ANNA KARENINA Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 1 year, 215 days ago

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Tackling a seminal work of fiction always presents a filmmaker with a unique set of challenges, even more so than book adaptations in general.  For director Joe Wright and screenwriter Tom Stoppard on Anna Karenina, those included not only condensing a mammoth book into a slightly over two-hour movie but doing so in a manner that stood out from the numerous previous adaptations.  The result is a mixed bag with many parts to love individually but a whole that simply falls short. 

ARGO Wins Best Picture; LIFE OF PI Wins 4 Oscars Including Best Director

by     Posted 1 year, 240 days ago

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I just finished live-blogging the Oscars.  My brain hurts.  It wasn’t a very good show, and it was a ceremony unworthy of all the great films we saw in 2012.  Briefly, the prognosticators were correct and Argo took Best Picture.  Ang Lee won his third Oscar and his second Best Director Oscar for Life of Pi, a film that also took home awards for Best Cinematography, Best Score, and Best Visual Effects.  In the acting categories, Daniel Day-Lewis won Best Actor for Lincoln, Jennifer Lawrence won Best Actress for Silver Linings Playbook, Christoph Waltz won Best Supporting Actor for Django Unchained, and Anne Hathaway won Best Supporting Actress for Les Miserables.

Hit the jump to check out the full list of winners.

The Road to Oscar: Best Actress

by     Posted 1 year, 243 days ago

Continuing on with our “Road to Oscar” feature, today we’re going to take a look at how the race for Best Actress played out over the past 12 months.  With the 85th Academy Awards taking place this coming Sunday, we figured this week would be a nice opportunity to reflect on how a number of Oscar categories got to where they are today.  Join us after the jump as we break down the race for Best Actress.

New to Blu-ray: ARGO, MONSTERS INC. 3D, GAME OF THRONES: The Complete Second Season, and More

by     Posted 1 year, 245 days ago

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This week on Blu-ray a Best Picture favorite comes to home video, the second season of an incredibly addicting HBO series hits HD, and a classic Pixar title finally gets a Blu-ray release.  Briefly:

Hit the jump for special features details on all of the aforementioned releases.

ARGO Wins Best Film and Best Director at BAFTAs; SKYFALL Wins Best British Film

by     Posted 1 year, 254 days ago

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Is an Argo Best Picture win now inevitable?  The 2013 British Academy of Film and Television Awards (BAFTA Awards) were handed out this evening, and director Ben Affleck’s thriller continued its domination of awards season by landing the Best Film and Best Director prizes.  The BAFTAs have always been an important bellwether for predicting Oscar, but they may be even more in tune with the Academy this year as a rule change allowed the entire BAFTA voting body to vote on every award (like the Oscars), instead of writers only voting for screenplay, actors only voting for acting, etc.

Les Miserables won the most BAFTAs of the night, taking home four trophies including Best Supporting Actress for Anne Hathaway (duh) and Best Production Design (over Anna Karenina? Really?).  The winners actually lined up pretty closely with my current Oscar predictions, though most were surprised to see David O. Russell take home the Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar over Lincoln and ArgoJessica Chastain and Jennifer Lawrence were also overtaken in Best Actress by Emmanuel Riva for Amour, who has emerged as a strong possibility in a tough category.  Hit the jump for the full list of winners.

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

by     Posted 1 year, 285 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.

2013 American Society of Cinematographers Award Nominations Include SKYFALL, LIFE OF PI, and ANNA KARENINA

by     Posted 1 year, 286 days ago

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In anticipation of the announcement of the nominations for the 85th Academy Awards tomorrow morning, the American Society of Cinematographers has announced its list of nominees for outstanding achievement in cinematography.  Roger Deakins was singled out for his gorgeous work on this year’s Skyfall, as was Claudio Miranda for the breathtaking Life of Pi.  The list of nominees is rounded out by Seamus McGarvey for Anna Karenina, Danny Cohen for Les Miserables, and Janusz Kaminski for Lincoln.

