4 items from 2016
While it’s been a strong and crowded year for documentaries, the nonfiction Oscar race is just as unpredictable as this year’s narrative awards race.
The consistently unpredictable Academy docu branch narrowed down 124 eligible features to a remarkably strong shortlist of 15 back in December. That batch was whittled down to five nominees — “Amy,” “Cartel Land,” “The Look of Silence,” “What Happened, Miss Simone?” and “Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom.”
Even though high-profile, high-pedigree fare including Alex Gibney’s Emmy-winning “Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief,” Michael Moore’s “Where to Invade Next” and Stevan Riley’s “Listen to Me Marlon” were left out, there remains five powerful, beautifully crafted movies from five formidable helmers.
And unlike previous years, each director has a real shot of winning. While “Amy” is the highest-grossing film of the quintet, it isn’t necessarily a shoo-in like last year’s Edward Snowden documentary “Citizenfour, »
- Addie Morfoot
As long as war exists, there will always be filmmakers who try to attempt to capture its horror, and its glory. As the years press on and wars come and go, different filmmakers have endeavored to craft different war films that represent the tone and thought process of a given era. All Quiet on the Western Front framed Wwi as a time of lost innocence, while The Longest Day presented the Second World War as an hour of glory against the Nazis. This trend has persisted, from the way Platoon dealt with Vietnam, to Courage Under Fire.s take on the first Gulf War. Michael Bay.s 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi has been in theaters since this weekend, but represents only the latest in a long line of movies that have attempted to deal with the idea of war in a post 9/11 world. Some films about our most »
Denzel Washington will be awarded the Cecil B. DeMille Award at this Sunday's Golden Globes, and as a result, we thought we'd look back at the ten films that I think best showcase his undeniable movie star charisma. Are these the ten best Denzel Washington films? The ten best Denzel Washington performances? It feels to us like it's hard to make a distinction between the two, since his best work occurs when people actually challenge him or give him something great to do. There are some very solid films and performances that didn't make this list, like Courage Under Fire, Crimson Tide, 2 Guns, and Philadelphia, but we feel like we picked the ten movies that best exemplify why Washington has been electrifying audiences for 30 years now. Washington paid his dues in the early days, and I'm sure he'd be perfectly happy to just forget Carbon Copy or Heart Condition ever happened. »
- Drew McWeeny
The Academy doc branch selected their shortlist of 15 semifinalists in December. No one, least of all documentary filmmaker Matthew Heineman, who is not a frontline war reporter, expected "Cartel Land" (July 13, The Orchard) to be among the titles. But, with nominations voting set to close Friday, January 8, it is—after the border drug wars movie broke at Sundance, where it won directing and cinematography prizes, nabbed support from director Kathryn Bigelow, scored the Tim Hetherington Award at Sheffield, and landed on the coveted Doc NYC shortlist as well. Now, "Cartel Land" will be available to its widest audience yet: it airs tonight at 10pm on A&E. What's the big deal? Well, Heineman will receive the International Documentary Association's "Courage Under Fire Award," which honors "conspicuous bravery in the pursuit of truth." Last year's Oscar winner Laura Poitras ("Citizenfour") also won this »
- Anne Thompson
4 items from 2016
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