LIVE BLOGGING the 2014 Golden Globes!

11 01 2015

10:03 P.M.  3 for “Boyhood,” 2 for “The Theory of Everything” and “Birdman.”

10:01 P.M.  I love Meryl’s excited squeals for “Boyhood.”  Ethan Hawke and Ellar Coltrane just shared a beautiful hug behind everyone.

More Boyhood

10:0o P.M.  BEST PICTURE (DRAMA): “BOYHOOD

9:59 P.M.  This show needed more Tina and Amy.  Sigh.

9:55 P.M.  Glad to see Redmayne is not above fawning over all the incredible actors.  Sweet speech, charming guy.

Theory of Everything

9:53 P.M.  BEST ACTOR (DRAMA): EDDIE REDMAYNE, THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING

9:52 P.M.  Why is McConaughey speaking in that strange accent?!

Still Alice

9:51 P.M.  BEST ACTRESS (DRAMA): JULIANNE MOORE, “STILL ALICE”

9:46 P.M.  Wes Anderson naming off the names of HFPA members seems a little … um, awkward?  Maybe slightly culturally insensitive?

The Grand Budapest Hotel

9:45 P.M.  BEST PICTURE (MUSICAL/COMEDY): “THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL

9:43 P.M.  Channing Tatum’s fake tan seems a little overdone tonight.

9:39 P.M.  Michael Keaton’s son that he referenced in the speech, Sean Douglas, is a songwriter whose credits include Jason DeRulo’s “Talk Dirty.”  Umm … well, that’s probably paying the bills.

9:34 P.M.  Keaton thanks the HFPA for having a “comedy” category, but how much does it really celebrate comedies?!  Anyways, nice to see someone as articulate and underrated as Keaton get some recognition.

Keaton in Birdman

9:33 P.M.  BEST ACTOR (MUSICAL/COMEDY): MICHAEL KEATON, “BIRDMAN

9:25 P.M.  Richard Linklater: “We’re all flawed in this world, no one’s perfect.”

Linklater

9:24 P.M.  BEST DIRECTOR: RICHARD LINKLATER, “BOYHOOD

9:15 P.M.  Pretty sure McConaughey is sweating through his shirt.  His jacket was definitely off.

9:14 P.M.  George Clooney: “Thanks for keeping small films alive.”

9:12 P.M.  Props to Disney for getting a clip from “Tomorrowland” into the Clooney montage.

9:08 P.M.  Julianna Marguiles: “Has George ever asked you to tour a disaster area with him?” / Don Cheadle: “Yes, he invited me to the set of ‘The Monuments Men!'”

9:00 P.M.  Hard to believe that two-time Oscar winning actor Kevin Spacey is only just now winning his first Golden Globe.

8:55 P.M.  The backstage/hall cam is pretty awkward…

8:54 P.M.  “House of Cards” snubbed once again.  “The Affair” was horribly derivative in the one episode I watched.

8:46 P.M.  Well, maybe Maggie Gyllenhaal’s “The Honorable Woman” will have to go on my Netflix queue.  Here’s the link for anyone who wants to add it as well.  I enjoy the sibling love with her and Jake, and I especially love her shoutout to the “actual women.”  Basically, here’s my takeaway from tonight’s show:

Who Run the World

8:44 P.M.  Ok, is that how “Leviathan” is pronounced, all French like Lupita Nyong’o said it?  I assumed it was “Luh-vie-uh-than.”

Leviathan

8:43 P.M.  BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM: “LEVIATHAN

8:37 P.M.  But is there still money in the banana stand, Jeffrey Tambor?

8:35 P.M.  Don Cheadle is not in “House of Cards,” presenters.  But, I will say, I would love to see him guest star.

8:33 P.M.  Glad to see Jack Black giving love to the underappreciated Linklater.  I totally want to see “Bernie 2,” Jack, I stand with you.

8:32 P.M.  Didn’t hear any of the speech because my parents were talking…

Birdman

8:30 P.M.  BEST SCREENPLAY: “BIRDMAN

8:28 P.M.  Anyone else noting how much the people on stage are sweating?  The AC has to be broken or something…

Bill Hader in The Skeleton Twins

8:27 P.M.  No proclaiming that Hader and Wiig were the stars of “The Skeleton Twins?”  Come on…

8:26 P.M.  Ok, the North Korean jokes are getting old.  It’s just kind of insensitive and monotonous at this point.

8:22 P.M.  Full text of the George Clooney feminist joke, thanks to BuzzFeed.

