Without fail, each year brings at least one or two titles in the Best Picture lineup that plenty of folks can’t believe is even sniffing an Oscar. This past season Django Unchained and Les Miserables seemed to be the least highly regarded of the nominees (the latter far more so than the former), and of course the year before that had Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close stinking up the nominees for some. With The Awards Circuit looking to crown the “Best” Best Picture winner in March Madness, I wanted to do something a little different, which led to me looking into what the absolute worst nominees for Best Picture have been. I’m not going to actually declare the worst here, since I want you the readers to do that for me. I’ll nominate some contenders below for your consideration, but feel free to only use that as a suggestion.
Read more on Some Pretty Bad Best Picture Nominees…
More years than not, at least one or two films from the Sundance Film Festival manage to wind up in the awards season conversation. This past year, we had contenders like Beasts of the Southern Wild and The Sessions make it into the Oscar race, while something like Smashed ultimately came up short, from the mountains of Park City. I’m personally thinking that there aren’t any solid Oscar players from the fest this year, but time will ultimately tell in that regard. Below I’ve compiled the ten most likely films that could see some sort of attention shined on them during the precursor season.
Read more on Oscar Possibilites from the Sundance Film Festival…
I had wanted to make sure that I got this look at the festival to you all first before leaving, but it didn’t quite turn out that way. In the past week or so you all saw over twenty Sundance reviews and interviews hit the site. I hope you all enjoyed this look at what Sundance is like, and enjoyed all we put out. Seeing up to five movies a day and getting no sleep is hardly something to complain about in the grand scheme of things, but honestly, we’re both thrilled to be home now!
Read more on Wrapping up the 2013 Sundance Film Festival!…
If you’re anything like me, you’re still recovering from the Oscar nominations a few days ago. Well, it’s also that time of the year again folks…time for my annual Awards Circuit tradition of talking about the best that the year had to offer in terms of scores and soundtracks! While I didn’t fall in love with too many this year, I still consider it a very solid year for film, musically. One composer in particular had a massive year, but overall the quality was spread around pretty evenly in 2012. I began compiling this last late last month, so I’m finishing this with the knowledge of what wound up with Academy Award nominations, but this only reflects my personal tastes. Below you’ll find my picks for the 10 best movie scores and 10 best movie soundtracks of 2012. Let’s get started, shall we?
Read more on Top 10 Scores and Soundtracks of 2012…
Something that many never thought would ever happen is going on in Hollywood right now. Yes, ‘Star Wars Episode VII’ is in pre-production, and it’s not even being fully brought to us by George Lucas. We’re all aware by now that Oscar winner Michael Arndt has been hired to pen the script, and filmmakers like Colin Trevorrow and Matthew Vaughn have been rumored to be taking the directing job. Of course, A-listers like J.J. Abrams, Zach Snyder, Steven Spielberg, and Quentin Tarantino have already pretty much said no, while people like David Fincher and Christopher Nolan aren’t really even worth seriously discussing. That got me thinking though…who else would get people excited? I know Brad Bird is a popular name, but I wanted to get the input of the community here at The Awards Circuit. I’ll be sharing seven names that I’d be interested in seeing get the gig (not including Matt Reeves, who I always put in pieces like this and decided to take a short break from), but I’m just as interested in getting your names as I am in sharing mine. We’re likely not too far out from finding out who the directing choice of Disney is, so before long we’ll know the director of a new Star Wars movie! Until then, here are my picks for filmmakers who could do a good job with the new trilogy…
Read more on Who should direct ‘Star Wars Episode VII’?…
Tags: Andrew Stanton
, Brad Bird
, Christopher Nolan
, Colin Trevorrow
, David Fincher
, Drew Goddard
, Duncan Jones
, Edgar Wright
, Episode VII
, George Lucas
, J.J. Abrams
, Joe Johnston
, Jon Favreau
, Josh Trank
, Mark Romanek
, Matt Reeves
, Matthew Vaughn
, Michael Arndt
, Quentin Tarantino
, Star Wars
, Steven Spielberg
, upcoming projects
, Zach Snyder
The 2012 New York Film Festival is now in the books ladies and gentleman, so there’s no better time to double back and take a look at what the 50th installment of the festival was actually like. This was my first time covering a festival of any sort. I saw some fantastic films, some very odd ones, and almost no terrible ones, so that’s a great success in my book. Overall I saw 28 of the films shown at the fest, though one I saw at an outside screening…though I’m counting it anyway. Of course I saw the big ones like the trio of ‘Flight’, ‘Life of Pi’, and ‘Not Fade Away’, along with the other high profile titles like ‘Amour’, ‘Frances Ha’, and ‘The Paperboy’, plus of course the “secret” screening this year, which turned out to be ‘Lincoln’. I’m going to start with the 10 best films that were screened at the fest, at least in my eyes.
