2018 Mid-Year Rachies

Hello friends!  So we have recently passed the half way point of the year in movie-going and I thought it would be fun to give you my picks for the best of 2018 so far. Around the Oscars I do something called The Rachies so you might just consider this a mid-year Rachies. Let me know what your favorites areBest Picture Live Action-

Paddington 2- As far as I’m concerned this film is perfectly executed. Funny, sweet, heart-warming and delightful.

Best Picture Animation

Incredibles 2– A delightful Pixar sequel that is both a well done superhero movie and a treatise on how hard it is to be a parent

Best Actor in a Leading Role

Charlie Plummer for Lean on Pete– This is a film that has really stuck with me and Charlie Plummer is phenomenal as a homeless teenage orphan who is traveling America trying to save a special horse. There are scenes in this film that broke me and I haven’t been able to shake from my brain. Devastating but emotionally true and a lot of that goes to Charlie Plummer. He’s going to be a huge star.

Best Actress in a Leading Role

Thomasin McKenzie for Leave No Trace– Teenagers are giving the best performances of the year (I could have also picked Elsie Fisher for Eighth Grade). I debated about picking Leave No Trace as my best of the year because it is a film I saw at Sundance and has stayed with me all these months later. I love everything about it and Thomasin is incredible in her role. It’s amazing to see her begin to lovingly question her father and make some very tough choices.

Best Supporting Actor-

Hugh Grant for Paddington 2- I was trying to think of another film I could showcase but there really was nobody else close as a supporting performance to Hugh Grant in Paddington 2. He is so funny and obviously willing to make fun of his own reputation as a bit of a foppish actor. In a near-perfect movie he was the stand out.

Best Supporting Actress-

Emily Blunt for A Quiet Place- this might be considered a lead by some but I’d say she is supporting to John Krasiniski’s lead. What she manages to do without making a sound is so impressive and when she is trying to birth that baby it is so tense my nails were digging into the arm rests. It was the most invested I’ve been in a horror performance in a long time.

Best Cinematography-

Joshua James Richards for The Rider- I didn’t emotionally connect with this film the way I hoped I would but I still greatly admired it and thought it was stunning to look at. Richards and director Chloe Zhao have made the American prairie look both gorgeous and achingly lonely at the same time.

Best Production Design-

Adam Stockhausen for Isle of Dogs- I thoroughly enjoyed Wes Anderson’s quirky stop motion film but I loved the production design. The attention to detail was outstanding and I can’t wait to get the art book and find out how everything from the wall of glass to the Japanese political rallies were staged.

Hidden Gem-

Sgt Stubby: An American Hero- This sweet little indie animated film about a dog in World War 1 I will continue to champion and try to get everyone I know to see it. It did so many things right that so many animated films fail to do. It doesn’t have the dog talk. It gets the tone just about perfectly down. It shows enough war to be meaningful without traumatizing children. It is not a ra ra America film nor is it shaming the troops in any way. It was so sweet and inspirational without being maudlin. I LOVED it!

Best Documentary-

Won’t You Be My Neighbor- In many ways the documentary about Fred Rogers doesn’t reinvent the wheel. It has talking heads who reminisce about the subjects life and his impact on the world like many have done before. However, in a world of Me Too where every famous man seems to disappoint finding out Fred Rogers was just about as great as you thought he was meant a lot. Watching this movie was a reminder to be a little kinder. To love a little bit more easily and to accept people for who they are. It was so well executed and just what I needed (I’ve seen it twice!)

