Thursday, December 28, 2006

307 Feature Films Compete for Oscar®

Three-hundred-seven feature films are eligible for the Academy Award® for Best Picture of 2006. See link on right sidebar for list of films, with credits, eligible for 79th Academy Awards®.

To be eligible, feature films have until midnight, December 31, to open in a commercial motion picture theater in Los Angeles County and begin a minimum run of seven consecutive days. Films that receive their first public exhibition or distribution in any manner other than as a theatrical motion picture release are not eligible for Academy Awards in any category.

Also, Academy rules stipulate that a feature-length motion picture must have a running time of more than 40 minutes. It must have been exhibited theatrically on 35mm or 70mm film, or in a qualifying digital format.

Nominations for the 79th Academy Awards will be announced on Tuesday, January 23, 2007, at 5:30 a.m. PST in the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Oscar® Nomination Ballots in the Mail

Nomination ballots for the 79th Academy Awards® were mailed yesterday (Tuesday, December 26) to the 5,830 voting members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS®). The Reminder List of Eligible Releases – the list of 2006 motion pictures eligible for Oscar consideration – was mailed along with the nomination ballots.

Completed ballots must be returned to PWC (PricewaterhouseCoopers) by 5 p.m. on Saturday, January 13, 2007, which means Academy members must make their choices before the Golden Globe winners are known. The Golden Globes will be give out January 15.

As always, ballots received at PWC after the deadline will not be counted. Nomination and final award ballots are tabulated by PWC to ensure that all aspects of the balloting process are conducted with fairness and accuracy. Prior to mailing, the PWC staff administers a thorough verification process to ensure there are no duplicate ballots and that none are missing. In addition to being counted and sorted, each ballot is numbered to guarantee that it is addressed to the appropriate Academy voter.

Nominations for the 79th Academy Awards will be announced on Tuesday, January 23, 2007, at 5:30 a.m. PST in the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater on Wilshire Boulevard, Beverly Hills.

Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2006 will be presented on Sunday, February 25, 2007, at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center®, and televised live by the ABC Television Network at 5 p.m. PST, beginning with a half-hour arrivals segment, “The Road to the Oscars®.”

Tuesday, December 26, 2006


UPDATED ** Nominated for a Golden Globe

Fifty-six songs from eligible feature-length motion pictures are being considered in the Original Song category for the 79th Academy Awards®. The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences® (AMPAS®) will screen clips featuring each song, in random order, for voting members of the Music Branch in both Beverly Hills and New York City, Tuesday, January 16. Following the screenings, members will vote to determine which three, four, or five songs become nominees in the category.

To be eligible, a song must consist of words and music, both of which are original and written specifically for the film. A clearly audible, intelligible, substantive rendition of both lyric and melody must be used in the body of the film, or as the first music cue in the end credits.
Here is a list in alphabetical order of 26 motion pictures, among those submitting songs, that I think have a chance of being nominated:

BARNYARD, “Hillbilly Holla”
BLOOD DIAMOND, “Shine on ‘Em”
BOBBY, ** “Never Gonna Break My Faith” - Music and Lyric by Bryan Adams, Eliot Kennedy, Andrea Remanda.
BORAT . . ., “O Kazakhstan”
CHARLOTTE'S WEB, “Ordinary Miracle”
CARS, "Our Town" and "Real Gone"
CASINO ROYALE, “You Know My Name”
DEJA VU, “Coming Back to You”
DREAMGIRLS, “Patience," ** "Listen" - Music and Lyric by Scott Cutler, Beyoncé Knowles, Henry Krieger, Anne Preven, and “Love You I Do”
FLICKA, “My Little Girl”
GLORY ROAD, “Sweet Music”
HAPPY FEET, ** “The Song of the Heart” - Music and Lyric by Prince.
HOLLYWOOD FAMILIA (Family), "Hollywood Familia" and “Sueños” (Dreams)
HOME OF THE BRAVE, ** “Try Not to Remember” - Music and Lyric by Sheryl Crow.
IDLEWILD, “PJ & Rooster”
LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE, “Til the End of Time”
ONE NIGHT WITH THE KING, “Kingdom of Love”
OVER THE HEDGE, “Family of Me," Heist," and "Still”
POSEIDON, “Won’t Let You Fall”

PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS, ** "A Father's Way" - Music by Chris Bruce, Seal. Lyric by Seal.
ROCKY BALBOA, “It’s a Fight”
SAVING SHILOH, “Open Your Heart”
THE NATIVITY STORY, “In Rosa Vernat Lilium”

Nominations for the 79th Academy Awards will be announced on Tuesday, January 23, 2007, at 5:30 a.m. PST, in the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater, the awards presented Sunday, February 25, 2007.

See link on the right sidebar for AMPAS®, if you wish to view all the songs submitted. Also see link for my Film Awards Page and Film Festivals Page, if you wish to see some movie songs that have won awards so far this season.

Thursday, December 14, 2006


The nominations are in for the 64th Annual Golden Globes to be awarded 15 January. Many consider them predictors of the Academy Awards®. Here's the direct link to an organized, quick notation on my Film Awards Page, which has a link to the Globes official site:

The movie awards are in full season. In addition to the Golden Globes, you can quickly track almost all the major U.S. and international awards for 2006-07 on my 2006-2007 Awards Schedule, a.k.a., Mimi's Film Awards Page. The main link is on the right sidebar.

I don't think, personally, that awards from any one organization determine voting by the Academy membership, but a pattern of many organizations recognizing a particular film, actor, etc., may. My motive for maintaining my Film Awards Page is selfish. That's how I make my predictions come Oscar® time. I did predict best picture CRASH, best song, "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp," and most of the others last year. So, take a look at my page, and track your favorites. You may be pleased you did!

Monday, December 04, 2006

European Awards & Havana IFF

The European Film Academy honored Roman Polanski with a lifetime achievement award in the country of his childhood at the 19th annual European Film Awards in Warsaw, Poland, Saturday, 2 December. Also this weekend, the International Animated Film Society, announced the nominees for this year's Annie Awards to be awarded 11 February. For links to the official sites, and much more about the European Film Academy Film Awards and Annie Awards, click the link on the right sidebar for my Film Awards Page.

