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Entries in Oscars (19) (66)

Monday
Sep162019

TIFF Quickie: Crazy White Women!

by Nathaniel R

For this last batch of short TIFF reviews, let's look at three films about mysterious and/or psychologically complex female characters. The post title was glib but the films aren't. 

DISCO (Jorunn Mykelbust Syversen, Norway)
This puzzling drama centers on a champion dancer whose mom and step-dad run some kind of evangelical church. Apparently in Scandivania -- as with America -- conservative faith movements are on the rise. Syversen shows empathy for her characters but chills it with a clinically detached rhythym to the cutting. The lost protagonist Mirjam (Josefine Frida Pettersen) has mysterious physical troubles and vacant psychology that can bring flickers of Todd Haynes' Safe (1995) to mind.

Syversen's strongest skill seems to be in observational mode. In one escalating series of scene at a Jesus camp the choices in camera distance are particularly compelling. In medium shot we observe a group of boys being told to breathe quickly in and out of paper bags to drive out the demons inside them. Cut to a long shot as we watch them comically pass out as they hyperventilate. This is a followed by a not at all comical baptism that is shot more like a drowning. Despite Syverson's obvious skill and a tight running time (94 minutes), Disco is far too repetitive and its point of view remains as opaque as Mirjam's psychology. It's not enough, always, to merely observe. C

EMA (Pablo Larraín, Chile)
The first image is a startling one: a still working traffic light engulfed in flames...

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Sep152019

Silly irreverent "JoJo Rabbit" wins TIFF's People's Choice Award. Is Oscar next?

by Nathaniel R

The Grolsch People's Choice Awards at TIFF has always been a strong omen for good Oscar fortunes.  Last year Green Book was a surprise winner (it wasn't even on most Best Picture prediction charts before the screenings started, it's sudden popularity in the Oscar race came via festival debut with little pre-release buzz). This year's winner is less of a shock to the Oscar system (TFE has at least been predicting it in multiple categories since the April Foolish predictions). The winner for 2019 is Taiki Waititi's "anti-hate satire" JoJo Rabbit about a young boy and his imaginary friend "Adolf Hitler".  Noah Baumbach's moving and surprisingly funny Marriage Story and Bong Joon-Ho's brilliant Parasite, which both played to packed satisfied houses, were the runners-up. Both of those pictures are also gunning for Best Picture citations come Oscar time, though obviously Parasite has a steeper hill to climb to get there given its subtitles as Oscar's hesitancy in embracing Asian cinema. Most of the people I spoke with in Canada were actually predicting that Parasite would take the win as TIFF had to keep adding screenings. But JoJo Rabbit it is...

Though the folks at Fox Searchlight are surely celebrating JoJo Rabbit's win the road to Oscar will be much more difficult...

Click to read more ...

Friday
Sep132019

TIFF Derring-Do Double: "The Aeronauts" and "Ford v Ferrari"

by Nathaniel R

Those magnificent men (and women) and their flying machines. What prompts people to build aerodymanic death traps in which to race at incredible never before accomplished speeds or go up up up to never before seen heights?  Today's double feature centers on just this type of man and their creations.  

FORD V FERRARI (James Mangold)
This very handsomely made film centers around a famous late 60s battle between the massive Ford Motor Company and the Italian boutique manufacturer Ferrari. How did Detroit's Henry Ford II come to battle Enzo Ferrarri in the European playground of Le Mans anyway? And how does the film get you to root for the Goliath rather than the David in this battle? That's the magic of this old fashioned well-paced movie. Older audiences might be familiar with this story but we weren't so it all played out like a fleet-footed and hot wheeled corporate drama mixed with inspirational sports movie...

Click to read more ...

Friday
Sep132019

Celebrating Jennifer Lopez

by Murtada Elfadl

Hustlers opens today, so let's celebrate Jennifer Lopez. She's getting the best reviews of her career - including a rave from Chris right here. There's Oscar buzz. The movie is poised to become a substantial hit this weekend.

Answer these 3 questions for fun:

What is the first thing you think of when you think of Jennifer Lopez?

Is it that green dress that has its own wikipedia page? That infamous interview from the late 90s? She's a big big star who's been involved in many memorable cultural moments. Tell us what comes to mind...

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Sep122019

"Dear Ex" adds another queer film to the International Feature Oscar Race

by Nathaniel R

With 45 films announced thus far for the Best International Feature race at the 92nd Oscars, we have another gay entry. This one is Taiwan's Dear Ex (2018). You might remember the title because it won three Golden Horse Awards last year including Best Actress for the Hsieh Ying-xuan as the widow who realizes her husband had a male lover (Roy Chiu, nominated for Best Actor). It's currently available to stream on Netflix.

That brings the total of LGBTQ-centric films to six (thus far).

  • Bolivia - I Miss You 
  • Panama - Everybody Changes
  • Peru - Retablo
  • Spain - Pain & Glory 
  • Sweden - And Then We Danced
  • Taiwan - Dear Ex
Monday
Sep092019

Latin American happenings in the Oscar submission realm

by Nathaniel R

In the heat of festival season we're also getting continued news about the Oscar race for Best International Feature. In terms of South America we'd already heard about submissions from the Dominican Republic (The Projectionist), Ecuador (The Longest Night which is sometimes referred to as Mala Noche), Panama (Everybody Changes), and Uruguay (The Moneychangers). There are three more already announced that will likely have higher profiles due to familiar actors. Colombia has Monos starring Julianne Nicholson, Cuba has A Translator starring Rodrigo Santoro and of course there's Brazil's Un Certain Regard-winning melodrama The Invisible Life of Euridice Gusmao which feels like a probable finalist / possible nominee. It's very moving and accessible and Fernanda Montenegro (of Central Station fame) adds a last boost of melancholy and nostalgia to it in terms of Brazilian cinema and Oscar affections. To add to that stack of films we've just learned that Bolivia will submit the gay drama Tu Me Manques (I Miss You) which is based on a hit stage play about a father visiting the boyfriend of his dead son in New York City. It recently won the screenwriting award at OutFest. The director Rodrigo Bellott was submitted once before for his artsy college film Sexual Dependency (2003). The film stars Oscar Martinez (Wild Tales) as the estranged father, Fernando Barbosa as his son's boyfriend, and features Rossy de Palma who is, of course, beloved from many Almodóvar pictures.

After the jump the finalists announced for both Chile and Mexico. Which films will they choose we wonder...

Click to read more ...