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Friday, January 31, 2014


Courtesy of Charlie Victor Romeo LLC

2014, 80 minutes
Not Rated

Review by Joshua Handler

CHARLIE VICTOR ROMEO is now playing at Film Forum in NYC.

Based on a stage play of the same name, Charlie Victor Romeo is quite a unique film.  It is a series of minimalist reenactments of airplane emergencies using a small cast of actors and dialogue taken straight from black box recorders on the doomed flights.  Every scene takes place inside the cockpit.  While the acting isn't as strong as I would have liked (it diffuses some of the tension), this is a fascinating film with some scenes that genuinely shook me up.

If you don't like flying, this isn't the film for you.  I neglected to mention, the movie is also in 3-D.  There is never certainty as to whether anyone will live which drives up the tension.

This is an unusually short review because there really isn't much more to say about the film.  It is a tragic, intense, original piece of filmmaking that was an experience to watch.  While the 3-D isn't completely necessary, it did bring me into the world of the film and I appreciated that.  Again, if you fear flying, don't see it.  If you don't fear flying, see it.


Thursday, January 30, 2014


Tim Jenison (right) demonstrates his first painting experiment to his friend, producer Penn Jillette (right). Photo by Carlo Villarreal, © 2013 High Delft Pictures LLC, Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics. All Rights Reserved.   
2013, 80 minutes
Rated PG-13 for some strong language

Review by Joshua Handler

Penn and Teller's Tim's Vermeer is one of the most entertaining documentaries to have come out in ages - I've seen it twice and could easily watch it a third time.  At a lean 80 minutes, this film tells a truly wacky story: how inventor, not artist, Tim Jenison attempts to paint a copy of Vermeer's The Music Lesson.  Now why would he want to do that?  After reading some books on the subject, Jenison hypothesizes that Vermeer used special tools to help him paint with the level of detail that he did - no human eye could paint with Vermeer's level of detail.  So Jenison creates (or recreates) devices that Vermeer may have used and decides to test his hypothesis.  How Jenison tests it is what you'll see in the movie.

As a piece of storytelling/editing, this is masterful. The film was shot over five years or so which meant that countless hours of footage were shot for the film.  For it to be so incredibly funny, economical, and moving in a brief 80 minutes is a miracle.  Teller directs, Penn narrates, but Jenison is our real guide.  He is a truly brilliant man and one who I could listen to and watch for 80 more minutes.  His unwavering dedication to this project is admirable and dry sense of humor and nonchalant attitude about the outrageous undertakings at hand make him a character who is endlessly watchable.

In addition to being a remarkable piece of entertainment, Tim's Vermeer dares to ask whether the supposed "geniuses" of art like Vermeer were actual geniuses or just really brilliant inventors.  If Vermeer used devices similar to those Jenison used, would he still be a "genius"?  A master?  No.  He would just be an ordinary painter with an extraordinary talent for inventing.

Overall, Tim's Vermeer is a perfect documentary for people who don't like documentaries.  People who don't like docs usually haven't seen the good ones or many at all and complain that they're boring or lifeless.  "Couldn't I just watch this on the news?" they may ask.  Well, the news won't be showing a story like this.  They don't have the footage, time, or editors to create a production like Tim's Vermeer.  As one of the filmmaker's said at a Q&A Tuesday night, someone could walk into this movie with no knowledge of Vermeer, Jenison, or anything on the other topics covered in the film and still view this movie.  It's completely accessible, digestible, hilariously funny, and genuinely jaw-dropping in its revelations.  This is documentary filmmaking that anyone would enjoy and I can only hope this movie gets the audience that it deserves.  Vermeer's work and Tim's Vermeer are art; so is this movie.


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Slamdance Shorts: Feature 3

Morrisa Maltz's "Odyssea"
by Joshua Handler

This final collection of Slamdance Shorts reviews is a bit late, however I had to publish since the two films reviewed below are excellent.

"Odyssea" - Morissa Maltz's beautifully designed, magical realist tale "Odyssea" tells the story of a girl who walks through her odd hometown after some time away.  A rather puzzling watch, this film is completely worth seeking out, as it is an incredible look at how a little money and a lot of imagination go a long way.  Maltz directed, produced, edited, and designed the film and it shows - she has an amazing eye and shows lots of promise.  This was obviously a personal project and one that really resonated with me.