Read more on Wrapping up the 50th New York Film Festival!…
Tags: Barry Levinson
, David Chase
, Frances Ha
, John Goodman
, Michael Haneke
, New York Film Festival diaries
, Not Fade Away
, Oscar hopefuls
, Robert Zemeckis
, The 2012 New York Film Festival
, the 50th New York Film Festival
One of the most enjoyable parts of the Sight & Sound hullaballoo that we go through each decade is finally sorting through the minutia of the lists and seeing what some of the…other choices of the voters were. Over at Criticwire my colleague Matt Singer has done a yeoman’s job sifting through the list to find the most unusual selections were (found here). Tim Burton’s ‘Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street’ actually got votes, if you can believe it. After the jump you can see the 10 oddest choices from the poll, but remember, this is all in good fun and no one is wrong when it comes to personal love of film (even if one or two of the choices really makes me scratch my head). Take a gander below…
Read more on What were the oddest films that got votes in the Sight & Sound poll?…
Now that ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ is out in theaters, it sort of feels like we’ve reached a milestone point in the realm of superhero flicks…perhaps even an apex if you will. Everything that will come next for the genre will be judged on a different playing field due to that film and this year’s ‘The Avengers’ as well (essentially you now have to go big or go home). Those two films were as anticipated as any other major comic book film out there, and some might say the hype has been as much as any other big flick in general. As most people would argue that 2012 has seen the release of two of the best superhero movies of all time, I thought it was only proper to give a little rundown of what I think are the 10 best of all time (at least so far). Obviously there are lots of contenders for a list like this one, some more universally embraced than others, and it’s fair to say that no two people would come up with the same combination of flicks, but this is mine, so just keep that in mind as you read on. Of course I’ll want you all to give your picks later in the comments, but for now let’s get started and focus on my picks and see where things go from there. Which filmmakers who took multiple dips into the superhero pool got a citation from me here? Did I give any love to Tim Burton’s contributions to the genre? What about Jon Favreau’s? Presumably Christopher Nolan’s, right? Perhaps Sam Raimi’s? Bryan Singer’s could be in play, couldn’t they? Maybe even Joel Schumaker’s? (I assure you I did not go that route). First off, here are some that just missed the cut for me when compiling this list of lifesavers…
Read more on Best Superhero Films of All-Time…
An annual tradition at The Awards Circuit, this is my rundown of the first 6 months of films for the year. Right now, at the beginning of July, I’ve seen more than 115 films and I’ve noticed something interesting. The average film is better than usual, but there are less movies to go wild over as well. It doesn’t necessarily indicate anything about the year on the whole or what the second half will be like, but it’s just something that I’ve taken note of. As for this piece, I’ve limited it to only the films that have seen theatrical release between the beginning of January and the end of June, so that excludes anything I’ve seen that is only playing VOD right now or won’t be out until July or beyond. As for what was eligible, you can see the best and worst of 2012 so far below, along with some awards as well.
Read more on The Highlights and Lowlights of 2012 Thus Far…
Originally called Roger Ebert’s Overlooked Film Festival, Ebertfest is a yearly festival that does the unique thing of looking back, not forward. Instead of having premieres and selling their debuts, the fest screens movies from the past, sometimes from months prior, sometimes from decades prior, and opens them up for discussion. This has always functioned as a way for Ebert to highlight a film or two from the past year that he felt was deserving of higher acclaim and attention, with this year’s selections including 2011 releases ‘Higher Ground’, ‘A Separation’, ‘Take Shelter’ and ‘Terri’. This got me thinking about what I would show at a festival of this nature if I was ever handed the keys to one. After the jump you can see what my selections for the presumably awful titled Magidsonfest would be, and of course I’ll want to know what you would show at your own Overlooked Film Festival as well in the comments section…
Read more on Ebertfest Starts Today!…
This story flew under the radar earlier this week, but it looks like Gary Ross isn’t the only filmmaker to be leaving a successful franchise for supposedly greener pastures. Brad Bird is also taking that path and won’t be returning to direct the next installment of the ‘Mission: Impossible’ franchise, saying so in an article found here. It’s arguable that his film ‘Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol’ is the best in the series (a statement seconded by myself), so it’s a shame, but considering no one has returned to this world for a second spin in the director’s chair, it’s not incredibly surprising. Also, considering that Lionsgate seems to have gone with the least interesting choice possible to replace Ross, I was wondering what kind of choice might be made here in regards to replacing Bird, though it really seems to be Tom Cruise’s selection, not the studio’s (Paramount in this case). So far, Cruise has gone with big names, and while they’ve mostly been mixed bags, the films were never poorly directed, suggesting he somewhat knows how to pick his filmmaker. There’s no indication of who he might go after, but after the jump I’ll suggest some names that I think are a good fit for the probable sequel (since nothing’s a sure thing in Hollywood, as we know), and no, I won’t say Kevin Smith, in case anyone is expecting me to.
