Manchester by the Sea was chosen as the Best Film of 2016 by the Kansas City Film Critics Circle, the second oldest critics group in the country. MediaMikes film critics Michael Smith and Jeremy Werner are members of the group. Smith also serves as the groups secretary and is a member of the governing board. The film was also recognized with the Robert Altman Award for Direction and the film’s star, Casey Affleck, was chosen as the year’s Best Actor. The winners were announced today during a ceremony for the 51st Annual James Loutzenhiser Awards at the Alamo Drafthouse Mainstreet Theatre in Kansas City.
Manchester by the Sea led all films with three wins, while Arrival, Hell or High Water and Moonlight each received two awards. Natalie Portman was named Best Actress for her portrayal of First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy in Jackie while Jeff Bridges was awarded Best Supporting Actor for his work as a grizzled Texas Ranger in Hell or High Water. For the 13th time at least one category resulted in a tie when Viola Davis (Fences) and Naomie Harris (Moonlight) tied in the Best Supporting Actress category. Zootopia was named the year’s Best Animated Feature.
This year the group also awarded the inaugural Tom Poe Award for Best LGBT Film. A beloved associate professor of film and media arts in the Department of Communication Studies at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, Poe, who passed away in November at the age of 70, was a long-time member of the Critics Circle. His reviews were inevitably astute and well-informed yet just as naturally considered and kind, in keeping with his sympathies for both filmmaker and audience. It was Poe’s belief that “great film reviews give rise to thinking about films.” As such, he supported many members of KCFCC through encouragement and dialogue. Tom Poe was our colleague and friend, and it is our intention that this annual award honor his legacy as an advocate for LGBT rights and promote his desire for justice by way of accurate and beneficial representation. The inaugural recipient is Moonlight.
The full list of winners is below:
Manchester by the Sea
ROBERT ALTMAN AWARD FOR BEST DIRECTOR
Kenneth Lonergan – Manchester by the Sea
Casey Affleck – Manchester by the Sea
Natalie Portman – Jackie
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Jeff Bridges – Hell or High Water
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Viola Davis – Fences and Naomie Harris – Moonlight
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Taylor Sheridan – Hell or High Water
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Eric Heisserer – Arrival
BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
The Handmaiden – South Korea
BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
OJ: Made in America
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
VINCE KOEHLER AWARD FOR BEST SCIENCE FICTION, FANTASY or HORROR FILM
TOM POE AWARD FOR BEST LGBT FILM
Now that the calendar has turned over to 2016, some of our critics decided to compile their annual “Best of/Worse of” lists of the films of 2015. You can listen to them list their choices, as well as their reasons, on this week’s “Behind the Mikes” Podcast – http://behindthemikes.podomatic.com/entry/2016-01-03T02_32_33-08_00
Before I list my favorites, I have an honorary film, “Star Wars – Episode VII: The Force Awakens.” It narrowly missed being a part of my Top 10 but, as the most anticipated film of the year, it delivered everything I wanted and more. My “Best of” choices:
1. The Revenant
2. Bridge of Spies
3. The Connection
5. The Gift
6. Mad Max: Fury Road
9. Here I chose (3) smaller films that didn’t gain a wide release but are still “must sees” in my book:
5-7 – A sweet, May-December romance starring Anton Yelchin and Berenice Marhloe that I called, “cleverly acted by a cast that believes in the material.”
The Looking Glass – A well written, thoughtfully directed character directed film, featuring strong performances by veteran actress Dorothy Tristan, who also wrote the script, and newcomer Grace Tarnow.
Radio America – the story of two men, friends since childhood, who pursue their musical ambitions and learn that sometimes having your dreams come true is costly. Also has a great soundtrack of original music.
10. Straight Outta Compton
Thankfully I was spared many of this years stinkers. My bottom four:
1. Love the Coopers
2. The Last Witch Hunter
3. The Kingsman: The Secret Service
Jeremy Werner’s Top 10
1. Inside Out
2. Mad Max: Fury Road
4. Star Wars – Episode VII: The Force Awakens
5. It Follows
6. The Look of Silence
8. The Martian
And the stinkers:
1. Point Break
2. The Human Centipede 3
3. Hitman: Agent 47
4. The Fantastic Four
5. The Ridiculous Six
Lauren Damon’s Top 7:
1. (tie) Crimson Peak and Ex Machina
2. The Hateful Eight
3. What We Do In the Shadows
4. The Martian
5. Jurassic World
6. Mad Max: Fury Road
And Lauren’s terrible 2:
Podcast Contributor Loey Lockerby’s Top 10:
2. The Martian
3. Inside Out
4. The Big Short
5. It Follows
6. Ex Machina
7. The Hateful Eight
9. Star Wars – Episode VII: The Force Awakens
10. Mad Max: Fury Road
Loey says they were spared having to watch anything horrible this past year. You can read Loey’s full reviews at www.suchacritic.com
[Editor’s note, an earlier version of this post had Lauren lacking worst picks. She had them.]
