Category Archives: Features

Screen Watch: July 21, 2017

Thoughts on movies, TV, and other things seen on flat screens

Ansel Elgort;Jon Hamm;Jamie Foxx;Eiza Gonzalez

Baby Driver

I’ve pretty much always been along for an Edgar Wright ride, even “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World” – and, while “Baby Driver” is better than that oft-maligned flop, it shares and drastically augments my growing concern that Wright has no idea how to cast his leads if Simon Pegg isn’t involved. Michael Cera’s lack of range and off-putting nebbishness tanked “Scott Pilgrim”‘s emotional core, and likewise whatever heights “Baby Driver”reaches are very frequently in spite of, not thanks to, Ansel Elgort’s black hole of charisma. He’s not *bad* exactly, as Baby, the getaway driver with a heart of gold, but he’s utterly boring, and when your narrative is nothing but familiar genre tropes strung together, boring is a cardinal sin.

There’s an exception or two of course: when Elgort gets to show off his training in ballet, as in the way he dances to himself in the car of the film’s opening, outstanding heist sequence, you practically weep wondering what “La La Land” could’ve been with actual dancers leading the way. But mostly Elgort is relegated to playing straight man to a more eclectic (and more fun) cast of supporting characters. Kevin Spacey, Jamie Foxx and Jon Hamm spice up the patter, finding room to play in the too-long gaps between undeniably exquisite chase scenes.

Wright’s been one of the best action directors in the world the past decade, hiding behind the comic facade “Hot Fuzz”, “Scott Pilgrim” and “The World’s End”; “Baby Driver” drops much of the parodic pretense, and it’s exhilarating. The chase scenes are slick, sweet, crowd-pleasing; it’s just too bad Wright’s formal mastery is paired with an utter disinterest in narrative innovation. “Baby Driver” is totally content, for instance, to let Lily James’ character be exactly a genre cliche, practically stepped straight out of a James Cagney flick. I still whole-heartedly believe Wright’s got a masterpiece in him, but gods it won’t be “Baby Driver 2”.

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The Beguiled

As usual, Sofia Coppola’s latest is utterly ravishing, and its opening shots of a misty, murky, overgrown Virginian estate immediately sets your mind for a moody, complex thriller – that simply never arrives. Coppola’s particular, repeated treatise on repressed white femininity has played out before with more engaging and engaged characters and style (“The Virgin Suicides”, “Lost in Translation” and “Marie Antoinette” are all hardly perfect, but they are bold messes).

Here, she ventures into historic drama and a loaded premise (a house full of Southern women who shelter a wounded, handsome Union soldier) – while apparently uninterested in most any of the implications of setting the story in a specific time, and a specific place. As told by Coppola, you could transplant this story to any war, in any time; and while universality can be a legitimate point to make, in this case the vagueness simply leaves more questions than connections: beyond the lazy explanation of “that’s the source material”, why the Civil War? Why Virginia? Why dismiss the house’s slaves with a literal one-liner of hand-waving dialogue? It is difficult to get engaged with a story that feels like it is only half-heartedly justifying itself.

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Okja

Bong Joon-ho’s ability to pull off a kitchen-sink approach to genre and tone remains unparalleled – it’s difficult to think of any other director who can slip from black comedy to thrilling action to quiet drama and back again so quickly, and so easily.

Like his previous high-profile international effort, “Snowpiercer”, “Okja” features a blatantly off-key performance that threatens to tip his delicately balanced boat over. In “Snowpiercer”, Chris Evans unfortunately never seemed to receive the “satire” memo; here, Jake Gyllenhaal seems to have taken it too close to heart, putting in such an outrageously cartoonish performance that it becomes impossible to focus on what is actually happening in any of his scenes, much less get emotionally invested in them.

But, far more finely calibrated performances from Tilda Swinton, Paul Dano and lead Ahn Seo-Hyun make “Okja” a winning, if not overpowering, modern fable. The heist/chase scene that arrives mid-second-act is one of the best setpieces of Bong’s career, and the early scenes of Ahn and her charming super-pig together in the forest channel Miyazaki in the best way.

