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When it came—thirty cents—he pinned it up in his trailer, brass-headed tack in each corner. Below it he drove a nail and on the nail he hung a wire hanger and the two old shirts suspended from it. He stepped back and looked at the ensemble through a few stinging tears. “Jack, I swear—” he said, though Jack had never asked him to swear anything and was himself not the swearing kind.

My Top 10

  1. Brokeback Mountain
  2. Munich
  3. Pride & Prejudice
  4. The Constant Gardener
  5. The History of Violence
  6. Batman Begins
  7. Downfall
  8. Capote
  9. Proof
  10. King Kong

note:  An excellent Top 5 and Top 10. (more…)

My Top 10

  1. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
  2. Mystic River
  3. City of God
  4. American Splendor
  5. Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World
  6. Nowhere in Africa
  7. Whale Rider
  8. Big Fish
  9. Bubba Ho-Tep
  10. Matchstick Men

note:  A strong Top 5 but the second 5 is fairly weak.  But it does still have several (weaker) films on my complete list down at the bottom, minus the #13 (Cold Mountain) and #16 (The Secret Lives of Dentists) which are reviewed because of awards. (more…)

“As Laura sets the plates and forks on the table – as they ring softly on the starched white cloth – it seems she has succeeded suddenly, at the last minute, the way a painter might brush a final line of color onto a painting and save it from incoherence; the way a writer might set down the line that brings to light the submerged patterns and symmetry in the drama. It has to do, somehow, with setting plates and forks on a white cloth. It is as unmistakable as it is unexpected.” (p 207)

My Top 10

  1. The Hours
  2. Adaptation
  3. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
  4. Minority Report
  5. The Pianist
  6. The Quiet American
  7. About a Boy
  8. Road to Perdition
  9. Solaris
  10. About Schmidt

note:  A fantastic Top 5 and Top 10 as should be expected from one of the best years in film history.  There is also a very long list after that.  My #11 (Catch Me if You Can), #12 (Confessions of a Dangerous Mind) and #15 (Chicago) are reviewed because of award considerations.  But my full list was 30 films long and the other 17 are listed down at the bottom.
note:  Until libraries fully reopen in San Diego, this is the list Adapted Screenplay post I can do.

(more…)

“There was a hush, and all turned their eyes on Frodo. He was shaken by a sudden shame and fear; and he felt a great reluctance to reveal the Ring, and a loathing of its touch. He wished he was far away. The Ring gleamed and flickered as he held it up before them in his trembling hand.” (p 240-241)

My Top 10

  1. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
  2. In the Bedroom
  3. Ghost World
  4. Vanilla Sky
  5. Last Orders
  6. Shrek
  7. Ocean’s Eleven
  8. A.I.
  9. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
  10. The Pledge

note:  Not a great Top 5 or Top 10.  It’s another of those years which is balanced by a fantastic group of original scripts (Amelie, Memento, Gosford Park, Monster’s Ball, Amores Perros, Royal Tenenbaums, Others, Man Who Wasn’t There).  My #11 (Black Hawk Down), 13 (Iris) and 14 (Bridget Jones) are reviewed down below because of nominations while the rest of my list (which reached 19) is down at the bottom. (more…)


A Century of Film


Visual Effects

Visual Effects might seem like a new thing, stemming first from 2001 and then from Star Wars with increasingly developed technology leading to amazing new things on-screen.  But they have actually been there from the start.  A Trip to the Moon, the first great film ever made, back in 1902, used brilliant Visual Effects to show its incredible trip. (more…)

A Century of Film


Horror


The Genre

What is a Horror film?  And what would have qualified at the beginning of film?  Kim Newman and James Marriott correctly point out in their great book Horror! The Definitive Companion to the Most Terrifying Movies Ever Made, that as cinema was beginning, so was Horror as a genre, with works like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Dracula.  The first “official” Horror film is The Devil’s Castle, a two minute film from 1896.  Frankenstein was filmed as early as 1910 (a 12 minute film which was just recently restored) and Jekyll even before that in 1908.  The Avenging Conscience, a Griffith film based on works of Poe, is one of the earliest American feature-length films, running 78 minutes. (more…)

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” – Edmund Burke

You can read more about this year in film here.  The Best Picture race is discussed here, with reviews of all the nominees but I also wrote more about the year, originally, here.  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 20 in the categories but only the top 5 earn Nighthawk nominations.

Nighthawk Awards:

  • Best Picture
  1. Good Night and Good Luck  *
  2. Munich
  3. Brokeback Mountain  **
  4. King Kong
  5. Kingdom of Heaven
  6. A History of Violence
  7. Batman Begins
  8. The Constant Gardener
  9. Pride and Prejudice
  10. Downfall
  11. Cache
  12. Syriana
  13. Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit
  14. Saraband
  15. Match Point
  16. Twin Sisters
  17. Corpse Bride
  18. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
  19. Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
  20. Kung Fu Hustle

