Friday, December 24, 2010

List of Feature Films In race for Oscar Nominations®


The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has released a list of films that qualify for this year's nominations for the February 83rd Academy Awards® in the Best Feature Film category. There are 248 films. Here is the list in alphabetical order:

A-TEAM, THE
AGORA
ALICE IN WONDERLAND
ALL GOOD THINGS
ALPHA AND OMEGA
AMERICAN, THE
ANIMAL KINGDOM
ANOTHER YEAR
ANTON CHEKOV’S THE DUEL
APAPORIS
APPLAUSE
BABIES
BARNEY’S VERSION
BIUTIFUL
BLACK SWAN
BLACK TULIP
BLUE VALENTINE
BOOK OF ELI, THE
BOUNTY HUNTER, THE
BROOKLYN’S FINEST
BURIED
BURLESQUE
CAIRO TIME
CASE 39
CASINO JACK
CATFISH
CATS & DOGS: THE REVENGE OF KITTY GALORE
CHARLIE ST. CLOUD
CHLOE
CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: THE VOYAGE OF THE DAWN TREADER, THE
CITY ISLAND
CLASH OF THE TITANS
COCO CHANEL & IGOR STRAVINSKY
THE COMPANY MEN
THE CONCERT
CONVICTION
COP OUT
COUNTRY STRONG
CRAYON
THE CRAZIES
CYRUS
DATE NIGHT
DAYBREAKERS
DEAR JOHN
DEATH AT A FUNERAL
DEFENDOR
DESPICABLE ME
DEVIL
DIARY OF A WIMPY KID
DINNER FOR SCHMUCKS
DREAMKILLER
DREAMS OF JINSHA, THE
DROOL
THE DRY LAND
DUE DATE
EASY A
EAT PRAY LOVE
EDGE OF DARKNESS
ESSENTIAL KILLING
EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP
EXPECTING MARY
EXPENDABLES, THE
EXTRA MAN, THE
FAIR GAME
FIGHTER, THE
FLIPPED
FOR COLORED GIRLS
FOUR LIONS
FRANKIE & ALICE
FROM PARIS WITH LOVE
FURRY VENGEANCE
GET HIM TO THE GREEK
GET LOW
GHOST WRITER, THE
GIRL ON THE TRAIN, THE
GIRL WHO KICKED THE HORNET’S NEXT, THE
GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE, THE
GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO, THE
GOING THE DISTANCE
GREEN ZONE
GREENBERG
GROWN UPS
GULLIVER’S TRAVELS
HAPPY TEARS
HARIMAYA BRIDGE, THE
HARRY BROWN
HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS PART 1
HEARTBREAKER
HEAVEN’S RAIN
HEMINGWAY’S GARDEN OF EDEN
HEREAFTER
HIDEAWAY (LE REFUGE)
HOLY ROLLERS
HOW DO YOU KNOW
HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON
HOWL
HUBBLE 3D
I AM LOVE
I LOVE YOU PHILLIP MORRIS
IDIOTS AND ANGELS
ILLUSIONIST, THE
INCEPTION
INSIDE JOB
IRON MAN 2
IT’S KIND OF A FUNNY STORY
JACK GOES BOATING
JACKASS 3D
JOHN RABE
JONAH HEX
JONESES, THE
JUST WRIGHT
KARATE KID, THE
KICK-ASS
KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT, THE
KILLERS
KING’S SPEECH, THE
KNIGHT AND DAY
LAST AIRBENDER, THE
LAST EXORCISM, THE
LAST SONG, THE
LEAP YEAR
LEBANON
LEGEND OF THE GUARDIANS: THE OWLS OF GA’HOOLE
LEGION
LET ME IN
LETTERS TO GOD
LETTERS TO JULIET
LIFE AS WE KNOW IT
LIFE DURING WARTIME
LIKE DANDELION DUST
LITTLE FOCKERS
LOSERS, THE
LOTTERY TICKET
LOUIS
LOVE & OTHER DRUGS
LOVE RANCH
MACGRUBER
MACHETE
MADE IN DAGENHAM
MAO’S LAST DANCER
MARMADUKE
MEGAMIND
MICMACS
MIDDLE MEN
MISCONCEPTIONS
MONSTERS
MORNING GLORY
MOTHER AND CHILD
MY DOG TULIP
MY NAME IS KHAN
MY SOUL TO TAKE
NANNY MCPHEE RETURNS
NEVER LET ME GO
NEXT THREE DAYS, THE
NIGHT CATCHES US
A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET
NOWHERE BOY
NUTCRACKER IN 3D, THE
OSS 117 – LOST IN RIO
OCEANS
ONDINE
127 HOURS
THE OTHER GUYS
OUR FAMILY WEDDING
PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 2
PERCY JACKSON & THE OLYMPIANS: THE LIGHTNING THIEF
PERFECT GAME, THE
PICTURE ME: A MODEL’S DIARY
PIRANHA 3D
PLEASE GIVE
PREACHER’S KID
PREDATORS
PRINCE OF PERSIA: THE SANDS OF TIME
PURE COUNTRY 2: THE GIFT
QUEEN OF THE LOT
RABBIT HOLE
RAMONA AND BEEZUS
RED
RED HILL
REMEMBER ME
REPO MEN
RESIDENT EVIL: AFTERLIFE
RESTREPO
ROBIN HOOD
ROZYCZKA
RUNAWAYS, THE
SALT
SAW 3D
SCOTT PILGRIM VS THE WORLD
SECRETARIAT
SEQUESTRO
SEX AND THE CITY 2
SHE’S OUT OF MY LEAGUE
SHREK FOREVER AFTER
SHUTTER ISLAND
SICILIAN GIRL, THE
SIX DAYS IN PARADISE
SKYLINE
SOCIAL NETWORK, THE
SOLITARY MAN
SOMEWHERE
SORCERER’S APPRENTICE, THE
SPLICE
THE SPY NEXT DOOR
STEP UP 3D
STONE
SUMMER WARS
SWITCH, THE
TAKERS
TAMARA DREWE
TANGLED
TAQWACORES, THE
TEMPEST, THE
3 BILLION AND COUNTING
TILLMAN STORY, THE
TINKER BELL AND THE GREAT FAIRY RESCUE
TOOTH FAIRY
TOUCHING HOME
TOURIST, THE
TOWN, THE
TOY STORY 3
TRASH HUMPERS
TRON: LEGACY
TRUE GRIT
TWLIGHT SAGA: ECLIPSE, THE
TYLER PERRY’S WHY DID I GET MARRIED TOO?
UNBEATEN
UNSTOPPABLE
VALENTINE’S DAY
VAMPIRES SUCK
VIRGINITY HIT, THE
WAITING FOR “SUPERMAN”
WAKING SLEEPING BEAUTY
WALL STREET: MONEY NEVER SLEEPS
WARRIOR’S WAY, THE
WATERCOLORS
WAY BACK, THE
WELCOME TO THE RILEYS
WHEN IN ROME
WILD GRASS
WINTER’S BONE
WOLFMAN, THE
A WOMAN, A GUN AND A NOODLE SHOP
WRETCHES & JABBERERS
YOGI BEAR
YOU AGAIN
YOU WILL MEET A TALL DARK STRANGER
YOUTH IN REVOLT 


The rules for eligibility are:
  • Films must be feature length (defined as over 40 minutes)
  • Publicly exhibited by means of 35mm or 70mm film, or in a 24- or 48-frame progressive scan Digital Cinema format with a minimum projector resolution of 2048 by 1080 pixels
  • For paid admission in a commercial motion picture theater in Los Angeles County for a qualifying run of at least seven consecutive days, advertised and exploited during their Los Angeles County qualifying run in a manner considered normal and customary to the industry.
  • Films that, in any version, receive their first public exhibition or distribution in any manner other than as a theatrical motion picture release will not be eligible for Academy Awards in any category. (This includes broadcast and cable television as well as home video marketing and Internet transmission.) However, ten minutes or ten percent of the running time of a film, whichever is shorter, is allowed to be shown in a nontheatrical medium prior to the film’s theatrical release.
The 83rd Academy Awards nominations will be announced live on Tuesday, January 25, 2011, at 5:30 a.m. PT in the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater.

Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2010 will be presented on Sunday, February 27, 2011, in the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center®, and televised live by the ABC Television Network. The Oscar® presentation also will be televised live in more than 200 countries worldwide.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Forty-one Songs Eligible for Oscar® Nomination



Forty-one songs from eligible feature-length motion pictures are in contention for nominations in the Original Song category for the 83rd Academy Awards®, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced a couple of days ago.

