Mar 232014
 

Our favorite Movie Awards are finally back much later this year, but better late than never!  There is full slate of nominees from 2012, with some expected, and a number of surprises, not to mention a handful of the usual WTF? moments. This year  there are 27 films with at least 4 nominations in the Silver Lenas’ 67 different award categories. Given that there always so many awards to be handed out, as usual I’ll be posting the nominees over the next couple days in my general themed postings (Bestest and Coolest, Technical, Worst, Eclectic etc.). Below are the most notable of this year’s nominees including the most notable of  the 24 individuals who have been nominated  for multiple awards themselves.

The Most Nominated Films:

ManofSteelFinalPoster

In an incredible slap at Zack Snider, and the first time I can remember, the film that is the most loathed by Silver Lenas voters earned the most awards.  Man of Steel earn a leading 19 nominations. somewhat lower than last year’s leading film,  The Avengers, and with only 5 of the nineteen in what could be considered ‘positive categories’.  So while the film did get noms for Best Visual Effects and Sexiest Sexiness (for Henry Cavill), such positivity was buried under the 14 negative nominations including, Worst Film, Director, Actress and Villain nominations as well as a The “Wrath of (Pauline) Kael” Award for Sloppiest Screenplay and 3 Most Misused Player noms!

This-is-the-End-Film-Poster

This is the End, on the other hand is the most beloved of 2013 films from a SL voters standpoint, finishing 2nd in total (positive)nominations with 18. This is the End is most notable for sweeping the The Companiero Award for When Somebody Plays Themselves as a Fictional Character nominee list and also earned nominations for

American_Hustle_2013_poster

Rounding out the top three nominated films is American Hustle, David O. Russells latest critic’s darling, with 14 nominations.  Highlights include Best Picture, 2 Best Actor noms (Bradley Cooper and Christian Bale). a Best Actress nomination (Amy Adams) as well a a nom for Best Supporting Actor (Jeremy Renner).  the film also earned a well deserved Best Compiled Soundtrack Nomination.  However, not all is goodness and light as the film also earned negative nominations for both Bradley Cooper (Most Overplayed Role)  and Amy Adams (Worst Actress).

Other highly regarded films include: Thor:The Dark World (14 nominations), and Pacific Rim (12 nominations) and  Warm Bodies (12 nominations).

There were only 2 notably nominated animated films this year: Frozen (8 nominations) and Monsters University(5  noms).

Her2013Poster

This year features a large number of multiple nominees, lead by Amy Adams with a whopping 6 nominations from 3 different films (Man of Steel, Her and American Hustle), although in terms of positive nominations Tom Hiddleston (as Thor character Loki) squeaks ahead with 4 + 1/2 nominations (as he voiced Chris Evans as Loki. Chris, of couse, is therefor nominated for Best Player in >=2 Scenes)  So far Hiddleston has only been nominated as Loki, so I’m not sure if the voters actually like Tom, or they just love Loki. Seth Rogen (for This is the End) and Joss Whedon (for Much Ado about Nothing) are also up for 4 awards each this year.

There are also five individuals with 3 nominations this year as well: Henry Cavill, Channing Tatum, Nicholas Hoult, Benedict Cumberbatch and Johnny Depp.

220px-Warm_Bodies_Theatrical_Poster

Also, a with every year, there are oddities that show up that make you kind of scratch your head.  With 69 categories, how could they not? Rober De Niro arguably appeared in 3 scenes in American Hustle yet was nominated for Best Player in >=2 scenes.  The $40 million Dollar Film, Warm Bodies is up for a Death Machine Award for

As usual, it should be interesting how this turn out at this years Awards Ceremony.

I will have links to the nominee lists within the next couple days.

 Posted by at 8:32 pm
Sep 122013
 

Vanishing PointIMHO CBC’s  80s radio anthology series The Vanishing Point is the number three Spec-Fic Media Anthology series after the original 60s Twilight Zone and Showtime’s Outer Limits 90s reboot.  Thankfully these episodes are now online for all of us to enjoy!

 

Azure Blue by Lawrence Jeffrey

Listen to it here

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Opening Monologue

“Love is strange.  Lovers stand in adjoining rooms, glimpsing one another through a partially open door.  Marriage only confirms the mutuality of this experience. Will the crack in the doorway widen, or will it dwindle away?”