The 28th International Film Festival of New Latin American Cinema (also known as the Havana Film Festival) opens in Havana, Cuba, tomorrow. It will run through December 15th. Guillermo del Toro's PAN'S LABYRINTH (El laberinto del Fauno, Mexico), and Pedro Almodóvar's VOLVER ("To Return," Spain), are among the most anticipated movies.

Sorry, but ordinary American's can't go without special permission from the U. S. Federal Government. That permission is not going to be given. The official Web site is in Spanish, and a link is on my Film Festivals Page, as well as the festival's highlights in English, and much more. See links on the right sidebar.

Friday, November 17, 2006

15 Feature Docs Advance in 2006 Oscar® Race

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences® has announced that 15 films in the Documentary Feature category will advance in the voting process for the 79th Academy Awards. Eighty-one pictures originally qualified in the category.

The Documentary Branch screening committee viewed the eligible documentaries in a preliminary round of screenings. That branch's members will now select the five 2006 nominees from among the 15 titles on the shortlist. The full Academy membership with vote for their choices from the nominees.

Long gone are the days of someone holding a camera is an exotic locale as they observe the native inhabitants work and play. This year's crop of feature documentaries delves into living under the threats of war and somehow regaining one's sanity afterward, good and harmful politicians, sexual abuse of children, spousal abuse, environmental destruction, wrongful conviction because of racism, religious indoctrination of children, overly zealous patriots trying to destroy those who speak out for personal freedom, and overcoming blindness. Heady stuff all around.

The 15 films are listed below in alphabetical order:

BLINDSIGHT (UK). Directed by Lucy Walker, it has been described as a gripping adventure of six blind Tibetan teenagers who set out to climb the 23,000 foot mountain right next to Mount Everest.

CAN MR. SMITH GET TO WASHINGTON ANYMORE? (USA). This "Mr. Smith" follows the campaign of an unabashedly progressive 29-year-old political science prof, Jeff Smith, running for Dick Gephardt's Missouri congressional seat in 2004. Directed by Frank Popper.

DELIVER US FROM EVIL (USA). The Roman Catholic Church's hierarchy was aware that Father Oliver O'Grady was a dangerous active pedophile. They moved him from parish to parish for 30 years, allowing him to abuse countless children. Filmmaker Amy Berg exposes the deep corruption and the troubled mind of the man they sheltered. She juxtaposes an extended, deeply unsettling interview with O'Grady with the tragic stories of his victims.

THE GROUND TRUTH (USA), also known as The Ground Truth: When the Fighting Stops." Robert Acosta, Paul Rieckhoff, Sean Huze, and Herold Noel returned veterans of the war in Iraq are featured in the film. Viewers at Sundance reported being profoundly affected. Written and directed by Patricia Foulkrod.

AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH (USA). Directed by Davis Guggenheim, this

environmental documentary features former Vice President Al Gore. It was released in May.

IRAQ IN FRAGMENTS (USA/Iraq). This candid observations of Iraqis' lives under U.S. occupation, won three documentary prizes at Sundance in January: directing, cinematography, and editing. Careful! According to one review, the children in this film, directed by James Longly, will steal your heart.

JESUS CAMP (USA) premiered in April at the Tribeca Film Festival. Directed by Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady, it's the story of children at the "Kid's On Fire" summer camp, Devils Lake, North Dakota. Fundamentalists Evangelical Christians use the camp experience to indoctrinate children in their stance on hot-button issues, i.e., homosexuality, evolution, abortion, and George Bush.

JONESTOWN: THE LIFE AND DEATH OF PEOPLE'S TEMPLE (USA), directed by Stanley Nelson. Featuring never-before-seen footage, it delivers a startling new look at the Peoples Temple headed by preacher Jim Jones who, in 1978, led more than 900 members to Guyana, where he orchestrated a mass suicide via tainted punch.

MY COUNTRY, MY COUNTRY (USA). Filmmaker Laura Poitras follows a Sunni doctor in Baghdad as he runs for an office on the City Council, the United Nations team that will organize and monitor the elections in January 2005. Poitras lived with Dr. Riyadh and his family. She shows it all, the good, bad, and ugly of an amazing man's daily life in Baghdad. It aired on PBS's P.O.V., so this one I have seen, and it is extraordinary filmmaking under life-threatening circumstances.

SHUT UP & SING (USA). Barbara Kopple and Cecilia Peck’s documentary, also known as DIXIE CHICKS: SHUT UP AND SING, premiered at The Toronto Film Festival in September where it received a runner-up People's Choice award.

SISTERS IN LAW (Cameroon/UK). Directed by Florence Ayisi and Kim Longinotto, this documentary shows difficulties and landmark achievements of the Women Lawyers Association (WLS) in Cameroon. Their mission is to impose secular legal rights for women and children in cases of domestic violence within a Muslim culture where men have always been sovereign over women, according to Islamic Sharia law.

STORM OF EMOTIONS, no information found.

THE TRIALS OF DARRYL HUNT (USA) directed by Ricki Stern and Anne Sundberg. Hunt is a black man in the south who is wrongly accused of raping and murdering a white woman. He ended up spending nineteen years in jail, a victim of racism.

AN UNREASONABLE MAN ( USA ). Among the audience's top ten picks at the Canadian Hot Docs Festival in May, it is a look at the career of Ralph Nader, who evolved from consumer advocate to political spoiler because of his misguided ambition to be President. Directed by Henriette Mantel and Steve Skrovan.

THE WAR TAPES (USA). Filmed entirely by the members of the New Hampshire National Guard, it won Best Documentary at Tribeca. Directed by Deborah Scranton.

