Academy Award Nominations 2015
by Kam Williams

Birdman and The Grand Budapest Hotel have emerged as the early Oscar favorites after garnering nine Academy Award nominations each. Both of those films are excellent movies and well-deserving of all the accolades they’ve received.

Nevertheless, the simultaneous snub of Selma is a little mind-boggling. The critically-acclaimed civil rights saga is enjoying the highest Rotten Tomatoes rating (99%) of any of the Oscar hopefuls, yet was only rewarded with nominations in the Best Picture and Best Song (“Glory”) categories.

Why didn’t Ava DuVernay become the first African-American female director nominated, as most insiders had predicted? Her slot was ostensibly given to Bennett Miller, the director of Foxcatcher, which wasn’t even nominated for Best Picture.

And why wasn’t Selma star David Oyelowo recognized for his powerful portrayal of Dr. Martin Luther King? To add insult to injury, the Academy Award nominations were announced on January 15th, Dr. King’s birthday. Given the glaring omission, one can’t help but note that all of the nominees in the acting categories are Caucasian, perhaps a reflection of the predominantly-white Academy voting membership.

Another contributing factor to Selma’s stock suddenly tanking, undoubtedly, was the sharp criticism directed at it by Joseph Califano in a scathing op-ed printed in the Washington Post. The former assistant to Lyndon Johnson takes issue with the movie’s suggestion that the President’s was a reluctant supporter of the march and the Voting Rights Act, when “in fact, Selma was LBJ’s idea.” Califano he concludes his piece with the assertion that the picture “should be ruled out for consideration” this awards season.

Granted, the film was inaccurate in its portrayal of President Johnson. However, anyone who as actually seen the movie knows that LBJ was not cast as a villain, but more as a sympathetic figure in need of persuasion.

To her credit, director DuVernay avoided the familiar Hollywood formula which would have a group of imperiled blacks folks rescued by a great white savior on a pedestal. Instead, she opted to spread the praise around, acknowledging pivotal roles played not only by such icons as Dr. King and John Lewis, but by lesser-known, Selma local activists like Annie Lee Cooper and Cager Lee.

What I find very disheartening about the Selma smear campaign is that other historical dramas in the Oscar race, including The Imitation Game and American Sniper, have basically been given a pass despite whispered rumors of their having also taken liberties with the truth. For, such license didn’t prevent Lawrence of Arabia, A Beautiful Mind, Schindler’s List, Argo, The Last Emperor or The King’s Speech from winning the Academy Award for Best Picture.

Given how moving and meaningful a film Selma is, it’s sad to think that a few narrow-minded detractors with a patently-political agenda might have actually succeeded in derailing it.


Complete List of Academy Award Nominations


Best Actor

  • Steve Carell, "Foxcatcher"
  • Bradley Cooper, "American Sniper"
  • Benedict Cumberbatch, "The Imitation Game"
  • Michael Keaton, "Birdman"
  • Eddie Redmayne, "The Theory of Everything"


Best Actress

  • Marion Cotillard, "Two Days, One Night"
  • Felicity Jones, "The Theory of Everything"
  • Julianne Moore, "Still Alice"
  • Rosamund Pike, "Gone Girl"
  • Reese Witherspoon, "Wild"


Best Supporting Actor

  • Robert Duvall, "The Judge"
  • Ethan Hawke, "Boyhood"
  • Edward Norton, "Birdman"
  • Mark Ruffalo, "Foxcatcher"
  • J.K. Simmons, "Whiplash"


Best Supporting Actress

  • Patricia Arquette, "Boyhood"
  • Laura Dern, "Wild"
  • Keira Knightley, "The Imitation Game"
  • Emma Stone, "Birdman"
  • Meryl Streep, "Into the Woods"



  • "Birdman"
  • "The Grand Budapest Hotel"
  • "Ida"
  • "Mr. Turner"
  • "Unbroken"


Costume Design

  • "The Grand Budapest Hotel"
  • "Inherent Vice"
  • "Into the Woods"
  • "Maleficent"
  • "Mr. Turner"



  • Alejandro González Iñárritu, "Birdman"
  • Richard Linklater, "Boyhood"
  • Bennett Miller, "Foxcatcher"
  • Wes Anderson, "The Grand Budapest Hotel"
  • Morten Tyldum, "The Imitation Game"


Foreign Language Film

  • "Ida," Poland
  • "Leviathan," Russia
  • "Tangerines," Estonia
  • "Timbuktu," Mauritania
  • "Wild Tales," Argentina


Makeup and Hairstyling

  • "Foxcatcher"
  • "The Grand Budapest Hotel"
  • "Guardians of the Galaxy"


Original Score

  • "The Grand Budapest Hotel"
  • "The Imitation Game"
  • "Interstellar"
  • "Mr. Turner"
  • "The Theory of Everything"


Adapted Screenplay

  • "American Sniper"
  • "The Imitation Game"
  • "Inherent Vice"
  • "The Theory of Everything"
  • "Whiplash"


Original Screenplay

  • "Birdman"
  • "Boyhood"
  • "Foxcatcher"
  • "The Grand Budapest Hotel"
  • "Nightcrawler"


Best Picture

  • "American Sniper"
  • "Birdman"
  • "Boyhood"
  • "The Grand Budapest Hotel"
  • "The Imitation Game"
  • "Selma"
  • "The Theory of Everything"
  • "Whiplash"


Animated Feature Film

  • "Big Hero 6"
  • "The Boxtrolls"
  • "How to Train Your Dragon 2"
  • "Song of the Sea"
  • "The Tale of the Princess Kaguya"


Documentary Feature

  • "Citizenfour"
  • "Finding Vivian Maier"
  • "Last Days in Vietnam"
  • "The Salt of the Earth"
  • "Virunga"


Documentary Short Subject

  • "Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1"
  • "Joanna"
  • "Our Curse"
  • "The Reaper (La Parka)"
  • "White Earth"


Film Editing

  • "American Sniper"
  • "Boyhood"
  • "The Grand Budapest Hotel"
  • "The Imitation Game"
  • "Whiplash"


Original Song

  • "Everything Is Awesome," "The Lego Movie"
  • "Glory," "Selma"
  • "Grateful, "Beyond the Lights"
  • "I"m Not Gonna Miss You," "Glen Campbell: I'll Be Me"
  • "Lost Stars," "Begin Again"


Production Design

  • "The Grand Budapest Hotel"
  • "The Imitation Game"
  • "Interstellar"
  • "Into the Woods"
  • "Mr. Turner"


Animated Short Film

  • "The Bigger Picture"
  • "The Dam Keeper"
  • "Feast"
  • "Me and My Moulton"
  • "A Single Life"


Live Action Short Film

  • "Aya"
  • "Boogaloo and Graham"
  • "Butter Lamp"
  • "Parvaneh"
  • "The Phone Call"


Sound Editing

  • "American Sniper"
  • "Birdman"
  • "The Hobbitt: The Battle of the Five Armies"
  • "Interstellar"


Sound Mixing

  • "American Sniper"
  • "Birdman"
  • "Interstellar"
  • "Unbroken"
  • "Whiplash"


Visual Effects

  • "Captain America: The Winter Soldier"
  • "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes"
  • "Guardians of the Galaxy"
  • "Interstellar"
  • "X-Men: Days of Future Past"

Userpic Oscar Predictions 2014
Posted by Kam Williams

The Envelope Please:
Who Will Win, Who Deserves to Win, Who Was Snubbed
by Kam Williams

12 Years a Slave is benefiting from the most Best Picture buzz as we approach Oscar night, although this is shaping up as one of those rare years when the award for Best Director will probably go to a different film, Gravity. Look for 12 Years to net only a trio of statuettes overall, with Gravity likely landing seven.