Best Comedy-

Game Night- Maybe it is just coming from a competitive family that likes to play games but I thought this movie was hilarious. I loved all of the performances and thought the cast had great chemistry together. I loved Kyle Chandler playing this near-do-well but slick brother (I’m so used to him in dramas like Manchester By the Sea). I loved scenes like when Jason Bateman is trying to clean blood off a dog. It was so funny

(Game Night is rated R so it won’t be for everyone

Best Visual Effects-

Ready Player One- the best visual effects for my money go to the Steven Spielberg and the team behind Ready Player One. They made a lot of changes from the book (which I LOVE) but one thing they got right was the look and feel of the Oasis. It was so immersive and stunning. The kind of place I would like to go if I could with details filling up the screen. Each set piece contained surprises (and not just call outs but visually interesting and beautiful things). The segment at the Shining was incredible but the whole movie looked great

Some Other Quick Awards-

Most Overrated- Annihilation- looks pretty but is basically a creature scares movie pretending to be a pretentious treatise on life. It has no idea what it is trying to say as it lays one message down after another. Stupidity wrapped in smart clothing

(I also didn’t like Peter Rabbit, Upgrade, Set it Up, or The Party as much as most)

Most Underrated- I Feel Pretty- a throwback to Penny Marshall movies from the 90s that everyone took WAY too seriously. It had its heart in the right place, and I appreciated what it was trying to say. I laughed and thought it was overall very sweet.

(I also liked Adrift, Book Club, I Can Only Imagine, Solo, and The Commuter more than most)

Biggest End of Movie Letdown- Avengers: Infinity War. Most of this movie was pretty entertaining and well done but then they had the ending that tries to get me to believe that a major studio is actually killing off their brightest and newest talents. Give me a break. Most people were crying and it kind of ticked me off. I HATE when directors think I am stupid and I’m not stupid enough to believe that Marvel is killing off Black Panther. Ugh

(The last 30 minutes of Tully was also extremely disappointing and frustrating!).

Biggest Disappointment- Wrinkle in Time- I love the novel and Ava DuVernay had all the pieces to make something great but instead made something that was muddled, confusing and full of speechifying. All the spirituality of the novel is taken away in favor of sermons that looked like part of a yoga retreat video and Meg was told she was a warrior instead of figuring that out for herself and saving Charles Wallace from IT because she knew how important he was to God. What a waste!

(I was also disappointed in Early Man and Ocean’s 8 was just Ok when I was hoping it would be great)

Worst Movies So Far-

Lu Over the Wall- Made me physically nauseated. Spastic and all over the place. The parts that do work are a copycat of Ponyo.

White Fang- Exploitative animal violence in a film aimed at children was jarring and went on for way too long. Also the animation and voice acting was hit and miss.

Gotti- Terribly made in every way but also wants you to believe the mafia are the true victims of authorities who won’t stop hounding them!

Pacific Rim: Uprising- I hated every inch of this nauseating blockbuster full of stupid and irritating characters that would not shut up

Ophelia- the most ridiculous attempt to turn Hamlet into a feminist mantra you could imagine. I was dying trying to hold my laughter in.

For more of my thoughts on some indie films check out the podcast I did with my friend Orla Smith

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2016 Rachies Awards

Well, my friends, the Oscars are coming up and most likely they will get a few things right but most things wrong. I don’t know if I’m even going to watch this year because the political speeches are going to be so obnoxious. Instead, I would like to point you to a much better annual awards offering- the Rachies. Yes, for the last 3 years I have given my nominations and winners for the best of the year. I include all the categories from the Oscars but then offer a few of my own into the mix. So, sit back and enjoy the 2016 Rachies Awards!