Nominations for the 79th Academy Awards will be announced on Tuesday, January 23, 2007, at 5:30 a.m. PST, in the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater, Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles. For more, see links on this blogs' right sidebar.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

16 Films Submitted for Animated Feature Oscar®

With 16 animated features submitted for consideration in 2006, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences anticipates that its Animated Feature Film Oscar® category, for the first time since 2002, may include a full slate of five nominees. The films submitted are: THE AUNT BULLY, ARTHUR AND THE INVISIBLE, BARNYARD, CARS, CURIOUS GEORGE, EVERYONE'S HERO, FLUSHED AWAY, HAPPY FEET, ICE AGE: THE MELTDOWN, MONSTER HOUSE, OPEN SEASON, OVER THE HEDGE, PAPRIKA, RENAISSANCE, A SCANNER DARKLY, and THE WILD.

However, ARTHUR AND THE INVISIBLES, HAPPY FEET, and PAPRIKA have not yet had their required Los Angeles releases. If any one of the group were not to meet that requirement the field in the category would fall below 16, the number required to trigger the five-nominee slate. With 15 or fewer contenders, Academy rules allow a maximum of three nominated features. Films submitted in the Animated Feature category also may qualify for Academy Awards in other categories, including Best Picture, provided they meet the requirements for those categories.

Nominations for the 79th Academy Awards will be announced on Tuesday, January 23, 2007, at 5:30 a.m. PST in the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater. Academy Awards
® for outstanding film achievements of 2006 will be presented on Sunday, February 25, 2007, at the Kodak Theatre at the Hollywood & Highland Center®, and televised live by the ABC Television Network at 5 p.m. PST, beginning with a half-hour arrival segment.

Monday, October 30, 2006


The submission list is out for the 61 countries who have submitted films for consideration as the Best Foreign Language Film of 2006 for the 79th Academy Awards® in January. The list below does not include a 62nd country, Finland, which submitted Aki Kaurismakiâ's LIGHTS IN THE DUSK, but the filmmaker subsequently withdrew it. A link "Foreign Films Submitted 2007" is on the right sidebar of this blog and will remain for about five months.

The nominations for the 79th Academy Awards will be announced Tuesday, January 23, 2007, and the awards will be presented at the Oscar gala Sunday, February 25, 2007.

The Foreign Language Film submissions for Best Foreign Language Film of 2006, and their directors are:

Algeria, DAYS OF GLORY, Rachid Bouchareb.

Argentina, FAMILY LAW, Daniel Burman.

Australia, TEN CANOES, Rolf de Heer.

Austria, YOU BET YOUR LIFE, Antonin Svoboda.

Bangladesh, FOREVER FLOWS, Abu Sayeed.


Bolivia, AMERICAN VISA, Juan Carlos Valdivia.

Bosnia and Herzegovina, GRBAVICA, Jasmila Zbanic.

Brazil, CINEMA, ASPIRINS and VULTURES, Marcelo Gomes.

Bulgaria, MONKEYS IN WINTER, Milena Andonova.

Canada, WATER, Deepa Mehta.

Chile, EN LA CAMA, Matiaz Bize.


Colombia, A TON OF LUCK, Rodrigo Triana.

Croatia, LIBERTAS, Veljko Bulajic.

Cuba, EL BENNY, Jorge Luis Sanchez.

Czech Republic, LUNACY, Jan Svankmajer.

Denmark, AFTER THE WEDDING, Susanne Bier.


France, AVENUE MONTAIGNE, Daniele Thompson.

Germany, THE LIVES OF OTHERS, Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck.

Greece, CHARITON'S CHOIR, Grigoris Karantinakis.

Hong Kong, THE BANQUET, Feng Xiaogang.

Hungary, WHITE PALMS, Szabolcs Hajdu.

Iceland, CHILDREN, Ragnar Bragason.

India, RANG DE BASANTI, Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra.

Indonesia, LOVE FOR SHARE, Nia Dinata.

Iran, TRANSIT CAFE, Kambozia Partovi.

Iraq, DREAMS Mohamed Al-Daradji.

Israel, SWEET MUD, Dror Shaul.

Italy, GOLDEN DOOR, Emanuele Crialese.

Japan, HULA GIRLS, Sang-il Lee.

Kazakhstan, NOMAD, Sergei Bodrov, Talgat Temenov, Ivan Passer.

Korea, KING AND THE CLOWN, Lee Jun-ik.

Kyrgyzstan, THE WEDDING CHEST, Nurbek Egen.

Lebanon, BOSTA, Philippe Aractingi.

Lithuania, BEFORE FLYING BACK TO EARTH, Arunas Matelis.

Macedonia, KONTAKT, Sergei Stanojkovski.

Mexico, PAN'S LABYRINTH, Guillermo del Toro.

Morocco, THE MOROCCAN SYMPHONY, Kamal Kamal.

Nepal, BASAIN, Subash Prasad Gajurel.

The Netherlands, BLACK BOOK, Paul Verhoeven.

Norway, REPRISE, Joachim Trier.

Peru, MADEINUSA, Claudia Llosa.


Poland, RETRIEVAL, Slawomir Fabicki.

Portugal, ALICE, Marco Martins.

Puerto Rico, THIEVES AND LIARS, Ricardo Mendez Matta.

Romania, THE WAY I SPEND THE END OF THE WORLD, Catalin Mitulescu.

Russia, 9TH COMPANY, Fyodor Bondarchuk.

Serbia, TOMORROW MORNING, Oleg Novkovic.

Slovenia, GRAVEHOPPING, Jan Cvitkovic.

Spain, VOLVER, Pedro Almodovar.

Sweden, FALKENBERG FAREWELL, Jesper Ganslandt.

Switzerland, VITUS, Fredi M. Murer.

Taiwan, BLUE CHA CHA, Cheng Wen-tang.

Thailand, AHIMSA STOP TO RUN, Leo Kittikorn.

Turkey, ICE CREAM, I SCREAM, Yuksel Aksu.

Ukraine, AURORA, Oxana Bayrak.

Venezuela, MAROA, Solveig Hoogesteijn.

Vietnam, STORY OF PAO, Ngo Quang Hai.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Mexico, Russia, and Hungary submit for Oscars

Pan's Labyrinth
Well, I didn't find this in the press, or any e-mail I've received, but Guillermo del Toro's dark fantasy PAN'S LABYRINTH has been submitted as Mexico's BFLF submission for the 79th Annual Academy Awards®. The Hollywood Reporter reported it 28 September. Written, directed and produced by del Toro, PAN'S LABYRINTH will hit U.S. theaters December 29th, released by Picturehouse.

