Black Nativity follows Langston, as he has to temporarily move in with his grandparents, whom he has never met, because he and his mother are being evicted from their home. The movie is loosely based off the Langston Hughes play/musical, and it does its best to send a good message about hope, family, love, and religion, but it fails to make any real impact.
The film in not well written as it struggles to find its voice, and to figure out exactly type of story it is trying to tell. Most of the scenes have clichéd dialogue and they move at a snail’s pace. The movie is only 93min, and it felt like it was 3 hours.
The film does boast great performances from the whole cast, Forrest Whitaker is especially strong as the Reverend, but they are simply not given enough to do, or enough depth to make them whole rounded characters.
The film also feels like it is incomplete. It ends very abruptly, and almost too nicely, as everyone’s problems are solved in a short scene. There is so much potential for this film as there are moments of greatness, but then it is instantly followed with an eye rolling inducing scene.
Entertainment Grade: C+
Overall Film: C-
This is an amazing supercut for the films of 2013 made by The Sleepy Skunk.
Frances is a vibrant and exciting small film by Noah Baumbach.
The film follows Frances over about a year of her life, moving from one apartment to the next as she tries to figure out what to do with her life. It’s a simple plot, but it’s more than just that. Greta Gerwig who plays Frances and also helped write the film, plays her with so much gusto, you are so drawn to her.
Frances is 27, a dancer, and she doesn’t quite have her life completely figured out, but the film doesn’t make her look bad or lazy because of this. She is completely relatable, as everyone has gone through exactly what’s happening in her life. As an artist myself, trying to make a living off my art, and was right there with her the whole time.
The film is full of great performances. Greta Gerwig deserves an Oscar nomination as she took a character that could have just been your normal, quirky, manic pixie girl you’ve seen a thousand times in just about every indie film ever made, and she made her so fully rounded, flawed, and utterly compelling. The rest of the supporting cast is right there with her, completely drawing you in as if you were watching real people talk, and not characters from a film.
The movie is also gorgeous, filmed in black and white, which added so much texture and life to this simple film. The film is filled with so many completely honest moments, like when Frances in temporally fired from her job, she takes it out on her best friend in a restaurant bathroom, and the film doesn’t shy away from these hard, life moments.
Frances Ha is a completely relatable story, filled with witty, and poignant writing, and wonderful performances. It is one of my favorite films of the year, and I highly recommend you check it out as it is on instant on Netflix. You will not be disappointed.
Entertainment Grade: A
Overall Film: A
Frozen is a wonderful and enjoyable film that leaves you smiling.
The film is loosely based of a Hans Christen Anderson Fairy Tale that follows two sisters, Anna and Elsa (played delightfully by Kristen Bell and Idina Menzel), where Else ability to turn anything she wants into ice. Afraid of what people might think of her abilities, her parents hide her away from the rest of the world, to protect her from what people might do to her if they ever found out. On the night when Elsa is crowned Queen, it is revealed of her special abilities. Frightened, Elsa accidentally condemns her kingdom to an eternal winter and she flees to the mountains. It is now up to Anna to find her sister and save the day.
Like other Disney Animated Films, Frozen is a musical. Not all of the songs are memorable, and some are a little too cheesy, but they are lively and fun. I especially enjoyed Elsa’s Let it Go, which is performed nicely by Idina Menzel.
One of the best things about the film is the representation of strong female characters. Anna and Elsa are two very strong, independent women and it was refreshing to see them take control of their situations and to not have the male characters save the day. There’s a funny moment where Anna gets engaged to a Prince within the same night they met, and they go to Elsa for her blessing, and she shuts them down, saying it would be crazy to marry someone you just met. It was a great way to poke fun of their past Disney Princesses.
The film is quick witted, has lovable characters, like Olaf the Snowman, and it’s a feast for the eyes with its lush animation. You’ll be laughing one moment, on your edge of your seat during some of the action sequences, and you’ll shed a tear or two. It was a wonderful film for the whole family, even the boys.
Entertainment Grade: A
Overall Film: A-
Song of the Week 11-30-13
Pentaronix - Little Drummer Boy
I love Pentatonix. They consistently put out amazing A Cappella covers and this one is no different. I love the arrangement they did for the classic Christmas song, and their vocals are better than ever. Just amazing.
This story first appeared in the Dec 6. issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
I could listen to the actresses talk all day. What a wonderful interview.
BEST FEATURE (Award given to the Producer, Executive Producers are not awarded)
12 Years a Slave
PRODUCERS: Dede Gardner, Anthony Katagas, Jeremy Kleiner, Steve McQueen, Arnon Milchan, Brad Pitt, Bill Pohlad
All Is Lost
PRODUCERS: Neal Dodson, Anna Gerb
PRODUCERS: Noah Baumbach, Scott Rudin, Rodrigo Teixeira, Lila Yacoub
Inside Llewyn Davis
PRODUCERS: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen, Scott Rudin
PRODUCERS: Albert Berger, Ron Yerxa
Shane Carruth - Upstream Color
J.C. Chandor - All Is Lost
Steve McQueen -12 Years a Slave
Jeff Nichols -Mud
Alexander Payne -Nebraska
Woody Allen -Blue Jasmine
Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke & Richard Linklater -Before Midnight
Nicole Holofcener -Enough Said
Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber -The Spectacular Now
John Ridley -12 Years a Slave
BEST FIRST FEATURE (Award given to the director and producer)
DIRECTOR/PRODUCER: Alexandre Moors
PRODUCERS: Kim Jackson, Brian O’Carroll, Isen Robbins, Will Rowbotham, Ron Simons, Aimee Schoof, Stephen Tedeschi
DIRECTOR: Stacie Passon
PRODUCER: Rose Troche
DIRECTOR: Ryan Coogler
PRODUCERS: Nina Yang Bongiovi, Forest Whitaker
DIRECTOR/PRODUCER: Lucy Mulloy
PRODUCERS: Sandy Pérez Aguila, Maite Artieda, Daniel Mulloy, Yunior Santiago
DIRECTOR: Haifaa Al Mansour
PRODUCERS: Gerhard Meixner, Roman Paul
BEST FIRST SCREENPLAY
Lake Bell - In A World
Joseph Gordon-Levitt - Don Jon
Bob Nelson - Nebraska
Jill Soloway - Afternoon Delight
Michael Starrbury -The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete
JOHN CASSAVETES AWARD – Given to the best feature made for under $500,000. Award given to the writer, director, and producer. Executive Producers are not awarded.
