Monday, February 27, 2017

donald cried


Set in snow-covered Warwick, Rhode Island, Donald Cried is a darkly comic piece of an old friendship awkwardly re-lit. Donned in over-sized glasses and with a greasy mop of chopped-short-banged hair, the kooky, loquacious, spontaneously rude Donald (played winningly by the film's Writer / Director Kristopher Avedisian) has a way of insulting people and putting people at unease through storytelling. Having to listen to these windy, winding tales and having a need for cash (after his grandmother's death) is why Donald's former childhood friend Peter (Jesse Wakeman) sticks around longer than he had hoped for. Donald is a "heartfelt mix-up" living in a room of KISS dolls wallpapered with explicit posters of women and movie posters like one for 1979's Prophecy. Described as "former metal-heads," Donald seems stuck in his past while blu-toothy Peter has unhappily moved on to a stint as a Manhattan banker. A run-in with a former student in a greasy spoon is a one of many of the film's finely-tuned yet naturalistic moments. The drab, wood-paneled sets and the photography (by Sam Fleischner) create an atmosphere of dull malaise in colors of gray, maroon, plum, and washed-out blue, The snow too (the film begins on a narrow road within the walls of plowed snow) adds to the feeling of stuck-ness. Avedisian's first full-length recalls the sorrow and the pity of Miguel Arteta and Mike White's Chuck & Buck. Also, the use of Milli Vanilli is always welcome. ***

-Jeffery Berg



Sunday, February 26, 2017

the 2016 jdb awards

Here are my personal film awards for the movies of 2016!





Picture


MOONLIGHT



"You know, it used to be that watching a film was a very special occasion, the same way flying was. Before, if you took a flight from New York to L.A., most of the windows would be open. Now we get on planes and we just close them because we're so used to what it feels like. I think the same thing has happened with cinema. We've gotten so used to certain story forms. I think our movie is formally and structurally unorthodox. And I think it's why people's reactions have been so genuine, because the movie that we gave them is not more of the same. I guess it's more of us in a certain way. But people don't know who the fuck we are, so that's a unique thing." -Director Barry Jenkins




Nominees

AQUARIUS
CHRISTINE
EMBRACE OF THE SERPENT
HELL OR HIGH WATER
LA LA LAND
LOVE & FRIENDSHIP
MANCHESTER BY THE SEA
TONI ERDMANN
20TH CENTURY WOMEN






Director




"I started with a script that was very concerned with scientific fact, being true to history, and it was, with all things, very clear. Everyday was marked, every location was set, and all the stories were just tremendously clear. But as I started sharing it with the indigenous peoples and discussing it with them, I realized this was doing something of a disservice, that this was not the way the script needed to work. So, it became more and more infused with Amazonian storytelling, with their myths, and then I realized it was no longer important to be accurate. I came to understand that imagination and dreams were as important to them as any fact." -Ciro Guerra


Nominees

Maren Ade, TONI ERDMANN
Damien Chazelle, LA LA LAND
Barry Jenkins, MOONLIGHT
Kenneth Lonergan, MANCHESTER BY THE SEA




Actor

Casey Affleck, MANCHESTER BY THE SEA



"The idea of being the person at the center of it was daunting in some way, because it’s a really challenging part, having to convey an awful lot of the interior life of a person with almost no opportunity to speak to that. It really just has to be palpable in the way that he behaves, and the tone he takes with people, and the very, very few moments when he cracks. That was tough.

I also know Kenny’s writing is so good that there’s a lot to discover in the movie. It’s not something you can clearly see at first glance. You have to read it again and again, and hopefully by the time you’re on set, shooting it, you have a sense of what’s happening that is deeper than just the words that are being spoken." -Casey Affleck


Nominees

Colin Farrell, THE LOBSTER
Ryan Gosling, LA LA LAND
Peter Simonischek, TONI ERDMANN
Denzel Washington, FENCES





Actress

Rebecca Hall, CHRISTINE



"For me, it just felt so significant to humanize this person, because on a really sort of straightforward level, I think it’s easy to humanize characters in art that are heroic or kind, or even the ones who have terrible things happen to them, but are good victims. I think it’s crucial to try and humanize the ones that we’d all rather look away from, or that frighten us, or the ones you don’t understand." -Rebecca Hall



Nominees

Annette Bening, 20TH CENTURY WOMEN
Krisha Fairchild, KRISHA
Sandra Hüller, TONI ERDMANN
Isabelle Huppert, ELLE




