Oscars: Lupita Nyong’o, Josh Hutcherson, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Clark Gregg, and More Added to Academy Voting Body

by     Posted 176 days ago

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The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced its list of actors, filmmakers, and others involved in the moviemaking industry that have been invited to join the Academy’s membership.  271 artists made the cut this year, ranging from recent winners and nominees like Lupita Nyong’o and Michael Fassbender to more eclectic choices like Rob Riggle, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Josh Hutcherson, and even Jason StathamChris Rock also finally gets a ballot years after hosting the ceremony, and Clark Gregg will bring some Marvel pedigree into the fold.  On the filmmaking side, brothers Mark and Jay Duplass, David Gordon Green, Denis Villeneuve, and Gina Prince-Bythewood (The Secret Life of Bees) join the directors branch, while DP Sean Bobbitt (12 Years a Slave) has been added to the cinematographers group.  Eddie Vedder and Pharrell Williams (sans hat) are also now Academy members should they accept their invitations.  The full list is still disappointingly short on females, however.

Hit the jump to check out the complete list of 2014 invitees to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.  The 2015 race will be here before you know it, folks.

BOARDWALK EMPIRE Season 3 Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 1 year, 107 days ago

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Having established a solid precedent for its first two seasons, Boardwalk Empire ran a serious risk of letting us down in the third. Having established its sweeping scope of Prohibition-era crime, it seemed to grow more timid, focusing on domestic soap opera elements rather than the marvelous gangster saga it had promised. The character arcs seemed to be stalling, things were moving forward at a slower pace than we might expect. What could be done?

Frankly, an Emmy-nominated supporting figure was a big step in the right direction. Hit the jump for my full review.

BRAVE Ultimate Collector’s Edition Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 2 years, 18 days ago

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Would we look at Brave more kindly if it didn’t come from Pixar? Would its flaws and foibles bug us quite so much if another studio took it on? Probably not. It has so much to recommend it – its technical credentials are so strong and its characters sufficiently endearing – that its problems wouldn’t matter so much. Unfortunately, this isn’t another studio and Pixar demands standards far beyond those of mortal men.  They did so well for so long that “good enough” no longer cuts it. Brave, sadly, can’t climb any higher than that. Hit the jump for my full review of the Blu-ray.

ANNA KARENINA Review

by     Posted 2 years, 32 days ago

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[This is a re-post of my review from the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival.  Anna Karenina opens today in limited release.]

Joe Wright is a gifted director. His direction is daring, inventive, captivating, and unforgettable. But that doesn’t make him a great director. A great director finds a way to take the material he’s given and bring it to its maximum potential. Joe Wright doesn’t elevate his movies; he exceeds them. Pride and Prejudice and Hanna are marvelous, but Atonement and The Soloist are terrible. Granted, any director can only do so much with a script he’s given, but Wright seems content to leave his poor stories in the dust so that we can sit in awe at his bold direction like the long take of Dunkirk in Atonement or the musical colors in The Soloist. In his new film, Anna Karenina, Wright has once again blown past his story by using a melodrama to wrap his fascinating framing device rather than the other way around. Anna Karenina is a wonder to behold, but it leaves you wondering what you’re holding.

BOARDWALK EMPIRE Episode Recap: “Ging Gang Goolie”

by     Posted 2 years, 58 days ago

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Every episode of Boardwalk Empire this season has been like, well, a box of chocolates.  There are some delicious morsels, sometimes small (say, a Gaston Means or a nearly naked Lucky Luciano), and a few huge jelly-filled stinkers (like any scene with Billie and Nucky), and “Ging Gang Goolie” had it all.  It was a complex episode that delivered a number of character-driven tales (Teddy and the greenhouse fire, Harrow being Harrow, Margaret getting her groove back) against a political background that involved everyone from Nucky up to President Harding.  The packed billing left no room for favorites like Van Alden and Chalky, but that’s been the crapshoot of Season Three in nutshell — you never know who might pop up, or who might be forgotten altogether.  For more on the good, bad and pater familias of the episode, hit the jump.  Oh, and that’ll be $5, please.

