There Will Be Blood… and CinSpecs

Oscar winner for a reason.

Hey guys! I’ve been meaning to stop by for a while and mention a few things, so here it goes. After a drought of almost a decade, I rewatched There Will Be Blood on a whim recently, and it blew me away. Paul Thomas Anderson’s masterpiece, really, and I never thought I’d say that. I’ll admit my reaction to Daniel Day-Lewis’ performance was far more enthusiastic as well. He’s amazing. I suspect my previous stance of great-but-not-GREAT was somewhat influenced by his dominance that awards season, but his success was totally deserved. In short, Anderson and Day-Lewis are geniuses, and I now consider the film an all-time favorite. So, the 2007 CinSpecs are due for an update. Several, actually.
That brings me to a little announcement. Not only will I be updating the CinSpecs, but I’ve decided to tighten up the rules for my awards, since eligibility has always been a predicament. I’m now going to place films according to their original theatrical release dates, EXCLUDING festival premieres. (IMDb still makes this a little annoying, but it’ll be easier on the whole.) For instance, films like Mud and The Place Beyond the Pines will stay in 2013, as they only played in festivals in 2012. However, The Hurt Locker and Two Lovers will move from 2009 to 2008, since they actually premiered theatrically outside of the US a year earlier. Some of my ballots will really be shaken up – new nominees AND winners. I’ll start posting updated ballots soon.
In the meantime, I’ve updated 2016’s ballot. I finally saw Certain Women, so that’s on there. I’ve also seen The Unknown Girl, Personal Shopper, and It’s Only the End of the World, which are all eligible for that ballot. None made the cut, though. In addition, I’ve moved The Lobster and April and the Extraordinary World to 2015 and Beauty and the Beast to 2014.
I’ve posted the five new lineups that changed on my 2016 ballot below, or you can always just look at my ballot again. I’ll answer your comments over there soon as well. Thanks! 🙂

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2016 CinSpec Awards

La La Land won 6 Oscars, but how’d it fare here?

If you’re reading this, I’m sorry I’ve put the blog on the back burner for the past several months. I still enjoy movies; I just watch less of them, which is why it took me so long to put together my ballot. As always, there are some painful snubs, oversights, and perhaps some head-scratchers on here. I was torn in some categories, but I’m quite happy with the results overall. Last year wasn’t one of the greatest for film, though I found a lot to love.

Obviously, I haven’t seen everything. I still need to watch films like Cameraperson, I Am Not Your Negro, Your Name, Certain Women, Gold, Miss Sloane, Sunset Song, Our Kind of Traitor, A Man Called Ove, Train to Busan, Pete’s Dragon, Last Days of the Desert, Warcraft, 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi, Patriot’s Day, The Girl on the Train, Wiener-Dog, Ma Ma, Kate Plays Christine, The Diary of a Chambermaid, Miss Hokusai, American Pastoral, and Miss Peregrine’s School for Peculiar Children. With that, check out my picks below. Note: You can click on the images to enlarge them.

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Blind Spot: The Great Silence (1968)

The Great Silence is a first-rate spaghetti western.

Directed by Sergio Corbucci
Produced by Attilio Riccio

Written by Vittoriano Petrilli, Mario Amendola, Bruno Corbucci and Sergio Corbucci

Starring Klaus Kinski, Jean-Louis Trintignant and Vonetta McGee

Plot Summary: A silent gunfighter (Trintignant) faces a group of ruthless bounty hunters in Snow Hill, Utah.

Significance: Widely considered one of the best spaghetti westerns of all time, the film has become a cult classic. The film wasn’t available in the U.S. until its 2004 DVD release, and it screened in American theaters for the first time in a limited 35 mm release in 2012.

Thoughts: Though not quite in the same league as the epic Once Upon a Time in the West, this spaghetti western is a fine example of the bygone genre. It’s a small-scale, brutal little film with solid lead performances, brilliant cinematography, and an unforgettable score, contributed by Ennio Morricone, no less. Granted, it feels a bit dated, but that doesn’t detract from the film’s impact too much. The ending is notoriously bleak, with a “happy” ending even being commissioned by the studio for North African and Asian audiences. Overall, it’s a real gem, and definitely worth a look for cinephiles or fans of westerns.

Rating: A

This is the seventh film in my 2016 Blind Spot Series, as first started by Ryan McNeil.

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July Oscar Predictions

How much will La La Land charm Oscar voters?

I’ve made a few changes since last month, but this update is basically just a formality until Oscar season really kicks off.

BEST PICTURE:
Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk
The Birth of a Nation
Fences
La La Land
The Light Between Oceans
Loving
Manchester by the Sea
Passengers
Silence
Changes: None
BEST DIRECTOR:
Damien Chazelle, La La Land
Ang Lee, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk
Jeff Nichols, Loving
Nate Parker, The Birth of a Nation
Martin Scorsese, Silence

Changes: Replaced Washington with Chazelle
BEST ACTOR:
Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea
Joel Edgerton, Loving
Woody Harrelson, Wilson
Michael Keaton, The Founder
Denzel Washington, Fences

Changes: Replaced Garfield with Harrelson
BEST ACTRESS:
Annette Bening, 20th Century Women
Viola Davis, Fences
Ruth Negga, Loving
Emma Stone, La La Land
Alicia Vikander, The Light Between Oceans

Changes: Replaced Huppert with Bening
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR:
Jovan Adepo, Fences
Warren Beatty, Rules Don’t Apply
Steve Martin, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk
Ben Mendelsohn, Una
Liam Neeson, Silence

