CAPTAIN PHILLIPS Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 54 days ago

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Paul Greengrass has thread the needle with Captain Phillips.  The director has achieved box office successes with his Bourne movies (Supremacy and Ultimatum), but with this film he is able to incorporate his “you are there” faux-documentary approach to a real life story in a way that was appealing to the masses.  Perhaps it helps that Tom Hanks is his star, as there is no greater everyman working in cinema today.  My review of Captain Phillips on Blu-ray follows after the jump. 

Paul Greengrass Courted to Direct Sony’s David Ignatius Adaptation THE DIRECTOR

by     Posted 91 days ago

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Sony Pictures has won an intense bidding war for author David Ignatius’ upcoming spy novel The Director, and the studio is hoping to stay in business with Captain Phillips director Paul Greengrass on the project.  The Wrap reports that Scott Rudin is producing the pic for Sony, and both the studio and Rudin are hoping to attach Greengrass as the director.  Rudin worked with Greengrass on Captain Phillips and that film is poised to land some major Oscar nominations tomorrow, so the pairing on The Director wouldn’t be a stretch.  Ignatius’ spy novel kicks off when a newly appointed CIA director is faced with the possibility that the agency may have been hacked.  The director then enlists a computer-savvy agent to conduct a mole hunt in Europe and the U.S.

Greengrass has yet to choose a follow-up project to Captain Phillips, and while he continues to develop his MLK drama Memphis, he recently stated that it wouldn’t be his next film. We should hear something more concrete about his future plans once the awards madness dies down.  Hit the jump to read a synopsis of Ignatius’ novel.

Adam Predicts the 2014 Oscar Nominees

by     Posted 92 days ago

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Well, folks, the time has finally come.  I’ve been covering this year’s awards season since last fall when we launched our awards column Oscar Beat, and after running through the ups and downs of the season thus far, it’s now time to predict which films, performances, screenplays, and other cinematic achievements from 2013 the Academy will choose to single out.  I feel very confident about some of my choices while others feel like more of a crapshoot.  One thing’s for sure: this has been quite an interesting season thus far, and there’s still no consensus with regards to some of the big winners.

Hit the jump as I take a stab at predicting the 2014 Oscar nominees.  The nominations will be announced at 5:30am PST on January 16th.

Directors Guild Nominations Include Alfonso Cuaron, Martin Scorsese, Steve McQueen, Paul Greengrass, and David O. Russell

by     Posted 99 days ago

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The Directors Guild of America has unveiled its list of 2014 nominees, and it’s stacked with heavy hitters.  The nominees for the 2014 DGA Award are Alfonso Cuaron for Gravity, Paul Greengrass for Captain Phillips, Steve McQueen for 12 Years a Slave, David O. Russell for American Hustle, and Martin Scorsese for The Wolf of Wall Street.  This is pretty much what we expected, with Spike Jonze (Her) and Alexander Payne (Nebraska) acting as alternates, but we now have a complete shutout from the four major guilds (DGA, PGA, SAG, and WGA) for Joel and Ethan Coen’s Inside Llewyn Davis.

The DGA nominations don’t typically match up 5-for-5 with the Oscar Best Director nominations, as there’s normally one slot that is switched up when the Oscar nods come around.  Except for last year, when they went 2-for-5 and presumed frontrunners Kathryn Bigelow and Ben Affleck failed to land Oscar nods after nabbing DGA nominations.  To read my full analysis of the nominations, click here.  The 2014 DGA Awards will be held January 25th.

12 YEARS A SLAVE and AMERICAN HUSTLE Lead Critics Choice Award Nominations

by     Posted 121 days ago

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The Broadcast Film Critics Association has unveiled its list of nominees for the upcoming Critics’ Choice Movie Awards, and 12 Years a Slave and American Hustle lead the pack with 13 nominations each—though three of Hustle’s nominations come from “Comedy” categories.  The BFCA added some genre categories last year for Action, Sci-Fi/Horror, and Comedy, so the list of nominations is a bit more diverse than those we’ve seen previously.  That being said, Brie Larson made the overall Best Actress cut for her excellent turn in Short Term 12, and it’s nice to finally see The World’s End and star Simon Pegg getting some attention (nicer still that BFCA recognizes actual comedies in the Best Comedy category, unlike the Golden Globes).  Other notable additions include Scarlett Johansson nabbing a Best Supporting Actress nod for her voice-only role in Her and Christian Bale landing a Best Actor nomination for the aforementioned American Hustle.

