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Box Office Special: 1984 Hits

11 hours ago

Rather than talk about this weekend's boring box office results (nothing new to see here beyond a big weekend for that new kill-the-trespassing-teenagers flick Don't Breathe) let's travel back to 1984 which was a hugely influential year for franchises of many kinds. What can the biggest hits tell us about the then and the now? 

Top Twenty Of 1984

numbers adjusted for today's dollars via box office mojo

01 Ghostbusters $589.6  

Two Oscar nods. Spawned 1 terrible sequel, two animated TV shows, and this year's reboot

02 Beverly Hills Cop $581.5

Led to two sequels, a TV remake, and a TV pilot that wasn't picked up. Beverly Hills Cop 4 has been in some stage of development for 20+ years and is still supposedly being made. We'll believe it when we see it.

»

- NATHANIEL R

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Why Aquarius's Trouble in Brazil Could Bolster Its Oscar Chances (and other foreign film Oscar buzz)

15 hours ago

It's that exciting time of the year again when we start hearing the names of the films selected to compete in this year's Oscar race for Foreign Language Film. It's our signature category at Tfe (outside of Lead and Supporting Actressing of course and arguably the eye candy tech categories). All four of the foreign charts are now up and will be frequently updated when news comes in. We currently have 9 official submissions but dozens more will be named in the next three weeks. 

Current Predictions

100% likely to change since only about 10% of the field is known at this point.

Chart 1 (Afgahnistan - Finland)

Submissions from Australia, Croatia, and Cuba. Finalists from Brazil and Denmark

Chart 2 (France through Morocco)  

Submissions from Georgia & Germany. Finalists from Israel.

Chart 3 (Nepal through Vietnam)

Submissions from Romania, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland, and Venezuela. Finalists from The Netherlands and Spain.

Last year Jose and I interviewed »

- NATHANIEL R

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RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars E1 - Let's Get All Star-ted

27 August 2016 1:00 PM, PDT

By Chris Feil

RuPaul is bringing back some of the biggest names in Drag Race herstory and honey she is not holding back.

The premiere of this new season of All Stars (let's full-stop forget the team-based first All-Stars existed, shall we?) is a new benchmark for the series, providing more drama and unexpected twists than ever before while still keeping the focus on the queens' personalities. Even the evolution of the contestants' personas provides some refreshing surprises with past villains like Phi Phi O'Hara and Roxxxy Andrews out to prove that they should be known for something more than their past bitchery. In fact, assumed early frontrunners took a back seat in this premiere in favor of the girls looking to battle perceptions on their way to the crown.

But Drag Race is quite eager to shake up the formula this season, something that the show desperately needs in »

- Chris Feil

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4 Days til the Smackdown - Meet the Panelists!

27 August 2016 10:38 AM, PDT

The Supporting Actress Smackdown of 1984 is coming your way on Wednesday August 31st with Dame Peggy Ashcroft defending her Oscar from the other side. Will the panel co-sign that Oscar win or throw their votes to Christine Lahti, Lindsay Crouse, or legendary Oscar regulars in the form or either Glenn Close or Geraldine Page. Please remember that readers are the collective sixth panelist so I expect your answers to these questions in the comments (as well as your ballots - details on what to send me here).

Meet The Panelists

Please give a hearty welcome to two first time Smackdowners

Noah Tsika

Noah Tsika is the Assistant Professor of Media Studies at Queens College, Cuny. He has also written two books on cinema: Nollywood Stars: Media and Migration in West Africa and the Diaspora and Pink 2.0: Encoding Queer Cinema on the Internet. 

Follow Noah on Twitter 

Sheila O'Malley »

- NATHANIEL R

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Request: Oscar Nominated Performances of the Aughts, Ranked

26 August 2016 5:21 PM, PDT

by Nathaniel R

This list was requested by Carlos recently in the comments. Perhaps in light of the Oscar Nominated Performances ranked of the past six years... so why not. It's a perfect weekend activity and will help you get in the mood for the possibly turbulent Oscar season ahead. So let's do this crazy...

All The Oscar Nominated Performances Ranked (2000-2009)

First a terrible confession for one such as I: Two Oscar nominated performances in the Aughts slipped right past my movie devouring eyeballs (the shame. the shame.) I never got around to Tommy Lee Jones In the Valley of Elah or Cooler Alec Baldwin. I accept your judgment and will choose my favorite of whatever punishments are recommended.

