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 Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. Also loves cats. All material herein is written and copyrighted by him, unless otherwise noted. twitter | facebook | pinterest | tumblr | instagram | letterboxd | deviantart 


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Entries in dogs (45)


Wes Anderson Returns to Animation

Tim here, with exciting news for those of us who regard Fantastic Mr. Fox as a high water mark in the career of Wes Anderson. The Playlist reported on Friday that the director will be returning to the realm of stop-motion animals with his next feature, currently in pre-production. There are no plot details nor a title nor really anything, which I don't think should prevent us from going hog-wild with random speculation in comments. 

My guess: an exact replica of the Vietnam War play from Rushmore, only with fussy animal puppets.

We actually do know one thing: the film will be about dogs. Anderson, of course, is noted for his tendency to kill or otherwise abuse dogs in his movies: The Royal Tenenbaums, Fantastic Mr. Fox, and Moonrise Kingdom all feature terrible things happening to their various pooches. It remains to be seen whether the new film represents his attempt to apologize to the noble species of Canis lupus familiaris, giving man's best friend a feature film to thrive and triumph. Or maybe it will just be his first movie in which every cast member dies at the end in a hideous Tarantinoesque bloodbath. But, y'know, set to Alexandre Desplat music.


TIFF: Two More Foreign Language Oscar Submissions

2015's TIFF has concluded and we tried to catch a few of the Foreign Language Oscar submissions while we were there. We've already written about Colombia's Embrace of the Serpent so here are two more official entries from Norway and Portugal

Oscar Trivia Notes: Portugal holds the sad statistic of being the country with the most annual submissions (32 in total) to have never been nominated. This category was established as an annual competitive event back in 1956 and Portugal began submitting in 1980 - they've missed only a few years of the competition since. Norway has fared better. Though Israel, Mexico, and Belgium, lead this particular statistic, Norway is stuck in a tie for fourth place with Greece for "the most nominated country that has yet to win the foreign film Oscar." Norway has been nominated five times. More fun stats here. I'd suggest that The Wave didn't have a prayer of being nominated except that the last time Oscar went for a Norwegian film it was a similarly conventional mainstream adventure (Kon-Tiki) so who knows.

The Wave (Norway, Roar Uthaug)
The best thing one can and should say about this disaster epic from Norway is that it's just as good as your average American entry in this crowded genre and it does that with a significantly lower budget while sticking closer to plausible science in its action sequences. It keeps things more intimate, keeping a tight focus on one family and a group of coworkers, and building slowly to the money shot disaster. The tsunami doesn't happen until well into the running time but The Wave keeps you interested regardless.  It's no surprise that Norway submitted it since it is a massive blockbuster there. According to the director's intro at the public screening over half a million people at home had already bought tickets to it in less than a month. (Can you imagine 10% of the US population going to any single movie in a month's time frame? It just doesn't happen. I think American Sniper could argue it got there but not in one month's time!) Still The Wave has the same ugly problem of valuing one blond family's welfare over everyone else's entire existence that got The Impossible into trouble with critics. Although The Wave has a better excuse for its total whiteness since it's Norway (which is very white) not Thailand! But The Wave is even more ruthless about placing the sanctity of this one family's unity and love and survival above anyone else, though I shan't spoil why that is. Nevertheless the movie is exciting to watch, the three principal actors are charming (including Ane Dahl Torp who also starred in Norway's submission last year 1001 Grams) and Norwegian movies can always be counted on for sublime scenery -- even when that scenery turns malevolent -- but boy is this thing cliche-ridden and predictable! B-

Arabian Nights Volume 2: The Desolate One (Portugal, Miguel Gomes)
I attended the middle feature of this trilogy, the one that was Oscar submitted because the director claims you needn't see the three films in order, with Nick and Amir as my final film of TIFF. They both emerged from the screenings with missionary zeal about its brilliance. Nick considers the trilogy the movie event of the year. I'm not as gaga for it though I admit that part of that may well be that I a) didn't get it and b) I have a well known lack of tolerance for artists that can't self-edit and long running times and a 7 hour three part movie in which every sequence (that I've seen) has dead space pushes these buttons for me in a big way. I'll let Amir review the trilogy proper since he's a true fan but I will say despite my reservations on the length of the project as a whole and even this third of it (which is itself over 2 hours long) it is often quite funny and provocative in its pile-up of politics, storytelling idiosyncracies, and nonsensical events (as an example of the latter at one point a character turns invisible and seems to teleport with a muscle flexing grunt and this has nothing at all to do with the story or the scene or the narration or the political content as far as I can gather) 

Dixie is a born starMiguel Gomes, who previous directed the whatsit Tabu (that critics were also besotted with), is in his own way as weird and singular an auteur as Thailand's Apichatpong Weerathasakul. His movies could not be accidentally mistaken for anyone else's and that, should you be in doubt, is a huge compliment. This trilogy is NOT an adaptation of the classic Arabian Nights but just borrows its structure with this version of Scheherazade telling us fables about poverty, politics, and social justice that are drawn from / comment on the Austerity period in Portugal that impoverished many of its citizens.

