2014 Writers Guild Nominations Include HER, DALLAS BUYERS CLUB, WOLF OF WALL STREET, and LONE SURVIVOR

by     Posted 325 days ago

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The Oscar precursors are in full swing.  Yesterday we got a look at the nominations for the Producers Guild Awards—a solid predictor for the Best Picture Oscar category—and today the Writers Guild of America has unveiled its nominations for the 2014 awards.  The Best Original Screenplay nominees include Nebraska, Her, and American Hustle, while the Best Adapted category is filled out by the likes of Before Midnight, Captain Phillips, and The Wolf of Wall Street.  The major surprise in today’s WGA announcements is the inclusion of Peter Berg’s Lone Survivor script for Best Adapted Screenplay and the befuddling absence of Joel and Ethan Coen’s Inside Llewyn Davis for Original Screenplay.

Hit the jump for more, including the full list of WGA nominations and my analysis with regards to what this means for Oscar.  The 2014 WGA Awards will be held on February 1st.

Los Angeles, Boston, and New York Online Critics Announce Awards; HER and GRAVITY Tie for Best Picture in LA Awards

by     Posted 351 days ago

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The critics group awards are off and running.  Last week we saw the New York Film Critics Circle, the National Board of Review, and the Boston Online Critics announce their annual awards, and today we have three more groups to add to the pile.  12 Years a Slave won Best Picture in the Boston and New York Online groups, but the Los Angeles voting resulted in a tie for Best Picture between Gravity and HerAlfonso Cuaron took Best Director in the Los Angeles and New York Film Critics Online awards, while Boston went for 12 Years a Slave’s Steve McQueen.  While many votes seemed to be in line with early predictions, James Franco shared the Best Supporting Actor moniker in the Los Angeles group for his work in Spring Breakers.

If there’s one takeaway from the critics group awards we’ve seen thus far, it’s that Spike Jonze’s Her has a heavy amount of love in the film community, which could very well translate to Oscar.  Hit the jump to read the full list of winners for all three groups, as well as the runners up for the L.A. and Boston awards.

National Board of Review Names HER Best Film of the Year; GRAVITY, PRISONERS, and WOLF OF WALL STREET Land in Top 10

by     Posted 355 days ago

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The critics awards are off and running after the New York Film Critics Circle announced its picks for the best of the year yesterday, and today the National Board of Review has named Her the best picture of 2013.  Spike Jonze was also named Best Director for the film, while the acting honors went to Bruce Dern (Nebraska), Emma Thompson (Saving Mr. Banks), Will Forte (Nebraska), and Octavia Spencer (Fruitvale Station).  Always an eclectic list, the NBR’s Top 10 includes The Wolf of Wall Street, Gravity, Lone Survivor, and Prisoners.  Wholly absent from the Top 10 is the NYFCC’s pick for Best Film, American Hustle.

The NBR winner for Best Picture has failed to match up with Oscar since 2008’s Slumdog Millionaire, as last year’s award went to Zero Dark Thirty, but for the past 13 years every NBR winner has landed a Best Picture nomination, so this bodes well for Her‘s Oscar prospects.  Read the full list of NBR winners after the jump.

New York Film Critics Circle Names AMERICAN HUSTLE Best Film; Robert Redford, Cate Blanchett, and Jennifer Lawrence Win Acting Honors

by     Posted 356 days ago

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The “awards” portion of this year’s awards season has officially begun.  The New York Film Critics Circle is always the first critics group out of the gate, and today they named American Hustle the best film of the year.  The move comes as a slight surprise given that Hustle only first screened a week ago and 12 Years a Slave and Gravity have been the Best Picture frontrunners for the past few months, but the awards race may be in for a twist.  Steve McQueen was awarded Best Director for 12 Years a Slave, Robert Redford took Best Actor for All Is Lost, and Cate Blanchett began what’s sure to be an awards season sweep of Best Actress trophies.  American Hustle picked up three awards in total, including Best Supporting Actress for Jennifer Lawrence and Best Screenplay.  The excellent Blue Is the Warmest Color was named Best Foreign Film, and Stories We Tell won Best Documentary.

Hit the jump to see the full list of winners and for my commentary on what this means for the coming Oscar season.

Best Documentary Shortlist Announced; Includes THE ACT OF KILLING, STORIES WE TELL, and 20 FEET FROM STARDOM

by     Posted 356 days ago

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The Academy’s rules for Best Documentary are so arbitrary and asinine that I always hold my breath when it comes to their shortlist.  A list of final nominees is frustrating in any category, but it’s infuriating when a good film doesn’t even get a chance to compete.  Thankfully, there are plenty of good choices among this year’s shortlist.  The films eligible for a Best Documentary Oscar nomination include The Act of Killing (I’d be ballistic if this wasn’t in the running; my review), Cutie and the Boxer, God Loves Uganda, Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer, Stories We Tell (my review, although the movie didn’t hold up as well on a repeat viewing), and 20 Feet From Stardom (my review).  If you have HBO GO, you can check out Pussy Riot along with other shortlisted docs The Crash Reel, First Cousin Once Removed, and Life According to Sam.  As far as snubs go, I wish Casting By was in the running, but considering that it directly criticizes the Academy for not having an award for casting directors, I’m not surprised by its exclusion.

