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    2022 Oscars Nominations: Snubs and Surprises for Lady Gaga and Jared Leto

    “The Power of the Dog” led the Oscar nominations on Tuesday, but plenty of other high-profile contenders fell short. Here, the Projectionist muses on the morning’s most startling surprises and omissions.Kristen Stewart gets the royal treatment.Kristen Stewart’s role as Princess Diana in “Spencer” is the sort of thing Oscar voters usually rush to crown: It’s a juicy, transformative lead in a biopic, performed by a famous actress who has successfully leapt from blockbusters to prestige films. Then came a shocking snub from the Screen Actors Guild, followed by another shutout from BAFTA, and pundits worried whether she’d get nominated at all. Still, Stewart was game, continuing to do press and awards-season round tables, and the 31-year-old actress was rewarded Tuesday morning with her very first Oscar nomination.Lady Gaga and Jared Leto are shut out.“House of Gucci” was stripped to its studs Tuesday, as former winners Lady Gaga and Jared Leto were both snubbed by the academy. Few performances this year were talked about more — both by audiences and by the two actors themselves — and the red carpet will be a little lesser for their absence. (Hey, nobody said the Oscars were particularly ethical … but they are fair.)‘Drive My Car’ overperforms.Coming out of last summer’s Cannes Film Festival, no one had tagged Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s “Drive My Car” as a major Oscar spoiler: Instead, films like Asghar Farhadi’s “A Hero” and Julia Ducournau’s “Titane” had all the buzz. But a funny thing happened on the way to the Dolby Theater: A year-end surge from critics’ groups put Hamaguchi’s contemplative three-hour drama in the thick of the awards conversation, thanks to high-profile best-film wins from the critics in New York and Los Angeles. Off that momentum, “Drive My Car” managed an astounding four Oscar nominations, with citations in picture, director, adapted screenplay and international film.‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ is snubbed.There was no bigger film last year than “Spider-Man: No Way Home” — in fact, with a domestic gross of more than $748 million so far, there are only three other films that have ever been bigger. As the superhero movie kept raking in cash, the drumbeat grew louder that if the Oscars really wanted to reflect the year in film, they should honor one of the few movies that kept theaters open at all. And the academy did … but only with a nomination in visual effects. A best-picture nomination proved well outside the web-slinger’s reach.The director of ‘Dune’ goes missing.The academy’s directing branch is often dazzled by technical achievement, and a filmmaker who can wield blockbuster scale in the service of a soulful story usually has a leg up over more intimate fare. That’s why it’s startling that this year’s best-director race didn’t make room for Denis Villeneuve, especially since his sci-fi film “Dune” did score 10 nominations in a host of categories. But history was made elsewhere in that category, as Jane Campion became the first woman to earn two directing nominations (for “The Power of the Dog” and 1993’s “The Piano”) and the “West Side Story” filmmaker Steven Spielberg became the first person to be nominated in that category in six different decades.Two couples were nominated.Not only did the real-life partners Kirsten Dunst and Jesse Plemons score their first Oscar nominations this year for “The Power of the Dog,” so did Penélope Cruz (“Parallel Mothers”) and Javier Bardem (“Being the Ricardos”), the rare married couple to have already won before. Even better: It’s a four-category split, as Cruz and Bardem were nominated in the lead races while Dunst and Plemons continued the spread in the supporting categories. Talk about a double date!Kenneth Branagh makes history.Even before “Belfast,” Branagh was an Oscar favorite, collecting five nominations over the course for his career in categories as varied as director, actor, supporting actor, adapted screenplay and live-action short film. But Tuesday morning’s collection of nods for the black-and-white film “Belfast” vaulted Branagh to a surprising Oscar record: He is now the first person to be nominated in seven different categories, having added citations for best picture and original screenplay to his haul. (Hopefully that makes up for a few surprising “Belfast” snubs in editing and cinematography.)‘Flee’ scores the hat trick.Look, it’s hard enough to earn just one Oscar nomination, as so many of the morning’s snubbed artists can attest. That makes what “Flee” just accomplished all the more remarkable: This animated documentary about an Afghan refugee is now the first film ever to receive Oscar nominations for documentary, animated film and international film all in the same year. A win in any of those categories seems unlikely, but at least when the makers of “Flee” claim it’s an honor just to be nominated, you’ll know that they mean it. More

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    A Guide to What Is Happening With the 2022 Golden Globes

    A guide to everything we know about the 79th annual Golden Globes on Sunday night.First, the Golden Globes were going to go toe-to-toe with the Critic’s Choice Awards on Sunday night. Now, after the critics’ ceremony was postponed amid the Omicron surge, the Globes will have Sunday night all to themselves for a big, splashy …… audience-less, glorified PowerPoint presentation. Which may or may not be livestreamed.After NBC bowed out as the broadcaster for this year’s event over ethical missteps and a lack of diversity at the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the group of journalists that puts on the Golden Globes, the ceremony on Sunday will be decidedly low-key. A small number of vaccinated, boosted, masked, socially distanced H.F.P.A. members and other guests will attend the 90-minute event, kicking off at 9 p.m. Eastern time (6 p.m. Pacific) in the ballroom of the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills. There will be no red carpet or outside media covering the night in person. It seems the event will be more like a graduation ceremony than the freewheeling party of years past.Muted format aside, there are still some names to watch: Jane Campion is the favorite to take home her first Golden Globe in the best director category for “The Power of the Dog,” Will Smith and Kristen Stewart could build Oscar momentum with wins for “King Richard” and “Spencer,” and “West Side