The Fourth Annual Critics' Choice Television Awards were held Thursday night, with AMC's Breaking Bad, Netflix's Orange Is the New Black, and FX's Fargo coming away with the big wins. The awards, which are chosen by TV critics, have a knack for recognizing the programs and performances that are often overlooked by the other big television award shows. But do the slightly out-there nominees have a chance for gold when it comes to the Primetime Emmys? We've decided to predict the nominees and winners of this year's Emmys based on the winners of last nights Critics Choice Awards. The two award shows might have more winners in common than you would expect.
BEST DRAMA SERIES
Critics' Choice AwardsThe Americans Breaking BadGame of Thrones The Good Wife Masters of Sex True Detective
Emmy PredictionsBreaking BadGame of ThronesThe Good WifeHouse of CardsMad MenTrue Detective
Last year's Emmy winner, Breaking Bad, is coming off a fantastic final season, so it's hard to reason how Vince Gilligan's masterwork won't win the night's big award yet again. But on the slim chance that Bad doesn't win (and we mean slim), True Detective is the most sensible alternative. We don't expect low profile dramas like Masters of Sex and The Americans to be recognized by the Emmys, and the hype on Downton Abbey has cooled of considerably this year. Another Emmy favorite, Homeland, had its worst season yet last year, freeing the category up for some new blood.
BEST COMEDY SERIES
Critics' Choice AwardsThe Big Bang Theory Broad City Louie Orange Is the New Black Silicon Valley Veep
Emmy PredictionsThe Big Bang TheoryLouieModern FamilyOrange Is the New BlackParks and RecreationVeep
Freshman dramedy Orange Is the New Black will certainly get nominated at the Emmys, but we're doubtful that Netflix's prison series will win the top prize like it did at the Critics' Choice Awards, certainly not in a race that includes Modern Family. The juggernaut of a sitcom has won the category four times in a row, and there's nothing with enough buzz to stop it's warpath. Elsewhere, Critics' Choice nominees like Silicon Valley and Broad City are way off the Emmys radar, and don't stand a chance of getting nominated.
BEST ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES
Critics' Choice AwardsBryan Cranston, Breaking Bad Hugh Dancy, Hannibal Freddie Highmore, Bates Motel Matthew McConaughey, True Detective Matthew Rhys, The Americans Michael Sheen, Masters of Sex
Emmy PredictionsBryan Cranston, Breaking BadJeff Daniels, The NewsroomJohn Hamm, Mad MenDamien Lewis, HomelandMatthew McConaughey, True DetectiveKevin Spacey, House of Cards
McConaughey came out on top at the Critic's Choice Awards, but despite his massive performance in True Detective, we're doubtful he will best Cranston at the Emmys. We're expecting the rest of the category's Emmy nominees to be rounded out with the usual suspects. While the critics recognized the great performances in Hannibal, The Americans, and Bates Motel, we're doubtful that any of those shows will make it to the Emmys this year, or any year for that matter.
BEST ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES
Critics' Choice Awards Lizzy Caplan, Masters of Sex Vera Farmiga, Bates Motel Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife Tatiana Maslany, Orphan Black Keri Russell, The Americans Robin Wright, House of Cards
Emmy PredictionsClaire Danes, HomelandJulianna Margules, The Good WifeElisabeth Moss, Mad MenTatiana Maslany, Orphan BlackKerry Washington, ScandalRobin Wright, House of Cards
When the dust settles, we're expecting Tatiana Maslany to also win the Emmy in this category. At this point, her hype is insurmountable, and riots might break out if she doesn't leave the Nokia theater with something golden.
BEST ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES
Critics' Choice AwardsLouis C.K., Louie Chris Messina, The Mindy Project Thomas Middleditch, Silicon Valley Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory Adam Scott, Parks and Recreation Robin Williams, The Crazy Ones
Emmy PredictionsDon Cheadle, House of LiesLouis C.K., LouieMatt LeBlanc, EpisodesJim Parsons, The Big Band TheoryAndy Samberg, Brooklyn Nine-NineRobin Williams, The Crazy Ones
The Big Bang Theory's Jim Parsons will likely walk home with both awards. In terms of the other nominations, there's no way Chris Messina or Thomas Middleditch have a chance at securing an Emmy nomination. We're also betting that Robin Williams gets nominated, due mostly due organization's usual affection for "veterans" ... or so the Emmys have an excuse to invite the actor to the show and hear his Genie voice.
