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Entries in Michael Haneke (21)

Tuesday
Jan012013

Django Dolls, Les Miz Fighters and Other Odd Film Fantasies

If you're a collector o' memorabilia or receive lots of movie-related christmas gifts you've probably already seen, received or ordered the complete set of Django Unchained dolls from NECA. They're 8", poseable with cloth clothes based on the costumes designed by former Oscar nominee Sharen Davis (Dreamgirls, Ray) who could be nominated again for Tarantino's explotation flick. I've paired the Schultz, Candie and Stephen dolls below because Michael and I kept telling you that Samuel L Jackson was the movie's standout despite what movie awards have been saying. But now that you've seen the movie, you can say who you think is best!

 

 

So curious to know how you'll vote!

As for the dolls... I've read a few articles about them and none have yet answered the spoilery but standard doll question: Anatomically Correct? more

Click to read more ...

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 ...

Saturday
Oct132012

NYFF: "Amour" & "No" Are Worthy Oscar Contenders

The Oscar race for Best Foreign Language Film is particularly exciting this year. We have more contenders than ever (71!) and so many strong films that the Academy's always controversial foreign language branch will undoubtedly piss various contingencies off when they announce the finalist list and then the nominees. They could lessen the size of the outcry each year if only their finalist list were 12 films long. It's so strange that they make it small enough (9 films) that those films which miss the nomination are in the minority and, thus, look particularly snubbed... numerically speaking. I've already raved about the Pinoy movie "Bwakaw", and here are two other worthy candidates for this annual honor. Don't miss them if you get a chance to see them

AMOUR (Austria)
“Ladies and Gentlemen, people die. That’s all you need to know.” This line, a recurring catchphrase from aging chanteuse Kiki (Justin Bond) in the now departed Kiki & Herb act, used to make me howl with laughter. It was a perfect punchline, soaked as it was in booze and tragicomic matter-of-factness. People do die. Death is a fact of life but we spend so much time denying it that it often feels completely abstract, an imagined fate rather than an eventual one. But as Anne (Emmanuelle Riva), the elderly woman at the heart of Michael Haneke’s new film reminds us:

Imagination and reality have little in common.”

At first Haneke keeps his customary distance. Were it not for early publicity or the disturbing pre-title sequence that shows us a woman's decomposing body surrounded by flowers, we wouldn't even know who the principle characters were during the post-title opening shot, a crowd watching a piano recital. As in the finale of Haneke's best film (Caché) the director doesn't help you decide where to look; it's your job to find the narrative. But one of the strongest directorial impulses in Amour is Haneke's barely perceptible but undeniably tightening focus on the couple. Each scene seems to bring us closer to Anne and Georges (Jean-Louis Trigninant), a happy well-off couple in their eighties who enjoy literature, cultural events, and visits from their daughter (Isabelle Huppert) and Anne's former student (the pianist Alexandre Tharaud who appears to be playing himself). The first close-ups of note, an utterly captivating shot/reverse shot of the couple as Anne all but vanishes from a conversation in progress, is the bomb dropping...

Michael Haneke with his actors on the set of "Amour"

I don’t want to go on

Click to read more ...

Friday
Sep072012

New Official Foreign Submissions. "Amour" Leads the Oscar Buzz

Hungary chose "Just the Wind / Csak A Szél"Ukraine, Hungary and Azerbaijan join the small ranks of countries who have officially submitted their Oscar submission for the Best Foreign Language Film category. The Ukraine chose the biopic Firecrosser and Azerbaijan went with Oscar's second favorite storyline in this category with Buta (young child befriended by old person). The big story here, though, if only for being a slight curveball, is that Hungary did not go with a totally outre effort as they've been prone to do as of late. Instead they went with a more sober traditionally artistic effort. Which is not to say that they aren't still pushing the boundaries of what AMPAS will watch. Just the Wind is reportedly harrowing and brutal, dealing with a series of racial murders and poverty.

[Hungary hasn't been nominated since the heyday of István Szabó who had four nominations in the 1980s. Szabó's films were so hot in the US arthouse that his actor muse Klaus Maria Brandauer even flipped over to Hollywood and became an Oscar nominated actor (Out of Africa) and international star for a time.]

You can read more about the films on the official chart, a staple of The Film Experience's famous Oscar coverage. Spread the word about our thorough submission charts!

Will Michael Haneke's AMOUR be a threat for high profile nods like actor, actress, director?