"Ovo" - This is a bewitching watch.  Mihai Wilson's "Ovo" is a visually gorgeous sci-fi film about three people stranded on a desolate planet.  The visual effects and the actors blend beautifully, the grungy, yet strangely beautiful, look of the planet is imaginative, and the finale is exciting.  Look out for Wilson and his crew.

Monday, January 27, 2014

THIEF Criterion Blu-Ray Review

Courtesy of The Criterion Collection
1981, 124 minutes
Not Rated 

Review by Joshua Handler

Michael Mann's electrifying, hard-edged crime thriller, Thief, is an underrated near-masterpiece of crime cinema.  Refn's Drive would never exist without Thief.  So much of Drive's style is an homage to Thief, from the near-wordless opening heist sequence to the electronica score.  This is another great Criterion edition.

What I love about The Criterion Collection is that they bring back films that deserve attention.  Last month's Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion, September's La Cage Aux Folles (still very popular, but overshadowed by The Birdcage), and this month's Thief are all films that are landmark pieces of cinema that have been largely forgotten.  The fact that Michael Mann is incredibly popular and his film's influence is still being felt is incredible and the fact that it isn't better known is a shame.  This edition's colors pop and the score pulsates.  This fits beautifully into the Criterion canon.

Thief was, as Mann and Caan describe in the interviews included in the disc's special features, an authentic crime picture.  Mann used many real thieves as actors and used their real equipment and methods for the break-in sequences, all of which are filmed and edited with precision and excitement.  The authenticity in Thief shows - unlike many crime movies, there are no logic gaps.  Thief, even at 124 minutes is fast-paced and economical, but also has a big heart, which makes it involving on a human level.  The relationship between Frank and Jessie is completely believable and free of sentimentality, and the film's ending is bleak and realistic.

James Caan delivers a tough, intense lead performance as Frank, the thief of the title.  He is a man who has lived a hard life, particularly during his long term in prison, but he is also a man with a heart.  Frank falls for Jessie (Tuesday Weld in a very sympathetic performance), a nice woman who has also lived a rough life.  Caan and Weld's chemistry is very real and strong, making us care for them.

Thief is, at its very base, a typical heist movie.  However, as mentioned, it has a big heart and a lot of brains.  Every frame of this movie oozes style.  The neon lights in the Chicago scenes really capture the city's grit and decay.  This urban landscape is not unlike the hellish one depicted in Blade Runner just a year after Thief was released, though this one is obviously much more realistic.  The cinematography by Donald Thorin is crisp and every shot is well-framed.

There are three interviews included on the disc.  The first interview is with Michael Mann, the second with James Caan, and the third with Johannes Schmoelling of Tangerine Dream.  The first two give fascinating insight into the creation of this film.  Mann discusses how, growing up in Chicago, he knew many people like the ones depicted in his film.  Since these people were part of Mann's childhood and he knew their world so intimately well, he included them in his film.  Schmoelling's interview is very different since he became involved after shooting.  He discusses the immense amount of respect he has for Michael Mann since Mann gave Tangerine Dream a lot of creative freedom.  As Schmoelling points out, the first scene (7-10 minutes) has little to no dialogue.  This meant that he and his team had freedom to fill that long scene with music.  Schmoelling appreciated the fact that Mann trusted him and his team enough to allow them that freedom.  The disc also includes a trailer.  While the special features are minimal, they're very interesting and complement the film very nicely.

Overall, this edition of Thief would be worth a blind buy - it's that great.  Thief is both extremely accessible and artistically significant.  It's really thrilling to have this movie back again, looking and sounding stunning.  I hope people realize what a significant work of art this really is and how gutsy it was to make it as bleak as it is.

Film: 4/4
Special Features: 3.5/4
Overall: Worth Buying

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Slamdance Shorts: Feature 2

A still from Marc Horowitz's "Moving"
by Joshua Handler

"Real Ethereal" - Winner of this year's Slamdance Jury Award for Experimental Short, Evan Mann's "Real Ethereal" is a look into an otherworldly realm full of wonder.  The sound design is killer, as is the cinematography.  Much of the film looks as if it was created using stop-motion animation.  While I couldn't tell you with confidence what the film "means", I can say that it is a bewitching, entrancing, wholly original vision from a director who has ambition and talent.

