Warren Beatty’s Secret Post-Oscars Playlist

Poor Warren Beatty.  He had one job to do at the 89th annual Academy Awards and it proved too difficult a task.  No, it wasn’t La La Land that had won Best Picture but Moonlight.  (Somehow, he was holding a duplicate Best Actress envelope.)  Not helping matters was the fact that it took forever to make the necessary correction.  By that point, the La La Land team had already delivered most of their acceptance speeches.

Feeling embarrassed by the whole preventable debacle, Beatty has been privately nursing his wounds through music, relentlessly punishing himself for his unfortunate error.  I happened to have gotten a hold of the playlist:

It’s A Mistake (MEN AT WORK)

Screwed It Up (LIMBLIFTER)

I Was Wrong (SOCIAL DISTORTION)

Fuckin’ Up (NEIL YOUNG)

I Started A Joke (BEE GEES)

Dare To Be Stupid (WEIRD AL YANKOVIC)

Karma Police (RADIOHEAD)

Not Right (THE STOOGES)

How Bizarre (OMC)

Dazed & Confused (LED ZEPPELIN)

Out Of Touch (HALL & OATES)

Help! (THE BEATLES)

Foolish Games (JEWEL)

No, No, No (DESTINY’S CHILD)

I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For (U2)

Wrong (DEPECHE MODE)

For Your Eyes Only (SHEENA EASTON)

Gotta Stop (Messin’ About) (PRINCE)

Do You Really Want To Hurt Me? (CULTURE CLUB)

Where’s The Love? (HANSON)

Something To Talk About (BONNIE RAITT)

Blurred Lines (ROBIN THICKE)

Causing A Commotion (MADONNA)

One Slip (PINK FLOYD)

Been Caught Stealin’ (JANE’S ADDICTION)

King Of Wishful Thinking (GO WEST)

I Missed The Bus (KRIS KROSS)

I Just Died In Your Arms Tonight (CUTTING CREW)

Thunderstruck (AC/DC)

Numb (U2)

Tragedy (BEE GEES)

My Favourite Mistake (SHERYL CROW)

Mr. Moonlight (THE BEATLES)

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Monday, February 27, 2017
6:28 p.m.

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La La Land Wins Best Picture…Wait, No, It’s Moonlight…Bizarre Ending To Mostly Predictable, Political And Often Funny 2017 Oscars

What the fuck was that, Faye Dunaway?  What in the holy hell were you thinking, Warren Beatty?

The 89th Annual Academy Awards ended in a total embarrassment with the botched announcement for Best Picture.  After curiously stalling and staring and stalling and staring, a confused Beatty handed over the opened envelope to his oblivious Bonnie & Clyde co-star who claimed La La Land had won the final award of the evening.

After a number of acceptance speeches by the film’s thrilled producers, someone backstage came out to try to stop their presentation.  Why?  Because it turned out Moonlight had actually won.  Beatty & Dunaway apparently did not have the right envelope.

At one point, an incredulous Jimmy Kimmel, the host of the event, asked Beatty directly, “Warren, what did you do?”

A sheepish Beatty said that when he saw Emma Stone’s name, he got bewildered.  But instead of having the wherewithal to say, hey, wait a minute, I don’t think this is the right envelope, he put Dunaway in the awful position of reading the wrong name for Best Picture.  Good God, what a fiasco.  Considering how the show saved those clips of the nominees for the actual presentation, there was more than enough time to switch envelopes without anyone at home noticing.

Moonlight’s surprise win for Best Picture was its third award of the night.  New father Mahershala Ali, as expected, took home Best Supporting Actor.  He mentioned the birth of his baby daughter four days ago as he graciously acknowledged his wife’s patience through all the awards he’s been collecting for his well regarded performance.  He also thanked his teachers for all they taught him.  Moonlight also won Best Adapted Screenplay.

Despite the Best Picture screw-up, La La Land still managed to take home six golden gongs.  The aforementioned Emma Stone, who delivered a sweet, charming speech thanking friends, family and the people who worked on the film, took home Best Actress (Beatty had a duplicate envelope, apparently) and Damien Chazelle was named Best Director.  Neither victory was a surprise.  It also won for its original score, its production design, its cinematography and in a bit of an upset, for the song City Of Stars, over the number one smash hit Can’t Stop The Feeling!, the Trolls track that Justin Timberlake performed at the beginning of the broadcast.

Also unsurprising was sexual harasser Casey Affleck’s win for Best Actor for his work in Manchester By The Sea.  Is he planning a sequel to I’m Still Here?  For some reason, he was sporting Joaquin Phoenix’s bearded slob look.  Kenneth Lonergan, the director of the film, won for writing its original screenplay.

Best Supporting Actress Viola Davis (Fences) gave the most impassioned acceptance speech of the night as she spoke about the forgotten laying in their graves, their stories of love & loss and failure otherwise left untold were it not for artists who take up their cause.  She urged the business to “exhume” their experiences for the cinema.

Other predictable results included the excellent OJ: Made In America taking Best Documentary Feature and Zootopia winning Best Animated Feature.  Hacksaw Ridge, racist misogynist Mel Gibson’s comeback movie, managed to take two technical prizes of its own for its film editing and its sound mixing.  (The full list of winners is at the end of this piece.)

Next to Best Picture, the biggest surprise for me was Suicide Squad taking home Best Make-Up & Hairstyling over Star Trek Beyond.  That’s one more Oscar than Lion, Hidden Figures and Hell Or High Water received combined.  They were the only Best Picture nominees to get completely shut out of any golden eunuchs.

In the midst of the expected political speeches from some of the honorees (including one presenter who openly opposed President Stupid’s racist border wall) were some pretty funny moments courtesy of host Jimmy Kimmel who started strong with his monologue (he mocked Mel Gibson’s ghastly appearance quipping that Scientology was agreeing with him and sarcastically knocked the “overrated” Meryl Streep for “phoning it in” her entire career by listing a number of her acclaimed films), had a few off moments but then got funnier as the night progressed.  His response to the crowd’s cool reception to his OJ joke was better than the joke itself.

The constant ribbing of longtime good-natured punching bag Matt Damon continued as expected with the best gag happening during the Best Original Screenplay presentation.  Kimmel actually conducted the orchestra to play very loudly whenever Damon talked.  This followed him and fellow presenter Ben Affleck being announced as “Ben Affleck and guest”.  That followed Kimmel goofing on We Bought A Zoo during a spoof of stars honouring their favourite movies, a recurring segment throughout the show.  When Damon tried defending the performance on stage, Affleck humourously responded, “Really?”  If you want to see how self-deprecating these guys can really get about their movies, check out their very funny Good Will Hunting 2 spoof in the underappreciated Jay And Silent Bob Strike Back.

There was also a funny Oscars edition of celebrities reading Mean Tweets, a silly bit involving an unsuspecting tour group getting to meet some stars while passing through the Dolby Theatre’s sprawling auditorium and a failed attempt to get Donald Trump to tweet about the show.  Oh, and food fell from the sky a few times.  Plus, there was a cute tribute to The Lion King with the adorable kid from Lion.

All in all, Kimmel was a good host who didn’t have too many missteps.  But, by God, what the fuck happened with Best Picture?  Jesus, you had one job, guys.  One.  Come on!

THE FULL LIST OF WINNERS:

BEST PICTURE – MOONLIGHT

BEST DIRECTOR – Damien Chazelle (LA LA LAND)

BEST ACTRESS – Emma Stone (LA LA LAND)

BEST ACTOR – Casey Affleck (MANCHESTER BY THE SEA)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS – Viola Davis (FENCES)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR – Mahershala Ali (MOONLIGHT)

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE – OJ: MADE IN AMERICA

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM – THE SALESMAN

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE – ZOOTOPIA

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY – MANCHESTER BY THE SEA

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY – MOONLIGHT

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE – LA LA LAND

BEST ORIGINAL SONG – City Of Stars (LA LA LAND)

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS – THE JUNGLE BOOK

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY – LA LA LAND

BEST FILM EDITING – HACKSAW RIDGE

BEST COSTUME DESIGN – FANTASTIC BEASTS & WHERE TO FIND THEM

BEST MAKE-UP & HAIRSTYLING – SUICIDE SQUAD

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN – LA LA LAND

BEST ANIMATED SHORT – PIPER

BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT – SING

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT – THE WHITE HELMETS

BEST SOUND EDITING – ARRIVAL

BEST SOUND MIXING – HACKSAW RIDGE

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Monday, February 27, 2017
1:27 a.m.

CORRECTION:  The Oscars took place in the Dolby Theatre, not the Kodak Theatre as I erroneously stated. The text has been corrected.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Monday, February 27, 2017
11:25 p.m.

Published in: on February 27, 2017 at 1:27 am  Leave a Comment  

2017 Academy Award Predictions

BEST PICTURE – LA LA LAND

No matter if there are 8, 9 or 10, since the expansion of the Best Picture category almost a decade ago, every annual race comes down to just three of the nominees.  That means in this year’s competition, if you produced Hell Or High Water, Fences, Arrival, Hacksaw Ridge, Lion or Manchester By The Sea, be satisfied with your nomination.  You ain’t gettin’ the gong.

In 2016, the real contest for the best movie of the year comes down to a little known story about Black mathematicians working for NASA, a love story/musical about beautiful white people struggling in Hollywood and a coming of age story about a Black kid in Miami.

Hidden Figures is the most commercially successful of this year’s crop of nominated films.  It’s also one of the best reviewed nominees.  And considering the racism of America’s current President and the #OscarsSoWhite campaign over last year’s Oscars, here’s a chance for the Academy to make a powerful statement.

But they won’t.  Moonlight, another universally loved drama, at least with critics, is in the same boat.

