It’s never too early to start talking Oscar, right? We’re officially at the midway point of 2013, and while the bulk of awards season is normally concentrated towards the latter third of the year, there have been some strong contenders in the past that were released closer to the beginning of the year—Silence of the Lambs is probably the most famous example, having won Best Picture after being released in February of 1991. The first half of 2013 has seen at least a couple of potential Best Picture contenders, and in addition to more than a handful of standout performances in smaller indie fare, we may very well have already seen the release of the film that will go on to take home the Oscar in technical categories like Best Visual Effects or even Best Production Design.
Hit the jump to read on as we examine the possible Oscar contenders from the first half of 2013.
For all of the uneasiness I felt watching The Internship play as a not so subtle promo for Google’s portfolio of services (what in the hell is Google Wallet?), the movie painted a dichotomy that I found interesting. While far from perfect, I thought the film did a nice job of contrasting the eternal optimism of a couple Gen X’ers with the often harsh practicality and cynicism I see embedded in myself and many of my fellow Millennials. Although this is hardly the platform from which to dive into a generational debate, The Internship at least introduced the idea that belonging to a generation that has had the wealth of the world’s knowledge at their fingertips for a good portion of their lives (not to mention video games and the lack of a military draft) faces a whole new set of unique challenges and insecurities. At the same time, it also sent an oft-overlooked truth that we (Millennials) don’t know it all, haven’t seen it all, and the “Culture of Meh” that we often embrace is cynical bullshit that I can only hope life experience will help pull us out of.
In addition to my “meh” soapbox, this week’s Top 5 offers The Internship interviews with Vince Vaughn, Owen Wilson, and Rose Byrne, the first trailer and a set visit recap for director James Wan‘s Insidious: Chapter 2, a truckload of set images from X-Men: Days of Future Past, The Purge interviews with Ethan Hawke and more, and a look at the WGA’s list of the “101 Best Written TV Series of All Time”. Check out a brief recap and link to each after the jump.
It would be a mistake to call The Purge thinly-veiled social commentary because that would necessitate the presence of a veil. When there’s no distance between the comment and the art, it’s simply a statement. “Socioeconomic inequality leads to entitlement and estrangement.” That’s The Purge. Writer-director James DeMonaco has no room for subtlety, and what he’s constructed isn’t a veiled commentary, but a cage constructed out of a thriller/action film. This doesn’t mean his comment doesn’t have merit. It’s perfectly timed and speaks to our current cultural climate. It’s just that no one may hear the message over the bloodlust created by the desire for an upper-middle-class family to fight off their upper-class attackers.
Warner Bros. has released the first trailer for director Courtney Solomon‘s (Dungeons & Dragons) thriller Getaway. The film stars Ethan Hawke as a former race car driver who commandeers a Shelby Cobra Mustang and is saddled with a young hacker (Selena Gomez) in a race against time to save his wife from a mysterious kidnapper. Jon Voight puts on a pretty terrible accent as the film’s villain, and the seemingly chemistry-less team up of Ethan Hawke and Selena Gomez is, well, unfortunate. The saving grace of the film looks to be its car chase sequences, which actually appear to be well staged and interesting, but the question remains whether we’ll actually care about the characters enough to be invested in said sequences.
Hit the jump to watch the trailer. The film also stars Rebecca Budig and Bruce Payne. Getaway opens on August 30th.
From Blumhouse Productions, the horror thriller The Purge illustrates the government’s response to an America overrun by escalating crime and overcrowded prisons. For a 12-hour period, once a year, any and all criminal activity, including murder, becomes legal. And on this one particular night, James (Ethan Hawke) and Mary Sandin (Lena Headey), and their two children, will learn just how vicious the outside world can be.
During a press conference at the film’s press day, actor Ethan Hawke talked about why the subject of families in peril make for good suspense and horror films, what he enjoys about making genre movies, getting to film somewhat chronologically, how much fun the fight scenes were, what he thinks this film says about society, and whether he believes humans are inherently violent. He also talked about how odd it is that The Purge and Before Midnight both have the same R rating, and why he looks doing small projects. Check out what he had to say after the jump.
You’re not one of those people who would go up to a couple having a private, romantic conversation and just start texting and talking over them, are you? Odds are you’re also not one of those people who would do the same thing in a crowded theater, right? Well, just in case you need a reminder that the movie theater is not your living room, the Alamo Drafthouse is here to do just that. Teaming up with Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy of Before Midnight, this new PSA shows you what happens when you derail a star-crossed romance. Hit the jump to watch.