Austria through Iran 
4 official submissions thus far but it's Michael Haneke's Amour, from Austria, that's got all the buzz right now. Word has it that they've got their sights set higher than just a lone Oscar nod in this awesome but usually stand-alone category. His previous high profile (Caché had much last minute buzz though no nominations followed) and White Ribbon's two nominations make the case for golden momentum.

Italy through Vietnam 
3 official submissions thus far: Serbia, Ukraine, and Venezuela 

As always we'd love to hear about your home country's film options. You can email Nathaniel if you have a hot tip or news about your home's selection or the selection process itself.

Monday
Sep032012

Review: "Compliance" 

Compliance is the kind of film I always hope to love. Ambitious, confrontrational, and very well acted films that rely on theme and character and ideas are jawdroppers for me in a way that explosions, stunts, and visual effects innovations almost never are. But ambitions and soulful actors can only take you so far when fundamental flaws get in their way.

It's best to see Compliance cold (as I did) with no knowledge of its subject matter. Unfortunately it's almost impossible to talk or write about without giving its game away which is why it's a tough sell (it's made $111,000 in limited release) though it's gripping enough should you buy a ticket. So read on at your own risk...

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
May302012

This & That (And A Bit More On *That*)

Woodcutting Fool David Lynch carved
Go Fug Yourself on Reese Witherspoon (and child) in France
MUBI's Notebook lists favorite Cannes films of 2012 (the winner being way down the list)
Film School Rejects Why blockbusters need to get their third act together. Heartily agree with much of this.
TV|Line Smash will lose two of its major male characters in Season 2. Does this mean Dennis & Bobby get more screen time? (I know it doesn't but my wishful thinking can be noisy and demand sentences all its own.)

AV Club wins the Best Snarky Headline of the Week (*not a real award) with this beauty... "Malin Akerman is playing Debbie Harry, who is also blonde."
Pajiba Most Versatile Bruce Willis
No Film School Most Fascinating Michael Haneke 
Coming Soon new Les Miserables photos. Apparently the trailer arrives today as well. We'll hear the people sing tonight in a Yes No Maybe So post.
Rope of Silicon Batmobiles  

Splitsider the Joss Whedon Roseann episodes
Playbill free outdoor staging of the hilarious stage adaptation of Xanadu will play Park Slope Brooklyn this summer
Acidemic on reality-warping multiple viewings of three 'comedies of remarriage' The Lady Eve, Bringing Up Baby and Bell Book and Candle 
My New Plaid Pants The Exorcist for TV via Martha Marcy May Marlene director?!?
La Daily Musto international beauties Léa Seydoux and Diane Kruger go sapphic for a  lesbian Marie Antoinette film called Farewell My Queen.

KISS HER! 

The Release Date Shuffle: Michael Haneke's Amour will be opening (and thus Oscar qualifying) on December 19th a bit earlier than Haneke's previous feature White Ribbon which did one of those awful New Year's Eve weekend releases in time for Oscar; G.I. Joe: Retaliation's shocking pushback to 2013 is prompting specalutation about how bad it might be. Last second release shifts for wannabe blockbusters are rare as they're expensive to open... and I promise that's the last time we group G.I. Joe with Michael Haneke in a paragraph; The Life of Pi arrives one month early so you can gobble it up for Thanksgiving instead of unwrapping it at Christmas time which is the inverse of what happened with the new Barbra Streisand picture, The Guilt Trip; And finally yes... yes... Cuaron's Gravity, our most anticipated this year, is now our most anticipated of 2013 (sniffle) which means that we've got to update those Oscar predictions. I know I know. Don't rush me! (This weekend?)

A Personal Note: I thought a link list was in order to get back up to speed (as much as one can in a day)... I generally cull the links through a process of trying to keep up to speed with What's Going On even though "news items" are only like ¼ of the links shared. 

But I couldn't let this return to blogging (glad to be crawling back -- we should be back in full swing by Thursday night) go without a hearty thank you to all of you, the readers, who sent such kind words on facebook, by email or right here on the blog after my father passed away. I spent a week in Utah with my mom and siblings and there were tears and memories and even laughter, too. My mom demanded a correction from my memoir post though. The photo that I love of my parents was taken before they were married. Hey, I wasn't there - honest mistake. She told me an amazing personal story about it and, as it turns out, it's her single favorite picture of the two of them. Now, I ♥ the photo even more.