Benedict Cumberbatch stars in THE COURIER. Zack Snyder finally unleashes his JUSTICE LEAGUE on HBOMAX subscribers. Lonita Cook and Katey Stoetzel are on the scene to set you straight.
Yay! It’s our debut episode. Twice a month, members of the Kansas City Film Critics Circle will log on and break down the latest releases. In our inaugural episode, Tim English and Lonita Cook dig in on COMING 2 AMERICA, SPONGE ON THE RUN and RAYA AND THE LAST DRAGON! Enjoy!
Check out the slew of new movie reviews from your friendly neighborhood Kansas City Film Critics. Today, we’ll organize by critic so you can get to know us!
Katey Stoetzel, TheYoungFolks.com
Director Prano Bailey-Bond creates an ode to the 1980s and horror films of the era with Censor. Fans of the video nasties, as they were called, will certainly love the visual references and call outs of the genre. However, the film struggles to find its footing between the story of Enid (Niamh Algar) and the descent into the genre itself.
Enid is a film censor, someone who monitors horror films for excessive gore, rape, and murder. Bailey-Bond, in her debut feature film,
Simonie Wilson, Courier Tribune
Movie: The Little Things
When you see the cast of a cop thriller includes Denzel Washington (“Training Day,” “Fences”), Jared Leto (“Suicide Squad,” “Blade Runner 2049”) and Rami Malek (“Night at the Museum,” “24”), it makes you wonder who will be playing the bad guy in “The Little Things.”
Right from the beginning, we learn Denzel and Rami are the cops; the question of who the good guys actually are is the central theme of the film to the end.
In addition, with John Lee Hancock (“The Blind Side,” “Saving Mr. Banks”) on board as both writer and director, this star-studded event…
Nathan Swank, Flix66
Movie: Promising Young Woman
There is something strangely bright and cheerful about this very dark and disturbing… Drama? Horror? Comedy? Well, it’s a revenge thriller at heart. But PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN has all these wonderful layers that overlap so many incredible genres.
Writer and director Emerald Fennell crafts a wickedly perfect, on point and thoroughly entertaining movie about male’s privileged predatory acts towards women without consequences. Without consequences as long as you don’t run into Cassandra.
Dan Lybarger, Arkansas Democratic Gazette
“Supernova” is deeply affecting but its bombastic title is a misdirection.
This is Harry Macqueen’s second feature film as a director, but there is a dearth of loud “Oscar Clip” moments. With Actors as good as Oscar-winner Colin Firth and Oscar-nominee Stanley Tucci, Macqueen can make a film that concentrates on small, even mundan moments and make them engrossing. Watching either of them fumbling with sheets of paper is more involving than hearing a lot of performers bellow soliloquies.
Alan Rapp, Razorfine.com
Movie: Vast of Night
Presented as something very similar to an episode from the original Twilight Zone, The Vast of Night offers a glimpse into a non-descript small town on a night when almost all are gathered for a high school basketball game and only a scattered few become aware of odd goings on in the night sky. The small town, set in the 1950s, focused on radio and reel-to-reel recordings…
Nomadland is a quiet, contemplative film not unlike Into the Wild or Wild in which a character leaves behind the conventions of society in search of something their former life can no longer offer. In the case of writer/director Chloé Zhao‘s tale, adapted from the book by Jessica Bruder, our character is an older widow who has lost nearly everything in the Great Recession including the home she made with her late husband when the town completely collapsed.
For the sixth time in its esteemed 55-year history, the Kansas City Film Critics Circle (KCFCC) was deadlocked in its Best Film category. At this year’s James Loutzenhiser Awards, “Nomadland” by Chloé Zao and “Promising Young Woman” by Emerald Fennell ended up sharing the group’s top honor. “Nomadland” also received awards in the Best Director and Adapted Screenplay categories, while “Promising Young Woman” won Best Actress and Original Screenplay. They were the only films to win multiple awards.
The KCFCC, the second oldest professional film critic organization in the United States, was founded in 1966 by the late Dr. James Loutzenhiser (1931-2001) who served as the group’s president for over 30 years. The 22-member group also selected Denmark’s “Another Round,” starring Mads Mikkelsen, as 2020’s Best Foreign Film and “Kajillionaire” receiving recognition with the Tom Poe Award for Best LGBT Film.
