Milkway Magic: The Creative Genius of Johnnie To and Soi Cheang: The film industry in Hong Kong is rapidly evolving, with director/producer To at the center of many of those advancements. His skill in handling action sequences and coaxing geniune performances out of some of the country's biggest actors were topics of conversation after his Locarno Q&A.
Opening Doors for African Film at Locarno: The festival's Open Doors series is helping to advance film production and education in developing parts of the globe, including the continent where much of the narrative output is being told from a Western perspective.
Japan From the Outside: Mexican director Pedro González-Rubi's latest film "Inori" was a joint effort with a Japanese crew that helped to capture the language and setting vital to the depiction of elderly villagers in one of the country's mountaintop regions.
Dawn of the Millenial Zombies: As twentysomethings continue to be portrayed in Locarno films and elsewhere as unambitious slackers, these metaphorical "walkers" lead loveless lives with subpar job prospects.
The Academy will be returning for the New York Film Festival next month. If you'd like to find out more about how to apply before the September 4th deadline, all the relevant details are here.
As for the rest of the Criticwire highlights for the week, here they are:
The Criticwire Survey: The Least Expendable 'Expendable': In a showdown of movie icons, our respondents chose between the filmography and legacy of Bruce Willis, Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger. (One of the three seems to be the clear winner.)
The Poochie Legacy: Absence Makes the Franchise Grow Longer: Seemingly inspired by a couple of lines from late-90s Homer Simpson, Hollywood franchises are exhibiting the growing trend of trying to simultaneous distance themselves from departed stars while also attempting to keep those figures central to new installments.
From the Wire: A Critic Defends His Trade: Dwight Garner's piece on literary criticism asserts that, contrary to what some artists might infer, critique is not born from a hatred of creators, but a genuine love of the form.
The Perfect Filmic Appositeness of Arnold Schwarzenegger: With the legendary actor's increased reintroduction to the world's theaters, Matt takes a moment to use Schwarzenegger's career as a reminder that no one, be they critic or otherwise, should have to apologize for appreciating anyone's work.
Our Favorite Crazy Votes in the Sight & Sound Greatest Film Poll: I take solace that I live in a world where "Zoolander" received multiple votes for the 2012 list.
Criticwire Picks: 'Side by Side' Keeps Film vs. Digital at the Top: In a week where notable festival releases "Compliance" and "Cosmopolis" also make their way onto screens, the documentary with the vital debate at its core received the greatest feedback from Criticwire members.
Who Would Be the Three Star Michelin Directors? The method for evaluating the truly elite chefs in global food might also be handy for selecting the best in the world of filmmakers. But would some of the obvious names really apply?
Chicago Audiences Approve of 'The Master' in 70mm: While the reaction wasn't unanimous blanket approval for Paul Thomas Anderson's new film, the crafting and projection of the film drew raves. Another extremely popular response: you're probably going to need to see this one twice.
'Side by Side' Is an Invaluable Documentary For Film (or Digital) Nerds: For those who take an active interest in the different methods of shooting and post-production that help create the finished product of a film, "Side by Side" offers a helpful overview of the two warring factions across the film/digital divide.