Story” could score big with wins in several categories..css-1xzcza9{list-style-type:disc;padding-inline-start:1em;}.css-3btd0c{font-family:nyt-franklin,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size:1rem;line-height:1.375rem;color:#333;margin-bottom:0.78125rem;}@media (min-width:740px){.css-3btd0c{font-size:1.0625rem;line-height:1.5rem;margin-bottom:0.9375rem;}}.css-3btd0c strong{font-weight:600;}.css-3btd0c em{font-style:italic;}.css-1kpebx{margin:0 auto;font-family:nyt-franklin,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-weight:700;font-size:1.125rem;line-height:1.3125rem;color:#121212;}#NYT_BELOW_MAIN_CONTENT_REGION .css-1kpebx{font-family:nyt-cheltenham,georgia,’times new roman’,times,serif;font-weight:700;font-size:1.375rem;line-height:1.625rem;}@media (min-width:740px){#NYT_BELOW_MAIN_CONTENT_REGION .css-1kpebx{font-size:1.6875rem;line-height:1.875rem;}}@media (min-width:740px){.css-1kpebx{font-size:1.25rem;line-height:1.4375rem;}}.css-1gtxqqv{margin-bottom:0;}.css-1g3vlj0{font-family:nyt-franklin,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size:1rem;line-height:1.375rem;color:#333;margin-bottom:0.78125rem;}@media (min-width:740px){.css-1g3vlj0{font-size:1.0625rem;line-height:1.5rem;margin-bottom:0.9375rem;}}.css-1g3vlj0 strong{font-weight:600;}.css-1g3vlj0 em{font-style:italic;}.css-1g3vlj0{margin-bottom:0;margin-top:0.25rem;}.css-19zsuqr{display:block;margin-bottom:0.9375rem;}.css-12vbvwq{background-color:white;border:1px solid #e2e2e2;width:calc(100% – 40px);max-width:600px;margin:1.5rem auto 1.9rem;padding:15px;box-sizing:border-box;}@media (min-width:740px){.css-12vbvwq{padding:20px;width:100%;}}.css-12vbvwq:focus{outline:1px solid #e2e2e2;}#NYT_BELOW_MAIN_CONTENT_REGION .css-12vbvwq{border:none;padding:10px 0 0;border-top:2px solid #121212;}.css-12vbvwq[data-truncated] .css-rdoyk0{-webkit-transform:rotate(0deg);-ms-transform:rotate(0deg);transform:rotate(0deg);}.css-12vbvwq[data-truncated] .css-eb027h{max-height:300px;overflow:hidden;-webkit-transition:none;transition:none;}.css-12vbvwq[data-truncated] .css-5gimkt:after{content:’See more’;}.css-12vbvwq[data-truncated] .css-6mllg9{opacity:1;}.css-qjk116{margin:0 auto;overflow:hidden;}.css-qjk116 strong{font-weight:700;}.css-qjk116 em{font-style:italic;}.css-qjk116 a{color:#326891;-webkit-text-decoration:underline;text-decoration:underline;text-underline-offset:1px;-webkit-text-decoration-thickness:1px;text-decoration-thickness:1px;-webkit-text-decoration-color:#326891;text-decoration-color:#326891;}.css-qjk116 a:visited{color:#326891;-webkit-text-decoration-color:#326891;text-decoration-color:#326891;}.css-qjk116 a:hover{-webkit-text-decoration:none;text-decoration:none;}Here’s a recap of how we got here and what to expect.What exactly is the controversy surrounding the Hollywood Foreign Press Association?In February, The Los Angeles Times published an investigation that uncovered infighting, possible financial missteps, questionable journalistic ethics and a jarring lack of diversity in the H.F.P.A.’s ranks. (Not a single one of the organization’s 80-plus voting members, the paper found, were Black.) A New York Times article published a few days later explored the finances of the group, a tax-exempt nonprofit, and reported that it had paid more than $3 million in salaries and other compensation to its members and staff, and that a tax filing showed it had paid $1.3 million in travel costs one year.The scandal-ridden group also came under scrutiny after reports revealed that more than a third of the H.F.P.A. members had been flown on a luxury press trip to the French set of the Netflix series “Emily in Paris” in 2019, after which the critically panned comedy picked up two Golden Globes nominations.How has the H.F.P.A. responded?During the 2021 Golden Globes telecast last February, leaders of the group committed to diversifying their membership — a vague, underwhelming overture that fell flat in Hollywood. Then, after NBC announced in May that it would not air the 2022 ceremony, the H.F.P.A. released a statement that said it was working to reform itself with “extreme urgency” and offered a timeline for changes. In the months since, the H.F.P.A. has hired its first chief diversity officer, adopted new rules that prohibit members from accepting gifts from studios and added its first outside board members. In October, it added 21 new journalists to its ranks, 29 percent of whom it said identified as Black.How has Hollywood responded?Celebrities like Scarlett Johansson and Mark Ruffalo criticized the H.F.P.A. for its proposed changes, arguing they fell short, and a timeline they felt was too long. Tom Cruise returned his three Golden Globes in protest. More than 100 P.R. firms threatened to boycott the H.F.P.A., and Netflix, Amazon, WarnerMedia and Neon cut ties with the organization. NBC still isn’t airing the awards but left the door open for them to return in 2023 if the H.F.P.A. could demonstrate “meaningful reform.”Oh, right, there’s also an award ceremony! What should I watch for?On the film side, “Belfast” and “The Power of the Dog” dominated the nominations with seven each, with the latter’s director, Jane Campion, favored to win her first Golden Globe. “King Richard,” “Don’t Look Up,” “Licorice Pizza” and “West Side Story” followed with four apiece. On the TV side, “Succession” received five nominations, followed by four for “Ted Lasso.” There’s a large crop of first-time nominees among the performers, including Ariana DeBose (“West Side Story”) and Kristen Stewart (“Spencer”) in film, and Jeremy Strong (“Succession”), Jean Smart (“Hacks”), Jennifer Coolidge (“The White Lotus”), and Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany (“WandaVision”) on TV.The field is more diverse than in years past, when artists of color were often overlooked: The best actor in a drama category features three Black contenders, Will Smith (“King Richard”), Denzel Washington (“The Tragedy of Macbeth”) and Mahershala Ali (“Swan Song”).Wait, but can I even watch the Golden Globes?No. A representative for the H.F.P.A. said the ceremony would be private and would not be livestreamed. Instead, real-time updates will be provided on the Golden Globes website and on social media. More

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    Oscar Contenders Like Lady Gaga and Ben Affleck Go Big

