2015 Independent Spirit Award Nominations Announced; BIRDMAN Leads with Six Including Best Feature, Best Director, and Best Actor

by     Posted 2 days ago

birdman-independent-spirit-awards-nominations

The 2015 Independent Spirit Award nominations have been announced, and Alejandro G. Iñárritu‘s Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) leads the pack with six nominations including Best Feature, Best Director, Best Cinematography (Emmanuel Lubezki), Best Male Lead (Michael Keaton), Best Supporting Female (Emma Stone), and Best Supporting Male (Edward Norton).  Boyhood, Nightcrawler, and Selma weren’t far behind with each picture racking up five nominations.

I like the Independent Spirit Awards because they can shine a light on films I think deserve more attention.  This year, they’ve brought some well-deserved attention to Blue Ruin, Obvious Child, The Guest, and Force Majeure.  Hit the jump for the full list of nominees.  Winners will be announced on February 21, 2015.

Naomi Watts and Andrea Riseborough Talk BIRDMAN, Reaction to the Finished Film, Working with Director of Photography Emmanuel Lubezki, and More

by     Posted 8 days ago

  Birdman-Naomi-Watts-Andrea-Riseborough-interview

Now playing in theaters is one of the best films of 2014: Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Birdman.  Made to look like one long shot, Birdman stars Michael Keaton as an actor who once played an iconic superhero and now faces troubles with his ego and family as he prepares to mount a Broadway play in a bid to reclaim past glory.  While some movies have incredible performances or a great script, Birdman is one of those rare films where everything across the board is memorable.  It’s absolutely one of my favorite films of the year and it should be seen as soon as possible.  Trust me, this is a special movie that you will want to see.  The film also stars Edward NortonNaomi WattsEmma StoneZach GalifianakisAndrea Riseborough, and Amy Ryan.

At the New York City press day I landed a video interview Naomi Watts and Andrea Riseborough.  They talked about what it was like to work with Alejandro González Iñárritu and his amazing director of photography, Emmanuel Lubezki, their reaction to the finished film, and a lot more.  Hit the jump to watch.

THE COLLISION: Episode 112 – BIRDMAN and FOXCATCHER

by     Posted 9 days ago

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This week on The Collision, we look back the new indie releases Birdman and Foxcatcher.  We talk about the films’ strengths and weaknesses, how they relate to their respective directors’ bodies of work, where they fit into the awards race, and much more.  As always, we finish up with our recommendations.

Click here to listen to the new episode of The Collision, click here for the previous episode (“Interstellar and the Films of Christopher Nolan“), click here to add the podcast to your RSS, and click here to find us on iTunes. To keep up to date with The Collision, you can follow us on Twitter at @MattGoldberg and @AdamChitwood.

Weekend Box Office: DUMB AND DUMBER TO Claims First with $38 Million

by     Posted 11 days ago

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After a decisive victory on Friday, Dumb and Dumber To held on to the top spot this weekend and beat most expectations in the process.  An expected challenge from Disney holdover Big Hero 6 fell a bit short, which left the comedy sequel the undisputed box office champ.  DDT opened with an estimated $38 million this weekend – easily surpassing the high end of its projections.  The sequel now ranks as the highest domestic debut ever for the Farrelly Brothers, topping 2000’s Me, Myself and Irene even after adjusting for inflation.  Both Big Hero 6 and Interstellar  had strong sophomore holds, though neither was able to overtake Harry and Lloyd in the end.

 Title Friday Total
1.  Dumb and Dumber To $38,053,000 $38
2.  Big Hero 6 $36,010,000 $111.6
3.  Interstellar $29,100,000 $97.8
4.  Beyond the Lights $6,500,000 $6.5
5.  Gone Girl $4,625,000 $152.7
6.  St. Vincent $4,025,000 $33.2
7.  Fury $3,810,000 $76
8.  Nightcrawler $3,038,000 $25
9.  Ouija $3,025,000 $48.1
10.  Birdman $2,450,000 $11.57

 

Full story after the jump.

