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DAILY BULLETIN: Ridley Scott returns to TV, shorlist for foreign film Oscar revealed, plus the trailer for The Place Beyond The Pines

In today’s daily bulletin, I have actual news to tell you about! Okay, there’s also another trailer to talk about, but let’s set that aside for just a minute.

Ridley Scott to direct The Vatican pilot
ridley-scottShowtime has announced that Ridley Scott will be directing the pilot for their (potential) new series The Vatican. The show’s being billed as, “a provocative contemporary genre thriller about spirituality, power and politics – set against the modern-day political machinations within the Catholic church.” Sounds like it definitely has possibilities.

So far all that’s been ordered is the pilot episode, but Scott’s involvement is a pretty good sign there’ll be more to come. He hasn’t directed any  TV for a long time (his last directing gig on TV was a 1969 episode of the British series The Troubleshooters), but he’s been involved as an executive producer on several successful shows in recent years, including Numb3rs and The Good Wife.

Another good sign for the pilot is the writer, Paul Attanasio. He’s a two-time Oscar nominee for his screenplays for Donnie Brasco and Quiz Show. And he’s also had success on TV in the past – he created Homicide: Life On The Street and served as an executive producer on House.

Obviously it’s early days where The Vatican is concerned. This thing’s still quite a ways off, and we have no idea which actors are going to be involved. But Showtime is already in my good books for Homeland, so I’m hoping The Vatican can mirror some of its success.

List of Oscar contenders for best foreign film down to nine
The Academy Of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences has released their list of nine foreign films shortlisted for Oscar contention. Only five will make the cut. Here’s the list as it stands so far:

  • Amour (director Michael Haneke, Austria)
  • War Witch (director Kim Nguyen, Canada)
  • No (director Pablo Larraín, Chile)
  • A Royal Affair (director Nikolaj Arcel, Denmark)
  • The Intouchables (directors Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano, France)
  • The Deep (director Baltasar Kormákur, Iceland)
  • Kon-Tiki (directors Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg, Norway)
  • Beyond the Hills (director Cristian Mungiu, Romania)
  • Sister (director Ursula Meier, Switzerland)

Let me open by saying that I’ve seen exactly none of these, so what follows will be entirely opinion and conjecture. If we go solely by publicity/word of mouth, the movies that I’ve actually heard of here are Amour, No, A Royal Affair, The Intouchables, Kon-Tiki, and Beyond The Hills. So in other words, all of them except War Witch and Sister.

The directors whose work I’m most familiar with are Cristian Mungiu (4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days), Michael Haneke (The White Ribbon, Funny Games, Caché), and duo Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg (Max Manus). These guys are the heavyweights who I’d expect to make the final list. Mungiu has been overlooked before (4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days is a masterpiece that didn’t even get nominated back in 2007). Haneke’s film The White Ribbon was nominated for best foreign film in 2010. It should have won (although the actual winner, The Secret In Their Eyes, was excellent too). Rønning and Sandberg have tasted success before – Max Manus holds the Norweigian record for theatrical admissions, and it was Norway’s official submission for the foreign language Oscar category in 2010, though it failed to make the shortlist.

As for the rest, your guess is as good as mine. I probably won’t get around to watching all nine, but I look forward to seeing which ones make the final list.

The Place Beyond The Pines trailer

What weird alternate universe have I stumbled into where Ryan Gosling is morphing into an action star? First Drive, and now this?

The Place Beyond The Pines sees Gosling reteaming with director Derek Cianfrance. The two worked together on 2010’s Blue Valentine, which I enjoyed quite a bit (well, “enjoy” is probably the wrong word, but it was certainly compelling). Things look to be much more action-oriented this time around, but much like with Blue Valentine, there’s still a strong component of familial drama at play. I’m basically getting a mixture of Blue Valentine, Drive, and maybe Training Day?

Judging from the trailer, this movie looks right up my alley. It’s very clearly aiming to straddle the line between action movie and relationship drama. That’s going to be tricky to pull off, especially considering there’s not just one couple to focus on (as in Blue Valentine), but two. Balancing all these elements and giving everything enough screen time to develop would be no small feat. The movie’s two hours and twenty minutes long, so there should be room to do it. If it works, it could be pretty spectacular.

On the acting side of things, it looks like they’ve got some great talent assembled. Gosling and Eva Mendes, plus Bradley Cooper and Rose Byrne. And Ray Liotta thrown in for good measure. The Place Beyond The Pines opens March 29th, 2013. Early reviews from the film’s premiere at TIFF have been largely positive, so I’m psyched.

Alright, that’s all for me for this week. I’m not sure how I’ll fare with these daily updates next week, what with the holidays and all, but I’ll do my best.

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