BEST ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES
Critics' Choice AwardsIlana Glazer, Broad City Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep Wendi McLendon-Covey, The Goldbergs Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation Amy Schumer, Inside Amy Schumer Emmy Rossum, Shameless
Emmy PredictionsZooey Deschanel, New GirlLena Dunham, GirlsEdie Falco, Nurse JackieJulia Louis-Dreyfus, VeepMelissa McCarthy, Mike & MollyAmy Poehler, Parks and RecreatonLouis-Dreyfus' foul-mouthed vice-prez will likely win the Emmy along with the Critics' Choice Award this year. As for the other nomination slots, Glazer and Schumer have no chance at getting nominated for Emmys. We're expecting the rest of the nomination list to be filled up with Emmys regulars like Melissa McCarthy and Edie Falco.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES
Critics' Choice AwardsJosh Charles, The Good Wife Walton Goggins, Justified Aaron Paul, Breaking Bad Peter Sarsgaard, The Killing Jon Voight, Ray Donovan Jeffrey Wright, Boardwalk Empire
Emmy PredictionsPeter Dinklage, Game of ThronesWalton Goggins, JustifiedAaron Paul, Breaking BadDean Norris, Breaking BadMandy Patinkin, HomelandJeffery Wright, Boardwalk Empire
Aaron Paul seems like a lock for the Emmys this year. The only person we could see upsetting what is basically destiny at this point is Peter Dinklage, who had a massive year on Game of Thrones. As for the other nominees, we are actually expecting the two award shows to stack up pretty similarly. Mandy Patinkin will definitely get an Emmy nod, while there might be enough space in the mix for long-snubbed Walton Goggins. One can dream, right?
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES
Critics' Choice AwardsChristine Baranski, The Good Wife Anna Gunn, Breaking Bad Annet Mahendru, The Americans Melissa McBride, The Walking Dead Maggie Siff, Sons of Anarchy Bellamy Young, Scandal
Emmy PredictionsChristine Baranski, The Good WifeEmilia Clarke, Game of ThronesAnna Gunn, Breaking BadChristina Hendricks, Mad MenMichelle Monaghan, True DetectiveMaggie Smith, Downton Abbey
While Anna Gunn didn't secure a Critics' Choice Award for the last season of Breaking Bad, we're betting she goes home with an Emmy this September. As for the other nominees, we don't expect Maggie Siff, Melissa McBride, and Annet Mahendru to get an Emmy nod, even though each actress certainly deserves the recognition.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES
Critics' Choice AwardsAndre Braugher, Brooklyn Nine-Nine Keith David, Enlisted Tony Hale, Veep Albert Tsai, Trophy Wife Christopher Evan Welch, Silicon Valley Jeremy Allen White, Shameless
Emmy PredictionsAndre Braugher, Brooklyn Nine-NineJesse Tyler Ferguson, Modern FamilyEric Stonestreet, Modern FamilyTy Burrell, Modern FamilyTony Hale, VeepNick Offerman, Parks and RecreationAt this point, the supporting actor in a comedy category should be renamed the "Which Modern Family actor hasn't won in a while?" and that honor goes to Ferguson. Even though the Critics' Choice Awards don't feature a single nominee from ABC's dominant sitcom, expect at least three nominees from the show on Emmy night. Four if Ed O'Neil sneaks his way onto the bill. Also, kudos to the Critics Choice awards for nominating Albert Tsai for Trophy Wife. Bert will live in our hearts forever.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES
Critics' Choice AwardsMayim Bialik, The Big Bang Theory Laverne Cox, Orange Is the New Black Kaley Cuoco, The Big Bang Theory Allison Janney, Mom Kate Mulgrew, Orange Is the New Black Merritt Wever, Nurse Jackie
Emmy PredictionsMayim Bialik, The Big Bang TheoryJulie Bowen, Modern FamilyAllison Janney, MomKate Mulgrew, Orange Is the New BlackSofia Vergara, Modern FamilyMerrit Weaver, Nurse Jackie
It might be crazy talk, but we think this category is Orange Is the New Black's best chance for its first Emmy. The show has such a dynamite supporting cast and heavy following that it may be able to crack the winner's circle in its first year of eligibility. We're thinking Kate Mulgrew has a good chance since Modern Family isn't nearly as dominant in this category as it is in Best Supporting Actor.
