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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 Germany (27)

Tuesday
Sep012015

European Film Awards - Vote for the 'People's Choice'

Have you ever been to Berlin? The annual European Film Awards will be held there this year just 102 days. As part of their annual tradition if you vote on their People's Choice Awards you can be entered to win a trip to the show.

This year's People's Choice slate (the only category thus far announced) feels slightly more "behind" than usual or perhaps we misremember past years? Generally the EFA titles are a mix of current and previous Oscar seasons (due to scattered release dates) but this year's batch feels especially 2014 heavy. On the down side this means it's less helpful in seeing which films are making inroads to general critics prizes and Oscar love down the road... in that they already have or haven't. On the plus side, potential voters will have seen more of them. YOU CAN VOTE RIGHT HERE... They also have an official facebook page up now.

The 10 Nominees...  

  • A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence d. Roy Andersson
    Just announced as Sweden's Oscar submission! This auteur's unique 'vignettes in absurdist tableaus' sensibility must be experienced to be believed. Reviewed / Best of 2015 (Thus Far)
  • Force Majeure d. Ruben Östlund
    Sweden's acclaimed awards magnet was a big Oscar snub in the Foreign Film category last season... though it was up for Best Film at the EFAs. Is the American remake still planning to go ahead despite being a terrible idea? Reviewed / Blurbed / Top 20 of 2014 
  • The Imitation Game d. Morten Tyldum
    Last year's Best Picture contender qualifies as European because...? Perhaps it's the Norwegian director. But it's a US/UK production so it feels strange to see it here. Past Articles.  
  • Leviathan d. Andrey Zvyaginstev
    Russia's Oscar nominated and Golden Globe winning hit last season. Past Articles.
  • Marshland d. Alberto Rodríguez
    A serial killer drama from Spain.



  • Samba d. Oliver Nakache & Eric Toledano
    Omar Sy (The Intouchables) and Charlotte Gainsbourg headline this French film about a struggling Senegalese immigrant and a woman trying to get her life back together
  • Serial (Bad) Weddings d. Philippe de Chauveron
    A French comedy about a Catholic couple whose four daughters all get married to men of different origins and religions
  • The Salt of the Earth d. Wim Wenders & Juliano Riberio Salgada
    Best Documentary Nominee at the Oscars. On the international journeys of Brazilian photojournalist Sebastião Salgado. Discussed
  • Victoria d. Sebastian Schipper
    Winner of 6 Lola Awards. Germany couldn't really select this hard-partying drama about a girl who gets mixed up in a bank robbery for their Oscar submission -- too much English in it -- but it's won raves and a lot of attention for its one take trick. That's right, a 140 minute movie all in one continuous shot without Birdman's tricks. Laia Costa and Frederick Lau star and took the German Oscars (the Lolas) for Best Actress and Best Actor.
  • White God d. Kornél Mundruczó
    Hungary's Oscar submission last season (not nominated), an allegorical film featuring rampaging packs of wild dogs, has been riveting moviegoers since its 2014 Cannes debut. Now on DVD. Reviewed / Interview

I'll have to choose between the two Swedish films for my personal vote. Who gets yours?

 

Friday
Aug282015

Open Thread (feat. The Gurus of Gold.)

How are you feeling about the forthcoming Oscar race? Do you think we've seen several prime contenders or mostly none at all? When will you feel it's truly begun?

David Poland at Movie City News just asked the Gurus of Gold (including yours truly) to rank the forthcoming Oscar races in three different categories: widely seen already / playing the festivals / opening late in the year. You can see the charts here. If you trust "the wisdom of crowds" as it were, Carol, Inside Out, and Mad Max Fury Road are in the best positions thus far of movies that have already screened. This confuses me a bit as Carol's reviews in Cannes felt more admiring than deeply in love which can be but is not always a problem with the Academy. Plus it'll have to survive the current turmoil at the Weinstein CompanyInside Out, while a true return to form, still has to deal with the fact that it's an animated movie from a studio that has been terrifically well rewarded already that they won't feel they owe a single thing to, in a time frame in which "wow, animated movies can be just as good as live action movies!" is no longer a revelatory angle but just a "duh!" part of the landscape, and whose future slate does not suggest that it's a return to form for good since the upcoming slate is largely sequels. And though I love Mad Max: Fury Road as much as anyone -- I'll be very surprised if it doesn't make my top ten -- I'm still having trouble imagining it as a true player. The fourth film in a long dead franchise that they never cared about before (zero nominations) in a genre they don't care about (apocalyptic sci-fi) from a director who has remained an outsider by choice (George Miller) starring actors they probably like but are inarguably not obsessed with, whose pleasures often focus on practical effects and stunts (for which Oscar has no category). I'm trying to find the Oscar hook beyond ecstatic reviews (which several other movies will also have by years end as that's how the season always goes) but if there is one it's invisible!  I'm more bullish on Youth and Brooklyn, largely because they seem more traditional in terms of Oscar appeal for reasons involving both topics and tone. 

