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Entries in Apichatpong Weerathesakul (7)


Doc Corner: How much has the changing Academy changed the Best Documentary category ?

By Glenn Dunks

Among all of the talk happening since the Oscar nominations, a good deal of attention has been paid to the role the new roster of Academy members might have played in what we were given. With good reason, too, considering the nomination list reads rather obviously as the awkward merging of two very different kind of voters. Virtually every category has something for both the old and the new guards – or, at least what we perceive to be the old and the new guards. 

Even a category like Best Sound Editing has a horror movie and a Mexican domestic drama sitting next to musical biopics and action blockbusters. In Best Makeup and Hairstyling you'll see standard old/overweight and royalty makeup side-by-side with a curious Scandi whatsit. And doesn’t it feel odd to imagine the same acting branch voter notching Sam Rockwell’s name for Vice and simultaneously selecting Marina de Tavira one category over?  The documentary branch is no different. Their 2018 nominees for Best Documentary Feature are even more 'new guard,' taking this idea of a shift in identity even further...

Click to read more ...


Instagram Battles: Where and With Whom?

Would you rather

...hang out with Connor Jessup & Apichatpong "Joe" Weerathaskeul in San Fran?
... attend a costume party with Daniel Franzese and his fiancé?
... spot Ewan McGregor just hanging out in NYC where his movie is playing?


When worlds collide! @connorwjessup #sanfrancisco #strandreleasing #connorjessup #apichatpong

A photo posted by @strandreleasing on Oct 17, 2016 at 1:12pm PDT

Here we go!! #americanpastoral

A photo posted by Ewan McGregor (@mcgregor_ewan) on Oct 21, 2016 at 6:14pm PDT






Linkbury, Linkbender and Linkichatpong LLC

The Sheila Variations and Playbill are all celebrating the 90th birthday of Angela Lansbury today. What a long all-mediums career that woman has had. Sing her happy birthday today and emphasize the "...and many more" at the end of your song, mmmkay?
The Stake has a grumpy but well argued take on Steve Jobs that says Michael Fassbender: Great; Movie: Not.
The Guardian on auteur Apichatpong "Joe" Weerasethakul's fears about Thailand military dictatorship - he won't be showing his new film Cemetery of Splendour there for fear that harm will come to him.
Indiewire Kate Erbland challenges you to read her interview with Olivia Wilde (Meadowland, Vinyl) without falling in love
Murtada and Jason, two of our Teammates have very split reactions on Crimson Peak.
• And there's no point linking to "news" that isn't really news even if it's being posted everywhere: i.e. Star Wars: The Force Awakens will get a new poster on Sunday and a new trailer on Monday so why write about them now when you can wait two days for actual news? TFE is totally over news announcing news that will announce news, you know? Like teaser countdowns that announce trailers that then have 4 more versions before the actual movie. ENOUGH. LIVE IN THE NOW.


Fistful of Films Andrew is taking a long hiatus from blogging but this is quite a finale: notes on his top 100+ favorite films. It's quite a range of countries, genres, styles and eras and I'm happy to see many Hit Me With Your Best Shot titles represented and if we even led them to a few of them then our series was a success. Though I must say that reading it, I'm sad he won't be there for our next two episodes - BUT DON'T LET THAT STOP YOU FROM JOINING.

TFE Housekeeping...
We will be hosting those last two Best Shot episodes this month but we've had to cancel that Smackdown '63 we planned. Both Best Shot and Smackdown will return in the Spring as per usual. I should've known better than to plan too much in September & October as it's impossible to do big projects during festival season, 100s of movies coming out, and the build up then countdown to Oscar.


NYFF: Cemetery Of Splendour

Jason on the the latest from beloved Thai director Apichatpong "Joe" Weerasethakul.

From what I gather, Weerasethakul is a filmmaker easiest approached with a road-map - an iconography of expectations, of mood and mise-en-scene, to guide you gently into the good night of his magical thinking. That is to say it's best to know what you're getting into. You're best served with a reference point, a friendly little ghost to hold your hand and lead you through the invisible world he's maneuvering his camera through.

