The Grab Bag (Feb. 4, 2014)

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

Best of Lists

Mockingjays, Stokers, and Old Friends: The Best of 2013

Thomas Spurlin @

Awards Coverage

The 86th Annual Academy Awards: Best Make-Up and Hairstyling

Jerry Roberts @ Armchair Cinema

  • Excerpt: Two old men trumped by a tranny.

‘Louis Cyr’, ‘Gabrielle’ Lead Quebec Jutra Nominations

Pat Mullen @ Cinemablographer

  • Excerpt: ‘Louis Cyr’ and Canada’s Oscar pick ‘Gabrielle’ lead the nominations for the awards honouring the best in Quebecois cinema.

Oscar Preview: Precursor Winners & Losers, Week 9

Wesley Lovell @ Cinema Sight

  • Excerpt: Examing the winners and losers of week 9 of Oscar’s precursor season

Oscar Preview: Weekend of Jan. 24-26, 2014

Wesley Lovell @ Cinema Sight

  • Excerpt: Looking at the Oscar chances of “Visitors”

Zinegoak – Festival de Cine y Artes Escénicas GayLesboTrans de Bilbao 2014: the winners

Paulo Peralta @ CinEuphoria [Portuguese]

  • Excerpt: Another international award for What Now? Remind Me.


Henry Hathaway: True Grit

Glenn Lovell @

  • Excerpt: I suppose it’s true, I could be a tyrant, an SOB …

Festivals: General Coverage

24th Annual Cascade Festival of African Films

Jamie S. Rich @ Oregon Live

  • Excerpt: The sole focus of the programming is movies that depict life on the African continent as told by filmmakers who call it home. The diversity of styles and subjects serves as a reflection of the citizens who occupy the many African nations represented, with all of the movies giving a glimpse at the culture and history that informs the individual points of view.

The Best and Worst of Sundance 2014

Jason Bailey @ Flavorwire

Festivals: Individual Reviews

Blue Ruin

Michael Pattison @ Grolsch Film Works


Jason Bailey @ Flavorwire

  • Excerpt: The story of Boyhood‘s 12-year production (“We started this film 4,208 days ago,” Linklater joked at yesterday’s Sundance screening) is so fascinating that it threatens to overpower the narrative — since the former is so ambitious, the latter so slight. But this is a moving and powerful film, one that is all but without precedent.

La Distancia

Michael Pattison @ Grolsch Film Works


Travis Hopson @ Punch Drunk Critics

Happy Christmas

Jason Bailey @ Flavorwire

  • Excerpt: Swanberg’s let-the-camera-run aesthetic can go either way — towards self-indulgence, or overheard, naturalistic candor. Thanks in no small part to the considerable gifts of stars Anna Kendrick, Melanie Lynskey, and Lena Dunham, Happy Christmas goes the right way.

Hard to Be a God

Michael Pattison @ Grolsch Film Works

I Origins

Travis Hopson @ Punch Drunk Critics

Life After Beth

Jason Bailey @ Flavorwire

  • Excerpt: Aubrey Plaza underplays so adroitly, on Parks & Rec and in films like Safety Not Guaranteed and Funny People, that it’s easy to wonder if she’s working with a limited range — that she’s merely playing the “Aubrey Plaza type” (and it has certainly become a type). If her new film Life After Beth — a dizzy little zombie comedy that premiered at Sundance yesterday — does nothing else, it should put those concerns to rest.

Life Itself

Jason Bailey @ Flavorwire

  • Excerpt: or many of us, Roger Ebert is the reason we write about films, his television work and books and online reviews inspiring us to be the kind of people who, well, would like to trudge through Utah for a week in January to see movies and write about them. No film in the festival is as critic-friendly; watching it, I finally understood how football players must feel about ‘Brian’s Song’.

Nymphomaniac Vol. 1

Travis Hopson @ Punch Drunk Critics

The Raid 2

Travis Hopson @ Punch Drunk Critics

September leads Greek entries in Rotterdam

Joseph Proimakis @

  • Excerpt: Penny Panayotopoulou’s long-awaited return to the big screen is coupled by Nikolaos Kyritsis’ short debut King Kong.

StLIFF 2013: Ghosts of Empire Prairie

Andrew Wyatt @ Gateway Cinephile

  • Excerpt: Long before one suspects the nature of Ghosts’ secrets, one senses intuitively that it is building towards something gut-gnawingly awful.