12 Years a Slave is the sort of elaborate historical drama the voters just love to recognize, as reflected in such past picks as The King’s Speech, Gladiator, Shakespeare in Love, Titanic, The English Patient, Schindler’s List, Driving Miss Daisy, The Last Emperor, Amadeus and Out of Africa, to name a few. And since the Anglophilic Academy ostensibly is impressed by English accents, it will also help that 12 Years is a British production.     

Besides forecasting the winners, I also suggest which nominees in each category is actually the most deserving. Furthermore, because some great performances are invariably overlooked by the Academy entirely, I also point out some who should’ve at least been nominated.

The 86th Academy Awards will air live on ABC this Sunday, March 2nd at 8:30 PM ET/5:30 PM PT, and will be hosted by Ellen DeGeneres.   


Best Picture


Will Win: 12 Years a Slave

Deserves to Win: 12 Years a Slave

Overlooked: The Butler



Best Director


Will Win: Alphonso Cuaron (Gravity)

Deserves to Win: Steve McQueen (12 Years a Slave)

Overlooked: Lee Daniels (The Butler)



Best Actor


Will Win: Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club)

Deserves to Win: Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave)

Overlooked: Forest Whitaker (The Butler)



Best Actress


Will Win: Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine)

Deserves to Win: Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine)

Overlooked: Sharni Vinson (You’re Next)   



Best Supporting Actor


Will Win: Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club)

Deserves to Win: Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club)

Overlooked: Harrison Ford (42)



Best Supporting Actress


Will Win: Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave)   

Deserves to Win: Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave)

Overlooked: Maria Bello (Prisoners)



Best Original Screenplay:


Will Win: Spike Jonze (Her)  

Deserves to Win: David O. Russell and Eric Warren Singer (American Hustle)

Overlooked: Aaron Guzikowski (Prisoners)



Best Adapted Screenplay:


Will Win: John Ridley (12 Years a Slave)

Deserves to Win: John Ridley (12 Years a Slave)

Overlooked: Danny Strong (The Butler)



Predictions for Secondary Categories


Animated Feature: Frozen

Foreign Language Film: The Great Beauty (Italy)

Documentary Feature: 20 Feet from Stardom

Cinematography: Gravity

Costume Design: The Great Gatsby

Production Design: The Great Gatsby

Film Editing: Gravity

Makeup and Hairstyling: Dallas Buyers Club

Original Score: Gravity

Best Song: Let It Go (Frozen)

Sound Editing: Gravity

Sound Mixing: Gravity

Visual Effects: Gravity


Userpic2014 Grammy Awards Recap
Posted by Kam Williams

2014 Grammys Recap
by Kam Williams

A Royal Night to Remember!

From Queen B’s Wardrobe Malfunction to Queen Latifah’s Mass Wedding

Although the Grammys were dominated by the French robot duo Daft Punk, rapper/producer team Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, and New Zealand teen singing sensation Lorde, their wins were easily upstaged by memorable appearances by two black queens, namely, Queen B and Queen Latifah. For, the night to remember’s highlights featured a wardrobe malfunction during Beyoncé’s performance of “Drunk in Love” and Reverend Latifah’s officiating the wedding of 33 couples (with the power vested in her by the State of California) following Macklemore’s spirited rendition of the gay anthem “Same Love.”

Did anybody think about Nas’ pronouncement that “Hip-hop is dead!” on a night when the genre’s artists netting the most accolades were no longer black gangsta rappers but white gay rights advocates preaching tolerance of sexual preferences? Talk about jumping the shark! The only other jaw-dropper was the sight of Pharrell in that oversized, Canadian Mountie hat.


Complete List of 2014 Grammy Winners

Record of the Year

“Get Lucky,” Daft Punk, Pharrell Williams and Nile Rodgers

Album of the Year

“Random Access Memories,” Daft Punk

Song of the Year

Joel Little and Ella Yelich-O’Connor (“Royals,” Lorde)

New Artist

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

Pop Solo Performance

“Royals,” Lorde

Pop Performance, Duo or Group

“Get Lucky,” Daft Punk, Pharrell Williams and Nile Rodgers

Pop Instrumental Album

“Steppin’ Out,” Herb Alpert

Pop Vocal Album

“Unorthodox Jukebox,” Bruno Mars

Dance Recording

“Clarity,” Zedd and Foxes

Dance/Electronica Album

“Random Access Memories,” Daft Punk

Traditional Pop Vocal Album

“To Be Loved,” Michael Bublé

Rock Performance

“Radioactive,” Imagine Dragons

Metal Performance

“God Is Dead?,” Black Sabbath

Rock Song

Dave Grohl, Paul McCartney, Krist Novoselic and Pat Smear (“Cut Me Some Slack,” Paul McCartney, Dave Grohl, Krist Novoselic and Pat Smear)

Rock Album

“Celebration Day,” Led Zeppelin

Alternative Music Album

“Modern Vampires of the City,” Vampire Weekend

R&B Performance

“Something,” Snarky Puppy and Lalah Hathaway

Traditional R&B Performance

“Please Come Home,” Gary Clark Jr.

R&B Song

James Fauntleroy, Jerome Harmon, Timothy Mosley and Justin Timberlake (“Pusher Love Girl,” Justin Timberlake)

R&B Album

“Girl on Fire,” Alicia Keys

Rap Performance

“Thrift Shop,” Macklemore & Ryan Lewis and Wanz

Rap/Sung Collaboration

“Holy Grail,” Jay Z and Justin Timberlake

Rap Song

Ben Haggerty and Ryan Lewis (“Thrift Shop,” Macklemore & Ryan Lewis and Wanz)

Rap Album

“The Heist,” Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

Urban Contemporary Album

“Unapologetic,” Rihanna

Country Solo Performance

“Wagon Wheel,” Darius Rucker

Country Performance, Duo or Group

“From This Valley,” the Civil Wars

Country Song

Shane McAnally, Kacey Musgraves and Josh Osborne (“Merry Go ’Round,” Kacey Musgraves)

Country Album

“Same Trailer Different Park,” Kacey Musgraves

New Age Album

“Love’s River,” Laura Sullivan

Improvised Jazz Solo

“Orbits,” Wayne Shorter

Jazz Vocal Album

“Liquid Spirit,” Gregory Porter

Jazz Instrumental Album

“Money Jungle: Provocative in Blue,” Terri Lyne Carrington

Large Jazz Ensemble Album

“Night in Calisia,” Randy Brecker, Wlodek Pawlik Trio and Kalisz Philharmonic

Latin Jazz Album

“Song for Maura,” Paquito D’Rivera and Trio Corrente

Gospel/Contemporary Christian Music Performance

“Break Every Chain (Live),” Tasha Cobbs

Gospel Song

Tye Tribbett (“If He Did It Before ... Same God (Live),” Tye Tribbett)

