06th May2016

Golden Years (Film)

by timbaros

WZ4A4415Old age. Retirement. Pensions. Medication. Disease. Death. This is what the pensioners in the new film ‘Golden Years’ are dealing with. But they also try to get even at the system that they feel is robbing them.

‘Golden Years’ is a cute and funny film about older people trying to get back what’s theirs. They feel the system is corrupt, so they take matters into their own hands. Retired couple Arthur Goode (Bernard Hill) and his wife Martha (Virginia McKenna), who’s ill with Crohn’s disease, eke out a living on their pension while spending time at the local club with friends Royston (Simon Callow), Brian (Philip Davis), and Shirley (Una Stubbs). But one day Arthur finds out that the company he spent a lifetime working for has gone bankrupt, and so has his pension. He doesn’t know what to do…….how is going to be able to take care of Martha? An opportunity presents itself when, while in front of a bank when money is being delivered, one of the guards trips, falls and gets knocked out on the ground, and the guard inside the truck inadvertently passes a container of money to Arthur, who gladly takes it and runs. It sets off an idea where he enlists Martha, and eventually his friends, to take back what is rightfully theirs. Who would expect pensioners as bank robbers, with guns (actually cucumbers), and with pellet guns to black out CCTV cameras, of stealing money?

‘Golden Years’ is a delightful film with a cast of great actors all relishing their role as bank robbers. It gets even funnier when the local police keep thinking that the bank robbers are a malicious and very dangerous gang. I would’ve liked to have seen more of Ellen Thomas, the loquacious and horny local diva, she’s got some of the best lines in the film. Some of the robberies the gang pulls off, however, are a bit unbelievable and far-fetched, especially when they’re trying to get away but walking as slow as pensioners do. But nonetheless it’s a charming film that will make you think what retirement holds in store for you – perhaps robbing banks to get even with the system.

‘Golden Years’ is now playing in UK cinemas.

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02nd May2016

Demolition (Film)

by timbaros
Jake Gyllenhaal as "Davis" in DEMOLITION. Photo by Anne Marie Fox. © 2016 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation All Rights Reserved

Jake Gyllenhaal as “Davis” in DEMOLITION. Photo by Anne Marie Fox. © 2016 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation All Rights Reserved

A man loses his wife in a terrible car accident and has a hard time coping in the new film ‘Demolition.’

Jake Gyllenhaal gives another excellent performance as Davis, an investment banker who works for his father-in-law’s firm. He and his wife Julia (Heather Lind) have a very comfortable life, a beautiful house and perhaps everything they have always wanted. However, all this is shattered when while driving in Manhattan, their car is hit side-on, it’s an accident that leaves Julia dead and Davis shaken and broken up. As the days go by after the accident, David can’t seem to cope and can’t even open up to those around him, including his father-in-law Phil (Chris Cooper) and mother-in-law Margot (Polly Draper). His parents come to stay with him but they can’t seem to help him cope either. But Davis has his own way of coping; he sends a complaint letter to the vending machine company in the hospital where his wife died because the M&M’s he bought didn’t fall down. Davis doesn’t stop at just one, he sends a successive chain of letters, all very confessional about his life and about his late wife. He confesses in these letters questioning if he really did love Julia, and he questions the decisions and choices he has made in his life. These confessional letters catch the attention of the vending machine company’s customer service manager Karen Moreno (Naomi Watts). She calls him to discuss these letters and eventually they meet and they both form an unlikely connection, with the help of Karen’s androgynous son Chris (Judah Lewis.) But Davis is still not coping, his behavour becomes very erratic and aggressive, both at work and elsewhere where he starts dismantling objects around him, including the toilet doors and computer at work and items at home. He also volunteers to be a part of a crew tearing down a house, and enlists Chris to help him demolish his house as well. But David eventually realizes that something was missing in his marriage, something to do with him, but it’s too late, Julia is gone forever.

‘Demolition’ is another triumph for Gyllenhaal, who has yet turn in a bad performance. As Davis, Gyllenhaal is on the verge of a massive breakdown, starts demolishing everything in sight, and yet can’t realize he’s lost the most precious thing to him in life. Director Jean-Marc Vallée, who directed Matthew McConaughey to an Oscar in ‘Dallas Buyers Club’, and Reese Witherspoon to an Oscar nomination for ‘Wild,’ knows a thing a two about showcasing his performer’s talents. The rest of the cast are stellar, especially Cooper as the aggrieved father and Watts as the single mother trying to cope. A flop in the U.S., don’t expect ‘Demolition’ to be winning an awards, but it’s worth seeing for Gyllenhaal’s performance alone.

‘Demolition’ is in UK cinemas on Friday.

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23rd Apr2016

Friend Request (Film)

by timbaros

unspecified-3Be careful when you accept a Facebook friend request, because the person requesting might be a lunatic.

That’s the premise behind the new movie ‘Friend Request.’ In it, popular girl Laura (Alcia Debnam-Carey) briefly speaks to loner Ma Rina (Liesl Ahlers), who is a bit out of place at school with her unusual appearance and head always covered by a hoodie. In Ma’s mind they are now friends. So Ma sends a Facebook friend request to Laura, but Laura notices that Ma has zero Facebook friends. Laura reluctantly accepts the friend request much to the dismay of her boyfriend Tyler (William Moseley) and best friend Olivia (Brit Morgan). Ma then starts commenting on practically every post that Laura has ever written. Ma becomes more psychotic and weird when Laura has a birthday dinner but doesn’t invite Ma. When Ma sees photos of the party on Facebook, she becomes angry at Laura and goes from friend status to psycho bitch stalker status. Then it’s announced at school that Ma has committed suicide, yet someone is posting dark eerie video on her pages and on Laura’s page, and Laura is unable to unfriend her. And Laura’s friends are unable to deactivate their accounts as well, and one by one they are being killed off due to their association with Laura. While Laura’s 800-plus Facebook friends start unfriending her, who is behind the deaths and the constant Facebook postings? Will Laura be the next victim to Ma’s revenge from the grave?

‘Friend Request’ is a film for the Facebook generation. It’s all about collecting friends, whether you really know them or not, and living your life, through Facebook. As the intensity of ‘Friend Request’ builds, it gets a bit sillier and sillier, especially with lines like when Olivia tells Laura to ‘unfriend the dead bitch.’ Then a policeman says – with a straight face – ’someone had a rough day,’ after the brutal death of one of Laura’s friends. ‘Friend Request’ echoes films like ‘Carrie’ and ‘Final Destination’ where friends are killed off one by one, so the body count is there but the suspense really isn’t. And some of the death scenes are a bit ridiculous and over the top. But should you accept this friend request? I say yes!

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21st Apr2016

The Divide (Film)

by timbaros

14601180655707a231dd9d7Seven people tell their story of their struggle to survive in a world where the rich get richer and the poor get poorer in the new documentary ‘The Divide.’

The 78-minute documentary weaves these people’s dilemnas into a film that’s tries to tell too many stories while providing too much information in a short period of time. One of the people interviewed is Leah Taylor who works at her local Kentucky Fried Chicken fast food restaurant. She lives from paycheck to paycheck, while another woman is in danger of losing her home because she’s got no money to pay the bills. Then there’s Alden Cass, a Wall Street psychologist who is living the dream. He’s got a well-paying job and a beautiful apartment with tremendous views, yet he wants more. Rochelle Monte, a UK careworker, complains that she doesn’t feel respected in her job of choice, and that she deserves more money (who doesn’t)? And Jennifer Cooper complains that no one speaks to her in her upscale gated community, not even in it’s park. Hey, at least her community has it’s own golf course!

‘The Divide’ also touches on the economic booms during the Margaret Thatcher and Bill Clinton years, to Wall Street’s buying, selling and repackaging of debt, which was one of the factors that led to the 2008 economic crisis. And more than ten commentators give their opinion on the divide between the wealthy and the poor, a divide that keeps on getting bigger and bigger. We’re also treated to footage of Lehman Brothers former chairman Richard Fuld having a hard time explaining his $480MM pay check to U.S. Congress. But it’s all too much to take in in a documentary that’s weaving too many personal stories with too many news video clips. It attempts to provide a psychological and tragi-comic picture of the haves and have nots but it would’ve been more effective if it just stuck to one topic, and not several topics.

THE DIVIDE is in UK cinemas from 22 April 2016

www.thedividedocumentary.com

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09th Apr2016

Boulevard (Film)

by timbaros

A 65-year old man in great conflict makes a life changing decision in the new film ‘Boulevard.’

The late Robin Williams is bank branch manager Nolan Mack. He’s literally just going through life’s motions – working at a bank, with a longtime wife (Kathy Baker) and a very sick father in the hospital. Then one late evening after visiting his father, he drives through a derelict part of town and almost runs over a young man, Leo (Roberto Aguire), who turns out to be a male prostitute. Nolan checks to make sure Leo is fine, then out of the blue, invites him to go to a motel. This chance meeting opens up something inside Nolan who perhaps realized but didn’t accept that he has feelings for other men. While his relationship with Leo becomes more involved and more complicated, Nolan starts giving Leo money and starts acting like a surrogate father. Their relationship is not sexual but it’s intimate. Nolan tries and tries to his hide his encounters with Leo from his wife and his best friend Winston (Bob Odenkirk), but as Nolan becomes more and more involved and emotionally tied to Leo, his wife suspects that something is going on. But eventually Nolan comes to the realization that Leo does not feel the same way about him, but at this point it appears that Leo’s life will never be the same again.

Williams gives a delicate performance as the lonely and subdued Nolan. He’s a man whose conflicted, despondent and depressed until Leo comes into his life. Shot in 2013 in Nashville, Tennessee, Williams would eventually hang himself a year later. This story of a lonely and depressed man is eerily parallel to William’s life. Baker, known mostly for her parts on television, is very good as Nolan’s wife, who knows her 40-year marriage is slipping away and there’s nothing she can do to about it. Aguirre more than holds his own against seasoned veteran Williams, their scenes together are both calm and gentle. Director Dito Montiel (2013’s Empire State) does a great job in getting great performances from his cast, with a good script by Douglas Soesbe. But it’s Williams performance that will stay with you for a long time as it’s one of his last, ever.

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20th Mar2016

Marguerite (Film)

by timbaros

Marg_D23_24-3596An aristocrat who thinks she can sing but really can’t is the new French film ‘Marguerite.’

Marguerite is played by delicious French actress Catherine Frot. She’s a very wealthy woman in France in the 1920’s who lives in a huge mansion with her husband and several members of her staff. She loves music and the opera, and loves to give small concerts and parties in her home. She’s a woman who has it all, except for a great singing voice.

She has always yearned to be a singer, and she takes it upon herself to sing at one of her parties, right after the performance of young woman who has the voice of an angel. Once she opens her mouth and sings, the crowd winces, holds their collective breaths, and pretends to enjoy it, then breaking out in furious applause when she’s done (at the insistence of her attentive black servant Madelbos (Denis Mpunga). Of course no one would tell her to her face that she can’t sing. A young journalist (Sylvain Dieuaide) decides to write a rave review about her (only because he’s looking for a rich benefactor), and Marguerite starts to believe that she really can sing, and so she wants to follow her dream – to perform in front of a crowd. Her husband Georges (Andre Macon) wishes that she won’t go through with it,though he won’t tell her to her face but he does tell his mistress. Marguerite is so determined to put on a concert that she hires opera performer and singing teacher Atos Pezzini (a very good Michel Fau), along with his staff of five, to get her voice ready for the show. But it’s them and the rest of the house staff who have to suffer, for every time Marguerite opens her mouth to sing, they cringe and put in ear plugs to drown out her awful voice. Will Marguerite ever realize that she can’t hold a tune? Will anyone in her circle tell her the truth? It all comes down to a hilarious unexpected ending.

‘Marguerite’ is an uproarious comedy about a woman’s desire to follow her passion at any cost. The film combines pretty visuals, set design and costumes, a funny script, and an electric and funny performance by Frot. Director Xavier Giannoli has crafted a film that, while a bit too long and with a couple storylines that go nowhere, is sumptuous and funny. ‘Marguerite’ is loosely inspired by the life of amateur operatic soprano singer Florence Foster Jenkins, soon to be a movie directed by Stephen Frears and starring Meryl Streep to be released later in the year. ‘Marguerite,’ featuring music from Mozart, Bach and Vivaldi, is a true French film – dramatic, gorgeous and funny.

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16th Mar2016

BFI FLARE: LONDON LGBT FILM FESTIVAL 2016 (Film)

by timbaros

pass-02Flare turns 30 this year. And what is Flare you might ask? It is London’s LGBT Film Festival. It starts on Wednesday March 16 and continues up until Sunday March 27. That’s ten jam-packed days of films, seminars, parties, and just plain lots of fun!

Flare is one of the world’s longest running and largest LGBT Film Festival. There will be over 50 features and more than 100 shorts (by filmmakers from all over the world such as Israel to Spain to Australia), and a wide range of special events, guest appearances, discussions, workshops and club nights. It’s divided into three themed sections: Hears, Minds and Bodies.

The opening night gala is the world premiere of ‘The Pass.’ A debut by director Ben A Williams, ‘The Pass’ stars Russell Tovey as a closeted football player who’s secretly in love with a fellow player. It’s sure to continue the conversation going about if there are any gay football players in the sport nowadays.

The closing night gala is ‘Summertime,’ an acclaimed French romantic drama between two feminists in Paris in 1971.

Other movie highlights include:
‘Bare’ – A small town girl meets a rough and charming female pimp who challenges her to take charge of her own destiny. It stars Dianna Agron (Glee).
‘Coming Out’ – A young man’s video diary of his process of coming out to his friends and family.
‘Mapplethorpe: Look at the Pictures’ – documents the legendary photographers graphic work.
‘Naz & Maalik’ – a heartwarming story of about the love and romance between two gay teen muslim teens in Brooklyn.
‘Closet Monster’ – A coming-of-age drama about a young boy struggling to come to terms with his sexuality. It features the voice of Isabella Rossellini as a talking hamster!
‘Carmen Tropical’ – a trans woman is drawn back to her past after the murder of her friend in this Mexican thriller.
‘Inside the Chinese Closet’ – a documentary that explores how being gay in China’s homophobic society.
‘From Afar’ – A story between a middle-aged man and a 17-year old rent boy.
‘The Chambermaid Lynn’ – A former psychiatric patients becomes obsessed with guests at a hotel where she works.
‘Holding the Man’ – A 15-year old students falls in love with an older rugby player and face challenges that might tear them apart. Major stars Guy Pearce, Anthonly LaPaglia, and Geoffrey Rush feature in the movie.
‘Rebel Dykes’ – A 2016 documentary the pieces together the history of lesbian London in the 1980’s.
‘Nasty Baby’ – A young woman enlists her gay best friend to have a baby with. Starring Kristen Wiig.
There are also 12 programs of short films including ‘What Others Think’ which explores how others perceive the LGBT community.

Film festival-goes will also have a chance to watch previously released LGBT films including Xavier Dolan’s first film ‘I Killed My Mother,’ ‘Grandma’ with Lily Tomlin, the recent award-winning ‘Carol,’ and the highly-acclaimed film about two Los Angeles transgender prostitutes in ‘Tangerine.’

The festival will also shine a spotlight on transgender issues with ‘Transform,’ a series of events on trans acting on screen. Attending will be Silas Howard, a trans director on the award-winning hit show ‘Transparent.’ There will also be a live event called ‘XO LGBTQ Pitch’ where LGBT creative media professionals live pitch ideas for new interactive and games projects with LGBTQ content to commissioners. In addition, industry delegates will have access to a range of special talks and events. The BFI Flare LGBT Filmmakers’ Mentorship Programme, delivered by BAFTA with funding from Creative Skillset helps talented LGBT identified filmmakers build professional skills and networks. LGBT film gets an International spotlight with the return of fiveFilm4freedom. This ground-breaking project developed in association with the British Council sees five LGBT short films from BFI Flare available online for free throughout the Festival. And on the festival’s last day, Easter Sunday, all film are just £8.

To buy tickets, and learn more about the festival, please click here:
http://www.bfi.org.uk/flare

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14th Mar2016

The Propaganda Game / Lapse of Honour (Film/DVD)

by timbaros

image001Two new films explore North Korean and Manchester societies

THE PROPAGANDA GAME

Spanish filmmaker Álvaro Longoria was granted access to film in North Korea and he has turned this footage into a documentary called ‘The Propaganda Game.’

Is what he is filming propaganda? Are the people in the streets real or is it all staged? Longoria was granted controlled access by the government of the DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) to film in 2014. Him and his team were taken around the country by national officials, and not left alone at any time.
They meet up with Alejandro Cao de Benós, a native of Spain who because of his belief and love of communism ended up living in North Korea and is now one of the mouthpieces for the DPRK and Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un. Benós takes Longoria around the country, where Longoria is ‘allowed’ to speak to the locals who work at the museums. He’s also taken to the gym where Jong-un worked out (just once), and gets to speak to tour guides on the street. He’s even allowed into a Roman Catholic Church (where all the attendees happen to be very good singers).

We are shown North Korean life via Longoria’s camera: woman dancing in a pagoda, a wedding party taking photos of the bride and groom, children skateboarding and laughing – are these people really happy? North Korea is a country of 24 million people, yet has the fourth largest standing army in the world. They are armed with 20 nuclear warheads and have an increasing sophisticated missile defense system. And the country spends 16% of it’s GDP on the military. Yet the regime seeks to dominate every aspect of it’s citizens lives, and also terrorizes them from within. While they are given free housing, free education and free medical care, it is known that there is a severe food crisis, that some of it’s citizens are held in concentration camp-like prisons, and there is absolutely no freedom of expression or speech. It’s a Totalitarianism regime.

