With a production budget in the neighborhood of $150 million and a worldwide pull of just under $50 million entering its second weekend, it’s probably fair to say that White House Down will ultimately be seen by the powers that be as a bust. Blame its proximity to the similarly themed Olympus Has Fallen (which, on the whole, received similar critical reaction but comparatively more box office success) if you will, but having watched and enjoyed the heck out of the film last night I believe at least some of the blame lies at the feet of Sony’s marketing. Whereas Fallen was packaged, and ultimately delivered, as a dead serious action/thriller, I don’t think White House Down marketing did enough to prep its potential audience members for the over-the-top, often times ridiculous, self-aware genre piece they would encounter. The best examples I can give to support this theory are the multiple scenes that left me laughing out loud while the majority of my fellow moviegoers sat quietly, unsure whether the movie was actually asking them to laugh with it or was just that silly and contrived. It’s possible that I’m going Roland Emmerich and co. too much credit, but I went with the former every single time and ended up having a great time with the film as a result.
All White House drama aside, this week’s Top 5 includes a slew of interviews from The Lone Ranger with Johnny Depp and more, a list of 15 movies from the first half of 2013 that you may have missed but definitely deserve a look, Christian Bale insisting that he is not involved with the Justice League movie in any way, The Way, Way Back interviews with Steve Carell and more, and a look at our most anticipated movies from July to September.
Hard to believe we’re already half-way through 2013. What’s even more surprising is the number of quality films from the first half of the year that flew under the radar. Want some quirky horror? Check out John Dies at the End and 100 Bloody Acres. Looking for the newest efforts from some up-and-coming writer-directors? How about Zal Batmanglij’s The East or Quentin Dupieux’s Wrong? Perhaps historical dramas like No, Lore and Kon-Tiki are more your style. Whatever your interest, 2013 surely has a film for you, you just might have missed it. Hit the jump for 15 movies from 2013 that deserve another look.
Here’s a look at this week’s new Blu-ray releases:
Gael Garcia Bernal stars in NO, an epic David and Goliath story penned by Pedro Peirano about a brash young Chilean adman, René Saavedra, who spearheads a campaign to defeat dictator Augusto Pinochet and set Chile free during the country’s 1988 referendum. The film is the final part of a trilogy which director Pablo Larraín began with Tony Manero in 2008 and followed with Post Mortem in 2010. NO has been nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film and opens in theaters on February 15th.
At the film’s recent press day, Larraín and Bernal talked about their smart and engaging political thriller inspired by actual events, how the film reflects their own social conscience and political sensibilities, why it resonates with other political events occurring throughout the world today, how they came up with a distinct lo-fi concept for the film’s unique visual style, how the film has been received in Chile, their reaction to the Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Language Film, and Larraín’s next project which might just be a futuristic film. Hit the jump to read more:
The nominations for the 85th Academy Awards have been announced, and it’s quite a whirlwind of nominees. As expected, Lincoln landed the most nominations with 12, followed with Ang Lee’s Life of Pi which nabbed 11. The big story here, though, is the Best Director category. Shockingly, only two (two!) of the DGA nominees for Best Director made the Oscar cut: Ang Lee and Steven Spielberg. The rest of the category was filled out by Benh Zeitlin for Beasts of the Southern Wild, David O. Russell for Silver Linings Playbook, and Michael Haneke for Amour. It was almost guaranteed that Ben Affleck and Kathryn Bigelow would be landing nominations for Argo and Zero Dark Thirty, respectively, but shockingly neither made the cut. Apparently those films just directed themselves. Based off today’s nominations, it now looks like it’s (surprisingly) down to Lincoln vs. Silver Linings Playbook for the big win.
Hit the jump to check out the list of nominees, and click here to check them against my predictions (somehow I predicted the Best Picture and Supporting Actor categories perfectly). The 85th Academy Awards will take place on February 24th.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences have reduced the number of eligible foreign films to nine. For those who don’t know how the Best Foreign Language Film category works, every foreign country can submit one movie for consideration. That list has now been whittled down to nine movies, and five of these nine will get Oscar nominations. The films on the shortlist are Amour (Austria), War Witch (Canada), No (Chile), A Royal Affair (Denmark), The Intouchables (France), The Deep (Iceland), Kon-Tiki (Norway), Beyond the Hills (Romania), and Sister (Switzerland).
Amour is the frontrunner for the win based on critical acclaim, but I’ll put my money on The Intouchables since I think the Academy will go with the feel-good caretaker movie as opposed to the remind-us-of-our-fragile-mortality caretaker movie.
The first trailer is now available for director Pablo Larrain’s No, a drama centering on the marketing campaign to defeat Chile’s army general and dictator Augusto Pinochet from retaining power in the country’s 1988 referendum. The simple yet strong title comes from the referendum’s choice: “Yes” to retain Pinochet, “No” to boot him out in favor of democracy. Gael Garcia Bernal (The Motorcycle Diaries) plays the advertising executive Rene Saavedra, who used commercial marketing techniques to effectively communicate a political message and provide voters with a counterpoint to official campaign for Pinochet’s retention.
No opens on February 15, 2013. Hit the jump to watch the new trailer.
The latest release date information for the following films:
- Before there was Django Unchained, there was Django, Sergio Corbucci’s 1966 Western starring Franco Nero in the title role. Rialto will re-release Django starting December 21st.
