BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOR, A BRIEF HISTORY OF TIME, and THE HIDDEN FORTRESS Criterion Blu-ray Reviews

by     Posted 207 days ago

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Criterion has recently released Cannes Palme d’Or winner Blue Is the Warmest Color, Errol MorrisA Brief History of Time, and Akira Kurosawa’s The Hidden Fortress on Blu-ray.  What do these films have in common? Absolutely nothing.

Hit the jump for my Blue is the Warmest Color Blu-ray review, my A Brief History of Time Blu-ray review, and my The Hidden Fortress Blu-ray review.

New to Blu-ray: GRAVITY, HARRY POTTER Hogwarts Collection, THOR: THE DARK WORLD, and More

by     Posted 248 days ago

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This week’s bounty of new Blu-ray releases includes a couple of prestigious Oscar nominees, a new box set version of the Harry Potter series, Marvel’s latest superhero pic, and some truly great Criterion Collection additions.  Briefly:

12 YEARS A SLAVE Takes Home Best Picture at Critics Choice Awards; GRAVITY, AMERICAN HUSTLE, and LONE SURIVOR Win Genre Awards

by     Posted 288 days ago

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The Critics’ Choice Movie Awards were announced tonight, and 12 Years a Slave took home Best Picture.  The Critics’ Choice Awards have lined up with the Oscars in six of the last seven Best Pictures, but it’s worth noting that the Broadcast Film Critics Association spread the wealth around with genre awards to the other Oscar favorites, Gravity (Best Sci-Fi/Horror Movie) and American Hustle (Best Comedy).  Lone Survivor only managed two Oscar nominations for the sound categories, but found some love here as the Best Action Movie.

Hit the jump for the full list of winners, including ten different acting awards.

TOP 5: Our Favorite Movies of 2013, New Trailer for THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2, INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS, First Trailer for THE RAID 2: BERANDAL, Cinemath

by     Posted 300 days ago

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Because I’ve grown tired of never following through on my New Year’s resolutions to get in shape, this year I’m trying something more attainable: to keep a list of all the movies I watch in 2014. Many thanks to my colleague, Mr. Goldberg, for throwing out a Letterboxd recommendation in this collage of films he watched in 2013. I joined the site shortly after reading his rec and think it’s a great way not only to keep a viewing diary (and actually stick with a resolution for once) but also to create/share your own lists and communicate with fellow movie lovers. If you want to keep up with my 2014 watch diary, check out my Top 10 of 2013, and/or my most anticipated for 2014 then hit me up on Letterboxd by clicking here.

Shameless self-promotion aside, the first Top 5 of 2014 features a recap of Matt, Adam, and Dave’s Top 10 of 2013 lists, a new trailer for The Amazing Spider-Man 2video interviews for Inside Llewyn Davis with Oscar Isaac and more, the great first trailer for writer/director Gareth EvansThe Raid 2: Berandal, and a new installment of Cinemath that breaks down the 2013 box office. Continue reading for a brief recap and link to each of the above.

Red-Band, For Your Consideration Trailer for BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOR Shines a Spotlight on Adele Exarchopoulos

by     Posted 305 days ago

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Blue Is the Warmest Color is a terrific film, but due to the Academy’s arcane and idiotic rules, it’s ineligible for Best Foreign Film.  However, it can still be nominated in other categories, and IFC Films has released a red-band trailer pushing for Adele Exarchopoulos to get a Best Actress nomination.  She absolutely deserves wide-spread recognition for her astounding performance as a young woman moving through a romantic and sexual awakening.  I’ve never seen a publicly released For Your Consideration trailer, and the movie hit theaters back in October, but I’m glad IFC is continuing to lobby for the picture and its breakthrough star.  This could also be an attempt to deflect the press-tour tensions that threatened to overshadow the Palm d’Or winner.  Either way, if FYC the campaign succeeds, it could help boost sales of the bare bones Criterion Collection release in February (Criterion promises a “full special edition” will be released a later date).

Hit the jump to check out the red-band trailer.

Adam’s Top 10 Films of 2013

by     Posted 306 days ago

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Top 10 lists are inherently flawed.  How does one compare the “greatness” of a film like Gravity to a film like 12 Years a Slave?  The two could not be more different from each other, but they both exemplify the best of what movies have to offer.  Alas, the Oscars attempt to measure the quality of one film against the quality of another year after year, but for my personal Top 10 list I’ve opted to rank according to “favorite” rather than “best”.  2013 was a very good year for film, particularly these last two months.  I enjoyed a great deal of what 2013 had to offer—way more than just the following 10 movies—but if forced to choose, I’ve come up with a list of my 10 favorites.  It’s entirely possible that my arbitrary rankings could look entirely different tomorrow, but after the jump I’ve compiled a list of my 10 favorite films of 2013.

