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The Best of the First Half of 2016

13 hours ago

Time just freaking flies, doesn’t it? We’re now in July and officially in the second half of the year, which means one thing…it’s time for my mid year look at the best of the first half! As of today, July 1st, I’ve seen only a movie or two below the 150 mark, so I’ve hit on almost all of the worthwhile bits of cinema that have come out between now and January 1st. Obviously, there’s probably still something that I missed that you’d have wished were included here, but that’s just the way the cookie crumbles sometimes. I tried to be as exhaustive as possible, but things fall through the cracks. Still, I suspect there’s more than enough here for you all. Below you’ll see my rankings for everything that I’ve seen since the year began. Take special note, »

- Joey Magidson

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The Academy has invited 683 new members to join their ranks

30 June 2016 11:18 AM, PDT

Yesterday afternoon, the ranks of Oscar voters grew substantially, with some welcome diversity added in for good measure. Yes, the Academy sent out invitations for new membership about 24 hours ago, with 683 names getting the coveted tap on the proverbial shoulder. Again, what made it so interesting to note is that AMPAS seemed to actively seek out women, minorities, and younger artists, hoping to make the demographics of the Academy slightly less centered on older white males. It won’t suddenly change the makeup of the Oscar nominations or upend how the Academy Awards go down next year, but it’s a slow step in the right direction, and that’s worth applauding for sure. As you can see below, in addition to basically all of last year’s Oscar winners, the new members are a diverse slate. Among the names you’ll see in the acting branch now are John Boyega, »

- Joey Magidson

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Looking at potential Best Picture contenders

29 June 2016 9:14 AM, PDT

We’re coming to the very end of June folks. Much like I said last year at the start of July, it’s one thing to read early Academy Award predictions to see what folks like myself think will happen at the end of the year, but it’s another thing entirely to actually know which films will be in contention. To that end, once a week (or maybe twice a week in certain situations) for the next month or so I’ll be running down some of the major contenders in each Oscar category. Basically, the format will have me saying a few words about what/who I feel are the top tier contenders right now in said categories, along with a longer list afterwards of many of the other hopefuls. Consider this a sort of pre awards season cheat sheet for you all. Today I’m beginning with the big one, »

- Joey Magidson

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“The Bfg” marks Steven Spielberg’s first collaboration with Disney

28 June 2016 7:41 AM, PDT

Believe it or not, legendary filmmaker Steven Spielberg has yet to make a movie over at Disney. He finally has though, with the release this week of The Bfg, based on the classic book of the same name by Roald Dahl. As I’ll get into below, Spielberg and Disney have long been a good potential fit, so this was always a matter of when, not if, but the pairing has occurred and we now have another children’s film of his to discuss. Is it anything to go nuts over? Could it be an awards player in any major way? Read on to find out… The film is, again, an adaptation of Dahl’s classic children’s book. It centers on a young girl named Sophie (Ruby Barnhill) who comes in contact with a Bfg, or Big Friendly Giant (Mark Rylance). Despite his imposing stature, he’s one giant »

- Joey Magidson

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2016 gets a dose of weirdness with “Swiss Army Man”

27 June 2016 9:57 AM, PDT

Last week, audiences got one of the oddest movies in some time with Swiss Army Man, an independent film unlike any other. Not only is this a singular cinematic experience, but over the weekend distributor A24 managed to have it open to solid limited theatrical box office. That unexpected success has not only buoyed an initially pegged as unmarketable flick, but has also shown off just how well A24 can handle tricky material. The movie easily could have been dumped, but they weren’t having that. For those who have seen it, it’s apparently a memorable experience, for better or worse, and that’s a special kind of an endorsement. How does one describe this movie? Well, in the broadest sense of the word, the plot follows a depressed man named Hank (Paul Dano) as he’s about to commit suicide on a deserted island. Right as his life »

- Joey Magidson

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