“George Clooney married Amal Alamuddin this year. Amal is a human rights lawyer who worked on the Enron case, was an adviser to Kofi Annan regarding Syria, and was selected to a three-person U.N. commission investigating rules of war violations in the Gaza Strip. So tonight, her husband is getting a lifetime achievement award.”

8:21 P.M.  Patricia Arquette: “Meryl, thank you for giving me a hug, I hope your DNA transferred.”  Also, glad to see the winning women standing up for women of all varieties.

Arquette

8:19 P.M.  BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: PATRICIA ARQUETTE, “BOYHOOD

8:16 P.M.  When they said Channing Tatum was in three nominated films tonight, I thought it must have been a flubbed line.  But two of those were animated – “The Book of Life” and “The Lego Movie.”

8:14 P.M.  BEST ANIMATED MOVIE: HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2

8:13 P.M.  Kevin Hart: “I’m here for this, it’s not about ‘The Wedding Ringer.'”  Yeah, sure…

8:07 P.M.  Nice feminist moment for Amy Adams as she racks up back-to-back Golden Globe wins.  Not her best role or film, but she’s just so sweet and likable, darn it!

Amy Adams Big EYes

8:05 P.M.  BEST ACTRESS (MUSICAL/COMEDY): AMY ADAMS, BIG EYES

8:03 P.M.  Where are Tina and Amy?  MIA…

7:55 P.M.  That could not possibly have been more awkward cutting between the shot of John Legend’s wife and the cutaway to Prince.  “Selma is now,” said Common.  Glad to see he also expressed solidarity with the two NYPD officers slain in the line of duty.

Selma

7:52 P.M.  BEST ORIGINAL SONG: GLORY, “SELMA

7:50 P.M.  OMG – Prince!  What a look!

Theory

7:48 P.M.  BEST ORIGINAL SCORE: “THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING

7:43 P.M.  Too bad for Eddie Redmayne that the bomb that will be “Jupiter Ascending” drops on theaters as he’s trying to win an Oscar … Focus should ask WB to pull these trailers from awards broadcasts.

Jupiter

7:37 P.M.  Bummer to see Julia Louis-Dreyfus go down.  “Veep” is my favorite show … shameless plug.

7:35 P.M.  Great to see artists stand up and cheer for freedom of expression.

7:33 P.M.  Pretty shameless attempt to recreate the Ellen selfie…

Meryl

Needed more people to top Ellen…

Ellen

7:30 P.M.  I just realized that I totally forgot a category…

Best Animated Film:The Lego Movie” (alt. “How To Train Your Dragon 2“)

7:26 P.M.  Potentially the best speech ever from Billy Bob Thornton.  “You get in trouble for anything you say these days, so I’m just gonna say thank you.”

7:25 P.M.  Ouch for the “True Detective” shutout.  Have to say, I agree (even though I have not watched “Fargo”).  The show was overrated.

7:22 P.M.  Ok, these rapid-fire show descriptions are not helpful.

7:22 P.M.  Jennifer Lopez looking like she might have a wardrobe malfunction/nip slip.

7:17 P.M.  Glad Joanne Froggat is shedding light on the plight of sexual assault survivors.  This is such a great platform to spread awareness to important causes.  Bonus points for doing it without ranting or preaching.

7:14 P.M.  Miles Teller getting some nice notice in front of the entire industry.  And gotta love all the Jason Reitman love!

JK Simmons Miles Teller Whiplash

7:12 P.M.  BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: J.K. SIMMONS, “WHIPLASH

7:12 P.M.  So did they actually flub the teleprompter?  Was it actually spontaneous?

7:11 P.M.  Hello, Jennifer Aniston’s leg.

7:09 P.M.  Aaaand there’s the Bill Cosby joke.

7:07 P.M.  Would you rather, Linklater or Iñarritu?  “Once, five minutes per year” vs. “One take, two hours, no stopping.”  Brilliant.

7:06 P.M.  Tina Fey just dropped the mic for working women everywhere.  Bravo.

7:04 P.M.  A joke I could not type in real time – “Boyhood proves there’s still good roles for women over 40 when you get hired in your 20’s.”

7:03 P.M. Hi, Joaquin Phoenix!  You da man!

7:03 P.M. Back off Emma Stone, she’s gorgeous!

7:01 P.M. Starting off with jokes on the Sony hack and the leaked emails – great, I guess, since Angelina Jolie isn’t there.