 

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War for the Planet of the Apes

The “shock” that we can empathize with digital creations is, at this point, entirely stale – we can’t pretend like Pixar hasn’t been at it for 20 years now. Less examined, and less truly appreciated, is the ability to create utterly seamless blends of CGI and physical realities. I have yet to really be *convinced*, for instance, by literally any Marvel movie, in which weightless blurry robots are destroyed by weightless blurry humanoids, with Chris Hemsworth’s face grafted on to the blur most resembling a human head. Suspension of disbelief means that I can still carry on, and even greatly enjoy, most of these movies. But Hollywood has a problem, and it has to do with weight, and the under-explored (at least, when it comes to the cultural conversation around movies) psychological correspondence between physical and emotional presence.

I’m a newcomer to the new “Apes” trilogy, so yes, I’ll join the party and confirm that “War for the Planet of the Apes” is a shining example of movies that do *not* have this problem. Despite largely taking place in a “real” setting (that is, not Thanos’ asteroid, or a Death Star, or some other completely fantastical green-screen environment), Woody Harrelson’s character is more or less the only human character of note, the entire film otherwise being carried by the apes that seem to be equal parts performance-capture and VFX artistry. Film criticism and discourse has long resisted the true appreciation of collaborative efforts – witness, most everyone’s tendency (including my own) to continue referring to movies by their director as “author”, despite us all objectively recognizing that every movie is a herculean mosaic of group effort – and thus, credit for Caesar the chimp seems destined to be handed disproportionately either to Andy Serkis or Weta Digital, when the truth is likely an un-categorizable middle ground.

Regardless. Caesar’s struggle to consider what a leader can or should be, and the tension between those impulses, is a resonant and affecting creation. The third-act prison-escape drama of “War” threatens to drag out the story too long, but it comes roaring back to a thrilling conclusion thanks to Reeves’ sterling craft and canny eye for set-pieces.

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Veep, season 6 / Silicon Valley, season 4

Both HBO stalwarts had solid seasons of comedy, but neither really came close to their respective peaks. The best moments came from those mid- to late-run magic moments of actors and writers who so thoroughly know their characters by now that they’re free to just revel in the wriggly, weird details – see: Zach Woods’ Jared in “Silicon Valley”, revealing ever more hilariously disturbing pieces of his childhood and nearly creating a spinoff show with his schizophrenic side personality, tech bro “Jim Chambers”; or Tony Hale, Matt Walsh and Timothy Simons in “Veep” all somehow finding new depths of empathy and disgust in what, five seasons ago, were already one-note characters (Sam Richardson and Clea DuVall, secret MVPs over the past couple seasons of the show, were generally under-served this time around, but still came through with 101 mph fastballs in limited screentime).

I pair these two together because they’ve also both lost pretty much any narrative engagement to the cyclical nature of sitcoms at this point: the perpetual up-and-down fortunes of Pied Piper and Selina Meyer’s presidential hopes are, at this point, in dire need of a Daenerys Targaryen wheel-breaking. Perhaps, with T.J. Miller’s departure from “Silicon Valley”, that show will at last leave behind Ehrlich’s goddamn living room (or, at least, give us more Jian-Yang).

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House of Cards, season 5

Boy, speaking of wheel-spinning. Does this show have an endgame? A point to make that it didn’t make in season two? Any reason for existing at all? I mean, the ending of season five puts us back in literally the exact same place that season three ended, with the promise of Underwood vs. Underwood. Last time turned out to be a roughly two-episode-long feint; why should I believe the political thriller that cried wolf? Especially when there’s barely even fun to be had in the supporting cast anymore? (Does Lars Mikkelsen even know he’s still on this show???) The only glimmer of life here is Patricia Clarkson more or less playing Tammy One Goes to Washington.

