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European Film Awards: Vogt, Östlund, Pawlikowski, Zvyagintsev
, Glazer & Ceylan Among 50 Contenders

8 hours ago

This year’s European Film Awards are officially out of the gates with a not so lean 50 film submissions to select from. The 27th edition collects titles that date back to last year’s Venice and Toronto Int. Film Festivals moving into Sundance-Rotterdam-Berlin and finally Cannes of ’14. Among the 31 European countries represented, we’ve got likes of the Palme d’Or winner Nuri Bilge Ceylan leading the huge pack of contenders including Jonathan Glazer’s Under the Skin and Pawel Pawlikowski’s Ida. Here’s the complete list of 50!:

Alienation

ОТЧУЖДЕНИЕ (Otchujdenie)

Bulgaria

Directed By: Milko Lazarov

Written By: Milko Lazarov, Kitodar Todorov & Georgi Tenev

Produced By: Veselka Kiryakova

Amour Fou

Austria/Luxembourg/Germany 


Written & Directed By: Jessica Hausner

Produced By: Martin Gschlacht, Antonin Svoboda, Bruno Wagner, Bady Minck, Alexander Dumreicher-Ivanceanu & Philippe Bober

Beautiful Youth

Hermosa Juventud

Spain/France

Directed By: Jaime Rosales

Written By: Jaime Rosales & Enric Rufas

Produced By: Jaime Rosales, »

- Eric Lavallee

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Broad Green Pictures Forecloses on Bahrani’s “99 Homes”; Targets 2015 Spring Release

8 hours ago

They made a small blip on the radar with the Cannes pick-up of Carlos Marques-Marcet’s SXSW-winning 10000km, and until the press release was announced, we thought they were known more as a production entity with the Tiff-preemed Learning to Drive from Spanish helmer Isabel Coixet. But make no mistake about it, Daniel Hammond’s Broad Green Pictures is coming out of the woodworks by swinging for the fences — landing the critically lauded Ramin Bahrani film that surfaced in perfect Telluride-Venice-tiff trifecta. U.S rights were picked up for a cool $3 million with what was probably an interesting P&A commitment. A spring of 2015 release is expected for 99 Homes, meaning we can expect this to go the Jeff NicholsMud/Derek Cianfrance The Place Beyond the Pines route of being among the earliest award mentions in the calendar year.

Gist: Co-written by Bahrani, filmmaker Amir Naderi and Bahareh Azimi, this is set in sunny Orlando, »

- Eric Lavallee

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Nyff Captures Laura Poitras’ Citizenfour; Radius Releasing in October

12 hours ago

If landing Paul Thomas Anderson’s latest wasn’t a major coup, the 52nd Nyff are now adding more film flair in this late addition of Laura Poitras’ highly anticipated (high up on our 2014 must see list) closing chapter in her 9/11 trilogy, titled Citizenfour. RADiUS along with Participant Media and HBO Documentary Films will release the film theatrically on October 24th. The presentation for Nyff is slotted for Friday, October 10 at 6 p.m.. at Alice Tully Hall. This is followed by HBO Directors Dialogues on October 11 at 4 p.m., at the Walter Reade Theater. This is a primo docu item for 2014 folks. Here’s the fest’s synopsis which explains the film’s chosen title:

In January 2013, filmmaker Laura Poitras was several years into the making of a film about abuses of national security in post-9/11 America when she started receiving encrypted e-mails from someone identifying himself as “citizen four, »

- Eric Lavallee

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Miss Julie | 2014 Tiff Review

13 hours ago

Touch of Class: Ullmann’s Update of Classic Text Ultimately Lifeless

There are a scant few equals to the texts of playwright August Strindberg’s, his 1888 play Miss Julie still ranking as one of theater’s most celebrated and intelligent titles. A forerunner of a movement toward naturalism, director Liv Ullmann pares down the visual flourish which hearkens back to Strindberg’s initial contrivance. Her first film since the critically celebrated Faithless (2000), which was written by Ullmann’s longtime collaborator Ingmar Bergman, the passion that burned through that relationship drama is replaced by reserved bouts of class driven animosity. While true to the initial spirit of Strindberg’s text, the focus here is devoted nearly entirely to class issues, leaving some of the play’s more subtle motifs rather neglected. Considering the extravagant and mesmerizing 1951 version from Swedish filmmaker Alf Sjoberg, Ullmann’s adaptation is a chewy piece of meat, »

