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‘Love and Monsters’ is frightfully fun

AT A GLANCE

Love and Monsters

Critical rating: 3½ stars out of 4

Directed by: Michael Matthews (“Five Fingers for Marseilles”)

Starring: Dylan O’Brien, Jessica Henwick, Michael Rooker, Dan Ewing, and Ariana Greenblatt

Rated: PG-13

Available Oct. 16: Releasing via Premium Video-On-Demand and as a digital purchase on most platforms, including Apple TV, Amazon Prime Video, Google Play, Microsoft Movies & TV, Sony PlayStation Video and FandangoNOW

Once upon a time, “Love and Monsters” was slated for big-screen release under the title “Monster Problems,” but a variety of factors resulted in its move to premium video with a new name.  Honestly, “Love and Monsters” is the better title because the movie is both a quirky adolescent actioner and a sweet romantic fable. 

The focus is on Joel Dawson (Dylan O’Brien), a sweet kid who is separated from his high school girlfriend, Aimee (Jessica Henwick), by the Monsterpocalypse, a cataclysmic event prompted by a meteor on a collision course with Earth. In an effort to avoid the Armageddon, mankind launches a massive nuclear strike, which works great until the fallout floats down from space, turning every cold-blooded creature into horrifying, oversized predators. Without warning, toads and cockroaches are elevated from scurrying pests to alpha predators, and what’s left of humanity is forced into underground colonies.  

Life on the surface is dangerous and frightening thanks to the massive pests that like nothing better than to snack on human interlopers. Because of that, trips above ground are short-lived, limited in scope and attempted only when absolutely necessary. Although Joel’s colony periodically sends people out for food and supplies, he is relegated to the bunker since he has a reputation for freezing at the most inopportune moments. It’s not a reputation he likes, but it is deserved. 

After years of hapless searching, Joel miraculously locates Aimee using his colony’s radio system. He happily discovers that she is only 80 miles away, but 80 miles might as well be the moon considering the dangers of the outside world. Nevertheless, Joel decides that his love for Aimee is worth dying for, so he packs a bag and heads above ground, determined to make it to his long-lost girl. 

This is a decidedly romantic proposition, and the love Joel has for Aimee is less dysfunctional than that driving most young adult love stories. But … “Love and Monsters” is more than romance. The bulk of the story is about Joel coming to terms with the tragedy that brought him to this point while learning that he has more to offer than anyone – including himself – is aware.  

His journey brings him in contact with a rugged survivalist name Clyde (Michael Rooker) and his young charge, Minnow (Ariana Greenblatt). The two take Joel beneath their wings and teach him valuable survival skills, which immediately come in handy. 

“Love and Monster” has a heart, but it certainly doesn’t shortchange the audience on the monster front. Joel and company face off against a variety of creatures who are beautifully rendered and truly frightening. Director Michael Matthews walks the fine line between whimsy and horror, presenting a movie that oozes both attitude and fun. 

O’Brien, best known as the lead from the “Maze Runner” franchise, is a solid leading man capable of comedy and drama. He’s called on to deliver both throughout the film, and the result is pleasant. Rooker, Greenblatt, Henwick and the remainder of the cast are also capable. Only Joel’s character is developed beyond a surface level and, while it might have been fun to get a deeper look at the others, this isn’t a problem. 

“Love and Monsters” may not become a classic, but it is a truly good time. It’s scary enough to work as a Halloween film, romantic and funny enough to transcend the horror genre and written with both an edge and wit. Writers Brian Duffield and Matthew Robinson deserve significant credit because – while genre-crossing films are sought after – they don’t always work. “Love and Monsters” not only works, it does so exceptionally well.  

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‘Most Wanted’ reinforces the power of the press

Photo courtesy of Saban Films

Josh Hartnett (right) and Antoine Olivier Pilon star in “Most Wanted.”