Best Animated Film-

your-name-2Moana

Your Name

The Red Turtle

Zootopia

Kubo and the Two Strings

Best Live Action Film-

sing-streetHacksaw Ridge

Sing Street

Love and Friendship

Lion

Things to Come

Best Directing-

lion-sunny-pawar

Mel Gibson- Hacksaw Ridge

Barry Jenkins- Moonlight

Ron Clements and John Musker- Moana

David Mackenzie- Hell or High Water

Garth Davis- Lion

Makoto Shinkai- Your Name

Most Underrated/Underseen

april2

Presenting Princess Shaw

Tower

April and the Extraordinary World

Ethel and Ernest

London Road

Best Animated Short

piper disney pixar finalFoxed

Piper

Inner Workings

Borrowed Time

Pearl

Best Actress in Leading Role

fences-movie35

Isabelle Huppert- Things to Come

Kate Beckinsale- Love and Friendship

Viola Davis- Fences

Ruth Negga- Loving

Rebecca Hall- Christine

Best Actor in Leading Role

sullyCasey Affleck- Manchester By the Sea

Tom Hanks- Sully

Denzel Washington- Fences

Taron Egerton- Eddie the Eagle

Rolf Lassgard- A Man Called Ove

Best Supporting Actress-queen-of-katwe-scene

Chloe Sevigny- Love and Friendship

Nicole Kidman- Lion

Taraji P Henson- Hidden Figures

Lupita Nyong’o- Queen of Katwe

Michelle Williams- Manchester by the Sea

Best Supporting Actorjack-reynor

Ashton Sanders- Moonlight

Jack Reynor- Sing Street

Tom Bennett- Love and Friendship

John Goodman- 10 Cloverfield Lane

Chris Pine- Hell or High Water

Best Ensemble Filmhacksaw-ridge-ensemble

Hidden Figures

Hacksaw Ridge

Hell or High Water

Captain America: Civil War

Everybody Wants Some

Best Voice Actingzootopia100

Auli’i Cravalho and The Rock- Moana

Jim Broadbent and Blenda Blethyn- Ethel and Ernest

Ginnifer Goodwin and Jason Bateman- Zootopia

Ellen Degeneres- Finding Dory

Art Parkinson- Kubo and the Two Strings

Best Production Designallied2

Rogue One

Allied

Passengers

La La Land

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Best Visual EffectsTHE JUNGLE BOOK

A Monster Calls

Pete’s Dragon

Jungle Book

Doctor Strange

The BFG

Best Documentary

tower2

Presenting Princess Shaw

Tower

Life, Animated

OJ Made in America

The Eagle Huntress

Best Costumesdressmaker6

Florence Foster Jenkins

Love and Friendship

The Dressmaker

Cafe Society

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

Best Makeup and Hairjackie2

Star Trek Beyond

The Dressmaker

Jackie

Nocturnal Animals

Allied

Best Editinghacksaw-ridge-poster-part

13 Hours

The Shallows

Hacksaw Ridge

Nocturnal Animals

Hell or High Water

Best Cinematographyhunt-for-wilderpeople

Lion

Hunt for the Wilderpeople

Knight of Cups

La La Land

Pete’s Dragon

Best Original Score

La La Land

Moana

The Red Turtle

Your Name

Moonlight

Best Original Song

How Far I’ll Go- Moana

You’re Welcome- Moana

Drive it Like You Stole It- Sing Street

Up- Sing Street

Sparkle- Your Name

Best Original Screenplayhell-or-highwater

Things to Come

Sing Street

Hell or High Water

Everybody Wants Some

Manchester By the Sea

Your Name

Best Adapted Screenplaylove and friendship2

Lion

Fences

Moonlight

Love and Friendship

Queen of Katwe

Best Sound Design and Mixing

13-hoursRogue One

Hacksaw Ridge

13 Hours

Patriot’s Day

Allied

Biggest Surprise

10_cloverfield_lane_paramount_winstead-0-0Hell or High Water

10 Cloverfield Lane

Pete’s Dragon

Hidden Figures

Bridget Jones Baby

So that is my Rachies Awards!  I hope you enjoyed them. Please let me know what you think in the comments section and check out some of these movies if you haven’t had a chance!

2016 Rachies

Oscar statuettes are displayed at Times Square Studios 23 January 2006 in New York. The statuettes will be presented to winners of the 78th Academy Awards 05 March 2006 in Hollywood.

In spirit of the Oscars (which I will not be watching this year because I am not a Chris Rock fan and they will only tick me off like they did last year) I am giving my own nominations and winners for the major categories (as well as making my own categories up!).   Last year the Rachies were all animation.  This year since I saw so many more films I expanded it.  So if I ran the world this is how it would all go down!