But the locals who speak to Longoria all have a mistrust and hatred for the United States. One official says ‘The U.S. tries to stifle and threaten our country.’
The documentary mentions the recent turmoil surrounding the film ‘The Interview’ where Seth Rogen and James Franco are sent on a mission to assassinate a Jong-un-like dictator – it almost led to a war. Longoria is also one of the very people to be taken to the Demilitarized Zone (which in theory it is not) – the line that separates North and South Korea. It’s fascinating to be able to see it and to see the intercut footage of Barack Obama on the South Side and Jong-Un on the North side during one of their separate visits in years past.

We are shown shiny new apartment buildings, new and expensive museums that are shrines to Jong Un and his late father Kim Jong-il (one that was empty on a Sunday), and huge statues and photos of both men in various parts of Pyongyang. Yet where does all the money come from to build this? How does North Korea’s economy work? ’The Propaganda Game’ raises more questions than what it answers. But it’s not at the fault of Longoria, it’s the mystery and secretiveness of a country where the children are practically brainwashed. It’s a fascinating documentary.
‘The Propaganda Game’ is now in UK cinemas and is now available to buy on DVD (See way below)

LAPSE OF HONOUR:

A young couple are in love in a rough Manchester neighborhood where drugs, crime and murder are rife, in the new VOD release ‘Lapse of Honour.’

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Director and writer Rayna Campell has crafted a very British love story between two teenagers who have lots of obstacles thrown at them in the course of their relationship. It’s a story between Eve (Lady Leshurr) and Tom (Tom Collins). Eve finds herself pregnant and Tom promises to get a job to take care of her and the baby. But Eve has bigger ambitions; she’s determined to become a grime artist, but also wants to attend university. She lives with her miserable mother who doesn’t support Eve in anything she does. Meanwhile, Tom’s life isn’t much different. He lives with his alcoholic father who’s mixed up with a few local dodgy characters. When Tom takes the opportunity to make big money from one of these dodgy characters it’s a decision that has consequences not only for him, but also for Eve and his unborn baby.

‘Lapse of Honour’ is a well-made gritty urban drama by Campbell, who is also an actress known for her work in ‘Casualty’ and ‘Waterloo Road.’ The rest of the cast are no stranger to fame. Collins began his career in ‘Waterloo Road’ while Lady Leshurr is a MOBO-nominated music artist. It’s talent like them that makes this British film a very believable and hard-hitting film. It’s an auspicious debut for Campbell, who also produced the movie. Expect good things from her, both from in front of, and behind, the camera.

‘Lapse of Honour’ is now available on VOD

 



The Propaganda Game [DVD] (DVD)

Rating: Suitable for 12 years and over

New From: £9.48 GBP In Stock
Used from: £13.25 GBP In Stock

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06th Mar2016

GALECA announces film award Winners (Film)

by timbaros

CAROL_shop counterGay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association (GALECA) Announces Dorian Film and Television Winners

The Oscars and BAFTA’s have announced their winners, and now the final (and some would say most important) awards show has taken places. The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, comprised of over 130 professional critics and entertainment journalists worldwide, have announced its choices for the best in movies and television of 2015. It’s an award they call the Dorian Awards.

This year, the 1950s-set lesbian romance Carol surprised with a rare GALECA sweep, with wins for Film of the Year, Director of the Year (Todd Haynes), Screenplay of the year (Phyllis Nagy) and LGBTQ Film of the Year. In addition, Cate Blanchett, star of the ‘50s-set lesbian romance, earned Film Performance of the Year — Actress for her titular turn. Haynes also was also hailed as Wilde Artist of the Year (named for the group’s patron saint Oscar Wilde). As for Film Performance of the Year — Actor, Leonardo DiCaprio for The Revenant prevailed. Blanchett previously won a Dorian Award forBlue Jasmine.

Director Sean Baker’s Tangerine, the drama of a clique of transgender women navigating the mean streets of Hollywood, took Unsung Film of the Year, while George Miller’s Mad Max: Fury Road was deemed Visually Striking Film of the Year. Amy, the unvarnished account of the rise and fall of soulful singer Amy Winehouse, won Documentary of the Year.

In television categories, Fargo and Orange is the Black tied for TV Drama of the Year. Transparent won again for TV Comedy of the Year, with star Jeffrey Tambor winning his second Dorian as well for TV Performance of the Year — Actor. Empire’s Taraji P. Henson was victorious in the Actress category (her series landed as Campy TV Show of the Year).

Taking a stand in less traditional categories, GALECA members chose edgy comic and society button-pusher Amy Schumer (Trainwreck, Comedy Central’s Inside Amy Schumer) as Wilde Wit of the Year. Last Week Tonight with John Oliver won TV Current Affairs Show of the Year. Campy Flick victor: Magic Mike XXL.

GALECA’s annual, Hasty Pudding-esque Winners Toast is set for Sunday, March 6, in Los Angeles. Past GALECA toasts have drawn Orange is the New Black star Lea DeLaria, Transparent’s Melora Hardin, famed marriage rights activists Jeff Carrillo and Paul Katami, The Comeback’s Robert Michael Morris and trailblazing actor Wilson Cruz.

The week previous, GALECA added actress Jane Fonda — veteran star of the film classics Klute, Coming Home and 9 to 5 as well as the past year’s Youth and ongoing Netflix comedy Grace and Frankie — to their Timeless Star list. Previous winners of this career achievement kudos are Sir Ian McKellen, George Takei, Betty White, Chloris Leachman and Fonda’s Grace costar Lily Tomlin.