The BIRDMAN RETURNS Trailer Mocks Michael Keaton’s Past; Doesn’t Entirely Succeed

by     Posted 20 days ago

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Something happened to me on the way to see Birdman, a movie I was once quite excited for.  I saw all of the trailers and clips we had been posting and my excitement just kept diminishing.  It all seemed so smug, on-the-nose obvious, and pleased with itself that it turned me off.  I’m not saying that this is true of the finished film, but as a consumer of both trash cinema and great movies the one thing I can’t stand is when a movie thinks it’s smarter than the landscape around it (especially when it’s not).  This sentiment doesn’t diminish when I watch the faux Birdman Returns trailer, which I suppose is meant to lampoon the superhero movie past of Michael Keaton‘s character in the film. But I can’t tell what it’s making fun of.  1992?  Batman Returns (which was actually pretty great)?  It’s too flat to be funny or incisive.  I’ll still see the real Birdman, but I hope its attitude towards this stuff is a bit more complex.

Hit the jump to check out the new Birdman Returns trailer.  The actual film was directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu and also stars Edward NortonNaomi WattsEmma StoneZach GalifianakisAndrea Riseborough, and Amy Ryan.  Birdman (or the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) is now in theaters.

Emma Stone and Edward Norton Talk BIRDMAN, Reaction to the Finished Film, Working with Director of Photography Emmanuel Lubezki, and More

by     Posted 27 days ago

Emma-Stone-Edward-Norton-Birdman-interview

Now playing in theaters is one of the best films of 2014: Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Birdman.  Made to look like one long shot, Birdman stars Michael Keaton as an actor who once played an iconic superhero and now faces troubles with his ego and family as he prepares to mount a Broadway play in a bid to reclaim past glory.  While some movies have incredible performances or a great script, Birdman is one of those rare films where everything across the board is memorable.  It’s absolutely one of my favorite films of the year and it should be seen as soon as possible.  Trust me, this is a special movie that you will want to see.  The film also stars Edward NortonNaomi WattsEmma StoneZach GalifianakisAndrea Riseborough, and Amy Ryan.

At the New York City press day I landed a video interview Emma Stone and Edward Norton.  They talked about what it was like to work with Alejandro González Iñárritu and his amazing director of photography, Emmanuel Lubezki, their reaction to the finished film, the fact that Norton saw Birdman for the first time in the same theater David Fincher showed him Fight Club, and a lot more.  Hit the jump to watch.

Weekend Box Office: OUIJA Wins with $20 Million; JOHN WICK Second with $14.1 Million

by     Posted 32 days ago

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On a relatively quiet pre-Halloween weekend, teen horror flick Ouija reigned.  Based on the Hasbro toys property and released by Universal, Ouija took in an estimated $20 million from 2,858 locations for first place.  John Wick was second with $14.1 million.  While not quite at the level of recent R-rated fare like The Equalizer and Fury, the male-skewing action pic did manage to top last month’s A Walk Among the Tombstones – and its own pre-release projections.

 Title Weekend Total
1.  Ouija $20,000,000 $20
2.  John Wick $14,150,000 $14.1
3.  Fury $13,000,000 $46
4.  Gone Girl $11,100,000 $124
5.  The Book of Life $9,800,000 $29.9
6.  St. Vincent $8,058,000 $9.1
7.  Alexander and Terrible… $7,023,000 $45.5
8.  The Best of Me $4,736,000 $17.6
9.  The Judge $4,345,000 $34.3
10.  Dracula Untold $4,302,000 $48.3

 

Full story after the jump.

