"Lincoln" Tops Houston Film Critics Nominations 

The Houston Film Critics Society has announced the nominees of their annual movie awards and Steven Spielberg's "Lincoln" led the pack with eight nominations followed by "Les Miserables" and "The Master."

Here's the full list of nominees of the 2012 Houston Film Critics Society Awards. For winners/nominees of other award-giving bodies, click here:

Best Picture
"Beasts of the Southern Wild"
"Cloud Atlas"
"Django Unchained"
"The Master"
"Les Miserables"
"Moonrise Kingdom"
"Silver Linings Playbook"
"Zero Dark Thirty"

Best Director
Ben Affleck, "Argo"
Quentin Tarantino, "Django Unchained"
Steven Spielberg, "Lincoln"
Tom Hooper, "Les Miserables"
Kathryn Bigelow, "Zero Dark Thirty"

Best Actor
Daniel Day-Lewis, "Lincoln"
John Hawkes, "The Sessions"
Hugh Jackman, "Les Miserables"
Joaquin Phoenix, "The Master"
Denzel Washington, "Flight"

Best Actress
Jessica Chastain, "Zero Dark Thirty"
Jennifer Lawrence, "Silver Linings Playbook"
Emmanuelle Riva, "Amour"
Quvenzhane Wallis, "Beasts of the Southern Wild"
Naomi Watts, "The Impossible"

Best Supporting Actor
Alan Arkin, "Argo"
Javier Bardem, "Skyfall"
Phillip Seymour Hoffman, "The Master"
Tommy Lee Jones, "Lincoln"
Matthew McConaughey, "Magic Mike"

Best Supporting Actress
Amy Adams, "The Master"
Judi Dench, "Skyfall"
Sally Field, "Lincoln"
Anne Hathaway, "Les Miserables"
Helen Hunt, "The Sessions"

Best Screenplay
"Silver Linings Playbook"
"Zero Dark Thirty"

Best Cinematography
"Life of Pi"
"The Master"
"Les Miserables"

Best Original Score
"Beasts of the Southern Wild"
"Cloud Atlas"
"Life of Pi"
"The Master"

Best Original Song
“Skyfall,” "Skyfall"
“Suddenly,” "Les Miserables"
“Song of the Lonely Mountain,” "The Hobbit"
“Learn Me Right,” "Brave"
“Touch the Sky,” "Brave"

Best Foreign Language Film
"The Intouchables"
"Holy Motors"
"A Royal Affair"
"Rust and Bone"

Best Animated Film
"Rise of the Guardians"
"Wreck-It Ralph"

Worst Film of 2012
"Anna Karenina"
"That’s My Boy"
"The Three Stooges"

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Ben Affleck's "Argo" Wins Big at Southeastern Film Critics Association Awards 

Ben Affleck's "Argo" was the big winner at the annual Southeastern Film Critics Association Awards. The movie also won Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay.

In the acting categories, Daniel Day-Lewis won Best Actor for "Lincoln" while Jennifer Lawrence took home the Best Actress Award for "Silver Linings Playbook." Philip Seymour Hoffman won Best Supporting Actor for "The Master" while Anne Hathaway added more awards to her name by winning the Best Supporting Actress award for "Les Miserables."

Here's the complete list of winners and runners-up for the Southeastern Film Critics Association Awards. For winners/nominees of other award-giving bodies, click here:

"Zero Dark Thirty" (opens Jan. 11 in Memphis)
"Moonrise Kingdom"
"Silver Linings Playbook"
"Beasts of the Southern Wild"
"The Master"
"Les Misérables" (opens Christmas Day in Memphis)
"Life of Pi"
"The Dark Knight Rises"

Winner: Daniel Day-Lewis, "Lincoln"
Runner-up: Joaquin Phoenix, "The Master"

Winner: Jennifer Lawrence, "Silver Linings Playbook"
Runner-up: Jessica Chastain, "Zero Dark Thirty"

Winner: Philip Seymour Hoffman, "The Master"
Runner-up: Tommy Lee Jones, "Lincoln"

Winner: Anne Hathaway, "Les Misérables"
Runner-up: Sally Field, "Lincoln"

Winner: "Lincoln"
Runner-up: "Moonrise Kingdom"

Winner: Ben Affleck, "Argo"
Runner-up: Kathryn Bigelow, "Zero Dark Thirty"

Winner: Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola, "Moonrise Kingdom"
Runner-up: Mark Boal, "Zero Dark Thirty"

Winner: Chris Terrio, "Argo"
Runner-up: Tony Kushner, "Lincoln"

Winner: "The Queen of Versailles"
Runner-up: "Bully"

Winner: "The Intouchables"
Runner-up: "Amour" (no Memphis opening set yet)

Winner: "ParaNorman"
Runner-up: "Frankenweenie"

Winner: Claudio Mirando, "Life of Pi"
Runner-up: Roger Deakins, "Skyfall"

Winner: "Beasts of the Southern Wild"
Runner-up: "Bernie"

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"The Master" Lords Over Kansas City Film Critics 

More love for Paul Thomas Anderson's "The Master." This time, the Kansas City Film Critics Circle showered the movie with the Best Film trophy and Best Original Screenplay for Anderson. But Anne Hathaway received love too! The actress has been collecting Best Supporting Actress awards for her wonderful performance as Fantine in "Les Miserables."