Remember, the Academy is mostly made up of really old honkies, who rarely reward films featuring people of colour.  Whitey usually votes for whitey.  So, despite having its detractors, the safe bet is on La La Land.  Besides, Hollywood loves itself too much to ignore movies that love it as well.

BEST DIRECTOR – Damien Chazelle (LA LA LAND)

Roger Ebert said it every year around this time but it bears repeating in his overwhelming absence.  Almost all winners of the Directors Guild Of America prize (about 90% of them) go right on to win the Best Director Oscar.  This year, the DGA went to La La Land’s Damien Chazelle.  The golden eunuch is his.

BEST ACTOR – Casey Affleck (MANCHESTER BY THE SEA)

If you’ve seen the TV ads for Manchester By The Sea, you’ve surely heard a quoted rave from longtime Rolling Stone critic Peter Travers.  In summary, he claims that Ben Affleck’s younger brother is a sure thing for Best Actor.  Indeed, for a while, this category seemed like a lock for him.

Then came the reminders of Affleck’s shitty behaviour during the making of the fake documentary, I’m Still Here.  (You know, the one where Joaquin Phoenix pretends to be a bearded rapper?)  During the making of the film, the younger Affleck and some of his crew members repeatedly sexually harassed two women who worked on the production.  The women later sued and both cases reached an undisclosed, confidential settlement.

Although he hasn’t faced a lot of hard questions about what happened (his few responses have not been all that candid, remorseful or reassuring), the stories resurfaced nonetheless which could potentially derail his long awaited Oscar triumph.  I’m reminded of what happened to Cyrano De Bergerac, the superb 1990 version with Gerard Depardieu in the title role.  While he had no chance at winning Best Actor (as expected, Jeremy Irons took the gold for being Claus Von Bulow in Reversal For Fortune), the film itself seemed a sure thing for Best Foreign Language Film.  But then, stories surfaced of Depardieu talking about being part of gang rapes when he was a teenager.  Journey Of Hope ultimately won the Oscar.

Further clouding the picture is Denzel Washington’s recent Best Actor win at the SAG Awards.  Every year since 2004, the Best Actor SAG winner and the Best Actor Oscar winner have been the same person.  Is that a spoiler omen?

There’s also the lovable dark horse candidate Ryan Gosling.  Like Affleck, he’s a previous nominee who’s never been invited to thank people on stage.  Because of feminist outrage over Affleck’s nomination, could he, not Washington, be the beneficiary?

Again, I’m reminded of Oscar history.  In 2003, it looked like either Martin Scorsese or Rob Marshall were going to win Best Director.  Instead, it went to cowardly child rapist Roman Polanski, a perennial no-show because of his legal situation.  The fact of the matter is this.  Talented white people rarely get punished for their personal misdeeds.  So, Casey Affleck has nothing to worry about.

BEST ACTRESS – Emma Stone (LA LA LAND)

At first, Natalie Portman, already a previous winner for Black Swan, seemed like the presumptive frontrunner for playing Jackie O.  But over time, things appear to have changed.  When you think about it, Portman really doesn’t need another Oscar, anyway.  Neither does perennial nominee and three-time winner Meryl Streep.

That leaves first-time nominees Isabelle Huppert & Ruth Negga plus two-time nominee Emma Stone.  Huppert is a legend in France having been nominated 16 times for the Cesar, the French Oscar.  It seems unlikely, however, that she’ll pull off an upset.  The African-born Negga was cast in 12 Years A Slave, a previous Best Picture winner, but all her scenes were dropped from the finished film.  Having gone mostly unrecognized in a number of previous shorts and occasional big features like World War Z, she could probably use a push here which would greatly raise her profile.

Stone was previously nominated for Birdman and stood no real chance of winning.  This year will be very different.  Barring an upset, I see her taking it.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS – Viola Davis (FENCES)

Four years ago, Viola Davis lost the Best Actress Oscar to Meryl Streep.  This year, Streep is nominated in the lead category while Davis is up for Best Supporting Actress, so that’s one less obstacle to overcome.  Here are two more:  Octavia Spencer and Nicole Kidman already have golden gongs for previous roles.  Neither is in line for a second.  Michelle Williams is on her fourth nomination and has never won before.

But Davis, already an Emmy winner for being the star of the popular How To Get Away With Murder, is owed a make-good for losing to the mighty Streep in 2013.  Since she didn’t win for The Help, she’ll take it for Fences.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR – Mahershala Ali (MOONLIGHT)

The #OscarsSoWhite campaign in 2016 seemed to have convinced the Motion Picture Academy to single out more stories about people of colour and the result this year has been numerous nominations for films like Lion, Moonlight, Fences and Hidden Figures.  In particular, seven POC have been recognized for their acting in 2017 and at least two will be going home with Academy Awards.

That means no second Oscar for Jeff Bridges and it means no big speeches from Michael Shannon and Lucas Hedges.

Dev Patel, the young star of Slumdog Millionaire, which won Best Picture and a bunch of other gongs almost a decade ago, could be a spoiler here.  But I’m sensing a win for Mahershala Ali.  The critically acclaimed Moonlight has to win something.  Plus, Ali is a Muslim who will surely have plenty to say about President Donald Trump.  Despite having already been handsomely rewarded for his performance in the film, he seems most likely to have his name called out Sunday night.

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE – OJ: MADE IN AMERICA

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE – ZOOTOPIA

BEST FOREIGN FILM – TONI ERDMANN

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY – Damien Chazelle (LA LA LAND)

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY – Allison Schroeder & Theodore Melfi (HIDDEN FIGURES)

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT – JOE’S VIOLIN

BEST ORIGINAL SONG – Can’t Stop The Feeling! (TROLLS)

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE – LA LA LAND

BEST SOUND EDITING – ARRIVAL

BEST SOUND MIXING – ARRIVAL

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN – LA LA LAND

BEST FILM EDITING – LA LA LAND

BEST MAKE-UP & HAIRSTYLING – STAR TREK BEYOND

BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT – SILENT NIGHTS

BEST ANIMATED SHORT – PIPER

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS – THE JUNGLE BOOK

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY – LA LA LAND

BEST COSTUME DESIGN – LA LA LAND

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Friday, February 24, 2017
8:54 p.m.

Published in: on February 24, 2017 at 8:54 pm  Leave a Comment  

How To See All The Feature Films Nominated For The 89th Academy Awards

It was a good day for people of colour and white misogynists.

The nominations for the 89th Academy Awards were unveiled earlier this morning and there weren’t too many surprises based on media expectations.  Unlike last year, the acting categories aren’t completely dominated by whitey in 2017.  Almost half the nominees are black or brown.  The 2016 #OscarsSoWhite campaign has obviously proven highly successful.

On the flip side, accused sexual harasser Casey Affleck managed to snag a Best Actor nod for his lead role in Manchester By The Sea, one of the nine Best Picture nominees.  And Mel Gibson, who was exposed as an explosively violent asshole in those notorious phone calls to his ex-girlfriend many years ago, is up for Best Director for another BP nominee, Hacksaw Ridge.

However, there was no such luck for accused rapist Nate Parker.  His highly acclaimed Birth Of A Nation was completely snubbed by the Academy.  Not a single nomination whatsoever.  If only he was white.

Meanwhile, besides the acting categories, the shortlist for Best Documentary Feature is also diverse thanks to the inclusion of well-regarded pics as Ava DuVernay’s prison expose 13th, Fire At Sea (which deals with the refugee crisis), the James Baldwin-penned I Am Not Your Negro and the epic OJ: Made In America.  All in all, it sounds like the Academy was listening.

Before the golden naked eunuch statuettes are handed out on February 26, you have plenty of time to check out as many of the nominated feature films as you desire.  Some are still playing in theatres, some are coming soon to theatres, some are readily available on home video, some can be seen through online streaming and the rest already have DVD/Blu-ray release dates.  Here is the complete list of nominated titles.  As always, I’ll update whenever new information become available.

Allied – February 28

Arrival – February 14

Captain Fantastic – Now available on DVD & Blu-ray

Deepwater Horizon – Now available on DVD & Blu-ray

Doctor Strange – February 28

Fantastic Beasts And How To Find Them – March 28

Fences – March 14

Fire At Sea – March 21

Florence Foster Jenkins – Now available on DVD & Blu-ray

Hacksaw Ridge – February 21

Hail, Caesar! – Now available on DVD & Blu-ray

Hell Or High Water – Now available on DVD & Blu-ray

Hidden Figures – April 11

I Am Not Your Negro – May 2

Jackie – March 7

Jim: The James Foley Story – Now available on DVD & Blu-ray

The Jungle Book – Now available on DVD & Blu-ray

Kubo & The Two Strings – Now available on DVD & Blu-ray

La La Land – April 25

Land Of Mine – Now available on DVD & Blu-ray

Life, Animated – Now available on DVD & Blu-ray

Lion – March 21  April 11

The Lobster – Now available on DVD & Blu-ray

Loving – February 7

A Man Called Ove – May 16

Manchester By The Sea – February 21

Moana – Now available on DVD & Blu-ray

Moonlight – February 28

My Life As A Zucchini – In theatres February 24

Nocturnal Animals – February 21

OJ: Made In America – Now available on DVD & Blu-ray

Passengers – March 14

The Red Turtle – May 2

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story – March 24 (Digital HD/Disney Movies Anywhere), April 4 (DVD/Blu-ray/On Demand)

Silence – March 28

Star Trek Beyond – Now available on DVD & Blu-ray

Suicide Squad – Now available on DVD & Blu-ray

Sully – Now available on DVD & Blu-ray

Tanna – March 7

13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers Of Benghazi – Now available on DVD & Blu-ray

13th – Now available online

Toni Erdmann – Now available on DVD & Blu-ray

Trolls – February 7

20th Century Women – March 28

Zootopia – Now available on DVD & Blu-ray

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Tuesday, January 24, 2017
5:55 p.m.