Whether you’re a gamer or not, if you have the slightest interest in pop culture happenings then you probably know that Microsoft announced its next-gen console, the Xbox One, earlier this week. As someone who has already decided to throw all of my console eggs into Microsoft’s basket, I was a little disappointed that my two primary questions: 1) “When can I get it?” and 2) “For how much?” weren’t answered. Nevertheless, the Interwebs are also filled with grumblings from undecided consumers who thought Microsoft’s big reveal focused too much on the other entertainment features of the One as opposed to the gaming experience (see this amusingly edited video of the announcement as an example of their frustration). Don’t get me wrong, I couldn’t care less about using my Xbox to check fantasy football stats and/or being able to power the console on with my voice as opposed to the physically intensive act of pushing a button on my controller. That said, I would offer that those ready to commit to Sony’s PS4 at least give Microsoft a few weeks to roll out more details of the One’s games at E3. If we come out of that still talking about our ability to seamlessly switch between The Price is Right and a Skype call then we may have something to complain about.
If the above paragraph whetted your appetite for more console talk from a novice gamer then you’re in luck. This week’s Top 5 includes more on Microsoft’s Xbox One reveal, the final trailer for Man of Steel, The Hangover Part III interviews with Bradley Cooper and more, the U.S trailer and a couple of new posters for Edgar Wright‘s The World’s End, and Before Midnight interviews with Richard Linklater, Ethan Hawke, and Julie Delpy. A brief recap and link to each of the above awaits after the jump.
Opening in limited release this weekend is one of the best films you’re going to see this year: Before Midnight, director Richard Linklater’s follow-up to Before Sunrise and Before Sunset. The new film takes place 18 years after Before Sunrise and 9 years after Before Sunset, and sees Celine (Julie Delpy) and Jesse (Ethan Hawke) navigating married life on a trip to Greece. Like the previous films, it’s a lot of walking and talking, but it absolutely works because of the intimate and lived-in chemistry between the lead actors, who also co-wrote the film with Linklater. I can honestly say this is one of the best films I’ve seen in a long time, and even if you haven’t seen the previous films, you should see it when it comes to a theater near you.
The other day, I landed an video interview with Hawke and Delpy here in Los Angeles. We talked about whether they were more nervous writing the 3rd installment than the previous films due to fan expectations, deleted scenes, how they once tried to improvise and failed miserably, did they make any radical changes to the story during the writing process, the reasons why they filmed the sequel with little fanfare, and a lot more. Hit the jump to watch.
Filmmaker Richard Linklater is no stranger to unique narratives. Dazed and Confused follows a number of characters on the last day of school in 1976, and Before Sunset plays out essentially in real time as Ethan Hawke’s Jesse and Julie Delpy’s Celine spend a couple of hours together in Paris. However, Linklater’s most ambitious film to date has actually been in production for the last decade. Growing Up (aka Boyhood) stars Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette as a divorced couple raising their son, and Linklater and his actors have been shooting scenes for the film every year since 2002, as the story traces the boy’s life from first grade to 12th grade.
Steve recently spoke with Linklater in anticipation of the release of Before Midnight, and the director provided a promising update on the status of Growing Up. Linklater said that he’s actually mulling over a 2014 release for the film, revealing that the production process is nearly complete. Linklater also talked about how closely the finished product resembles his intial plan and how long the pic’s runtime will be. Hit the jump to read on.
A new clip has been released for Richard Linklater‘s Before Midnight. The new film takes place 18 years after Before Sunrise and 9 years after Before Sunset, and sees Celine (Julie Delpy) and Jesse (Ethan Hawke) navigating married life on a trip to Greece. In the new clip, Celine and Jesse continue to examine their relationship, and you can see the easy-going shorthand between the two characters. However, if you’re looking at this clip and the previous clip, and you’re uneasy about two people just walking and talking, then this movie (and the previous two) may not be for you. For everyone else, Before Midnight that’s absolutely worth your time (click here for my full review from Sundance). Just be sure to see the first two before coming to the latest installment.
Hit the jump to check out the clip and to find out when the movie is playing near you. Before Midnight begins its limited release on May 24th.
