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Showing posts from February, 2019

The Envelope Please: Those Oscars

The Envelope Please … Those Oscars That time of the year again, and you can find out all about the 91 st Academy Awards this Sunday here: . Also a few other links: Gold Derby predictions tracker: I won’t go through all the categories.   However I am glad to see that the Academy backed down on a ridiculous earlier decision to relegate best cinematography and best editing to commercial breaks. No host should mean less inane patter, and there’s other fluff that could be cut to reduce the length of the ceremony. Best Picture I fully expect Alfonso Cuar

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 emoti

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. ) 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 Ang