Los Angeles Film Critics Association award winners

Sound the trumpet – awards season is upon us! There is no escape from awards season – you can run but you can’t hide from the glut of critic societies and other organizations announcing movie award winners and nominees as the year comes to a close. Just recently, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association announced their winners for the best films and performances of the year, and the Annie Awards have announced their nominations for the best animated material of 2017. Get the full lists of the Los Angeles Film Critics Association award winners and the Annie Award nominees below.

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The Florida Project Review

This week, the crew discusses The Florida Project with special guest Kristy Puchko.

You can always e-mail us at slashfilmcast(AT)gmail(DOT)com, or call and leave a voicemail at 781-583-1993. Also, like us on Facebook!

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The Florida Project Review

At my screening of The Florida Project during this year’s Toronto International Film Festival, director and co-writer Sean Baker directed a questioner to Google the film’s title to learn what it means. “It’s been harder […] to Google it since the film came out,” he admits. “Now we’re the one that comes up on Wikipedia first, which is weird.” That’s saying something because the original Florida Project refers to none other than Disney World itself, the epicenter of the Sunshine State under whose shadow Baker’s film (which our own Chris Evangelista called one of the best of 2017) takes place.

In 1966, shortly before he passed away, Walt Disney created a documentary laying out his vision for “the Florida Project,” a utopian community where free enterprise could cure the ails of the modern city. (Watch for yourself on YouTube, while you can, to marvel at his ultimately unrealized dream.) In his original vision for EPCOT, Disney envisioned a city without slums or ghettoes. Now, half a century later, the site of his idyllic metropolis showcases some of the starkest inequality in America, where children like the ones in The Florida Project grow up in motels along the same roads that others take to the Magic Kingdom.

But in my interview with Sean Baker, we focused less on this ironic contrast and more on the deep reserve of humanity and empathy shown for the people who dwell there.

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The Florida Project Review

The Magic Kingdom colors almost every scene of The Florida Project. Sean Baker’s achingly beautiful and heartbreaking new film is set in Florida (obviously), very close to Disney, and nearly everything in the background advertises the The Most Magical Place On Earth. Tourist trap stores with huge painted signs advertising Disney merch constantly lurk in the periphery.

But the characters in The Florida Project occupy their own kingdom, one comprised of rundown motels and abandoned buildings. These might seem like squalid conditions, but Baker finds a way to make them seem warm and welcoming without ever trying to glamorize them. The sunsets are fierce and gorgeous, lush pinks and reds and golds, vast and seeming to stretch on for infinity. They feel like home.
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Green Band Trailer

Trailers are an under-appreciated art form insofar that many times they’re seen as vehicles for showing footage, explaining films away, or showing their hand about what moviegoers can expect. Foreign, domestic, independent, big budget: What better way to hone your skills as a thoughtful moviegoer than by deconstructing these little pieces of advertising? This week our wounded soldiers find solace in the great big blue, get sent up the river to deal with our emotions, understand a cultural phenomenon of the 80s, become a tiny dancer, and see what the director of Tangerine is up to now. Read More »

Walt Disney's The Florida Project

At the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, I sat in the library theater for the premiere of an ultra low budget film titled Tangerine. Filmmaker Sean Baker‘s Duplass Brothers-produced dramedy told the story of a transgender working girl searching Hollywood on Christmas Eve for the pimp who broke her heart. The film surprised the crowd with its heart and comedy, but the big shock came after the screening when the director revealed that the whole film was shot on an iPhone 5s.

The film has been namedropped by big filmmakers like JJ Abrams, and a lot of people have been interested to find out what Baker would be doing next. In April it was revealed that Baker had found his next movie, a film called The Florida Project. The title actually refers to Orlando Florida’s Disney World. Disney fanatics probably know that when Walt Disney first started buying up land and planning Disney World, the theme park plans was referred to it as “The Florida Project.”

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Christopher’s Top 10 Trailers of 2015

Trailers are an under-appreciated art form insofar that many times they’re seen as vehicles for showing footage, explaining films away, or showing their hand about what moviegoers can expect. Foreign, domestic, independent, big budget: What better way to hone your skills as a thoughtful moviegoer than by deconstructing these little pieces of advertising? This week we rank the best trailers that 2015 had to offer.

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Tangerine

Sean Baker‘s Sundance smash Tangerine stands out in a couple of ways. For one thing, it chronicles the Christmas Eve misadventures of two transgender prostitutes — not a premise we see on film very often. For another, it was shot entirely on an iPhone 5. But beyond that, it seems worth checking out simply because it looks damn interesting.

Newcomers Kitana Kiki Rodriguez and Mya Taylor are instantly compelling as Sin-Dee and Alexandra, two BFFs working the streets of LA, and their journey takes them through some of LA’s more obscure corners and subcultures. Watch the Tangerine trailer after the jump.  Read More »

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Filmmaker Sean Baker (Four Letter Words, Take Out, Prince of Broadway, Starlet) premiered his new film Tangerine at the Library theater Friday at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival. A Q&A followed the screening during which Baker revealed that the film was shot entirely using three iPhone 5S phones. (Update: Our original story said “almost entirely,” before the film’s team provided a correction.) The revelation got an audible gasp from the crowd who had just watched the movie. It’s not the that film looked amazing — it had a digital look to it for sure — it’s just that no one could tell that it was shot on iPhones.

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Trailers are an under-appreciated art form insofar that many times they’re seen as vehicles for showing footage, explaining films away, or showing their hand about what moviegoers can expect. Foreign, domestic, independent, big budget: What better way to hone your skills as a thoughtful moviegoer than by deconstructing these little pieces of advertising? This week we’re giving Ed Burns one more chance, I discover Australian musician Paul Kelly and have my mind asploded, we watch a feminine odd couple connect with one another, we get a little street, a guy begs for his wife to come back to him, and Gloria Estefan becomes the basis for a horror movie. 

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