UPDATE:  Best Picture nominee Moonlight will be released on DVD & Blu-ray two days after the ceremony on February 28.  Meanwhile, 20th Century Women & Fantastic Beasts And How To Find Them will be out a month later on March 28.  These dates have been added to the list.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Tuesday, February 7, 2017
2:35 a.m.

UPDATE 2:  Fences will be out on home video March 14.  The date has been added to the list.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Sunday, February 19, 2017
3:20 a.m.

UPDATE 3:  Entertainment Weekly reports that Rogue One: A Star Wars Story will be available for download on some sites as early as March 24 while hitting DVD, Blu-ray and the remaining on-demand sites on April 4.  Also, Passengers with Jennifer Lawrence & Chris Pratt hits March 14, Martin Scorsese’s Silence will be available March 28, Best Picture nominee Hidden Figures will be out on April 11 while the James Baldwin documentary I Am Not Your Negro drops May 2.  All these dates have been added to the list.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Wednesday, February 22, 2017
10:28 p.m.

UPDATE 4:  Not sure how I missed this but Doctor Strange will be out on DVD & Blu-ray later today, February 28.  The date has been added to the list.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Tuesday, February 28, 2017
12:24 a.m.

UPDATE 5:  Here’s another release date I completely missed.  Moana was released on home video this past Tuesday, March 7.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Friday, March 10, 2017
3:45 a.m.

UPDATE 6:  Lion was originally supposed to be available on DVD & Blu-ray this week but its release date has been pushed back to April 11.  Meanwhile, La La Land, winner of 6 Academy Awards, finally arrives on all digital formats April 25 and The Red Turtle will be out May 2.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Thursday, March 23, 2017
10:40 p.m.

Published in: on January 24, 2017 at 5:55 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Lows Of 2016

1. David Bowie died of cancer two days after releasing his final studio album.  First, there was collective denial, then absolute shock and sadness.  His unexpected death set the tone for a miserable year.

2. Donald Trump is the 45th President of the United States.  How much considerable, irreparable harm will he cause to the world?

3. Daniel Bryan retired from the WWE due to severe, unrecoverable injuries.  He was looking like the next John Cena.  Now he’s reduced to being a powerless “authority” figure on Smackdown, a supporting player on a reality show and a punching bag for The Miz.

4. Jian Ghomeshi isn’t in prison.  Rape culture is real.

5. The Fort McMurray fire in Alberta.  Such devastation.  It will takes years to rebuild.

6. Fifty Shades Of Black.  A horrifically unfunny “parody” of Fifty Shades Of Grey.  No more Marlon Wayans movies.  Please.

7. Gord Downie’s terminal brain cancer diagnosis.  May he live as long as he can and make as much good music as he is able.

8. The armed protest at the Oregon Wildlife Refuge.  What exactly did it accomplish other than mass ridicule?

9. The rise in racist hate crimes against Muslims, trans people, gays, Black people, Jews, Palestinians and Indigenous communities worldwide.  White supremacy needs to die already.

10. Mr. Fuji died.

11. Gitmo is still open.

12. CM Punk lost his first UFC fight in the first round.  Years ago, Brock Lesnar lost his first fight as well and went on to become World Champion.  So there’s still hope for The Straight Edge Superstar.  He’ll be back.

13. Krystal on Canada’s Worst Driver 12.  An unrepentant narcissist who is an absolute maniac on the road.  The sooner her license is permanently suspended, the better.  Host Andrew Younghusband deserves a Nobel Peace Prize for tolerating this phone-addicted brat as well and for as long as he did.

14. The phony “Bernie Bro” smear from Clintonistas desperate to keep the Vermont Senator from becoming the Democratic nominee for President.  Not only did this erase the millions of women who supported Bernie Sanders (especially Hillary Clinton’s numerous feminist critics and women of colour), it was dastardly and downright insulting.  In the end, Donald Trump is the next US President, so good job, you stupid idiots.

15. Gawker went bankrupt after losing a court case to balding, overtanned racist Hulk Hogan.  Fuck you, Peter Thiel.

16. The very funny Garry Shandling died.  He spearheaded two of the most influential sitcoms of all time:  It’s Garry Shandling’s Show and The Larry Sanders Show.  He was a great Emmys host, too, and a quiet mentor to so many other comics in need.

17. Prince died of a prescription drug overdose.  The incredible legacy he leaves behind which doesn’t even include the thousands of songs he never released.

18. Zack Ryder’s one and only InterContinental title reign lasted exactly one day.  Why do his pushes always seem like ribs?

19. Doris Roberts died.  Both Barones are gone now.

20. Brexit.  The United Kingdom isn’t so united anymore.  What other European nations will follow Ol’ Blimey’s risky lead?

21. George Michael died on Christmas Day.

22. The endless civil war in Syria.  So many villains who should be prosecuted for war crimes.

23. Palestine is still illegally occupied by Apartheid Israel.

24. Matt DeHart is still in prison.

25. The lack of justice for mostly Black and Indigenous victims of police brutality.  The racist status quo cannot and must not continue to protect murderers and torturers of the state.

26. James Ellsworth.  Enough.

27. Chelsea Manning attempted suicide twice (which she was punished for) as she continues to be persecuted and tortured with solitary confinement for exposing deplorable war crimes by the American government.  Release her immediately and let her transition already.  She’s suffered enough for her uncommon courage and conviction.

28. All the terrible films I saw this year:  Paul Blart: Mall Cop, Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2, Pixels, Hot Pursuit, Bad Teacher, The Lazarus Effect, Get Hard, the Black Christmas remake, Johnny English, Johnny English Reborn, Damien: Omen II, Born In East LA, The Wedding Ringer, Identity Thief, The Heat, Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension, No One Lives, Night Of The Creeps, Bending The Rules, The Last American Virgin, Bloodsport, The Last Exorcism Part II, Killer Klowns From Outer Space, Basket Case, Krampus, Dolls, Jessabelle, Brain Damage, Wolfcop, The Haunting In Connecticut 2: Ghosts Of Georgia, Street Trash, Zombie High, We’re The Millers, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990), Masters Of The Universe, Observe And Report, National Lampoon’s Van Wilder, Silent Night Deadly Night, Silent Night Deadly Night Part 2, Here Comes The Boom, Let’s Be Cops, Death Wish II, Death Wish 3, Death Wish 4: The Crackdown, Death Wish: The Face Of Death, Three Fugitives, Evilspeak, Ride Along, Ride Along 2, Knucklehead, Hatchet, Meatballs, Meatballs Part II, The Gallows, Daddy’s Home, The Out-Of-Towners remake, 22 Jump Street, Ted, Hotel Transylvania, Hotel Transylvania 2, Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters, The Funhouse, Critters, Critters 2, the Conan The Barbarian remake, Swing Parade, Africa Screams, At War With The Army, Check And Double Check, The Flying Deuces, Deathouse (AKA Silent Night, Bloody Night), The Smallest Show On Earth, My Favourite Brunette, The Perfect Score, Cheech & Chong’s Animated Movie!, And Now For Something Completely Different and The Great Rupert.

29. Only some Russian Olympians were banned from competition in the Summer Games in Brazil.  Why not all of them?  All their Paralympians were barred.  Why the double standard?

30. Cody Rhodes left the WWE.  Even he got sick of being Stardust.

31. MuchMoreMusic was yanked off the air.

32. New2You quietly closed its Lime Ridge location.  I bought so many cheap CDs there over the years.  I will miss it dearly.

33. Ryan Lochte.  What the hell was he thinking?  Oh right.  He wasn’t.

34. Russ Feingold wasn’t able to get elected back to the Senate.

35. “Iron” Mike Sharpe died.  Why isn’t he in the WWE Hall of Fame as a jobber?

36. Amber Heard’s damning testimony about her abusive ex-husband Johnny Depp.  She deserves better and he should be ashamed of himself.

37. The desperate campaign to outlaw the peaceful #BDS movement against Apartheid Israel.  Try as they may, AI and their Western governmental allies cannot stop the inevitable end of violent colonial Zionism.

38. Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds both died during the same week over the Christmas holidays.  Doubly sad.

39. Montreal lost in the MLS final to Seattle.  Boring game.  Penalty kicks are a terrible way to settle a scoreless draw.

40. The Chris Jericho/Dean Ambrose asylum match at Extreme Rules.  Too long and too slow.  No wonder the audience in attendance stayed quiet for most of it.  If it wasn’t for the thumbtacks, the ending would’ve been terrible, too.  Don’t expect this silly concept to be repeated.

41. The overcrowded announce table on Smackdown Live.  Does the WWE not realize that we don’t need three terrible colour commentators all at once?

42. 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers Of Benghazi.  Michael Bay reimagines the most politicized moment of the misbegotten Libyan invasion as a long-winded action epic.  No thanks.

43. The Undertaker vs. Shane McMahon at WrestleMania 32.  If McMahon hadn’t jumped off the top of Hell In A Cell, would anybody be even talking about this match?  And what was the point of the stipulation if it was never going to be honoured?

44. Radiohead finally released a studio version of True Love Waits and it’s dreary.  I prefer the more moving live version from the I Might Be Wrong EP.

45. My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2.  Exceedingly manipulative and annoyingly sexist.  I only laughed twice.

46. Ride Along 2.  Will Kevin Hart ever make a good comedy?  Just as bad as the original.

47. The constant, dangerous scaremongering about Vladimir Putin and Russia.  Democrats will blame anybody but themselves for their pathetic electoral performance this year.  Soul searching is not their strong suit.

