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Alicia Vikander cast as Lara Croft: Tomb Raider
Only supporting actress winners are allowed to play this role!

"What on earth can Alicia bring to this role, and why bother? Good luck." - Tom F

"How long must we wait for Dianne Wiest as Lara Croft!?" - Mike

 

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Thursday
Sep252014

NYFF: Entering the Third Dimension with 'Goodbye to Language'

The New York Film Festival is finally about to begin and here is Glenn on one of the must-sees of the fest, Jean-Luc Godard's Goodbye to Language.

Much like the film itself, you’ll have to bear with me here. If I get lost or end up on tangents then don’t worry – it’s not only to be expected, but probably the intent. This will probably be messy, but this is a film titled Goodbye to Language so I feel it’s a safe zone, yes? You see, there is a lot to talk about. How about the use of 3D that is perhaps the best I have ever seen. And then there’s the bravura directions that director Jean-Luc Godard goes even once you think you may have his shtick down. And that’s before we get into the concept of subjectivity of ideas. For all I know, the various ideas that I took from Goodbye to Language might not be at all what Godard intended. But therein lies at least part of the film’s brilliance and the wonder of art: you don’t necessarily have to be right to be valid.

Many people won’t like this movie, and even somebody like me who thinks the film is an incredible example of filmmaking has to see their point of view. It’s a tough film if you’re not on its wavelength, but that very instinctual desire to mess with audience expectations is part of why I loved it so much. I have not seen any of the director’s recent cinematic experiments (in fact, the most recent film of his I have seen is King Lear with Woody Allen, Molly Ringwald, Leos Carax and Julie Delpy from way back in 1987), but the title alone suggests something along the lines of Film Socialisme which took a liberal stance on the use of subtitles, and audiences would be smart to know what they’re getting themselves in for before sitting down rather than complaining about the film and its director. This is an experimental film by its most pure definition. Godard is experimenting with the concept of narrative and if viewed and critiqued in the same way as a more traditional film then people are doing not only themselves a disservice, but the film as well.

You can't imagine how amazing this shot is in 3D!

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Sep252014

Tim's Toons: Why Laika is the most exciting animation studio right now

Tim here, wondering if the time has come to start saying very hyperbolic things. This weekend sees the release of The Boxtrolls, the third feature released by the animation studio Laika, also responsible for 2009’s Coraline and 2012’s ParaNorman. I find myself, almost certainly to my eventual disappointment, wondering if this trio of technically audacious and unusually sophisticated stop-motion films has put the studio in line to fill the hole left when Pixar stopped being the most reliable movie-creating force in America, and instead became that place which makes pretty solid cartoons when they can be bothered to stop focusing on Cars pictures.

It’s begging the question from the get-go: there wasn’t a Pixar before Pixar, so there’s no clear reason that there has to be another one now. But Laika’s work so far has been at a level that encourages such dangerous optimism.

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Sep252014

"Malkolink Malkolink Malkolink!"

NY Daily News truly absurd photos of John Malkovich recreating famous images of Marilyn Monroe, Bette Davis, and less glitzy iconic art, too, like Piss Christ and American Gothic
Slate great piece on why we need less reboots and more original genre fiction - interesting points made that aren't just the usual bitching
Pink is the New Blog Channing Tatum inviting fans to be part of Magic Mike XXL
The Film Stage an interview with director Pawel Pawlikowski on his Polish hit Ida
Interview talks to the director of Wild Tales, which I loved at TIFF, Damián Szifrón
Shark Robot Avengers as cold cereal t-shirts. The best ones are clearly Thorrios and Loki Charms 'bifrosted!"

 

In Contention another reason to love Virginia Madsen besides that immortal wine monologue from Sideways - she loves the classic Network. She loves it lots
Variety Looks like it's Rachel McAdams, Vince Vaughn, Colin Farrell and Taylor Kitsch as the four leads directing by Justin Lin for True Detective Season 2. Vaughn is a crime boss, the rest are cops. I love Farrell but this does not excite me as much as the promise of Cary Fukunaga directing Harrelson, McConaughey and Monaghan but we'll see
Twitter ...if you must know my general feeling on Rachel McAdams
Variety Julie Delpy's next effort as a triple threat is a French language comedy called Lolo. She's asked the very funny actress Karin Viard to co-star
Awards Daily Freida Pinto's latest vehicle, Desert Dancer, will open the Santa Barbara Film Festival
Rope of Silicon Interstellar is Chris Nolan's longest film yet. This always worries me with directors. If your films get progressively longer it's often indicative of hermetically sealed bubble trouble. Or believing your own hype and forgetting about the actual story you're telling.
Coming Soon ... speaking of. New stills from the film
The Film Stage listen to the score for Gone Girl
NY Daily News Rumors abound that Quentin Tarantino wants Viggo Mortensen for Hateful Eight. So weird that no cast is in place yet given that we've already had a teaser

Today's Must Read/Watch
Extension 765 Steven Soderbergh is goofing around with Raiders of the Lost Ark - it's now a black and white silent - to teach film staging

I value the ability to stage something well because when it’s done well its pleasures are huge, and most people don’t do it well, which indicates it must not be easy to master (it’s frightening how many opportunities there are to do something wrong in a sequence or a group of scenes. Minefields EVERYWHERE....

