What to Watch prides itself on often offering a wide variety of material from TV seasons to On Demand exclusives to remasters of classic flicks. Not this week. All six of the New Releases that you may be drawn to in your favorite store or on your favorite service are movies, and all released in the last 18 months. But the variety within those movies is remarkable. A Best Picture winner, action flicks, a superhero, and two indie drams that waste talented casts. Pick your favorites. Here’s how we would rank ‘em.
Film News: 2013 Independent Spirit Award Nominations Announced
CHICAGO – Two acclaimed crowd-pleasers led the nominees for the 2013 Independent Spirit Awards, which were announced November 27th. The quirky ensemble comedies “Silver Linings Playbook” and “Moonrise Kingdom” snagged five nominations apiece. The latter picture recently garnered a Best Feature accolade from the Gotham Independent Film Awards.
At the Indie Spirit Awards, David O. Russell’s “Playbook” and Wes Anderson’s “Kingdom” were joined in the Best Feature category by Ira Sachs’ “Keep the Lights On,” Richard Linklater’s “Bernie” and Benh Zeitlin’s “Beasts of the Southern Wild.” All of the directors whose films were nominated in the top category also received Best Director nominations, with the exception of Linklater, who was replaced by Julia Loktev (“The Loneliest Planet”). Earning nominations for Best First Feature were Rama Burshtein’s “Fill the Void,” Adam Leon’s “Gimmie the Loot,” Colin Trevorrow’s “Safety Not Guaranteed,” Zal Batmanglij’s “Sound of my Voice” and Stephen Chbosky’s “The Perks of Being a Wallflower.” Only “Fill the Void” and “Safety Not Guaranteed” also received Best First Screenplay nominations alongside “Robot & Frank,” “Celeste and Jesse Forever” and “Gayby.” Oddly missing from the category was Zoe Kazan, whose rookie screenplay for “Ruby Sparks” scored a Best Screenplay nomination alongside “Moonrise Kingdom,” “Silver Linings Playbook,” “Keep the Lights On” and “Seven Psychopaths.”
Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton, Bruce Willis, Edward Norton and Frances McDormand star in Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom.
Photo credit: Focus Features
The Best Male Lead category was expanded to six nominees in order to fit Jack Black (“Bernie”), Bradley Cooper (“Silver Linings Playbook”), John Hawkes (“The Sessions”), Thure Lindhardt (“Keep the Lights On”), Matthew McConaughey (“Killer Joe”) and Wendell Pierce (“Four”). Rounding out the Best Female Lead category were Linda Cardellini (“Return”), Emayatzy Corinealdi (“Middle of Nowhere”), Jennifer Lawrence (“Silver Linings Playbook”), Quvenzhané Wallis (“Beasts of the Southern Wild”) and Mary Elizabeth Winstead (“Smashed”). McConaughey also scored a Best Supporting Male nomination (for “Magic Mike”) along with David Oyelowo (“Middle of Nowhere”), Michael Péna (“End of Watch”), Sam Rockwell (“Seven Psychopaths”) and Bruce Willis (“Moonrise Kingdom”). For Best Supporting Female, Rosemarie DeWitt garnered a well-deserved nomination for her work in “Your Sister’s Sister,” joining Ann Dowd (“Compliance”), Helen Hunt (“The Sessions”), Brit Marling (“Sound of my Voice”) and Lorraine Toussaint (“Middle of Nowhere”).
Ben Richardson’s hugely praised cinematography for “Beasts of the Southern Wild” predictably received a nomination alongside “Valley of Saints,” “Here,” “End of Watch” and “Moonrise Kingdom.” After winning the Best Documentary award at the Gotham ceremony, “How to Survive a Plague” was nominated in the same category at the Spirit Awards. Joining it were “Marina Abramović: The Artist is Present,” “The Central Park Five,” “The Invisible War” and “The Waiting Room.” Michael Haneke’s widely revered Palme d’Or winner, “Amour,” was included in the Best International Film category with “Once Upon a Time in Anatolia,” “Rust and Bone,” “Sister” and “War Witch.”
Nominees for the Piaget Producers Award were “Nobody Walks,” “Prince Avalanche” and “Stones in the Sun.” The Someone to Watch Award favored “Pincus,” “Gimmie the Loot” and “Electrick Children,” while the Truer Than Fiction Award highlighted emerging documentary filmmakers Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Véréna Paravel (“Leviathan”), Jason Tippet and Elizabeth Mims (“Only the Young”) and Peter Nicks (“The Waiting Room”). Sean Baker’s critical darling, “Starlet,” was honored with the Robert Altman Award for ensemble acting, as well as a nomination for the John Cassavetes Award. The accolade singles out feature films made for under $500,000. The other nominees were “Breakfast with Curtis,” “Middle of Nowhere,” “Mosquita y Mari” and “The Color Wheel.”