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Entries in Mads Mikkelsen (6)

Friday
Oct242014

Scandinavians in London: New Films From Those 'Royal Affair' Lovers

A couple more reports from London and Chicago festivals heading your way. Here's David on three new films starring either Alicia Vikander or Mads Mikkelsen, who formerly sizzled together in Denmark's recent Oscar nominee "A Royal Affair" - Editor

Alicia Vikander

That Testament of Youth was made the Centrepiece Gala at the festival seems, sight unseen, predictable: supported by the Mayor of London, the Gala slot is one of the few that really demonstrates the festival's support of homegrown cinema, and the story told here is as British as you can get. 2014 marks the centenary of World War I, and with it comes this adaptation of Vera Brittain's iconic memoir. James Kent's film keeps his focus to the period of the war itself, beginning at its end; Vera (Alicia Vikander) looks oddly distraught amidst the celebrating crowds packing London's streets. Testament of Youth is a compassionate reminder of the emotional and physical toll of war on a whole nation - which is what Brittain's memoir proved too, in 1933, not long before the second, more devastating war hit.

Kit Harington and VikanderWhile the film is impeccably upholstered, with Consolata Boyle's costumes and Robert Hardy's photography particularly impeccable, it's the character work that makes Testament of Youth such an involving experience, especially through the veil of a 'period' film. Vikander is quite simply luminous, but the camera is drawn as much to the stubborn, robust manner she gives Brittain as much as it is the softer romanticism of the character's winsome independence. The film is decorated with familiar faces giving sturdy turns along the way: Miranda Richardson, Dominic West, Emily Watson and Hayley Atwell all have their striking moments.

Click to read more ...

Friday
Jan312014

Cesar Academy Nominates French President's Mistress! (Who cares about movies anyway?)

Julien, your french correspondent, here to discuss the César nominations.

OUTRAGE ! Twitter was in uproar this morning when the nominees for the Best Actress César were announced, and the name Adèle Exarchopoulos was nowhere to be seen. While Léa Seydoux made the cut for her arguably supporting role, Adèle’s astounding lead performance in Blue is the Warmest Color was relegated to the Most Promising Actress category.

Before you raise your pitchforks, consider this perfectly logical explanation: since Tahar Rahim won both the Best Actor and Most Promising Actor gongs for A Prophet in 2010, the rules were altered so that a single performance can only be nominated in a single category -the one which collects the most votes. Fair enough César, but when a category which is supposed to promote new talent prevents the year’s most celebrated performance to be nominated in its rightful place, you’re clearly doing something wrong.

All the nominees and a lot of gay drama and political mischief after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Dec212013

Randomness: The Hunt, Film Scores, Burlesque Memories

I'm experiencing something a bit like ADHD today. I've started several articles none of which got past a few lines and worked on a few oscar chart updates or revisions none of which ever felt like I'd finished (visualdocumentary and music / sound charts). And I also spent some time stressing about Sundance which starts in less than a month and which The Film Experience will be covering. But mostly my head has remained a jumble of criss-crossed movie thoughts, so in the effort to get unstuck, I'm just blurting out a handful of random ones, a couple of which might feel familiar if you follow me on twitter.

• I'm curious to hear what your favorite film scores of the year because in this regard, I'm not sure I have any! I tend to be a fan of Alexander Desplat's work but I can't even remember Philomena's score which I saw so recently and which one assumes is an Oscar shoo-in on the composer's name alone. (See also: John Williams and The Book Thief)

• January 16th is going to be insane: Oscar nominations, Sundance's Opening Night, and the "Critics Choice" ceremony are all taking place within 12 hours of each other. Spread it out a little, showbiz! Seriously.

• I watched The Hunt last night, Denmark's finalist for The Foreign Film Category. Mads Mikkelsen is always super and his face, so full of confusion, disbelief, and hurt that's cutting as deep as the lacerations on his face from town beatings. He won Best Actor in Cannes way back in May 2012 and if the film wins its Oscar category in March 2014 The Hunt may well serve as the new poster boy reminder of how deeply strange global cinematic culture is in terms of distribution models. I've heard that people get seriously worked up about this movie, loving or hating it but frankly, either reaction is, um, foreign to me. It's an effective drama, and wholly plausible -- see also the Meryl Streep drama A Cry in the Dark (1988), a predecessor in how ugly "guilty as soon as your accused" mob mentality can be -- at least until the ending which seems tacked on as failed provocation. But it's also not doing anything particularly interesting cinematically or in the screenplay. I expected more from Thomas Vinterberg, who once made the genius Festen/Celebration (1998) which was famously snubbed by Oscar despite causing quite a stir with cinephiles. And I kept feeling like the final scene was shot at the same house where The Celebration took place. Am I crazy or is this true?

• I was at a party the other night (not a film crowd) and an older gentlemen, hearing that I was a film critic, asked me what my favorite movies were. When I got to "Woody Allen's Manhattan" he interrupts... "you mean Annie Hall?"

• Back to the foreign film finalist list, 3 of the 9 finalists each year are selected by special committee with the other 6 coming from popular vote. So which films do you think are which? I'm guessing the committee shoved Cambodia's The Missing Picture and maybe Bosnia's A Day in the Life of a Iron Picker but otherwise I can't suss out which film needed a committee boost since the other 7 finalists strike me as having obvious wide appeal Oscar hooks.