My Review

Ah, relationship horror, something that this anthology series is so very good at.  What starts as a display of deep marital frustration between a Anne and Steven her doctor husband.  However, when Anne suffers an aneurysm and falls into an uncommunicative state, Steve gradually becomes more and more unhinged.  This shows that emotional horror can be just has effective as any other kind, possibly even more so, given the way the medium of audio drama can exploit its strengths.

Hardee Lineham captures Steven’s emotional descent perfectly as the negligent husband turned emotionally needy husband of a now comatose wife.

Closing Monologue (hidden because spoilers)he door shuts with a resounding slam. Anne is trapped inside, trapped by dilating arterial walls, cornered in a small pulsating compartment in her head. Steven is shut outside in the darkened room. Perhaps now, they can really begin to communicate. Stranger things have happened at… The Vanishing Point.”

Sep 122013
 

Vanishing PointIMHO CBC’s  80s radio anthology series The Vanishing Point is the number three Spec-Fic Media Anthology series after the original 60s Twilight Zone and Showtime’s Outer Limits 90s reboot.  Thankfully these episodes are now online for all of us to enjoy!

 

Antinomy adapted from the short story by Spider Robinson

Listen to it here

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Opening Monologue

“It’s cold in here, deathly cold.  Not the kind of cold to sit around in without your memory. Here, try this on for size…”

My Review

Sometimes trying something experimental works for a radio play, after all its theatre of the mind, no?  But, unfortunately here, not so well.  The effort here to bring us into the shattered mind of a woman recovering from being revived from cryonic suspension starts off in a quite confusing manner which leads to kind of a 50’s style Heinlein story complete with clunky dialog and a rather implausible near-future.  Something typical of old-style science fiction some things are just silly (between 1987 and 1997 the US has a second civil war where most of the black population is wiped out) other things not to far off (a Roomba shows up at one point.), much of which are unnecessary distractions to what otherwise would be a simple and poignant story and serve to make it at times sound rather of goofy. What this should remind writers is that audio drama has more in common with film than text, and to adapt stories accordingly.

Iris Quinn is quite game in her performance of the cryonics survivor Virginia and her performance is good enough to overcome the distracting aspects of the production.

Closing Monologue (hidden because spoilers)

“The operation was a failure, but the patient lived. Just a little freezer-burn. Mercifully, Higgins new nurse has a ward all lined up for his convalescence. It’s a semi-private, somewhere between her improbably grey eyes and The Vanishing Point.”

Sep 122013
 

Vanishing PointIMHO CBCs  80s radio anthology series The Vanishing Point is the number three Spec-Fic Media Anthology series after the original 60s Twilight Zone and Showtimes Outer Limits 90s reboot.  Thankfully these episodes are now online for all of us to enjoy!

 

A Silent Agreement by Hans Bergaldt

Listen to it here

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Opening Monologue

“Every actor has faced it.  The part looks good on paper, but how will it look on its feet?  Will the crowd love you?  Or will you stand up there under the spotlights… dying. R.J.s got a new part.  The opening’s tonight; off, off, off Broadway at… The Vanishing Point.”

My Review

As I’ve noted before The Vanishing Point isn’t just a specfic anthology series.  It also plays on mainstream suspense.  Here we have a setup worthy of Alfred Hitchcock presents with a pair of actors hired for a police negotiation training exercise.  As you might imagine, things go awry and you begin to wonder what exact game is being played.  The suspense ramps up well to a pleasingly shattering conclusion.

The writing shines here, supported by solid performances by Howard Siegel  as R.J. the actor who improvises a little to far and Bill Mylan as Bradshaw, the mastermind behind the exercise channeling not a little Orson Welles in his performance.

Closing Monologue (hidden because spoilers)

Who was driving to whom?“R.J.’s performance knocked them off their feet. Unfortunately, the audience reciprocated. A bit too much method acting in his madness, perhaps. But otherwise, the notices should be favorable, there should be long run – all the way to The Vanishing Point.”ť

Sep 072013
 

Vanishing PointIMHO CBC’s  80s radio anthology series The Vanishing Point is the number three Spec-Fic Media Anthology series after the original 60s Twilight Zone and Showtime’s Outer Limits 90s reboot.  Thankfully these episodes are now online for all of us to enjoy!