48. Damien Sandow was fired from the WWE.  That’s not the way you treat The Intellectual Savior Of The Unwashed Masses.

49. The Forest.  The concept is far better than the execution, unfortunately.

50. Rodrigo Duterte, the psychotic leader of The Philippines, who openly admitted to murdering his citizens as part of his horrific War on Drugs.  No wonder he’s an ally of the American government.

51. The Liberals lied about the deal to sell weaponry to Saudi Arabia.  Now it’s up to a Canadian court to decide whether it should be honoured.  It shouldn’t.

52. The overblown incident in the House of Commons when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau accidentally elbowed an MP from the NDP during a contentious vote.  Trudeau wasn’t the one who needed to apologize repeatedly.  When even feminists criticized the controversy, you know it was nothing.

53. Kellie Leitch.  Loathsome, dishonest, racist, elitist.  The perfect face for the modern Conservative Party of Canada.

54. Obama & Congress will give 40 billion dollars to Apartheid Israel to help it continue propping up its endless, illegal occupation of oppressed Palestinians over the next decade.  If Netanyahu’s truly upset about the Iran Deal and the USG’s refusal to veto the latest UN condemnation of illegal settlements, he’ll reject the money.  You know he won’t, though.  Because #BDS is hurting Apartheid Israel’s economy.  And Zionism needs welfare to survive.

55. The ongoing, heartless persecution of Palestinian activist and torture survivor Rasmeh Odeh.  End her ordeal and clear her name already.

56. No one has gone to prison for murdering Baltimore resident Freddie Gray.

57. One stubborn juror led to the mistrial of North Carolina police officer Michael Slager who murdered Walter Scott as captured on video.  It’s Rodney King all over again.  Even actual footage isn’t enough to get a conviction for a white cop killing a black man in America.

58. 49 people were murdered at a gay club in Florida by a man who may have been gay himself.  Awful, just awful.

59. The news media’s early, constant coverage of Donald Trump and his long-winded rallies without much scrutiny of his record during the Republican primaries.  Are you happy now, Les Moonves?

60. The ongoing suicide crisis in the Canadian Indigenous community.  We are failing these kids.  We must do better.  We must listen to their concerns and directly address them.

61. Kurt Eichenwald.  He supported the wrong Democrat.  He’s not to be trusted.  And he’s a whiny bitch, too.

62. For the first time in about half a decade, the WWE split its roster again by putting half on Raw and half on Smackdown.  Not only that, they’ve added more championships so now each show has its own World Champion, mid-card-Champion, Tag Team Champions and Womens Champion, plus show-centric pay-per-views.  So lame.  Why return to such a failed concept?  The Raw vs. Smackdown rivalry is phony.  You all work for the same goddamn company!  No wonder your TV ratings suck so bad.

63. The failed coup in Turkey.  It gave authoritarian Erdogan every excuse to crack down on whatever democracy was still left in his troubled country.  Why hasn’t he been kicked out of NATO?

64. There wasn’t a single person of colour nominated for an acting Oscar.  Because of the public outcry, I suspect 2017 will be very different.

65. Media Matters For America going all in for a loser.  Still with Hill, jackwads?

66. Alberto Del Rio left the WWE.  Again.

67. The moral cowardice of Aung San Suu Kyi.  She doesn’t give a damn about the ruthless persecution of Rohingya Muslims in her own country.  Despicable.

68. Nat Turner and Casey Affleck are in contention for Academy Awards next year but face serious accusations of sexual assault and sexual harassment, respectively.  Turner faced a lot of scrutiny and didn’t handle it particularly well, while Affleck, a likely Best Actor nominee, just hosted Saturday Night Live and has routinely been given a free pass.  After decades of protecting Bill Cosby, the entertainment press needs to address this with Affleck directly.  Innocent lives are at stake.  Turner’s victim committed suicide.

69. The Nightly Show was cancelled just as it was finding its satirical voice in the insane world of American politics.  Comedy Central should’ve had more faith in it.

70. Bowie’s Blackstar wasn’t nominated for the Album Of The Year Grammy.  A huge, insulting oversight.

71. Muhammad Ali died.  He was an asshole to Joe Frazier but I’ll always respect his opposition to Vietnam.

72. Corey Graves and Byron Saxton at the Raw commentary table.  Absolutely no chemistry whatsoever.

73. Alan Rickman died.  He may have been a villain on-screen but he was a mensch in real life.  His public support for Rachel Corrie, an activist murdered by Apartheid Israel, should always be remembered.

74. The Wars on Drugs, Black people, Indigenous communities, trans, gay, lesbian & bisexual folks, sexual assault survivors, journalists, whistleblowers, prisoners, women, Sikhs and Muslims continues unabated.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Saturday, December 31, 2016
1:38 a.m.

The Highs Of 2016

1. Hillary Clinton will never be President of the United States.  When you run an incompetent, uninspired, foolhardy campaign, screw over your Democratic opponent and his left-wing supporters thanks to your corrupt political and media allies and then blame everybody else for your own neoliberal stupidity, you get what you deserve:  utter and complete humiliation.

2. Game 7 of The World Series.  One of the most competitive, unpredictable and exciting championship games not only in baseball history, but in the entire history of sports.  It is a damn shame Harry Caray never lived long enough to see his beloved Chicago Cubs end their notoriously brutal 107-year slump.  Cleveland blew it.

3. David Bowie’s Blackstar.  Released 8 days into the new year, I never heard a better album.  Poignant, cathartic, masterful.  He couldn’t have ended his recording career on a higher note.

4. OJ: Made In America.  An epic, thoroughly revelatory documentary miniseries that puts the travesty of the OJ Simpson double murder case in illuminating and often uncomfortable historical context.  Infuriatingly fascinating.

5. Mauro Ranallo joined the WWE as a play-by-play commentator.  It’s so refreshing to hear the actual names of wrestling holds being called again.  Now if only the company would find him a decent colour man instead of saddling him with three unimaginative seat fillers.  Where’s his Bobby Heenan?

6. Jerry “The King” Lawler blocked me on Twitter and no longer does colour commentary for the WWE.  This misogynistic sleaze wasn’t worth following or listening to in the first place.  He did me a favour.

7. Persecuted journalist Barrett Brown was finally released from prison.  May he continue to sing like the proverbial canary.

8. Iggy Pop’s Post Pop Depression.  You can never go wrong writing songs with Josh Homme.  Too bad he’s going to lose the Best Alternative Rock Album Grammy to Bowie’s Blackstar next year.

9. Leah Remini’s Scientology & The Aftermath series on A&E.  A fittingly skeptical companion to the excellent, eye-opening Going Clear movie I finally screened this year.  David Miscavige’s cult is in serious shit.  Time to stop treating it like a religion.  Revoke its tax-exempt status and start making indictments.

10. Portugal won Euro.  Ronaldo’s redemption 12 years in the making.

11. Roger Ailes was forced out of Fox News after being sued for sexual harassment.  Is his most famous political operation going to survive?  Let’s hope not.

12. Despite hundreds of ill-fated attempts, the CIA could not kill Fidel Castro who died of natural causes as an old man.  Will Cuba continue to fight against the scourge of imperialist capitalism?

13. Rob Riggle’s set during The Rob Lowe Roast on Comedy Central.  Absolutely killer.  The wretched Ann Coulter got it the worst.

14. Batman: The Killing Joke.  A surprisingly dark animated version of the graphic novel that deserved a more traditional and longer theatrical release.  Far superior to the disappointing Mask Of The Phantasm, it features a much stronger performance from longtime Joker Mark Hamill.  We could be spared the mercifully brief musical number, though.

15.  The #NoDAPL protest at Standing Rock in North Dakota.  A noble cause that is literally life and death for an already marginalized and brutalized Indigenous community.  We must all rally around these heroic water protectors.

16. Mohamedou Slahi was finally released from Gitmo.  The best-selling author deserves reparations and an apology for his disgusting torture at the hands of the United States government.  Absolutely shameful.

17. The Getaway by The Red Hot Chili Peppers.  They take five years now to put out new albums but the wait is always worth it.  Still funky and instantly accessible, even in middle age.

18. Corrupt, decrepit racist Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio lost his latest bid for re-election and was indicted by the Department of Justice.  The end is near for this fascist monster.  Finally.

19. The Triple Threat number one contender’s match between Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar at Fastlane.  Fantastic action despite the expected outcome.

20. Green Day’s Revolution Radio.  I’m glad Billie Joe Armstrong got sober.

21. The List Of Jericho.  Sheldon Cooper called.  He wants his funny gimmick back.  Uh oh.  I just made the list.

22. The Lazarus soundtrack.  Three more David Bowie gems.  Plus, Dexter sings!  A genuine surprise.

23. Canada won 22 medals at the Summer Olympics, 16 of which were earned by women including the hardworking soccer and rugby squads, their best effort in 20 years.  Penny Oleksiak, Andre De Grasse, Rosie McLennan and Derek Drouin were among the standout individual athletes who excelled in Brazil.

24. AJ Styles’ debuted at the Royal Rumble, feuded with Chris Jericho, Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns and John Cena, and became WWE Champion.  Superstar of the year.  His Extreme Rules match with Reigns in particular was filled with entertaining spots.

25. The AIDS Crisis and Greed Is Good episodes of CNN’s The Eighties.  There remains no cure for both.

26. Weezer’s “White Album”.  Their record sales may have plummeted but Rivers Cuomo hasn’t forgotten how to craft a catchy alt-rock sing-a-long.

