THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL and BIRDMAN Lead Critics Choice Awards Nominations

by     Posted 5 days ago

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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.

Julianne Moore Battles Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease in the First STILL ALICE Trailer

by     Posted 12 days ago

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Sony Pictures Classics has released the first Still Alice trailer from co-directors and co-writers Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland’s adaptation of the Lisa Genova novel.  The film stars Julianne Moore as a brilliant linguistics professor struggling with early onset Alzheimer’s Disease, and it has gathered a huge amount of awards buzz since it premiered at TIFF back in September; Moore emerged as a front runner in the Best Actress category when Sony Pictures Classics quickly released the film in time for an awards qualifying run.  Still Alice looks absolutely devastating, and no doubt an actress of Moore’s caliber can do the heart-wrenching material justice.

Moore has been nominated for an Oscar four times now (for her work in Boogie Nights, The Hours, Far From Heaven, and The End of the Affair), and as she’s long been one of Hollywood’s finest working actresses, it would be an absolute thrill to see her finally take home the gold.  With this year’s Best Actress race looking mighty thin, it just might be her time.  Still Alice also stars Alec Baldwin, Kristen Stewart, Kate Bosworth and Hunter Parrish, and expands theatrically January 16th.  Hit the jump to watch the first trailer.

Gotham Award Winners: BIRDMAN Wins Best Feature, CITIZENFOUR Wins Best Documentary

by     Posted 19 days ago

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Matt noted that Awards Season begins with the 2014 Gotham Awards: the winners were announced tonight.  Alejandro G. Iñárritu‘s Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) took home Best Feature.  Birdman lead Michael Keaton earned Best Actor and parlayed the award name into a Batman joke in his thank you speech: “I want to thank the folks of Gotham.  It’s good to be home.”

Julianne Moore won Best Actress for the tearjerker Still Alice.  The Edward Snowden documentary Citizenfour won Best Documentary.  Hit the jump for the full list of Gotham Award winners.

Watch Julianne Moore, Amy Adams, Felicity Jones, Reese Witherspoon, Patricia Arquette, and More in 50-Minute Roundtable Discussion

by     Posted 23 days ago

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As many are spending the Thanksgiving holiday with relatives, some may find they need a breather or two.  Luckily, THR has released a new roundtable interview from its Oscar series that makes for a fascinating and entertaining watch.  This 50-minute discussion involves a group of actresses that are in the mix for awards consideration this year: Julianne Moore (Still Alice), Reese Witherspoon (Wild), Amy Adams (Big Eyes), Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything), Patricia Arquette (Boyhood), Hilary Swank (The Homesman), and Laura Dern (Wild).  The resulting video is a candid talk that touches on topics like the pressure of playing real people, the uncomfortableness of sex scenes, and more.  It’s well worth a watch.

Check out the actress roundtable video after the jump, and be sure to check out the writers roundtable if you missed it.  For more on the current state of the Best Actress Oscar race, peruse my recent Best Actress edition of Oscar Beat.

Book to Screen: THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY – PART 1 Is Better than the Book

by     Posted 25 days ago

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If you’ve read the third book of Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games trilogy, you’re well aware that Mockingjay has problems and is undoubtedly the most difficult book of the series to bring to screen.  Whereas The Hunger Games and Catching Fire had the benefit of following the clear-cut chain of events involved in the Hunger Games, Mockingjay is more of a free-for-all.  Katniss is holed up in District 13, the Hunger Games are a thing of the past and now it’s just about the rebels trying to figure out how to get an edge on President Snow and the Capitol.  There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that narrative, but for folks who’ve enjoyed the spectacle and structure of the Hunger Games, Mockingjay could be a serious adjustment.

The same is true of the first half of Francis Lawrence’s big screen rendition, but it’s an adjustment worth making.  Minus the familiar faces and settings, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 bears little resemblance to its predecessors, but Lawrence and co. made a number of changes that make the film version far more accessible than the book.  [Please Note: This article contains spoilers for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1, but there is no discussion of what’s to come in Part 2.]

THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY – PART 1 – What Did You Think?

by     Posted 29 days ago

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The time has come.  What’s bound to be the highest earner of 2014 is now in theaters.  As someone who’s very familiar with Suzanne Collins’ source material and has read Mockingjay quite a few times, I’ve been well aware that The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 was going to be the biggest challenge of the film franchise.  Yes, the book has problems, but even if the scribes behind the Mockingjay movies fix them – and I think they did fix quite a few – the fact that Mockingjay – Part 1 is such a departure from the original two films could still be a problem for many.

You can catch Matt’s full review of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 right here, but we’d also like to know what you think about the movie, too.  Did you like the change of tone and pace?  Did it leave you eager to see Mockingjay – Part 2?  Sound off in the comments after the jump.

THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY – PART 1 Review

by     Posted 30 days ago

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Although Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) is ostensibly the heroine of the Hunger Games saga, the story has developed to where she’s no longer in the mold of a traditional protagonist.  She began that way in the first movie, but The Hunger Games: Catching Fire started to push her to the background as she became part of a much larger conflict rather than its leader.  The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 continues this shift to the point where it barely resembles the first two pictures as the true story of the latest installment isn’t Katniss’ journey, but the revolution that’s consumed her and the rest of Panem.  She’s still an integral part and the focus of the narrative, but director Francis Lawrence has expanded the social commentary far beyond the first film, and put it squarely on how media can be used to control or inspire in the true battle for hearts and minds.  Although the movie is eventually weighted down by the business requirement of splitting the final book into two movies, and Katniss still becomes a puddle of tears when the melodramatic love story surfaces, Mockingjay remains a fascinating and dark development in this unique franchise.

New SEVENTH SON International Trailer Continues to Pile on Visual Effects and Jeff Bridges’ Weird Accent

by     Posted 33 days ago

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Universal Pictures and Legendary Pictures has released a new Seventh Son international trailer.  The plot follows mystical knight Father Gregory (Jeff Bridges) and his apprentice Tom Ward (Ben Barnes) and their fight to defeat the evil witch, Mother Malkin (Julianne Moore) and her followers.  Even though this movie has been on the shelf for a while, I still hope it’s good.  The problem is that you have a trailer that basically screams: Fantasy Tropes: The Movie!

Hit the jump to check out the Seventh Son international trailer.  The film opens February 6, 2015, and also stars Alicia Vikander, Kit Harington, Olivia Williams, Antje Traue, and Djimon Hounsou.

Watch THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY – PART 1 NYC Press Conference with Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Natalie Dormer, and More

by     Posted 34 days ago

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Yesterday in New York City, I got to attend The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 press conference with Jennifer Lawrence (Katniss Everdeen), Josh Hutcherson (Peeta Mellark), Liam Hemsworth (Gale Hawthorne), Julianne Moore (President Coin), Jeffrey Wright (Beetee), Willow Shields (Primrose Everdeen), Sam Claflin (Finnick Odair), Mahershala Ali(Boggs), Natalie Dormer (Cressida), Donald Sutherland (President Snow), director Francis Lawrence, and producer Nina Jacobson.  While I typically find press conferences with this many people less than an ideal way to ask questions about a movie, I’ll admit the event turned out great.  That’s mostly because of Jennifer Lawrence.  While Lawrence’s massive success could have transformed her easy going persona into someone difficult to work with, as you watch the press conference you’ll see someone who is still amazed and thankful for her success, and she always has a fun answer.

During the press conference everyone is asked and answers questions about the making of the movie, challenging scenes, how they wish they were more like their characters, what it’s like losing their anonymity, and so much more.  If you’re a fan of The Hunger Games, you’ll definitely want to watch this.  The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 opens next weekend.  Look for some exclusive interviews on the site later this week.

Oscar Beat: The Best Actress Race at a Glance

by     Posted 37 days ago

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Every year it seems like Oscars’ Best Actor category is crowded, while the number of contenders for the Best Actress trophy feels relatively thin.  It’s a result of the sad fact that there just aren’t as many interesting lead roles for women in Hollywood as there are for men; many times the “female lead” is relegated to existing only in relation to the film’s male lead.  It’s disappointing to be sure, but it doesn’t mean there aren’t any noteworthy female roles out there, and this year’s Best Actress race is an excellent showcase of both talent and range, from brilliant sociopaths to Alzheimer’s patients.