Full list of winners (with nominees) here:

GALECA 2015/16 DORIAN AWARDS (WINNERS HAVE • )

FILM OF THE YEAR

The Big Short / Paramount, Regency
Brooklyn / Fox Searchlight
• Carol / The Weinstein Company
Mad Max: Fury Road / Warner Bros., Village Roadshow
Spotlight / Open Road, Participant, First Look

DIRECTOR OF THE YEAR

(Film or Television)
Sean Baker, Tangerine / Magnolia Pictures
• Todd Haynes, Carol / The Weinstein Company
Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu, The Revenant / Fox
Tom McCarthy, Spotlight / Open Road, Participant, First Look
George Miller, Mad Max: Fury Road / Warner Bros., Village Roadshow

PERFORMANCE OF THE YEAR — ACTRESS

• Cate Blanchett, Carol / The Weinstein Company
Brie Larson, Room / A24
Rooney Mara, Carol / The Weinstein Company
Charlotte Rampling, 45 Years / Sundance Selects
Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn / Fox Searchlight

PERFORMANCE OF THE YEAR — ACTOR

Matt Damon, The Martian / Fox
• Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant / Fox
Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs / Universal
Tom Hardy, Legend / Universal, Cross Creek
Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl / Focus, Working Title

LGBTQ FILM OF THE YEAR

• Carol / The Weinstein Company
The Danish Girl / Focus, Working Title
Freeheld / Summit
Grandma / Sony Pictures Classics
Tangerine / Magnolia Pictures

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM OF THE YEAR

The Assassin / Central Motion Pictures, Well Go USA
Mustang / Cohen Media Group
Phoenix / Sundance Selects
• Son of Saul / Sony Pictures Classics
Viva / Magnolia Pictures

SCREENPLAY OF THE YEAR

Emma Donoghue, Room / A24
• Phyllis Nagy, Carol / The Weinstein Company
Charles Randolph and Adam McKay, The Big Short / Paramount, Regency
Josh Singer & Tom McCarthy, Spotlight / Open Road, Participant, First Look
Aaron Sorkin, Steve Jobs / Universal

DOCUMENTARY OF THE YEAR
(theatrical release, TV airing or DVD release)

• Amy / A24
Best of Enemies / Magnolia Pictures, Magnet
Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief / HBO
Making a Murderer / Netflix
What Happened, Miss Simone? / Netflix

VISUALLY STRIKING FILM OF THE YEAR
(honoring a production of stunning beauty, from art direction to cinematography)

Carol / The Weinstein Company
The Danish Girl / Focus, Working Title
• Mad Max: Fury Road / Warner Bros., Village Roadshow
The Martian / Fox
The Revenant / Fox

UNSUNG FILM OF THE YEAR

The Diary of a Teenage Girl / Sony Pictures Classics
Ex Machina / A24
Grandma / Sony Pictures Classics
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl / Fox Searchlight
• Tangerine / Magnolia

CAMPY FLICK OF THE YEAR

The Boy Next Door
Fifty Shades of Grey
• Magic Mike XXL
Jupiter Ascending
Stonewall

TV DRAMA OF THE YEAR (TIE)

• Fargo / FX
The Leftovers / HBO
Mad Men / AMC
Mr. Robot / USA
• Orange is the New Black / Netflix

TV COMEDY OF THE YEAR

Grace and Frankie / Netflix
Master of None / Netflix
• Transparent / Amazon
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt / Netflix
Veep / HBO

TV PERFORMANCE OF THE YEAR — ACTOR

Tituss Burgess, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt / Netflix
Jon Hamm, Mad Men / AMC
Rami Malek, Mr. Robot / USA
• Jeffrey Tambor, Transparent / Amazon
Justin Theroux, The Leftovers / HBO

TV PERFORMANCE OF THE YEAR — ACTRESS

Viola Davis, How to Get Away with Murder / ABC
Jane Fonda, Grace and Frankie / Netflix
• Taraji P. Henson, Empire / Fox
Krysten Ritter, Jessica Jones / Netflix
Lily Tomlin, Grace and Frankie / Netflix

TV CURRENT AFFAIRS SHOW OF THE YEAR

Anderson Cooper 360 / CNN
The Daily Show / Comedy Central
• Last Week Tonight with John Oliver / HBO
The Rachel Maddow Show / MSNBC
Real Time with Bill Maher / HBO

LGBTQ TV SHOW OF THE YEAR

Grace and Frankie / Netflix
Looking / HBO
Orange is the New Black / Netflix
Sense8 / Netflix
• Transparent / Amazon

UNSUNG TV SHOW OF THE YEAR

Broad City / Comedy Central
Crazy Ex-Girlfriend / CW
Getting On / HBO
• Looking / HBO
UnReal / Lifetime

TV MUSICAL MOMENT OF THE YEAR

– Adele: “Hello / ” Adele Live in New York City / NBC
• Aretha Franklin: “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” 38th Annual Kennedy Center Honors / CBS
– Lady Gaga: The Sound of Music 50th anniversary tribute, 87th Annual Academy Awards / ABC
– Sydney Lucas and the Cast of Fun Home: “Ring of Keys” 69th Annual Tony Awards / CBS
– John Legend and Common: “Glory” (Original song nominee, Selma): 87th Annual Academy Awards / ABC

CAMPY TV SHOW OF THE YEAR

American Horror Story: Hotel
• Empire
How to Get Away with Murder
Scream Queens
Sense8

“WE’RE WILDE ABOUT YOU!” RISING STAR AWARD

Rami Malek
Kitana Kiki Rodriguez
Mya Taylor
Jacob Tremblay
• Alicia Vikander

WILDE WIT OF THE YEAR

(honoring a performer, writer or commentator whose observations both challenge and amuse)
Billy Eichner
Rachel Maddow
Tig Notaro
John Oliver
• Amy Schumer

WILDE ARTIST OF THE YEAR
(honoring a truly groundbreaking force in the fields of film, theater and/or television)

Andrew Haigh
• Todd Haynes
Lin-Manuel Miranda
Tig Notaro
Amy Schumer

TIMELESS STAR
(to an actor or performer whose exemplary career is marked by character, wisdom and wit)

Jane Fonda (previously announced)

GALECA’S MISSION

GALECA, an established 501 C-6 nonprofit, aims to generate camaraderie in an unsettling media environment, champion constructive film and TV criticism and elevate entertainment journalism as a whole. Via panels, screenings, events and its occasional “Ten Best” lists, GALECA also strives to remind the world that the LGBTQ-munity has a significant history of helping improve pop culture at large. After all, how would the world fare without knowing what’s campy?