"Moving" - By far the most bizarre short I saw from Slamdance this year, Marc Horowitz's "Moving" is a snapshot into the lives of two creatures chipping away at a big block of something.  Over the three minutes the short runs, they discuss many things including the potential name for a "risqué massage parlor in a cave", they take a picture, and they keep chipping away at the block.  This is oddly amusing, well-designed both visually and aurally, and in a way, touching.

WAITING FOR MAMU Review: Slamdance 2014

2014, 40 minutes
Not Rated

Review by Joshua Handler

Waiting for Mamu is one of those films that restored my faith in humanity.  The film, executive produced by Morgan Spurlock and Susan Sarandon, tells the story of Pushpa "Mamu" Basnet, a woman in Nepal who takes children out of prison and raises and educates them.  The children she raises are children who have been put in jail with a parent due to a law in Nepal that requires a child to go to prison with a parent if there is no local guardian around.  

In 40 minutes, Thomas Morgan manages to tell a truly remarkable story with heart and love.  He gives us a portrait of a hero and shows her influence on the lives she has changed.  Many of the children she has taken in come from broken or abusive homes.  Many of these children would be uneducated and forced into a life of crime if it wasn't for Basnet.  A few children are interviewed, and this gives us another angle of this story.  While we see quite a bit of footage of Basnet, the footage of the children gives the film another dimension since we are able to see firsthand the good Basnet is doing.  Basnet thinks of these children as her own and they think of her as their mother.

Morgan doesn't go for sentimentality and doesn't try to pull at the heartstrings - he doesn't need to.  Basnet's story is so beautiful that it speaks for itself.  As a film, this is truly a full emotional experience.  If it were not for movies like these, many of us would never know about the small heroes making the world a better place.


"Tim and Susan Have Matching Handguns" Review: Sundance 2014

2014, 2 minutes
Not Rated

Review by Joshua Handler

Please note: I normally don't dedicate full reviews to short films, but due to the fact that Oscilloscope Laboratories made the unprecedented move to pick up this short film for distribution and my love for this film, I decided to give it a full review.

This is a special review of a special film.  No you did not misread the running time - "Tim and Susan Have Matching Handguns" is not actually two minutes (I round up), but rather 95 seconds long and is playing at Sundance.  The real reason why Joe Callandar's "Tim and Susan Have Matching Handguns" has attracted so much attention is because the independent distributor Oscilloscope Laboratories (We Need To Talk About Kevin, Samsara) picked up the movie for distribution.  What they'll do with it is anyone's guess, but this is a brilliant piece of filmmaking because it manages to be simultaneously sweet, funny, and somewhat disturbing in 95 seconds.

The film is about a Texan couple, Tim and Susan, who have matching handguns.  You might ask why they have matching handguns.  Well, I'll let you find out for yourself when you view the film here.

Callandar's film is most impressive for its economics.  Through five establishing shots, we know where we are and what kind of town Tim and Susan live in.  Through the small story that Tim and Susan tell, we are given insight into the deep love that binds them and we connect with them on a human level.  The fact that Callandar pulled off a short film this rich and entertaining in 18 shots is miraculous.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

R100 Review: Sundance 2014

Courtesy of Drafthouse Films
2014, 99 minutes
Not Rated

Review by Joshua Handler

A symphony of weird, nauseating, and outrageous scenes, R100 is in a league of its own.  The film tells the story of an everyday man, Takafumi Katayama, who decides to give his boring life a jolt by signing up for an S&M service that sends out dominatrices to beat up their clients at unknown times throughout the day.  The clients can't cancel the service until the year is up.  As the service gets crazier and crazier, it becomes increasingly dangerous for Katayama and it begins to impact his personal life.

No one can fault writer/director Hitoshi Matsumoto (Big Man Japan) for not going far enough.  While the deadpan delivery of some of the humor doesn't always work, Matsumoto keeps things moving at a nice pace and consistently throws in scenes that top each other for their bizarre content.  For example,  one of the dominatrices who specializes in spitting begins to spit cocktails at the tied-up Katayama and that scene is followed by a car chase.  Matsumoto keeps upping the ante.

Matsumoto's nonchalant treatment of the situations depicted in the film makes for killer fun and his outrageous choice of music makes many scenes even more hilariously entertaining.  Matsumoto lets his imagination run wild throughout the course of the film, but still manages to keep it self-aware.  There are scenes interspersed throughout the film in which film censors comment on how tasteless and outrageous the movie is.  The film's title, R100, is a spin off of R-21, the highest film rating in Japan. To have a film be called R100, it can be assumed that the film is something crazy.  While not quite an "R100" level of nuttiness, R100 is certainly something twisted and racy.

