film


“He didn’t move.  Not until the elevator door began to close.  Then raised his hand.  He did – Karen positive now it was Foley – raised his hand to her as the door closed.”  (p 148)

My Top 10

  1. Out of Sight
  2. Gods and Monsters
  3. Primary Colors
  4. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
  5. Ringu
  6. Live Flesh
  7. A Simple Plan
  8. The Butcher Boy
  9. Character
  10. Apt Pupil

note:  A very strong Top 4 but then it starts to fall off badly.  The full list is long, though, and is listed down at the bottom except for my #16 (Little Voice) which is reviewed because of its BAFTA nomination. (more…)

A Century of Film


DreamWorks


The Studio

It’s not as well known as the UA story but it’s in a similar vein.  In fact, everything I looked at before writing this piece referenced the founding of United Artists and the way four major players in Hollywood came together to form their own studio.  The big difference was that those were three stars and a director.  Here, it was a director, a man who had been mostly running a studio and a man who hadn’t done so well with films but had made himself a billionaire through music. (more…)

Sorry, Greta. Kathryn Bigelow knows how you feel.  Plus, you made history in other ways.

Well, I only got four categories completely correct in my predictions but they were major ones (Picture, Adapted Screenplay, Actress, Supporting Actress).  Sadly, I didn’t get Director, thinking the Academy would embrace Greta Gerwig’s triumph rather than Todd Phillips’ appalling nihilism (to spare questions in the comments, I think Joker is a bad film for reasons that will eventually be posted in the review, so please don’t ask, but have to do with its quality rather than its idiotic use of the Batman mythos and its wholesale nihilism).  Well, this is the same branch of morons who passed over Christopher Nolan when he did Batman right, Nolan again, Kathryn Bigelow when she won the Consensus and Ben Affleck when he won everything else.  So, let’s bypass the quality of the films for now and move on to the trivia. (more…)

A primer on great screenwriting: using characters as they existed in the book but doing what you have to do to compress the story and get it to come out right on scene. In other words, there is no scene like this in the book.

My Top 10

  1. L.A. Confidential
  2. The Sweet Hereafter
  3. The Ice Storm
  4. Jackie Brown
  5. Oscar and Lucinda
  6. The Wings of the Dove
  7. Wag the Dog
  8. Donnie Brasco
  9. Absolute Power
  10. The Winter Guest

note:  A great Top 5 and very good Top 10.  My list continues down at the bottom.

(more…)

His Dark Materials

  1. The Golden Compass (Northern Lights)
  2. The Subtle Knife
  3. The Amber Spyglass
  • Author:  Philip Pullman
  • Published:  1995  /  1997  /  2000
  • Publisher:  Scholastic
  • Pages:  300  /  400  /  518
  • First Line:  “Lyra and her daemon moved through the darkening hall, taking care to keep to one side, out of sight of the kitchen.”
  • Last Lines:  “’The Republic of Heaven,’ said Lyra.”
  • Acclaim:  Carnegie Medal (Northern Lights), Whitbread Book of the Year (Amber Spyglass); Big Read #3
  • Film Version:  2007 (The Golden Compass – ***.5); 2019 (tv series)
  • First Read:  mid 2007

(more…)

“Then Renton was hit by a wave of shock which threatened to knock him incoherent.  A girl came into the room.  As he watched her, a coldness came over him.  She was the double of Dianne, but this girl looked barely secondary school age.  It took him a few seconds to realize that it was Dianne.”  (p 145)

My Top 10

  1. Trainspotting
  2. The English Patient
  3. The Crucible
  4. Cold Comfort Farm
  5. Emma
  6. Hamlet
  7. The Birdcage
  8. Romeo + Juliet
  9. Mother Night
  10. Star Trek: First Contact

note:  A fantastic Top 5 and a strong Top 10 with a few more listed down at the bottom.  A rare year in that it’s also fantastic for Original Screenplay.  This year has the highest average score for the two Screenplay awards in history. (more…)

The 2010’s

A Decade in Review

With best of the decade lists popping up all over the place and me needing a quick post that could go up between awards notes updates, I decided to throw this together.  It’s true that I’m missing a lot of major films from this year, but hey, these kind of lists change all the time anyway.  So think of this as a rough draft for history.  It’s got a minimum of notes or commentary because of time constraints and because I feel it mostly speaks for itself.  Most of it shouldn’t be surprising given my Nighthawk winners in previous years.

Feel free to post any of your own best of decade lists in the comments field if you want.  All are welcome and I expect no one to agree with my lists anyway.

Films in red won the Oscar.  Films in blue earned Oscar noms.  In the Actor and Actress, the red and blue in genre are for the Globes.  If I list a “Worst Oscar Winner”, I thought the winner was a bad choice.  If I list the “Weakest Oscar Winner” it means that all the Oscar winners in the decade were at least pretty good choices.

The Ten Best Films:

  1. La La Land
  2. Lincoln
  3. Gravity
  4. Inception
  5. Birdman
  6. Lady Bird
  7. Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood
  8. Dunkirk
  9. Carol
  10. The Favourite

(more…)

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