SAVING MR. BANKS Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 238 days ago

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Sometimes a movie that screams Academy Award-pedigree just doesn’t score the nominations–let alone the rewards.  Such was the case in 2013 for Saving Mr. Banks, which landed numerous critics’ award nominations but tallied only one Oscar nom (for Best Original Score).  Perhaps that says more about the strength of the then seemingly wide-open Oscar field than the film itself, since Saving Mr. Banks is a thoroughly delightful film.  Hit the jump for my Saving Mr. Banks Blu-ray review.

New to Blu-ray: FROZEN, AMERICAN HUSTLE, SAVING MR. BANKS, and More

by     Posted 277 days ago

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This week’s new Blu-ray releases include an animated Disney box office juggernaut, a major Oscar contender that was shut out at the recent Academy Awards ceremony, the behind-the-scenes story of Mary Poppins, a criminally underseen film about Allen Ginsberg, and more.  Briefly:

2014 Oscar Nominations Announced; AMERICAN HUSTLE and GRAVITY Lead with 10 Nominations Each [Updated with Commentary]

by     Posted 338 days ago

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The nominations for the 86th Academy Awards have been announced. American Hustle and Gravity lead with 10 nominations each, while 12 Years a Slave isn’t too far behind with 9 nominations.  Looking over my predictions, there weren’t actually too many surprises this morning–at least no genuine “snubs” on the scale of Ben Affleck and Kathryn Bigelow last year.  Leonardo DiCaprio and Christian Bale made the Best Actor cut over Robert Redford and Tom HanksHer, Dallas Buyers Club, and Philomena all got Best Picture nominations over Saving Mr. Banks, and Sally Hawkins landed a Best Supporting Actress nomination for her work in Blue Jasmine, seemingly taking Oprah Winfrey‘s spot from Lee Daniels’ The Butler.  Also, the Academy apparently did not take a liking to Saving Mr. Banks, as the film missed out on a Best Picture nomination and a Best Actress nomination for Emma Thompson.

Hit the jump to take a look at the full nominations list.  The 86th Oscars will be broadcast March 2nd on ABC. [Update: I've added my commentary on some of the categories after the jump.]

Adam Predicts the 2014 Oscar Nominees

by     Posted 340 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.

3-Way Tie Leads to Seven Nominations from Cinematographers Society; Costume Designer Guild Nominates Braless Wonder AMERICAN HUSTLE

by     Posted 346 days ago

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The major guilds have all chimed in with their nominees, and as Adam has pointed out in his Oscar Beat column, this gives us a clearer picture of who might be getting Oscar nominations when they’re announced next week.  But it’s important to remember that guilds usually share members with the Academy, and now the American Society of Cinematographers and the Costume Designers Guild have chimed in with their nominees.

If you need proof that 2013 featured some beautifully shot pictures, the ASC ended up nominating seven films instead of five because there was a three-way tie.  As for the costume designers, the plunging necklines of American Hustle earned a nomination as did the also-glamorous The Great Gatsby.  I’m also pleased with the nomination for Her.  One of the things I noticed on my third viewing was the subtle way that designer Casey Storm provided a “futuristic” fashion by having the men wear high wool pants and button the top button of collared shirts.  It’s just another nice touch to a great movie.  Hit the jump for a full list of the nominees from both guilds.

BAFTA Nominations Announced; GRAVITY Leads with 11; AMERICAN HUSTLE and 12 YEARS A SLAVE Follow with 10

by     Posted 346 days ago

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Next week, the Academy will announce the Oscar nominations, but today we have the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) handing out their nods.  Gravity led the pack with 11 nominations including Best Film, Outstanding British Film, Best Director (Alfonso Cuaron), and Best Actress (Sandra Bullock).  Close behind were 12 Years a Slave and American Hustle, which also picked up Best Film nominations.  Additionally, American Hustle was nominated in all of the acting categories with Christian Bale for Best Actor, Amy Adams for Best Actress, Bradley Cooper for Best Supporting Actor, and Jennifer Lawrence for Best Supporting Actress.  Additionally, because Behind the Candelabra was a theatrical release in the U.K., it earned five nominations including Best Supporting Actor (Matt Damon) and Best Adapted Screenplay.  Finally, the Best Director nominees lined up perfectly with yesterday’s DGA nominations.

Hit the jump for the full list of nominees.  The winners will be announced at the EE British Academy Film Awards on Sunday, February 16th.

Oscar Beat: The Guilds Have Spoken, So Where Does This Leave Us for Oscar?

by     Posted 347 days ago

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We’re very, very close to the nominations announcement for the 86th Academy Awards, and now that the various guilds—the Screen Actors Guild, the Producers Guild, the Writers Guild, and the Directors Guild—have announced their nominees, we have a pretty clear picture of what we might expect with regards to Oscar.  As I’ve said before, one of the biggest predictors of how the Academy will vote comes with the guilds, since the guild membership has a strong crossover with Academy membership.  With just over a week to go before the Oscar nominations are announced, now feels like a good time to take a glance at the current landscape to see what films are shaping up to be Oscar favorites, and which films might miss this cut.

