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


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


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

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


9:43 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


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



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.”



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…



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.



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.”


8:13 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


8:03 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.



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



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.


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…


Needed more people to top 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.  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.

REVIEW: Leviathan (2014)

25 12 2014

LeviathanIn the past few years, both the Coen Brothers in “A Serious Man” and Terence Malick in “The Tree of Life” have explored the perpetually head-scratcher of a Biblical story that is Job.  The perceived human disparity between is and ought as well as the unfathomable question of why bad things happen to seemingly good people is always relevant.  These American directors, to varying degrees of success, managed to pose the questions raised by Job without explicitly mentioning it to the audience.

Russian writer/director Andrey Zvyagintsev displays no such reticence in his film “Leviathan.”  His central character Kolya, a provincial man facing a potentially unlawful government seizure of his coastal property, is explicitly told within the film itself to reconsider his woes in light of Job’s struggles.  The complete lack of subtlety denies some of the joys of discovery for the viewer, yet it does little to detract from this astute depiction of contemporary Russia.

Zvyagintsev sets his sights big with a clear allegory for the state of the nation.  The plain, unassuming Kolya is the Russian everyman whose home and town already appear to be in a state of disrepair.  His nemesis is a corrupt civil servant, the mayor Vadim, who wishes to have the property for a “communications center.”

As if his position alone did not indicate a reference to Russia’s president, the swaggering, oafish bully is a visible Putin acolyte.  A picture of the country’s leader hangs in his office, and Vadim has, whether consciously or subconsciously, even modeled his hairstyle after Putin.  The deck seems stacked against Kolya from the very beginning as Vadim has enormous power to wield and support from the Russian religious establishment.

“Leviathan” makes quite the condemnation of these large societal forces and their perverse collusion, but Zvyagintsev never loses sight of the human collateral damage taken by the conjoined church-state beast.  While the first portion of the film is rather heavy on dialogue and plot development, the concluding sections are more ambient and brooding.  Everyday torments shine a powerful light on existential tussles, a powerful connection that resonates tremendously.  B+3stars

REVIEWS: Leviathan, Manakamana (Harvard Sensory Ethnography Lab)

20 08 2014

LeviathanIf you’re at all a fan of documentaries (or care about seeing the future of film aesthetics), you ought to begin familiarizing yourself with the work of the Harvard Sensory Ethnography Lab.  These groups of experimental filmmakers are beginning to push the form in exciting directions that are worth noticing.  They have not entirely hit their stride, but two recent features, “Leviathan” and “Manakamana,” are worth examining as potential harbingers of great things to come.

I don’t intend to give an informational survey as if you were applying for admission, especially since there are two superb write-ups in The New York Times and Boston Magazine.  But if I had to reduce their goals and aims into a single-sentence mission statement, the Harvard Sensory Ethnography Lab is aiming to document the wide range of experience on our planet through the use of uniquely innovative techniques.

I have a hard time figuring out what the actual first film of the lab truly was, but the first project of theirs that came to my attention was “Leviathan.”  This documentary, directed by Véréna Paravel and Lucien Castaing-Taylor, takes a look at the work of commercial fisherman in the American Northeast.  The approach to immersing us in that world is not to tell us about it, or even show it to us.  We have to feel it on a visceral level.

Paravel and Castaing-Taylor stick GoPro cameras just about anywhere they can and splice together their footage into something that often achieves hallucinatory heights.  No offense to your friends’ GoPro selfies on mountains, but “Leviathan” is the real deal in terms of utilizing the potential of these now seemingly ubiquitous compact cameras.  Simply trying to discern where the filmmakers placed the camera to achieve a given shot seems a herculean effort.

That lingering question about camera position quickly fades away, however, as we simply accept that these mesmerizing sequences of “Leviathan” lack a conventional center of gravity.  Freed from the constraints of traditional camera maneuvers, the film liberates us to allow the sensation of swimming through the water like a fish seize us entirely.

Sadly, “Leviathan” is not solely composed of these scenes.  At the opposite end of the spectrum from these formally daring scenes are portraits of the fishermen’s daily life that are far too naturalistic.  While the fishing is overwhelmingly kinetic, the still moments apart from the job are debilitatingly inert.  “Leviathan” might have been best served as a short subject documentary, taking somewhere in the range of 30-40 minutes to really showcase the brilliance of its aesthetic conceit.

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