After the jump, I take a look at the current state of the Best Actress Oscar category in this new edition of Oscar Beat.

Peeta Sends a Message in the Latest THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY – PART 1 TV Spot

by     Posted 50 days ago

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President Snow (Donald Sutherland) snatched Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) out of the arena at the end of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire for a reason.  He’s got big plans for the Boy with the Bread and thanks to this latest TV spot, we’re getting an extended look at them.  While Alma Coin (Julianne Moore) and Plutarch Heavensbee (Philip Seymour Hoffman) are busy prepping Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) to lead the rebellion, Snow is using Peeta to destroy it.

Hit the jump to catch Peeta’s message to his co-74th Hunger Games victor and everyone else defying The Capitol in the latest The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 TV spot.  The film is due in theaters on November 21st and also stars Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Jeffrey Wright, Stanley Tucci, Sam Claflin and Jena Malone.

Kristen Stewart Asks Julianne Moore What It’s Like to Lose Her Memory in First STILL ALICE Clip

by     Posted 51 days ago

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Sony Pictures Classics has released the first Still Alice clip from co-directors and co-writers Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland’s adaptation of the Lisa Genova novel of the same name, and it’s heartbreaking.  Julianne Moore stars in the film as a linguistics professor who begins showing the signs of Early-Onset Alzheimer’s Disease and must come to grips with the illness alongside her family.  By most accounts, Moore is the current frontrunner to win the Best Actress Oscar for her performance in the film.  It debuted to strong reviews at TIFF, and even co-star Kristen Stewart is generating some awards buzz for her supporting performance.  This clip is devastating to watch, as Moore describes to her daughter what it’s actually like to start losing her memory and, by extension, herself.

Watch the first Still Alice clip after the jump.  The film also stars Alec Baldwin and opens in an Oscar-qualifying limited run in December before expanding on January 16th.

THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY – PART 1 TV Spot Contains New Footage of Katniss Refusing to Give up the Fight

by     Posted 60 days ago

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Lionsgate has released a new The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 TV spot, which contains fresh footage from the upcoming blockbuster.  The film finds Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) at the forefront of the rebellion in Panem while Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) and Johanna (Jena Malone) are held captive in the Capitol.  We’ve had some huge hits this year, but I’m still putting my money on The Girl on Fire for winning the 2014 box office race, especially since this looks like the biggest Hunger Games movie yet.

Hit the jump to check out the new TV spot.  The film also stars Liam HemsworthWoody HarrelsonJulianne MoorePhilip Seymour HoffmanElizabeth Banks, Sam Claflin, Jena Malone, and Donald SutherlandThe Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 opens on November 21st.

The Rebellion Continues with 19 New Images from THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY – PART 1

by     Posted 65 days ago

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Last night, we got a new teaser trailer for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1, and now we have more images from the upcoming film.  The film finds Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) at the forefront of the rebellion in District 13 while Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) and Johanna (Jena Malone) are held captive in the Capitol.  These new images give us a look not only at our main heroes, but also new supporting characters Cressida (Natalie Dormer), Boggs (Mahershala Ali), Pollux (Elden Henson), Messalla (Evan Ross), and Castor (Wes Chatham).

Hit the jump to check out the new The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 images.  The film also stars Liam HemsworthWoody HarrelsonJulianne MoorePhilip Seymour HoffmanElizabeth Banks, Sam Claflin, Jena Malone, and Donald SutherlandThe Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 opens on November 21st.

MAPS TO THE STARS Review | NYFF 2014

by     Posted 84 days ago

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I don’t like to admit it, but every now and then, I do enjoy picking up a tabloid.  Simply put, it’s fun to read about nonsense like what everyone’s wearing and see that celebrities are really “just like us.”  And the same goes for covering industry news as well.  I truly enjoy finding out what everyone’s up to, whether I’m a fan or not, and that’s a big part of the reason David Cronenberg’s latest works so well.  Maps to the Stars is a Hollywood satire that takes you behind the scenes and dishes out joke after joke at the industry’s expense, but screenwriter Bruce Wagner also slips in an offbeat and riveting mystery that makes the experience more than a fleeting laugh, but rather a dark, absurd and disturbing experience that’ll stick with you well after it ends.

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