6th Annual Chrisfilm Awards (2015)

Posted in Chrisfilm Awards on February 22, 2015 by chrisfilm

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted here, but for a day at least, I’m back. I still don’t think I’m ready to write about every movie I see as I see them, but I at least want to share my favorites of 2014 and continue the tradition of the Chrisfilm Awards.

Every year, to celebrate the Academy Awards, I come up with my personal list of nominations and winners. As per usual, my awards look a lot different than the Oscar nominations, but hopefully this will give my readers an idea of some other quality movies from 2014 that the Academy did not mention. I only saw 3 out of the 8 Oscar Best Picture nominees though, in case you are looking for a point of reference to how ‘in the loop’ I am. Hope you enjoy!

And so begins the 6th Annual Chrisfilm Awards.


Best Supporting Actor:

Paul Eenhoorn, Land Ho!
bsa - Eenhoorn

Dennis Farina, Authors Anonymous
bsa - Farina

Gary Poulter, Joe
bsa - poulter

Peter Sarsgaard, Night Moves
bsa - Sarsgaard

And the winner is…

Robert Pattinson, The Rover
Robert Pattinson the Rover


Best Supporting Actress:

Kim Dickens, Gone Girl
bsac - Kim Dickens, Gone Girl

Elle Fanning, Maleficent
bsac - Elle Fanning, Maleficent

Diane Kruger, The Better Angels
bsac - Diane Kruger, The Better Angels

Mia Wasikowska, The Double
bsac Mia Wasikowska, The Double

And the winner is…

Agata Kulesza, Ida
bsac - Agata Kulesza, Ida


Best Cinematography:

Natasha Braier, The Rover
the rover

Daniel Landin, Under the Skin
under the skin

Erik Wilson, The Double
the double cinema

Robert Yeoman, The Grand Budapest Hotel
grand budapest hotel

And the winner is…

Matthew J. Lloyd, The Better Angels
better angels


Best Actress:

Marion Cotillard, Two Days, One Night
bac - Marion Cotillard, Two Days, One Night

Felicity Jones, The Theory of Everything
bac - felicity jones, the theory of everything

Zoe Kazan, What If
bac - Zoe Kazan, What If

Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl
bac - Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl

And the winner is…

Scarlett Johansson, Under the Skin
bac - Scarlett Johansson, Under the Skin


Best Actor:

Nicolas Cage, Joe
ba - Nicolas Cage, Joe

Jake Gyllenhaal, Nightcrawler
ba - Jake Gyllenhaal, Nightcrawler

Tom Hardy, Locke
ba - Tom Hardy, Locke

Scott Haze, Child of God
ba - Scott Haze, Child of God

And the winner is…

Ralph Fiennes, The Grand Budapest Hotel
ba - Ralph Fiennes, The Grand Budapest Hotel


Best Director:

Wes Anderson, The Grand Budapest Hotel
bd - Wes Anderson, The Grand Budapest Hotel

A.J. Edwards, The Better Angels
bd - A.J. Edwards, The Better Angels

David Gordon Green, Joe
bd - David Gordon Green, Joe

Paul King, Paddington
bd - Paul King, Paddington

And the winner is…

David Fincher, Gone Girl
bd - David Fincher, Gone Girl


Best Picture of 2014:

The Double
the double

Gone Girl
gone girl

The Grand Budapest Hotel



Land Ho!
land ho!

Night Moves
night moves

The Rover
the rover

Under the Skin

And the winner is…

The Better Angels
the better angels

It’s been fun…

Posted in |. on May 30, 2014 by chrisfilm

..but all good things must come to an end (at least temporarily). These days, keeping up with this blog feels more like a chore than a hobby. That, coupled with my inability to see even one movie a week, has brought me to the conclusion that it’s time to call it quits, at least for now.

I will still watch movies as I can, and hopefully keep up with the latest and greatest as they are released and/or made available to me. And perhaps come next Chrisfilm Awards season, I can pick this back up, but I can’t make any promises. So with that being said, it’s been a lot of fun and I’ve enjoyed having people read my writing and discuss it on occasion, but it’s au revoir for now.

walking away

EDIT: Apparently that was my 600th post. What a way to go!

