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.

Read More »

The Movies and TV Shows We’re Thankful For in 2017

Movies We're Thankful For

The /Film crew is taking Thanksgiving off to be with their families. But since we consider you, our readers, to be friends of the family, we’re inviting you to our table. Join us as we share a meal of the movies and shows that matter the most to us right now, the entertainment that we’re thankful to have in 2017. You can’t go wrong with watching any of these over the holidays.

Read More »

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!

Read More »

the florida project

(Welcome to The Disney Discourse, a recurring feature where Josh Spiegel discusses the latest in Disney news. He goes deep on everything from the animated classics to the theme parks to live-action franchises. In this edition: a look at Escape From Tomorrow and the newly released The Florida Project, both of which explore the peripheries of the Disney experience.)

The Disney theme parks are built upon a foundation of agreed-upon lies. We tell ourselves that we can afford a trip to the Happiest Place on Earth even if we should spend that money on more reasonable expenses, because we value our enjoyment or the enjoyment of our family members more than the strength of our bank accounts. We tell ourselves when we walk through the gates of the Magic Kingdom that we’ve been transported into a world of fantasy and future, a land where our real-world problems don’t exist. We tell ourselves that the theme parks are a place where the Cast Members who operate the attractions, shows, and restaurants have no real-world problems — really, no outside lives — of their own. Each winding walkway, each touch of atmosphere, each architectural choice is, in its own special way, a lie. They are mostly beautiful lies, but lies nonetheless.

The beautiful lies of the Disney theme parks, and how those lies have an uglier ripple effect towards the periphery of the cities that house them, are part of the fuel behind two independent, tonally very different, films from the past few years: Randy Moore’s Escape from Tomorrow and Sean Baker’s The Florida Project. Each film deals with the specter of the Disney theme parks in its own way. Moore’s 2013 film built buzz because he and his cast had shot a majority of the Lynchian film inside the parks without Disney’s knowledge. Baker’s is focused on the fraying edges of the community that borders Walt Disney World. Despite being radically different, the directors each attempt to confront the parks and their impacts through these stories.

Read More »

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.

Read More »

the shape of water red band trailer

Another Toronto International Film Festival has been resigned to the dust, and it is time for us to look back on it and remember all the great (and not so great) films we witnessed there.

Truth be told, this year’s fest was slightly less exciting than last – the films were good, and some were even fantastic, but overall they did not pack as much of a punch as I’d been hoping. Still, it’s hard to deny the thrill one gets from attending TIFF; day after day, you spend hours upon hours watching films with audiences who are genuinely excited to be there, unlike seeing a film at your local multiplex, where the crowd could care less. If you’re covering TIFF as press, you rise at dawn, make your way down to the Scotiabank Theatre and spend almost the entire day there. It can be exhausting and draining, but it’s also wonderful.

For the sake of completion, I’ve compiled links to all the /Film reviews (written by me and Marshall Shaffer) out of this year’s TIFF, as well as a blurb or two for films that did not receive a full review. Here is every movie we saw at TIFF 2017.

Read More »

tiff

Another Toronto International Film Festival has come and gone, bringing with it a wealth of great movies and a few weirdly disappointing ones too. This usually sets the stage for the remainder of the year in film – the movies that generated buzz at TIFF will likely go on to be talked about ad nauseam come Oscar season. TIFF itself gives out awards as well, and the big winner was Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, which took home the Grolsch People’s Choice Award.

I didn’t see it. Sorry!

But I did travel to TIFF and take in a slew of memorable films, which I will now present special awards to for the sake of wrapping-up the fest. Some spoilers follow.

Read More »

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.
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.”

Read More »

Cool Posts From Around the Web: