the Hendersons
dir: William Dear
scr: William Dear and Bill Martin & Ezra D. Rappaport
Oscar Winner: Best Makeup
Family finds sasquatch and takes him home. Works in its own wacky family-friendly comedy way. Brilliant casting: John Lithgow in Lithgow mode, of course; Melinda Dillon as a deadpan-irked but also devoted wife and mom, duh; but a pre-Poirot David Suchet as a French bigfoot hunter?! GENIUS! Impressive makeup effects aid in Kevin Peter Hall's sweet execution of the titular Harry. I love a movie that knows what it is and embraces it.
The Lost Boys, Prince of Darkness, and more - after the jump.....
Oscar Nominee: Best Original Song ("Storybook Love")
Terrific fun. Large cast of heavy-hitters delivers the goods: Mandy Patinkin stands out, but Andre the Giant, Wallace Shawn, Christopher Guest, Chris Sarandon, Billy Crystal...all great! Bad electronica orchestration of an otherwise good score; wish Robin Wright had more to do.
Full Metal Jacket, The Living Daylights, and more, after the jump....
The following films should be easy to remember - they are, after all, only one word apiece!
dir: Paul Verhoeven
scr: Edward Neumeier & Michael Miner
Oscar Winner: Special Achievement Award for Sound Effects Editing
Oscar Nominee: Best Film Editing, Best Sound
Near future cop becomes law-and-order cyborg. Fierce critique of commodification of public services increasingly relevant; glorification of violence also biting (RoboCop is a good guy with a gun!). Not a detail missed: the ads, the cheery news reports, murder as minor setback at work. Peter Weller's performance a ballet of understatement. Lean, mean, sharp. Dare I say...perfect?
Ten more, including Predator and Mannequin, after the jump...
The following films were all nominated for Academy Awards - and won nothing. HOWEVER! They did win other awards, like a BAFTA or a critics' award, and I have noted those wins in each entry.
Empire of the Sun
dir: Steven Spielberg
scr: Tom Stoppard, based on the novel by J.G. Ballard
Oscar Nominee: Best Score, Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Best Film Editing, Best Costume Design, Best Sound
Award Winner: BAFTA Award for Best Score, Best Cinematography, Best Sound; National Board of Review for Best Film, Best Director (Steven Spielberg), Outstanding Juvenile Performance (Christian Bale)
Experiences of an English boy in China during Japanese occupation. Stands alongside the great epics. Large-scale evacuation of Shanghai, playful run through the POW camp, dreamlike tour of the abandoned stadium, wrenching "I can save everyone!" moment among Spielberg's greatest achievements.
The last year we went without a Woody Allen movie was 1981. Maybe that's why Allen felt he needed to fit two into 1987.
By the time Hannah and Her Sisters was winning Oscars, filming was already underway on Radio Days, a fact Dianne Wiest alluded to in her acceptance speech. Radio Days was already out by the time September was in reshoots - this according to Thierry de Navacelle's Woody Allen On Location. A year later, one would be up for Academy Awards, while the other would be tossed aside, doomed to become an "oh yeah" title in the writer-director's filmography.
I've seen 22 of his films (just a small dent in his filmography, but why blow through everything before I'm 30? Let me keep finding the gems!), and really only have a problem with two or three of them. He released an average of one film a year over a period of 40 years, making him one of the most prolific filmmakers in modern history. And wouldn't you know? He released two movies in 1987! Let's talk about them!
A new month, a new retrospective: for the next five weeks, the Silver Screening Room is dedicated to the films of 1987, from the Oscars to the also-rans! I'm talking The Last Emperor and The Lost Boys; The Princess Bride and Prince of Darkness; Broadcast News and House II: The Second Story!
Of the 71 movies screened, 66 will be reviewed by next Friday; the remaining five are Oscar's Best Picture nominees - Broadcast News, Fatal Attraction, Hope and Glory, The Last Emperor, Moonstruck - which we'll discuss at the end of the two-week Oscar retrospective; and we'll close out the month with the Top Ten, Nominees, and two-part "ceremony" for the 1987 Hollmann Awards.
The films screened:
84 Charing Cross Road
Adventures in Babysitting
Au Revoir Les Enfants
Beverly Hills Cop II
Empire of the Sun
Flowers in the Attic
Full Metal Jacket
Gaby: A True Story
Good Morning, Vietnam
Harry and the Hendersons
Hope and Glory
House II: The Second Story
The Last Emperor
The Living Daylights
The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne
The Lost Boys
Masters of the Universe
The Monster Squad
My Life as a Dog
O.C. and Stiggs
Planes, Trains & Automobiles
Prick Up Your Ears
Prince of Darkness
The Princess Bride
Surf Nazis Must Die
Three Men and a Baby
Throw Momma from the Train
The Whales of August
Who's That Girl?
The Witches of Eastwick
Withnail & I
We begin properly tomorrow, with a look at the films of Robert Altman, who double-dipped with O.C. and Stiggs and Beyond Therapy - and not on purpose...
Over at The Film Experience, Nathaniel Rogers has begun his annual April Foolish Oscar predictions, which means the race can finally begin again! Here's what I think may be nominated next February at the 91st Academy Awards, keeping in mind that none of these films have screened, no one knows anything, and I am spotty with my advance predictions.
These first five are my "most likely". I know, I know: three biopics? In a post-Shape of Water world? What is this, 2005? But hear me out.
Adam McKay returns with his first film since The Big Short, finding political filmmaking to his liking with the Dick Cheney biopic Backseat. If it doesn't leave too bad a taste in people's mouths - it could go either way between "Boy, we thought we had it bad then" and "And that's why we're in this mess now" - this could be the frontrunner.
I also have the creative teams behind Moonlight and La La Land facing off once again with, respectively, If Beale Street Could Talk (an adaptation of a novel by James Baldwin) and First Man (an adaptation of a biography of Neal Armstrong). And let me say this,: if Backseat isn't the frontrunner, expect First Man to step in, as both a look back at a time you could be proud to be an American and an apology for La La Land not actually winning.
It'd be crazy not to have a woman-led film in the conversation, so expect Ruth Bader Ginsburg biopic On the Basis of Sex to hit big. And for my fifth slot, after some hemming and hawing, I went with another woman-led film...blockbuster crowdpleaser Mary Poppins Returns. Because right now, anything is possible!
As for the rest of the lineup, here's what I expect, in order of likelihood:
scr: Elizabeth Berger & Isaac Aptaker, based on the novel Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
seen: Regal LA Live
Very sweet high school dramedy about a teen's coming-out struggles. Imperfect, but does a nice job of portraying flawed people honestly trying, sometimes coming up short, sometimes giving way too much credit, but always striving. Phenomenal supporting cast, satisfying ending. Accurately portrays drunkenly practicing Cabaret choreography your senior year.
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 Freed, Black Panther, and even a friend's film!
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 leastdivisive 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.
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.
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?
Come Back to the 5 & Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean
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.