Under the Skin (Glazer, 2013)

Posted in 2010s, 8/10 on May 15, 2014 by chrisfilm

Under the Skin (Jonathan Glazer, 2013)

But Saul […] went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. Now as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven shone around him. And falling to the ground he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” And he said, “Who are you, Lord?  –Acts 9:1-5

What an odd and enchanting story. My soft spot for sci-fi is showing here and the blend of science fiction elements with art house technical and emotional presentation makes for an eerie and poignant experience. Johansson is fantastic in her nearly silent role – flirtatious to lure men into her lair, seductive to keep them engrossed, impassive after leading them to their end. And her emotional awakening to compassion and love is a beautifully quiet set of events culminated by an oddly tragic ending. And while you can truly sense her soaking in of the world around her like you can in no other alien movie, the most impressive aspect of this entire experience was the technical clinic Glazer puts on. Part shaky cam, tight framed, soft lit intimate cinematography; part boldly drastic, semi-surreal, high energy rush of visual and aural aesthetic. Highlighted by shocking trap Johansson sets for her victims – the mysterious black room, the way to men emotionlessly sink into the floor, the hypnotic pulsating music – a grandiose technical bravado. One of the most interesting films of the year, no doubt, and one that lingers in the mind long after.  8.5/10

under the skin

Last Train from Gun Hill (J. Sturges, 1959)

Posted in 1950s, 8/10, American Classic Western on May 10, 2014 by chrisfilm

Last Train from Gun Hill (John Sturges, 1959)

Do not pervert justice; do not show partiality to the poor or favoritism to the great, but judge your neighbor fairly.  –Leviticus 19:15

First of all, this is a daring film for 1959. A white protagonist married to an Indian woman. A somewhat explicit attack on this woman resulting in a rape and murder. A lot of very open talk of another character’s life as a prostitute. While much of this is still tame compared to what you can find in movies today, for this time period, it was a bit jarring. It helps the film’s atmosphere tremendously though. This is a hard-nosed section of the far west and no one is living cookie cutter western lives. Additionally, it makes the relationship between the two older protagonists all the more interesting. A relationship built on respect and friendship knifed by a horrible situation that throws each into a heartbreaking set of circumstances. You can’t blame either for reacting the way they do and while justice is warranted, it’s not easy to accept. The film’s plot does drag a bit once it is fully set up, so the momentum of such a grand beginning stutters as it goes. But it comes to a conclusion that fits perfectly and is a solid film that’s not one to miss.  8.25/10

last train from gun hill

Joe (D.G. Green, 2013)

Posted in 2010s, 8/10 on May 5, 2014 by chrisfilm

Joe (David Gordon Green, 2013)

Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.  –Proverbs 28:13

A comeback for David Gordon Green? Well, as I’ve already stated, I pretty much considered Prince Avalanche Green’s comeback, so I wasn’t as down on him as some at this point. But, yes, this is even closer still to his earlier works than anything in recent years. Joe captures the lives of a certain sect of individuals; it’s harsh and it’s brash but it’s truth. Using several locals to take on the smaller acting parts, Green found a real gem in Gary Poulter as the drunk, abusive father. Poulter was a local homeless man (who actually died on the streets not long after filming has wrapped) who brought to life his character with such natural grace and affection. Sure, he was playing a despicable human being, but at the same time somehow made him unobtrusively sympathetic instead of a stereotype. (Nothing is explicitly stated, but the way he handles himself in certain situations both publicly and privately wreaks of an upbringing of extreme neglect.)


I’m glad Green was able to bring this character to the screen because, to be perfectly honest, the title character’s issues and the main mentor/mentee relationship was a bit underdeveloped. To be quite frank, I didn’t follow Joe’s character arc at all. Maybe in Green’s attempt to make Joe flawed, he went too far the other direction and made him a silly mess with no real breaking point. It was an odd presentation. Still, much of this flaw is covered by the brilliant depiction of other characters and the mostly spot on tone and atmosphere that accompany. I love these representations of rural life even when they do focus on hardships.  8.25/10