6:55 P.M. Since I’m running short on time, I’ll just post projected winners with alternates – and save my should win/be nominated picks for the Oscars live blog!  Classic cliffhanger…

Best Picture (Drama): “Boyhood” (alt. “The Imitation Game“)

Best Picture (Musical/Comedy):Birdman” (alt. “Into the Woods“)

Best Actor (Drama): Eddie Redmayne, “The Theory of Everything” (alt. Benedict Cumberbatch, “The Imitation Game“)

Best Actor (Musical/Comedy): Michael Keaton, “Birdman” (alt. Joaquin Phoenix, “Inherent Vice“)

Best Actress (Drama): Julianne Moore, “Still Alice” (alt. Reese Witherspoon, “Wild“)

Best Actress (Musical/Comedy): Emily Blunt, “Into the Woods” (alt. Amy Adams, “Big Eyes“)

Best Supporting Actor: J.K. Simmons, “Whiplash” (alt. Edward Norton, “Birdman“)

Best Supporting Actress: Patricia Arquette, “Boyhood” (alt. Meryl Streep, “Into the Woods“)

Best Director: Richard Linklater, “Boyhood” (alt. Ava DuVernay, “Selma“)

Best Screenplay:Boyhood” (alt. “Gone Girl”)

Best Foreign Language Film: Ida” (alt. “Leviathan“)

Best Score:Interstellar” (alt. “Gone Girl“)

Best Song: Big Eyes from “Big Eyes” (alt. Glory from “Selma“)

Boyhood (2)

6:20 P.M. Well, running a little late due to packing, but I’m ready to start the constant glueing of my eyes to the TV and computer screen.  I’m looking forward to a hilarious ceremony that hopefully features some deserving winners!  I’m not necessarily pulling strongly for a single movie, so I guess I’m Team Boyhood.

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LISTFUL THINKING: Top 10 of 2014 (The Self-Aware One)

31 12 2014

Boyhood stillAnother year gone by, and what an odd and largely unremarkable one (at least for me).  That’s not to say, however, that there were not plenty of good movies to see.  Between two years – this and last – packed with film festivals as well as a summer living in Los Angels, I have racked up a shamefully high film count for 2014.

The final tally: 154.  That’s a gain of over 50% from just two years ago.  And, mind you, I still have many left to see, although only “Selma” and “American Sniper” would likely have ended up on this list.  Impressively, I have actually managed to review all of them (including one for “A Most Violent Year” which irksomely has to be held another month).

I usually try to tie my year-end top 10 list around a theme or a unifying idea, and this year is no different.  At the beginning of the month, my films were essentially set (sadly), but I could not for the life of me find a correlation or angle.  Then, I read a rather snarky piece by Anne Thompson of IndieWire called “How to Make a Ten Best List in Five Easy Steps.”

Thompson is a highly regarded entertainment reporter, and I value her insight on industry news that provides more thorough coverage than the click-bait titles.  At times, though, I find her writing contains a certain aura of superiority that verges on haughtiness.  In this reductionist list, which I believe is meant to be in jest to some degree, here are some of her suggestions for top 10 building:

“1. Include a selection of brainy consensus critical faves of the sort that are likely to be Oscar contenders.

2. Add a few popular hits as well to show that you click with the mainstream.

3. Add at least one wild blue yonder arcane title, either foreign or up-and-coming indie, that will leave readers scratching their heads, impressed with your erudition. This proves that you saw way more movies than they did.”

Pike Affleck Gone GirlI dismissed the piece at first, and then I told myself that such blind herd mentality was something to which I was not susceptible.  I don’t normally drink the Kool-Aid and tow the critics/bloggers party line – I picked “Win Win” and “The Queen of Versailles” as my favorites of their respective years, for heaven’s sake!

Yet I could not shake Thompson’s piece off, for whatever reason.  I kept thinking about it and realized that my top picks for the year might not match up with a ton of external validators, but they did meet a certain set of internal criteria.  As it turns out, I do have a couple of favorite “types” that rear their heads in my annual top 10 list.  These are not necessarily genres or styles of filmmaking so much as they are experiences.

So, without further ado, my extremely self-aware top 10 films of 2014.  I hope no one is incredibly offended by me reducing these films to merely what they meant to me, but if you want to read a pure assessment of their merits, click on the title to be taken to my original review.

Read the rest of this entry »





REVIEW: Interstellar

9 11 2014

“We were meant to be explorers, pioneers – not caretakers,” utters Matthew McConaughey’s Cooper towards the start of “Interstellar.”  This declaration is true not only for the world of the film but also of its filmmaker, the inimitable Christopher Nolan.  As if exploring the deepest corners of the mind with “Inception” or redefining an entire cinematic genre with “The Dark Knight” was not enough, he has now flung his vision and ambition into the farthest reaches of space and time.

