Oscar Beat: The Best Supporting Actor Race at a Glance

by     Posted 12 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.

AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON Reshoots Set for January to Add More Action; AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR – PART 1 and 2 to Shoot Back-to-Back

by     Posted 17 days ago

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Although it will have the most visual effects shots of any Marvel movie, Avengers: Age of Ultron reshoots have been schedule for January to add more action to the upcoming superhero blockbuster.  As we previously reported, Marvel has 12 VFX vendors in five to seven different countries working on over 3,000 visual effects shots, so they’ll be staying busy since more action in today’s blockbuster marketplace almost always means more VFX whether it’s doing green screen work, cleaning up shots, adding touich-ups, or perhaps going for something even a slightly bigger, although I assume if Marvel has anything truly spectacular, they’ve already started working on it.  For example, they wouldn’t throw in the vaunted Hulk vs. Hulkbuster Armor fight in with only five months to go before the film opens.

Hit the jump for more.  Avengers: Age of Ultron opens in 3D on May 1, 2015, and stars Robert Downey Jr.Chris EvansScarlett JohanssonChris HemsworthMark RuffaloJeremy RennerJames SpaderElizabeth OlsenAaron Taylor-JohnsonPaul BettanyDon CheadleAndy Serkis and Samuel L. Jackson. [Spoilers Ahead]

Andy Serkis Says He Worked With Dancers to Give Ultron Life In AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON and Used Weights to Turn Mark Ruffalo Into the Hulk

by     Posted 20 days ago

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Now that we’ve seen the extended trailer, we know that Avengers: Age of Ultron will be bigger than its predecessor and, seemingly, much more cinematic.  We’ve also got a good sense of what James Spader‘s Ultron will look and act like (which was sort of a mystery to people like me who haven’t read many Marvel comics).  Andy Serkis, who we all know at this point as the reigning celebrity of motion capture (as well as narrator of the new Star Wars trailer), worked a lot on the character as well and helped shape his movements.  He recently discussed that process, along with what it takes to make Mark Ruffalo look like the Hulk.

Hit the jump to check out Serkis’ comments on the mo-cap in Avengers: Age of Ultron.  The film opens in 3D on May 1, 2015 and also stars Robert Downey Jr.Chris EvansScarlett JohanssonChris Hemsworth, Jeremy RennerElizabeth OlsenAaron Taylor-JohnsonPaul BettanyDon CheadleAndy Serkis and Samuel L. Jackson.

NOW YOU SEE ME 2 Title Revealed

by     Posted 23 days ago

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2013’s Now You See Me was one of those quiet box office successes that kind of flew under the radar.  The magician-centric heist picture didn’t garner great reviews, but it opened to a solid $29.3 million and went on to gross $351.7 million worldwide.  With an international hit on its hands, Lionsgate/Summit unsurprisingly put the wheels in motion for a sequel.  G.I. Joe: Retaliation director Jon M. Chu takes over from previous helmer Louis Leterrier this time around with the entire main cast returning plus Daniel Radcliffe, Lizzy Caplan, and Jay Chou (The Green Hornet).  And now that filming is set to get underway soon, star Mark Ruffalo has revealed the official Now You See Me 2 title: Now You See Me: The Second Act.  More after the jump.

FOXCATCHER Review

by     Posted 34 days ago

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[This is a re-post of my Foxcatcher review from the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival.  The film opens today in limited release.]

For those who aspire to be champions, it’s a horrible thing to know you’ll never be the best. Successful people will engender only envy and further self-loathing. You will only see your weakness. You will live in shadows. Bennett Miller’s Foxcatcher is an incredibly sad and poignant portrait of two men desperate for greatness they’ll never achieve, and destroyed by the failings they’ll always feel. They can lie about confidence, achievements, and relationships, but there’s no escape. Led by astounding performances from Channing Tatum, Steve Carell, and Mark Ruffalo, Miller has created a quiet, brooding picture of doubt, depression, and destruction.

Go Behind the Scenes of AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON with a New Featurette Showing off the Sequel’s Massive Scope

by     Posted 36 days ago

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Following today’s extended trailer, an Avengers: Age of Ultron featurette has been released, and it goes behind the scenes of the highly-anticipated blockbuster.  It’s very cool to see how the production puts together their big set pieces, and it was also neat to see some of the practical effects like real pyrotechnics going off in the background mixed with live-action stunt doubles being yanked around.  The featurette also reveals that they’re shooting in more distant locations than ever before (Italy, South Africa, and Seoul), the first sequence they shot was Hulk versus Iron Man’s Hulkbuster Armor, and to quote Joss Whedon, “Mass destruction: Check. Superheroes check: Check.  Beautiful locations: Check.”

Hit the jump to check out the Avengers: Age of Ultron featurette.  The film opens in 3D on May 1, 2015 and stars Robert Downey Jr.Chris EvansScarlett JohanssonChris HemsworthMark RuffaloJeremy RennerJames SpaderElizabeth OlsenAaron Taylor-JohnsonPaul BettanyDon CheadleAndy Serkis and Samuel L. Jackson.

Poster Round-Up: Michael Mann’s BLACKHAT, Bennett Miller’s FOXCATCHER, and Alex Garland’s EX MACHINA

by     Posted 50 days ago

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Some new posters have landed online.  Briefly:

  • BlackhatChris Hemsworth‘s head looms large in the poster Michael Mann‘s upcoming film about cyberterrorism.  The movie opens January 16, 2015 also stars Viola Davis, Tang Wei, and Wang Leehom.
  • FoxcatcherSteve Carell takes center stage as the creepy John du Pont in Bennett Miller‘s tragic story of ambition and failure.  The film opens November 14th, and also stars Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo.  Click here to read my review from TIFF.
  • Ex MachinaAlicia Vikander has a case of robot-neck in the U.K. poster for Alex Garland‘s new sci-fi film.  The movie opens on April 10, 2015, and also stars Oscar Isaac and Domhnall Gleeson. [We've added the U.S. teaser poster as well as the official synopsis]

Hit the jump to check out the posters.

Marvel Says No Black Widow or Hulk Standalone Films in the Works

by     Posted 51 days ago

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Marvel Studios announced a number of new additions to the Marvel Cinematic Universe earlier today, but it also confirmed a couple of characters that won’t be getting their own movies anytime soon.  The studio has long talked about the possibility of a standlone Black Widow movie starring Scarlett Johansson, but Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige was always non-committal about the prospect.  The same can be said for Hulk, who was successfully rebooted in The Avengers thanks to Mark Ruffalo and Joss Whedon.  The character was a standout in the 2012 superhero team-up movie, and fans began asking when we might see a new Hulk movie from Marvel.  Feige made similar comments about that prospect, saying it was a possibility but that nothing was in the works at the moment.

And now, on the cusp of new Marvel films like Ant-Man, Doctor Strange, Captain Marvel, Black Panther, and Inhumans, Feige says there will not be a Black Widow movie nor a Hulk movie anytime soon.  More after the jump.

Mark Ruffalo Talks More Hulk, Bruce’s Relationship with Tony, Fighting the Hulkbuster, The Vision, and More on the Set of AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON

by     Posted 51 days ago

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When Joss Whedon’s Avengers: Age of Ultron was filming in London last summer, I got to visit the set along with a few other reporters.   Like most Marvel set visits, they let us talk to the entire cast and watch filming.  While the production was guarded about what they were willing to tell us, we learned a ton of cool secrets behind what’s bound to be one of the biggest films of 2015.  In The Avengers sequel, Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Captain America (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) reunite to stop Ultron (James Spader) from carrying out his sinister plan.  “Uneasy alliances and unexpected action pave the way for an epic and unique global adventure.”  The film also stars  Elizabeth Olsen, Aaron Taylor-JohnsonPaul BettanyDon Cheadle,Andy Serkis, and Samuel L. Jackson.

While on set, I participated in a group interview with Mark Ruffalo.  He talked about Bruce’s relationship with Tony, fighting the Hulkbuster, The Vision, Bruce’s relationship with Black Widow, what Scarlet Witch brings to the table, whether Hulk has any cool one-liners, and a lot more.  Hit the jump to read or listen to what he had to say.

AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON Concept Art Reveals James Spader’s Ultimate Form

by     Posted 55 days ago

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After the unexpected trailer release this week, we sort of got the idea of what Avengers: Age of Ultron would look like.  But what we didn’t get was a super clear image of Ultron’s final design in the film (most of the footage of him appears to center on his incomplete form).  But now some concept art has hit that rectifies that issue.  In the film, Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Captain America (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) reunite to stop Ultron (James Spader) “from enacting his terrible plans, and soon uneasy alliances and unexpected action pave the way for an epic and unique global adventure.”

