Obama Says Sony “Made a Mistake” By Pulling THE INTERVIEW

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While we’ve been passing up more Sony stories than we’ve been posting this week (since we’re declining to publish gossip-y emails and speculative scoops related to the hack), the fact remains that there is some actual, material news coming out of this situation.  And whenever the President of the United States weighs in on status of the new Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg film, that feels like movie news to me.

On the heels of the FBI’s confirmation that North Korea was behind the cyber-attack on Sony, President Barack Obama took his year-end speech as an opportunity to address the situation, denouncing Sony’s decision to cancel the release (going so far to remove clips of the film from the internet) of The Interview.  And I agree with him almost 100%.  Hit the jump for more on Obama’s comments regarding Sony, The Interview, and not giving in to terrorists.

Allison’s Other TV Bests of 2014

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In my intro to last year’s “Other TV Bests” category, I said, “if 2014 does even this half as well [as 2013], things should look pretty good.”  We have achieved it folks, and more than we could have asked for.  There just isn’t room for all of the noteworthy TV of 2014.  I’ve listed out more than my fair share of bests already, yet there are still more that deserve a mention (and yes, this one I limited to just 10).  Hit the jump for the rest of the best.

Watch David Fincher Discuss His Philosophy, ALIEN 3, Studio Reaction to FIGHT CLUB, THE SOCIAL NETWORK, and More in 25-Minute Interview

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A couple of months ago, filmmaker David Fincher was honored at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts and took part in an interview onstage.  A portion of that interview has now been officially released online, and it’s full of golden nuggets from one of the most exciting directors working today.  Fincher candidly touches on everything from his personal philosophy about filmmaking to his experience making Alien 3 (and why he wanted to do it in the first place) to the studio’s reaction to seeing a first cut of Fight Club to the miracle of autonomy that he enjoyed when putting together The Social Network.  It’s a fascinating and insightful interview that’s well worth a watch.  Check it out after the jump.

Michael Pitt Not Returning for HANNIBAL Season 3; Will Be Replaced by Joe Anderson

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A surprising casting change is underway for Hannibal Season 3.  Last year’s string of episodes for the most gorgeous show on television introduced the character of Mason Verger, with Michael Pitt wonderfully inhabiting the memorable role.  However, TV Line reports that Pitt has opted not to return for the show’s third season, forcing showrunner Bryan Fuller to recast the character.  The switch actually comes at a fairly opportune time, as last we saw Verger his face was in a rather…disheveled condition.  Joe Anderson (The Divide, The Grey) will be replacing Pitt and filling the role of Verger in the new season.  More after the jump.

New DAREDEVIL Netflix Show Images Reveal a Lawyer By Day, Superhero By Night

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A couple of new Daredevil Netflix show images have landed online, giving fans a new look at the upcoming limited series from Marvel and the streaming service.  Spartacus alum Steven S. DeKnight acts as showrunner on the upcoming series, though Marvel TV chief Jeph Loeb (who also oversees Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the upcoming Agent Carter) is still intimately involved in crafting Marvel’s first foray into Netflix territory.  In a new piece in EW, Loeb describes Daredevil as “a crime drama first, superhero show second”, and while DeKnight maintains that the series is certainly “grittier and edgier” than what Marvel has done before, the target audience remains all-encompassing so they’re “not looking to push it to extreme violence or gratuitous nudity.”

Check out the new Daredevil Netflix show images after the jump.  The series stars Charlie Cox, Vincent D’Onofrio, Deborah Ann Woll, Elden Henson, Toby Moore, Bob Gunton, Ayelet Zurer, and Vondie Curtis-HallDaredevil will premiere on Netflix sometime in 2015.

Hot Toys Unveils New AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON, GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, and STAR WARS Figures

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The folks at Hot Toys are taking part in the Toy Soul 2014 convention in Hong Kong today and have unveiled some images from the showroom floor, giving us looks at some new figures.  Notable collectibles include a giant Hulkbuster from Avengers: Age of Ultron as well as other 1/6th scale collectibles of Captain America, Thor, Hawkeye, Black Widow and Hulk, and a new 1/4th scale Iron Man from the Avengers sequel as well.  In addition to the Avengers: Age of Ultron Hot Toys, there’s also a series of new Star Wars collectibles, including 1/6th scale and life-size figures (Boba Fett and Han Solo in carbonite, obviously).

