Jumat, 31 Januari 2014

39th César Awards Nominations

A few minutes ago at Fouqet's restaurant on Champs Elysees (ahh!), the French Academy announced the nominations for this year edition and fear no more, Abdellatif Kechiche master opus has many (8) nominations along with some excellent movies that were released in France during 2013 and yes, 2013 was another extraordinary year for French Cinema.

When we consider all nominations there are 47 that come from Cannes films and most were honored at the festival with award(s). That's another reason why these nominations show incredible high cinema-quality. Nevertheless La Vie d'Adèle is not the film with more nominations (8) but is the film where most nods come from "main" categories; Cannes honored and box office success, Me, Myself and Mum leads the tight pack with 10 nods, and L'inconnu du Lac also got 8 nods as La Vie d'Adèle. These three films are the top contenders. Still remember that more nominations doesn't necessarily mean more awards, at least in this award as just have to check last year where the most nominated film got no awards at all.

Perhaps the major snubs for me are the few nominations for Jeune & Jolie and Grand Central plus some surprises like Jimmy P nominated for Best Film, but most complex -at least for me because who are nominated- are categories like actress in a lead role, female newcomer, and actor in a lead role as there are some excellent performances being honored. Still have my favorites and -of course- hope Léa Seydoux gets the honor, as well as Adèle Exarchopoulos and Mads Mikkelsen.

Can't help but to share that most social media (and now general news!) is talking about one peculiar issue that obviously is NOT related to cinema, Julie Gayet nomination! Well, is great to have a good laugh so early in my morning.

Awards ceremony will be on February 28 at Châtelet, with François Cluzet acting as President and my favorite Cécile de France as Maîtresse de Cérémonie. Ceremony is stream live by Canal + and as every year will be and odyssey to find a stream available worldwide, sigh.

These are the nominations for the twenty-two (22) categories.

Best Film
9 mois ferme (9 Month Strech) by Albert Duponel
Les Garçons et Guillaume, à table! (Me, Myself and Mum) by Guillaume Gallienne
L'inconnu du Lac (Stranger by the Lake) by Alain Guiraudie
Jimmy P. (Psychothérapie d'un Indien des Plaines) (Jimmy P.) by Arnaud Desplechin
Le Passé (The Past) by Asghar Farhadi
La Vénus à la Foururre (Venus in Fur) by Roman Polanski
La Vie d'Adèle - Chapitres 1 et 2 (Blue is the Warmest Color), Abdellatif Kechiche

Best First Film
La Bataille de Solférino (Age of Panic) by Justine Triet
La Cage dorée (The Gilded Cage) by Ruben Alves
En solitaire (Turning Tide) by Christophe Offenstein
La fille du 14 juillet (The Rendez-Vous of Déjà-Vu) by Antonin Peretjatko
Les Garçons et Guillaume, à table! (Me, Myself and Mum) by Guillaume Gallienne

Best Animated Film
Aya de Yopougon (Aya of Yop City) by Marguerite Abouet and Clément Oubrerie
Loulou l'Incroyable Secret by Eric Omond
Ma maman est en Amérique, elle a rencontré Buffalo Bill (My Mummy is in America and She Met Buffalo Bill) by Marc Boreal and Thibaut Chatel

Best Foreign Film
The Broken Circle Breakdown by Felix Van Groeningen
Blancanieves by Pablo Berger
Blue Jasmine by Woody Allen
Dead Man Talking by Patrick Ridremont
Django Unchained by Quentin Tarantino
La Grande Bellezza by Paolo Sorrentino
Gravity by Alfonso Cuarón

Best Director
Albert Dupontel for 9 mois ferme (9 Month Strech)
Guillaume Gallienne for Les Garçons et Guillaume, à table! (Me, Myself and Mum)
Alain Guiraudie for L'inconnu du Lac (Stranger by the Lake)
Arnaud Desplechin for Jimmy P. (Psychothérapie d'un Indien des Plaines) (Jimmy P.)
Asghar Farhadi for Le Passé (The Past)
Roman Polanski for La Vénus à la Foururre (Venus in Fur)
Abdellatif Kechiche for La Vie d'Adèle - Chapitres 1 et 2 (Blue is the Warmest Color)

Best Actress
Fanny Ardant in Les Beaux Jours (Bright Days Ahead)
Bérénice Béjo in Le Passé (The Past)
Catherine Deneuve in Elle s'En Va (On My Way)
Sara Forestier in Suzanne
Sandrine Kiberlain in 9 mois ferme (9 Month Strech)
Emmanuelle Seigner in La Vénus à la Foururre (Venus in Fur)
Léa Seydoux in La Vie d'Adèle - Chapitres 1 et 2 (Blue is the Warmest Color)

Best Supporting Actress
Marisa Borini in Un Château en Italie
Françoise Fabian in Les Garçons et Guillaume, à table! (Me, Myself and Mum)
Julie Gayet in Quai d'Orsay
Adèle Haenel in Suzanne
Géraldine Pailhas in Jeune & Jolie

Best Female Newcomer
Lou de Laâge in Jappeloup
Pauline Etienne in La Religieuse (The Nun)
Adèle Exarchopoulos in La Vie d'Adèle - Chapitres 1 et 2 (Blue is the Warmest Color)
Golshifteh Farahani in Syngué sabour - Pierre de patience (The Patience Stone)
Marine Vacth in Jeune & Jolie

Best Actor
Mathieu Amalric in La Vénus à la Foururre (Venus in Fur)
Michel Bouquet in Renoir
Albert Dupontel in 9 mois ferme (9 Month Strech)
Grégory Gadebois in Mon âme par toi guérie (One of a Kind)
Guillaume Gallienne in Les Garçons et Guillaume, à table! (Me, Myself and Mum)
Fabrice Luchini in Alceste à bicyclette (Cycling with Moliere)
Mads Mikkelsen in Michael Kohlhaas (Age of Uprising: The Legend of Michael Kohlhaas)

Best Supporting Actor
Niels Arestrup in Quai d'Orsay
Patrick Chesnais in Les Beaux Jours (Bright Days Ahead)
Patrick d'Assumçao in L'inconnu du Lac (Stranger by the Lake)
François Damiens in Suzanne
Olivier Gourmet in Grand Central

Best Male Newcomer
Paul Bartel in Les Petits Princes
Pierre Deladonchamps in L'inconnu du Lac (Stranger by the Lake)
Paul Hamy in Suzanne
Vincent Macaigne in La fille du 14 juillet (The Rendez-Vous of Déjà-Vu)
Nemo Schiffman in Elle s'en va (On My Way)

Best Original Screenplay
Mariette Désert and Katell Quillévéré for Suzanne
Albert Dupontel for 9 mois ferme (9 Month Strech)
Asghar Farhadi for Le Passé (The Past)
Philippe Le Guay for Alceste à bicyclette (Cycling with Moliere)
Alain Guiraudie for L'inconnu du Lac (Stranger by the Lake)

Best Adapted Screenplay
Antonin Baudry, Christophe Blain and Bertrand Tavernier for Quai d'Orsay
Arnaud Desplechin, Julie Peyr and Kent Jones for Jimmy P. (Psychothérapie d'un Indien des Plaines) (Jimmy P.)
Guillaume Gallienne for Les Garçons et Guillaume, à table! (Me, Myself and Mum)
David Ives and Roman Polanski for La Vénus à la Fourrure (Venus in Fur)
Abdellatif Kechiche and Ghalya Lacroix for La Vie d'Adèle - Chapitres 1 et 2 (Blue is the Warmest Color)

Best Cinematography
Thomas Harmeier for L'extravagant voyage du jeune et prodigieux T.S. Spivet (The Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivet)
Claire Mathon for L'inconnu du Lac (Stranger by the Lake)
Jeanne Lapoirie for Michael Kohlhaas (Age of Uprising: The Legend of Michael Kohlhaas)
Mark Ping Bing Lee for Renoir
Sofian El Fani for La Vie d'Adèle - Chapitres 1 et 2 (Blue is the Warmest Color)

Best Editing
Valèrie Deseine for Les Garçons et Guillaume, à table! (Me, Myself and Mum)
Jean-Christophe Hym for L'Inconnu du lac (Stranger by the Lake)
Christophe Pinel for 9 mois ferme (9 Month Strech)
Camille Toubkis, Albertine Lastera and Jean-Marie Lengellè for La Vie d'Adèle - Chapitres 1 et 2 (Blue is the Warmest Color)
Juliette Welfling for Le Passé (The Past)

