CANNES CHECK: ‘This Must Be the Place’

Posted by · 5:02 pm · May 9th, 2011

The director: Paolo Sorrentino (Italy) The talent: Sean Penn (a Best Actor winner at Cannes back in 1997 for “She’s So Lovely”) pops up in his second film of the Competition, though this time in a clear lead role. Frances McDormand makes it two Oscar-winners on board, while the eccentric supporting cast includes Harry Dean […]

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OSCAR GUIDE: Best Makeup

Posted by · 11:50 am · February 19th, 2010

The Academy’s makeup category is one of two fields that calls for a whittling down of the contenders via a “bake-off.” Reels of the work from the seven finalists are screened, so an impressive assemblage is all you need. The work on the whole isn’t really being considered, so this can yield surprises in the […]

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The bright side

Posted by · 7:36 am · February 2nd, 2010

Well, I’ll start the good news selfishly, by noting that I didn’t entirely embarrass myself with my predictions: not counting the short categories (which I was too cowardly and uninformed to predict) I nailed 78/106, just two points behind Kris’s round tally of 80. But while I was pleased to see at least one of […]

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My dream ballot: part one

Posted by · 7:32 pm · January 31st, 2010

As I did last year, I’m preparing for Tuesday’s announcement of the Oscar nominations by running through my own favorites in each category — following on from the ideal ballots posted by Kris and Chad in the past few weeks. “Preparing” isn’t quite the word: it implies a link between the processes of predicting and […]

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Makeup bake-off leaves seven

Posted by · 4:40 pm · January 11th, 2010

Via AMPAS press release, the final group includes: “District 9” “Il Divo” “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus” “Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian” “The Road” “Star Trek” “The Young Victoria” Well, there was always one spot in flux for me here and most recently I was giving it to “Cirque du Freak” for […]

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Sean Penn to headline new Sorrentino pic

Posted by · 12:41 pm · May 18th, 2009

Now this is an exciting pairing. You might remember that I’m pretty crazy about “Il Divo,” Paolo Sorrentino’s blazing political biopic-thriller that took a well-deserved Jury Prize at last year’s Cannes fest. (Seriously, check it out when you have a chance.) Between that triumph and his intricate, super-stylish 2001 noir “The Consequences of Love,” Sorrentino […]

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A friendly recommendation

Posted by · 5:28 am · April 22nd, 2009

I’m not in the habit of imploring people to go see things — much like organic breakfast cereal, specialist cinema is tastier when you haven’t persistently been reminded how good it is for you — but I must make an exception on behalf of Paolo Sorrentino’s cracking political bio-thriller “Il Divo,” which opens Stateside on […]

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My dream ballot: part one

Posted by · 3:34 pm · January 20th, 2009

Back in December, Kris offered his take on how he would fill out his nominee ballot if he were an Academy member (affording himself the luxury, obviously, of voting in all categories). Of course, playing voter is a popular sport in the blog world, with Nathaniel Rogers’ annual Film Bitch Awards as thorough and intelligent […]

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Small pleasures: Guy’s best (and worst) of 2008

Posted by · 1:14 pm · January 2nd, 2009

It’s a lovely thing when you realize, at least part of the way through adulthood, that we still possess the ability to surprise ourselves. When left to graze at leisure, the mind can stumble upon some unexpected notions, frequently overriding the conclusions we thought we had reached after twelve months of watching, writing and (occasionally […]

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WEEKLY WRAP: ‘Dark Knight’ disqualified, Rourke interviewed, ‘Australia’ unwrapped

Posted by · 8:00 pm · November 14th, 2008

Kind of an in-between week, this. Here’s how it went down: • In probably the most discussed Oscar news of the week, “The Dark Knight” was dodgily ruled ineligible in the Best Original Score category. • On a happier note, we sat down with surefire Best Actor nominee Mickey Rourke. • A shortlist of 14 […]

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Italy leads the charge at European Film Awards

Posted by · 6:12 pm · November 8th, 2008

Proof positive that 2008 is a banner year for Italian cinema: Matteo Garrone’s “Gomorrah” and Paolo Sorrentino’s “Il Divo,” both masterpieces of a very different stylistic ilk, lead all nominees for the European Film Awards, with five nominations apiece. Joing them in the hunt for Best European Film are “The Class” and “Happy-Go-Lucky,” which makes […]

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LONDON: Gongs for ‘Mice,’ ‘Tulpan’ … and my own awards

Posted by · 9:30 am · October 31st, 2008

My last post on the London Film Festival brings some happy news, as one of my favourite festival titles was justly rewarded last night. The festival is not a competion-based one, but three prestigious awards are still handed out before the final screening. One of these is the global festival staple, the FIPRESCI International Critics’ […]

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LONDON: “W,” “Genova,” “Il Divo” and more

Posted by · 2:06 pm · October 23rd, 2008

We’ve reached the midway point of the London Film Festival, and today’s big event is the European premiere of “W.” As I eavesdropped on assorted critics’ reactions coming out of the press screening this morning, the dominant feeling appeared to be one of pleasant surprise; I have a feeling the film may find a rather […]

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London Film Festival: six to watch

Posted by · 1:15 pm · October 14th, 2008

So the 52nd annual London Film Festival begins tomorrow, bringing with it a feast of cinema cherry-picked from the rest of the fests, with a couple of new titles thrown into the mix too. As promised, I will be keeping you updated with proceedings, starting with tomorrow’s world premiere of “Frost/Nixon.” I’m seeing the film […]

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Garrone on ‘Gomorrah’: “It’s not real, but it’s true.”

Posted by · 6:23 pm · September 30th, 2008

Viva Italia, is all I have to say. In the past 48 hours, I’ve been lucky enough to see the two films that have widely been heralded as marking a renaissance for the Italian film industry, a world cinema titan that had been lying dormant for a couple of years. No more. One of them […]

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‘Gomorrah’ is in — do we have a frontrunner?

Posted by · 6:50 am · September 24th, 2008

Well, as speculated a few hours ago, Italy has announced their submission for Best Foreign Language Film. And, to the surprise of precisely nobody, they have gone with Matteo Garrone’s “Gomorrah” — the sprawling, breathlessly acclaimed portrait of Naples mafia life that was arguably the breakout hit of May’s Cannes festival. (It received the runner-up […]

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‘Three Monkeys’ joins the Foreign Film mix

Posted by · 3:47 am · September 24th, 2008

Nobody who was paying attention at Cannes will be surprised that Turkey has selected Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s “Three Monkeys” as their entry in the foreign-language derby. The film was one of the critical sensations of the festival back in May and was many pundits’ pick for the Palme d’Or — it wound up with the […]

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‘Che,’ ‘W.’ among films announced to play London fest

Posted by · 10:14 am · September 10th, 2008

Looking down the list of titles in the newly-revealed lineup for next month’s London Film Festival lineup, my initial reaction was one of mild disappointment. Plenty of exciting titles, for sure, but it doesn’t quite match last year’s feast that included everything from “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly” to “The Assassination of Jesse James” […]

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