There's an allure to imperfection. With his latest drama Lawless director John Hillcoat taps directly into the side of human nature that draws us to it. Hillcoat finds it in Prohibition history a time when the regulations of alcohol consumption were subverted by most of the population; He finds it in the rural landscapes of Virginia: dingy raw and mesmerizing. And most importantly he finds it in his main character Jack Bondurant (Shia LaBeouf) the scrappy third brother of a moonshining family who is desperate to prove his worth. Jack forcefully injects himself into the family business only to discover there's an underbelly to the underbelly. Lawless is a beautiful film that's violent as hell striking in a way only unfiltered Americana could be.
Acting as the driver for his two outlaw brothers Forrest (Tom Hardy) and Howard (Jason Clarke) isn't enough for Jack. He's enticed by the power of the gangster figure and entranced by what moonshine money can buy. So like any fledgling entrepreneur Jack takes matters into his own hands. Recruiting crippled family friend/distillery mastermind Cricket (Dane DeHaan) the young whippersnapper sets out to brew his own batch sell it to top dog Floyd Banner and make the family rich. The plan works — but it puts the Bondurant boys in over their heads with a new threat: the corrupt law enforcers of Chicago.
Unlike many stories of crime life Lawless isn't about escalation. The movie drifts back and forth leisurely popping in moments like the beats of a great TV episode. One second the Bondurants could be talking shop with their female shopkeep Maggie Beauford (Jessica Chastain). The next Forrest is beating the bloody pulp out of a cop blackmailing their operation. The plot isn't thick; Hillcoat and screenwriter Nick Cave preferring to bask in the landscapes the quiet moments the haunting terror that comes with a life on the other side of the tracks. A feature film doesn't offer enough time for Lawless to build — it recalls cinema-level TV currently playing on outlets like HBO and AMC that have truly spoiled us — but what the duo accomplish is engrossing.
Accompanying the glowing visuals and Cave's knockout workout on the music side (a toe-tapping mix of spirituals bluegrass and the writer/musician's spine-tingling violin) are muted performances from some of Hollywood's rising stars. Despite LaBeouf's off-screen antics he lights up Lawless and nails the in-deep whippersnapper. His playful relationship with a local religious girl (Mia Wasikowska) solidifies him as a leading man but like everything in the movie you want more. Tom Hardy is one of the few performers who can "uurrr" and "mmmnerm" his way through a scene and come out on top. His greatest sparring partner isn't a hulking thug but Chastain who brings out the heart of the impenetrable beast. The real gem of Lawless is Guy Pearce as the Bondurant trio's biggest threat. Shaved eyebrows pristine city clothes and a temper like a rabid wolverine Pearce's Charlie Rakes is the most frightening villain of 2012. He viciously chews up every moment he's on screen. That's even before he starts drawing blood.
Lawless is the perfect movie for the late August haze — not quite the Oscary prestige picture or the summertime shoot-'em-up. It's drama that has its moonshine and swigs it too. Just don't drink too much.
Theatrics slapstick and cheer are cinematic qualities you rarely find outside the realm of animation. Disney perfected it with their pantheon of cartoon classics mixing music humor spectacle and light-hearted drama that swept up children while still capturing the imaginations and hearts of their parents. But these days even reinterpretations of fairy tales get the gritty make-over leaving little room for silliness and unfiltered glee. Emerging through that dark cloud is Mirror Mirror a film that achieves every bit of imagination crafted by its two-dimensional predecessors and then some. Under the eye of master visualist Tarsem Singh (The Fall Immortals) Mirror Mirror's heightened realism imbues it with the power to pull off anything — and the movie never skimps on the anything.
