1-20 of 25 items from 2017 « Prev | Next »
This ranking includes only new theatrical releases viewed for the awards year of 2016 (for eligibility for the Academy Awards and the Ofcs and Awfj awards); some films released in the UK without Us releases (and so ineligible for those awards this year) may also be included, for my own bookkeeping purposes. Links go to my review. Numbers after each entry are Date First Viewed/NYC Release Date/London Release Date; year is 2016 unless otherwise noted.
01.03.17: This ranking is not quite final; I will continue to add films and links to reviews through the awards season that ends with the Oscars ceremony on February 26th.
worth paying multiplex prices for
La La Land (10.07/12.09/01.13.17)
A Monster Calls (10.06/12.23/01.01.17)
The Lobster (07.16.15/05.13/10.16.15)
Zootropolis (aka Zootopia) (02.22/03.04/03.25)
A Bigger Splash (10.08.15/05.04/02.12)
Miss Sloane (11.20/11.25/02.24.17)
London Road (06.03.15/09.09/06.12.15)
The Girl with All the Gifts (07.26/Tba/09.23)
I, Daniel Blake (10.22/12.23/10.21)
Hidden Figures (12.14/12.25/02.17.17)
A United Kingdom (10.05/02.17.17/11.25)
Eye in the Sky (04.07/03.11/04.15)
- MaryAnn Johanson
The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association (Galeca), of which I'm a proud voting member, has revealed its nominees for the best in film and television of 2016. Barry Jenkins' "Moonlight" led the pack with 7 nods followed by Damien Chazelle's "La La Land" with 6. Winners will be announced on Thursday, January 26.
Complete List Of Galeca 2016/17 Dorian Awards Nominees:
Note: Categories with more than five nominees involved a tie)
Film of the Year
Jackie (Fox Searchlight)
La La Land (Summit/Lionsgate)
20th Century Women (A24)
Director of the Year
(Film or Television)
Film Performance of the Year . Actress
Annette Bening, 20th Century Women (A24)
Nicolas Winding Refn loves a brooding, near silent hero – as seen by his previous movies Drive, Only God Forgives and Valhalla Rising. Well, he looks to be back at it again, revealed by an extensive synopsis for his new movie The Avenging Silence.
The synopsis, coming from the Crouching Tigers Project Lab by way of The Playlist, reads as follows:
The spy was one of the leading spies in Europe. An injury inflicted to his vocal cords during a failed mission six years ago left him mute, forcing him to leave his profession. »
- Samuel Brace
For the second year in a row, the Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association (Galeca) have rallied around an obvious favorite: “Moonlight.” Last year, Todd Haynes’s “Carol” swept Galeca’s Dorian Awards, and from its prominence amongst the nominees announced today, “Moonlight” will likely do the same.
Read More: The 20 Best Queer Films on Netflix Right Now
Not restricted to films with explicit queer themes, the films nominated for film of the year are “Jackie,” “Manchester by the Sea,” “La La Land, “20th Century Women,” and “Moonlight.” The nominees for Lgbtq Film of the Year are “Being 17,” “Closet Monster,” “Moonlight,” “Other People,” and “The Handmaiden.”
Judging by its very strong Oscar chances, the enthusiasm for “Moonlight” has overshadowed all other worthy queer films. “The Handmaiden” was notably absent from the Oscar short list for Best Foreign Language Film, and the other three Dorian nominees are not in contention at all. »
- Jude Dry
Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross are collaborating on what could end up being their most ambitious film score yet: Ken Burns’ 10-part documentary “The Vietnam War,” which follows the duo’s recent work on the climate-change doc “Before the Flood” and Peter Berg’s based-on-fact thriller “Patriots Day.” The New York Times first reported the news.
“A lot of it was about tension and fear,” Reznor tells the Nyt of the war. Ross adds to that description: “Mortars, helicopters, people talking — we would process those sounds and use them as rhythmic starting points.” Burns has previously made long-form documentaries about baseball, the Civil War and World War II, among other distinctly American subjects.
Reznor and Ross, »
- Michael Nordine
Grammy-winning singer and songwriter Alicia Keys has contributed songs to dozens of soundtracks including “The Great Gatsby,” “Muscle Shoals,” “Quantum of Solace” and “Drumline.” But Mira Nair’s “Queen of Katwe,” which features a Keys original, “Back to Life,” was a different kind of project.
Keys first discovered the true story of Ugandan chess prodigy Phiona Mutesi (portrayed by Madina Nalwanga in her debut) “by a little twist of fate” in 2011, when Tim Crothers’ remarkable feature story on the budding prodigy was published by Espn’s magazine (a year later, Crothers published the book “The Queen of Katwe,” on which Nair’s film is based).