It's a world that's not just off frame, to the left or right as you might expect. It's more as if it's sitting in the seats both left and right of you in the theater, occasionally grabbing at your popcorn, maybe whispering a lightly dirty joke in your ear before resting its head on your shoulder. It's comforting... but also a little invasive. He wants all of you.

I went in alone. Cemetery of Splendour, Weerasethakul's newest film, was my first. Hey, everybody had a first at one point, right? That's what makes it first. And just like losing one's virginity I found myself bewildered, a little bit sweaty, and ultimately ashamed at myself for putting it off for so long. That's what I was afraid of? Yeah it was a little bit weird but it went down fine, and I look forward to another spin.

Splendour tells the story of a somnambulist pack of soldiers, mysteriously struck sleepy-time by their surroundings, housed in a former school and taken care of by both some friendly local women (never unfriendly enough to not give a giggling poke at their engorged dream members) as well as a series of glowing candy-cane-shaped lamps, arcing gracefully over their beds while offering the jungle (and the film) a singular neon surrealism. It's rumored that the soldiers were digging up the earth for fiber-optics cables when they were struck ill and these lamps are like living heads of those wires, War of the Worlds-style, risen up to keep a slow colorful creepy watch over their slumber.

The film slowly (I'll have to bust out my thesaurus to find variations on "slowly" and "dreamily" for this review) closes in, in its medium-to-long-shot manner, on one sleeping soldier, and one nurse-type - Itt and Jen, who manage to form a sweet and easy rapport in between the comatose moments. He usually wakes up to her massaging some part of him, which is really the quickest way to a man's heart, no matter what the foodies say.

I don't want to trace out the road-map for you any further. I think if you've already wandered in Weerasethakul-Land you basically know your way around, and you know the journey - one taken half-drifting along just an inch or two above the ground as if you, like Jen, have one leg shorter than the other - itself is the destination. What a lovely journey though - a series of small escalating emotional catharses that moves through like clouds, like a slight breeze through the fanned trees, giving prayer to the benevolent specters milling about in the underbrush.


Cemetery of Splendour is screening at the New York Film Festival on Wednesday, September 30 and Thursday, October 1. If you're interested in Weerasethakul, check out Nathaniel's reviews of his Palme d'or winner Uncle Boonmee.


Kidman in Cannes. Part 3.

Jose here. I succumbed to what felt like a Satine-sque bout of consumption over the weekend and to show her sympathy Nicole Kidman stopped showing up at Cannes events. What do you mean she doesn't know who I am? She made two appearances on Sunday bringing the one accessory she'd been hiding so far, her husband Keith Urban.

Who She Wore: her face designer L'Wrenn Scott
Which Director She's Trying to Lure: this dreamlike blue, red and black leaf pattern was obviously made to grab the attention of the mysterious Apichatpong Weerasethakul who's known for his exotic settings and even weirder plots. (Nicole calls him "Joe" like the rest of the world but knows how to pronounce his name.) If this dress doesn't scream Uncle Boonmee then I don't know what does...
What "Charlotte Bless" would think of this: "Mmhmm"

More Kidman and the big Keith reveal pics after the jump...

Click to read more ...


Box Office Blather: Rango, Poetry, Gods/Men, Robbers

Bereft of inspiration today, Nathaniel turns to box office, the thing everyone else talks about elsewhere on the interwebs. Endure it! I have questions.

Top Ten
01 new RANGO $38
03 new BEASTLY $9.8
04 HALL PASS $8.8 (cumulative: $26.8)
05 GNOMEO & JULIET $7.2 (cumulative: $84)
06 UNKNOWN $6.5 (cumulative: $53)
07 JUST GO WITH IT $6.4 (cumulative: $88.1)
08 THE KING'S SPEECH $6.2 (cumulative: $123.5)
09 I AM NUMBER FOUR $5.7 (cumulative: $46.4)
10 JUSTIN BIEBER: NEVER SAY NEVER $4.2 (cumulative: $68.8)

Because I am finally free of Oscar season time constraints, I'll let you choose which new release from this week and next I should watch next to remount the "right now" movie horse. Obviously I need no push to get to JANE EYRE (Fassy! Mia!) so I left it off the list. Which other one should I write about?



