Friday, March 10, 2017

REVIEW: Contemporary Color


What is Color Guard? That is the question frequently asked throughout “Contemporary Color,” the new documentary from directors Bill Ross IV and Turner Ross. In defining this unique cross between modern dance and cheerleading, the duo lets its inherent beauty speak for itself. Turning the cameras towards a one-of-a-kind event, they crafted a concert film that captures this niche “art sport” in all of its glory.

Read more at The Awards Circuit

Sunday, February 26, 2017

OSCAR WATCH: Oscar Predictions


Happy Oscar Day! The TV event of the year is now upon us and it's been quite a journey to get here. After a long season, "La La Land" has weathered some of the most ridiculous backlash to remain firmly ensconced as the Oscar frontrunner. I predict it will do very well tonight. Here are my final predictions. Enjoy the show!

Best Picture
La La Land

Best Director
Damien Chazelle, La La Land

Best Actor
Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea

Best Actress
Emma Stone, La La Land

Best Supporting Actor
Mahershala Ali, Moonlight

Best Supporting Actress
Viola Davis, Fences

Saturday, February 25, 2017

OSCAR WATCH: Indie Spirit Awards


We're finally nearing the finish line of this year's awards season and in the last stop on the precursor tour, the "Moonlight" was definitely shining. Indeed, Barry Jenkins' masterwork was the toast of the evening as the film scooped up all 6 of the awards it was nominated for at the Independent Spirit Awards, including Best Feature and Best Director. Overall, the show was a nice celebration of contemporary cinema, making me proud to be a voting member (my picks are indicated by asterisk) of Film Independent. If the quality of the winners at the big show tomorrow as anywhere near as good, then it will truly be an Oscar night to remember. But for now we'll bask in the glory of "Moonlight". Here are the 2017 winners of the Film Independent Spirit Awards:

Best Feature
Moonlight

Best Director
Barry Jenkins, Moonlight

Best Male Lead
Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea

Best Female Lead
Isabelle Huppert, Elle

Best Supporting Male
Ben Foster, Hell or High Water*

Best Supporting Female
Molly Shannon, Other People

Thursday, February 23, 2017

10 Great Foreign Language Performances Overlooked by Oscar



Read more at The Awards Circuit

Monday, February 13, 2017

OSCAR WATCH: BAFTA Awards


Making headlines that could have been written before the show even happened, "La La Land" once again came out on top at a major awards show, claiming 5 honors, including Best Film, Best Director and Best Actress. But though it took home a substantial haul, the Brits did shine a light on some other films, notably "Lion", which performed surprisingly well with wins for Best Supporting Actor (Dev Patel) and Best Adapted Screenplay. With these further question marks in the awards race, it will certainly be interesting to see how much AMPAS matches up with their counterparts across the pond. Here are the winners of the 2017 BAFTA Awards:

Best Picture
La La Land

Best British Film
I, Daniel Blake

Best Actor
Casey Affleck (Manchester by the Sea)

Best Actress
Emma Stone (La La Land)

Best Supporting Actor
Dev Patel (Lion)

Best Supporting Actress
Viola Davis (Fences)

Director
Damien Chazelle (La La Land)

Saturday, February 11, 2017

OSCAR WATCH: BAFTA Predictions


Tomorrow is pretty much the last major stop in precursor season with BAFTA Awards and it's virtually guaranteed that it's gonna be a "La La Land" lovefest. Still, it's gonna be interesting to see how Best Actress and Best Original Screenplay turn out. Here are my predictions:

Best Picture
La La Land

Best British Film
I, Daniel Blake

Best Actor
Casey Affleck (Manchester by the Sea)

Best Actress
Emma Stone (La La Land)

Best Supporting Actor
Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Nocturnal Animals)

Best Supporting Actress
Viola Davis (Fences)

Director
Damien Chazelle (La La Land)

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Best of 2016: Top 10 Films of the Year


Oh 2016, a year many of us would like to forget. As the world seemed to turn upside down, the movies were there however to comfort us. On a personal level, those cinematic joys came not from grand escapist spectacles, but from much more modest efforts. With the arguable exception of "La La Land", it was a year highlighted by unanticipated "small" films with big ideas. Indeed, if you look on the list below, you won't find any films from the major film studios. And perhaps as a further sign of the times, documentaries capitalized on the zeitgeist in a big way, with a trio of non-fiction entries landing spots, two of them explicitly examining race in America. Coupled with my literary introductions to Ta-Nehisi Coates, James Baldwin and Langston Hughes, the influence of social issues on my film-going experiences was therefore inescapable. And you'll notice that impact from the very first film on my list of the Top 10 Films of 2016, which including quotes from my reviews.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Best of 2016: Top 20 Acting Performances


As the question of whether true movie stars still exist continues to be up for debate, the performances of 2016 showed that the quality of modern acting shows no sign of decreasing. In particular, the year produced terrific ensemble work, whether through sizzling duets or large but cohesive troupes. Indeed, among my Top 20 you'll several double citations for certain films and in one case, an awesome trio. Before I unveil my list however, I'd like to acknowledge a few outstanding young actors with Honorable Mentions. They are...

Honorable Mention: Ferdia Walsh-Peelo & Lucy Boynton in Sing Street, Julian Dennison in Hunt for the Wilderpeople, Markees Christmas in Morris from America.

OSCAR WATCH: SAG Awards


Well, that was interesting! In one of the more surprising SAG Awards ceremonies in recent years, Hidden Figures and Denzel Washington picked up surprise wins for Ensemble and Actor respectively. What does this mean for Oscar? Probably not much of Best Picture, but Best Actor definitely seems more competitive now. Here are last night's winners:

Best Ensemble
Hidden Figures

Best Actor
Denzel Washington, Fences

Best Actress
Emma Stone, La La Land

Best Supporting Actor
Mahershala Ali, Moonlight

Best Supporting Actress
Viola Davis, Fences

Saturday, January 28, 2017

OSCAR WATCH: SAG Predictions


After Tuesday's Oscar nominations proved that "La La Land" is indeed the one to beat, the SAG Awards could potentially indicate which film is its main challenger for Best Picture. The film was notably missing for the top prize of Best Ensemble, paving the way for another contender to grab a brief spotlight. Will it be Moonlight or Manchester by the Sea? Or maybe even Fences or Hidden Figures? Check out my predictions below and don't forget to tune in on Sunday night to see who comes out on top.

Best Ensemble
Moonlight

Best Actor
Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea

Best Actress
Emma Stone, La La Land

Best Supporting Actor
Mahershala Ali, Moonlight

Best Supporting Actress
Viola Davis, Fences