    Aim-for-the-fences performances from Lady Gaga, Ben Affleck and many others are making waves, and we’re here for the outrageous fun.There’s a great story Minnie Driver tells about the director Joel Schumacher, who responded dryly after a co-star complained that Driver’s performance in “The Phantom of the Opera” was too over the top.“Oh honey,” Schumacher replied, “no one ever paid to see under the top.”I’ve thought about that bon mot a lot during this movie season, where so many stars seem to be swinging for the fences. Think of Lady Gaga and Jared Leto, who go so daringly big in “House of Gucci,” or Jessica Chastain and Andrew Garfield as televangelists in “The Eyes of Tammy Faye,” where they pitch their performances nearly as wide as Tammy Faye Bakker’s mascara-laden eyes.In “The Last Duel,” Ben Affleck has outrageous fun playing his costume-drama blowhard to the hilt, and the fact that he does it all in a blond wig and a nu-metal goatee makes the role even more over the top. And then there’s Kristen Stewart, who eschews her trademark minimalism for the awfully maximalist “Spencer,” where she is asked to wobble, shout, dance and heave, sometimes all within the same scene.Ben Affleck as a costume-drama blowhard in “The Last Duel.”Jessica Forde/20th Century StudiosAfter the last Oscar season celebrated the quiet, naturalistic “Nomadland,” it’s a kick to see so many of this year’s prestige dramas go in a different direction and embrace enormousness. In an era dominated by superhero movies, perhaps smaller films now need a performance that feels event-sized. Or maybe, after a period when so many of us have led circumscribed lives, it’s invigorating simply to watch actors shake off their shackles and go for broke.Whatever the case, it’s working. “Tick, Tick … Boom!” is animated by Garfield’s gusto as the composer Jonathan Larson, a man who operates at an 11 at all times. Watching him, I remembered the “30 Rock” joke where Jenna Maroney lobbied the Tonys to add a category for “living theatrically in normal life.” And this month brings a double dose of big Cate Blanchett performances in “Don’t Look Up,” which casts her as a terrifyingly “yassified” cable-news host, and “Nightmare Alley,” in which she treats the film’s eye-popping production design as if it were all custom-made for her femme fatale to slink on.I don’t mean to suggest that these outsize performances are a miscalculation. Quite the opposite: An actress like Blanchett is as tuned in to the tone of her movies as a singer who asks for the intended key and then begins belting. When a skilled performer is able to hit all those high notes, it’s more than just technically dazzling: It makes the softly played notes to come feel even more resonant.Cate Blanchett, center, with Bradley Cooper and Rooney Mara in “Nightmare Alley.”Kerry Hayes/Searchlight PicturesBut hey, there’s nothing wrong with simply being dazzled for the sake of it. It’s fun when Bradley Cooper shows up in “Licorice Pizza” to terrorize the young leads with wild, nervy electricity: Just when it feels like the film is coming to a close, Cooper adds enough of a jolt to power “Licorice Pizza” for 30 more minutes. Part of the thrill of watching such a big performance is that you know how much derision is at stake if the actor fails to nail it. Just think of poor Ben Platt in the film adaptation of “Dear Evan Hansen”: His crying jags, so potent on the stage, proved unfortunately memeable in the movies.And sometimes, the most fascinating thing about a film is the frisson between a performer who goes big and co-stars who don’t. The first time I saw “The Power of the Dog,” I’ll admit I didn’t connect with Benedict Cumberbatch, whose performance as the sadistic cattle rancher Phil Burbank felt far too broad. After all, his primary scene partners are Kirsten Dunst and Jesse Plemons, a real-life couple who happen to be two of the best practitioners of American naturalism: They can do anything onscreen and not only will you believe it, you’ll hardly even catch them doing it. Up against them, I found Cumberbatch too mannered, like an actor determined to show his work.Benedict Cumberbatch opposite Kodi Smit-McPhee in “The Power of the Dog.”NetflixBut the second time I watched the film, I realized all of that artifice is perfect for Phil, who is concealing more than just his silver-spoon upbringing and degree from Yale. Put the pieces of his back story together and you’ll realize that Phil’s grime-covered cowboy act is all shtick, a performance of machismo so fraught that an interloper like Dunst threatens it because she doesn’t have to put on any sort of act at all. It took nerve for Jane Campion, the movie’s director, to assemble that sort of cast and trust that it would work, just as it took nerve for Cumberbatch to push things just a little further than some actors would deem comfortable.And hey, at least those bigger-than-average performances will make for some good Oscar clips. Many of the stars who’ve gone for broke have been earning awards attention, though I do want to go to bat for Affleck, who is delicious as the pompous count in “The Last Duel” and deserves serious supporting-actor consideration. The Golden Globes instead nominated him for his low-key work in “The Tender Bar” — a mistake, since the only thing Affleck has done this year that’s even comparable to “The Last Duel” is the contribution he made to pop culture as one half of Bennifer 2.0.Maybe that’s part of the fun of these supersized performances: They’re finally scaled to the level of celebrity that we count on someone like Affleck or Gaga to serve. So often, Hollywood has asked the stars who live largest to shrink themselves down for critical acclaim. But where’s the fun in that? They made that screen big for a reason. More

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    Best Movies of 2021

    Even when a film wasn’t great, filmgoing was. But there were some truly wonderful releases, ranging from music docs and musicals to westerns and the just plain weird.Benedict Cumberbatch in “The Power of the Dog,” left, Kristen Stewart in “Spencer” and Ariana DeBose in “West Side Story.”From left: Kirsty Griffin/Netflix; Pablo Larrain/Neon; Niko Tavernise/20th Century StudiosA.O. Scott | Manohla Dargisa.o. scottThe 10 Best Arguments for the Importance of MoviesThis year, it felt to me as if every good movie was also an argument for why movies matter. There is a lot of anxiety, pandemic-related and otherwise, about what the future of the art form might look like. Will everything be streaming except a handful of I.P.