Also how sad is it that a movie no one seems to like at all (Just Go With It) will now be one of Nicole Kidman's highest grossers in many years? The world -- and by world I mean movie theaters. Duh! -- would be an infinitely better place if this and Rabbit Hole ($2 million) switched cumulative grosses. Imagine the ripples in Hollywood moviemaking if female-led dramas with tremendous performances won default ticket purchases and sexist lazy comedies had to earn Oscar nominations to win any attention at all! Heh.

Other new releases: Take Me Home Tonight ($3 million), Happythankyoumoreplease ($35,000) and Uncle Boonmee reviewed ($27,800) which had a great first weekend take for a difficult movie that waited 10 months to capitalize on its Cannes hoopla. It should easily outgross Apichatpong Weerathesakul's biggest US market hit which was Tropical Malady (2005) which didn't earn that much until its fifth week in theaters.

Top 10 Foreign Films This Year (Thus Far)
01 BIUTIFUL w/ Javier Bardem $4,200,000+
03 OF GODS AND MEN $818,000+
05 7 KHOOM MAAF $268,000+
06 EVEN THE RAIN w/ Gael García Bernal $230,000+
07 IP MAN 2 $182,000+
08 WHAT WOMEN WANT w/ Gong Li and Andy Lau $123,000+
09 THE HOUSEMAID $117,000 +
10 POETRY $114,000+ don't miss it!

Asian hits of 2011

So happy that people are noticing South Korean's actressy cinema (#9 & #10) post Mother (2009).

At the subtitled speciatly box office we continue to see that if you want to make any money at all it helps to be a Bollywood feature (even with zero media attention you can earn money. See: #2,4,5). The second easiest way to sell tickets is to have a beloved star in the lead role.

Of Gods and Men's terrific opening and Even the Rain's pretty solid one suggests -- at least to this foreign film Oscar enthusiast -- that they should not have waited for a nomination for release. If there was this much interest despite snubs, imagine how much extra sympathy press they would have gotten had they already had "hit" status and then got snubbed. Of Gods and Men obviously didn't need the Oscar buzz to sell tickets and Even the Rain always had Gael García Bernal and instant recognition factor (Christopher Columbus related) going for it... Meanwhile, below this top ten lay the remains of other Oscar snubbees who waited to see how the Academy would treat them before sticking a toe in the US market: Argentina's Carancho ($39,000) German's When We Leave ($19,000) and Romania's If I Want to Whistle, I Whistle ($12,000). The biggest foreign flop this year has to be Ong Bak 3 right? The first film in this Tony Jaa muay thai trilogy was a major art house hit earning nearly  $5 million stateside and $20 million worldwide but the novelty wore out fast and/or they waited way too long to capitalize on interest and/or the sequels weren't very good? For the record I suspect it was a lethal combo of all of the above. I enjoyed the first one a lot and couldn't stomach the second which flopped in the US but it surprised me how long it took for them to make a sequel. For a year there in the mid Aughts I totally thought Tony Jaa was going to be the next international action star but then... crickets.

Heartbeats cast: Dolan, Schneider and ChokriIn other news, just because I like the film quite a lot, Xavier Dolan's Heartbeats has earned $18,000 to date but is still in theaters and available on demand. I feel like this would have done much better had his debut film I Killed My Mother had a real release in the States to build awareness of the new auteur. (I still read conflicting reports about whether or not it actually ever opened in the US and if it's that hard to know...).

On the subject of teeny tiny grosses, Germany's crime drama The Robber, which I didn't particularly "like" but which was unquestionably exciting and well-made on a technical level, has earned $5,000. It's already lined up for an English language remake (possibly with Andrew Garfield) and while I can see them trumping the film on an emotional engagement level, I think they'll be hardpressed to duplicate this one's technical virtuosity and cumulative white knuckle effect. It is scary intense.

Here's the trailer for The Robber which actually does a good job of not giving the movie's best moments / surprises away.