Producing partner Jeff Robinson gave the article to Keys, in hopes that they could develop it under their Big Pita, Little Pita Productions banner. While that didn’t ultimately pan out, Keys could never quite shake Mutesi’s story.
Read More: Why ‘Hidden Figures’ Is »
- Kate Erbland
Nicolas Winding Refn‘s last film The Neon Demon managed to split audiences right down the middle. Some hated it, but some loved it immensely, and after a couple of viewings, I fell into the latter category. With that film done and dusted, the Danish director has set his sights on his next project, a film titled The Avenging Silence, for which an extended synopsis has just been released.
“A former European spy, accepts a confidential mission from a Japanese businessman exiled to France to take down the head of the most treacherous Yakuza boss in Japan. The spy was one of the leading spies in Europe. An injury inflicted to his vocal cords during a failed mission six years ago left him mute, »
- Paul Heath
Director Nicolas Winding Refn (The Neon Demon) has teamed up with screenwriters Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, best known for their extensive work on the James Bond franchise, for his Tokyo-set thriller, The Avenging Silence. Refn will again follow a man of few words with his next film. Based on its early plot synopsis, The Avenging Silence is about a mute […]
- Jack Giroux
Nicolas Winding Refn’s The Neon Demon was a nice return to form after the disappointing Only God Forgives, but it sounds like his next film will be a direct attempt to cater to fans of his phenomenally stylish 2011 thriller Drive. For cool people who like cool stuff, that’s pretty good news all on its own. It gets even better, though, because The Playlist has uncovered some details about the film’s plot, and it sounds like it’ll be the very best kind of ridiculous.
As we previously reported, the film is called The Avenging Silence and it’s a spy thriller set in Tokyo, but this new report adds that it will be about a former European spy who lost the use of his vocal records after a botched mission, leaving him unable to speak and with no choice but to give up the spy game ...
- Sam Barsanti
“The Wicked Die Young” will be released on April 14 via Milan Records, and it will provide an insight into the sounds that inspired the film.
The compilation spans disco, punk and electro, and features tracks by Giorgio Moroder, Sparks, Suicide, Electric Youth, Dionne Warwick and others. It also includes music by Refn’s previous collaborator Cliff Martinez, who has scored the writer/director past three films, as well as his son Julian Winding, who contributed to “Only God Forgives” and “The Neon Demon.”
The 46-year-old Danish filmmaker has been releasing his “Refn Presents” series through Milan Records since 2015, including the scores to “Old Boy, »
- Yoselin Acevedo
With The Neon Demon now (almost completely) exorcised from Danish auteur Nicolas Winding Refn‘s system, he is already deep into preparing his next project. On the docket for the director is The Avenging Silence, which will apparently sate Refn’s desire to make a “big extravagant action film.” Refn also said over the summer it is loosely inspired by “Dr. No,” Ian Fleming‘s classic Bond novel, as well as William Burrough‘s “Nova Express.” An extended synopsis has now been released for the feature, which hopefully will make its way to screens by 2018.
While he has dipped into action in sections of Drive, Bronson and The Pusher Trilogy, The Avenging Silence sounds like a big step for Refn into pure spy/action genre fare. However, fans of Refn’s stylistic choices should rest assured as he has already stated his protagonist won’t say much. This time, that »
- Mike Mazzanti
With The Neon Demon out on Blu-ray/DVD and delivering everything you'd expect from a Nicolas Winding Refn film, it's time to take a look at the filmmaker's future. Refn has said before that he'd like to tackle the spy genre in a film that would be a nod to James Bond's Dr. No. So much so that he's working with Neal Purvis and Robert Wade (Skyfall, Casino... Read More »
- Sean Wist
Editor’s Note: When New Orleans Saint defensive star Steve Gleason learned he had Als, his wife Michel was pregnant. Instinctively, he picked up a camera and started talking to his unborn son, and so began the documentation of a man’s determination to tackle his disease head-on.
“Gleason,” now an Oscar candidate for Best Documentary, quickly grew beyond being one man’s video diary. Under the guidance of director Clay Tweel, Gleason’s story was painted on a far broader canvas, one following a traditional hero’s journey that is able to capture the sadness, triumph, and joy of a family facing impossible odds. IndieWire recently asked Tweel about how he crafted the Gleasons’ inspiring story from 1300 hours of painfully intimate footage and how the project evolved as the NFL star’s body weakened.
There were two challenges that immediately presented themselves on this project. First of all, »
- Indiewire Staff
Published through Crouching Tigers Project Lab – and relayed via The Playlist – the exhaustive description identifies the damaged protagonist of Refn’s latest to be a mute European assassin bound for Japan. His target? The most dangerous Yakuza family in the entire country. Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, two veterans of the modern James Bond franchise after contributing to Skyfall and Spectre, are the brains behind the screenplay, thus explaining the spy-thriller sensibilities of The Avenging Silence.