-driven spectacles? Will streaming platforms (and their subscribers) be receptive to daring, difficult, obnoxious or esoteric work? Anyone who claims to know the answers is a fool. What I can tell you for sure is that these 10 movies, and the 11 that almost made the list, do what they can to resist the dishonesty, complacency and meanness currently rampant around the world. They reward your attention, engage your feelings and respect your intelligence. Every little bit helps.1. ‘Summer of Soul’ (Questlove)This documentary about a series of open-air concerts in Harlem in 1969, interweaving stunning performance footage with interviews with musicians and audience members, is a shot of pure joy. The lineup is a pantheon of Black genius, including Stevie Wonder, Sly Stone, the Staples Singers, Mahalia Jackson and many more. But the film is more than a time capsule: It’s a history lesson and an argument for why art matters — and what it can do — in times of conflict and anxiety. (Streaming on Hulu.)Mavis Staples, left, and Mahalia Jackson in a scene from “Summer of Soul.”Searchlight Pictures2. ‘Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn’ (Radu Jude)From its hard-core opening to its riotous conclusion, this category-defying Romanian film captures the desperate, angry, exhausted mood of the present almost too well. A Bucharest schoolteacher (the brilliant, fearless Katia Pascariu) finds her job endangered after a sex tape she made with her husband goes semiviral. Meanwhile, the Covid pandemic and simmering culture-war hostilities turn everyday life into a theater of grievance and anxiety. Holding everything together — barely — is the abrasive intellectualism of Jude’s direction and the earnest rage that fuels his mockery. (In theaters.)3. ‘The Power of the Dog’ (Jane Campion)There are a lot of talented, competent, interesting filmmakers working today. Then there is Jane Campion, who practices cinema on a whole different level. The craft in evidence in this grand, big-sky western — the images, the music, the counterpointed performances of Benedict Cumberbatch, Kirsten Dunst, Jesse Plemons and Kodi Smit-McPhee — evoke the best traditions of old-style Hollywood storytelling. But there is nothing staid or conventional in the way Campion tackles Thomas Savage’s novel of jealousy, power and sexual intrigue. (Streaming on Netflix.)4. ‘Petite Maman’ (Céline Sciamma)The death of a grandmother, the grief of a parent, the acquisition of a new friend — these ordinary experiences, occurring over a few weeks in the life of an 8-year-old girl, provide the basic narrative structure of this spare, perfect film. Whether it’s best described as a modern-dress fairy tale, a psychological ghost story or a low-tech time travel fantasy is up to you. What’s certain is that the performances of Joséphine and Gabrielle Sanz, real-life twins playing possibly imaginary friends, have a clarity and purity that Sciamma (“Portrait of a Lady on Fire”) deploys for maximum emotional impact. (Coming to theaters.)Joséphine, left, and Gabrielle Sanz are possibly imaginary friends in “Petite Maman.”Lilies Films5. ‘Bring Your Own Brigade’ (Lucy Walker)This harrowing documentary about California wildfires is also, almost by accident, an exploration of the country’s polarized, chaotic, self-defeating response to the Covid pandemic. The picture Walker paints is complicated, partly because that’s the way people are: stupid, generous, reckless and brave. The movie is hardly optimistic, but its open-mindedness, compassion and intellectual rigor provide a buffer against despair. (Paramount+)6. ‘Bergman Island’ (Mia Hansen-Love)In a year when rumors of the death of moviegoing spread along with all the other bad news, it was delightful to encounter this warm, wry, emotionally savvy exploration of movie love, moviemaking and movie-centered tourism. Two filmmakers travel to Faro, a Swedish island where Ingmar Bergman lived and worked, and discover either that movies are life, or that there’s more to life than movies. (For rent on most major platforms.)Mia Wasikowska and Anders Danielsen Lie in “Bergman Island.”IFC Films7. ‘Drive My Car’ (Ryusuke Hamaguchi)A theater artist (Hidetoshi Nishijima), recently widowed, travels to Hiroshima to direct an experimental version of Chekhov’s “Uncle Vanya.” A young woman (Toko Miura), also stricken by loss, is hired as his driver. Out of this scenario — and out of Haruki Murakami’s novella — Hamaguchi builds an understated, multilayered meditation on the complexities of human connection. The spirit of Chekhov hovers in the background and is honored by the film’s unsentimental, compassionate regard for its characters. (In theaters.).css-1xzcza9{list-style-type:disc;padding-inline-start:1em;}.css-3btd0c{font-family:nyt-franklin,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size:1rem;line-height:1.375rem;color:#333;margin-bottom:0.78125rem;}@media (min-width:740px){.css-3btd0c{font-size:1.0625rem;line-height:1.5rem;margin-bottom:0.9375rem;}}.css-3btd0c strong{font-weight:600;}.css-3btd0c em{font-style:italic;}.css-1kpebx{margin:0 auto;font-family:nyt-franklin,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-weight:700;font-size:1.125rem;line-height:1.3125rem;color:#121212;}#NYT_BELOW_MAIN_CONTENT_REGION .css-1kpebx{font-family:nyt-cheltenham,georgia,’times new roman’,times,serif;font-weight:700;font-size:1.375rem;line-height:1.625rem;}@media (min-width:740px){#NYT_BELOW_MAIN_CONTENT_REGION .css-1kpebx{font-size:1.6875rem;line-height:1.875rem;}}@media (min-width:740px){.css-1kpebx{font-size:1.25rem;line-height:1.4375rem;}}.css-1gtxqqv{margin-bottom:0;}.css-1g3vlj0{font-family:nyt-franklin,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;font-size:1rem;line-height:1.375rem;color:#333;margin-bottom:0.78125rem;}@media (min-width:740px){.css-1g3vlj0{font-size:1.0625rem;line-height:1.5rem;margin-bottom:0.9375rem;}}.css-1g3vlj0 strong{font-weight:600;}.css-1g3vlj0 em{font-style:italic;}.css-1g3vlj0{margin-bottom:0;margin-top:0.25rem;}.css-19zsuqr{display:block;margin-bottom:0.9375rem;}.css-12vbvwq{background-color:white;border:1px solid #e2e2e2;width:calc(100% – 40px);max-width:600px;margin:1.5rem auto 1.9rem;padding:15px;box-sizing:border-box;}@media (min-width:740px){.css-12vbvwq{padding:20px;width:100%;}}.css-12vbvwq:focus{outline:1px solid #e2e2e2;}#NYT_BELOW_MAIN_CONTENT_REGION .css-12vbvwq{border:none;padding:10px 0 0;border-top:2px solid #121212;}.css-12vbvwq[data-truncated] .css-rdoyk0{-webkit-transform:rotate(0deg);-ms-transform:rotate(0deg);transform:rotate(0deg);}.css-12vbvwq[data-truncated] .css-eb027h{max-height:300px;overflow:hidden;-webkit-transition:none;transition:none;}.css-12vbvwq[data-truncated] .css-5gimkt:after{content:’See more’;}.css-12vbvwq[data-truncated] .css-6mllg9{opacity:1;}.css-qjk116{margin:0 auto;overflow:hidden;}.css-qjk116 strong{font-weight:700;}.css-qjk116 