Oscar Beat: What Awards Prospects Does the First Half of 2014 Have to Offer?

by     Posted 105 days ago

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We’ve now passed the halfway point of 2014, and while we dusted off our awards column Oscar Beat to rundown the post-Cannes Film Festival atmosphere back in May, the Oscar season doesn’t begin in earnest until September.  That said, given that fall isn’t the only time of the year that’s considered eligible for awards notice, I thought it fitting to take a look back at the last six months to see what films might pop up in the Oscar conversation later this year.  Read on after the jump.

New to Blu-ray: THE LEGO MOVIE, THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL, HOUSE OF CARDS Season 2, and More

by     Posted 126 days ago

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This week’s new Blu-ray releases include an impossibly great movie based on a line of building blocks, the latest delightful film from Wes Anderson, a critically praised dramatic turn from Nicolas Cage, a documentary about male genitalia, and more.  Briefly:

Wes Anderson’s THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL Goes LEGO Ahead of Its Blu-ray Release

by     Posted 130 days ago

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The Grand Budapest Hotel and The LEGO Movie will both be released on Blu-ray/DVD on Tuesday, so it’s fitting that the two worlds are combining for a LEGO Grand Budapest Hotel. Now before you get your hopes up, this isn’t a set that will be released for consumers (market research shows that kids might not buy products based on Wes Anderson movies; we are failing our children). However, it’s still a remarkable effort from Ryan Ziegelbauer and his team of eight model builders. They spent 575 hours building and designing the replica. The final build has more than 50,000 LEGO bricks, and it will weigh around 150 pounds, stand 7 feet tall, and be 6.5 feet wide. M. Gustave would be proud.

Hit the jump to check out the Grand Budapest Hotel LEGO build video, and click here to pre-order The Grand Budapest Hotel.

Friday Box Office: NOAH Keeps It’s Head Above Water with $15.2 Million Opening

by     Posted 206 days ago

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This weekend will not be a wash for Darren Aronofsky’s Noah.  The controversial biblical epic opened with $15.2 million from 3,500 locations yesterday, including $1.6 million from Thursday pm previews.  That puts Noah on course for close to $44 million through Sunday – well above the $33 million Paramount said it was expecting.  Anything above $43.5 million would also give Russell Crowe the best opening of his career (outside of his supporting turn in Man of Steel).

The weekend’s second major release should also mark a career milestone for star Arnold Schwarzenegger, though not the kind stars typically strive for.  Sabotage – Arnie’s third major release since January 2013 – could end up as his worst debut since Red Sonja, in 1985.  From its 2,486 locations, Sabotage brought in $1.82 million on Friday, which suggests an opening weekend in the $5-$6 million range.  Finally, after two weeks in limited release, director Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel expanded to almost 1,000 locations on Friday, making it into the domestic top five with just under $2.4 million.  We’ll have full details tomorrow.

 Title Friday Total
1.  Noah $15,238,000 $15.2
2.  Divergent $8,100,000 $76.8
3.  Muppets Most Wanted $2,626,000 $24.4
4.  The Grand Budapest Hotel $2,375,000 $18
5.  God’s Not Dead $2,353,000 $15.3

Wes Anderson and Adam Stockhausen Talk THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL, Collaborating on the Film, Creating a Lush Cinematic World, and Varying Aspect Ratios

by     Posted 209 days ago

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The Grand Budapest Hotel, Wes Anderson’s eighth feature film and one of his best, chronicles the bittersweet adventures of Gustave H (Ralph Fiennes), a legendary concierge at a famous European hotel in a fictional country between wars, and Zero Moustafa (Tony Revolori), the lobby boy who became his loyal and devoted friend.  A timeless tale of friendship and honor as well as a kinetic caper in constant motion, the film features an impressive ensemble cast that includes F. Murray Abraham, Mathieu Amalric, Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, Jude Law, Bill Murray, Edward Norton, Saoirse Ronan, Jason Schartzman, Tilda Swinton, Tom Wilkinson and Owen Wilson.

At the film’s recent press day in Los Angeles, Wes Anderson and production designer Adam Stockhausen spoke about how the project first emerged, their collaboration on the vision for the film, how they created a lush cinematic world to invite the audience into, Viennese writer Stefan Zweig’s influence on the film’s multi-layered storytelling style, the selection of memorable books and films Anderson offered the cast during production and the sense of community he fostered on set, using different aspect ratios to tell each story within the larger tale, and one of their favorite scenes directing mobile haystacks.  Check out the Grand Budapest Hotel interview after the jump.