27. All the good films I screened this year:  The Omen (1976), Misery, The Visit, Anthony Shaffer’s The Wicker Man (first version), Ginger Snaps, Crimson Peak, Fantasia 2000, Rockshow, Elvis: That’s The Way It Is, Mission: Impossible III, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, The Maltese Falcon (1931), Satan Met A Lady, The Desert Trail, the original Invasion Of The Body Snatchers, the original D.O.A., the original Psycho, Monterey Pop and Shock.

28. The Miz’ passionate promo on Daniel Bryan during Talking Smack.  The most entertaining mic work he’s ever done.  The Yes Man could’ve easily shut down his argument.  He walked off the set instead.  What a mistake.  The segment may have single-handedly revived the fortunes of the InterContinental Champion.

29. Game two of the Montreal/Toronto MLS semifinal series.  The first time Canada has gotten legitimately excited about mens soccer in 30 years.  An atmospheric juggernaut with plenty of goals, rain, smoky flares and suspense.

30. The Tragically Hip’s final concert on CBC.  Bittersweet and engaging from start to finish.

31. The Tragically Hip’s Man Machine Poem.  Certainly not their best offering but if it’s their final musical statement, it will certainly suffice.  After 30 years, they’re not afraid to experiment with new sounds and ideas.

32. The term “Divas” was finally retired by the WWE.  All women who wrestle for the company are now superstars like the men.  It’s about goddamn time.

33. Sasha Banks vs. Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte Flair for the renamed Womens Championship at WrestleMania 32.  Incredible spots, high drama, tremendous workmanship.  It should’ve been the main event.  An honourable mention to the ladder match for the InterContinental strap.  A fine exhibition for the future of the company.

34. The hour-long debate between “Donald Trump” and “Bernie Sanders” on @Midnight.  Hilarious.

35. Radiohead’s A Moon Shaped Pool.  More melodic elegance as Thom Yorke beautifully mourns the end of his relationship to Rachel Owen who sadly died of cancer this year.

36. Kevin Owens.  Bam Bam Bigelow without the tattoos and better promos.  His elevation to the main event in just two years is a testament to his considerable skill as a performer.  And he’s Canadian.

37. Braun Strowman.  Turns out he’s much more effective without Bray Wyatt.  And he might be the fastest big man in the business today.  A monster heel with great potential.  He looks like he belongs.

38. WikiLeaks.  The #DNCLeaks and the #PodestaEmails exposed The Democratic Party for what it actually is:  cynical, snobby, clueless and neoliberal.

39. Watching Blu-rays for the first time.  Man, oh man, what a world of wonder I’ve been missing.  Thanks Mom and Dad!

40. The guy from Edmonton who found an escaped cat under a train and took him home before reuniting him with his relieved owner from Saskatchewan.  A Festivus miracle.

41. Hot Hot Heat’s final album.  A hooky farewell from one of Vancouver’s finest.

42. Nancy Grace’s Headline News show was finally cancelled.  Even CNN can’t stand her anymore.

43. The Last Man Standing match between Kevin Owens & Dean Ambrose at the Royal Rumble for the InterContinental title.  It’s no wonder Owens is World Champion on Raw now.  Stellar.

44. Kings Of Leon’s Walls which stands for We Are Like Love Songs.  It should be doing brisker business.  Not a bad song in the mix.

45. Smackdown started broadcasting live.  No more spoilers leaking out days in advance.

46. Billy Talent’s Afraid Of Heights.  Punchy and political at times, rocking and rolling all of the time.

47. Tom Mulcair was given a no-confidence vote by the NDP.  He was never a true socialist.

48. Bernie Sanders’ historic campaign for President, the most successful Jewish candidate in American history.  If it wasn’t for the Clintonistas, he would be moving into the White House next month.  They screwed him like the ignorant assholes they are.

49. Brooke Henderson won a major LPGA tournament as a teenager.  More success coming in 2017?  Let’s hope so.

50. Milos Raonic made the Wimbledon finals, a first for a Canadian tennis player.  Too bad he didn’t win.

51. The Golden State Warriors record-setting regular season win-loss record.  Unfortunately, Cleveland came from behind to snag the NBA Championship from them in the finals.  LeBron James will not be denied.

52. Mark Rylance upset Sylvester Stallone for the Best Supporting Actor Oscar.  Score one for the anti-Zionists.

53. Dean Ambrose cut up Chris Jericho’s silly Lite Brite jacket.  The Scarf Era has begun.  Drink it in, man.

54. Every Womens Championship match on Raw between Sasha Banks and Charlotte Flair.  The best TV rivalry of the year.  I don’t understand why the WWE doesn’t allow The Boss a longer title run.  She deserves one.

55. Pearl Jam is going into The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame next year.

56. The #CureForKenza campaign.  This adorable little girl has a second chance at life.  May she make the most of it and thoroughly enjoy her childhood.

57. San Francisco 49er quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s National Anthem protest.  It’s a shitty, racist song and we don’t need to hear it anymore.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Friday, December 30, 2016
11:41 p.m.

Prince: An Appreciation

He was signed by Warner Bros. when he was 20.  But they lied to the world when they promoted him as an 18-year-old prodigy.  Flamboyant like Little Richard, a colourful showman like James Brown, and a devastating shredder like Jimi Hendrix, Prince Rogers Nelson further bridged the musical gaps between funk, soul and rock as he would go on to become one of the most prolific singer/songwriters of all time.

And now he’s dead. Recently sent to hospital for what was reportedly the flu (new reports claim he was suffering from “severe dehydration”), his 57-year-old body was found earlier today at his home in Minnesota.  It’s not clear yet what exactly happened.  Surely, it wasn’t influenza.

When I was a kid in the 80s, Prince was all over the Television and radio airwaves.  Not a year went by when he didn’t have either a new studio album, a new live album, a new movie, a new soundtrack to that movie or a new song and video out.  Looking back, you wonder if the man did anything besides create and play music.  He must’ve been a light sleeper.

After releasing a couple of soul albums in the late 70s, one ignored and one that went platinum thanks to his first big hit, I Wanna Be Your Lover, Prince’s first full-length critical breakthrough was 1980’s Dirty Mind.  Village Voice critic Robert Christgau famously noted in his exuberant rave of the LP, “Mick Jagger should fold up his penis and go home.”

Prince never looked back after that.  The following year, he offered Controversy.  The superior single edit of the overlong, rather warped title cut intensified his already highly sexualized, religious fervor as he addresses rumours of his sexual identity.  (He was often presumed to be gay because of his fondness for falsetto vocals and seemingly feminine presentation.  He wasn’t.)  The single edit remains one of his greatest songs.

By 1982, after building a strong black following, he finally started appealing to white kids thanks to his highly acclaimed double album, 1999, which spawned numerous smash hits like Little Red Corvette, Delirious and of course, the political title song.   (Like David Bowie’s Fantastic Voyage, it warned of the still real danger of a nuclear holocaust.)  Speaking of the latter, every verse was originally supposed to be harmonized with members of The Revolution, his second backing band.  (The Time preceded them.)  But Prince decided to individualize the vocals so that each harmony part would get a line of its own to sing which made all the difference.  The apolocalyptic 1999 would go on to become one of his most enduring musical signatures.

In 1984, Prince was ready for the big screen as he unveiled Purple Rain, his only fictional film to receive praise.  (Under The Cherry Moon and Graffiti Bridge did not fare as well.  The concert picture, Sign O’ The Times, however, was critically acclaimed.  It played on MuchMusic for years after its 1987 theatrical run.)  The fantastic soundtrack became his Thriller, his most popular collection of recordings, some of which were captured live.  (It has sold about 15 million copies in North America alone.)  Just before the album’s unveiling, Prince felt it lacked an anthem, so he quickly put together a new song that would feature his best guitar solos, most especially the one that ends the track.  Long before he became a Jehovah’s Witness, Let’s Go Crazy cheekily addresses The Rapture without being annoyingly overt (unlike the full version of Controversy which directly references The Lord’s Prayer).  The result was Prince’s second number one single.  (When Doves Cry, which also features his first-rate guitar playing, was his first.)

The Purple Rain soundtrack, the first one that gave credit to The Revolution, was loaded with other memorable songs like the beautifully epic title track (which peaked at number 2), I Would Die 4 U and the lascivious Darling Nikki which bothered Tipper Gore so much it ended up on the Filthy Fifteen list.  Foo Fighters later covered it in 2002 and it became a minor alt-rock radio hit despite being a B-Side.  (As a thank you, during his Super Bowl halftime show in 2007, Prince covered their 2005 single, Best Of You.)  In 1985, the soundtrack would win the Best Original Song Score Oscar and would be nominated for the Album Of The Year Grammy.

For the rest of the 80s, Prince would continue to offer quirky, mass appeal singles:  the anti-drug Pop Life, Rasberry Beret, Kiss (another number one later covered by Tom Jones & The Art Of Noise), I Could Never Take The Place Of Your Man, U Got The Look (with Sheena Easton) and the funky Alphabet St.  In 1987, the same year he presented Sign O’ The Times, Prince produced his darkest collection of songs.  Growing fascinated with the burgeoning hip hop movement, The Black Album was going to be his Christmas release.  Warner Bros. balked at putting out another Prince album so quickly after the multi-platinum double release of Sign O’ The Times.  But, in the end, he second-guessed himself.  Despite the production of a small number of vinyl copies (the survivors of which became very valuable collector’s items fetching thousands of dollars each), The Black Album would be cancelled.  It would go on to become one of the most bootlegged lost albums over the next 7 years.

Lovesexy would take its place in 1988.  (The Alphabet St. video urged fans to not buy The Black Album bootlegs.)  It included a rerecorded version of When 2 R In Love, the only Black Album track to see official release at the time.

