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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 | letterboxd

 

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Entries in foreign films (229)

Wednesday
Mar252015

"Yesterday Today and Tomorrow" - Best Shot Visual Index

This week's Hit Me With Your Best Shot subject is Vittorio de Sica's gorgeous comic love song, three of them, to Italy and super-sized movie star charisma. Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni are special on their own but together it's something else again. Vittorio de Sica is one of Italy's great directors but usually when people reference him they're talking about neo realism and his classic The Bicycle Thief. That's nothing at all like this colorful playful romantic comedy. The film was shot by Giuseppe Rotunno who also lensed Rocco & His Brothers (previously covered in this very series) and later went on to an Oscar nomination for the Bob Fosse masterpiece All That Jazz (1979). Yesterday Today and Tomorrrow was a hit, another feather in both stars caps (they were already international superstars) and won the Oscar for Best Foreign Film and a BAFTA for "Foreign Actor" for Mastroianni but today it's underdiscussed.

It remains most famous for one scene in particular, Sophia's modest but ultra sexy little striptease pulling a stocking down to the horny delight of childlike Marcello. The stars later riffed on that scene together in Robert Atlman's fashion comedy Pret a Porter. Since there are so many images in this post (one from each short film from most of the participants) they'll have to go after the jump. And if these images and great articles don't convince you to see this Oscar winner, all hope is lost!  

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Mar152015

Box Office: Wild Tales of CG Mice and Mike Leigh's Success

For today's box office charts, since there isn't much news beyond Cinderella's expected but terrific opening, here's two charts. 1) The unavoidable movies and 2) the movies you have to seek out. The quality differential is damn frightening. Every single one of the platform toppers are really good! If only audiences could have better taste... sigh... but it's not all their fault. The studios have trained moviegoers to not seek quality since quality is harder to sell and easy marketing hooks are a far more fail safe option with which to run a business since quality (a tough job) is neither here nor there. And once people stopped seeking quality, it got harder and harder to find even if you were seeking. The story of the dwindling of the American arthouse. Well, that and the fast turn-around to DVD and On Demand.

Erica Rivas in WILD TALES. Her wedding doesn't go as well as CINDERELLA's.

WIDE RELEASE
01 Cinderella $70 NEW Review
02 Run All Night $11 NEW
03 Kingsman: The Secret Service $6.2 (cum. $107.3) Review
04 Focus $5.8 (cum. $44)
05 Chappie $5.8 (cum. $23) Review

PLATFORM RELEASE
01 Wild Tales (68 Theaters) $.2 (cum. $.8) Review
02 '71 (65 Theaters) $.2 (cum. $.3) Review
03 It Follows (4 Theaters) $.1 NEW Review
04 Mr Turner (89 Theaters) $.1 (cum. $3.7) Review & Interview
05 Red Army (58 Theaters) $.07 (cum. $.4)  

Oscar nominated Dick Pope and Mike Leigh on the set of Mr TurnerIt Follows, the latest buzzy horror had the week's best per screen average. More artistically leaning horror films have been on a real roll lately creatively but the public interest hasnt yet been piqued so they haven't peeked. Mr Turner is closing out its run soon but it did well... Mike Leigh movies tend to gross right below that region in the US. The ones that Oscar likes do best which probably isn't a surprise:  Secrets and Lies (5 nominations, all in top 8 categories) grossed roughly quadruple what his films usually gross; Topsy-Turvy (4 nominations... mostly in craft categories and his only film to win Oscars, 2 of them) is his second most popular; Vera Drake (3 Oscar nominations, all in top 8 categories) and Mr Turner (4 Oscar nominations, all in craft categories) grossed slightly more than his usual releases. This explains why SPC is so obsessed with releasing them in December but it's a pity because some of them without obvious Oscar hooks need more time to build. Another Year, I maintain, would have been far more successful if released in the fall because it's quiet and contemporary and its power sneaks up on you. 

TFE Recommends: Do yourself a huge favor (if you haven't yet) and take a group of friends to see Argentina's Oscar nominee Wild Tales. It's so funny and comedies are always best with a group. Super accessibly entertaining too as long as your friends know how to read or can speak Spanish. I'm dying to hear which is your favorite from the six short films within the film. I'm partial to "The strongest" (#3) and "Until death do us part" (#6) but they're all good.

What did you see this weekend? If you saw Cinderella chat about that here. I liked it but I really wanted Lucifer to eat those damn CG mice. 

Tuesday
Feb242015

New Oscar Trivia. Courtesy of the 87th Academy Awards

What does a fresh list of winners bring? Why... New TRIVIA of course! 