AT A GLANCE

Most Wanted

Written and directed by: Daniel Roby

Starring: Josh Harnett, Antoine Olivier Pilon, Jim Gaffigan, Amanda Crew and Stephen McHattie

Rated: R

Available: In select theaters and on demand July 24

Critical rating: 3 stars out of 4

By Forrest Hartman

As a film critic and journalism professor, I have a particular interest in movies focused on media. These pictures undoubtedly play a role in shaping public perception of my profession, and reporters have been cast – historically speaking – as everything from cartoon villains to tireless champions of democracy and justice. In “Most Wanted,” the latest journalism movie making the rounds, Josh Hartnett plays the latter. 

Hartnett plays real-life Canadian journalist Victor Malarek, whose career includes a number of film-worthy moments, but the focus here is on a late-1980s investigation alleging an entrapment scheme by government agents. According to the movie – and allegations by Malarek and Alain Olivier – Canadian law enforcement officials coerced Olivier into running a drug operation in Thailand that led to the death of a Mountie and a 100-year prison sentence. Olivier has since been released, but only after spending eight years in a Thai jail. 

Although “inspired by real events” the story is fictionalized, and Malarek’s real name is the only one retained for the film. The broad strokes of the story follow Olivier’s and Malarek’s account of events, but the timeline has been significantly compressed. It is also important to note that Olivier – an admitted junkie at the time of the story – lost a civil lawsuit seeking $47 million as restitution for the time he spent imprisoned.  

One needn’t be familiar with the true story to enjoy the film. In fact, it is best viewed as a loose representation of reality that can serve as a springboard for further investigation. From that standpoint, “Most Wanted” is solid. It will not be remembered as one of the finest media movies ever (a category reserved for classics, including “Spotlight” and “All the President’s Men”), but it is a worthy reminder of the importance of quality investigative journalism.   

The story starts by introducing Daniel Léger (standing in for the real-life Olivier), a struggling drug addict doing his best to stay afloat financially while nursing inner demons. As portrayed by Canadian actor Antoine Olivier Pilon, Daniel is a mess. His short-lived attempts to do the right thing always descend into drug-fueled benders, making him an easy mark for Picker (Jim Gaffigan), a police informant who trades information for cash. 

The film features a fractured timeline, slowly revealing the details leading to Daniel’s arrest as Malarek (who comes to the case long after) attempts to make sense of how the young man wound up imprisoned overseas. As a seasoned reporter, Malarek quickly ascertains that Daniel is not the hardcore international drug dealer that Canadian law enforcement asserts … so he convinces his editor to send him to Thailand. The more Malerek investigates, the more resistance he faces from authorities, but that only fuels him to push harder, convinced they are hiding an important truth.   

Hartnett, a one-time A-lister poised to become one of the biggest names in Hollywood, has flown under the radar for years, by most accounts having chosen this path. Regardless of why we haven’t seen much of Hartnett prior to 2020, he’s a talent, and he does Malerek proud. Sporting a hip ’80s haircut and thick mustache, he feels right for the period. Those working in journalism today will laugh when he demands an exorbitant travel budget and copious time to write a two-piece feature about Daniel’s case. But … we must remember that this is the ’80s. There was indeed a time when newspapers were raking in profits, and the right player could talk a well-funded publication into investing in a scoop. Even then, the practice was not widespread, but “Most Wanted” nicely demonstrates how much has changed in journalism over the past three to four decades. Sadly, many of those changes have been for the worse. 

Hartnett paints Malarek as a hard charger who will stop at nothing to get his story, and viewers watch that story unfold as each new detail emerges. The non-linear structure is complicated, but easy enough to follow thanks to writer-director Daniel Roby’s straightforward style. Roby presents the action simply, letting his actors drive the emotion and his camera go where it needs in order to keep us tuned in. He doesn’t go overboard with artistic flourishes nor does he get overly sentimental or preachy with the plotting. Rather, he presents a mystery with Malarek relentlessly searching for the truth. 

There are times when “Most Wanted” drags. Journalism can, after all, be tedious. Mostly, however, Roby sticks to the good stuff. Malarek takes physical and financial risks, and even sacrifices his home life in pursuit of the story. This is cliché material, to be frank, but it is also entertaining, and Hartnett, Pilon and the supporting cast are charming enough to keep our attention.