I did not see LABYRINTH listed for San Sebastián, but Toronto listed it as a film from Spain. Hence, my confusion. It is a co-production, and Mexico has submitted it while Spain submitted VOLVER. So, I guess Mexico claims it.

Should Labyrinth be nominated, it will join recent nominees from Mexico, Carlos Carrera's EL CRIMEN DEL PADRES AMARO (The Crime of Father Amaro, 2003), and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's AMORES PERROS (Love's a Bitch, 2001).

Russia named 9TH COMPANY (9-ya rota), and Hungary selected WHITE PALMS, directed by Szabolcs Hajdu, as their respective candidates for BFLF. COMPANY, the first feature from director Fedor (sometimes as Fyodor) Bondarchuk, is based on the story of a group of Soviet soldiers abandoned to their fate by negligent officers at the end of the Russian-Afghan war of the 1980s.

A bettle between Mexico and Spain for an Oscar
® nod? Now, that would be interesting.

Friday, October 06, 2006


Ten Canoes
This week, seven counties announced the films they are submitting for the 79th Academy Awards this coming February in the Best Foreign Language Oscar category. They are: Australia, China, Denmark, Hong Kong, Italy, Norway, and Sweden. Spain announced last week. See previous post, 30 September.

Australia picks Aboriginal film

TEN CANOES, shot in the Australian indigenous Aboriginal language of Ganalbingu, is Australia's choice. CANOES is not only the first Aboriginal film, it is a film that could not have been submitted to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in the Best Foreign Language (BFLF) category before now.

The Academy completely overhauled the rules for the BFLF category earlier this year. One of the changes stipulates that films no longer must be in the official language of the submitting country. As I reported in my post on this blog, 22 July 2006, "AMPAS update: . . .": "So long as the dominant language is not English, a picture from any country may be in any language or combination of languages. Last year, the Italians wanted to submit a picture that was clearly made by Italian artists, and which qualified for the category in every other way except one: there was no Italian language in it. All the dialogue was in Middle Eastern languages."

There were big changes in the selection process, too. See that 22 July post for more info.

Rolf De Heer, wrote the script in collaboration with the people of Ramingining, a community of Yolngu people in Central Arnhem Land, Northern Territory. He co-directed with Peter Djigirr.

China picks film directed by Zhang Yimou

China has chosen Zhang Yimou's CURSE OF THE GOLDEN FLOWER, center around ancient Chinese imperial politics, was selected by a committee set up by China's Film Bureau. It stars Chow Yun-fat, Gong Li and Taiwanese pop sensation Jay Chou.

Zhang directed the critically acclaimed HOUSE OF THE FLYING DAGGERS and HERO. Both starred the beautiful Ziyi Zhang, who stars in the Hong Kong entry this year.

Denmark decides for AFTER THE WEDDING

AFTER THE WEDDING (Efter brylluppet), directed by Susanne Bier, tells the story of a manager of an orphanage in Denmark (Mads Mikkelsen) who is sent to Copenhagen, where he discovers a life-altering family secret.

Hong Kong goes with director Feng

The Federation of Motion Film Producers of Hong Kong have picked Chinese director Xiaogang Feng's THE BANQUET (Ye yan), inspired by "Hamlet" and starring Ziyi Zhang and Caniel Wu. It is a Hong Kong-China co-production.

Italy enters GOLDEN DOOR

GOLDEN DOOR (Nuovomondo), depicting the voyage of a Sicilian family from their homeland to America at the beginning of the last century was selected by the Anica association of film producers to represent Italy. Directed by Emanuele Crialese, DOOR stars Charlotte Gainesbourg, and is largely scripted in the Sicilian dialect.

GOLDEN DOOR was shown in competition at last month's Venice Film festival, where it won praise from Italian critics. There, the movie won the Silver Lion for revelation, an award that the jury does not have to hand out, but it was given as a sign of appreciation for the movie.

Italy's choice for last year's Academy Awards, DON’T TELL, won a nomination for BFLF. Italy last won the BFLF Oscar in 1999 with Roberto Benigni's "Life is Beautiful."

Norway sends REPRISE

The lighthearted film REPRISE, about life's realities intruding on youthful assumptions, is Norway's entry. It is director Joachim Trier's debut feature film.


Jesper Ganslandt's FALKENBERG FAREWELL (Farväl Falkenberg) will represent Sweden. No other info available at the moment.

This post mainly based on information from Yahoo Movies, and the Academy Web site. See links on the right sidebar.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Spain Submits Almodóvar’s VOLVER

Pedro Almodóvar’s movie VOLVER, a comic drama of murder, adultery, family happiness, and women making do without men, will represent Spain for nomination as the Best Foreign Language Film of 2006 for the 79th Academy Awards® this coming February. The announcement was made in Madrid by the Minister of Culture, Carmen Calvo.

Almodóvar received word of VOLVER'S selection while in Los Angeles promoting the film. Sony Pictures Classics is the U. S. distributor.

VOLVER (To Return) competed with ALATRISTE, dir. Agustín Díaz Yanes, and SALVADOR, dir. Manuel Huerga. Almodóvar has two of the coveted statuettes, one for the best foreign language movie ALL ABOUT MY MOTHER and another for the script TALK TO HER.

October 2nd is the deadline for films in the best foreign language film category to be submitted to the Academy. Five films will be nominated, and VOLVER must first make that cut. Nominations will be announced Tuesday, 23 January, at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater, Beverly Hills.

The 79th Annual Academy Awards® honoring film achievements for 2006 will be held on Sunday, February 25, 2007, and broadcast live from the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland by the ABC Television Network, beginning at 5:00 p.m. (PST) with an arrivals segment.

See links to the Academy's Web site, and the official Oscar® site on the right sidebar.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Oliver Stone Criticizes Bush in San Sebastian

U. S. film director Oliver Stone criticized G. W. Bush in San Sebastián, Spain, saying Bush has "set America back 10 years."

