Now elevated to the shortlist for International Feature, Russia's submission, Dear Comrades! succeeds in large part because of the intimacy of the main characters within the larger context of a brutal act of state-sponsored terrorism from the Soviet era. The film is best when concentrating on the core relationship between mother and daughter that spurs … Continue reading Not With My Daughter – Dear Comrades!
A year ago today, Parasite shocked the world by winning the Academy Award for Best Picture. For a lot of film lovers out there, that was the last pleasant memory before the world went to Hell. Today, in the slimmest sign of a return to normalcy, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced … Continue reading The First Cuts – 93rd Oscars Shortlists Announced!
Relationship drama is about as basic as it gets when it comes to cinematic storytelling. After more than a century of film, it's not whether the story's been told before, but how one goes about telling it. Austria's submission to the Academy, What We Wanted, begins with an interesting spin on the prospect, but unfortunately … Continue reading Insert “Vienna Sausage” Joke Here – What We Wanted
Of all the International Feature submissions I've seen so far, Bangladesh definitely takes the crown for most unique, as it's strictly speaking not a feature. Instead, Sincerely Yours, Dhaka is an anthology of shorts directed by 11 up-and-coming filmmakers from the small South Asian country. Each has its own style, but like the Pulp Fiction-inspired … Continue reading 11 Short Films About Bangladesh – Sincerely Yours, Dhaka
It is appropriate that the protagonist of Mexico's Oscar entry, I'm No Longer Here, is named Ulises. Played admirably by Juan Daniel Garcia Trevino, the stoic lead of the story serves as a modern day Odysseus (Ulysses being the Latinized equivalent), on a solo journey to find himself a home thanks to a momentary lapse … Continue reading Follow My Feet – I’m No Longer Here
Every once in a while you come across a completely shameless tearjerker and are actually happy for the maudlin treacle. This is the case with Naomi Kawase's True Mothers, the official Oscar entry from Japan. Over the course of a deliberately paced two and a half hours, the film makes no illusions and no apologies … Continue reading Are You My Mommy? – True Mothers
There's a loving grace with which Italian filmmaker Filippo Meneghetti directs France's Oscar submission, Two of Us (Deux). While the underlying conflict is a tad bit contrived and could easily be solved with an honest conversation with all involved, he creates a grand metaphor for the personal and interpersonal doubt that the two leads feel … Continue reading Loving a Lie – Two of Us
Yesterday we got the Golden Globe nominations, and the list of snubs in favor of poppy bullshit is so large that my gag reflex is only just now recovering. The next stage of Awards Season concerns the major trade guilds and specialty fields. That stage began today with the announcement of the Screen Actors Guild … Continue reading Acting! Genius! – 27th Screen Actors Guild Nominations
Since the Golden Globe nominations came out today, it's only appropriate that I begin this review by invoking Ricky Gervais. In 2006, Gervais appeared in an episode of The Simpsons in which he is also the credited writer, the first time a guest star ever got the honors. One of the most famous lines of … Continue reading Slow Ride, A REALLY Slow Ride – No. 7 Cherry Lane
For the purposes of legal protection, I will say upfront that I can't prove that the 90+ members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association are bribed for their votes at the Golden Globes. It is merely an opinion, mostly presented tongue-in-cheek, based on the history of truly baffling nominations and awards that repeatedly smack of … Continue reading Here’s Some Money, Please Validate Me! – 78th Golden Globe Nominees Announced