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Entries in Shoplifters (14)

Tuesday
Mar122019

Nathaniel's (Belated) Top Ten List of 2018

by Nathaniel R

Given that we're two months into a new year, the best cinema of 2018 is receding in our mind's eye, still shimmering but moving out of focus. But so much vivid color and feeling remains. Before we are fully blinded to its beauties (until, that is, they are "old films" and we can revisit) by a whole new batch of cinematic images to obsess over, here's one last post to honor the year that was. Here's your host's choices for the 25 best films of 2018.

This year's HONORABLE MENTIONS are a varied bunch taking us from horny self-discovery in Swedish woods to a trash-heap island in Japan. Strangely, grief was the year's most defining theme across genres as diverse as horror, tragicomedy, bopics, thrillers, character studies, and romantic dramas.

The films are listed in loosely ascending order, though we always reserve the right to change our minds where lists and rankings are concerned:

  • Paddington 2 (Paul King, UK) If all franchises were crafted with this much heart and warmth and wit, Hollywood wouldn't feel souless at all.
  • Border (Ali Abassi, Sweden) A refreshing oddity which totally commits to its own hybrid identity as its protagonist discovers hers.
  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (Ramsey, Persichetti, and Rothman, US) If all superhero movies were this fun, inclusive, and inventive, they'd deserve their now automic success in the marketplace.
  • First Man (Damien Chazelle, US) A nation's epic ambitions paired with a marriage's intimate drama. So elegantly crafted.
  • Burning (Lee Chang-dong) as elusive and mysterious as a cat that doesnt want to be seen, until it saunters boldy into sight to stare you down.
  • First Reformed (Paul Schrader, US) The year's most disturbing drama. Hard to shake and necessary.
  • Widows (Steve McQueen) Overstuffed and strangely paced, but reverberating with provocative ideas and juicy characters. 
  • Capernaum (Nadine Labaki, Lebanon) For all that urgency and visceral feeling, not to mention one of the great child performances.
  • Support the Girls (Andrew Bujalski, US) for its ramshackle charms and subtle character-portrait
  • Hereditary (Ari Aster, US) What a calling card debut, from that dollhouse opening shot all the way through that psychotic break ending, a new horror classic. 

RUNNERS UP. Oh, if there were room in the top ten for all of these...

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Mar072019

"Shoplifters" wins big in Japan

by Nathaniel R

Sakura Ando and Kirin Kiki in "Shoplifters"

Awards season never truly ends. Someone somewhere in the world is always handing out a prize. The latest are the Japanese Academy film prizes, where Hirokazu Kore-eda thoroughly dominated with the exquisite and also Oscar-nominated Shoplifters. It was nominated in every category it was eligible for. It won 8 awards, including both of the female acting prizes for Sakura Ando and Kirin Kiki. Sadly, Kirin Kiki's prize was posthumous as she died a few months after the movie won the Palme d'Or at Cannes.

A list of winners, including (sigh) their choice for foreign film, is after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Feb132019

Film Bitch Awards: Casting, Ensemble, Breakthrough, Young Actors

by Nathaniel R

We're still hoping to have the Film Bitch Awards wrapped up before Oscar night. Tonight, the remaining "extra" acting categories. We've already shared the Best Cameo performances so here's four more prizes to discuss and consider. Please do share your own favourites in these categories, too.

BEST CASTING / BEST ENSEMBLE
Some might argue that these categories go hand in hand (the way others object to the notion of Picture/Director splits) but we think of them as two different though highly complimentary accomplishments...

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Jan302019

All 95 Foreign Film Nominees This Century. Oscar & Box Office Trivia!

by Nathaniel R

Roma's great competition: Shoplifters, Never Look Away, Cold War, and Capernaum

Dear readers, I've been filled with existential despair this week. I'm not sure how to continue covering the Oscars next year if the Oscars are going to drain all the art out of it by denying all the categories that make cinema, cinema, and announcing them off air. I haven't quite formed my thoughts on this (I expect this upcoming Oscar night to be disastrous) for a complete post but while we still have the more movie-fan friendly categories to look forward to let's continue to talk about them!  We've done some research on how the foreign film category tends to fare in the US marketplace that we wanted to share. In addition to being a super high quality roster, this year's Foreign Film list has done well with audiences, too. 

Both Poland's Cold War  and Japan's Shoplifters have become genuine hits and will certainly outgross the long runs of the last few years worth of most talked about foreign flicks whether or not they were Oscar nominated like The Square, A Fantastic Woman , Elle, The Salesman, and The Handmaiden. In fact, in any year without Roma or each other in it, wouldn't Cold War or Shoplifters be winning this category with ease ?!? 

After the jump, let's take a look back at all 95 nominees this century and how well they fared at the box office. Plus lots of trivia just because trivia is fun and will ward off the despair...

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Dec182018

100 Most Popular Foreign Films of 2018 + the Oscar Hopefuls!

Our year in review party begins TODAY. A different list each day! Here's Nathaniel R...

Time for an annual look back at subtitled fare in cinemas. As with 2017 and the year before India, China, Mexico, and South Korea dominate with a smattering of Oscar contenders and random other countries faring much less well in the American marketplace. Much of the imbalance is due to dedicated distributors who saw a underserved market and focus specifically on it. Here in Manhattan, it's interesting to watch how this plays out. Generally speaking some big multiplexes reserve one or two screens for super specific distributors (Bollywood and mainstream Asian features for example are often at the Empire in Times Square which has 25 screens). Meanwhile the traditional "arthouse theaters" continue to rely on the decades-long practice of programming festival hits, docs, and arthouse style cinema which leans heavily European with a few buzzy Asian titles thrown in; in other words they're Oscar-aligned in their tastes.

For the purposes of the following list we skipped documentaries and animated films to keep the list more focused (and avoid arguments about dubbed versions or whatnot). The numbers are pulled from Box Office Mojo.

TOP 100 FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILMS FOR 2018
Domestic Box Office Grosses Only - Figures as of March 2nd, 2019

The $1 Million Plus Club
(The Success Stories) 

01 Padmaavat $11.8 (India) Jan 25th
This lux nearly 3 hour medieval epic is about an ambitious Sultan who becomes obsessed with a beautiful Queen. Available to stream on Amazon Prime.

02 Sanju $7.9 (India) June 29th
Biopic of a famous controversial actor. Available to stream on Netflix.

Click to read more ...

Friday
Dec072018

More top ten lists for your reading pleasure...

List after list every day now. Wheeee,  we love this time of year even as we wish the majority of critics would actually wait for the last week of the year or the first week of the new year to do their top ten lists. Nobody has seen enough by early December is our feeling. But anyway here are a few more lists to check out from popular critics and sites...

Click to read more ...