9 Foreign Language Films Advance In Oscar Race

Nine features will advance to the next round of voting in the Foreign Language Film category for the 86th Academy Awards®. Seventy-six films had originally been considered in the category.

The films, listed in alphabetical order by country, are:

  • Belgium, “The Broken Circle Breakdown,” Felix van Groeningen, director;
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina, “An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker,” Danis Tanovic, director;
  • Cambodia, “The Missing Picture,” Rithy Panh, director;
  • Denmark, “The Hunt,” Thomas Vinterberg, director;
  • Germany, “Two Lives,” Georg Maas, director;
  • Hong Kong, “The Grandmaster,” Wong Kar-wai, director;
  • Hungary, “The Notebook,” Janos Szasz, director;
  • Italy, “The Great Beauty,” Paolo Sorrentino, director;
  • Palestine, “Omar,” Hany Abu-Assad, director.

Foreign Language Film nominations for 2013 are being determined in two phases.

The Phase I committee, consisting of several hundred Los Angeles-based Academy members, screened the original submissions in the category between mid-October and December 16.  The group’s top six choices, augmented by three additional selections voted by the Academy’s Foreign Language Film Award Executive Committee, constitute the shortlist.

The shortlist will be winnowed down to the five nominees by specially invited committees in New York and Los Angeles.  They will spend Friday, January 10, through Sunday, January 12, viewing three films each day and then casting their ballots.

The 86th Academy Awards nominations will be announced live on Thursday, January 16, 2014, at 5:30 a.m. PT in the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater.

Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2013 will be presented on Oscar Sunday, March 2, 2014, at the Dolby Theatre® at Hollywood & Highland Center® and televised live on the ABC Television Network.  The presentation, produced by Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, also will be televised live in more than 225 countries and territories worldwide.

Blitz Patrollie (DVD): Review

The Film

In Blitz Patrollie, we follow Rummy Augustine and Ace Dikolobe, two cops, partners, and guys with good heart. The two are good guys, albeit a little lacking in the worldly-wise ways of everyone else. They stumble upon a huge drug bust (along with the humorous sidekick team of Braam and David, two snipers who are trying very hard to be the cool, knowledgeable sniper team, but in actual fact probably need some training and exercise).

The main characters might all seem like they are bundling their way through things, but there is a sense of being ‘in Africa’ as a cop. Things are done a little different here, but the heart is in the right place.

The more their boss Ledwaba (Kagiso Lediga) tries to stay on top of things, and the more station head Lappies Botha tries to rein in Rummy and Ace, the more they stumble upon more and more information on the big drug ring that is active right under their very noses.

The humour, although slightly caricatured, is not forced, and steers clear of the slapstick that some South African films are known for.

Blitz Patrollie is a good laugh, with no thinking needed. It’ll bring some entertainment to your day.

Blitz Patrollie is out now on disc in South Africa.

Disc And Bonus Features

The disc is encoded at a decent bitrate, with no visible artefacts while viewing. It can upscale via software to HD without any hassle. Audio does not seem to make use of the surrounds, but does provide a wide front stage to the on-screen action.

There are a few bonus features on the Blitz Patrollie DVD, including cinematic trailer, a behind the scenes that provides some additional insight into life on set, and the process of creating the film, and the various locations, and an audio commentary by directors Kagiso Lediga and Andrew Wessels.

The audio commentary carries with it a wealth of information about how the film was made, the mindset behind the directors, and why certain aspects of the film played out the way they did. The directors share a passion for the film medium, evident by their desire to show the best film possible, but also display their knowledge of film when speaking of some of their ideas that had to be dropped in order to make the end product more enjoyable for us as an audience.

Audio commentaries are always great for the aficionado audience, and for budding actors and filmmakers alike.

Walking With Dinosaurs Receives The Dove Foundation Review Boards Approval

Walking with Dinosaurs has won approval by The Dove Foundation Review Board. The approval means that the Foundation believes that the content expressed makes for the kind of entertainment family members can enjoy together with confidence.

The Dove Family Approved Seal is awarded to movies, DVDs, made for TV movies and specials, books and other entertainment products that portray and encourage positive values.

Now celebrating its 20th year as an advocate for family values in entertainment, The Dove Foundation works to encourage filmmakers to make clean movies, and to empower families to make wise choices. As the nonprofit, “keeper of the Seal,” free from commercial pressures the Dove Foundation has built a brand that is recognized by over 50 million Americans.

