Oscar Beat: The Best Actor Race – Acting Veterans Square Off Against McConaughey, Ejiofor, and More

by     Posted 315 days ago

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In the last few months of covering this year’s awards race, it’s become very clear that the 2014 Oscars are going to be one of the most competitive in recent memory.  Nowhere is this more clear than in the Best Actor category, which already seems to have congealed into a solid list of five extremely likely candidates with a number of others waiting in the wings to play the spoiler.  As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches and the race starts to firm up, now seems like a good time to start taking a closer look at the individual categories in the 2014 Oscar race.

In today’s edition of Oscar Beat, we begin with the Best Actor category, which will see a couple of acting legends challenging the rise of McConaughey, powerful performances depicting historically important characters, Leo, and more.  Read on after the jump.

First Trailer for James Gray’s THE IMMIGRANT Starring Marion Cotillard, Joaquin Phoenix, and Jeremy Renner

by     Posted 333 days ago

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Fresh off the film’s American debut at the New York Film Festival, the first trailer for writer/director James Gray’s new film The Immigrant has landed online.  The story centers on a woman (Marion Cotillard) immigrating to New York City in the 1920s who, when her sister is rejected and sent back to Poland, finds herself lured into the world of prostitution in the hopes of eventually being reunited with her kin.  This international trailer highlights the dichotomy between the two male leads, Joaquin Phonix as the charming man who recruits Cotillard into prostitution and Jeremy Renner as his debonair magician cousin.  Gray has definitely crafted a visually appealing look at the 1920s underbelly, and while Matt found the film misguided in his review, I’m intrigued by the interplay between the trio of main characters.

Hit the jump to watch the international trailer, which is NSFW.  The Immigrant will open in the U.S. sometime next spring.

THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY Writer to Direct John Belushi Biopic; Emile Hirsch, Adam Devine, or Joaquin Phoenix Might Star

by     Posted 336 days ago

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John Belushi will always be remembered as a comic genius who died too young, and his drug-fueled life made his early death a tragedy.  A biopic has been in the works for years with The Hangover director Todd Phillips attached to helm the picture.  THR is now reporting that The Secret Life of Walter Mitty screenwriter Steve Conrad will direct from a script he co-wrote with Phillips.  The project will be an indie feature, and Conrad has already started looking at actors who could play the iconic comedian.

Hit the jump for more.

NYFF 2013: HER Review

by     Posted 346 days ago

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We ascribe technology a personality and vice versa.  We say our machines “hate” us when they break down.  Programs illustrate the interests of the user.  Spike Jonze’s Her may seem like an outrageous concept—a man falling in love with a computer—the idea is closer than we think, and its immediacy isn’t just a social concern.  It’s an existential concern as the film attempts to provide the contours of a soul through the absence of a body, a past, and society.  Her is a fragile, delicate movie that requires the audience’s absolute indulgence, but the rewards are some head-spinning questions coupled with a tender, funny, and touching love story.

NYFF 2013: THE IMMIGRANT Review

by     Posted 354 days ago

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There are some settings that don’t quite work with a soft, romantic approach.  There’s no romanticizing child labor or human trafficking or abject poverty.  James Gray’s The Immigrant shows there’s also no romanticizing prostitution in New York City in 1921.  Gray attempts to spin a complicated love triangle though an elegant web, but two of the three main characters get stuck in mushy, bland roles despite the best efforts of the actors.  What’s meant to carry an air of tragedy, damnation, and the hint of redemption ultimately comes off as silly due to Gray’s misguided approach.

First Trailer and Poster for Spike Jonze’s HER Starring Joaquin Phoenix

by     Posted 1 year, 47 days ago

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Warner Bros. has released the first trailer and poster for director Spike Jonze’s new film Her.  The romance centers on a lonely writer (Joaquin Phoenix) who falls in love with his operating system.  The film looks reminiscent of Jonze’s previous works: an outlandish premise that yields a joyous story tinged with sadness.  I’m sure there will be Siri jokes galore, but to be fair, Siri would be a lot more endearing if it was smarter and sounded like Scarlett Johansson.  But back to the trailer, I’m even more excited to see this movie than I was before.

