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Posts Tagged ‘Tabloid’

Friday December 30th, 2011

Contender Castoffs: What Happened to These 13 Would-Be 2011 Awards Hopefuls?

As 2011 winds to a close and the announcement of Oscar nominations approaches, I thought it might be interesting to catch up with some of the films many thought, at one time or another, would factor into this year’s awards race but never did.

Some screened at festivals in search of a distributor but didn’t find one; others found a distributor, but the distributor decided it lacked the money, manpower or time to mount a campaign this year. Some had distributors before they were in the can and simply were not completed in time to be released this year; others were completed in time to be released this year, but their distributors had their hands full with other contenders and decided to hold them until next year.

It is important to remember that just because a film is not part of this year’s awards race doesn’t mean it won’t be part of next year’s. True, some of these titles will never be heard from again — but others could follow in the footsteps of, say:

  • Crash, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in September 2004, at which time it was picked up for U.S. distribution by Lionsgate and held for the following year; was released theatrically in May 2005; and, in March 2006, won the best picture Oscar.
  • The Visitor, which premiered at Toronto in September 2007, at which time it was picked up for U.S. distribution by Overture and held for the following year; was released theatrically in April 2008; and, in February 2009, was represented at the Oscars in the best actor category.
  • Lovely, Still, which premiered at Toronto in September 2008; was not picked up by a distributor until 2010, when Monterey Media decided to take a chance on it; and was released in theaters in September 2010.
  • The Hurt Locker, which premiered at Toronto in September 2008, at which time it was picked up for U.S. distribution by Summit and held for the following year; was released theatrically in June 2009; and, in March 2010, won the best picture Oscar.
  • The DebtEverything Must GoThe First GraderGirlfriendMeek’s CutoffSarah’s KeyTabloidThe Way and The Whistleblower, all of which premiered at Toronto in September 2010; were subsequently picked up by various distributors; and were held for release until 2011.

Without further ado, here is the class of 2011:

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Monday December 12th, 2011

“The Tree of Life” Takes Top Prize in San Francisco

By Sean O’Connell

On Sunday, multiple critics groups from New York to L.A. gathered to analyze the year in film and vote on their winners. “The Artist” performed well in Boston and Manhattan, while L.A. went with Alexander Payne’s “The Descendants.” But late in the evening, San Francisco revealed its collective suggestions for year’s best, going with Terrence Malick’s brilliant “The Tree of Life.”

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Friday November 18th, 2011

Academy’s Doc Shortlist Includes — and Leaves Out — Plenty of Great Films (Analysis)

Each year when the Academy’s documentary branch screening committee announces its  shortlist of 15 films from which the five best documentary (feature) Oscar contenders will be  selected, as they did today, there are inevitably a few  omissions that leave doc buffs stunned. This year is no exception.

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Friday August 19th, 2011

SUMMER MOVIES RECAP, v. 2011

On Thursday morning, I made one of my periodic appearances on WTNH-8, Connecticut’s ABC News affiliate, this time to discuss trends and takeaways from this summer’s movies with Teresa LaBarbera on the “Connecticut Style” morning show.

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Monday July 18th, 2011

E-MO STRIKES AGAIN

To mark last Friday’s release of “Tabloid” (Sundance Selects, 7/15, R, trailer), the latest doc from master filmmaker Errol Morris, I thought I would re-post an interview that I conducted with Morris two-and-a-half years ago in the Cambridge, Massachusetts offices of his production company. As you can see in the video, Morris is — like his films, which include the essential docs “Gates of Heaven” (1980) “The Thin Blue Line” (1988), the Oscar winning “The Fog of War” (2003), and “Standard Operating Procedure” (2008) — both brilliant and bizarre. (And I say that as a great admirer!)

Sunday August 29th, 2010

2010: THE YEAR OF THE DOCUMENTARY

Since I first started covering the annual awards seasons a decade ago, one of the most striking trends I have observed has been a marked uptick in the quantity and quality of documentary features. Each November, the Academy’s documentary branch selects 15 for a shortlist from which they ultimately pick five nominees. This year, I don’t know how they’re going to do it — Fall hasn’t even arrived yet and there are already way more than 15 worthy candidates. Frankly, I don’t think it would be going out on a huge limb to declare 2010 the strongest — or, at the very least, the deepest — year yet in the history of documentary filmmaking.

Here’s a bit of commentary on each of the docs that are registering strongest on my radar at the moment…

Now in Theaters

  • “The Tillman Story” (The Weinstein Company, 8/20, trailer) — Amir Bar-Lev (“My Kid Could Paint That”) tells the true story of the man who gave up a multi-million dollar NFL contract to join the U.S. Army; who was killed in Iraq in 2004; whose “heroic” death the Bush Administration tried to use to increase public support for the war; but whose family — most of whom granted interviews for the film — ultimately discovered that the true manner in which he had been killed had been buried as part of a cover-up that led directly to the highest reaches of the military and government.
  • “A Film Unfinished” (Oscilloscope, 8/18, trailer) — The object of recents raves in Entertainment Weekly and the New York Times, Yael Hersonski‘s doc deconstructs “Das Ghetto,” a Nazi propaganda film of Jewish life in the Warsaw Ghetto that was shot in 1942, and which for 40 years was considered to be unmanipulated footage until another reel was discovered and exposes it as anything but that. The most powerful part of this multi-faceted effort to set the record straight: testimony from five Holocaust survivors who lived in the ghetto, as well as one of the cameramen who filmed it.

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