This January I had the privilege of attending the International Film Festival Rotterdam, and managed to see every film competing for the Hivos Tiger Award, the Festival's central prize to a first or second feature. Three Tiger Awards are given out and each of the three winners receives a prize of €15,000--legitimate seed money for their next film. The competitors spanned the globe and brought a huge variety of style and subject matter--from documentary to dreamy poetry, distorted video artifacts to glossy cinematographic purity. This year's International Film Festival Rotterdam was scheduled the same week as Sundance, so the coverage of these films has been spotty because of the gravitational pull of Sundance. Joyless Creatures is proud to shine a light on these films. If we are lucky, half of the competitors may make it to US distribution; keep your eyes open for them if they do, since most number among the most interesting new directors in the global scene.
by Joyless Staff
This Sunday marks the 87th Academy Awards, an event so hyped that it's hard for even the least involved cinephile to ignore. (As noted in the New York Times this past weekend, 43 million Americans watched the Oscars last year—seven times the number of people that saw Best Picture winner 12 Years a Slave.) Below are our forecasts for who will win, who should win, and who should have been nominated. Notably underrepresented this year are Selma, Gone Girl, Inherent Vice, and Under the Skin, making for a monochromatic group of acting nominees and an all-male set of directorial and screenwriting nominees—a problem endemic in both Hollywood and the Academy. If there can be any silver lining, it is that Wes Anderson and Richard Linklater, two filmmakers who have previously only been nominated for screenwriting awards, may be taking home more well-deserved Oscars than they can carry.
by Joyless Staff
The Awards Season is upon us! Although we at Joyless Creatures are critical of their importance and relevance, there's no denying the power that national awards ceremonies wield. These little hunks of metal can go a long way toward determining a filmmaker or actor's future, and though they are notoriously bad at choosing films that will go down in history as classic masterpieces, they are a fun way to watch a lot of rich people suffer through each other's company or drunkenly swear on live television.
by Joyless Staff
Like any other year, 2014 is a bag of mixed pleasures—some we generally agree on and others that spawn incredulity. Our top movies of the year, as voted on by the Joyless Staff, reflect this diverse range of material making an impact. Although the Twin Cities has yet to see some of the year’s biggest films (most notably Selma and Inherent Vice), we have chosen our top 25 movies, taking up 13 spaces, accommodating four ties. Check out our individual lists here. Enjoy and happy New Year!
Daniel Getahun · Joseph Houlihan · Matt Levine · Jeremy Meckler
Michael Montag · John Moret · Frank Olson · Peter Schilling Jr. · Nina Slesinger
Kathie Smith · Geoffrey Stueven · Eliza Summerlin · Benjamin Voigt
by Matt Levine
If there's anything cinephiles love talking about more than their favorite movies, it's the ones they loathe—especially when the targets of their scorn inexplicably warrant praise from most of the moviegoing public (or, at least, critics). It happens every year around Oscar time: horror-struck looks on movie-lovers' faces as Argo or The King's Speech or Crash walk away with the statuette, accompanied by unanswerable questions such as "How?!" and "Why?!"
In anticipation of Joyless Creatures' forthcoming Best of 2014 lists, I thought I would compile a considerably more irksome list: the most overrated movies of the year. I'd like to say that it's a gesture of public service, as every December I scramble to see the most heralded films of the year, only to find a few that might have been missed entirely. But that's not exactly true; more than anything, this list is designed to provoke and rankle, to take down over-celebrated fluff a few notches, and hopefully irritate cinephiles whose favorites of 2014 might be found herein. Obviously this is not a cumulative or objective assessment of the year in cinema—simply one stubborn writer's attempt to expurgate some of the most underwhelming memories I've had at movie theaters over the last twelve months.
Smash Cuts is a continuing series in which two Joyless Creatures staff members go head-to-head on a divisive film, debating its various faults and merits via email exchange. This project was begun (yet never completed) at the Walker Art Center. In this edition, Joseph Houlihan and Eliza Summerlin debate the relative merit's of David O. Russell's American Hustle (2013).
In June of 1986, my sister was born.
In July, I turned two.
In August, David Cronenberg released his version of The Fly.
I don’t remember my birthday or my sister’s birth. They’re anecdotal. The Fly, on the other hand…I think I have blood-memory of The Fly. Considering how long it takes to gestate a feature film, we were probably conceived around the same time.
by Matt Levine
Movie lovers will always decry the sparsity of foreign-film distribution wherever they are, but there's no denying that Minnesotan cinephiles are relatively fortunate. Between the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Festival, Minneapolis Underground Film Festival, Sound Unseen, Twin Cities Black Film Festival, and a bevy of other special events in the Twin Cities (not to mention venues like the Walker Art Center, Trylon, Heights, and St. Anthony Main, among others), there's no lack of dynamic programming in the Cities; oftentimes, the main problem is finding a way to see it all.
Such eclectic, copious offerings are especially valuable in events such as Mizna's Twin Cities Arab Film Festival, undergoing its ninth iteration this year from November 6th to the 9th. Although certain facets of Arab cinema have been dotting the festival landscape for decades, films from Arabic-speaking countries have not received the stateside distribution worthy of their social vitality and aesthetic innovation. The rich cinematic histories of Egypt and Lebanon, for example, deserve to be as well known as the French New Wave and Italian neorealism. It's through unique and compelling events such as Mizna's Twin Cities Arab Film Festival—co-hosted this year by the Film Society of Minneapolis St. Paul—that such a diverse artistic heritage might become more fully explored.
by Joyless Creatures Staff
As we all don our costumes and load up on candy, we should take a moment to remember what the Halloween season really means. This is the time of year for watching heart-stopping, spine-tingling, hair-raising movies. Toward that end, the Joyless Creatures staff has a few spooky Halloween picks to round out your sleepless nights. From terror to schlocky gore, camp to existential dread, these eight movies will haunt your dreams.