The Painting

discs le tableau

Welcome back to This Week In Discs! As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. The Painting A painting of a far away kingdom reveals glimpses of people, but unseen is a caste system separating the perfect Alldunns from their lessers, the incomplete Halfies and the ghostly Sketchies. The Alldunns look down on the others treating them as less than second class citizens, but a cross-caste romance threatens to upset the status quo. Three of them, one from each group, are forced on the run where they discover and pass through the edge of the painting. Only to find themselves in the painter’s shack among several other discarded creations. International animation doesn’t get a lot of play here in the States, but thanks to the GKids label a few gems have been making their way into our Blu-ray players. Their latest is a French film cut from the same cloth as Pleasantville in its aversion to subtlety and fantastic mix of beauty and entertainment. The parable tackles racism, xenophobia, and more including the existential quest for meaning and a creator. And the final line and shot are simply masterful. If it weren’t for the fact that it was actually released in 2011 it would easily be the best animated film of the year this year. [Blu-ray extras: Trailer, making of, slide show]

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The Best Damn Oscar Blog

The Oscar nominations will be announced next Thursday, January 10th. Who’s excited? Perhaps more tellingly, who’s geared up enough to wake up early to watch the press conference live? It’s at 5:30AM PT! I’m planning on it, but I’ll probably just add another year to my tradition of sleeping through my alarm and missing all of the fun. That’s a shame, because surprises are always best in the moment. And there are always surprises. The trick is trying to predict them. Last year people were somewhat taken aback by Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close grabbing a Best Picture nomination, intrigued when Demián Bachir pulled off the nod for Best Actor, and impressed when little distributor GKIDS managed to get both A Cat in Paris and Chico and Rita in for Best Animated Feature. There are also always a few omissions that upset the common wisdom. Remember when Dreamgirls missed a nomination for Picture, knocked out by Letters from Iwo Jima? The twists and turns make the season fun. You wouldn’t want to wake up that early only to have all your bland suppositions simply confirmed by the Academy. So let’s predict the unpredictable! Here are five potential surprises to look for next Thursday morning. Don’t hold it against me if I’m wrong, but if I’m right you should totally tell all your friends.

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