Saturday, January 3, 2015
Best 2013 Release I Saw In 2014: Blue is the Warmest Color.
Best 2014 Release I Saw In 2014: The Grand Budapest Hotel.
Best Movie from a Director Whose Previous Film I Disliked (tie): Under the Skin and The Immigrant.
Reportedly Best 2014 Release I'll Have to Wait to See in 2015: Selma.
Highly Praised Movie I Suspect I'll Hate Though I Could Be Wrong: Foxcatcher.
Your Guess Is As Good As Mine: Inherent Vice.
Brings Back Fond Memories Award: Life Itself.
Best Fight: The elevator rumble in Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
Best Dog: "Boy" in Closed Curtain.
American Hustle Award for Most Harmlessly Entertaining Movie That Pisses Some People Off For Some Reason: Birdman.
Clint Eastwood/Mystic River/Million Dollar Baby It's Probably a Bad Movie But For Now I Like It Award: Jersey Boys.
Movie I Like Better The More I Think About It Award: Edge of Tomorrow.
Best "B": Non-Stop.
Worst "B": Godzilla.
Best Condemnation of Marriage Some of My Married Friends Probably Mistake for an Endorsement: Gone Girl.
Michael Haneke Award For Montonously Smacking a Character Around Like a Pinata: Force Majeure.
Most Unfortunate Dialogue: "Babies taste best" - Chris Evans in Snowpiercer.
Most Tedious Assemblage of Indie Film Tropes: The Skeleton Twins.
Best Performances: Ralph Fiennes in The Grand Budapest Hotel; Michael Keaton and Edward Norton in Birdman; Philip Seymour Hoffman in A Most Wanted Man; Elisabeth Moss in The One I Love; Tyler Perry in Gone Girl; Charlotte Gainsbourg in Nymphomaniac; Marion Cotillard and Joaquin Phoenix in The Immigrant.
Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson Award for Most Promising Actor From the WWF: Dave Bautista in Guardians of the Galaxy.
You Know It's a Slow Year For Actresses Award: Jennifer Aniston, who, God help us, may be nominated for Best Actress for something called Cake. Somewhere Annette Bening is screaming into a pillow.
Best Criticism (tie): Mike D'Angelo's Scenic Routes. D'Angelo doesn't push any one theory, nor is he out to parade how high-minded his political values are. For him, it's all about the writing; and his bimonthly column, where he analyzes one scene from a movie, is a consistent example of film criticism at its finest - the personal and the analytical in perfect harmony.
Best Criticism (tie): We all knew Matt Zoller Seitz was the rightful successor to Roger Ebert. But his folding of Ebert's personal style into his own reached extraordinary heights in 2014, particularly a late-summer run than included remarkable, intimate reviews of Boyhood and Life Itself.
Best Intentions: MZS's "Please, Talk About the Filmmaking," while a worthy cause, seemed only to reach those already inclined toward penning unreadable gobbledygook. ("Godard's camera in both endotext and exotext of the shitting-on-the-toilet sequence in Goodbye to Language 3-D reaches an apex of formalistic mise-en-scene that deliberately echoes the tactile Trotskyist symbolism embedded within Pasolini's Appunti per un romanzo dell'immondezi and the Farrelly brothers' Me, Myself & Irene.") Let's add a caveat: "Talk About the Filmmaking...If You Know What You're Talking About."
Most Tiresome Trend: Word Policing "Overrated." My understanding of the reasoning behind the attempted purge - led by no less than two significant think-pieces devoted to this subject, along with endless "Harumph Harumphs" on social media - is that critics who call a movie overrated A) have a lot of gall (insert ironic pause here), and B) are causing hurty feelings for the majority who liked the film. My knee-jerk response: Tough shit. Reflective follow-up: It's always striking how the ranks of those who call for limits to what writers can write are filled with many who can't write very well in the first place.
Most Overrated: Only Lovers Left Alive. Runner-up: Boyhood, which I emphasize I like, because what's not to like about Linklater; but geez.
Ishtar Award for Most Likely Terrible 90s Releases to be Rediscovered Now That Every Shitty 80s Movie Has Been Deemed a Masterwork: I nominate to the Stirring Defense Registry: Mad Dog Time, The Adventures of Ford Fairlane, Batman & Robin, The Avengers, North, Super Mario Bros., and Destiny Turns on the Radio.
Funniest Scene Award: Too many from The Grand Budapest Hotel to choose just one, so by default, Coogan and Brydon's priceless Bane imitations in The Trip to Italy.
Funniest Screencap Award: