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Oscar 2017 Winner Predictions Actor

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Oscar 2017 Winner Predictions: Actor

Roadside Attractions

Oscar 2017 Winner Predictions: Actor

Maybe it’s a symptom of living life in the age of Donald Trump that today’s Oscar prediction article is more than two sentences long. We’re all getting used to keeping our sanity in check on a strictly day-by-day basis, convinced that every single new development and how we react to it represents the moment that’s going to seal our fate in history books alongside German hausfraus circa 1933. How else to explain why we’re now wavering ever so slightly in our confidence that Casey Affleck will take home the Oscar, simply because Denzel Washington pulled a shocker by winning the SAG award?

Toronto Film Review Damien Chazelle’s La La Land

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Toronto Film Review: Damien Chazelle’s La La Land

Toronto International Film Festival

Toronto Film Review: Damien Chazelle’s La La Land

The latest bit of movie-musical pastiche from Damien Chazelle could be alternatively titled All the Oscars!, eager as it is to please those who might vote it into the AMPAS pantheon. But gilded statuettes aren’t the only thing on this Los Angeles-set film’s mind. La La Land is also out to win over the cinema-savvy and, to a lesser degree, the jazz aficionados who likely complained about Whiplash’s bebop point of reference being white guy Buddy Rich. (Based on co-star Ryan Gosling’s painfully inadequate basso warbling, though, vocal coaches aren’t on the writer-director’s list to impress.)

Chazelle wears his influences proudly. As in his first feature, 2009’s charmingly slight musical romance Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench, Jacques Demy hovers over the proceedings like a patron saint. The French director loved melancholy as much as he loved music. In films like 1964’s The Umbrellas of Cherbourg and 1967’s The Young Girls of Rochefort, he fused the fancifulness of old Hollywood song-and-dance productions with the soul-searing emotions brought on by broken hearts and dreams too big to bear fruit.

Box Office Rap Out of the Furnace and Christian Bale’s Body (of Work)

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Box Office Rap: Out of the Furnace and Christian Bale’s Body (of Work)
Box Office Rap: Out of the Furnace and Christian Bale’s Body (of Work)

As Bane raises Batman above his head and prepares to snap his back in The Dark Knight Rises, Bane postulates, “I was wondering what would break first: your spirit or your body!” The scene is faithful to the comic books for its “krakt” intensity, but also reflexive insofar as it speaks to Christian Bale’s acting career, which has been founded on consistent bodily transformation and, before donning the cape for Christopher Nolan’s franchise, a lack of commercial success that could have easily broken the actor’s spirit in becoming an A-list star. Yet, even after the Batman films, Bale’s financial viability removed from franchise confines remains questionable, and one wonders with Out of the Furnace opening this weekend if Bale’s name alone is enough to guarantee a $10 million opening.

Bale’s career began as a child actor in films like Empire of the Sun and Newsies, but it wasn’t until 2000’s American Psycho that he found a leading role that began to define his star persona. As Patrick Bateman, Bale’s slender, muscular body and strikingly handsome face were apparent enough, but perhaps more surprising was the ease with which the actor seemed to project Bateman’s affability-masking-psychopathy lifestyle, wielding an ax with the same quotidian detachment as when he visits the tanning salon. Roger Ebert said in his review of the film that “Bale is heroic in the way he allows the character to leap joyfully into despicability; there is no instinct for self-preservation here, and that is one mark of a good actor.” Audiences generally agreed, as the $7 million film grossed just over $15 million domestically.

Cannes Film Festival 2013: Only God Forgives Review

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Cannes Film Festival 2013: <em>Only God Forgives</em> Review
Cannes Film Festival 2013: <em>Only God Forgives</em> Review

Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive arrived at an opportune moment. Coming off a decade where the American genre film devolved into lowest-common-denominator investments and blockbusters ballooned skyward on the backs of sequels and franchises, Refn’s modest exercise in crime pastiche and car-chase nostalgia parlayed both the exhaustion of Hollywood’s narrative resources and—perhaps more importantly—the gathering mainstream curiosity in independent music’s preoccupation with the sound and feel of the 1980s (the film’s soundtrack has become one of the most popular word-of-mouth successes of the decade).