Hit the jump to check out the trailer and poster.  The film also stars Rooney Mara and Amy AdamsHer opens in limited release on November 20th.

First Look at Joaquin Phoenix as Larry “Doc” Sportello in INHERENT VICE; Maya Rudolph Joins Cast

by     Posted 1 year, 111 days ago

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Filming is underway on Paul Thomas Anderson‘s Inherent Vice, and the first set photos have arrived online.  Based on the book by Thomas Pynchon, the story takes place in 1969 Los Angeles, and centers on a pothead/private detective Larry “Doc” Sportello, who is helping a former lover with an intriguing case that involves infidelity, mental institutions, and policemen called “Bigfoot.”  As you can see, Joaquin Phoenix is rocking the muttonchops as Sportello, and the set photos also reveal that a very pregnant Maya Rudolph has a part in the movie.  She joins a cast that also includes Katherine Waterston, Josh Brolin, Benicio Del Toro, Owen Wilson, Reese Witherspoon, Martin Short, Jena Malone, Kevin J. O’Connor, and possibly Sean Penn.

Hit the jump to check out the set photos.

Cannes 2013: New Images from BEHIND THE CANDELABRA, NEBRASKA, THE IMMIGRANT, and AS I LAY DYING

by     Posted 1 year, 131 days ago

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The 2013 Cannes Film Festival begins today, and new images have been released for these movies in the fest’s line-up:

  • Behind the Candelabra – Directed by Steven Soderbergh, starring Michael Douglas, Matt Damon, Dan Aykroyd, Rob Lowe, and Debbie Reynolds.
  • Nebraska – Directed by Alexander Payne, starring Bruce Dern, Will Forte, Stacy Keach, and Bob Odenkirk.
  • The Immigrant – Directed by James Gray, starring Joaquin Phoenix, Marion Cotillard, and Jeremy Renner.
  • As I Lay Dying – Directed and starring James Franco, co-starring Tim Blake Nelson, Logan Marshall-Green, and Danny McBride.

Hit the jump for the images and synopses.  The 2013 Cannes Film Festival runs from May 15 – May 26th.

The Road to Oscar: Best Actor

by     Posted 1 year, 215 days ago

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As Sunday’s 85th Annual Academy Awards loom closer, we’ve using this week as an opportunity to take a look back at how the past year’s Oscar race has played out in a number of categories.  We first took a look at the ebbs and flows in the Best Supporting Actor category, and then we chronicled the road that lead us to the Best Supporting Actress nominees.  Today we’re examining the Best Actor race, which actually seemed to be all wrapped up months before the nominees were even announced.  Hit the jump to read on.

Paul Thomas Anderson’s INHERENT VICE Hoping to Shoot in Late April or Early May

by     Posted 1 year, 237 days ago

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It appears that writer/director Paul Thomas Anderson is wasting no time in putting together his follow-up to his 2012 effort The Master.  Though there was a five-year gap between Punch-Drunk Love and There Will Be Blood and the same amount of time lapsed between TWBB and The Master, Anderson is moving much faster on his adaptation of the Thomas Pynchon novel Inherent Vice.  We recently learned that Anderson’s The Master star Joaquin Phoenix will be handling the lead role in the 1960s Los Angeles private detective story, and now word comes that production is gearing up to begin in a few short months.  Hit the jump for more.

Joaquin Phoenix in Talks to Reteam with Paul Thomas Anderson for INHERENT VICE

by     Posted 1 year, 242 days ago

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Fresh off their polarizing yet undeniably impressive collaboration on The Master, director Paul Thomas Anderson and Joaquin Phoenix are looking to team up for another project.  THR reports that Phoenix is now in talks to star in Anderson’s adaptation of the Thomas Pynchon novel Inherent Vice, which takes place in 1969 Los Angeles and centers on a private detective who is helping a former lover with an intriguing case that involves infidelity, mental institutions, and policemen called “Bigfoot.”  Robert Downey Jr. had long been circling the lead role, but the actor apparently decided to pass on the project.

Anderson recently described his screenplay adaptation for Inherent Vice as more “secretarial” than his adaptation for There Will Be Blood, but I wouldn’t necessarily bank on the filmmaker making a wholly accessible film—especially with Phoenix in the lead role.  The actor was a force of nature in The Master, so I’m really looking forward to seeing what the two cook up for this project.  Megan Ellison’s Annapurna Pictures, which financed The Master, is once again producing.  Hit the jump to read a synopsis for the book.