Contemporary Christian Music Song

David Garcia, Ben Glover and Christopher Stevens (“Overcomer,” Mandisa)

Gospel Album

“Greater Than (Live),” Tye Tribbett

Contemporary Christian Music Album

“Overcomer,” Mandisa

Latin Pop Album

“Vida,” Draco Rosa

Latin Rock, Urban or Alternative Album

“Treinta Días,” la Santa Cecilia

Regional Mexican or Tejano Album

“A Mi Manera,” Mariachi Divas de Cindy Shea

Tropical Latin Album

“Pacific Mambo Orchestra,” Pacific Mambo Orchestra

American Roots Song

Edie Brickell and Steve Martin (“Love Has Come for You,” Steve Martin and Edie Brickell)

Americana Album

“Old Yellow Moon,” Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell

Bluegrass Album

“The Streets of Baltimore,” Del McCoury Band

Blues Album

“Get Up!,” Ben Harper and Charlie Musselwhite

Folk Album

“My Favorite Picture of You,” Guy Clark

Regional Roots Music Album

“Dockside Sessions,” Terrance Simien and the Zydeco Experience

Reggae Album

“Ziggy Marley in Concert,” Ziggy Marley

World Music Album

“Savor Flamenco,” Gipsy Kings

“Live: Singing for Peace Around the World,” Ladysmith Black Mambazo (tie)

Children’s Album

“Throw a Penny in the Wishing Well,” Jennifer Gasoi

Spoken Word Album

“America Again: Re-Becoming the Greatness We Never Weren’t,” Stephen Colbert

Comedy Album

“Calm Down Gurrl,” Kathy Griffin

Musical Theater Album

“Kinky Boots,” Billy Porter and Stark Sands, artists; Sammy James Jr., Cyndi Lauper, Stephen Oremus and William Wittman, producers; Cyndi Lauper, composer/lyricist

Best Compilation Soundtrack for Visual Media

“Sound City: Real to Reel,” Butch Vig, compilation producer

Score Soundtrack for Visual Media

“Skyfall,” Thomas Newman, composer

Song Written for Visual Media

Adele Adkins and Paul Epworth, “Skyfall,” from “Skyfall” (Adele)

Instrumental Composition

“Pensamientos for Solo Alto Saxophone and Chamber Orchestra,” Clare Fischer (the Clare Fischer Orchestra)

Instrumental Arrangement

“On Green Dolphin Street,” Gordon Goodwin (Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band)

Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s)

“Swing Low,” Gil Goldstein (Bobby McFerrin and Esperanza Spalding)

Producer of the Year, Nonclassical

Pharrell Williams

Producer of the Year, Classical

David Frost

Remixed Recording, Nonclassical

“Summertime Sadness (Cedric Gervais Remix),” Cedric Gervais, remixer

Orchestral Performance

“Sibelius: Symphonies Nos. 1 and 4,” Osmo Vänskä, conductor (Minnesota Orchestra)

Opera Recording

“Adès: The Tempest,” Thomas Adès, conductor; Simon Keenlyside, Isabel Leonard, Audrey Luna and Alan Oke; Jay David Saks, producer (the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra; the Metropolitan Opera Chorus)

Choral Performance

“Pärt: Adam’s Lament,” Tõnu Kaljuste, conductor (Tui Hirv and Rainer Vilu, Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir, Sinfonietta Riga and Tallinn Chamber Orchestra, Latvian Radio Choir and Vox Clamantis)

Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance

“Roomful of Teeth,” Brad Wells and Roomful of Teeth

Classical Instrumental Solo

“Corigliano: Conjurer — Concerto for Percussionist and String Orchestra,” Evelyn Glennie

Classical Vocal Solo

“Winter Morning Walks,” Dawn Upshaw (Maria Schneider; Jay Anderson, Frank Kimbrough and Scott Robinson; Australian Chamber Orchestra and St. Paul Chamber Orchestra)

Classical Compendium

“Hindemith: Violinkonzert; Symphonic Metamorphosis; Konzertmusik,” Christoph Eschenbach, conductor

Contemporary Classical Composition

“Schneider, Maria: Winter Morning Walks,” Maria Schneider (Dawn Upshaw, Jay Anderson, Frank Kimbrough, Scott Robinson and Australian Chamber Orchestra)

Music Video

“Suit & Tie,” Justin Timberlake and Jay Z

Music Film

“Live Kisses,” Paul McCartney

Recording Package

“Long Night Moon,” Sarah Dodds and Shauna Dodds, art directors (Reckless Kelly)

Boxed or Special Limited Edition Package

“Wings Over America (Deluxe Edition),” Simon Earith and James Musgrave, art directors (Paul McCartney and Wings)

Album Notes

“Afro Blue Impressions (Remastered & Expanded),” Neil Tesser (John Coltrane)

Historical Album

“Charlie Is My Darling — Ireland 1965,” Teri Landi, Andrew Loog Oldham & Steve Rosenthal, compilation producers; Bob Ludwig, mastering engineer (the Rolling Stones)

“The Complete Sussex and Columbia Albums,” Leo Sacks, compilation producer; Joseph M. Palmaccio, Tom Ruff and Mark Wilder, mastering engineers (Bill Withers) (tie)

Engineered Album, Nonclassical

“Random Access Memories,” Peter Franco, Mick Guzauski, Florian Lagatta and Daniel Lerner, engineers; Antoine Chabert and Bob Ludwig, mastering engineer (Daft Punk)

Surround Sound Album

“Live Kisses,” Al Schmitt, surround mix engineer; Tommy LiPuma, surround producer (Paul McCartney)

Best Engineered Album, Classical

“Winter Morning Walks,” David Frost, Brian Losch and Tim Martyn, engineers; Tim Martyn, mastering engineer (Dawn Upshaw, Maria Schneider, Australian Chamber Orchestra and St. Paul Chamber Orchestra)



Oscar Buzz Deferred
by Kam Williams

2013 was widely lauded as the “Year of the Black Film,” but you would never know it, judging by the recently-announced list of Oscar nominations. It looks like the Academy settled on 12 Years a Slave as a sort of token black representative, with Steve McQueen (Director), John Ridley (Adapted Screenplay), Chiwetel Ejiofor (Lead Actor) and Lupita Nyong’o (Supporting Actress) landing nominations. Otherwise, the only other black nominee in a major category was Barkhad “I’m the Captain now!” Abdi, the Somalia-born cab driver who made his acting debut as the pirate who took Tom Hanks hostage in Captain Phillips.

Perhaps the most noteworthy snub was that of Fruitvale Station which had won coveted awards at both the Sundance and Cannes Festivals. Or maybe it was that of The Butler, which was my favorite film of the year. Upon that picture’s release back in August, colleague Roger Friedman was not alone in unabashedly declaring Oprah Winfrey already a lock to win the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress.

But, in the end, Oprah wasn’t even nominated, nor was her co-star Forest Whitaker, despite his having delivered a nonpareil performance. The list of overlooked thespians arguably extends to a couple other critically-acclaimed productions featuring black principal cast members, namely, the brilliant biopics 42 and Mandela.