Overall, R100 should please genre film lovers and adventurous moviegoers.  This film has such a distinctly odd sense of humor and more WTF moments than just about any movie I've seen in the past few months.  While not quite as horrifyingly insane as it thinks it is, R100 is certainly a great time at the movies.  It takes a certain kind of twisted genius to make something this tasteless so hilarious, but Matsumoto has that genius and has made a wholly original film that had me laughing out loud.


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

GOLDBERG & EISENBERG Review: Slamdance 2014

2014, 90 minutes
Not Rated

Review by Joshua Handler

Oren Carmi's crazy Goldberg & Eisenberg tells the story of a man, Eisenberg (Yahav Gal), who stalks another man, Goldberg (Yitzhak Laor), in Tel Aviv.  As time passes, the stalking becomes increasingly disturbing.

This film is very impressive for many reasons, the first being that it looks spectacular.  Goldberg was shot for under $1,000,000, but it never shows.  Ido Bar-On's cinematography is fluid and beautiful and looks better than many big-budgeted films.  The film is set in Tel Aviv, but Carmi makes it feel barren and isolating, adding to the tense atmosphere.  The nighttime colors pop out - everything has a glow to it giving it a hallucinatory feel, adding to the unease.

Carmi's screenplay is, for the most part, engaging and clever, throwing in a few fun twists, and the pessimistic nature of it is reminiscent of a Coen Brothers movie.  The acting from both Gal and Laor is strong, as they really nail down their respective character's mannerisms and create two characters worth investing in.  While both characters are unlikable, it adds to the amusing nature of the film; since I was never emotionally attached to Goldberg and didn't like him, it was oddly fun to watch Eisenberg stalk him and ruin his life.

While the film has many virtues, it has two flaws: the score and the ending.  I don't know what happened with the score.  At first, it seemed like it was intentionally overdone, like bad Bollywood movie overdone, but as the movie drew on, I realized it was unintentionally bad.  The music undercuts the impact of many of the film's best scenes, but thankfully it doesn't kill them.  The ending was a bit anti-climactic in that it should have been crazier - the energy should have been higher.  The film builds and builds, so by the time it was about to climax, I expected something truly insane.  The ending isn't bad by any stretch, but it just isn't quite as strong as it needs to be.

Overall, Goldberg & Eisenberg is a solid debut film from Oren Carmi.  After winning an award at Fantastic Fest and playing Slamdance, I hope this film gets noticed, as it is a funny, engaging, and well-made movie that consistently transcends the constraints of its small budget.


Monday, January 20, 2014


Courtesy of the Criterion Collection

Criterion Blu-ray Review

by Joshua Handler

Elio Petri's incendiary, energetic, and terrifying Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion finally arrives on DVD/Blu-ray courtesy of The Criterion Collection.  This is a must-own edition for many reasons, the first being how great the film is.  Investigation was released in 1970 to massive acclaim, winning an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film and being nominated for the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay the following year.  However, Investigation has sadly been forgotten since its release.  Hopefully, this release brings it the attention it deserves.

The film tells the story of a police inspector (Gian Maria Volonté) who commits a murder and plants clues to lead the police investigators back to him to see if he really is above the law.  This film had to have been an influence on Terry Gilliam's Brazil, as it takes on bureaucracy and fascism with a burning passion and surrealist sensibilities.  Investigation starts out based in realism, but slowly becomes more and more surreal as the story becomes more and more outrageous.

Many people associate foreign films with inaccessibility - they don't like the subtitles, they think they're not fun, or they think they're too pretentious.  Investigation proves this belief wrong.  Director Elio Petri said in an interview included on this disc that he didn't want his film to be "bourgeois", he wanted it to be completely accessible.  What's remarkable about Investigation is that it manages to be a complex political film that's also outrageously entertaining and accessible to any audience.  It's amazing to me that this movie hasn't been more popular in the U.S. than it has.  No one speaks of Investigation anymore even with all of the acclaim that it was met with during its initial release.  Few films are able to be successful with both critics and audiences, but this one is.

