The Broken Circle Breakdown

It’ll be a while yet before we find out which English-language films are up for the Oscars, but the Best Foreign Language Film category has already been narrowed down to nine contenders.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Scientists has just revealed its shortlist of nine foreign films which will be competing for five slots when the nominations are announced on January 16. Among the semifinalists are Wong Kar-wai’s The Grandmaster, the Mads Mikkelsen-starring The Hunt, and Belgium’s bluegrass romance The Broken Circle Breakdown (pictured above). Read the rest after the jump.

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‘The Act of Killing’ Tops Sight & Sound 2013 Poll

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End of year lists can be great for highlighting stuff you may have missed, and the annual poll from UK film magazine Sight & Sound, one of the first 2013 year-end lists out of the gate, has a number of films included that are worth tracking down. The magazine polls over 100 “international critics, curators and academics,” taking a top-five list from each. The magazine’s list of top films (with some tied for a couple berths) is generated from those votes.

Documentary The Act of Killing, which follows as men responsible for genocidal killings in Indonesia confront and recreate their crimes as film scenes, took first place by a margin of five votes. Gravity and Blue is the Warmest Colour are the second and third place choices.

The full list is below, complete with trailers for each film, so you can be introduced to whatever films on the list are unfamiliar. Read More »

Trailers are an under-appreciated art form insofar that many times they’re seen as vehicles for showing footage, explaining films away, or showing their hand about what moviegoers can expect. Foreign, domestic, independent, big budget: What better way to hone your skills as a thoughtful moviegoer than by deconstructing these little pieces of advertising? This week we try and pair everything with a nice chablis, take a walk in Rome, remember VHS’ heydays, hit up the French for some comedy, and then get serious about a father who leaves his kids only to come back and find another rooster in the hen house.

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There’s a lot going on in Paolo Sorrentino‘s This Must Be the Place: Sean Penn plays a washed-up former rock star named Cheyenne… who has serious issues with his dying father… who was on the hunt for a Nazi who once tortured him… so naturally Cheyenne takes it upon himself to pick up where his dad left off. Mixed reviews out of Cannes suggested that the odd combination doesn’t quite gel, but Penn’s usual dedication to the role could make the film worth watching just for his performance.

Another new trailer has dropped for the film, which shows off the stellar soundtrack by the Talking Heads and Iggy Pop. Watch it after the jump.

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I’m still not totally sure what to make of Paolo Sorrentino‘s This Must Be the Place, which has one of the more unusual premises I’ve heard in a while. Sean Penn stars as a retired rock star, still in eyeliner and lipstick, who takes up his recently deceased father’s quest to find and confront the man who tortured him at Auschwitz. The first photos we saw looked pretty strange, the last trailer was intriguing, and reviews from the film festival circuit so far have been mixed.

Now a new trailer has been released which covers much of the same ground as the previous one, but includes some new footage as well. I think Penn also sounds a tad more intelligible this time around, though perhaps I’m just getting used to his mumbling. Watch it after the jump.

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We’ve already had the chance to ooh and ahh over most of the Sundance Film Festival 2012 slate earlier this month, but with weeks to go until the festival four latecomers have just been announced. There are a few last-minute additions every year; last year’s included Miranda July’s The Future, while 2010′s included Lisa Cholodenko’s The Kids Are All Right.

This year, we have the intriguingly titled sci-fi John Dies at the End; This Must Be the Place, starring Sean Penn as an aging rock star; Jesse Eisenberg and Melissa Leo‘s new comedy Predisposed; and the Norwegian drama Oslo, August 31st. Read the descriptions after the jump.

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The first photos we saw from Paolo Sorrentino‘s This Must Be the Place, with Sean Penn as a Robert Smith-like rock star, were a little bit worrisome. Then we saw some footage, and I thought it looked pretty great. Reviews out of Cannes were not kind, however, and we seemed to be back to square one, or perhaps worse. Is the film, in which Sean Penn’s character searches for the Nazi who tormented his father during the Holocaust, a strange experiment, or an experimental failure? I still don’t know, but this trailer definitely suggests a few things. Check it out below.  Read More »

So far, I’ve been more than a little mystified over images from This Must Be the Place, in which Sean Penn plays an aging musician who looks very much like The Cure’s Robert Smith. The big hair, lipstick and eyeliner aren’t doing Sean Penn many favors, and with each image — that’s the first official one, above — I’ve wondered about the fate of the film.

But Paolo Sorrentino‘s film does have serious aspirations, as that Robert Smith-like character is trying to track down the one-time Nazi who tortured his father. Now there is a montage of footage from the film, set to one of the song’s by the main character’s fictional band, and the stuff looks pretty great. Suddenly I can’t wait to see This Must Be the Place. Check out the clip after the break. Read More »

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