What happens to Oscar buzz deferred? Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun? Or does it dream of an NAACP Image Award? Read the rest of this story »


UserpicGolden Globes Recap
Posted by Kam Williams

2014 Golden Globes Recap

by Kam Williams


American Hustle Lands a Trio of Trophies

Abscam Comedy Emerges as Early Oscar Favorite  

            The Hollywood Foreign Press Association staged its 71st Annual Golden Globes in Beverly Hills on Sunday evening, with SNL alumna Tina Fey and Amy Poehler again sharing the hosting duties. The night’s big winner was American Hustle for Best Picture (Musical or Comedy) as well as Amy Adams and Jennifer Lawrence for Best Lead and Supporting Actress, respectively.

            Going into the event, Hustle and 12 Years a Slave shared all the Oscar buzz by virtue of their having landed the most Golden Globe nominations (7 each). But 12 Years has definitely now lost momentum, despite prevailing in the coveted Best Picture (Drama) category only.

            As for the show, emcees Fey and Poehler again proved to be more celebrity-friendly than their relatively-irreverent predecessor, Ricky Gervais. The pair’s tongue-in-cheek brand of humor ranged from Fey’s praise of August: Osage County as proof that “there are still great parts in Hollywood for Meryl Streeps over 60” to Poehler’s crediting “12 Years a Slave” for changing the way she feels about slavery.

            They teased conspicuously-absent Woody Allen for winning the award “for the tiniest man with the biggest glasses,” since the similarly-diminutive and power-framed Martin Scorcese had previously accepted the lifetime achievement accolade. Meanwhile, during the telecast, Woody’s son Ronan was busy tweeting a reminder that his sister Dylan had recently gone public for the first time about her having been molested by their father at the age of 7.

            As far as profanity, a few foul-mouthed winners had to be bleeped, although in the case of Jacqueline Bisset the very busy NBC censors were too slow on the button and let the S-word slip out over the airwaves. They also belatedly edited Fey’s raunchy suggestion “Like a supermodel’s vagina, let’s all give a warm welcome to Leonardo DiCaprio,” although they apparently had no problem with her running joke about prosthetic penises.

            But enough about this self-indulgent, alcohol-fueled preamble to the Academy Awards, it’s on to The Oscars!  

Complete List of 2014 Golden Globe Winners


Best Picture, Drama: "12 Years a Slave"

Best Picture, Musical or Comedy "American Hustle"

Best Actor, Drama: Matthew McConaughey, "Dallas Buyers Club"

Best Actress, Drama: Cate Blanchett, "Blue Jasmine"

Best Director: Alfonso Cuaron, "Gravity"

Best Actor, Musical or Comedy: Leonardo DiCaprio, "The Wolf of Wall Street"

Best Actress, Musical or Comedy: Amy Adams, "American Hustle"

Best Supporting Actor: Jared Leto, "Dallas Buyers Club"

Best Supporting Actress: Jennifer Lawrence, "American Hustle"

Best Foreign Language Film: "The Great Beauty" (Italy)

Best Animated Film: "Frozen"

Best Screenplay: Spike Jonze, "Her"

Best Original Score: "All Is Lost"

Best Original Song: "Ordinary Love" "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom"


Best Series, Drama: "Breaking Bad"

Best Actor, Drama: Bryan Cranston, "Breaking Bad"

Best Actress, Drama: Robin Wright, "House of Cards"

Best Series, Musical or Comedy: "Brooklyn Nine-Nine"

Best Actress, Musical or Comedy: Amy Poehler, "Parks and Recreation"

Best Actor, Musical or Comedy: Andy Samberg, "Brooklyn Nine-Nine"

Best Miniseries or Movie: "Behind the Candelabra"

Best Actress, Miniseries or Movie: Elisabeth Moss, "Top of the Lake"

Best Actor, Miniseries or Movie: Michael Douglas, "Behind the Candelabra"

Best Supporting Actress, Series, Miniseries or Movie: Jacqueline Bisset, "Dancing on the Edge"

Best Supporting Actor, Series, Miniseries or Movie: Jon Voight, "Ray Donovan"


Woody Allen


Oscars Recap
by Kam Wiliams

Ben Affleck got the last laugh after being snubbed by the Academy in the Best Director category when his film, Argo, won the award for Best Picture. However, Ang Lee’s Life of Pi landed the most Oscars overall, four, including an upset of Spielberg for director.

The only other major surprise arrived at the outset of the telecast when Christoph Waltz won Best Supporting Actor (Django Unchained) in a race thought to be between Robert De Niro (Silver Linings Playbook) and (Tommy Lee Jones (Lincoln). As for this critic’s prognostications, I got 15 of 21 correct, including Argo.

Much of the pre-Oscar buzz had been about Seth MacFarlane’s hosting the Oscars, and how his irreverent brand of humor would be received by the crowd. Although he didn’t take many potshots at Hollywood royalty, his monologue, performances and banter did reflect a disappointing coarsening of the culture.

Whether invoking the name of porn star Ron Jeremy or doing a song and dance celebrating nude scenes “We Saw Your Boobs”, MacFarlane frequently resorted to racy material inappropriate for children. He also took a few jabs at Jews, implying that claiming to be at least half-Jewish or a big supporter of Israel was a prerequisite to making it in show business.

But he leveled the lion’s share of his acerbic barbs at African-Americans. For example, in a skit inspired by Denzel Washington’s film Flight, he had a black, hand puppet drinking alcohol and snorting coke,

Then there was his shockingly-pedophilic sexualizing of 9 year-old Best Actress nominee Quvenzhane Wallis (Beasts of the Southern Wild) by speculating about when she’d be too old to date George Clooney. And he made light of domestic abuse when he suggested that Chris Brown and Rihanna considered Django Unchained a date movie because it was about a man trying to get back a woman who’s been subjected to unspeakable violence.

Seth also quipped that it’s okay for Quentin Tarantino to use the N-word “because he thinks he’s black,” and he wondered whether Daniel Day-Lewis might’ve tried to free Don Cheadle had he bumped into him on the studio lot while still in character.

The offensive fare revolving around race was ultimately offset somewhat when they had First Lady Michelle Obama open the envelope for Best Picture from the White House. Still, this Oscar show was anything but a family affair.

Complete List of Oscar Winners:


Daniel Day-Lewis (Lincoln)

Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook)

Anne Hathaway (Les Miserables)

Christoph Waltz (Django Unchained)

Ang Lee (Life of Pi)


Django Unchained



"Skyfall" (Skyfall)

Life of Pi


Life of Pi

Searching for Sugar Man

Life of Pi

Les Miserables

Anna Karenina


Tie: Skyfall and Zero Dark Thirty

Les Miserables





Userpic2013 Golden Globes Recap (FEATURE)
Posted by Kam Williams

2013 Golden Globes Recap
by Kam Williams

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association jumpstarted the 2013 awards season Sunday evening with its annual recognition of the best in film and television. An early indicator of Academy Award potential, the Golden Globes have established Argo and Les Miserables as favorites in the Oscar race, much to the chagrin of fading-fast Lincoln. That much-ballyhooed historical drama prevailed only in an acting category (Daniel Day-Lewis), attendee President Clinton's stamp of approval notwithstanding.