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GLOW, season 1

Where “House of Cards” has grown utterly stale despite self-serious insistence that it’s “relevant”, “GLOW” feels fresh by embracing familiar, comfortable formula done well. We are in true boom times for half-hour comedy, but even so “GLOW” stands out for its snappy and savvy writing and top-to-bottom charming cast of established (Alison Brie, Marc Maron) and should-be (Sunita Mani, Sydelle Noel, Britney Young) stars. It won’t inspire as many thinkpieces as many other peak-TV offerings because it’s message, and implications, are straightforward and not terribly ambitious, but that’s most increasingly welcome in a bloated landscape of cultural conversation.

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The 2nd Annual ERPs

Last year I rolled out my first-ever ERPs – Ethan’s Repertory Picks. They’re meant to be a supplement to the ongoing EMOs, recognizing that my year of movie-watching is defined just as much by repertory screenings, Netflix binging and Criterion classics as by new releases.

This is not a  comprehensive rundown of every pre-2016 film I saw over the past year, but it is just an opportunity to give some notices and recommendations to movies that, for whatever reason, good or bad, stuck out to me. Then we’ll wrap things up with a Top 10 of classic picks – the most essential viewing experiences, good enough to deserve some legitimate thoughts thrown their way. Please enjoy!

For When You’re On a 90-Minute Sugar High And Literally Can Not Hold Your Attention For More Than Five Seconds At a Time: “The Transformers: The Movie” (1986), Nelson Shin

For When You Want to Feel Even More Shit and Terrified About the State of State Surveillance and Politics Than You Already Are: “Citizenfour” (2014), Laura Poitras

For Comfortingly Fictional Russian Spies: “The Deadly Affair” (1966), Sidney Lumet

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For Uncomfortably Not Fictional Nazis: “Hitler’s Madman” (1943), Douglas Sirk

For a Terrifically Gerunding Double Feature: “Knowing Men” (1930), Elinor Glyn; “Designing Woman” (1957), Vincente Minnelli

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For When You Want to Delve Into the Dark Side of the Expanded “Fast & Furious” Universe: “Better Luck Tomorrow” (2002), Justin Lin

For Adorably Mean Lucille Ball: “Dance, Girl, Dance” (1940), Dorothy Arzner

For When You’re Stuck in a Snowstorm in Donner Pass: “Trouble Every Day” (2001), Claire Denis; or “Ravenous” (1999), Antonia Bird

For Some Casually Sexist Superhero Bullshit That At Least Has Michael Peña In It: “Ant-Man” (2015), Peyton Reed

For Quality Family Time But You Really Need It To Be With Someone Else’s Family: “Monsoon Wedding” (2001), Mira Nair

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For Golden-Age Hollywood Doofiness With Just an Inexplicable Dash of Surreal Horror: “By Candlelight” (1933), James Whale

For a Detailed Instruction Guide to Heisting Jewel Shops and Then Getting Ridiculously Shot For It: “Thief”(1981), Michael Mann

For Making A New York Introvert Feel Better About At Least Occasionally Going Outside In Order to Watch Movies: “The Wolfpack” (2015), Crystal Moselle

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For An Eccentric Post-Apocalyptic Rock-Music Sci-Fi Thriller Featuring Strangely Attractive Dog-People-Hybrids That Literally Could Have Only Been Greenlit During Like a Ten-Minute Span in the ’80s: “Rock & Rule” (1983), Clive A. Smith

For When You Want to Watch “Titanic” But Don’t Want to Hear the Sound That Guy Makes When He Hits the Propeller: “A Night to Remember” (1958), Roy Ward Baker

For the Ur-Buddy Cop Comedy That Still Holds Up When Danny Glover Is On Screen and Less So When It’s the Other Guy: “Lethal Weapon” (1987), Richard Donner

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For Bleak Hollywood-Style Film Noir With Better Accents: “Odd Man Out” (1947), Carol Reed

For Normal Adult White People Working Out Normal Adult White People Problems: “Enough Said” (2013), Nicole Holofcener

For A Nasty R-Rated Marvel Movie That’s Not Nearly As Full Of Itself as “Deadpool”: “Punisher: War Zone” (2008), Lexi Alexander

For Dubbed Burt Lancaster Looking Fly As Heck: “The Leopard” (1963), Luchino Visconti