The original songs, along with the motion picture in which each song is featured, are listed below in alphabetical order by film and song title:
  • "Alice" from "Alice in Wonderland"
  • "Forever One Love" from "Black Tulip"
  • "Freedom Song" from "Black Tulip"
  • "Bound to You" from "Burlesque"
  • "Welcome to Burlesque" from "Burlesque"
  • "You Haven’t Seen the Last of Me" from "Burlesque"
  • "There’s a Place for Us" from "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader"
  • "Coming Home" from "Country Strong"
  • "Me and Tennessee" from "Country Strong"
  • "Despicable Me" from "Despicable Me"
  • "Prettiest Girls" from "Despicable Me"
  • "Dear Laughing Doubters" from "Dinner for Schmucks"
  • "Better Days" from "Eat Pray Love"
  • "If You Run" from "Going the Distance"
  • "Darkness before the Dawn" from "Holy Rollers"
  • "Sticks & Stones" from "How to Train Your Dragon"
  • "Le Gris" from "Idiots and Angels"
  • "Chanson Illusionist" from "The Illusionist"
  • "Never Say Never" from "The Karate Kid"
  • "To the Sky" from "Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole"
  • "What If" from "Letters to Juliet"
  • "Life during Wartime" from "Life during Wartime"
  • "Made in Dagenham" from "Made in Dagenham"
  • "Little One" from "Mother and Child"
  • "Be the One" from "The Next Three Days"
  • "If I Rise" from "127 Hours"
  • "When You See Forever" from "The Perfect Game"
  • "I Remain" from "Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time"
  • "Dream Big" from "Pure Country 2: The Gift"
  • "How I Love You" from "Ramona and Beezus"
  • "Darling I Do" from "Shrek Forever After"
  • "Noka Oi" from "Six Days in Paradise"
  • "This Is a Low" from "Tamara Drewe"
  • "I See the Light" from "Tangled"
  • "Rise" from "3 Billion and Counting"
  • "We Belong Together" from "Toy Story 3"
  • "Eclipse: All Yours" from "The Twilight Saga: Eclipse"
  • "Nothing" from "Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married Too"
  • "A Better Life" from "Unbeaten"
  • "Shine" from "Waiting for ‘Superman’"
  • "The Reasons Why" from "Wretches and Jabberers"
On Thursday, January 6, the Academy will screen clips featuring each song, in random order, for voting members of the Music Branch in Los Angeles. Following the screenings, members will determine the nominees by an averaged point system vote. If no song receives an average score of 8.25 or more, there will be no nominees in the category. If only one song achieves that score, it and the song receiving the next highest score shall be the two nominees. If two or more songs (up to five) achieve that score, they shall be the nominees.

A DVD copy of the song clips will be made available to those branch members who are unable to attend the screening and who request it for home viewing. A mail-in ballot will be provided.

Under Academy rules, a maximum of two songs may be nominated from any one film. If more than two songs from a film are in contention, the two songs with the most votes will be the nominees.
    
The 83rd Academy Awards nominations will be announced live on Tuesday, January 25, 2011, at 5:30 a.m. PT in the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater.
         
Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2010 will be presented on Sunday, February 27, 2011, at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood and Vine; Highland Center®, and televised live by the ABC Television Network. The Oscar presentation also will be televised live in more than 200 countries worldwide.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Nominations for 68th Golden Globes Launch Awards Season


Helena Bonham Carter and Colin Firth

With the announcement today by the Foreign Press Association of the nominees for the 68th Golden Globes, the Awards Season to honor the best movies released in 2010 is now officially open. The Golden Globes® will be presented January 16, 2011, at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, hosted by Ricky Gervais, and broadcast live on NBC.

First of all, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association enlisted the help of actor Kevin Spacey to announce the 2011's Cecil B. DeMille award winner, actor Robert De Niro. Previous recipients include Martin Scorsese (2010), Steven Spielberg (2009), Warren Beatty (2007) and Anthony Hopkins (2006). Read more.

The British period piece, THE KING'S SPEECH leads the Golden Globes nominations with seven, including best drama and acting honors for Colin Firth, Helena Bonham Carter and Geoffrey Rush. Other best-drama nominees are:

The thriller BLACK SWAN, starring Natalie Portman as a emotionally challenged ballet dancer; the boxing saga THE FIGHTER, starring Mark Walberg; the sci-fi perplexer INCEPTION, starring Leonardo DiCaprio; and the Facebook chronicle THE SOCIAL NETWORK (TSW, for short), starring Jesse Eisenberg.

Eisenberg along with Firth, Portman and Walberg are nominated for best actor / actress in a drama. DiCaprio is not nominated. James Franco is nominated in the best actor category for his role in the survivor tale 127 HOURS, and so is Ryan Gosling for his role in the R-rated, marital-cycle drama BLUE VALENTINE.

Other best actress nominees are: Halle Berry (FRANKIE and ALICE), Nicole Kidman (RABBIT HOLE) and Michelle Williams (BLUE VALENTINE).

THE FIGHTER comes in second with six nominations. On TV, 'Glee' leads with five.

The Golden Globes have another best picture category for feature film besides Drama, that one being Best Musical or Comedy. I personally like this, and for years I have advocated for a similar category for the Oscars
® but, so far, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences® will not depart from the one-size-fits-all Best Motion Picture category for feature films. 

Because of the extra Golden Globes category, THE TOURIST is recognized for the movie it really is - - a highbrow comic farce of Mati Hari-like foreign intregue, nothing or no one is what they claim to be movies. It's AIRPLANE for Ivy League graduates. Other movies in the Musical or Comedy category are: ALICE IN WONDERLAND, BURLESQUE, THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT and RED.

Also because of that extra category, Johnny Depp has two nominations in the best actor category, one each for THE TOURIST and ALICE in WONDERLAND. Seven other actors and actresses, have a "best" nomination for a Golden Globe. It is likey they would not have been nominated had there been only on feature film  category.

Nominated for best original score in a motion picture is Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor, for THE SOCIAL NETWORK score.  Reznor was recognized alongside A. R. Rahman, nominated for 127 HOURS, and who won an Oscar for SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE; Alexander Desplot for THE KING'S SPEECH; Danny Elfman for ALICE IN WONDERLAND; and Hans Zimmer for INCEPTION. All are heavy-weight award-winning composers.

Click the title of this post to access the best list of all the nominees along with additional information. Golden Globes Official Site
.

Next up? The Academy Awards® for outstanding film achievements of 2010 will be presented on Sunday, February 27, 2011, at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood; Highland Center®, and televised live on the ABC Television Network.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Not Thrilled With Oscar Hosts Picks


Last week, the producers of the 83rd Academy Awards®, Bruce Cohen and Don Mischer, announced that actors James Franco and Anne Hathaway will serve as co-host of the Oscar® telecast in February. The news release admitted that "Both have previously appeared on the telecast but not in hosting capacities."

I searched diligently and could find no one TV show, or anything else, either have hosted, but according to the producers, "James Franco and Anne Hathaway personify the next generation of Hollywood icons— fresh, exciting and multi-talented. We hope to create an Oscar broadcast that will both showcase their incredible talents and entertain the world on Feb. 27."

Oh, joy. Much to look forward to. I have seen two attractive young people giving good performances on the screen, and both have exhibited reasonably good comic timing here and there, Hathaway more so than Franco.

On the screen, they are both candy for the eyes, and are usually enjoyable to watch, but they have no history with the Academy. I wager they know little about the Academy Awards prior to 2000. However, I am sure they will do a credible job of hitting their marks and mouthing their lines.

The only expression that describes what I am thinking about the broadcast this year is, "boring."  I'm sorry, but it is implausible to put two inexperienced young actors on stage and expect them to enhance the Oscar broadcast like Bob Hope, Johnny Caron, Billy Chrystal and so many other seasoned experienced hosts have done. Sometimes, experience and knowledge trump what is "hot" at the moment.

Of course, I wish them both success in their endeavors in their hosting duties.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Lists of Short Films in Oscar® Competition

There are now 10 live action short films that will advance in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' voting process for the 83rd Academy Awards®. Seventy-six pictures originally qualified in the category.

Also, 10 animated short films will advance in the voting process. Thirty-three pictures originally qualified in the category.

The 10 live action films are listed below in alphabetical order by title and director(s).
  • Ana’s Playground, Eric D. Howell, director.
  • The Confession, Tanel Toom.
  • The Crush, Michael Creagh.
  • God of Love, Luke Matheny.
  • Na Wewe, Ivan Goldschmidt.
  • Seeds of the Fall, Patrik Eklund.
  • Shoe, Nick Kelly.
  • The Six Dollar Fifty Man, Mark Albiston and Louis Sutherland.
  • Sma Barn, Stora Ord (Little Children, Big Words), Lisa James Larsson.
  • Wish 143, Ian Barnes.
The 10 animated short films are listed below in alphabetical order by title and director(s):
  • The Cow Who Wanted to Be a Hamburger, Bill Plympton.
  • Coyote Falls, Matthew O’Callaghan.
  • Day & Night, Teddy Newton.
  • The Gruffalo, Jakob Schuh and Max Lang.
  • Let’s Pollute, Geefwee Boedoe.
  • The Lost Thing, Shaun Tan and Andrew Ruhemann.
  • Madagascar, Carnet de Voyage (Madagascar, a Journey Diary), Bastien Dubois.
  • Sensology, Michel Gagne.
  • The Silence beneath the Bark, Joanna Lurie.
  • Urs, Moritz Mayerhofer.
The Short Films and Feature Animation Branch Reviewing Committee viewed all the eligible entries for the preliminary round of voting in screenings held in New York and Los Angeles.

