MCN Originals

The Gurus: Ranking Acting, Singing, Writing, Best Picture-ing

Reflecting the Grammys and a few last guild votes before Oscar voting closes, consensus arrives in a few categories under the watching eyes of the Gurus, notably in the acting categories, and a sweep in Best Adapted Screenplay for BlacKkKlansman.

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The DVD Wrapup: Shoplifters, Front Runner, Nobody’s Fool, Peppermint Soda, Haunted Hospital, Valentine, Possum, Mermaid, Guilty, Antonio Lopez, 4 Weddings … More

If Roma had been released a year earlier or later, Shoplifters might have hit the cinematic equivalent of a grand-slam homerun. It’s every bit that good.

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The DVD Wrapup: Spider’s Web, Maquia, Cloverfield, No Date, Free Lunch, Possessed, Road House 2, Dolphins, Poetic Justice, Human 3.0 … More  

In the only interview he ever gave about the series, Larsson said he based the character on how Pippi Longstocking might have turned out, as an adult. He also credited his rebellious teenage niece, Therese, for Salander’s goth look.

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Gurus Predict, Post-Guilds: Director, Production Design, Film Editing, Animated Feature; As Well As Doc Feature, Cinematography, Costume Design, SFX and of course, BEST PICTURE

The Gurus respond to Oscar chances after multiple guild nods, catching up with Director, Production Design, Film Editing, Animated Feature; As Well As Doc Feature, Cinematography, Costume Design, SFX and not least, Best Picture.

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The DVD Wrapup: Nutcracker, Always Room For Giallo, Mondo, Hunter Killer, Slice, Night Is Short, Suburbia, Masanjia and more

Disney decided that “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms” had a better ring to it than “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King.” And, perhaps, that’s where the studio’s expectations for the holiday movie first hit a wall.

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Gurus o’ Gold On The Oscar Chart No. 1

Weighing in on a first set of Oscar nominations, including acting nods after the Sunday night SAG awards. Harsh weather and (harsher?) Sundance delayed several Gurus, but the roster will be back to full strength in charts leading up to Oscar night.

Love for BlacKkKlansman pushes Spike Lee’s multi-nominated pic atop Green Book for second ranking for Best Pictures. Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor predications offer up a pretty solid consensus

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Sundance: Untitled Amazing Johnathan Documentary, The Magic Life of V and Walden

What sets “Untitled Amazing Johnathan Documentary” apart is that about midway through the film there’s a plot twist, followed by another plot twist, followed by a period of tense relationship between documentarian and subject that left Berman sad, morose, feeling badly used, and uncertain as to whether he’d ever finish his film. It’s here that “Untitled Amazing Johnathan Documentary,” not unlike “Winnebago Man,” becomes a film as much about the filmmaker unearthing deep and sometimes unpleasant truths about himself and ultimately becoming part of his own film, as it is about the subject the film thought it was going to be when it grew up.

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The DVD Wrapup: Mikey & Nicky, Apparition, Widowed Witch, Dis, Spiral, Wandering Muse, Jack the Ripper, Howling 3, Eating Animals, Scoundrels, Waterworld … More

Cassavetes and Falk may fit the mold of small-time wise guys, but the characters’ likability factor decreases from the moment May ratchets up the dial on Nicky’s booze-fueled paranoia. It plummets even further during their visits to former wives and girlfriends, who act as if they expect to be slapped around, fucked and forsaken.

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The Gurus O’ Gold Weigh The Acting Categories And Best Picture

Hello, Glenn Close!

Oscar nominations drop on Tuesday morning, and the Gurus anticipate some shifts in the Academy’s Final Five for acting nominations, plus a few flyaway titles from the Best Picture roster, which could contain as many as ten nominees.

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The DVD Wrapup: Not A Witch, Jonathan, The Captain, Speed Kills, Room 304, Hippocrates, The Dark, Crimson Peak, Tea With Dames, Forbidden Photos, Addiction … More

I was reminded of Nǃxau while watching I Am Not a Witch, an offbeat dramedy by Rungano Nyoni. It depicts the ways women convicted of being witches in rural Zambia cope with ignorance, prejudice and forced labor.

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The Gurus o’ Gold Highlight Best Picture, Best Foreign Language, Best Documentary

Checking in a week before Oscar nomination voting ends: predictions for documentary feature, foreign language film, and of course, best picture, with a good range of wiggling in the rankings after major guilds have announced their nominees.