Stone was speaking to journalists at the San Sebastián International Film Festival prior to a screening of his latest movie, WORLD TRADE CENTER. He maintained that the U.S. policies in response to the plane hijackings, the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York, and the Pentagon September 11, 2001, were misdirected.

Also, the director of blockbusters such as PLATOON and JFK said, "From Sept. 12 on, the incident was politicized and it has polarized the entire world. . . . It is a shame because it is a waste of energy to see that the entire world five years later is still convulsed in the grip of 9/11."

"This war on Iraq is a disaster. I'm disgraced. I'm ashamed for my country," he said. "I'm also ashamed that America has attacked itself with constitutional breakdowns. I'm deeply ashamed. . . . We have destroyed the world in the name of security."

Stone's movie is a dramatization of the true story of survival and rescue of two policemen who were trapped in the rubble of the World Trade Center when they went to help people escape.

Mimi notes. From the time I was little, I was taught that there is no such thing as security, and that anyone who thinks they can guarantee security is a fool.
H-u-u-um, should someone pass that on to G. W. Bush? Naw. He wouldn't listen.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Ellen DeGeneres will host Academy Awards

Ellen DeGeneres will host the 79th Academy Awards® telecast, producer Laura Ziskin announced recently. It will be DeGeneres’ first time as Oscar® host, as well as her first appearance on an Academy Awards telecast.

DeGeneres is the host of the syndicated talk show “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” which this year won its third Emmy® for Outstanding Talk Show and earned DeGeneres her second Emmy for Outstanding Talk Show Host. She has twice hosted the Primetime Emmy Awards telecast and co-hosted the show in 1994. For her first solo Emmy stint, which took place shortly after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, she received high praise.

The 79th Annual Academy Awards honoring film achievements for 2006 will be held on Sunday, February 25, 2007, and broadcast live from the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland by the ABC Television Network, beginning at 5:00 p.m. (PST) with an arrivals segment.

See links to the Academy's Web site, and the official Oscar site on the right sidebar.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Lopez, Anthony Sell Movie at Toronto

Marc Anthony and his wife Jennifer Lopez's movie EL CANTANTE (The Singer) did not win a big award at the recent Toronto Film Festival, but it received good buzz after its premiere last week. Anthony plays the late Puerto Rican salsa superstar Hector Lavoe, and Lopez plays Lavoe's wife Puchi. J-Marc made a deal for the biopic on Friday.

EL CANTANTE was bought for almost $5 million by executives at Picturehouse, who now plan to release the film in July 2007. Picturehouse believes the under-served Latino community will respond mightily, and they also think it will cross over to general audiences.

I say that July will be a great release date to attract the younger crowd, the salsa music should be top notch, and J-Marc will be delicious eye candy for the viewers. The track record for musical biopics in the race for Oscar® has been excellent the past three years, but will the over-all quality of the film be good enough to propel it to Oscar's door in 2008?

Saturday, September 16, 2006


Pedro Almodóvar, seen above with Penelope Cruz, is currently promoting his latest movie VOLVER in the U. S., where it will be released 3 November. Prior to its release, Sony Pictures Classics presents eight of Almodóvar’s greatest movies in various cities throughout the nation. The movies are being re-released as part of the retrospective entitled Viva Pedro!

VIVA PEDRO! opened in New York and Los Angeles in August. The first of September the festival expanded to other cities in the United States, and will continue throughout the Fall. The theatrical re-release will introduce new audiences to Almodóvar and at the same time present the movies to his many fans in the manner which they are meant to be seen and appreciated.

The eight films are:

(1986); and BAD EDUCATION (2004).

New prints have been made of all eight films. Several of these titles have not been shown in theaters since their original release. (MATADOR and LAW OF DESIRE have never been released on DVD). All of the other films have been withdrawn from the DVD marketplace to accommodate their theatrical re-release. Check the [FULL SCHEDULE], and then your local theater for details.

For more on
Almodóvar's films see Mimi's page ALL ABOUT MY MOTHER.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Almodóvar's VOLVER to receive FIPRESCI

VOLVER, directed by Pedro Almodóvar, will receive the FIPRESCI Grand Prix for Best Film of the Year at this year's 54th DONOSTIA San Sebastián International Film Festival, San Sebastián, Spain. Producer Agustín Almodóvar will accept the award at the opening gala, 21 September in the Kursaal.

This Grand Prix, awarded annually by The International Federation of Film Critics, means recognition by film critics in over 60 countries. More than 350 critics from all over the world have voted for a film from among those released between August 2005 and July 2006.

VOLVER premiered in Spain 17 March 2006, and has been a smash hit with audiences and critics alike. It was one of the most applauded films at the last Cannes Festival Official Selection, where it earned the Best Actress prize for all of the six actresses in the cast: Penélope Cruz, Carmen Maura, Lola Dueñas, Blanca Portillo, Yohana Cobo and Chus Lampreave.

Pedro Almodóvar is currently promoting VOLVER in the U. S., where it will be released 3 November. Prior to its release, eight of his films will be re-released as part of a retrospective entitled ¡Viva Pedro! Will Spain submit it for the Academy Awards? Stay tuned.

For more see Mimi's Film Festival Page link on the right sidebar.

Friday, September 01, 2006


Today is the first deadline for consideration by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences® for the 79th Academy Awards® (Oscars®) is today for documentary filmmakers. The must submit their short subject and feature-length documentaries to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for consideration.

The next deadline is Monday, October 2, 2006, when entry forms for acceptance in the process for nomination in the Best Foreign Language Film (BFLF) category must be received at the Academy. The deadline to receive the film prints is Friday, October 13, 2006. The selection process in the BFLF category has been completely revised. For more details see my previous post of 22 July, "AMPAS Update. . . " post below.

Nominations will be announced Tuesday, January 23, 2007, 5:30 a.m., PST, from the Samuel Goldwyn Theater, Beverly Hills (Wilshire Blvd.). The 79th Academy Awards presentation will be Sunday, February 25, 2007, at the Kodak Theatre, Hollywood & Highland®, and televised live by the ABC Television Network.