em{font-style:italic;}.css-qjk116 a{color:#326891;-webkit-text-decoration:underline;text-decoration:underline;text-underline-offset:1px;-webkit-text-decoration-thickness:1px;text-decoration-thickness:1px;-webkit-text-decoration-color:#326891;text-decoration-color:#326891;}.css-qjk116 a:visited{color:#326891;-webkit-text-decoration-color:#326891;text-decoration-color:#326891;}.css-qjk116 a:hover{-webkit-text-decoration:none;text-decoration:none;}8. ‘Memoria’ (Apichatpong Weerasethakul)Weerasethakul’s movies defy summary or easy categorization. To describe them as dreamlike is incomplete, since you never know who is doing the dreaming. In this case, it might be Jessica (Tilda Swinton), a Scottish expatriate living in Colombia. Or it might be alien visitors, the filmmaker, the Earth or time itself. What is certain is that this film sharpens the senses and activates emotions that are no less powerful for being impossible to name. (Coming to theaters.)9. ‘West Side Story’ (Steven Spielberg)Somehow, Steven Spielberg and Tony Kushner — and an energetic young cast of Jets and Sharks — pulled off a surprising cinematic coup. Respecting the artistry and good intentions of the original stage musical, they turned it into something urgent, modern and exciting. There’s a lot to unpack in the movie’s gestures of reverence and revisionism, but mostly there are big emotions, memorable songs and an unabashed faith that sincerity will always be stronger than cynicism. (Coming to theaters.)Ariana DeBose, center, as Anita in “West Side Story.”Niko Tavernise/20th Century Studios10. ‘The Velvet Underground’ (Todd Haynes)Like “Summer of Soul,” this documentary revisits the music of the 1960s in a spirit that is more historical than nostalgic. Rather than assemble present-day musicians to pay tribute to their forebears, Haynes concentrates on the Velvets in their moment and on the artistic scene that spawned them. In particular, he focuses on their connections to the experimental cinema that flourished in New York, work that inspires his own visceral, cerebral, visually dense style of storytelling. (Streaming on Apple TV+.)Also …“Annette” (Leos Carax), “The Disciple” (Chaitanya Tamhane), “Flee” (Jonas Poher Rasmussen), “The Green Knight” (David Lowery), “The Hand of God” (Paolo Sorrentino), “King Richard” (Reinaldo Marcus Green), “Mogul Mowgli” (Bassam Tariq), “Parallel Mothers” (Pedro Almodóvar), “Passing” (Rebecca Hall), “El Planeta” (Amalia Ulman), “The Souvenir Part II” (Joanna Hogg), “Spencer” (Pablo Larraín), “The Tragedy of Macbeth” (Joel Coen).MANOHLA DARGISThe Best Film Was One in a TheaterIn July, I watched one of the most mediocre movies that I’ve seen this year — and it was glorious. After more than 16 months of streaming at home, I went to a theater to watch Matt Damon sing the white-guy blues in “Stillwater.” The movie was poky and trite and irritating, and I reviewed it accordingly. And while I regretted it wasn’t better, I was still grateful because it sent me back to theaters, big screens and other moviegoers.Those other people admittedly did give me pause. They were masked, well, most were, kind of, but could I be safe and feel at ease with these people for two or so hours? I was vaxed and masked but also still navigating being back in the world. But the room was great, the screen huge, and I decided that I could — though first I had to tell a guy near me that, yes, he did need to wear the mask he’d parked on his chin. He put it on. I settled in, back in the place that makes me supremely happy: I was at the movies.Since then, I have watched many more new releases in person, including at two festivals where I gorged like a famished person (so many thanks to both the Toronto International Film Festival and the New York Film Festival). I had spent the first part of the year on book leave, and while I’d streamed plenty of new and old films then (hello, Marie Dressler!), I missed going out (anywhere). I missed really, really big bright images and I missed the rituals, including the quick search for the most perfect seat and the anticipatory wait for the movie to begin, for someone to hit the lights and start the show.Movie critics tend to write about movies as discrete entities. Even when writing about franchise copies of franchise copies, we often stick to the object. Although we sometimes share how a movie makes us feel (happy, sad), we rarely write about the true depth of our experiences as we watched these movies — how it felt as the images flowed off the screen and into our bodies and memories — and how this too affected us. There are a lot of reasons for this, including reviewing conventions, which tend to measure movies by certain, traditionally prescribed, often literary and commercial values: Was it a good story, did it say something, is it worth leaving the house for, worth spending money on?It’s a given that money is always part of the equation, as much of the discussion around the future of moviegoing underscores. Most of the chatter about moviegoing these days often devolves into journalists and industry types parroting the logic of capitalism, i.e., whatever industry power dictates. Netflix and other big streamers have had a huge impact, no question, and we can chat about what it all means in a few years. But whatever the rationalization, the reasons there’s so much intense focus on Netflix and Disney is their monopolistic grip not simply on the entertainment industry but also on the hive mind of the mainstream media. But there are other considerations, as well.Benedict Cumberbatch as a malignant presence in “The Power of the Dog.”NetflixSo, yes, more people will likely watch “The Power of the Dog,” the latest from Jane Campion, than any other film in her decades-long career because it’s on Netflix. But what matters is the movie. And you should watch it whether at home or, if you can, in a theater. It looks beautiful no matter the size of the screen. But I’m grateful that I’ve seen it several times projected in theaters. For starters, I could focus on it rather than the distractions of my home, but mostly I could more fully experience the monumentality of its images, could feel on a profound, visceral level both the claustrophobia of its shadowy interiors and the liberating, heart-clutching boundlessness of its open landscapes.Like all the movies I love, “The Power of the Dog” got under my skin. I watched it, fell into it, felt it. And like all the movies I care most about, it is far more than the sum of its finely shaped story parts. I admire its narrative ebb and flow, but the movie’s meaning extends beyond its chapter breaks