Deakins has been nominated by the ASC for a total of 11 times now, winning for The Shawshank Redemption and The Man Who Wasn’t There.  Shockingly, he has never won an Academy Award despite being nominated for fantastic work like The Assassination of Jesse James, No Country for Old Men, and True Grit, but this could very well be his year.  Hit the jump to read the full press release, and click here to read my predictions for tomorrow’s Oscar nominations.  The ASC Awards will be held on February 10th.

Director Joe Wright Talks ANNA KARENINA, When and Why He Decided to Tell the Story in an Unconventional Way, and More

by     Posted 1 year, 327 days ago

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Joe Wright’s adaptation of Leo Tolstoy‘s classic novel Anna Karenina is now playing in theaters.  The film takes place in late 19th century Russian society, and stars Keira Knightley as an adulterer who questions her happiness.  In true Wright fashion, this isn’t exactly a straightforward adaptation; the director has set much of the film in a lush theater that uses over 100 interconnected sets to allow the action to move fluidly through various settings.  The film also stars Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Matthew Macfadyen, Kelly Macdonald, Domhnall Gleeson, Alicia Vikander, and Olivia Williams.  For more on Anna Karenina, here’s Matt’s review, five clips, and all our previous coverage.

At the press day, I spoke to Joe Wright.  We talked about when he decided to tell the story in an unconventional way and whether he ever thought about going with a more conventional telling, the studio’s reaction when he told them of the change, whether things got altered on set as a result, deleted scenes, and more.  Hit the jump to watch.

Domhnall Gleeson Talks ANNA KARENINA and Richard Curtis’ ABOUT TIME

by     Posted 1 year, 329 days ago

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Joe Wright’s adaptation of Leo Tolstoy‘s classic novel Anna Karenina is now playing in theaters.  The film takes place in late 19th century Russian society, and stars Keira Knightley as an adulterer who questions her happiness.  In true Wright fashion, this isn’t exactly a straightforward adaptation; the director has set much of the film in a lush theater that uses over 100 interconnected sets to allow the action to move fluidly through various settings.  The film also stars Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Matthew Macfadyen, Kelly Macdonald, Domhnall Gleeson, Alicia Vikander, and Olivia Williams.  For more on Anna Karenina, here’s Matt’s review, five clips, and all our previous coverage.

At the press day, I spoke to Domhnall Gleeson.  We talked about how he prepared for the role, when he found out Joe Wright was changing the way he wanted to tell the story and his thoughts on the change, collaborating with Wright and his unique camera angles, and more.  In addition, we also talked about Richard CurtisAbout Time, which also stars Rachel McAdams and Bill Nighy.  Hit the jump to watch.

Cinematographer Seamus McGarvey Talks ANNA KARENINA, Film vs. Digital, Gareth Edwards’ GODZILLA, THE AVENGERS (and the Sequel), and More

by     Posted 1 year, 329 days ago

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Joe Wright’s adaptation of Leo Tolstoy‘s classic novel Anna Karenina is now playing in theaters.  The film takes place in late 19th century Russian society, and stars Keira Knightley as an adulterer who questions her happiness.  In true Wright fashion, this isn’t exactly a straightforward adaptation; the director has set much of the film in a lush theater that uses over 100 interconnected sets to allow the action to move fluidly through various settings.  The film also stars Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Matthew Macfadyen, Kelly Macdonald, Domhnall Gleeson, Alicia Vikander, and Olivia Williams.  For more on Anna Karenina, here’s Matt’s review, five clips, and all our previous coverage.

The other week, I spoke on the phone with cinematographer Seamus McGarvey.  We talked about when he found out Joe Wright was changing the way he wanted to tell the story, his thoughts on the change, collaborating with Wright, the pre-production process, film versus digital, and more.  In addition, with McGarvey having worked with Joss Whedon on The Avengers, we talked about what it was like to work on that project, if will he return for the sequel, when he will be shooting Godzilla with director Gareth Edwards, and more.  Hit the jump for what he had to say.

