Fox Searchlight picks up McQueen’s ‘Shame’

Posted by · 4:35 pm · September 9th, 2011

I would say “Toldja!,” but I think that’s trademarked elsewhere. Nevertheless, as indicated here a few times, Fox Searchlight Pictures was pretty serious about “Shame” after the film bowed at Venice and Telluride on the same day over the weekend. It’s set to screen Sunday in Toronto, but ahead of that, the dependent has bravely […]

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TELLURIDE: Michael Fassbender and a tale of two movies

Posted by · 11:54 pm · September 4th, 2011

Today’s screening of “Shame” was the big note of anticipation for me at this year’s Telluride fest. After bowing in Venice earlier this morning to generally positive praise, my hopes were still high that Steve McQueen made good on the promise of “Hunger” three years ago. And did he ever. I’m tired, at the end […]

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REVIEW: “Shame” (***1/2)

Posted by · 5:36 am · September 4th, 2011

Venice Film Festival If “Hunger,” artist-turned-filmmaker Steve McQueen’s remarkable debut feature, was a study of a body strenuously denied its fundamental needs, his satisfyingly rigorous, explicit follow-up, “Shame,” traces the very different damage done by a body over-gifted with wants. A sternly formalist parable on the pruning and stunting of relationships both familial and carnal […]

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VENICE: Follow the Lido — a festival preview

Posted by · 9:14 am · August 30th, 2011

“Why Venice and not Toronto?” a colleague asked when I mentioned I was heading to the Lido for the world’s oldest film festival for the third straight year. Given the North American bent of this site, it was a fair question, but also one I found easy to answer — and not just for the […]

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Venice competition includes Polanski, Cronenberg, Alfredson

Posted by · 5:07 am · July 28th, 2011

These days, so much media speculation precedes the announcement of any major festival lineup that the eventual unveiling comes almost as an anti-climax — or at least it would do if the long-expected films weren’t so appetizing in the first place. As was the case with the Toronto lineup on Tuesday, the just-revealed programme for […]

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11/24 OSCARWEB ROUND-UP: Kunis on her ‘Machinist’ impression, Hammer talks twinning, bad boy celebrity

Posted by · 8:00 am · November 24th, 2010

(Ended up unexpectedly taking the day off yesterday.  Not that I’m complaining.) • Anne Thompson talks to “Secretariat” star Diane Lane. [Thompson on Hollywood] • Mila Kunis on dropping to a bony 95 pounds for “Black Swan.” [E! Online] • Dave Karger, meanwhile, wonders if the actress can score an Oscar nod alongside co-star Natalie […]

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Fassbender’s 2011 gets busier with McQueen’s ‘Shame’

Posted by · 9:47 am · November 11th, 2010

I’m lousy at keeping track of pre-production news, so if you’d asked me an hour ago what British artist-turned-filmmaker Steve McQueen was tackling for his sophomore feature, I’d have answered, “Oh, I know — that Fela Kuti biopic starring Chiwetel Ejiofor.” And I’d have been wrong. The more clued-up folks at The Playlist report that […]

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‘Hurt Locker’ scribe Mark Boal up for Venice award

Posted by · 4:30 pm · August 26th, 2009

I had the pleasure of interviewing Mark Boal, the celebrated journalist and screenwriter of “The Hurt Locker,” over a beer in London last week, and was glad to find him as alert and interesting a subject as the film he wrote. (The interview will crop up on these pages soon, by the way.) So as […]

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Marrying art and film at Venice

Posted by · 8:05 am · August 5th, 2009

One of the most unique virtues of the Venice Film Festival is that it every two years, it runs alongside the Venice Biennale — the world’s foremost contemporary art showcase, spanning almost 6 months and housing exhibitions from over 90 international artists. The overlap between the film festival and the Biennale can therefore bridge the […]

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THE LISTS: Top 10 directorial debuts of the decade

Posted by · 8:51 am · June 23rd, 2009

To me, “great cinema” means something I haven’t seen before or something I have seen before presented in a new way. With 110 years of motion pictures behind us, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to meet those standards, especially since filmmakers find it a lot easier to give in to preconceived notions of story structure, character […]

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Right on

Posted by · 1:14 pm · March 23rd, 2009

There are so many contrivances in the “prison” genre that are completely absent from McQueen’s film, which focuses on the faces of characters and their surroundings. The theme is not pushed forward by plot or by character but by feeling and emotion, which is enormously difficult in such a visual and aural medium. Now that […]

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‘Hunger’ poster

Posted by · 11:08 am · February 27th, 2009

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Predicting BAFTA, part two — main categories

Posted by · 4:20 pm · February 7th, 2009

Continuing yesterday’s not-so-educated guesses at tomorrow’s BAFTA Awards, we move on the main categories. In many ways, they’re easier to predict than the frequently confounding technical categories, but that’s no reason to get complacent – as we saw last year with then-unexpected wins for Tilda Swinton and Marion Cotillard, BAFTA is more than capable of […]

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BAFTA predictions

Posted by · 2:00 pm · January 14th, 2009

The BAFTA nominations drop tomorrow, and while I hardly covered myself in glory with my foreign film Oscar forecast yesterday, I’m going to wade into the murky waters of prediction once more. On the one hand, it’s a fool’s errand trying to predict the BAFTA nods, as they can frequently be the most perverse and contrarian awards […]

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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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12/6 Oscarweb Round-up

Posted by · 5:51 am · December 6th, 2008

• John Patterson on the legacy of Harvey Milk. [The Guardian] • Robert Abele talks to “Frost/Nixon” star Michael Sheen. [Los Angeles Times] • Rebeca Hall, meanwhile, discusses her involvement in the film with Jenni Miller. [Premiere] • Peter Knegt chats with visionary “Hunger” director Steve McQueen. [indieWIRE] • John Anderson profiles animation legend Bill […]

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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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AFI FEST: ‘Hunger,’ ‘Che’

Posted by · 7:48 pm · November 2nd, 2008

Four days and three screenings into the 2008 AFI Fest, I’m one-for-two and looking to add to the “win” column as much as possible in the next week.  It hit me this afternoon, though, that no two films could be better suited to an introductory update from the festival, two exercises in subverting the conventions […]

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