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01st Mar2016

Exposed (Film)

by timbaros

Keanu Reeves stars as a New York City detective out to investigate the death of his partner in the new film ‘Exposed.’

Reeves is Detective Scotty Galban who discovers that his former (and dead) police partner Detective Joel Cullen (Danny Hoch) was not the clean cop he was supposed to be. Cullen was a sodomist, a rapist, and in cahoots with several criminals in town. And Galban’s boss, Lieutenant Elway (Christopher McDonald) prefers not to have Cullen’s death investigated. You see, he was found in a subway station, with a stab wound in his back, and left for dead. Elway wants to close the murder investigation for the sake of Cullen’s wife Janine (Mira Sorvino) and his children for they stand to lose his pension if Galban continues the investigation and uncovers Cullen’s dirty doings. But Galban, of course, has demons of his own. His wife has died and his young son lives in Florida, for reasons not explained in the film. Meanwhile, Latina Isabel de la Cruz (Ana de Armas) might have been witness to the killing. She’s a young woman on her own mysterious journey. Her husband is in Iraq, and while she lives with his family, she’s seeing white ghosts appear out of nowhere. They are paranormal visions they might unlock some sort of secret in her life. Meanwhile her fiance’s younger brother Rocky (Gabe Vargas) is hanging around with the wrong crowd, led by Big Daddy Kane who is simply known around the hood as Black. And while Galban continues to investigate his partner’s murder against the wishes of the lieutenant, Isabel is on her own journey, while at the same time helping out a local girl who’s being abused, it’s a journey that takes her into a world that is strange and confusing, just like this movie.

‘Exposed’ has nothing to expose. It’s a title that doesn’t have anything to do with the movie. The film’s original title was going to be ‘Daughter of God,’ but it was recut after it’s distributor Lionsgate bought it to make it more of a cop thriller than a dark sadistic film. It’s original producer and director, Gee Malik Linton, had his name removed from the film’s credits (but is credited as a writer), so the the non-existant Declan Dale is credited as director. Lionsgate looks like they have tried to salvage something from their original purchase by chopping up Linton’s original unfinished film, but it’s a right confusing mess. What we have are two stories trying to merge into one movie, with Isabel’s storyline more compelling than Galban’s. It’s got some good ideas going, with some great acting by some of the cast (but not Reeves), but at its best it’s a gripping thriller but a bit convoluted and confusing.

Signature Entertainment Presents ‘Exposed’ at Cinemas and On Demand 26th February 2016

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29th Feb2016

Oscar Winners (Film)

by timbaros

31ACDCA000000578-3453525-image-m-185_1456722619717Spotlight won Best Picture last night at the 88th Annual Academy Awards, handed out at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood. Mad Max: Fury Road came into the night with the second-most nominations — 10 — and won six trophies, twice as many Oscars as its closest rival. The Revenant, which had a leading 12 noms, and Spotlight were the only other films to win multiple awards, with three and two respectively.

 

 

 

It was quite an upset for Best Picture as it was expected The Revenant would win, especially after it’s director and star won in their respective categories: Alejandro G. Iñárritu and Leonardo DiCaprio. Mark Rylance went on to win Best Supporting Actor for Bridge of Spies, beating the sentimental favorite Sylvester Stallone for Creed. Alicia Vikander swept up Best Supporting Actress for The Danish Girl in a category that looked Kate Winslet had is sown up for her role in Steve Jobs.

Here’s a complete list of the winners:

Best Picture

Spotlight
Michael Sugar, Steve Golin, Nicole Rocklin and Blye Pagon Faust, Producers

Best Actor

Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant

Best Actress

Brie Larson, Room

HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 28: Actress Brie Larson accepts the Best Actress award for 'Room' during the 88th Annual Academy Awards at the Dolby Theatre on February 28, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Best Directing

Alejandro G. Iñárritu, The Revenant,

Best Original Song

“Writing’s On The Wall” from Spectre
Music and Lyric by Jimmy Napes and Sam Smith

Best Original Score

The Hateful Eight
Ennio Morricone

Best Foreign Language Film

Son of Saul (Hungary)

Best Live Action Short Film
Stutterer
Benjamin Cleary and Serena Armtiage

Best Documentary Feature
Amy
Asif Kapadia and James Gay-Rees

Best Documentary Short Subject

A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness
Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy

Best Supporting Actor

Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies

oscars-ceremony-ry_3585120b

Best Animated Feature Film

Inside Out
Pete Docter and Jonas Rivera

Best Animated Short Film

Bear Story
Gabriel Osorio and Pato Escala

Best Visual Effects

Ex Machina
Andrew Whitehurst, Paul Norris, Mark Ardington and Sara Bennett

Best Sound Mixing

Mad Max: Fury Road
Chris Jenkins, Gregg Rudloff and Ben Osmo

Best Sound Editing

Mad Max: Fury Road
Mark Mangini and David White

Best Film Editing

Mad Max: Fury Road
Margaret Sixel

Best Cinematography

The Revenant
Emmanuel Lubezki

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Mad Max: Fury Road
Lesley Vanderwalt, Elka Wardega and Damian Martin

Best Production Design

Mad Max: Fury Road
Production Design: Colin Gibson; Set Decoration: Lisa Thompson

Best Costume Design

Mad Max: Fury Road
Jenny Beavan

Best Supporting Actress

Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl

GettyImages-512928228.0

Adapted Screenplay

The Big Short
Screenplay by Charles Randolph and Adam McKay

Best Original Screenplay

Spotlight
Written by Josh Singer & Tom McCarthy

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26th Feb2016

Academy Award Predictions (Film)

by timbaros

OscarThere’s been the BAFTA’s, The Golden Globes, the Screen Actors Guild Awards, The Evening Standard British Film Awards, the London Film Critics Circle Awards AND the National Society of Film Critics (plus more!). But this Sunday is the granddaddy of them all – the Oscars. The nominations were more of a surprise this year because of the lack of nominations for minorities in the top categories. It’s an issue the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences must address, not just in the nominations process but in it’s membership as well.