So let's rank the whole other 198 lot of 'em, with the caveats that this is silly (apples & oranges) and had you asked me on a different day the order might »

- NATHANIEL R

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Foreign Oscar Race Begins: Australia, Brazil, Croatia, Cuba, Denmark

26 August 2016 1:34 PM, PDT

Over the next couple of months we'll be hearing the names of the 70ish films that will be competing for Oscar's coveted shortlist as Best Foreign Language Film. So far nine countries have selected their films and other countries have begun the winnowing to get to their top choice.

Our charts are now in progress with posters, info, and links to official sites and such as well as links back to highlights from last year's global class. 

The Companion forces a boxer and a soldier with AIDS to spend lots of time together

Chart 1 Afghanistan to Finland

Denmark and Brazil have narrowed it down to three films each with Brazil's choice already embroiled in a lot of controversy due to political fighting in regards to Aquarius (starring Sonia Braga which hits Tiff & Nyff shortly and which was very well received at Cannes) though I have to admit it's hard to »

- NATHANIEL R

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Oscar Hopeful Trailers Galore

26 August 2016 5:00 AM, PDT

Chris here. As the upcoming fall festival and Oscar season looms, get ready for a steady stream of incoming footage for this year's hopefuls to start cropping up in the coming weeks. Today we have some peeks at a few weepies ready to work your tear ducts on their path to awards: Manchester By The Sea, A United Kingdom, and Lion. Take a look at the trailers (and a few quick thoughts) below:

Manchester By The Sea

Kenneth Lonergan is definitely returning to You Can Count On Me territory after the intellectual meanderings of Margaret, with already raved about results.

• Isn't Kyle Chandler in this? Obviously new star Lucas Hedges will be the supporting Oscar play here, but when will the always strong Chandler finally get his due?

• I've read Michelle Williams performance compared to Beatrice Straight in Network several times. Looks like we'll have a brief spellbinder of a performance. »

- Chris Feil

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One Week Left to Watch ___________

25 August 2016 1:00 PM, PDT

It's a massacre of available older streaming titles this month although there aren't very many major titles among them. [Disclaimer: Netflix hasn't announced yet so all of these titles are Amazon Prime but bear in mind that the Amazon Prime titles are not "official". They don't ever publish that list much to the frustration of their customers! So this info gathered from users about expiration notices they've seen on their personal watch lists. Sometimes it changes abruptly.

Let's play our game where we freeze frame them at very random places and see what pops up. Okay? Okay.

Mrs Doyle: I'd like to see that file.

Police Inspector: I'd be very happy to show it to you. 

Crime of Passion (1957)

My god Barbara Stanwyck's voice. It gets me every time. Everything sounds so subliminally erotic. In this one she's married to a detective but bored into ambitious dangerous action.

Five more after the jump »

- NATHANIEL R

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1984: The Sexiness of "Romancing the Stone"

25 August 2016 10:15 AM, PDT

We're celebrating the cinematic year of 1984 this month. Here's Chris Feil on Romancing the Stone...

One of 1984's biggest hits was Romancing the Stone, a quippy twist on a harlequin romance dressed up as a jungle adventure. The film was the first big box office success for director Robert Zemeckis, though he only ever fleetingly matched Stone's glee for the sexy - it's almost odd that this film comes from a director who's film are often mostly crotchless.

But more importantly, Stone gifted us with the first cinematic gold pairing of Kathleen Turner and Michael Douglas. The duo is perfectly matched for their complimentary wits and evident sex appeal, resulting in both sequel The Jewel of the Nile and The War of the Rose before the decade's end. They may have had more overt steaminess elsewhere (see: Body Heat and Fatal Attraction, et al.), but even this film's PG rating can't contain their fireworks together. »

- Chris Feil

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Links: Best Picture Field, Highest Paid Actresses, The Departed on TV?

25 August 2016 8:52 AM, PDT

It's link time which also doubles as news catch up! (Yes, Oscar Chart updates are currently in progress. So more on that and the foreign submissions very soon)

Think Pieces, List Mania, Celebrity

• Movie City News launches another "Gurus of Gold" season where all of us have named our current top 20 "general field" predictions. Yes, I'm updating my charts over the next three days! Manchester by the Sea and Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk are expected leaders

• Gawker Rich Juzwiack says goodbye to one identity through a George Michael lens. It's wonderful

• Mnpp Paul Bettany is vacationing in Ibiza

• Nyt talks to Kirsten Dunst about life after Fargo and her Emmy nomination

• Mind of a Suspicious Kind Martin Scorsese's Silence is supposedly his longest ever (over 3 hours) but is it actually coming out this year?