THE MASTER Coming to Blu-ray February 26; Extras Include Additional Scenes, Outtakes, an 8-Minute Short Film, and More

by     Posted 1 year, 248 days ago

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Writer/director Paul Thomas Anderson’s perplexing drama The Master was certainly one of the most thought-provoking films of 2012, and now you can continue to (attempt to) unravel the puzzle at home with the Blu-ray and DVD release.  The Weinstein Company announced today that The Master will be released on Blu-ray and DVD on February 26th.  The combo pack’s special features include “Back Beyond,” which is a collection of outtakes and additional scenes edited to music by composer Johnny Greenwood, “Unguided Message,” which is an 8-minute short/behind-the-scenes look at the film, and a group of teasers and trailers which as we all know included footage not shown in the film.

As a bonus, an additional special feature will be added to the combo pack by way of John Huston’s fantastic 1946 documentary about WWII veterans Let There Be Light.  Hit the jump to check out the full press release and cover art.

2013 Oscar Nominations Announced; LINCOLN Leads with 12 Nominations, Kathryn Bigelow and Ben Affleck Snubbed for Best Director

by     Posted 1 year, 256 days ago

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The nominations for the 85th Academy Awards have been announced, and it’s quite a whirlwind of nominees.  As expected, Lincoln landed the most nominations with 12, followed with Ang Lee’s Life of Pi which nabbed 11.  The big story here, though, is the Best Director category.  Shockingly, only two (two!) of the DGA nominees for Best Director made the Oscar cut: Ang Lee and Steven Spielberg.  The rest of the category was filled out by Benh Zeitlin for Beasts of the Southern WildDavid O. Russell for Silver Linings Playbook, and Michael Haneke for Amour.  It was almost guaranteed that Ben Affleck and Kathryn Bigelow would be landing nominations for Argo and Zero Dark Thirtyrespectively, but shockingly neither made the cut.  Apparently those films just directed themselves.  Based off today’s nominations, it now looks like it’s (surprisingly) down to Lincoln vs. Silver Linings Playbook for the big win.

Hit the jump to check out the list of nominees, and click here to check them against my predictions (somehow I predicted the Best Picture and Supporting Actor categories perfectly).  The 85th Academy Awards will take place on February 24th.

Adam Predicts the 2013 Oscar Nominees

by     Posted 1 year, 257 days ago

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At last, Oscar is upon us.  Back in November I shared a look at the early awards season race by way of our 2013 Oscar Preview articles, and now nearly two months later there’s still quite a bit up in the air.  This truly is one of the more exciting awards races in recent years, as 2012 is so stacked with quality that there are a surprising number of uncertainties this close to the Academy Awards ceremony.  Nevertheless, I am once again foolishly going to attempt to predict how the Oscar nominations will shake out when they’re announced tomorrow morning, January 10th.  Hit the jump to check out my predictions.

Los Angeles Film Critics Association Names AMOUR Best Picture; New York Film Critics Online and Boston Society of Film Critics Award ZERO DARK THIRTY

by     Posted 1 year, 287 days ago

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Director Kathryn Bigelow’s drama Zero Dark Thirty continues its dominant critics awards path, as it has picked up two more Best Picture wins from the New York Film Critics Online and Boston Society of Film Critics groups, adding to its previous wins from the New York Film Critics Circle and National Board of Review.  Bigelow also won Best Director from both organizations, while Daniel Day-Lewis took home Best Actor for LincolnEmmanuelle Riva won Best Actress from New York and Boston, while she shared the award in a tie with Jennifer Lawrence for Silver Linings Playbook in the Los Angeles Film Critics Association.

Los Angeles broke from the mold a bit by naming director Michael Haneke‘s devastating French-language film Amour the Best Film of the year.  They also awarded Paul Thomas Anderson Best Director for The Master and Beasts of the Southern Wild’s Dwight Henry the Best Supporting Actor honor in a couple of pleasant surprises.  Hit the jump for the full list of winners from all three critics groups.

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