For Your Consideration: This Year’s Oscar-Worthy, Overlooked Films, Performances, and Screenplays

by     Posted 210 days ago

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As part of Collider’s new column, Oscar Beat, I’ve been covering the in’s and the out’s of this year’s awards race for the past few months.  While there are plenty of excellent films contending for a number of different awards, there are also a number of films that, for one reason or another, don’t fit the “Oscar mold” but deserve recognition all the same.  The Academy is loathe to recognize any kind of comedic work despite the fact that the “Best Actor” or “Best Picture” categories lack disclaimers that would disqualify genres other than drama, and smaller pictures have a hard time drumming up support against the studio-backed fare.

After the jump, I run down a number of films, performances, and screenplays from 2013 that are deserving of awards attention despite failing to drum up serious support.

12 YEARS A SLAVE and NEBRASKA Top 2014 Independent Spirit Awards Nominations

by     Posted 240 days ago

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The 2014 Independent Spirit Awards nominations have been announced, and director Steve McQueen’s excellent drama 12 Years a Slave tops the nominees with seven nods, including Best Feature, Best Director, and Best Actor.  Nebraska is not far behind with six nominations, and the Robert Redford drama All Is Lost also did well with four nods.  The much-beloved Short Term 12 failed to land a Best Feature nomination, but Primer director Shane Carruth’s twisty second feature Upstream Color landed nods for Best Director and Best Editing.  The Best Actor category is a strong mirror of the very tight Oscar race in the same category, and the wonderful Shailene Woodley and Brie Larson nabbed Best Actress nominations for The Spectacular Now and Short Term 12, respectively.

Hit the jump for the full list of nominations and additional commentary.  The Independent Spirit Awards will be hosted on March 1, 2014.

THE SPECTACULAR NOW Screenwriters Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber to Adapt ME BEFORE YOU

by     Posted 274 days ago

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Screenwriters Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber penned one of the best adaptations this year with The Spectacular Now.  They’re also attached to adapt Amor TowlesThe Rules Of Civility, Maria Semple’s Where’d You Go, Bernadette, and John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars.  Now they’ve got another book to adapt with Jojo Moyes’ best-selling novel Me Before You.  Per Deadline, the story is about “a young English woman hired as the caretaker for an affluent Londoner paralyzed in an accident. Both are surprised by how the relationship blossoms.”  That sounds a lot like The Intouchables but with a romantic angle.  I’m also going to say that since the plot synopsis for the book made me gag (Never write “A Love Story for this generation,”), this movie probably won’t be for me.

Hit the jump to for the full synopsis of Moyes’ Me Before You.

Emma Watson to Reteam with PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER Director Stephen Chbosky on WHILE WE’RE YOUNG

by     Posted 287 days ago

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Emma Watson is poised to reteam with The Perks of Being a Wallflower writer/director Stephen Chbosky on another adaptation.  While Chbosky adapted Perks from his own novel, Deadline reports that the director has now signed on to helm an adaptation of Adena Halpern’s book 29, which will be titled While We’re Young.  The book revolves around a young-at-heart 75-year-old named Ellie who feels she has more in common with her 29-year-old granddaughter Lucy than her 55-year-old daughter Barbara.  On her birthday, Ellie wishes she could be 29 again for just one day, and is surprised to find that the wish magically comes true.  The story explores three generations of women and how one day changes everything they know about each other.

While the premise sounds a tad saccharine, so did the logline for Perks and Chbosky crafted that film into a mature, emotional, and honest look at young life; he’s more than earned the benefit of the doubt.  Hit the jump for more. 

Nancy Meyers to Direct Untitled UK-Set Comedy for Sony

by     Posted 1 year, 135 days ago

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Writer/director Nancy Meyers is going across the pond for her next film.  The director behind Something’s Gotta Give, The Holiday, and It’s Complicated has closed a deal with Sony Pictures to direct an untitled comedy that takes place in the UK.  The story centers on an American woman whose life “gets turned upside down when she begins dating a very unlikely man.”  Per Deadline, the pic will feature an entirely British cast save for the female lead, and was originally written by (500) Days of Summer scribes Michael Weber and Scott Neustadter.  Meyers rewrote the screenplay and will also produce alongside Matt Tolmach.

Though the premise seems simple enough, Meyers has a knack for turning out interesting character dynamics.  Meyers is also attached to direct two other projects for Paramount—The Intern with Tina Fey and The Chelsea with Felicity Jones—but we haven’t heard much about those films since last spring. Though no further details are known with regards to this new untitled project, one assumes the film will have a ridiculously nice kitchen.

THE SPECTACULAR NOW Scribes Scott Neustadter and Michael Weber to Tackle RULES OF CIVILITY

by     Posted 1 year, 141 days ago

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The screenwriting duo behind (500) Days of Summer and The Spectacular Now are set to tackle another adaptation.  Scott Neustadter and Michael Weber will pen Lionsgate’s production of Amor Towles’ Rules of Civility.  The novel centers on a young woman living in Greenwich Village in 1937 who is thrust into New York’s high society after a chance encounter that grows into a year-long journey.  Published in 2011, Rules of Civility quickly drew comparisons to F. Scott Fitzgerald and Truman Capote for its similar themes.  Hit the jump for more.