At a time when many newspapers are closing or transitioning to the Internet and “fake news” is a rallying cry for pundits, it’s nice to see a film assert that the free press plays a crucial role in society. “Most Wanted” not only does this, it demonstrates how one good piece of journalism can change lives for the better.  

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‘Mighty Oak’ collapses under its own weight

AT A GLANCE

Mighty Oak

Directed by: Sean McNamara

Starring: Janel Parrish, Carlos PenaVega, Tommy Ragen, Alexa PenaVega, Levi Dylan, Raven-Symoné

Rated: PG-13 for thematic content involving substance abuse, language, some accident images and brief suggestive language

Available July 7 on: Apple TV, Vudu, Amazon Prime Video, Google Play, Microsoft Movies & TV, Sony PlayStation Video, Fandango NOW and more

Critical rating: 1½ stars out of 4

By Forrest Hartman

There’s nothing like a good music movie. The truly great ones – think “A Star Is Born,” “La La Land,” “Straight Outta Compton,” “Almost Famous” and “Whiplash” – reinforce the importance of art. They can be inspiring, tragic, even funny; and they are always moving. But when a music movie stumbles, the result is often a forced, schlocky experience. 

With “Mighty Oak,” director Sean McNamara (“Soul Surfer”) and writer Matt Allen (“Four Christmases,” “Soul Surfer”) attempt a spiritual journey aimed at demonstrating the healing power of music. They instead deliver a melodramatic hodgepodge that’s light on authenticity and heavy on melodrama. 

The movie centers on Gina (Janel Parrish), the beautiful young manager of an up-and-coming rock band named Army of Love. The group is driven by the vocals and songwriting prowess of Gina’s brother, Vaughn (Levi Dylan). The remaining members — guitarist Pedro (Carlos PenaVega), drummer Alex (Nana Ghana) and bassist DB (Rodney Hicks) — are also extremely close. In fact, Gina has an on-again, off-again romantic relationship with Pedro. Just when it seems that the band is about to explode, the entire crew is involved in a devastating auto accident that leaves Vaughn dead and Gina unable to move on. 

Gina emerges from her depression, however, when she meets Oak Scoggins (Tommy Ragen), a 4th grade prodigy who expresses a willingness to reunite Army of Love. The youngster reminds her so much of Vaughn that she can’t say, “No.” 

The setup is sweet, but it feels as forced as it sounds … especially when Gina and company begin to view Oak as a new version of Vaughn. Ragen is a real-life musician, and he is extremely talented for an 11-year-old. That said, he is 11, and his age is obvious each time he sings. That makes every sequence with him leading the band play like a novelty act on “America’s Got Talent.” It’s hard to believe Gina – or anyone else – would see Oak as a legitimate savior of the group. Since the entire movie is built on the premise that he is an apt replacement for Vaughn, it’s problematic. 

To their credit, Allen and McNamara have bigger ideas on their minds. They are clearly hoping viewers will ponder worthwhile topics ranging from mortality to mental illness. They also want us thinking about the connections that define human beings. These are worthwhile ideas, but they are presented so awkwardly that it’s tough to buy in, as many viewers will be busy analyzing the maudlin plot contrivances instead. 

Ragen, Parrish, PenaVega and the rest of the cast are charming enough, but some elements of the story are underdeveloped while others batter the audience like a sledgehammer. One doesn’t watch “Mighty Oak” so much as he/she is manipulated by it. Some filmmakers – Steven Spielberg chief amongst them – can get away with this type of manipulation. But Spielberg is nuanced. With “Mighty Oak,” one can feel McNamara and Allen tugging at the heartstrings, and it’s more uncomfortable than effective. 

Since Ragen is a charismatic presence and a talented musician, it feels curmudgeonly to critique his coming-out party. But the cruel fact is, “Mighty Oak” isn’t the best stage for his gifts. It’s easy to imagine him maturing into a formidable artist. When that happens, this film may be remembered as his big break, but it will not be remembered as his seminal work … nor that of anyone else involved.       