Oh and remember that time when people were talking up a Costume Design nomination (which of course didn't happen) for Fantastic Mr Fox? Now there's coverage of the costumes for The Boxtrolls. Hey costume designers are needed on stop motion films.

Awardage
In Contention Casting Society of America nominations and honors. The weird part is that Rob Marshall who just generally casts big stars whether or not they're right for musicals, is being honored. But on a happier front, for the TV Pilot honors Looking was nominated and that show was definitely well cast.
Variety The Cinematographer's Guild are honoring a handful of folks too

P.S.
I had myself a final getaway last weekend to Fire Island before I am chained to the computer and Oscar coverage for the next four months. While I was there I met Robert Chang who was a lot of fun and we argued* about this article he wrote on Hunger Games and Gary Ross's use of breaking the 180 line. It's an interesting argument but it personally drives me crazy when directors break rules largely because they can. It always looks sloppy to me. Still the argument is interesting that it's only used for emotional reasons rather than action reasons which is where you usually see it. What'cha think? Maybe if there was only that and the action sequences were actually well filmed I'd like it.

* I know you're probably not supposed to debate film theory when you socialize with the gays on Fire Island but I am who I am.

Thursday
Sep252014

Review: 'Pride,' the Year's Most Adorable Movie

This article originally appeared in Nathaniel's column at Towleroad. It is reprinted here with their permission...

Truth is stranger-than-fiction and also often gayer. The new feature PRIDE dramatizes a largely unknown historical anecdote from the bitter year-long miner’s strike in Thatcher-era Britain when a group of gay activists fundraised for the miners. This alliance is at first an awkward tense match but it eventually finds heartwarming pockets of oxygen when these two unlikely groups are breathing the same air.

It begins with a handful of gay activists (“and lesbian!” their only female member interjects with a small wave in a recurring joke), notice a sudden decline in police bullying in their neighborhood. They make the connection: the conservative government has a new minority to scapegoat. They form a group called LGSM “Lesbians and Gays for the Striking Miners” to help the people suffering without paychecks for months on end — a byproduct of Margaret Thatcher’s war against the unions.

At first, though, these gay heroes can’t even find a miner’s group that will take their money in this cross culture dramedy. [more...]

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Sep252014

The Oscar Race: Then, Now, Next Three Months

THEN...
One final honor for last year's best picture winner 12 Years a Slave (2013). We've heard talk of this before but it's official now: The National School Boards Association has partnered with the filmmakers and Peguin Books to make 12 Years a Slave and its study guide available to high schools across America. When I attended a Steve McQueen event last year in LA this dream was literally all that he wanted to talk about with the moderator despite the panel being called "On Directing" and his movie being an Oscar favorite.

The news was official a few days back

“I am thrilled that my dream of having 12 YEARS A SLAVE available to high school students is finally a reality. Solomon Northup’s powerful story needs to be shared and remembered for generations to come. This is a wonderful opportunity for our youth to learn about the past. I truly appreciate the efforts of Montel Williams, the National School Boards Association, New Regency, Penguin Books, and Fox Searchlight for making this happen,” said Steve McQueen, director of 12 YEARS A SLAVE.

Congratulations to all and to America, come to think of it, because if the utterly irrational reaction to the Obama era in some quarters has taught us anything it's that racism is a poison that isn't easily cured and destroys the brain first.

We're at war here."
- Anna Morales (Jessica Chastain) in "A Most Violent Year" 

NOW...
None of 2014's Oscar hopefuls thus far have had the kind of seismic impact that Gravity and 12 Years a Slave were beginning to exhibit this time last year, which means that the race is wide open and the battle will be bloody and heated for attention. This is both exciting and dull simultaneously since anything might possibly happen but people need things to obsessively root for to stay interested and the films this year don't seem to be grabbing moviegoers en masse apart from, you know, the superhero blockbusters. The Oscar Charts are updated in every single category for your punditry pleasures! 

