3/31/2014

Grand 'Hotel'

The Grand Budapest Hotel
(USA/Germany, 100 min.)
Written and directed by Wes Anderson (Story by Wes Anderson and Hugo Guinness)
Starring: Ralph Fiennes, Tony Revolori, F. Murray Abraham, Mathieu Amalric, Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, Harvey Keitel, Jude Law, Bill Murray, Edward Norton, Saoirse Ronan, Léa Seydoux, Tilda Swinton.
It’s rare to see a line-up at the movies in Ottawa unless one is hitting up the ByTowne on a Friday night, catching the latest dose of midnight madness at the Mayfair, or seeing the hot ticket of the European Union Film Festival. Line-ups at Ottawa multiplexes, on the other hand, appear mostly in the bizarre subculture of contest people who frequent the freebie screenings that happen in town on Wednesdays and Thursdays. (Unsubtle plug.) A great heap of delight, however, greeted the city of the cinematic vacuum as hordes of moviegoers left the urban core perchance to RSVP on a cordial invitation to celebrate the release of Wes Anderson’s The Great Budapest Hotel this weekend.


3/27/2014

LAFF Review: 'Habanastation'

Habanastation
(Cuba, 96 min.)
Dir. Ian Padrón, Writ. Felipe Espinet
Starring: Ernesto Escalona, Andy Fornanis, Claudia Alvariño, Blanca Rosa Blanco, Luis Alberto García.
Is it any coincidence that the back-to-back Cuban selections at the 2013 and 2014 Latin American Film Festivals are family-friendly films? Probably not, but this year’s Habanastation is sure to please any fans of the Cuban musical And Nevertheless… that screened at the festival last year. Habanastation might not have the novelty or flair for originality that makes And Nevertheless… such a charming film, yet this broad Cuban offering is fun and inviting. It’s a refreshing piece of world cinema for a Friday night.


Trailer for Denys Arcand's 'The Reign of Beauty'

[Image removed due to Google prudishness. Naturally, you can see the image here thanks to Google Images.]
Les Films Seville has released an outstanding trailer for Denys Arcand’s upcoming film Le règne de la beauté (The Reign of Beauty). The film, previously titled Two Nights, sees Canada’s Oscar winner for The Barbarian Invasions return with his Invasions star Marie-Josée Croze in what looks like an intriguing infidelity drama. The NFSW trailer hints at Arcand’s signature musings on love, sex, and all things Québécois set amidst a bilingual love triangle that spirals out of control. The Reign of Beauty is presumably Cannes-bound, but Les Films Seville notes its Quebec release as expected for this Spring. (The release for the rest of Canada is TBA.) Maybe the rest of us will have to wait until TIFF if Arcand will be repping Canada at the Oscars once again? Either way, this film looks quite promising! (Hat tip to the Film Circuit for sharing it!)

Trailer and synopsis (my poor translation) after the jump.


LAFF Review: 'Bald Mountain'

Bald Mountain (Serra Pelada)
(Brazil, 106 min.)
Dir. Heitor Dhalia, Writ. Heitor Dhalia, Vera Egito
Starring: Júlio Andrade, Juliano Cazarré, Sophie Charlotte, Wagner Moura, Jesuita Barbosa
National cinema is a tricky thing. The process of zooming in on the practices, themes, and aesthetics percolating within one set of borders offers a convenient method for highlighting currents in world cinema. Just look at the fixation cinephiles have for long takes in films from Romania. One recurring aesthetic choice—conscious or unconscious—might attract a repeat audience that rides the Romanian New Wave on the festival circuit each year. If Romania is one European country that has clearly benefited from discourse on national cinema, then Brazil might assume the role of the Latin American nation that has recently enjoyed the same spotlight.