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‘7500’ is a thriller that feels perfect at home

AT A GLANCE

7500

Directed by: Patrick Vollrath

Starring: Joseph Gordon Levitt, Carlo Kitzlinger, Aylin Tezel

Rated: R

Available on: Amazon Prime Video beginning June 18

Critical rating: 4 stars out of 4

Photo Courtesy of Amazon

Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars in the thriller “7500,” available June 18 on Amazon Prime Video.

By Forrest Hartman

German writer-director Patrick Vollrath has created one of the most claustrophobic, intense, well-acted movies of 2020, and these qualities are advantageous in a streaming media environment. Since the Covid-19 pandemic has largely put big-screen features on hold, we’ve had time to reflect on the difference between watching at home versus in a theater. The shared big-screen experience has joys that will never be recreated in one’s family room, but there are certain pictures that actually play better at home. I believe “7500” is one of them. 

The terrorist thriller is streaming exclusively on Amazon Prime Video, included with the popular Amazon Prime delivery service, and the reason it feels so good in a home setting is that Vollrath and co-writer Senad Halibasic have gone out of the way to make it the antithesis of blockbusters like “Avengers: Endgame” and “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.” Much of the appeal in the latter movies is spectacle. The scope of those pictures is massive, as they transport viewers to different worlds, balancing dialog and exposition against action sequences that are literally packed with mind-blowing special effects. “7500” is smaller in every way, and that’s a good thing. 

The movie starts at a leisurely pace, with Vollrath introducing us to our protagonist, Tobias Ellis (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), one of two commercial pilots in charge of a flight from Berlin to Paris. Viewers enter the cockpit, where Tobias gets to know the flight’s captain, Michael (Carlo Kitzlinger), and works through routine pre-flight tasks. There’s not much space in the plane, and cinematographer Sebastian Thaler keeps the framing simple. This works well in a home viewing environment. If you watch with the lights dim, you might even feel as though you are sitting beside Tobias and Michael, helping them prepare for the trip. Unlike the spectacle that makes “Avengers” films special, “7500” is intimate, and intimacy works in our houses.  

Vollrath does some of his finest character development before the plane leaves the ground. Before takeoff, we know that Tobias is in a serious relationship with one of the flight attendants. They aren’t married, but they live together and have a child. They also strive to keep their professional and private lives separate. Michael is established as a serious-but-amiable captain, and we learn that – despite Tobias’ youth – he has been flying for a decade. Each of these seemingly mundane details matters, and Vollrath refuses to rush through them with shortcuts. That patience pays dividends later. 

Although “7500” begins at a trot, it hits full gallop about 20 minutes in, when one of several terrorists forces his way into the cockpit. This starts a chain of events leading Tobias to a series of near-impossible choices, all elevating the tension for the remainder of the picture’s 90 minutes. Throughout, Vollrath and Thaler remain focused on Tobias because this is his story. 

Gordon-Levitt is a talent, who has turned in impressive work in projects ranging from the Christopher Nolan thriller “Inception” to the cancer drama “50/50.” Here, he is typically self-assured. Tobias is mild-mannered and kind, but also smart and disciplined. He doesn’t always make the right choices, and it’s enjoyable for viewers to imagine what they would do in his place. But … what is the right choice in an impossible situation? The movie is intriguing because it shows a good man doing his best to find hope in a terrible place. Saying that Gordon-Levitt’s performance is among the best of the year so far, is minimizing his efforts since the cinematic year is so off-kilter. But this is great work.  The supporting cast is also solid, but this is Gordon-Levitt’s film, as every twist centers on Tobias’ decisions.  

Vollrath makes the most of the confined setting … something that could hurt a weaker filmmaker. In some respects, “7500” must have been easy to produce. A single location, small cast and minimal set dressing all speed the shooting process, but these things come with restraints. When all the action is set in an airplane cockpit, there are no astonishing backdrops or special effects to use as a crutch. The weight of the storytelling is relegated to the script and its handful of actors … each forced to make up for the fact that the scenery is unchanged for 90 minutes. Again, this plays into the strengths of at-home viewing. 

