THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL and BIRDMAN Lead Critics Choice Awards Nominations

by     Posted 5 days ago

critics-choice-awards-nominations-2015

Individual critics groups are starting to weigh in with their picks for the very best of the year, and now the largest group of critics has unveiled its list of nominees for the 20th Critics Choice Movie Awards.  Made up of members of the Broadcast Film Critics Association, the Critics Choice Awards recognize films and performances from all genres, with separate categories for Comedy, Action, etc.  Leading the pack in terms of quantity is Birdman with 13 nominations, followed by The Grand Budapest Hotel which raked in 11 nominations including Ralph Fiennes for Best Actor.  The brilliant Selma also fared well with 6 nods overall, and Unbroken rebounded a bit after being shut out of SAG and the Golden Globes with 6 nominations.  Additionally, you’ll find plenty of love for Guardians of the Galaxy and Edge of Tomorrow in the Action categories.

Check out the full list of nominees after the jump.  The 2015 Critics Choice Movie Awards will be telecast live on A&E on January 15th.

Oscar Beat: 5 Things the Golden Globe Announcements, SAG Nominations, and Critics Awards Tell Us About the Season Ahead

by     Posted 9 days ago

oscars-2015-golden-globes-sag-nominations

As evidenced by the first rounds of critics group awards and announcements of both the Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Awards nominations, we are in the thick of awards season.  I’ve been following the race closely these past few months and taking a closer look at specific categories like Best Picture, Best Actress, and most recently Best Supporting Actor over the past few weeks in regular Oscar Beat columns, but now feels like an opportune time to take a breath and consider what the awards thus far say about the race ahead.  Does Unbroken’s snub signal a surprisingly light Oscar presence?  Will Boyhood enjoy a near clean sweep of the critics groups?  Is Jennifer Aniston on her way to an Oscar nomination?  Read on after the jump.

Jake Gyllenhaal Is Ripped in First SOUTHPAW Image from Antoine Fuqua’s Boxing Drama

by     Posted 21 days ago

southpaw-image-jake-gyllenhaal

The Weinstein Company has unveiled the very first Southpaw image from director Antoine Fuqua’s long-in-the-works boxing drama, and it reveals a rather transformed Jake Gyllenhaal.  The film has been in development for years, with Eminem previously attached to star.  Written by Sons of Anarchy creator Kurt Sutter, the story revolves around a left-handed boxer who wins a title but suffers various tragedies in his personal life, all while trying to win back the love of his daughter.  Gyllenhaal gained 15 pounds of muscle for the role, and judging by this first image it’s a far cry from his gaunt physique in Nightcrawler.

Check out the first Southpaw image after the jump.  The film also stars Rachel McAdams, Forest Whitaker, Naomie Harris, Victor Ortiz, and 50 CentSouthpaw will be released in theaters sometime in 2015.

David O. Russell’s Shelved NAILED Gets a UK Release Date, New Title, and Synopsis

by     Posted 45 days ago

nailed-release-date-david-o-russell

Starting with 2010’s The Fighter, filmmaker David O. Russell began kind of remaking himself as a director.  While his previous films like I Heart Huckabees, Three Kings, and Spanking the Monkey were odd and irreverent, The Fighter marked the beginning of more mainstream material from the director, and was followed by the awards friendly Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle.  However, Russell shot an unreleased film before The Fighter, one that sounds like it might be the last “old Russell” picture that he ever made.  The health care satire Nailed starred Jessica Biel and Jake Gyllenhaal and revolved around three people with serious health issues that stormed Washington D.C. to demand treatment, including a woman with a nail stuck in her head.

The production of Nailed was contentious on account of the financier.  It was shut down a whopping 14 times, but Russell was able to shoot all but one scene—the crucial one in which Biel gets the nail in her head.  Russell never got the chance to shoot the scene or edit the film at all, and eventually abandoned it altogether in 2010.  But now, it appears that the film will see the light of day after all as a Nailed release date has been set for 2015 in the UK.  More after the jump.   

Jake Gyllenhaal and Director Antoine Fuqua Reteaming for THE MAN WHO MADE IT SNOW

by     Posted 47 days ago

jake-gyllenhaal-antoine-fuqua-the-man-who-made-it-snow

Jake Gyllenhaal wrapped director Antoine Fuqua’s boxing movie Southpaw earlier this year, but the two are already planning a follow-up project together.  Deadline reports that Fuqua will direct Gyllenhaal in the cartel film The Man Who Made It Snow, based on the autobiography of Max Mermelstein, a Jewish hotel engineer who was responsible for transforming Pablo Escobar’s Medellin Cartel into a billion-dollar enterprise.  Gylllenhaal and Fuqua will both act as producers on the project as well, and the film will be financed by IM Global.  Production is already scheduled to get underway late next year.  More after the jump.