• Cinema Enthusiast polled film twitter on their favorite films of 1982. The results are interesting but weird. »

- NATHANIEL R

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Frank Ocean Prefers Wong Kar-wai's Early Stuff

25 August 2016 6:14 AM, PDT

For anyone still wondering what took Frank Ocean so long to release his follow-up to Channel Orange, a new theory lies within the pages of the R&B angel’s recently released "Boys Don't Cry" zine to accompany his new album Blonde: perhaps he was blowing through his conscientious Blu-ray collection. Demonstrating an eye for the visionary and the visually dazzling – and inadvertently challenging the hot buzz on that BBC critics’ poll and last week’s #7favfilms on Twitter – Ocean scribbled down a list of his 100 favorite films of all time, and his choices make it clear that he’s as much a student of the cinema as he is a singer of stirring emotionality.

A few standout selections. He’s clearly got love for the go-for-broke auteurism of Herzog and Jodorowsky, reflected in his own sonic adventurism, but he flexes his sensitive side and interest in rehashing the past »

- Daniel Crooke

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1984: Year of the Heroic Farm Wife

24 August 2016 11:00 AM, PDT

As we look back at 1984, please welcome new contributor John Guerin to talk about a famous Oscar triple...

In 1984, 60% of the Best Actress category was farm wives

In May 1985, after scoring Oscar nominations for playing distressed farmwives in Country and The River, Jessica Lange and Sissy Spacek testified before the U.S. House of Representatives and urged senators to help aid farmers during a devastating agricultural crisis. After a toxic combination of faulty economic policies, mounting debts, high interest rates, and a declining Midwest population, American farmers were experiencing financial hardship unseen since the Great Depression. Both Country and The River offer visions of farm families under such pressures, pitting family and community against unyielding forces of nature and government.

Can you remember the last time an actress testified before Congress after starring in a politically-minded film? »

- John Guerin

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Critics Choice Confusion: Earlier still even after that "We voted too early!" scandal last season

24 August 2016 9:00 AM, PDT

My apologies that I've neglected to mention one significant but oddly motivated date change for this forthcoming awards season. But it is definitely worth discussing.

You may recall that The Broadcast Film Critics Association (of which I am a member) more commonly known as "Critics Choice" lost several members last season due a very unethical move. The executives opted to ignore the balloting and just polled critics informally about whether they would have included Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens (2015) had they seen it in time. I've yet to understand what their thinking was since, without changing all the voting, that one unethical change was clearly doing to do nothing for the ceremony or their reputation beyond harming it. The Star Wars cast was never going to show up since they were all busy and they weren't nominated in the Action performance categories designed to honor such things. 

Now »

- NATHANIEL R

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Review: Hell or High Water

24 August 2016 7:35 AM, PDT

by Eric Blume

With their new film, director David Mackenzie (Young Adam, Starred Up) and screenwriter Taylor Sheridan (Sicario) make one thing abundantly clear: they really, really hate banks.  Hell or High Water is a sort of southwest answer to The Big Short, a tale of rural Texas poor on a Robin Hood mission. 

Sheridan’s script was the winner of the 2012 Black List prize for best unproduced screenplay, a fact which feels surprising during the cliché friendly first half hour.  Brothers Toby and Tanner Howard are characters we’ve seen many times before, with a sibling dynamic that’s not new either.  Tanner (Ben Foster) is the wild bro released from prison, complete with a violent streak and true-blue redneck energy.  Toby (Chris Pine) is the tender brother, a taciturn and emotionally bruised man trying to make things right.  Together, they start robbing small Texas banks to secure money to save the family farm. »

- Eric Blume

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Judy by the Numbers: "Take My Hand, Paree"

24 August 2016 5:30 AM, PDT

This week's number is hands down the weirdest entry in Judy's filmography. It doesn't fit neatly into Judy's biography or star image; it really appears to be one of those things that happened because the timing was right. In 1962, Warner Bros released a Upa animated feature called Gay Purr-ee. It's a movie about Parisian cats that feels like An American in Paris meets The Aristocats as played by the Looney Tunes. In a bit of early celebrity stunt casting Upa cast two big voices for its dimunitive feline leads: Judy Garland and Robert Goulet

The Movie: Gay Purr-ee (WB, 1962)

The Songwriters: Harold Arlen (music) & E.Y. Yarburg (lyrics)

The Cast: Judy Garland, Robert Goulet, Red Buttons, Hermione Gingold, Paul Frees, Mel Blanc, directed by Abe Levitow.