There shouldn’t be too many surprises on Sunday night. Of the top six categories, there is one category that might be up for grabs – Best Supporting Actor. But the other five categories are predictable. So herewith are my predictions:

Best Picture:
The Big Short
Bridge of Spies
Brooklyn
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant
Room
Spotlight
Will Win: The Revenant. It won the BAFTA and Golden Globe Awards for Best Picture and has the most momentum going of any of the nominated films, and it’s a box office and critical hit. Spotlight is a distant second but it’s doubtful that the Academy will award Best Picture to a film about a scandal when they’re going through their own scandal. Should win: The Revenant. It’s a monumental film and a great achievement in filmmaking.

Best Actor

Bryan Cranston, Trumbo
Matt Damon, The Martian
Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant
Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs
Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl
Will Win: Leonardo DiCaprio. He was excellent in The Revenant as the fur trapper who seeks revenge for the murder of his son. DiCaprio has been nominated four previous times, he’s due.
Should Win: Leonardo DiCaprio. Expect him to give the best speech of the night.

Best Actress

Cate Blanchett, Carol

Brie Larson, Room

Jennifer Lawrence, Joy

Charlotte Rampling, 45 Years

Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn

Last October Blanchett looked like a lock for her portrayal of a wealthy woman who woos a younger woman in Carol. Then Larson’s Room was released – it’s story of a mother held hostage and locked in a room with her young son. And Larson did give the best performance by any actress last year. What’s Lawrence doing here? Her Joy character (and acting) were over the top and not believable. Other actresses more deserving of the nomination include Carey Mulligan in Suffragette, Marion Cotillard in Macbeth and Alicia Vikander in The Danish Girl (where she received a questionable Best Supporting Actress nomination). Lawrence seems to be the darling of the Academy and is always nominated (perhaps she titillates the mostly older white men who make up most of the Academy members).
Will win: Brie Larson. She’s deservedly won the BAFTA and the Golden Globe Awards for Best Actress.
Should win: Brie Larson. Hands down.

Best Supporting Actor

Christian Bale, The Big Short

Tom Hardy, The Revenant

Mark Ruffalo, Spotlight

Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies

Sylvester Stallone, Creed

This category is up for grabs. While Stallone looks like a lock for his portrayal of an older and more wise Rocky Balboa in Creed, Rylance has just won the BAFTA for portraying a Russian spy in Bridge of Spies.
Will win: Sylvester Stallone. His win will not only be for his performance but also for his successful Hollywood career and for continuing the Rocky character. Expect him to give a very sentimental speech.
Should win: Jacob Tremblay in Room. Tremblay was absolutely superb as Larson’s son in Room – It was an amazing and extraordinary performance for a five year-old who happens to be in every scene of the movie. What’s even more shocking is that he was not even nominated. Add ‘not nominating little children for excellent performances’ to the Academy’s controversies list.

Best Supporting Actress
Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight

Rooney Mara, Carol

Rachel McADams, Spotlight

Alician Vikander, The Danish Girl

Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs
Winslet was one of the best things in a film that was one of 2015’s biggest disappointments – critically and financially. Winslet plays the long suffering assistant to Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, and for this role she’s already won the Golden Globe and BAFTA. Vikander was great in Ex-Machina for which she should be nominated here. But she’s been relegated to Supporting Actress and the film isn’t even that great so she won’t win here. It would be nice to see Jennifer Jason Leigh win get it but The Hateful Eight was not a very loved film.
Will Win: Kate Winslet. This is her 7th nomination (having won Best Actress for The Reader in 2009), so what the heck, give her another one.
Should Win: Rooney Mara. Mara plays Blanchett’s younger love interest in a beautiful and graceful performance. However, Mara is in more scenes in Carol than Blanchette, so she really deserves to be in the Best Actress category, not this category.

Best Director

Adam McKay – The Big Short

George Miller – Mad Max: Fury Road

Alejandro González Iñárritu – The Revenant
Lenny Abrahamson – Room

Tom McCarthy – Spotlight
Oscar night will belong to The Revenant. None of the other directors stand a chance in this category. When Iñárritu wins on Sunday night, he will be the first director to win two years in a row (he won last year for Birdman).
Will win: Iñárritu. He’s just won the Director’s Guild Awards which is a strong indicator that he will win this category. He’s also won the BAFTA and Golden Globe.
Should win: Iñárritu. The Revenant is filmmaking at it’s finest.

Best Foreign Language Film

Embrace of the Serpent

Mustang

Son of Saul

Theeb

A War

Hungarian drama film Son of Saul, directed by László Nemes, is a powerful film that follows a day-and-a-half in the life of a man in an Auschwitz concentration camp, and it will win. It’s a brutal, amazing and extremely unforgettable film experience. Son of Saul deserves to be in the Best Picture category – it packs more of a emotional punch and the will to live more than The Revenant.

Best Original Screenplay

Bridge of Spies

Ex Machina

Inside Out

Spotlight

Straight Outta Compton

It’s got to be Spotlight for this one. Tom McCarthy has won both the BAFTA and Writers Guild Award (shared with Josh Singer) for a script that’s quick, tense, important, and real

Best Adapted Screenplay

The Big Short

Brooklyn

Carol

The Martian

Room

This category is a hard one to call. The Big Short, Brooklyn, The Martian and Room are all up for Best Picture, so this leaves Carol out of the running. I would give it to The Big Short because of it’s unique telling of the 2008 financial collapse, and like Spotlight, it’s won the BAFTA and the Writers Guild Awards.