Analysis:  A truly fantastic year.  Brokeback ranks among the best ever #3 films, King Kong among the best #4 films and Kingdom among the best #5 films.  A History of Violence would be a nominee in most years.  The Top 5 is tied for 10th all-time.  The Top 10 is second all-time behind only 2002.  Downfall is the third best #10 film ever.  The Top 20 is the best all-time as is the 11-20.  Not only are all 20 of these films **** films, but there are actually a record 26 (the others are Sin City, Capote, Proof, Cinderella Man, Don’t Move, Elizabethtown).
I feel a little weird about this year.  Brokeback is a brilliant film and I have thought so since I saw it in the theater, but except for the stretch from when I saw it to when I first saw Munich, it has never been my #1 film.  It was Munich for years then eventually moved to Good Night and Good Luck.  But all three films are just about a tie and they come one right after the other on my grand list of all Best Picture nominees.  There’s no question, given how the year went, that it should have won Best Picture.  It won three of the six critics awards and the other four awards groups.  Only three films have more Consensus points without winning the Oscar and all three of those (LA Confidential, Social Network, Boyhood) lost the PGA and DGA and the first two also lost the Globe while Brokeback won all of those.  It was the first film ever to sweep the other four awards groups and lose the Oscar (La La Land would later do it but it would lose to a film that won more critics awards and won the Globe – Drama).  It joined The Aviator as only the second film to this point to win both the Globe and the PGA and fail to win the Oscar.  It is the only film to win the PGA, DGA and WGA and fail to win the Oscar.  Yet, it would lose to Crash, the film with the lowest Consensus point total to win the Oscar since 1995 and the first film since 1973 to win the Oscar without a Globe nomination and only the second Oscar winner to fail to be nominated for a Globe.  In fact, ironically, the most comparable year to this one is 1995, when Ang Lee’s film also looked like it should have won but lost to a film that had not done nearly as well with earlier awards groups, though at least that year had been more telegraphed when Lee failed to earn a Best Director nomination at the Oscars.
Crash, at #101, becomes the fourth Oscar winner to fail to make the Top 100 for the year.  It also finishes a period of twelve years when the Oscars awarded the worst of the five nominees a whopping seven times; it has not done so again since (through 2016).  It joins 1989 and 2000 as years where the Picture winner isn’t in my Top 50 but the Director winner is my #2. (more…)

“We set out to save the shire. And it has been saved. But for not for me.”

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. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King  **
  2. Mystic River  *
  3. Lost in Translation  *
  4. In America
  5. City of God
  6. Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World  *
  7. Finding Nemo
  8. Kill Bill Volume 1
  9. A Mighty Wind
  10. Whale Rider
  11. Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
  12. American Splendor  *
  13. Dirty Pretty Things
  14. The Station Agent
  15. Nowhere in Africa
  16. The Triplets of Belleville
  17. Tokyo Godfathers
  18. The Barbarian Invasions
  19. The Last Samurai
  20. 21 Grams

Analysis:  After three straight years where the Consensus race came down to less than 100 points, Return of the King almost doubles any other film.  Master and Commander, on the other hand, becomes another film to earn nominations from the five awards groups but win none of them.
The Top 10 is eight points lower than the year before and it still tied for the second best to-date (and third best ever).  The Top 20 is 14 points lower than 2002 and 13 points lower than 2001 but still the third best to-date.  The Top 5, though, is actually the best since 1996 and tied for the third best ever.
The first 18 films are **** films.  The last two are ***.5. (more…)

The best film in what is one of the best years in film history.

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. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers  *
  2. Gangs of New York  *
  3. Spirited Away
  4. Talk to Her
  5. The Pianist  **
  6. The Hours  *
  7. Minority Report
  8. Y tu mamá también
  9. Chicago  *
  10. Adaptation
  11. Road to Perdition
  12. Solaris
  13. The Quiet American
  14. Catch Me if You Can
  15. 8 Women
  16. Heaven
  17. Lilo and Stitch
  18. 24 Hour Party People
  19. Spider-Man
  20. Sunshine State

Analysis:  This year is a bit of an oddity.  First, for the first time in five years, the five Oscar nominees are also the five Consensus nominees.  But, much more strangely, for the only time after 1965, the Consensus winner (The Pianist) doesn’t have the highest raw total, but its weighted total turns a 20 point deficit to Chicago into a 10 point advantage.  The Pianist has three wins (BAFTA, NSFC, BSFC) among six total noms (Oscar, Globe, BFCA) while Chicago wins four awards (Oscar, Globe, PGA, BFCA) and earns one other nom (BAFTA).  It will be another decade before the second place film is even within 100 points of the 1st place film.  This is also the first time we have two films that go 0 for 5, earning nominations from all five awards groups (Oscar, PGA, BAFTA, Globe, BFCA) and winning none: Gangs of New York and Two Towers.  There won’t be another year with two such films until 2008. (more…)

Bring on the cave troll.

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 (because that’s how many **** films there are) but only the top 5 earn Nighthawk nominations.

Nighthawk Awards:

  • Best Picture
  1. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring  *
  2. The Fabulous Destiny of Amélie Poulain
  3. Moulin Rouge  *
  4. Mulholland Drive  **
  5. Memento
  6. Gosford Park
  7. In the Bedroom  *
  8. The Royal Tenenbaums
  9. Vanilla Sky
  10. Amores Perros
  11. The Man Who Wasn’t There
  12. The Others
  13. Ghost World
  14. Monster’s Ball
  15. A.I. Artificial Intelligence
  16. The Princess and the Warrior
  17. Black Hawk Down
  18. The Devil’s Backbone
  19. Monsters Inc.
  20. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

(more…)