Black List 2012 Winners Announced; Includes TRANSCENDENCE Plus Biopics of Hillary Clinton and Dr. Seuss

by     Posted 1 year, 218 days ago

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The 2012 Black List has been released.  For those unfamiliar with the Black List, it’s usually described as a list of the most-liked unproduced screenplays circling Hollywood even though A) the list is promoted by people who have a vested interest in making sure the script gets into development so this is more of a sales technique than a serious evaluation; B) some of these scripts are in production.  In the case of the latter, Transcendence is in pre-production with Oscar-winning cinematographer Wally Pifster directing and Johnny Depp attached to star.  The highest-ranked film, Draft Day, is currently in turnaround with Kevin Costner set to star and Ivan Reitman on board to direct.

Noteworthy inclusions on the list are biopics of Hillary Clinton and Dr. Seuss as well as screenplays from Jeremy Slater (Fantastic Four reboot), Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber ((500) Days of Summer), Eric Heisserer (Final Destination 5), Zack Whedon (Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog), and more.  Hit the jump for the full list.

(500) DAYS OF SUMMER Scribes Tapped to Adapt THE FAULT IN OUR STARS

by     Posted 2 years, 117 days ago

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Screenwriters Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber have been tapped to adapt John Green’s critically hailed novel The Fault in Our Stars. The story centers on two cancer-stricken teens that meet in a support group and develop a relationship. The novel follows the two through the ups and downs of their disease, as they embolden each other to face an uncertain future. Deadline reports that Fox 2000 and producers Wyck Godfrey and Marty Bowen have set the (500) Days of Summer screenwriters to pen the adaptation.

I’ve heard nothing but great things about Green’s novel, so this should come as good news to fans of the book. Given how they successfully blended comedy and drama with Summer, Neustadter and Weber seem a nice fit to tackle this challenging material. The two recently scripted the period comedy Rosaline, which tells the Romeo and Juliet story from the point of view of Romeo’s jilted ex-lover. Mildred Pierce helmer Michael Suscy is set to direct that film with Lily Collins, Deborah Ann Woll and Dave Franco poised to star. The duo also adapted the teen-skewing The Spectacular Now for producer Shawn Levy. Hit the jump to read a synopsis for The Fault in Our Stars.

Casting Call: Breslin to Star in THE CLASS PROJECT; Knightley and Collins Eyed for Lead in ROMEO & JULIET Re-Imagining, ROSALINE

by     Posted 2 years, 341 days ago

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We have a couple quick casting stories for you this afternoon.  First up, Abigail Breslin has signed on to star in the dark indie drama The Class Project.  Per Variety, “Story follows two sisters who, tired of their mother’s alcoholism and her abusive boyfriends, take matters into their own hands and plot to kill her.”  I want to make fun of that logline, but it actually sounds like an intriguing premise and a nice development for the Little Miss Sunshine star.  Stan Brooks will direct from a script by Fabrizio Filippo and Adam Till.  Shooting begins later this month.

Breslin recently did some voice acting for Gore Verbinski’s Rango and she’ll next be seen in Gerry Marshall’s massive romantic comedy New Year’s Eve.  Hit the jump for casting news on the Romeo & Juliet spinoff/re-imagining, Rosaline.

Thomas McDonnell to Star in Producer Shawn Levy’s THE SPECTACULAR NOW; 500 DAYS OF SUMMER Writing Team to Adapt

by     Posted 3 years, 181 days ago

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Actor Thomas McDonnell (The Forbidden Kingdom, Prom) has been tapped to play the lead in director Lee Toland Krieger’s (The Vicious Kind) adaptation of Tim Tharp’s novel The Spectacular Now. The project has been gestating for a few years, with Summer helmer Marc Webb working on it before he went off to work on the Spider-Man reboot.  Variety reports that Shawn Levy (Real Steel) will produce, with the script being written by the writing team behind (500) Days of Summer, Scott Neustadter and Michael Weber. The story revolves around a wild, hard-drinking hard-partying high-school senior who starts dating a shy, insecure girl who ends up changing his life. Hit the jump to read the synopsis of the novel.

Shawn Levy to Produce Revisionist Romeo and Juliet Story from (500) DAYS OF SUMMER Scribes

by     Posted 3 years, 253 days ago

It’s been a few years since we’ve seen a “hip” take on a Shakespeare classic, so we were due.  Shawn Levy, director/producer of Date Night and the upcoming Real Steel, has made a deal with Fox 2000 to produce an update of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, adapted from the novel Rosaline by Rebecca Serle .  Deadline reports that “this is a contemporary version set in a high school, and the famed story is told from the vantage point of Rosaline, the jilted ex-girlfriend of Romeo.” Scott Neustadter and Michael Weber will be writing the screenplay for the film.

Neustadter and Weber also wrote the refreshingly original (500) Days of Summer, as well as the less than refreshingly original Pink Panther 2.  Levy recently wrapped filming the Steven Spielberg-produced action/sci-fi flick Real Steel, with Hugh Jackman playing the lead.  Hit the jump for a bit more on the film.

ABC Looks Into Pilots For HOPSCOTCH And FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS

by     Posted 4 years, 303 days ago

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Sometimes it feels like I open ABC’s home page, and there’s a new show there to greet me, or more often than not, two. Well, now there are two new shows, and they’re not “Defying Gravity” or “Flash Forward.” Variety reports that ABC is toying around with pilots for Jerry Bruckheimer’s drama “Hopscotch” and David Dobkins (“Wedding Crashers”) comedy “Friends With Benefits.” More on the two shows and the various names attached to them after the jump.

(500) DAYS OF SUMMER Review

by     Posted 5 years, 8 days ago

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As the narrator of “(500) Days of Summer” tells us in its opening, “This is not a love story.”  That may be but it’s certainly one that’s in love with its own storytelling.  The biggest frustration is that while that storytelling is phenomenal, the story it’s telling is thin, unemotional, and isn’t worthy of Marc Webb’s brilliant direction.

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