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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 (24)

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 ...

Wednesday
May132015

New To (Some of) You: Still Alice, Futuro Beach, Beloved Sisters

Thanks to everyone who answered last week's open question about DVD coverage. We won't fuss too much about switching things up but we will do a little more than we are doing for the second and third wave audiences.

NEW DVD / BLURAY
This is your weekly reminder that Julianne Moore is now an Oscar winner! The film that finally did the job (in conjunction, of course, with goodwill from a dozen undeniable acting triumphs in her past) was Still Alice, a minimalist drama about a linguistics professor suffering from early on set Alzheimers which is now out on DVD and BluRay for you stragglers. Who still hasn't seen it? You owe it to Julie so, rectify.  For those that did see it two questions:

  1. Which scene do you think cemented Julianne's Oscar traction or even her win?
  2. If it's different, what scene or moment do you still think about?

Also recommended: Germany's most recent Oscar submission Beloved Sisters didn't win much press or Oscar traction despite an actual theatrical release in the December glut but it will satisfy those of you that love a good costume drama and don't mind a long running time. It's about two sisters whose mother hopes for them to marry rich but they both fall in love with the same penniless poet. Perhaps they'll share him? Here's the complete review if you missed it.

Also new though good luck finding someone who recommends them: Mortdecai (Johnny Depp + Gwyneth Paltrow + moustaches?), Blackhat (Michael's review), The Cobbler (the scathing reviews were something of a surprise since writer/director Thomas McCarthy is usually beloved), and Taylor Lautner in Tracers (though I'm never going near one of those again post-Abduction

Two recommended Instant Watches after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Friday
May012015

Lost in Translation: Dubbing Movies Into Foreign Languages

Sebastian here with a heartfelt criticism of dubbing movies for foreign markets.

Lake Bell in "In a World…," which isn't about dubbing, but it's a great movie and I needed a picture here.

This Monday I took a four hour train ride to see a movie.

I've done crazier things in the name of cinephilia. A few years ago I coerced my friends to take a day trip to Strasbourg just so I could see Steve McQueen's Shame three months before it opened here in Germany. But this time it was't about some small independent film. This time I went to all this trouble to watch a movie called Avengers: Age of Ultron. Maybe you've heard of it?

The superhero sequel had already been playing in German cinemas for a week and it's even playing in my small town. So why go elsewhere?

Click to read more ...