Take a look at all of the new figures after the jump.

Kate Winslet in Early Talks for Female Lead in Danny Boyle’s Steve Jobs Biopic

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While Sony Pictures is dealing with the fallout from the North Korean cyber-attack, a former Sony project is barreling forward.  Universal Pictures recently picked up the Aaron Sorkin-scripted Steve Jobs biopic from Sony, and while the film had trouble firming up its cast, it appears that things are finally coming together.  Michael Fassbender is set to play the Apple innovator, Seth Rogen is onboard as Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, and Danny Boyle is firmly in the director’s chair.  Now, after Natalie Portman previously flirted with the role, it appears that Kate Winslet is now in line to join the project as the female lead.  More after the jump.

Exclusive: Composer Howard Shore Talks THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES, ROSEWATER, MAPS TO THE STARS, SILENCE, and More

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Academy Award-winning composer Howard Shore is among today’s most respected composers and conductors.  He’s been a frequent collaborator with David Cronenberg for 35 years and has scored nearly all his films since 1979 including 2014’s Maps to the Stars.  He’s also had a long-standing collaboration with director Martin Scorsese on films that include Gangs of New York, The Departed, The Aviator, and Hugo.  However, he is probably best known for his work with Peter Jackson on The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies, including this year’s The Battle of the Five Armies.  Recently, he also composed the original music for director Jon Stewart’s biopic, Rosewater.

In an exclusive interview, Shore spoke about his creative partnerships with Cronenberg, Jackson, Scorsese and Stewart, his unique approach to composition and orchestration, the challenges of scoring an edgy drama compared to a large scale action movie set in a complex fantasy world, why he loves doing big epic films, his Canadian roots and early development as an artist, bringing Middle Earth to a worldwide audience by doing The Lord of the Rings scores live to projection with a symphony orchestra and chorus, and his upcoming projects:  Scorsese’s Silence and a concerto with classical guitarist Miloš.  Check out our interview after the jump:

MR. TURNER Review

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[This is a re-post of my review from the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival.  Mr. Turner opens today in limited release.]

Painter J.M.W. Turner, the eponymous subject of Mike Leigh’s new biopic Mr. Turner, was renowned for painting shipwrecks. A lazier film would condense Turner’s life around that simulacrum. Instead, Leigh chooses to look at the whole picture, and not just in showing a three-dimensional protagonist. Turner is part of a painting that includes a fascinating look at early-to-mid 19th century life in Europe. Leigh adds all the wonderful touches of the era’s dialect, vernacular, and linguistics along with a collection of other meticulous details to provide a vivid period piece. And it’s all built around an unforgettable performance from Timothy Spall who coughs, whistles, wheezes, and primarily grunts in his portrayal of an artist who personally and professionally defied easy categorization.

Sony Acquires Robert Rodriguez’s Frank Frazetta Adaptation FIRE AND ICE for Planned Franchise

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Filmmaker Robert Rodriguez first announced his intention to direct a film based on the art of Frank Frazetta over three years ago at Comic-Con.  The director said he would develop a fantasy tale called Fire and Ice (based on the 1983 animated film from Frazetta and Ralph Bakshi) that would revolve around a sword-wielding warrior who must save a princess kidnapped by evil sorcerers.  Shortly thereafter, Rodriguez announced his intent to helm Fire and Ice after Sin City 2, and with the latter sequel having hit theaters (barely) this past August, it appears that Rodriguez will indeed be moving on to Fire and Ice with the backing of Sony Pictures.  More after the jump.

Check out New Images from FURIOUS 7, INSIDE OUT, INSURGENT, CHAPPIE, PAN, THE WALK, and EVEREST

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As part of their 2015 preview issue, EW has released a new Furious 7 image along with new images from Inside Out, The Divergent Series: Insurgent, Chappie, Pan, The Walk, and Everest.  After a 2014 that I felt was fairly disappointing (I wanted to like Birdman and Inherent Vice so badly, and there were so many films that were pretty good, but short of greatness), but I’m hoping that 2015 will be better, and there are plenty of promising films.  Inside Out and Everest could be very interesting; Furious 7 looks like it can keep the momentum of Fast & Furious 7;The Walk has a captivating true story behind it, I can’t count out Chappie director Neill Blomkamp or Pan director Joe Wright.  And as for Insurgent…well…*crickets*

Hit the jump to check out the new Furious 7 image as well as the new stills from Inside Out, The Divergent Series: Insurgent, Chappie, Pan, The Walk, and Everest.  Also, click here to see the first image from Ted 2, and click here to see the first image from Sisters starring Tina Fey and Amy Poehler.

