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Handmaid's Tale ep 1 & 2

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Entries in Oscars (15) (381)

Tuesday
Feb072017

Q&A: Overhyped Loveables, Depression Coping Tactics, and Best Foreign Film 

Happy Hump Day Almost! Why do some weeks feel so much like surviving itself is the only goal / triumph? I have let the Q&A column go but we're getting back on the horse and will try to do them more regularly. Here are seven questions from last week and two from a long time ago.

Ready? Let's go! Questions about awards seasons calendar, Brie Larson, director/cinematographer teams, and coping with depression after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Feb012017

Oscar's reigning quartet to present, as is the tradition. 

I've somehow never seen this photo of Mark Rylance trying not to step on Brie Larson's train. Adorable.

AMPAS has announced that last year's acting winners will each be presenting on Oscar night. One assumes they will present their corresponding opposite-sex category as is the tradition, but who knows. Perhaps Oscar will mix it up. I'm all for tradition at the Oscars, don'cha know, but I don't mind a curveball now and then. You?

Alicia Vikander is back on screens February 24th (Oscar weekend!) with long delayed costume drama Tulip Fever  in which she dumps Christoph Waltz for Dane DeHaan because who wouldn't.

Brie Larson is back on screens April 21st in the ensemble crime comedy Free Fire, from Ben Wheatley (High-Rise).

Mark Rylance is back on screens July 21st in Chris Nolan's WW II epic Dunkirk.

...and Leonardo DiCaprio is back on screens in... 2018? 2019? 2020? He appears to have taken a whole victory year off after winning the Oscar and still has no immediate plans to be in front of the camera. It was just announced that he'll headline The Black Hand because what the world really needs more of is mafia movies (sigh) but in truth that one is a long way off since there's no screenplay yet. There's also the possibility of the Olympic bombing movie The Ballad of Richard Jewell which Leo was once set to star in but might only be producing now. Whatever happened to The Devil in the White City with Martin Scorsese? That project was announced just over a year ago and not a peep since. If they've dropped it, I hope it becomes a miniseries instead because that book is dense with information, history, cause and effect through lines, and reams of characters. 

Monday
Dec192016

Subtitles Fading But These Soldiers March On...

Year in Review. Every afternoon, a new wrap-up. Today an exhaustive list of how foreign films performed at the US box office...  

Perhaps no film is a more perfect encapsulation of the 2016 reality for foreign films in the US marketplace than Netflix's Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon sequel. The first was an international theatrical phenomenon and a true blockbuster delivering over $100 million in the United States alone. The sequel sixteen years later was in English and went straight to streaming. 

Despite the inhospitable 21st century climate nowadays, specialty distributors fight on to deliver some variety to the US marketplace. Here's how they fared this year. These numbers were pulled from Box Office Mojo and we tried to be as thorough as possible (though we did skip documentaries and animated features which are sometimes screened in both dubbed and subtitled versions in the same marketplace)

TOP 100 FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILMS FOR 2016
By US Box Office Gross. Title links go to reviews. 🔺 = still in theaters
Note: Figures as of March 30th, 2017

01 Dangal $12.3 (India)

02 No Manches Frida $11.5 (USA) available to stream on IMDb

03 Sultan $6.2 (India)
Bollywood films account for a big portion of each year's foreign film grosses in the US. Up until the release of Dangal at Christmas, none were mightier for most of 2016 than the sports drama starring Salman Khan (pictured above).

Oscar Finalists, Isabelle Huppert, and buzzy Korean hits after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Jul092016

Stream This: Mustang, The Big Short, Hello Dolly, The Painted Veil

In the effort to stay au courant we're going to try to do "new to streaming" weekly, alternating between Netflix and Amazon Prime sometimes, big lists, sometimes highlights. This will also give us a chance to link to previous coverage of the old films that are "new" again via the power of the internet. But first a last chance notice...

Last Chance Netflix (Expires July 16th)

-Y'all were watching I take it. Did you see us fight?
-No.
-Trap." 

Serenity
I've been curious to watch Serenity (and Firefly for that matter) again to see if you can easily chart Joss Whedon's growth from self-created warm-up to Studio-hire mega-success in The Avengers. He was always good at selling team dynamics, though. That was clear from the earliest episodes of Buffy. We previously covered Serenity in Season 3 of Hit Me With Your Best Shot. I miss Whedon as TV creator on his own urges -- Agents of SHIELD just did not do it for me.

New to Netflix
We've freeze framed nine more titles totally at random to share whatever popped up for your amusement. Here we go...

-Lot of smug looking people here.

- It's like someone hit a piñata filled with white people who suck at golf."

The Big Short (2015)
Remember when this was suddenly a major Oscar player last season. That took me off guard even though I was at the actual premiere. It won Adapted Screenplay at the Oscars. Serious films with funny memorable lines are often popular in those categories.

I've decided to join the human race again.

Hello, Dolly! (1969)
Babs. Babs. You're really overworking this monologue...

Click to read more ...

Monday
Jun272016

The Furniture: The Venomous and Fanatical 'Embrace of the Serpent'

"The Furniture" is our weekly series on Production Design. Here's Daniel Walber... 