Like its animated counterparts Mirror Mirror stays faithful to its source material but twists it just enough to feel unique. When Snow White (Lily Collins) was a little girl her father the King ventured into a nearby dark forest to do battle with an evil creature and was never seen or heard from again. The kingdom was inherited by The Queen (Julia Roberts) Snow's evil stepmother and the fair-skinned beauty lived locked up in the castle until her 18th birthday. Grown up and tired of her wicked parental substitute White sneaks out of the castle to the village for the first time. There she witnesses the economic horrors The Queen has imposed upon the people of her land all to fuel her expensive beautification. Along the way Snow also meets Prince Alcott (Armie Hammer) who is suffering from his own money troubles — mainly being robbed by a band of stilt-wearing dwarves. When the Queen catches wind of the secret excursion she casts Snow out of the castle to be murdered by her assistant Brighton (Nathan Lane).
Fairy tales take flack for rejecting the idea of women being capable but even with its flighty presentation and dedication to the old school Disney method Mirror Mirror empowers its Snow White in a genuine way thanks to Collins' snappy charming performance. After being set free by Brighton Snow crosses paths with the thieving dwarves and quickly takes a role on their pilfering team (which she helps turn in to a Robin Hooding business). Tarsem wisely mines a spectrum of personalities out of the seven dwarves instead of simply playing them for one note comedy. Sure there's plenty of slapstick and pun humor (purposefully and wonderfully corny) but each member of the septet stands out as a warm compassionate companion to Snow even in the fantasy world.
Mirror Mirror is richly designed and executed in true Tarsem-fashion with breathtaking costumes (everything from ball gowns to the dwarf expando-stilts to ridiculous pirate ship hats with working canons) whimsical sets and a pitch-perfect score by Disney-mainstay Alan Menken. The world is a storybook and even its monsters look like illustrations rather than photo-real creations. But what makes it all click is the actors. Collins holds her own against the legendary Julia Roberts who relishes in the fun she's having playing someone despicable. She delivers every word with playful bite and her rapport with Lane is off-the-wall fun. Armie Hammer riffs on his own Prince Charming physique as Alcott. The only real misgiving of the film is the undercooked relationship between him and Snow. We know they'll get together but the journey's half the fun and Mirror Mirror serves that portion undercooked.
Children will swoon for Mirror Mirror but there's plenty here for adults — dialogue peppered with sharp wisecracks and a visual style ripped from an elegant tapestry. The movie wears its heart on its sleeve and rarely do we get a picture where both the heart and the sleeve feel truly magical.
At some point in the early years of the 21st century a bunch of Hollywood executives must have gotten together and decided that animated films should be made for all audiences. The goal was perhaps to make movies that are simultaneously accessible to the older and younger sets with colorful imagery that one expects from children’s films and two levels of humor: one that’s quite literal and harmless and another that’s somewhat subversive. The criteria has resulted in cross-generational hits like Wall-E and Madagascar and though it’s nice to be able to take my nephew to the movies and be as entertained by cartoon characters as he is I can’t help but wonder what happened to unabashedly innocent animated classics like A Goofy Movie and The Land Before Time?
Disney’s Winnie The Pooh is the answer to the Shrek’s and Hoodwinked!’s of the world: a short sweet simple and lighthearted tale of friendship that doesn’t need pop-culture references or snarky dialogue to put a smile on your face. Directors Stephen J. Anderson and Don Hall found some fresh ways to deliver adorable animation while keeping the carefree spirit of A.A. Milne’s source material in tact. Their story isn’t the most original; the first part of the film finds Pooh Piglet Tigger and Owl searching for Eeyore’s tail (a common plot point in the books and past Pooh films) and hits all the predictable notes but the second half mixes things up a bit as the crew searches for a missing Christopher Robin whom they believe has been kidnapped by a forest creature known as the “Backson” (it’s really just the result of the illiterate Owl or is it?).