For more dates and info, click the "79th Academy Awards Schedule" and "Official Oscars Web Site" links on the sidebar at right.

Saturday, August 19, 2006


My Film Festivals Web Page has been updated. Read the highlights, and access the official Web pages for the festivals by clicking the link on this blogs' sidebar at right.

First, the 60th Edinburgh International Film Festival, Edinburgh, Scotland, is happening as I write this. It is a major film festival and one of the oldest. The season usually begins in Palm Springs, California, in January, and ends in Huelva, Spain, in November.

Here are upcoming festivals spotlighted on the page, ordered by their beginning dates:

Festival des films du monde
24 August - 4 September 2006

63rd VENICE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL (Venice, Italy) [This is the oldest film festival still taking place, although it did miss some years during WW II.]
30 August - 9 September 2006

33rd TELLURIDE INTERNATONAL FILM FESTIVAL (Telluride, Colorado, USA) [Roger Ebert says this festival is Cannes died and gone to Heaven.]
1-4 September 2006

7-16 September 2006

INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL (San Sebastián, Spain) [THE film festival in Spain.]
21-30 September 2005

29 September – 15 October 2006

Saturday, July 22, 2006

AMPAS Update - Foreign Language Films

Foreign Language Films for 2006 Oscar®

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS®) has invited 83 countries to submit films for consideration in the Foreign Language Film category for the 79th Academy Awards®. To qualify for the 2006 awards year, a film must be released in the submitting country between October 1, 2005 and September 30, 2006, and be publicly screened in 35mm or 70mm film for at least seven consecutive days in a commercial motion picture theater. The dialogue track must be predominantly in a language or languages other than English. Accurate English subtitles are required.

Last year, the Academy invited 91 countries to submit films and 58 accepted, a record number. Coata Rica, Fiji and Iraq were first-time entrants. The South African film TSOTSI, directed by Gavin Hood, won the Oscar over a field of nominated films from France, Germany, Italy and the Palestinian Territories. This year, The republics of Azerbaijan and Kyrgyzstan will be first-time invitees.

Since the category’s establishment in 1956, 102 different countries have submitted films to compete for the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film. The first award went to Italy for LA STRADA (The Road), directed by Frederico Fellini.

See link on sidebar at right for the 79th awards schedule. Countries that have not received letters of invitation and are interested in submitting a film for consideration should contact Awards Coordinator Torene Svitil at (310) 247-3000, ext. 116 or via e-mail at

79th Oscar® Rules Approved by Academy

The governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences have approved the rules for the 79th Academy Awards®, endorsing a series of changes that the organization’s president, Sid Ganis, characterized as “constructive but not earthshaking.”

The biggest change institutes a two-stage process in determining the nominations in the Foreign Language Film Award category. The new approach will allow New York-based Academy members to participate for the first time in selecting the nominations for the category.

Foreign Language nominations for 2006 will be arrived at in two phases overseen by two essentially distinct screening committees. The Phase I committee will be the same several-hundred-member Los Angeles-based group that has viewed the roughly 60 annual submissions in past years and selected the five nominees from the field. For the 2006 Awards though, the Phase I committee will arrive at a nine-country shortlist.

The Phase II committee, made up of ten randomly selected members of the original committee, ten Los Angeles-based members not on the original committee, and ten New York-area members, will view the shortlisted films in a three-day bicoastal marathon and select the nominees from that field.

In addition to allowing New York members to participate, more busy working members will be encouraged to participate in the process because they will no longer need to commit to viewing all the submissions over several months. A time-consuming process that discouraged many members.

In another change for the Foreign Language award, entries submitted in the category no longer must be in an official language of the country submitting the film. So long as the dominant language is not English, a picture from any country may be in any language or combination of languages. Last year, the Italians wanted to submit a picture that was clearly made by Italian artists, and which qualified for the category in every other way except one: there was no Italian language in it. All the dialogue was in Middle Eastern languages.

Executive director Bruce Davis said, “The rules clearly prohibited that, but the situation didn’t seem fair to us. So if the Taiwanese want to send us a picture with exclusively Portuguese dialogue this year, we’re ready for them.”

Rules are reviewed annually by branch and category committees. The Awards Rules Committee then reviews all proposed changes before presenting its recommendations to the Academy’s Board of Governors.

Academy Award® nominations will be announced in January at the Academy. The 79th Annual Academy Awards Presentation will be telecast live from the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center by the ABC Television Network on Sunday, February 25, 2007. See link at right for the 79th Awards schedule.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Why MUNICH Missed

I wrote a review of the movie MUNICH. It was longer than I expected. Therefore, I have posted it on my personal Web site. Please, take the time to read it. You can then return here to post a comment. Thank you. "Why MUNICH Missed," the review.

Saturday, June 10, 2006


Paramount Classics and Participant Productions present AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH, directed by Davis Guggenheim, featuring former Vice President Al Gore. The documentary was released 24 May and is distributed by Paramount Classics. The running time is one hour, 40 min. The widest release since opening has been only 122 theaters.

Yet, in limited release as of Thursday, 8 June, the film is taking in about $134,000 a day. The total gross is $2,478,370, according to Box Office Mojo. The opening weekend gross was only $281,000, a pittance by feature film standards, but not bad for a documentary.

AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH is not a story of despair but a rallying cry to protect the one planet we all share, a message Gore has been expounding for decades. Critics generally agree that Gore's persuasive argument is one whereby we can no longer afford to view global warming as a political issue - rather, it is the biggest moral challenge facing our global civilization. The Earth is, after all, the only home we have.

The majority of critics have given it high marks, and it was a hit at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year. Read full reviews at ROTTEN TOMATOES.

Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times, gave TRUTH two thumbs up when he wrote:

"When I said I was going to a press screening of 'An Inconvenient Truth,' a friend said, 'Al Gore talking about the environment!!' This is not a boring film. The director, Davis Guggenheim, uses words, images and Gore's concise litany of facts to build a film that is fascinating and relentless. In 39 years, I have never written these words in a movie review, but here they are: You owe it to yourself to see this film. If you do not, and you have grandchildren, you should explain to them why you decided not to."

