Asghar Farhadi has another Oscar contender on his hands...

Oscar History

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Oscar Horrors: The Sixth Sense

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Entries in Asian cinema (95)


APSA Nominations: Lion, Cold of Kalandar, and More

The Asia Pacific Screen Awards has announced its nominations for the film year. The organization is in its 10th year -- and we should note that our own Glenn Dunks works for them behind the scenes. They basically cover the whole continent so that includes Asian countries, Australia, Russia, you name it. Their definition is loose enough that it even covers films with creative teams that qualify even if the film is a co-production made elsewhere. Their nomination procedure is elaborate -- 303 films from 43 countries were in the mix this year -- and whittled down throughout the year. The results are certainly a unique barometer of the region.

Cold of Kalandar, Turkey's Oscar submission, has 3 nominations

The nominations with commentary are after the jump...

Click to read more ...


Foreign Film Race Pt 2: All the Trailers (Japan to Vietnam)

Everything You Wanted to Know About the Foreign Language Film Category... *But Were Afraid to Ask

Pt 1 All the Trailers (Albania to Italy)

Pt 2 All the Trailers (Japan through Vietnam)
Here are all the trailers in one place! (Well two places. Part one has the first half. While you watch these we're sprucing up the Official Submission Charts right now to make them cleaner with the full list now that the Academy has made the list official.  Which of the 85 films (a record!) are you eager to see? Which do you think Oscar might also warm to? 

See more trailers than you can watch in one sitting after after the jump!

Click to read more ...


Foreign Oscar Watch: Does "Xuan Zang" Complete the Submission List? 

As we've noted many times the Official Foreign Film Submission List generally contains at least one surprise when Oscar announces it -either a switcheroo from a country who had second thoughts about their submitted film or a disqualification or a film we hadn't yet heard of.  We don't know the date but it's any time in the next week or so. At the moment the list is 86 wide (a record if it holds!) thanks to the last few films we know of to announce including Costa Rica's romantic dramedy About Us, Malaysia's autism drama Redha, and the biopic Xuan Zang from China which is about a famous monk during the Tang Dynasty. That one sure looks pretty.

If you haven't looked at the Oscar charts in a while take a gander. We'll obviously break it down in several fun ways when the official list is announced.

What You Can Watch
If you are eager to see the selections please note that Sweden's A Man Called Ove, UK's Under the Shadow, South Korea's Age of Shadows, and Israel's Sand Storm are now in select cities and Mexico's Desierto hits next Friday. The only three available to watch online right now in the US that we know of are Palestine's The Idol (for rental on Amazon), Venezuela's From Afar and Greece's Chevalier (which are both streaming on Netflix). If you know of legal options in your country to view these please let others know in the comments.

86 Submissions for 2016
Afghanistan to Finland - 27 films
France to The Netherlands - 29 films
New Zealand to Vietnam - 30 films

14 Submission Reviews Thus Far
Death in Sarajevo - Bosnia & Herzegovina
Neruda - Chile
Mother - Estonia
Elle - France
Toni Erdmann - Germany
Chevalier - Greece
Sand Storm - Israel
Fire at Sea - Italy
A Flickering Truth - New Zealand
Apprentice - Singapore
Julieta - Spain
My Life as a Courgette - Switzerland
As I Open My Eyes - Tunisia
From Afar - Venezuela 


TIFF: "Apprentice," a Painful Executioner's Song

Nathaniel R reporting from the Toronto International Film Festival

 Fine movies nearly always have a specific point of view, whether that's through a polished screenplay, unusually commanding performance, or auteurial voice. In the case of Apprentice, a new drama set almost entirely in a maximum security prison, that POV is subjective, even literal on occasion. We're experiencing the story through the eyes and feelings, however repressed, of a young Malay corrections officer named Aiman (Fir Rahman). Aiman has started a new position in the rehab unit of the prison before drifting, from what seems like instinctual curiousity, towards the jail's hangman Rahim (Wan Hanafi Su), who seems from a distance callous about his job, deploying gallows humor at lunch. Rahim takes a liking to the young oddly serious man and soon he's teaching him the literal ropes -- hanging being the method of execution in Singapore. Naturally it's more complicated that that as the hangman requests a transfer for the young man to become his apprentice and as we get closer to Aiman, we're forced to rethink our first impressions of him.

His interest in the executioner is less a curiousity than an inexorable pull from his own painful past... 

Click to read more ...


007/11 Links

Radar Daniel Craig offered $150 million to continue to play 007 twice more. That's rich but the James Bond franchise is worth billions
Billboard Barbra Streisand gets her eleventh #1 album with "Encore: Movie Partners Sing Broadway" further cementing her lead as the women with the most #1 albums (Madonna is a distant second). Her first #1 album was in 1964. Talk about staying power.
The Guardian Carrie Fisher on getting older and the new doc about her and her mother

Shadowplay isn't as taken with It Follows as most critics were
In Contention will Moonlight be another Oscar player for A24? I'm seeing this tomorrow. Can't wait.
Film Mixtape a lovely review of Little Men
Awards Daily five Oscar takeaways from Telluride Film Festival from Rooney Mara in Best Actress to Arrival's iffy prospects
AV Club Stanley Tucci not up for reprising his Devil Wears Prada role. Curious. That's exactly what he did in Burlesque.
Vulture knitwear as MVP of The Light Between Oceans 
Rachel Wagner surveys the rest of the animated films opening this year 

