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Golden Globe Nominations: What They FAILED to Include!

23 Dec

The Recent Golden Globe nominations are a true statement of how this has become more of a popularity contest than a true award show.   I was thinking of writing an article about this the other day and just came across an excellent piece by Betsy Sharkey of the Los Angeles Times, covering this very same topic. She covers so many of the big omissions the Hollywood Foreign Press failed to include in this year’s list of nominees, as in the case of Olivier Assayas’ Carlos, South Korea’s Mother, Tilda Swinton’s I Am Love, among many other.  What it is interesting is to note is that it’s the same Hollywood Foreign Press who is snubbing many of these great international/foreign films, that one would think would be automatic shoe-ins.

One of this foreign films that I enjoyed so much this year was Biutiful, a film starring Javier Bardem and directed by Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu.   Javier Bardem–the same way Hye-Ja Kim from Mother and Tilda Swinton in I Am Love–was profoundly affecting in his role as a dying father and Inarritu’s directing merely profound, work that most certainly deserves some sort of recognition.  There are so many other films that I can think of that were also excluded, such as: True Grit, Please Give, Nora’s Will, Fish Tank, Barney’s Version, The Town and the list can go on.   But, instead the same eighty plus Foreign Press members found it necessary to recognize a film like The Tourist and their leading actors for their performances–Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp?  This is exactly when you know that there is something REALLY wrong with this picture, it’s just a joke!  Shame on you Hollywood Foreign Press!!!

These aforementioned films deserve to be seen and it’s a shame the their distribution and studios’ marketing haven’t really done them well by making sure voters see and vote for them.   Let’s hope that come Oscar time, the academy members won’t make the same mistake and do justice to good films and good work from actors that truly invest themselves into their characters and recognize them.  For those people like me and Betsy from the LA Times, keep seeing and supporting these quality films and spread the word about them among your friends.  Often times, these are small independent/foreign films that need be discovered by more people and the only way for that to happen, sometimes is through good word of mouth.  Let’s spread the word folks!

Read more about the common ground I share with Betsy on her article from the LA Times below…

Critic’s Notebook: Where the Golden Globe nominations went wrong.  Johnny Depp with two nominations, Tilda Swinton with none, ‘True Grit’ shut out? An on-looker could go on — and does.

By Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times Film Critic
December 15, 2010

That was quite a performance by the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. on Tuesday morning — it had sort of an Alice in Wonderland quality about it, though maybe “quality” isn’t exactly the right word.

Johnny Depp, who is having an off year at best, gets two nominations? Seriously? Angelina Jolie picks up one for that laugh riot “The Tourist”? Meanwhile Tilda Swinton, incomparable in “I Am Love,” Kim Hye-ja stunning in “Mother,” Hailee Steinfeld remarkable in “True Grit” are nowhere to be found. For that matter “True Grit” gets nada, and Roman Polanski’s exceptionally smart “The Ghost Writer” also comes up empty.

If this is Wonderland, even Alice wouldn’t want to live here any more.

The Globe nominations have often been little more than a popularity contest among those who throw the best parties, but with its 2011 nominations, the HFPA has reached a new low. (Yet no “Get Low’s” Robert Duvall.)

Here’s an idea: Recognize an actual comedy in the comedy-musical category. How about Nicole Holofcener’s wonderfully dark “Please Give” with Catherine Keener, or “Cyrus” with John C. Reilly, Marisa Tomei and Jonah Hill? Even “The Ghost Writer” had a lot of great irony attached to Ewan McGregor’s Ghost, and irony is still funny, right?

And while we’re getting animated here, if the rules can be stretched so thinly as to qualify “Tourist” as a comedy, and Depp’s performance therein as a funny ha-ha one (versus a funny-weird one) — why not include Tom Hanks or Tim Allen? As Woody and Buzz Lightyear in “Toy Story 3,” both were definitely funnier than several of the actors who made it in.

Meanwhile, in the darker recesses of the Globes’ rabbit hole, why not Mia Wasikowska if we’re giving a shout-out to Depp in Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland”? Why wasn’t Aaron Eckhart’s searing pain of “Rabbit Hole” enough to make the supporting actor cut?

Another confusion, “Inception” walks off with nominations for best picture, best director and best screenplay, but apparently all that greatness happened without the help of actors. Nothing for Leonardo DiCaprio or Marion Cotillard. Were they asleep? (And by “they,” I mean the HFPA).

The 80 plus one (this is a plus-one town, you know) took notice of Annette Bening and Julianne Moore in “The Kids Are All Right” but missed Mark Ruffalo’s seductive charm, and went on to completely overlook Dustin Hoffman, excellent opposite Paul Giamatti in “Barney’s Version,” to make room for Michael Douglas in “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps.” Huh?

