Closet Monster & San Diego Film Critics noms/Boston Online Awards


I have quite the busy weekend ahead of me, and finding time to watch movies is going to be a challenge. I might be able to squeeze one in tonight, but Sunday simply isn't going to happen. And more than likely I won't be able to watch the Critics Choice Awards either. Alas, this is my plight.

But last night I did manage to squeeze in "Closet Monster," written and directed by Stephen Dunn, starring Connor Jessup (who was great in "American Crime," Aaron Abrams (who I loved in "Hannibal," here, in a very different role. And Isabella Rossellini, doing remarkable voice work as Buffy...the hamster.

I wasn't sure what to expect from this film, and to be completely honest I was led to it mostly  excited to see Jessup in another LGBT role. Before I was sent the screener link I didn't even know Abrams and Rossellini were in the film.

I found this movie to be quite remarkable.  It tells the story of Oscar Madly, who as a young child experiences two traumatic/life changing events, one which I will not spoil here and the other the disintegration of his parents' marriage. As a teenager, Oscar strives to be an on screen makeup artist, applying to one college in NYC that he hopes will deliver him from his small town life and all the wounds that come with it. Real, figurative and imagined (in some of the films best scenes, catapulted by Jessup's acting). Along the way he develops a crush on a co-worker, but what might be creepy, or on the other spectrum-coming of age-y--is incredibly fresh. For example, I've never seen a parent portrayed quite like Abrams plays Peter. Oscar describes him perfectly in a scene that shows their very dysfunctional relationship. Peter doesn't want to grow up in a sense, and Oscar wants to accelerate the process.

Dunn chooses not to divulge or explain exactly what happened in Oscar's childhood or why he talks to a hamster (although a revelation about Buffy is a highlight of the film. Catapulted by Rossellini. The film certainly wouldn't be the same without her and that incredible voice.) I would've liked a bit more of an explanation when it came to the ending. Or maybe less...a bit more of the abstract hand that was seen earlier might have given us a better finish, but I'm thinking a second viewing might solve that.  I can't wait to see what Jessup does next. As well as Stephen Dunn.

The film will be released on January 10th.

 NOW...let's chat a bit about the San Diego Film Critics nominations. I was sitting at my computer looking at my calendar fearing that I might not see "Nocturnal Animals." I fear that it might leave Memphis theaters this week and it may never come to Oxford. (Seriously, "Trolls," just GO!) But then I see it do so well with the San Diego critics, and I am reminded of some of those earlier notices from Venice.  People love this movie. Even if Anne Thompson and Eric Kohn don't. (I listen to their podcast religiously and it sometimes sways me away from other voices out there.) It's going to be a must see for me next week.

Boston looks a bit more of the same. (It was interesting that Huppert was left off San Diego altogether, but wins Boston. I do think the Academy will go with her though.) It really seems like "Moonlight" is a serious contender for the win. But so did "The Social Network." I need to see "La La Land" people. I feel like I'm playing this game in the dark!