Supporting Actor

Trevante Rhodes, MOONLIGHT



"Being a black person in America right now is shit, being a homosexual in America right now is shit, and being a black homosexual is the bottom for certain people. That’s why I’m so excited for people to see Moonlight. I don’t feel like there’s a solution for our problems, but this movie might change people. That’s why you do it — because you feel like you’re doing something that matters. This is someone’s story." -Trevante Rhodes



Nominees

Tom Bennett, LOVE & FRIENDSHIP
Jeff Bridges, HELL OR HIGH WATER 
Lucas Hedges, MANCHESTER BY THE SEA
Nilbio Torres, EMBRACE OF THE SERPENT 





Supporting Actress

Paulina García, LITTLE MEN



"I wanted her to be a woman who tried her very best in moments of turmoil, she’s living in a very extreme situation, pressured to make life-changing decisions she is asked to make as soon as possible." -Paulina García 


Nominees

Robyn Fairchild, KRISHA
Naomie Harris, MOONLIGHT
Rachel Weisz, THE LOBSTER
Michelle Williams, MANCHESTER BY THE SEA






Original Screenplay

Maren Ade, TONI ERDMANN




"I always want that when there are two characters, there are two sides. I don’t like identification when you don’t feel free anymore. But you feel free because you can decide which one of the characters you identify with, and it’s even freer because these characters have not decided on things themselves—this is really important for me. On the other side, I come as close as possible to their conflict. It’s not like I say I want identification—some films do this, that’s not my main intention—it’s more that I want to try to create the situation where I can look behind the characters, or that there is always something more going on than the things they say. People ask me how I create this awkward feeling and so on, and I think that more than the film itself being awkward, this sense of awkwardness more comes out of the fact that you maybe find yourself in the characters. For me a film has to be something where you walk around a little bit, so identification without freedom doesn’t work for me." -Ade


Nominees

Efthymis Filippou & Yorgos Lanthimos, THE LOBSTER
Kenneth Lonergan, MANCHESTER BY THE SEA
Mike Mills, 20TH CENTURY WOMEN
Taylor Sheridan, HELL OR HIGH WATER





Adapted Screenplay

Whit Stillman, LOVE & FRIENDSHIP




"The good thing about adapting good material is that you don’t have that horrible phase of either the blank page or the blank page filled with total nonsense that you need to throw out. So you start actually with good stuff, and then the problems come later. The problem is in how to use the good stuff so it works." -Stillman




Nominees

David Birke, ELLE
Ciro Guerra & Jacques Toulemonde Vidal, EMBRACE OF THE SERPENT
Barry Jenkins, MOONLIGHT
Rebecca Miller, MAGGIE'S PLAN





Ensemble

MOONLIGHT




Nominees

FENCES
HIDDEN FIGURES
LOVE & FRIENDSHIP
MANCHESTER BY THE SEA



Foreign Film

EMBRACE OF THE SERPENT




Nominees

AQUARIUS
ELLE
THE HANDMAIDEN
TONI ERDMANN



Documentary




"I'm a documentarian of the old school, pre-the-internet, pre-smartphones when everyone has become a cameraperson. And we can't control what happens to the images that we shoot. So it really set me thinking about all of these ethical dilemmas that have always existed for me. But they have a different meaning now than they ever have before." -Director Kirsten Johnson

Nominees


13TH
THE WITNESS




Cinematography

David Gallego, EMBRACE OF THE SERPENT


"This is the first movie that we’ve done together, though he was an assistant cameraman on my previous film. He’s also my wife’s brother so we’re close and have been friends for a long time. He’s learned his craft the long way, from the camera loader to the focus puller to the camera assistant to the lighting assistant. He knows how to perform every function on the camera crew. He’s done it all and knows it inside out on a technical, detailed level. He has also developed such an eye, which is not about doing things pretty, but about storytelling and how every image should tell a story. He has a sensibility for that.