Do you think Patty Arquette has seen SAVAGE GRACE?

picture birdman director alejandro gonzález iñárritu, birdman actress julianne moore, still alice  actor eddie redmayne, theory of everything supporting actress patricia arquette, boyhood supporting actor j.k. simmons, whiplash original screenplay birdman adapted screenplay imitation game foreign film ida animated feature big hero 6 documentary feature citizenfour cinematography birdman editing whiplash production design grand budapest hotel costume design grand budapest hotel makeup and hair grand budapest hotel  visual effects interstellar score grand budapest hotel song "glory" selma sound mixing whiplash sound editing american sniper  live action short the phone call documentary short crisis hotline animated short feast ...I forgot to ask all of you how you did on your predictions? I did decent but not spectacular 18/24 (but i heard from a few readers who said I helped them win their office pool so there's that) but the short film categories messing me up as usual grrrr

After the jump, there's lots of trivia brought on by the 87th batch. If you have a really good one I forgot, I can always update the post so please to enjoy and comment... 

Click to read more ...

Friday
Feb202015

John Boorman on His Oscar Experience

Jose here. Earlier this week I had the opportunity to sit down with legendary director John Boorman (Deliverance, Point Blank, The Tailor of Panama) in order to talk about his new film Queen and Country a sequel to his Oscar nominated Hope and Glory. Besides being a notoriously versatile director Mr. Boorman is also quite the cinephile, with a profound knowledge of silent cinema and obscure noirs, this led our conversation to stray into the topic of the Academy Awards...

John Boorman directs 'Deliverance' (L) 'Hope and Glory' (R)

You’ve been nominated for Best Director twice for Deliverance and Hope and Glory, can you share some of your memories about going to the Oscars?

First of all, it’s incredibly boring, because you leave the hotel at 2 in the afternoon and the show goes on until 11 at night, and you sit in the audience more often than not watching the commercials, or at least the gaps the commercials create. It’s very wearing! (laughs) I didn’t go when I was nominated for Deliverance, I went when I was nominated for Hope & Glory, I’d been nominated as producer, director and screenwriter. I was delighted that the film was nominated, but I didn’t win in any of the categories, and it makes you feel like such a failure (laughs).

You keep yourself active as an Academy member?

Yes, I see them all and vote, but the ones I vote for never win (laughs).

What were some of your favorites in the Oscar race this year?

In the Oscars this year, in the Foreign Language category, there are three films Leviathan, Ida and Timbuktu, and there are no three films in any other category that match up to these at all. I saw them recently and felt so proud to be a filmmaker! But what does their quality say about the other films? Quite good films even, like The Theory of Everything and Birdman and so on? There’s something calculating about these films, it’s a calculation that somehow the system brings up because of the way films are made. Scripts are supervised by studios and you feel these films have been overcooked, there’s something slightly contrived about them. They’re looking over their shoulder a little bit.

Queen and Country, Boorman's final film, is now playing in select theaters.

Wednesday
Feb182015

So Nice, She's Been Nominated Twice: Isabelle Adjani

abstew here. With her second nomination for Two Days, One Night, Marion Cotillard joins a small but prestigious group of actresses that received both their Best Actress nominations for foreign language performances. We previously discussed Sophia Loren and Liv Ullmann so let's close out the series with French cinematic royalty... 

Isabelle Adjani
after the jump 

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Tuesday
Feb172015

So Nice, She's Been Nominated Twice: Liv Ullmann

abstew here. With her second nomination for Two Days, One Night, Marion Cotillard joins a small but prestigious group of actresses that received both their Best Actress nominations for foreign language performances. The first actress to achieve it was Sophia Loren who we discussed over the weekend. Today we look back at the Norwegian muse of the master Ingmar Bergman...

Liv Ullmann
after the jump 

Click to read more ...

Monday
Feb162015

Interview: Ronit and Shlomi Elkabetz on 'Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem'

Jose here. In Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem, Israeli goddess Ronit Elkabetz returns to play a part she’s lived with for more than a decade. In 2004, Ronit and her brother Shlomi teamed up as writers and co-directors of a film trilogy that would concentrate on the experiences of a woman as seen through the roles society imposed on her. In the first installment, To Take a Wife, Viviane must deal with being trapped in a loveless marriage to her husband Elisha (Simon Abkarian), in 7 Days, Viviane must sit Shiva and come to terms with the fact that she is obligated to mourn despite not feeling pain. In Gett, which opened this weekend on the heels of its Golden Globe Foreign Film nomination (Oscar passed it by), Viviane is trying to gain her freedom from Elisha, but finds that practically impossible given that her husband hasn’t committed any “sins” against her; her request is deemed invalid by the strict rabbinical court.

In the years since her breakthrough in Late Marriage (2001), also an Israeli Oscar submission, and the first Viviane installment, Ronit has become the face of Israeli cinema having delivered brilliant performances in films like The Band’s Visit and Or. Gett also reveals her growth behind the camera with a much more sophisticated directorial technique, as she and Shlomi tell the story from a very subjective point of view. With their use of the camera and precise shots, they allow Viviane to have the freedom of thought society continues to deny her. A perfectly cast ensemble makes the film a worthy spiritual companion to A Separation and Zodiac, in a way, as they all explore the frustration that comes along with endless, inefficient bureaucratic processes.

During their recent visit to New York City, I talked to Ronit and Shlomi about their collaborations, their unique use of cinematic language and how Gett has rightfully become a sociopolitical sensation in Israel.

The interview is after the jump...    

Click to read more ...