Best Original Soundtrack
Jorge Arriagada for Alceste à bicyclette (Cycling with Moliere)
Loïk Dury and Christophe "Disco" Minck for Casse-tête chinois (Chinese Puzzle)
Etienne Charry for L'Ecume des Jours (Mood Indigo)
Martin Wheeler for Michael Kohlhaas (Age of Uprising: The Legend of Michael Kohlhaas)
Alexandre Desplat for La Vénus à la Fourrure (Venus in Fur)

Best Sound
Marc-Antoine Beldent, Loïc Prian, Olivier Dô Hùu for Les Garçons et Guillaume, à table! (Me, Myself and Mum)
Philippe Grivel and Nathalie Vidal for L'inconnu du lac (Stranger by the Lake)
Jean-Pierre Duret, Jean Mallet and Mélissa Petitjean for Michael Kohlhaas (Age of Uprising: The Legend of Michael Kohlhaas)
Lucien Balibar, Nadine Muse and Cyril Holtz for La Vénus à la fourrure (Venus in Fur)
Jérôme Chenevoy, Fabien Pochet and Jean-Paul Hurier for La Vie d'Adèle - Chapitres 1 et 2 (Blue is the Warmest Color)

Best Costumes
Olivier Bériot for Les Garçons et Guillaume, à table! (Me, Myself and Mum)
Pascaline Chavanne for Renoir
Anina Diener for Michael Kohlhaas (Age of Uprising: The Legend of Michael Kohlhaas)
Florence Fointaine for L'Ecume des Jours (Mood Indigo)
Florence Fontaine for L'extravagant voyage du jeune et prodigieux T.S. Spivet (The Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivet)

Best Set Design
Yan Arlaud for Michael Kohlhaas (Age of Uprising: The Legend of Michael Kohlhaas)
Benoit Barough for Renoir
Aline Bonetto for L'extravagant voyage du jeune et prodigieux T.S. Spivet (The Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivet)
Sylvie Olivé for Les Garçons et Guillaume, à table! (Me, Myself and Mum)
Stéphane Rozenbaum for L'Ecume des Jours (Mood Indigo)

Best Documentary
Comment j'ai détesté les maths by Olivier Peyon
Le dernier des injustes (The Last of the Unjust) by Claude Lanzmann
Il était une forêt by Luc Jacquet
La maison de la radio by Nicolas Philibert
Sur le chemin de l'école by Pascal Plisson

Best Short Film
Avant que de tout perdre (Just Before Losing Everything) by Xavier Legrand, 29'
Bambi by Sebastien Lifshitz, 58' (this is not a short film! - is a documentary)
La fugue by Jean-Bernard Marlin, 23'
Les Lézards by Vincent Mariette, 14'
Marseille la nuit by Marien Monge, 40'

Best Animated Short Film
Lettres des Femmes by Augusto Zanovello
Mademoiselle Kiki et les Montparnos (Kiki of Montparnasse) by Amélie Harrault

If you wish to check nominations at official site go here but have to downlowad a pdf file.

Most surprising nomination is for Bambi by Sebastien Lifshitz not because is not good, as a matter of fact is an excellent must be seen documentary (!), but because is nominated as a short film (!) with 58 minutes! Go figure, hope they fix this.

There are a few films that I have not seen, some because decided not to see and now maybe will, others because escaped my radar and one/two that I'm dying to see and haven't seen them yet. Still the "important" (lol) ones have seen them and yes, they're fantastic films! Most interesting, from those that escaped my radar, is the second film by Katell Quillévéré (remember Un Poison Violent?) Suzanne that not only has a very interesting story but also Adèle Haenel performs.

I suppose that this will be the only -non LGBT- major award where a lesbian interest movie will be competing with a gay interest movie for the top award! Doubt we will soon see this milestone again and -obviously- believe that the lesbian interest movie is highly superior to the gay interest film and to the others in the race for best film.

2014 César Awards - Les Révélations Selection

Today the César Awards nominations were unveiled and there were no big surprises with the actors nominated as Newcomers in the female and male categories. Perhaps the most predictable César category is Best Female Newcomer as we all know Adèle Exarchopoulos HAS TO and WILL win; but I'm sure that if she was not nominated the award would have gone to Marine Vacth for her incredibly good performance in Jeune & Jolie.  But then Pauline Etienne and Golshifteh Farahani also have excellent performances.

I am not crazy about L'Inconnu du Lac but have to recognize that Pierre Delandonchamps performance is outstanding so I hope he wins the César category; if he does think will be the first time that two newcomers performing LGBT characters win.

César nominees are in *BLUE.

Last Monday was the Soirée des Révélations in Chaumet where the Révélations photo exposition was inaugurated. The Révélations list was released last November 2013 with 32 actors that made the selection for this year Newcomers. Now French Academy members will vote to select the nominees in the 2014 César Awards Best Female Newcomer and Best Male Newcomer categories.

Margot Bancilhon in Les Petits Princes
Flore Bonaventura in Casse-­‐tête chinois
Pauline Burlet in Le Passé
*Lou de Laâge in Jappeloup
Laetitia Dosch in La Bataille de Solférino
*Pauline Etienne in La Religieuse
*Adèle Exarchopoulos in La vie d’Adèle Chapitres 1 & 2
*Golshifteh Farahani in Syngué sabour – Pierre de patience
Esther Garrel in Jeunesse
Ariane Labed in Une place sur la terre
Charlotte Le Bon in La Marche
Chloé Lecerf in Vandal
Anamaria Marinca in Un nuage dans un verre d’eau
Pauline Parigot in Les Lendemains
Vimala Pons in La fille du 14 juillet
*Marine Vacth in Jeune & Jolie

*Paul Bartel in Les Petis Princes
M'Barek Belkouk in La Marche
Swann Arlaud in Crawl
Zinedine Benchenine in Vandal
*Pierre Deladonchamps in L'inconnu du Lac
Alain-Fabien Delon in Les rencontres d’après minuit
Idrissa Diabaté in La Cité Rose
Youssef Hadji in Mohamed Dubois
*Paul Hamy in Suzanne
Tewfik Jallab in La Marche
Ibrahim Koma in La Cité Rose
*Vincent Macaigne in La fille du 14 juillet
Hamza Meziani in Les Apaches
Driss Ramdi in Je ne suis pas mort
Jules Sagot in Tu seras un homme
*Memo Schiffman in Elle s'en va

Les Révélations 2014 by Antoine Carlier - The Video

Les Révélations 2014, par Antoine Carlier .

Les Révélations 2014 by Antoine Carlier - The Album

Selasa, 28 Januari 2014

Star Trek: The Next Generation - Season 5 (remastered)

For its fifth season, Star Trek: The Next Generation had a bit of a shake-around. The character of Ro Laren was introduced as a periodically recurring character to replace Wesley (who had departed in the previous season) and there was a dialling back of the more intricate continuity that had bound parts of the fourth season together, with more emphasis on stand-alone stories. This had mixed results: several of the very finest episodes the show has ever produced sit alongside some of the worst episodes to air since the first season.

Things get off to a promising start with the continuation of the Klingon Civil War and Romulan arcs that dominated the fourth season. Redemption II does a good job of wrapping up those storylines and the Unification two-parter deals with lingering issues, but it's surprising that we don't hear any more about those storylines again. Unification also works as a solid character vehicle for Leonard Nimoy as Spock, who appears in a cross-over event to promote the-then contemporary movie Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. Nimoy is splendid as usual, but the story continues The Next Generation's tendency to have great setting-up episodes in the first part of a two-part story only for the second to throw it away with a rather dull conclusion.

Elsewhere, the season features several all-time classic episodes. Darmok, which forces Picard to work alongside an alien who can only speak in metaphor, is a terrific slice of television (if highly implausible) with some great chemistry between Patrick Stewart and Paul Winfield as his alien counterpart. The fact that the mere mention of "Shaka, when the walls fell," can trigger meme-like quotes of the episode almost twenty-two years on is a testament to how good it is. Ensign Ro introduces the titular character and promptly breaks several of the show's key rules (not having conflict between Starfleet officers and not basing episodes around the guest star of the week) to excellent effect. Michelle Forbes is terrific as Ro and her recurring appearances are highlights of the season. Disaster and Power Play are effective siege stories (in the former case due to a catastrophic accident and in the latter due to alien possessors taking hostages) and The Next Phase is a fun adventure for Geordi and Ro. Cause and Effect is a great remake (but in a bit more depth) of a Red Dwarf gag. But the outstanding season highlight is The Inner Light, in which Picard gets zapped with the memories of aliens who have been dead for a thousand years and get to see how his life might have played out in other circumstances, complete with children and a loving wife. Patrick Stewart is magnificent and the episode deservedly won a Hugo Award. It's The Next Generation's City on the Edge of Forever, only better.