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The DVD Wrapup: Mid90s, Oath, Obamaland, Bad Reputation, Hell Fest, Time Freak, Kusama, Oddsockeaters, Bent, Harry/Sally, Nemesis, Frontline, Cats … More

Jonah Hill’s endearing dramedy is only the latest entry in a long list of movies in which skateboarding plays a key role in the social development of borderline characters looking for a reason to wake up in the morning.

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Gurus Predict Globes Picks And Best Picture

The Gurus weigh in on Best Picture after the PGA nominations and Hollywood Foreign Press best pics before Sunday night gets its Globe on.

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The DVD Wrapup: 2018’s Most Memorable Titles, Hobbyhorses, Martyr, CMA Live, Tailspin Tommy, Gilda, Miracle Worker … More

In Martyr, Hassane (Hamza Mekdad) is one of countless young Lebanese men for whom a college degree is no more useful than a medal earned in a long-ago war.

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The Gurus o’ Gold On Key Categories

The Gurus let go of multiple outliers and one-vote-wonders for best picture this go-round.

While relatively small fields, there’s movement in the acting categories, including sentiment for Bohemian Rhapsody that elevates Rami Malek. Actresses off the Guru radar include Felicity Jones, Natalie Portman and Saoirse Ronan.

As with the Academy, the Guru screenplay predictions hold surprises, including BlacKkKlansman leading adapted predictions and Roma sandwiched by leader The Favourite and a maybe not-so-surprising showing for First Reformed, for yet-to-be-nominated writer-director Paul Schrader. The Gurus also shine light on recently-prized Ethan Hawke.

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The DVD Wrapup & Gift Guide III: Venom 4K, The Super, Snowflake, Marie Curie, Gamechangers, Who We Are Now, 40 Guns, De Palma-De Niro,, Starman and more

For anyone over, say, 15, to fully appreciate Ruben Fleischer’s Venom, it’s necessary to possess a working knowledge of Eddie Brock/Venom’s origin story and those of several other key characters. If not, it’s just another vehicle to show off cool CGI effects,

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The DVD Wrapup: Peppermint, Wild Boys, Un Traductor, Await Instructions, Lizzie, Coby, Afghan Love Story, Elizabeth Harvest, Brutal, Holiday Horror, Sound & Fury … More

After laying low for several years, preparing to exact her own justice on the people who killed her family, Riley returns to town a trained killer and martial-arts expert. At 5-foot-8, Garner is no less credible a vigilante than Liam Neeson, at 6-4.

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The Gurus Predict Globes for Drama, Musical or Comedy, and Director

The Gurus predict the sentiment of the happy-go-lucky members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association this week, considering what tickled their fantasy this season: lots of love predicted for A Star Is Born, as well as possible chances for Green Book.

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The DVD Wrapup: Support the Girls, M:I Fallout, Gosford Park, Serpent’s Egg. True Stories, School Daze, Candyman, Hanging Rock, Yellowstone … More

In her late 40s, Lisa knows that her first obligation is to the owner’s bank account, but her heart is divided between her wait staff and loyal customers. As balancing acts go, it’s a doozy.

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Gurus o’ Gold Speak Best Picture, Foreign Language, Doc Feature

A Star is Born, Roma, Green Book and The Favourite and Black Panther sentiment shifts slightly, from Guru to Guru. Extra love for Mary Poppins Returns as screenings accelerate, and First Reformed after nods from the New York Film Critics Circle.

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MCN Originals

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“Don’t work with assholes. Ever. No matter what they’re offering, no matter what they bring to the table. If they’re the sort of person where the phone rings at 10 o’clock at night and you wince because you see that it’s them, then don’t do business with them. One asshole will ruin your life. I’ve managed my entire TV and filmmaking career to work with people I like and respect. If the point comes where I don’t like or respect someone, I don’t work with them anymore.”

– Anthony Bourdain

The Atlantic: You saw that the Academy Awards recently held up your 2001 acceptance speech as the Platonic ideal of an Oscar speech. Did you have a reaction?

Soderbergh: Shock and dismay. When that popped up and people started texting me about it, I said, “Oh, it’s too bad I’m not there to tell the story of how that took place.” Well. I was not sober at the time. And I had nothing prepared because I knew I wasn’t going to win [Best Director for Traffic]. I figured Ridley, Ang or Daldry would win. So I was hitting the bar pretty hard, having a great night, feeling super-relaxed because I don’t have to get up there. So the combination of a 0.4 blood alcohol level and lack of preparation resulted in me, in my state of drunkenness crossed with adrenaline surge. I was coherent enough to know that [if I tried to thank everyone], that way lies destruction. So I went the other way. There were some people who appreciated that, and there were some people who really wanted to hear their names said, and I had to apologize to them.
~ Steven Soderbergh