Films that were entirely shut out but deserved at least one nomination, in my opinion, include: Suffragette, Macbeth, In the Heart of the Sea, Tangerine and Sherpa.

The 88th Annual Academy Awards will be shown live on television here in the UK on Sunday night/Monday morning on Sky Movies at 1:30 a.m. For those of you who are unable to stay up all night to watch the show, an Oscar highlights show will air on Monday night at 10:00 p.m. on Sky Living.

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26th Feb2016

Triple 9 (Film)

by timbaros

triple9_1200x513Triple 9 is the police officer code for the death of a policeman. It’s also the name of a new film about corruption in the police department.

Taking place in Atlanta, and with an all-star cast, ‘Triple 9’ focuses on several characters, but it’s Chris Allen’s (Casey Affleck) story. He’s been moved from a zone 2 position (crossing guard) to that of a police detective, serving under his uncle Sergeant Detective Jeffrey Allen (Woody Harrelson). But amongst the rest of Allen’s squad are police officers who don’t exactly follow the rules, some of them in fact break them. And the ones that break them are being blackmailed by the Russian Mafia, led by Irina Vlaslov (Kate Winslet looking extremely unrecognizable). Vlaslov has several of the police officers in the palm of her hand and in her pocket, including Michael Belmont (Chiwetel Ejiofor) and Marcus Atwood (Anthony Mackie). She’s also kidnapped Atwood’s young son born to him by his Russian ex-wife to prove to him that he better finish one last job for her. In an explosive start to the film, Belmont, along with Atwood and Gabe Welch (Aaron Paul) and others pull off a daring heist in an Atlanta downtown bank. It’s a heist that goes smoothly until one of the bags full of money explodes with colored powder, exposing the men on a highway where they have to hijack another car to get away. Meanwhile, local Mexican gangs aren’t too pleased to see the police in their neighborhoods, and the gangs will do whatever it takes to get the cops off their streets. Led by Pinto (Luis Da Silva), his gang deals drugs and kills cops full time. But Detective Allen, who has a wife and young baby at home, doesn’t know that he’s being set up in order for the corrupt cops to pull off the final heist in the Department of Homeland Security’s vault under Vlaslov’s orders. It’s a heist where Allen realizes police corruption is too close to home.

Tripple 9 is not for the faint at heart. It’s full of severed heads, shootouts, brutal arrests and lots and lots of violence. We see the story through Aflleck’s eyes – a young naive cop caught up in a world he knows nothing about. The star-studded cast all work hard to make Matt Cook’s script as real as possible. Most memorable is Winslet who plays the Russian boss – very cold and calculating who won’t even think twice about killing one of her own. Her Russian accent is very good but starts lilting into English near the end of the film. Director John Hillcoat (who gave us the masterpiece ’The Road) keeps the action coming at us right and left throughout the film, but it’s the predictable ending that doesn’t quite make this film as good as it should’ve been.

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21st Feb2016

Freeheld (Film)

by timbaros
DSC_2139.NEF

DSC_2139.NEF

A dying female police officer struggles to get her benefits passed on to her female domestic partner in the new film ‘Freeheld.’

Starring Oscar Winner Julianne Moore (last year’s ‘Still Alice’), Moore plays the real-life Laurel Hester, an Ocean County New Jersey police detective who is diagnosed with terminal cancer at the age of 48. But before she was diagnosed with cancer, she meets Stacie Leigh Andree (Ellen Page – ‘Juno’ and ‘Inception’), on a Lesbian volleyball team. Andree is 19 years younger than Hester, but they’re both smitten with each other, enough so that they decide to move in together, in a house that’s purchased by Hester.

But Hester is not out at work, and she continues to tell her police partner Dane Wells (Michael Shannon) that Andree is her roommate. It takes a bit of time, and courage, for Hester to confirm to Wells what he’s always suspected – that Hester is a Lesbian. It’s not long after that when Hester is diagnosed with rapidly spreading lung cancer. Hester is given a bad prognosis, especially after the cancer spreads to her brain, so she knows that she’s going to die. Her wish is to leave her benefits to Andree, but she’s told that this is not allowed for same-sex domestic partners. She appeals to the county legislators (a/k/a freeholders) for them to allow her pension to be passed to Andree, but the all-male panel of five refuse to do so. Although New Jersey counties have the option to extend pension benefits to domestic partners, the Ocean County Freeholders do not do this for her. Enter gay lawyer and activist Steven Goldstein (Steve Carell – trying to ante up an Oscar nomination in a very campy role), the chair of Garden State Equality – a powerful gay activist lobbying group – who, along with many other activists, protests to the freeholders to allow Hester’s benefits to pass to Andree. It’s a fight that they’re not going to give up, but Hester’s clock is running out.

‘Freeheld,’ named as such because of the freeholders, is based on the 2007 documentary of the same name. It’s a documentary that told the same story as the current movie, but features Andree and the rest of the people that knew and worked with Hester, and includes the local media discussing the case. Why make a movie of an excellent documentary that already exists? The documentary was made by Cynthia Wade, who is listed as a producer on this film – and directed by relatively unknown Peter Sollett and written by Ron Nyswaner. Why put such an important movie into these two film novices hands? ‘Freeheld’ doesn’t quite work as a movie. While the acting by the female leads and Shannon are very good, it’s Carrell who’s way over the top as the activist gay lawyer. He’s a gay cartoon character come to life! Also, we’ve already recently seen Moore dying in her last film – ‘Still Alice’ – so it’s puzzling why she would follow up that with this movie where she’s dying again. It appears that the filmmakers were gunning for Oscar nominations by making this film with it’s timely subject matter, but at best it’s a mediocre film that’s marred down by a poor cookie cutter script and direction that’s not very realistic with scenes that appear to be staged. It’s an important story to tell but best to rent the 2007 documentary instead.

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