Mad Max: Fury Road was chosen as the Best Film of 2015 by The Kansas City Film Critics Circle, the 2nd oldest critics group in the country. The winners were announced this afternoon during a ceremony at the Alamo Drafthouse Theatre in Kansas City. Among the voters were MediaMikes own Michael Smith and Jeremy Werner.
The film, which had been nominated in four categories by the group, also took home the Robert Altman Award for Best Director for George Miller and Best Actress for Charlize Theron. The film was the only multiple winner announced by the group. The directing award is named in honor of seven-time Academy Award nominee and Kansas City native Robert Altman.
Leonardo DiCaprio was named Best Actor for his work in The Revenant. In the supporting categories, Michael Shannon received the Best Supporting Actor prize for 99 Homes while Alicia Vikander was named Best Supporting Actress for Ex Machina. PIXAR’s Inside Out was named the year’s Best Animated Feature.
Below is a complete list of winners:
BEST PICTURE: Mad Max: Fury Road
ROBERT ALTMAN AWARD FOR BEST DIRECTOR: George Miller – Mad Max: Fury Road
BEST ACTOR: Leonardo DiCaprio – The Revenant
BEST ACTRESS: Charlize Theron – Mad Max: Fury Road
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Michael Shannon – 99 Homes
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Alicia Vikander – Ex Machina
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: Josh Singer and Tom McCarthy – Spotlight
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: Charles Randolph and Adam McKay – The Big Short
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE: Inside Out
BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM: Phoenix (Germany)
BEST DOCUMENTARY: Amy
VINCE KOEHLER AWARD FOR BEST SCIENCE FICTION, FANTASY or HORROR FILM: Ex Machina
Kansas City, Missouri – The Kansas City Film Critics Circle, of which both Moviemike and Jeremy Werner are members, and the second oldest film critic organization in the country, released their nominees for the 50th Annual James Loutzenhiser Awards, recognizing the best in film for 2015.
Sicario, a fall release that addressed the war on drugs in both the United States and Mexico, led all films with five nominations including Best Picture and Best Director for Denis Villenueve. The film also earned nods for Emily Blunt for Best Actress, Benicio Del Toro for Best Supporting and Original Screenplay.
Right behind are the summer action film Mad Max: Fury Road and the upcoming Leonardo DiCaprio film, The Revenant, which each earned four nominations, including Best Picture. Also earning Best Picture nominations: Room and Spotlight. DiCaprio was nominated as one of the year’s Best Actors, along with Steve Carell (The Big Short), Bryan Cranston (Trumbo), Michael Fassbender (Steve Jobs) and last year’s Academy Award winner in this category, Eddie Redmayne (The Danish Girl).
Charlize Theron was nominated as Best Actress for her role as Imperator Furiosa in Mad Max: Fury Road. Nominated alongside her and Blunt are Cate Blanchett (Carol), Bel Powley (The Diary of a Teenage Girl) and Saoirse Ronan (Brooklyn).
Besides Del Toro, the list of nominees for Best Supporting Actor include Tom Hardy (The Revenant), Mark Rylance (Bridge of Spies), Michael Shannon (99 Homes) and Sylvester Stallone, reprising his role of Rocky Balboa in Creed. In 1976 the group named Stallone the year’s Best Actor for playing Balboa in Rocky.
Blanchett’s Carol co-star, Rooney Mara, earned a nod for Best Supporting Actress, alongside Elizabeth Banks (Love and Mercy), Jennifer Jason Leigh (The Hateful Eight), Alicia Vikander (Ex Machina) and Kate Winslet (Steve Jobs).
Directors joining Villenueve in competition for the Robert Altman Award for Best Director are Alex Garland (Ex Machina), Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (The Revenant), Tom McCarthy (Spotlight) and George Miller (Mad Max: Fury Road).
The group also handed out nominations for Best Animated Feature, Original Screenplay, Adapted Screenplay, Foreign Film, Documentary Feature and for the Vince Koehler Award, which is chosen as the year’s best Science Fiction, Horror or Fantasy Film.
Winners will be voted on and the results released this Sunday, December 20th.