With the hope of finally taking a break, Warner instead convinced him to do another soundtrack, this one for a new Tim Burton film.  Red hot after the overrated Beetlejuice, he directed Michael Keaton, Kim Basinger and Jack Nicholson in Batman, the biggest hit of 1989.  Prince’s stellar soundtrack, which I originally had on tape but is now very hard to find on CD (I’ve managed to locate three used copies in recent years, though, two of which I bought for a buck apiece), ended the decade with an emphatic exclamation point.  Batdance, an exhilarating, film dialogue-heavy montage of many of the soundtrack’s songs (including non-album B-Side 200 Balloons) and featuring yet another classic rip roaring solo, would also hit number one.  Another single, Scandalous!, didn’t fare nearly as well chart-wise but it is a lovely ballad nonetheless, another vivid showcase for his trademark falsetto.  Curiously, the video for Partyman would feature the full 7-minute version whereas the soundtrack only has the 4-minute single edit.

After Graffiti Bridge flopped in 1990 (Thieves In The Temple did crack the Top 10, however), Prince rebounded with his new backing band, The New Power Generation, in 1991 with Diamonds & Pearls.  The orgasmic Cream would be his final number one smash.  The pretty title cut would peak in the Top 5.

In 1992, Prince signed a lucrative multi-album deal with Warner, his longtime label.  He would immediately regret it.  Despite learning about copyright law in high school, Prince belatedly realized he didn’t own any of his masters.  His next album that year (Prince logo.svg) would become his new identity in 1993 (along with The Artist and The Artist Formerly Known As Prince), an unpronounceable symbol (referred to as the Love Symbol) that references both sexes.  (To be fair, it inspired cool guitar and stage designs.)  Prince logo.svg featured his last great single for Warner, the jazz-inflected Sexy M.F., one of the rare times he rapped on record.

After announcing his new identity, which baffled the music world and gave comedians plenty of material, Prince decided to get out of his contract by offering a succession of albums within a three-year period which deeply annoyed Warner.  They hated the idea of flooding the marketplace because it meant lower profits.

Prince didn’t care if they sold or not.  He just wanted out.  Some of the music he released during this period had been languishing in the vaults for years including The Black Album which finally surfaced officially in November 1994 but with a catch.  It would only be on sale for 2 months before being supposedly pulled from record shops in late January 1995.  (5 years after its release I still managed to find a new copy for 6 bucks.  I’ve seen at least one used copy available for 20 but that was a while ago.)

Just a few months before that, Prince released the acclaimed Come which finally corrected a longstanding error.  The cover revealed he had in fact been born in 1958, not 1960 as Warner had falsely promoted for years.

During a memorable September 1993 performance on The Late Show With David Letterman, Prince performed a track from The Gold Experience, an album that wouldn’t be available until 1995.  (I would love to own the damn thing on CD but good luck finding it today.)  The word “SLAVE” was written on his cheek, his way of protesting what he saw as an unfair arrangement with Warner.  Gold Experience included The Most Beautiful Girl In The World, another falsetto ballad that hit the Top 5 in 1994 and was previously issued on an EP that year, the Top 20 hit I Hate U and P Control, yet another hooky ode to the vagina.

After the releases of the unloved Chaos & Disorder and the Girl 6 soundtrack (curiously released under his old name) in 1996, Prince released his first post-Warner collection, the three-hour Emancipation, which featured his last Top 40 hits, a cover of The Stylistics’ Betcha By Golly Wow! and The Holy River.  Instead of signing with another major, he starting shipping CDs of his music over the Internet (they would eventually surface in stores not always with the same track listings, though) including Crystal Ball (available in three, four and five-disc incarnations) which captured numerous outtakes from past album sessions for a number of scrapped projects including a few that featured his child-like alter ego Camille (not including previously released rejects like non-album B-sides Shockadelica and the catchy Feel U Up which could’ve been a hit like U Got The Look, all of which are on The Hits/The B-Sides).

Meanwhile, Warner would continue to occasionally release new Prince material leftover in their vaults (one such collection was actually called The Vault) plus a number of hits packages, the best of which remains The Hits/The B-Sides in 1993.  It features Nothing Compares 2 U (which Sinead O’Connor famously covered in 1990) and the original version of I Feel For You (a big hit for post-Rufus Chaka Khan in 1984).   I guess he never recorded Manic Monday, the hit song he wrote for The Bangles.

Although the two discs of hits were also available as individual releases (The Hits 1 and The Hits 2), the 20 non-album B-Sides were exclusive to the three-disc set.  I was personally very lucky to finally nab a new copy at HMV just a few years ago.  It’s another hard-to-find release, but even when you do spot it, it’s not always affordable.  (I once saw a used copy that cost 30 bucks.  New ones can run as much as 60 to 70.  My copy was 10 but free with a gift card.)

In 2000, by this point long past his commercial and artistic prime, Prince belatedly announced he was reverting back to his birth name, although he would continue to incorporate his highly mocked symbol in his live shows.  No longer a Top 40 fixture, he would however have one last multi-platinum hurrah in 2004.  (To be fair, he would also have two final Gold albums in 2006 & 2009.)  Musicology received his best reviews in years and thanks to a clever promotion (it was given away with concert tickets), it charted well.  His performance with Beyonce at the Grammys that same year inspired a recurring Saturday Night Live sketch.

In the final 12 years of his life, Prince never stopped creating and performing, although he would considerably dial down the lust in his lyrics because of his new found religion.  He continued to churn out new records on an annual basis and he remained a popular concert attraction.  (He had just played a couple of shows in Toronto a few weeks ago.  His last concert, part of his Paisley Park After Dark series at his home estate, happened over the weekend.)

His sudden death comes just three months after the shocking demise of David Bowie.  Like the creator of Ziggy Stardust and The Thin White Duke, Prince was a major influence on subsequent generations of performers, both black and white, trans, gay and straight.  His sexually charged lyrics pushed the boundaries of acceptability way more than Madonna ever could. (There’s no way she could’ve gotten away with writing songs like Jack U Off, Head and Scarlet Pussy.)

Prince’s often horny songs were ubiquitous and brilliantly accessible to a mass audience, never more so than in the 80s and early 90s.  For someone so weird, soft-spoken and distant (he rarely gave interviews), he had surprisingly global appeal.  He was unusual enough to excite young audiences thirsting for something unique.  And yet his decision to sing more often than not in an inoffensive high register (a huge risk that could’ve resulted in unintentional laughter, although he did come close to becoming a self-parody at times) and his remarkable gift for well-crafted arrangements allowed him to win over more conservative pop traditionalists.  There’s no denying he had flat out, incredible musicianship.  He was as much as master of the electric six-string as more celebrated axmen like Eddie Van Halen and Jeff Beck.

But he could also be prickly.  Owners of Prince fan sites and bootleg distributors of his long coveted and voluminous unreleased recordings often felt his wrath in the form of lawsuits and public criticism.  A unrepentant control freak, he was not pro-Napster.  (He also didn’t want any of his songs parodied by Weird Al Yankovic who gave up asking for permission after a while.)  And although he would eventually return to work within the major label system, he wisely avoided traditional, longterm deals.  He would continue to offer new material online right up until last year.

And now he’s gone.  My reaction to his death is curiously more subdued than Bowie’s.  I hadn’t heard a Prince album since Musicology.  (The library copy I once borrowed I unfortunately broke by accident.  Not a good way to spend 20 bucks.)  And while I greatly admire many of his singles and especially his Batman & Purple Rain soundtracks, I have never felt the need to own everything he did.  On the contrary, I never stopped listening to Bowie.  (I’m loving Blackstar at the moment, his last release.)  In the last several years, I made it a point to add as many of his CDs to my collection that I could find for as little money as possible with a few more still to seek out.  With the exception of that elusive Gold Experience, on the other hand, I have all the Prince I need.

In the days and weeks to come we will surely learn more about his sudden death, as mysterious and odd as the man himself.  But for those grieving for the early end of another 80s icon, there is the warm comfort of the vast legacy he leaves behind.  Plus, now that the stern gatekeeper of so many unheard goodies is no more, how soon before that enormous trove of material long buried from the prying eyes and curious ears of a soon-to-be insatiable public begins to be unearthed?

More than 45 years after the death of Jimi Hendrix, we’re still getting new albums from him.  Prince is about to give him some much needed competition.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Thursday, April 21, 2016
7:28 p.m.

CORRECTIONS:  Only Prince’s debut release was ignored.  His second album went platinum and spawned his first Top 40 hit, I Wanna Be Your Lover.  It was 2000, not 1999, when Prince announced he was Prince again.  P Control from The Gold Experience was wrongly listed as P Patrol.  Musicology was his last “multi-platinum” success but by no means his last certified album.  He would acquire two more Gold records by the end of The Aughts.  And sadly, having rewatched the Controversy video a couple of times today, I realize that Prince isn’t wearing his infamous assless chaps, just leggings and bikini underwear.  All of these corrections have since been incorporated into the original piece.  I regret all the errors.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Sunday, April 24, 2016
9:45 p.m.

UPDATE:  It was a drug overdose.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Friday, June 3, 2016
1:54 a.m.

Published in: on April 21, 2016 at 7:28 pm  Comments (2)  

Chris Rocks The 2016 Oscars As Spotlight & Mark Rylance Pull Off Big Upsets

Poor Sylvester Stallone.  The Creed star was considered a shoo-in for Best Supporting Actor at this year’s Academy Awards, the 88th annual ceremony.  But alas, like Eddie Murphy in 2007, despite collecting numerous trophies for reviving Rocky Balboa for his seventh silver screen appearance, he was ultimately passed over for British Shakespearean actor Mark Rylance who took home the only Oscar for Steven Spielberg’s acclaimed Bridge Of Spies.  How delightfully ironic that a pro-Palestinian activist snatched one away from a longtime supporter of Apartheid Israel.