His “Interstellar” is not limited by dimensions nor encumbered by gravity.  It defies time and space entirely.  It is at once poetic and narrative.  It is a calculated work of science that also operates from a profound emotional level, wedding Kubrickian formalism to Spielbergian sentimentalism.  And most importantly, it inspires wonder and awe.

This is why, at least in Christopher Nolan’s lifetime, the movie theater experience will not perish.  His cinema is bold, immersive, and ultimately transcendent.  He goes beyond capturing an image or a feeling for what it is, showing the majesty it can embody and convey.  When at his calibrated best, Nolan can invoke not only a visceral reaction but also a spiritual one.

He is the undeniable myth maker of our time.  If that does not prompt loyal adherence, it should, at the bare minimum, command admiration and respect.  No one else working with this massive a budget is coming anywhere close to approximating Nolan’s scope or verve.  “Interstellar” is the latest shining star in his cinematic universe, and it shines brightly as a paradigm of balancing artistry and authorship along with accessibility and avant-gardism.

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Random Factoid #570

29 10 2014

InterstellarI figured in order to break myself out of my recent writing slump, I’d bring back an old favorite … the Random Factoid!

Because I go to the movies and have a brain, I am a huge fan of Christopher Nolan and eagerly await his upcoming feature “Interstellar.”  Because I have such confidence in Nolan, I don’t need to be sold on the movie’s plot or marketing materials.  Thus, I am trying to avoid them at all costs.

This is nothing new for me.  Back in 2010, I wrote of my efforts to pull off a similar feat in the wake of the opening of “Inception” in Random Factoid #275:

“I am attempting to do the impossible: avoid the media blitz surrounding Christopher Nolan’s “Inception” and walk into the theater on July 16th without knowing anything about the plot.  I am not going to read plot summaries, watch trailers, or read any sort of specific review.

I am prepared to do whatever it takes not to have this movie spoiled.  I will start bringing either headphones or earplugs to tentpole summer movies where previews will most assuredly play.  If I see any feature on the movie, I will shield my eyes and go away.”

I’m still doing the same with trailers at the movies; last night, I even walked out of the theater for three minutes while the “Interstellar” trailer played (to the complete bafflement of the rest of the crowd).  But this abstinence has taken on a new battlefront in 2014: social media and trade websites.  Because the embargo has broken and people can start talking about the content of “Interstellar,” I have sworn to myself that I will not take the risk of having anything spoiled for me by visiting these sites.

I unfollowed The Hollywood Reporter, Variety, and IndieWire on Facebook so their posts don’t appear on my News Feed.  (Like I was going to give up Facebook entirely?  Please.)  I won’t check any sort of awards handicapping site because they are most assuredly breaking “Interstellar” down in those terms.  It’s essentially like a miniature Lent for the Church of Christopher Nolan.  Who knows what I’ll do with all this time I’m saving in avoiding these sites?

Maybe start writing reviews again … actually, make that definitely!





LISTFUL THINKING: Most Anticipated Movies of 2014

2 01 2014

I’m still not quite ready to admit that it’s 2014 yet.  Heck, I still have stacks and stacks of 2013 reviews to write.  (Not to mention loads of outstanding reviews dating back to 2009…)  But these 10 movies give me something to look forward to – and I’m sure this is only scratching the surface.  So much of the fun of following and watching movies is finding fun surprises throughout the year.

Most of my top 10 list of 2013 did not come from my most anticipated films of 2013.  In fact, only two did.  But waiting for these films will keep me occupied while the best films of the year do come along.

HONORABLE MENTION

I’m hoping for good things from “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” after 2011’s superb “Rise” successfully rebooted the franchise.  And even though “Mockingjay” was my least favorite book in the “Hunger Games” franchise, the vigor of the “Catching Fire” movie has me excited.  Brad Pitt’s WWII flick “Fury,” helmed by “End of Watch” director ought to be promising for Oscars and entertainment.

Tammy

#10
“Tammy” (July 2)
Directed by Ben Falcone
Written by Ben Falcone and Melissa McCarthy
Starring Melissa McCarthy, Susan Sarandon, and and Dan Aykroyd

Ok, I’ll admit I know almost nothing about this movie.  But if Melissa McCarthy could make “Identity Thief” bearable and “The Heat” pretty hilarious in spite of its lackluster plot, then I can really get excited about a project she wrote with her husband.  Yes, her husband was Air Marshal John from “Bridesmaids,” and he’s also serving as co-writer and director.  Should be a hilarious highlight of the summer.

