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12 Things we learned from the Oscar noms

"Emily Blunt's day will come and she'll be Blue Jasmine amazing..." - Yavor

"I learned that the industry really wants to punish films that cost a lot of money to make and do not crack at least a megabuck in revenue. I have no idea how much money First Man lost, but the message has gone out loud and clear... " - Carl

"Ethan Hawke needs to stop saying European Art Films are better than Hollywood movies, even though he's right." - Dan H

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Ben Foster (Leave No Trace)
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Entries in Capernaum (8)

Sunday
Jan132019

Interview: Nadine Labaki on directing children in her riveting Oscar contender "Capernaum"

by Nathaniel R

Nadine Labaki is three-for-three. Lebanon's most prominent filmmaker has seen all three of her films premiere at Cannes to considerable acclaim and go on to represent her country as Oscar submissions. The first two Caramel (2007) and Where Do We Go Now? (2011) became international arthouse hits. Her newest feature Capernaum, distributed by Sony Pictures Classics, recently began its platform release in the US and will hopefully see the same warm reception. It's her best shot yet at an Oscar nomination, having made the finals in foreign film. Her Cannes jury prize winner focuses on the refugee crisis in Lebanon by focusing on one Syrian boy named Zain (played by Zain Al Rafeea) who is trying to survive on his own. It's a visceral must-see and should elevate Labaki's already healthy reputation as a world class director.

To my surprise, she isn't sure what she's doing next, admitting that this one has been particularly hard to let go of...

Click to read more ...

Friday
Jan042019

Review: Capernaum

Please welcome new contributor Abe Fried-Tanzer

Two years ago, despite over a dozen submissions since 1978, Lebanon hadn’t had a film nominated for the Oscar for Best Foreign Film. Now, the small Middle Eastern country is looking at a likely second consecutive nomination. The Insult was a powerful portrait of two adult men divided by hate and behaving like children. Capernaum, equally compelling, spotlights the opposite: a child acting like an adult, seemingly far more capable of understanding the world for what it is than the actual grown-ups in his life.

The sensational description of this film’s plot focuses on its approximately twelve-year-old protagonist Zain (Zain Al Rafeea) suing his parents for giving birth to him. That summary may conjure up courtroom drama, but that’s far from the truth of the film which takes place on merciless streets. Instead, Capernaum provides a layered look at what it means to be responsible for another person...

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Dec182018

100 Most Popular Foreign Films of 2018 + the Oscar Hopefuls!

Our year in review party begins TODAY. A different list each day! Here's Nathaniel R...

Time for an annual look back at subtitled fare in cinemas. As with 2017 and the year before India, China, Mexico, and South Korea dominate with a smattering of Oscar contenders and random other countries faring much less well in the American marketplace. Much of the imbalance is due to dedicated distributors who saw a underserved market and focus specifically on it. Here in Manhattan, it's interesting to watch how this plays out. Generally speaking some big multiplexes reserve one or two screens for super specific distributors (Bollywood and mainstream Asian features for example are often at the Empire in Times Square which has 25 screens). Meanwhile the traditional "arthouse theaters" continue to rely on the decades-long practice of programming festival hits, docs, and arthouse style cinema which leans heavily European with a few buzzy Asian titles thrown in; in other words they're Oscar-aligned in their tastes.

For the purposes of the following list we skipped documentaries and animated films to keep the list more focused (and avoid arguments about dubbed versions or whatnot). The numbers are pulled from Box Office Mojo.

TOP 100 FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILMS FOR 2018
Domestic Box Office Grosses Only - Figures as of January 6th

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Dec162018

What did you see this weekend?

by Nathaniel R

What did you see this week? I caught up with Ralph Breaks the Internet and *gasp* Paddington 2 (I regret my life choices that put the latter off this long). Here's what general audiences and big city moviegoers were checking out...

Weekend Box Office (Estimates)
(December 14th-16th)

W I D E
800+ screens
PLATFORM / LIMITED
excluding prev. wide
1 🔺 Into the Spider-Verse $35.4 on 3813 screens *NEW* Review
1 🔺 The Favourite $2.5 on 439 screens (cum. $6.7) ReviewPodcast ❤️
2 🔺 The Mule $17.2 on 2588 screens *NEW* 
2 🔺 Mary Queen of Scots $700k on 66 screens (cum. $961k) Review 

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Dec112018

Podcast: Critics Awards, Capernaum, Vox Lux

Nathaniel RMurtada Elfadl, and Nick Davis to talk new films and awards madness


Index (68 minutes)
00:01 Top ten lists mania. And what makes a screener gay?
04:42 Vox Lux. What is going on there with Brady Corbet's messaging and Natalie Portman's ACTING?
16:01 Celebrity Cameos: Boots Riley, Julia Roberts, and pre-SAG silliness
22:16 LAFCA prizes and critical consensus especially around Roma
36:00 Ethan Hawke vs Bradley Cooper for Best Actor
41:22 Nadine Labaki's amazing Oscar submission Capernaum
49:20 Foreign Film Contenders. We don't like Girl
56:45 "Narratives" Glenn Close, Regina King, Amy Adams, Emily Blunt
63:30 Category Fraud Giggles and Carol Throwbacks
66:50 Ask us some questions, bitches!

Further Reading / References
Boots Riley's Twitter account
Foreign Film Race
Nick's take on Girl
LAFCA Awards
• ...oh and this is Christopher the cat, who was present for the recording

You can listen to the podcast here at the bottom of the post or download from iTunesContinue the conversations in the comments, won't you? 

Critics Awards, Vox Lux, Capernaum, and More...