TIFF 2012: ANNA KARENINA Review

by     Posted 2 years, 103 days ago

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Joe Wright is a gifted director.  His direction is daring, inventive, captivating, and unforgettable.  But that doesn’t make him a great director.  A great director finds a way to take the material he’s given and bring it to its maximum potential.  Joe Wright doesn’t elevate his movies; he exceeds them.  Pride and Prejudice and Hanna are marvelous, but Atonement and The Soloist are terrible.  Granted, any director can only do so much with a script he’s given, but Wright seems content to leave his poor stories in the dust so that we can sit in awe at his bold direction like the long take of Dunkirk in Atonement or the musical colors in The Soloist.  In his new film, Anna Karenina, Wright has once again blown past his story by using a melodrama to wrap his fascinating framing device rather than the other way around.  Anna Karenina is a wonder to behold, but it leaves you wondering what you’re holding.

BOARDWALK EMPIRE Season 2 Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 2 years, 112 days ago

Along with True Blood and Game of Thrones, Boardwalk Empire stands as HBO’s current marquee series, which means they pull out all the stops when it comes to their Blu-ray releases. With the third season fast approaching, the beautiful second season set hits shelves to help the uninitiated catch up. There’s no better way to enjoy what has become one of the best shows currently on television. Hit the jump for the full review.

New Trailer for BOARDWALK EMPIRE Season 3

by     Posted 2 years, 112 days ago

A new trailer for the upcoming third season of HBO’s drama series Boardwalk Empire has been released.  I’ve only ever seen the first season of the show, but I’m aware of how last season ended and it looks like things will be decidedly dark when the show returns.  The trailer also teases the new character played by Bobby Cannavale, but it’s sadly light on Michael Shannon.

Hit the jump to watch the trailer.  The third season of Boardwalk Empire premieres on HBO Sunday, September 16th at 9pm.

TOP 5: THE MASTER Trailer, BRAVE, Cinemath, SEEKING A FRIEND FOR THE END OF THE WORLD, ABRAHAM LINCOLN: VAMPIRE HUNTER

by     Posted 2 years, 178 days ago

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Earlier this week I literally dreamed about The Dark Knight Rises. Not that I was in the movie. Not that I was Batman. Just that I was in the theater watching it for the first time. And I woke up with a sense of joy that followed me around for hours. Even now I can’t decide exactly what this says about me or whether it’s a good or bad thing that I’m so excited for a single moviegoing experience. Part of me is a little disappointed in my subconscious for dreaming on such a micro level. Another part is encouraged that it finds such joy in the “little things”. Regardless, those precious two hours and forty-five minutes or so on midnight of July 20th can’t get here soon enough.

All personal issues aside, this week’s iteration of the Top 5 includes the new trailer for Paul Thomas Anderson‘s The Master, Brave interviews with John Lasseter, director Mark Andrews and more, Brendan’s latest Cinemath feature, Seeking a Friend for the End of the World interviews with Steve Carell, Keira Knightley and more, and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter interviews with Tim Burton and co. The search for a brief recap and link to each concludes after the jump.

Kelly Macdonald Talks BRAVE, How the Film Changed Over the Development Process, What to Do if You Visit Scotland, and More

by     Posted 2 years, 179 days ago

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With Pixar’s Brave opening this weekend, Disney recently held a press junket in Scotland where I got to interview some of the cast and filmmakers.  The film centers on Princess Merida (voiced by Kelly Macdonald), a young girl who accidentally sets loose an evil curse when she wishes for the freedom to escape her restrictive life.  But the big news about Brave is that it’s Pixar’s first film with a female protagonist and their first fairy tale.  I imagine in won’t be their last.  Brave also features the voices of Emma Thompson, Billy Connolly, Kevin McKidd, Craig Ferguson, Robbie Coltrane, and Julie Walters.  For more on Brave, here’s all our previous coverage and four clips.

During my interview with Kelly Macdonald, we talked about how the film changed over the course of the its development, what surprised her about the recording process, her reaction to the finished film, what people should do if they visit Scotland, and a lot more.  Hit the jump to watch.

BRAVE Review

by     Posted 2 years, 180 days ago

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Sometimes meeting in the middle isn’t good enough.  There’s merit in compromise, but it can also foster mediocrity.  In order to be brave and bold, you have to step out of a comfort zone and take a chance on something that may not appeal to the masses.  From 2007 – 2009, Pixar excelled at this risk-taking in the field of animated family films.  They proudly made a movie about a rat and artistic expression.  They showed no qualms in spending an entire first act on a post-apocalyptic Earth.  They embraced an elderly hero who used his walker as a weapon.  Making a fairy tale with a female protagonist wasn’t groundbreaking, but it was new ground for the revered animation studio.  However, their new film Brave, retreats into the timidity of a standard princess narrative, limits the view of young girls to merely the issues they have with their mothers, and then teaches a weak lesson about communication.  The movie is filled with lush visuals, a nice sense of humor, and a good heart, but there’s not much bravery in Brave.