Elsewhere, we get a lot of mediocre-to-okay episodes. Silicon Avatar is a bit of a weak resolution to the Crystalline Entity storyline that began back in Season 1, whilst A Matter of Time is a very cheesy episode elevated by a terrific guest turn from Matt Frewer. This use of quality guest stars also redeems The Game and The Perfect Mate, which could have both been weak without some great appearances by Ashley Judd and Famke Janssen (both before their later movie careers took off) to elevate things. The Masterpiece Society is a potentially very good episode wrecked by the main threat in it being rather over the top (the stellar fragment would completely destroy the planet Picard is trying to save, rendering their ethical objections to the disruption of their society moot). Conundrum is an effectively tense episode. Ethics is reasonably good, invoking a moral dilemma and putting Crusher on the 'wrong' side of the debate with Worf's life at stake. The Outcast tries to say some interesting things about sexuality and gender issues but back-pedals away from anything too controversial and ends up being notable more for being one of the very few episodes of the series where our heroes 'lose'. The First Duty adds some urgently-needed shades of grey to Wesley and humanises more than his first four years on the ship combined did. I, Borg humanises the Borg for some great drama (and a great guest turn from Whoopi Goldeberg as Guinan) but this comes at the cost of destroy the Borg's otherworldly implacability, reducing them to the status of just another alien race.

Against that we have Cost of Living, literally the worst episode of the series to air since Season 1. Hero Worship and Violations aren't far behind it, and Time's Arrow, despite a few good moments, is easily the worst season cliffhanger Star Trek has done in its history.

For this HD re-release of the season, CBS have, as usual, done an outstanding job. The episodes look like they were filmed yesterday, the special effects are astonishing (even moreso given they - in the main - have not been redone from scratch but are the original effects footage remastered) and overall the visual and sound quality of the series far surpasses that of the standard definition versions. The only slight disappointment is that there seems to be more missing film stock for this season than the previous ones, resulting in a few more noticeable moments (though only a few seconds each) where the SD footage has been upscaled instead. This is easily bearable, however. Slightly more disappointing is the quality of the special features. There's some nice stuff on the music, but the on-going documentary about the making of the series gets sidetracked by Gene Roddenberry's death during the making of this season and overlooks the opportunity to talk about many interesting episodes. It may be that the producers were starting to run out of ideas about what to do for special features for the fifth set in a row, which is disappointing.

The fifth season of Star Trek: The Next Generation (****) is a mixed bag, with some dire episodes and a fair few middling ones. However, the quality of the best episodes elevates the whole thing and certainly makes it worth watching. The season is available now on Blu-Ray in the UK and USA.

64th Berlin International Film Festival Competition Selection - Final

This morning in Berlin fest organizers had the press conference to announce the complete festival selection and there are some changes to my best guess a few days ago. First the opening film, The Grand Budapest Hotel, is In Competition and second, La belle et la bête is Out of Competition. Worth mentioning that out of the 23 films, eighteen (18) are World premieres.

Hope that soon we will learn the movies that will be competing for 2014 Teddy as right now the program section only lists a few short films and no feature films; still to easy access will leave the link to Teddy official site here.  Oops program is out, great will do post immediately.

Also announced today is that Berlinale Camera 2014 will honor Karl Baumgartner, one of Germany's leading producers and independent distributors.

Today Berlinale organizers announced via press release the titles that complete the main competition selection and even if the films in competition and out of competition are not clearly identifiable, will do my best to deduce them. Seems is not that easy but know that 20 of the 23 films will be in Competition so what follows is my best guess. Festival will run from February 6 up to February 16.

The following countries are participating: Algeria, Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Cyprus, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, People’s Republic of China, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom, Uruguay and the USA.

The Competition program includes 18 world premieres and three feature debut.

Post will be updated if necessary when films are listed in the official site.

In Competition

Opening Film: The Grand Budapest Hotel, Wes Anderson, UK and Germany

*'71, Yann Demange, UK
Aimer, boire et chanter (Life of Riley), Alain Resnais, France
Aloft, Claudia Llosa, Spain, Canada and France
白日焰火 Bai Ri Yan Huo (Black Coal, Thin Ice), Yinan Diao, China
Boyhood, Richard Linklater, USA
小さいおうち Chiisai Ouchi (The Little House), Yôji Yamada, Japan
Die geliebten Schwestern, Dominik Graf, Germany
*Historia del Miedo (History of Fear), Benjamín Naishtat, Argentina, Uruguay, Germany and France
Jack, Edward Berger, Germany
Kraftidioten (In Order of Disappearance), Hans Petter Moland, Norway
Kreuzweg (Stations of the Cross), Dietrich Brüggemann, Germany
La Tercera Orilla (The Third Side of the River), Celina Murga, Argentina, Germany and Netherlands
La voie de l'ennemi (Two Men in Town), Rachid Bouchareb, France, Algeria, USA and Belgium
*Macondo, Sudabeh Mortezai, Austria
Praia do Futuro, Karim Aïnouz, Brazil and Germany
Το Μικρό Ψάρι To Mikro Psari (Stratos), Yannis Economides, Greece, Germany and Cyprus
推拿 Tui Na (Blind Massage), Ye Lou, China and France
無人區 Wu Ren Qu (No Man's Land), Hao Ning, China
Zwischen Welten (Inbetween Worlds), Feo Aladag, Germany

(*)Qualify for Best First Feature Award along 4 films from Panorama, 4 films from Forum, 4 films from Generation and 2 from Perspektive Deutches Kino, for a total of 18 films competing for the award. If you wish to learn the 18 films names go here.

Out of Competition
La belle et la bête (Beauty and the Beast), Christophe Gans, France and Germany
The Monuments Men, George Clooney, USA and Germany
Nymphomaniac Volume I, Lars Von Trier, Denmark, Germany, France, Belgium and UK

International Jury
President: James Schamus, screenwriter and producer, USA
Barbara Broccoli, producer, USA and UK
Trine Dyrholm, actress, Denmark
Mitra Farahani, director, Iran
Greta Gerwig, actress, USA
Michel Gondry, director, screenwriter and producer, France
Tony Leung, actor, China
Christoph Waltz, actor,Austria

There are many films that could be VERY interesting, like Claudia Llosa first English-language film, the remake -with different perspective- of very famous La belle et la bête with none other than Léa Seydoux and Vincent Cassel, the English-language film by Rachid Bouchareb with Forest Whitaker, Ellen Burstyn and more, the new film by Yannis Economides, the new film by Ye Lou when haven't seen Mystery yet..., newest film by Hao Ning also known as Western Sunshine -remember Mongolian Ping Pong?-, and the second film by Feo Adalag after her incredible outstanding debut Die Fremde.

Watch some available trailers @MOC

Cetaganda by Lois McMaster Bujold

Miles Vorkosigan visits Eta Ceta, the homeworld and capital of the empire that formerly ruled his own planet, as a diplomatic envoy. What starts off as a fairly routine job - representing his world at a state funeral - escalates into a clandestine battle of wits between Miles and an unknown Cetagandan enemy who is trying to frame Barrayar for a crime and reignite hostilities between their two empires. Miles has to find and defeat this foe without offending his hosts or shaming his own world.

Cetaganda is the fifth novel (by chronology) in The Vorkosigan Saga and the shortest to date, clocking in at only around 250 pages. It's a slight story, and feels more like an expanded short story than a fully-fleshed out novel.

On the successful side of things, Bujold brings her trademark wit and readability to the story. To use a lazy reviewing tactic, if you liked the previous books in this series, you'll probably like this one as well. However, Bujold is arguably unsuccessful in really making the Cetagandans (here making their first on-page appearance after many frequent mentions) an impressive, convincing society. The Cetagandan Empire is ruled under a bewildering array of rules relating to male/female relations, genetic engineering and social function, which is all fine until you realise it would be too easy to topple the whole thing if enough people decided they didn't want to play along (as indeed almost happens in this novel).

