Oscar Beat: Which Awards Contenders Will Emerge from the Fall Film Festival Season?

by     Posted 5 days ago

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Ready or not, the awards season is about to begin.  Every year, Oscar season kicks off with the series of film festivals in late August and early September.  It’s at these festivals—Telluride, Toronto, and Venice—that a hefty number of the year’s Oscar hopefuls debut and begin what they hope will be long and prosperous campaigns.  Four out of the last five Best Picture winners screened at both Telluride and Toronto, and as the festivals are about to start later this week, now felt like a good time to preview the block of awards hopefuls that will be screening since the odds are pretty good that this year’s Best Picture winner will have debuted by mid-September.

Hit the jump for the Fall Film Festival Preview 2014 edition of Oscar Beat.

2014 New York Film Festival Lineup Announced; FOXCATCHER, WHIPLASH, MAPS TO THE STARS, CLOUDS OF SILS MARIA, LISTEN UP PHILIP and More

by     Posted 19 days ago

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The Toronto International Film Festival is fast approaching, so a lot of our attention has been on that, but soon after Toronto wraps, the 2014 New York Film Festival begins, so it’s time to start considering that as well, especially because The Film Society of Lincoln Center just announced the main slate lineup.

I’ll be in New York City covering the event so I’ve already got my eye on the Opening Night Gala selection, Gone Girl, and the Closing Night Gala selection, Birdman or the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance, but now it’s time to make room for more like Bennett Miller’s Cannes 2014 hit, Foxcatcher, Maps to the Stars starring Julianne Moore, Damien Chazelle’s Sundance Film Festival award winner, Whiplash, and more.  Hit the jump to check out the full New York Film Festival lineup.  The festival runs from September 26th – October 12th.

Paul Thomas Anderson’s INHERENT VICE to Have World Premiere at New York Film Festival

by     Posted 44 days ago

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The New York Film Festival made a hell of a first selection by nabbing David Fincher’s Gone Girl as its opening night film, and now the fest’s second selection makes it an even more enticing destination.  Writer/director Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice will have its world premiere at NYFF 2014 on October 4th, as the pic as been selected as the fest’s centerpiece gala.  The Thomas Pynchon adaptation is led by Joaquin Phoenix, with an eclectic cast that also includes Josh Brolin, Reese Witherspoon, and Owen Wilson.  Per THR, NYFF director Kent Jones describes Inherent Vice as “a journey through the past, bringing the texture of the early ‘70s SoCal counterculture back to full-blown life.  It’s a wildly funny, deeply soulful, richly detailed, and altogether stunning movie.”

With the one-two punch of premiering Gone Girl and Inherent Vice, NYFF is giving the traditional festival juggernaut TIFF a run for its money.  Read a synopsis for the book after the jump.  NYFF 2014 runs from September 27th through October 13th, and Inherent Vice opens in limited release on December 12th. 

David Fincher’s GONE GIRL to Open the New York Film Festival

by     Posted 47 days ago

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Director David Fincher’s next film has secured a prime awards debut.  Variety reports that Gone Girl has been selected to open this year’s New York Film Festival—a prestigious honor that usually coincides with the kick-off of an Oscar campaign.  Fincher’s dramatic thriller is an adaptation of the Gillian Flynn novel of the same name and stars Ben Affleck as a man who becomes the prime suspect in his wife’s disappearance.  Fincher has some good experience with NYFF, as his masterful The Social Network premiered there in 2010 and went on to nab a slew of Oscar nominations before it was eventually steamrolled for Best Picture and Best Director by the forgettable The King’s Speech (I’m not bitter, I promise).  More after the jump.

NYFF 2013: HER Review

by     Posted 324 days ago

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We ascribe technology a personality and vice versa.  We say our machines “hate” us when they break down.  Programs illustrate the interests of the user.  Spike Jonze’s Her may seem like an outrageous concept—a man falling in love with a computer—the idea is closer than we think, and its immediacy isn’t just a social concern.  It’s an existential concern as the film attempts to provide the contours of a soul through the absence of a body, a past, and society.  Her is a fragile, delicate movie that requires the audience’s absolute indulgence, but the rewards are some head-spinning questions coupled with a tender, funny, and touching love story.