Kevin Crust, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer wrote:

"Gore might not be anybody's idea of a pitchman, but here he's matched with the right topic, one for which he demonstrates real passion. He's charming, intelligent, professorial and one might even say … presidential. In fact, more than one observer has commented that if this Al Gore had been more visible during the 2000 election there may have been a different outcome."

Words and phrases that keep repeating in the reviews I read? "Intelligently presented, warm, insightful, informative, enlightening, surprisingly entertaining, well-reasoned, highly polished, mandatory viewing, frightening, and well-rehearsed."

According to director Davis Guggenheim, "Al Gore strips his presentations of politics, laying out the facts for the audience to draw their own conclusions in a charming, funny and engaging style, and by the end has everyone on the edge of their seats, gripped by his haunting message."

The promo for Gore's book of the same title, which was released to co-inside with the movie, states in part, "Destined to become a classic, this accessible, entertaining, and thorough book is a unique reference for anyone who wants more information about global warming as well a guidebook for those who want to join the fight."

Mimi's comment: Global warming is real! It is caused by humans simply going about everyday activities, even the simple act of a mammal exhaling, and we are mammals, emits carbon dioxide (CO2), the most detrimental of the greenhouse gases (GHG). See GHG Chart on Wikipedia. The warming is escalating as the population escalates, and as humans burn more and more fossil fuels, i.e., coal and oil, causing more build up of CO2 and other GHG.

Bottom line about this film? As Owen Gleiberman asks in Entertainment Weekly, "AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH can't, of course, reveal a future that is still up to us, but by the time you're done watching, the real question is, Which way on God's green earth would you want to err?"

Comments anyone? Have you seen this documentary?

Wednesday, June 07, 2006


Online movie rental-service Netflix will screen 10 classics this August at locations made famous by the films. The Netflix Rolling Roadshow, a coast-to-coast promotional tour, begins 2 August at New York's Coney Island with the 1979 gang movie, THE WARRIORS.

Some of the stops include Dyersville, Iowa, in a baseball field surrounded by cornstalks for FIELD OF DREAMS; Martha's Vineyard, Mass., for the now 'old war horse' JAWS; Northbrook, Illinois, for FERRIS BUELLER'S DAY OFF; and so it goes all the way to San Francisco's Alcatraz Island for ESCAPE FROM ALCATRAZ.

Other activities related to the films will be held in association with the tour, such as raft floating in the ocean during JAWS. Some directors and cast members may attend some of the screenings. For instance, Director Kevin Smith and cast members are expected to be on hand for CLERKS at a Quick Stop in Leonardo, N.J.

More locations and movies on the tour at: NETFLIX


I received a comment by e-mail from Voloras in France regarding my post 10 May, "CARDINALS SAY IGNORANCE FUELS 'DA VINCI CODE'.

I have answered on my "Boggling the Mind" blog. Click the link under LINKS at right to read my answer.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006


Today's update of my Film Festival Page reports the major awards at the recently completed Cannes International Film Festival. I've gone out of my way to provide a link for each film so that you need not waste time in finding information about the film in which you are interested. There are links to a list of all the winners, the Cannes IFF Official Site, and a link to read my 2006 Cannes Highlights.

On this blog, check my NEWSVINE link at the bottom of the right sidebar for the article reporting that Italian actress Monica Belucci (Magdalen, The Passion of Christ, 2004), who served on the main jury at Cannes, has agreed to star as Sonia Gandhi, the Italian-born woman who married into India's most powerful political dynasty and now heads the country's ruling party. The deal was made at Cannes.

Thursday, May 25, 2006


Please read the previous post before reading this one. Thanks!

How did I find the THE DA VINCI CODE -- the movie? Unfortunately, I saw it in a theater where they were pushing the high-tech surround-sound system much too loudly. That was extremely distracting. I thought Tom Hanks' acting was below par for him. I don't think he got Robert, and that Tautou's Sophie should have been stronger.

In the book there is the impression that there are "sparks" between Robert and Sophie, that their relationship will continue after "The End". I felt none of that in the movie. In a movie one must feel relationships between characters, not only rationalize them. I didn't feel it in this movie between Hanks and Tautou. I agree with the majority of the critics.

The book is a splendid read for intellectuals who know something about comparative religions, the Masonic Order, the Druids, Greek and Roman mythology, symbolism, etc. It's for those who do not obediently swallow the force-fed doctrines of any religion, but who are "seekers" and can ponder the "what ifs". I am a what-if person, with enough of an education to separate out the contrived fiction from recorded history.

I loved the book, scanning it again before seeing the movie. I most definitely enjoyed the movie, and expect to get the DVD the moment it is released. It will go in my library with THE PASSOVER PLOT (1976), and THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST (1988).

The DA VINCI CODE movie is a puzzle to solve, a suspenseful thriller, and I think it gives better than the critics gave to it! Yes, there is a lot of exposition and dialog, but all necessary to the intent of the movie. Luckily, I still maintain the art of listening and comprehending. Apparently, some of the critics do not. I recommend it to all adults who can think for themselves, and enjoy a very suspense-filled movie experience.

Finally, may I state that all the critics I read were males. Could it be the male of the species still has a problem with women and divinity? I couldn't help seeing that director Ron Howard actually "got" the premise of Dan Brown's book. You know, the possibility that a female might be capable of communing with God, teaching, and preaching, contain the Devine within her. If we believe the words of Jesus in the New Testament, he would have had no problem in designating a woman to carry on his work.

Most of the sexist problems in Christianity arose first from Saul of Tarsus, a.k.a., Apostle Paul, and then quite possibly from the Nicene Council who chose the writings to be included in the Holy Bible -- all men. The Nicene Council is a historical fact. Basically, the movie is not about theology, but does the male psyche automatically get defensive and make it so, as with homosexuality?