More damaging is the fact that Bujold does not complicate Miles's story enough. Every time something bad happens, Miles immediately shifts it to his advantage, and he is never on the back foot for more than a paragraph or two. With a long series based around one character you have to constantly be on the look-out for that character becoming too infallible or invulnerable, and that nearly happens to Miles here.

Still, even a sub-par Vorkosigan novel remains a fun, if lightweight, read. Cetaganda (***½) is available now in the UK and USA as part of the Miles, Mystery and Mayhem omnibus.

Senin, 27 Januari 2014

A game designer's perspective on HERO QUEST 25th Anniversary Edition

Gamezone Miniatures, a Spanish company, are crowdfunding a new edition of the classic Hero Quest boardgame, as related previously. Gamezone have repeatedly said they have the legal rights to do so, and have been in consultation with Hasbro about it.

However, game designer Mike Selinker, a veteran of both Hasbro and Paizo, pours cold water on these claims in an interview with Gaming Trend and a discussion board on Board Game Geeks. In both cases, he points out that Gamezone may indeed have the Spanish trademark for the game, but this does not automatically allow them to re-release the game without Hasbro's permission. The fact that they are doing so, and that Hasbro has not yet stopped them, hints at another possibility: that their Hero Quest game will have substantially different rules to the original game and will merely be using the same name and the same generic fantasy archetypes.

If so, this will be disheartening to the majority of backers, who no doubt committed funds on the basis that this would be a simple remake of the original game, rules and all. Selinker's conclusion is that the end product will be either infringing of Hasbro's copyright (if Hasbro don't stamp on it first) or will be de facto fraudulent (the game they deliver will not be the game backers were expecting), with neither alternative appealing.

It looks like this controversy will run and run, at least for a while.

Minggu, 26 Januari 2014

2014 Robert Awards Winners

Today the Danish Academy had the awards ceremony and as I was hoping great The Hunt was the BIG winner of the night. The Hunt is such an exceptional film that I'm concern other great movies will prevail in Oscar, but definitively it is my favorite Danish movie of 2013, even do was in 2012 Cannes.

By the way what is happening to The Hunt and Oscar is what could happen next year if France sends Blue is the Warmest Color to Oscar, the momentum is lost and other movies have their 15 minutes of fame, no matter if they deserve it or not.

Winners are in *BLUE. To check winners in all categories go official site.

2012 was an outstanding year for Danish cinema and a movie produced in that year that was released in 2013 made it another outstanding year for this great cinema; I'm talking about The Hunt that leads the Bodils race and also the Robert's race as got fourteen (14) nominations. Also with 14 nods Mikkel Nørgaard’s The Keeper of Lost Causes following close by Christoffer Boe’s Sex, Drugs & Taxation with 13 and Michael Noer’s Northwest with 11.

Already infamous Lars von Trier's Nymphomaniac was seen by critics but does not qualify for this year awards, so we will have to wait until next year to see if gets some local recognition from the Danish Academy. As we know Part 1 will be world-premiered at the Berlinale and early buzz claims that part 2 will go to Cannes, but maybe not as film will have its release in USA via VOD before it opens in theaters and before Cannes.

These are the nominees' that the Danmarks Film Akademi announced today.

Best Film
*Jagten (The Hunt)
Kvinden I Buret (The Keeper of Lost Causes)
Nordvest (Northwest)
Sorg og glæde (Sorrow and Joy)
Spies & Glistrup (Sex, Drugs & Taxation)

Best Feature for Children and Youth Audiences
MGP Missionen (The Contest - To the Stars and Back)
Olsen Banden på dybt vand (The Olsen Gang in Deep Trouble)
Otto er et næsehorn (Otto the Rhino)

Best Director
Michael Noer for Nordvest (Northwest)
Mikkel Nørgaard for Kvinden I Buret (The Keeper of Lost Causes)
Nicolas Winding Refn for Only God Forgives
Nils Malmros for Sorg og glæde (Sorrow and Joy)
*Thomas Vinterberg for Jagten (The Hunt)

Best Actress
*Helle Fagralid for Sorg og glæde (Sorrow and Joy)
Kristin Scott Thomas for Only God Forgives
Lene Maria Christensen for Nordvest (Northwest)
Sofie Gråbøl for I Lossens Time (The Hour of the Lynx)
Sonja Richter for Kvinden I Buret (The Keeper of Lost Causes)

Best Actor
Gustav Dyekjær Giese for Nordvest (Northwest)
Jakob Cedergren for Sorg og glæde (Sorrow and Joy)
*Mads Mikkelsen for Jagten (The Hunt)
Nikolaj Lie Kaas for Kvinden I Buret (The Keeper of Lost Causes)
Pilou Asbæk for Spies & Glistrup (Sex Drugs & Taxation)

Best Original Screenplay
Nikolaj Arcel for Kvinden I Buret (The Keeper of Lost Causes)
Nils Malmros and John Mogensen for Sorg og glæde (Sorrow and Joy)
Rasmus Heisterberg and Michael Noer for Nordvest (Northwest)
Simon Pasternak and Christoffer Boe for Spies & Glistrup (Sex Drugs & Taxation)
*Thomas Vinterberg and Tobias Lindholm for Jagten (The Hunt)

Best US Feature
Captain Phillips, Paul Greengrass
Before Midnight, Richard Linklater
Django Unchained, Quentin Tarantino
*Gravity, Alfonso Cuarón
Silver Linings Playbook, David O. Russel

Best Non-US Feature
*Blue Is the Warmest Color, Abdellatif Kechiche, France
The Great Beauty, Paolo Sorrentino, Italy
Philomena, Stephen Frears, UK
Rush, Ron Howard, UK
Rust and Bone, Jacques Audiard, France

To check nominees in all categories go here, available only in Danish or here for English. I'm so glad that Nicolas Winding Refn got recognition for Only God Forgives as was feeling that I was the only one that liked/enjoyed the movie that absolutely makes you recall Gaspar Noé style. Not to bore you reader but you already know that my one of my favorite 2013 films is here, The Hunt, and Best Actor HAS to go to Mads.

Publisher update on THE WINDS OF WINTER

George R.R. Martin's UK publishers, HarperCollins Voyager, have offered (via a redacted Twitter exchange) a rare comment on the progress of The Winds of Winter, the sixth and planned-to-be penultimate volume of A Song of Ice and Fire. They have confirmed that the novel will definitely not be published in 2014, but that a 2015 release is possible.

A fan mock-up of the potential cover to the book.

To clarify, Martin himself has not offered an update on the book's progress since April 2013 when, on the carpet for a Game of Thrones TV event, he confirmed that about a quarter of the book was complete (very roughly 375 manuscript pages, assuming the book will be as long as A Dance with Dragons) with additional material in drafts and partial chapters also done. Subsequently, he offered upbeat assessments that he was writing fast to stay ahead of the TV show (which will begin introducing plot elements and even characters from Books 4 and 5 in the fourth season, due to air from April to June this year) but not specific page counts.

To focus on The Winds of Winter, Martin eliminated his outstanding side-projects in the first half of 2013, completing editing work on several anthologies (some of them now out) and concluding his contribution to The World of Ice and Fire companion volume. Several other works that were judged to be too time-consuming have either been cancelled completely (a short story for a Poul Anderson tribute anthology) or put on the back-burner until either the completion of The Winds of Winter (most notably the next Dunk 'n' Egg short story) or the completion of the whole series (a second and more in-depth companion volume, tentatively dubbed the 'GRRMarillion'). The result is that Martin has certainly had time to make inroads on The Winds of Winter.

Last month, a website randomly said that Martin had over a thousand manuscript pages completed for the book. Martin later confirmed that he had said no such thing, whilst not offering an update on his estimated page count for the book. It may be that we will get an update on the book during the inevitable press clamour for Season 4, but also possibly not: after providing updates on A Dance with Dragons that didn't seem to help the situation, Martin has indicated that he will be providing far less frequent updates on The Winds of Winter, if any at all.

However, it should be noted that George R.R. Martin has also said he wants to stay ahead of the HBO TV series if at all possible, and this will only remain a realistic goal if The Winds of Winter is released in 2015 with A Dream of Spring to follow, at the absolute latest, in 2018.

As always, believe nothing (not even this post!) until it comes from GRRM directly.