Gian Maria Volonté's commanding, charming, explosive lead performance matches the energy behind the camera.  Petri and Volonté seem to be in perfect sync.  Petri's dramatic use of the camera perfectly complements Volonté's larger-than-life performance.  In one scene, Volonté's police inspector is giving a speech to his colleagues.  "Our duty is to repress them [the citizens].  Repression is civilization!" he exclaims to a wild round of applause.  Petri films much of this scene in close-up, the camera rarely moving from Volonté's face.  Volonté is magnetic - he speaks in a frighteningly forceful, yet convincing manner, not unlike Mussolini.  We hang on his every word due to Volonté's power and Petri's insistence on making us watch him in close-up.  If ever there was a perfect director/star match-up, this is it.

The police inspector is a Mussolini-like figure.  He's above the law and, in a way, has the entire city under his thumb.  The film is a critique on the police and government of Italy at the time and this made Petri leave Italy briefly when the film was released since he was scared the government would go after him for making a film this critical.  

The special features on this disc give both historical context to the film and the people behind it.  There is an 80-minute documentary that, while a bit dry, is an interesting look into Elio Petri's career.  Petri died young and didn't make a large amount of films, but the ones he did make were acclaimed.  His biggest success worldwide was Investigation.  He also tried his hand at many genres.  When Petri hired legendary composer Ennio Morricone (The Dollars Trilogy, Cinema Paradiso) to score his 1968 film A Quiet Place in the Country, he told Morricone that that film would be the first and last they do together since Petri never liked to use a composer more than once.  After that collaboration, however, Petri hired Morricone back for every film.  

Morricone's now-iconic Investigation score adds a kooky touch to the film utilizing "peasant" instruments as Morricone puts it in a fun 2010 interview included on the disc.  This score has a distinctly Morricone feel - a playfulness that makes it feel as if the film is teasing us in some way; like it has something up its sleeve.  

Also included on the disc is an interesting 50-minute documentary about Volonté, a trailer, and an insightful analysis of the film with with film scholar Camilla Zamboni.

Overall, this is a must-own Criterion edition.  Investigation looks absolutely stunning, it's loaded with special features, and is just a great movie.  This is one of the finest pieces of filmmaking I've had the pleasure of viewing in quite a while and am thrilled Criterion has released this beautiful-looking edition.  I hope that Investigation finally gets the recognition it deserves with this new release.

Slamdance Shorts: Feature 1

A still from "Meet My Rapist"Courtesy of Jessie Kahnweiler
I am now covering the 20th annual Slamdance Film Festival.  Last year's festival introduced us to such brilliant films as The Dirties and Bible Quiz.  This year, I will be featuring reviews of shorts and features, so to kick off coverage, here are some brief reviews of three excellent shorts that are playing the festival.

"Meet My Rapist" - Jessie Kahnweiler's "Meet My Rapist" tells the story of a woman (Kahnweiler) who meets her rapist in a farmer's market years later and learns how to get over him.  What makes this short so brilliant is its gutsiness.  Rape is obviously a serious topic, but Kahnweiler turns the post-rape experience into a cathartic and funny journey.  Ms. Kahnweiler is a comedienne to watch out for - she reminds me in all the best ways of Sarah Silverman.  She realizes that the best comedy comes from pain and takes full advantage of this.

"R/B/G" - Alejandro Peña's singularly wacky short, "R/B/G" seems to be a comment on the media's saturation with violence (and everything bad in general) and its ability to drive someone insane.  Featuring an assaultive sound design (I mean that in the best way), a surreal production design, and some impressive VFX and editing, this film is an experience to watch, further highlighting the wonders one can create on an extremely limited budget.

"Pink and Baby Blue" - Catrin Hedström's moving "Pink and Baby Blue" tells the story of a transgendered woman, Kim, who must decide whether to enter the men's or women's bathroom.  With fluid cinematography and some surreal lighting, Hedstrom accomplishes something impressive - she creates a moving human story set in a highly stylized world.  This is a very interesting film that highlights a dilemma many people must face daily.

Saturday, January 18, 2014


Tzahi Grad in BIG BAD WOLVES, a Magnet Release. Photo courtesy of Magnet Releasing.
2013, 110 minutes
Not Rated

Review by Joshua Handler

Named the best film of the year by Quentin Tarantino, Aharon Keshales and Navot Papushado's Big Bad Wolves is a twisted crime thriller/black comedy about three men who are brought together after a series of murders.  The three men are a vigilante police detective, Miki (Lior Ashkenazi), a young victim's father, Gidi (Tzahi Grad), and the religious studies teacher, Dror (Rotem Keinan), who they think committed the murder.