NYFF 2013: NEBRASKA Review

by     Posted 328 days ago

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In the past, I’ve made jokes about how progress on social issues is inevitable because the people holding antiquated values will die off soon.  Nebraska made me feel a little guilty about those jokes.  I don’t feel guilty because I’ve come to agree with their discriminatory viewpoints, and the movie doesn’t address those kinds of attitudes associated with the red-state heartland.  I feel guilty because I’ve been so casual with the lives of old people who probably never had much to begin with.  With his newest film, director Alexander Payne has created a deeply compassionate picture of elderly life, social decay, economic immobility, and put it into a moving father-son road trip story.  Anchored by strong performances from Bruce Dern, Will Forte, and June Squibb, Nebraska is funny and touching quest to find the good life at the end of life.

New Trailer for THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY Plus the 25-Minute New York Film Festival Press Conference

by     Posted 329 days ago

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20th Century Fox has released a new trailer for The Secret Life of Walter MittyBen Stiller (who also directed the film) stars as a daydreaming Life Magazine employee who has to start going on real adventures in order to track down an elusive photographer (Sean Penn).  Steve and I saw the movie this weekend.  He liked it; I didn’t.  The trailer is a fair representation of the film, and even though it goes through a lot of the plot, the trailer doesn’t really give anything away since everything is so spaced out and mixed up.

Hit the jump to check out the trailer along with the New York Film Festival press conference.  The film also stars Kristen Wiig, Adam Scott, Shirley MacLaine, Kathryn Hahn, and Patton OswaltThe Secret Life of Walter Mitty opens December 25th.

NYFF 2013: THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY Review

by     Posted 331 days ago

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The problem with platitudes is that they may profess a nice sentiment, but the statement tends to be an obvious one, and it will be a fleeting memory by the time you finish reading that t-shirt or bumper sticker.  Platitudes can’t cut deeper and provide a thoughtful, lasting impression that would cause us to seriously take stock of our lives and values.  Ben Stiller’s two-hour platitude, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, may seem like it’s championing bravery and adventure, but the presentation, while initially enjoyable, quickly becomes hollow, frivolous, and overbearing.  It’s a movie where a man’s facial hair defines his character more than his actions.

NYFF 2013: THE IMMIGRANT Review

by     Posted 332 days ago

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There are some settings that don’t quite work with a soft, romantic approach.  There’s no romanticizing child labor or human trafficking or abject poverty.  James Gray’s The Immigrant shows there’s also no romanticizing prostitution in New York City in 1921.  Gray attempts to spin a complicated love triangle though an elegant web, but two of the three main characters get stuck in mushy, bland roles despite the best efforts of the actors.  What’s meant to carry an air of tragedy, damnation, and the hint of redemption ultimately comes off as silly due to Gray’s misguided approach.

NYFF 2013: CAPTAIN PHILLIPS Review

by     Posted 339 days ago

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In the past, director Paul Greengrass has demonstrated a unique and incredible ability to use a documentary-like style that captures the immediacy of a real-life event without ever feeling like a heavy-handed, exploitative dramatization.  Greengrass attempts to bring this approach to his new film, Captain Phillips, but instead of focusing on an event that changed the course of a country, he tries to keep the focus on two men.  Unfortunately, he has no room to maneuver, and his fidelity to Richard Phillips’ story handcuffs the film into a cold procedural.  Strong performances from the lead actors as well Greengrass’ intelligent depiction of neglected people helps draws us in, but the film tries too hard to play up the “thrilling” action, which only highlights how little investment we have in the hostage and his captor.

Full New York Film Festival Lineup Includes INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS, NEBRASKA, THE IMMIGRANT, and More

by     Posted 1 year, 13 days ago

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Each year, the fall film festival season is where studios present their awards fare and kick off months of rigorous campaigning in hopes of Oscar glory.  We recently examined this year’s contenders in the inaugural installment of our new column Oscar Beat, and at the time it appeared that the Toronto International Film Festival was poised to once again be the heavy hitter.  However, the 2013 New York Film Festival has now announced its full lineup, and it definitely gives TIFF a run for its money.