Los Angeles, Boston, and New York Online Critics Announce Awards; HER and GRAVITY Tie for Best Picture in LA Awards

by     Posted 327 days ago

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The critics group awards are off and running.  Last week we saw the New York Film Critics Circle, the National Board of Review, and the Boston Online Critics announce their annual awards, and today we have three more groups to add to the pile.  12 Years a Slave won Best Picture in the Boston and New York Online groups, but the Los Angeles voting resulted in a tie for Best Picture between Gravity and HerAlfonso Cuaron took Best Director in the Los Angeles and New York Film Critics Online awards, while Boston went for 12 Years a Slave’s Steve McQueen.  While many votes seemed to be in line with early predictions, James Franco shared the Best Supporting Actor moniker in the Los Angeles group for his work in Spring Breakers.

If there’s one takeaway from the critics group awards we’ve seen thus far, it’s that Spike Jonze’s Her has a heavy amount of love in the film community, which could very well translate to Oscar.  Hit the jump to read the full list of winners for all three groups, as well as the runners up for the L.A. and Boston awards.

12 YEARS A SLAVE Sweeps Boston Online Film Critics Awards with Best Picture, Director, Actor, and Supporting Actress

by     Posted 328 days ago

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Oscar frontrunner 12 Years a Slave has nabbed its first critics group award in a very big way.  The Boston Online Film Critics Association awarded the incredibly moving drama six trophies in all, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Editing, and Best Original Score for Hans Zimmer.  Clear frontrunner Cate Blanchett continued her roll with another Best Actress award, Jared Leto landed Best Supporting Actor for his transformative work in Dallas Buyers Club, and the Best Animated Film trophy was split between Frozen and The Wind Rises.  Additionally, the Boston Online Film Critics Top 10 has a few refreshingly eclectic choices, with The World’s End, Blue Is the Warmest Color, and The Spectacular Now all nabbing well-deserved spots alongside films like Gravity, The Wolf of Wall Street, and Inside Llewyn Davis.

For those keeping score at home, we now have three critics group announcements and three different Best Pictures.  The New York Film Critics Circle went for American Hustle, the National Board of Review lauded Her, and now Boston has tapped 12 Years.  Hit the jump to read the full list of Boston Online Film Critics awards.

National Board of Review Names HER Best Film of the Year; GRAVITY, PRISONERS, and WOLF OF WALL STREET Land in Top 10

by     Posted 331 days ago

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The critics awards are off and running after the New York Film Critics Circle announced its picks for the best of the year yesterday, and today the National Board of Review has named Her the best picture of 2013.  Spike Jonze was also named Best Director for the film, while the acting honors went to Bruce Dern (Nebraska), Emma Thompson (Saving Mr. Banks), Will Forte (Nebraska), and Octavia Spencer (Fruitvale Station).  Always an eclectic list, the NBR’s Top 10 includes The Wolf of Wall Street, Gravity, Lone Survivor, and Prisoners.  Wholly absent from the Top 10 is the NYFCC’s pick for Best Film, American Hustle.

The NBR winner for Best Picture has failed to match up with Oscar since 2008’s Slumdog Millionaire, as last year’s award went to Zero Dark Thirty, but for the past 13 years every NBR winner has landed a Best Picture nomination, so this bodes well for Her‘s Oscar prospects.  Read the full list of NBR winners after the jump.

New York Film Critics Circle Names AMERICAN HUSTLE Best Film; Robert Redford, Cate Blanchett, and Jennifer Lawrence Win Acting Honors

by     Posted 332 days ago

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The “awards” portion of this year’s awards season has officially begun.  The New York Film Critics Circle is always the first critics group out of the gate, and today they named American Hustle the best film of the year.  The move comes as a slight surprise given that Hustle only first screened a week ago and 12 Years a Slave and Gravity have been the Best Picture frontrunners for the past few months, but the awards race may be in for a twist.  Steve McQueen was awarded Best Director for 12 Years a Slave, Robert Redford took Best Actor for All Is Lost, and Cate Blanchett began what’s sure to be an awards season sweep of Best Actress trophies.  American Hustle picked up three awards in total, including Best Supporting Actress for Jennifer Lawrence and Best Screenplay.  The excellent Blue Is the Warmest Color was named Best Foreign Film, and Stories We Tell won Best Documentary.

Hit the jump to see the full list of winners and for my commentary on what this means for the coming Oscar season.