 

A Silent Agreement by Hans Bergaldt

Listen to it here

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Opening Monologue

“Insomnia? Try one of these. It may keep you up a little longer than you expected. Oh, one more thing, do exercise caution when driving, that’s what is says right here on the side, not that side, this side.. of The Vanishing Point.”

My Review

Musings on death are part and parcel of anthology spec-fic, and TVP is no exception. This radio drama is one of several and doesn’t disappoint in working some well thought out twists into the storyline that involves a man suffering a stroke and falling towards the inevitable.  But as with the best of this kind this sort of story, things aren’t always what they seem, and the cliches that also inevitable come up, aren’t exactly what they seem either. As with all excellent radio drama, once over this story left me with a few things to think about.

Frank Perry pretty much carries this story and does so very well, as the crusty grandfather who can’t accept his son has become a lawyer instead of joining him in the family businees. He capably handles Henry’s performance on his supernatural journey from disappointment to resignation to wonder and back.

Closing Monologue (hidden because spoilers)

Who was driving to whom?  Or did Ken and Tom finally manage half way, some lonely place in the middle of the night where differences melt away.”

Sep 072013
 

Vanishing PointIMHO CBC’s  80s radio anthology series The Vanishing Point is the number three Spec-Fic Media Anthology series after the original 60s Twilight Zone and Showtime’s Outer Limits 90s reboot.  Thankfully these episodes are now online for all of us to enjoy!

 

A Small Good Thing adapted from the short story by Raymond Carver

Listen to it here

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Opening Monologue

“Look, outside your window. On the bald street breaks the blank day.  Anything could happen.  Might just. No telling. And it will happen with our without your blessing.  That’s the way things are.”

My Review

Another effective musing on death that surprises in a number of ways. For one thing, this isn’t really a spec-fic radio drama at all, simply a conventional story of dealing with a unexpected death of a family member.  Yes, despite some of the kind of clichés that the story uses to get to it’s impressively emotionally satisfying ending, it never goes of the rails, although it does get close at times. I suppose that my only gripe would be that Scotty, the birthday boy at the center of things is pretty much just a plot device.  But then, kids in adult stories are generally treated as such, so that’s not too much of a surprise, really.

All of the performances are competently handled, nothing really stands out.  This is a case of the narrative and its point being the true star of the story.

Closing Monologue

“…They listened to him, they ate what they could, they talked on into the early morning, and they didn’t think of leaving.”

Sep 072013
 

Vanishing PointIMHO CBC’s  80s radio anthology series The Vanishing Point is the number three Spec-Fic Media Anthology series after the original 60s Twilight Zone and Showtime’s Outer Limits 90s reboot.  Thankfully these episodes are now online for all of us to enjoy!

 

A Question of Re-entry adapted from the short story by J.G. Ballard

Listen to it here

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No opening Monologue

My Review

This drama was adapted from a 1964 story by J.G. Ballard, and true to form the story follows regular J.G. Ballard typically disturbing motifs (I think he picked them up when he was stationed at a military base in the ‘total perspective vortex’ that is rural Saskatchewan, Canada.) that are revealed as the story goes along (it doesn’t take long at all for the topic of cannibalism to come up). To its credit, this adaptation is deeply weird and dark with its parallels to Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, with a sci-fi twist . Ostensibly, the story is a search for a missing astronaut whose space capsule crashed in the Amazon. If you’re looking at getting creeped out this is the thing to do it.

Graham Campbell is particularly effective as the nearly-Marlon Brando level Colonel Kurtz stand in; Riker. Elliot McIvor also particularly creepy as the voice of Tommy ‘Tom-Tom’.

No Closing Monologue

Aug 302013
 

Vanishing PointIMHO CBC’s  80s radio anthology series The Vanishing Point is the number three Spec-Fic Media Anthology series after the original 60s Twilight Zone and Showtime’s Outer Limits 90s reboot.  Thankfully these episodes are now online for all of us to enjoy!

