You may have heard of Stephen King. I think he sold a book or two”¦ or 350 million. The world-famous author and his son, fellow author Owen King, packed the St. Ann’s & the Holy Trinity Church in Brooklyn, NY on Tuesday, September 26, as part of an event put on by Books Are Magic, a bookstore in Cobble Hill. We got there for the 8:00 PM event at 4:30 PM, and the line was already wrapped around the block. I asked the group sitting in folding chairs in the front when they got there and the casually responded, 9:30 AM. Introduced by Emma Straub, owner of the bookstore and daughter of King collaborator Peter Straub, the Kings took the stage to raucous applause. The two were there to introduce their latest project, the 700-page novel Sleeping Beauties, as well as take part in a self-led Q&A.
The French Connection, which remains one of the benchmarks in the history of cinema, particularly instrumental in ushering in a new wave of motion pictures during the latter quarter of the 20th Century in which real, gritty, uncensored, and violent police crime drama narratives were portrayed realistically, uncensored, and cinematically expertly, celebrates its 45th anniversary today.
Originally released on October 9th, 1971 in the United States, The French Connection is based on a true story about a French shipping magnate who plans to smuggle over $30 million in heroin to America to make a deal with some New York underworld gangsters, only to have it thwarted by a ragged yet alpha duo of unconventional and extremely unorthodox cops.
2015 saw box office records break. However, Hollywood seems stagnant in its dependency of superheroes, sequels, and series. Of the top 10 highest grossing films, 8 were sequels, spinoffs, or re-imaginings. Despite this, plenty of truly great films came out last year; so many, that I wrote a Top 10 of those NOT nominated for Best Picture. From 1944-2009, the Academy was only nominating 5 films each year for Best Picture. This year, 8 movies are nominated for the top honor. Some were all too obvious, while others came far out of left field.
Let’s countdown and rank from 8 – 1 this year’s Best Picture nominees”¦
On Sunday night, Hollywood will get together for its biggest party of the year, the 88th Annual Academy Awards, otherwise known as the Oscars. The night promises laughs, shocks, and plenty of controversy as for the second straight year all 20 acting nominees are white. With comedian Chris Rock hosting, expect some jabs directed at the Academy.
I love the Oscars, even when I hate them. Movies are my passion and the biggest night in movies has become a holiday akin to the Super Bowl. Every year, I try earnestly to see all the films nominated for top honors, and I went over and beyond this year. Not only did I watch all 8 nominated films, but I watched 19 of the 20 of the ranked Oscar performances (sorry Charlotte Rampling). Since this is my first of several Oscars 2016 columns to come, I thought it best to start in the same way the big show begins”¦ no sorry, not with a huge musical number. Nearly every year, they open the awards distribution with a Best Supporting Actor Oscar. Last year, JK Simmons accepted his trophy for playing the deliciously malicious orchestra leader in Best Pic nominee Whiplash. Simmons, much more resigned than his ferocious role as Fletcher, encouraged everyone to call their moms.
So without further ado, let’s introduce the Best Supporting Actor and Actress nominees, and then move on to the Best Actor and Actress nominees. I’ll tell you who will likely will win”¦ but more importantly, who I think should win.
More than any other year this decade, 2015 had a sufficient amount of prestigious films that had distinct narratives about women being considerably perplexed and troubled with their particular situations. Perusing the films on my list, I started to realize that a vast number of them contained women longing to attain an ideal, a passion, or a faint semblance of hope that the future can and will be brighter. From all over the globe these individuals sought love and respect only to encounter threatening obstacles, some that could be overcome and others that could barely be comprehended, let alone endured.
The atmosphere that Harley found herself in in Heaven Knows What was beyond volatile and dangerous, but it didn’t prohibit her from dreaming of a better existence for herself and her lover. A lethal assassin is summoned back to her homeland to carry out a murder but is unable to do so due to her growing consciousness in The Assassin. Two women who fall spellbindingly in love in Carol each possess desires to create a lasting bond with each other despite society’s unbending morality. Looking to move up in the ranks of the FBI and make a name for herself, Kate unquestionably steps too far out of her comfort zone where she quickly meets the most ruthless of men in Sicario. And the women of Mad Max: Fury Road are acquainted with an impossible to comprehend evil but are willing to go through an unrelenting gauntlet to attain their ideal.