SHORT TAKE: “It’s Kind of a Funny Story” (**)

Posted by · 4:13 pm · October 5th, 2010

BFI London Film Festival (LFF coverage will begin in earnest when the fest itself kicks off next Wednesday. However, given that this film is opening Stateside on Friday, it made sense to yank the review forward.) Hitherto a pair of the brightest lights on the American indie-film scene, writing-directing duo Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck […]

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Michael Moore on ‘Hurt Locker’ politics

Posted by · 5:37 pm · March 8th, 2010

One of the most common lines (usually used in praise) on our newly-crowned Best Picture winner is that it’s deliberately apolitical, taking no sides in the Iraq conflict as it aims simply to present the soldier’s experience on the ground. Kathryn Bigelow herself dismissed that as something of a misconception in a recent interview with […]

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My dream ballot: part two

Posted by · 3:21 pm · February 1st, 2010

Yesterday, I began my far-fetched wishlist of nominees for tomorrow’s announcement with a look at the technical categories. Today we move into the big races. And as much as I thought I had my favorites clearly mapped out in my head, a rundown of the eligible titles made for some very crowded races indeed. Once […]

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Buried treasures: Chad’s best of 2009 (list and ballot)

Posted by · 5:32 pm · January 8th, 2010

Unlike Kris, I can’t quite come to the conclusion that 2009 was the best year of the decade. Nor can I call it the “year of the woman,” the “best year for animation” or “the year James Cameron brought a sense of wonder back to the cinema.” The only thing I can personally label 2009 […]

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Things of beauty: Guy’s best of 2009

Posted by · 6:01 am · December 23rd, 2009

The year of the woman. The year of animation. The year of science-fiction. Depending on who you read (and believe), the final year of the decade has been an awful lot of things. If you’re with Kris, it’s also the best cinematic year of the last ten. If you’re with an awful lot of others, […]

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If I had a ballot

Posted by · 12:04 pm · December 16th, 2009

Every year I like to keep track of personal favorites throughout the Academy’s designated categories (plus one of my own addition, Best Ensemble). At the end of the year, my “if I had a ballot” post is the result. Of course, for the most part, I follow Academy designations here. If something is ruled ineligible, […]

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Going out with a bang: the best films of 2009

Posted by · 12:35 pm · December 14th, 2009

I’ve often been asked throughout the latter part of 2009 why I should have the gall to consider it the best year of film product in a decade. It’s such a subjective circumstance that, of course, the only answer is, “I liked a lot of movies.” That’s not enough for most. Hard and fast evidence […]

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AFI announce Top 10 American films of 2009

Posted by · 4:32 pm · December 13th, 2009

Jeez, give us some breathing room. Anyway, the American Film Institute has revealed their annual selection of the year’s best U.S. titles, and as usual, it’s a pleasingly diverse, idiosyncratic list. My heart sings to see Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck’s marvelous “Sugar” make the cut, at the expense of heavily-hyped titles like “Invictus” and […]

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11/27 Osarweb Round-up

Posted by · 9:35 am · November 27th, 2009

• The significance of “Nine” for Anthony Minghella’s legacy. [The Guardian] • Steven Zeitchik catches on to the year’s thin original screenplay race and bangs the drum for “Sugar.” [Risky Business] • Lauren Shucker talks “Up in the Air” with director Jason Reitman. [Wall Street Journal]

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THE LONG SHOT: Consider this

Posted by · 2:34 pm · November 18th, 2009

There’s nothing like an Oscar season to prove what a small number five (or even ten) is. We may only be in November, but already, months of conversation, covering a broad canvas of Oscar sure-shots and long-shots alike, have devolved into a ruthless mathematical elimination process, as previously five-wide categories fill up with safe bets. […]

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OFF THE CARPET: Original players

Posted by · 2:44 pm · November 16th, 2009

When I had the unmitigated gall last week to project a set of winners for this year’s Oscar race, I was a bit startled at how easy Mark Boal’s script for “The Hurt Locker” slid into the Best Original Screenplay slot.  Looking over the landscape of contenders in the category, it’s a little obvious why […]

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Nominees announced for 19th annual Gotham Awards

Posted by · 10:13 am · October 19th, 2009

And here…we…go! I’m on my way out the door and so I can’t fully comment on the just announced list of Gotham Award nominees (which, along with the trickling-in list of Hollywood Film Fest winners, really is making this seem like an Oscar season all of a sudden, no?)  But here they are.  A handful […]

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THE LISTS: Top 10 first-half releases that deserved better

Posted by · 10:58 am · July 7th, 2009

Around this time last year, we did a mid-year stocktake of sorts, wherein the site’s various contributors named the best (and worst) of what the cinematic year had presented thus far. You may have noticed that we haven’t offered up a similar piece for 2009. Time constraints may have had something to do with it, […]

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2009’s Oscar drought…same old song and dance

Posted by · 3:53 pm · June 23rd, 2009

Over at Variety, newly minted editor-in-chief Tim Gray writes what we’ve been mentioning around these parts for a while: the first half of the 2009 film year is decidedly bereft of anything that might be deemed “Oscar-worthy” come January 2010. Aside from “Star Trek” and “Up,” the recognized critical faves of the year thus far, […]

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Two sugars

Posted by · 9:52 am · June 5th, 2009

As you know, we really love Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck’s “Sugar” here at InContention. The film opens today here in the UK, and I sincerely hope discerning Brit audiences can get past the unfamiliar baseball angle and see this for the lovely, universal character piece it is. Anyway, I thought I’d share this beautiful […]

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5/18 Web Round-up

Posted by · 8:20 am · May 18th, 2009

• “Star Trek” looks to be a hit off-world. [The Carpetbagger] • It looks like Kenneth Branagh and Marvel have found their Thor: Chris Hemsworth from “Star Trek.” [Deadline Hollywood Daily] • Jeff Sneider takes a long, hard look at the MTV Movie Awards. [Examiner.com] • Tom O’Neil poses the obvious question: Will “Angels & […]

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“My life”

Posted by · 9:52 am · April 14th, 2009

Faith in mankind restored. SUGAR doubled this weekend ($125K) what it made last weekend ($60K). And Indiewire reports: “What’s more, its $6,389 average was up near $1,000 from last weekend.” Now if only this continues. From family & friends who were at Q&As at 4/3 & 4/4 , 4/10 Boston plus I was at 4/11 […]

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‘Sugar’ deserves a look

Posted by · 11:22 am · April 6th, 2009

Chad didn’t bring up Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck’s “Sugar” in this weekend’s Sunday Cents column because, on 11 theaters, the film brought in a modest $71,000.  And it probably won’t move the needle much throughout its run where box office is concerned.  But I felt a need to put it back up on the […]

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