 

A kissing Way by Judith Thompson

Listen to it here:

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Opening Monologue:

“Hi, you got any plans for tonight. No? Why not? I mean I’m not doing anything either. How about we take in a movie. There’s something playing at the Lux. Oh, It’s European. It might be art, but, if you’re still interested I’ll meet you there…”

My Review:

Another genre that The Vanishing Point excels in is suspense and psychological horror. Here, a mediocre movie date turns into an ever escalating car ride into terror that never shrinks from the whatever direction it travels in. At times, this episode had me on the edge of the seat wondering what was going to happen next, and that’s what well written suspense is all about. Oh, and man, after listing to this I never want to spend a winter in Winnipeg. Nope, never.

The chemistry between the actors playing Philip and Barbara is especially impressive, and the skill at which they handle the increasing intensity of their exchanges makes this audio drama worth listening to.

Closing Monologue:

(hidden, as it contains spoilers)
“So, it seems Barbara will live to wash her hair another day, and Philip will return to the pits to sell a few more shares. He should check out his portfolio. Trading is brisk at The Vanishing Point”

Aug 302013
 

Vanishing PointIMHO CBC’s  80s radio anthology series The Vanishing Point is the number three Spec-Fic Media Anthology series after the original 60s Twilight Zone and Showtime’s Outer Limits 90s reboot.  Thankfully these episodes are now online for all of us to enjoy!

 

A Few Words from Harold by Rachel Wyatt

Listen to it here:

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Opening Monologue:

“People go to no end of trouble from whatever is awful in their lives some run away some change their names, some chose violence.  But Harold Marlick took the gentle way. He opted out…”

My Review:

Central character Harold’s  dog has died and finds himself suffering an existential crisis, withdrawing into fantasy about a lost love, and inadvertently gains worldwide fame (at least as much fame as one can get in a small Northern Ontario Town) by entering into what various groups describe as a ‘silent protest’, that they all believe will end in a earth shaking and profound statement. There’s a fair bit of narration by the author that is occasionally insightful as well as occasionally intrusive. This is one of those small town stories and characters that Rod Serling often explored, coupling the mundane with inventive absurdity before reality comes back to rear it’s mundane head.

Notable in this episode are Richard Donat as Harold, and Jane Eastwood as his wif’e's friend Lou, and Peter Blais as the genially deranged Sci-Fi Planet reporter Mazoff..

Closing Monologue:

“And that’s how it is, no one listens to the prophet next door…”

Aug 302013
 

Vanishing PointIMHO CBC’s  80s radio anthology series The Vanishing Point is the number three Spec-Fic Media Anthology series after the original 60s Twilight Zone and Showtime’s Outer Limits 90s reboot.  Thankfully these episodes are now online for all of us to enjoy!

 

A Communicable Disease by Larry Feinberg

Listen to it here:

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Opening Monologue:

“The New People, they’re out there, they’re everywhere, eating the new food wearing the nsew skin opening restaurants, but who are they really what makes them tick, and why is it, they’re lining up for a crack at The Vanishing point.

My Review:

This is a good example of the level of  black comedy episode of the show featuring a pair of yound and talented CBC broadcasters, Selma and Norm who run a popular radio show. The two concerned about a pulled episode of their show ‘Our Lives’ about what can only can be described as  a ‘Yuppie disease’, discuss the deaths with prominent Toronto clergyman Bishop Mallet in hopes of gaining his support.  Man, does this episode take an amusingly disturbing look at mid-1980’s Torontonian young upwardly mobile professionals metaphorically and physically ‘losing their shit’ with a creepy supernatural twist as well, including references to the Black Plague and AIDS.  Overall amusingly nasty to rather uncomfortable listening at point.  Color me impressed for its clear envelope pushing if nothing else.

Especially notable in this episode are: Don Harron as the skeptical Toronto Bishop Mallet as well as  Don Dickinson and Catherine Gallant as an amusingly full of themselves ‘80s yuppie couple (at least until things go horrifyingly bed for them).

Closing Monologue:

“The new people, what’s happening to their shadows, their bowels, their racquetball games?  They’r ethrowing their their money around, losing control, they’ve overstepped their credit limit  into The Vanishing Point