Les Mis won for Best Musical, with Hugh Jackman and Anna Hathaway's performances also being feted. And Argo won for Best Drama and Best Director.

Meanwhile, in terms of television Homeland, Girls and the made-for-TV movie Game Change, walked away with the most trophies, with 3, 2 and 3, respectively.

The Globes were marked by its trademark, champagne-fueled informality, starting with co-hostesses Tina Fey and Amy Poehler's taking potshots during their dialogue at everyone from their predecessor ("Ricky Gervais could not be here tonight because he is no longer technically in show business.") to Quentin Tarantino ("The star of all my sexual nightmares.")

Some of the presenters proved to be just as hilarious, such as when their fellow, SNL alums Will Ferrell and Kristen Wiig feigned familiarity with the Best Actress nominees' performances. Later, Sly Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger exchanged barbs about each other's poor command of English before opening the envelope for Best Foreign Language Film (Amour).

As for acceptance speeches, Lifetime Achievement Award-winner Jodie Foster came off as uncharacteristically-uncomfortable in front of the camera during a rambling rant during which she complained about her lack of privacy, came out of the closet, announced that she was available, and retired from show business. The camera caught several audience members crying in response to her emotional dump, although most appeared nonplussed.

As for sore losers, Taylor Swift frowned after losing to rival Adele as if the Best Original Song-winner had rushed to the stage and just pulled a Kanye West on her. Fey reacted equally-ungraciously to being beaten in the TV comedienne category when 26 year-old Lena Dunham thanked the also-rans for getting her through middle school.

In the end, co-host Poehler proved to be a better sport when she brought down the curtain on the festivities with the suggestive, less-catty sendoff, "Goodnight! We're going home with Jodie Foster."


Complete List of 2013 Golden Globe Winners



Picture, Drama: "Argo"

Picture, Musical or Comedy: "Les Miserables"

Actor, Drama: Daniel Day-Lewis, "Lincoln"

Actress, Drama: Jessica Chastain, "Zero Dark Thirty"

Director: Ben Affleck, "Argo"

Actor, Musical or Comedy: Hugh Jackman, "Les Miserables"

Actress, Musical or Comedy: Jennifer Lawrence, "Silver Linings Playbook"

Supporting Actor: Christoph Waltz, "Django Unchained"

Supporting Actress: Anne Hathaway, "Les Miserables"

Foreign Language: "Amour"

Animated Film: "Brave"

Screenplay: Quentin Tarantino, "Django Unchained"

Original Score: Mychael Danna, "Life of Pi"

Original Song: "Skyfall" (music and lyrics by Adele and Paul Epworth), "Skyfall"



Series, Drama: "Homeland"

Series, Musical or Comedy: "Girls"

Actress, Drama: Claire Danes, "Homeland"

Actor, Drama: Damian Lewis, "Homeland"

Actress, Musical or Comedy: Lena Dunham, "Girls"

Actor, Musical or Comedy: Don Cheadle, "House of Lies"

Miniseries or Movie: "Game Change"

Actress, Miniseries or Movie: Julianne Moore, "Game Change"

Actor, Miniseries or Movie: Kevin Costner, "Hatfields & McCoys"

Supporting Actress, Series, Miniseries or Movie: Maggie Smith, "Downton Abbey"

Supporting Actor, Series, Miniseries or Movie: Ed Harris, "Game Change"


Jodie Foster


Michael MooreMichael Moore gracefully accepted the Cinema Eye award for co-Directors Emad Burnat and Guy Davidi.

New York, NY - January 10, 2013 - The critically acclaimed Palestinian and Israeli co-production 5 BROKEN CAMERAS, co-directed by Emad Burnat and Guy Davidi and distributed in the United States by Kino Lorber Inc., has been nominated by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences in the Best Documentary category for the 85th Academy Awards®.

5 BROKEN CAMERAS has also won the top prize (Outstanding Achievement in Nonfiction Filmmaking) at yesterday's Cinema Eye awards, presented at The Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, Queens. Michael Moore gracefully accepted the award for co-Directors Emad Burnat and Guy Davidi.


Userpic2013 Oscar Nominations (FEATURE)
Posted by Kam Williams

2013 Oscar Nominations
by Kam Williams

"Lincoln" and "Life of Pi" Lead Academy Award Sweepstakes
Quvenzhane Wallis, 9, and Emmanuelle Riva, 85, Nominated

Lincoln and Life of Pi emerged as the early favorites in the Academy Award Sweepstakes with 12 and 11 nominations respectively. Buy don't forget that just a year ago this critic warned of irrational exuberance when Hugo landed the most, only to ultimately be beaten by The Artist on Oscar night, thanks in part to an ad campaign carefully orchestrated by Harvey Weinstein.

And the Weinstein Company has a few horses in this year's race, most notably, Silver Linings Playbook, which has netted a nomination in every major category. So, don't be surprised to see that picture's stock rise considerably in the coming weeks. Another dark horse which might blossom into the favorite is Zero Dark Thirty, a film which suffered from political controversy and the fact that it only went into wide release on January 11th.

In terms of the acting categories, most of the buzz surrounds cutie-pie Quvenzhane Wallis (Beasts of the Southern Wild) and grand dame Emmanuelle Riva (Amour) as the youngest and oldest actresses ever to be nominated, at 9 and 85 years of age, respectively. A lot of attention is being been paid to the contenders in the Best Supporting Actor category, too, since they all are former winners.

But practically overshadowing the nominees is the conspicuous absence of Quentin Tarantino (Django Unchained), Ben Affleck (Argo) and Kathryn Bigelow) in the Best Director category. Joining them in the snub club are actors John Hawkes (The Sessions) and Suraj Sharma (Life of Pi), as well as actresses Rachel Weisz (The Deep Blue Sea) and Ann Dowd (Compliance).
Regardless, the 85th Academy Awards show is set to air live on ABC on Sunday, February 24th at 8 PM ET/5 PM PT, and will be hosted by the ever-irreverent Seth MacFarlane.


Best Motion Picture of the Year



Beasts of the Southern Wild

Django Unchained

Les Misérables

Life of Pi


Silver Linings Playbook

Zero Dark Thirty


Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role

Bradley Cooper (Silver Linings Playbook)

Daniel Day-Lewis (Lincoln)

Hugh Jackman (Les Misérables)

Joaquin Phoenix (The Master)

Denzel Washington (Flight)


Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role

Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty)

Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook)

Emmanuelle Riva (Amour)

Quvenzhané Wallis (Beasts of the Southern Wild)

Naomi Watts (The Impossible)


Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role

Alan Arkin (Argo)

Robert De Niro (Silver Linings Playbook)

Philip Seymour Hoffman (The Master)

Tommy Lee Jones (Lincoln)

Christoph Waltz (Django Unchained)


Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role

Amy Adams (The Master)

Sally Field (Lincoln)

Anne Hathaway (Les Misérables)

Helen Hunt (The Sessions)

Jacki Weaver (Silver Linings Playbook)


Best Achievement in Directing

Michael Haneke (Amour)

Ang Lee (Life of Pi)