3/26/2014

'Robert Lepage: Possible Worlds' at TIFF

Robert Lepage and Pedro Pires direct Triptych. Photo: eOne Films.
Well, I’m kicking myself for making poor travel plans. I’ll be heading to Toronto for a month to do the EQAO test scoring again and then to cover Hot Docs, but I’ll arrive just in time to miss out on an exciting Canadian film spotlight happening at the Lightbox March 27 – April 1. (Ever the April Fool, I’ll arrive the night of the first.) Anyways, TIFF is spotlighting the career of one of Canada’s most significant filmmakers, Robert Lepage, in the series “Robert Lepage: Possible Worlds” in celebration of the director’s receipt of The Glenn Gould Prize, which is an internationally juried award presented by The Glenn Gould Foundation to an individual whose lifetime contribution has enriched the human condition through the arts. The retrospective, presented by TIFF and the Glenn Gould foundation, offers a week of Lepage’s films and showcases everything from his earliest works to his most recent film Triptych, which had its world premiere at TIFF last fall and was recently nominated for two Canadian Screen Awards including Best Director (Lepage shared the nomination with Pedro Pires).

3/25/2014

TIFF Spotlights Seoul in City to City Programme for TIFF 2014

Jeon Do-yeon in the The Housemaid, a recent TIFF hit from South Korea.
The Toronto International Film Festival will shine a spotlight on Seoul this fall! TIFF Artistic Director Cameron Bailey made the announcement today that Seoul, South Korea will be the focus of the City to City programme at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival. The City to City programme is a central part of the festival’s dedication to highlighting currents of world cinema in different corners of the globe. “Seoul is one of the most exciting cities on the planet, and you can feel that energy in its films,” said Bailey. “South Korea's capital continues to produce consistently strong cinema, from art house to commercial. Seoul’s best auteurs win major festival awards, while its genre masters are sought after in Hollywood and its actors have won fans all across Asia. This year we want to introduce our audience to Seoul’s next generation. We are lucky to be based in Toronto, home to one of the most ardent audiences for Korean cinema.”


3/24/2014

Cloning Comedy A True Original

A Brand New You
(Canada, 83 min.)
Dir. Kathryn Palmateer, Shawn Whitney; Writ. Shawn Whitney
Starring: Manuel Rodriguez-Saenz, Clinton Lee Pontes, Freya Ravensbergen
Clones overrun the multiplex these days. Twilights, Hunger Gameses, new RoboCops, and inbred Marvel movies fill the screens with cinematic carbon copies. Every other movie seems like the one that came before it. Fortunately, though, A Brand New You might legitimately have claim to being the first and only microbudget cloning comedy that Canadian has ever produced. This lo-fi film is fun, creative, and refreshingly original.


Win 'Divergent' Prize Packs and Run of Engagement Passes! (Contest closed)

Good news for readers who fell to the Factionless after the last Divergent contest! Cinemablographer.com has another chance for you to join the faction of fans who were buzzing with excitement at the box office this weekend. Divergent (reviewed here) is now in theatres from eOne Films, and if you want a chance to win a grand prize pack that includes run of engagement tickets to see the movie, you are in luck! Answer the trivia below and enter to win!


3/23/2014

'Louis Cyr' KOs 'Gabrielle' at Quebec's Jutra Awards

Guillaume Cyr and Antoine Bertrand in Louis Cyr
We have an upset, but leave it to Quebec to get an award show done right. The province has become a hallmark for Canadian cinema as it churns out hit after hit, and Quebec once again put the rest of the country to shame by offering an award show that recongized films that were actually seen and celebrated by Canadians in 2013. Tonight's fête for Les Prix Jutra, named after Quebec filmmaker Claude Jutra, saw across the board recognition for some of the most acclaimed Canadian films of 2013 that were sorely underrepresented at the Canadian Screen Awards. The Jutras, unlike the Screenies, restrict contention to films released theatrically in 2013. Thank goodness, for Louise Archambault finally got the recognition she deserved! After an inexcusable snub at the Canadian Screen Awards despite a Best Picture win for Gabrielle, the director of Canada's Oscar darling  finally won some well-deserved hardware. Archambault scored Best Director and Best Screenplay, making her only the second woman in Jutra history to score Best Director (the first was Lyne Charlebois for Borderline), while all four of the acting prizes went to Screenie snubees, most notably Pierrette Robitaille for her performance in Denis Côté's Vic + Flo Saw a Bear and Antoine Bertrand in Louis Cyr. Oddly enough, the big prize of the night didn't go to Archambault's Gabrielle, but rather to Daniel Roby's Louis Cyr. Louis Cyr, the Quebec box office champ for 2013, gave Gabrielle a fair fight and won 9 awards overall to Gabrielle's 5. 