The Short Films and Feature Animation Branch members will now select three to five nominees from among the 10 titles on the shortlist. Branch screenings will be held in Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco in January 2011.

The 83rd Academy Awards nominations will be announced live on Tuesday, January 25, 2011, at 5:30 a.m. PT in the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater.

The Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2010 will be presented on Sunday, February 27, 2011, at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center®, and televised live by the ABC Television Network. The Oscar presentation also will be televised live in more than 200 countries worldwide.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Only Three will Accept Governors Award


The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Beverly Hills, California, has announced that following a two-month-long cordial exchange of correspondence with Academy president Tom Sherak, French director Jean-Luc Godard has regretfully notified Sherak that he will not be able to attend the November 13th Governors Awards and receive his Honorary Oscar® in person.

The November 13th dinner ceremony, produced by Sid Ganis and Don Mischer, will pay tribute to Godard, and others, through film clips and commentary by admirers. The award will be accepted on Godard’s behalf by the Academy and following the event, the Academy will arrange for the Oscar statuette to be delivered to him in Switzerland.

Besides the Honorary Oscar to director Jean-Luc Godard, the Board of Governors of the Academy voted Honorary Awards to historian and preservationist Kevin Brownlow, and to director and actor Eli Wallach. They also voted to present the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award to producer-director Francis Ford Coppola.

All four awards will be presented at the Academy’s 2nd Annual Governors Awards dinner at the Grand Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland Center®.The event is by invitation only and will not be televised. However highlights will be shown during the Academy Awards telecast in February.

The Honorary Award, an Oscar statuette, is given to an individual for “extraordinary distinction in lifetime achievement, exceptional contributions to the state of motion picture arts and sciences, or for outstanding service to the Academy.”

The Thalberg Award, a bust of the late motion picture executive, is given to “a creative producer whose body of work reflects a consistently high quality of motion picture production.”

“Each of these honorees has touched movie audiences worldwide and influenced the motion picture industry through their work,” said Sherak. “It will be an honor to celebrate their extraordinary achievements and contributions at the Governors Awards.”

The 83rd Academy Awards nominations will be televised and announced live on Tuesday, January 25, 2011, at 5:30 a.m., PT, from the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater on Wilshire Boulevard.

Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2010 will be presented on Sunday, February 27, 2011, at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center, and televised live by the ABC Television Network. The Oscar presentation also will be televised live in more than 200 countries worldwide.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Lynch to Present at AFI Fest

Director David Lynch will serve as the inaugural Guest Artistic Director at AFI Fest in Los Angeles, November 4 - 11, 2010.

As part of his duties he has picked five feature films to screen in a sidebar, including his own ERASERHEAD, which will screen Saturday, 6 November, on a double bill with Billy Wilder's SUNSET BLVD, and Lynch will present them in person. He made ERASERHEAD as a student at the American Film Institute (AFI).

Also featured in the sidebar are Ingmar Bergman’s HOUR OF THE WOLF, Stanley Kubrick’s LOLITA, Jacques Tati’s MON ONCLE, and Alfred Hitchcock’s REAR WINDOW.

The public is invited to tweet questions for Lynch. Responses will take place during the double-bill presentation. Questions should be sent to the AFI Fest Twitter account @AFIFEST).

Click title of post for more.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

65 Countries Vie for Best Foreign Film Oscar®


Sixty-five countries, including first-time entrants Ethiopia and Greenland, have submitted films for consideration in the Foreign Language Film category (BFLF) for the 83rd Academy Awards® to be presented Sunday, February 27, 2011, at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center®. These films will now begin a process of being selected for a nomination in the category.

The 2010 submissions are:
  • Albania, “East, West, East,” Gjergj Xhuvani, director;
  • Algeria, “Hors la Loi” (“Outside the Law”), Rachid Bouchareb, director;
  • Argentina, “Carancho,” Pablo Trapero, director;
  • Austria, “La Pivellina,” Tizza Covi and Rainer Frimmel, directors;
  • Azerbaijan, “The Precinct,” Ilgar Safat, director;
  • Bangladesh, “Third Person Singular Number,” Mostofa Sarwar Farooki, director;
  • Belgium, “Illegal,” Olivier Masset-Depasse, director;
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina, “Circus Columbia,” Danis Tanovic, director;
  • Brazil, “Lula, the Son of Brazil,” Fabio Barreto, director;
  • Bulgaria, “Eastern Plays,” Kamen Kalev, director;
  • Canada, “Incendies,” Denis Villeneuve, director;
  • Chile, “The Life of Fish,” Matias Bize, director;
  • China, “Aftershock,” Feng Xiaogang, director;
  • Colombia, “Crab Trap,” Oscar Ruiz Navia, director;
  • Costa Rica, “Of Love and Other Demons,” Hilda Hidalgo, director;
  • Croatia, “The Blacks,” Goran Devic and Zvonimir Juric, directors;
  • Czech Republic, “Kawasaki’s Rose,” Jan Hrebejk, director;
  • Denmark, “In a Better World,” Susanne Bier, director;
  • Egypt, “Messages from the Sea,” Daoud Abdel Sayed, director;
  • Estonia, “The Temptation of St. Tony,” Veiko Ounpuu, director;
  • Ethiopia, “The Athlete,” Davey Frankel and Rasselas Lakew, directors;
  • Finland, “Steam of Life,” Joonas Berghall and Mika Hotakainen, directors;
  • France, “Of Gods and Men,” Xavier Beauvois, director;
  • Georgia, “Street Days,” Levan Koguashvili, director;
  • Germany, “When We Leave,” Feo Aladag, director;
  • Greece, “Dogtooth,” Yorgos Lanthimos, director;
  • Greenland, “Nuummioq,” Otto Rosing and Torben Bech, directors;
  • Hong Kong, “Echoes of the Rainbow,” Alex Law, director;
  • Hungary, “Bibliotheque Pascal,” Szabolcs Hajdu, director;
  • Iceland, “Mamma Gogo,” Fridrik Thor Fridriksson, director;
  • India, “Peepli [Live],” Anusha Rizvi, director;
  • Indonesia, “How Funny (Our Country Is),” Deddy Mizwar, director;
  • Iran, “Farewell Baghdad,” Mehdi Naderi, director;
  • Iraq, “Son of Babylon,” Mohamed Al-Daradji, director;
  • Israel, “The Human Resources Manager,” Eran Riklis, director;
  • Italy, “La Prima Cosa Bella” (“The First Beautiful Thing”), Paolo Virzi, director;
  • Japan, “Confessions,” Tetsuya Nakashima, director;
  • Kazakhstan, “Strayed,” Akan Satayev, director;
  • Korea, “A Barefoot Dream,” Tae-kyun Kim, director;
  • Kyrgyzstan, “The Light Thief,” Aktan Arym Kubat, director;
  • Latvia, “Hong Kong Confidential,” Maris Martinsons, director;
  • Macedonia, “Mothers,” Milcho Manchevski, director;
  • Mexico, “Biutiful,” Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, director;
  • Netherlands, “Tirza,” Rudolf van den Berg, director;
  • Nicaragua, “La Yuma,” Florence Jaugey, director;
  • Norway, “The Angel,” Margreth Olin, director;
  • Peru, “Undertow” (“Contracorriente”), Javier Fuentes-Leon, director;
  • Philippines, “Noy,” Dondon S. Santos and Rodel Nacianceno, directors;
  • Poland, “All That I Love,” Jacek Borcuch, director;
  • Portugal, “To Die Like a Man,” Joao Pedro Rodrigues, director;
  • Puerto Rico, “Miente” (“Lie”), Rafael Mercado, director;
  • Romania, “If I Want to Whistle, I Whistle,” Florin Serban, director;
  • Russia, “The Edge,” Alexey Uchitel, director;
  • Serbia, “Besa,” Srdjan Karanovic, director;
  • Slovakia, “Hranica” (“The Border”), Jaroslav Vojtek, director;
  • Slovenia, “9:06,” Igor Sterk, director;
  • South Africa, “Life, above All,” Oliver Schmitz, director;
  • Spain, “Tambien la Lluvia” (“Even the Rain”), Iciar Bollain, director;
  • Sweden, “Simple Simon,” Andreas Ohman, director;
  • Switzerland, “La Petite Chambre,” Stephanie Chuat and Veronique Reymond, directors;
  • Taiwan, “Monga,” Chen-zer Niu, director;
  • Thailand, “Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives,” Apichatpong Weerasethakul, director;
  • Turkey, “Bal” (“Honey”), Semih Kaplanoglu, director;
  • Uruguay, “La Vida Util,” Federico Veiroj, director;
  • Venezuela, “Hermano,” Marcel Rasquin, director.
The 83rd Academy Awards nominations will be announced live on Tuesday, January 25, 2011, at 5:30 a.m. PT in the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater.

Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2010 will be televised live by the ABC Television Network. The Oscar presentation also will be televised live in more than 200 countries worldwide.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

A New Look

It was a long hot summer, but now it is fall. I have been waiting on Blogger to add new templates, styles and gadgets and they have! My blog is back with a brand new look. It will take some time to add everything I want to add, so stay with me, please.

1. Following those movies that are really worth following.
2. Tracking possible Oscar nominees for best feature movie, best documentary and, of course, best foreign film, etc.
3. Reporting on major film festivals and spotlighting festival winners.

In addition, I hope to be adding video of trailers, and other visual enhancements. So, expect more changes, and I welcome suggestions.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Taking A Break

MIMI AT THE MOVIES

Sorry., but we are having a terrible heat wave which makes it impossible to run my computers except early in the mornings. So, I must go on hiatus until this thing breaks. Weather forecasts do not see any relief until at least next Sunday. Will be back when this is over, and this, too, will pass.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Some Major Film Festivals in June 2010





SERIES: Major Film Festivals


First, three events:

Number one. The Mountain Film Festival in Telluride, Colorado, opened 28 May and closed on the 31st. It began in 1979 as an opportunity for climbers and mountaineers to enjoy the rugged outdoors surrounding Telluride during the day, and watch mainly documentary films about mountains and mountain cultures at night. It has evolved over the intervening decades to embrace a much wider and more diverse audience and the programming now stretches to the leading edges of contemporary social, cultural and environmental issues. The orientation toward activism has not diminished. Watch for it next year. Here is the Festival's Official Site.

Second, the 12th Festival of German Films in Madrid, Spain, is in progress. It opened 1 June and will run through the 5th. Hey, I follow German and Spanish cinema, so I put it here for my own selfish benefit and for others who might like to know.

The Spaniards and Germans have had a surprisingly good relationship since World War II, which is odd since the German Junker airplanes attacked the Basque village of Gernica prior to the declaration of war and almost destroyed it as part of a sick experiment hatched by Franco and the Nazis to test the new German planes on real people. The German's helped finance Franco's overthrow of the elected Republican Government, based in Barcelona, which alas, was soon crushed just like the people of Gernica.

I frequently visited Spain and Germany, including Gernica, Madrid, Barcelona, Munich and Berlin, in the late 1970's and early 80's. I found the Spanish film community mesmerized by the then New German Film, and especially by director Werner Von Fassbinder, considered its Wunderkind. I was in Spain when he died suddenly and the film community in Madrid was devastated.

On the other hand, the German film industry in the 1970's quickly embraced the anti-Franco New Spanish Cinema directors such as Berlanga, Bardem, Borau, and especially Carlos Saura. It was at the 1966 Berlin Film Festival that Saura met Geraldine Chaplin shortly after her role in DOCTOR ZIVAGO. She became his greatest muse, star of nine of his films and mother of one of his sons, Geraldine Chaplin.

This is the 12th Festival of German Film in Madrid, and it will center at the Cine Palafox, Calle Luchana, 15. Tickets cost less than $5.00. The program is funded mainly by Lufthsansa Airlines and the Goethe Institute, with the participation of the Federal Republic of Germany and Kodak, and the Spanish cinema magazine, Fotogramas, which specializes, ironically, in movies extranjera (outside Spain).

Films will include THE TIN DRUM, THE WHITE RIBBON, THE CROCODILES, and the retrospective of the films of German director/ cinematographer Joseph Vilsmaier, whose first three films were HERBSTMILCH (Autumn Milk, 1989), RAMA DAMA (no English title, 1991) and STALINGRAD, 1991. He was the director and cinematographer on those as he is on his latest NANGA PARBAT (no English Title, 2010). German Film Festival in Madrid.

Third, the film Society of Lincoln Center is presenting their "Open Roads: New Italian Film” 3 - 10 June. Info and tickets.






The 64th Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF), 16 - 27 June 2010, Edinburgh, Scotland.

The full Festival program was announced yesterday. The 2010 retrospective is 'After the Wave: Lost and Forgotten British Cinema 1967-1979'. There will be a special 3D Gala Screening of Disney/Pixar's Toy Story 3 on Saturday 19 June. Press registration is now open. The Festival will be on Facebook, YouTube, Flickr and Twitter.

There will be 133 features from 34 countries at the Festival. It will open 16 June with a gala screening of THE ILLUSIONIST, directed by from Sylvain Chomet.

The Closing Night Gala on 26 June will be the World Premiere of THIRD STAR, a British tragi-comedy buddy movie from first-time director Hattie Dalton, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Tom Burke.

THE PEOPLE VS. GEORGE LUCAS will screen in competition. Any objections?

Also, if you see the video promo for the festival, the lady says Edinburgh is the oldest continuously running film festival. Technicality. This year will be the Venice Film Festival's 67th year. It is the oldest festival, ever, but not continuously because it had to be suspended when the Nazis occupied Italy during World War II. Hey, Edinburgh cut them some slack and make a true statement!

To see more films in the lineup, click title of this post, and read article in the EdinburghGuide.com.

Other festivals later this month:

The 2010 Los Angeles Film Festival (17 - 27 June); AFI Silver Docs Documentary Festival, Silver Spring, Maryland (21 - 17 June); and screenings at the Tribeca Film Festival at the Laemmle Sunset 5 in West Hollywood, California, "Tribeca in Hollywood" (25 June - 8 July).  





Friday, May 28, 2010

Cannes Afterglow


SERIES: Major Film Festivals




 
Joe the Director


By many accounts, the 63rd International Cannes Film Festival took place on the Croissette seemingly under a cloud of gloom. The Festival showed fewer films than last year, there were less Americans attending, the American movies they did screen were mostly disappointing, and the buyers at the film market were not buying as in previous years. They were carefully choosing only one, or perhaps two, films.

The economic downturn that hit the U.S. in October 2008 didn't impact the Festival much last year because many films for the festival were either finished or completely financed, but financing was dropping by this time last year, and productions in Hollywood began to decline sharply. Then, the Euro fell against the dollar this past fall and studio budgets around the world shrank. Generous funding for those "maybe hits," elaborate open-bar festival parties, and unlimited promotional trips took a beating.

Every festival this year has seen a decline in festival budgets, attendance and revenue, and why should Cannes be an exception? Of course, Cannes was also impacted by that unpronounceable Icelandic volcano. Many who may have attended didn't because of unpredictable travel plans. We must wait until the festivals of 2011 to see if this downward pattern continues.

This year, the films at Cannes seemed to mirror the gloomy mood. Roger Ebert's review of this year's Cannes International Festival on Roger Ebert's Journal is basically short and concise[film titles changed to match my style], "Of the first ANTICHRIST screening [last year], I wrote: "There's electricity in the air. Every seat is filled, even the little fold-down seats at the end of every row. This year, I saw some good films, but felt little electricity. The opening night fun of [last year's] UP was replaced by the drudgery of ROBIN HOOD. I was in awe of Mike Leigh's ANOTHER YEAR and the South African LIFE ABOVE ALL, but not much else."

I haven't read anyone who has captured the mood and the films of this year's Festival so concisely and straightforward as has Ebert. Many writing about the festival often used adjectives when referring to films at Cannes like, brooding, plodding, downer, dark, muddled, etc.

Some did not understand the Palm d'or winner, UNCLE BOONMEE WHO CAN RECALL HIS PAST LIVES, either. Of the film Ebert writes, "I felt affection and respect for it, but no passion." I shall not reveal his reasoning for that, but you can click the title of the post and read it for yourself. The movie is about a man as he is dying. Adjective? Morose?

I shall reveal that the Thai director, Apichatpong Weerasethak, asked festival goers to call him, "Joe." So, now, we have Joe the Plummer and Joe the Director.

The jury prize (second place) went to A SCREAMING MAN, a film from Chad directed by Mahamat-Saleh Haroun. It's about a man who was the swimming champ of central Africa years before the film begins, and who now rules in his handsome uniform over the swimming pool at a fancy hotel. When he is replaced by a younger man he loses his identity. Ebert compared it to Murnau's THE LAST LAUGH, and that says everything as to how he feels about this one.

Ebert did not care for Mathieu Amalric's TOURNEE (On Tour), the story of a failed TV producer touring France with a troupe of American burlesque performers, and not because the strippers were past the first blush of youth. Ebert feels there are flaws in the film which make him question Amalric's award for Best Director.

From the feedback I have received from people who were a Cannes, those who viewed TOURNEE thoroughly enjoyed it, but the critics who wrote about it were not as generous. Most would agree with Ebert that TOURNEE leaves loose ends that do not come together. However, Amalric's film strippers joined him on the stage to collect his award and the crowd loved it.

So, Cannes this year was not the sparkling jewel of past festivals, and neither have many festivals been this year. Even the Gulf Film Festival in Abu Dhabi slashed its budget. In this age of instant world-wide electronic communication (streaming video, pod casts, webcams, etc.), the day of the lavish film festivals may be drawing to a close. Something else may be evolving where the film community can come together. Skype, anyone?