The Story: Gay Purr-ee really needs to be seen to be believed. Done in the limited-animation style of Upa, the movie sets »

- Anne Marie

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Hit Me With Your Best Shot: "The Get Down"

23 August 2016 7:33 PM, PDT

We cannot catch a break here at Tfe Headquarters this week (honesty this summer. Uff) so this one will be brief. If you haven't yet seen Baz Luhrmann's latest, the first half of a first season of a show about the birth of hiphop called "The Get Down" have at it. Due to time constraints we've only watched the first episode but it delivered on the Baz-ness that we have so desperately missed.

Here's my choice for best shot with commentary after the jump...

»

- NATHANIEL R

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1984: Paris, Texas

23 August 2016 12:00 PM, PDT

As part of our celebration of the year of the month, 1984, Lynn Lee revisits the winner of that year's Palme d'Or, Wim Wenders' Paris Texas.

While it may not quite have the status of an iconic movie, there’s much about Paris, Texas that feels iconic.  A hybrid of those two most iconically American genres, the Western and the road trip—directed, natch, by a German and starring two European actresses—it bears the distinctive features of both.  The long stretches of silence, only occasionally broken by snatches of spare Sam Shepard-scripted dialogue or, as often as not, monologue.  Ry Cooder’s haunting slide-guitar score, which seems to meld with the harsh, lonely, yet strangely sublime landscapes of Texas deserts, highways, and roadside motels.  The lighting, especially at dusk.  The weathered countenance of Harry Dean Stanton—how does it manage to be at once so stoic and so expressive? »

- Lynn Lee

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Doc Corner: Reality Bites in 'Kate Plays Christine'

23 August 2016 9:00 AM, PDT

Glenn here. Each Tuesday bringing you reviews of documentaries from theatres, festivals and on demand.

There is so much to unpack within Robert Greene’s Kate Plays Christine, not least of which is whether the film ought to be considered a documentary in the first place. Greene pushes the concept of documentary as a malleable construct that audiences should question the authenticity of much further than his previous 'non-fiction' work, Actress. This time by altogether abandoning reality, he calls into question everything we see in a documentary. By making the audience ask what is and is not real in Kate Plays Christine, Greene is essentially making us question what is real in any documentary and consider the motivations and mechanics behind them.

Audiences have no doubt asked these questions before in famously are-they-or-aren’t-they works of documentary like Catfish, Exit Through the Gift Shop, and even this year’s Tickled. »

- Glenn Dunks

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Best of the 21st Century?

23 August 2016 7:00 AM, PDT

by Nathaniel R

Mulholland Drive voted the best film of the 21st century (thus far)Though we may collectively scratch our head at the need to do 21st century best of lists so often and at odd intervals. After 16 years? Ermm, okay? Lists usually get people talking. The BBC polled 177 critics (of which I was, alas, not one) and the results were both enjoyable and annoying, as with all lists.

Some notes:

• I won't see Toni Erdmann for another few weeks so I can't speak to its quality but it's odd to see it on a "best of the century list" when the film has only opened in one country (France) outside of its home countries (Germany/Austria). It starts opening in other countries next month and also hits the Toronto Film Festival. So that seems...early

 • Did Christopher Nolan really need 3 pictures in the top 100? I maintain that Inception »

- NATHANIEL R

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Swing, Tarzan, Swing! Ch.7: Oscar Loves "Greystoke"

22 August 2016 5:57 PM, PDT

During this summer of the Tarzan reboot we've revisited past films in the long history of Tarzan on film. Four more episodes to go!

Impossible as it may be to move Tarzan away from his ultra-specific origins as a colonial era fantasy, filmmakers have tried over and over again to do exactly that. As we've seen in past installments of our "Swing, Tarzan, Swing!" series, he keeps changing with the times despite his historical baggage. We've seen starkly different depictions of his relationship to Jane from equal partners to Head of the Household suburban conformity. The Lord of the Apes even tried to get bachelor hip with the 1960s at the beginning of the James Bond frenzy. Nearly every Tarzan on television has attempted to place him closer to the actual timeline in which it aired. The new Legend of Tarzan (reviewed) works hard to downplay the racism in the myth, »

- NATHANIEL R

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