Friday Box Office: OUIJA Pulls Off Halloween Win Over NIGHTCRAWLER

by     Posted 49 days ago

ouija-poster-slice

When Halloween falls on a Friday you can bet the box office will be pretty underwhelming.  With all major studios avoiding the date, Open Road Films’ Nightcrawler was expected to take first place by default.  The R-rated drama earned an estimated $3.2 million yesterday, including $515,000 from Thursday p.m. previews.  That puts it on track for about $13 million – and first place – this weekend, but it wasn’t enough to overcome horror-holdover Ouija on Halloween.  Last weekend’s number one film trailed Fury and John Wick all last week but returned to first place yesterday with an estimated $3.5 million from 2,899 locations.  That’s down 58% from its first Friday – an astonishingly good hold for most horror movies, let alone one that both critics and audiences have savaged.

Full story after the jump.

Oscar Beat: The Best Actor Race at a Glance

by     Posted 49 days ago

oscars-best-actor-2014-steve-carell

Every year in the awards race, it seems like the Best Actor field is the most crowded category.  That is certainly the case with this current crop of contenders, as there is no shortage of formidable talents vying for one of the five Best Actor Oscar slots.  While it’s still a tad early to start talking about possible winners, there’s plenty to discuss with regards to chances of being nominated.  The contenders range from well-respected underdogs to recent winners, and yes, spoiler alert, many of them are playing real people.  After the jump, I take a look at the Best Actor race at a glance in this edition of Oscar Beat.

Jake Gyllenhaal Talks NIGHTCRAWLER, the Reaction to His Character, How Working as a Producer Changed His Acting Approach, EVEREST, SOUTHPAW, and More

by     Posted 51 days ago

Jake-Gyllenhaal-Nightcrawler-interview

In theaters this weekend is Nightcrawler, the stunning feature debut from writer/director Dan Gilroy.  The film centers on Lou Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaal) an ambitious and morally malformed young man looking to find his fortune.  When Bloom stumbles onto the world of “nightcrawlers”, film crews who capture footage of violent tragedies and sell them to the highest bidder, he finally finds his calling.  While Gyllenhaal has always stood tall among his peers as a brave and capable actor, his work in Nightcrawler sets a new standard. Bloom is chilling, charming, and the perfect representation of what happens when the American Dream turns nightmarish.

I recently sat down with Gyllenhaal for an exclusive video interview.  He talked about how people have reacted the complicated character of Lou Bloom, how working as producer changed his approach as an actor, if he wants to move into directing, and what’s coming up in 2015 like Everest, Southpaw, and Demolition.  Hit the jump to watch.

NIGHTCRAWLER Red Band Trailer Packed with Critic Quotes and Hilariously Crude Behavior

by     Posted 57 days ago

nightcrawler-jake-gyllenhaal-slice

Dan Gilroy’s Nightcrawler isn’t even a comedy, but this clever new red trailer had me laughing more than any other promo I’ve seen in a while.  The film stars Jake Gyllenhaal as Lou Bloom, a guy desperate to score a job.  While on the hunt, Lou stumbles across a “nightcrawler,” someone who captures footage of fires, murders and all sorts of chaos to sell to new stations and Lou comes to the conclusion that the gig is perfect for him.

Nightcrawler is due in theaters on October 31st and in honor of the release, Open Road Films just unveiled a brand new trailer for the movie.  As this is likely one of the last promos we’ll get, naturally, this Nightcrawler red band trailer is loaded with critic quotes.  They’re all glowing, but not in the way one might expect.  This is a see it to believe it kind of piece so hit the jump to check it out and click here to give Matt’s Nightcrawler review a read.

Rumor: Oscar Isaac, Matthew McConaughey, Ewan McGregor, Jake Gyllenhaal and More on Marvel’s Short List for DOCTOR STRANGE

by     Posted 66 days ago

doctor-strange-casting-slice

There have been a lot of Doctor Strange casting rumors over the last few months, but now there’s a new report claiming that Marvel is still assessing a short list and that that short list currently includes Jared Leto, Oscar Isaac, Matthew McConaughey, Ewan McGregor, Jake Gyllenhaal and Ethan Hawke.

Per usual, nothing is official and we must treat this as a rumor, but after those negotiations with Joaquin Phoenix broke down, it makes sense for the studio to take a step back and assess the other options.  Hit the jump for additional details on each one.

