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Thursday
Dec172015

Chicago Film Critics Association Announces Best of 2015

'Twas a lovely evening that honored a lovely day! Last night, the Chicago Film Critics Association gathered for its annual Awards Dinner, and announced the top honors in seventeen categories honoring cinematic excellence. President Dann Gire passionately addressed the crowd, referring to those in attendance as protectors of arts criticism--protectors, in fact, of a vital art form.

As you'll see in the results below, Mad Max: Fury Road swept the major categories. The CFCA stands with other critical organizations across the country in recognizing writer/director George Miller's under-the-radar technical and narrative grandeur. What could have easily been dismissed as a loud, plot-light nostalgia bomb has become a beacon of artistic possibility--thanks in large part to the articles, blog posts, podcasts, and broadcasts of dogged, articulate watch-dogs who compelled moviegoers with no interest in genre movies to give Mad Max a shot. Then they told two friends, and they told two friends, and...

Anyway, here are the winners and nominees for 2015, as selected by one of the most insightful, welcoming, and downright entertaining group of arts patrons as you're likely to come across. Enjoy!

BEST PICTURE

Carol

Inside Out

Mad Max: Fury Road

The Revenant

Spotlight

 

BEST DIRECTOR

Todd Haynes--Carol

Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu--The Revenant

Tom McCarthy--Spotlight

Adam McKay--The Big Short

George Miller--Mad Max: Fury Road

 

BEST ACTOR

Christopher Abbott--James White

Leonardo DiCaprio--The Revenant

Michael Fassbender--Steve Jobs

Eddie Redmayne--The Danish Girl

Jason Segel--The End of the Tour

 

BEST ACTRESS

Cate Blanchett--Carol

Brie Larson--Room

Charlotte Rampling--45 Years

Saoirse Ronan--Brooklyn

Charlize Theron--Mad Max: Fury Road

 

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

Benicio Del Toro--Sicario

Sam Elliott--Grandma

Mark Rylance--Bridge of Spies

Michael Shannon--99 Homes

Sylvester Stallone--Creed

 

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Jennifer Jason Leigh--Anomalisa

Jennifer Jason Leigh--The Hateful Eight

Cynthia Nixon--James White

Kristen Stewart--Clouds of Sils Maria

Alicia Vikander--Ex Machina

 

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

Bridge of Spies--Matt Charman and Joel & Ethan Coen

Ex Machina--Alex Garland

The Hateful Eight--Quentin Tarantino

Inside Out--Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve and Josh Cooley

Spotlight--Tom McCarthy & Josh Singer

 

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

Anomalisa--Charlie Kaufman

The Big Short--Adam McKay & Charles Randolph

Brooklyn--Nick Hornby

Room--Emma Donoghue

Steve Jobs--Aaron Sorkin

 

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

Carol--Edward Lachman

The Hateful Eight--Robert RIchardson

Mad Max: Fury Road--John Seale

The Revenant--Emmanuel Lubezki

Sicario--Roger Deakins

 

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE

Carol--Carter Burwell

The Hateful Eight--Ennio Morricone

Inside Out--Michael Giacchino

It Follows--Disasterpeace

Mad Max: Fury Road--Junkie XL

 

BEST ART DIRECTION/PRODUCTION DESIGN

The Assassin

Brooklyn

Carol

Crimson Peak

Mad Max: Fury Road

 

BEST EDITING

The Big Short--Hank Corwin

Mad Max: Fury Road--Jason Ballantine & Margaret Sixel

The Martian--Pietro Scalia

The Revenant--Stephen Mirrione

Spotlight--Tom McArdle

 

BEST FOREIGN-LANGUAGE FILM

The Assassin

The Look of Silence

Phoenix

Son of Saul

White God

 

BEST DOCUMENTARY

Amy

Cartel Land

The Hunting Ground

The Look of Silence

Where to Invade Next

 

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE

Anomalisa

The Good Dinosaur

Inside Out

The Peanuts Movie

The Shaun the Sheep Movie

 

MOST PROMISING PERFORMER

Christopher Abbott--James White

Bel Powley--The Diary of a Teenage Girl

Geza Rohrig--Son of Saul

Amy Schumer--Trainwreck

Jacob Tremblay--Room

 

MOST PROMISING FILMMAKER

Alex Garland--Ex Machina

Marielle Heller--The Diary of a Teenage Girl

Josh Mond--James White

Laszlo Nemes--Son of Saul

Bill Pohlad--Love & Mercy


Note: Though I'm sure it would have done well in several categories, Disney did not make Star Wars: The Force Awakens available for Awards Season consideration--hence, its noticeable absence above.

