CANNES CHECK: ‘Sleeping Beauty’

Posted by · 11:47 am · May 5th, 2011

[Due to my usual sloppy planning, we’re doubling up on this series with two entries a day, so as to be finished in time for next week. Catch up with all the Cannes Check posts so far here.] The director: Julia Leigh (Australia) The talent: With novelist Leigh making her directorial debut here, the name […]

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LIFE WITHOUT OSCAR: 1989 and 1990

Posted by · 6:14 pm · November 9th, 2010

Catch up with the idea behind this series here. We’re almost out of the god-awful 1980’s and into the decade where I came of age. I will say that 1989 brings my very first actual going-to-the-cinema memory, which was seeing “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids.” I may have gone to the movies before then, but […]

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TECH SUPPORT INTERVIEW: The crafts of ‘Bright Star’

Posted by · 12:34 pm · February 11th, 2010

It’s not every year that my biggest cheer on Oscar nomination morning comes in the technical categories, but such was the case last week when Janet Patterson’s name showed up in the Best Costume Design lineup. Patterson’s inclusion (following a senseless Guild snub) is gratifying not merely as recognition for her tangibly textured, richly story-serving […]

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‘Bright Star’ screenplay goes adapted

Posted by · 2:40 pm · January 4th, 2010

Steve Pond sure is getting a nice bunch of scoops today.  Mainly because, I imagine, he’s doing the dilligence of looking over the ballots and accompanying eligibility forms, which so often tend to reveal last minute category shockers, something I’ve been meaning to do for a few days now. Anyway, you might remember a few […]

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WEEKLY WRAP: Precursor avalanche, best of 2009

Posted by · 6:57 pm · December 18th, 2009

• Kris wrapped up 2009 with his take on the year’s best films, also offering his own preferred nominees and winners in a range of categories. (I’ll chime in next week.) • “Up in the Air” led this year’s pack of Golden Globe nominees. • It also joined “Precious” and “Inglourious Basterds” at the head […]

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INTERVIEW: Jane Campion

Posted by · 12:46 pm · December 17th, 2009

Jane Campion’s laugh comes as a rather lovely surprise: full, throaty and often directed at herself, it betrays a personality more robust, mischievous even, than one might surmise from her fragile, often solemn films. It’s a disconnect she cheerfully acknowledges, and credits in part to her collaborators. “As a filmmaker, it helps me to be […]

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INTERVIEW: Abbie Cornish

Posted by · 10:08 am · December 10th, 2009

To call Abbie Cornish’s astute, china-delicate performance in “Bright Star” a “breakthrough,” as so many critics this year have done, is to do something of a disservice to her similarly remarkable work in a pair of underseen Australian titles. No informed viewer should be taken off-guard by the tart questioning and quiet sensuality she brings […]

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OFF THE CARPET: Original players

Posted by · 2:44 pm · November 16th, 2009

When I had the unmitigated gall last week to project a set of winners for this year’s Oscar race, I was a bit startled at how easy Mark Boal’s script for “The Hurt Locker” slid into the Best Original Screenplay slot.  Looking over the landscape of contenders in the category, it’s a little obvious why […]

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11/2 Oscarweb Round-up

Posted by · 8:44 am · November 2nd, 2009

• Brian Brooks sits down with “Precious” star Gabourey Sidibe. [indieWIRE] • Mark Harris on Penelope Cruz and Pedro Almodovar: cinematic soul mates. [New York Times] • Mark Salisbury writes up “The Young Victoria” from across the pond with quotes from actress Emily Blunt and screenwriter Julian Fellowes. [Los Angeles Times]

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Academy members weigh in on The Ten

Posted by · 3:59 pm · October 30th, 2009

In the four months since the Academy announced its controversial switch from five to 10 Best Picture nominees, you’ve heard a lot of griping (and occasional enthusing) from assorted critics, industry-watchers and schmoes like me. What we haven’t heard is too much perspective on the issues from the voters themselves. So USA Today’s Susan Wloszczyna […]

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‘Fish Tank,’ ‘Moon,’ ‘Education’ lead BIFA noms, female directors rule

Posted by · 2:23 pm · October 26th, 2009

You’ve heard me natter on enough for months about how “Fish Tank” is one of the year’s best films — now you don’t have to just hear it from me anymore. Andrea Arnold’s lyrical character study of an unhappy Essex teenager (now being dubbed ‘the British “Precious”‘ by some lazy wags) leads the nominations for […]

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Tarantino’s love letter to ‘Bright Star’

Posted by · 11:26 am · October 21st, 2009

Quentin Tarantino is obviously quite the epistolarian. Just yesterday, I mentioned the sincerely admiring letter that he wrote to controversial “Kinatay” director Brillante Mendoza, praising the brutally violent and widely unpopular Filipino film for its daring and authenticity. Evidently, that wasn’t the only letter QT wrote in his Cannes hotel suite. And while it’s not […]

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LONDON: A thing of beauty

Posted by · 1:02 pm · October 19th, 2009

Regular readers will know that Kris and I frequently disagree as to the merits of certain films — and cheerfully so, since a range of opinion is kind of the point of having multiple contributors to a site like this. But I don’t think our opinions have ever been so sharply opposed as they are […]

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Campion’s ‘Peel’

Posted by · 11:42 am · October 1st, 2009

Speaking of Jane Campion, New York Magazine was recently resourceful enough to dig up the director’s breakthrough short “Peel,” which won the Palme d’Or (in the short category, of course) at Cannes in 1986. It remains, for me, one of the finest things the director’s ever done. Check it out below if you’ve never seen […]

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Jane Campion’s pick of the Criterion Collection

Posted by · 11:04 am · October 1st, 2009

I’m glad to see that, whatever the eventual awards fate of “Bright Star,” Jane Campion is by and large back in the critics’ good books. As one of those who feels she’s never really made a bad film — simply some more completely realized than others — it’s a case of reputation rehab being both […]

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9/24 Oscarweb Round-up

Posted by · 9:50 am · September 24th, 2009

• Adam Dawtrey on the rebirth of Colin Firth. [The Guardian] • In honor of “A Serious Man,” Nathan Englander picks the top five Jewish films from the 1970s.  Why not the 1960s?  You know, when the Coen film is set? [Film in Focus] • Not Oscar related, but most desired remake: “The Goonies.” [Daily […]

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9/22 Oscarweb Round-up

Posted by · 7:08 am · September 22nd, 2009

• Peter Bart takes note of two of the season’s leading ladies of the Oscar circuit, unlikely rivals Jane campion and Kathryn Bigelow. [BF Deal Memo] • Eugene Hernandez on the Oscar marathon. [indieWIRE] • Bilge Ibiri compares “The Insider” to “The Informant!” [Future of Classic]

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INTERVIEW: Paul Schneider

Posted by · 12:56 pm · September 8th, 2009

Telluride Film Festival Paul Schneider has had a headache since he was nine years old.  Or at least, he says, that’s what it feels like.  Since the rush of a film festival isn’t the best environment for migraines, a corner booth in an unassuming cafe is a nice distraction for the actor. Schneider left the […]

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