As long as one watches distraction-free, it is easy to get sucked into Tobias’ world. It is easy to feel his pain, his anguish, and his uncertainty. And “feeling” is what great directors make us do.          

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‘Artemis Fowl’ a Streaming Mess

AT A GLANCE

Artemis Fowl

Directed by: Kenneth Branagh

Starring: Ferdia Shaw, Lara McDonnell, Josh Gad, Tamara Smart, Nonzo Anozie, Colin Farrell and Judi Dench

Rated: PG

Critical rating: 1½ stars out of 4

Photo Courtesy of Disney
Ferdia Shaw plays the title character in "Artemis Fowl," available now on Disney Plus.
Photo courtesy of Disney

Ferdia Shaw stars in “Artemis Fowl,” available now on Disney Plus.

By Forrest Hartman

It’s fair to say Kenneth Branagh is capable of greatness. We know this thanks to memorable acting turns in films ranging from “Dunkirk” to “Othello” (1995) and because of his equally thrilling work behind the camera. 

Branagh is the rare screen star who has shown as much talent and breadth as a director as he has when chewing scenery. Although much of his directorial work is centered on Shakespeare adaptations – think “Henry V” and “Much Ado About Nothing” – he has proven himself equally capable in the superhero (“Thor”) and mystery “Murder on the Orient Express” (2017) genres. 

Branagh is also adept at entertaining the family crowd, as one of his most-charming directorial works is Disney’s 2015 live-action reimagining of “Cinderella.” That fact made his attachment to the “Artemis Fowl” screen adaptation promising. Originally, intended as a May theatrical release, the movie was derailed by the Covid-19 pandemic and shifted to a June 12 debut on the Disney Plus streaming service. Since most of Disney’s high-profile 2020 pictures have been delayed rather than shifted to this platform, one imagines executives knew what they had when Branagh turned it in. It’s not good. 

Although we know Branagh is capable of greatness due to his lengthy body of work, almost everything we know about the title character in “Artemis Fowl” is due to voiceover narration or poorly developed plot contrivances that leave too much to the imagination. In fact, “Artemis Fowl” is so poorly developed – both in terms of characterization and world building – that it’s hard to imagine how Branagh would let this pass.  

The same can be said of the admirable cast. Ferdia Shaw, who plays young Artemis, is joined by Colin Farrell (Artemis Fowl Senior), Josh Gad, Judi Dench, Lara McDonnell and Tamara Smart. There is enough ability in this group for one to expect a serviceable film. Instead, we get a hodgepodge that – although nifty to look at – alternates between confusing, dull and outright frustrating. The latter is true because there is good material to work with.  

The movie is based on the well-received young adult novels by author Eoin Colfer, and the focus is on the title character, a 12-year-old so bright that he has no patience for school. The intolerance stems from the fact that Artemis knows more than virtually everyone, including his teachers and the psychologist who ineffectually attempts to knock him down a peg. Viewers learn these background points through terse narration and a handful of hasty scenes that do nothing to build empathy with Artemis. That’s problematic because one has to care about him to invest in the adventure that follows.

Although young Artemis hates school, he dotes on his father (Artemis Senior), a single parent who thrills his son with fanciful stories about fairies, goblins and other mystical creatures. These seem like fantasy tales until Artemis Senior goes missing, and young Artemis discovers that his father has actually been feeding him the secrets of a hidden world. What’s more, Artemis must tap into that world to save his dad.  

The movie’s visuals are admirable. In fact, they are quite good for a picture included as part of the base, original content of a streaming service. These are special effects one would expect from a big screen feature … because that’s what was initially intended. It’s not easy to make fantasy material look believable, but Branagh and his crew succeed on that front. 

Viewers are legitimately transported to a land where fairies and goblins are real, and it’s all very dazzling and Harry Potter-like. “Artemis Fowl” would seem, then, to be a perfect film for fans of that series. Alas, the Potter features are painstakingly mapped out so viewers understand the rules of the magical world they enter. This is not so with “Fowl,” which teases viewers without elaborating. That leads to a long string of questions that are never adequately answered. 