Hit the jump to read this latest installment of Oscar Beat in which I take a closer look at this morning’s DGA nominations, offer an overview of which films have landed the most nods from the various guilds, and what that means for Oscar.

Jason Schwartzman Talks SAVING MR. BANKS, Learning to Play MARY POPPINS Songs, and What He Learned Musically from the Composer He Plays

by     Posted 360 days ago

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Now playing in theaters is Saving Mr. Banks, the new film from The Blind Side director John Lee Hancock.  Based on a true story, the pic focuses on Walt Disney’s (Tom Hanks) twenty-year pursuit of the film rights to author P.L. Travers’ (Emma Thompson) novel Mary Poppins and the rocky relationship that formed between the two when she finally came to Hollywood.  Loaded with great performances, a strong script, and the first time Walt Disney has been portrayed on screen, Banks is a likely contender for this year’s award season.  The film also stars Paul Giamatti, Bradley Whitford, Jason Schwartzman, B.J. Novak, Annie Rose Buckley, Ruth Wilson, Rachel Griffiths, Kathy Baker, and Colin Farrell.

At the recent Los Angeles press day, I landed an exclusive interview with Schwartzman, who plays Mary Poppins songwriter Richard Sherman.  He talked about how he got involved in the project, the way he prepared for the role, how nervous he was about singing on camera, and a lot more.  Hit the jump for what he had to say.

Oscar Beat: Best Picture – 12 YEARS A SLAVE, GRAVITY, and Everything In Between

by     Posted 363 days ago

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We launched our awards column Oscar Beat earlier this fall, and over the past month or so we’ve been taking an in-depth look at some of the individual Oscar races: Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor, and Best Supporting Actress.  With the holidays approaching and the Oscar nominations poised to be announced in just under a month, now feels like a good time to survey the Best Picture category.  The critics continue to weigh in, and while 12 Years a Slave currently leads with the most “Best Film” wins, the results have surprisingly been a bit all over the place as Gravity, Her, and American Hustle received top honors as well.

Hit the jump to read on as I take a look at the current state of the Best Picture race in this edition of Oscar Beat.

Screenwriter Kelly Marcel Talks SAVING MR. BANKS, Disney’s Reaction to Her Script, 50 SHADES OF GREY, Leaving TERRA NOVA, and More

by     Posted 363 days ago

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Saving Mr. Banks tells the tale of when Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) invited Mary Poppins author P.L. Travers (Emma Thompson) to his studio in Los Angeles in 1961, to discuss his interest in obtaining the movie rights to her beloved book and character.  While there, Travers, who had been resistant for 20 years, spent two weeks uncompromisingly fighting every idea and suggestion, on the road to bringing this classic to the big screen.

During this recent exclusive interview with Collider, screenwriter Kelly Marcel talked about what a daunting task this script was, how she never thought about what would happen to the film if Disney didn’t want to make it, what it was like to wait for the studio’s feedback, her incredible collaboration with director John Lee Hancock (which even included pre and post production), getting to shoot at Disneyland, and having such a great cast of actors bring her words to life.  She also talked about what a crazy whirlwind the last couple of years have been, leaving Terra Nova after she created the show, her collaboration with author E.L. James on the 50 Shades of Grey movie script, and working on The Little Mermaid (from the Hans Christian Andersen book) for director Joe Wright.  Check out what she had to say after the jump.

Weekend Box Office: THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG Stays on Top with $31.4 Million; ANCHORMAN 2 in Second with $26.7 Million

by     Posted 363 days ago

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Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues may have pulled off a (very narrow) victory on Friday, but the weekend treasure remained in Bilbo’s hands.  The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug was down 57% from its debut, earning an estimated $31.4 million and a second frame on top of the domestic box office.  Anchorman 2 came in second with $26.7 million: a softer launch than the sequel’s omnipresent marketing suggested.  Meanwhile, American Hustle and Saving Mr. Banks made their first appearances in the top ten, and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and Thor: The Dark World hit important milestones.

 Title Weekend Total
1.  The Hobbit 2 $31,455,000 $127.5
2.  Anchorman 2 $26,776,000 $40
3.  Frozen $19,163,000 $191.5
4.  American Hustle $19,100,000 $20.2
5.  Saving Mr. Banks $9,321,000 $9.9
6.  Catching Fire $8,750,000 $371.7
7.  A Madea Christmas $8,500,000 $28.3
8.  Walking With Dinosaurs $7,300,000 $7.3
9.  Dhoom 3 $3,305,000 $3.3
10.  Thor: The Dark World $1,328,000 $200.7

Friday Box Office: ANCHORMAN 2 Leads THE HOBBIT 2 For Now; AMERICAN HUSTLE and SAVING MR. BANKS Go Wide

by     Posted 364 days ago

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Tis’ the season of plenty at the box office.  At least eight major titles will open or expand in the seven days before Christmas, with Anchorman 2: The Legend of Ron Burgundy kicking off the festivities last Wednesday.  I’m sure you know by now that Paramount’s sequel is kind of a big deal.  So it made sense that Anchorman 2 got the win on Friday, taking in an estimated $8.7 million from 3,507 locations.  That puts Ron Burgundy on track for about $29 million for the three-day weekend: on par with the original Anchorman’s $28.4 million launch in July 2004.