Read more on Who will replace Brad Bird for the next ‘Mission: Impossible’…
Apparently Armond White doesn’t even qualify this year, according to the study that The Atlantic Wire did on fickle film critics. I know we all like to laugh at White and some even question his validity as a film critic, but he’s apparently not the most egregious offender in the field, as you’ll see below. Some of the names make a lot of sense to me (Kyle Smith has made me shake my head on more than one occasion), and some are a bit on the surprising side, but overall I found it an interesting enough article to be worth sharing, so here you all go…
Read more on Armond White isn’t America’s most Cantankerous critic!…
With the Oscar ceremony literally less than a day away now (can you believe it’s the end of the road already?), and a lot of people talking about just how bad this year’s slate of Best Picture nominees is, I wanted to get down into the nitty gritty and look to see how it would stack up historically. The Playlist actually just gave their take on the best and worst Best Picture field of all time (found here and here), so at least I’m not the only one thinking about this. I’ve come up with 10 exceptional years (I decided to err on the side of positivity and not look at the years where the field was a bit on the lacking side) for the Academy’s slate of Best Picture nominees. I’m sure my choices won’t be the same as most of yours, so consider this just a conversation starter, as are most of my articles, of course. There’s obviously no right answer here, but it’s always fun to see how everyone sees something like this. Let’s get started, shall we?
Read more on What were the top Best Picture lineups of all time?…
An annual tradition at The Awards Circuit, I humbly present to you my picks for who/what Will Win as well as who/what Should Win at the Oscars. Before I get into it though, a few quick thoughts. After it being such a wide open season in terms of what films and performances could wind up Academy Award nominees and then winners, we’ve come now to a situation where things are both the same and different. Very few categories are locked up, but there’s a general consensus about how almost every category will wind up going. I find that rather fascinating. So much could go one way or the other, but most prognosticators (myself included, as you’ll see below) are leaning in the same direction. The main questions still to be answered are just how well ‘The Artist’ and ‘Hugo’ will do. Could the former pull off the elusive sweep? We’re going to find out in a few days, but for now, here’s my yearly contribution to our Will Win/Should Win series!
Read more on Oscar 2012 Will Win/Should Win Selections (Magidson)…
Music is an integral part of any good film, not that this comes as a surprise to any of you. I like to pay tribute to this aspect of cinema with a list of the best scores and soundtracks of the year. Last year, a number of flicks had superior scores and soundtracks, and I wanted to highlight my admiration of each. There’s only one film in 2011 that overlapped in both categories, unlike in 2010 when I had a few more like that, but many were contenders for that sort of dual honor. There’s a really nice mesh of musical stylings to be found below, and I hope you all enjoy the list. Of course, definitely let me know your picks at the end (as is always the case in a piece of this ilk), but for now, let’s get on with it and look into the best movie scores and soundtracks of 2011!
Read more on Best Scores and Soundtracks of 2011…
Most people don’t expect much from the months of January, February, and March…at least when it comes to quality cinema (and in the past they’ve had good reason to think as such). I’m hear to say that this isn’t really the case any longer. Now I’ll concede that these first three months can’t hold a candle to the Oscar season or even the summer blockbuster months, but it’s not a complete dumping ground anymore. Even just this year there have been stronger movies in January and February than usual, and I fully expect the trend to continue. I’ve found 10 superior films from the supposed wasteland of January through March, and there were plenty of flicks that didn’t make the cut, but could have (as a bit of a side note, it seems the best month of these three is March and the most trying is February. Make of that what you will…). Not all of these movies may be your cup of tea, but it’s hard to deny that they’re better than you associate first quarter cinema with. Before I begin though, here are some honorable mentions for each of the months…January’s flicks that just missed the cut were Hostel, Orange County, Rambo, and Youth in Revolt. As for February, they were Blast From the Past, Definitely Maybe, Donnie Brasco, Hitch, and The Wedding Singer. The near-miss picks in March are even higher profile, with The Adjustment Bureau, The Birdcage, Dawn of the Dead, Jersey Girl, Melinda and Melinda, Panic Room, Primary Colors, Red State, Reign Over Me, Shadows and Fog, as well as We Were Soldiers being just on the outside looking in. If you liked those flicks, you’re going to love the one that made the cut. No more stalling now, let’s dive right in!
