Oscar Beat: The Best Director Race at a Glance

by     Posted 12 minutes ago

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As we head out of the Thanksgiving holiday, studios have been scrambling to get screeners out to critics and voters before early December deadlines, and some of the year’s later releases are finally starting to be seen, which means the Oscar race is becoming much clearer.  We already have one potentially huge game-changer in the form of Selma, which has enjoyed enthusiastically positive response from its initial screenings, but that film also throws a curious prospect into the mix: for the first time in history, could we actually have two female directors nominated for the Best Director Oscar?

After the jump, I consider this question as I take a look at the current state of the rather crowded Best Director race in this edition of Oscar Beat.

Read Christopher Nolan’s INTERSTELLAR Prequel Comic to Learn an Important Character’s Backstory

by     Posted 10 days ago

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Despite all of its exposition, there was still plenty in Interstellar I wish had been made clearer.  Specifically, life on Earth was vaguely defined, and just a little bit of explanation on how the Blight specifically affected society and culture would have been nice.  Christopher Nolan has now teamed with artist Sean Gordon Murphy for an Interstellar prequel comic for the latest issue of Wired (which he guest edited), but it goes into another aspect of the plot.  It’s a nice bit of writing that reveals a poetic bit of backstory, but it also doesn’t really illuminate anything about the film beyond commenting on the nature of man.

Click here to read the Interstellar prequel comic [contains spoilers]. And if you still can’t get enough of the movie and don’t mind the sound mix, click here to learn about the “Unlimited Ticket”.

Christopher Nolan Addresses INTERSTELLAR Sound Problems

by     Posted 11 days ago

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Christopher Nolan has a reputation for being incredibly meticulous when it comes to the presentation of his films.  He has lobbied in the past to have film IMAX projectors reinstalled in theaters that have been converted to digital, and he makes a point to visit a number of different theaters to personally test out the visual and audio presentation of his movies.  It’s an admirable attention to detail that shows the filmmaker genuinely cares about how his films are being experienced, and that made it all the more confusing when reports started flooding in about sound problems with his latest release, Interstellar.  Many complained that the sound mix on the film was muddled, making it difficult to hear important pieces of dialogue.  The complaints were quite large in number, but not very consistent (I saw the film in IMAX and had no trouble understanding dialogue while others cited the IMAX presentation as the worst, audio-wise).

Nevertheless, Nolan has broken his silence on the purported Interstellar sound issues, explaining that he chose an “adventurous and creative” sound mix for the self-described experimental film.  Read on after the jump.

Paramount and AMC Theaters Want You to See All 169 Minutes of INTERSTELLAR as Many Times as You Want with an “Unlimited Ticket”

by     Posted 11 days ago

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I have mixed feelings about Interstellar, but I have no doubt that if you want to see it, you have to see it on the big screen (preferably IMAX).  And if you loved Interstellar, you probably want to see it again and again except ticket prices are ridiculously high.  Paramount and AMC Theaters are teaming up to solve this problem by offering an “Unlimited Ticket”.  First, you have to be an AMC Stubs member (it’s actually not a bad membership on its own), and then the cost of an unlimited ticket is $19.99 to $34.99 based on the location of the 330 participating theaters across the country.  If you already bought a ticket for Interstellar, you can upgrade for $14.99.  The ticket works at any AMC theater and for any format of the film, including IMAX.

Sweet deal, right?  If you love Interstellar and want to keep seeing it, this is a solid value.  But I think what’s more valuable is this concept, which I’d like to see applied to other big movies.  Interstellar isn’t having the same box office hold as The Dark Knight and Inception, Nolan movies that people were happily shelling out cash to see repeatedly.  I’m curious if any other studio will take this “Unlimited Ticket” concept and apply it to any film that may doing well, but not well enough that it can comfortably count on repeat business.  Hit the jump for the press release, which contains more details.

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

by     Posted 12 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.

Box Office: DUMB AND DUMBER TO Takes Friday with $14.2 Million

by     Posted 13 days ago

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Twenty years after Dumb and Dumber introduced audiences to two guys named Harry and Lloyd – and the most annoying sound in the world – the long-awaited (?) sequel has finally hit theatres.  Dumb and Dumber To opened to an estimated $14.2 million on Friday, which puts the comedy on track for between $30 and $35 million through Sunday.  That’s in line with expectations for the Universal release, though the weekend is still too close to call in the comedy’s favor.  Both Big Hero 6 and Interstellar  saw strong holds on Friday, and the animated Disney pic is also tracking in the $30 million range for its sophomore frame.

Details and Friday’s top five after the jump.

