9 items from 2013
The longlist for the Best Song category in the Oscars has been announced – so what should make the cut?
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced the longlist of songs for its Best Original Song Oscar in 2014, ahead of the nominations for the shortlist on January 14.
The list features 75 songs written for movies over the last year, with artists including Taylor Swift, Beyoncé, U2, Coldplay, Kings Of Leon, Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and M83 all making the grade. Pharrell is included for his hit Happy, currently in the top 5 of the UK charts, which appears in Despicable Me 2, and other animated films make up a large proportion of those selected: Epic, Turbo, The Croods, Planes, Escape From Planet Earth and Monsters University all also get a mention.
The Great Gatsby, with its bold and incongruous soundtrack of modern musicians, gets five mentions for songs by Jay Z, »
- Ben Beaumont-Thomas
I know very little about wine, and in fact I don't even drink it very often. And yet I was fascinated by the documentary Somm, about a handful of candidates for the extremely challenging master sommelier test, which many attempt and very few pass. I caught the movie at Hill Country Film Festival in May, and it opens today in Austin at Violet Crown Cinema.
Somm, the first feature-length film from Jason Wise, focuses on four sommeliers preparing for the test, starting three weeks out and going through the test weekend in Houston. They must pass three exams: theory and history, service and blind tasting. In between time with the candidates, other sommeliers and professionals in the wine industry check in on aspects of being a sommelier, tasting wines and preparing for this test.
The four candidates are fascinating to watch and easy to differentiate, all with distinct characteristics. Ian, »
- Jette Kernion
A critical digest of the week’s latest U.S. theatrical releases. Where applicable, links to longer reviews have been provided.
Rising from an early grave of negative pre-release publicity, director Marc Forster and producer-star Brad Pitt’s much-maligned “World War Z” emerges as a surprisingly smart, gripping and imaginative addition to the zombie-movie canon, owing as much to scientific disaster movies like “The China Syndrome” and “Contagion” as it does to undead ur-texts like the collected works of George Romero. Showing few visible signs of the massive rewrites, reshoots and other post-production patchwork that delayed its release from December 2012, this sleekly crafted, often nail-biting tale of global zombiepocalypse clicks on both visceral and emotional levels, resulting in an unusually serious-minded summer entertainment whose ideal audience might be described as comicbook fanboys who also listen to “Democracy Now.” Opening a week apart from the more »
- Variety Staff
A stimulating intro course on wine-appreciation gets blended with a narrowly focused contest-doc format in “Somm,” which follows the efforts of a handful of young American connoisseurs to earn the title of Master Sommelier. Only 197 candidates in 40 years have passed the almost impossibly difficult membership exam, a Herculean feat that all but requires advanced degrees in wine theory, history, geography, service and, most crucially, tasting, all of which director Jason Wise examines in crisp, quaffable if overlong fashion. Accessible subjects and sparkling execution should lend this personality-driven documentary some, ahem, legs as a VOD rental following its limited run starting June 21.
With only weeks remaining until the 2011 exam administered by the U.K.-based Court of Master Sommeliers, Wise focuses primarily on three gifted sommeliers — devoted studyholic Ian Cauble and his more laid-back buds, Brian McClintic and Dustin Wilson — as they pour each other glasses and pore over flashcards during their many exhaustive cram sessions. »
- Justin Chang
The opening documentary film at the 2012 Napa Vally Film Festival, welcome to the most difficult test you’ve Never heard of…
Somm takes the viewer on a humorous, emotional and illuminating look into a mysterious world – the Court of Master Sommeliers and the massively intimidating Master Sommelier Exam. The Court of Master Sommeliers is one of the world’s most prestigious, secretive, and exclusive organizations. Since its inception almost 40 years ago, less than 200 candidates have reached the exalted Master level. The exam covers literally every nuance of the world of wine, spirits and cigars.
Those who have passed have put at risk their personal lives, their well- being, and often their sanity to pull it off. Shrouded in secrecy, access to the Court Of Master Sommeliers has always been strictly regulated and cameras have never been allowed anywhere near the exam, until now.
How much do you think you know about wine? »
- Melissa Thompson
Director Jason Wise takes moviegoers inside the elite world of wine tasting in our exclusive scene from Somm, debuting on iTunes and in theaters June 21. This clip shows some of the preparations a wine taster must go through before the Master Sommelier Exam, a test that only 200 people have passed in over 40 years. Leave that Franzia boxed wine behind and watch as one participant gets put through the ringer before this rigorous test of the taste buds.
Somm - Exclusive "This Sucks"
Written and directed by Jason Wise, Somm follows four men as they prepare for the hardest test you've never heard of: the Master Sommelier Exam. The highest honor in the world of wine with fewer than 200 candidates passing the Master Level in over 40 years.
Somm's subjects live and breathe wine -- you see how their desire to become a master sommelier becomes their driving force, superseding personal lives, »
A sommelier can incite intimidation, scorn, or trust, depending on who's drinking and who's pouring. Rarely, at least in America, do we take full advantage of proximity to those nerds with corkscrews. Somm follows four young men training hard to be Master Sommeliers, of which there are only 200 worldwide. Forget "lively pear"—these guys detect in wine label-unworthy essences of new tennis balls, wet wool, rotten rose petals, lime candy. They can blind-sip their way to a glass's country, region, vineyard, and vintage. But can they pass the ultimate test? Director Jason Wise has vintners and other experts chime in with ingenuity and humor about the perplexity of wine—its history, its vulnerability to everything: microbes, weather, technology, soil, human error, genetic »
Emir Baigazin’s Harmony Lessons won the 39th Seattle International Film Festival’s Best New Director grand jury prize on Sunday  as top brass handed out jury and audience awards.Scroll down for full list of winners
The Siff 2013 Best Documentary grand jury prize went to Penny Lane’s Our Nixon and Lucy Walker earned a special jury prize for The Crash Reel, while Kyle Patrick Alvarez took the Best New American Cinema grand jury prize for C.O.G.
The Best Director Golden Space Needle Award went to Nabil Ayouch for Horses Of God, while best actor was awarded to James Cromwell for Still Mine and best actress to Samantha Morton for Decoding Annie Parker.
The Best Short Film Golden Space Needle Award was presented to [link »
- email@example.com (Jeremy Kay)
Samuel Goldwyn Films has acquired the U.S. rights to writer/director Jason Wise's "Somm," a documentary following four men as they prepare for the Master Sommelier exam. The Court of Master Sommeliers was created 40 years ago and in that time there have been less than 200 candidates who have passed their master level exam. The film introduces viewers to the secretive and exclusive world of wine that has never before opened its doors to allow cameras. Senior Vice President of Samuel Goldwyn Films, said "Jason has made an extremely entertaining film that anyone who has ever stumbled through a restaurant wine list will love. This is an amazing world and if you thought you knew something about wine, you don't." Goldwyn plans to release the film this summer. »
- Cristina A. Gonzalez
9 items from 2013
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