GRAVITY Floats across Top 10 Lists from Sight & Sound, Empire, and Cahiers Du Cinema

by     Posted 333 days ago

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We’ve entered December, so it’s time for everyone to start putting their Top 10 lists together.  A potential contender, The Wolf of Wall Street, only screened this past weekend, and so it probably wasn’t considered for Sight & Sound, Empire, and Cahiers Du Cinema’s Top 10 Films of 2013 lists.  As Adam has pointed out in his Oscar Beat column, the awards race is currently between 12 Years a Slave and Gravity, but these critical publications have come down firmly on the side of Alfonso Cuaron‘s outer-space thriller.  It hit #1 for Empire, #2 for Sight & Sound, and #4 for Cahiers Du Cinema.  On the flip side, 12 Years a Slave is nowhere to be found (Correction: It turns out 12 Years hasn’t been released in Europe, so that probably explains its absence).  Also worth noting: Blue Is the Warmest Color and A Touch of Sin were on Cahiers’ and Sight & Sound’s lists, and Lincoln, which opened in Europe this year, made it on to Cahiers and Empire’s lists.

Hit the jump for Top 10 lists from each publication, and get ready for the onslaught of critics groups announcing their “Best of” choices starting tomorrow with the New York Film Critics Circle.

Oscar Beat: The Best Actress Race – Can Anyone Beat Blanchett?

by     Posted 342 days ago

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In Collider’s ongoing awards feature Oscar Beat, we recently took a look at the state of the Best Actor Oscar race, which is looking to be one of the most competitive in recent memory.  Likewise, this year’s Best Actress race is chock-full of fantastic performances and serious contenders, but we’ve had a frontrunner for the category since July and Cate Blanchett’s name remains atop the pile as we head into the thick of the race.  Will Blanchett remain the favorite over the next three months or is there another contender more worthy of the trophy?  Can any of the brilliant performances from this year’s smaller indies crack the top five?  Read on after the jump as we examine the current state of the Best Actress category.

BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOR Review

by     Posted 1 year, 6 days ago

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[This is a re-post of my review from the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival.  Blue Is the Warmest Color opens today in limited release.]

I have to give credit where credit is due, and my colleague Adam Chitwood perfectly described Blue Is the Warmest Color when he said after the screening, “It’s epically intimate.” At three hours, director Abdellatif Kechiche’s romantic drama lets us soak in every scene as we become intimate with its protagonist’s desire for intimacy. The film can at times be heavy but it can also weave in subtlety through small visual cues. But even when the scenes run on too long, and we begin to float adrift, Adèle Exarchopoulos’ heartbreaking performance keeps us anchored in a tale of ephemeral love.

Director Abdellatif Kechiche Talks BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOR, the “Continual Writing Process” While Filming, Intimacy, and More

by     Posted 1 year, 6 days ago

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French-Tunisian filmmaker Abdellatif Kechiche’s  Palme d’Or winning Blue is the Warmest Color stars Léa Seydoux and Adèle Exarchopoulos who deliver outstanding lead performances as two heroines in love whose social differences and aspirations ultimately lead to their break up.  Loosely based on Julie Maroh’s 2010 graphic novel, Blue Angel, the NC-17 rated romantic drama features explosively graphic sex scenes and a breakout performance by Exarchopoulos. 

During our recent interview, Kechiche talked about how he let his intuition guide him in capturing the relationship between the two women, why writing the script was a continual process even during filming, what Exarchopoulos and Seydoux brought to their roles, why he has an affinity for both characters, how his experience as an actor contributed to the intimacy level he was able to achieve with his actors as a director, and why he feels making a film is like climbing a mountain or crossing an ocean and that each scene is equally challenging.  He also revealed he has many projects in various stages of development and looks to his producer, Vincent Maraval, to help guide him in choosing his next film.  Hit the jump to read the interview.

Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux Talk BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOR, Exploring Aspects of Their Characters’ Love & Challenges of Intimate Sex Scenes

by     Posted 1 year, 8 days ago

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Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux deliver heartbreaking performances in Blue Is the Warmest Color, an intimate tale of love and loss between two young women, each of whom belongs to a distinctly different social class.  The romantic drama directed by Abdellatif Kechiche is loosely adapted from French writer Julie Maroh’s graphic novel, Blue Angel.  Emma (Seydoux), a confident older art student, enters the teenage Adele’s (Exarchopoulos) life leading to an intense and complicated love story that spans a decade and is touchingly universal in its depiction.  The film’s graphic sex scenes are beautifully lit and choreographed to reveal the intense and powerful love between them.

At the film’s recent press day in Los Angeles, Exarchopoulos and Seydoux talked about what inspired their performances, how they explored the different aspects of their characters’ love, Kechiche’s unconventional directing style involving hundreds of takes and spending many days on the same scene, the challenge of shooting intimate sex scenes surrounded by multiple cameras, their close friendship, and why they are proud of the film.  Seydoux also discussed her upcoming projects including Grand Central, Beauty and the Beast with Vincent Cassel, Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel, and Saint Laurent, a biopic about French fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent starring Gaspard Ulliel.  Hit the jump to read the full interview. 

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