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Showing posts from February, 2019

Beyond Hollywood: Border and Capernaum

Beyond Hollywood: Border, Capernaum Hollywood’s biggest party, the Oscars, is coming up and will no doubt indulge in some of the usual self-congratulation.So it’s good to look beyond the tinsel of an American-dominated industry, especially in a year when a “foreign-language” feature—Roma—has a decent shot to win best picture.
Border (Sweden/Denmark) Iranian-born director Ali Abbasi’s bizarre Scandinavian tale was tops in the Un Certain Regard sidebar of the 2018 Cannes film festival and Sweden’s entry to the Oscar foreign-language category.It did manage one Oscar nomination—for makeup and hair styling—as well it should. Based on a short story, the central character is Tina (Eva Melander in a raw, fearless performance) who works as a Swedish custom agent at a seaside port of entry.To say that this is not a movie with beautiful people is an understatement. Tina has forbidding, Neanderthal-like features and quite literally a nose for sniffing troubled human emotional states (along with a ki…

Commanding Female Roles: Destroyer and Vox Lux

Powerhouse Female Roles: Destroyer, Vox Lux This year’s last week of January has been a change from the past dozen or so when I would be binging on exciting new movies at the Sundance film festival, my favorite festival experience. I miss that special atmosphere but am keeping tabs on the offerings generating the most buzz and worth watching out for during the year. In the meantime let me recommend a couple of recent releases featuring powerhouse female performances that command attention even if overlooked for Oscar nominations in a competitive year.

Destroyer (U.S.https://www.destroyer.movie/) Nicole Kidman won her best actress Oscar back in 2003 for her transformative role as Virginia Woolf in The Hours. In director Karyn Kusama’s bleak crime drama, Kidman’s psycho-physical transformation is if anything greater and considerably less glamorous, akin to that of Charlize Theron as a serial killer in Monster.Kidman plays Erin Bell, an alcoholic, hard-bitten Los Angeles police detective est…