To make this trilogy project even more confusing, each volume has multiple stories within it. Volume 2 has three plus separate stories: the first is about "a man without bowels" who is being hunted by the police; the second, my preference, is about a Judge trying a case in what looks like an ancient greek theater which becomes more and more absurd and abstract and continually finds new people to blame as it progresses; the last is the story of an raggedy poodle named "Dixie" and her rotating people who have to keep giving her up. Dixie is a total cutie and won "the Palme Dog" at Cannes.

To make this volume even more confusing, the story of Dixie has several nested stories within it about the residents of a particular apartment building which have nothing at all to do with Dixie though other pets come into play (Gomes movies seem fascinated by animals be they dogs, alligators, parrots, cats, or whatnot). Describing the abundant oddity is nearly impossible: people turn invisible, cows speak at trials, naked ladies bake cakes. Real Oscar Bait, people! WTF

Related: There are now 61 official submission titles so make sure to check out the updated foreign film charts.

• Current Predictions plus all time stats/trivia
• Afghanistan through Estonia  15 official 
• Ethiopia through The Netherlands 25 official
• Norway through Vietnam 21 official 

The full official submission list will be published around October 1st with probably about 10 more titles joining this current lineup. Generally speaking at least one of the previously announced titles mysteriously vanishes or is replaced when the official list is published. 


Uggie (2002-2015)

Sad news. Uggie, the dog star of 2011's Best Picture The Artist is no longer with us. He lived to be 13. I'm not even a dog person as you know but he was a cinematic delight and my chin started trembling when I read the news.

After the jump, some adorable photos of this superstar dog and celebrities he loved and licked. Join us in a sing-along of "God Loves a Terrier" via Best in Show while you peruse the pics.

Click to read more ...


Top 10 Gallery: Celebrities Licking Things They Shouldn't

Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) got people when she surfaced in the Suicide Squad trailer. She also surely got the germ-phobic gagging.


10. Prison bars. 

nine more after the jump

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Halfway Menagerie: Ten Best Screen Animals 2015

½way mark - part 8 of 9 
Did you find yourself wishing that the Maloja Snake wasn't just the movement of the Clouds of Sils Maria but an actual snake? Did Channing Tatum still turn you on in dog-human hybrid form in Jupiter Ascending? Did you cringe when that cute double-headed mutant lizard met such an ignoble end in Mad Max Fury Road's first scene?

If you answered yes to any of those questions you might be an animal person and this list is for you!

Because Nathaniel R is a crazy cat lady

10 Paddington in Paddington
His fur may be too mangy (who needs photo realism?) but he sure is a polite amiable fellow and his movie is mostly a treat. 

 09 Cat Stevens in Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
I get that this movie is probably making fun of me Greg's dad's love for his cat, Cat Stevens, but I don't care because screen time for cats always improves movies. And this one needed the help. Injustice: the cat actor playing Cat Stevens is not credited.  

8 more furry friends after the jump... 

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Podcast: Two Transatlantic Conversations

This new unconventional episode of the podcast features two guests and two conversations. First Nathaniel calls Australia to check in with Glenn Dunks to see what he's been up to cinematically since leaving NYC. And then a conversation with Guy Lodge in London about his experience at this year's Cannes Film Festival.


  • 00:01 - 02:30 Intro: Nathaniel (feat. Annie Lennox)
  • 02:26 - 19:15  Glenn From Australia: Mad Max Fury Road, The English Patient, Nicole Kidman in Strangerland, 54 The Director's Cut, Film Preservation
  • 19:16 - Guy from London: Loving Arabian Nights, The Lobster and Todd Haynes' Carol, Cannes Jury Prizes, The AssassinSon of Saul and the Foreign Film race, Maryland, and hating Paolo Sorrentino's Youth

Please to enjoy and continue the conversation in the comments. You can listen at the bottom of this post or download from iTunes tomorrow.  


Cannes, London, and Australia


Potential Foreign Oscar Submissions from Cannes

While most of the world obsesses on Eurovision today, we'll stayed obsessed with France. The Cannes festival ends tomorrow with the awards ceremony and the biggies like the Palme D'Or (the overall winner) Best Actress (or 'The Anti-Marion' as it will surely soon be retitled since she's in the mix every single year but never wins) and the Camera D'Or (first film). But until tomorrow afternoon when we hear those honors, we've still got plenty to discuss including potential Oscar submissions (I must soon create those massive foreign submission charts) and the first wave of jury prizes.

Isabella Rossellini's jury has handed out their prizes with this statement from Rossellini

We, the jury, would like to thank the Festival de Cannes for inviting us to be part of the Jury for Un Certain Regard. The experience of watching nineteen films from twenty-one countries was memorable. It was like taking a flight over our Planet and its inhabitants… Any anthropologist would be envious of us. We would like in particular to thank Thierry Frémaux and his team for their incredible kindness. I cannot refrain from expressing also my personal gratitude to the Festival for having chosen my mother Ingrid Bergman for the poster of the 68th edition of this festival. Mamma seems to hovered over all of us, filmmakers and film lovers, as a guardian angel. Thank you.

Here's a roundup of prizes including many potential Oscar submissions for Best Foreign Language Film...

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