Asghar Farhadi has another Oscar contender on his hands...

Oscar History

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Oscar Horrors: The Sixth Sense

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Entries in video games (12)


TIFF: Isabelle Huppert is "Elle"

Nathaniel R reporting from the Toronto International Film Festival (Sept 8th-18th)

On any given day around the movie internet you will see the headine "What You Need To Know About ['Movie You Haven't Seen Yet']". It's clickbait. The sum total of what you need to know about a movie before you see it is nothing. Go to the movie theater and actually experience it. So if the promise of a new acclaimed Paul Verhoeven feature (his first since the riveting Black Book in 2006) that's been loudly labelled a "rape comedy" starring the world's most casually transgressive movie star Isabelle Huppert is enough to sell you a ticket I urge you to not read any reviews before seeing it, including this one. It's not that the film has twists that can spoil the experience if they're known ahead of time so much as it's in the way the movie is itself twisted.

Just how twisted is revealed through the careful deployment of its psychosexual landmines. And just how often they're successfully played for laughter ... albeit of the discomforting 'what am I laughing at?' variety. 

Two provocative legends (Verhoeven & Huppert) on set

Which is not to say that the rape itself is the subject of comedy...

Click to read more ...


Doc Corner: A Russian Master Returns at MIFF Plus Frank Zappa and More

Glenn here. Each Tuesday reviews n documentaries from theatres, festivals, and on demand. This week four more from MIFF following last week's round-up.

The Event

One of Russian/Ukrainian cinema’s contemporary masters, Sergei Loznitsa, has a career that has successfully juggles both documentary traditional narrative cinema. His latest is The Event, a rather exceptional example of the artform that at just 74 minutes long nonetheless has the aura of an epic. Utilizing only black and white 35mm archival footage recorded in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) over the three days of the attempted coup d’etat that failed and eventually brought about the end of the U.S.S.R., The Event is a key reminder that for many in the world dictatorships, revolutions, and social revolt are issues of genuine life and death and not just something to tweet about online.

The found footage is of a remarkable quality, having been stored away for decades seemingly never to be seen since. While the images shown are filmed far away from the crisis happening in Moscow, they are still nonetheless fascinating to watch. This isn’t a film of violent confrontations like Loznitsa’s Maidan, rather it is one of bewilderment. A sea of faces descending on the public spaces of Leningrad to hear speeches, huddle around transistor radios, and read mass-distributed pamphlets that breed fear. Some of them are concerned, but many of them look simply nonplussed. Still, on screen they are rivetting. In the film’s best scene, a massive crowd stands in silence their hands in the air with peace signs, while in another a Soviet flag is drawn down over Parliament and replaced by the imperial tri-color one that flies still today albeit its colors faded by the black and white, a likely powerful statement by the Ukrainian-born Loznitsa to suggest in hindsight that just because one horror might be ending, doesn't mean another won't follow. Of course, they’re just two moments of many that make The Event a special film and with an occasional musical score courtesy of Tchaikovsky’s “Swan Lake”, a rousing and powerfully cinematic one, too.

An Australian gem, Frank Zappa, and lost videogames after the jump...

Click to read more ...


Vikander has Tomb Raider Fever

In an unexpected bit of casting, Alicia Vikander was just announced to be taking over as Lara Croft in the reboot of the Tomb Raider franchise. Original whispers of Daisy Ridley accepting the role weren't meant to be and instead the reigning Best Supporting Actress winner will be taking on the bodacious archaelogist.

The delightful happenstance of the casting is that Croft was also the first post-Oscar high-profile role choice Angelina Jolie (who played Croft in 2001 and 2003). For Jolie it was her launch pad into the bonafide box office draw that she still is today, so perhaps this could be a similar vehical for Vikander. Does this mean that the inevitable rereboot will be played by the Best Supporting Actress winner of 2032?



Croft is a character we remember more for appearance than for any facet of her personality, so the casting choice is an odd fit. Vikander excels when playing with more emotional depth than what a video game adaptation will likely require of her - but her Ex Machina performance did show that she can give intelligent physical precision to roles that require less from her emotionally.

This summer, she'll costar in Jason Bourne, hopefully hinting at her action star potential if she can get in on the asskicking unlike previous Bourne ladies. Also this July, Vikander returns to costume drama territory with Tulip Fever. The film debuted footage at last year's Cannes, but we finally get our eyes on it with the lush and steamy trailer released this week:

What do you think of Alicia as Lara? What other Best Supporting Actress would you put in the role?


Links: Misunderstood Meryl, Angry Leo, Cheap Deadpool

MNPP All is well since Jason has seen The Witch and loves it. It's so spooky, guys. Go see it this weekend
Pajiba "11 Things I Learned from 'Star Wars and the Power of Costume' Exhibit"
Playbill Bull Durham: The Musical (?) may be headed to Broadway soon
Scriptnotes how to introduce characters in screenplays without being mocked on Twitter. (For those of you are like what? This is in reference to a recent writing controversy that we spoke of right here)
i09 says Zootopia is the best film Disney Animation has made in 20 years (!) 

