With the rise of home video, film criticism (as per the French New Wave filmmakers behind the Parisian Cahiers du cinema in the 1950s) democratized, and to compete against the amateurs, professionals resort to “extreme film criticism,” according to the Los Angeles Review of Books. When AMC theaters screened all twelve Marvel movies leading up to the release of Anthony and Joe Russo’s Avengers: Infinity War (2018) that April, IndieWire reviewer David Ehrlich as well as The New York Times critic John Bailey subjected themselves to the thirty-one-hour marathon. Even this practice harkens back to François Truffaut, Jean-Luc Godard, and Éric Rohmer, who would spend entire days at the Cinémathèque Française bingeing the American masterpieces over and over again.
Sunday night, Awkwafina became the first Asian American actress to win a Golden Globe in the Best Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy category, for her tragicomic role in Lulu Wang’s The Farewell (2019), according to Deadline. Wang’s semiautobiographical film is about a Chinese American woman returning to China to say goodbye to her terminally ill grandmother; Awkwafina thanked Zhao Shuzhen, her onscreen grandmother, as well as the real-life grandmother who raised her, during her acceptance speech. Backstage, Awkwafina said of the history-making win, “I actually heard that fact and it was pretty mind-blowing. It feels incredible… but you want there to be more. I hope this is only the beginning.”
Prince William is the narrator for a one-minute film, Take a Minute – starring many soccer stars – from Public Health England’s Every Mind Matters, the English Football Association (of which he is president), as well as Heads Together’s Heads Up campaign, according to CNN. Kickoff times for all thirty-two fixtures of the third round of the English FA Cup will be delayed by sixty seconds Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, so the mental illness public service announcement can be shown at stadiums in front of millions of fans. William and his brother, Prince Harry, have advocated for a number of mental health causes since the traumatic death of their mother, Princess Diana, in 1997.
MGM Motion Picture Group president Jonathan Glickman is stepping down to be a producer for the studio after chairman and CEO Gary Barber was fired in 2018, according to Deadline. Meanwhile, former New Line-DreamWorks-Sony executive as well as Fifty Shades of Grey producer Michael De Luca will become chairman of the MGM Film Group as late as March, making him the equivalent to MGM Worldwide Television Group chairman Mark Burnett. De Luca previously declined the opportunity to run Paramount for Jim Gianopulos, and Glickman has been working with MGM since 2011, outlasting both Barber and Roger Birnbaum from Spyglass Entertainment, who arrived with him.
The final scenes of Greta Gerwig’s Little Women (2019) have been a source of contention among purists for their reinterpretation of the ending to the 1860s novel of the same name by Louisa May Alcott, but it makes a postmodern statement about love, according to The Atlantic. Jo March (Saoirse Ronan) suggests the protagonist of her manuscript, Little Women, marry Friedrich Bhaer (Louis Garrel), when her surviving sisters, Meg (Emma Watson) and Amy (Florence Pugh), offer much of the film’s love as they encourage her to go after the professor. Alcott, who died a childless, unmarried virgin, still sacrificed out of love to an altruistic amount for her own family, caretaking for her aging parents, providing for her widowed older sister’s sons, as well as raising her youngest sister’s baby after she died in childbirth.
In an effort to combat arbitrary year-end lists and myopic annual box office summaries, IndieWire cited eight studio releases as well as four films from specialized companies for what they mean to future productions. Non-franchise auteur projects are making a comeback. The twelve movies are: Jon Favreau’s The Lion King (2019); James Mangold’s Ford v Ferrari (2019); Rian Johnson’s Knives Out (2019); Jordan Peele’s Us (2019); David F. Sandberg’s Shazam! (2019); Clint Eastwood’s Richard Jewell (2019); Jon Watts’s Spider-Man: Far from Home (2019); Lorene Scafaria’s Hustlers (2019); Michael Engler’s Downton Abbey (2019); Josh and Benny Safdie’s Uncut Gems (2019); Christian Petzold’s Transit (2018); and Nisha Ganatra’s Late Night (2019).
Not long after releasing a list of his favorite literary works from 2019, former president Barack Obama has posted a list of his favorite films from the past year to his Twitter as well as his Instagram, according to The Guardian. The list stokes the critical debate over television’s place in the cinematic conversation, for Obama includes three TV series he considers “as powerful as” the gritty dramas and awards season contenders comprising more than half the list. Obama first began publishing such lists in 2015, starting with books, and he aims to spotlight lesser-known artists alongside their higher-profile counterparts.