David O. Russell (Silver Linings Playbook)

Steven Spielberg (Lincoln)

Benh Zeitlin (Beasts of the Southern Wild)


Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen

Amour: Michael Haneke

Django Unchained: Quentin Tarantino

Flight: John Gatins

Moonrise Kingdom: Wes Anderson, Roman Coppola

Zero Dark Thirty: Mark Boal

Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published

Argo: Chris Terrio

Beasts of the Southern Wild: Lucy Alibar, Benh Zeitlin

Life of Pi: David Magee

Lincoln: Tony Kushner

Silver Linings Playbook: David O. Russell


Best Animated Feature Film of the Year




The Pirates! Band of Misfits

Wreck-It Ralph


Best Foreign Language Film of the Year

Amour (Austria)

War Witch (Canada)

No (Chile)

A Royal Affair (Denmark)

Kon-Tiki (Norway)

Best Achievement in Cinematography

Anna Karenina

Django Unchained

Life of Pi




Best Achievement in Editing


Life of Pi


Silver Linings Playbook

Zero Dark Thirty


Best Achievement in Production Design

Anna Karenina

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Les Misérables

Life of Pi


Best Achievement in Costume Design

Anna Karenina

Les Misérables


Mirror Mirror

Snow White and the Huntsman

Best Achievement in Makeup


The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Les Misérables

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score

Anna Karenina


Life of Pi



Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Song

Chasing Ice: J. Ralph("Before My Time")

Les Misérables: Alain Boublil, Claude-Michel Schönberg, Herbert Kretzmer("Suddenly")

Life of Pi: Mychael Danna, Bombay Jayshree("Pi's Lullaby")

Skyfall: Adele, Paul Epworth("Skyfall")

Ted: Walter Murphy, Seth MacFarlane("Everybody Needs a Best Friend")


Best Achievement in Sound Mixing


Les Misérables

Life of Pi




Best Achievement in Sound Editing


Django Unchained

Life of Pi


Zero Dark Thirty


Best Achievement in Visual Effects

The Avengers

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Life of Pi


Snow White and the Huntsman


Best Documentary, Features

5 Broken Cameras

The Gatekeepers

How to Survive a Plague

The Invisible War

Searching for Sugar Man


Best Documentary, Short Subjects


Kings Point

Mondays at Racine

Open Heart


Best Short Film, Animated

Adam and Dog

Fresh Guacamole

Head Over Heels


The Simpsons: The Longest Daycare

Best Short Film, Live Action


Buzkashi Boys


Death of a Shadow



The 10 Best, No, the 100 Best Films of 2012
by Kam Williams

It's impossible for me to limit my favorite films of 2012 to just 10 of the year's 1,000 or so releases After all, it feels unfair even to compare most of them to each other, since they represent so many different genres, countries and cultures, and enjoyed such a range in budgets.

Therefore, as per usual, this critic's annual list features 100 entries in order to honor as many of the best offerings as possible. And despite the cloud of controversy swirling around Kathryn's Bigelow's Zero Dark Thirty for its depiction of torture and Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained for its violence and use of the N-word, both of these movies are nevertheless deserving of high accolades in my humble opinion.

10 Best Big Budget Films

1. Zero Dark Thirty

2. Silver Linings Playbook

3. Django Unchained

4. Looper

5. Argo

6. Life of Pi

7. 21 Jump Street

8. Cabin in the Woods

9. Flight

10. Magic Mike


Big Budgets Honorable Mention

11. The Hunger Games

12. Skyfall

13. The Amazing Spider-Man

14. Safe House

15. The Sessions

16. Savages

17. The Avengers

18. Think Like a Man

19. Hitchcock

20. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days

21. Mirror Mirror

22. Anna Karenina

23. Lincoln

24. Sparkle

25. Promised Land


10 Best Foreign Films

1. Amour (France)

2. Turn Me on, Dammit! (Norway)

3. Nobody Else but You (France)

4. Let the Bullets Fly (China)

5. The Other Son (Israel)

6. Putin's Kiss (Russia)

7. Sound of Noise (Germany)

8. Attenberg (Greece)

9. I Wish (Japan)

10. The Fairy (Belgium)


Foreign Films Honorable Mention

11. The Well Digger's Daughter (France)

12. Jiro Dreams of Sushi (Japan)

13. Ikland (Uganda)

14. Elles (France)

15. Simon and the Oaks (Sweden)

16. The Intouchables (France)

17. Unforgivable (Italy)

18. Dolphin Boy

19. Oslo, August 31st (Norway)

20. A Royal Affair (Denmark)

21. Busong (Philippines)

22. Gerhard Richter Painting (Germany)

23. Somewhere Between (China)

24. Crazy Horse (France)

25. 360 (Brazil)


10 Best Independent Films

1. Beasts of the Southern Wild

2. The Deep Blue Sea

3. Quartet

4. Take This Waltz

5. Middle of Nowhere

6. Safety Not Guaranteed

7. Compliance

8. Restless City

9. Goon

10. Changing the Game


Independent Films Honorable Mention

11. God Bless America

12. Ginger & Rosa

13. Yelling to the Sky

14. Nobody Walks

15. V/H/S

16. Tim & Eric's Billion-Dollar Movie

17. Model Minority

18. The Brooklyn Brothers Beat the Best

19. 28 Hotel Rooms

20. Velvet Elvis

21. Deadfall

22. Mosquita & Mari

23. Happy New Year

24. 96 Minutes

25. Jack & Diane



10 Best Documentaries

1. The Central Park Five

2. Head Games

3. Chasing Ice

4. Bully

5. The Loving Story

6. The Queen of Versailles

7. Hoodwinked

8. Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel

9. 65_RedRoses

10. Heist


Documentaries Honorable Mention

11. Booker's Place: A Mississippi Story

12. The Revisionaires

13. Six Million and One

14. Marley

15. High Ground

16. Bonsai People

17. Follow Me: The Yoni Netanyahu Story

18. Soul Food Junkies

19. Brooklyn Castle

20. Chimpanzee

21. Detropia

22. Inventing Our Life: The Kibbutz Experiment

23. Never Stand Still

24. 5 Broken Cameras

25. Samsara




Userpic10-5 Kam's Kapsules
Posted by Kam Williams


Kam's Kapsules: Weekly Previews That Make Choosing a Film Fun

For movies opening October 5, 2012

by Kam Williams



Frankenweenie (PG for scary images, mature themes and action sequences) Oscar-nominee Tim Burton (for Corpse Bride) directed this animated horror comedy about a young boy (Charlie Tahan) whose scientific experiment to bring his beloved pet dog (Frank Welker) back to life results in unintended consequences. Voice cast includes Winona Ryder, Robert Capron, Catherine O'Hara, Martin Landau and Christopher Lee.

The Paperboy (R for violence, profanity and graphic sexuality) Oscar-nominee Lee Daniels (for Precious) directed this crime thriller revolving around a big city reporter (Matthew McConaughey) who returns to his tiny Florida hometown to try to exonerate a Death Row inmate (John Cusack) with the help of his brother (Zac Efron), a colleague (David Oyelowo) and a sultry groupie (Nicole Kidman) With Macy Gray, Ned Bellamy and Scott Glenn.