Wes Bentley Talks A.J. Edwards’ THE BETTER ANGELS, Working with Christopher Nolan on INTERSTELLAR, AMERICAN HORROR STORY, and More

by     Posted 14 days ago

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Now playing in limited release is director A.J. Edwards’ drama The Better Angels.  The film spans three years of young Abraham Lincoln’s (Braydon Denney) childhood, as it explores how his family and hardships shaped him into the man he would become.  It marks the feature debut of Edwards, who previously worked as an editor and second-unit director on some of Terrence Malick’s films.  The Better Angels also stars Jason Clarke as Tom Lincoln, Diane Kruger as Sarah Lincoln, Brit Marling as Nancy Lincoln, and Wes Bentley as Mr. Crawford.  For more on the film, watch the trailer.

At the recent Los Angeles press day I landed an exclusive video interview with Wes Bentley.  He talked about how he got involved in The Better Angels and what it was like to shoot with A.J. Edwards, Terrence Malick’s influence, how he researched the role, what he’s learned from the great filmmakers and artists he’s worked with, his experience with Christopher Nolan on Interstellarupcoming projects like American Horror Story: Freak Show and After The Fall, what it’s like choosing between projects, and a lot more.  Hit the jump to watch.

THE COLLISION: Episode 111 – The Films of Christopher Nolan and INTERSTELLAR

by     Posted 18 days ago

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This week on The Collision, we look back at the films of Christopher Nolan and his newest movie, Interstellar.  We discuss his themes, style, tropes, excesses, and where his career might be going.  We also look at the strengths and weaknesses of Interstellar, and how it fits into both Nolan’s filmography and the larger blockbuster landscape.  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 (“Explaining Oscar Prognostication; Nightcrawler“), 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.

Christopher Nolan Addresses the Internet’s Determination to Pinpoint Plot Holes in INTERSTELLAR

by     Posted 18 days ago

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Even though Interstellar scored $47.5 million opening weekend and got a largely positive critical reception, there’s a lot of talk about plot holes, namely the useless Morse code message, Matt Damon’s character and the plausibility of the black hole depicted in the film.  It’s definitely not easy to wrap your head around some of the things that go down in Interstellar and there are some “cheats” in the movie as well, but Nolan is well aware of them.

Hit the jump to check out his response to moviegoer’s insistence on applying a “weirdly high standard” for his films.  Interstellar is currently in theaters and stars Matthew McConaughey, Mackenzie Foy, John Lithgow, Anne Hathaway, Wes Bentley, David Gyasi and Michael Caine.  [Warning: There are plot spoilers in this article.]

Weekend Box Office: BIG HERO 6 Knocks INTERSTELLAR into Second

by     Posted 19 days ago

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In this weekend’s box office showdown, Big Hero 6 took the title over Interstellar.  But there were no real losers on the first frame of the 2014 holiday movie season.  It’s been months since the last high-profile animated film was in theatres, so the fact that Big Hero 6 came out on top makes sense.  And while the sky-high expectations for director Christopher Nolan’s latest were not realized, Interstellar did come close to matching the $55.7 million debut of Gravity – without the advantage of 3D pricing.

 Title Weekend Total
1.  Big Hero 6 $56,200,000 $56.2
2.  Interstellar $52,151,000 $52.1
3.  Gone Girl $6,100,000 $145.4
4.  Ouija $6,017,000 $43.4
5.  St. Vincent $5,707,000 $27.3
6.  Nightcrawler $5,512,000 $19.7
7.  Fury $5,500,000 $69.2
8.  John Wick $4,075,000 $34.7
9.  Alexander… $3,495,000 $59.2
10.  The Book of Life $2,800,000 $45.2

 

Full story after the jump.

Christopher Nolan, Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, and More Talk INTERSTELLAR, the Evolution of the Script, and Grounding the Film with Emotion

by     Posted 20 days ago

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Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar is finally in theaters.  As most of you know, Nolan wrote the screenplay based on a previous draft by his brother, Jonathan Nolan (The Dark Knight).  The story finds a crew of astronauts led by Matthew McConaughey setting off into deep space in order to find a new planet that might be inhabitable.  Loaded with a great cast (Anne HathawayJessica ChastainCasey AffleckMichael CaineDavid OyelowoWes BentleyJohn LithgowEllen Burstyn,  Topher GraceDavid GyasiMackenzie FoyBill Irwin, and Timothee Chalamet) and amazing visuals, Interstellar should be seen on the biggest screen possible.  If you have an IMAX theater near you, I strongly suggest seeing it in that format.  For more on the film, watch these featurettesclip, or click here for all our coverage.

At the recent Los Angeles press day I was able to participate in a press conference with Christopher Nolan, Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, co-writer Jonathan Nolan, producer Emma Thomas, and Jessica Chastain.  They talked about the experience of making the film, how the project came together, how much the script change once Nolan replaced Steven Spielberg as director, writing a science fiction movie with so much hope, working in the space suits, space exploration, if there were any deleted scenes, the involvement of NASA, and so much more.  Hit the jump for what they had to say.