The winners are:

3/21/2014

Ottawa's Latin American Film Festival Brings the First Sign of Spring

Ottawa’s Latin American Film Festival offers the annual first sign of Spring in the National Capital. Snowbanks are at an all-time high and temperatures are at an all-time low, yet the sunny cinema from the South promises to warm Ottawans from their slumber. Yesterday’s press launch for the 18th annual Latin American Film Festival was conveniently timed on the first day of Spring and the impressive crowd in the room at the Cuban Embassy seemed to relish the warm forecast. The Latin American Film Festival, which is presented by the Canadian Film Institute in collaboration with the Group of Latin American Ambassadors (GRULA), runs in Ottawa from March 27 to April 13.


A Film for Any Faction

Divergent
(USA, 139 min.)
Dir. Neil Burger, Writ. Evan Daugherty, Vanessa Taylor
Starring: Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Kate Winslet, Ashley Judd, Tony Goldwyn, Jai Courtenay, Zoë Kravitz, Maggie Q.
Shailene Woodley and Theo James star in Divergent
Courtesy of eOne Films / Photo Credit: Jaap Buitendijk

Teen movies exist in five factions: the fart movie, the comic book movie, the coming-of-age movie, the horny-but-PG-13 comedy movie (a derivative of the fart movie), and the Young Adult movie. The other teen movies are the Factionless (semi-arty films and such) and they usually die at the box office. All other factions of teen movies are generally punching bags for critics and post-pubescent viewers alike, but the most dauntless faction of recent teen films is arguably the Young Adult movie.


3/20/2014

Get a Clue, Gumshoe!

No Clue
(Canada, 96 min.)
Dir. Carl Bessai, Writ. Brent Butt
Starring: Brent Butt, Amy Smart, David Koechner, David Cubitt, Dany Payne, Dustin Milligan.
“I made a promise, and when I make a promise to a strange woman in a bathrobe in a sleazy motel, I keep it!” says Leo Falloon, the gumshoe buffoon played by “Corner Gas” star Brent Butt in No Clue. Leo doesn’t have a clue how to be a detective, as he makes a living peddling novelty crap like coffee mugs and key chains from his Vancouver office. However, when Kyra (Amy Smart), the aforementioned strange woman, walks into Leo’s office to enlist his help in finding her missing brother, Leo finds himself tongue-tied, love-struck, and woefully in over his head.


7 Films Announced for INDIECAN10K Initiative

Indiecan Entertainment announced the seven films that have been selected for the inaugural INDIECAN10K initiative. Indiecan’s Avi Federgreen said that the seven films were selected from an impressive pool of 68 submissions that were received since the challenge was launched on January 13th. Federgreen noted that the impressive response “bring[s] to light that we need to help our emerging filmmaking community across the country. The films that have been selected are a great representation of the creative talent that we have in this Canada” The films that have been selected are a great representation of the creative talent that we have in this Canada. The selected teams will work closely with Federgreen and their provincial mentors to develop their films through every aspect of production from script development to post-production. Projects must be fully completed by December 31, 2014.


3/19/2014

Meryl Streep and Jeff Bridges in 'The Giver' Teaser


New Meryl has landed! The Weinstein Company released a teaser trailer for the upcoming sci-fi film The Giver starring Meryl Streep and Jeff Bridges. Based on the novel by Lois Lowry and directed by Philip Noyce (Salt), The Giver hits theatres August 15th. Looks promising!