Taken 2 (PG13 for sensuality, action sequences and intense violence) Principal cast reunites for this adrenaline-fueled sequel which finds retired CIA Agent Mills (Liam Neeson) vacationing with his ex-wife (Famke Janssen) in Istanbul where they end up abducted by a revenge-minded gang of Albanian sex traffickers. With Maggie Grace, Rade Serbedzija, Leland Orser and Luenell.



Bel Borba Aqui (Unrated) Reverential biopic chronicling the career of Bel, the Brazilian artist whose oversized, outdoor sculptures dot the landscape of his beloved hometown of Salvador. (In Portuguese with subtitles)

Butter (R for profanity and sexuality) Social satire, set in small-town Iowa, about a young, adopted girl (Yara Shahidi) who squares-off against an ambitious housewife (Jennifer Garner) in the annual butter-carving competition. Cast includes Hugh Jackman, Olivia Wilde and Alicia Silverstone.

Escape Fire (PG-13 for mature themes) Medical crisis documentary addressing the question of whether the broken, American healthcare system can be fixed. Featuring appearances by Dr. Andrew Weil, Dr. Dean Ornish and insurance executive Wendell Potter.

Fat Kid Rules the World (R for sexuality, drug use and brief violence) Coming-of-age comedy about an overweight, suicidal 17 year-old (Jacob Wysocki) who forms a rock band with the street musician (Matt O'Leary) who saved his life by stopping him from jumping in front of a bus. With Billy Campbell, LILi Simmons and Jeffrey Doombos.

The House I Live in (Unrated) War on Drugs documentary takes a penetrating look at the human rights implications of the American criminal justice system's incarceration of over 45 million non-violent, narcotics offenders since 1971.

Now, Forager (Unrated) Marital crisis drama about a counter-cultural couple (Tiffany Esteb and Jason Cortlund), subsisting by selling wild mushrooms to Manhattan restaurants, whose relationship is tested when the wife tires of living hand to mouth. With Almex Lee, Gabrielle Maisels and Marty Clarke.

The Oranges (R for profanity, sexual references and drug use) Romantic comedy, set in suburban N.J., about the strain placed on two couples' close friendship when one husband (Hugh Laurie) has a scandalous affair with the other's (Oliver Platt) daughter (Leighton Meester). With Catherine Keener, Allison Janney, Alia Shawkat and Adam Brody.

Pitch Perfect (PG-13 for sexuality, profanity and drug use) Musical comedy about a college freshman (Anna Kendrick) who overhauls the repertoire of her all-girl singing group in preparation for a big showdown on campus with an all-male rival ensemble in an a cappella competition. Featuring Brittany Snow, Rebel Wilson and Skylar Astin.

Sister (Unrated) Class-conscious drama, set in Switzerland, about a 12 year-old mountain urchin (Kacey Mottet Klein) who supports himself and his big sister (Lea Seydoux) by stealing from wealthy guests at a posh ski resort. With Gillian Anderson, Martin Compston and Simon Guelat. (In French and English with subtitles)

Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You (Unrated) Introspective character study about a Brown University-bound high school grad (Toby Regbo) who spends a summer of discontent talking about his troubles to his grandmother (Ellen Burstyn) and psychotherapist (Lucy Liu). Support cast includes Marcia Gay Harden, Peter Gallagher and Deborah Ann Woll.

Trade of Innocents (PG-13 for mature themes and violence) International thriller about a couple (Dermot Mulroney and Mira Sorvino) grieving the death of their daughter who venture to Southeast Asia to rescue young girls caught up in child prostitution. With John Billingsley, Trieu Tran and Kieu Chinh.

V/H/S (R for gory violence, graphic nudity, explicit sexuality, drug use and pervasive profanity) Found footage horror flick about a gang of crooks who get the surprise of their lives after agreeing to break into a dilapidated house in the middle of nowhere to find a videotape for an anonymous third party. Starring Calvin Reeder, Lane Hughes and Adam Wingard.

Wuthering Heights (Unrated) Screen adaptation of the Emily Bronte classic about the love which blossoms between an orphan (James Howson) and the teenage daughter (Kaya Scodelario) of the Yorkshire farmer (Paul Hilton) who adopts him, much to the chagrin of the girl's overprotective brother (Lee Shaw). With Solomon Glave, Shannon Beer and Simone Jackson.



Userpic9-21 Kam's Kapsules
Posted by Kam Williams


Weekly Previews That Make Choosing a Film Fun

by Kam Williams

For movies opening September 21, 2012


Dredd 3-D (R for profanity, sexuality, drug use and graphic violence) Karl Urban assumes the title role originally played by Sly Stallone in this reboot of the futuristic, sci-fi franchise which finds America an irradiated wasteland patrolled by a formidable judge/jury/executioner committed to cleansing the country of undesirables with the help of an attractive rookie sidekick (Olivia Thirlby). Supporting cast includes Lena Headey, Wood Harris and Jason Cope.

End of Watch (R for sexual references, drug use, graphic violence, disturbing images and pervasive profanity) Grisly crime saga about a couple of LAPD cops (Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena) who land on a drug cartel's hit list after confiscating a cache of guns and money during a routine traffic stop. With America Ferrara, Anna Kendrick and Natalie Martinez.

House at the End of the Street (PG-13 for profanity, terror, intense violence, teen partying, mature themes and brief drug use) Haunted house horror flick about a recent divorcee (Elisabeth Shue) whose hopes for a fresh start after relocating with her daughter (Jennifer Lawrence) to a quaint rural town are dashed by the creepy recluse (Max Theriot) living next-door. Ensemble includes Gil Bellows, Eva Link and Jon McLaren.



17 Girls (Unrated) Baby mama drama set in Lorient, France but inspired by actual events which transpired in a Massachusetts town where a clique of bored high school coeds entered a pact to get pregnant after one of them (Louise Grinberg) was accidentally knocked up. Cast includes Juliette Darche, Roxane Duran and Esther Garrel. (In French with subtitles)

About Cherry (R for sexuality, nudity, profanity and drug use) Coming-of-age drama, set in San Francisco, revolving around a troubled teen (Ashley Hinshaw) introduced to the adult entertainment industry by a sleazy attorney (James Franco) and a washed-up porn star (Heather Graham). With Dev Patel, Lili Taylor and Diane Farr.

Dear Mandela (Unrated) Dream deferred documentary highlighting the efforts of a trio of activists spearheading a revival of the South African civil rights movement on behalf of the black masses yet to benefit from independence. (In English and Zulu with subtitles)

Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel (PG-13 for nude images) Reverential retrospective takes a fond look back at the life and times of fashionista Diana Vreeland (1903-1989), the influential editor of Vogue and Harper's Bazaar.

Head Games (PG-13 for mature themes) Brain trauma documentary explores the oft-devastating consequences of concussions suffered while playing football, hockey, soccer and other sports.

How to Survive a Plague (Unrated) AIDS documentary chronicling the efforts of ACT UP and other gay organizations which successfully pressured the federal government to fund the research that turned the epidemic from a death sentence into a manageable medical condition. Featuring file footage of Larry Kramer and Presidents Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush.

