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

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6 Degrees of Film January Film Round up

Hello Film Fans and Happy New Year! This month in film, we are always subjected to the inevitable lists of “Best of” films from 2020. And the year 2020 has proven to be of one of the most unusual years in film history since the advent of talkies! Covid-19 has upended all major industries globally, and the film industry  is one of the hardest hit. One of the latest victims is the Sundance Film Festival-they just announced that the in-person drive-in screenings in the Rose Bowl stadium were canceled for their 2021 Festival. The Festival is still set for Jan 28th through February 3rd. The good news is that the Armchair Film Fest is still an ongoing presentation from 6 Degrees! Streaming films and recording them and downloading have proven to be the foolproof way to watch even new releases. This month, Turner Classic has a line-up that includes: Happy Birthday to “The King” There’s always the obligatory “Elvis Fest” in  January to honor the King of Rock N’ Roll and his long career of making mostly Bad B’s. But some of the stand-outs are included here; Jailhouse Rock & Viva Las Vegas were two of his best to record. The Armchair Film Fest Cary Grant is always front and center for the Armchair Film Fest. This month, the Bachelor & the Bobby Soxer is shown, and this also includes one of our pioneers of #MeToo-Myrna Loy is the judge in this one, and she’s got some great lines playing opposite Grant and a teenage Shirley Temple.  Pioneers of #MeToo This month, the strong and smart women of #MeToo are front and center in films like the Ghost & Mrs Muir with Gene Tierney as a young widow with Rex Harrison as the Ghost; and in Adam’s Rib with Katherine Hepburn as a lawyer opposite Spencer Tracy playing her husband and her opposing counsel. Audrey Hepburn plays an interpreter for the United Nations opposite Cary Grant in a predictable thriller Charade. But the movie is somewhat elevated by the two stars performance and the memorable musical score by Henry Mancini. The Great Santini is shown on TCM, and this one is not seen often on television. It’s highly recommended for Armchair Film Buffs, as it’s one of Robert Duvall’s stand-out performances. The film is adapted from a book by the late great writer Pat Conroy. The original film version of Lord of the Flies is also shown this month, and this film was adapted from the book of the same name that is required reading for many a high-school English class. 6 Degrees of Film at the Movies Magazine In 6 Degrees Magazine   we have a piece that looks at the great horror films of the past-notably the year 1960. Plus there are reviews of Coco from Disney-Pixar and their newest film Soul. We also include a post from the David Bordwell site about the best films from…1930! A little bit more contemporary offerings come from one of our favorites- the Forbes Critic Scott Mendelson. He writes about why Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker was the top grosser in 2019 AND 2020….There is a piece about the Bond Girls-past and present and finally, some of the best films of 2021 are recommended to watch for. What’s Coming at the Movies in 2021 2021 will also be a challenging year for those of us who love film. Some of the movies we’re looking for include: Don’t Look Up– from the same writer of 2015’s Oscar winning The Big Short’s Adam McKay. Jennifer Lawrence and Leo DiCaprio star in this film about “two low-level astronomers who embark on a media tour to warn mankind about an approaching asteroid that will destroy the Earth” Oscar Winner Frances McDormand stars in Nomadland– the story of a woman who leaves her small-town life behind after losing her job. She sells off her belongings and sets out to travel around the country. The film centers on her nomadic lifestyle and her adapting to the survival mode in the course of her journey. A big winner at the Venice Film Festival, McDormand is an Oscar favorite for this performance. Coming 2 America: Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall reprise their roles in this sequel to the original 1988 comedy. The plot centers around Murphy discovering he has a long-lost son in America on the eve of his coronation as King of Zamunda. The Bond Movie: No Time to Die-with Daniel Craig in his final appearance as 007 is finally set to release in April. The Horror movie: A Quiet Place Part II is the sequel with Emily Blunt returning in this film as a widow who is still fighting to protect her children from the mysterious monsters who seek out sounds. Scarlet Johansson is starring in the long-awaited Black Widow film from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It’s a throwback set after the events of Captain America: Civil War where she grapples with a dark past A Sci-Fi Comedy with Ryan Reynolds called Free Guy is about a bank teller who suspects he is living in a world of a video game called “Free City” and the game is about to go offline! Emma Stone plays Cruella in this origin story about the legendary villainess Cruella De Vil. Lin Manuel Miranda’s first musical was called In the Heights-this musical about the New York City neighborhood where Miranda grew up is set to be released in June LeBron James will play in Space Jam: A New Legacy; a sequel to the 1996 Cult hit comedy, where James ends up in a digital world filled with Looney Tunes characters. The Horror film Candyman from Jordan Peele is a sequel to the 1992 horror classic. The Marvel Cinematic Universe will continue with The Eternals, starring Angelina Jolie and an ensemble cast that introduces a race of immortal aliens who live undercover among humans but are forced to come out of hiding to defend Earth from ancient enemies. Due out in

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