P.S. #1 Toronto is less than two weeks away. Eep!

P.S. #2 Are you joining us for Hit Me With Your Best Shot - Mad Max: Fury Road? That's Monday night, September 7th! I'll try not to choose the shot above which filled me with wild shameless feminist glee in the movie theater... but I might. We'll see.

P.S. #3 More on Oscar's Foreign Language Film race very soon but watch out for Germany. They've just selected Labyrinth of Lies and, as you may recall from last year's TIFF write-ups, it's quite good. And Oscar friendly, too. It's a Holocaust movie that doesn't feel like 'just another Holocaust movie' because it's coming at the topic from a far less overworked angle, as its about a lawyer investigating unpunished war crimes in the 1960s.

Thursday
Aug132015

Germany's Submissions for Oscar Consideration


Having had no luck scoring a nomination for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar since Michael Haneke's The White Ribbon six years ago, Germany has just announced the shortlist for consideration as the country's entry for the 88th Academy Awards. The eight films listed are:

  • 13 Minutes (Elser) by Oliver Hirschbiegel
  • Head Full of Honey (Honig im Kopf) by Til Schweiger
  • Jack by Edward Berger
  • Labyrinth of Lies (Im Labyrinth des Schweigens) by Giulio Ricciarelli
  • Sanctuary (Freistatt) by Marc Brummund
  • Schmidts Katze by Marc Schlegel
  • Victoria by Sebastian Schipper
  • We Are Young. We Are Strong. (Wir sind jung. Wir sind stark.) by Burhan Qurbani

Let's take a closer look...

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Jul292015

Nina Hoss on Searching for the Soul and Identity in 'Phoenix'

Jose here.

In her six films with director Christian Petzold, Nina Hoss has explored the roles women have played in German history during the twentieth century, in Jerichow she played a postmodern femme fatale trying to convince an Afghanistan veteran to kill for her, in Wolfsburg she played a mother being wooed by the man who ran over her son, in Barbara she was a doctor trying to escape East Germany in the 1980s, and in the post-WWII set Phoenix, which might be their greatest collaboration to date, she plays Nelly, a former cabaret singer who survived a Nazi concentration camp, but was left brutally deformed. As she tries to reclaim her past life through a surgery described as a recreation, rather than a reconstruction, she must come to terms with the fact that she is now living in a world that has very little to do with the one she left behind.

Hoss’ layered performance as Nelly is the kind of work that should be garnering awards buzz, as it helps her establish herself as one of the best living actresses, and places her as Petzold’s greatest collaborator, rather than his muse. In 2014, English speaking audiences got their first taste of Hoss’ brilliance as she managed to steal the show in A Most Wanted Man and Homeland (her character is returning for Season 5) and asPhoenix makes its Stateside debut, it’s about time we all start talking about Hoss more frequently. I had a chance to talk to her to discuss her work in Phoenix and how it relates to classic Hollywood films, as well as her preferred acting method and the career path she might take years from now.

Our interview is after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Jun202015

Victoria sweeps German Film Awards

Sebastian here with a quick update from the German Film Awards (Deutscher Filmpreis).

A still from VICTORIA

Fresh off its Silver Bear win at the Berlinale, Sebastian Schipper's Victoria, a two hour and twenty minute thriller filmed in one continuous shot without editing or camera tricks, dominated Friday night's Filmpreis ceremony, claiming "Lolas" in six categories, including Best Picture, Director, Actress (Laia Costa), and Actor (Frederick Lau).

