Saturday, September 13, 2014

Review: BEYOND THE HILLS (2013)

            Cosmina Stratan, Cristina Flutur, Valeriu Andriuta, Dana Tapalaga, Catalina Harabagiu, Gina Tandura, Vica Agache, Nora Covali and Dionisie Vitcu

                    Cristian Mungiu

Friday, September 12, 2014

Review: 12 YEARS A SLAVE (2013)

            Chiwetel Ejiofor, Lupita Nyong'o, Michael Fassbender, Sarah Paulson, Benedict Cumberbatch, Brad Pitt, Paul Dano, Adepero Oduye, Paul Giamatti, Garret Dillahunt, Scoot McNairy, Taran Killam, Chris Chalk, Michael K. Williams, Liza J. Bennett, Kelsey Scott, Alfre Woodard, Quvenzhan√© Wallis, Devyn A. Tyler, Cameron Zeigler, Rob Steinberg, Jay Huguley, Christopher Berry, Bryan Batt, Bill Camp, Dwight Henry, Deneen Tyler and Ruth Negga

                    Steve McQueen

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Quick Takes: From Up on Poppy Hill - Rise of the Guardians - Talaash

From Up on Poppy Hill (2013)

Voice Cast:
                        Masami Nagasawa, Aoi Watanabe, Junichi Okada, Keiko Takeshita, Jun Fubuki, Yuriko Ishida, Takashi Naito, Shunsuke Kazama, Teruyuki Kagawa, Haruka Shiraishi, Tsubasa Kobayashi, Rumi Hiiragi, Toshimi Kanno, Aoi Teshima and Goro Miyazaki.

                    Goro Miyazaki

Friday, August 29, 2014

My First Attempt At Predicting The Academy Awards 2015 Nominations

Fall festivals season is here so soon. Didn't we just watched the Oscars like last month? The year is going by so fast. The awards discussion never dies I guess which is why it seems that way. So Venice Film Festival began with raves for Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's Birdman as expected. We will soon get more reactions specially from the Telluride Film Festival which is where the Oscar buzz begins for films. Critics and awards watchers' nirvana. So before we could hear more about the supposed awards players, I thought it would be best to try my hands at predicting 2015 Oscars nominees. Predict all you want now because things change rapidly in the Oscars universe. A hugely acclaimed film has as much chance to be hit by a controversy or trolls as an underdog small film to become the next big thing.

Note: At the moment, I am not ranking the nominees based on their potential to win. They are in alphabetical order.


1. Birdman (or the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
2. Boyhood
3. Foxcatcher
4. Fury
5. Gone Girl
6. Inherent Vice
7. Interstellar
8. Unbroken
9. Wild


- A Most Violent Year
- Big Eyes
- Mr. Turner
- Selma
- The Imitation Game
- The Theory of Everything

Friday, August 15, 2014

Review: BOYHOOD (2014)

           Ellar Coltrane, Patricia Arquette, Lorelei Linklater, Ethan Hawke, Libby Villari, Marco Perella, Brad Hawkins, Jenni Tooley, Zoe Graham, Charlie Sexton, Jamie Howard, Andrew Villarreal, Elijah Smith, Nick Krause, Tom McTigue, Steven Chester Prince, Evie Thompson, Jennifer Griffin, Tamara Jolaine, Taylor Weaver and Ryan Power

                    Richard Linklater

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Review: LIFE ITSELF (2014)

           Roger Ebert, Chaz Ebert, Gene Siskel (archival footage), Martin Scorsese, Werner Herzog, Errol Morris, Ramin Bahrani, Ava DuVernay, Marlene Siskel, A.O. Scott, Richard Corliss, Stephen Stanton (voice - as Roger Ebert) and others.

                    Steve James

Saturday, May 24, 2014

67th Cannes Film Festival Awards

So the 67th Cannes Film Festival just ended with the awards ceremony. I have been closely following all the developments, arrivals, screenings and receptions. More so than ever, I have really felt like at the very center of all the buzz and happenings. So throughout these days, many films received all kinds of responses in various sections. But the excitement remained throughout.

The Turkish film "Winter Sleep" by Nuri Bilge Ceylan won the prestigious Palme d'Or. The pre-festival buzz and the more mixed reviews to some outright raves confused me. Which is why I wasn't expecting it to win... but it did so congratulations to the Turkish master. The Italian film "The Wonders" was given Grand Prix which is the second prize given to a film while two films tied for the third place award, the Jury Prize. That went to Jean-Luc Godard's "Goodbye to Language" and Xavier Dolan's "Mommy". Of these four films, Mommy was the most buzzed. Of all the competition films, Dardenne's "Two Days, One Night" was mostly considered for the big prize but unfortunately, it won nothing. Julianne Moore and Timothy Spall won acting prizes for "Maps to the Stars" and "Mr. Turner" respectively while Russian film "Leviathan" won for screenplay. Finally, Bennett Miller won best director for "Foxcatcher".

The jury headed by Jane Campion made some interesting decisions and some surprising ones. Once again, I am really happy and excited for all the films that were shown in the festival and most specially for the ones that got good praises. Congratulations to all the winners and the non-winners because when at Cannes, you are bound to be remembered for the entire year... if not forever.

