All eyes on left field

Posted by · 11:15 am · January 21st, 2009

The nominations announcement is, oh, 18 hours away (yeah, we count minutes at this stage).  Even though I’m well on the record as being a prognosticative pussy this year, I can’t shake the feeling that we’re in for our share of surprises.  I doubt I’m alone. You can go back over Oscar history and write […]

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‘Gomorrah’ doesn’t deliver, says AMPAS

Posted by · 7:29 am · January 14th, 2009

Kris has already given the philistines on the Academy’s foreign-language film committee a deserved telling-off for sidelining Italy’s astonishing entry “Gomorrah,” but I feel compelled to add my voice to his — not least because, if I had my way, Matteo Garrone’s cinematic gut-punch about the Camorra crime syndicate would be in line for a Best […]

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INTERVIEW: Matteo Garrone

Posted by · 11:39 am · December 17th, 2008

In a year that hasn’t exactly wanted for strong European cinema, Matteo Garrone’s “Gomorrah” ranks as one of its most staggering offerings — as reflected by its well-deserved placing on Kris’s top 10 list yesterday. A brutal, multi-stranded portrait of daily life within Naples’s notorious Camorra crime syndicate, it brings a keen sociologist’s eye to […]

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Building a sinister reality

Posted by · 6:59 am · December 15th, 2008

“I was interested in showing a different point of view than ‘ The Godfather’ or ‘GoodFellas,’ ” he says. “These movies are the models for these people, but their real lives are different. We wanted to develop the confusion between reality and fiction. They act like they’re in an American action movie”… “The movie I […]

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Golden Globes: the nominees react

Posted by · 12:00 pm · December 11th, 2008

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association tipped its collective hat to a number of the season’s hopeful contenders this morning, so it’s time to hear some reactions. Generally, a piece such as this is bound to consist of a bunch of gushing, perhaps even boilerplate gratitude from the nominees. And one certainly couldn’t fault them for […]

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‘Gomorrah’ sweeps European Film Awards

Posted by · 2:29 pm · December 6th, 2008

Wow. As I said when the European Film Award nominations were announced a month ago, this year offered a pretty vintage slate of contenders. I therefore expected the honours to be spread quite widely, as is often the case with these particular awards. But it was not to be. In a spectacular sweep, Matteo Garrone’s […]

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INTERVIEW: ‘Gomorrah’ author Roberto Saviano

Posted by · 10:35 am · November 17th, 2008

I’m pretty sure that only in Hollywood can you find publicity mobilized behind a targeted man for the purposes of securing an Oscar nomination (and, of course, prepping a film release).  But there Roberto Saviano was yesterday at the…wait, I probably shouldn’t even mention the hotel should I? Saviano has been pegged for assassination (let’s […]

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Is ‘Gomorrah’ this year’s ‘City of God’?

Posted by · 6:02 pm · November 12th, 2008

Since May, based on nothing but a gut feeling following the film’s Cannes reception, I’ve been predicting that Matteo Garrone’s astonishing “Gomorrah” would score nominations for Best Director, Adapted Screenplay and Film Editing — in addition to a Best Foreign Language Film nod. (Garrone has recently slipped from my Best Director predictions, but he’s still […]

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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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‘Gomorrah’ and ‘Changeling’: two that work

Posted by · 2:28 pm · October 16th, 2008

It’s been a while since I’ve committed to a long-form review, and for that, I have to apologize.  Short Takes here and there don’t exactly cut it, but we’ve certainly stayed afloat in this light with Guy’s wonderful work across the pond.  I don’t get a chance to sit down and hammer out some thoughts […]

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WEEKLY WRAP: Newman remembered, Rudin/Weinstein, Foreign film race

Posted by · 10:00 pm · October 3rd, 2008

As we head into the weekend, here’s a quick overview of what we (and you) have been talking about at In Contention this week: • Kris paid tribute to the incomparable Paul Newman, as well as rounding up some of the man’s greatest performances. • As the Scott Rudin-Harvey Weinstein soap opera continues, Kris wonders […]

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REVIEW: “Gomorrah” (****)

Posted by · 6:07 am · October 2nd, 2008

The title “Gomorrah” is at once metaphorically apt and tonally misleading. In referencing the Biblical city destroyed by God for its sinfulness, Roberto Saviano’s best-selling non-fiction posited its own setting, Naples, as some kind of present-day equivalent. A city ruled and consequently ravaged by the Camorra, the notoriously brutal crime syndicate that has reportedly been […]

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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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Cannes: uneducated guesses

Posted by · 1:54 am · May 25th, 2008

Well, it’s almost over. The competition films have all been screened, picked over and digested by the world’s critics, and now all that’s left to do is that finicky business of handing out some prizes. Sean Penn and his formidable jury (Marjane Satrapi, Alfonso Cuaron and Natalie Portman are just some of those involved) will […]

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Which film will take the Palme d’Or?

Posted by · 10:40 am · May 23rd, 2008

Wells is already speculating and Foote is ready to move on, but let’s think it out here. In a festival that has been a bit underwhelming to most, both artistically for the critics and fiscally for the buyers, someone’s still gotta win best in show. Matteo Garrone’s “Gomorra” and Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s “Three Monkeys” might […]

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Cannes update: Italy’s ‘Gomorra’ wows ’em

Posted by · 3:10 am · May 20th, 2008

(EDITOR’S NOTE: New Cannes poll in the sidebar as of this morning, FYI.) We’re at the halfway point now, and this year’s Cannes Festival seems to have been a pretty staid affair so far. With the dust settled, “Blindness” appears to have been labelled an honourable disappointment. Meanwhile, some of the big arthouse names in […]

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