Director Olivier Assayas’ exceptional “Carlos,” carried to great heights on the broad shoulders of actor Édgar Ramírez, premiered at the Cannes FILM Festival, has made many Top 10 FILM lists, yet the HFPA excludes it from the foreign film category, instead it’s relegated to TV for its “pay the bills” run there. Really?

I tell you, crimes, serious crimes, have been committed. There are more, too many to mention. I’m with the Queen of Hearts on this one: “Off with their heads.”


The Action on Film Festival Returns to Pasadena – July 23-30

12 Jul

For those film lovers in the Pasadena area searching for something different with a bit more action and substance then big Hollywood summer blockbusters, there is a new film festival I have recently discovered and recommend, called: Action on Film International Film Festival.

This year’s edition will bring nearly 400 low-budget films that promise to be for everyone’s liking, and will attract well-known actors who will be rewarded for their bodies of work, such as: Talia Shire (from the Godfather and Rocky) and Deborah Kara Unger (from White Noise and Silent Hill). I love independent films and going to see them in my city–the crown city–and just hope that the festival is a big success in town, so that the city can attract and host more events like this promoting smaller niche films.  I hope to catch a few worthwhile films at this year’s festival, as Movie Maker Magazine suggests: “It’s one of the top 25 film festivals worth the fees…”

The festival kicks-off Friday, July 23 and will play for a week.

From AOF’s official website:

“The AOF Fest is one of these most progressive film festivals on the scene today. With writers, producers, directors and filmmakers from all over the globe, we are truly an International affair. We have assisted a number of filmmakers in starting their careers; Stan Harrington, Mark Mahon, Justin Owensby, and many others. We have helped people sell their films and projects and helped others gain the recognition and representation they deserved.

Celebrities like Costas Mandylor, Michael Madsen, John Savage, Maria Conchita Alonso, George Takei, Bill Duke, John Saxon, Frances Bay, David Carradine, Steven Williams and many others have found a home at the AOF Festival. And now, people behind the scenes like super producer Karen Kramer, the people from SONY, The Will Rogers Foundation, Independent Distribution Companies, and Industry Insiders etc., now mix and mingle with our independent filmmakers and writers to guide them along the path to success in their careers.

With our move to the beautiful city of Pasadena in 2008, the AOF Festival proved itself to be one of the top events in the world with beautiful theaters, star studded Black Tie Dinner and Award Shows, Writer’s Award Events and hundreds of screenings of the most provocative films, videos, documentaries and works of the written word being showcased today.

The Action on Film Festival is dedicated to filmmakers and to film making. We have developed a program that supports artists and creators and allows them a voice via their work. We have showcased and will continue to showcase, talent, innovation, edge, new voices and YOU.

Action On Film is more than just a film festival, it is a community with members from all over the globe. We extend to you, the filmmaker the opportunity to show your work and to share your dreams with an audience that is ready to stand up and put their hands together, for you.

Don’t forget the Free Events like the Sunday Symposium with Studio Executive Alan Bailey, the new Free Actor’s and Writer’s Symposium and a new event, the Anthony De Longis Making Action Count Seminar which is brought to you by the R.I.O.T. Act and sponsored by In Magazine and the Sheraton Hotel. Order Making Action Count Tickets Here.

Join the Executive Producer of Criminal Minds Ed Bernero when he hosts a very special evening, SWAN, to benefit the Lung Cancer Foundation of America and to honor the work of Andy Swan. Click Here to Learn More“.

For complete scheduling of the movies, visit the website.

Have You Ever Heard of ”Fish Tank” the Movie?

19 Apr

This little British gem of a film, released in theaters the United States early this year and it’s without doubt the BEST film so far this year on my book!

The film employs a Ken Loach and Mike Leigh’s style of filmmaking and portrays socio-economic themes and classes of a segment  of British culture, which proves to be in some cases, brutally honest.  And honest is what the leading character is, played by a newcomer young girl, who is virtually unknown and has never acted before.  Mia–as she goes by in the film–is truly a revelation!  I believed her as Mia and what she was going through in her life.

Katie Jarvis–Mia--was ‘discovered’ when she was having a heated argument with her boyfriend across the platforms at Tilbury Town railway station.  She had dropped out of school and was unemployed when she was cast in this film–her first motion picture.

The film’s title is a metaphor of Mia’s life, as her life feels like that of a ‘fish tank’, trapped.  She decides to break out of that and explore life in her own terms: through dance, trying to save a horse, rebelling against her friends and mother, and finally finding trust in unknown men.  The latter however, changes her life forever and where this experience leads her ends up forcing her to grow-up almost instantly.

Andrea Arnold, the writer and director of the film, remarkably succeeds in telling the story of a young teenager girl in working-class London, where life can be really harsh and people are forced to grow very fast and adapt to their conditions the best way possible to survive.  The film proves to be bleak, but hopeful and redeeming in the end.