- Nicholas Bell

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Song of the Sea | 2014 Tiff Review

14 hours ago

Of Myth and Men: Moore Dons Skin of the Irish Selkies To Craft Stunning Children’s Tale of Family Heritage

You can probably count the number of independent animation studios still making successful culturally specific feature films on a pair of hands, and Studio Ghibli, Aardman Animations, and the Irish production company Cartoon Saloon can be tallied among them. Melding Irish myth with a wash of cinematic reference points that pay homage and inspire in equal measure, director Tomm Moore and his army of inventive artists and animators at Cartoon Saloon have crafted a wonderously imaginative film in Song of the Sea, which lifts from folk stories of the legendary ‘selkies’ that live as humans on land and seals at sea to form a sensorially stunning commentary on the importance of storytelling and unified kinship.

Much like the devastating prologue of Up or the moment of heartbreaking truth in Bambi, »

- Jordan M. Smith

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Borgman | Blu-ray Review

15 hours ago

Ushered forth as the Netherlands’ submission for Best Foreign Language Film this year, Alex van Warmerdam’s hilarious Borgman may prove to be a bit too offbeat for the mainstream tastes of the Academy, at least if judging by its business at the Us box office bears any indication. Arriving on blu-ray from Drafthouse Films, word of mouth may continue to bolster its growing reputation, selected by a number of critics as a standout title for the first half of 2014. Whatever the case, it’s granted considerable attention to the underrated Dutch director whose next little bit of weirdness should arrive next year.

Alex van Warmerdam’s Borgman has to be the steadily working director’s most accomplished work to date. Known mostly for his droll, sometimes perverse films dealing with families or communities tested by strange situations that range anywhere from a maintained weirdness to potential violence, his latest »

- Nicholas Bell

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Hyena | 2014 Tiff Review

15 hours ago

I need a hero…Brit Crime Film Scavenges for Originality

In the amusingly myopic world according to Hyena, women are mostly just passive objects (read, sluts) waiting to be rescued by big, brooding, morally conflicted (read, facile) men. Somewhere within Gerard Johnson’s second feature-length film is a cursory observation about the parallels between criminal enterprise and policing or at least the inherent paradox created by trying to extricate oneself from moral ambiguity from within. However, more often than not, this is just an onslaught of excruciatingly solipsistic, traditionalist, conservative male values. If it weren’t so unbelievably dumb, it might be offensive.

When Michael (Peter Ferdinando), an undercover cop, gets wrapped up in a drug turf war between the Turks and the Albanians, which involves routine dismemberment and an abundance of interchangeable fully-nude women. Despite snorting cocaine 24/7 and responding to workplace conflict by pissing on people in the restroom, »

- Robert Bell

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Brie Larson Engineers Trainwreck…Reteams with Radcliffe on McGrath’s “Brooklyn Bridge”

15 hours ago

Months after appearing in Judd Apatow’s Trainwreck (Universal releases this next summer), Screen Daily reports that Brie Larson is rejoining her costar in Douglas McGrath’s Brooklyn Bridge - a “monument” and father/son biopic about the architectural marvel and lifeline between the two biggest cities in the U.S. Also joining the Killer Films’ production, is the dozen plus project slate (in various stages of production) Ben Kingsley. Indie vet Christine Vachon is producing with Rose Ganguzza (both of them had previously worked on Kill Your Darlings — also starring Radcliffe). Production is set for spring 2015.

Gist: This follows a young, inexperienced engineer named Washington Roebling (Radcliffe), who is entrusted with the responsibility of overseeing the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge after his father (Kingsley) passes away. Larson will play his wife, Emily — who would become a pivotal figure in the completion of the fourteen year project.