66th Annual Directors Guild of America Awards Winners

Last night the Directors Guild of America had their awards ceremony and there are no surprises as Alfonso Cuarón won the top award which makes him the most likely to win an Oscar director and yes, puts again Gravity in the Best Picture contention. But for me, Gravity has always been a contender along with American Hustle and 12 Years a Slave.

Award history says that for the last 65 years of the 85 in which the Academy Awards have been presented, the DGA has presented awards too; over the course of that time, the winner of the guild's top award has gone to win the best director Oscar on all but seven (7) occasions and his/her film has gone to win best picture Oscar on all but thirteen (13) occasions. So, truth is that Oscar best picture race has become tight and interesting.

Winners are in *BLUE and to check winners in all categories go official site.

Today the DGA announced the nominations for outstanding directorial achievement in feature film for 2013 and there are no real surprises as we all know that there are only five slots and the question was which directors will make it and which will not.

“To be chosen by your peers in a year full of incredibly well-crafted films is the true marker of outstanding directorial achievement,” said Paris Barclay, guild President. “The passion and vision of each of the nominees resulted in tremendously diverse films that kept audiences mesmerized. Congratulations to each of the nominees on a job very well done.”

Winners will be announced at the 66th Annual DGA Awards Dinner on Saturday, January 25, 2014 at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza in Los Angeles.

The Nominees

Feature Film Award

*Alfonso Cuarón for Gravity
Paul Greengrass for Captain Phillips
Steve McQueen for 12 Years a Slave
David O. Russell for American Hustle
Martin Scorsese for The Wolf of Wall Street

We can predict that the above five movies will be nominated for Best Picture and that all directors, except one, will get a nod in Best Director category. To read press release go here.

Documentary Award

Zachary Heinzerling for Cutie and the Boxer
*Jehane Noujaim for The Square
Joshua Oppenheimer for The Act of Killing
Sarah Polley for Stories We Tell
Lucy Walker for The Crash Reel

To read the press release with the documentary nominations go here.

Jumat, 24 Januari 2014

The Banner Saga

Monstrous creatures called dredges are invading the kingdoms ruled by both men and the giant varl. On opposite sides of the continent, two separate forces have to fight their way through the dredge hordes and guide both their armies and the civilians under their protection to safety...if they can find any.

The Banner Saga is the debut game from Stoic, a new development team made up of ex-members of BioWare. In contrast to BioWare's big, epic 3D RPGs, The Banner Saga is a 2D game which mixes tactical, pause-based combat with an epic story and making decisions which can dramatically alter who lives and who dies in that story.

Gameplay is undertaken in two modes. In one mode, your caravan is on the road and has to cope with limited supplies, dwindling morale and disputes within the convoy (a bit like The Oregon Trail). Morale can be boosted and characters upgraded by making camp, but this eats up valuable supplies. You can purchase more supplies at towns (and sometimes from passers-by) by using Renown, but this is also the resource used to level up your heroes. The game thus forces you to make harsh decisions: use Renown to increase your characters' combat skills at the expense of civilian lives in the caravan, or concentrate on getting as many people as possible to safety, but perhaps storing up trouble by not preparing your heroes for the tougher enemies who appear later on?

Once battle is joined, the view shifts to an isometric battlefield where you can order your heroes to move, engage in combat or use special abilities, a little bit like XCOM but with no cover mechanics. The number of abilities is gratifyingly large and varied, and even basic combat is made more tactical by the presence of armour mechanics where you have to break enemy armour before you can inflict significant wounds. The game also intriguingly combines hit points and strength: by damaging an enemy, you also make them weaker and prevent them from inflicting as much damage on you. Two fairly basic ideas, but they make a big difference on how combat operates. Particularly gratifying is the way it makes combat more unpredictable, with an apparently invincible enemy suddenly being neutralised by inflicting moderate amounts of damage to make his attacks less lethal.

The storyline is - eventually - fascinating, although it's perhaps presented a little too obtusely. The game starts in media res and the game makes few attempts to explain what's happening. Then, just as you start to get a handle on things, the story switches POV to a whole bunch of other people a thousand miles away, and then you have to adapt to them. The two caravans are rather different in tone, with the first one consisting mostly of varl who are being extremely tough in combat, whilst the second consists mostly of civilians and is more dependent on archers, missile attacks and avoiding damage.

The story, which takes on Malazan levels of confusion before becoming clearer, ends up being quite gripping. There are twists and turns, including a bloody betrayal that even George R.R. Martin might think is a bit much. Depending on your story choices, you may not encounter the same situations with events unfolding differently depending on what you do.

The biggest talking point about the game is the artwork, which is fantastic. It's deliberately meant to evoke Disney movies from the middle of the last century with clear, distinctive lines and colours. The minimalist musical score by Austin Wintory (the same guy who did Journey) is also extraordinary, with just the right about of brooding atmosphere. The game's limited budget means no voice-overs (aside from infrequent appearances by a narrator) but the writing is strong enough that this does not matter.

On the negative side of things, The Banner Saga could perhaps do with a bit more variety in combat. There's a very small number of enemy types and constantly fighting those few types soon gets annoying. The game's save system is also poor, with it often being unclear if the game saved the last time you quit or three tough battles before that. Finally, the game's Renown system really doesn't make sense (how does Renown work simultaneously as reputation, currency and skill points?) and massively limits how you proceed through the game. Whilst it's good that the game is quite harsh in places and you can get into unwinnable situations, it's frustrating when such situations arise not from your own actions but from questionable design decisions.

The Banner Saga (***½) is a beautiful, atmospheric and refreshingly different kind of game, a tactical, turn-based RPG by way of a strategy game, mixing genres and styles from everything from XCOM and Battlestar Galactica to roguelike games and steampunk. Some iffy design decisions eventually become frustrating, but this is still very much a game worth playing. It is available from Steam now.

Rabu, 22 Januari 2014

THE X-FILES gets a HD makeover

Back in 2012, CBS began re-releasing Star Trek: The Next Generation on Blu-Ray. At great expense they went back and remastered the series from the ground up, extracting a HD image from the original 32mm film and redoing all of the effects from scratch. A labourious, expensive and time-consuming task - taking six months and approximately $9 million per season - the work has paid off with the series selling very well. Seasons 6 and 7 of the remastered Next Generation are expected to be released later this year, with Deep Space Nine hopefully to follow.


It's unsurprising that other companies are now looking at doing the same thing. Warner Brothers have confirmed that they are 'looking at' Babylon 5 and, hopefully, the likes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel (Buffy's first two seasons were particularly poorly mastered and if they can redo them in HD, I think everyone would be grateful). But it's Fox who are the next out of the gate, launching a completely remastered version of The X-Files.

...and after.

Oddly, the HD version of the series isn't launching on Blu-Ray, Netflix or in the States, but on German TV, where ProSieben Maxx have already started airing the series. Picture comparisons posted on various sites already show a huge improvement in image quality, although sadly the effects footage has only been upscaled, not redone from scratch like ST:TNG's. On the one hand, big effects sequences are rare enough in The X-Files that this is not too jarring a problem. On the other, since there are relatively few scenes it's rather baffling why Fox didn't shell out to redo them. Another problem is that stock footage used by the show, particularly of locations in places like Washington, D.C., remain in SD, resulting in occasional-but-brief drops in image quality.

However, one very nice bonus is the fact that the show is now in widescreen. Star Trek: The Next Generation was 'shot for TV', meaning that whilst widescreen cameras were used, only the middle section of the camera view (i.e. what a late 1980s TV audience would see) was kept clear. This means that the widescreen shots often have crew, props, extras, actors waiting for cues, the edge of the stage etc, in view, so it was impossible to get a usable widescreen image. The X-Files, however, was launched after the Laserdisc and early widescreen TV boom of the early 1990s when TV companies realised that widescreen was the way forwards. As a result, it was filmed with widescreen in mind and this new HD release is the first time viewers have been able to see the show in this way. That said, the pilot was shot somewhat differently, with the result being that some cropping was necessary to get it looking right. How Fox are going to handle this on Blu-Ray is unknown, since cropping images to eliminate information just to get a widescreen effect is generally frowned on. The rest of the series, which was apparently filmed to account for this, should not suffer the same problem.

No timeframe has been given for the release of The X-Files on Blu-Ray, but it seems like it's a safe bet for later this year. It's also rather unclear why Fox have slipped the show out on German TV like this before confirming a US release date.