Other prizes went to dramas Phoenix (Supporting Actress Nina Kunzendorf) and Germany's 2014 Oscar submission Beloved Sisters (Costume Design, Makeup), the thriller Who Am I (Editing, Production Design, Sound), and Citizenfour (Documentary).

I'm a huge fan of Schipper's previous work, especially his debut film Absolute Giganten (1999), so I was rooting for Victoria even without having seen it - in a cruel twist of faith the one movie I was eager to see that I didn't have to worry about being dubbed didn't open in my town at all. Adopt Films has acquired Victoria for distribution in the US and "plans a late summer/early fall 2015 release." Though Victoria beat last year's Oscar submission and two more traditional Oscar submission hopefuls (Labyrinth of Lies and Elser both deal with WW II or its repercussions) for the 2015 Lola, this doesn't necessarily mean it will be Germany's Oscar submission. We'll have to wait and see who takes that honor later in the year.

Thursday
Jun112015

Q&A: May/December Romance? Actressy Titles? Streep Sans Sophie

This week's Ask Nathaniel session didn't get as many questions as usual -- you were intimidated by the request for donations surely which sucks because life ain't free and we work hard here -- but here are 9 questions anyway because I'm such a giver. Let's start with a trip back to 1995 and move on to smackdowns, actressexual directors, Nicole Kidman in Paddington, and Hollywood's love of pairing older men with younger woman... 

Golden Globe Comedy Wins Don't Always Lead to Oscar Noms

COCO: I'm in a very 1995 mood. Were you obsessing and predicting twenty years ago?

NATHANIEL: LOL. Yes, I was.  I've been obsessed since I first discovered the Oscars 82/83 (my family was mystified since none of them had interest) and started making list of "dream nominations" each year when I was a kid even though I didn't see most of the actual nominees since they were rated "R" (VERBOTEN!) so I was madly scribbling things like  "Best Actress: Daryl Hannah for Splash !!!" and such early on. But honestly I can't remember when I started "predicting" in the classic sense but it was definitely before The Film Experience.

We'll be discussing 1995 at length in the July Smackdown so I'll save most of my comments for then but my biggest nail-biter and raucous-cheering and breath-holding was for Elisabeth Shue in Leaving Las Vegas (who was my personal choice for the Oscar that year) since there were basically seven women with what seemed like actual traction for five spots. The oddwomen out were, of course, Jennifer Jason Leigh (Georgia) and Golden Globe Actress in a Musical or Comedy winner Nicole Kidman (To Die For).  Nothing against Leigh and Kidman but I knew there was only room for 1 of them since Sarandon, Stone, Streep, Thompson were locked up for various reasons some valid some not. That year's Best Actress race was so overstuffed and incredible which is why it comes up so often in Oscar circles as a point of discussion. 

On some posters (not this one) the tag line is "Raises screen acting to a new level of sexual knowingness" (!!!)PEDINHRO: What are your favorite movies with a female name in the title? My all time favorite is The Marriage of Maria Braun!

Well, you took the best one! Wait do you mean Best Title or Best Movie that just happens to have a female name in the title? If you mean best movie obviously I have to have things like Carrie and Annie Hall. But if you mean "Best Title" that's more fun so let's make it a whole top ten after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Saturday
May232015

Review: Pitch Perfect 2

The standard formula for sequel-making is easy to remember: do it again, only bigger. Elizabeth Banks has taken this to heart while working both sides of the camera. Pitch Perfect 2 marks her feature directorial debut but she's still fully visible as one half of the insult-comic pundits that barrage the acapella groups with shade as we watch them perform. The absurd notion of live commentary during vocal performances continues to be a pretty good unspoken joke unto itself so naturally Gail (Banks) and John (John Michael Higgins), have larger roles this time. They're like the Waldorf & Statler to the Bardem Bella's Muppets only hornier and way more intrusive. The comparison may be fusty but so is the jokey tone - vaudeville sized in its caricature driven gags and completely shameless at wringing laughs from crude, repetitive and stereotype-loving jokes. In fact, it's so broadly cartoonish that it's easy to imagine virtually any of the cast members as muppets, especially Fat Amy (née Fat Patricia). 

Who among you didn't visualize Rebel Wilson as a Muppet just now; the resemblance is uncanny!

Click to read more ...