TOP 5: INTERSTELLAR, STAR WARS: EPISODE VII Gets an Official Title, First FURIOUS 7 Trailer, BIG HERO 6, First Trailer for CHAPPIE

by     Posted 20 days ago

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If you prefer your action/sci-fi blockbusters both slick and smart, you’ll be hard pressed to find a more fitting title made in the last several years than director Doug Liman‘s Edge of Tomorrow. Adapted from the Japanese novel All You Need Is Kill by Hiroshi Sakurazaka, the film only reinforces what I already believed: that Tom Cruise is the greatest living movie star in the world. He’s right in his wheelhouse as Major William Cage, a military officer who’s far more versed in the ways of spin and public relations than in actual combat. When a run-in with a rare alien leads Cage to be repeatedly thrust into the heart of a destined to fail military attack, the result is a thrilling and surprisingly funny ride that Cruise and Emily Blunt deftly carry. Watching Cruise replay the loop time after time, learning from his mistakes and inching closer to finality with each retry, may become tedious to some. For me, it was akin to learning the pattern of a video game only to finally reach the final boss on your last continue. All told, Edge is probably my favorite Cruise film since Minority Report and while it fails to reach the level of greatness, the fact that it’s even in the same conversation should tell you that it’s absolutely worth watching.

My Tom Cruise lovefest aside, this week’s Top 5 features an interview for and Matt’s review of Interstellar, Star Wars: Episode VII getting an official title, the first trailer for Furious 7, interviews for and Matt’s review of Disney’s Big Hero 6, and the first trailer for Neill Blomkamp‘s sci-fi actioner Chappie. Keep reading for a brief recap and link to each of the above.

Friday Box Office: INTERSTELLAR Leads BIG HERO 6 at Start of Competitive Weekend

by     Posted 20 days ago

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2014’s holiday movie season has officially arrived, and with it two of the year’s most-anticipated titles.  Interstellar, director Christopher Nolan’s first release since The Dark Knight Rises, took first place on Friday with an estimated $17 million from 3,561 locations.  That gives the film, which bowed in 370 IMAX locations and 249 traditional theatres on Wednesday, a domestic total of $19.1 million.  For its first weekend, Interstellar should earn close to $55 million, which is on par with both studio projections and the 2013 debut of Gravity.  But while impressive, it probably won’t be enough to secure Interstellar the weekend win.  That honor will belong to Disney’s Big Hero 6.  Based on the Marvel comic series, the animated feature earned an estimated $15.8 million from 3,561 locations on Friday and should wind up with at least $60 million on its opening weekend.

Friday’s top five after the jump

INTERSTELLAR – What Did You Think?

by     Posted 21 days ago

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Alright folks, one of the most anticipated movies of the year is now in theaters.  Given all the secrecy surrounding Christopher Nolan’s sci-fi epic Interstellar and the fact that it’s a wholly original story set in deep space, expectations were almost impossibly high for this one.  I caught the movie myself last night at a digital IMAX showing, and I’m still mulling it over.  In some ways it was exactly the film I expected, and in other ways it was somewhat surprising.  The visuals and set pieces are spectacular, and I do think that Hans Zimmer composed one of his best scores to date—“majestic” is the word I’d use to describe the sound he found here—but Interstellar is a lot of movie (probably too much), and I think Nolan’s reach exceeds his grasp in terms of trying to constantly surprise the audience.  The performances from Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway are incredibly strong, and Nolan’s attempt to ground the film in emotion is admirable, but I came away from the film somewhat disappointed.

Matt composed his thoughts more eloquently in his review, which you can read right here, but now we’d like to hear from you, readers.  What did you think of Interstellar?  Did it exceed your expectations?  Where does this fall in Nolan’s filmography?  Sound off in the comments after the jump.

David Gyasi Talks INTERSTELLAR, Practical Sets, Almost Giving Up on Acting, Getting Cast in THE DARK KNIGHT RISES and More

by     Posted 23 days ago

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Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar is finally in theaters.  As most of you know, Nolan wrote the screenplay based on a previous draft by his brother, Jonathan Nolan (The Dark Knight).  The story finds a crew of astronauts led by Matthew McConaughey setting off into deep space in order to find a new planet that might be inhabitable.  Loaded with a great cast (Anne HathawayJessica ChastainCasey AffleckMichael CaineDavid OyelowoWes BentleyJohn LithgowEllen Burstyn,  Topher GraceDavid GyasiMackenzie FoyBill Irwin, and Timothee Chalamet) and amazing visuals, Interstellar should be seen on the biggest screen possible.  If you have an IMAX theater near you, I strongly suggest seeing it in that format.  For more on the film, watch these featurettes, clip, or click here for all our coverage.

At the recent Los Angeles press day I landed a video interview with David Gyasi who plays Romilly, one of the astronauts in the film.  He talked about getting cast in Interstellar, what it was like working on the practical sets, his audition process for playing “skinny prisoner” in The Dark Knight Rises and how he almost gave up acting before he landed that role and more.  Hit the jump to watch the interview.

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