Senin, 20 Januari 2014

19th Prix Lumières Winners

With what seems was a more serious ceremony, at least from previous years, but unfortunately unlike what happened in previous editions, there was no live streaming the foreign press based in Paris gave their awards and the big winner is excellent La vie d’Adèle – Chapitres 1 et 2 that now not only has a Palme d'Or but also a Panther and wouldn't surprise me if movie also gets a César. Great.

The Prix spécial de la Commission supérieure technique de l’image et du son that honors the best cinematographer was given to Thomas Hardmeier (AFC) for L' Extravagant voyage du jeune et prodigieux T.S. Spivet de Jean-Pierre Jeunet.

The Jury Special Prize went to Grand Central by Rebecca Zlotowski.

Winners are not listed yet at official site but eventually will be here as well as the video of the ceremony that yes, obviously will watch when becomes available. I'm listing winners from Prix Lumières Twitter account here and news from Allocine.

Winners are in *BLUE.

Today the foreign press based in Paris announced the nominations for the current edition that honors French and Francophone films. Award ceremony will be January 20. 2014 at 9:00pm in l'Espace Cardin.

Leading the pack is Quai d'Orsay by Bertrand Tavernier with 5 nominations followed by La Vie d'Adèle and 9 mois ferme with 4 nods each. It is simply fantastic to find Léa Seydoux nominated along great performances by Juliette Binoche, Catherine Deneuve , Emmanuele Seigner as even if her role is less "colorfull" than of her protagonist, she has an outstanding performance in Kechiche's Blue is the Warmest Color.

Perhaps I'm a bit strict but agree with these nods as even when Adèle Exarchopoulos has an extraordinary performance, I can't place her along the Best Actress nominees, so it is great that she is nominated in the Newcomer category, which obviously will win even do there are other extraordinary performances in category, like the ones from Pauline Etienne and Marine Vactch.

Best Film
9 mois ferme by Albert Dupontel
Grand Central by Rebecca Zlotowski
*La vie d’Adèle – Chapitres 1 et 2 by Abdellatif Kechiche
L’Ecume des jours by Michel Gondry
Quai d’Orsay by Bertrand Tavernier
Renoir by Gilles Bourdos

Best Foreign Film in French
Aujourd’hui by Alain Gomis, France and Senegal
*Les Chevaux by Dieu de Nabil Ayouch, France, Morocco, and Belgium
Le Démantèlement by Sébastien Pilote, Canada
Dead Man Talking by Patrick Ridremont, Belgium, France, and Luxembourg
Gabrielle by Louise Archambault, Canada
Le Repenti by Merzak Allouache, Algeria and France

Best Director
Gilles Bourdos for Renoir
Albert Dupontel for 9 mois ferme
Michel Gondry for L'Ecume des jours
*Abdellatif Kechiche for La vie d’Adèle
Bertrand Tavernier for Quai d'Orsay
Rebecca Zlotowski for Grand Central

Prix Heike Hurst to Best First Film
Au-delà du sang by Guillaume Tauveron, France and, Japan
Comme un lion by Samuel Collarday
En solitaire by Christophe Offenstein
*Les Garçons et Guillaume, à table! by Guillaume Galienne
La tête la première by Amélie van Elmbt, France and Belgium
Nous irons vivre ailleurs by Nicolas Karolszyk

Best Screenplay (Original or Adaptation)
Le passé by Asghar Farhadi
Quai d’Orsay by Bertrand Tavernier
9 mois ferme by Albert Dupntel
La Marche by Nabil Ben Yadir
*La Vénus à la fourrure by Roman Polanski
Arrêtez-moi by Jean-Paul Lilienfeld

Best Actress
Juliette Binoche in Camille Claudel, 1915 by Bruno Dumont
Catherine Deneuve in Elle s’en va by Emmanuelle Bercot
Sandrine Kiberlain in 9 mois ferme by Albert Dupontel
Emmanuelle Seigner in La Vénus à la fourrure by Roman Polanski
Christa Theret in Renoir by Gilles Bourdos
*Léa Seydoux in Grand Central by Rebecca Zlotowski AND La vie d’Adèle – Chapitres 1 et 2 by Abdellatif Kechiche

Best Female Newcomer
Pauline Etienne in La Religieuse de Guillaume Nicloux, France, Germany and Belgium
*Adèle Exarchopoulos in La vie d’Adèle – Chapitres 1 et 2 by Abdellatif Kechiche
Alice de Lencquesaing in La tête la première by Amélie van Elmbt
Candy Ming in Henri by Yolande Moreau
Vimala Pons in La fille du 14 juillet de Antonin Peretjatko
Marine Vactch in dans Jeune & Jolie by François Ozon

Best Actor
Michel Bouquet in Renoir by Gilles Bourdos
Guillaume Canet in Jappeloup by Christian Duguay
Romain Duris in L’Ecume des jours by Michel Gondry
*Guillaume Galienne in Les Garçons et Guillaume, à table! by Guillaume Galiene
Thierry L'Hermitte in Quai d’Orsay by Bertrand Tavernier
Tahar Rahim in Grand Central by Rebecca Zlotowski

Best Male Newcomer
Pierre Deladonchamps in L’Inconnu du lac de Alain Guiraudie
Paul Hamy in Suzanne by Katell Qquillevere
Tewfik Jallab in La Marche by Nabil Ben Yadir
Vincent Macaigne dans La fille du 14 juillet de Antonin Peretjatko
*Raphaël Personnaz in Quai d’Orsay by Bertrand Tavernier AND Marius de Daniel Auteuil
Niels Schneider in Désordres d’Etienne Faure

Have seen a few films but there are some that I'm looking forward to see soon. If you wish to read the news available only in French go here or go to Official Site but nominations are NOT up yet.

2014 Guldbaggen Awards Winners

To my surprise the awards ceremony was streamed live but my Swedish is really poor, still watch a bit of a sketch with a drinking man, which is highly unusual.

Anyway winners are in *BLUE. To check winners in all categories go here.

Today the Swedish Film Institute announced the nominations for the 50th Annual Guldbaggen Awards and the great news is that most movies are new to me so I'll be looking forward to watch them as soon as possible. Leading the pack is Monica Z with 11 nominations followed by Känn ingen sorg with 9; but most interesting is The Reunion directed by Anna Odell as Odell not only directed but also performs and wrote the screenplay, giving her 4 nominations.

Awarded annually since 1964, the Guldbagge, or Golden Beetle, is the Swedish Film Institute's award for achievements in film from the previous year. The beetle-shaped award was designed by Swedish sculptor Karl Axel Pehrson. Award ceremony will include the Gullspira (for extraordinary contribution in films for children plus the Audience Award and will be on January 20, 8pm, at Cirkus in Stockholm; hope that will be streamed live as they did last year but for those living in Sweden Swedish Television (SVT) will be broadcasting the event live.

Best Film
*Återträffen (The Reunion)
Känn ingen sorg (Shred No Tears)
Monica Z

Best Director
*Per Fly for Monica Z
Måns Mårlind and Björn Stein for Känn ingen sorg (Shred No Tears)
Anna Odell for Återträffen (The Reunion)

Best Actress
*Edda Magnason in Monica Z
Anna Odell in Återträffen (The Reunion)
Gunilla Röör in En gång om året

Best Actor
Robert Gustafsson in Hundraåringen som klev ut genom fönstret och försvann (The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared)
*Mikael Persbrandt in Mig äger ingen (Nobody Owns Me)
Matias Varela in Snabba cash – Livet deluxe (Easy Money: Life Deluxe)

To check nominees in all categories go here or here.

25th Annual Producers Guild Awards Winners

Last night the guild had their award ceremony with one surprise that, on second-thought, might not be that surprising as there were several ties among the critics' groups. Yes there was a tie for the movie award! A first in PGA Awards' history A tie between Gravity and 12 Years a Slave.

Obviously I was not expecting a tie but now I can confirm that the race to Oscar Best Picture is a three-way race and the three competitors are Gravity, 12 Years a Slave and American Hustle. What I was expecting was a "fight" among Gravity and American Hustle, as they seem could attract the same type of voters, which could allow 12 Years a Slave to surface as a clearer winner. But now nothing is a sure thing in the Oscar category.

If we follow what has happened 17 times out of the 24 years of the award history and specifically during the last 6 years in a row, where PGA winner goes to win Oscar then we know that American Hustle left the race. But still there is always a chance as producers branch is about 8% of the AMPAS membership and what actors prefer could still help to split votes between Gravity and American Hustle, consequently benefit will go to 12 Years a Slave.