First Trailer and Poster for Joe Wright’s ANNA KARENINA Starring Keira Knightley, Jude Law and Aaron Johnson

by     Posted 2 years, 181 days ago

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The first trailer and poster for director Joe Wright’s Anna Karenina has been unveiled.  The film is an adaptation of Leo Tolstoy’s classic tome about late 19th century Russian society and stars Keira Knightley an adulterer who questions her happiness.  We knew from Wright’s previous resume (Atonement, Pride & Prejudice, Hanna) that Anna Karenina wouldn’t be a straightforward, boring period piece, and this trailer speaks volumes to the director’s strength as a filmmaker.  The visuals are absolutely gorgeous and he appears to using some truly mesmerizing set design to change the film’s setting in one take.  Knightley, Jude Law and Aaron Johnson all look great, and I’m really looking forward to seeing how Wright’s adaptation plays out in full.

Hit the jump to watch the trailer and check out the poster.  The film also stars Kelly Macdonald, Matthew Macfadyen, Domhnall Gleeson, Emily Watson, Alicia Vikander, Olivia Williams and Ruth WilsonAnna Karenina opens on November 9th.

A Fight Breaks Out Between Suitors in New Clip from Pixar’s BRAVE

by     Posted 2 years, 187 days ago

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A new clip from Pixar’s latest feature Brave has been released.  The story centers on Princess Merida, a young girl who accidentally sets loose an evil curse when she wishes for the freedom to escape her restrictive life.  This clip plays straight to the younger audience for the film, as a brawl breaks out between suitors that are trying to win the hand of Merida.  Slapstick abounds and I sincerely hope this kind of humor doesn’t permeate throughout the entire film.  We’ve come to expect a smarter and more nuanced type of humor from Pixar that skillfully plays to all ages of the audience, and this kind of funny business isn’t exactly striking the right chord with me.  That said, there’s a lot to love in the previous Brave trailers so I’m eager to finally catch the full film.

Hit the jump to watch the clip.  The film features the voices of Kelly Macdonald, Emma Thompson, Billy Connolly, Kevin McKidd, Craig Ferguson, Robbie Coltrane, and Julie Walters. Brave opens in 3D on June 22th.

4 Clips from Pixar’s BRAVE

by     Posted 2 years, 195 days ago

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Four clips from Disney-Pixar’s latest film, Brave, have gone online.  The story centers on Princess Merida, a young girl who accidentally sets loose an evil curse when she wishes for the freedom to escape her restrictive life.  All the footage released from this film has looked excellent, and I’m eager to be whisked away to the Scottish Highlands by another (hopefully) well-crafted and effective story from Pixar.  Moreover, this marks the studio’s first film with a female protagonist and their first fairy tale, so hopefully we’re in for a treat.

Hit the jump to watch the clips.  Brave features the voices of Kelly Macdonald,  Emma Thompson, Billy Connolly, Kevin McKidd, Craig Ferguson, Robbie Coltrane, and Julie Walters. Brave opens in 3D on June 22nd.

Recap of BOARDWALK EMPIRE Academy of Television and Science Panel; Creator Terrence Winter Talks Season Three

by     Posted 2 years, 233 days ago

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The other night, The Academy of Television and Science hosted an exclusive panel with the cast and creator of HBO’s Boardwalk Empire. Boardwalk recounts the rise of the duplicitous Nucky Thompson torn between the political upheaval and criminal birth of the Prohibition.  His rise is cast against the downfall of his surrogate son, Jimmy Darmondy, a War Veteran scarred by his time over there.  It is the tense interplay between the two characters that gave Boardwalk Empire much of its dramatic heft during its first two remarkable seasons – which is probably what made Season Two’s conclusion so… surprising.

During the panel, Steve Buscemi and Michael Pitt discussed the controversial finale, costar Michael Shannon lamented always playing “the crazy person”, and creator Terence Winter previewed Season Three, among many other topics of conversation.  For highlights from the panel (which also included costars Kelly Macdonald, Michael Stuhlbarg, Michael Kenneth Williams, Vincent Piazza and Gretchen Mol) hit the jump.

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