To access Roger Ebert's Journal and see more about films at Cannes this year, click title of this post.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Surprise Best Picture Winner at Cannes


SERIES: Major Film Festivals




A film from Thailand received the top Best Picture Palm d'or (golden palm) at the 63rd Cannes International Film Festival's gala awards ceremony today in France. UNCLE BOONMEE WHO CAN RECALL HIS PAST LIVES (Lung Boonmee Raluek Chat) took the top honor for director Apichatpong Weerasethakul. Remember that, if you can. Needless to say, the win took many by surprise. The director won the third-place jury prize at Cannes with TROPICAL MALADY (2004).

UNCLE BOONMEE deals with the final days of a man, a father, dying of kidney failure as the ghost of his dead wife returns to tend him, and his long-lost son comes home in the form of a furry jungle spirit.

Academy Award winners, French actress Juliette Binoche and Spanish actor Javier Bardem, received best-actor honors. However, Bardem shared his award with Italian actor Elio Germano who received the honor for his role in Italian filmmaker Daniele Luchetti's OUR LIFE, a drama about a father, a widower, with three sons.

Binoche, who is featured on this year's Festival Official Poster [above], won her best-actress Oscar for THE ENGLISH PATIENT, and won the Festival award for her role in CERTIFIED COPY, directed by past Palme d'or winner Abbas Kiarostami.

The second-place grand prize (Grand Prix) in the best film category went to French director Xavier Beauvois' solemn drama OF GODS AND MEN, based on the true story of seven French monks beheaded during Algeria's civil war in 1996, received the second-place grand prize. They were monks, so they probably weren't fathers.

Chadian director Mahamat-Saleh Haroun's film A SCREAMING MAN received the third-place Jury Prize. Again, it's a tragic father. This father loses his cherished job as a swimming pool attendant to his son amid his country's civil war, which brings on tragic consequences.

French filmmaker and actor Mathieu Amalric won the directing award for ON TOUR, in which he plays the manager of a troupe of American burlesque strippers performing around France. His five stripper stars joined him onstage, at his request, as he accepted his award.

South Korean director Lee Chang-dong, won the best screenplay award for POETRY. A grandmother (Yun Junghee) struggles to write a poem as she copes with the onset of Alzheimer's and her troublesome grandson.

The Festival's Camera d'or award for a first-time filmmaker went to Michael Rowe's LEAP YEAR (Año bisiesto), a raunchy romance set in Mexico City. Rowe is an Australian-born transplant to Mexico. The jury that awarded the Camera d'or was headed by Gael García Bernal who happened to have been born in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico. Just saying.

As reported in the previous post, South Korean filmmaker Hong Songsoo's HA, HA, HA, a drama of alternating memories shared by two friends over drinks, won the Un Certain Regard Section.

The Festival closed with the premiere of French Director Julie Bertuccelli's THE TREE, starring Charlotte Gainsbourg, a mother-daughter drama.

To see the list of all winners in all section, with links to each film, click title of this post.

American Director Tim Burton was President of the Jury, and the 19 movies in the feature competition were:
ANOTHER YEAR directed by Mike LEIGH
BIUTIFUL (BEAUTIFUL) directed by Alejandro GONZÁLEZ IÑÁRRITU
COPIE CONFORME (CERTIFIED COPY) directed by Abbas KIAROSTAMI
DES HOMMES ET DES DIEUX (OF GODS AND MEN) directed by Xavier BEAUVOIS
FAIR GAME directed by Doug LIMAN
HORS LA LOI (OUTSIDE OF THE LAW) directed by Rachid BOUCHAREB
LA NOSTRA VITA (OUR LIFE) directed by Daniele LUCHETTI
LA PRINCESSE DE MONTPENSIER (THE PRINCESS OF MONTPENSIER) directed by Bertrand TAVERNIER
LUNG BOONMEE RALUEK CHAT (Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives) directed by Apichatpong WEERASETHAKUL
OUTRAGE directed by Takeshi KITANO
POETRY directed by LEE Chang-dong
RIZHAO CHONGQING (CHONGQING BLUES) directed by WANG Xiaoshuai
ROUTE IRISH directed by Ken LOACH
SCHASTYE MOE (MY JOY) directed by Sergei LOZNITSA
SZELÍD TEREMTÉS - A FRANKENSTEIN TERV (TENDER SON - The Frankenstein Project) directed by Kornél MUNDRUCZÓ
THE HOUSEMAID directed by IM Sangsoo
TOURNÉE (ON TOUR) directed by Mathieu AMALRIC
UN HOMME QUI CRIE (A screaming man) directed by Mahamat-Saleh HAROUN
UTOMLYONNYE SOLNTSEM 2: PREDSTOYANIE (THE EXODUS - Burnt by the sun 2) directed by Nikita MIKHALKOV

To access the Web Site Page with links to each film in competition, CLICK.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Some Cannes Winners Announced


SERIES: Major Film Festivals





63rd Cannes International Film Festival, 12 - 23 May 2010


This weekend the 63rd Cannes International Film Festival (CIFF) begins the announcement of winners in various competitions. The first award was given Thursday. The Critics Week top award, Grand Prix Semaine de la Critique, went to a documentary from Denmark about the war in Afghanistan. ARMADILLO, directed by Janus Metz is the first documentary to screen in competition since the section became competitive twenty years ago, and the first announced award at the Festival.

Today, in Salle Debussy, nine films and two hours of screening will culminate in the Palme d’or for short films. The Cinéfondation and Short Films Jury, presided over by Atom Egoyan, will announce its Cinéfondation Prixes of 2010 tomorrow, Sunday evening, during the Festival's gala awards ceremony. There is no U.S. short film in this competition, and only one in the feature film competition.

The jury members are film directors Carlos Diegues and Marc Recha, and actresses Emmanuelle Devos and Dinara Droukarova. The films in competition are:
Estaçao (Station), by Portuguese Marcia Faria;
Blokes (Blocks), the short film by Chilean Marialy Rivas;
Chienne d’histoire (Barking Island) directed by Serge Avedikian, an Armenian born in the Soviet Union, now from France;
Micky Bader, the short film by Swedish Frieda Kempff;
Muscles, Australian director Edward Housden;
Maya, Cuban director Pedro Pio Martin Perez;
Ezra Rishona (First Aid) by Israeli director Yarden Karmin;
To Swallow a Toad is a short animated film by Latvian director Jurğis Krāsons; and
Rosa, which is both the title of the short film by Argentinean director Monica Lairana and the name of the main character in her film.
Read more about the films in the short film competition.

Other Cinéfondation prizes to be awarded at the awards ceremony:

First Prize Cinéfondation - TAULUKAUPPIAAT (The Painting Sellers) directed by Juho Kuosmanen;
Second Prize - Cinéfondation - COUCOU-LES-NUAGES (Anywhere out of the world) directed by Vincent Cardona;
Third Prize - Cinéfondation Ex-aequo - HINKERORT ZORASUNE (The Fifth Column) directed by Vatche Boulghourjian;
Mention - JA VEC JESAM SVE ONO ŠTO ŽELIM DA IMAM (I Already Am Everything I want to have) directed by Dane KOMLJEN.

Director Claire Denis is head of the jury for Un Certain Regard section, and joining her are: Patrick FERLA, Journalist - Radio Télévision Suisse; KIM Dong-Ho, Director of Pusan Film Festival; Helena LINDBLAD, Critic - Dagens Nyheter, and Serge TOUBIANA, General Director of the Cinémathèque Française.
Un Certain Regard Prize - Groupama Gan Foundation for Cinema - HAHAHA, directed by HONG Sangsoo.
Jury Prize - Un Certain Regard - OCTUBRE (OCTOBER) directed by Daniel VEGA.

All juries. Click title of post to visit the Official Web Site.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Critics Week Winners, and Possible Palm d'or Winners, at Cannes


SERIES: Major Film Festivals




63rd Cannes International Film Festival, 12 - 23 May 2010


A documentary about the Afghanistan war from Denmark won the top Grand Prix Semaine de la Critique, as the Critics Week section came to a close in Cannes. ARMADILLO, directed by Janus Metz, is the first documentary to screen in competition since the section became competitive twenty years ago.

In other Critics Week Awards, both the SACD Prize and ACID/CCAS Support went to BI, DUNG SO! (Bi, Don't be Afraid!), directed by Vietnamese Phan Dang Di (or Dang Di Phan); the Young Critic Award (OFAJ) went to directors Ola Simonsson & Johannes Stjaerne Nilsson for SOUND OF NOISE; the Canal+ Award for Best Short Film went to BERIK, directed by Daniel Joseph Borgman; and Kodak Discovery Award for Best Short Film was awarded to DEEPER THAN YESTERDAY, directed by Ariel Kleiman.

Two films screened in competition last night at the 63rd Cannes International Film Festival. FAIR GAME, the only American film in competition, and Ken Loach's ROUTE IRISH (see previous post).

FAIR GAME (USA), directed by Doug Liman (THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM), starring Naomi Watts (Valerie Plame Wilson) and Sean Penn (Joe Wilson) is considered a possible contender for a Palm d'Or. It is based on the saga of illegally "outed" CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson.