The official site does not have yet the full list of winners but will be here eventually. To read winners in TV categories go here with the news.

Winners are in *BLUE.

A few minutes ago the guild announced the motion picture and long-form television nominations which complement the documentary film and other television categories previously announced. Now the over 5,900 members will have to vote to define winners in each category.

All 2014 PGA awards winners will be announced on January 19 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. This year the guild will also present special honors to Peter Jackson, visual effects artist Joe Letteri and Weta Digital winging the Vanguard Award; the Milestone Award goes to Walt Disney Co. charmain and CEO Bob Iger, Chris Meledandri founder and CEO of Illumination Entertainment gets the Visionary Award; and James Bond producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli of EON Productions will receive the David O. Selznick Achievement Award in Motion Pictures. Also Frutivale Station will be honored with the Stanley Kramer Award.

The most noticeable omission in the main category is the Coen Bros film, Inside Llewyn Davis which somehow will make a bit harder for the film to get an Oscar nod but there are other snubs like Lee Daniels' The Butler, Philomena, and August: Osage County that now really wonder if they could get an Oscar nod as Best Picture. The best news for me is the inclusion of Blue Jasmine.

The Darryl F. Zanuck Award for Outstanding Producer of Theatrical Motion Pictures (tie)

*Anthony Katagas, Jeremy Kleiner, Steve McQueen, Brad Pitt and Dede Gardner for 12 Years a Slave
Megan Ellison, Jon Gordon, Charles Roven, and Richard Suckle for American Hustle
Letty Aronson and Stephen Tenenbaum for Blue Jasmine
Dana Brunetti, Michael De Luca, and Scott Rudin for Captain Phillips
Robbie Brenner and Rachel Winter for Dallas Buyers Club
*Alfonso Cuarón and David Heyman for Gravity
Megan Ellison, Spike Jonze, and Vincent Landay for Her
Albert Berger and Ron Yerxa for Nebraska
Ian Collie, Alison Owen and Philip Steuer for Saving Mr. Banks
Riza Aziz, Emma Koskoff and Joey McFarland for Wolf of Wall Street

The Award for Outstanding Producer of Animated Theatrical Motion Pictures

Kristine Belson and Jane Hartwell for The Croods
Janet Healy and Chris Meledandri for Despicable Me 2
Jerry Davis and Lori Forte for Epic
*Peter Del Vecho for Frozen
Kori Rae for Monsters University

The Award for Outstanding Producer of Documentary Theatrical Motion Pictures

Julie Goldman, Ryan Harrington, Kristi Jacobson, and Lori Silverbush for A Place at the Table
Brad Bernstein and Rick Cikowski for Far Out Isn't Far Enough: The Tomi Ungerer Story
Andrea Nix Fine, Sean Fine, and Miriam Weintraub for Life According to Sam
*Alexis Bloom, Alex Gibney, and Marc Shmuger for We Steal Secrets: The Story of Wikileaks
James Brabazon and Nick Quested for Which Way is The Front Line from Here? The Life and Time of Tim Hetherington

To check nominations in television categories go Official site. As we know these awards gives us an idea of the possible Oscar nominations for the Best Film category. Now we have the best guess for the Best Film Oscar category IF 10 films get nominated, but if you check previous years' nods you will notice that NOT all PGA's honored films went to get an Oscar nod.

Minggu, 19 Januari 2014

20th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards Winners

Last night the guild had their awards ceremony and to my surprise show was entertaining as was very fluid plus oriented only to give awards, allow winners to speak, presenters had good sketches and was fun in general.

Now Oscar categories like Actress in a Leading Role and Actor in a Supporting Role seem to be locked into SAG winners, if Blanchett or Leno does not win Oscar it will be a major upset. What many believe was also a sure thing, Actress in a Supporting Role, seem is no longer as with Lupita Nyong'o win maker her a contender and a race between her and Jennifer Lawrence. But perhaps there is no other category more different to what critics honor and what is starting to happen in larger awards, including last night, as Matthew McConaughey is beating Chiwetel Ejiofor in Actor in a Leading Role.

This year I am not really sure what the Cast win means or translates into Oscar as what it seems a growing trend (including last night 5,000+ Academy voters result) could be misleading just because there is one movie that has good Oscar possibilities but has NO cast. I'm talking about Gravity with one actor performance that when all Academy members vote Gravity will get votes which could allow 12 Years a Slave to jump pass American Hustle and Gravity. That is a possibility that could be cleared tonight when PGA announces the Darryl F. Zanuck award where we will learn if it was a three way race or not.

Winners are in *BLUE. To check winners in all categories go Official Site.

A few minutes ago the first guild announced their nominations for theatrical Motion Pictures and Television with a few surprises but most were expected, at least by me. Most interesting are the nods for The Butler that at least in those critics groups that have announced their winners or nominations was remarkably absent but here gets 3 nominations out of 5 possible; still, not surprising, 12 Years a Slave leads with 4 as the only category with no nods is Leading Female Actor.

Leading Female Actor category looks and feels like what I can imagine will be same category in Oscars as yes, I imagine that Meryl Streep HAS to get another nomination for her always outstanding performances in dramas and now definitively her movie got a big boost in the award season. From five nominees any can win the award as all are excellent actresses and to my huge surprise film and Sandra Bullock's performance in Gravity was truly outstanding. In supporting female actor category had no idea that Oprah had a supporting role, so was kind of a surprise to find her there.

Also surprising is the absence of Robert Redford in lead male actor and the biggest pleasant surprise is to find Daniel Bruhl nominated for supporting male actor as I have much enjoyed his performances in many European movies.

As we know awards history says that it is almost "impossible" to win a Best Picture Oscar without a SAG ensemble nod, BUT this year could be the exception as Gravity got no ensemble nod but surely will get an Oscar nod to maybe win the category. Most notable is the absence of The Wolf of Wall Street but many are saying that NOT many people have seen it, so it is suffering with the early announcements.

Life Achievement Award this year goes to Rita Moreno.

Theatrical Motion Pictures

Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture

12 Years a Slave
Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Dano, Garret Dillahunt, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Paul Giamatti, Scoot McNairy, Lupita Nyong'O, Adepero Oduye, Sarah Paulson, Brad Pitt, Michael Kenneth Williams, and Alfre Woodard.

*American Hustle
Amy Adams, Christian Bale, Louis C.K., Bradley Cooper, Paul Herman, Jack Huston, Jennifer Lawrence, Alessandro Nivola, Michael Pena, Jeremy Renner Elisabeth Rohm, and Shea Whigham.

August: Osage County
Abigail Breslin, Chris Cooper, Benedict Cumberbatch, Juliette Lewis, Margo Martindale, Ewan McGregor, Dermot Mulroney, Julianne Nicholson, Julia Roberts, Sam Shepard, Meryl Streep, and Misty Upham.

Dallas Buyers Club
Jennifer Garner, Matthew McConaughey, Jared Leto, Denis O'Hare, Dallas Roberts, and Steve Zahn.

Lee Daniels' The Butler
Mariah Carey, John Cusack, Jane Fonda, Cuba Gooding, Jr., Terrence Howard, Lenny Kravitz, James Marsden, David Oyelowo, Alex Pettyfer, Vanessa Redgrave, Alan Rickman, Liev Schreiber, Forrest Whitaker, Robin Williams, and Oprah Winfrey.

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role
*Cate Blanchett in Blue Jasmine
Sandra Bullock in Gravity
Judi Dench in Philomena
Meryl Streep in August: Osage County
Emma Thompson in Saving Mr. Banks

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role
Jennifer Lawrence in American Hutle
*Lupita Nyong'O in 12 Years a Slave
Julia Roberts in August: Osage County
June Squibb in Nebraska
Oprah Winfrey in Lee Daniels' The Butler

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role
Bruce Dern in Nebraska
Chiwetel Eijofor in 12 Years a Slave
Tom Hanks in Captain Phillips
*Matthew McConaughey in Dallas Buyers Club
Forest Whitaker in Lee Daniels' The Butler

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role
Barkhad Abdi in Captain Phillips
Daniel Bruhl in Rush
Michael Fassbender in 12 Years a Slave
James Gandolfini in Enough Said
*Jared Leto in Dallas Buyers Club

To check the Television and stunt nominations go Official Site. Wish only to comment that believe is the first year that Julianna Margulies is not nominated in Drama Series which is a shame as this season her Good Wife characters is back with excellent performances. Most surprising is that Masters of Sex got no actors' performances love but I'm sure that this award season will get lots of love from other awards.