Speaking of Zionists, Leonardo DiCaprio finally took home a Best Actor Oscar for his performance in The Revenant.  He thanked Michael Caton-Jones, who cast him in the underappreciated This Boy’s Life, and longtime collaborator Martin Scorsese, who directed him in Gangs Of New York, The Aviator, Shutter Island, The Wolf Of Wall Street & The Departed, while also making a public plea for powerful people to finally do something about global warming.  When talking about indigenous people, it’s a shame he didn’t mention the long illegally occupied Palestinians.  But he’s for Apartheid Israel so they were ignored, as usual.

Last year’s Best Director winner Alejandro G. Inarritu won again for helming The Revenant while lensman Emmanuel Lubezki made history becoming the first Best Cinematography winner to snatch the gong three consecutive years.  He won last year for Birdman and in 2014, he received his first Oscar for Gravity.

Mad Max: Fury Road, the fourth and best reviewed chapter in the recently revived franchise (which laid dormant for 30 years), took home six trinkets, the most of any nominated film, all in technical categories:  Best Costume Design, Best Production Design, Best Make-Up & Hairstyling, Best Film Editing, Best Sound Editing and Best Sound Mixing.  It was the Star Wars of this year’s Oscars.

Speaking of The Force Awakens, as expected, like The Martian, Carol and Brooklyn, it was completely shut out.  Nominated composer John Williams, however, got a couple of shout-outs from C3P0 and Best Original Score winner, the legendary Ennio Morricone (The Hateful Eight), despite having a hilariously bad seating arrangement.  Having 5 golden gongs for creating some of the greatest movie music ever doesn’t mean anything, apparently.  Even the bear from The Revenant got to sit in the balcony.  (A killer sight gag, by the way.  He seems much nicer than his on-screen character.)

Best Supporting Actress went to the lovely Swedish-born performer Alicia Vikander from The Danish Girl while Best Actress was awarded to the glammed up Brie Larson for her acclaimed work in Room.  Larson thanked the Telluride and Toronto Film Festivals for giving the film an early boost before its theatrical run.  (It’s out on DVD & Blu-ray this coming Tuesday as is the aforementioned Creed.) (UPDATE: The Danish Girl is out on home video Tuesday, as well.)

Besides Mark Rylance’s remarkable upset for Best Supporting Actor, Best Picture did not go to The Revenant as anticipated but to Spotlight, the highly regarded drama about the Boston Globe investigative team that helped expose some of the darkest secrets of the Catholic Church.  Spotlight also won for Best Original Screenplay.  The film ended up winning the first and last awards of the evening.

Far more predictable were the winners of Best Documentary Feature, Best Animated Feature and Best Foreign Language Film.  Amy, about the troubled Amy Winehouse, Inside Out, the hugely popular Pixar film, and the Hungarian Holocaust drama Son Of Saul won those categories, respectively.

Other big winners included The Big Short which won Best Adapted Screenplay and a slimmed down, bearded Sam Smith (Chris Rock humourously mistook him for George Michael) whose forgettable James Bond theme, Writing’s On The Wall from Spectre, stole the glory away from Lada Gaga’s Til It Happens To You, the theme she co-wrote with the highly decorated Diane Warren from the anti-campus rape culture documentary The Hunting Ground.  Gaga’s passionate but overwrought performance, which received a standing ovation and movingly featured a number of male & female survivors on stage with handwritten messages on their arms, was introduced by Vice President Joe Biden who also got an undeserved standing ovation, an ironic choice considering his reputation for being overly handsy with women.  He got in a plug for the It’s On Us campaign launched by the White House last year.

As for host Chris Rock, much to my surprise, he was much sharper and funnier this year than his previous hosting gig back in 2005.  The #OscarsSoWhite controversy proved to be, for the most part, a comedy goldmine for him as he took some very funny shots at a good-natured Kevin Hart (I was surprised he didn’t get him back), interviewed black filmgoers in a comically effective pre-taped spot, had mostly funny presenter intros, a great running gag involving a Suge Knight imposter in the balcony and threw to a Black History Month segment with Angela Bassett pulling an amusing swerve on the boycotting Will Smith.  Not every joke in his monologue hit the mark but most of them did.  I particularly enjoyed the Girl Scout Cookies segment which revealed that Hollywood stars are always too hungry at the Oscars and carry around way too much cash.  Rock’s berating of DiCaprio and his kiss-off to Harvey Weinstein, in particular, were stand-out laugh out loud moments.

The best musical performance did not come from any of the overly orchestrated & ultimately underwhelming Best Original Songs, which only featured the overrated big-name nominees anyway, but from Dave Grohl whose low-key acoustic rendition of The Beatles’ Blackbird, a sly choice (Paul McCartney wrote it as a tribute to the black civil rights movement in the late 60s), nicely accompanied the traditional In Memoriam segment which began with Wes Craven and ended with Leonard Nimoy.  For once, the audience didn’t applaud until the very end.  Even cheekier was the song that played over the closing credits.  It was Public Enemy’s Fight The Power from Do The Right Thing.

The complete list of winners:

BEST PICTURE – SPOTLIGHT

BEST DIRECTOR – Alejandro G. Inarritu (THE REVENANT)

BEST ACTOR – Leonardo DiCaprio (THE REVENANT)

BEST ACTRESS – Brie Larson (ROOM)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS – Alicia Vikander (THE DANISH GIRL)

BEST SUPPPORTING ACTOR – Mark Rylance (BRIDGE OF SPIES)

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY – SPOTLIGHT

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY – THE BIG SHORT

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE – INSIDE OUT

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE – AMY

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM – SON OF SAUL

BEST ORIGINAL SONG – Writing’s On The Wall (SPECTRE)

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE – Ennio Morricone (THE HATEFUL EIGHT)

BEST COSTUME DESIGN – MAD MAX: FURY ROAD

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN – MAD MAX: FURY ROAD

BEST MAKE-UP & HAIRSTYLING – MAD MAX: FURY ROAD

BEST FILM EDITING – MAD MAX: FURY ROAD

BEST SOUND EDITING – MAD MAX: FURY ROAD

BEST SOUND MIXING – MAD MAX: FURY ROAD

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS – EX MACHINA

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY – THE REVENANT

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT – A GIRL IN THE RIVER: THE PRICE OF FORGIVENESS

BEST ANIMATED SHORT – BEAR STORY

BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT – STUTTERER

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Monday, Feburary 29, 2016
1:50 a.m.

Published in: on February 29, 2016 at 1:51 am  Leave a Comment  

2016 Oscar Predictions

BEST PICTURE – THE REVENANT

When you really stop and think about it, this year’s race for Best Picture is only between three nominated films.  That means we don’t need to discuss The Martian, Brooklyn, Bridge Of Spies, Room or The Big Short.  They are all serious long shots.

Mad Max: Fury Road, the fourth in the series and the first not to feature Mel Gibson, was both a huge summer blockbuster and critical favourite.  It could play a spoiler role here but I don’t think it’ll garner enough votes to pull it off.  It will have to settle for some consolation technical trophies.

When the nominations were first announced last month, I immediately thought Spotlight, another highly acclaimed critical favourite, had the inside track.  But then I remembered the late, great Roger Ebert’s long standing belief about how the Academy picks this category:  they vote with their heart.

Although it has the lowest fresh rating of all eight nominated films on Rotten Tomatoes (82%), ever since it went wide in early January to big financial returns, The Revenant has been the most talked about nominee.  Those who have seen it have been emotionally shaken by it.  Yes, it was made by the same man who gave us Birdman, last year’s winner, but that will in no way hurt its chances.  I’ll be very surprised if The Revenant isn’t named Best Picture.

BEST DIRECTOR – Alejandro G. Inarritu (THE REVENANT)

Speaking of Ebert, as he famously noted every year at this time, the winner of the Director’s Guild of America prize goes on to win the Best Director Oscar about 90% of the time.  Last year’s DGA winner, Alejandro G. Inarritu, who won for Birdman, went on to take the Oscar for the same film.  This year, he won the DGA for The Revenant which means, barring some unforeseen circumstance, he will repeat the feat.  It’ll be the third time in Academy history a director has won back-to-back Oscars.  John Ford did it in 1940 & 1941 as did Joseph L. Mankiewicz in 1949 & 1950.

BEST ACTOR – Leonardo DiCaprio (THE REVENANT)

He was first nominated in the supporting category for What’s Eating Gilbert Grape back in 1994.  (He lost to Tommy Lee Jones (The Fugitive)).  Eleven years later, he was nominated in the lead category for playing Howard Hughes in The Aviator.  (Jamie Foxx won for Ray.)  Then came lead nominations for Blood Diamond (a loss to Daniel Day-Lewis (There Will Be Blood)) & The Wolf Of Wall Street (a win for Eddie Redmayne (The Theory Of Everything)), the latter resulting in another nomination for Best Picture since he was one of the producers.  (Birdman won.)

That’s right.  Leonardo DiCaprio is 0 for 5 at the Academy Awards and therefore, he’s due for a win.  It helps that fellow nominees Redmayne (The Danish Girl) & Matt Damon (The Martian) already have trophies so they won’t be collecting any additional dust collectors this year.  There’s plenty of time to reward Michael Fassbender (Steve Jobs) down the road.  And if it was any other year, Bryan Cranston would be a shoo-in for Trumbo.

But the Academy will give it to DiCaprio as a make-good for not nominating him for Titanic.