Best Picture

Nominees-

Brooklyn

Spotlight

The Martian

Inside Out (I’ll award it later)

45 Years

Ex-Machina

Mad Max Fury Road

Star Wars Force Awakens

Best Actor

Leonardo DiCaprio (The Revenant)

Matt Damon (The Martian)

Michael Fassbender (Steve Jobs)

Emory Cohen (Brooklyn)

Michael B Jordan (Creed)

Best Actress

Charlotte Rampling (45 Years)

Saoirse Ronan (Brooklyn)

Alicia Vikander (Testament of Youth)

Carey Mulligan (Far From the Madding Crowd)

I’ll See You in My Dreams (Blythe Danner)

Supporting Actress

Julie Walters (Paddington)

Cate Blanchett (Cinderella)

Rachel McAdams (Spotlight)

Kate Winslet (Steve Jobs)

Alicia Vikander (Ex-Machina)

Supporting Actor

Oscar Isaac (Ex-Machina)

Sylvester Stallone (Creed)

Henry Adofo (Freetown)

Kyle Chandler (Carol)

Ian McKellan (Mr Holmes)

Animated Film

Good Dinosaur

Peanuts Movie

Inside Out

When Marnie was There

Cheatin’

Animated Short (I didn’t use any anthology shorts)

Sanjay’s Super Team

World of Tomorrow

We Can’t Live Without Cosmos

Le Gouffre

An Object at Rest

Best Song

Fine On the Outside (When Marnie was There)

Cold One (Ricki and the Flash)

See You Again (Furious 7)

Writings on the Wall (Spectre)

Better When I’m Dancin’ (Peanuts Movie)

Best Score-

I only picked movies I’ve actually seen for these nominations so no Ennio Morricone for Hateful Eight

Ben Salisbury, Geoff Barrow (Ex-Machina)

Tom Holkenborg (Mad Max Fury Road)

Michael Giacchino (Inside Out)

Max Richter (Testament of Youth)

Michael Brook (Brooklyn)

Best Vocal Performance in Animated Film

Raymond Ocha (Good Dinosaur)

Noah Schnapp (Peanuts Movie)

Amy Poehler (Inside Out)

Phyllis Smith (Inside Out)

Richard Kind (Inside Out)

Best Director

Pete Docter (Inside Out)

George Miller (Mad Max Fury Road)

Danny Boyle (Steve Jobs)

JJ Abrams (Star Wars: Force Awakens)

Todd Haynes (Carol)

Best Costumes

Carol

Brooklyn

Cinderella

Testament of Youth

Far from the Madding Crowd

Hair and Makeup

Mad Max Fury Road

Jupiter Ascending

Cinderella

Star Wars Force Awakens

Carol

Cinematography

Rob Hardy (Testament of Youth)

Emmanuel Lubezki (The Revenant)

Charlotte Bruus Christensen (Far from the Madding Crowd)

Yves Belanger (Brooklyn)

John Seale (Mad Max Fury Road)

Production Design

Colin Gibson (Mad Max Fury Road)

Francois Seguin (Brooklyn)

Dante Ferretti (Cinderella)

Rick Carter (Star Wars: Force Awakens)

Adam Stockhausen (Bridge of Spies)

Best CG Characters in Live Action

Star Wars Force Awakens

Cinderella

Paddington

Ant-Man

Spongebob: Sponge out of Water

Best Visual Effects

Mad Max: Fury Road

Star Wars: Force Awakens

Avengers Age of Ultron

Ex-Machina

The Revenant

Best Screenplay

Inside Out

Brooklyn

Spotlight

The Big Short

The Martian

Best Faith Based Film

Kahlil Gibran The Prophet

Woodlawn

Freetown

Once I was a Beehive

Old Fashioned

Best Ensemble

The Big Short

Spotlight

Inside Out

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Avengers: Age of Ultron

 Best Kiss (these shows take themselves way too seriously)

Age of Adaline

Far from the Madding Crowd

The DUFF

Cinderella

Brooklyn

My congrats to all the nominees and winners. 🙂