2014 List of Lists [FINAL]

…And here they come down the final stretch. My obsession with lists has waned in the past couple of years, but that goes out the window this time of year. I like to stay in the know with popular opinion and keep all of these lists handy. I think some of the readers here do too. But rather than publish a daily “here’s another list from Mrs. X” post, I’ll periodically (about once a week) be on the lookout for new top ten lists from critics, directors, bloggers, podcasters, the wise old owl down the street and Joe Bob Briggs. At any rate, this will be the go-to place for a constantly updated source to where you can find all of the movie top ten lists that are being spurted all over the interwebz.

I’m trying something a little bit different this year. Rather than an epic, long list with periodic updates populating the list even further, I’ll just add a new section to the list with a date and the new entries. Perhaps towards the end of January as the list releasing slows down to a halt I’ll condense them all into one long list. But for now, each time this post is re-published, you’ll be able to see all of the new entries listed by date. It may not be as easy to find a specific list right away (ctrl + f is your friend), but for those that are keeping tabs, it will be easier to see the newest updates.

If you’ve got your own list or seen a list laying around that you don’t see below and think should be included, by all means email me the link or drop it in the comments below.

(#1 film in parentheses if applicable)
Twitch (Todd Brown)  
Cinema Axis (Mommy)
Smashing Armadillos (The Tale of Princess Kaguya)
Thoughts on Film (Under the Skin)
Puke in Film (Hard To Be A God)
Examiner (Boyhood)
Film Pulse  

[over/under rated] The Playlist
[Best Cinematography] No Film School
[Best Horror] The Horror Section
[Best Horror] Film Pulse

Would you like to know more…?

Self/less by Tarsem

Tarsem Singh is well known for his visuals. The standout performance in any of his films, whether he’s tackling horror fantasy, child tale of fantasy or sword and sandal action fantasy, has always been the unique, and quite fantastic if I may say so, look of his pictures.

Collaborating with Sir Ben Kingsley and Ryan Reynolds, Self/less, much like its predecessors, take a deep look into the human mind. This time though, it’s based more on science fiction rather than science fantasy. There is a hint of true possibility in the trailer for Self/less and I for one am officially excited to see what’s up the sleeve this time.

Though I will say, as stunning as this looks, it does seem to lack some of Tarsem’s usual flair. It also feels as though it has a little bit more Hollywood nestled in between the motor neurons and synapses of his other mind-bending pictures. Not necessarily a bad thing, but it seems to be there. For extra incentive, Self/less also stars Matthew (better than) Goode and Ms. Alabama.

2015 Oscar Winners

Welcome to part of the Third Row’s coverage of the 87th annual Academy Awards presentation! We’ll be here all night updating the winners live as they’re announced. Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments section below. Surprises? Happy? Pissed? Confused? How was NPH?

*winners are marked in red


American Sniper
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
The Theory of Everything


Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu, Birdman
Richard Linklater, Boyhood
Bennett Miller, Foxcatcher
Wes Anderson, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Morten Tyldum, The Imitation Game


Steve Carell, Foxcatcher
Bradley Cooper, American Sniper
Benedict Cumberbatch, The Imitation Game
Michael Keaton, Birdman
Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything


Marion Cotillard, Two Days, One Night
Felicity Jones, The Theory of Everything
Julianne Moore, Still Alice
Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl
Reese Witherspoon, Wild

Would you like to know more…?

2015 Independent Spirit Award Winners

It’s Oscar night! Which means the Spirit Awards were last night. While The Academy Awards (Oscars) tend to get all the glory and pizzazz, this is the award show that is held in fairly high esteem around here.

Along with being a fantastic party, the Spirit Awards ceremony also brings together top talent from Hollywood and throughout independent film. Awards are presented for the year’s best achievements in independent film, with statues given for Best Feature, Best First Feature, Best Feature Made for Under $500,000 (the John Cassavetes Award) and many more.

In keeping with its Los Angeles roots, the Spirit Awards takes place each year in and around a beachfront tent in beautiful Santa Monica. Currently in its 30th year, the show remains as original as the films and filmmakers it honors.

Winners are chosen by those in the know: Film Independent Members and Independent Filmmaker Project (IFP) members. Voting members receive select DVD screeners and are invited to attend free screenings of all nominated films before choosing the Spirit Award winners.

Film Independent is a non-profit arts organization. Its voting members include filmmakers, film industry leaders and film lovers. Anyone passionate about the art of film can join as a Member and vote for the winners of the Spirit Awards.

Since starting in 1984, The Spirits have had a lot of fun times at their ceremony. As part of this “rich” history, the main site has put together a list of highlights from each year over the past 29 years (including Sarah Silverman’s vagina).