No one connected with the Bush White House has been charged with betraying Plame Wilson. However, her husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, alleged that unnamed and never charged White House officials were out to discredit him after he wrote a 2003 New York Times op-ed piece saying that the Bush administration had manipulated intelligence about weapons of mass destruction to justify the invasion of Iraq.

From the Europeans I know, and from what I have read about many there, it's highly unlikely that the voters at Cannes will have any warm and fuzzy feelings for G.W. Bush or Dick Cheney. Therefore, barring this being a terrible film, I'm putting my chip in the win column for it.

Director Ken Loach is working with his regular screenwriter, Paul Laverty in ROUTE IRISH (see previous post for more. The film stars John Bishop, Mark Womack and Geoff Bell. The cinematographer is Chris Menges (THE KILLING FIELDS).The movie examines the difficulties experienced by British men working as contractors.

In light of the success of last year's THE HURT LOCKER, ROUTE IRISH (UK / France), cannot escape some comparison to HURT LOCKER. THE HURT LOCKER simply alluded to the problem of adjustment for returnees from Iraqi combat and Loach digs deeper. Yet, there is no doubt that Bigelow's film will be used for comparison. It is timely and topical but is it a good movie? Critics seem to be split on that.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Romania's "New Wave" at Cannes, Reviews, Plus


SERIES: Major Film Festivals






First, Ken Loach's ROUTE IRISH, a last minute addition to films in competition at the 63rd Cannes International Film Festival (CIFF) brings the number to 19. Loach's THE WIND THAT SHAKES THE BARLEY won the Palme d'Or in 2006.

The title ROUTE IRISH is from the infamous, dangerous road that links Baghdad’s international ‘Green Zone’ with the city’s airport, and it marks the 73-year-old director’s first attempt to grapple with the Iraq War of the past six years. But ROUTE IRISH doesn’t deal with high politics. Instead, it explores the murky world of British ex-soldiers who work for private contractors in Iraq.

Trailers of all films in the Special Selection Competition.

Reviews from Cannes IFF: ROUTE IRISH / Iñárritu's BIUTIFUL

Now, Romanian films at Cannes. Romania's Cristi Puiu returns to competition at Cannes with what he describes as a "mind-blowing" crime story, AURORA screened Friday night at the Festival. Puiu, winner in 2005 of the Cannes section showcasing new talent, "Un Certain Regard," for THE DEATH OF MR. LAZARESCU, is the leading figure of the tiny country's "New Wave" school, which seemingly came out of nowhere about that time.

It did not take long for the world film community to take notice. Since then, the Romanians have won a number of top world awards. Among them are Corneliu Porumboiu, Catalin Mitulescu, and Cristian Mungiu, who won the 2007 Cannes Palme d'Or for 4 MONTHS, 3 WEEKS, 2 DAYS.

Mungiu won best European Director and the film won best European Film at the 2007 European Film Awards. Romania submitted it for Oscar® consideration in the Best Foreign Language Film category for 2007 for the 80th Academy Awards.

To the amazement of many, myself included, the film was not nominated in the Best Foreign Language Film category. Some suggested that the Academy members did not nominate it because it dealt with a woman having an abortion. Others, because they felt the production values were below par. The Austrian film, THE COUNTERFIETERS, directed by Stefan Ruzowitzky won the Oscar, which it richly deserved among those nominated. However, Mungiu's film deserved a nomination.

Puiu's THE DEATH OF MR. LAZARESCU is the story of a man who dies, a victim of an uncaring health-care system. His latest, AURORO, is the story of a man who kills. Puiu has explained that the title AURORO, refers to the precise moment when day breaks and nature awakes.

In the movie, 42-year-old Viorel, an engineer, drives around Bucharest determined to put an end to the insecurity that has dominated his life since his divorce. He decides to make justice as he understands it, brutally intervening in other people's destinies. His actions throw him into a new life, a new day.

AURORA is the second installment of a planned "Six Stories from the Outskirts of Bucharest." In this installment, Puiu decided to play the lead character himself. Meanwhile, Cristian Mungiu has no directorial projects in the works at the moment.
Review of AURORO and then some.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Cannes Notes: ROBIN HOOD, no big whoop



SERIES: Major Film Festivals






Cannes has a multilingual Web site in eight languages. Take a look.

Also, have you been wondering who the person is in poster above? Keep reading . . . . .

A last minute addition to films in competition is Ken Loach's ROUTE IRISH, which brings the number to 19. Loach's film THE WIND THAT SHAKES THE BARLEY won the Palme d'Or in 2006. The film tells the story of two Liverpudlian ex-soldiers who go to Iraq to work as private contractors, and will screen 20 May.

Julie Bertucelli's, THE TREE, with Charlotte Gainsbourg, Marton Csokas and Aden Young, will be presented at the Festival's Closing Ceremony. Her first feature film SINCE OTAR LEFT won the Grand Jury Prize of the Critic's week at Cannes in 2003. She is the daughter of French director Jean-Louis Bertucelli.

ROBIN HOOD, the epic by British director Ridley Scott starring Russell Crowe as Robin Longstride and Cate Blanchett as Marion Loxley, screened out of competition on Opening Night of the 63rd Festival de Cannes, Wednesday, May 12th, 2010. It was the world premiere for the film, which was presented out of competition. It is in release in the U.S. now.

Other notables in the cast are Max Von Sydow, Lea Seydoux and William Hurt. In the movie, King Richard (Danny Huston) and his soldiers pause on their way home from Palestine to attack a French castle. I haven't seen it, but I have heard the French were routed. And, as it turns out, the response to the movie at Cannes was less than stellar. Hmmmm.

I came across three excellent reviews. The first is an audio review by National Public Radio's Kenneth Turan, and he is spot on when he says, sort of, that Scott's movie is about Robin before he was forced to take up residence in Sherwood Forest's hood with his merry men, but there is little that is merry about this movie. Listen.

A. O. Scott's review in The New York Times, 14 May, is more in-depth for those of you who wish to read deeper.

Owen Gleiberman in the current issue of Entertainment Weekly sums up Crowe's Robin Hood and the movie, "[Crowe's] so grimly possessed with purpose that he's a bore, and so is the movie."

The world premiere of Oliver Stone's WALL STREET: MONEY NEVER SLEEPS. was Friday, 14th, screening out of competition. It is a sequel of Stone's WALL STREET ( 1987), starring Michael Douglas, who is back as Gordon Gekko.

Appearing with Douglas is an a-list cast, including Josh Brolin, Shia LaBeouf, Carey Mulligan, Charlie Sheen, Susan Sarandon and Frank Langella. Compared to ROBIN HOOD's lukewarm reception, Stone's new movie can be labeled a critical success at Cannes.

Woody Allen's latest, YOU WILL MEET A TALL DARK STRANGER, will screen out of competition next week. This Allen movie has a large and diverse cast, including Naomi Watts, Josh Brolin (he's been busy this year), Anthony Hopkins, Antonio Banderas, Freida Pinto and Lucy Punch. It's U.S. release is scheduled for September.

As I reported in a previous post, there is only one U.S. film in competition, FAIR GAME, based on the true story of CIA agent Valerie Plame, starring Sean Penn and Naomi Watts (another busy one), and directed by Doug Liman (THE BOURNE IDENTITY).

The person on the poster? It is a photograph of French actress Juliette Binoche (THREE COLORS: BLUE, WHITE, RED) by Brigitte Lacombe, graphic design by Annick Durban. To access the Cannes IFF Official Site click title of this post.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Here Comes Cannes 2!




SERIES: Major Film Festivals












63rd Cannes International Film Festival, 12 - 23 May 2010


Latest news from The Hollywood Reporter is that director Ridley Scott will not attend the Festival and will miss the opening night premiere of ROBIN HOOD. Scott is recovering from knee surgery. However, Universal is flying in a major delegation to support the film, including producer Brian Grazer and virtually the entire cast including Russell Crowe, Cate Blanchett, Mark Strong, Oscar Isaac and Max Von Sydow.

As mentioned in the previous post, American director Tim Burton is President of the Feature Film Jury this year. Those joining him on the jury, which will award the Best Feature Film Palm d'Or are:

Kate Beckinsale, actress, UK (Whiteout);
Alberto Barbera, Director of the National Museum of Cinema, Italy;
Emmanuel Carrere, (author, screenwriter, director), France;
Benicio Del Toro, Oscar-winning actor, Puerto Rico (Traffic and 21 Grams);
Alexandre Desplat, Oscar-winning composer, France (Julie and Julia, Fantastic Mr. Fox);
Victor Erice, director, Spain (The Spirit of the Beehive);
Shekhar Kapur, (director, actor, producer), India; and
Giovanna Mezzogiorno, actress, Italy.


Feature films are the main emphasis of the Festival. However, there are other sections:

Short Films, featuring nine films running between 15 -20 minutes. A Palm d'Or will be awarded, Sunday May 23rd. None from the U.S.;

Cinéma de la Plage (Cinema on the Beach), begins showing Thursday the 13th, and includes FROM HERE TO ETERNITY, director Fred Zinnemann's 1953 classic;

Cannes Classics, accompanies contemporary films from the Official Selection with a program of restored films and lost films that have been found again, as part of their release on DVD, or re-release in theaters;

Cinéfondation will present 13 films selected from 1600 entries submitted by film schools from all over the world;

And, in addition, Marco Bellocchio will give the Cinema Masterclass, Wednesday the 19th in the Buñuel Theatre.