Nu Metro believes that the addition of the Dove Seal to the film WALKING WITH DINOSAURS will substantially increase the product’s appeal to the “faith and family” market. To date, over six thousand titles have received the Dove Seal. A complete list may be found online at www.dove.org. Approved titles may also be promoted in various Dove publications such as the Hollywood Uplink monthly enewsletter, Dove’s Facebook Fan Page and our eBlast Movie News Bulletins to over 80,000 subscribers and supporters.

Walking With Dinosaurs releases country wide on the 27th of December 2013.

Nothing For Mahala (DVD): Review

The Film

Nothing For Mahala, is as the name implies, a lesson that for every action, there is a consequence. A South African story, that we can all relate to in today’s world.

The story begins by following the lust for wealth and power by main character Axe, and as he is sitting in court for drunken driving, and sentenced to 200 hours community service.

Working his community service hours at a retirement home, Axe meets a sour old man, Hendrik (played with aplomb by Marius Wyers). The two start of hating each other, yet soon discover they can use each other to reach certain goals of their own.

Axe works for Mike (Jamie Bartlett), head of a real estate company, and has an air of Mafioso to him. Trying to please his boss, and find  a way to repay the loan sharks he owes a lot of money to, much hijinx ensues, including Casper de Vries as Diski, a hilarious assistant to Dog (Warren Masemola), who are out to either get payment from Axe, or teach Axe a lesson.

Nothing For Mahala shows us that there is nothing for free, everything has a price, and each action has a consequence. For most, the price is money, but once the lesson is learnt, it is clear that you can do things just for the satisfaction of doing them, and that is payment enough.

Nothing For Mahala is a great South African film, full of laughs, a good story, and some local kwaito beats. Available now on BluRay and DVD.

Disc And Bonus Features

The DVD is encoded at a high bitrate, meaning that image quality is clear, and can be scaled up via software to HD on larger screens. Sound is presented in 5.1, but the surrounds are barely used. Your LFE channel will get a bit of a workout when the kwaito music kicks in though.

There are two bonus features. The first being an alternate ending, which although seems like an ending you’d expect, the cinematic ending is the one that works. The other feature is a behind the scenes, showing a bit of set life, a few interviews with cast and crew, and generally a small insight into the minds of those who were part of the film.

Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom Notches Up More Award Nominations

Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom received two nominations at the 34th London Critics Circle Film Awards, it was announced today.  The film received two nominations for Naomie Harris:  Supporting Actress Of The Year and British Actress Of The Year, both for her role as Winnie Mandela.  The winners will be announced on 2 February 2014.

The London Critics’ Circle Film Awards are voted for by the UK’s longest standing and most prestigious critical organisation, which has 140 members who between them see every one of the hundreds of films released in the UK each year.

“We congratulate Naomie on receiving these two nominations from the UK’s foremost organisation of film critics.  This is really a massive achievement, well-deserved and very exciting,” said producer, Anant Singh.

Last week, Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom received three Golden Globe Nominations –  Idris Elba received the nomination for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama for his role as Nelson Mandela,  Alex Heffes received the nomination for  Best Original Score and U2 was nominated for the Best Original Song – “Ordinary Love” which was written especially for the film.

Read the SAMDB Review of Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom.

Killing Them Softly (DVD): Review

The Film

Following an amateur stickup of an underground card game, which causes the local mob economy to collapse, a hitman (Brad Pitt) is sent to track them down, and set things straight. This hitman doesn’t like to get up close and experience the emotion of his job, he prefers Killing Them Softly.

Incidental sound-bites form speeches by George W. Bush and Barack Obama narrate the on-screen action in places, providing an insight into the minds of the characters and foreshadowing the next scene.

Killing Me Softly is not a run-and-gun action, it takes its time, pacing the action, and providing insight into the emotion of those involved, being more performance driven by a talented cast, rather than effects and explosions.

This is one to watch when you’re in the mood for intense characters, and some thought.

Disc And Bonus Features

The disc is encoded at a high bitrate, providing a good quality picture which upscales via software to HD without any visible artefacts. Sound is encoded in 5.1, but due to the type of story being told, does not make much use of the surrounds. There are no bonus features included on the disc.