Top 10 Repertory Picks of 2016

10. “Fantastic Planet” (1973), René Laloux

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The allegory of Laloux’s cutout stop-motion masterpiece is thin, but broad (and, still far smarter than many of the derivative *coughAvatarcough* takes it inspired): in this tale of an alien planet where humans (Oms) are dominated and treated like animals by an advanced race of giant, blue-skinned Draags, you can easily spot the metaphors of racism, Cold War tension, etc. But the real reason to check out “Fantastic Planet” is the extraordinary psychedelic imagery, a batshit vision of surreal artistry. Wild, fantastic, savage – all the possible translations of the French title “sauvage” are appropriate here.

9. “The Ascent” (1977), Larisa Shepitko

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The bleakest film on this list by a country mile, terrible in its beauty. Yet Shepitko’s fable of Belarussian partisan fighters during WWII finds something mystical, quasi-Messianic, in the resilience of the human spirit in the face of death (…only some spirits, though). Even without the overt, uncanny spiritual imagery of a snowy, freezing purgatory, one has to consider anything with Anatoly Solonitsyn’s piercing stare something of a religious experience.

8. “An Autumn Afternoon” (1962), Yasujiro Ozu

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Ozu’s final film, and one of the most achingly lonely I’ve seen. Parents and children, husbands and wives – everyone’s well-intentioned, but no one communicates just right (particularly, you know…men). As Ebert wrote of “An Autumn Afternoon”: “We are here, we hope to be happy, we want to do well, we are locked within our aloneness, life goes on.” Only Ozu had a way of making such a profoundly fucking depressing statement seem tolerable – even oddly, gently, pleasant.

7. “Weekend” (2011), Andrew Haigh

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Eloquent, alluring, perceptive – “Weekend” deserves mention alongside some of the best cinematic stranger romances (although real talk everyone – why is this such a staple?) Supremely empathetic in the specificity and care given to reclusive, semi-closeted Russell and gregarious, vexed Glen, and all the nuances of their brief, ecstatic relationship, Haigh’s feature debut is utterly tender yet unsentimental. It’s one of those improvised, casual indies that oozes technique; an attractive contradiction.

6. “Ali: Fear Eats the Soul” (1974), Rainer Werner Fassbinder

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Watching this film last April nearly made me weep – I have to say I can barely fathom what it might do to me if I revisited it now (and how much higher it might climb on this list). Radically political in the simplest, most romantic of ideas – that a young Moroccan man and an older German woman can fall in love and the world just might not fall apart – Fassbinder’s reworking of “All That Heaven Allows” expands and, it must be said, triumphs upon Sirk’s source material in just about every way: in the ferocity of its social conscience, the delicacy of its character interactions, the exquisiteness of its aesthetics (OK, the last one’s a contest, but we’re talking about beautiful apples and gorgeous oranges here). Gently painful but ultimately, so, so endearing (and a tad surprising) in its fundamental optimism.

5. “Tampopo” (1985), Juzo Itami

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What an utter joy of a movie. I had a smile plastered on my face from the first scene, where a gangster brings his meal of oysters and champagne into a movie theater while simultaneously chastising the audience (us) for being too noisy, and that grin stayed through the whole of Itami’s “ramen Western.” That (arbitrary, if catchy) genre description, doesn’t do justice to the play of styles, characters and plot points melded together, practically in sketch-comedy format, to create this assemblage of food-related picaresques. Nominally the center is trucker/cowboy/renegade chef Gōro’s quest to improve enthusiastic Tampopo’s ramen shop, but the true star here is Itami’s gleeful, energetic love of cinema, comedy and cuisine (do not watch unless you can immediately eat a true bowl of ramen immediately after).