*winners are marked in red

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Love is Strange

Damien Chazelle, Whiplash
Ava DuVernay, Selma
Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Richard Linklater, Boyhood
David Zellner Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter

Scott Alexander & Larry Karaszewski, Big Eyes
J.C. Chandor, A Most Violent Year
Dan Gilroy, Nightcrawler
Jim Jarmusch, Only Lovers Left Alive
Ira Sachs & Mauricio Zacharias, Love is Strange

Marion Cotillard – The Immigrant
Rinko Kikuchi – Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter
Julianne Moore – Still Alice
Jenny Slate – Obvious Child
Tilda Swinton – Only Lovers Left Alive

André Benjamin – Jimi: All Is By My Side
Jake Gyllenhaal – Nightcrawler
Michael Keaton – Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
John Lithgow – Love is Strange
David Oyelowo – Selma

Patricia Arquette – Boyhood
Jessica Chastain – A Most Violent Year
Carmen Ejogo – Selma
Andrea Suarez Paz – Stand Clear of the Closing Doors
Emma Stone – Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

Riz Ahmed – Nightcrawler
Ethan Hawke – Boyhood
Alfred Molina – Love is Strange
Edward Norton – Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
J.K. Simmons – Whiplash
Would you like to know more…?


Nobody can make schlock work like Cameron Crowe. His particular brand of RomCom Americana is simply unparalleled. That doesn’t mean it’s going to work for everyone, but it is at least working on a different level (for higher or lower) than anyone else making these kinds of movies. For me, I’m mostly on board; a couple of clunkers in there maybe – though “clunkers” might be too strong of a term – but for the most part, Crowe is an auteur.

Though it’s been four years since his last picture (which seems to be his modus operandi), to be fair he made three pictures in one year at the previous interval. So now he’s back with what feels a little bit more like the Cameron of old: dysfunctional relationships, quirky chemistry and only halfway funny one-liners/sequences that are actually really funny (or at least heartfelt) because Crowe brings something special out of his actors (see Cuba Gooding jr.).

tldr; – this looks pretty damn good.

Also, interesting way to start a trailer:

Straight Outta Compton [Redband trailer]

An interesting way to bounce into a trailer; with a micro-doc of the real men who lived the life talking about their past and the relevance of their story today. Then it’s on to Paul Giamatti – which feels a little like disingenuous, Hollywood white-washing.

Still, it’s a well produced trailer and the actors they’ve found to portray the main talent within N.W.A. is seem quite charismatic and scary look-a-like.

Corey Hawkins … Dr. Dre
Aldis Hodge … MC Ren
O’Shea Jackson Jr. … Ice Cube
Neil Brown Jr. … Dj Yella
Jason Mitchell … Eazy-E

Is this something you kids of the 80s are excited for? Or perhaps a feature-length documentary (similar to the opening of this trailer) would paint a more interesting picture and relate it to the sad state of affairs that is present day?

full original album on Spotify…
Would you like to know more…?

The Magic Returns in XXL [trailer]

This is probably a terrible idea. Is this really necessary? Everything about Magic Mike 2 screams failure… at least on paper.

Picking up the story three years after Mike bowed out of the stripper life at the top of his game, “Magic Mike XXL” finds the remaining Kings of Tampa likewise ready to throw in the towel. But they want to do it their way: burning down the house in one last blow-out performance in Myrtle Beach, and with legendary headliner Magic Mike sharing the spotlight with them. On the road to their final show, with whistle stops in Jacksonville and Savannah to renew old acquaintances and make new friends, Mike and the guys learn some new moves and shake off the past in surprising ways.

But Tatum and Soderbergh (cinematography, editing, producing, camera operator, i.e. pretty much the director) are not paper weights. It’s doubtful they would rush into something like this lightly. And to be fair, while the trailer doesn’t really excite me to see the movie, it’s a well crafted trailer and kind of fun. So, here it is…

Proof that Americans Don’t Give a Crap About Anything [Ted 2 trailer]

Seth MacFarlane seems to be a “love him or hate him” comedic persona; I happen to fall in the former. OK, A Million Ways to Die in the West wasn’t exactly a runaway success (frankly, I didn’t even bother), most of his other stuff has a legitimate lol-a-minute ratio that rivals just about anything else on the market. Sure it’s crass and juvenile, but hey, if I’m laughing, I’m laughing. Ten bucks well spent.

Ted was a relatively loved comedy from 2012. It catered to the same crowd as “Family Guy” does; that is, anyone whose childhood is characterized by the late 70s and 80s (Flash Gordon anyone?). I think leaving it at that would’ve been fine. But apparently Wahlberg and company want the checks to keep on rolling in – though Kunis has apparently had enough (Amanda Seyfried is stepping in to fill those shoes) – and we have ourselves a Ted 2.

The gags in the trailer generally work, though a lot of it seems to be weaker versions of gags from the first movie. Still, I found myself smiling and chuckling through most of this. On June 6th, they’ve got my money, but we’ll see if this will suffer from a classic case of 80s sequel-itis.