They Came Together

Travis Hopson @ Punch Drunk Critics

War Story

Michael Pattison @ Grolsch Film Works

Wish I Was Here

Jason Bailey @ Flavorwire

  • Excerpt: Here’s what’s fascinating about the film, at least in the form that screened at Sundance: just about all of the “compromises” that Braff says he’d have been forced to make (and I’m slightly perturbed to say this, being a fairly consistent support-the-artist type) would have made ‘Wish I Was Here’ a better film.


5 Clues that Lead Me to Believe that Carl from ‘Shameless’ May Grow Up to Be a Serial Killer

Candice Frederick @ Reel Talk

Dear ‘American Horror Story: Coven’, It’s Time to Reel It In Now

Candice Frederick @ Reel Talk

Power Moves and Heightened Ambition on Sunday’s ‘House of Lies’

Candice Frederick @ Reel Talk

True Detective is the world’s best Oscar campaign

Joseph Proimakis @ [Greek]

  • Excerpt: HBO’s new mini series is a raw nihilistic gem that not only showcases Matthew McConaghey’s acting transformation, but also claims a top spot for upcoming year-end lists


Destroy All Monsters: What’s Wrong With HER

Matt Brown @ Twitch

From Gangster to Master: the Forgotten Edward G. Robinson

Matthew Sorrento @ Film International

How Steven Soderbergh’s ’sex, lies and videotape’ Still Influences Sundance After 25 Years

Sean Axmaker @ Indiewire

  • Excerpt: The confluence of Sundance and “sex” was a seismic shift in American independent film culture: the “big bang of the modern indie film movement,” in the words of industry historian Peter Biskind.

Passing Notes…on Martin Scorsese’s “Mean Streets”

Kenji Fujishima @ In Review Online

Send in “The Clowns”

Sean Axmaker @ Keyframe

  • Excerpt: Ostensibly a documentary, The Clowns is just as much a visual sketchbook, a pageant of the great clowns of Italy, France, and Britain, and a wake for the end of the circus clown era as it is a history of the art and culture of clowns.

Tribute Lars Von Trier: The Great Heretic

Joseph Proimakis @ [Greek]

  • Excerpt: Futile to psychoanalysis man who says his talent “is a form of brain dysfunction,” but let’s try in absentia, so the “pebble in the shoe” of European cinema.

The Wilderness Years: Buñuel in Fifties

Sean Axmaker @ Keyframe

  • Excerpt: [“Robinson Crusoe” and “Death in the Garden”] are commercial genre pictures—a literary adaptation and a cynical thriller—and Buñuel delivers. Yet both find Buñuel weaving his own sensibility into the fabric of the film.

Reviews of Short Films


Paulo Peralta @ CinEuphoria [Portuguese]

  • Excerpt: Portuguese Short Film

Other Articles

A Estrada da Revolução

Paulo Peralta @ CinEuphoria [Portuguese]

  • Excerpt: Portuguese Documentary about the Arab Spring Review

Kevin Costner Update

Betty Jo Tucker @ Movie Addict Headquarters

  • Excerpt: A podcast discussion about Kevin Costner’s film career.

The Morning After: Jan. 27, 2014

Wesley Lovell @ Cinema Sight

  • Excerpt: Short reviews of “The Great Escape” and “In Cold Blood”

Subversive Saturday: I Don’t Want to Be a Man (1918)

Matthew Blevins @

  • Excerpt: While I Don’t Want to Be a Man is far from the cinematic heights that Lubitsch would later achieve, it shows a young director that is both socially conscious and astute in the image’s potential for power. It remains a an intriguing piece of cinematic history that has outgrown its inconspicuous comedic roots to expose deeper social truths that are still woefully relevant nearly a century later.

TIFF’s Flesh + Blood Review: The Films of Paul Verhoeven: Turkish Delight (1973)

Matthew Blevins @

  • Excerpt: Turkish Delight is a powerful film that purposely confronts the viewer with uncomfortable imagery that seems gratuitous until the pieces finally come together to expose the uncomfortable truths of life.

TIFF’s Flesh + Blood: The Films of Paul Verhoeven Review: Business is Business (1971)

Matthew Blevins @

  • Excerpt: Business is Business and its odd array of derelicts is stylistic and charged with the frenetic energies of Amsterdam nightlife, incessantly moving from one odd fetishistic scenario to the next.

Top of the Flops – Why did “The Lone Ranger” & “47 Ronin” Fail?

Daniel Kelly @ eFilmCritic

  • Excerpt: It would appear post-recession viewers aren’t fans of executives dousing their rabid product with cash in the style of a capitalist antidote. Who knew?

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