Big Bad Wolves is like an Israeli Coen Brothers or Tarantino film.  It deftly combines humor with horrific violence leaving you wondering whether to laugh or gasp.  Humor pops in at unexpected times making it extremely effective.  Keshales and Papushado's plotting is incredibly tight, as every character, scene, and prop is there for the reason.  The plot is unpredictable, twisting and turning until the very last shot.

Tzahi Grad, Lior Ashkenazi, and Rotem Keinan lead the cast and each one creates a fascinating, complex character. The characters all feel real and the actors bring their characters' idiosyncrasies to life brilliantly.  Grad's performance, though, was the standout.  It is delightfully unhinged - he's like a time bomb that could go off at any second, which makes his scenes intense, yet funny.

Big Bad Wolves is filmed with style and energy and is just a movie that has to be seen to be believed.  It  somehow manages to be funny, disturbing (the torture scenes are very graphic), and intense simultaneously and is guaranteed to be a cult hit that will satisfy and amuse genre film fans around the world.  If you're looking for something a bit darker, this is certainly the way to go this weekend.  Even better, you can find the film on VOD as well as in theaters.


Thursday, January 16, 2014

Oscar Nomination Reactions

by Joshua Handler

We can all say "this didn't get nominated, that didn't get nominated" (and we will later), but let's focus on what The Oscars got right today.  This will be a ramble.  For the record, I have seen every movie nominated in the main categories, the foreign language category, and many technical categories.  There are seven films I haven't seen for various reasons and many more I haven't reviewed for lack of time.  I will continue posting Oscar reviews until the awards show in March. 

So, there was a surprising amount of love for PHILOMENA and DALLAS BUYERS CLUB.  While we knew the acting would be nominated, the picture nominations, especially for PHILOMENA, were pleasant surprises.  All four actors from AMERICAN HUSTLE (Bale, Adams, Lawrence, and Cooper) were nominated.  Unexpected, but a nice choice.  Matthew McConaughey finally got an Oscar nomination for his committed performance in DALLAS BUYERS CLUB after a series of phenomenal performances.  It's fantastic that David O. Russell has managed to have two subsequent films nominated for all four acting awards - it shows just what a great director he is and how strong his casts are.  If you've read my review, you'll know how much I love THE WOLF OF WALL STREET, so to see it be nominated for Picture, Actor, Supporting Actor, and Director was exciting.  Seeing THE WIND RISES nominated for Best Animated Feature Film was nice, especially since it's Miyazaki's final film (and a great one at that).  CUTIE AND THE BOXER and TWENTY FEET FROM STARDOM's nominations for Best Documentary Feature were welcome surprises.  Michael Fassbender finally got a long overdue nomination for supporting actor.  HER's Production Design and Original Score nominations were very deserving (along with everything else it was nominated for).  If there ever was a film I never thought would get nominated a few months ago, it was HER, a film I loved but one that I thought would be a tough sell with the Academy.  I'm glad they proved me wrong.  Roger Deakins and Phedon Papamichael's respective cinematography nominations for PRISONERS and NEBRASKA were deserving, but surprising.  THE MISSING PICTURE was a shock in the Best Foreign Language Film category.  Very good film, but shocking that the Academy went for that over THE NOTEBOOK or TWO LIVES.  And finally, BEFORE MIDNIGHT's Best Adapted Screenplay nomination and THE GREAT BEAUTY's Best Foreign Language Film nomination were personal favorites.  And, who has ever heard of ALONE YET NOT ALONE, a film with a Best Original Song nomination?

Now, let's move onto what went wrong today.  The most shocking snub was Hanks not being nominated for his career-best performance in CAPTAIN PHILLIPS.  And Greengrass' Best Director snub wasn't good.  INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS should have been nominated for Picture, Original Screenplay, Director, and possibly Actor, but was completely snubbed from the main categories.  It was one of the best films of 2013.  THE NOTEBOOK and TWO LIVES were the two best films shortlisted for a Best Foreign Language Film nomination after THE GREAT BEAUTY (I've seen the whole shortlist) and neither were nominated.  Emma Thompson wasn't nominated for Best Actress for her great performance in SAVING MR. BANKS.  Then again, who would she have booted out in the incredibly strong Best Actress category?  I'm shocked that that film wasn't nominated for Best Picture.  It's also sad, though unsurprising, that Adèle Exarchopoulos wasn't nominated for Best Actress for BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOR.  But then again, foreign films don't usually don't get love outside of the Best Foreign Language Film Category.  Sarah Polley's brilliant STORIES WE TELL was left off of the Best Documentary Feature nomination list, as were BLACKFISH and TIM'S VERMEER.  Those three are personal favorites   I wish RUSH was nominated for Best Film Editing and Best Supporting Actor, but it was nominated for nothing.  

