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The Star eCentral: Movie Reviews

Saudi, Pakistani films out of Oscar foreign award race

Posted: 20 Dec 2013 07:15 PM PST

Oscar-winning Iranian director also fails to make cut.

NINE movies, including works by Palestinian, Danish and Hong Kong filmmakers, have been shortlisted for best foreign language Oscar, organisers announced on Dec 20.

But films left out included Saudi Arabia's first ever candidate and Pakistan's first entry in five decades, while an Oscar-winning Iranian director also failed to make the cut.

Films by Belgian, Bosnian, Cambodian, German, Hungarian and Italian directors are also on the shortlist.

The films were whittled down from a long list of 76 movies announced in October by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which organises Hollywood's biggest annual awards fest.

They will be reduced to five nominees next month, before nominations in all Oscar categories are announced on Jan 16. The 86th Academy Awards will be held on March 2.

The nine shortlisted foreign language films are:

> The Broken Circle Breakdown, Belgium, director Felix van Groeningen.

> An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker, Bosnia and Herzegovina, director Danis Tanovic.

> The Missing Picture, Cambodia, director Rithy Panh.

> The Hunt, Denmark, director Thomas Vinterberg.

> Two Lives, Germany, director Georg Maas.

> The Grandmaster, Hong Kong, director Wong Kar-wai.

> The Notebook, Hungary, director Janos Szasz.

> The Great Beauty, Italy, director Paolo Sorrentino.

> Omar, Palestine, director Hany Abu-Assad.

The Saudi long-list candidate, Wadjda by Haifaa al-Mansour, is an avowedly feminist movie about a young girl's quest to own a bicycle in the ultra-conservative Muslim kingdom where women are deprived of many rights, among them driving.

Directed by Saudi Arabia's first female filmmaker and shot entirely in the Gulf state, the film won best Arabic feature award at the Dubai Film Festival last year and picked up an award in Cannes in March.

For Pakistan, Zinda Bhaag (Flee Alive) was the first Oscar entry for over 50 years. It is a comedy-thriller about three young men trying to escape the drudgery of their everyday lives through unconventional means. – AFP Relaxnews

Paul Rudd to star as Ant-Man

Posted: 19 Dec 2013 11:25 PM PST

Actor will 'bring several dimensions' to the Marvel action hero.

DISNEY-owned Marvel Studios said on Dec 19 it has cast Anchorman 2 and This is 40 actor Paul Rudd to play the lead role in Ant-Man, the next hero in its stable of comic book characters to go to the big screen.

Marvel said the choice of Rudd, 44, reflected the studio's desire "to cast actors that bring several dimensions to its onscreen heroes." Rudd is a staple in the comic films from director Judd Apatow, such as The 40-Year-Old Virgin, and is currently in theatres in news anchor send-up Anchorman 2: The Legend of Ron Burgundy.

The studio said in a statement that the plot is being kept under wraps. But in Marvel Comics, Ant-Man is a scientist who invents a substance that allows him to shrink his size and communicate with insects. The film, to be directed by Edgar Wright, is scheduled for release in mid-2015.

Walt Disney Co. bought Marvel in 2009 for US$4.3bil (RM14.1bil). The studio is behind some of the most successful films of recent years, including the Iron Man, Avengers and Thor franchises. – Reuters

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

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