Download the Official Selection Screening Schedule. Click title of this post for link to the Festival's Official Website.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Here Comes Cannes!



SERIES: Major Film Festivals






63rd Cannes International Film Festival, 12 - 23 May 2010

In May, there is only one major international film festival and that is Cannes. Unfortunately, this year the Festival is literally opening under a cloud.

Travelers to the French Riviera must dodge the volcanic ash still spewing from the Icelandic volcano as the resort hurriedly cleans up the debris from a recent Mediterranean storm. Those are natural crises that pale under the economic cloud of failed economies such as Greece, and possible failures in Spain, Portugal and other European economies. Meanwhile, the U.S. economy tries to toddle back to stability.

Nonetheless, the Festival will open Wednesday with it's usual grandiose flourish, featuring the world premiere of Ridley Scott's ROBIN HOOD, starring Russell Crowe and Cate Blanchett. Then, for 11 days, both the famous and not-so-famous will walk and watch the red carpet, attend party after party, stand in line to view movies in crowded screening rooms, and distributors will scout the film market for potential blockbusters as well as second-string bargains.

The promoters of the Festival bring in the International glitz and glamour to attract attendees, but they also provide showcases for smaller grittier films which fuel the Cannes marketing machine. In today's weakened world economy, the Cannes film market brings vital financial sustenance not only to the Festival but, also, to various economies around the world.

However, neither ROBIN HOOD, WALL STREET: Money Never Sleeps, in which Michael Douglas reprises his role as ruthless corporate raider Gordon Gekko, and Woody Allen's latest, YOU WILL MEET A TALL DARK STRANGER, will be among the 18 feature films in competition to be judged by the jury headed by director Tim Burton.

The only U.S. entry for competition is FAIR GAME, based on the true story of CIA agent Valerie Plame, starring Sean Penn and Naomi Watts, and directed by Doug Liman (THE BOURNE IDENTITY). The Festival's publicity makes a point that the emphasis will not be on glitz but on substance and the films selected support it.

More on this blog about the Cannes Festival will follow during the next two weeks. Please, come back daily to follow the Festival where you should find information not always included in posts elsewhere. Please leave comments, ask questions, or offer information you would like to see in this series. Click the title of this post to access the Festival's Official Site.

Also, you are welcome to share the entire post with Facebook friends and others on social networking sites.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Tribeca Heineken Audience Award

SERIES: Major Film Festivals

 
RUSH
 
Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson, and Neil Peart
 

Just announced. The documentary RUSH: BEYOND THE LIGHTED STAGE, directed by Scot McFadyen and Sam Dunn is the Heineken Audience Award winner at the NYC Tribeca Film Festival. Rush is a Canadian rock band based in Toronto. They formed in 1968. They are still recording and performing. They will receive a $25,000 prize from Heineken. The award is chosen by attendees at the festival, either in person or those who purchased a Tribeca Film Virtual pass to view films online.

Second Place went to family favorite SNOWMEN, and in Third Place is the New York doc ARIAS with a TWIST: THE DOCUFANTASY. Together, these three films make for a diverse trio. All three will screen tomorrow (Sunday), plus other award winning films. Click title of this post for more on the films.

Friday, April 30, 2010

April Film Festival Awards and Wraps


SERIES: Major Film Festivals



As April comes to a close, only two major film festivals that opened in April are still in progress: (1) Tribeca (TFF), which opened the 21st and will close May 2nd, and (2) San Francisco (SFIFF), which opened April 22nd and will close May 6th.Tribeca announced its film awards last night at W Union Square in New York City.

In the 2010 World Narrative Feature Competition, the Founders Award for Best Film went to WHEN WE LEAVE (Die Fremde, Germany), directed and written by Feo Aladag. Actress Sibel Kekilli won Best Actress in a Narrative Feature Film for he role as Umay in the movie. Best Actor in a Narrative Feature Film went to Eric Elmosnino as Serge Gainsbourg in GAINSBOURG, I LOVE YOU MORE THAN ME (Je t’Aime… Moi Non Plus, France), directed and written by Joann Sfar.

LOOSE CANNONS (Mine Vaganti, Italy) received a Special Jury Mention. It was directed by Ferzan Ozpetek. It was written by Ozpetek and Ivan Cotroneo. Kim Chapiron of France was named Best New Narrative Filmmaker for DOG POUND. Chapiron wrote the screenplay with Jeremie Delon.

In the Documentary World Competition, MONICA & DAVID, directed by Alexandra Codina, USA, was named Best Documentary Feature, and BUDRUS (USA, Palestine, Israel), directed by Julia Bacha, received a Special Jury Mention. Click the title of this post for all the awards, including New York and Short Film competitions, the monetary prizes, pictures and more. Also, see previous post for more about the Tribeca IFF.


On the West Coast, the San Francisco International Film Festival is also handing out awards. Tonight, Roger Ebert will receive the San Francisco International Film Festival's annual Mel Novikoff Award, and he'll be in attendance for "An Evening with Roger Ebert and Friends." His friends for the celebration include filmmakers Philip Kaufman, Errol Morris, Jason Reitman and Terry Zwigoff. A screening of Ebert's chosen film, Erick Zonca's uncompromising 2008 genre-buster JULIA, starring Festival favorite Tilda Swinton will follow.

The Kanbar Award for excellence in screenwriting will go to James Schamus, who will be on hand today for a retrospective clip reel and onstage interview with critic and cultural theorist B. Ruby Rich. Schamus' RIDE WITH THE DEVIL (director's cut), directed by his frequent collaborator, Ang Lee, will follow. SFIFF Official Site. Also see previous post for more about the SFIFF.



The regional festivals, covered in the previous post have now wrapped. The Florida Film Festival (FFF) in Orlando reports a successful and fun festival. I am pleased to report that WINTER'S BONE, the first motion picture I picked to do well this year based on the response it received at Sundance, won the Grand Jury Award for Best Narrative Feature. There is more about this movie, directed by Debra Granik, in the previous post. It is definitely one to follow this year.

Other narrative feature winners were:

Special Jury Award for Narrative Filmmaking, HOMEWRECKER, directed by Brad and Todd Barnes; Nestle® Cranberry Raisinets® Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature, DON’T LET ME DROWN, directed by Cruz Angeles; and Nestle® Cranberry Raisinets ® Audience Award for Best International Feature, THE TOPP TWINS: UNTOUCHABLE GIRLS, directed by Leanne Pooley. To see all the award winners, including documentary and short films, go here.

RiverRun in Winston-Salem, NC (RRFF), had a very good film schedule, but gave no awards, and the same for Ebertfest, Champaign, IL. On Location: Memphis, TN (MIFMF), gave awards but, frankly, I never heard of any of the films. Will report later if I lean the festival's picks scored at any other festival. Here is the Memphis list. For more about any of these regional festivals, see the previous post.


Some breaking news from Montreal. Above is the official poster of the 2010 Montreal World Film Festival (MWFF), 26 August - 6 September, unveiled yesterday. The poster was selected by public votes from among three finalists, all students in graphic arts at UQAM (Université du Québec à Montréal). Their professor, Philippe Béha, who designed the official MWFF poster in 1986, assigned his students the task of designing a poster for the 2010 Festival. The winner is Hubert Samson. Official Site.





COMING IN MAY: Cannes International Film Festival (CIFF), 12 - 23 May 2010; Mountain Film in Telluride, 28 - 31 May 2010.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Major Film Festivals in April 2010




SERIES: Major Film Festivals






9th Tribeca International Film Festival 21 April - 2 May 2010, New York City. (TIFF)

The Festival, sponsored again by its founding partner American Express, is more highly interactive this year. Their slogan is, "Here comes the neighborhood." Also, the Festival Web site is nominated for a Webby Award (The "Oscar®" of Web Awards).

Since there is so much happening at the Festival this year, here are only some of the highlights - -

Big green news! The premiere of DreamWorks Animation's SHREK FOREVER AFTER is opening night of the 2010 Tribeca Film Festival, presented by American Express—the first 3D movie for both Shrek and TIFF!

Among those serving on one of the six juries are: Jessica Alba, Justin Bartha, Selma Blair, Marshall Curry, Hope Davis, Aaron Eckhart, Aidan Quinn, America Ferrera, Whoopi Goldberg and Brooke Shield.

Tribeca Film Festival Virtual will kick off its opening night on April 23 with NICE GUY JOHNNY, the latest NY story from Edward Burns. How can YOU see it, even if you are not in NYC?