2016 San Diego Film Critics Society Nominees:

Best PictureHELL OR HIGH WATER

LA LA LAND
MANCHESTER BY THE SEA
MOONLIGHT
NOCTURNAL ANIMALS
Best Director
Barry Jenkins, MOONLIGHT
Damien Chazelle, LA LA LAND
David Mackenzie, HELL OR HIGH WATER
Kenneth Lonergan, MANCHESTER BY THE SEA
Tom Ford, NOCTURNAL ANIMALS
Best Actor, Male
Adam Driver, PATERSON
Casey Affleck, MANCHESTER BY THE SEA
Chris Pine, HELL OR HIGH WATER
Jake Gyllenhaal, NOCTURNAL ANIMALS
Joel Edgerton, LOVING
Ryan Gosling, LA LA LAND
Viggo Mortensen, CAPTAIN FANTASTIC
Best Actor, Female
Annette Bening, 20th CENTURY WOMEN
Emma Stone, LA LA LAND
Natalie Portman, JACKIE
Ruth Negga, LOVING
Sonia Braga, AQUARIUS
Best Supporting Actor, Male
Aaron Taylor-Johnson, NOCTURNAL ANIMALS
Ben Foster, HELL OR HIGH WATER
Jeff Bridges, HELL OR HIGH WATER
Mahershala Ali, MOONLIGHT
Michael Shannon, NOCTURNAL ANIMALS
Best Supporting Actor, Female
Greta Gerwig, 20TH CENTURY WOMEN
Judy Davis, THE DRESSMAKER
Lily Gladstone, CERTAIN WOMEN
Michelle Williams, MANCHESTER BY THE SEA
Nicole Kidman, LION
Best Comedic Performance
Alden Ehrenreich, HAIL, CAESAR
Julian Dennison – HUNT FOR THE WILDERPEOPLE
Kate McKinnon, GHOSTBUSTERS
Ryan Gosling, THE NICE GUYS
Ryan Reynolds, DEADPOOL
Best Original Screenplay
Barry Jenkins, Tarell McCraney, MOONLIGHT
Damien Chazelle, LA LA LAND
Efthimis Filippou, Yorgos Lanthimos, THE LOBSTER
Kenneth Lonergan, MANCHESTER BY THE SEA
Taylor Sheridan, HELL OR HIGH WATER
Best Adapted Screenplay
Eric Heisserer, ARRIVAL
Luke Davies, LION
Taika Waititi, HUNT FOR THE WILDERPEOPLE
Tom Ford, NOCTURNAL ANIMALS
Whit Stillman, LOVE & FRIENDSHIP
Best Documentary
DE PALMA
GLEASON
O.J.: MADE IN AMERICA
TOWER
WEINER
Best Animated Film
APRIL AND THE EXTRAORDINARY WORLD
KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS
LONG WAY NORTH
MOANA
ZOOTOPIA
Best Foreign Language Film
A MAN CALLED OVE
AQUARIUS
MOTHER (EME)
MOUNTAINS MAY DEPART
NERUDA
THE HANDMAIDEN
Best Editing
Blu Murray, SULLY
Jake Roberts, HELL OR HIGH WATER
Joan Sobel, NOCTURNAL ANIMALS
Joe Walker, ARRIVAL
Tom Cross, LA LA LAND
Best Cinematography
Bradford Young, ARRIVAL
Giles Nuttgens, HELL OR HIGH WATER
James Laxton, MOONLIGHT
Linus Sandgren, LA LA LAND
Seamus McGarvey, NOCTURNAL ANIMALS
Best Production Design
Anna Rackard, LOVE & FRIENDSHIP
David Wasco, LA LA LAND
Jean Rabasse, JACKIE
Jess Goncher, HAIL, CAESAR
Patrice Vermette, ARRIVAL
Shane Valentino, NOCTURNAL ANIMALS
Best Visual Effects
A MONSTER CALLS
ARRIVAL
DOCTOR STRANGE
LA LA LAND
THE JUNGLE BOOK
Best Costume Design
Eimer Ni Mhaoldomhnaigh, LOVE & FRIENDSHIP
Madeline Fontaine, JACKIE
Marion Boyce, Margot Wilson, THE DRESSMAKER
Mary Zophres, LA LA LAND
Suzy Benzinger, CAFÉ SOCIETY
Best Use of Music in a Film
EVERYBODY WANTS SOME
HELL OR HIGH WATER
JACKIE
LA LA LAND
SING STREET
Breakthrough Artist
Alden Ehrenreich, HAIL CAESAR, RULES DON’T APPLY
Anya Taylor-Joy, THE WITCH
Julian Dennison, HUNT FOR THE WILDERPEOPLE
Lily Gladstone, CERTAIN WOMEN
Lucas Hedges, MANCHESTER BY THE SEA
Best Ensemble
20TH CENTURY WOMEN
HELL OR HIGH WATER
HIDDEN FIGURES
MOONLIGHT
NOCTURNAL ANIMALS

Boston Online:
BEST PICTURE:
MOONLIGHT
BEST DIRECTOR:
Damien Chazelle – LA LA LAND
BEST ACTOR:
Casey Affleck – MANCHESTER BY THE SEA
BEST ACTRESS:
Isabelle Huppert – ELLE
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR:
Mahershala Ali – MOONLIGHT
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS:
Michelle Williams – MANCHESTER BY THE SEA
BEST ENSEMBLE:
MOONLIGHT
BEST SCREENPLAY:
Kenneth Lonergan – MANCHESTER BY THE SEA
BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM:
THE HANDMAIDEN
BEST DOCUMENTARY:
CAMERAPERSON
BEST ANIMATED FILM:
KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS
BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY:
Natasha Braier – THE NEON DEMON
BEST EDITING:
Nels Bangerter – CAMERAPERSON
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE:
Mica Levi – JACKIE
 THE TEN BEST FILMS OF THE YEAR:
  1. MOONLIGHT
  2. MANCHESTER BY THE SEA
  3. LA LA LAND
  4. PATERSON
  5. HELL OR HIGH WATER
  6. GREEN ROOM
  7. SILENCE
  8. CERTAIN WOMEN
  9. THE HANDMAIDEN
  10. ELLE

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