Dec 082014
 

boyhood

Today was a busy day for an awards aficionado. The British Independent Film Awards were announced and the Los Angeles Film Critics Association and the Boston Society of Film Critics name their best of 2014.

One film would feature more than the rest, and that is Boyhood.

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Dec 032014
 

AACTA

The nominees for the 4th annual Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts Awards (the Australian equivalent of the Oscars) have been announced. The awards recognise the achievements in Australian TV and Film over the previous 12 months.

Sci-fi mind-bending Predesination from the Spierig brothers leads the pack with 9 nominations, including best film, best actress (Sarah Snook) and original screenplay.

The Water Diviner is yet to be released in Australia (it is released Boxing Day), but it has picked up 8 nominations, including the coveted best film nomination. Not far behind in terms of nominations was David Michôd’s The Rover, which received 7 nominations in total, but not one for best film.

The Babadook received 6 nominations, including best film, best original screenplay, best actress (Essie Davis) and best director. The film, which performed modestly at the Australian box office has been somewhat of a hit internationally, with good box office takings and a very positive critical response.

Also receiving six nominations was The Little Death (which was nominated in every acting category) and The Railway Man, which received a best film nomination. Charlie’s Country received 5 nominations with David Gulpilil recognised for both his writing (original screenplay) and his acting.

My personal favourite Australian films of 2014, These Final Hours and The Infinite Man, did not receive any nominations, nor did Wold Creek 2 which did reasonably well at the local box office.

In the documentary categories, Ukraine is not a Brothel leads the nominations with 6 in total, including best feature-length documentary and best direction. My favourite Australian documentary of the year, All This Mayhem, received 4 nominations including best editing and best original music score. The original music score in a documentary award is a brand-new award for the AACTAs, with 4 films being recognised for their talented composers.

The 4th AACTA Awards Ceremony will be held on Thursday 29 January, 2015.

A full list of feature film and documentary nominees are after the jump.

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Dec 032014
 

amostviolentyear

The National Board of Review have announced their winners, continuing this crazy start to the 2014 Awards Season.

They are in love with J.C Chandor’s A Most Violent Year, awarding it Best Film, Best Actor for Oscar Isaac in a tie, and Best Supporting Actress for Jessica Chastain. Reviews have been strong for Chandor’s third feature, which has become one of the strongest late contenders.

There were other surprises – 84 year-old Clint Eastwood was named Best Director for American Sniper, the screenplay awards went to Chris Miller and Phil Lord for The Lego Movie and Paul Thomas Anderson for Inherent Vice, and Fury was awarded Best Ensemble.

This is promising, considering I am such a fan of Paul Thomas Anderson. I can’t imagine him making a bad film, but Inherent Vice has not been particularly well-received. As for Fury, I liked the film a lot, but not some of its ensemble.

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Dec 032014
 

dune

 

15 films have been selected by the Academy’s Documentary Branch into the shortlist for Best Documentary Feature. The next round of voting will reduce this list to five final nominees.

Here they are, listed in alphabetical order by title:

Art and Craft
The Case against 8
Citizen Koch
CitizenFour
Finding Vivian Maier
The Internet’s Own Boy
Jodorowsky’s Dune
Keep On Keepin’ On
The Kill Team
Last Days in Vietnam
Life Itself
The Overnighters
The Salt of the Earth
Tales of the Grim Sleeper
Virunga

The great news for Australians is that most of these films are and have been available to view over the course of the year. The Case Against 8, Finding Vivian Maier and Jodorowsky’s Dune have all been released theatrically in 2014, with Keep on Keepin’ On set to be have a limited release this month and Life Itself in January.

The Kill Team and The Internet’s Own Boy are currently available to rent or buy on Dendy Direct in Australia.

Others, like The Overnighters, Salt of the Earth and Tales of the Grim Sleeper (and Life Itself and Jodorowsky’s Dune) have been on the festival rounds. I was lucky enough to catch the latter in Toronto. It takes documentary filmmaking to the next level. I was sorry to miss out on The Overnighters at the Sydney Film Festival.