WRITER/DIRECTOR: Andrew Bujalski
PRODUCERS: Houston King & Alex Lipschultz
WRITER/DIRECTOR: Sebastiàn Silva
PRODUCERS: Juan de Dios Larraín & Pablo Larraín
WRITER/DIRECTOR: Jem Cohen
PRODUCERS: Paolo Calamita & Gabriele Kranzelbinder
WRITER/DIRECTOR: Yen Tan
WRITER: David Lowery
PRODUCERS: Jonathan Duffy, James M. Johnston,
Eric Steele, Kelly Williams
This is Martin Bonner
WRITER/DIRECTOR: Chad Hartigan
PRODUCER: Cherie Saulter
BEST FEMALE LEAD
Cate Blanchett - Blue Jasmine
Julie Delpy - Before Midnight
Gaby Hoffmann - Crystal Fairy
Brie Larson - Short Term 12
Shailene Woodley - The Spectacular Now
BEST MALE LEAD
Bruce Dern - Nebraska
Chiwetel Ejiofor - 12 Years a Slave
Oscar Isaac - Inside Llewyn Davis
Michael B. Jordan - Fruitvale Station
Matthew McConaughey - Dallas Buyers Club
Robert Redford - All Is Lost
BEST SUPPORTING FEMALE
Melonie Diaz - Fruitvale Station
Sally Hawkins - Blue Jasmine
Lupita Nyong’o - 12 Years a Slave
Yolonda Ross - Go For Sisters
June Squibb - Nebraska
BEST SUPPORTING MALE
Michael Fassbender -12 Years a Slave
Will Forte -Nebraska
James Gandolfini - Enough Said
Jared Leto - Dallas Buyers Club
Keith Stanfield - Short Term 12
Sean Bobbitt -12 Years a Slave
Benoit Debie - Spring Breakers
Bruno Delbonnel - Inside Llewyn Davis
Frank G. DeMarco - All Is Lost
Matthias Grunsky - Computer Chess
Shane Carruth & David Lowery - Upstream Color
Jem Cohen & Marc Vives - Museum Hours
Jennifer Lame - Frances Ha
Cindy Lee - Una Noche
Nat Sanders - Short Term 12
BEST DOCUMENTARY (Award given to the director and producer)
20 Feet From Stardom
DIRECTOR/PRODUCER: Morgan Neville
PRODUCERS: Gil Friesen & Caitrin Rogers
DIRECTORS/PRODUCERS: Martha Shane & Lana Wilson
DIRECTOR/PRODUCER: Dawn Porter
PRODUCER: Julie Goldman
The Act of Killing
DIRECTOR/PRODUCER: Joshua Oppenheimer
PRODUCERS: Joram Ten Brink, Christine Cynn, Anne Köhncke, Signe Byrge
DIRECTOR: Jehane Noujaim
PRODUCER: Karim Amer
BEST INTERNATIONAL FILM (Award given to the director)
A Touch of Sin
DIRECTOR: Jia Zhang-Ke
Blue is the Warmest Color
DIRECTOR: Abdellatif Kechiche
DIRECTOR: Sebastián Lelio
The Great Beauty
DIRECTOR: Paolo Sorrentino
DIRECTOR: Thomas Vinterberg
ROBERT ALTMAN AWARD – (Given to one film’s director, casting director, and its ensemble cast)
Director: Jeff Nichols
Casting Director: Francine Maisler
Ensemble Cast: Joe Don Baker, Jacob Lofland, Matthew McConaughey, Ray McKinnon, Sarah Paulson, Michael Shannon, Sam Shepard, Tye Sheridan, Paul Sparks, Bonnie Sturdivant, Reese Witherspoon
I am happy to see Upstream Color get some nominations, as it is one of my favorite films of the year.
t has been an open secret for some time now, but Marvel has finally given official confirmation that Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen have been cast in The Avengers: Age Of Ultron…
I thought both of these had been confirmed weeks ago, but yay! I’m a fan of both these actors and they should be awesome.
Catching Fire is inventing new kinds of money to make. So, lest there was any doubt, there will be a Mockingjay movie. Or rather, two…
This article brings up a lot of great points and it does a great job so showing how pointless the MPAA system has become.
Thanks for the clarification.
Everyone wants the next Hunger Games, but what’s holding these failed franchises back?
Song of the Week - 11-23-13
Kelly Clarkson - feat Trisha Yearwood and Reba - Silent Night
Kelly just released her new Christmas Album and it’s quite good. My favorite song off her album is her collaboration with Trisha Yearwood and Reba. I love how their vocals blend and it’s a nice arrangement for this classic Christmas Song.
How to Make Hipster Music
This is perfect.
'SNL' hosts December
- Dec 7 - Paul Rudd/One Direction
- Dec 14 - John Goodman/Kings of Leon
- Dec 21 - Jimmy Fallon/Justin Timberlake
Fallon/Timberlake holiday show is a dream.
This one of the best line ups for hosts, ever. Jimmy and JT together in one show!!!!! It’s going to be off the hook.