Jane Campion

6 Degrees of Film February Round-up: Oscar Nominations are here!

Film fans, there has been a lot of hype surrounding this awards season in Hollywood. Some films were snubbed and some great acting performances were overlooked. But there has been more emphasis on diversity and inclusion, and this is something new to the Hollywood brand! The Oscar Nominees for 2022 Denzel Washington (The Tragedy of MacBeth) and Benedict Cumberbatch (Power of the Dog),  are two actors that are always in my top tier of Best Actor choices.  Also nominated in the Best Actor category:   Javier Bardem (Being the Ricardos),, Will Smith (King Richard) and Andrew Garfield (Tick, Tick..Boom!)   For Best Actress: Kristen Stewart is nominated for Spencer along with Penelope Cruz  (Parallel Mothers), and Nicole Kidman (also Being the Ricardos) plus Olivia Colman (The Lost Daughter.) Jessica Chastain has long been one of my favorites, and she is up for The Eyes of Tammy Faye.   The Best Picture list is long (too long!) There are ten films that include most of the usual suspects that were expected to be nominated, or have won other prestigious awards. The Power of the Dog is a strong favorite, along with Belfast from Kenneth Branagh. The other films are Dune, Drive My Car, King Richard, Licorice Pizza, Nightmare Alley, Don’t Look Up, CODA & West Side Story.   The Best Director category is notable as Jane Campion is one of the few female directors who has even been nominated for this honor. Kenneth Branagh is a strong favorite,  as is Paul Thomas Anderson for Licorice Pizza. But the Japanese film, Drive My Car has also won several top honors so director Ryuseke Hamauguchi has a good shot at it, making this a very tight race! Turner Classic Films: The Armchair Film Fest   We often speak of the Armchair Film Festival (even before there was COVID!), so this month is chock full of films to record and to revisit in the wake of the Oscar Nominations. The Boxing films to record for an Armchair Film Fest would begin with the great documentary on Muhammad Ali’s fight with George Foreman called, When we were Kings. It is a good film to see as part of Black History Month also.   The Set Up with Robert Ryan tells the classic story of an aging boxer on the ropes who is asked to throw a fight. Robert Ryan is one of my favorites from the Noir genre. The director is notable too; he is Robert Wise, the same director from the Film Noir genre who went on to fame with his masterful direction of The Sound of Music in the sixties. Pioneering Women The women pioneers of #MeToo are out in force in February. Judy Garland plays this remarkable character in The Harvey Girls that was based on the real-life women who worked in these Western towns and really were instrumental in helping to build and to carve out civilization in the “Old West.” Lauren Bacall debuted opposite Humphrey Bogart in To Have & Have Not, which was based on a story by Ernest Hemingway. It’s a good film, not as good as Casablanca, and not as engaging as The Big Sleep, but it’s still a good B movie. Armchair Film Fest Recommends…   One of the best Film Noir stories is shown in a two-part Armchair Fest featuring Gene Tierney. Laura is the Film Noir classic that is definitely required viewing for all lovers of Noir. Next is The Ghost & Mrs Muir, which is an entertaining and unique romantic tale of two lovers who meet and are doomed to be apart as one of them is already dead! The ghost is played superbly by a young Rex Harrison. Some of the greatest actors in Hollywood are featured on TCM this month. Gene Hackman and Dennis Hopper are outstanding in Hoosiers. And Montgomery Clift is featured in Red River followed by Wild River. The young Monty Clift vs the older version is worth recording for the Armchair Film Fest… And since PBS has shown a series based on the Jules Verne classic, “Around the World in 80 Days,’ it’s worth seeing the version that was a big hit in the fifties starring David Niven. Rounding out Turner Classic this month are films that honor black history. We have mentioned When we were Kings, and for your Armchair Film Fest, you can add the documentary Black Panthers, and the film, Mississippi Burning, starring Willem Dafoe.  The film was based on a true story of what happened to Freedom Riders in the sixties as they tried to register African-Americans to vote in the deep South. 6 Degrees of Film: The Long Reads   This month, Friday Flix has an article from Film Comment that delves into the question of what is going to happen to the art form of cinema in the post-COVID world.  That is an interesting question that was also discussed at length in my book from 2013:  6 Degrees of Film: The Future of Film in the Global Village.  The era of streaming and the pandemic has created a real dilemma for the film industry which has always been based on the big business of profit and loss over the question of artistic freedom and purity. There are other questions that are raised when discussing where film is going, and were also addressed briefly in 6 Degrees of Film. One of them regards the 74 year old court ruling known as “The Paramount Decree” which sunsets in August of this year. The move paved the way for the rise of television but also ushered in the end of the Golden Age of Film.  Movie theaters controlled a monopoly, as they also owned the theaters in which their films were shown. When they were ordered to sell their theaters, the profit margin collapsed along with their business model! That ruling is discussed as well as what may happen to the industry when the law sunsets in August. Another fly in the ointment of