With a TIFF Virtual Premium Pass, some of the movies screened at the Festival will be available online. This brand new pass, available for $45.00 to a limited number of U.S. residents, 18 years or older, will allow fans to participate fully in Tribeca Film Festival Virtual. Want it? Better get it now

The closing night gala will be the documentary FREAKONOMICS, based on the book by journalist Stephen Dubner and economist Steven Levitt. The doc, directed by Alex Gibney with a host of other doc-making luminaries, is less about economics than about the strange connections between seemingly disparate topics—for instance, how drug dealing is like working at McDonald’s or why good parenting methods don’t really matter in the long run. It has been acquired by Magnolia Pictures.

Gibney, who received an Oscar for Best Documentary Film with his TAXIE TO THE DARK SIDE is also bringing his latest, MY TRIP TO AL-QAEDA, which HBO has bought, as well as a work-in-progress, ELIOT SPITZER.

Go to the Official Web site for much more by clicking the title of this blog post, and don't forget to vote for the Webby Award.




19th Annual Florida Film Festival, 9 - 18 April 2010, Enzian Theater, Orlando, Florida. (FFF)

Watch video about Florida FF on YouTube (too wide to embed in this blog).

The Florida Film Festival is currently underway in Orlando screening 162 films from 25 countries. In competition, there are 20 feature films, 10 narrative and 10 documentary. Among them, three East Coast premieres were selected, with 11 filmmakers making their feature directorial debuts, including eight female directors.


One feature film among them is the female director Debra Granik’s WINTER'S BONE, co-written with Anne Rosellini, and based on the novel by Missouri-based author Daniel Woodrell. In this movie, "An unflinching Ozark Mountain girl hacks through dangerous social terrain as she hunts down her drug-dealing father while trying to keep her family intact." It will have its U.S. East Coast premiere in Orlando.

BONE made it first festival appearance, and had its U.S. West Coast Premiere, at the Sundance IFF this January where it won the two top awards, Grand Jury Prize and Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award. The next month in Berlin it won the prestigious C.I.C.A.E. (Confédération Internationnale des Cinémas d'Art et d'Essai), and the Festival's Der Tagesspiegel Award (The Daily Mirror), sponsored by the Berlin-based newspaper of the same name.

Michael Paul Stephenson’s documentary BEST WORST MOVIE won a Crystal Bear at Berlin this year and has won a number of awards at various other film festivals. It will screen along with Marshall Curry’s RACING DREAMS, which won Best Documentary at the 2009 Tribecca Film Festival.


All 20 films will be eligible for various awards such as the Grand Jury award for best film, a Special Jury award, given at the jury’s discretion for exceptional achievements, and an audience choice award.

In addition there is a fabulous retro section. The opening party theme, "No Grits, No Glory."





Another film festival currently underway is the 12th annual RiverRun International Film Festival (RRIF) in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, 15 - 25 April 2010.

RiverRun is one of the outstanding film festivals in the Southeastern U.S. North Carolina ranks third in movie and television production in U.S., only behind Los Angeles and New York City, respectively. The festival gets its name from the French Broad River near Brevard, NC, where the festival was originally held. In 2003, Dale Pollock, a former film producer and then-Dean of the School of Filmmaking at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, moved RiverRun to Winston-Salem, where it resides today as an independent arts organization dedicated to showcasing the best new films from independent, international and student filmmakers.

This festival screens only independent films. RiverRun is an eco-friendly festival, and has an Environmental Sidebar. Read about it. The opening night film is THE EXTRA MAN, directed by Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini.

The Festival also has a side-bar showing films from a foreign country, mostly films that have critical credibility. This year, the side-bar is Mexico and they made excellent choices with Louis Buñuel's classic LOS OLVIDADOS (The Forgotten Ones), Alfonso Curaon's Y Tu Mama Tambien (And Your Mother Too), Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's Amores Perros (Amorous Dogs), and Alfonso Alrau's LIKE WATER FOR CHOCOLATE, plus two others.

Filmmaker David Gordon Green will attend the screenings of two of his films, GEORGE WASHINGTON and PINAPPLE EXPRESS, and - - gasp - - Peter Bogdanovich will be there for PAPER MOON. Bogdonovich will receive the Festival's Master of Cinema award, a real crystal ball. For children under 12 there is a Saturday morning cartoon show.

In keeping with the Festival's Environmental Film Focus and Eco-Initiative, their partner, Whole Foods Market, for a party on the eve (21st) of Earth Day Thursday, 22nd. party on Thursday, 22nd. This party will feature all-natural beverages and hors d’oeuvres provided by Whole Foods Market Winston-Salem, while the music and visuals will be created by students from UNCSA. The festivities will begin immediately following the screening of Disney's documentary OCEANS. There will also be a cash bar for beer and wine.

As the Festival winds down, they are spicing things up with a Mad Hot Mambo party at the Millennium Center, featuring live Salsa music by the renowned band, West End Mambo. The festivities will begin immediately following the Saturday Night screening of Werner Herzog's MY SON, MY SON WHAT HAVE YOU DONE? at the Steven’s Center. There are two other parties. After all, it isn't a true film festival without the parties.





12th Roger Ebert's Film Festival, 21 - 25 April 2010, Virginia Theater, Champaign, Illinois. (Ebertfest, REFF)

All films are selected from those Mr. Ebert sees during his normal viewing and reviewing. The festival stressed, "Do not send films."

The Illinois Champaign County Anti-Stigma Alliance, is pleased to announce that they will have a special showing of THE SOLOIST immediately following the close of Ebertfest (April 25). The Alliance was formed to challenge disability discrimination and promote education and awareness. This screening will be at the Virginia Theatre at 4:30 pm, and it will free to the public. The screening will be followed by a panel of guest speakers.

Contact: Mary Susan Britt , 217-244-0552.


11th On Location: Memphis International Film and Music Festival, 22 - 25 April 2010, Malco's Ridgeway Four, Memphis, Tennessee. (MIFMF)

Formerly known as the Memphis Film Festival the festival has now added music to the program to increase its influence in the region, but its emphasis is still on film, especially that of regional filmmakers. It has morphed into a full-grown film organization that is active year-round.

The Festival is also now more "family friendly." Last year, they added a Kids First Film Festival, and it will take place Saturday, April 24th from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 pm, featuring a compilation of short films to entertain and educate. It's free. Here's the information and films that will be shown.
The festivities begin at 1:00 pm on Thursday, 22nd, and will run until late Saturday night. The opening film is HOMETOWN GLORY, written, directed and produced by Hollywood entertainment manager/publicist Ray Costa. As a teenager, Costa was among the ranks of Germantown, TN, teenage volunteers who risked their lives to protect their town fighting fires in the 1970's.

The screening is the official premiere of HOMETOWN GLORY, 7:30 pm, at the Malco Ridgeway Four. Attending the event will be Ray Costa, composer George S. Clinton and the firefighters chronicled in the film. Tickets are $10 and will go on sale April 18. The Festival After Party will follow at the Blues City Café Bandbox.

The closing party follows at Ernestine and Hazel's.

There are two documentaries screening on Saturday afternoon that should not be missed. The first at 1:30 pm is THE COVE. It is about the dolphin slaughter in Japan and what drives it, and it won the Academy Award® this year for Best Documentary Film of 2009. The other one is TIBET IN SONG, which follows THE COVE at 4:00 pm.

This Festival still has a public relations handicap due to its amateurish Web site and always being late getting out the publicity.




53rd San Francisco International Film Festival, 22 April - 6 May 2010, Castro Theatre and other venues, San Francisco, California. (SFIFF)

Opening Night is Thursday, 22 April, and the opening film is MICMACS (Micmacs à tire-larigot), by French director Jean-Pierre Jeunet (Amélie), which screens at the Castro Theatre, 7:00 pm, followed by a party at The Regency Center, 9:30 pm.

Saturday, May 1, the Centerpiece Film will screen at he Sundance Kabuki Cinemas, 6:30 pm. HAPPYTHANKYOUMOREPLEASE is the debut film for Ohio native Josh Radnor, who also wrote the screenplay. This being San Francisco, it will be followed by a party at Manor West.

The gala awards night is Thursday, 29 April in the Westin St. Francis Hotel, Grand Ballroom, beginning with a VIP cocktail reception with celebrity guests. This star-studded occasion honors this year’s directing, acting and screenwriting award recipients with a glamorous black-tie evening featuring onstage celebrity appearances and gourmet dining.

Here are only two of a number of special awards to be given to celebrity guests at the festival this year, and each guest will have a special day which includes a screening of an associated film:

Robert Duvall will be the recipient of the Peter J. Owens Award to be presented at the 53rd San Francisco International Film Festival. The onstage tribute to Duvall at the Castro Theatre will feature a clip reel of career highlights, an onstage interview and a screening of his most recent film GET LOW.

This year's Novikoff Award for an individual or institution whose work has enhanced the filmgoing public’s knowledge and appreciation of world cinema goes to film critic Roger Ebert. A screening will follow of Erick Zonca's JULIA.
Closing Night is Thursday, 6 May and the film is JOAN RIVERS -- A PIECE OF WORK, screen at the Castro Theatre, 7:00 pm. The party follows at Folsom.







COMING IN MAY: Cannes International Film Festival, 12 - 23 May 2010; Mountain Film in Telluride, 28 - 31 May 2010.