Category Archives: Foreign Film

Short Film: “Alike”

Creativity matters. Don’t let society make you lose your color. What a beautiful sentiment.

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Short Film: “We Can’t Live Without Cosmos”

Nominated for this year’s Academy Award for Best Short Film, Animated, “We Can’t Live Without Cosmos” is a beautiful film about friendship and dreams. This is Russian filmmaker Konstantin Bronzit’s second Oscar nomination in this category; his previous nomination came in 2009 for his animated short “Lavatory Lovestory.”

Short Film: “Doodlebug” by Christopher Nolan

Doodlebug

Christopher Nolan’s first IMDb credit came for writing, directing, shooting, editing, and set designing his 3-minute short film, “Doodlebug” (1997). The black-and-white, noirish film was made while Nolan (then credited as “Chris”) was studying English literature at university. Its lone performer, Jeremy Theobald, later starred in Nolan’s feature debut, Following (1998), another black-and-white noir just a year later.

It doesn’t take much to notice the early stages of Nolan’s evolving “film mind” in this brief piece. The various levels of reality at play here are fully on display in a greater form in Nolan’s 2010 film, Inception.

Now, see how it all began for the modern master…

New York Film Festival Recap

As the 53rd New York Film Festival wrapped with Closing Night selection Miles Ahead, a bio-drama on “social music” (don’t call it jazz) legend Miles Davis, starring and helmed by Don Cheadle in his directorial debut, it’s time to look back on some of the Festival’s best offerings.

BRIDGE OF SPIES

In Steven Spielberg’s Cold War-era drama, Tom Hanks plays a Brooklyn insurance lawyer who must broker a sensitive prisoner exchange with the USSR. Once again, Spielberg proves he’s at the top of his craft. Hanks turns in a solid performance, but it’s supporting player Mark Rylance who steals his scenes as a Soviet spy with his too-cool-it’s-unnerving performance.

In Theaters: October 16

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The Hamptons Goes Cinematic

The 23rd edition of the Hamptons International Film Festival launched its five-day run last Thursday with Opening Night selection Truth, the true newsroom drama starring Cate Blanchett and Robert Redford. With a healthy selection of world premieres and Oscar hopefuls (including nine foreign language submissions), the festival is primed to bring some of the world’s best cinema to Long Island. Here’s a small sampling of what’s on the slate.

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Revisiting My Interview with Portuguese Filmmaker Miguel Gomes

Nearly three years ago, I was offered the opportunity to interview Portuguese filmmaker Miguel Gomes about his new film, Tabu. As a Portuguese film buff and sometimes filmmaker, myself, I leaped at the chance. Now, Gomes has been making waves with his new three-part film, Arabian Nights, ever since its world premiere this past May at the Cannes Film Festival. The 381-minute epic will bow to US audiences beginning September 30 at the New York Film Festival. But before that happens, I thought it would be a good idea to reflect on my interview with him from December 2012.

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Oscar-Nominated Films on Netflix

With 9 nominations, THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL ties BIRDMAN with the most nominations. Watch THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL, currently available on Netflix.

This morning, the nominations for the 87th Academy Awards were announced. View all nominees here.

If you’re like me, you watch as many of the nominated films as possible before the ceremony (on February 22 this year). Got some catching up to do? Watch 11 of the nominated films, currently on Netflix.

Available Via Streaming

Ida

  • Best Foreign Language Film (Poland)
  • Best Cinematography

Virunga

  • Best Documentary

Available Via Netflix DVD

Begin Again

  • Best Original Song

Boyhood

  • Best Picture
  • Best Director
  • Best Original Screenplay
  • Best Supporting Actor
  • Best Supporting Actress
  • Best Film Editing

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

  • Best Visual Effects

Finding Vivian Maier

  • Best Documentary

The Grand Budapest Hotel

  • Best Picture
  • Best Director
  • Best Original Screenplay
  • Best Cinematography
  • Best Original Score
  • Best Film Editing
  • Best Makeup and Hairstyling
  • Best Costume Design
  • Best Production Design

Guardians of the Galaxy

  • Best Makeup and Hairstyling
  • Best Visual Effects

The Lego Movie

  • Best Original Song

Maleficent

  • Best Costume Design

X-Men: Days of Future Past

  • Best Visual Effects

New York Film Festival Review: Clouds of Sils Maria

(Re-posted from LimitéMagazine.com)

Juliette Binoche and Kristen Stewart in CLOUDS OF SILS MARIA

Series: Main Slate (US Premiere)

Set in the breathtaking Swiss Alps, veteran actress Maria Enders (Juliette Binoche) prepares to star in the revival of a play that made her famous many years earlier. The role that catapulted her into stardom, that of Sigrid, a savvy vixen who engages in a power struggle with her older boss, Helena, will be played by troubled “it girl” Jo-Ann Ellis (a mesmerizing Chloë Grace Moretz). Enders will be taking on the role of Helena, one that she is not mentally prepared to play. With the help of her loyal assistant, Valentine (Kristen Stewart), Maria reluctantly faces the challenge head on, and in the process must come to grips with themes of aging—both in terms of the play and in her own life.

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Los Tres Amigos: The Men Behind GRAVITY, BABEL, and PAN’S LABYRINTH

NOTE: I edited and partly wrote the following feature for LimitéMagazine.com.

(Re-posted from LimitéMagazine.com)

(L to R) Alejandro González Iñárritu, Guillermo del Toro, Alfonso Cuarón
Mexico’s “Three Amigos” are Alfonso Cuarón, Alejandro González Iñárritu, and Guillermo del Toro. These highly accomplished filmmakers’ works have transcended Mexico’s borders and captured the imaginations of moviegoers the world over. Admired for their fearlessness and imagination, the three director-producers bound together in 2007 to form Cha Cha Cha Films, a production company that released Rudo y Cursi (dir. Carlos Cuarón, 2008), Mother and Child (dir. Rodrigo García, 2009), and Biutiful (dir. Iñárritu, 2009).

The three filmmakers have been nominated for a combined nine Academy Awards, and their most recent directorial achievements include Gravity (Cuarón, 2013), Biutiful (Iñárritu, 2010), and Pacific Rim (del Toro, 2013).

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2014 Top 10 Indie Summer Flicks

NOTE: I edited and partly wrote the following feature for LimitéMagazine.com.

(Re-posted from LimitéMagazine.com)

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Keira Knightley and Adam Levine in BEGIN AGAIN
Summer may not officially begin until June 21, but “summer movies” have already begun to make waves at the box office. And while filmgoers succumb to the traditional summer movie fare—including superheroes and sequels, Transformers and talking apes—the indie box office is primed to serve up something different with a bit more depth. This summer, we challenge you to venture beyond the shallow side of the pool and dive into the deep end. Here’s our annual Top 10 list of what you will find there.

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