Sony Pictures Classics has released the first clip from Richard Linklater‘s Before Midnight. The new film takes place 18 years after Before Sunrise and 9 years after Before Sunset, and sees Celine (Julie Delpy) and Jesse (Ethan Hawke) navigating married life on a trip to Greece. Like the previous films, it’s a lot of walking and talking, but it absolutely works because of the intimate and lived-in chemistry between the lead actors, who also co-wrote the film with Linklater. I adored the movie when I saw it at Sundance, and this clip provides a good sense of the second act as the couple reflects back on the arc of their unique relationship.
Hit the jump to check out the clip. Before Midnight opens in limited release on May 24th.
Sony Pictures Classic has released some new images from director Richard Linklater’s follow-up to Before Sunrise and Before Sunset, the sequel Before Midnight. The film picks up nine years after the events of Before Sunset as we once again catch up with Ethan Hawke’s Jessie and Julie Delpy’s Celine, but to say anything more would be to ruin the experience of the film. These new images, in fact, could conceivably be considered spoilers. I caught the film at Sundance (read Matt’s review here) and thought it was a brilliant addition to the series. It’s emotional, funny, bare, and revealing, and once again Hawke and Delpy shine in roles that both speak to and about the audience. You’d be hard pressed to find a trilogy better than this one, and Before Midnight might even be the best film of the bunch.
Hit the jump to check out the images, if you wish to do so, and click here to watch the trailer. Be aware that the photos do spoil a few of the film’s surprises, but I doubt that it would affect the film’s overall quality. Before Midnight opens in limited release on May 24th.
Universal has released the first trailer, poster, and images for The Purge starring Ethan Hawke and Lena Headey. The “speculative thriller” takes place in a world where the government sanctions an annual 12-hour period where everything—including murder—becomes legal. During this madness, a family inside a gated community fights to survive without turning into monsters themselves. Even though I don’t quite follow the government’s logic on this one, perhaps there’s some sociopolitical commentary in the premise. Perhaps the notion behind “the purge” is to let all the bad people kill each other, and then everything will be okay for the “good people” in their gated communities? Also, what purpose do the masks serve if the action is legal? I’m also curious to see how this film will be compared to the summer’s other masked-murderers-invade-a-home horror movie, You’re Next?
Hit the jump to check out the trailer, poster, and images. The film also stars Adelaide Kane, and Max Burkholder. The Purge opens May 31st.
Sony Pictures Classics has released the first trailer for director Richard Linklater’s sequel Before Midnight. I caught the film at Sundance and it’s tough to say anything about it without ruining the film’s surprises. If you were a fan of Before Sunrise and Before Sunset and have every intention of seeing Before Midnight opening weekend, I might suggest you not watch this trailer. It doesn’t give anything away outright, but it’s much more fun to go into these movies knowing as little as possible. That said, this trailer does a nice job of playing on the nostalgia from the first two films while teasing what Midnight has in store. I will say that I had impossibly high expectations for Before Midnight going in, and I found that it somehow surpassed them. This trilogy is truly one of the great works of cinema, and Before Midnight is not only a fantastic and worthy addition to the saga of Jesse and Celine, but it’s also one of the best films of the year so far.
Hit the jump to watch the trailer, and click here to read Matt’s review of the film from Sundance. Before Midnight stars Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy and opens in limited release on May 24th.
Warner Bros. has released a batch of new high-resolution images from some upcoming summer films. Briefly:
- The Hangover Part III – A new image from Todd Phillips’ trilogy-closer teases a familiar scene as Zach Galifianakis, Bradley Cooper, and Ed Helms ride an elevator. The film opens on May 24th.
- The Great Gatsby – A couple of new images from director Baz Luhrmann’s colorful adaptation highlight Leonardo DiCaprio’s titular character flanked by his new friends. The film also stars Carey Mulligan, Tobey Maguire, and Joel Edgerton and opens in 3D on May 10th.
- The Conjuring – Director James Wan’s new horror film debuted a ridiculously creepy teaser trailer earlier last month, and these new images feature Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga’s psychic investigator characters. The film also stars Lili Taylor and Ron Livingston and opens on July 19th.
- Getaway – A new image from this car-set thriller gives us a canted look at Ethan Hawke and Selena Gomez’s lead characters. The film opens on August 30th.
Hit the jump to check out the images and synopses.