The Grab Bag (Feb. 18, 2014)

OFCS members don’t just write film reviews. Here are several articles you might find interesting.

Best of Lists

Best of 2013

James Wegg @ JWR

  • Excerpt: Highlights of films reviewed in 2013

Awards Coverage

Ever Try to Make A Film Critic Smile During Awards Season?

Erik Childress @

Oscar Preview: Precursor Winners & Losers, Week 11

Wesley Lovell @ Cinema Sight

  • Excerpt: Looking at the winners and losers from the 11th week of Precursor Season

Oscar Preview: Weekend of Feb. 7-9, 2014

Wesley Lovell @ Cinema Sight

  • Excerpt: Looking at the Oscar chances of “The Lego Movie”

Oscar Update: Memo to the Academy

Pat Mullen @ Cinemablographer

  • Excerpt: With 2 weeks of voting left, we ask voters to consider films like ‘The Broken Circle Breakdown’, ‘Ernest and Celestine’, and performances like Meryl Streep in ‘August: Osage County’


Floyd Norman, animator of “The Jungle Book”

Nell Minow @ The Movie Mom

Long Live the Queen: Camille Rutherford on her starring role as Mary, Queen of Scots

Jennie Kermode @ Eye For Film

The Real Philomena Lee

Nell Minow @ The Movie Mom

Stranger Danger: Alain Guiraudie on Stranger by the Lake

Phil Concannon @ The Skinny

Festivals: General Coverage

Sex Shop Cinema

Peter Nellhaus @ Coffee Coffee and more Coffee

Festivals: Individual Reviews

Blind Massage

Michael Pattison @ Grolsch Film Works

Journey to the West

Michael Pattison @ Grolsch Film Works

Joy of Man’s Desiring

Michael Pattison @ Grolsch Film Works

TIFF’s Flesh + Blood: The Films of Paul Verhoeven Review: Soldier of Orange (1977)

Matthew Blevins @

  • Excerpt: Soldier of Orange is a World War II tale told without the old Axis versus Allies jingoistic traits of heroism, offering an unseen perspective that shows the parameters of heroism are often more complicated than a young man picking up his rifle for god and country.

TIFF’s Godard Forever Review: Far from Vietnam (1967)

Matthew Blevins @

  • Excerpt: Far from Vietnam is as elusive as it is illuminating, blasting the viewer with unblinking images from the entire world as both audience and filmmakers share in the confusion, attempting to find meaning in the meaningless and ultimately come no closer to comfortable answers as the film rampages forward to its final frame.

TIFF’s Godard Forever Review: Made in U.S.A (1966)

Matthew Blevins @

  • Excerpt: Made in U.S.A is a bewildering experiment in the reframing of syntax and verbiage of cinema to make something fresh from the conventions of old.

TIFF’s Godard Forever Review: Six in Paris (1965)

Matthew Blevins @

  • Excerpt: This is an anthology constructed by the cinematic masters from the birthplace of cinema, perhaps its first birthplace as an artform and not simply a conveyance of cheap thrills and easily packaged entertainment.

TIFF’s Godard Forever Review: Une femme mariee (1964)

Matthew Blevins @

  • Excerpt: Une femme mariée is a manic masterwork from Godard that speaks and shifts context so rapidly that one must be prepared to engage in its frenzied discourse which seems to affirm a character’s offhand quip that one is forced to speak quickly in the era of speed (amphetamines). It collides brush-strokes of earlier masters of cinema with Godard’s irreverent 60s style to create a film that is both compelling and unique.


Philip Seymour Hoffman

Tony Dayoub @ Cinema Viewfinder

  • Excerpt: …there seemed to be a chilling mess of rage, insecurity and repression roiling beneath the respectable mask. That Hoffman could tap into this ugly undercurrent so precisely and arouse such empathy time and time again is what makes it so upsetting that we lost such a talent.

Shirley Temple Black

Tony Dayoub @ Cinema Viewfinder


Destroy All Monsters: Girls and LEGO

Matt Brown @ Twitch

Hipsters and Slackers: A Conversation About Girls and Spaced

Edwin Davies @ A Mighty Fine Blog

  • Excerpt: It’s interesting to me that all the friendships in Spaced come from slightly toxic or weird origins – Mike and Tim are friends because on some level Tim feels guilty over Mike dislocating his retinas when they were kids; Tim and Daisy only move in together as part of a ruse; their friendship with Marcia is entirely predicated on a lie as a result – but they all end up being fairly healthy and well-adjusted. The friendships in Girls, meanwhile, all come from normal places – Hannah and Marnie went to college together; Jessa and Shoshanna are cousins – but wind up as deeply dysfunctional and they constantly cause trouble for each other.

Oscars: The Battle of Best Song Really Comes Down to Two Catchy Power Ballads (And I Choose “Happy”)

Candice Frederick @ Reel Talk

Sokurov’s Rich, One-Take ‘Russian Ark’

Sean Axmaker @ Keyframe

  • Excerpt: Alexander Sokurov’s tribute to the State Hermitage Museum of Saint Petersburg, a tour through time and space created in a single, unbroken shot lasting over ninety minutes, is a cinematic experience like no other.

Why the Decision to Digitally Recreate Philip Seymour Hoffman for the Final Hunger Games Film is Understandable, But Still Unsettling

Edwin Davies @ A Mighty Fine Blog

  • Excerpt: So I understand why they might choose to “recreate” Hoffman as the least disruptive option, but even if they only do it for a few shots in the final film, it still strikes me as incredibly creepy and unnerving, not just because, as good as CGI is these days, it’ll probably look unnatural, but also because you enter into a weird metaphysical area when you start manipulating the images of the recently deceased for profit. It’s ghoulish, in the same way that people filming a body being removed from an apartment is, but even more so because the people doing it knew the person in question.

Reviews of Short Films


Paulo Peralta @ CinEuphoria [Portuguese]

  • Excerpt: Spanish Short Film Review

Other Articles

Filmmaker Discussion: Streaming vs. DVD | Underground Film Journal

Mike Everleth @ Underground Film Journal

  • Excerpt: A spirited discussion between several independent filmmakers that explored their personal ideas on the future of digital distribution.?

The Morning After: Feb. 10, 2014

Wesley Lovell @ Cinema Sight

  • Excerpt: Short reviews of “The Conformist”, “Ryan’s Daughter”, “Jerry Maguire” and “The Ruling Class”

Romancing the Oscar

Betty Jo Tucker @ Movie Addict Headquarters

  • Excerpt: Podcast with film critic Marilyn Ferdinand and filmmaker David Spaltro discussing romanti-themed movies that have won Best Picture Oscars.

This Week on Blu-ray and DVD – February 11, 2014

James Plath Plath @ Movie Metropolis

  • Excerpt: It’s the Olympics, baby!

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