- The George Clooney-directed The Monuments Men, starring Clooney alongside Daniel Craig, Matt Damon and Cate Blanchett, opens December 20, 2013.
- Dustin Hoffman’s directorial debut, Quartet, starring Maggie Smith, Michael Gambon and Billy Connolly, moves from December 28th to January 11, 2013.
Sony Classics has also announced new release dates for:
- Love Is All You Need, starring Pierce Brosnan, opening May 3, 2013.
- At Any Price, with Zac Efron and Dennis Quaid, opening April 26, 2013.
- The Company You Keep, a Robert Redford film starring Redford himself alongside Shia LaBeouf, opens April 5, 2013.
- No, starring Gael Garcia Bernal, will open February 15, 2013.
- The Gatekeepers, a documentary directed by Dror Moreh, opens February 1, 2013.
Hit the jump for synopses and images from each picture.
The Sundance Film Festival recently announced the first round of programming, and we have the first images from a few of the movies playing in the Spotlight category:
- Fill the Void – Written and directed by Rama Burshtein, starring Hadas Yaron, Yiftach Klein, Irit Sheleg, and Chaim Sharir.
- Gangs of Wasseypur – Directed and co-written by Anurag Kashyap, co-written by Zeishan Quadri, starring Manoj Bajpai, Nawazuddin Siddique, Richa Chadda, and Huma Qureshi.
- Mud – Written and directed by Jeff Nichols, starring Matthew McConaughey, Tye Sheridan, Jacob Lofland, and Reese Witherspoon.
- No – Directed by Pablo Larraín, written by Pedro Peirano, starring Gael García Bernal, Alfredo Castro, Antonia Zegers, and Luis Gnecco.
Hit the jump for the images and synopses. The 2013 Sundance Film Festival runs January 17 – 27.
Yesterday the 2013 Sundance Film Festival announced the lineup for films competing in the Dramatic and Documentary categories, and today they’ve unveiled the films that will screen in the Spotlight, Park City at Midnight, and New Frontier programs. Films of note include Take Shelter director Jeff Nichols’ new film Mud starring Matthew McConaughey and Reese Witherspoon, the U.S. premiere of Ben Wheatley’s Sightseers, the Robert Ben Garant/Thomas Lennon comedy Hell Baby, and the horror anthology sequel S-VHS.
Hit the jump to see the full lineup, and click here to check out all of our Sundance coverage thus far. The 2013 Sundance Film Festival runs January 17 – 27.
We’re continuing on with our weeklong preview of the upcoming 85th Academy Awards, and after running down both acting categories it’s time to take look at some of the other races. Today we’ll be looking at the Best Animated Feature, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Original Screenplay categories in depth, and I’ll also make some way-too-early quick picks in the technical categories. The fun begins after the jump.
The line-up for the 2012 Telluride Film Festival has been announced. The program will include Michael Haneke’s Palm d’Or-winning Amour, the Bill Murray-fronted Hyde Park on Hudson, Michael Winterbottom’s Everyday, the Michael Shannon crime thriller The Iceman, Sarah Polley’s Stories We Tell, and many more. The festival will also include some special surprise screenings, with Ben Affleck’s highly anticipated drama Argo rumored to appear. Additionally, the 2012 Silver Medallion Awards will be given to Roger Corman, Marion Cotillard, and Mads Mikkelsen.
Hit the jump to read the full press release which includes the entire line-up. The 2012 Telluride Film Festival runs from August 31 – September 3rd.
The full line-up for the 2012 New York Film Festival has been announced. I’ve been impressed with the line-ups for the Venice Film Festival and the Toronto International Film Festival, but they both have a surprising omission: Michael Haneke‘s Amour, which one the Palme d’Or at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. However, it won’t be bypassing the fall festival circuit entirely, and it will make its North American debut at NYFF. The festival will also open with Ang Lee‘s Life of Pi and Robert Zemeckis‘ Flight. In between, you have other exciting films like David Chase‘s Not Fade Away, Noah Baumbach‘s Frances Ha, Roger Michell‘s Hyde Park on Hudson, Brian de Palma‘s Passion, and more.
Hit the jump for the full line-up. Tickets for the 2012 New York Film Festival go on sale September 9th. The festival runs from September 28 – October 14th.
The line-up for this year’s Toronto International Film Festival has been announced and it is a doozy. The festival will play host to some of the year’s biggest world premieres including Rian Johnson‘s Looper (which will be the festival’s opening night film), The Wachowskis and Tom Tykwer‘s Cloud Atlas, Ben Affleck‘s Argo, David O. Russell‘s The Silver Linings Playbook, Derek Cianfrance‘s The Place Beyond the Pines, Joss Whedon‘s Much Ado About Nothing, Noah Baumbach‘s Frances Ha, and Neil Jordan‘s Byzantium. Films making their International/North American debuts (which means that they’ll like show up at the Venice Film Festival first) include Terrence Malick‘s To the Wonder, Joe Wright‘s Anna Karenina, Robert Redford‘s The Company You Keep, and Billy Bob Thornton‘s Jayne Mansfield’s Car.
Hit the jump for the first wave of announced films. The 2012 Toronto International Film Festival runs from September 6 – 16th.