Best Actress, which we should know better than to call "weak" in any given year, is suddenly heating up with Julianne & Reese looking more and more like battling locks for the statue and Jessica Chastain switching over there, too -- news from A24 -- from the previously assumed supporting position for A Most Violent Year.

INDEX | PICTURE | DIRECTOR | SCREENPLAYS
ACTRESS | ACTOR | SUPP. ACTRESS | SUPP. ACTOR
FOREIGN FILMS with SUBMISSION CHARTS
VISUALS | SOUND | ANIMATED FEATURES

Sound off in the comments. You know what to do.

THE NEXT THREE MONTHS... 

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Sep252014

Birdman Starts Campaigning Early

Anne Marie reporting from Los Angeles...

Will Keaton need the tux regularly this season? We think soThe starter's gun for awards season campaigning has unofficially gone off, signalling the beginning of the most exciting/frustrating few months in an Oscar-lover's heart. Sandwiched between the mad dash of TIFF and NYFF on the East Coast was a screening and reception on Tuesday for Alejandro Gonzalez Iñarritu's Birdman. As a courtyard full of film critics tried to absorb everything the ambitious black comedy presented them, producer John Lesher and star Michael Keaton were there to answer questions and talk over Iñarritu's dizzying vision.

In the coming weeks, we'll undoubtedly hear many comparisons between Michael Keaton and Riggan, the washed up superhero has-been Keaton portrays. Michael Keaton is not nearly as attention-grabbing (or off ghis rocker) as his onscreen doppelganger. Instead, he walked through the crowd quietly, speaking to members of the press one on one or in small groups (graciously fielding questions on baseball and Batman), rather than holding court.

Unfortunately, this meant we didn't all get to speak to him, but he did deliver one appropriately weird closing moment. On his way to the parking lot, Keaton gave a loud Birdman squawk. Then he vanished into the night.

The Birdman cast having fun in Venice earlier this month

Wednesday
Sep242014

NYFF: The Look of Silence

The New York Film Festival begins this Friday, and here our pre-coverage continues with Jason taking on Joshua Oppenheimer's documentary The Look of Silence.

It was Winston Churchill who said that, "History will be kind to me, for I intend to write it." And so it's gone for as long as there has been war, or even just one caveman bonking another caveman on the head with a bone fragment a la the opening scenes of 2001 - to the winner goes the watering hole, the bragging rights, the spoils. Documentarian Joshua Oppenheimer smells those spoils, and they stink.

The Look of Silence follows up on the promise of Oppenheimer's brilliant 2012 documentary The Act of Killing with devastating precision - where that first film took a long strange trip past some surreal dance routines slash murder reenactments performed by those on the "winning" side of history after the 1965 Indonesian genocide, Silence trains its eye on those left devastated in the wake of that original horror, those who continue to live under the thumb - much is made of how these people are neighbors, seeing each other every day - of those in power who now gleefully recount the atrocities, ones which viewed backwards through the lens of rose-colored self-righteousness and propaganda seem, to them, to be patriotism, heroism.

Oppenheimer picks at the scab of scarcely buried history - a "wound" is continually referred to, and he makes you feel as if the muddy floor of the jungle might flood open with gore at any moment. These villages seem wet with it - brown rivers run buoyed with invisible bodies, ghosts heavy and thick in the air like electrical storms. The victors can sense it too; they swat at the camera's insinuations like there's a cloud of gnats too small for us to see, their lips tremble, and as the rumbling in their bellies uneases them they try to squirm their way free - they're proud of their accomplishments until the script flips and they suddenly feel looked upon, and after that it's a torrent of equivocations: "I wasn't the one in charge," "I was just doing my duty," and on.

As with The Act of Killing, The Look of Silence feels extraordinary to even exist, especially in a day and age such as this where we can't really wrap our minds around people (especially politicians) not ten sentences and head-nods ahead of how they're coming off - but then, why should these men care? They won, at whatever cost - like mankind in God's image, like a rib torn from Adam to craft Eve, the past was molded and built by the beat of their bloodied knuckles. It is written.

At one point the daughter of one of the murderers illustrates this generational gap - the way the reality of the past has been sanded down with willful and precise misrepresentation - and as we watch her resolve shake upon hearing the truth what he father's heroism really consisted of it's as potent as a tidal wave. These people are neighbors alright, but only some of them seem to know their houses are build upon fields of blood and bones and unaccounted-for barbarism. And those who know, they watch and they wait, hoping someone - an Old Testament God seems as if not more likely than an American documentary filmmaker - will give voice, and vision, to their pain.

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The Look of Silence screens at NYFF on Tuesday September 30th at 6:30pm and on Wednesday October 1st at 9pm.