It’s shaping up to be an existential journey for our silent killer, too, with the logline teasing an encounter with conquest, war, famine and death – a symbol of the Four Horsemen, perhaps? – upon stepping foot in southern Japan. There’s currently »
- Michael Briers
Last year, director Nicolas Winding Refn’s latest film “The Neon Demon,” about an aspiring model (Elle Fanning) whose beauty and youth generate intense jealousy within the industry, opened to polarizing reviews and a poor box office performance, grossing a little over $3 million from a $7 million budget. But the director clearly isn’t discouraged from future projects and is set to produce a remake of the giallo film “What Have You Done To Solange?” and expressed interest in a Batgirl movie. But his next project will be large scale crime drama entitled “The Amazing Silence,” which he described on his Twitter as “Ian Fleming + William Burroughs + N W R = The Avenging Silence.”
— Nicolas Winding Refn (@NicolasWR) August 14, 2016
- Vikram Murthi
Nicolas Winding Refn has never hid the fact that music has greatly inspired him as a filmmaker, and that carries through to his latest effort, the glossy fashion-world horror “The Neon Demon.” While the score has been available for a while now, Refn is about to release something special for fans of the film: a collection of songs that helped inspire him during the creation of the film.
Read More: The 30 Best Film Scores & Soundtracks Of 2016
Milan Records is teaming up with Refn to release “The Wicked Die Young” on vinyl.
- Charles Dean
While Sundance Film Festival 2017 is right around the corner, there’s still a handful of favorites from last year’s festival awaiting a release. One of the most acclaimed is So Yong Kim’s tender drama Lovesong, recently named one of the 50 best films from 2017 we’ve already seen. Starring Jena Malone (The Neon Demon) and Riley Keough (American Honey) as friends who reunite years later, Strand Releasing has now debuted the first trailer, which features a quote from our Sundance review.
We said in our review, “Tender and haunting, So Yong Kim’s Lovesong is a carefully observed, nuanced character study beautifully written, directed and edited. Much of the action, like in her pervious features In Between Days, Treeless Mountain and For Ellen occurs at the edge of the frame. Exploring the bounds of motherhood, childhood and maturity, Lovesong is an impressive and observant feature in which Kim allows »
- Jordan Raup
And the winners are…
Best Picture: Moonlight
Best Animated Feature: Kubo and the Two Strings
Best Film Not in the English Language: The Handmaiden – South Korea
Best Documentary: O.J.: Made in America
The Online Film Critics Society — of which I am a member — has announced the nominees for its 2016 awards. Links here go to my reviews, with reviews to come for most if not all those I haven’t yet reviewed. Winners will be announced Tuesday, January 3rd.
And the nominees are:
The Handmaiden »
- MaryAnn Johanson
Cliff Martinez is one of the most exciting composers in Hollywood today. Most recently, his scores in The Neon Demon and Steven Soderbergh’s Cinemax series The Knick are among the richest, most expressive music compositions of the past few years. As such, we were excited to hear what he would do with Logan, but alas, we’ll never know. For reasons unknown, Martinez has been replaced by Marco Beltrami, director James Mangold’s regular composer, who also worked on 2013’s The Wolverine.
The news came from Mangold’s own Twitter account (via Film Music Reporter). When pressed by a diehard Beltrami fan as to why the composer wouldn’t return, the filmmaker corrected him.
@marco_beltrami Sure! But always wise to start softer and hear from other side before making accusations. Relax. Marco is scoring the film.
— Mangold (@mang0ld) December 30, 2016
There’s no explanation as to why Martinez stepped aside for Beltrami. »
- Will Ashton
Author: Jon Lyus
One of the most anticipated sequels out this year is James Foley’s follow-up to Sam Taylor-Johnson’s knee-trembler Fifty Shades of Grey starring Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan. On Valentine’s Day we’re in for a deeper tone of love and pain with Fifty Shades Darker, and a new trailer has made its way out into the wild today.
Following the much-hyped first film Johnson made quite an impression in Luca Guadagnino’s A Bigger Splash while Dornan continued his terrifying role in The Fall on the BBC with Gillian Anderson and the World War II drama Anthropoid with Cillian Murphy. With a fandom to rival that of Messrs. Potter and Everdeen the Fifty Shades bandwagon keeps on rolling, and all eyes will be on the latest installment to see how the peptic chemistry between the two leads has evolved.
Kim Basinger is a new addition to the cast, »
- Jon Lyus
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