Knuckleball! (Unrated) Baseball documentary deconstructing the mechanics of the knuckleball with the help of such proponents of the unorthodox pitch as Tim Wakefield, R.A. Dickey, Charlie Hough and Phil Niekro.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower (PG-13 for mature themes, profanity, and teen sexuality, fighting drug use and alcohol abuse) Screen adaptation of the Steven Chbosky novel of the same name about a lonely freshman's (Logan Lerman) attempt to adjust to high school while simultaneously struggling to cope with a crush on a classmate (Emma Watson), a friend's suicide and his own mental illness. With Paul Rudd, Ezra Miller and Dylan McDermott.

They Call It Myannar: Lifting the Curtain (Unrated) Bamboo Curtain expose' offering a rare peak at Burma via interviews conducted secretly with over a hundred of the repressive regime's political dissidents, including recently-released, Nobel Peace Prize-winner Aung San Suu Kyi.

Three Stars (Unrated) Delightful gourmet documentary delineating the culinary philosophy of nine of the world's greatest chefs. Featuring Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Yannick Alleno and Olivier Roellinger. (In Dutch, English, German, Japanese, Italian and Spanish with subtitles)

Trouble with the Curve (PG-13 for profanity, smoking, mature themes and sexual references) Clint Eastwood stars in this minor league diamond drama about an aging baseball scout with failing eyesight who grudgingly agrees to make one last road trip prior to retiring after his daughter (Amy Adams) agrees to accompany him on the trek. Cast includes Justin Timberlake, John Goodman and Scott Eastwood (Clint's son).

You May Not Kiss the Bride (PG-13 for sexuality, coarse humor and violence) Romantic comedy about a mild-mannered pet photographer (Dave Annable) forced to marry the daughter (Katharina McPhee) of the Croatian mobster (Ken Davitian) who wants his little girl to become an American citizen. With Mena Suvari, Kathy Bates, Rob Schneider, Tia Carrerre and Vinnie Jones.


UserpicIDFA Festival Winners and Favorites
Posted by

Just back from IDFA, where there was a plethora of great docs. The official prize for Best Feature Length Doc went to the South Korean film Planet of Snail and the Audience Award to 5 Broken Cameras. Other festival favorites: Putin's Kiss and Mads Bruegger's newest film, The Ambassador. We released his prior film, Red Chapel, which you can download here.

Sushi: The Global Catch also had its European premier and will be coming to a featival or theater near you soon.

Stay tuned for more.


UserpicEl Bulli at Film Forum
Posted by

The linup of guest speakers for selected screenings of EL BULLI: COOKING IN PROGRESS at Film Forum has been announced! Read More


UserpicLighthouse International Film Festival to Open with
Posted by

It also fits his vision for the festival. Mr. Prince has tried to model Lighthouse—now in its second year—on festivals like those in Nantucket and the Hamptons "that bring in films from the top festivals around the world." Of this year's 70 movies, several are hot off the reels from Sundance and Berlin. Opening night will feature "The Red Chapel," a movie best described as "Borat" in North Korea. Named best world documentary at Sundance, it features two Danish comedians and one journalist traveling in the Communist state under the pretense of a cultural exchange.

Read more here.

Go Charlie!


UserpicItaly's culture minister boycotts Cannes Film Festival
Posted by

Italy's culture minister has snubbed an invite to the Cannes Film Festival in protest at a decision to screen a film about the L'Aquila earthquake. Sandro Bondi has objected to the satirical documentary which criticises Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's handling of the disaster. Read more


Announcements, Distribution, News, Noteworthy, Offbeat
UserpicMeditate and Destroy- Now on VOD!
Posted by

Meditate and DestoryMeditate & Destroy is now accessible to viewers from the comfort of their homes or on the go exclusively via Alive Mind's Video On Demand service. Meditate and Destroy is an 81-minute documentary about punk rock, spirituality, and inner rebellion. The film focuses on the bestselling author of Dharma Punx and Against the Stream, Noah Levine. Tattoos, motorcycles, and Buddha are featured in this hard-hitting look at how Buddhism has a place in the world of punks. This inspiring film opens our perception to the possibilities of finding new paths- even in our darkest hours.

This film provides an up-close look at how the driving forces in Noah’s life changed from violence, addiction and rebellion to taking on the role of dedicated meditation teacher and community leader - an individual whose candor inspires others to integrate Buddhist teachings of nonviolence and inner peace with a Western lifestyle.

Available to all U.S households or mobile devices with a high-speed Internet connection, Meditate & Destroy will inspire viewers to embrace the transformational power of Buddhism. 

Watch Meditate & Destroy now

I hope you enjoy this quirky, unconventional film. 

Love and Light,

Sarah Fisher


Elizabeth Sheldon, Christo and Jeanne-ClaudeBack from Silver Docs, where Albert Maysles was awarded the 2009 Guggenheim Lifetime Achievement Award. A fun time was had by all at the after-party with Al, Christo, Jeanne-Claude and the entire Maysles team basking in the limelight and enjoying the champagne.


By Chris Knight, National Post

You might expect the director of programming at Toronto’s Hot Docs film festival to have a fixed notion of what is and isn’t a documentary, but Sean Farnel, now in his fourth year in the job, says it’s a moving target.

“I’m becoming less of a purist about the form as I see filmmakers doing impressive things,” Farnel says. “This is a case where the term ‘non-fiction’ is better than ‘reality’ — whatever that is. Documentary as a non-fiction form has become very fluid in the last 10 years ... You see docs consistently pushing the form in new directions.”

Two popular, form-pushing films released last year illustrate his point. Waltz with Bashir, by Ari Folman, recreates the Israeli filmmaker’s memories of the 1982 war with Lebanon through animation. Guy Maddin’s My Winnipeg was part monologue, part travelogue and partly made up, though clearly even the imaginary parts of Manitoba’s capital are close to Maddin’s heart.

This year’s festival, which opens next Thursday with a screening of Jennifer Baichwal’s Act of God, includes a number of what Farnel calls “creative documentaries.”
Cooking History, about soldiers’ food during wartime, uses tableaux and elaborate reconstructions. Antoine, a Canadian film by Laura Bari, immerses the viewer in the universe of a blind five-year-old boy. Big River Man, which Farnel calls a “demi-documentary” in the festival’s program notes, “might be another example of walking the line between fiction and non-fiction to achieve what Werner Herzog would call poetic truth.”

Read the rest of this story »


UserpicTony Manero
Posted by Elizabeth

tony-manero-dance.jpgAnother coup for Lorber HT Digital, who acquired North American theatrical and home video rights for the 2008 New York Film Festival winner, Tony Manero. Set in Chile during the grim days of the military dictatorship of General Pinochet, the film opens with the seemingly benign protagonist, Raul, protecting a little old lady from neighborhood thugs (where are the ubiquitous Chilean police when you need them?). Any sympathy is quickly shattered when Raul bashes her brains out with his bare hands and then absconds with her color television set, although not before taking care to feed her cat.

A macabre political parable, Raul's obsession with Saturday Night Fever is an apt metaphor for the dictatorship. The film's use of violence and sexual disfunction is appropriate and powerful. Raul's fantasy, and his single-minded pursuit of it, paints a dark picture of life under a dictator.

Read more at Indiewire.


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