Well that's about it for me.  What did you think?  Please post in the comments section below.  Below is the full list of nominations with links to my reviews.

Best Picture
American Hustle (My review)
Captain Phillips (My review)
Dallas Buyers Club (Review coming soon)
Gravity (My review)
Her (My review)
Nebraska (My review)
Philomena (My review)
12 Years a Slave (Review coming soon)
The Wolf of Wall Street (My review)
Best Actor
Christian Bale (American Hustle)
Bruce Dern (Nebraska)
Leonardo DiCaprio (The Wolf of Wall Street)
Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave)
Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club)
Best Actress
Amy Adams (American Hustle)
Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine) (My review)
Sandra Bullock (Gravity)
Judi Dench (Philomena)
Meryl Streep (August: Osage County) (My review)
Best Supporting Actor
Barkhad Abdi (Captain Phillips)
Bradley Cooper (American Hustle)
Michael Fassbender (12 Years a Slave)
Jonah Hill (The Wolf of Wall Street)
Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club)
Best Supporting Actress
Jennifer Lawrence (American Hustle)
Sally Hawkins (Blue Jasmine)
Lupita Nyong'o (12 Years a Slave)
Julia Roberts (August: Osage County)
June Squibb (Nebraska)
Best Director
David O. Russell (American Hustle)
Alfonso Cuarón (Gravity)
Alexander Payne (Nebraska)
Steve McQueen (12 Years a Slave)
Martin Scorsese (The Wolf of Wall Street)
Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Richard Linklater, Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy (Before Midnight)
Billy Ray (Captain Phillips)
Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope (Philomena) 
John Ridley (12 Years a Slave)
Terence Winter (The Wolf of Wall Street)
Writing (Original Screenplay)
Eric Warren Singer and David O. Russell (American Hustle)
Woody Allen (Blue Jasmine)
Craig Borten and Melisa Wallack (Dallas Buyers Club)
Spike Jonze (Her)
Bob Nelson (Nebraska)
Animated Feature Film
The Croods
Despicable Me 2
Ernest & Celestine (Review coming soon)
The Wind Rises
Documentary (Feature)
The Act of Killing (Review coming soon)
Cutie and the Boxer (My review)
Dirty Wars (My review)
The Square (Review coming soon)
20 Feet from Stardom (My review)
Foreign Language Film
The Broken Circle Breakdown (Review coming soon)
The Great Beauty (My review)
The Hunt (My review)
The Missing Picture (Review coming soon)
Philippe Le Sourd (The Grandmaster)
Emmanuel Lubezki (Gravity)
Bruno Delbonnel (Inside Llewyn Davis)
Phedon Papamichael (Nebraska)
Roger Deakins (Prisoners) (My review)
Film Editing
American Hustle
Captain Phillips
Dallas Buyers Club
12 Years a Slave
Music (Original Score)
John Williams (The Book Thief)
Steven Price (Gravity)
William Butler and Owen Pallett (Her)
Alexandre Desplat (Philomena)
Thomas Newman (Saving Mr. Banks)
Music (Original Song)
"Alone Yet Not Alone" from Alone Yet Not Alone
"Happy" from Despicable Me 2
"Let It Go" from Frozen
"The Moon Song" from Her
"Ordinary Love" from Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom
Sound Mixing
Captain Phillips
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Lone Survivor
Inside Llewyn Davis
Sound Editing
All is Lost
Captain Phillips
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Lone Survivor
Production Design
American Hustle
The Great Gatsby
12 Years a Slave
Visual Effects
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Iron Man 3
The Lone Ranger
Star Trek into Darkness
American Hustle
The Grandmaster
The Great Gatsby
The Invisible Woman (My review)
12 Years a Slave
Makeup and Hairstyling
Dallas Buyers Club
Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa
The Lone Ranger