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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...

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Monday
Sep092019

TIFF: Lorene Scafaria Ascends with "Hustlers"

by Chris Feil

After Hustlers, give Lorene Scafaria the keys to the kingdom. After writing and directing the character-based comedies The Meddler and Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, she steps into crime comedy territory with all of her generous character detail unsacrificed as she steps into a new genre. Here she’s made something that feels like kicked-in doors and popped champagne bottles. It’s women behaving badly as a natural extension to an ecosystem led by men who burn the world down to serve their own interests, and it’s as entertaining as it is because of Scafaria’s balance between the affectionate and the defiant.

But while the film will immediately cause comparisons to ubermale crime sagas likes of The Wolf of Wall Street or examinations of the final crisis like The Big Short, Hustlers is less of a familiar retread of those films than it is two middle fingers blazing in their direction...

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Monday
Sep092019

Horror Actressing: Amy Irving in "Carrie"

by Jason Adams

When we talk about Brian De Palma's 1976 horror masterpiece Carrie we talk about Actresses. But we tend to talk about the Big Two -- Sissy Spacek as Carrie White and Piper Laurie as her mamma Margaret, who were both rightfully Oscar-nominated. (They both should have won too, says me!) Then if there's oxygen left in the room after talking those two we'll gravitate towards the showier female roles below the line -- Nancy Allen playing one of cinema's greatest bitches Chris Hargensen, or wondering if Betty Buckley's Miss Collins is, in the grand tradition of P.E. teachers, same-sex-oriented.

What I haven't seen nearly enough love for is Amy Irving, who's celebrating her birthday tomorrow and who gives a truly complicated performance as Sue Snell, the girl whose motivations switch midway through, the one who sees through to the error of her ways but too late, and the one who ends up giving the film's tragedy, Carrie's tragedy, its shape....

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Sunday
Sep082019

TIFF: Nina Hoss in "Pelican Blood" and "The Audition"

Chris Feil takes a look at two performances by one of the greatest German actresses...

Katrin Gebbe follows her relentlessly grim Nothing Bad Can Happen with another slow-building horror-adjacent character study with Pelican Blood, a portrait of motherly conviction that love isn’t enough and hope is toxic. Nina Hoss is Wiebke, a skilled horse trainer and mother bringing a second adoptive daughter Raya (Katerina Lipovska) to her ranch. Shy at first, Raya quickly establishes herself as deeply troubled and a threat to her older daughter Nicolina (Adelia-Constance Giovanni Ocleppo). Misbehaving turns ominous, with Wiebke determined to show Raya the love she has been denied even as something evil within destroys Wiebke’s life...

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Sunday
Sep082019

Who will win the Emmy for Supporting Actress in a Comedy? 

By Spencer Coile 

It really is a blessing and a curse when the Television Academy gives us eight nominees for Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series - a trend they can’t seem to depart from. It’s a blessing because we see a rich field of actresses getting their dues. Yet it’s a curse because, more than any other category this past decade, the previous year's winner seems to repeat at least once. Between McKinnon, Allison Janney for Mom, and my arch nemesis Julie Bowen for Modern Family, the winner pool isn’t as rich. 

With last year’s winner Alex Borstein still very much a part of the conversation, are we going to see another repeat victory? 

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Sunday
Sep082019

Venice is a "Joker"

by Nathaniel R

Tod & Joaquin celebrated for JOKER

Film festivals are like cocoons in there way and sometimes news happening outside of that bubble takes a moment to pierce through. This was not true about the Venice awards (though our delayed share suggests it was so) which seemed tailor-made as a provocation. The Golden Lion went to the Batman spinoff by way of Scorsese 70s, Joker and if that weren't controversial enough Roman Polanski was the runner up...

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