The end-of-year cavalcade of awards bestowments and ranked lists continues apace today, with one of the more prestigious critical bodies weighing in. Sight and Sound, the official film magazine of the BFI, runs an annual poll of United Kingdom-based writers and compiles a list of the year’s 20 finest films from the results. (Naturally, their cutoff dates for what qualifies as a “2016 release” are based on British release dates, which is how Olivier Assayas’ Personal Shopper landed on this list, though it will receive a U.S. run in the spring.) It’s a nicely balanced list well-stocked with festival favorites, but the most notable (and heartening) aspect of the ranking must be the strong showing from female filmmakers, who make up three of the top five selections.
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As limey wizard Newt Scamander continues to traipse about America’s magical underground at the cinema with Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, another enchanted British import prepares to cross the Atlantic. Just because mega-selling novels have long since ended, the Harry Potter business hasn’t stopped booming, and its latest gold mine is the stage show Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. The production has routinely sold out showings at the Palace Theatre in London’s storied West End, and the producers are now gearing up to bring the play stateside in the hopes that their fabulous success will follow them to the Great White Way.
John F. Kennedy is probably the most well-documented president in history, with tons of documentaries and conspiracy theory History Channel specials and books and what have you dedicated to the life and legacy of one of this country’s most tragically beloved presidents. Jackie Kennedy Onassis is almost as well-known, the nation’s fascination with her prompting the First Lady to become a followable source of fashion and politics. Natalie Portman’s Jackie follows the First Lady in the first few days after JFK’s shocking assassination. In a new clip, she speaks to a journalist and has an unexpected response to her own grief.
Baz Luhrmann’s The Get Down was Netflix’s most luxuriously expensive show to date, but didn’t make as many waves during its premiere as it was probably meant to, the buzz trickling away pretty quickly after Part 1 was released earlier this fall. But it did rocket its star, Justice Smith, into the spotlight, as he’s now been cast in J. A. Bayona’s Jurassic World sequel.
In psychology, there is a concept called the uncanny valley, which refers to that creepy feeling you get when you see something that looks almost just like a person’s face, but not quite. This also applies to celebrity biopics. When you watch a movie about someone you’ve seen pictures of all over the place for your entire life, and the actor playing that person looks almost just like that person, but not quite, you get the same creepy feeling. That feeling abounds in these new images from Lifetime’s Britney Spears movie, tentatively titled Britney.
All-female reboots are having what is called “a moment.” We had Ghostbusters this year, which is getting “many” sequels, we’re getting Ocean’s Eight which we’re pretty sure is just a 2-hour movie of Cate Blanchett and Rihanna wearing really cool clothes, and last year the team behind both Jump Streets announced that they’re making an all-female spinoff. Broad City writers Lucia Aniello and Paul W. Downs were hired to write a screenplay, and then Sony took on Bob’s Burgers team Lizzie and Wendy Molyneaux to write a competing script. Now, Rodney Rothman, the writer behind 22 Jump Street, is onboard the screenplay party boat, and might direct the picture as well.
Sigourney Weaver is something of a sci-fi movie icon. Since her performance in Alien, she’s made a ton of appearances in all kinds of movies about the weird and the wonderful, from The Cabin in the Woods to WALL-E to a brief but not unwelcome scene in this summer’s Ghostbusters. She was also one of the best parts of James Cameron’s Avatar, playing Dr. Grace Augustine, one of the scientists in the Avatar Program who started a research program to learn more about the planet Pandora and its inhabitants. She’s read the scripts for Cameron’s planned sequels, and, according to her, they’re “amazing.”
When you ask Marvel fans what their favorite Marvel movies are, more often than not, 2008’s Iron Man will be on their list somewhere. Even those who don’t consider themselves superhero movie aficionados will agree that Iron Man is still one of Marvel’s best, if not the best. Jeff Bridges’ Obadiah Stane is also one of the best MCU villains, but apparently he was more of a hero during the movie’s production. Bridges revealed that he, Robert Downey Jr, and Jon Favreau actually reworked parts of the script days before shooting started.
Looks like little LEGO Batman has put his ego aside (well, sort of) in the new poster for The LEGO Batman Movie, which features several famous Bat-villains and a handful of friends — does LEGO Batman actually have friends? Seems like he’d probably view them all as acquaintances that he regards with passive ambivalence, at best. Either way, you can kill a few minutes on this day that is definitely not Friday yet by seeing if you can name all the characters featured on this new poster.
It’s officially December, which means it’s the most wonderful tiiiiime of the year…and by that we mean awards season (OK, sure, decked-out trees and spiked ’nog are fun too, I guess). On the heels of this morning’s Critics’ Choice Awards nominations, the New York Film Critics Circle has announced its full list of winners, with La La Land, Moonlight and Manchester by the Sea leading the pack — unsurprisingly.