Below is a complete list of the winners of the 55th Annual James Loutzenhiser Awards:
BEST FILM: “Nomadland” and “Promising Young Woman”
ROBERT ALTMAN AWARD FOR BEST DIRECTOR: Chloé Zao, “Nomadland”
(Runner-up: Aaron Sorkin, “The Trial of the Chicago 7”)
BEST ACTOR: Riz Ahmed, “Sound of Metal”
(Runner-up: Chadwick Boseman, “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”)
BEST ACTRESS: Carey Mulligan, “Promising Young Woman”
(Runner-up: Frances McDormand, “Nomadland”)
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Leslie Odom, Jr., “One Night in Miami”
(Runner-up: Paul Raci, “Sound of Metal”)
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Youn Yuh-Jung, “Minari”
(Runner-up: Maria Bakalova, “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm”)
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: “Promising Young Woman”
(Runner-up: “The Trial of the Chicago 7”)
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: “Nomadland”
(Runner-up: “I’m Thinking of Ending Things”)
BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY: “The Vast of Night”
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE: “Wolfwalkers”
BEST FOREIGN FILM: “Another Round” – Denmark
(Runner-ups: “76 Days” – China; “Bacurau” – Brazil; “The Life Ahead” – Italy)
BEST DOCUMENTARY: “The Dissident”
(Runner-up: “Crip Camp”)
VINCE KOEHLER AWARD FOR THE BEST SCIENCE FICTION/FANTASY/HORROR FILM: “The Invisible Man”
(Runner-up: “The Vast of Night”
TOM POE AWARD FOR THE BEST LGBT FILM: “Kajillionaire”
(Runner-up: “The Prom”)
Congratulations, albeit a bit delayed, are in order for Abby Olcese was elected as the new President of the Kansas City Film Critics Circle during our annual elections over the summer. In addition, Adrian Torres was elected VP, Michael D. Smith (Secretary) and Lonita Cook (Governing Board).
You can view the full Kansas City Film Critics Circle roster, including links to our reviews.
KANSAS CITY, MO, 15 DECEMBER 2019
1917, Sam Mendes’ single-shot sprint through the trenches of World War I, was named the Best Film of 2019 by the Kansas City Film Critics Circle. Mendes won the Robert Altman Award for Best Director. Roger Deankin’s cinematography earned 1917 another win. 1917 and Us were the only films to receive multiple awards. The latter received the Vince Koehler Award for the Best Science Fiction, Fantasy, or Horror Film. Us star Lupita Nyong’o was named Best Actress.
Each year, the Kansas City Film Critics Circle, the second oldest film critics organization in the United States, votes on its members’ selections for the James Loutzenhiser Awards. 2019 marks the 54th time the group has handed out honors. Parasite was named the year’s Best Foreign Film, and the Tom Poe Award for Best LGBT Film went to Portrait of a Lady on Fire. Toy Story 4 continued the franchise’s winning streak, winning Best Animated Feature. Previous installments topped the category in 1995, 1999, and 2010.
Below is a complete list of the winners of the 54th Annual James Loutzenhiser Awards.
BEST FILM: 1917
Runner up: Parasite
ROBERT ALTMAN AWARD
FOR BEST DIRECTOR Sam Mendes, 1917
Runner up: Bong Joon-ho, Parasite
BEST ACTOR Adam Driver, Marriage Story
Runner up: Eddie Murphy, Dolemite Is My Name
BEST ACTRESS Lupita Nyong’o, Us
Runner up: Rene Zellweger, Judy
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR Joe Pesci, The Irishman
Runner up: Brad Pitt, Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS Da’Vine Joy Randolph, Dolemite Is My Name
Runners up (tie): Laura Dern, Marriage Story; Zhao Shuzen, The Farewell
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY Rian Johnson, Knives Out
Runner up: Bong Joon-ho, Han Jin-won, Parasite
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY Greta Gerwig, Little Women
Runner up: Steven Zaillian, The Irishman
BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY Roger Deakins, 1917
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE Toy Story 4
Runner up: I Lost My Body
BEST FOREIGN FILM Parasite
Runner up: Portrait of a Lady on Fire
BEST DOCUMENTARY (tie) Amazing Grace; Apollo 11
VINCE KOEHLER AWARD FOR THE BEST SCIENCE FICTION/FANTASY/HORROR FILM Us
Runner up: Midsommar
TOM POE AWARD FOR BEST LGBT FILM Portrait of a Lady on Fire
Runner up: Booksmart
Richard Linklater – Boyhood
Michael Keaton – Birdman
Rosamund Pike – Gone Girl