and dialogue. In Campion’s aerial shots of an arid, lonely land and in the anguished close-ups — in backlighted bristles of horsehair and in the rhythmic rocking of a strand of braided leather on a man’s body — she sets loose a cascade of associations. You see Benedict Cumberbatch, who plays its tormented villain, and in his strut you also see John Wayne, Gary Cooper, Clint Eastwood. You see the sweep of the western genre, the men and women you know, the world you live in.1. ‘Drive My Car’ (Ryusuke Hamaguchi)A masterpiece about life and death and art from one of the most exhilarating directors to hit the international film scene in a long while, “Drive My Car” draws from theater and literature — a splash of “Waiting for Godot” but mostly “Uncle Vanya” and the Murakami short story that gives the movie its title — to create a work of pure cinema. (In theaters.)Hidetoshi Nishijima plays an actor and theater director in “Drive My Car.”Sideshow/Janus Films2. ‘The Power of the Dog’ (Jane Campion)Much has rightly been made of Benedict Cumberbatch’s powerful performance as a malignant force named Phil in Campion’s latest. Much more should be said about how delicately and beautifully Kirsten Dunst, as Rose, holds the movie’s moral center with a gutting performance that shows you how brutally optimism can both die and be reborn. (Streaming on Netflix.)3. ‘The Velvet Underground’ (Todd Haynes)Everything comes together in Todd Haynes’s superb testament to a lost world that helped make our own: the music and art, the drugs and ideas, Lou Reed and John Cale, Andy Warhol and Jonas Mekas, the beauty and ugliness, the affordable New York housing and the artistic freedom that cheap rents allowed, the droning and strobing and darkening shadows that swallowed people whole. It’s all here. Watch it — play it — loud. (Streaming on Apple TV+.)4. ‘Summer of Soul’ (Questlove)There’s much to love in Questlove’s documentary about a New York concert that took place in the summer of 1969, most obviously the music that takes you higher. But consider too the formal design and rigor, and how the movie contracts and expands in time with the onstage call and response, how Questlove narrows in on a moment of beauty — a soaring note, a sliding foot, a beaming face — only to gracefully expand your horizons as he dialogues with the past, the present and the possible future. (Streaming on Hulu.)5. ‘Passing’ (Rebecca Hall)Set in the 1920s, Hall’s exquisite heart-wrencher centers on two African American women, friends from childhood, who can and do present as white. One (Tessa Thompson’s Irene) will pass for convenience, as when she enters a racially restricted hotel, while the other (Ruth Negga’s Clare) lives as white. Separately and together, with yearning and dueling looks, they negotiate the color line, which W.E.B. Du Bois called “the problem of the 20th century” and that still stubbornly defines and divides this country. (Streaming on Netflix.)Tessa Thompson with André Holland in the drama “Passing.”Netflix6. ‘Azor’ (Andreas Fontana)With chilled detachment and meticulous control, this shocking drama tracks a Swiss banker and his wife on a seemingly routine business trip through Argentina in 1980. As they travel about, the juxtaposition between the bourgeois homes they visit and the ever-present military creates an increasingly unnerving tension, culminating in a shattering finale. Here, every polite smile and bland pleasantry is in service to a world of evil. (Streaming on Mubi.)7. ‘The Card Counter’ (Paul Schrader)For decades, Schrader has been telling his favorite story — that of a man alone in a room, alone in his head — to greater and lesser if always interesting effect. Now, with Oscar Isaac, Tiffany Haddish and Willem Dafoe, Schrader tells that tale again, getting into your head with feeling, some scattershot politics, horrific violence and auteurist confidence. (Available on most major platforms)8. ‘The Disciple’ (Chaitanya Tamhane)Every so often, the title character, a Hindustani classical singer (Aditya Modak), rides through the dark night, the voice of a musical guru filling the air and stirring your soul. Our young singer yearns for greatness, but as the years pass and practice never quite makes perfect, the divide between aspiration and reality grows impossibly wider. In a year of wonderful soundtracks, this is the one that soars highest. (Streaming on Netflix.)9. ‘Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy’ (Ryusuke Hamaguchi)This movie, the other of Hamaguchi’s to receive an American release this year, is split into three intricate stories that turn on chance and were, he has said, inspired by Eric Rohmer. Not all of the parts work equally well, but all have moments of beauty and grace along with amazing, complex rivers of words. By the time a character rests a hand on her heart in a rush of feeling, you may find yourself doing the same. (In theaters)10. ‘Spencer’ (Pablo Larraín)Larraín’s atmospherically perfect (and creepy) drama is at once a blistering takedown of the British monarchy, a blazing psychological portrait and a queasily funny Gothic horror freak-out. If you’re still chuckling and sometimes weeping over that soap opera called “The Crown,” this may wipe off your smile — or just make you roar with laughter. (Available on most major platforms.)Kristen Stewart as Princess Diana in “Spencer.”NeonAlso!“Bring Your Own Brigade” (a smart, cleareyed, solution-oriented documentary about the climate crisis that won’t leave you curled up in a ball sobbing); “Dune” (yeah, I know, but I dug this immersive big-screen spectacle, the sort Hollywood rarely produces today); “The Electrical Life of Louis Wain” (part of this year’s Benedict Cumberbatch wave and a must-see for animal lovers or, really, anyone with a beating heart); “Faya Dayi” (a gorgeous dream to slip into); “The First Wave” (a moving, intelligent, deeply human documentary on the pandemic); “In the Same Breath” (a tough, compassionate look at the pandemic via China); “Licorice Pizza” (especially the truck sequence — I could watch two hours of that amazingly directed, staged and choreographed camera-and-wheel work); “Prayers for the Stolen” (stirring and upsetting); “Preparations to Be Together for an Unknown Period of Time” (a gorgeous labyrinth); “Stillwater” (eh, it isn’t good but it brought me back into theaters); “The Truffle Hunters” (a touching lament for rapidly disappearing communities and traditions); “The Woman Who Ran” (elegant, wry, touching cinematic serialism). 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    When Is a Horror Movie Not a Horror Movie?