Read more on The Greatest First Quarter Releases!…
Much like Kris Tapley over at In Contention does his list of the 10 best shots of each year, I like to do something similar as well here at The Awards Circuit. The wrinkle for me is that I go with the best/most memorable scenes of the year. It’s also kind of a tie in/companion piece with my article on what films from 2011 will stand the test of time. I couldn’t limit it to just 10, so I included 5 of the 15 runners-up and came up with 15 different scenes that were my personal favorites. 8 of my 10 favorite films of 2011 are on the final cut of the list (all wound up in the piece though when you factor in the honorable mentions), but overall I think these are going to be widely considered some of the best scenes of the year. Of course, I’m eager to read what you all have to say/view as the best of the year as well, so we’ll get to that at the end. For now, let’s get on with it and talk about the best scenes from 2011!
Read more on Which Scenes from 2011 will you remember?…
Tags: Another Earth
, Best of the year
, Crazy Stupid Love
, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
, Like Crazy
, Midnight in Paris
, Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol
, Red State
, Super 8
, the artist
, The Beaver
, The Descendants
, the girl with the dragon tattoo
, The Ides of March
, The Muppets
, The Tree of Life
, We Bought a Zoo
Who doesn’t love a little romance and getting swept off their feet?
I’m the type of person who has an extremely hard shell, but man do I love romance, a happy ending and those sappy love lines like “You complete me.” I also love when movies have those long monologues about why one character loves the other one. They get me every time, and it’s not normal, I know. But I’m a girl, so get over that.
With Valentine’s Day right around the corner and the release of The Vow this weekend, couples around the world are going to be forced into watching all types of romance films. On Valentine’s Day people love to go out to dinner, but restaurants are always so crowded. So guys and gals make your honey a wonderful dinner and spend the night curled up on the couch watching a movie that will remind you why you love to love.
To make your Valentine’s Day a stress free affair, here is a list of the 50 best love films of the new millennium you can enjoy with your Valentine. Read more on The 50 Best Love Stories of the New Millennium…
Every year, even though the vast majority of movie releases are all but instantly forgettable, we have some films come out that you just know will be still remembered fondly 25 years later. 2011 was no exception. It’s a bit early to know which will survive the test of time, but I’m willing to bet that a number of them will. As much as anything, it’s a situation where you have to imagine what films will be talked about in film school, among scholars, or even just over some dinner among family and/or friends. For example, last year I look at The Social Network and Inception as two films that definitely will be remembered, and they’re hardly the only ons from 2010. For 2011, there’s a half dozen that spring to mind for me, and not all of them are films I particularly love. For example, I love Red State, and while I think it will forever remain a notable entry into Kevin Smith’s oeuvre, for the general film community it’s of little note. There are also films like Bellflower and Margin Call that announced interesting new filmmakers, but likely will be looked back on to a lesser degree than the films to come. I have a half dozen contenders for the “test of time” throne from 2011. Let’s get started, shall we?
Read more on Which Films Can Stand the Test of Time?…
I’ve done this the past few years at The Awards Circuit, and this year seems like an even more apt time to do it. Consider this the alternate universe Oscar nominations, where only those who weren’t nominated for real are eligible. Essentially, for those of you who don’t remember this piece, I go through all the major categories and look at what each field would have looked like minus the films and performances that actually were nominated. The method I use is a combination of what/who got snubbed, what their likely next choices were, and I’ll admit it…a little wishful thinking as well. The point of this all is to both see what the biggest omissions were by the Academy as well as seeing how their slate stacks up. Do you prefer what they nominated or what I put down here as the alternate choice? For me, it varies by the category. Anyway, lets get on with it and see just how the Oscar nominations could have turned out in a different world. Here goes nothing!
Read more on The “Alternative” Oscars!…
My recent article that went up at the site a few weeks ago on the next generation of A-list actors and actresses got me thinking…what about the directing side of things? That, and it was requested by you the reader, so there’s that too. Anyway, on to this subject…the future directing stars of the industry. Recently people like Ben Affleck have joined the A-list (as a director, he’s already been an acting A-lister), but who might be next? I wanted to exclude actors turned directors, since they do start off with a bit of a built in advantage, so no disrespect to them, but they won’t be on here, save for ones who are only incidentally actors. Who is on the list, though? Well, this time around I upped it to 20 selections, as per a request by a reader. I still had to leave off plenty of worthy contenders, such as Noah Baumbach, Mike Binder (though he sometimes acts in his movies, so he’d be excluded anyway), John Carney, Will Gluck, Sam Levinson, Gavin O’Connor, and James Wan. The following filmmakers did make the cut, however, so let’s take a look (in alphabetical order) at my picks!
Read more on The future A-list directors?…
Roger Ebert is a legend in the world of film critics. I don’t know of anyone in the field (myself included) who doesn’t consider him some sort of an influence. I personally look forward to his end of the year list as much as anyone, especially in these later years where he’s started to have a different outlook than he used to. Instead of 10 films, he’s cited 20 as the year’s best. These are his choices…
Read more on Roger Ebert’s Top 20 Films of 2011…