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2 items from 2016

22 Deserving Oscar Contenders From the First Half of 2016

24 June 2016 11:08 AM, PDT | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

Year after year film releases from January through June get the short end of the stick during the Oscar season, when latter-year entries — many of them fresh off exposure-boosting festival circuits — drown everything out.

There are exceptions, of course, but mostly, without the help of critical kudos and other precursor awards that deign to have long memories, quality work is frequently left in the also-ran pile. In an effort to keep the spotlight trained on deserving contenders, here is a long list of players we’d like to see remembered by the Academy later this year.

[Note: This list only includes films theatrically released to the public through the year’s midway point. Not all festival entries are eligible.]

Best Picture: “Weiner

Rather than save it for the documentary feature category, why not just call one of the year’s best movies exactly what it is? This Sundance hit is somehow the perfect movie for now: Flawed heroes, media obsession with titillation yielding obfuscation of substance — it’s brilliantly in tune with the zeitgeist. »

- Kristopher Tapley and Jenelle Riley

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[Review] Zoolander 2

10 February 2016 2:47 PM, PST | The Film Stage | See recent The Film Stage news »

The world has changed since Zoolander helped America laugh again after 9/11. A good deal of its new sequel tries to pan humor out of grappling with this. As the movie begins, protagonist Derek Zoolander (Ben Stiller, also co-writer and director) and his rival-turned-bestie Hansel (Owen Wilson) have isolated themselves over the last 14 years due to a tragedy that befell them a mere two days after the first movie left off. But both are drawn back into the high-glamor, low-iq world of male modeling after a series of celebrities are murdered, each one snapping a selfie in which they flash Derek’s signature “Blue Steel” look as they die. With the assistance of new love interest Melanie Valentina (Penelope Cruz), an Interpol Fashion Police agent, the pair seek to unravel the mystery.

Since this is a new Frat Pack joint (standbys John Hamburg, Nick Stoller, and Justin Theroux also worked on »

- Daniel Schindel

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