Now You See Me (DVD): Review

The Film

Now You See Me has an ensemble cast, comprising of Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Woody Harrelson, Isla Fisher, Dave Franco, Mélanie Laurent, Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine, each of which deliver stunning performances in what is a thoroughly enjoyable movie.

Following a team of illusionists, named The Four Horsemen, who are being tracked by the FBI and Interpol, the story takes many turns as each side tries to outwit the other. There are plenty of plot twists along the way, and one can not help but wonder that the entire film is being played out as a great illusion, with the intent of tricking the audience. There is a fair share of foreshadowing of events, but we are misdirected all too often by an artful script as the characters vie for intellectual superiority in order to achieve their goals.

Running at just over two and a half hours, one is so drawn in to the story, that you do not notice the passage of time, and just when you think all is lost, you come to realise this is once again an illusion perpetrated by the script writers in their masterful skill of story telling.

Now You See Me is a feel good movie that can be enjoyed by all, and made even better when watched with friends and family. It makes for a delightful escape.

DVD Disc And Bonus Features

The Now You See Me DVD has no additional features or commentary.

The disc is encoded at a decent bitrate, meaning there are no visible artefacts. If you do not have the BluRay, the DVD will scale via software to HD without any issues.

Sound is presented in 5.1, and although it does not make over-use of the surrounds, they are there when needed.

Elysium DVD: Review

The Film

Sci-fi action film Elysium is now out on BluRay and DVD. Read the SAMDB review of Elysium. We also have a Q&A with actor Brandon Auret.

The Disc And Bonus Features

The Elysium DVD is encoded at a high bitrate, so there are no perceivable artefacts, and can be scaled via software up to HD with out much problem, for those who have larger HD screens (although you would always be better of with actual HD content in the form of the BluRay disc). Sound is the usual 5.1, and although great sounding, there is not an abundant use of the surrounds.

The Elysium DVD includes to bonus features; one about the creation of the station, and the other tackling some behind the scenes with the actors, their methodology, and some insight into South Africa’s very own Sharlto Copley.

Copley shares some of his thoughts on acting opposite Jodi Foster, and being the first to ever kill a character she has played on-screen.

The bonus features are great bits of extra information about the film, but are a tad short. If you are looking for more features, you’re better of looking to the future and getting the BluRay disc.

Evil Dead (DVD): Review

Evil Dead: The Film

A remake of the Sam Raimi horror of 1981, Evil Dead is one of those horrors that stands out from the crowd. It has a tense, chilling story line, several plots twists, and steers away from cheap scares and constant gore.

Following five friends who head out to spend some time at a remote cabin, with the intent of helping Mia deal with some personal issues, they discover a book of the dead, and unwittingly summon a demon.

After Mia is possessed by the summoned demon, the fight for survival begins, with David, Eric, Olivia and Natalie in a fight where the ultimate price is not just their lives, but their souls.

The story is tense, the fear is real, and the cast deliver performances that are well above par in comparison to most other horror films. A great movie to watch on a Halloween night marathon. Evil Dead is scary fun.

The Disc And Bonus Features

The disc is encoded at a decent bitrate, meaning that picture quality is great (and if you have the right system, upscales via software to HD with no perceivable artefacts). Sound is presented as 5.1, which adds immensely to the scares and thrills of the movie, drawing the viewer in to the on-screen action with great atmospheric use of the surrounds.

The Evil Dead DVD contains three bonus features, each providing additional insights into the process of creating the story, preparing the actors, and the use of practical effects.

The bonus features are great for those looking to learn more about the movie process, or for those in the industry looking for a bit more insight to set life.

7 Features Advance In Race For Makeup And Hairstyling Oscar®

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences today announced that seven films remain in competition in the Makeup and Hairstyling category for the 86th Academy Awards®.

The films are listed below in alphabetical order:

On Saturday, January 11, 2014, all members of the Academy’s Makeup Artists and Hairstylists Branch will be invited to view 10-minute excerpts from each of the seven shortlisted films. Following the screenings, members will vote to nominate three films for final Oscar consideration.

The 86th Academy Awards nominations will be announced live on Thursday, January 16, 2014, at 5:30 a.m. PT in the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater.

Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2013 will be presented on Oscar Sunday, March 2, 2014, at the Dolby Theatre® at Hollywood & Highland Center® and televised live on the ABC Television Network. The presentation also will be televised live in more than 225 countries and territories worldwide.