Jesus was married? Just the thought offends many. However, Jesus was about 30 when he came on the public scene. In his time, a male of his age would have been one of two things -- married, or a homosexual. So, Christians, which do you prefer that he was? After all, he was "God made flesh"/human. Being a female, sexual preference of others does not threaten me. Did it threaten some early Christian males as it threatens some males today?

Jesus married to Mary Magdalene? From the female perspective, that could be the greatest book ever written.

First: THE DA VINCI CODE Critics

Surfing the Web I found that, basically, those critics who were negative found THE DA VINCI CODE too talky, plodding, stodgy, too literal, and containing too much exposition. Variety film critic Todd McCarthy wrote that the bestseller had been turned into a cinematic "grim thing".

One accused Tom Hanks (Robert Langdon) of performing like a zombie. Some critics found the weight of screenwriter Akiva Goldsman's script too heavy to bear, saying Langdon's lengthy asides on religious and cultural icons choked the story's suspense.

Another critic asserted that there was no chemistry between Hanks and Audrey Tautou (Sophie Neveu). Still others complained that there was too much music, and the film was overly grandiose.

Only one critic that I read confessed that he had not read the book. No wonder he did not get it. I wonder how many others never read the book, either.

Almost all the critics agreed that Sir Ian McKellen was outstanding in the role of Leigh Teabing. I wonder if they will submit him to the Academy as a lead, or supporting actor?

Of course, Opus Dei was negative. Mike Collett-White reported that the conservative Catholic movement depicted as a murderous cult in THE DA VINCI CODE invited media in Rome to one of its vocational schools in a working class section of the Italian capital. The aim was to show off the school's training of young people to be mechanics, electricians and chefs as an example of the good works done by Opus Dei. Opus Dei spokesman Manuel Sanchez Hurtado, referring to the movie said, "Soon this regrettable but fleeting episode will be forgotten. . . . Let us hope that its lessons about mutual respect and understanding are not."

Collett-White also reported that Lou Lumenick of the New York Post was far more upbeat: "Ron Howard's splendid. THE DIVINCI CODE is the Holy Grail of summer blockbusters: a crackling, fast-moving thriller that's every bit as brainy and irresistible as Dan Brown's controversial bestseller."

Sir Ian tried to make light of the controversy. "I'm very happy to believe that Jesus was married," he said. "I know the Catholic Church has problems with gay people and I thought this would be absolute proof that Jesus was not gay."

Director Ron Howard said, "There's no question that the film is likely to be upsetting to some people," Howard told reporters. "My advice, since virtually no one has really seen the movie yet, is to not go see the movie if you think you're going to be upset. Wait. Talk to somebody who has seen it. Discuss it. And then arrive at an opinion about the movie itself. . . . This is supposed to be entertainment, it's not theology."

Next: What Mimi thinks of THE DA VINCI CODE, the movie.

Monday, May 22, 2006

DA VINCI CODE Weekend Best of Year

The critics at Cannes may have crucified THE DA VINCI CODE, but viewers voted at the box office, and its opening weekend was a winner. The domestic take was $77 Million, with a worldwide take of $224 M, according to Sony Pictures.

Although both figures certainly exceeded the forecasts of the critics, the domestic box office did not top the all-time record of the 2002 U. S. opening domestic weekend for SPIDER-MAN: The Motion Picture, $115 M. Worldwide, the record for an opening weekend is last year's STAR WARS: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith's $254 M.

The animated OVER THE HEDGE (# 2), which radical Christian groups suggested as alternative movie-going for the weekend, came in a little over $37 M, and SEE NO EVIL (# 6) grossed a little over $4 M. Placing at 3, 4, and 5, were the previously released MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE III ($11 M), POSEIDON ($9 M), and RV ($5 M).

The big question on everyone's mind now? Does THE DA VINCI CODE have legs?

Next Post - Chewing the "DA VINCI" Critics.

Thursday, May 18, 2006


Seven movies are opening tomorrow, only three nationwide, and only one for which the viewing public over 17 is probably waiting - THE DA VINCI CODE. It will open with OVER THE HEDGE from Dreamworks, and SEE NO EVIL.

Actually, THE DA VINCI CODE is opening world-wide, starting in China. From there, it will follow the International Time Line around the globe. I think by now all my readers know something about THE CODE. I read the book, and expect to see it tomorrow. I shall post much more about it.

OVER THE HEDGE (d. Tim Johnson & Karey Kirkpatrick) is another cutie-pie animated film from Dreamworks populated with talking animals voiced by celebrity actors: Bruce Willis, Garry Shandling, Wanda Sykes, William Shatner, Nick Nolte, Thomas Haden Church, Allison Janney, etc.

SEE NO EVIL (d. Gregory Dark) is not to be confused with the alternate title for George Clooney's SYRIANA. This one is a horror flick aimed at the 13 to 20 year-old, hormone-pumping teens who are ending the school year in many places as I write, and are ready to p-a-r-t-y. The taglines? "Eight Teens, One Weekend, One Serial Killer," and "This Summer, Evil Gets Raw." I think you get the picture. It may do very well its first weekend out up against a kiddy flick and an intellectual adult movie. On the other hand, it may not.

The four films in limited release for those who live in New York and Los Angeles deserve a mention, but I doubt that anyone is holding his/her breath to see them. In the New York area only: LEMMING and MOUTH TO MOUTH.

In the New York and L. A. areas: THE KING (d. James Marsh). Mexican actor Gael García Bernal portrays twenty-one year old Elvis who, recently honorably discharged from the U.S. Navy returns to Corpus Christi, Texas, to seek out his gringo father, whom Elvis has never known because he was raised by his Mexican mother. His father is pastor of a local Baptist church, and he immediately rejects Elvis. Violence and tragedy of biblical proportions are unleashed when Elvis enters into a relationship with his half-sister. I give the synopsis for this film because Bernal is wonderful eye candy for female viewers and a good actor, too. Besides, this film intrigues me since I once lived in Corpus Christi, and I've known some ministers who weren't all their congregations thought they were. Really!

Then, there is something called TWELVE AND HOLDING in very limited release. I think THE DA VINCI CODE and OVER THE HEDGE will edge out the rest by a significant margin. Happy viewing!