Oscar Beat: The Best Supporting Actor Race at a Glance

by     Posted 14 days ago

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By the time the Academy Awards nominations are announced every year, there’s already been so much prognosticating and discussion about the race itself that in actuality, there aren’t a great deal of surprises.  Sure, every now and then you’ll have something like Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close getting into the Best Picture race or Ben Affleck and Kathryn Bigelow being left off the Best Director shortlist (that one still baffles me), but by and large, things mostly seem to fall into place as expected.  Where you can find many of the true surprises, though, is in the Supporting Actor and Actress categories.  This is where beloved character actors can finally get their due, or burgeoning newcomers can find themselves nominated alongside acting veterans; and these kinds of nominees actually have good shots at winning.  This year, the bench for the Best Supporting Actor category is yet again deep with talent, offering plenty of opportunities for some pleasant surprises.

After the jump, I run down the current state of the Best Supporting Actor race in this week’s edition of Oscar Beat.

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

by     Posted 50 days ago

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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.

BIRDMAN OR (THE UNEXPECTED VIRTUE OF IGNORANCE) Review

by     Posted 57 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.

Edward Norton Revisits the Decision to Not Play The Hulk in THE AVENGERS

by     Posted 59 days ago

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Remember when we first got word that Edward Norton would not be reprising his role as The Hulk in The Avengers?  It wasn’t pretty.  When the news dropped, it was being reported that Norton wanted in, but Marvel wanted someone with a lower price tag.  However, when Marvel reps chimed in, they claimed that they passed on Norton because they needed someone who “embodies the creativity and collaborative spirit of our other talented cast members,” essentially accusing Norton of not being a team player.  Shortly after, Norton’s agent fired back claiming that Marvel’s statement was a “purposefully misleading, inappropriate attempt to paint our client in a negative light.”  Soon thereafter, Norton took the more righteous route by posting a sincere thank you to Marvel and to the fans who supported his run as Bruce Banner.

Four years later, Norton’s got an outstanding new feature on his resume that could score him an Oscar nomination, but The Hulk talk still rages on.  Hit the jump to find out what Norton had to say about ditching the role.

BIRDMAN Review | NYFF 2014

by     Posted 69 days ago

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You would think that one movie that blurs the line between reality and fiction to convey the challenges of being an actor would be enough for one week, but Birdman is just as absorbing as Clouds of Sils Maria and also offers up a totally unique experience.  It’s neat that Michael Keaton portrays a former superhero movie star after having played Batman himself and the one-shot shooting style is an absolutely astounding technical achievement, but the best part is that both are used in ways that serve the story, not as alluring gimmicks.  If it were the other way around, Edward Norton’s Mike Shiner wouldn’t approve of it.

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

by     Posted 71 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.

9 New BIRDMAN Images Fly Online Featuring Michael Keaton, Edward Norton, and Emma Stone

by     Posted 85 days ago

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Now that the year is winding down, there are only a handful of movies I can’t wait to see, and Birdman is near the top of the list.  Alejandro González Iñárritu’s ambitious black comedy, which was made to look like one long shot, 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.  Nine new Birdman images have been released, and looking at the diversity of the images, I have no idea how they can be connected by one shot, but I can’t wait to find out.  The movie has picked up rave reviews at the Venice and Telluride Film Festivals, and we’ll be hearing word out of the New York Film Festival soon.

Hit the jump to check out the new Birdman images.  The film also stars Edward NortonNaomi WattsEmma StoneZach GalifianakisAndrea Riseborough, and Amy RyanBirdman (or the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) opens in select theaters on October 17th.

The Films of David Fincher: FIGHT CLUB

by     Posted 86 days ago

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[With the upcoming release of his new film Gone Girl, I’m taking a look back at the work of director David Fincher.  These articles contain spoilers.]

The first rule of Fight Club is to talk about Fight Club.  The movie underperformed at the box office, and found life on DVD where it became a cult classic.  Within the context of the film, Tyler Durden’s famous rule is a brilliant and ironic bit of marketing for a group of men trying to reject advertising and find human connection.  “Jack” (for clarity purposes, I’ll use this name to refer to the Narrator) may be our storyteller, but Tyler is our lens, and through that lens, the story of Fight Club has been greatly misinterpreted by any audience member who saw the movie and thought, “I should start a fight club!”  The movie isn’t preaching.  It isn’t an angry screed by David Fincher or worshiping at the Church of Tyler Durden.  It’s not even wholly about male bonding.  Fight Club is a romantic comedy as only David Fincher could tell it.

New Full-Length BIRDMAN Trailer: Michael Keaton Is About to Destroy What’s Left of His Career

by     Posted 142 days ago

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Fox Searchlight has released a new international full-length Birdman trailer for director Alejandro González Iñárritu’s ambitious black comedy.  The film 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.  The previous trailers have all been fantastic, but they’ve simply teased the plot without giving much away story-wise.  This new international trailer digs deep into the descent of Keaton’s character, and the actor looks to be giving a truly tour de force performance as a man on the brink of a career meltdown.  Moreover, it’s fantastic to see the kinds of camera tricks that Iñárritu uses to make the film appear to be one continuous shot.  I seriously can’t wait to see this movie.

Hit the jump to watch the new Birdman trailer, which is slightly NSFW for a couple of f-bombs.  The film also stars Edward NortonNaomi WattsEmma StoneZach GalifianakisAndrea Riseborough, and Amy RyanBirdman (or the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) will premiere at the Venice Film Festival and opens in theaters on October 17th.

