6 items from 2015
Arts critics tend to get a rough time of it in the movies. Even looking at this year's awards season hopefuls, Birdman casts a wonderfully scabrous Lindsay Duncan as a theatre critic who is determined to kill the hero's play, and Mr. Turner presents John Ruskin as a lisping, pretentious fop, a representation that has led some to take mild umbrage.
To look even further back, at Ratatouille's sneering Anton Ego, or Lady In The Water's film-savvy 'straw critic', or Theatre Of Blood's gleefully murderous tract, there's not a whole lot of love for critics in film. Any of this might give way to the preconception that critics, especially film critics, don't actually like films and that they're out of touch with both the filmmakers whose works they »
Armond White. David Cronenberg. Oscar prognosticators and the National Society of Film Critics. Terence Stamp’s priggish art critic in “Big Eyes.” Lindsay Duncan’s poisonous theatre critic in “Birdman.” For a profession that’s supposedly dying, criticism -- of film, in films -- has elicited more than its fair share of hand-wringing recently, though the anxiety seems to be in the eye of the beholder. Alternately cast as industry shills, out-of-touch snobs, digital amateurs, fearsome gatekeepers, and failed artists, critics provoke passionate responses, but it can be difficult to suss out what the critic’s role in the current cinema actually is, or should be. Toh!’s Anne Thompson, Ryan Lattanzio, and Matt Brennan take up the subject in the debate below, including the biggest question of all: Do critics still matter? Matt Brennan: I haven’t been at this long enough to possess much hoary nostalgia for the good ol’ days, »
Film critics, we’re often told, don’t vote for the Oscars — but if they did, here’s what at least three of their nomination ballots might look like. We listed our top five choices for best director, actor/actress, supporting actor/actress, original/adapted screenplay and cinematography. For best picture, we allowed ourselves 10 choices, based on the unlikely but theoretically possible outcome of 10 nominees in that category.
“The Grand Budapest Hotel”
Haluk Bilginer, “Winter Sleep”
Ralph Fiennes, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
Marion Cotillard, “Two Days, One Night”
- Variety Staff
In what could be a preview of the awards season ahead, “Boyhood” swept the New York Film Critics Circle Awards in downtown Manhattan on Monday night. The drama by Richard Linklater, which took twelve years to make, picked up best picture, best director and best supporting actress for Patricia Arquette; more prizes than any other film.
Timothy Spall won best actor for “Mr. Turner,” Marion Cotillard received best actress for her dual leading performances in “Two Days, One Night” and “The Immigrant,” and J.K. Simmons was named best supporting actor for “Whiplash.” The winners, which were announced in advance, were on hand to accept their prizes at a seated dinner at Tao Downtown from presenters such as Jake Gyllenhaal, Ethan Hawke, Bill Murray and Jon Stewart, who gave “Boyhood” the top prize.
“Why am I here?” Stewart asked. “When you win this many awards, you run out of people.” Stewart »
- Ramin Setoodeh
“A thing is a thing, not what is said of that thing.”
Whatever you think of Alejandro G Iñárritu’s Birdman (Or The Unexpected Virtue Of Ignorance), it's destined to be one of the year's most talked things. Arriving in UK cinemas on New Year's day, it could have played merry hell with most critics' end-of-year lists if it had been released even a few hours earlier, but it's bound to linger in the memory for the next 12 months.
In the film, Riggan Thomson (Michael Keaton) is a washed-up movie star who has privately and publicly disintegrated since his infamous turn in the Birdman trilogy. Now, he's trying to be a triple threat, by writing, directing and starring in a Broadway adaptation of Raymond Carver's What We Talk About When We Talk About Love. »
It’s easy to see why filmmakers, stars, producers, and studios really hate film critics. To complete a film and actually get it out into the big wide world is a minor miracle in itself, so when a group of writers dump on a movie, it’s not surprising to see certain people get upset.
In reality, many critics do a hell of a lot of good for cinema – promoting small, independent films that deserve recognition, and educating audiences about the particulars of quality cinema. Having said that, it’s understandable why they are often disliked by those in the movie business – it’s never nice to be told your movie sucks.
Even when they dish out praise, critics aren’t necessarily safe from the acidic response of filmmakers. Alejandro Gonzales Inarittu’s critically-acclaimed film Birdman, in a delicious twist of irony, is actually a sly “f*** you” to film critics. »
- Gaz Lloyd
6 items from 2015
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