Equally annoying is the lack of time given each key character. Artemis Junior is an outline at best. His father gets too little screen time to serve as anything other than a treasure for Artemis to chase, and Holly Short (a fairy who is key to the action) makes life-altering decisions with whimsical ease. Even the narrator, a “giant” dwarf named Mulch Diggums, is little more than a sketch. One might chalk this up to too many cuts if the film was longer, but at 93 minutes, “Artemis Fowl” could have added plentiful background without overstaying its welcome.  

Every writing coach tells students to “show” readers what’s happening rather than “tell” them. The same advice is crucial with film, but “Artemis Fowl” is invested only in telling. Viewers never see the souls of the characters and – because of this – they’re never allowed to feel much of anything.  A movie without feeling is a movie that fails.

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‘Escape Room’: Snapshot Review

ESCAPE ROOM                                              

2½ STARS OUT OF 4               1 hours 39 minutes

PLOT:A group of strangers meet for an escape room adventure, only to find that the stakes are life and death.

SCOOP:Like most modern horror films, the plotting is silly and predictable. Characters are slowly picked off, and their psyches unravel as they come to grips with the situation. Director Adam Robitel does a nice job with the pacing, making the movie a pleasant – if entirely derivative – distraction. This isn’t an inventive picture, nor is it one that you need to see, but there are certainly worse ways to pass a Friday night.

STARRING:

Taylor Russell – Zoey Davis

Logan Miller – Ben Miller

Jay Ellis – Jason Walker

Tyler Labine – Mike Nolan

Deborah Ann Woll – Amanda Harper

Nik Dodani – Danny Khan

DIRECTOR: Adam Robitel (“Insidious: The Last Key”)

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‘Glass’: Snapshot Review

3  STARS OUT OF 4                 2 hours 9 minutes

PLOT:“Unbreakable” hero David Dunn (Bruce Willis) has adapted to life as a vigilante superhero, but he faces his greatest challenge in the form of a killer with multiple personalities (James McAvoy). Ultimately, hero and villain come face to face with another key character from writer-director M. Night Shyamalan’s superhero universe: Mr. Glass (Samuel L. Jackson).

SCOOP:For fans of “Unbreakable” and “Split” – the predecessors to this movie – “Glass” is a must-see. Although not as well-crafted as either of the earlier pictures, it completes the arc of the main characters. “Glass” also has a decent Shyamalan twist and offers a fascinating take on superhero lore. Just as those who loved the first two films will want to see “Glass,” those who didn’t like them can safely stay away.

STARRING:

Bruce Willis – David Dunn

James McAvoy – Multiple Personalities

Samuel L. Jackson – Elijah Price/Mr. Glass

Sarah Paulson – Ellie Staple

Anya Taylor-Joy – Casey Cooke

Spencer Treat Clark – Joseph Dunn

DIRECTOR:M. Knight Shyamalan (“The Sixth Sense,” “Signs,” “After Earth”)

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Critics’ Choice Award Winners

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Photo by Skitterphoto on Pexels.com

The 24th annual Critics’ Choice Awards were doled out Sunday in Santa Monica. The awards are voted on by the Broadcast Film Critics Association (Forrest is a voting member) and Broadcast Television Journalists Association. Following is a complete list of winners.

FILM AWARDS

BEST PICTURE

“Roma” (Netflix)

BEST ACTOR

Christian Bale – “Vice” (Annapurna)

BEST ACTRESS – TIE

Glenn Close – “The Wife” (Sony Pictures Classics)

Lady Gaga – “A Star Is Born” (Warner Bros.)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

Mahershala Ali – “Green Book” (Universal)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Regina King – “If Beale Street Could Talk” (Annapurna)

BEST YOUNG ACTOR/ACTRESS

Elsie Fisher – “Eighth Grade” (A24)

BEST ACTING ENSEMBLE

“The Favourite” (Fox Searchlight)

BEST DIRECTOR

Alfonso Cuarón – “Roma” (Netflix)