Edward Snowden documentary Citizenfour has become the favourite, awarded Best Documentary at the Gotham Awards and the NYFCC yesterday, with Last Days in Vietnam also a strong contender, but my current #1 selection would be Jodorowsky’s  Dune. Such an entertaining look at the crazy genius and his impossible adaptation of Dune.

By Andrew Buckle

 

Dec 022014
 

The Immigrant

The New York Film Critics Circle, as has become the tradition, were amongst the first to announce the winners of their annual awards. The news was dropped early this morning Australian time.

What is especially interesting is that Australians have actually had the opportunity to see each of the films acknowledged, and a lot of the late Oscar contenders like Foxcatcher, The Imitation Game, Unbroken, Birdman, Gone Girl and Selma did not receive a single award. James Gray’s The Immigrant provided the biggest surprise with two awards – trailing Boyhood with three.

A look at the NYCC winners along with the Gotham Award Winners is after the jump.

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Dec 022014
 

StGeorge

St.George OpenAir Cinema unveiled its 2015 program today, the biggest ever to date, with an outstanding line-up of 42 films, including seven Première and 13 Preview screenings. From January 7 to February 21, 2015, this annual iconic summer event returns to Mrs Macquaries Point for a season of fantastic open air cinema.

The 2015 season commences with a big bang on January 7 as it rolls out the Australian Première of THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING, a film sure to be in contention for awards this coming awards season. Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones deliver outstanding performances in this fascinating story of love, resilience and one of the planet’s greatest living minds, Professor Stephen Hawking.

Programme highlights include
 
THE ADVENTURES PRISCILLA, QUEEN OF THE DESERT: On Australia Day, audiences are invited to a 21st birthday! Priscilla turns 21 in 2015 and this iconic Australian film will be shown in her honour. Patrons are invited to wear their wigs, tiaras, feather boas and heels and to come toast to one of Australia’s favourite queens!

INHERENT VICE: Award-winning indie director Paul Thomas Anderson’s (Boogie Nights, Magnolia, Punch-Drunk Love) newest film will have its Australian Premiere at OpenAir. An adaption of Thomas Pynchon’s 2009 novel, Joaquin Phoenix plays detective Larry ‘Doc’ Sportello, an unlikely hero leading a stellar cast – including Josh Brolin, Owen Wilson, Reese Witherspoon, Benicio del Toro, Jena Malone, Maya Rudolph and Martin Short. PTA at OpenAir – sounds like an amazing time to us.

BIRDMAN: Michael Keaton leads an all-star cast – Naomi Watts, Edward Norton, Zach Galifianakis and Emma Stone – in the highly anticipated black comedy that follows a one-time Hollywood star’s risky bid to claim authenticity on Broadway. We cannot wait to finally see this!

SELMA: Audiences will be moved by the special preview of the arousing and superbly made drama SELMA, which focuses on the historical US Civil Rights movement in the 60s and Martin Luther King Jr.’s inspiring leadership that changed America. This film has received extremely positive early reviews and is one we’re really looking forward to.

TOP FIVE: For those looking for a laugh, don’t miss TOP FIVE the upcoming American comedy film directed and written by legendry comedian Chris Rock. The film stars Chris Rock, Rosario Dawson, Rachel Feinstein and Hayley Marie Norman. This film was extremely well-received at TIFF and should be on the must-see list for anyone interested in contemporary comedy.
 
To see the full program please go online to www.stgeorgeopenair.com.au.

Where: Mrs Macquaries Point, Sydney – adjacent to Royal Botanic Gardens
When: January 7 to February 21, 2015
Gates, bar and restaurant open from 6.15pm
Films commence shortly after nightfall (approx. 8.30-8.45pm)
Tickets: Tickets on sale from MONDAY 8 December at 9am via the event website www.stgeorgeopenair.com.au . Get in fast as sessions will likely sell out in advance of the screenings.

Dec 012014
 

nightcrawler1

I saw 15 films in November – I think this is some sort of low for me. There were so few films of interest released at the cinema and I have been busy with non-film stuff. I’ve also watched a fair bit of TV. We just finished rewatching all of Entourage which I liked a whole lot more than I remembered, and I’m into season 5 of my rewatch of The West Wing. My monthly round-up for November is after the jump.

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