4. “Portait of Jason” (1967), Shirley Clarke

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There are people who transfix a camera, and few of them are movie stars. You probably know one – that gregarious friend of a friend who electrifies the party whenever they walk in, or can’t take a bad selfie. Escort Jason Holliday is one of those people, and for an hour or so it is simply enough to watch him talk (and talk and talk), charismatically owning Shirley Clarke’s camera with funny and poignant tales from his life. Then somewhere, the tone shifts. Clarke and her partner Carl Lee’s questions from off-screen get more aggressive, accusatory. And what you thought you were watching is suddenly very different from what you are watching. The ethical conundrum behind the filming of “Portrait of Jason” is a struggle, but one worth walking through for yourself. The reality is more complicated, and heartbreaking, than I can write here.

3. “Yi Yi” (2000), Edward Yang

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At almost three hours and covering a year in the life of the Jian family, you could consider “Yi Yi” a chore, but you’d be delightfully, horribly wrong. Gently, carefully observed and stylish in an easy, graceful manner, Edward Yang’s film was one of the most comfortable, oddly familiar sits I had this year. This is the sort of film, along the lines of Chris Marker’s “Sans Soleil” or Tarkovksy’s “Andrei Rublev” (or, well….Tarkovsky’s anything?) that I wish I could just revisit once a year, because in familiarity just come more delight, insight and revelation in the details. Movies that indulge in such sensual pleasure rarely come this humanistic and understated.

2. “Hyenas” (1992), Djibril Diop Mambéty

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Bona fide satire wrapped in an ethically fraught morality tale that leaves more questions than it answers – and that’s exactly as it should be. In the Senegalese village of Colobane, a popular local businessman sees his life thrown into disarray when the town’s most prominent ex-pat suddenly returns home with her considerable wealth – and a major grudge – in tow. To say much more would be to ruin the complex turns of character that writer/director Mambéty have in store (well, at least for those who are not die-hard Broadway fans and might recognize that plot description from the Chita Rivera musical “The Visit” – both Mambéty’s film and the musical are adapted from the same stage play), and dampen the considerable, scathing fun. A sharp and fraught examination of modernity and neocolonialism.

1. “Losing Ground” (1982), Kathleen Collins

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If there were justice in the world, Kathleen Collins’ film would be considered one fo the great New York movies: spunky, intellectual, tense, it captures a time, place and community I can not recall seeing anywhere else in film. Following the domestic trials and slow liberation of a black, female professor of logic at City College, “Losing Ground” sifts through the haze of Manhattan in summer, picking out its scenes and encounters with utmost care. As one of the characters, an aspiring filmmaker, exclaims (in just one of the charmingly, casually authentic turns of Collins’ phrase): “Did you catch that subtle mise-en-scene, mi amigo?!” I did catch it, and you should seek out this absolute gem as well.

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Filed under Features, Reviews

The 10th Annual EMOs

It’s a big year – for the tenth time, I’m rolling out my annual awards for the Year in Movies gone by. On the one hand, I would like to pause and celebrate, not just the 35 films mentioned herein, but, self-indulgently, the EMOs themselves. Ten years of movies, ten years of jokes, ten years of hastily and poorly-chosen awards – Ethan’s Makeshift Oscars are a pleasure to put together and present every time, whether in the form of Facebook Note, formalwear party, dialogue between the darkest parts of my own id, Google Hangout, what have you. They started as a way to correct, in my mind, some of the wrongs done by major awards bodies – not enough love for the demi-god Michael Shannon, for instance – but a perusal over the history of the EMOs reveals that my own quirky, spur-of-the-moment choices are not necessarily more guaranteed to stand the test of time (that Best Supporting Actress for Chloe Möretz in Hugo stings). I’m glad for everyone who has indulged this nonsense with me, anyway.

But I’d also like to just get a move on, because I am as eager as everyone else to put the year 2016 firmly in the rearview mirror. In past years I’ve gone further with the EMOs in terms of offering “bonus” commentary, and framed things in terms of nominees. As I’m handing them out purely via this blog post this year, we’re going to cut to the chase in every category, with the winner immediately revealed, followed by others “receiving votes”; that is, other films or performances that I’d still like to mention that I considered. If I’ve called it out, it’s worth your time, is my general attitude. And as always, in Part II of the EMOs, every movie is a winner. At some point I might do a compendium of my favorite EMO awards from the first ten years of its existence, but it is not this day.