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

Paul Schrader – “First Reformed” (A24)

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

Barry Jenkins – “If Beale Street Could Talk” (Annapurna)

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

Alfonso Cuarón – “Roma” (Netflix)

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN

Hannah Beachler, Jay Hart – “Black Panther” (Disney)

BEST EDITING

Tom Cross – “First Man” (Universal)

BEST COSTUME DESIGN

Ruth Carter – “Black Panther” (Disney)

BEST HAIR AND MAKEUP

“Vice” (Annapurna)

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS

“Black Panther” (Disney)

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE

“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” (Sony)

BEST ACTION MOVIE

“Mission: Impossible – Fallout” (Paramount)

BEST COMEDY

“Crazy Rich Asians” (Warner Bros.)

BEST ACTOR IN A COMEDY

Christian Bale – “Vice” (Annapurna)

BEST ACTRESS IN A COMEDY

Olivia Colman – “The Favourite” (Fox Searchlight)

BEST SCI-FI OR HORROR MOVIE

“A Quiet Place” (Paramount)

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

“Roma” (Netflix)

BEST SONG

Shallow – “A Star Is Born” (Warner Bros.)

BEST SCORE

Justin Hurwitz – “First Man” (Universal)

 

TELEVISION AWARDS

BEST DRAMA SERIES

“The Americans” (FX Networks)

BEST ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES

Matthew Rhys – “The Americans” (FX Networks)

BEST ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES

Sandra Oh – “Killing Eve” (BBC America)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES

Noah Emmerich – “The Americans” (FX Networks)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES

Thandie Newton – “Westworld” (HBO)

BEST COMEDY SERIES

“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” (Amazon)

BEST ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES

Bill Hader – “Barry” (HBO)

BEST ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES

Rachel Brosnahan – “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” (Amazon)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES

Henry Winkler – “Barry” (HBO)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES

Alex Borstein – “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” (Amazon)

BEST LIMITED SERIES

“The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story” (FX Networks)

BEST MOVIE MADE FOR TELEVISION

“Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert” (NBC)

BEST ACTOR IN A LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE MADE FOR TELEVISION

Darren Criss – “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story” (FX Networks)

BEST ACTRESS IN A LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE MADE FOR TELEVISION – TIE

Amy Adams – “Sharp Objects” (HBO)

Patricia Arquette – “Escape at Dannemora” (Showtime)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE MADE FOR TELEVISION

Ben Whishaw – “A Very English Scandal” (Amazon)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A LIMITED SERIES OR MOVIE MADE FOR TELEVISION

Patricia Clarkson – “Sharp Objects” (HBO)

BEST ANIMATED SERIES

“BoJack Horseman” (Netflix)

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Snapshot Review: ‘The Fate of the Furious’

THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS 

the-fate-of-the-furious-FF8_Tsr1Sht_DwayneVin_RGB_7SM_rgb

Photo courtesy of EPK.TV

Critical Rating: 2 stars (out of four)

Rated: PG-13 for prolonged sequences of violence and destruction, suggestive content and language

Directed by: F. Gary Gray (“Straight Outta Compton,” “The Italian Job”)

Starring: Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Charlize Theron, Nathalie Emmanuel, Kurt Russel, Luke Evans

Story snapshot: Dominic “Dom” Torretto (Vin Diesel) finds himself working against his own team. Because Dom is such a fearsome opponent, Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson), Letty (Michelle Rodriguez), Tej (Tyrese Gibson) and the rest of the crew take on an unlikely partner, their one-time enemy Deckard (Jason Statham).

The scoop: Like all the “Fast & Furious” films, “Fate of the Furious” is big, dumb fun. Plot holes? Yeah, it’s got ’em. Great acting? Not so much. Of course, fans of this franchise don’t queue up for witty dialogue and philosophical ideas. Mostly, they want to see fast cars do impossible things. And … there’s plenty of that. Since it’s in the trailer, it’s no spoiler to note that one sequence features a tank, a nuclear submarine and a Lamborghini. “Fate of the Furious” is not a good movie, but it moves like lightning, and it’s hard not to smile at the goofiness. In other words, see it if you liked the first seven pictures. Avoid it at all costs if you didn’t.