The Fault in Our Stars

#9
“The Fault in Our Stars” (June 6)
Directed by Josh Boone
Written by Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber
Starring Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort, and Willem Dafoe

I read this book in three days this fall.  I’m not saying it was great, but I just couldn’t put it down.  And now I can’t wait to see the movie because I know I’m going to cry like a baby.  (It’s about teenage cancer patients, in case you didn’t know.)  The book almost had me sobbing, which is something only “Where the Red Fern Grows” has accomplished in my life.

Foxcatcher

#8
“Foxcatcher” (TBD)
Directed by Bennett Miller
Written by Dan Futterman and E. Max Frye
Starring Steve Carell, Channing Tatum, and Mark Ruffalo

Bennett Miller’s “Moneyball” has continued to grow on me over the past two years, and there’s something oddly intriguing about his follow-up, “Foxcatcher.”  Check out the trailer if you want to see how strange and unconventional it appears to be.  Something tells me he’s going to get shocking career-best work from Carell and Tatum.

Noah

#7
“Noah” (March 28)
Directed by Darren Aronofsky
Written by Darren Aronofsky and Ari Handel
Starring Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, and Anthony Hopkins

So the trailer might have been slightly underwhelming, and the supposed studio interference has me a little worried.  But this Darren Freaking Aronofsky’s follow-up to “Black Swan.”  It’s the Bible as we’ve never seen it before, according to the Oscar-nominated director.  And he must be onto something because there are now multiple Biblical epics in the pipelines at various Hollywood studios…

Jersey Boys

#6
“Jersey Boys” (June 20)
Directed by Clint Eastwood
Written by John Logan and Rick Elice
Starring John Lloyd Young, Vincent Piazza, and Christopher Walken

Clint Eastwood hasn’t exactly been on a hot streak as of late (hello, “Hereafter” and “J. Edgar“), but maybe a change in the tenor of his material will bring out the 2-time Oscar winner’s best.  He’s working with some brilliant source material in “Jersey Boys,” which is still one of my favorite Broadway shows.  Those who don’t love the stage musical format should take comfort in knowing the jukebox style lends itself to a much more cinematically friendly transfer.

Transcendence

#5
“Transcendence” (April 18)
Directed by Wally Pfister
Written by Jack Paglen
Starring Johnny Depp, Rebecca Hall, and Kate Mara

Christopher Nolan’s films, in particular “The Dark Knight” and “Inception,” have been immaculately lensed by Wally Pfister.  Now, he’s decided to sit in the director’s chair, and he’s brought along Nolan stalwarts Morgan Freeman and Cillian Murphy for his debut.  The trailer sure looks great – certainly unlike anything else I’ve ever seen.

Inherent Vice

#4
“Inherent Vice” (TBD)
Written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson
Starring Joaquin Phoenix, Reese Witherspoon, and Josh Brolin

Hopefully this one does in fact see a release in 2014, but I’m certainly curious to how on earth Paul Thomas Anderson plans to top “The Master.”  Re-teaming with Joaquin Phoenix is a promising start.  The bold filmmaker’s decision to tackle the difficult prose of novelist Thomas Pynchon means we could be in for another quite enigmatic film … and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

22 Jump Street

#3
“22 Jump Street” (June 13)
Directed by Phil Lord and Chris Miller
Written by Michael Bacall, Rodney Rothman, and Oren Uziel
Starring Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill, and Ice Cube

21 Jump Street” is probably my favorite comedy of the 2010s, so you can imagine my delight when they announced a sequel that sends Jenko and Schmidt to college.  The first trailer was phenomenal.  Hopefully it’s not the extent of the film’s laughs.

Gone Girl

#2
“Gone Girl” (October 3)
Directed by David Fincher
Written by Gillian Flynn
Starring Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, and Tyler Perry

I read “Gone Girl” essentially in a day over the summer, and I cannot wait to see how Fincher brings it to life.  It seems like a very happy median between the verbal ping-pong of “The Social Network” and the darkness of “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.”  I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it makes a star out of Rosamund Pike, whose talents I’ve been touting since “An Education.”

Interstellar

#1
“Interstellar” (November 7)
Directed by Christopher Nolan
Written by Christopher and Jonathan Nolan
Starring Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, and Jessica Chastain

Christopher Nolan is releasing a new movie.  That ought to be all I have to say, even though my disappointment still continues to grow over “The Dark Knight Rises.”  The fact that he’s assembled McConaughey, Hathaway, and Chastain, along with Michael Caine, Matt Damon, Casey Affleck, and Ellen Burstyn for the film is encouraging (even if the first teaser wasn’t).