And, of course, a reminder that to qualify for the EMOs a film must’ve been theatrically released in the U.S. in 2016 AND I had to see it in 2016 (with the exception of the poster and trailer categories, of course). I’ll be back with a more robust Top 10 list after I’ve had some time to catch up with the end-of-year glut in January and February. And do watch for the second annual ERPs (Ethan’s Repertory Picks), also coming soon! Enjoy!


Best Action Film: Green Room

Receiving Votes:
Captain America: Civil War
Deadpool

Funniest Film: Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping

Receiving Votes:
Deadpool
Hunt for the Wilderpeople
The Nice Guys
Manchester by the Sea (no, really)
Zootopia
Hail, Caesar!

Most Fucked-Up Protagonist: sad white rich people, Nocturnal Animals

Receiving votes:
Michéle, Elle
Lee Chandler, Manchester By the Sea
Wade, Deadpool

Most Inexplicable Multi-Scene Pop Star Appearance: Shakira, Zootopia

Receiving votes:
Janelle Monáe,  Moonlight
Seal, Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping

Most Deserving to Have Everyone Involved in Production Die a Horribly Painful Death Just For Making Me Watch the Trailer: Same Kind of Different As Me

Receiving votes:
Yoga Hosers
Gods of Egypt
The Wild Life
Maximum Ride

 

Best Cameo: Will Arnett/Chelsea Peretti/Eric Andre/Mike Birbiglia as the “CMZ” reporters, Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping

Receiving votes:
Jena Malone, Nocturnal Animals
Justin Timberlake, Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping
Frances McDormand, Hail, Caesar!
Taika Waititi, Hunt for the Wilderpeople
Christina Hendricks, The Neon Demon
Michael Shannon, Loving

Breakthrough Actor/Actress of the Year: Anya Taylor-Joy, The Witch

Receiving votes:
Jaeden Lieberher, Midnight Special
Lily Gladstone, Certain Women
Ashton Sanders, Moonlight
Lucas Hedges, Manchester By the Sea
Markees Christmas, Morris from America
Wyatt Russell, Everybody Wants Some!!
Sasha Lane, American Honey
Julian Dennison, Hunt for the Wilderpeople

Best Poster:
Moonlight
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Receiving votes:
The Handmaiden
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Lo and Behold, Reveries of the Connected World
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Men Go to Battle
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De Palma
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The Birth of a Nation
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La La Land
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Green Room
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The Neon Demon
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American Honey
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Best Trailer: Moonlight

Receiving votes:
The Witch
Logan
La La Land
The Handmaiden
Jackie
High-Rise
Rogue One
Get Out
American Honey

 

Best Scene: mansion detour, American Honey

Receiving votes:
diner, Moonlight
“Would that it were so simple”, Hail, Caesar!
the ending of The Lobster
“Do you think we could get lunch sometime?”, Manchester By the Sea
Churchill, Love & Friendship
the runway, The Neon Demon
“Once, I was a fucking jet engine”, Sing Street
offering a ride, Certain Women

Best Use of an Existing Song: “We Found Love,” Rihanna + Calvin Harris, American Honey

Receiving votes:
“American Honey”, Lady Antebellum, American Honey
“Nazi Punks Fuck Off”, The Dead Kennedys, Green Room
“God’s Whisper”, Raury, American Honey

Best Original Song: “I’m So Humble”, perf. The Lonely Island w/ Adam Levine, Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping

Receiving votes:
“Drive It Like You Stole It”, perf. Sing Street, Sing Street
“Incredible Thoughts”, perf. The Lonely Island w/ Michael Bolton, Justin Timberlake, Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping
“Brown Shoes”, perf. Sing Street, Sing Street
“Up”, perf. Sing Street, Sing Street
“Try Everything”, perf. Shakira, Zootopia
“Milestone 2 (Skux Life)”, perf. Moniker, Hunt for the Wilderpeople