Embrace of the Serpent, Colombia’s first-ever nominee for Best Foreign Language Film, contains multitudes. Ciro Guerra filters the Amazon Basin into a tremendous cinematic document, a rich cornucopia of unexpected tableaux. The choice to confine this colorful landscape to black and white would be uncanny enough on its own, but the narrative is also unmoored by transitions between the two timelines. Long before the final hallucination, our perceptions are overwhelmed by the range of complex images.

And, of course, the work of production designer Angelica Perea, art director Ramses Benjumea and set decorator Alejandro Franco is an essential component. The best example of their work comes right at the film’s midpoint, with a pair of profoundly unsettling episodes that interrogate the role of Catholic missionaries in Colombia’s colonial history. [More...]

Click to read more ...

Monday
May092016

The Furniture: Joy's Emerald City of Home Shopping

"The Furniture" is our weekly series on Production Design. Here's Daniel Walber on Joy, now available on DVD and Bluray

It seems impossible that production designer Judy Becker has only received a single Oscar nomination, if not supremely unfair as well. At the very least, she should have snagged a second nomination for Carol. Her resume includes such diverse triumphs as We Need to Talk About Kevin, Brokeback Mountain, Shame and I’m Not There, as well as a neat early credit as a set dresser on Spike Lee’s Malcolm X. And so it seems totally appropriate that Becker is the first production designer to merit a repeat appearance in 'The Furniture'.

Becker’s most fruitful collaboration has been with David O. Russell. She's worked on every one of his features since The Fighter and she earned her lone Oscar nomination for American Hustle. Her sets for Joy, particularly the charismatic QVC studio at the film’s core, are among the best design work of last year. They also make quite a one-two punch with Carol, Becker showing a remarkable affinity for the stylistic underpinnings of American shopping. [More...]

Click to read more ...

Friday
Apr222016

"Time 100" is Oscar-Obsessed

Magazines may be a dying business but the few mega magazines that remain all have annual traditions to entice buys. And so it is with the "Time 100" an annual list of "Most Influential" though as with any such list it's highly subjective.

Here is a list of the movie & television people who made it this year in one of their five sections (the only section that does not include at least one actor is "Leaders")

Pioneers Aziz Ansari and Gina Rodriguez

Titans Dwayne Johnson, Wang Jianlin, and Kathleen Kennedy 

Taraji is the modern-day Bette Davis, touching audiences with her honesty and intensity. When you are on set with Taraji, she listens, but she also questions. She challenges everyone to go the extra step to get it right. She has a deep understanding of the human condition, and she displays it with her eyes—the pain, the happiness, the love, the laughter. She probably would have been a great silent actor, but then the world wouldn’t have had Cookie.

Before Empire, she was underappreciated by white America and Hollywood, while African Americans heralded her as our Meryl Streep. I’m so proud that Cookie has moved her into the zeitgeist. What Taraji has done with the role made the world finally appreciate who she is—quite simply, a tour de force on and off the screen.
-Lee Daniels on Taraji P Henson 

 

I offered Mark Rylance a significant supporting role in 1987 in my film Empire of the Sun—and he turned it down. A play had caught his fancy, and anyway, I sensed he was suspicious about film acting. Who could blame him? For actors who have given their lives to theater, making movies must be like lurching in the backseat of a car while the driver keeps working the brake. When Mark does a play, nobody says, “Cut,” only “Curtain” after a few uninterrupted hours. Legions of young thespians look to Mark as their muse and inspiration. From Boeing-Boeing to Jerusalem to Twelfth Night, the impact he’s had on classical and contemporary theater is the stuff of legend. A winner of three Tony Awards, two Olivier Awards and now an Oscar, Mark glimpses these honors with gratitude and humility, but his heart belongs to a good story. His soul is pure. He just loves to act.
-Steven Spielberg on Mark Rylance 

Artists Gael García Bernal, Taraji P Henson, Melissa McCarthy, Ryan Coogler, Idris Elba, Oscar Isaac, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Mark Rylance, Charlize Theron, and Priyanka Chopra 

Icons They went full Revenant here honoring both Leonardo DiCaprio & Alejandro González Iñárritu

What's the takeaway?
It always amuses us when people call the Oscars "irrelevant" since the very fact that people get so up in arms about them every year is quite the indication that they remain the most relevant of movie institutions (even if movies themselves aren't as central to pop culture as they once were). They matter to people. Even the act of rising up against The Academy is underlining their stature as the house of the definitive golden idol of Hollywood. Time's movie lists are extremely unsubtle about sticking it to the Academy yet again over #OscarsSoWhite. Note that they ignored all but three Oscar nominees (the three big male winners) while honoring both Ryan Coogler & Idris Elba. Not that Coogler and Elba aren't worth honoring as they did have great years! But if they weren't trying to shame the Academy yet again they might well have considered Cheryl Boone Isaacs for this list since she's in the media so much of late and has been trying so hard to make a difference on the issue of diversity in Tinseltown. On the other hand, even as Time slaps Oscar's hand, they're embracing its other status quo #OscarsSoMale (in a manly back-patting kind of way) since they included all three of the Academy's most high-profile male winners (Rylance, DiCaprio, and Iñárritu) and neither of the big female winners.

Do you think of all these people as influential? Whose part do you suppose Spielberg wanted Rylance to play in Empire of the Sun?