Did anyone else get an Iron Lady vibe in Streep’s voiceover, “Where disorder became harmony”?


3/18/2014

Hot Docs Announces Festival Line-up

Joy of Man's Desiring
Hot Docs announced the complete line-up for the 2014 edition of the festival today.  This year’s festival features 197 documentaries from 43 countries. Brian Knappenberger’s The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz was announced as the opening night selection for Hot Docs 2014. The screening marks the film’s international premiere. Star Trek actor and meme king George Takei joins the Scotiabank Big Ideas series for a chat following Being Takei. The must-see screening of the festival, though, might be a retrospective screening of Harlan County USA  with director Barbara Kopple in attendance for an in-depth conversation. Doc fans will not want to miss that event!

3/17/2014

DiverCiné Review: 'Longwave' / 'Les grandes ondes (à l'ouest)'

Longwave (Les grandes ondes – à l’ouest)
(Switzerland/France/Portugal, 85 min.)
Dir. Lionel Baier, Writ. Lionel Baier, Julien Boissoux
Starring: Valérie Donzelli, Michel Vuillermoz, Patrick Lapp, Francisco Belard
There’s an intoxicating air of revolution in Longwave / Les grandes ondes – (à l’ouest). Longwave, the closing night selection of DiverCiné, brings the festival to a strong finish with its funny, stylish, and multifaceted jaunt into the radical thrill of the 1970s. This Swiss adventure is a thoroughly inventive and relevant film. Fresh, breezy, and blissfully set to the cascading classical notes of George Gershwin, Longwave is a spirited delight.


F-U-N-N-Y?

Bad Words
(USA, 88 min.)
Dir. Jason Bateman, Writ. Andrew Dodge
Starring: Jason Bateman, Kathryn Hahn, Philip Baker Hall, Rohan Chand, Alison Janney.
Jason Bateman directs and stars in Bad Words, an eOne Films release.

Earmuffs, children! Bad Words is a cuss-laden riot. The directorial debut of Jason Bateman gives the finger to political correctness and family-friendly viewing as Bateman’s anti-hero Guy Trilby works his way to the finals of a national spelling bee by dropping one F-bomb after another. Akeelah and the Bee this is not.


Contest: Win Tickets to see 'The Raid 2' in Ottawa, Edmonton, and Vancouver! (Contest closed)

(Sung to the tune of “Mary Had a Little Lamb”)
Broken bones and blood and gore, blood and gore, blood and gore;
Broken bones and blood and gore,
La la la la laaaaaaaaa la.

Everyone’s favourite ode to violence is back! After the mayhem of The Raid: Redemption comes The Raid 2. They’ve upped the body count and sweetened the pot, so if you want tickets to see a sneak peek of The Raid 2 in select cities before it is released in theatres April 11 from eOne Films, answer the trivia below to enter!


3/15/2014

1 + 1 = 1

Enemy
(Canada/Spain, 90 min.)
Dir. Denis Villeneuve, Writ. Javier Gullón
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Mélanie Laurent, Sarah Gadon, Isabella Rossellini.
Jake Gyllenhaal in Enemy. An eOne Films release.
“1+1=1” says a mathematical equation that deduces a troubling revelation in Denis Villeneuve’s masterful Incendies. Jeanne (Mélissa Désormeaux-Poulin) and her twin, Simon (Maxim Gaudette), are faced with a horrible conclusion when searching for two different men as part of their mother’s last quest. It might be no coincidence that the answer for Incendies offers the riddle for Villeneuve’s next film, Enemy, in which a man’s worst enemy is himself. One plus one equals one in Enemy, and the absence of a two results in chaos.