Below is a complete list of nominees:
BEST PICTURE: Mad Max: Fury Road, The Revenant, Room, Sicario, Spotlight
ROBERT ALTMAN AWARD FOR BEST DIRECTOR: Alex Garland (Ex Machina), George Miller (Mad Max: Fury Road), Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (The Revenant), Denis Villenueve (Sicario), Tom McCarthy (Spotlight)
BEST ACTOR: Steve Carell (The Big Short), Bryan Cranston (Trumbo), Michael Fassbender (Steve Jobs), Leonardo DiCaprio (The Revenant), Eddie Redmayne (The Danish Girl)
BEST ACTRESS: Cate Blanchett (Carol), Emily Blunt (Sicario), Bel Powley (The Diary of a Teenage Girl), Saoirse Ronan (Brooklyn), Charlize Theron (Mad Max: Fury Road)
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Benicio Del Toro (Sicario), Tom Hardy (The Revenant), Mark Rylance (Bridge of Spies), Michael Shannon (99 Homes), Sylvester Stallone (Creed)
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Elizabeth Banks (Love and Mercy), Jennifer Jason Leigh (The Hateful Eight), Rooney Mara (Carol), Alicia Vikander (Ex Machina), Kate Winslet (Steve Jobs)
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: Ex Machina, The Hateful Eight, Inside Out, Sicario, Spotlight, Trainwreck
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: The Big Short, Carol, The Martian, Room, Steve Jobs
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE: Anomalisa, Inside Out, Minions, The Peanuts Movie, Shaun the Sheep
BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM: The Assassin, Goodnight Mommy, Phoenix, Son of Saul, The Tribe, White God
BEST DOCUMENTARY: Amy, Best of Enemies, The Look of Silence, Where to Invade Next, The Wrecking Crew
VINCE KOEHLER AWARD FOR BEST SCIENCE FICTION, FANTASY or HORROR FILM: Ex Machina, Goodnight Mommy, It Follows, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Martian
December 14, 2014
The Kansas City Film Critics Circle, the second oldest organized critics group in the country, held their annual end-of-the-year award gathering this afternoon, with “Birdman” and “Boyhood” taking home the lion’s share of the major awards. This is the 48th year the group has awarded their annual James Loutzenhiser awards.
Michael Keaton’s big return to the big screen, “Birdman,” won four awards, including Best Picture, Best Actor (for Keaton), Best Supporting Actor (Edward Norton) and Best Original Screenplay. Richard Linklater’s 12-year in the making “Boyhood” received the Robert Altman Award for Achievement in Directing (for Linklater) and Best Supporting Actress (Patricia Arquette). Other films earing awards include “Gone Girl,” “Obvious Child” and “The Lego Movie.”
Here is a complete list of winners:
BEST PICTURE: “Birdman”
ROBERT ALTMAN AWARD FOR BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN DIRECTING: Richard Linklater – “Boyhood”
BEST ACTOR: Michael Keaton – “Birdman”
BEST ACTRESS: Rosamund Pike – “Gone Girl”
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Edward Norton – “Birdman”
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Patricia Arquette – “Boyhood”
ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Nicholas Glocobone, Alexander Dinelaris and Armando Bo – “Birdman”
ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: Gillian Robespierre – “Obvious Child”
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE: “The Lego Movie”
BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE: “CitizenFour”
BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM: “Ida” (Poland)
VINCE KOEHLER AWARD FOR BEST SCI-FI, FANTASY or HORROR FILM: “The Babadook”
For more information on the Kansas City Film Critics Circle and previous year’s awards go to www.kcfcc.org
Media Mikes own Mike Smith will join other Kansas City area film critics this Wednesday night, February 26, as they declare their choices for the upcoming Academy Awards at the Screenland Crown Center Theatre.
The annual event, a benefit for CINEMAKC, allows moviegoers to attend a program consisting of clips and trailers from films nominated for the upcoming 86th Annual Academy Awards and then ask their favorite critics what their choices are and why.
The event begins at 7:00 pm, with a “meet the critics” mixer beginning at 6:00 pm.
With voting almost over for the 2013 Media Mikes.com awards, the site’s main critics got together and chose their favorite films of the past year. And a few that weren’t anyone’s favorite. As always, it’s a rather diverse grouping of movies. Agree? Disagree? Let us know below!
