Posts Tagged ‘Il Divo’

Showbiz Kids: The Oscars, Charlton Heston and Steely Dan

February 3, 2010

Before we begin, there are two important things to remember about the Oscars. The first is the Charlton Heston Rule. That rule is that the Academy is made up of a lot of people like the late Charlton Heston—old fogeys with traditional tastes. Wonder why Crash beat out Brokeback Mountain or There Will Be Blood didn’t take best picture in 2008? It’s not a hard or fast rule, but think about what your grandmother might vote for. There are a lot of retired actors and techies out there who have a say in what wins.

The second rule has been inaugurated this year. It’s the Steely Dan Rule. What do the ‘70s jazz-funk duo have to do with the Academy Awards? You might remember in 2001, their disc Two Against Nature beat out stiff competition from Radiohead’s Kid A. The reason commonly given was that the producers, engineers and other tech-heads who made up the Recording Academy wanted to recognize the painstaking approach Fagen and Becker took in the studio. Two Against Nature didn’t win because it was filled with great tunes like “Do It Again.” It won because, to a group of voters who use their ears for a living, it sounded great.

It’s this latter rule which makes me think that James Cameron is going to have a good night. Avatar is pretty much a turkey as far as movies go and a staggering display of kitsch. There’s no denying, however, that legions of effects people have spent a lot of time making it look good. That effort will, Squally thinks, be honored by the Academy. Cameron also gets the credit for marshalling that effort. Say what you want about Avatar. Like Titanic it took a guy with a genuine Napoleon complex to put it on screen. The Hurt Locker may be the better movie, but it’s still a more modest achievement—especially in terms of box office. At least Kathryn Bigelow gets a chance to work again, which nobody was expecting after The Weight of Water Avatar’s victory, though, is somewhat bittersweet. That the movie should be honored with a best picture nod when wiser heads understood that its acting and script were somewhere around the level of that Tucker Max flick is a pop culture crime of the highest order.

So now onto the rest …


Oscar Nominations: The Long List

February 2, 2010

Well, it’s been a learning experience. Apparently when Anne Hathaway reads out the Oscar nominations, she doesn’t have to sully herself with announcing the titles in the Best Animated Short pack.

The only real surprises here are a mixed bag for the Best Supporting Actor role (Did The Lovely Bones ever get released?), which Christoph Waltz is now a dead-cert to nab. Then there’s the Best Actor nomination for Hurt Locker’s Jeremy Renner (well-deserved) and In the Loop getting a Best Adapted Screenplay nod. The Yanks really liked that movie.

Here were the nominations read out at this morning’s press shindig. The list will be updated shortly.

UPDATE: The complete list of Oscar nominations is as follows. Predictions and commentary will take a little bit longer.


The Blind Side
District 9
An Education
The Hurt Locker
Inglourious Basterds
A Serious Man
Up in the Air


James Cameron (Avatar)
Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker)
Quentin Tarantino (Inglourious Basterds)
Lee Daniels (Precious)
Jason Reitman (Up in the Air)


Good Morning, Night: The Dark is Rising

October 28, 2009

Il Divo (2008) may have needed footnotes, but the satirical swipe at Giulio “Prince of Darkness” Andreotti revealed that Italian politics is never dull. In 1978, prime minister Aldo Moro was kidnapped by a terrorist cell known as the Red Brigades. After nearly two months in captivity, he was found dead in the trunk of a car parked between the HQs of the two parties he hoped to reconcile. Il Divo implied that Andreotti may have somehow been complicit in his rival’s death—although this was never proven.


Mafia Throwdown at the Donatellos!

April 12, 2009

gomorraThere’s something in the mozzarella in Italy. The country has been enjoying a cinematic resurgence, with the release Stateside of Gomorra/Gomorrah and Il Divo. Now both corrupt epics are going head-to-head at this year’s David di Donatello film awards. We suppose we should use some kind of shorthand like, “Italy’s Oscars,” but who’s to say they aren’t “Italy’s BAFTAs”? At any rate, Il Divo has an impressive 16 nominations, while Gomorrah has 11. Both films are up for best film, director and screenplay.

Gomorrah is a kaleidoscopic series of stories set in and around a Neopolitan housing project ruled by the Comorra criminal organization. Il Divo is a biopic about larger-than-life Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti, who was linked to the Mafia. We got very excited about it back when considered itself a serious film blog. The Davids are awarded on May 8. After the jump, the full list of best picture nominees, with trailers.


Il Divo to Make a Bow in New York

March 17, 2009

Il Divo
is opening in New York on April 24 … and thank God, it isn’t a four-hour documentary on the Simon Cowell-helmed popera group. The film centers on former Italian PM Giulio Andreotti and, along with Gomorra/Gomorrah, suggests that Italian film is having a vintage year. Over the course of a stormy career that began with his election to parliament in 1946, Andreotti “warned” Libya on an impending U.S. bombing, was investigated for his Mafia connections, and watched his Christian Democratic go to pieces. Among the nicknames he picked up were “Beelzebub,” “Eternity” (because of his many spells as PM), “The First Letter of the Alphabet,” “The Indecipherable,” and “God Giulio.” He is even said to have inspired The Godfather: Part III‘s Don Lucchesi.

Paolo Sorrentino‘s docudrama has drawn plenty of praise and won the Jury Prize at last year’s Cannes film festival. Here’s a sampling from the various end of year magazines:

Guido Bonsaver: “Political cinema meets Fellini meets Tarantino. And if you think the plot is far-fetched, you should follow Italian politics more closely.”

Jay Weissberg: “While Gomorrah gets all the attention, the better film, Il Divo, is marginalised as too opaque for non-Italian audiences. For those in the know, every name mentioned is like a kick in the stomach, but anyone with a sense of cinematic language will be bowled over by Paulo Sorrentino’s bold, witty and devastating critique of Italy’s deformed political landscape.”

Too opaque? We’ll see when the film opens at Lincoln Center Cinemas in April. Watch the trailer after the jump.