• Today Burlesque was on Oxygen and it remains insanely watchable. "Wagon Wheel Watusi"! It's not a movie that reveals something new everytime you watch it but rather a movie which just reconfirms everything you felt the first time and heightens it. It's RIDICULOUS but in a good way. And it's nice that Kristen Bell got Frozen since Burlesque has a bad case of Yentlitis -- "Only the star may sing even though we've cast a bunch of people with musical chops in this!"

• Finally, I don't know why I didn't tell you this sooner but I swear to god, last week I dreamt that Nicole Kidman was nominated for Best Supporting Actress for Blue is the Warmest Color. When I woke up I tried to go back to sleep since I didn't want this nonsensical actressexual dream to end. It's been haunting me ever since...

No wonder I can't concentrate!

What's going on in *your* movie addled mind?

Saturday
Dec012012

In Case You Missed the European Film Awards...

...which you probably did. 

Jose here, happy to report that Michael Haneke's extraordinary Amour was the big winner at the European Film Awards held in Malta, winning the awards for Best Film, Best Director, Best Actor (Jean-Louis Tringtinant) and Best Actress (Emmanuelle Riva) leaving the film one award shy of having earned the "big five", something that's never happened in the EFA's twenty five year history.

Following the film in wins were Shame and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy which swept the technical awards with two each. Thomas Vinterberg's The Hunt won the award for Best Screenplay and Helen Mirren received the award for Achievement in World Cinema.

One thing I've always loved about the European Film Awards is how "odd" they are. People in America, used to the glitzy PC-ness of the Oscars and the Golden Globes, would be shocked to see how "real" and even careless their European counterparts are. This after all is the same awards show where I first saw Tahar Rahim's penis and enjoyed reactions of David Kross as he was caught playing with his iPhone.

I screencapped my favorite moments of this year's ceremony for all of you: 

Click to read more ...

Sunday
May272012

Cannes Jury Members Give Their Love to Haneke.

Jose here. In a truly unprecedented turn of events, Austrian auteur Michael Haneke has won his second Palme D'or at the Cannes Film Festival. Haneke now joins the ranks of the Dardenne brothers, Bille August and Francis Ford Coppola, among others, as some of the few filmmakers who have been able to achieve this feat. What's more surprising is that Haneke achieved it with two consecutive films and within the span of three years, his previous film The White Ribbon, won the Palme in 2009.

His winning movie Amour moved audiences and critics alike when it was shown in competition last week. People were surprised about the way in which his typical iciness shaded new light on the complex subject of mortality in a movie that deals with how a stroke shatters the stability of an older married couple. Some were pleased to realize Haneke had finally found his "heart" and the only thing that seemed to stand between him and his second Palme was none other than jury president Nanni Moretti...

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Dec042011

Euro Film Award Winners

While American film critics circles orgs and associations prep their year end "best" reveals, let's hop overseas for a moment. The European Film Awards were held in Berlin, Germany yesterday. It was a very good day to be Danish.

Though Mads Mikkelsen (left) is often seen in American and British films he frequently headlines Danish films too and was honored with a world cinema tribute. Lars von Trier, the maddest prince of Denmark since Hamlet, won the top prize for Melancholia. Though von Trier lost Best Director, he lost it to fellow Dane Susanne Bier who recently also won the Oscar (Best Foreign Language Film, In A Better World.) All three were born within a nine year span in Copenhagen!

FILM Melancholia (Lars von Trier)
DOCUMENTARY Pina (Wim Wenders)
ANIMATED FEATURE Chico & Rita (Tono Erranda, Javier Mariscal & Fernando Trueba)
EUROPEAN ACHIEVEMENT WORLD CINEMA Mads Mikkelsen
LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT Stephen Frears
DIRECTOR Susanne Bier, A Better World
ACTRESS Tilda Swinton, We Need To Talk About Kevin
ACTOR Colin Firth, The King's Speech
SCREENWRITER Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, The Kid With The Bike 
EDITOR Tariq Anwar, The King's Speech
PRODUCTION DESIGNER Jette Lehmann, Melancholia
CINEMATOGRAPHER Manuel Albert Caro, Melancholia
COMPOSER Ludovic Bource, The Artist
PEOPLE'S CHOICE The King's Speech
SHORT FILM AWARD The Wholly Family (Terry Gilliam)
EUROPEAN DISCOVERY  Oxygen (Hans Van Nuffel)

Stars at the EFA Awards from left to right: Sibel Kekilli & Elyas M'Barek, Ludivine Sagnier, Terry Gilliam, (second row) Moritz Bleibtreu, Sam Riley & Alexandra Maria Lara and Maria De Medeiros

Congratulations to the winners!

Another prize for Tilda, eh? If Best Actress weren't so jam-packed this year -- I'll update the two week old charts tomorrow -- I'd be starting to believe that a second Oscar nomination could follow. But whether or not Oscar traction happens, there's definitely a Swintonian Love Wave happening.  Such is the power of momentum. Three consecutive critically lauded star turns in acclaimed challenging films (Julia + I Am Love + We Need To Talk About Kevin) will do that to a girl.