Thursday
Oct152015

Mimi Craven Hosts A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET at HWP!

Hey, Nightmare on Elm Street fans! The spooky cinephiles at Naperville’s Hollywood Palms Cinema want to enhance your Halloween with an extra-special big-screen treat! That’s right, on Friday, October 30th and Saturday, October 31st, you can experience Wes Craven’s genre-bending 1984 opus the way it was meant to be seen!

To sweeten the deal, Mimi Craven (who plays the dream clinic nurse in the film) will be on hand to meet fans, sign autographs, and introduce the movie!

Annnd if you show up to the 7pm screening on Friday, you’ll get to see li’l old me moderate a Q&A with Ms. Craven before the show! I promise not to put you to sleep!

For more information, and to purchase tickets for this fun-filled weekend of food, drinks, and dreams, please visit the Hollywood Palms website!

Special thanks to Hollywood Palms and The Chicago Film Critics Association for bringing this awesome event into reality!

Thursday
Sep172015

Lionsgate Pays Tribute with new MOCKINGJAY PT. 2 Trailer!

Fans of montage, spinning, and flames are sure to enjoy Lionsgate's new trailer for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 2. Casual fans (and non-fans, such as yours truly*) may have forgotten that Katniss Everdeen even had a sister, but this emo-accompanied package of touching reminders offers a look to the past as well as a glimpse of November 19th's epic conclusion.

Tickets will go on sale nationally on Thursday, October 1, 2015 beginning at 12pm EST/9am PST. Buy tickets in the first 24 hours to receive a bonus digital download of Mockingjay Part 1!

And be on the lookout for special Mockingjay double features, starting Wednesday, November 18. The premium experience will include exclusive on-screen content and premium giveaways, allowing moviegoers to see Mockingjay Part 2 a full 24 hours ahead of Thursday’s advance shows!

Be sure to check out the official Hunger Games site for all the latest updates.

*You may ask why someone who vehemently dislikes these movies would constantly post advertisements for them. It's optimism, really. To paraphrase Luke Skywalker, there's goodness in this series; I can feel it. I just can't find anything to latch onto amidst all the bloat. That said, I want nothing more than for my disappointment to be disappointed come November.

Tuesday
Sep012015

Focus Features Debuts THE DANISH GIRL Trailer!

I'm really excited for this one.

Today, Focus Features released the official US trailer for Academy Award Winner Tom Hooper's The Danish Girl. World-premiering at the Venice International Film Festival and screening at the Toronto International Film Festival, the film tells a love story inspired by the lives of Lili Elbe and Gerda Wegener, portrayed by Academy Award winner Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything) and Alicia Vikander (Ex Machina). Lili and Gerda's marriage and work evolve as they navigate Lili's groundbreaking journey as a transgender pioneer.

The Danish Girl opens in select theatres on November 27th (additional cities December 2015).

Monday
Jul272015

Lionsgate Gives Thanks with a New MOCKINGJAY Part 2 Trailer!

"Turn your weapons...to Snow!"

As trailer-worthy lines go, that one's kinda goofy. But we'll see how things shake out when Katniss Everdeen and her resilient rebels storm The Capitol in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay--Part 2!

Yep, the epic conclusion to the epic conclusion hits theatres on November 20th, 2015--just in time for Thanksgiving! And you can bet yer wishbone that Kicking the Seat will be on-hand with a blow-by-blow account of the YA carnage!

In the meantime, you can join the resistance by visiting The Hunger Games' official website!