If you're a procrastinator like me you've probably not done your holiday shopping yet and expect to
get around to it sometime in January. And if you're a cheapskate like me you're
thinking of making gifts out of things you
got free in the mail. For me that would be film books, and there were some good ones that
came out this year that I might be wrapping up as presents for my unwitting film fan friends.
The Academy just announced its short list of nine candidates
for Best Foreign Language Film Oscars.
Belgium, "Bullhead," Michael R. Roskam, director;
Canada, "Monsieur Lazhar," Philippe Falardeau, director;
Denmark, "Superclásico," Ole Christian Madsen, director;
Germany, "Pina," Wim Wenders, director;
The National Society of Film Critics, of which I am a member, had a choice between "Life" and death today, and they chose death. That is to say, Lars Von Trier's doomsday celebration "Melancholia" beat out Terence Malick's cheerier "Tree of Life" for Best Picture by one vote. "Tree of Life" would make a comeback with Best Director and Best Cinematography somewhat later in the four-and-a-half meeting, but not before "Melancholia' scored again with Best Actress with Kirsten Dunst.
Is the NYFCC indulging in crass self-promotion by rushing to be the first critics society to present its 2011 awards. Are they, as some people such as blogger David Poland insist, a "business call. not a show call," putting their impact on the film industry (i.e., the Oscars) above their responsibility to disinterestedly weigh the merits of the year's movies? It doesn't matter: they're already underway.
Last Saturday I conducted a phone interview with Werner
Herzog, who was in San Francisco
promoting his new film "Into the Abyss." He seemed in good spirits, that
despite the fact that, as I learned later, the city had just undergone an
I guess it was an "insignificant" earthquake (3.2 on the
Richter scale), like the bullet he described as "insignificant" when he was
shot in an on-the-air interview
When humans go up against nature in films like 127 Hours, they usually
come out short. Such is the case also in Werner Herzog's compelling documentary Grizzly Man
(2005), in which the director finds someone almost as strange as himself,
Timothy Treadwell, who just wanted to share his life with the ursines of the
title in the Alaskan wilderness.