Changes: None
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS:
Naomie Harris, Moonlight
Aja Naomi King, The Birth of a Nation
Kristen Stewart, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk
Rachel Weisz, The Light Between Oceans
Michelle Williams, Manchester by the Sea

Changes: None
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY:
Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk
Fences
The Light Between Oceans
Nocturnal Animals
Silence

Changes: None
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY:
La La Land
The Lobster
Loving
Manchester by the Sea
20th Century Women

Changes: Replaced The Birth of a Nation with 20th Century Women
BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN:
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
La La Land
Passengers
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Silence

Changes: Replaced Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children with La La Land

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY:
Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk
The Birth of a Nation
The Lost City of Z
Passengers
Silence

Changes: None
BEST COSTUME DESIGN:
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Hail, Caesar!
La La Land
Love & Friendship
Silence

Changes: Replaced Alice Through the Looking Glass with Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
BEST FILM EDITING:
Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk
The Birth of a Nation
La La Land
Passengers
Silence

Changes: None
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE:
Arrival
The BFG
Finding Dory
The Light Between Oceans
Silence

Changes: Replaced The Birth of a Nation with Arrival
BEST ORIGINAL SONG:
La La Land
Moana
Sing Street
Sing Street
Trolls

Changes: None
BEST MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING:
Silence
Star Trek Beyond
Suicide Squad

Changes: None
BEST SOUND MIXING:
Arrival
Jason Bourne
La La Land
Passengers
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Changes: Replaced Silence with Arrival
BEST SOUND EDITING:
Arrival
Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk
Deepwater Horizon
Jason Bourne
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Changes: Replaced Finding Dory with Arrival
BEST VISUAL EFFECTS:
Arrival
The BFG
The Jungle Book
Passengers
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Changes: Replaced Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them with Arrival
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM:
Finding Dory
Kubo and the Two Strings
Moana
The Red Turtle
Zootopia

Changes: None

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2016 Halfway SoundSpec Awards

Rihanna leads with 8 noms.

Here are my current lineups, which are based on January – June U.S. releases. Note: You can click on the images to enlarge them.

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2016 Halfway CinSpec Awards

The Witch co-leads the pack.

I haven’t seen enough to make a full ballot (like last year) yet, but here are my current winners.

BEST PICTURE:
The Witch
BEST DIRECTOR:
Robert Eggers, The Witch
BEST ACTOR:
Jake Gyllenhaal, Demolition
BEST ACTRESS:
Mary Elizabeth Winstead, 10 Cloverfield Lane
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR:
Alden Ehrenreich, Hail, Caesar!
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS:
Naomi Watts, Demolition
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY:
Deadpool
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY:
Hail, Caesar!
BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN:
Hail, Caesar!
BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY:
The Witch
BEST COSTUME DESIGN:
Hail, Caesar!
BEST FILM EDITING:
10 Cloverfield Lane
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE:
BEST ORIGINAL SONG:
BEST MAKEUP:
Deadpool
BEST SOUND (MIXING AND EDITING):
The Witch
BEST VISUAL EFFECTS:
Deadpool
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM:
Zootopia

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Top 10 Films of 2016 So Far

ScarJo shines in Hail, Caesar!.

I haven’t seen many films (like The Neon Demon, The Lobster, Sing Street, A Bigger Splash, The Nice Guys, Miles Ahead, Born to Be Blue, Finding Dory, Sunset Song, The Fits, Swiss Army Man, Everybody Wants Some!!, Money Monster, Love & Friendship, Maggie’s Plan, Triple 9, or Green Room) from the year’s first half, but I’ll catch up with a lot of them soon on DVD/streaming. Here are my current favorites, though.

10. L’Attesa (dir. Piero Messina)
9. Knight of Cups (dir. Terrence Malick)
8. The Jungle Book (dir. Jon Favreau)
7. Deadpool (dir. Tim Miller)
6. Zootopia (dir. Byron Howard and Rich Moore)
5. 10 Cloverfield Lane (dir. Dan Trachtenberg)
4. Midnight Special (dir. Jeff Nichols)
3. Hail, Caesar! (dir. Joel and Ethan Coen)
2. Demolition (dir. Jean-Marc Vallée)
1. The Witch (dir. Robert Eggers)

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Top 10 Albums of 2016 So Far

Did Radiohead’s latest make the cut?

Here are my favorites from the first half of the year.

10. Nothing But Thieves – Nothing But Thieves
9. Lemonade – Beyoncé
8. Blackstar – David Bowie
7. untitled unmastered. – Kendrick Lamar
6. Oh No – Jessy Lanza
5. A Moon Shaped Pool – Radiohead
4. The Colour in Anything – James Blake
3. ANTI – Rihanna

2. Coloring Book – Chance the Rapper

1. Love You to Death – Tegan and Sara

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Top 10 Songs of 2016 So Far

Where does chart favorite Rihanna land?

Here are my favorite tracks from the first half of 2016.

10. “Cheap Thrills” – Sia

9. “Waves” – Kanye West

8. “Your Best American Girl” – Mitski

7. “It Means I Love You” – Jessy Lanza

6. “untitled 02 | 06.23.2014.” – Kendrick Lamar

5. “What’s It Gonna Be?” – Shura

4. “Hang on to the Night” – Tegan and Sara

3. “Burn the Witch” – Radiohead

2. “Lover, Please Stay” – Nothing But Thieves

1. “Kiss It Better” – Rihanna

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Films I Saw in June

The Day of the Jackal

I watched a mere 3 films last month, but I’ll be catching up with a lot of early 2016 releases soon as they’re released on DVD/streaming.
3. Knight of Cups
B-

2. Zootopia
B+

1. The Day of the Jackal
A

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