The 20th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards will be simulcast live nationally on TNT and TBS on Saturday, Jan. 18, 2014 at 8 p.m. (ET)/5 p.m. (PT) from the Los Angeles Shrine Exposition Center. An encore performance will air immediately following on TNT at 10 p.m. (ET)/7 p.m. (PT). A live stream of the SAG Awards can also be viewed online through the TBS and TNT websites, as well as through the Watch TBS and Watch TNT apps for iOS or Android. (Viewers must sign in using their TV provider user name and password in order to view the live stream.)

Jumat, 17 Januari 2014

HERO QUEST returns! Again!

After their previous crowdfunded resurrection of Hero Quest floundered on the shoals of iffy legal licensing rights, Gamezone Miniatures have returned with a new attempt. This time they are using Spanish crowdfunding site Lanzanos to fund the resurrected game.

In all other aspects, this is the same deal as their previous Kickstarter attempt: a new boxed set, with all Warhammer/Games Workshop-troubling lore and design references removed. The rules, spells, characters etc all remain the same, but the new version of the game will improve on the original in some respects: the cardboard scenery and obstacle markers will be replaced by plastic miniatures.

The campaign runs for another 23 days, but the game is already funded to the tune of 402% of its original goal. As more money is raised, more features will be added to the game (including extra cards, character sheets, models and so on). Assuming no more obstacles, the game should be available to buy at the end of this year.

19th Annual Critics' Choice Movie Awards Winners

To check winners at official site go here.

Winners are in *BLUE.

A few minutes ago the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA) announced the nominees for the current edition and 12 Years a Slave and American Hustle lead the pack with 13 nominations each followed by Gravity with 10. The winners will be announced live at the awards ceremony on Thursday, January 16, 2014 from the Barker Hangar in Santa Monica, California and show will be broadcast live on The CW Network at 8:00pm with a two hour pre-show coverage before the awards ceremony.

The BFCA is the largest film critics organization in the United States and Canada, representing more than 280 television, radio and online critics.

Best Picture
American Hustle
Captain Phillips
Dallas Buyers Club
Inside Llewyn Davis
Saving Mr. Banks
*12 Years a Slave
The Wolf of Wall Street

Best Director
*Alfonso Cuaron for Gravity
Paul Greengrass for Captain Phillips
Spike Jonze for Her
Steve McQueen for 12 Years a Slave
David O. Russell for American Hustle
Martin Scorsese for The Wolf of Wall Street

Best Actress
*Cate Blanchett in Blue Jasmine
Sandra Bullock in Gravity
Judi Dench in Philomena
Brie Larson in Short Term 12
Meryl Streep in August: Osage County
Emma Thompson in Saving Mr. Banks

Best Supporting Actress
Scarlett Johansson in Her
Jennifer Lawrence in American Hustle
*Lupita Nyong’o in 12 Years a Slave
Julia Roberts in August: Osage County
June Squibb in Nebraska
Oprah Winfrey in Lee Daniels’ The Butler

Best Actor
Christian Bale in American Hustle
Bruce Dern in Nebraska
Chiwetel Ejiofor in 12 Years a Slave
Tom Hanks in Captain Phillips
*Matthew McConaughey in Dallas Buyers Club
Robert Redford in All Is Lost

Best Supporting Actor
Barkhad Abdi in Captain Phillips
Daniel Bruhl in Rush
Bradley Cooper in American Hustle
Michael Fassbender in 12 Years a Slave
James Gandolfini in Enough Said
*Jared Leto in Dallas Buyers Club

Best Young Actress/Actor
Asa Butterfield in Ender’s Game
*Adele Exarchopoulos in Blue Is the Warmest Color
Liam James in The Way Way Back
Sophie Nelisse in The Book Thief
Tye Sheridan in Mud

Best Acting Ensemble
*American Hustle
August: Osage County
Lee Daniels’ The Butler
12 Years a Slave
The Wolf of Wall Street

Best Original Screenplay
Eric Singer and David O. Russell for American Hustle
Woody Allen for Blue Jasmine
*Spike Jonze for Her
Joel Coen & Ethan Coen for Inside Llewyn Davis
Bob Nelson for Nebraska

Best Adapted Screenplay
Tracy Letts for August: Osage County
Richard Linklater & Julie Delpy & Ethan Hawke for Before Midnight
Billy Ray for Captain Phillips
Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope for Philomena
*John Ridley for 12 Years a Slave
Terence Winter for The Wolf of Wall Street

Best Cinematography
*Emmanuel Lubezki for Gravity
Bruno Delbonnel for Inside Llewyn Davis
Phedon Papamichael for Nebraska
Roger Deakins for Prisoners
Sean Bobbitt for 12 Years a Slave

Best Art Direction
Andy Nicholson (Production Designer), Rosie Goodwin (Set Decorator) for Gravity
*Catherine Martin (Production Designer), Beverley Dunn (Set Decorator) for The Great Gatsby
K.K. Barrett (Production Designer), Gene Serdena (Set Decorator) for Her
Dan Hennah (Production Designer), Ra Vincent (Set Decorator) for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Adam Stockhausen (Production Designer), Alice Baker (Set Decorator) for 12 Years a Slave

Best Editing
Alan Baumgarten, Jay Cassidy, Crispin Struthers for American Hustle
Christopher Rouse for Captain Phillips
*Alfonso Cuarón, Mark Sanger for Gravity
Daniel P. Hanley, Mike Hill for Rush
Joe Walker for 12 Years a Slave
Thelma Schoonmaker for The Wolf of Wall Street

Best Costume Design
Michael Wilkinson for American Hustle
*Catherine Martin for The Great Gatsby
Bob Buck, Lesley Burkes-Harding, Ann Maskrey, Richard Taylor for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Daniel Orlandi for Saving Mr. Banks
Patricia Norris for 12 Years a Slave

Best Makeup
*American Hustle
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Lee Daniels’ The Butler
12 Years a Slave

Best Visual Effects
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Iron Man 3
Pacific Rim
Star Trek into Darkness

Best Song
Atlas – Coldplay in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Happy – Pharrell Williams in Despicable Me 2
*Let It Go – Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez in Frozen
Ordinary Love – U2 in Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom
Please Mr. Kennedy – Justin Timberlake/Oscar Isaac/Adam Driver in Inside Llewyn Davis
Young and Beautiful – Lana Del Rey in The Great Gatsby

Best Score
*Steven Price for Gravity
Arcade Fire for Her
Thomas Newman for Saving Mr. Banks
Hans Zimmer for 12 Years a Slave

Best Documentary Feature
The Act of Killing
Stories We Tell
Tim’s Vermeer
*20 Feet from Stardom

Best Foreign Language Film
*Blue Is the Warmest Color
The Great Beauty
The Hunt
The Past

Best Animated Feature
The Croods
Despicable Me 2
Monsters University
The Wind Rises

Best Action Movie
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Iron Man 3
*Lone Survivor
Star Trek into Darkness

Best Actress in an Action Movie
*Sandra Bullock in Gravity
Jennifer Lawrence in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Evangeline Lilly in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Gwyneth Paltrow in Iron Man 3

Best Actor in an Action Movie
Henry Cavill in Man of Steel
Robert Downey Jr. in Iron Man 3
Brad Pitt in World War Z
*Mark Wahlberg in Lone Survivor

Best Comedy
*American Hustle
Enough Said
The Heat
This Is the End
The Way Way Back
The World’s End

Best Actress in a Comedy
*Amy Adams in American Hustle
Sandra Bullock in The Heat
Greta Gerwig in Frances Ha
Julia Louis-Dreyfus in Enough Said
Melissa McCarthy in The Heat

Best Actor in a Comedy
Christian Bale in American Hustle
*Leonardo DiCaprio in The Wolf of Wall Street
James Gandolfini in Enough Said
Simon Pegg in The World’s End
Sam Rockwell in The Way Way Back

Best Sci-Fi/Horror Movie
The Conjuring
Star Trek into Darkness
World War Z

Awards show was not entertaining so stopped watching live, but winners are not that surprising except perhaps Lupita Nyong'o beating Jenniger Lawrence.