Elizabeth Olsen, Aaron Taylor-JohnsonPaul BettanyDon CheadleAndy Serkis, and Samuel L. Jackson also star in the sequel directed by Joss Whedon.  Avengers: Age of Ultron opens May 1, 2015.  Check out the concept art after the jump.  I’d consider this a light spoiler

Awards Season Has Begun: BOYHOOD Leads Gotham Award Nominees; FOXCATCHER Stars Receive Special Jury Award

by     Posted 56 days ago

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And here we go.  The 2014 Awards Season has begun, and it begins with Richard Linklater‘s Boyhood leading with four nominations from the Gotham Awards.  Linklater’s terrific film picked up nominations for Best Feature, Ethan Hawke (Best Actor), Patricia Arquette (Best Actress), and Ellar Coltrane (Breakthrough Performance).  Also of note was Oscar Isaac receiving a Best Actor nomination for A Most Violent Year even though it has yet to be screened for the public (it will debut at AFI Fest next month).  Finally, I’m very amused that rather than choose between nominating Steve Carell, Channing Tatum, and Mark Ruffalo for Foxcatcher, they received a Special Jury Award jointly for their performances.  That’s one way to do it.

It’s also worth noting that the Gotham Awards mean next to nothing in the overall awards race.  They have the distinction of being the starting gun, but I’m glad they’re continuing to honor worthwhile movies.  Hit the jump for the full list of nominees.  Winners will be announced on December 1st.

New FOXCATCHER Images Highlight the Quiet Intensity of Bennett Miller’s Dark Drama

by     Posted 58 days ago

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A batch of new Foxcatcher images have landed online from director Bennett Miller’s (Capote) upcoming dark drama, and they do an excellent job of evoking the tone of the film.  Steve Carell stars as John du Pont, an eccentric millionaire who decided to host an Olympic Wrestling training camp on his grounds despite having no experience with the sport himself.  The crux of the film revolves around du Pont’s relationship with Olympic Champion brothers Mark Schultz (Channing Tatum) and Dave Schultz (Mark Ruffalo), and in particular du Pont’s mentorship of the younger brother Mark, who lived in the shadow of his more successful brother.  I caught the film at TIFF and it’s magnificent.  The performances by Carell, Tatum, and Ruffalo are positively transcendent, as each actor wholly disappears into his role.  Don’t miss this one, folks.

Hit the jump to take a look at the new Foxcatcher images, and click here to read Matt’s review.  The film also stars Sienna Miller, Anthony Michael Hall, and Vanessa RedgraveFoxcatcher opens in theaters on November 14th.

New Full-Length FOXCATCHER Trailer: Steve Carell Leads Dark, Odd True Story Drama from Director Bennett Miller

by     Posted 65 days ago

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Sony Pictures Classics has released a new Foxcatcher trailer for Capote and Moneyball director Bennett Miller’s upcoming drama.  The film tells the true story of Olympic Wrestling Champion brothers Mark Schultz (Channing Tatum) and Dave Schultz (Mark Ruffalo), and their troubled relationship with eccentric millionaire John du Pont (Steve Carell).  This trailer is really the first full-length one we’ve seen from the film, and it gives a nice overview of the story while also teasing out the terrific performances.  I caught the film at TIFF and it’s astoundingly good, with Tatum, Carell, and Ruffalo all turning in career-best work as the lead trio.  It’s a quiet film and one that demands attention and patience, but I think Miller has done a fantastic job of crafting what’s essentially a dark, strange, and sometimes funny character study.

Hit the jump to watch the new Foxcatcher trailer and click here to read Matt’s review from TIFF.  The film also stars Sienna Miller, Anthony Michael Hall, and Vanessa RedgraveFoxcatcher opens in theaters on November 14th.

The Films of David Fincher: ZODIAC

by     Posted 82 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.]

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.

Filming Begins on Thomas McCarthy’s SPOTLIGHT Starring Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber, and Stanley Tucci

by     Posted 84 days ago

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Principal photography on Spotlight, the next movie from writer/director Thomas McCarthy (The Visitor), began today in Boston.  Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber, Stanley Tucci, John Slattery, Brian d’Arcy James, Billy Crudup, and Jamey Sheridan star in the drama.  The script by McCarthy and Josh Singer (The Fifth Estate) centers on the Boston Globe investigative team who in 2001 fought “to expose the Boston Archdiocese’s systemic cover up of sexual abuse of children by ordained priests.”

Hit the jump for the press release with all the details.

Click Here