15 January 2016

At the movies: 13 Hours.

If you're familiar with some of previous reviews of the films of Michael Bay, you might wonder why I ended up reviewing his new film, 13 Hours. The universe is an unpredictable place.

Madonnarama.

Madonna is coming to Nastyville. Seventeen year-old me's mind just imploded.

31 December 2015

The Very Best of 2015.



TOP TEN:

1 BY THE SEA/CLOUDS OF SILS MARIA
Passionate, polyglot observations of the processes we set up for ourselves. We are unexceptional rocks; the beauty comes from what is revealed in the collisions of living, and loving, and engaging in amateur pharmacology, and exorcising the legacy of lovers past, and finding the way back to ourselves. Finding that victory, that pure sense of creation, and accomplishment, is a terrifying and amazing journey that goes through the weird shit. I clutch these films to my chest; there is always a way through whatever lies before us.

2 MAD MAX FURY ROAD
Everything people have been saying is true. A grand new myth for the coming horrors of our collective annihilation. Creates and passes the DodecaBechdel Test as well.

3 PHOENIX/SAINT LAURENT
A hall of elegant mirrors, where the wearing of clothes and the telling of tales seeks to hammer in place a vision of a life composed of moments, memories. Let's dig deep and get at the Who. Let's swandive into the shadows and see what we can find.

4 CAROL
Aesthetically flawless, semiotically charged, and filled, ultimately, with a fierce hope. When Carol Aird says “We are not ugly people,” it's the cinematic moment of the year. But in the actual world outside, in 2015, what with the Trumpery and the Tennessee state legislature, maybe that's not the case anymore. An immaculate jewel.

5 THE ASSASSIN/THE HATEFUL EIGHT/LI'L QUINQUIN
How is it that we psychotic apes have managed to survive as long as we have? The land itself bears the scent of our sickness, with blood spilled clinging to us like an unremovable shroud that tangles the knees and clouds the will to try and do better. Sometimes you have to laugh to keep from vomiting in terror. Sometimes you have to stay the course of the procedural to keep from slipping off the rails and into the abyss. Upholding expectations is not, however, an inherently moral act. And that awareness defines us.

6 MAGIC MIKE XXL
A utopian vision of egalitarian, pleasure-driven lives where the primary commodity is joy, not money, and smiles and orgasms are how a good day are properly measured.

7 THOU WAST MILD AND LOVELY/TOM AT THE FARM
Gloriously surreal maps of human desire, bound in exterior, 'other' spaces. Humor and horror only a heartbeat away at any given moment.

8 ARABIAN NIGHTS/CHI-RAQ/HARD TO BE A GOD/THE TRIBE
How does one actually forge a community? Is what we perceive as civilization a starting point, a hard-won but tenuous victory, a delusional pipe dream, or a hiccup on the metaphorical road to something else?

9 JUPITER ASCENDING/STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS
Joyful intergalactic romps that reexamine (and in some cases gleefully explode) the structures that keep our imaginations (and selves) locked in a tiny corner of ignorant space. Mapping desires onto new bodies, new stars, and offering the widest continuua of enjoyment.

10 INSIDE OUT/LOVE 3D/THE MEND
Messy, maddening, meaningful visions of the heart and soul in crisis. The ritual brings catharsis. Sadness and helplessness fuels adaptation and evolution.

BEST DIRECTOR:

Bertrand Bonello (Saint Laurent)
Guillermo Del Toro (Crimson Peak)
Xavier Dolan (Tom At The Farm)
Fabrice Du Welz (Alleluia)
Miguel Gomes (Arabian Nights)
Todd Haynes (Carol)
Guy Maddin and Evan Johnson (The Forbidden Room)
George Miller (Mad Max Fury Road)
Gaspar Noe (Love)
Angelina Jolie Pitt (By The Sea)
Sam Taylor-Johnson (Fifty Shades of Grey)
Andy Wachowski and Lana Wachowski (Jupiter Ascending)

BEST ACTOR:

Matt Damon (The Martian)
Benicio Del Toro (Sicario)
Tom Hanks (Bridge of Spies)
Stephen Plunkett (The Mend)
Bernard Pruvost (Lil' Quinquin)
Gaspard Ulliel (Saint Laurent)
Leonid Yarmolnik (Hard to be a God)

BEST ACTRESS:

Cate Blanchett (Carol)
Luisa Cruz (Arabian Nights Volume 2: The Desolate One)
Anne Dorval (Mommy)
Lola Duenas (Alleluia)
Amy Everson (Felt)
Nina Hoss (Phoenix)
Rinko Kikuchi (Kumiko The Treasure Hunter)
Lola Kirke (Mistress America)
Teyonah Parris (Chi-Raq)
Charlize Theron (Mad Max Fury Road)
Alicia Vikander (Ex Machina)
Arielle Walker (Heaven Knows What)


BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR:

Louis Garrel (Saint Laurent)
Oscar Isaac (Ex Machina)
James Marsden (The D Train)
Jason Mitchell (Straight Outta Compton)
Michael Pena (Ant-Man)
Colin Quinn (Trainwreck)
Michael Stuhlbarg (Steve Jobs)


BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS:

Jessica Chastain (Crimson Peak)
Deanna Dunagan (The Visit)
Jennifer Jason Leigh (Anomalisa)
Julianne Moore (Maps to the Stars)
Jada Pinkett (Magic Mike XXL)
Kristen Stewart (American Ultra)
Kristen Stewart (Clouds of Sils Maria)
Mickey Sumner (The Mend)
Mya Taylor (Tangerine)
Tessa Thompson (Creed)
Katherine Waterston (Queen of Earth)


BEST SCREENPLAY:

Olivier Assayas (Clouds of Sils Maria)
Bruno Dumont (Lil' Quinquin)
Joel Edgerton (The Gift)
Rick Famuyiwa (Dope)
Drew Goddard (The Martian)
Charlie Kaufman (Anomalisa)
Max Landis (American Ultra)
John Magary (The Mend)
Phyllis Nagy (Carol)
Abderrahmane Sissako and Kessen Tall (Timbuktu)
Quentin Tarantino (The Hateful Eight)


BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY:

Peter Andrews (Magic Mike XXL)
Sean Baker and Radium Cheung (Tangerine)
Christian Berger (By The Sea)
Roger Deakins (Sicario)
Josee Deshaies (Saint Laurent)
Stuart Dryburgh (Blackhat)
Erdely Matyas (Son of Saul)
Vladimir Ilin and Yuriy Klimenko (Hard to be a God)
Alwin Kuchler (Steve Jobs)
Dan Laustsen (Crimson Peak)
Mark Lee Ping-Bin (The Assassin)
Emmanuel Lubezki (The Revenant)
John Mathieson and Seamus McGarvey (Pan)
Sayombhu Mukdeeprom (Arabian Nights)
Robert Richardson (The Hateful Eight)


BEST 3D:

In the Heart of The Sea
Jupiter Ascending
Love
The Martian
Pan
Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension
Point Break
The Spongebob Squarepants Movie
The Walk

BEST EDITING:

Clouds of Sils Maria
The Gift
Kingsman: The Secret Service
Last Shift
Love
Mad Max Fury Road
Saint Laurent

BEST COSTUMES:

Crimson Peak
Eden
Jupiter Ascending
Love
Saint Laurent
Tangerine

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN:

Crimson Peak
Hard To Be A God
Jupiter Ascending
Mad Max Fury Road
The Martian
The Night Before
The Revenant
Saint Laurent

BEST DOCUMENTARY:

Amy
Approaching the Elephant
The Black Panthers: Vanguard of The Revolution
The Creeping Garden
Don't Think I've Forgotten
In Jackson Heights
The Look of Silence

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS:

Chappie
Ex Machina
The Last Witch Hunter
The Martian
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

BEST ORIGINAL SONG:

“The Final Derriere” (The Forbidden Room)
“Flashlight” (Pitch Perfect 2)
“Grip” (Creed)
“Love Me Like You Do” (Fifty Shades of Grey)
“Mean Ol' Moon” (Ted 2)
“None of Them are You” (Anomalisa)

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE:

Alleluia
By The Sea
Carol
The Creeping Garden
The Duke of Burgundy
For The Plasma
Girlhood
The Hateful Eight
It Follows
Mad Max Fury Road
Maps To The Stars
The Revenant


BEST RESTORATION:

The American Friend
Until The End of The World
Rocco and His Brothers
The Decline of Western Civilization Trilogy
The Swimmer
Out 1
The Miracle Woman
The Apu Trilogy
Apocalypse Now


BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM:

Akounak Tedalat Taha Tazoughai
Alleluia
Arabian Nights
Eden
Girlhood
Hard to Be a God
Lil' Quinquin
Saint Laurent
Timbuktu
Tom at The Farm
The Tribe

BEST SUPPORTED ACTOR:

Rebecca Ferguson (Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation)
Louis Garrel (Saint Laurent)
Tom Hardy (Mad Max Fury Road)
Oscar Isaac (Star Wars: The Force Awakens)
Olafur Darri Olafsson (The Last Witch Hunter)
Michael Pena (Ant-Man)
Stephen Plunkett (The Mend)
James Ransone (Sinister 2)
Clemens Schick (Point Break)
Michael Stuhlbarg (Steve Jobs)


WORST PICTURE:

Black Mass
Hot Tub Time Machine 2
The Lazarus Effect
Seventh Son
Stonewall
Terminator: Genisys



SONGS OF THE YEAR: 2015

1 Brandon Flowers/Lonely Town
2 Carly Rae Jepsen/Your Type
3 Sparks/The Final Derriere
4 Chvrches/Clearest Blue
5 The Weeknd/The Hills
6 Madonna/Ghost Town
7 Sufjan Stevens/John My Beloved
8 Ryan Adams/Style
9 Jidenna/Classic Man
10 New Order/Plastic
11 Chromatics/Yes (Symmetry Remix)
12 Adele/Hello (NOLA Bounce Mix)
13 JR Castro/Get Home
14 One Direction/Perfect
15 Jeremih/Royalty
16 Hailee Steinfeld/Flashlight (Math Club Remix)
17 Jonny Telafone/The Prayer
18 Prince/Screwdriver
19 J. Cole/Wet Dreamz
20 Taylor Swift/New Romantics



ALBUMS OF THE YEAR: 2015

1 Carly Rae Jepsen/E MO TION
2 Chvrches/Every Open Eye
3 Sufjan Stevens/Carrie and Lowell
4 The Weeknd/Beauty Behind The Madness
5 Shamir/Ratchet
6 (tie) Robyn & La Bagatelle Magique/Love is Free EP
Susanne Sundfor/Ten Love Songs
7 Trickfinger
8 New Order/Music Complete
9 Giorgio Moroder/Deja Vu
10 Grimes/Art Angels


TV OF THE YEAR: 2015
(in alphabetical order)

Broad City
Community
Difficult People
Grace and Frankie
Hannibal
Inside Amy Schumer
Key and Peele
Nathan for You
Penny Dreadful
Review
Rick and Morty
Sense8

24 December 2015

At the movies: The Hateful Eight.

I have no idea how the public is going to react to this movie.

What's the best way to see the new Star Wars picture in Middle Tennessee?

In another of my expedition pieces (see also the last Paranormal Activity film), I decided to see The Force Awakens in the formats it is available to be seen in locally and compare them. The resulting sixteen hundred word blurt is available for you to investigate.

At the movies: Out 1.

I got to write about Out 1. Which is, and was, a daunting task.

At the movies: By The Sea.

If you missed seeing Angelina Jolie Pitt's third film as director, By The Sea, during its tragically abbreviated theatrical run, then let this missive serve to pique your interest until it surfaces in a home media format. It's an exceptional film that got shit on by lots of folk, and that's a damn shame.