The beauty of hand-drawn animation all but forgotten until recently is what makes Winnie the Pooh so incredibly magnetic. There’s an inexplicable crispness to the colors and characters that CG just can’t duplicate. It’s a more personal practice for the filmmakers and should provide a refreshing experience for audiences who have become jaded with the pristine presentation of computerized imagery. The film is bookended by brief live-action shots from inside Robin’s room an interesting dynamic that plays up the simplicity of youth ties it to these beloved characters and brings you right back to memories of your own childhood.
With a just-over-an-hour run time Winnie the Pooh is short enough to hold the attention of children but won’t bore the parents who will love the film mainly for nostalgic musings. Still it’s the young’uns who will most enjoy this breezy bright and enchanting film that proves old-school characters can appeal to new moviegoers.
New grads Paul (Rider Strong) Karen (Jordan Ladd) Jeff (Joey Kern) Marcy (Cerina Vincent) and Bert (James Debello) head off to a cabin in the woods to let off some post-college steam before entering the working world. They are a pretty likeable bunch except for Bert who gets drunk and starts shooting at squirrels with a rifle--and then accidentally shoots a stranger in the woods. Bert keeps mum about the incident until the man projectile vomiting blood and looking like he's been skinned alive shows up at the cabin and tries to take their truck. While trying to stop him Paul unintentionally sets him on fire and the gang watches as he runs ablaze into the woods. What they don't know however is that he had a contagious flesh-eating virus. When his charred body falls into the local water reservoir everyone becomes vulnerable. The first to gulp down a glass of water filled with strange chunky particles is Karen whom they forcibly quarantine in a shed behind the cabin when she begins to show signs of the disease. Before long the fear of contagion turns the remaining four against one another. What's more a local lynch mob has formed in order to track down and kill anyone who may have come in contact with the virus which has apparently threatened this small town before. Cabin Fever is definitely a rollicking ride; it will scare you gross you out and make you laugh.
Like most low-budget horror films Cabin Fever's cast isn't exactly stellar yet the young actors and actresses really elevate the material. The most refreshing thing about the characters is that they react to what is happening to them in a way you and I probably would as opposed to the typical slasher-flick way: Instead of banding together against the common enemy they bicker act like cowards and put themselves first. Strong who last appeared in My Giant but is probably better known as Shawn from the TV series Boy Meets World emerges as a capable lead as Paul the most sensible of the group. Although his character comes across as somewhat brighter and more sensitive than the rest he is still immature enough to try to cop a feel when his love interest Karen is sleeping and feeling under the weather. Karen meanwhile is played by Ladd who has had small roles in several movies including The Specials and Never Been Kissed. Her character is the most compassionate of the gang and Karen reacts more intensely to events than the others. Kern as cocky know-it-all Jeff Vincent as slutty tough chick Marcy and Debello as party boy Bert perfectly round out the diverse cast of characters.
Because of its gruesome subject matter it is difficult to describe such a vile movie as being good or even well made but this one really is. In his feature directorial debut helmer Eli Roth delivers a truly disturbing horror picture. While most pics of this genre tend to look cold and gritty Roth saturates his sets with golden ambient lighting that brightly contrasts the film's dark dismal subject matter. And dismal is putting it mildly: Cabin Fever shows viewers things that most movies don't because they would be considered too disturbing. Case in point: When the intoxicated Bert drives off for help in his pickup and hits a deer the animal doesn't just die on impact but struggles in pain its hind legs flailing through the windshield. Such disturbing imagery escalates by degrees until the very end when the film takes on a weird surreal quality. For example the scenes of Paul being pushed through a hospital on a gurney have a dreamlike feel bound to make moviegoers question if what is happening is real. The film's score also has all sorts of unusual instrumental influences including a Twin Peaks-inspired number when a sheriff comes to investigate the cabin and a Deliverance-type banjo ditty to accompany the locals folk in front of the general store which adds a touch of humor at the most unlikely moment.