Hit the jump to check out the full list of nominations and to find out how closely the Critics’ Choice Awards correlate with Oscar.  The 19th annual Critics’ Choice Movie Awards will be held on January 16, 2014.

Oscar Beat: The Best Director Race – Is the Cuaron vs. McQueen Showdown Inevitable?

by     Posted 139 days ago

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The Best Director Oscar category quite often mirrors the Best Picture category, with the winners in both matching up year after year.  That being said, it’s not wholly uncommon to see a split for one reason or another—in fact, it’s happened 22 times.  Sometimes the director of the Best Picture winner gets snubbed out of a nomination (see: Ben Affleck), sometimes heavy backdoor campaigning results in a split (see: Shakespeare in Love take Best Picture and Saving Private Ryan getting Best Director), and sometimes the Academy is simply not willing to award difficult material the grand prize (see: Brokeback Mountain losing Best Picture).  This year, however, we have a different scenario that could simply be boiled down to an incredibly tough choice: two excellent, groundbreaking films that both showcase directing at its finest.

The Best Picture showdown appears to be 12 Years a Slave vs. Gravity, and that same showdown is mirrored in the Best Director race.  Will there be a split?  Can someone like Paul Greengrass or David O. Russell pull an upset?  After the jump, we take a look at the current state of the Best Director race in the latest installment of Oscar Beat

Warner Bros. Reportedly Eyeing Paul Greengrass to Take Over THE STAND

by     Posted 141 days ago

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Warner Bros.’ adaptation of the Stephen King novel The Stand has gone through plenty of ups and downs over the past few years, and it just recently lost its director—again.  Scott Cooper (Out of the Furnace) joins Ben Affleck and David Yates on the list of filmmakers who were at one point attached to tackle the post-apocalyptic tale but bowed out for one reason or another.  It’s a difficult adaptation for sure, but Warner Bros. is still aiming high for the property, as Captain Phillips helmer Paul Greengrass currently tops the list of candidates the studio is keen on taking over the project.  Hit the jump for more.

Watch: Directors Roundtable with Alfonso Cuaron, Paul Greengrass, Ben Stiller, Steve McQueen, David O. Russell, and Lee Daniels

by     Posted 153 days ago

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One of the genuinely good things to come out of the awards season campaigning each year is THR’s roundtable interview series.  The trade brings together a group from each major branch of the Academy to discuss a wide range of topics, and what ensues is usually a candid and enlightening conversation with some of the best filmmakers, actors, and writers working today.  The latest video is a directors roundtable with Alfonso Cuaron (Gravity), Paul Greengrass (Captain Phillips), Ben Stiller (The Secret Life of Walter Mitty), Steve McQueen (12 Years a Slave), David O. Russell (American Hustle), and Lee Daniels (Lee Daniels’ The Butler).  It’s yet another fascinating discussion and well worth a watch.

Hit the jump to watch the full hourlong conversation, which covers everything from changes during filming, bad studio notes, disappointing experiences (Cuaron talks frankly about Great Expectations), and more.  Russell even reveals that he’s written “an emotional horror film” that Eli Roth intends to direct.  To catch up on all of Collider’s awards coverage, peruse our recent Oscar Beat articles right here.

Producer Dana Brunetti Talks CAPTAIN PHILLIPS, Landing the Rights, Deleted Scenes, Changing the Ending, and More

by     Posted 154 days ago

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While you might not know the name Dana Brunetti, you’ve definitely seen some of his work.  Over the past few years, Brunetti has helped produce a number of cool and varied projects like 21, House of CardsCaptain PhillipsFanboysThe Social Network, and Casino Jack (just to name a few), and next year he’s helping to bring 50 Shades of Greyto movie screens.  Not a bad ten year run.

Last week I sat down with Brunetti for an extended video interview.  Since we talked about so many projects, I’m breaking up the conversation into smaller parts.  Yesterday I posted what he said about Netflix’s House of Cards, and today it’s about Captain Phillips.   During the interview he talked about working with Mike De Luca and Kevin Spacey to acquire the rights to Phillips’ story, his first meetings with Phillips, the challenge of getting a studio onboard, landing Paul Greengrass as the director, how they initially had a longer cut of the film, a big and expensive alternate ending that was filmed chronicling Phillips’ homecoming, other changes to the film including more of Catherine Keener‘s character, and a lot more.  Hit the jump to watch.