3/14/2014

DiverCiné Review: 'The Missing Picture'

The Missing Picture (L’image manquante)
(Cambodia/France, 92 min.)
Dir. Rithy Panh, Writ. Rithy Panh, Christophe Bataille
“An image cannot prove mass murder, but it gives us cause for thought, for meditation,” says director Rithy Panh as he narrates the ingenious documentary The Missing Picture. The Missing Picture screens in Ottawa this weekend at DiverCiné and if there's one must-see film of the festival, The Missing Picture is it. The Missing Picture, an Oscar nominee for Best Foreign Language Film at the 2013 Oscars following its win in the Un Certain Regard section at Cannes, is prompted by Panh’s search for a missing image from his childhood. He seeks a snapshot of his life taken in Cambodia during the Khmer Rouge regime and years of Pol Pot’s Democratic Kampuchea, which saw countless deaths. A single snapshot, as Panh’s meditation suggests hardly suffices for interrogating what happened in Cambodia between 1975 and 1979.


3/13/2014

Outaouais Film Festival Starts This Weekend

Catherine Martin's Une jeune fille / A Journey
I’m in the midst of covering the films at DiverCiné, but it caught my eye that there is another film festival in the Ottawa area offering Francophone films this weekend. The 16th Outaouais Film Festival offers a large roster of Canadian and world cinema, and a handful of notable films include English subtitles in case any Ottawans are intrigued and might want to take a field trip to Québec. [Side note: there’s great stuff at DiverCiné this weekend, too, with The Missing Picture (review soon) and a screening of The Legend of Sarila that’s free for viewers under 16, although older kids are welcome.] Notable films at the Outaouais fest include a double shot of François Ozon films, including one of my favourites from last year, In the House. Ozon’s Young and Beautiful also screens at the festival. Canuck entries include Louise Archambault’s Gabrielle and Xavier Dolan’s Tom at the Farm, although the real highlight might be Catherine Martin’s Une jeune fille, which might be the hardest to see outside the festival. (Many of the subtitled films are available on home release, but it's always better to see them on the big screen.) Some of the films that include English subtitles are :

Court Transcript: The People v. '9 mois ferme'

9 mois ferme (9 Month Stretch)
(France, 82 min.)
Written and directed by Albert Dupontel
Starring: Sandrine Kiberlain, Albert Dupontel

Case 2014-37: The People v. 9 mois ferme


Defendant: 9 mois ferme
Charge: Unfunny Sexism

All rise! The court is now in session. The case before us today is Albert Dupontel’s motion picture 9 Month Stretch. It is charged that in March of 2014 that this film did commit the heinous act of unfunny sexism before a public audience. The defense presented its case by revisiting all 82 minutes of footage pertaining to said charge and it made closing arguments in the press notes. The time has come to deliver a verdict.


3/12/2014

DiverCiné Review: 'Domestic'

Domestic
(Romania, 82 min.)
Written and directed by Adrian Sitaru
Starring: Adrian Titieni, Sergiu Costache, Gheorghe Ifrim, Clara Voda
When I’m an Old Communist Hag screened in Ottawa at the European Union Film Festival last November, it felt as if local film buffs were being treated to a one-time glimpse at the hidden funny bone of Romanian cinema. Romania’s DiverCiné selection Domestic, however, suggests that the Romanians have gone two for two when it comes to making comedy. Yes, that ever-popular national cinema so frequently populated with long takes, traumatic abortions, exorcisms, and lesbian nuns (sometimes all in the same film!), actually does comedy pretty darn well. Who knew? Perhaps it’s a question of what kind of film generally gets exposure on the festival circuit, but Wednesday’s screening of Domestic is one that fans riding the Wave won’t want to miss.


3/11/2014

Five Star Shorts

Ouat Media Presents: Five Acclaimed Short Films
(Various,75 min.)
If recent award season completism gave you a newfound appreciation for short films, there’s a new package of shorts worth viewing. “Five Acclaimed Short Films” offers a quintet of international shorts that are worth raving about. This package takes viewers on a trip around the globe and features a handful of festival favourites that offer everything from scathing comedy to searing drama.

Contest: Win Tickets to see 'Bad Words' in Ottawa (Contest Closed)

Can you spell freebie? F-R-E-E-B-I-E! You’re halfway there! If you want free tickets to the Ottawa sneak peek of eOne Films’ Bad Words, answer the question below and be entered to win!