MNPP freaks out over the new Pee Wee Herman Netflix trailer
Simply Streep Screencaps of Meryl Streep in the Florence Foster Jenkins teaser
Boy Culture have you heard about Strike a Pose, the documentary about the Madonna documentary Truth or Dare?
Boy Culture your semi-annual reminder that Miriam Margolyes is an international treasure and gay hero 
Awards Daily "everyone owes Meryl Streep an apology"
/Film Julianne Moore offered the villain role in The Kingsmen 2. This historically hasn't gone well for her (See: The Seventh Son or Hunger Games) Why Julianne? You already have tons of money.
Hairpin "how not to write something" 
Toyland the coolest stuff from Toy Fair 2016 including *gasp* female action figures

Deadpool at #1
i09 everything they cut out of Deadpool to get the budget way down (which now means its going to be insanely profitable)
/Film Rumors are that Wolverine 3 is considering an "R" rating following Deadpool's success 

And James Gunn, who did the superheroes being mocking and sarcastic before Deadpool, took to Twitter to hype his forthcoming blockbuster...



Oscar Mania
The Guardian on why The Big Short should win Best Picture. I haven't to admit I couldn't follow this argument at all (perhaps you can?) but maybe I was just thrown because they start the video talking about surprise winners and cite Forrest Gump. Forrest Gump? Of all movies. That was a behemoth that year and couldn't lose. People say such strange things when they're talking about the Oscars!
• THR Robert Richardson and other cinematographers calling for a separate category for VFX heavy films. I absolutely agree that this is a problem - this year not so much but usually
RED CARPET RAMPAGE. Help Leonardo DiCaprio finally win his Oscar! I tried to play this on my phone last night. It's actually hilarious. Especially the bonus round "Act Harder!" LOL...




Review: Pixels

Tim here. There's a good movie to be made out of Pixels, and it would be the easiest thing in the world to get there. First, keep all of the visual effects setpieces from the movie as it exists, for they are surprisingly beautiful and convincing considering how much lower the film's budget than the usual summer tentpole. Second, make exactly the opposite choices that the filmmakers actually did, because there's literally not one thing about the plot, characters, tone, morality, or basic comprehensibility about Pixels in this form that works.

The film began life in 2010 as a lovely little conceptual short by French filmmaker Patrick Jean (which you can watch here, and have a far more enjoyable 2.5 minutes than anything in the lugubrious 105 minutes of the feature), whence it was almost immediately nabbed by Adam Sandler, who wanted to transform it into a feature. And that's really sad, because of all the changes that would have clearly benefit Pixels at some stage in its development "don't make it an Adam Sandler vehicle" is unquestionably at the top of the list. [More...]

Click to read more ...


Links: Video Game Movies, Big Lebowski Reads, Oscar Site Purchases

David Poland won't review Pixels 'because... why?'
Variety Our Brand is Crisis starring Sandra Bullock gets an October 30th release date. With that film, The Walk and Freeheld all coming out it could be a huge year for features based on documentaries at the Oscars
TFE in case you missed it Ann Dowd is in that film, too and loved being part of the ensemble
Towleroad I interviewed the director/star of Do I Sound Gay?, a documentary on the gay voice that's out right now
The Guardian reviews the latest Jason Reitman live read (The Big Lebowski) and loves on Michael Fassbender as "The Dude" and Patton Oswalt (in John Goodman's role of "Walter" and Mae Whitman (multiple parts) in particular. Not so much Jennifer Lawrence in Julianne Moore's original part

Variety interviews legendary documentarian Barbara Kopple. My shame: I've still never seen Harlan County, USA but people always say it's amazing
Comics Alliance on rumors about "Robin" in Batman v Superman. He might be played by Zach Snyder's son Eli who has only worked for his dad but it's "not entirely" and only "sort of" nepotism. (Related: on the internet, words continue to lose their meanings)
/Film looks at upcoming video game based movies. I don't play video games so none of this means anything to me but if you do... (I amend. There's one I'll see called Assassin's Creed but that's only because Fassy and Cotillard are both in on the heels of co-starring in Macbeth)
Awards Daily loves Grandma and agrees with us that Lily Tomlin needs to be in the Best Actress conversation 
Gold Derby I forgot to mention that they were bought up by a larger media company so congrats to Tom O'Neill. That leaves David Poland, Jeffrey Wells, Sasha Stone and little ol' me as the last of the original indies still doing this. Not everyone wants to be bought up... I'm not sure who I'd be without The Film Experience... but on the other hand, money is nice. green. useful.   

Off Cinema
Esquire has a fascinating/terrifying long read on climate scientist 'what if the end of the world was your day job?' 
Stage Buddy for Kander & Ebb's 50th anniversary, a ranking of their top 50 songs. Wow this is comprehensive. The order is all out of whack (Cabaret and Chicago combined only get 3 songs in the top 25!)  but still, good job Andrew! This reminded me how much I loved the music in The Visit and how great the music is in New York New York.

Speaking of... here's your Showtune to Go from The Scottsboro Boys (2010) which I'm so sad I never saw during its Broadway run (this song "Go Back Home" which comes fairly early in the show is so gorgeous). I only heard raves and it won 12 Tony nominations but in the season of The Book of Mormon there was no oxygen for the competition. Maybe someone will one day make it into a movie?


The High Cost of Angry Birds

Tim here. News came out this week that the upcoming feature adaptation of the handheld video game Angry Birds, a Finnish-American co-production set to be animated by Sony Picture Imageworks, has the eyebrow-raising price tag of €180 million, or a bit more than $190 million. That's not quite as dumbfounding a total as it sounds: it includes the marketing budget, something virtually never reported in advance, and the total production budget is a much lowlier €80 million. Which still makes it the most expensive movie ever made in Finland by a factor of almost ten.

No matter how you subdivide it, though, that's a huge pile of money that Sony and Rovio Entertainment are throwing at a 90-minute video game commercial. My current suspicion: most of that money is earmarked for building a time machine that transports audience members back to 2011, the last time that making an Angry Birds feature film made any sense whatsoever.