March 2016


"I have known her six years and seen her twice in a decent dress. Once was at a funeral of a big producer for whom she had no respect and once when she had to receive a Critics award she didn't want." (The Wisdom of Eve)

“I have known her six years and seen her twice in a decent dress. Once was at a funeral of a big producer for whom she had no respect and once when she had to receive a Critics award she didn’t want.” (“The Wisdom of Eve”)

My Top 8:

  1. All About Eve
  2. Night and the City
  3. Kind Hearts and Coronets
  4. The Asphalt Jungle
  5. Harvey
  6. In a Lonely Place
  7. Cinderella
  8. Broken Arrow

Note:  Yes, only a Top 8.  There are 20 films in this year that I rate ***.5 or better and only seven of them are adapted (Broken Arrow is a high ***).  The Third Man is often thought of as adapted, but the script was actually written first. (more…)

Snakes. Why did it have to be snakes?

Snakes. Why did it have to be snakes?

You can read more about this year in film here.  The Best Picture race is discussed here, with reviews of all the nominees.  First there are the categories, followed by all the films with their nominations, then the Globes, where I split the major awards by Drama and Comedy, followed by a few lists at the very end.  If there’s a film you expected to see and didn’t, check the very bottom – it might be eligible in a different year.  Films in red won the Oscar in that category (or Globe, in the Globes section).  Films in blue were nominated.  Films with an asterisk (*) were Consensus nominees (a scale I put together based on the various awards) while those with a double asterisk (**) were the Consensus winners.  Anything in olive is a link to another post that I didn’t want to show up accidentally in blue and make it appear like it’s a nominee.

I’m listing the top 8 in the categories but only the top 5 earn Nighthawk nominations.  The reason I have dropped it to 8 is because there is often a big drop between #8 and #9 and a lot of categories don’t even go past 8.

Nighthawk Awards:

  • Best Picture
  1. Raiders of the Lost Ark
  2. Gallipoli
  3. Reds
  4. Atlantic City
  5. Excalibur
  6. Ragtime
  7. The French Lieutenant’s Woman
  8. Body Heat

Analysis:  My Top 5 are easy, as there are only five **** films for the first time since 1972 and the last time to-date.  The drop between #5 and #6 (four points) is the largest since 1972 and the second largest since 1957. (more…)

Revisiting Childhood Movies Part XVI:

Superman II

  • superman_ii_ver5Director:  Richard Lester  /  Richard Donner
  • Writer:  Mario Puzo  /  David Newman  /  Leslie Newman  /  Tom Mankiewicz
  • Producer:  Ilya Salkind
  • Stars:  Christopher Reeve, Gene Hackman, Margot Kidder, Terence Stamp
  • Studio:  Warner Bros
  • Award Nominations:  none from groups I track
  • Length:  127 min (original)  /  116 min (Donner cut)
  • Genre:  Sci-Fi (Comic Book)
  • MPAA Rating:  PG
  • Release Date:  19 June 1981
  • Box Office Gross:  $108.18 mil  (#3 – 1981)
  • Ebert Rating:  ****
  • My Rating:  ***.5
  • My Rank:  #9 (year)
  • Nighthawk Nominations:  Original Score, Sound, Visual Effects, Sound Editing
  • Nighthawk Notables:  Best Opening Credits
  • First Watched:  in the theater on my 8th birthday
  • Number of Times Watched as a Kid:  15-20

As a Kid:  My mother took my older brother, my sister and I to the movies for my 8th birthday.  It was a double feature of Star Trek II and Superman II (well over a year after it was first released).  The former film scarred my mother for life but both films were a godsend to me.  I loved them both then and I love them both now.  Indeed, when I was a kid, the only films I loved more than Superman II were Star Wars and Watership Down (I was not a normal child).  So why is it that I loved the second film so much? (more…)

The first black-and-white Nighthawk winner since 1966.

The first black-and-white Nighthawk winner since 1966.

You can read more about this year in film here.  The Best Picture race is discussed here, with reviews of all the nominees.  First there are the categories, followed by all the films with their nominations, then the Globes, where I split the major awards by Drama and Comedy, followed by a few lists at the very end.  If there’s a film you expected to see and didn’t, check the very bottom – it might be eligible in a different year.  Films in red won the Oscar in that category (or Globe, in the Globes section).  Films in blue were nominated.  Films with an asterisk (*) were Consensus nominees (a scale I put together based on the various awards) while those with a double asterisk (**) were the Consensus winners.

I’m listing the top 10 in the categories but only the top 5 earn Nighthawk nominations.

Nighthawk Awards:

  • Best Picture
  1. Raging Bull  *
  2. Breaker Morant
  3. The Elephant Man  *
  4. The Empire Strikes Back
  5. Ordinary People  **
  6. Tess
  7. Kagemusha
  8. The Shining
  9. Stardust Memories
  10. Airplane!

Analysis:  The best Top 5 in six years and tied for 7th to this date.  The Top 10 (all **** films) is also the best since 1974, but is the 4th best to this date, behind only 1960, 1962 and 1974.  There are no other **** films in this year.  Melvin and Howard, a high ***.5, is my #11 and was a Consensus nominee. (more…)

Michael Keaton pulls a Russell Crowe, starring in back-to-back Best Picture winners. Except Keaton's winners were worthy of the awards.

Between Whitey Bulger and pedophile priests, Boston didn’t exactly have the most positive portrayal on film this year.  Next year, the Marathon bombings!

The 88th annual Academy Awards, for the film year 2015.  The nominations were announced on 14 January 2016 and the awards were held on 28 February 2016.

Best Picture:  Spotlight

  • The Revenant
  • Bridge of Spies
  • The Martian
  • The Big Short
  • Brooklyn
  • Room
  • Mad Max: Fury Road

Most Surprising Omission:  Carol

Best Eligible Film Not Nominated:  Carol

Rank (out of 88) Among Best Picture Years:  #33

(more…)

The two best performances of the year in the best film of the year.

The two best performances of the year in the best film of the year.

My Top 20:

  1. Carol
  2. The Revenant
  3. Inside Out
  4. Spotlight
  5. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
  6. Bridge of Spies
  7. The Martian
  8. Steve Jobs
  9. The Hateful Eight
  10. The Big Short
  11. Anomalisa
  12. Black Mass
  13. Ex Machina
  14. Tomorrowland
  15. The Peanuts Movie
  16. Brooklyn
  17. When Marnie Was There
  18. Labyrinth of Lies
  19. Beasts of No Nation
  20. Mr Holmes

note:  The first 12 films are ****, the rest are ***.5.  Ever since 2012, I have been posting these as soon as I can after the Oscars.  However, that means, as I have noted in the last three Years in Film, that there are several films I haven’t seen (45 Years, Creed, Son of Saul, Mustang).  Aside from the films that I was most anxious to see in the theater (Star Wars – 8 times) and the ones that are out on DVD by now, I try to focus most on the Best Picture contenders.  Eventually, this and the three years preceding it will have these Top 20 lists superseded by the Nighthawk Awards, once I get to those years. (more…)