6 Degrees of Film February Round-up: Oscar Nominations are here! Read More »

6 Degrees of Film: January Round-up

Greeting Film Fans & Happy New Year to all! This is always an exciting time of year for those of us who love movies. The awards season begins in earnest, and soon the Academy Awards will announce the nominees for the Best Picture, Best Actor & Actress, from the past year, 2021. We have had a lot of lists of “Best of” which I have often derided as they sometime encompass a lot of the least of the ‘best’ simply to be able to announce the list! But there have been a lot of interesting films that have been made in the past year. As usual, the comic-book genre and the remakes are leading the pack in Hollywood with some of the ‘same old, same old’ schtick. But often, you will find a trailblazer embedded in there, such as Jane Campion’s Year of the Dog and the Licorice Pizza film with a different type of appeal. And so we are starting the countdown here with all the best of the best (lists, not movies!), from 2021. The “Best of” Lists of movies from 2021   Drive My Car appears on most of the top critics lists of films from last year. This film from Japan is about a widowed actor who confesses to his young female chauffeur that his late wife had been unfaithful. Annette proves to be an annoying favorite of critics. Adam Driver is a talented actor who plays a sociopathic stand-up in this film that really defies genres. Described as ‘part rock-opera, part celebrity satire…” this one is a head-scratcher in appeal at times The Power of the Dog is from director Jane Campion. Benedict Cumberbatch is one of our finest actors working, and he stars as a malicious brother who torments his new sister in-law within the confines of the ranch the two brothers own in Montana. Benedetta, from director Paul Verhoeven, is about a nun, Sister Benedetta, who lives in Italy during the 17th In the words of Film Comment, “Paul Verhoeven delves into the power of spectacle & the spectacle of power, affirming his place as one of cinema’s greatest social critics” The film deals with a lesbian relationship between Benedetta and another young nun, and yet it manages to go beyond the predictable and exploitative nature of the subject at hand. The Velvet Underground was an exploration of art in the era of Andy Warhol to see and experience personally the ideas…” to feel like you were discovering the music, and the ideas that were circulating and swapping form artists to artists during this time, yourself.” Licorice Pizza is the film from director Paul Thomas Anderson, a coming of age movie that is so named from the memories that Anderson had of a small shop named “Licorice Pizza’ in his California home town. The Card Counter is from director Paul Schrader and stars Oscar Isaac as a professional gambler who also happens to be one of the men who tortured prisoners at Abu Ghraib. Titane also makes the list, and this one is another ‘head-scratcher’ of sorts when people hear the part about a woman having sex with a car! A Cannes  “cause-celebre” break-out film, this film is described by Film Comment as a ‘wild, wild ride.’ Looking ahead…The Films of 2022   The Batman A long anticipated look at Robert Pattinson’s take on the title character. Paul Dano will appear as The Riddler in this outing of the caped avenger (Superman is the crusader, right?) Thor: Love & Thunder Chris Hemsworth will return as Thor and Christian Bale will play Gorr, the God Butcher in this outing Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness Just when you think you’ve had enough of all the comic book tropes, here is one that I would not miss. Benedict Cumberbatch is one of my favorite actors, and he is also someone who makes the never-ending twists and turns of the Multiverse of Madness sound like an interesting adventure, as opposed to a maddening muddle!  (And now for something completely different…movies that aren’t about comic book heroes!) Downton Abbey: A New Era premieres March 18 Maggie Smith returns to move the action to her newly acquired villa in the South of France The Northman opens April 22 Nicole Kidman, Willem Dafoe and a huge cast of stars appear in this Viking epic which is billed as a ‘brutal revenge thriller.’ 65 opens in April The multi-talented Adam Driver stars in this sci-fi thriller about an astronaut who crash lands on a mysterious planet, only to find he’s not alone… Recommended on the small screen: TCM in January On Turner Classic Movies, there’s a top ten list of favorite films to screen and record for the Armchair Film Fest! Lawrence of Arabia Sons of the Desert You can’t take it with you Picnic at Hanging Rock Dr Strangelove Mad Max (the original) The Verdict Red River Mr Blandings Builds his Dream House Burden of Dreams 6 Degrees of Film @ the Movies And finally this week, our 6 Degrees magazine is featuring reviews of  The Tragedy of Macbeth with Denzel Washington, and Molly Haskell’s review of The Power of the Dog on Film Comment.com. Film Comment also has a thoughtful piece on the state of movies today in “Who Cares about Cinema?” And there’s a look at two Hollywood passages. The great actor Sidney Poitier is profiled on rogerebert.com, as well as the influential director and actor Peter Bogdanovich. The new movies, The Lost Daughter, directed by Maggie Gyllenhaal in her debut film. And  The Tender Bar, which is another coming-of-age tale. There’s a fun article on “The Night Stalker” the Darren McGavin cult TV classic, a preview of the Sundance Film Festival films, and a listing of the 25 films added to the National Film Registry, including Return of the Jedi. And to wrap it up, there’s a great piece from Cine-vue.com called “How Star Wars changed the film industry.” It is worth the read,

6 Degrees of Film: January Round-up Read More »

Scroll to Top