TOP 5: First AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON Trailer, JOHN WICK, THE LOOK OF SILENCE Trailer, BIRDMAN, Brad Pitt Sits BETWEEN TWO FERNS

by     Posted 33 days ago

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With Halloween under a week away, today marks my final horror recommendation of the season. Whether it’s been a while since your last viewing or you’ve missed it all together, this is the perfect (and perhaps only) time of year to check out writer/director Tommy Lee Wallace‘s Halloween III: Season of the Witch. Often regarded as the odd duck of the franchise due to its storyline departure and a severe lack of Michael Myers, Season of the Witch relies less on slasher tropes in favor of sci-fi tinged horror. The gist of the plot is that a popular Halloween mask company (Silver Shamrock Novelties) is planning to kill every kid that wears one of their masks on Halloween night. Not a great business plan, but a serviceable witchcraft/sacrifice plan I suppose. The result is a vintage 80′s horror pic complete with solid practical effects, surprisingly violent deaths, killer androids, an old guy who more or less warns you to get out of town before it’s too late, and Tom Atkins‘ stellar mustache. While I’m not sure Season will hold up well under critical review, if you sit back and embrace the silliness of it all I think you’ll have a new Halloween favorite on your hands.

Recommendations aside, this week’s Top 5 highlights the first Avengers: Age of Ultron trailer, interviews for and Matt’s review of John Wick, a trailer for Joshua Oppenheimer‘s The Act of Killing follow-up The Look of Silence, interviews for and Matt’s review of Birdman, and Brad Pitt essentially getting eviscerated by Zach Galifianakis on Between Two Ferns. Keep reading for a brief recap and link to each of the above.

Zach Galifianakis and Amy Ryan Talk BIRDMAN, Working with Director of Photography Emmanuel Lubezki, Michael Keaton, and More

by     Posted 34 days ago

Zach-Galifianakis-Amy-Ryan-Birdman-interview

I love this time of year.  The weather starts to cool off, football games start to matter and Hollywood releases some incredible movies that will be in play during Award season.  That brings me to Alejandro González Iñárritu’s incredible new film, Birdman.  Made to look like one long shot, Birdman stars Michael Keaton as an actor who once played an iconic superhero and now faces troubles with his ego and family as he prepares to mount a Broadway play in a bid to reclaim past glory.  While some movies have incredible performances or a great script, Birdman is one of those rare films where everything across the board is memorable.  It’s absolutely one of my favorite films of 2014 and it should be seen as soon as possible.  Trust me, this is a special movie that you will want to see.  The film also stars Edward NortonNaomi WattsEmma StoneZach GalifianakisAndrea Riseborough, and Amy Ryan.

Last week at the New York City press day I landed a video interview with Zach Galifianakis and Amy Ryan.  They talked about what it was like to work with Alejandro González Iñárritu and his amazing director of photography, Emmanuel Lubezki, if the script changed during production, working with Michael Keaton, and more.  Hit the jump to watch.

BIRDMAN OR (THE UNEXPECTED VIRTUE OF IGNORANCE) Review

by     Posted 34 days ago

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[Birdman expands to more theaters this weekend.  Click here for Perri's review from the 2014 New York Film Festival]

To paraphrase one of the most famous plays of all-time, Alejandro González Iñárritu Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) is “but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage…A tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,” and it signifies almost nothing.  Macbeth uses this to refer to life, but for Iñárritu—who literally has someone shout this soliloquy off-camera—it applies to the entirety of a picture that rejects subtlety in a misguided attempt to blend the language of film and stage, and address a multitude of topics including acting, celebrity, the New York/L.A. divide, superhero movies, critics, and ego.  The result is a cacophony of opinions and half-cooked ideas where the only one that comes close to fruition is an exploration of a nervous breakdown where identity has become consumed by artistic desperation.

Awards Season Has Begun: BOYHOOD Leads Gotham Award Nominees; FOXCATCHER Stars Receive Special Jury Award

by     Posted 35 days ago

boyhood-gotham-awards

And here we go.  The 2014 Awards Season has begun, and it begins with Richard Linklater‘s Boyhood leading with four nominations from the Gotham Awards.  Linklater’s terrific film picked up nominations for Best Feature, Ethan Hawke (Best Actor), Patricia Arquette (Best Actress), and Ellar Coltrane (Breakthrough Performance).  Also of note was Oscar Isaac receiving a Best Actor nomination for A Most Violent Year even though it has yet to be screened for the public (it will debut at AFI Fest next month).  Finally, I’m very amused that rather than choose between nominating Steve Carell, Channing Tatum, and Mark Ruffalo for Foxcatcher, they received a Special Jury Award jointly for their performances.  That’s one way to do it.

It’s also worth noting that the Gotham Awards mean next to nothing in the overall awards race.  They have the distinction of being the starting gun, but I’m glad they’re continuing to honor worthwhile movies.  Hit the jump for the full list of nominees.  Winners will be announced on December 1st.

Michael Keaton Talks BIRDMAN, Working with Alejandro González Iñárritu and Emmanuel Lubezki, and More

by     Posted 36 days ago

 Michael-Keaton-Birdman-interview

I love this time of year.  The weather starts to cool off.  Football games start to matter.  And Hollywood releases some incredible movies that will be in play during Award season.  Which brings me to Alejandro González Iñárritu’s incredible new film, Birdman.  Made to look like one long shot, Birdman stars Michael Keaton as an actor who once played an iconic superhero, and now faces troubles with his ego and family as he prepares to mount a Broadway play in a bid to reclaim past glory.  While some movies have incredible performances or a great script, Birdman is one of those rare films where everything across the board is memorable.  It’s absolutely one of my favorite films of 2014 and it should be seen as soon as possible.  Trust me, this is a special movie that you want to see.  The film also stars Edward NortonNaomi WattsEmma StoneZach GalifianakisAndrea Riseborough, and Amy Ryan.

Last week at the New York City press day I landed a video interview with Michael Keaton.  He talked about what it was like to work with Alejandro González Iñárritu and his amazing director of photography Emmanuel Lubezki, crafting his performance alongside the cinematography, how he immediately said yes to the project, and a lot more.  Hit the jump to watch.

Weekend Box Office: FURY Tops the Weekend with $23.5 Million; GONE GIRL Crosses $100 Million

by     Posted 39 days ago

box-office-fury-gone-girl-best-of-me

Director David Ayer’s World War II film Fury topped the box office this weekend, dethroning David Fincher’s Gone Girl with a solid $23.5 million.  The unrelentingly brutal Brad Pitt-fronted picture had one of the best openings for a WWII film of all time, placing fourth just behind Saving Private Ryan, Inglourious Basterds, and the current champion Pearl Harbor.  It also marked Ayer’s biggest opening as a director by $10 million, and audiences were satisfied by the finished result as the film netted an A- CinemaScore.  Another of the weekend’s big new releases, the Guillermo del Toro-produced animated feature The Book of Life, pulled in $17 million and landed in third place overall, while the Nicholas Sparks romance The Best of Me scored a mere $10.2 million for fifth place, making it the lowest debut for a Sparks drama ever.

Read the full weekend box office report and get a look at the complete Top 10 after the jump.

Oscar Beat: The Best Picture Race at a Glance

by     Posted 43 days ago

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The awards race is off and running.  We’ve already been through the fall film festival circuit where a number of contenders emerged either as heavy hitters or non-players, and as November approaches we’re starting to get to the point where all of the big films have been seen.  As such, I thought now would be a good time to start taking a closer look at some of the big categories, seeing where things stand as far as what films and actors/actresses are most likely to be nominated.  Take a look at the Best Picture race at a glance in this week’s edition of Oscar Beat after the jump.

New BIRDMAN Clips and Posters Shine a Light On Michael Keaton’s Battle Against Edward Norton

by     Posted 48 days ago

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I’m so exceed to see Birdman, a dark comedy starring Michael Keaton that director Alejandro González Iñárritu staged to appear as one long, continuous shot.  The film stars Keaton as an actor who once played an iconic superhero, and now faces troubles with his ego and family as he prepares to mount a Broadway play in a bid to reclaim past glory.  Two new clips from the film hit today, and both of them feature Keaton going toe-to-toe with Edward Norton as a smarmy New York theater actor.  And they’re great.  We’ve also got a look at a few city specific posters for the movie.

Hit the jump to check out the new Birdman clips and posters.  The film also stars Naomi WattsEmma StoneZach GalifianakisAndrea Riseborough, and Amy Ryan.  Birdman (or the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) opens in select theaters on October 17th. Just a heads up that the language in these scenes is NSFW.

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