Mike Gencarelli’s Top 5
THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG
Lauren Damon’s Top 4
Lauren’s original list contained a film that she actually saw this year but will not be released until some time in 2014. Rather than possibly give a look at next year’s list, here are her top four:
12 YEARS A SLAVE
THE WORLD’S END
INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS
Phillip Smith’s Top 5
12 YEARS A SLAVE
DALLAS BUYERS CLUB
Jeremy Werner’s Top 5
12 YEARS A SLAVE
THE WORLD’S END
THE SPECTACULAR NOW
MORTAL INSTRUMENTS: THE CITY OF BONES
WALKING WITH DINOSAURS
PERCY JACKSON: SEA OF MONSTERS
A GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD
ONLY GOD FORGIVES
Michael Smith’s Top 8
I couldn’t stop at five so I thought I’d do my five favorite mainstream titles as well as three more independent features.
THE WOLF OF WALL STREET
THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG
AIN’T THEM BODIES SAINTS
THE WAY, WAY BACK
OUT OF THE FURNACE
A PLACE BEYOND THE PINES
21 AND OVER
If you haven’t already got your Oscar ballots marked you may want to attend the annual “Critics vs Oscars Free-For-All” slated for Wednesday, January 23 at the Screenland Crossroads Theatre in Kansas City.
During the program trailers for films Oscar-nominated in all major categories will be screened, as will scenes from all nine Best Picture nominees. Each trailer will be followed by a sure to be impassioned discussion from some of Kansas City’s best known film critics.
The event starts at 7:00 p.m. but there will be a pre-show mixer starting at 6:00 p.m. in which those in attendance can rub shoulders and share opinions with KC’s cinema scribes. A donation of $10 is requested from those in attendance, which goes to support CinemaKC and it’s efforts to serve the movie community in 2013. Your donation not only gets you 90 minutes of film and discussion but also a raffle ticket for a chance to win some great movie memorabilia and passes to the Screenland Theatre and the Boulevard Drive-In. For more information on the event or CinemaKC go to www.CinemaKC.com
The Kansas City Film Critics Circle, the second oldest critics group in America, held their annual end of year award voting on Sunday and, like in most years, the diversity of the group meant that all genre’s of films were recognized. Paul Thomas Anderson’s “The Master” leading the films selected with three awards, including Best Film of the Year. Two races came down to a single vote, with Ang Lee, director of “Life of Pi,” edging out Anderson to win the Robert Altman Award for Achievement in Directing and “Lincoln” star Daniel Day Lewis narrowly beating “The Master’s” Joaquin Phoenix for Best Actor. The only runaway win went to Anne Hathaway, Best Supporting Actress for playing the doomed Fantine in the musical “Les Miserables.” Here is a complete list of winners:
BEST PICTURE: “The Master”
BEST DIRECTOR: Ang Lee for “Life of Pi”
BEST ACTOR: Daniel Day Lewis in “Lincoln”
BEST ACTRESS: Jennifer Lawrence in “Silver Linings Playbook
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Philip Seymour Hoffman in “The Master”
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Anne Hathaway in “Les Miserables”
BEST FOREIGN FILM: “Amour”
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE: “Frankenweenie”
VINCE KOEHLER AWARD FOR BEST SCIENCE FICTION, FANTASY OR HORROR FILM: “The Cabin In the Woods”
BEST DOCUMENTARY: “The Imposter”
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: “The Master”
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: “Argo”
“The Descendants” narrowly defeated “Drive” to win the top prize as the Kansas City Film Critics Circle held their annual end of year vote Sunday evening. The Alexander Payne directed film also took home the Best Actor award for star George Clooney. Best Actress went to Kirsten Dunst in Lars von Trier’s “Melancholia. Reclusive filmmaker Terrence Malick was named Best Director for “The Tree of Life.” Here is a complete list of winners:
Best Film: “The Descendants”
Robert Altman Award for Direction: Terrence Malick – “The Tree of Life”
Best Actor: George Clooney – “The Descendants”
Best Actress: Kirsten Dunst – “Melancholia”
Best Supporting Actor: Christopher Plummer – “Beginners”
Best Supporting Actress: Jessica Chastain – “The Tree of Life”
Best Animated Feature: “Rango”
Best Foreign Film: “A Separation” (Iran)
Best Documentary: “Cave of Forgotten Dreams” (Werner Herzog – Director)
Best Original Screenplay: “Beginners” (Mike Mills)
Best Adapted Screenplay: “Moneyball” (Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin)
Vince Koehler Award for Best Science Fiction, Fantasy or Horror Film: “Hugo”
This was the 45th annual vote by the organization, which was founded by Dr. James Loutzenhiser in 1966. The KCFCC is the second oldest critics group in the nation.