Oscar Beat: Box Office, Best Picture, and GRAVITY

by     Posted 179 days ago

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Though it’s only October, we’re already in the thick of awards season.  We’ve seen frontrunners emerge from the fall festival circuit, and now some of the year’s potential heavy hitters are starting to open in theaters, providing some hard data for the all-important “audience reception” factor in the Oscar race.  Gravity emerged as a potential frontrunner for a number of awards—including Best Picture—when it screened at the Toronto International Film Festival, Venice, and Telluride earlier this year, and now the film can add “box office hit” to its resume, as the pic opened to a record-breaking $55.5 million in its first weekend and only dropped an incredible 21% in its second weekend.

In today’s edition of Oscar Beat, we examine the importance of box office in the Oscar race and what this means for Gravity and the other awards contenders going forward.  Additionally, I update my predictions to reflect movements in the recent weeks.  Hit the jump to read on.

Director Paul Greengrass Addresses CAPTAIN PHILLIPS Inaccuracy Claims

by     Posted 180 days ago

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With every awards season comes early frontrunners, and with those frontrunners come smear tactics used by the competing studios that attempt to knock the current top film off its pedestal.  These can either be very obviously manufactured like Harvey Weinstein’s whisper campaign against Saving Private Ryan (“it’s all downhill after the first 20 minutes”), or just merely a consequence of a film’s high-profile status that rival studios seize upon.

We’ve already started to see the claws come out for this year’s frontrunners, and one issue currently plaguing director Paul Greengrass’ terrific dramatic thriller Captain Phillips is claims of inaccuracy that throw the titular character’s hero status into question.  Greengrass has now responded to said claims in a rather lengthy response.  Hit the jump for much more.

TOP 5: CAPTAIN PHILLIPS, THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY, Lost Episodes of DOCTOR WHO, AMERICAN HUSTLE, Tarantino’s Top 10 Films of 2013 So Far

by     Posted 186 days ago

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Having missed it during its highly successful theatrical run, I made an early trip to the video store (remember those?) this past Tuesday to pick up The Purge on Blu-ray. Like many, I was intrigued by the premise of a dystopian future America in which an annual night of crime-free killing known as “The Purge” is the key to the new U.S. of A.’s unprecedented prosperity. For an elevator pitch, my last sentence is intriguing stuff that leaves you wanting to know more about the world created by writer/director James DeMonaco. Unfortunately, I found the stellar logline to be the best thing going for The Purge as a majority of the film’s execution felt flat. I cared little to nothing about the Sandin family, was taken out of the movie during long stretches of characters searching aimlessly around the house with a flashlight, and felt the pic exchanged discernible commentary on societal violence for an all-out bloodbath that was not as much scary as it was a welcomed break from said extensive flashlight searching. Final verdict? Watch The Purge for the interesting premise, but don’t expect much in the way of scares or social commentary.

All new to home video discussion aside, this week’s Top 5 is filled to the brim with Captain Phillips interviews with Tom Hanks and more, a new trailer for Ben Stiller‘s The Secret Life of Walter Mitty including Matt and Steve’s impressions of the film, 106 lost episodes of Doctor Who potentially popping up in Ethiopia, a new trailer for David O. Russell‘s American Hustle, and Quentin Tarantino‘s top 10 films of 2013 to date. As you may be expecting, a brief recap and link to each of the above awaits after the jump.

CAPTAIN PHILLIPS Review

by     Posted 187 days ago

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[This is a re-post of my review from the 2013 New York Film Festival.  Captain Phillips opens today.]

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.

Director Paul Greengrass and Star Barkhad Abdi Talk CAPTAIN PHILLIPS, Telling the True-Life Tale, Working with Tom Hanks, and More

by     Posted 188 days ago

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The intense drama Captain Phillips tells the story of the 2009 hijacking of the U.S. container ship Maersk Alabama by a crew of Somali pirates.  During the ordeal, commanding officer Captain Richard Phillips (Tom Hanks) managed to keep his crew safe, but was taken hostage by Somali pirate captain, Muse (Barkhad Abdi), and forced into the middle of a stand-off with the U.S. Navy.

At the film’s press day, Collider got the opportunity to do a video interview with accomplished director Paul Greengrass and actor Barkhad Abdi, who gives a very impressive performance in his first feature film role.  They talked about why they each wanted to be a part of telling this story, and what they hope audiences take away from the film.  Greengrass also talked about why it’s one of the great Tom Hanks performances, and how long the assembly cut was.  Hit the jump to watch. 

NYFF 2013: CAPTAIN PHILLIPS Review

by     Posted 201 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.

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