A Century of Film
Crime Films

The Genre:

There seems to be an idea that Gangster Films and Crime Films are interchangeable.  But to me, a Crime film is more than just a Gangster Film and the latter is just a sub-genre of the former.  The Rough Guide to Gangster Movies kind of sums up the idea right away even if they are just talking about Gangster films and not Crime films:

“Every book about gangster movies has to have a working definition of what a gangster movie actually is.  And each will disagree with the other.  For the purposes of the Rough Guide to Gangster Movies, it is one in which the gangster is the protagonist, not the supporting player or bête noir of the long-suffering cop hero.” (p 3) (more…)

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FALSTAFF: We have heard the chimes at midnight, Master Robert Shallow. (Henry IV Part 2, III. ii. 220)

My Top 10:

  1. Chimes at Midnight
  2. Z
  3. Stolen Kisses
  4. Oh! What a Lovely War
  5. Midnight Cowboy
  6. They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?
  7. Boudu Saved from Drowning
  8. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie
  9. Goodbye Columbus
  10. Cactus Flower

Note:  This year’s post is a bit ugly with a number of source materials I was unable to get.  There is also even a film that I am unable to really review because while I have seen it, it was years ago (well over a decade ago) and it is extremely difficult to get hold of and I wasn’t able to do so. (more…)

RICHARD: You’re getting old. One day you’ll have me once too often.
HENRY: When? I’m fifty now. My God, boy, I’m the oldest man I know. I’ve got a decade on the Pope. (p 48-49)

My Top 10:

  1. The Lion in Winter
  2. Rosemary’s Baby
  3. Belle de Jour
  4. Closely Watched Trains
  5. The Odd Couple
  6. Hunger
  7. Rachel Rachel
  8. Pretty Poison
  9. The Heart is a Lonely Hunter
  10. War and Peace

Note:  My list is 14 long this year.  My #13 (The Fixer) and #14 (Oliver) are reviewed below because of award nominations.  The other two are listed down at the bottom.  You could make the case that 2001: A Space Odyssey should be listed but the Oscars treated it as original and I do the same.  You can find plenty of places on-line that explained the complicated history of its script. (more…)

“You realize who this linen girl Tanya is?” (p 612 – Pevear / Volokhonsky translation)

My Top 9:

  1. Dr. Zhivago
  2. The Pawnbroker
  3. The Spy Who Came in From the Cold
  4. The Collector
  5. A Thousand Clowns
  6. King Rat
  7. The Human Condition: Part III
  8. Thunderball
  9. The Train

Note:  That’s it.  After years and years of a list longer than ten, I can only come up with nine films and one of those, The Train, was actually nominated in the Original Screenplay category even though it was based on Rose Valland’s book. (more…)

And Marty tallies yet another Nighthawk Award.

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 (or directors) in olive are links to earlier posts that I don’t want to have show up in blue and be mistaken for a nominee.  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 20 in the categories but only the top 5 earn Nighthawk nominations.

Nighthawk Awards:

  • Best Picture
  1. Hugo  *
  2. The Artist  **
  3. Tinker Tailer Soldier Spy
  4. Midnight in Paris  *
  5. The Descendants  *
  6. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II
  7. A Separation
  8. The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn
  9. The Tree of Life
  10. My Week with Marilyn
  11. The Ides of March
  12. Contagion
  13. Beginners
  14. Incendies
  15. Jane Eyre
  16. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
  17. Rango
  18. Margin Call
  19. As If I Am Not There
  20. Moneyball  *

Analysis:  The first 15 films are ****.  The rest are ***.5.  In spite of an overall weak year (see various categories below), the Top 5 tracks almost exactly along with 2009.  In fact, the first four films here all earn the exact same ratings as the first four in 2009 and The Descendants is one point better than Broken Embraces in the #5 spot, so this year’s Top 5 is actually one point better.  That said, it’s still the second weakest Top 5 since 1998 (and the same goes for the Top 10 and Top 20).
The Help was actually 4th in the Consensus.  There are 5 films because Midnight in Paris and Moneyball tied for 5th (as did War Horse). (more…)

This is not the new series promised a couple of posts ago.  Instead, this is the stuff that usually goes into my Best Picture post – an ongoing reaction to how things are looking, although I will probably add in more notes related to other awards as well.  I am posting this for a few reasons.  The first is that the death of the hard drive has lead to me being really swamped as I struggle to rewrite 19 reviews for my Best Adapted Screenplay posts and that is making it hard to get things done.  The second is that a lot of the things I notice about the awards as they are handed out during the season aren’t things you read elsewhere because other writers are under deadlines and I am not and they don’t have my spreadsheets; to that end I would like a forum to introduce these connections as they are happening rather than months later.  The third is that it gives a place on the blog for people to leave comments about current awards season news without needing to comment on the latest blog post, no matter the relevance (reminder that on weekdays, I can’t approve comments while at work, so don’t panic if your comment doesn’t show up right away).

This will not replace the Oscar notes and trivia I do the morning of the nominations (23 January), though I will link to it when it happens.  Anytime I add something in this post I will make it “sticky” so that it goes up to the top of the page.  But that won’t make it re-post or put it on V’s Facebook again.  I will continue to do this at least through the first few days after the Oscars on 4 March.  So, any day that awards are handed out by critics groups or guild nominations (or Globes, BAFTA, etc) are announced, there is a good chance I will add to this post.  I will start with the first couple of days worth that I had from working on the eventual Best Picture post, based on the first two critics groups.  Oh, and by the way, I haven’t actually seen Dunkirk yet, but given my love for Nolan’s films, I feel comfortable putting that FYC ad there (actually, I’ve seen it now (6 Dec) and it will take something amazing in The Post, The Shape of Water or Call Me By Your Name to keep Dunkirk from winning the Nighthawk).  But I get no revenue from it or from anything ever on this site.

(more…)

If we kept watching, would it keep spinning? And would it matter?

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 (or directors) in olive are links to earlier posts that I don’t want to have show up in blue and be mistaken for a nominee.  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 20 in the categories but only the top 5 earn Nighthawk nominations.

Nighthawk Awards:

  • Best Picture
  1. Inception  *
  2. The Social Network  **
  3. True Grit  *
  4. The King’s Speech  *
  5. The Ghost Writer
  6. Winter’s Bone  *
  7. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I
  8. Black Swan  *
  9. Toy Story 3  *
  10. The Town
  11. Biutiful
  12. Another Year
  13. The Kids are All Right  *
  14. Tangled
  15. Shutter Island
  16. Never Let Me Go
  17. Rabbit Hole
  18. Blue Valentine
  19. Green Zone
  20. Somewhere

Analysis:  This is one of those rare years where I have changed my original Best Picture winner.  It’s not that Social Network went down at all, but that Inception went up.  And, really, it’s a pretty close finish between the two.
The Social Network ties LA Confidential for the most Consensus noms ever (11) and no film since (through 2016) has had more wins (8) or points (845) though both are fewer than The Hurt Locker in the year before.
With seven nominees in my Top 10, the Oscar Score is 87.7, by far the highest in any year with more than five nominees (and the third highest ever irregardless of the number of nominees).
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