Congratulations to Taiwanese superstar Shu Qi who just married longtime rumored boyfriend actor/director Stephen Fung. You've seen Shu Qi in several movies no doubt (including recent critical darling The Assassin) but if Stephen Fung doesn't sound quite as familiar think back. The Hong Kong star was one half of the central romance in LGBT classic Bishonen (1998) as the jaded gigolo who falls for a beautiful young cop (played by Daniel Wu, currently starring on AMC's Into the Badlands). Shu Qi was also in that movie (if I recall correctly as Wu's unaware girlfriend?) so the pair go way back... though it should be noted that they have stated that their romance is only four years old. Fung recently directed and co-starred in the Tai Chi Hero movies.

Next up for the pair? Shu Qi's remake of My Best Friend's Wedding (in the Julia Roberts role of course) is making the rounds now and Stephen Fung's next directorial feature The Adventurers is in preproduction starring Andy Lau, Jean Reno, and you guessed it... Shu Qi


Link Up

REMINDER: tomorrow night we're doing the first episode of "The Get Down" (now streaming on Netflix) for Hit Me With Your Best Shot

The Best Picture Project advice for taking your toddler to the movie theater
Los Angeles Times report on a South Korean thriller called Train to Busan that's striking a deep chord with moviegoers there
In Contention Kris Tapley has a new podcast called "Playback" - interviews and the Oscar race
Comics Alliance Flash Season 3 News. I cooled a bit on The Flash with the interminable and convoluted plot of Season 2 but season 3 is sounding like great fun: a musical episode (which we were hoping for since so many of the cast members have musical theater backgrounds) and more Gorilla Grodd for starters

MTV Teo Bugbee celebrates the 10th anniversary of Step Up, the sexiest family-friendly dance movie of the decade
Tracking Board we get the movies we deserve (on the success of Suicide Squad despite everyone agreeing that it's not good)
Coming Soon Guillermo del Toro's The Shape of Water has assembled quite a stellar cast (including Oscar nominees Richard Jenkins & Sally Hawkins) and production has begun. It's  "an other-worldly story, set against the backdrop of Cold War era America circa 1963."
Theater Mania Remember Lesley Headland's Bachelorette? It started as a play before it was a movie and now it's coming back to the stage in September (sadly it's the exact dates I'm in TIFF so I won't get to see this production).
/Film Some of the titular characters from Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them
Variety Birth of a Nation star Nate Parker responds to new reporting about a rape trial 17 years ago.
Variety Cirque du Soleil is making several changes to its Broadway show "Paramour" after opening night and reviews, which is quite rare. 
This is Not Porn Harrison Ford working out for Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)
Coming Soon Patty Jenkins respondes to rumors that Wonder Woman, like other DC superhero productions before it is a mess in post. Calls them "entirely false" with a "transparent agenda"
Theater Mania Fyvush Finkel of Picket Fences and Fiddler on the Roof fame has died at 93 years of age 
Tracking Board more discussion of "genderless" acting awards. I maintain that this would be a disaster for actresses because sexist society (and Holllywood) values men so much more and that would only exarcebate the problem of women not getting their deserved kudos in film and television. This particular article seems to think the male acting categories have more range in roles which I think is flat-out crazy. The male acting categories are so much duller and generally only have a few types of genres honored. You get a wider spread with the actresses from all the same genres as men (bios, dramas, dramedies, epics) plus romances, comedies, musicals, etcetera. 

Olympic Fever
E!Online best reaction faces from the Olympics 
Slate on Kohei Uchimura, "the greatest gymnast of all time"
Slate on why Puerto Rico gets its own Olympic team
Towleroad The IOC has deemed the Daily Beast's awful homophobic article about gay Olympians using apps to hookup "unacceptable" (the article has since been removed from the Daily Beast's website but honestly people should be fired not just 'oh we're sorry') and the straight journalist behind it Nico Hines has been recalled from Rio. Still one has to wonder what damage he's already done given that he basically outed athletes from notoriously anti-gay countries whose lives could not be at stake 
Towleroad The Daily Mail has also been on the homophobic attack, labelling hugging between Olympic divers 'unmanly' 


Box Office Special: When Films are Bigger Abroad...

What did you see this weekend?

Let's ignore Suicide Squad's big box office weekend (read Lynn's review here) as that story is overworked already given the months of hoopla on the internet and the expected fact of a very big weekend (that's what happens with much-hyped superhero films). Instead for the weekend box office column, let's talk about a situation that occurs each year in terms of different preferences in blockbusters around the globe. Those differences sometimes go a long way in explaining why some franchises never die (Hello, Ice Age) even long past their natural expiration dates. Though Finding Dory has easily topped the domestic charts in the US to become 2016's champ, it couldn't reach the global power of Captain America: Civil War (#1), Zootopia (#2) or The Jungle Book (#3) worldwide. Taste and success do vary across borders.

Stephen Chow's "The Mermaid" is the 7th biggest hit of 2016... but it did only $3 million in the US

After the jump let's look at the titles from 2016 with less than a third of their treasure chests coming from the US (currently the biggest film market though China will reportedly surpass us soon). What can we learn from this list?

Click to read more ...