The Artist and Take Shelter each received five nominations from the Indie Spirit Awards this morning. Drive, The Descendants, 50/50 and Beginners will fill out the competition for Best Feature. I was a little surprised that Win Win didn't make it into the crowd, but nominations for Michael Shannon and Ryan Gosling more than make up for it.
The rest of the nominees:
Best Director: Mike Mills (Beginners) Nicholas W Refn ( Drive) Jeff Nichols (Take Shelter) Michel Hazanavicius (The Artist) Alexander Payne (The Descendants)
Robert Altman Award: Margin Call
Best Int’l Film: A Separation Melancholia Shame The Kid With a Bike Tyrannosaur
Best Male Lead: Demian Bichir (A Better Life) Jean Dujardin (The Artist) Ryan Gosling (Drive) Woody Harrelson (Rampart) Michael Shannon (Take Shelter)
Best Female Lead: Lauren Ambrose (Think of Me) Rachel Harris (Natural Selection) Adepero Oduye (Pariah) Elizabeth Olsen (Martha Marcy May Marlene) Michelle Williams (My Week with Marilyn)
Best Supp Male: Albert Brooks (Drive) John Hawkes (Martha Marcy May Marlene) Christopher Plummer (Beginners) John C. Reilly (Cedar Rapids) Corey Stoll (Midnight in Paris)
Weird is rarely used as a good quality in film criticism, but few words so completely describe Charlie Kaufman’s work as weird does. All of his films are a window into his very particular worldview, and that p.o.v. is certainly unlike anything seen in pop culture. For that reason, Anomalisa became an entry on many most anticipated lists for 2015. That Kaufman chose stop-motion to tell this story made the picture an event. So it came as a disappointment when the film was one of the year’s more mundane efforts.
Being John Malkovich and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind have an energy and heart at the center that is not present here. Previous collaborators like Spike Jonze and Michel Gondry were able to temper the overwhelming negativity Charlie Kaufman occasionally falls prey to, but, this time, the writer doesn’t have a director to rein things in. In all of his efforts to create an experience that is both familiar and alienating, Kaufman may have accidentally created something host…
There are two movies about the Hulk and one that features the green monster as a major player. One was made in 2003 by an auteur, starring a little-known Aussie. Five years later The Incredible Hulk came out to the same tepid reaction as Ang Lee's Hulk did. This weekend, The Avengers made the Hulk as popular as he has been in a long time. So it comes down to this: Hulk vs. Hulk vs. Hulk. Who will smash whom?
Round One: Acting Edward Norton outshines Eric Bana as the dual persona of the meek Bruce Banner and the rage-induced Hulk. Eric Bana was given little to do but run and fight and often the audience was just waiting for him to transform. With the Incredible Hulk, Norton's Banner is fully fleshed-out and we are given a reason to care about him. Being allowed to go a little dark with Banner's scenes questioning what is left of his life provided emotional resonance to the character that Hulk lacked. Yet even with the capable performance that Norton gives there was something …