The film won multiple awards early this year and last year leading up to its release in US art-house theaters.

It won the ‘Jury Prize’ at the Cannes Film Festival in 2009

British Independent Film Award – best promising new comer actress and director

BAFTA Film Award – Outstanding British Film 2010

The film has released in DVD in England, but it’s release in the US is yet to be announced.  As soon as it’s available I highly recommend anyone to watch it, as it’s REALLY worth seeing!

The DVD is currently available on Amazon UK for purchase.


Fifteen-year-old Mia is in a constant state of war with her family, her school and her neighbors, without any constructive creative outlet for her energies save a secret love of hip-hop dancing. When she meets her party-girl mother’s charming new boyfriend Connor, she is amazed to find him returning her attention, and believes he can help her start to make sense of her life and eventually they have sex, after which he disappears from all their lives. When Mia tracks him down she finds that he has not been wholly honest with them and decides to take revenge, which almost ends in disaster. However, she does find consolation with Billy, a young traveller, after making up with her family.

For more details about this great indie film check out it’s website, become a fan of Facebook and follow it on Twitter for updates.

What is Máncora???

25 Jun

Mancora PeruEl Peru’s one of most best-kept secrets for beaches and BIG surfing waves and a lot of sun is without doubt Máncora!

Máncora is the place to see and be seen along the Peruvian coast, where during the summer months foreigners flock to rub sunburned shoulders and enjoy on of Peru’s best sandy beaches, which stretches for several kilometers in the sunniest region of the country.   But getting there isn’t easy, as driving there can take up to 18 hours from Lima–the capital–or a couple of hours via plane.  Driving up to Máncora from Lima along the Panamericana Norte can be quite an experience, as one is traveling from the middle of the country to almost the northernmost part of this big nation that is actually bigger than it seems in most maps.  The country is quite arid along the coast and the Pan-American Highway takes one along the many deserted areas of Peru.

ASP+World+Tour+Movistar+Classic+Mancora+Peru+1xdfY8u03RzlBUT, how do I know this or anything about Máncora and what’s the relevance of it to ICINE?  Well, it’s simple; a GREAT new film released in the United States recently called the same as this gem beach community: Máncora.

mancoraFrom the director of “La Mujer de Mi Hermano” (My Brothers Wife), and the writer of “Voces Inocentes” (Innocent Voices), Ricardo de Montreuil comes Máncora, a tender and pulsating road-trip drama that delicately traces the shifting emotional boundaries between three disconnected souls.  Máncora introduces us to Santiago, a 21-year old from Lima who is haunted by his father’s recent and unexpected suicide. Suffocating in the chill of a grey Lima winter, Santiago decides to take refuge in Máncora, a beach town in the north of the country where summer never ends.   Right before his departure, Santiago receives an unexpected visit from his stepsister Ximena, a vibrant, sexy Spanish photographer and her husband Iñigo, a brash art collector from New York.   The tranquility of their getaway is quickly shattered by a powerful act of boundary-crossing and betrayal, which threatens to transform their relationship forever and turn Máncora in to a paradise lost.

ing_esp_copyThe film begins with a lovely poem excerpt from César Vallejo’s–a great Latin American writer/poet from El Peru– from Los Heraldos Negros (The black messengers), which as you will see in the film is Santiago‘s gift from his father.  And the excerpt reads…

Hay golpes en la vida tan fuertes . . . ¡Yo no se!
Golpes como del odio de Dios; como si ante ellos;
la resaca de todo lo sufrido se empozara en el alma
¡Yo no se!  …

The film is reminiscent of Y Tu Mama Tambien with fresh new faces to us–in reality these are very talented actors in their own countries and IberoAmerica—that takes us on a road trip searching fordiscovery.  The film has poetic undertones and raw look at life growing up and searching for what path one is to follow and its meaning and place in life.  Ricardo de Montreuil‘s collaboration with Angel Ibargurent and Juan Luis Nugent (writers of the film’s screenplay), and Leandro Filloy’s cinematography, along with the precise casting of the main characters,, makes Máncora work, as great quality film that deserves to be noticed!

3306133584_30f57915d9During this time of mediocre to BAD films out there, little independent/foreign films like this are those that need to be discovered, enjoyed and tell others about, so I am doing my part.  I don’t want to provide with too much in depth information or details about it other than what’s been provided, but I assure you, you WON’T be disappointed!

It’s a universal story of discovery, growing up, going through difficult times–death, depression, etc.–love, friendship and family, with likeable characters in a very fresh new place to most of us Máncora, before now have you ever heard of it?

3313639819_c32d6bab43Now you know what it is, where it is and what this movie is all about…is playing in selected cities in the US, including Los Angeles’ Laemmle Theatres, which I highly recommend as an independent art house/boutique theatre group to support.

Go see it and tell everyone you know about this great film!