3/10/2014

DiverCiné Review: 'Under the Starry Sky'

Under the Starry Sky (Des étoiles)
(Senegal/France/Belgium, 87 min.)
Dir. Dyana Gaye, Writ. Dyana Gaye and Cécile Vergaftig
Starring: Marème Demba Ly, Ralph Amoussou, Souleymane Seye Ndiaye
Three stories unfold in three continents as the fates of three characters are united under the starry sky. Dyana Gaye’s Under the Starry Sky (Des étoiles), which screened in Ottawa as part of the DiverCiné festival of Francophone world cinema, offers a touching story of mobility and interconnection. This Senegalese-French-Belgian co-production traverses the globe to deliver a smart, subtle tale of universal ties.

'It's the Oscars All Over Again!': Thoughts on Last Night's Canadian Screen Awards

The Gabrielle team: Kim McCraw, Gabrielle Marion-Rivard, Louise Archamabault,
Alexandre Landry, Luc Déry.
It’s like the Oscars all over again! Last night’s film portion of the second annual Canadian Screen Awards saw a Gravity and 12 Years a Slave-like split between Enemy and Gabrielle. The best film prevailed in the end, as it did at the Academy Awards, and Gabrielle took home the prize for Best Motion Picture. Gabrielle’s win nearly let the Canadian Screen Awards make good on a very questionable set of nominations to represent the year in film.

Contest: Win Tickets (and Prize Packs!) to See 'Divergent' in Ottawa (Contest Closed)

All right, Ottawa readers, does Cinemablographer have a contest for you! In anticipation of eOne Films’ hotly awaited Divergent, starring Shailene Woodley, we have a contest that will take Erudite smarts to win! Divergent opens in theatres March 21 from eOne Films, but readers can win tickets to an Ottawa sneak peek of Divergent along with snazzy prize packs since local readers are the best faction of them all!


3/09/2014

Canadian Screen Award Winners


Film winners for the Canadian Screen Awards. Please visit www.academy.ca for all TV and digital winners.

Best Motion Picture
Gabrielle - Kim McCraw, Luc Déry
-yay!

3/07/2014

Canadian Screen Awards Preview: Films at #CdnScreen14

Gabrielle: Canada's Oscar pick and my pick for 2013.
There’s an awkward semantic pickle that often irks folks who cover the Oscars: does one call the awards by the year of the films’ release or by the year in which the ceremony takes place? Proper form says that one should call the awards by the year of the films, for, say, 12 Years a Slave won the Oscar as the Best Picture of 2013. The Canadian Screen Awards, on the other hand, go by the year of the ceremony, hence hashtag #CdnScreen14 to get folks a-twitter about the awards. The Screenies, however, might fall under Oscars’ fashion of naming the prize by year, since there’s a dearth of 2013 films in contention for Sunday night’s awards. Whereas the Oscars (or even last year’s Screenies) had Canadians tuning in to see which of their favourite films might win, this year’s Canadian Screen Awards could easily be dominated by films that Canadians are hearing about for the first time. Even a film buff like myself who actively seeks out Canadian films and basically lives for the award season can’t help but approach this week’s ceremony with a disappointing sense of ambivalence.


3/06/2014

Sitting Ducks

People of a Feather
(Canada, 92 min.)
Dir. Joel Heath, Writ. Joel Heath, Dinah Kaviq, Johnny Kudluarok, The Community of Sanikiluaq
Ducks. They might not sound like the most interesting subject for a feature film. Perhaps ducks could fuel a foodie flick, since rich, fatty duck meat is one of the most delicious things on the planet. BBQ duck, Peking duck, and duck à l’orange are all reasons to cry, “Om nom nom nom!” What happens, though, when the ducks disappear?