Tony Revolori Talks THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL, Physicality and Pace on Set, Bowling with F. Murray Abrahams, and More

by     Posted 213 days ago

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Tony Revolori, the young star of Wes Anderson’s latest work, The Grand Budapest Hotel, turns in an engaging and memorable performance as Zero Moustafa, the resourceful lobby boy and trusted confident of Monsieur Gustave H (Ralph Fiennes), the fastidious concierge at the center of the story.  Revolori shares a wonderful on-screen chemistry with Fiennes and holds his own with a strong ensemble cast that includes F. Murray Abraham, Mathieu Amalric, Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, Jude Law, Bill Murray, Edward Norton, Saoirse Ronan, Jason Schartzman, Tilda Swinton, Tom Wilkinson and Owen Wilson.

At the film’s recent L.A. press day, Revolori spoke about what it was like to be a part of the Wes Anderson universe, his preparation, working with the amazing cast, the communal family atmosphere Anderson created on set, the specific style of acting, physicality and pace required for the film’s adventure set pieces, the advice Fiennes gave him for his kissing scene with Ronan, the face abuse he endured at the hands of Harvey Keitel in sub-zero weather, bowling with F. Murray Abrahams, and his upcoming Bollywood film, Umrika, directed by Prashant Nair , in which he plays Lalu, a character whose name means smart ass in Hindi.  Check out the interview after the jump:

Jeff Goldblum Talks THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL, Being Part of Wes Anderson’s Universe, Preparing for His Role and Its Challenges, MORTDECAI, and More

by     Posted 215 days ago

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Jeff Goldblum, who first worked with Wes Anderson on The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, was thrilled to reunite with the director again on his new comedy-drama caper, The Grand Budapest Hotel.  Goldblum plays Deputy Vilmos Kovacs, the attorney representing the estate of the late Madame D (Tilda Swinton) whose sudden and mysterious death kicks off the main action of the story and sets in motion a scramble to lay claim to her vast fortune.  The charge is led by her son Dmitri (Adrien Brody), the film’s ruthless and darkly comic main villain.  The impressive cast also includes Ralph Fiennes, F. Murray Abraham, Bill Murray, Willem Dafoe, Ed Norton, Jude Law, Jason Schwartzman, Owen Wilson and Tony Revolori.

At the film’s recent press day, Jeff Goldblum spoke about being a part of the Wes Anderson universe, why he considered it a fantastic privilege and found the collaborative experience creatively inspiring, what the rehearsal process was like, his preparation for the role, what he brought to the character, and why he liked the challenge.  He also discussed his recent internet fame, his upcoming film Mortdecai with Johnny Depp, Ewan McGregor, Paul Bettany and Gwyneth Paltrow, and plans to perform with his jazz band at Rockwell in Los Feliz.  Hit the jump to check out the interview.

Movie Theaters Received Instructions on How to Project Wes Anderson’s THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL

by     Posted 222 days ago

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Once upon a time, film projectionists used to be valued employees of movie theaters.  Then movie theater corporations figured out that they could just get Jimmy from the snack bar to run upstairs and press a button before running back down to sell junk food (which is where theaters make most of their money).  Properly projecting a movie isn’t a priority for major theater chains, and so they were sent instructions on how to screen Wes Anderson’s latest film, The Grand Budapest Hotel.  Because the movie uses different aspect ratios, the instructions make it clear on how to frame the picture since it could be understandably confusing due to the shifting frame size.  The instructions also provide the optimal light level, but I assume that will be ignored since theaters cheap out on bulbs (that’s why most 3D movies are so dim).

The Grand Budapest Hotel is a great movie, and I hope theaters will follow these instructions to provide the optimal experience their customers deserve.  The Grand Budapest Hotel is currently playing in New York and L.A., and will open in more major cities this weekend.  Hit the jump to check out the image of the projection instructions.

Oscar Beat: 10 Films That Could End Up in the 2015 Awards Race

by     Posted 227 days ago

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With the recent 86th Academy Awards ceremony, the Oscar race has finally come to a close—for now.  We just spent the past five months here on Oscar Beat deconstructing every inch of the Oscar season, and while we still have quite a while to wait before the next race heats up, now seems like a fine opportunity to take a quick preview of what just might be on tap for next year’s ceremony.  Obviously it’s way too early to take the 2015 Oscar race seriously, but there are plenty of anticipated films slated for release this year that could turn out to be the serious contenders in the next awards race.  After the jump, I preview 10 of the films that might pop up in next year’s Oscar conversation.

THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL Review

by     Posted 228 days ago

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By this point, you know whether or not you love the films of Wes Anderson.  He’s a true auteur with an unmistakable style, and unless he undergoes a radical transformation, his fans and his detractors will remain firmly entrenched.  His latest, The Grand Budapest Hotel, won’t change anyone’s mind about the director nor should it.  The movie is almost the platonic ideal of Wes Anderson picture, and yet it’s free from over-indulgence and self-congratulations.  The film is vibrant, witty, pristine, and a wonder to behold.  While it falls a bit short of the emotional impact of a couple of his other movies, Anderson has still crafted a captivating mixture of magic and melancholy.