But that won’t be enough to knock Bilbo off of his weekend throne.  The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug earned an estimated $8.6 million on Friday, and is expected to pull in over $31 million on its sophomore frame.  After earning one of the highest per-screen averages of all-time with its limited launch last weekend, American Hustle claimed an estimated $5.1 million after expanding its run to 2,507 venues.  Also expanding on Friday after its (slightly less impressive) limited bow last week, Disney’s Saving Mr. Banks brought in almost $3 million on its first day in 2,110 locations – well ahead of the $2.1 million Fox’s Walking With Dinosaurs realized from its first day in 3,231 venues.   We’ll have complete details on the weekend box office tomorrow.

 Title Friday Total
1.  Anchorman 2 $8,700,000 $21.9
2.  The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug $8,605,000 $104.6
3.  Frozen $6,300,000 $177.5
4.  American Hustle $5,115,000 $7.4
5.  Saving Mr. Banks $2,963,000 $3.5

Emma Thompson Talks SAVING MR. BANKS, Her Preparation Process, Getting Input from Richard Sherman, Terrence Malick’s VOYAGE OF TIME, More

by     Posted 1 year ago

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Now playing in theaters is Saving Mr. Banks, the new film from The Blind Side director John Lee Hancock.  Based on a true story, the pic focuses on Walt Disney’s (Tom Hanks) twenty-year pursuit of the film rights to author P.L. Travers’ (Emma Thompson) novel Mary Poppins and the rocky relationship that formed between the two when she finally came to Hollywood.  Loaded with great performances, a strong script, and the first time Walt Disney has been portrayed on screen, Banks is a likely contender for this year’s award season.  The film also stars Paul Giamatti, Bradley Whitford, Jason Schwartzman, B.J. Novak, Annie Rose Buckley, Ruth Wilson, Rachel Griffiths, Kathy Baker, and Colin Farrell.

At the recent Los Angeles press day, I landed an exclusive interview with Emma Thompson.  She talked about how she got involved in the project, the way she prepared for the role, getting to talk with Mary Poppins songwriter Richard Sherman about P.L. Travers, and more.  She also talked about how people always want to talk to her about Nanny McPhee and what it was like to work for Terrence Malick and narrate Voyage of Time.

Director John Lee Hancock Talks SAVING MR. BANKS, Why He Takes Time Between Projects, Working with Disney’s Legal Department, and THE AMERICAN CAN

by     Posted 1 year, 2 days ago

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Now playing in limited release and expanding nationwide this weekend is Saving Mr. Banks, the new film from The Blind Side director John Lee Hancock.  Based on a true story, the pic focuses on Walt Disney’s (Tom Hanks) twenty-year pursuit of the film rights to author P.L. Travers’ (Emma Thompson) novel Mary Poppins and the rocky relationship that formed between the two when she finally came to Hollywood.  Loaded with great performances, a strong script, and the first time Walt Disney has been portrayed on screen, Banks is a likely contender for this year’s award season.  The film also stars Paul Giamatti, Bradley Whitford, Jason Schwartzman, B.J. Novak, Annie Rose Buckley, Ruth Wilson, Rachel Griffiths, Kathy Baker, and Colin Farrell.

At the recent Los Angeles press day, I landed an exclusive interview with Hancock.  He talked about why it took him so long to direct another film after The Blind Side, what was it about this project that got him involved, balancing the fiction and non-fiction elements of the story, deleted scenes, what notes did he get from the studio about Walt Disney being near a cigarette on screen, future projects, and a lot more.  Hit the jump for what he had to say.

Colin Farrell Talks SAVING MR. BANKS, How Passionate He Was about Signing On, What He Collects, WINTER’S TALE, MISS JULIE, SOLACE, and More

by     Posted 1 year, 3 days ago

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Now playing in limited release and expanding nationwide this weekend is Saving Mr. Banks, the new film from The Blind Side director John Lee Hancock.  Based on a true story, the pic focuses on Walt Disney’s (Tom Hanks) twenty-year pursuit of the film rights to author P.L. Travers’ (Emma Thompson) novel Mary Poppins and the rocky relationship that formed between the two when she finally came to Hollywood.  Loaded with great performances, a strong script, and the first time Walt Disney has been portrayed on screen, Banks is a likely contender for this year’s award season.  The film also stars Paul Giamatti, Bradley Whitford, Jason Schwartzman, B.J. Novak, Annie Rose Buckley, Ruth Wilson, Rachel Griffiths, Kathy Baker, and Colin Farrell.

At the recent Los Angeles press day, I landed an exclusive interview with Colin Farrell.  He talked about how he got involved in the project, what it was like to work with animals and kids, how he’s changed as an actor, if he likes to switch it up in each take, what he collects, future projects like Akiva Goldsman’s Winter’s Tale,  Solace Miss Julie, and more.  Hit the jump for what he had to say.

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