Worth Noting: »

- Eric Lavallee

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Goodnight Mommy | 2014 Tiff Review

15 September 2014 9:00 AM, PDT

Mom Without a Face: Franz’s Debut a Mesmerizing Slice of Psychological Horror

Once you’re made aware that Goodnight Mommy is the directorial debut of Veronika Franz, partner to and writer of the works of Ulrich Seidl, that delightfully perverse purveyor of Austrian social dysfunction, you’ll know to expect something kind of twisted and bizarre. Franz certainly delivers with an eerie portrait of identical twin horror that will eventually rank as one of the more notable titles in the slim subgenre. Effectively grotesque and downright chilling by the time it spits out its final frames, Franz unleashes her own brand of sinister familial interactions that proves to surpass even Seidl’s cynical worldview.

In the isolated Austrian countryside, nine-year-old twins Lukas and Elias (Lukas and Elias Schwarz) live alone with their mother (Susanne Wuest). Recently, she’s undergone cosmetic surgery, her face completely bandaged as she attempts to »

- Nicholas Bell

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’71 | 2014 Tiff Review

15 September 2014 8:00 AM, PDT

Control: A Frenzied Look at the Early Days of the Ira

Yann Demange, whose resume consists of serviceable, albeit unexceptional, television fare, has achieved the unlikely with his feature-film debut, ’71. He’s managed to create a highly kinetic, politically intelligent and consistently propulsive thriller that sustains its visceral and cerebral components for an appropriately brief runtime. It’s the sort of assured freshman work that sets the bar high, making Demange instantly bankable while also projecting the pressure of expectation onto his next project.

The premise, though deceptively simple, is as concise as it is effective in rendering a delineated world with an array of palpable narrative possibility. Private Hook (Jack O’Connell), a new enlistee in her majesty’s army, is assigned to Belfast as part of a protective unit for the local constabulary whose regimen consists of forcing their way into Ira territory to glean information from presumed militants. »

- Robert Bell

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Life’s a Breeze | Review

15 September 2014 8:00 AM, PDT

The Little Foxes: Daly’s Heartfelt Family Drama Pleasantly Rendered

Arriving with a bit more investment than its airy title would suggest, Lance Daly returns to Ireland for his latest film, Life’s a Breeze. A simple, working class fable, Daly fills in the schmaltzy pot holes with dry humor, relying on his comfortable cast to sustain the tale’s relatable charm. Pared down to a brisk eighty or so minutes, Daly’s film never outwears its welcome and proves to be a great showcase for the superb Fionnula Flanagan.

Times are tough for all over, and an extended Dublin family centered on matriarch Nan (Fionnula Flanagan) don’t seem to have many monetary options available to them. Her eldest son, Colm (Pat Shortt) is still living with mum and in his late forties, the house a mess with decades of old and useless belongings cluttering the rooms and halls. »

- Nicholas Bell

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Bang Bang Baby | 2014 Tiff Review

15 September 2014 7:30 AM, PDT

Campy Histrionics at Their Most Mediocre

Canadian director Jeffrey St. Jules has demonstrated an aptitude for experimenting with the cinematic form and creating hyper-realized, wildly stylized environments in his short film work. With his feature film debut, Bang Bang Baby, he’s created a similarly idiosyncratic, insulated world that ultimately succumbs to an inability to account for the demands of a longer, more involved and complex narrative.

The story, which blends the faux-aspirational insincerity of the American Dreams/American Idol ethos and the fever-dream sensibilities of Mulholland Drive, is an amalgam of all things pertaining to the 1960s. Stepphy (Jane Levy), a whimsical, idealistic high school student with a penchant for crooning, looks to an American televised singing competition as her mode of escape from small town Canadian life. This standard-issue, coming-of-age template reaches its obvious state of conflict early when teen heartthrob Bobby Shore (Justin Chatwin) randomly shows up in town, »

- Robert Bell

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