9 Films Advance in Best Foreign Language Film Oscar Race, Including FORCE MAJEURE and IDA; MOMMY and TWO DAYS, ONE NIGHT Miss the Cut

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The Academy today announced nine films that have advanced in the Best Foreign Language Oscar race, and there are a couple of notable exclusions.  Sweden’s hilarious/heartbreaking Force Majeure made the cut (read my review here), as did Poland’s highly praised Ida and Russia’s somewhat controversial (given its criticism of the Russian government) Leviathan, but the latest film from the Belgian filmmaking duo the Dardenne brothers, the Marion Cotillard-fronted Two Days, One Night was left off the list.  This is a surprise as the film received positive notice at Cannes earlier this year and Cotillard is somewhat of a dark horse in this year’s Best Actress race, but for whatever reason the Foreign Language branch opted not to advance the film.  Also left off the shortlist is French-Canadian filmmaker Xavier Dolan’s highly praised drama Mommy, which was also a critical favorite at various festivals throughout the year.

Check out the full Best Foreign Language Film Oscar shortlist after the jump.  Nominations for the 87th Academy Awards will be announced on January 15, 2015.

GET HARD Trailer: Will Ferrell Enlists Kevin Hart to Prepare Him for Prison

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Warner Bros. has released the first Get Hard trailer for the upcoming crime comedy.  Marking the directorial debut of Tropic Thunder and Men in Black 3 scribe Etan Cohen, the film stars Will Ferrell as a Bernie Madoff-type wealthy investment banker who enlists the man who washes his car (Kevin Hart) to help prepare him for a maximum security prison sentence.  The comedic pairing of Ferrell and Hart was already enough to make this worth seeing, but thankfully the movie also looks to be genuinely good.  There’s a twist on the premise as described that feels like a nice touch to keep it from feeling outdated (or offensive, really), and unsurprisingly there are more than a couple of really funny moments on display in this first look trailer.

Watch the first Get Hard trailer after the jump.  The film also stars Tip “T.I.” Harris, Alison Brie, and Craig T. NelsonGet Hard opens in theaters on March 27, 2015.

FBI Confirms North Korea Behind Cyber-Attack; Terrorists Demand THE INTERVIEW Not Be Released Online or on DVD

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It appears that today will be yet another circus with regards to The Interview and the cyber-terrorists behind its non-release.  Despite a new promo spot popping up online last night that proclaimed “In Franco and Rogen We Trust”, Sony removed all clips and the aforementioned video from the internet while also scrapping the film’s worldwide release.  Now a couple of new developments have arisen, chiefly: the FBI has officially named North Korea as the culprits behind the devastating cyber attack on Sony Pictures.  Moreover, a new message has arrived from the “anonymous” terrorists calling Sony “wise” not to release The Interview and demanding that the film not show up online or on DVD.  More after the jump.

First Image from SISTERS Starring Tina Fey and Amy Poehler; Says They Are Going to Fucking Crush STAR WARS

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Amy Poehler and Tina Fey are an unstoppable duo.  They were great together on SNL, Baby Mama is a pretty enjoyable movie, and whenever they host the Golden Globes, they knock it out of the park.  Now the two are teaming up again for the new comedy Sisters (formerly “The Nest“), which has them playing “estranged siblings who reunite to clean out their childhood home before their parents sell the family house, during which they decide to throw one final blow-out party.”  And if you don’t have enough reason to admire Fey and Poehler, they’re not afraid to have their movie share the same weekend as Star Wars: The Force Awakens.  ”We said we’d only do the movie if it opened against Star Wars,” Poehler tells EW. ”We’re not scared. It’s what gets us up in the morning: We are going to f—ing crush Star Wars.”

Hit the jump to check out the Sisters image.  The film opens December 18, 2015, and also stars Ike Barinholtz (Neighbors).

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