Here's the complete list of winners of the 2012 Kansas City Film Critics Circle Awards. For a complete list of winners/nominees of other award-giving bodies, click here:

Best Film
The Master

Robert Altman Award for Best Director
Ang Lee
Life of Pi

Best Actress
Jennifer Lawrence
Silver Linings Playbook

Best Actor
Daniel Day-Lewis

Best Supporting Actress
Anne Hathaway
Les Miserables

Best Supporting Actor
Philip Seymour Hoffman
The Master

Best Adapted Screenplay
Chris Terrio

Best Original Screenplay
Paul Thomas Anderson
The Master

Best Foreign Language Film

Vince Koehler Award for Best Science Fiction, Fantasy or
Horror Film

The Cabin in the Woods

Best Animated Film

Best Documentary
The Imposter

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"Silver Linings Playbook" Wows Detroit Film Critics 

The Detroit Film Critics Society has chosen David O. Russell's "Silver Linings Playbook" as the best picture of the year in their annual movie awards. The film also won Best Director, Best Actress (Jennifer Lawrence), Best Screenplay, and Best Supporting Actor for Robert De Niro. Anne Hathaway scored another award for Best Supporting Actress for "Les Miserables."

Here's the complete list of winners (highlighted) and nominees of the 2012 Detroit Film Critics Society Awards. For other winners/nominees of award-giving bodies this Awards Season, click here:

The 2012 Detroit Film Critics Society Awards

Winner: Silver Linings Playbook

The Impossible
Take This Waltz
Zero Dark Thirty

Winner: David O. Russell, Silver Linings Playbook

Ben Affleck, Argo
Juan Antonio Bayona, The Impossible
Kathryn Bigelow, Zero Dark Thirty
Sarah Polley, Take This Waltz

Winner: Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln

Bradley Cooper, Silver Linings Playbook
John Hawkes, The Sessions
Bill Murray, Hyde Park on Hudson
Joaquin Phoenix, The Master

Winner: Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook

Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty
Greta Gerwig, Damsels in Distress
Naomi Watts, The Impossible
Michelle Williams, Take This Waltz

Winner: Robert De Niro, Silver Linings Playbook

Philip Seymour Hoffman, The Master
Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln
Matthew McConaughey, Magic Mike
Ewan McGregor, The Impossible
Ezra Miller, The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Winner: Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables

Amy Adams, The Master
Ann Dowd, Compliance
Sally Field, Lincoln
Helen Hunt, The Sessions

Winner: Lincoln

Marvel’s The Avengers
Moonrise Kingdom
Silver Linings Playbook

Winner: Zoe Kazan, Ruby Sparks

Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Rebel Wilson, Pitch Perfect
Benh Zeitlin, Beasts of the Southern Wild
Craig Zobel, Compliance

Winner: David O. Russell, Silver Linings Playbook

Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Drew Goddard and Joss Whedon, The Cabin in the Woods
Tony Kushner, Lincoln
Sarah Polley, Take This Waltz

Winner: Jiro Dreams of Sushi

The House I Live In
The Imposter
The Queen of Versailles
Searching for Sugar Man

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"Les Miserables" Movie Review -- How Many Kisses Does the Movie Get? 

The transformation of the beloved Broadway musical, “Les Miserables,” into a big screen event is a daunting task. The filmmakers must satisfy the fans of the stage play and convince the non-believers. I can tell you now that the film adaptation stays true and improves on the Broadway production.

Like many fans, I have seen the Broadway play numerous times, yet I have not felt the story’s full impact until after I saw the movie version. What was once seemingly inferred on stage becomes highlighted on the big screen. The epilogue becomes much richer.

Big credit goes to Oscar-winning director Tom Hooper (“The King’s Speech”) who made two important decisions for the film version. First, the movie is entirely sung-through which gives the adaptation an operatic feel. Second, the actors are encouraged to sing live-to-film to add passion to their singing style. The result is a true spectacle of a movie about hope and redemption.

Based on Victor Hugo’s novel of the same name, “Les Miserables” is a mesmerizing tale of broken dreams and unrequited love. Set against the backdrop of 19th century France, the enthralling story of Jean Valjean, played wonderfully by Hugh Jackman, is the film’s epicenter.

The actor endured small amounts of food and water and rigorous exercise routines in order to lose weight as the hunted Valjean. He is prisoner 24601 sent to jail for stealing bread. Upon his release, the moralistic policeman, Javert (Russell Crowe), takes it upon himself to make sure Valjean does not break his parole.

The ensemble’s commitment to the craft is truly what makes this movie work. Each and every one of the cast threw themselves into the role especially Anne Hathaway as the tragic factory worker, Fantine.

Hathaway’s signature song, “I Dreamed a Dream,” will make you cry hard. The story of a factory worker who becomes a prostitute in order to take care of her daughter, Cosette, will break your heart. Hathaway not only reclaims the song from Susan Boyle, she will also be honored by the Academy with a Best Supporting Actress Oscar.

Crowe also did a good job as the ruthless inspector even though his songs are predominantly “talk songs.” Amanda Seyfried as the grown-up Cosette also belts it out and her character is the film’s beacon of hope.

Eddie Redmayne, who gave a memorable performance in last year’s “My Week with Marilyn,” is also game as Marius, the student activist who falls in love with Cosette. But the cast’s breakthrough performance comes from the relatively unknown Samantha Barks as Eponine.

Barks, who came from the reality TV ranks with the U.K. show “I’d Do Anything,” proves that she owns Eponine’s signature song, “On My Own.” If you didn’t know anything about the performer’s background, you would not think that this is her first film ever. Barks blends well with the rest of the cast.

The script by William Nicholson, adapted from Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schonberg’s original stage musical, captures the story’s spectacle. It is also interesting to note that Hooper invited the original musical’s creator, including producer Cameron Mackintosh, be part of the creative team.

Hooper’s dream of creating a film version of “Les Miserables” is finally realized. The director’s visual grandeur is evident from the opening scene (“Look Down”) to the epilogue. “Les Miserables” is truly one of the best movies of 2012. Just a word of caution, bring lots of tissues because the movie will make you bawl your eyes out.


"LES MISERABLES" Interviews (click on the names to see full interviews):


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