Best Original Score: Nicholas Britell, Moonlight

Receiving votes:
David Wingo, Midnight Special
Jóhann Jóhannson, Arrival
Mark Korven, The Witch
Dario Marianelli, Kubo and the Two Strings
Cliff Martinez, The Neon Demon
Nick Cage and Warren Ellis, Hell or High Water
Clint Mansell, High-Rise

https://open.spotify.com/user/egates12/playlist/7xdVKEbVkRp6Cm0vZMTy8C

 

Best Cinematography: Robbie Ryan, American Honey

Receiving votes:
James Laxton, Moonlight
Chung Chung-hoon, The Handmaiden
Bradford Young, Arrival
Jarin Blaschke, The Witch
Christopher Blauvelt, Certain Women
Stéphane Fontaine, Elle
Giles Nuttgins, Hell or High Water
Seamus McGarvey, Nocturnal Animals
Nathasha Braier, The Neon Demon
Laurie Rose, High-Rise
Anthony Dod Mantle, Our Kind of Traitor

Best Adapted Screenplay: Whit Stillman, Love & Friendship

Receiving votes:
Chung Seo-kyung, Park Chan-wook, The Handmaiden
David Birke, Elle
Taika Waititi, Hunt for the Wilderpeople
Franck Ekinci, Benjamin Legrand, April and the Extraordinary World

Best Original Screenplay: Yorgos Lanthimos, Efthymis Filippou, The Lobster

Receiving votes:
Barry Jenkins, Tarell Alvin McCraney, Moonlight
Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester By the Sea
Taylor Sheridan, Hell or High Water
Jeremy Saulnier, Green Room
Robert Eggers, The Witch
Jeff Nichols, Midnight Special
Andy Samberg, Akiva Schaffer, Jorma Taccone, Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping
Joel Coen, Ethan Coen, Hail, Caesar!

Best Supporting Actor: Alden Ehrenreich, Hail, Caesar!

Receiving Votes:
Mahershala Ali, Moonlight
Jeff Bridges, Hell or High Water
Laurent Lafitte, Elle
Michael Shannon, Nocturnal Animals
Tom Bennett, Love & Friendship
Gil Birmingham, Hell or High Water
Craig Robinson, Morris from America
Joel Edgerton, Midnight Special
Jack Reynor, Sing Street
Damian Lewis, Our Kind of Traitor
Patrick Stewart, Green Room

Best Supporting Actress: Jena Malone, The Neon Demon

Receiving votes:
Lily Gladstone, Certain Women
Kristen Stewart, Certain Women
Laura Dern, Certain Women
Léa Seydoux, The Lobster
Naomie Harris, Moonlight
Rooney Mara, Kubo and the Two Strings
Kate Dickie, The Witch

Best Actor: (tie) Ben Foster and Chris Pine, Hell or High Water

Receiving votes:
(tie) Alex Hibbert, Ashton Sanders and Trevonte Rhodes, Moonlight
Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea
Michael Shannon, Midnight Special
Colin Farrell, The Lobster
Josh Brolin, Hail, Caesar!
Sam Neill, Hunt for the Wilderpeople
Logan Marshall-Green, The Invitation
Ralph Ineson, The Witch
Ryan Gosling, The Nice Guys
Joel Edgerton, Loving

Best Actress: Isabelle Huppert, Elle

Receiving votes:
Kim Tae-Ri, The Handmaiden
Kim Min-hee, The Handmaiden
Amy Adams, Arrival
Anya Taylor-Joy, The Witch
Kate Beckinsale, Love & Friendship
Ruth Negga, Loving
Imogen Poots, Green Room
Rachel Weisz, The Lobster
Sasha Lane, American Honey

Best Acting Ensemble: Moonlight

Receiving votes:
Certain Women
Manchester By the Sea
Love & Friendship
The Lobster
Midnight Special
Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping

Best Director: Barry Jenkins, Moonlight

Receiving votes:
Kirsten Johnson, Cameraperson
Park Chan-wook, The Handmaiden
Paul Verhoeven, Elle
Andrea Arnold, American Honey
Robert Eggers, The Witch
Yorgos Lanthimos, The Lobster
Ava DuVernay, 13th
David Mackenzie, Hell or High Water
Kelly Reichardt, Certain Women