In addition to previously announced films Captain Phillips, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, and Her, NYFF will play host to screenings of Joel and Ethan Coen’s Inside Llewyn Davis, Alexander Payne’s Nebraska, James Gray’s The Immigrant, J.C. Chandor’s All Is Lost, Hayao Miyazaki’s The Wind Rises, and plenty more.  Hit the jump to check out the full lineup.  The 2013 New York Film Festival runs from September 27th – October 13th.

Oscar Beat: The Fall Festival Contenders

by     Posted 1 year, 14 days ago

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It’s that time of year again, folks.  The explosion-filled summer blockbusters will soon be fading from multiplexes, and in will flow a number of smaller, more dramatic films poised to dominate the Oscar conversation as the awards machine gets up and running.  Some will meet high expectations, some will be disappointing, and some will come out of nowhere to take everyone by surprise.  We here at Collider ran a few awards-centric articles last fall that examined the Oscar race as it drew closer, but this year we’re happy to expand our awards coverage to a regular column titled “Oscar Beat.”

We’ll be covering anything and everything Oscar up through the 86th Annual Academy Awards on March 2nd, and if years past are any indication, there will be plenty to discuss.  In our inaugural installment of Oscar Beat, we’ll be taking a look at the upcoming Fall Film Festival circuit, which is where the heavy hitters of awards season traditionally premiere.  Hit the jump for more.

Spike Jonze’s HER to Close New York Film Festival

by     Posted 1 year, 24 days ago

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This year’s New York Film Festival is poised to be bookened by two high-profile premieres.  Last week it was announced that director Paul Greengrass’ real-life dramatic thriller Captain Phillips will open the 2013 New York Film Festival, and today the fest announced that director Spike Jonze’s excellent-looking romance Her will act as the closing film.  Jonze’s pic stars Joaquin Phoenix as a lonely writer who falls in love with his operating system (voiced by Scarlett Johansson), and judging by yesterday’s trailer debut, Her looks to be characteristically offbeat and charming.

The New York Film Festival will also play host to the premiere of Ben Stiller’s directorial feature The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, bringing the current total of bona fide Oscar contenders that will be first seen at the fest to three.  The 2013 New York Film Festival runs from September 27th – October 13th.

Paul Greengrass’ CAPTAIN PHILLIPS to Open New York Film Festival; New Images Released [UPDATED]

by     Posted 1 year, 34 days ago

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Director Paul Greengrass’ upcoming dramatic thriller Captain Phillips has been selected to open the New York Film Festival this year.  The film stars Tom Hanks as real life ship captain Richard Phillips who allowed himself to be taken hostage by Somali pirates in 2009 in exchange for the safety of his crew.  Sony Pictures no doubt has high awards hopes for this one, and a NYFF premiere is a swell way to kick off the film’s awards campaign—Life of Pi premiered at the festival last year, going on to win four Oscars including Best Director.

Hit the jump to check out a few new images from the film, and click here to watch the first trailer.  Captain Phillips opens in theaters on October 11th. [Update: We've updated the article with high-resolution versions of the images.]

Ang Lee Talks LIFE OF PI, the Difficulty of Getting the Project Off the Ground, 3D as a New Artistic Form, Deleted Scenes and More

by     Posted 1 year, 332 days ago

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Last week at the New York Film Festival, I saw one of my favorite films of the year:  Ang Lee‘s Life of Pi.  Based on Yann Martel‘s “unfilmable” 2001 novel, the story centers on a young man (Suraj Sharma) who is stranded at sea with a Bengal tiger following a shipwreck.  Loaded with a great script, fantastic direction, amazing cinematography and CGI, and 3D that actually helps tell the story, Life of Pi’s universal message of hope, courage, and spirituality is sure to connect with audiences and critics alike when it opens in late November.  The film will definitely be up for a number of year-end awards.  For more on the film, here’s all our previous coverage.

The day after the world premiere I got to sit down with Ang Lee for an exclusive interview.  We talked about what it was like to premiere the film at the NYFF, the lightning-fast Twitter reactions, whether he ever thought Life of Pi wouldn’t get made given the difficult road to production, how the eventual budget reduction changed the film, deleted scenes and the length of his first cut, the challenges of filming in 3D, whether he’ll use 3D on his future projects, how close the film is to completion (he still has 90 visual effects shots that aren’t done), future projects, and whether there’s a genre he hasn’t tackled yet that he still wants to work in.  Hit the jump for the video and transcript.

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