Just us, the cameras, and those wonderful people out there in the dark...

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Review: What Happened, Miss Simone? (2015)

* * * 1/2

Director: Liz Garbus

What Happened, Miss Simone? is the sort of documentary so well-crafted that going into it almost entirely unfamiliar with its subject isn't an obstacle to enjoying it. I went into it with only the broadest of knowledge of Nina Simone's career and was totally captivated by the complex, dynamic, and at times self-destructive woman revealed through archival footage of her on stage and in interviews, and through interviews of those who knew her. While pretty much every award for documentary filmmaking this year went to Amy, this other chronicle of a star who burned bright and self-immolated with fame is just as compelling and as fascinating.

Friday, February 5, 2016

88th Academy Awards: Best Foreign Language Film

The nominees are:

Embrace of the Serpent

Country: Colombia
Director: Ciro Guerra
Plot: A 40 year search through the Amazon for a sacred healing plant undertaken by a shaman who is the last surviving member of his tribe and two scientists, one German and one American.

Director's Oscar History: First nominated film

Thursday, February 4, 2016

88th Academy Awards: Best Animated Feature

The nominees are:

Anomalisa

Director: Charlie Kaufman, Duke Johnson
Plot: A self-help author depressed by how mundane life has become experiences a brief encounter with a woman who makes him see things in a different way.

Director's Oscar History: First nominated film for Duke Johnson. Charlie Kaufman: 1 previous win for Best Original Screenplay for Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004); 2 previous nominations for Best Original Screenplay for Being John Malkovich (1999), and Best Adapted Screenplay for Adaptation. (2002)

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

88th Academy Awards: Best Documentary Feature

The nominees are:

Amy

Director: Asif Kapadia
Subject: The life of Amy Winehouse, as seen through private home videos.

Director's Oscar History: First nomination

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

88th Academy Awards: The Shorts

The nominees are:

Best Animated Short Film

Bear Story

Director: Gabriel Osorio Vargas
Plot: An old bear relates the story of his life through a mechanical diorama.