Below is the full list of the winners in every section:

In Competition:-

- Palme d'Or: WINTER SLEEP (Nuri Bilge Ceylan)
- Grand Prix: THE WONDERS (Alice Rohrwacher)
- Jury Prize: MOMMY (Xavier Dolan) & GOODBYE TO LANGUAGE (Jean-Luc Godard)

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Review: BEFORE MIDNIGHT (2013)

            Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy, Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick, Jennifer Prior, Charlotte Prior, Xenia Kalogeropoulou, Walter Lassally, Ariane Labed, Yiannis Papadopoulos, Athina Rachel Tsangari and Panos Koronis

                    Richard Linklater

Thursday, April 17, 2014

67th Cannes Film Festival Main Lineup Revealed

Another year, another festival... Nope! Its Cannes Film Festival madness time and to start it off, the lineup for this year was announced today. Two days earlier, the official poster for 2014 was revealed. A beautiful and striking pose from Fellini's masterpiece, "8 1/2" featuring the gorgeous Marcello Mastroianni. Its relatively easier to predict most of the films that might get into the festival since nobody has seen them to determine their worth on the bases of the quality. Some of the films that I predicted to be in-competition ended up being in different categories. Prominent example include David Michod's THE ROVER which is getting a midnight screening. Also Ryan Gosling's directorial debut LOST RIVER (previously titled How to Catch a Monster) is going to be in Un Certain Regard category. I am personally surprised to see Ned Benson's THE DISAPPEARANCE OF ELEANOR RIGBY in the same category as well because I wasn't expecting that film to be in Cannes at all. The Jessica Chastain starer has been teasing me for two years now, such an exciting premise. Zhang Yimou's COMING HOME is going to be screened Out of Competition. So is, HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2.

If we talk about the In Competition entries than as expected, we have the new films by David Cronenberg, Mike Leigh, Ken Loach, Olivier Assayas, Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Dardenne Brothers, Xavier Dolan, Jean-Luc Godard, Bennett Miller, Michel Hazanavicius, Tommy Lee Jones and others. Both In Competition and Un Certain Regard looks quite exciting with potentially significant films by prolific filmmakers. GRACE OF MONACO is going to be the opening film of the festival, expect a star-studded affair. Jane Campion is the Jury President of this year's main competition. As usual, my eyes would be glued for critical responses and general reception these films are going to get. The festival will take place between the 14th and the 25th of May. Here is to another year of Cannes mania and may the best film win Palme d'Or.

Below is the full list of films that are In Competition, Un Certain Regard, Out of Competition or getting special screenings:-

Note: Expect some more inclusions since they usually add titles before the festival happens.


- "Clouds of Sils Maria" (Olivier Assayas)
- "Foxcatcher" (Bennett Miller)
- "Goodbye to Language 3D" (Jean-Luc Godard)
- "Jimmy's Hall" (Ken Loach)
- "Le Meraviglie" (Alice Rohrwacher)
- "Leviathan" (Andrey Zvyagintsev)
- "Maps to the Stars" (David Cronenberg)
- "Mommy" (Xavier Dolan)
- "Mr. Turner" (Mike Leigh)
- "Saint Laurent" (Bertrand Bonello)
- "Still the Water" (Naomi Kawase)
- "The Captive" (Atom Egoyan)
- "The Homesman" (Tommy Lee Jones)
- "The Search" (Michel Hazanavicius)
- "Timbuktu" (Abderrahmane Sissako)
- "Two Days, One Night" (Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne)
- "Wild Tales" (Damian Szifron)
- "Winter Sleep" (Nuri Bilge Ceylan)

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

The Oscars 2014 - Selfie, Pizzas, Ellen and a Good Time

Despite the few hiccups, I was able to watch this year's Oscars live. I didn't sleep, watched them early morning and it was raining here too. Anyways, it's always nice to see your favorite actors playing "dress up" and "guess the designer" on the red carpet while you nervously await for the actual ceremony to start. What I wished the most for this year beside the winners and losers was for it to be unlike the previous ceremony. I was underwhelmed by Seth MacFarlane as a host but his humor which I am used to didn't feel much flat. What I wanted here was less musical performances which overtook the entire thing last year, more delightful humor, for the host to keep it going smoothly and good pacing overall. The 86th Annual Academy Awards ceremony didn't disappoint me at all. I had a blast and liked almost everything about it. Ellen DeGeneres did a pretty good job as a host. The best thing about her is that even when she isn't hilarious, somehow she keeps it fun and joyful. And that she is actually a host, she knows how to handle it all. The pacing this time was really good unlike last year. The presentation for the nominees which I always look forward to was quite beautiful. The song performances never felt out-of-place or too much. The winners were very satisfying.

There was no big opening number but Ellen made jokes about actors and some films. Some good, some not so good. Though I love how she included slavery in her jokes routine which some people thought would be offensive. Ellen said:

"We should get started. It's going to be an exciting night. Anything can happen, so many different possibilities. Possibility number one: 12 Years a Slave wins Best Picture. Possibility number two: You're all racists. And now please welcome our first white presenter, Anne Hathaway."