Also, with regard to this movie, I have to say that I have never seen anyone work so hard. He was just unbeatable. We would all be destroyed by the middle of the day’s shoot, but he would be there whenever I’d ask him to do something difficult. He was like the enemy in Terminator 2. He was relentless. That had a large part to do with the movie coming into being. He became a leader and pulled us all through in a way because he believed in it so much. For all the crew it became a personal experience. This movie demanded of everyone whatever they did in any other movie times ten." -Director Ciro Guerra on cinematographer David Gallego



Nominees

Chung-hoon Chung, THE HANDMAIDEN
Edward Lachman, WIENER-DOG
James Laxton, MOONLIGHT
Emmanuel Lubezki, KNIGHT OF CUPS




Film Editing

Joi McMillion & Nat Sanders, MOONLIGHT


"When we first did it, we were just going scene by scene and then when we watched it all together, we found there’s a rhythm and flow in one section that needed to be applied to the second act or vice versa." -McMillon





Nominees

Nells Bangerter, CAMERAPERSON
Tom Cross, LA LA LAND
Leslie Jones, 20TH CENTURY WOMEN
Jake Roberts, HELL OR HIGH WATER





Art Direction / Production Design






Nominees

CAFE SOCIETY
CHRISTINE
JACKIE
LOVE & FRIENDSHIP




Score

Justin Hurwitz, LA LA LAND 


"The way that Legrand married the jazz to the orchestration and had big band elements but also had the lush strings and winds and counterpoints was really a huge inspiration to me. My challenge on this movie was how do I be inspired by some of my favorite movies and musicals but do my own thing? I took certain approaches like the jazz for the orchestration, but ultimately tried to compose and orchestrate in a way that would sound like this movie and not like those older movies." -Hurwitz



Nominees

Nicholas Britell, MOONLIGHT
Hauschka & Dustin O'Halloran, LION
Abel Korzeniowski, NOCTURNAL ANIMALS
Cliff Martinez, THE NEON DEMON




Song

"Audition (The Fools Who Dream)," LA LA LAND



"This song is optimistic, but also there’s pain in it. And Mia’s life isn’t resolved at the end of this. There’s something nice about not tying it up with a bow and making it too tidy at the end. This song is really special for me and I’m just so proud of it. I think it’s exactly what we envisioned this scene and this song would be. When Damien and I first started developing this, we had this musical we wanted to make. Nobody was letting us make it. We were so passionate about it and there didn’t seem to be a path to realize that dream of making La La Land. So we were feeling a lot of the same things that the characters in this movie are feeling: having these dreams, but not having permission to make your art yet. I still feel like a dreamer. I don’t feel accomplished yet, really. I don’t feel like I’ve arrived. I’d like to think that will always be the case because if I stop feeling like a dreamer, then I don’t think my music is going to be very good." -Hurwitz


Nominees

"Another Day of Sun," LA LA LAND
"City of Stars," LA LA LAND
"Runnin'," HIDDEN FIGURES
"Someone in the Crowd," LA LA LAND




Costume Design

Eimer Ni Mhaoldomhnaigh, LOVE & FRIENDSHIP



"So this is a little novella the she wrote, one of the first things that she wrote so it’s set earlier than most of her big novels like Pride & Prejudice and all of those. So we decided to set the film a little big earlier also, like late 1780s or 1790s, so the fashion between 1790 or even the mid 1790 really changed quite dramatically, a lot of it was influenced by the French revolution, historical events that were happening at the time. So that was the main that we spoke about at the beginning, is this going to work if we set this a bit earlier especially for Jane Austen when people already expect certain types of dresses. I really kind of pushed for setting it in the late 1780s. It’s a comedy as well, these big dresses, these really lend themselves to.. there’s such a drama about those costumes, I just felt  that it would really add to the performance, the door would open and she went swoosh into the room (laugh) and this huge dress o my gosh, these dresses are built for something like this, for drama and comedy and fun." -Ni Mhaoldomhnaigh





Nominees

Madeline Fontaine, JACKIE
Sang-gyeong Jo, THE HANDMAIDEN
Emma Potter, CHRISTINE
Mary Zophres, HAIL, CAESAR!




Make-Up & Hair


THE HANDMAIDEN







Nominees

DEADPOOL
FLORENCE FOSTER JENKINS
THE NEON DEMON
NOCTURNAL ANIMALS



Sound

LA LA LAND





Nominees

EMBRACE OF THE SERPENT
KRISHA
MOONLIGHT
THE WITCH



Sound Editing





Nominees

CHRISTINE
EMBRACE OF THE SERPENT
LA LA LAND
MOONLIGHT


Visual Effects

THE JUNGLE BOOK




Nominees

ARRIVAL
KUBO & THE TWO STRINGS
MIDNIGHT SPECIAL
ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY

Friday, February 24, 2017

cloud 9



Another strong single from Jamiroquai. If the woman in the video looks familiar, it's because it's Penelope Cruz’s sister.





Thursday, February 23, 2017