Best Movie: Moonlight

Receiving Votes:
Cameraperson
The Handmaiden
Elle
The Witch
American Honey
The Lobster
Manchester by the Sea
13th
Hell or High Water
Certain Women
Love & Friendship
Green Room
Arrival

2016 Special Achievement (given to a film or film-adjacent contributor for a stellar year across multiple works or media that I consumed in 2016, potentially including movies, TV, theater, the internet, etc.):
Bill Camp (for Ivo Van Hove’s Broadway revival of “The Crucible”, HBO miniseries “The Night Of”, and stellar work in brief parts of both Midnight Special and Loving, though we won’t mention him in Jason Bourne)

Receiving votes:
Michael Shannon (for never having a dull moment in Midnight SpecialNocturnal Animals or even two minutes of Loving, and for generally being Michael Shannon)
Mahershala Ali (for breaking out of the “House of Cards” doldrums in dramatic style with Moonlight and “Luke Cage”)
Jena Malone (for proving in The Neon Demon and Nocturnal Animals that she desperately needs some talented director(s) to give her a Kristen Stewart-style career makeover)

The Putin the Platypus Memorial Award for Misogyny: The Neon Demon

Fan Service – The Movie! : Deadpool

Most Hot Button Political Issues Stepped Into: Zootopia

Most Hot Button Political Issues Not Stepped Into: Jason Bourne

Happiest Affront to Every John le Carré Book I’ve Ever Read: Our Kind of Traitor

Most Under-Marketed Naked Tom Hiddleston: High-Rise

Cubby Broccoli Memorial Award for Keeping a Franchise Relatively Fresh Thirteen Installments In Even Though Oh My God I Still Don’t Give a Shit About Bucky: Captain America: Civil War

Call Your Mother More: No Home Movie

Most Beautiful Mannequins That Also Happen to Be Famous Actors: Nocturnal Animals

Worst Critical Praise to Bechdel Test Ratio: Everybody Wants Some!!

Most Tilda Swintons: Hail, Caesar!

Least Work Done to Overcome the Stereotype That All Germans Are EDM DJs: Morris from America

Most Terrifying Validation of Every Single One of My Social Anxieties: The Invitation

Best Half-Hearted Impression of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang That Mostly Just Makes You Want to Watch Kiss Kiss Bang Bang Again: The Nice Guys

Most Inarticulate Civil Rights Heroes: Loving

Best Opening Line, And That’s Not Even a Joke, Guys:  Kubo and the Two Strings

The Nigel Tufnel Award For Going to 11: Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping

Most Inauthentically Terrific High School Band: Sing Street

Most Inventive Piece of Alternate Reality That Isn’t As Depressing As “The Man In the High Castle”: April and the Extraordinary World

Blandest Conception of Hyper-Real Extra-Dimensional Space Gods: Midnight Special

Silliest Sam Neill: Hunt for the Wilderpeople

Most Plot Holes That Have Nothing to Do with Time Science in a Time Science Movie: Arrival

Most Comfortingly Isolated Nazi Punks: Green Room

Best Redemption of a Dismissed Celebrity and No It’s Not Ryan Reynolds As Deadpool, Dammit: Kate Beckinsale, Love & Friendship

The Robert Altman Memorial Award for Resurrecting Rene Auberjonois: Certain Women

The Jeff Bridges Award for Being Jeff Bridges: Jeff Bridges, Hell or High Water

Most Tightly Paced Application of White Guilt: 13th

Most Authentically Terrible High School Band: Manchester by the Sea

Closest Resemblance to What Wes Anderson’s Personal Upside Down Probably Looks Like: The Lobster

Most Disturbing Rat Tail: Shia LaBeouf, American Honey

Happiest Ending: The Witch

Best Example, Possibly Ever, That the Savviest Direction Can Be Good Casting: Elle

Best Performance of Jingle Bells: The Handmaiden

Most Surprisingly Genial Time Spent in Awful, Awful Places: Cameraperson

Darkest Direction to Take Miss Moneypenny: Moonlight

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