FIGHT CLUB Comic-Con Panel Recap; Chuck Palahniuk and David Fincher Recall the Battles Behind the Original Book and Film

by     Posted 146 days ago

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There wasn’t very much talk at all of the recently announced Dark Horse Fight Club 2 comic during the panel with author Chuck Palahniuk and director David Fincher on Saturday night at the San Diego Comic-Con.  And there were absolutely no new images shown (or any kind of visual presentation for that matter).  But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a thrilling panel for fans of Fincher, Palahniuk, the original book and the 1999 film.

It was a mostly anecdotal affair, full of stories and trivia about the making of the classic Brad Pitt, Edward Norton film and the inception of Palahniuk’s novel (with a little bit of information about the upcoming sequel).  Which meant it was a perfectly satisfying event for those who lined up for hours to celebrate what has now become a legitimate pop culture phenomenon.  Also present were Palahniuk’s longtime editor Gerald Howard (Doubleday) and moderator Rick Kleffel.  Hit the jump for our Fight Club Comic-Con panel recap.

BIRDMAN, Starring Michael Keaton and Edward Norton, to Open the Venice Film Festival; Early Awards Contender

by     Posted 163 days ago

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Alejandro González Iñárritu’s new film Birdman, starring Michael Keaton, will be the opening film of the 71st Annual Venice Film Festival.  This move obviously conveys a high amount of confidence in the film not only on the part of the Fest, but on behalf of distributor Fox Searchlight as well.  So far everything bodes well for what looks to be a truly original work.

Hit the jump for more on Birdman opening the Venice Film Festival.  The film also stars Edward Norton, Naomi Watts, Emma Stone, Zach Galifianakis, Andrea Riseborough, and Amy RyanBirdman (aka The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) opens October 17th. And if you haven’t checked out the trailer, please do so. It’s wonderful. 

New BIRDMAN Images Hint at Epic Fight between Michael Keaton and Edward Norton and More

by     Posted 183 days ago

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Fox Searchlight has released five new Birdman images.  Michael Keaton plays Riggin Thomson an actor, who once played an iconic superhero, and now faces troubles with his ego and family as he prepares to mount a Broadway production of Raymond Carver’s What We Talk About When We Talk About Love in a bid to reclaim past glory.  Edward Norton co-stars as an actor in the play and Emma Stone plays Thomson’s daughter.  Birdman is already one of my most-anticipated films for the remainder of 2014, and these images (the one with Keaton and Norton preparing to fight, in particular) make me want to see the movie even more.

Hit the jump to check out the Birdman images, and in case you haven’t seen the great teaser trailer, click here.  The film also stars Naomi Watts, Zach Galifianakis, Andrea Riseborough, and Amy RyanBirdman opens October 17th.

BIRDMAN Trailer: Michael Keaton Looks for a Revival in Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Latest Film

by     Posted 191 days ago

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Fox Searchlight has released the first Birdman trailer.  Birdman (or the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) 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.  Aside from the biographical implications of the story, this teaser trailer has some gorgeous shots, and looks far more fantastical than anything director Alejandro González Iñárritu has done before.  I’m also a huge fan of Keaton, and I can’t wait to see him a dramatic role that puts him front-and-center.

Hit the jump to check out the Birdman trailer.  The film opens on October 17th, and also stars Edward NortonNaomi WattsEmma StoneZach GalifianakisAmy Ryan, and Andrea Riseborough.

Writer Evan Goldberg and Executive Producer James Weaver Talk R-Rated Animated Film SAUSAGE PARTY; Pixar Movies Will Get “Ripped Apart”

by     Posted 229 days ago

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We rarely get R-rated animated films, and while that’s a shame, it’s also understandable.  In addition to the genre always being considered as something for kids, the cost of animation also means it needs to bring in the widest audience possible, i.e. families.  But the upcoming animated comedy Sausage Party sounds like it will be anything but family-friendly.  Written by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg and directed by Conrad Vernon (Shrek 2) and Greg Tiernan, the story follows a group of supermarket foods trying to get back on their shelves before the biggest shopping day of the year, the 4th of July.  Their Lord of the Rings-type quest has them considering the great beyond, the meaning of their existence, and trying to fuck buns.

During the press day for Neighbors, Steve spoke with Goldberg and executive producer James Weaver about Sausage Party, and learned that their movie isn’t just coasting on being animated and R-rated.  It has a very specific target: Pixar and Disney movies.  Hit the jump to learn more about the film including details about the plot, the characters, and more.  The film is due out in 2015 and features the voices of Seth Rogen, James Franco, Jonah Hill, Kristen Wiig, Michael Cera, Edward Norton, David Krumholtz, Anders Holm, and Salma Hayek.

THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL Review

by     Posted 288 days ago

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By this point, you know whether or not you love the films of Wes Anderson.  He’s a true auteur with an unmistakable style, and unless he undergoes a radical transformation, his fans and his detractors will remain firmly entrenched.  His latest, The Grand Budapest Hotel, won’t change anyone’s mind about the director nor should it.  The movie is almost the platonic ideal of Wes Anderson picture, and yet it’s free from over-indulgence and self-congratulations.  The film is vibrant, witty, pristine, and a wonder to behold.  While it falls a bit short of the emotional impact of a couple of his other movies, Anderson has still crafted a captivating mixture of magic and melancholy.

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