BEST ACTRESS – Brie Larson (ROOM)

Cate Blanchett (Carol) already has golden gongs for The Aviator and Blue Jasmine.  Ditto Jennifer Lawrence (Joy) who won three years ago for Silver Linings Playbook.  70-year-old Charlotte Rampling (45 Years) had never even been nominated before this year so her bid will surely come up short.  Brooklyn’s Saoirse Ronan was previously up for Best Supporting Actress in 2008 for Atonement (she lost to Tilda Swinton (Michael Clayton)) and could pull an upset here.

But the critically acclaimed Room has to win something and Brie Larson will be the beneficiary.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS – Alicia Vikander (THE DANISH GIRL)

Of all the acting categories this year, Best Supporting Actress is without question the most difficult to predict.  Right away, you can forget about Kate Winslet.  Once a perennial Oscar bridesmaid, she finally won Best Actress in 2009 for her performance in The Reader.  Don’t expect her to snag a second gong for Steve Jobs.  We can also count out first-time nominee Jennifer Jason Leigh for The Hateful Eight.  (If she did win, you could consider it a lifetime achievement honour for all her highly regarded performances that didn’t get recognized by the academy.)

Canadian Rachel McAdams (Spotlight) has a decent shot but her career is going fine so she doesn’t really need the push.  Neither does previous nominee Rooney Mara (Carol) who was last singled out for The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.  That leaves Swedish actress Alicia Vikander, a good looking gal who’s young, dating fellow nominee Michael Fassbender and will be starring in the next Jason Bourne movie.  As far as I’m concerned, the Oscar is hers to lose.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR – Sylvester Stallone (CREED)

Like Best Actor, this one looks like a lock for a longtime Hollywood favourite.

Christian Bale (The Big Short) already has a sparkly trinket for The Fighter so he’s out of the running.  Three-time nominee Mark Ruffalo (Spotlight) won’t be called to the stage.  British actor Tom Hardy (The Revenant), so brilliant in The Drop and The Dark Knight Rises, could pull off a surprise win but I doubt it.  Longtime Shakespearean thespian Mark Rylance (Bridge Of Spies) will have to settle for being a first-time nominee.

It’s been 40 years since Sylvester Stallone played the title character in the overrated Rocky which won Best Picture.  He lost the 1977 Best Actor gong to the very dead Peter Finch (Network).  After four lousy sequels, Stallone revived the character ten years ago in Rocky Balboa, which received decent notices.  Now playing the mentor to the son of his original rival in the acclaimed spin-off Creed, he will finally get rewarded, albeit in the supporting category, for his most famous role.

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE – INSIDE OUT

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE – AMY

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM – SON OF SAUL

BEST FILM EDITING – THE REVENANT

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE – Thomas Newman (BRIDGE OF SPIES)

BEST ORIGINAL SONG – Til It Happens To You (THE HUNTING GROUND)

BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT – SHOK

BEST ANIMATED SHORT – SANJAY’S SUPER TEAM

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT – LAST DAY OF FREEDOM

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY – Roger Deakins (SICARIO)

BEST COSTUME DESIGN – CINDERELLA

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY – Tom McCarthy & Josh Singer (SPOTLIGHT)

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY – Adam McKay & Charles Randolph (THE BIG SHORT)

BEST SOUND EDITING – MAD MAX: FURY ROAD

BEST SOUND MIXING – THE REVENANT

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN – THE DANISH GIRL

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS – MAD MAX: FURY ROAD

BEST MAKE-UP & HAIRSTYLING – MAD MAX: FURY ROAD

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Tuesday, February 23, 2016
3:40 a.m.

Published in: on February 23, 2016 at 3:40 am  Leave a Comment  

Availability Of 2016 Oscar-Nominated Films On DVD & Blu-ray

No nominated actors of colour.  For the second consecutive year, movie fans are deeply angered by the lack of diversity in the four acting categories in the just announced nominations for the 88th Academy Awards.  Once again, it’s all about Whitey.

And, of course, there’s also the usual grumbling about snubs.  No Best Documentary Feature nod for The Hunting Ground, Going Clear or Where To Invade Next.  No Best Picture recognition for Star Wars:  The Force Awakens or Straight Outta Compton.  No love at all for Concussion or Beasts Of No Nation.

In the midst of all this annual bemoaning & groaning, why not check out the complete list of nominated feature films below and find out what you can see now at your local cinema & on video, plus what’s coming soon to DVD & Blu-ray in the coming weeks and months.

As always, when new release dates become available, this list will be updated.

The Oscars, hosted for the second time by comedian Chris Rock, will air 8:30 p.m. on Sunday, February 28.  In the meantime, happy screenings!

Amy – Now available on DVD & Blu-ray

Anomalisa – June 7

The Big Short – March 15

Boy And The World – July 5

Bridge Of Spies – February 2

Brooklyn – June 28 March 15

Carol – March 15

Cartel Land – March 29 but now playing on Netflix

Cinderella – Now available on DVD & Blu-ray

Creed – March 1

The Danish Girl – March 1

Embrace Of The Serpent – June 21

Ex Machina – Now available on DVD & Blu-ray

Fifty Shades Of Grey – Now available on DVD & Blu-ray

45 Years – June 14

The Hateful Eight – March 29

The Hunting Ground – Now available on DVD

Inside Out – Now available on DVD & Blu-ray

Joy – May 3

The Look Of Silence – Now available on DVD & Blu-ray

Mad Max: Fury Road – Now available on DVD & Blu-ray

The Martian – Now available on DVD & Blu-ray

Mustang – April 12 May 10

The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out The Window & Disappeared – Now available on DVD & Blu-ray

Racing Extinction – February 23

The Revenant – April 19

Room – March 1

Shaun The Sheep Movie – Now available on DVD & Blu-ray

Sicario – Now available on DVD & Blu-ray

Son Of Saul – April 26

Spotlight – February 23

Spectre – February 9

Star Wars: The Force Awakens – April 1 (digital), April 5 (DVD/Blu-ray)

Steve Jobs – February 16

Straight Outta Compton – January 19

Theeb – May 17

Trumbo – February 16

A War – June 7

What Happened, Miss Simone? – Now playing on Netflix

When Marnie Was There – Now available on DVD & Blu-ray

Winter On Fire: Ukraine’s Fight For Freedom – Now playing on Netflix

Youth – March 15

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Thursday, January 14, 2016
5:44 p.m.

UPDATE:  One Best Picture nominee will be hitting home video long after the Oscar ceremony comes and goes.  Brooklyn will arrive June 28.  Meanwhile, Carol is coming March 15.  Finally, Trumbo, which features Best Actor nominee Bryan Cranston in the title role, will be available on DVD & Blu-ray February 16.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Sunday, January 17, 2016
9:23 p.m.

UPDATE 2 & CORRECTION:  In the first update I erroneously stated that Carol was a Best Picture nominee.  The text has been corrected.  As for new release dates, both The Danish Girl and Room are scheduled to come out on home video March 1 while Youth, starring Michael Caine, will be out March 15.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Tuesday, January 19, 2016
2:26 a.m.

UPDATE 3:  Mustang’s DVD/Blu-ray release date has been pushed back from April 12 to May 10.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Saturday, January 23, 2016
12:55 a.m.

UPDATE 4:  No new DVD/Blu-ray releases have been announced for the following films but there are ways you can see them right now.  Best Documentary Feature nominee What Happened, Miss Simone? is available on Netflix.  Best Animated Feature competitors Anomalisa and Boy And The World are currently playing in theatres as is 45 Years which features Best Actress nominee Charlotte Rampling.

Meanwhile, next month, two Best Foreign Film nominees will be opening in theatres.  A War debuts February 12 while Embrace Of The Spirit, as noted by the Los Angeles Times, starts exhibiting on February 17.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Sunday, January 24, 2016
1:18 a.m.

UPDATE 5:  Two more Best Documentary Feature nominees can be viewed on Netflix:  Cartel Land & Winter On Fire: Ukraine’s Fight For Freedom.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Sunday, January 24, 2016
1:53 a.m.

UPDATE 6:  Best Picture nominee The Revenant is coming to home video April 19.  Meanwhile, Creed, the spin-off of Rocky, is headed to DVD & Blu-ray March 1.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Friday, January 29, 2016
2:26 a.m.

UPDATE 7:  Cartel Land hits DVD & Blu-ray on March 29 but as previously noted, if you’re a Netflix subscriber, you can see it right now.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Friday, February 5, 2016
11:36 p.m.

UPDATE 8:  Best Picture nominee The Big Short will land on DVD & Blu-ray March 15.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Sunday, February 14, 2016
1:51 a.m.

UPDATE 9:  For those who couldn’t wait until June 28 to catch Brooklyn on home video, good news.  The release date has been bumped up to March 15.  Meanwhile, Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight hits DVD & Blu-ray March 29.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Sunday, February 21, 2016
3:39 a.m.

UPDATE 10:  Best Foreign Language Film winner, Son Of Saul, will be out on DVD & Blu-ray April 26.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Monday, February 29, 2016
3:07 a.m.

UPDATE 11:  Star Wars:  The Force Awakens is coming to DVD & Blu-ray April 5.  But you can watch it digitally as soon as April 1.  No joke!  Rolling Stone has the details here.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Thursday, March 3, 2016
7:56 p.m.

UPDATE 12:  Joy hits DVD & Blu-ray May 3.  Anamolisa and A War will both be available on June 7.  45 Years is out June 14.  And Embrace Of The Serpent drops June 21.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Tuesday, March 29, 2016
6:35 p.m.

UPDATE 13:  Best Animated Feature nominee Boy & The World is penciled in for a DVD/Blu-ray release on July 5.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Saturday, May 7, 2016
5:24 p.m.

Published in: on January 14, 2016 at 5:44 pm  Leave a Comment