    When “The Humans” and other new dramas use jump scares and other genre staples, it’s a fair question to ask.A few days before Halloween, the @NetflixFilm Twitter account put out a call: “What movie isn’t technically a horror movie but feels like a horror movie to you?” Included was a photo of a freaky-eyed Gene Wilder in “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory.”Twitter being Twitter, some of the responses were flip, like “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “Cats.” But there were also heavy hitters like “2001: A Space Odyssey” and “Parasite.” Children’s films, including “Pinocchio” and “Bambi,” made the cut. It just goes to show, horror is what scares you, not me.Horror has always been an elastic and regenerative genre. It lifts from and melds with just about every type of cinema: comedy, sci-fi, action, romance, fantasy, documentary. Its flexibility extends as far back as the monstrous love story in “Bride of Frankenstein” (1935) and as current as the blood-drenched melodrama of “Malignant.”But how do you know if you’re watching a horror movie when there’s no killer or monster, exorcism or blood? It’s a decades-old question that’s being asked about new films that blur the line between a movie with horror and a horror movie.Among them are “The Humans,” Stephen Karam’s darkly comic family drama set during a Thanksgiving dinner; “The Lost Daughter,” Maggie Gyllenhaal’s forthcoming eerie character study of a college professor at a Greek resort who becomes obsessed with a fellow vacationer and her daughter; and perhaps unexpectedly, “Spencer,” Pablo Larraín’s speculative, dream-logic psychodrama about Princess Diana.The film follows an unsettled Princess of Wales (Kristen Stewart) as she spends a Christmas holiday on the precipice of a madness that may not be real. In his review for The New York Times, A.O. Scott called it a Christmas movie, psychological thriller, romance and “a horror movie about a fragile woman held captive in a spooky mansion, tormented by sadistic monsters and their treacherous minions.”Read reviews and these films sound like Shudder originals. In the Times, the critic Jeannette Catsoulis used the words “monstrous,” “despairing,” “eerie,” “sinister” to describe “The Humans,” concluding that the family was stuck in a haunted house. IndieWire said the drama “blurs the line between Chekhov and Polanski — Broadway and Blumhouse,” and is “the first real horror movie about 9/11.” (Two of the family members were at ground zero that morning.) The Guardian said “The Lost Daughter” tells the story of a woman who “haunts the resort like a ghost while other ghosts are haunting her.”For some directors, positioning the word “horror” anywhere near a film they don’t consider a horror movie would be erroneous or provocation. Not Karam. He was riveted by horror movies as a child in Scranton, Pa.; his gateway drug was the Disney ghost story “The Watcher in the Woods” (1980), with Bette Davis as the owner of an English mansion who’s mourning her missing daughter.Now 42, Karam remains a devout horror fan, citing Kubrick and Polanski as inspirations for “The Humans,” which he directed and adapted for the screen from his 2016 Tony-winning play. Karam takes pride in the film’s horror elements because they help viewers visualize “how people are conquering or coping with their fears in a story that’s scary.”“It’s important for me to think of a film or a play or any story I’m telling as having a strong, confident personality,” Karam said in a video interview. “I don’t get bogged down by whether it’s a horror film or family drama because the definitions can upset people who take ownership of what a horror film is.”“The Humans” takes place in a seen-better-days duplex newly occupied by Brigid (Beanie Feldstein) and her boyfriend, Richard (Steven Yeun). Visiting from Scranton are Brigid’s working-class parents, Erik and Deirdre (Richard Jenkins and Jayne Houdyshell); and Momo, Erik’s mother (June Squibb), who has dementia. Also joining is Brigid’s sister, Aimee (Amy Schumer), who lives in Philadelphia and is fresh off a breakup with her girlfriend.At the family table there’s turkey and good-natured ribbing, but also difficult conversations about work, love and depression. This is a family filled with love, but also resentment and heartache. Typical Thanksgiving drama stuff.But from the start, there’s an uneasy feeling, as if something terrible is on its way. Parts of the walls ooze and bubble with pustules like growths on a David Cronenberg mutant. There are eerie portraits of spooky people, like the art from a possessed castle in a Hammer Film. Jump scares, loud sounds, darkness, stillness: They’re all heart-pounding. Horror movie stuff.So what is a horror movie? It comes down to intent, said Wickham Clayton, a film scholar and the editor of “Style and Form in the Hollywood Slasher Film.” Horror movies, he said, are about audiences “being uncomfortable, unsettled and disturbed.”Sometimes all it takes is a terrifying antagonist or mood, not an entire movie. Think of Robert Mitchum as a scoundrel preacher in the nightmare fairy tale “The Night of the Hunter” (1955); Faye Dunaway as a toxic Joan Crawford in the darkly camp “Mommie Dearest” (1981); or Robert De Niro as the time-bomb Travis Bickle in “Taxi Driver” (1976).Five Movies to Watch This WinterCard 1 of 51. “The Power of the Dog”: More

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    ‘Spencer’ | Anatomy of a Scene

    Film directors walk viewers through one scene of their movies, showing the magic, motives and the mistakes from behind the camera.Film directors walk viewers through one scene of their movies, showing the magic, motives and the mistakes from behind the camera. More

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    Kristen Stewart’s Princess Diaries