DiverCiné Review: 'Le démantèlement'

Le démantèlement (The Auction)
(Canada, 111 min.)
Written and directed by Sébastien Pilote
Starring: Gabriel Arcand, Gilles Renaud, Lucy Laurier, Sophie Desmarais
Gabriel Arcand plays Gaby and Sophie Desmarais plays Frederique in Le démantèlement
an eOne Films release.
“A man without land is nobody,” says Duddy’s grandfather (Zvee Scooler) while giving some wise advice in The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz. Duddy (Richard Dreyfuss) was a young man entering the daunting field of property ownership back when Duddy Kravitz premiered in 1974; however, flash-forward to 2014, and the landscape looks and feels a little different. Gaby (Gabriel Arcand) is the world wise landowner of Sébastien Pilote’s moving film Le dématèlement (The Auction), which screens in Ottawa next Tuesday as part of the DiverCiné Festival celebrating Francophone World Cinema. Gabriel must part with the land with a greater gravity than that with which Duddy claimed it, for he has fully identified with his land—and allowed himself to be defined by it by others. Le démantèlement, a poignant story of self-reappraisal during hard times, could not offer a story more potent or relevant to today.

3/04/2014

Hot Docs Announces First Titles for #HotDocs14!

Sacra Gra
The Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival, aka Hot Docs, has announced the first 14 titles in the Special Presentations programme for #HotDocs14. Included among the films are Sacra Gra, last year’s Golden Lion winner from the Venice Film Festival; Return to Homs, a Grand Jury Prize winner for World Cinema at Sundance; and Whitey: United States of America v. James J. Bulger from Oscar-nominated director Joe Berlinger. The forst wave of title included one Canadian film, Igal Hecht’s The Sheik, although more local content can be expected in the next rounds of programming announcements. Hot Docs runs April 24 – May 4.

The first films in the line-up are:


3/03/2014

Oscars 2013: And the Best Film Wins!

Steve McQueen jumps for joy over 12 Years a Slave's Oscar win.
It was a great year for movies and, thankfully, last night’s Academy Awards saw the best film of them all take the top prize. Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave rightly dominated the evening along with 2013’s other definitive picture, Gravity, which took home seven Oscars including Best Director for Alfonso Cuarón. The heavy slate of well-deserved wins for Gravity’s excellent production value and technical achievements made the Oscar ceremony the nail-biter that many pundits predicted, but the best film won in the end.


3/02/2014

Oscar Party Playlist

"Please Mr. Kennedy" from Inside Llewyn Davis
Today’s the day! Oscar party preparations are underway. I have catfish marinating to represent August: Osage County during the festivities (“Eat the fish, bitch!”) and I'm whipping up some cornbread in honour of the year’s best film, 12 Years a Slave. (Although I doubt either dish will top the white cake that I made for Django Unchained last year.) I’ll be busting out the American Hustle tumblers, too, but, unfortunately, I might not be able to celebrate Blue Jasmine with Stoli martinis. (Driving.) A little party never killed nobody, so toast to the Oscars if you can!

'Movie 43' Wins Tight Razzie Race

Hugh Jackman in Movie 43
The award season of 2013 has been a tight race and it seems the Golden Raspberries were no exception! The Golden Raspberries, aka The Razzies, take a moment to honour the “berry worst” in Hollywood self-indulgence as our finest stars spend half a year giving awards to themselves. The Razzie were so competitive this year that even nominees Adam Sandler, the Meryl Streep of the Razzies, went home empty handed. Ditto M. Night Shyamalan, whose After Earth seem poised to continue his astounding track record as a Razzie punching bag.


3/01/2014

Flight of the Imagination

The Wind Rises
(Japan, 126 min.)
Written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki
Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, John Krasinski, Emily Blunt, Martin Short, Werner Herzog.
Former Film.com editor David Ehrlich called The Wind Rises “perhaps greatest animated film the cinema has ever seen.” He then proceeded to give the film a rating of 9.7 out of 10. How The Wind Rises serves as the best example of an entire form of filmmaking, yet falls three decimal points short of a perfect ten, however, illustrates the sentimental character of this admirable but undeniably flawed film.