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Critics’ Choice Award Winners: 2016

WINNERS OF THE 22ND ANNUAL CRITICS’ CHOICE AWARDS

FILM:
BEST PICTURE – “La La Land”

BEST ACTOR – Casey Affleck, “Manchester by the Sea”

BEST ACTRESS – Natalie Portman, “Jackie”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR – Mahershala Ali, “Moonlight”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS – Viola Davis, “Fences”

BEST YOUNG ACTOR/ACTRESS – Lucas Hedges, “Manchester by the Sea”

BEST ACTING ENSEMBLE – “Moonlight”

BEST DIRECTOR – Damien Chazelle, “La La Land”

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY – TIE: Damien Chazelle, “La La Land” and Kenneth Lonergan, “Manchester by the Sea”

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY – Eric Heisserer, “Arrival”

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY – Linus Sandgren, “La La Land”

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN – David Wasco, Sandy Reynolds-Wasco, “La La Land”

BEST EDITING – Tom Cross, “La La Land”

BEST COSTUME DESIGN – Madeline Fontaine, “Jackie”

BEST HAIR & MAKEUP – “Jackie”

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS – “The Jungle Book”

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE – “Zootopia”

BEST ACTION MOVIE – “Hacksaw Ridge”

BEST ACTOR IN AN ACTION MOVIE – Andrew Garfield, “Hacksaw Ridge”

BEST ACTRESS IN AN ACTION MOVIE – Margot Robbie, “Suicide Squad”

BEST COMEDY – “Deadpool”

BEST ACTOR IN A COMEDY – Ryan Reynolds, “Deadpool”

BEST ACTRESS IN A COMEDY – Meryl Streep, “Florence Foster Jenkins”

BEST SCI-FI/HORROR MOVIE – “Arrival”

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM – “Elle”

BEST SONG – “City of Stars” from “La La Land”

BEST SCORE – Justin Hurwitz, “La La Land”

 

TELEVISION:

BEST COMEDY SERIES – Silicon Valley, HBO

BEST ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES – Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live, NBC

BEST ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES – Donald Glover, Atlanta, FX

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES – Jane Krakowski, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Netflix

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES – Louie Anderson, Baskets, FX

BEST GUEST PERFORMER IN A COMEDY SERIES – Alec Baldwin, Saturday Night Live, NBC

BEST DRAMA SERIES – Game of Thrones, HBO

BEST ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES – Evan Rachel Wood, Westworld, HBO

BEST ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES – Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul, AMC

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES – Thandie Newton, Westworld, HBO

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES – John Lithgow, The Crown, Netflix

BEST GUEST PERFORMER IN A DRAMA SERIES – Jeffrey Dean Morgan, The Walking Dead, AMC

BEST MOVIE MADE FOR TELEVISION OR LIMITED SERIES – The People v. O.J. Simpson, FX

BEST ACTRESS IN A MOVIE MADE FOR TELEVISION OR LIMITED SERIES – Sarah Paulson, The People v. O.J. Simpson, FX

BEST ACTOR IN A MOVIE MADE FOR TELEVISION OR LIMITED SERIES – Courtney B. Vance,The People 
v. O.J. Simpson, FX

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A MOVIE MADE FOR TELEVISION OR LIMITED SERIES – Regina King, American Crime, ABC

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A MOVIE MADE FOR TELEVISION OR LIMITED SERIES – Sterling K. Brown, The People v. O.J. Simpson, FX

BEST REALITY COMPETITION SERIES – The Voice, NBC

BEST STRUCTURED REALITY SERIES – Shark Tank, ABC

BEST UNSTRUCTURED REALITY SERIES – Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown, CNN

BEST REALITY SHOW HOST – Anthony Bourdain, Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown, CNN

BEST TALK SHOW – The Late Late Show with James Corden, CBS

BEST ANIMATED SERIES – BoJack Horseman, Netflix

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