Hit the jump for the full shortlist.  Nominations for the 86th Academy Awards will be announced on January 16th.

Sarah Polley Talks STORIES WE TELL, Bringing This Narrative to Audiences, Her Voice as a Filmmaker, and More

by     Posted 1 year, 194 days ago

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From filmmaker/actress Sarah Polley, Stories We Tell investigates the search for truth, as told by a family of storytellers who paint a portrait of a complicated but deeply loving family.  As each interview subject relates their version of the family mythology, they attempt to uncover the secrets of their mother, who departed too soon and with too many unanswered questions.

At the film’s press day, Sarah Polley talked about the value in getting this narrative out to audiences, what was most important for her to get right with this story, what the film did for her personally and how she felt when it was complete, whether everything in the film is factual, how she wanted to account for her own voice as the filmmaker, and the process of taking breaks in shooting to edit the material she already had.  Check out what she had to say after the jump, and be aware that there are some spoilers.

10 Indie Films to Check Out This Summer

by     Posted 1 year, 205 days ago

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Blockbusters dominate the summer movie season, and some will definitely be worth your time.  You’ll pre-order your ticket, get together with friends for the earliest possible screening, and probably have a grand time.  But there are some smaller films this summer that shouldn’t escape your attention.  I’ve compiled a list of ten worthwhile indie films I saw at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival, the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, and SXSW 2013.  The list includes coming of age comedies, moving romances, brutal dramas, and more.  There are other smaller films this summer that might be worth a look such as The Bling Ring and Blue Jasmine, but I haven’t seen them yet.  I can vouch for these ten.  Hit the jump for the list.

Trailer and Poster for Sarah Polley’s Documentary STORIES WE TELL

by     Posted 1 year, 264 days ago

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Roadside Attractions has released the trailer and poster for Sarah Polley‘s terrific documentary, Stories We Tell.  In the film, Polley pieces together interviews from her family as she tries to learn about her deceased mother and the affair that resulted in Polley’s search for her biological father.  Polley cleverly puts together various storytelling devices, and even includes her non-biological father reading a narrative of his memories and perceptions relating to his wife’s infidelity.  I caught the movie at TIFF last year, and it’s a deeply moving picture.  I hope that this trailer, which doesn’t give away any of the surprising twists and turns, will convince people to seek out the picture.

Hit the jump to checkout the trailer and poster.  Stories We Tell opens in New York on May 10th and in select cities on May 17th.

2013 Sundance Film Festival Announces Lineups for Spotlight, Park City at Midnight, and New Frontier Programs Including MUD, HELL BABY, and S-VHS

by     Posted 1 year, 359 days ago

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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.

Lionsgate Nabs Kristen Wiig’s IMOGENE and Sex Addict Comedy THANKS FOR SHARING, Roadside Picks Up STORIES WE TELL, and IFC Eyes BYZANTIUM

by     Posted 2 years, 73 days ago

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We’ve got a few acquisition stories regarding films screening at the Toronton Film Festival to share this afternoon.  Briefly:

  • Lionsgate has acquired U.S. distribution rights to the comedy Imogene, which stars Kristen Wiig, Annette Bening, Matt Dillon and Darren Criss.
  • Lionsgate also picked up the sex addict dramedy Thanks for Sharing starring Mark Ruffalo, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Tim Robbins, directed by The Kids Are All Right scribe Stuart Blumberg.
  • Roadside Attractions has acquired the U.S. rights to Sarah Polley’s (Take This Waltz) much buzzed-about documentary Stories We Tell.
  • IFC Films picked up director Neil Jordan’s (Interview with the Vampire) vampire drama Byzantium, starring Gemma Arterton and Saoirse Ronan.

Hit the jump for more details.

TIFF 2012: STORIES WE TELL Review

by     Posted 2 years, 77 days ago

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Stories are meant to bring us to some larger truth even if the story isn’t 100% accurate.  Fidelity is not a good in and of itself.  There’s complexity to fidelity, both in narrative and in love, and it’s this fascinating combination that provides the dramatic pull in Sarah Polley‘s sweet and thoughtful documentary, Stories We Tell.  In an attempt to explore her own family’s history—in particular, the story of her parentage—she uncovers the difficulties in reconciling her desire to tell the truth and the limitations of any storytelling form.  Her best attempt is to provide a colorful kaleidoscope of remembrances from family, friends, and acquaintances, and at the center is a touching story about a daughter trying to understand her parents, both adoptive and biological.

Line-Up Announced for 2012 Telluride Film Festival

by     Posted 2 years, 85 days ago

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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.

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