Jake Gyllenhaal Pitches to Rene Russo in New NIGHTCRAWLER Clip, Plus New Images

by     Posted 72 days ago

nightcrawler-clip-images

Open Road Films has released a new Nightcrawler clip from director Dan Gilroy’s upcoming psychological thriller, which was one of the best films I saw at the Toronto International Film Festival this year.  Jake Gyllenhaal plays Lou Bloom, a sociopath who plunges into the depths of filming gruesome footage for local news, and begins pushing the limits between covering the news and making it.  The film has shades of Network and Taxi Driver, and you’ll get a little taste of the former in this new clip that finds Bloom pitching himself to a late night network news producer played by Rene Russo.  Their relationship in the film develops in delicious fashion, and I can’t wait to see the movie again when it opens on Halloween.

Hit the jump to check out the new Nightcrawler clip as well as some new images, and click here to read Matt’s review.  The film also stars Riz Ahmed, Bill Paxton, and Kevin RahmNightcrawler opens in theaters on October 31st.

Jake Gyllenhall Gives a Dead-Eyed Stare in New NIGHTCRAWLER Poster and TV Spot

by     Posted 78 days ago

nightcrawler-poster

Open Road Films has released a new Nightcrawler poster along with a new TV spot.  Jake Gyllenhaal plays Lou Bloom, a sociopath who plunges into the depths of filming gruesome footage for local news, and begins pushing the limits between covering the news and making it.  It’s interesting to see how Open Road Films is trying to market the film, and this TV spot pushes more along the lines of an action picture by showing car chases and using blurbs like “full throttle”, and it’s not really that kind of movie.  There’s definitely action, but the real power of Nightcrawler is how it manages to get under your skin and set your nerves on edge.  I guess that’s harder to show in thirty seconds.

Hit the jump to check out the new Nightcrawler poster and TV spot, and click here to read my review from TIFF.  The film opens October 31st, and also stars Bill Paxton, Rene Russo, and Riz Ahmed.

The Films of David Fincher: ZODIAC

by     Posted 84 days ago

zodiac-review

[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.]

Listening to the commentary tracks for Se7en, The Game, Fight Club, and Panic Room, you can hear in Fincher’s voice a slight bit of annoyance and frustration.  It’s not quite bitterness, but there’s an acerbic quality from a man who’s exhausted and can’t help but lay out wry observations.  The Panic Room track in particular conveys the sense that no one should ever make a movie because it’s a hellish experience meant only for masochists.  But his commentaries pick up afterwards, and I believe that’s partly because Fincher found his true love: digital.

Digital completely changed the way Fincher made movies, and it allowed him to provide the precision to performances that he’d applied to all other aspects of his pictures.  From here on, he sounds much happier, and when talking about Zodiac, it’s like a trip down memory lane as he recalls childhood memories of a serial killer who terrorized and tormented a city, and would never be caught.  Zodiac is by no means a happy movie, but it’s one that feels like part of a revitalized director who found a picture that fits perfectly with his admiration for process, attention to detail, and the cynicism of how a search for “truth” can rip lives apart.

NIGHTCRAWLER Review | TIFF 2014

by     Posted 104 days ago

nightcrawler-review

Local TV news is sociopathic.  If I came up to you and began our conversation talking about the horrible deaths of total strangers that had no larger implication than seizing on your deep-seated fears about city living, you would think I’m not only insane, but predatory.  And you would be right.  Dan Gilroy’s chilling, pulse-pounding Nightcrawler manifests the essence of local news and puts it inside a protagonist where a soul should be.  Anchored by Jake Gyllenhaal giving the best performance of the year thus far, Gilroy’s film is a scathing and decadently amoral portrait of ice-cold calculation and ruthless ambition speeding through the dark streets of Los Angeles.

Oscar Beat TIFF 2014 Edition: Part 1 – Jake Gyllenhaal, MR. TURNER, and the Return of Jason Reitman

by     Posted 104 days ago

oscars-jake-gyllenhaal-nightcrawler

The first few days of the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival are in the bag, but it’s an uncharacteristically slow start to what is usually a big awards season kickoff.  Due to a rule change this year, only films that have not previously premiered at other festivals (ie. Telluride) can be highlighted during the first four days of TIFF, which leaves potential heavy hitters like Foxcatcher, The Imitation Game, and Wild on the bench until next week.  That said, these first couple of days have given us the debuts of Jason Reitman’s heavy drama Men, Women & Children, an unhinged Jake Gyllenhaal in the fantastic psychological thriller Nightcrawler, and the charming new Noah Baumbach feature While We’re Young, as well as the Canadian Premiere of the well-received Mr. Turner.

While major Oscar contenders have yet to surface, there are a few noticeable standouts from the aforementioned features that could pick up steam as the season rolls on.  More after the jump in this TIFF 2014 edition of Oscar Beat.

Click Here