    Kristen Stewart has sometimes been accused of just playing variations on herself, as if that isn’t half the reason we’re drawn to movie stars. In “Twilight” (2008), she brought a specific and sullen appeal to a heroine conceived as a blank slate for female readers; later, in “Personal Shopper” (2017), when Stewart traded her polo shirts for a rich client’s shimmering dress, you could see both the star and the character regarding her new look in the mirror: Is this me? Could I make it me?At first, her new drama “Spencer” would appear to be a sop for the sort of moviegoer who’d demand a more rigorous transformation from the “Twilight” actress: Directed by Pablo Larraín (“Jackie”), the movie is a psychological portrait of Princess Diana as she unravels, then rallies, over a three-day Christmas holiday. Instead of hiring a British actress, Larraín chose Stewart, a contemporary figure of California cool who met me on the day of our interview wearing a brick-red pinstripe suit, her jacket sleeves rolled up to reveal a small constellation of tattoos.The 31-year-old actress who sat opposite me on a balcony at the Sunset Tower Hotel in West Hollywood may not have looked like the obvious pick to play the people’s princess, but a funny thing happens as you watch “Spencer”: The distance that initially seemed so vast between the two women will close to the point where it seems like the canniest casting ever. Stewart, after all, knows a thing or two about a life lived in the public eye, the scrutiny leveled at a high-profile romance, and the private moments snatched away by paparazzi.Stewart gave her all to the movie, studying Diana’s posture, mannerisms and accent; the resulting performance, potent and provocative, has thrust her to the front of this year’s crop of best-actress Oscar contenders. “I used to think that I needed spontaneity and anxiety to propel me into something truthful and that if I had too much control over it, it was immediately going to become fabricated,” Stewart said. “I just didn’t have the confidence to hold that and be like, ‘No, you can design something.’”But Larraín had that confidence in her.“She’s like an actress from the ’50s or ’60s,” the director said. “What she’s doing for the story can be at a very grounded character level, but it’s elevated to a poetic level that creates an enormous amount of mystery and intrigue. And that’s probably the best cocktail you could ever find for a performance on camera.”Stewart as Princess Diana (opposite Laura Benson) in a scene from “Spencer.”NeonStewart knew that taking on “Spencer” would be a challenge, and in the days leading up to the shoot, she even developed lockjaw as she ceaselessly practiced her British accent. But once she was on set, finally channeling Diana, her fears melted away: “At the end of week one, I was like, ‘This is the best thing I’ve ever done. This is the most alive I’ve ever felt.’”Here are edited excerpts from our conversation.What was your first impression when Pablo pitched “Spencer” to you?He was so sure that I should do this, and I thought that was audacious and crazy because it just doesn’t seem like the most instinctive, immediate choice.Did he tell you why it had to be you?He was like, “There’s something about Diana that we’ll never know. You make me feel like that. I’ve seen your work, and I never really know what you’re thinking.” And I feel that way about Diana as well. Even though I feel this overwhelming attraction to her spirit and her energy, there’s something that’s disarming about her. I want to hang out with her. I want to race her down a long hallway. I want to, like, meet her kid.Still, was it a natural step to say yes to this movie?The only reason that you work as an actor for this long is to try and outdo yourself every time. This one was just the proper step up that I couldn’t really say no to. It was ambitious and attractive, and I was like, “If I can’t do that, then I’ll just stop and direct movies instead.” And it’s fun to imagine a larger conversation. It’s fun to imagine if you’re capable of holding that.What emerged of Diana as you researched her?There were so many layers to read. There were so many ways in which she tried to reveal herself, that weren’t necessarily in the form of a direct sentence. She wasn’t allowed to be like, “I’m dying, and he doesn’t love me.” I think the way she expressed herself is so interesting because there are so many lenses between you and that communication.It’s like, to not acknowledge that every single person in the world is sitting here on this balcony with us is wild. We have to pretend they’re not because we’re being nice to each other. Which is nice! But also, we’re talking to everyone in the whole world right now.And I’m asking you to be vulnerable with me, as though what you say won’t be chopped up, reblogged and retweeted by people who aren’t here.You roll the dice, definitely. One could write a very long paper on the exchange between a journalist and an actor. That’s obviously not why we’re here, but yeah.Though Stewart knows something of what Diana experienced with paparazzi, the actress said she was never told “to sit and stay in the way that was so damaging and dishonest.”Ryan Pfluger for The New York TimesBut it kind of is. Diana had to be incredibly savvy about her image and the way it was used, while still radiating utter authenticity. Actors are required to do the same.Every way that we reach out toward each other has to be designed from an interior place. Therefore, it’s a form of manipulation. You want someone to understand you; you want to make someone feel the way that you feel. It’s sad to think about her in general because she’s just the most coveted, loved and also rejected, self-hating person. Those things shouldn’t go together.Unless some of it is cause and some of it is effect. Do we respond to her in a way that causes a little bit of that? When she’s called the people’s princess, does that imply a form of ownership?Of course, which I think she probably tried to cultivate. I think she had to reach out to get any sort of warm acceptance, when obviously at home she felt invisible and unheard and stifled and cold. She was looking sort of everywhere she could for that kind of love. She was the first royal in the entire history of them to reach out and touch people physically, in their face, without gloves on. That rocked people to their core.How did you square some of her contradictions?There were people that were like, “She would never use profanity.” And then other memories would be like, “Oh, gosh, she just came in swearing.” So you can’t know her. With famous people, you hear someone go, “I met them once and they’re not very nice,” but it’s like, “Were you asking them how their day went when they were coming out of the pisser? Maybe they weren’t nice to you in that moment.” People love to have one experience sort of sum up an entire human’s personality. You just have to take everyone’s perspective and shove them together and kind of figure out your own.You’re clearly speaking from personal experience. But in other interviews I’ve read, you demur when asked to draw a direct line between your time in the public eye and Diana’s.Five Movies to Watch This WinterCard 1 of 51. “The Power of the Dog”: More