2013 Oscar Preview: Best Animated Feature, Best Adapted and Original Screenplay, and Technical Category Quick Picks

by     Posted 1 year, 332 days ago

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We’re continuing on with our weeklong preview of the upcoming 85th Academy Awards, and after running down both acting categories it’s time to take look at some of the other races.  Today we’ll be looking at the Best Animated Feature, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Original Screenplay categories in depth, and I’ll also make some way-too-early quick picks in the technical categories.  The fun begins after the jump.

2013 Oscar Preview: Best Actor and Best Actress

by     Posted 1 year, 333 days ago

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The 2013 awards race is in full swing, and what better way to spend the Thanksgiving holiday then to take a closer look at how the categories are shaping up thus far?  Over the next few days we’re providing a bit of an overview of what the state of the race looks like at this point in time.  Yesterday we ran down the contenders for Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress, and today we’ll be taking a look at the fiercely competitive categories for Best Actor and Best Actress.  Hit the jump to read on.

Matthew Macfadyen Talks ANNA KARENINA, Working with Director Joe Wright, How He Prepares for a Role, and More

by     Posted 1 year, 337 days ago

Matthew-Macfadyen-Anna-Karenina-interview

Now playing in theaters is director Joe Wright’s adaptation of the classic Leo Tolstoy novel Anna Karenina.  The film takes place in late 19th century Russian society and stars Keira Knightley as an adulterer who questions her happiness.  In true Wright fashion, this isn’t exactly a straightforward adaptation; the director has set much of the film in a lush theater that uses over 100 interconnected sets to allow the action to move fluidly through a door and into a separate setting entirely.  The film also stars Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Matthew Macfadyen, Kelly Macdonald, Domhnall Gleeson, Alicia Vikander, and Olivia Williams.  For more on Anna Karenina, here’s Matt’s review, five clips, and all our previous coverage.

At the press day, I spoke to Matthew Macfadyen.  We talked about how he prepared for the role, when he found out Joe Wright was changing the way he wanted to tell the story and his thoughts on the change, collaborating with Wright and his unique camera angles, and more.  Hit the jump to watch.

Aaron Johnson Talks ANNA KARENINA and KICK-ASS 2

by     Posted 1 year, 339 days ago

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Now playing in theaters is director Joe Wright’s adaptation of the classic Leo Tolstoy novel Anna Karenina.  The film takes place in late 19th century Russian society and stars Keira Knightley as an adulterer who questions her happiness.  In true Wright fashion, this isn’t exactly a straightforward adaptation; the director has set much of the film in a lush theater that uses over 100 interconnected sets to allow the action to move fluidly through a door and into a separate setting entirely.  The film also stars Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Matthew Macfadyen, Kelly Macdonald, Domhnall Gleeson, Alicia Vikander, and Olivia Williams.  For more on Anna Karenina, here’s Matt’s review, five clips, and all our previous coverage.

At the press day, I spoke to Aaron Johnson.  We talked about how he prepared for the role, when he found out Joe Wright was changing the way he wanted to tell the story and why, and more.  In addition, we also talked about the Kick-Ass sequel. Hit the jump to watch.

ANNA KARENINA Review

by     Posted 1 year, 339 days ago

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[This is a re-post of my review from the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival.  Anna Karenina opens today in limited release.]

Joe Wright is a gifted director. His direction is daring, inventive, captivating, and unforgettable. But that doesn’t make him a great director. A great director finds a way to take the material he’s given and bring it to its maximum potential. Joe Wright doesn’t elevate his movies; he exceeds them. Pride and Prejudice and Hanna are marvelous, but Atonement and The Soloist are terrible. Granted, any director can only do so much with a script he’s given, but Wright seems content to leave his poor stories in the dust so that we can sit in awe at his bold direction like the long take of Dunkirk in Atonement or the musical colors in The Soloist. In his new film, Anna Karenina, Wright has once again blown past his story by using a melodrama to wrap his fascinating framing device rather than the other way around. Anna Karenina is a wonder to behold, but it leaves you wondering what you’re holding.

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