Willem Dafoe and Jeff Goldblum Talk THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL, the Wes Anderson Experience, Preparing for the Role, and More

by     Posted 228 days ago

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I love everything about Wes Anderson movies.  From the way he creates unique worlds to the unusual characters that occupy the screen, Anderson is a one-of-a-kind filmmaker that always makes something special.  His newest film, The Grand Budapest Hotel, just premiered at the Berlin Film Festival and it continues his streak of making exceptional films.  The story mostly takes place in early 20th-century and revolves around the goings-on at a famous European hotel where a legendary concierge (Ralph Fiennes) mentors a young employee (Tony Revolori) against the backdrop of a changing continent.  The film also stars Saoirse RonanBill MurrayF. Murray AbrahamEdward NortonMathieu AmalricAdrien BrodyWillem DafoeLea SeydouxJeff GoldblumJason SchwarztmanJude LawTilda SwintonHarvey KeitelTom Wilkinson, and Owen Wilson.  For more on the film, watch 13 minutes of behind-the-scenes footage and here’s all our previous coverage.

The day after the world premiere, I participated in a great roundtable interview with Willem Dafoe and Jeff Goldblum  in Berlin.  They talked about the Wes Anderson experience, preparing for their roles, Dafoe’s look in the film, if the way they prepare for a role has changed over the years, their reaction to the finished film, and so much more.  Hit the jump for what they had to say. The Grand Budapest Hotel is now playing in limited release.

Wes Anderson Talks THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL, the Film’s Cast, His Aesthetic, Shifting Aspect Ratios, and More

by     Posted 239 days ago

wes-anderson-the-grand-budapest-hotel-interview-slice

I love everything about Wes Anderson movies.  From the way he creates unique worlds to the unusual characters that occupy the screen, Anderson is a one-of-a-kind filmmaker that always makes something special.  His newest film, The Grand Budapest Hotel, just premiered at the Berlin Film Festival and it continues his streak of making exceptional films.  The story mostly takes place in early 20th-century and revolves around the goings-on at a famous European hotel where a legendary concierge (Ralph Fiennes) mentors a young employee (Tony Revolori) against the backdrop of a changing continent.  The film also stars Saoirse RonanBill MurrayF. Murray AbrahamEdward NortonMathieu AmalricAdrien BrodyWillem DafoeLea SeydouxJeff GoldblumJason SchwarztmanJude LawTilda SwintonHarvey KeitelTom Wilkinson, and Owen Wilson.  For more on the film, watch 13 minutes of behind-the-scenes footage and here’s all our previous coverage.

The day after the world premiere, I participated in a great roundtable interview with Anderson in Berlin.  He talked about where the idea for Grand Budapest Hotel came from, the film’s cast, choosing the locations for his films, his signature aesthetic, the various aspect ratios used in the film and his reasoning behind them, how budget has influenced or possibly changed any of his scripts, and so much more.  It’s a great interview so hit the jump for what he had to say.  The Grand Budapest Hotel opens March 7th.

Watch: 13 Minutes of Behind-the-Scenes Footage from Wes Anderson’s THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL

by     Posted 242 days ago

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Fox Searchlight has released an extended behind the scenes look at writer/director Wes Anderson’s new film The Grand Budapest Hotel by way of some b-roll footage.  The story takes place in early 20th-century Hungary and revolves around the goings-on at the titular hotel where a legendary concierge (Ralph Fiennes) mentors a young employee (Tony Revolori).  The film premiered to rave reviews at the Berlin Film Festival earlier this month, and this b-roll offers a look at Anderson’s directorial process on set.  If you missed any of Steve’s coverage from Berlin, be sure to check out his video blog reaction and interviews with Ralph Fiennes and Bill Murray.

Hit the jump to watch the behind-the-scenes footage.  The film also stars Saoirse Ronan, F. Murray AbrahamEdward NortonMathieu AmalricAdrien BrodyWillem DafoeLea SeydouxJeff GoldblumJason SchwarztmanJude LawTilda SwintonHarvey KeitelTom Wilkinson, and Owen WilsonThe Grand Budapest Hotel opens in limited release on March 7th.

BLACK COAL, THIN ICE Wins Golden Bear at Berlin Film Festival; THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL Takes Silver Bear Grand Jury Prize

by     Posted 248 days ago

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The 2014 Berlin Film Festival awards were announced today. The Chinese production Black Coal, Thin Ice won the Golden Bear for Best Film and star Liao Fan won Best Actor.  Wes Anderson‘s latest, The Grand Budapest Hotel, took home the Silver Bear Grand Jury Prize.  The Alfred Bauer Prize that honors “a feature film that opens new perspectives” went to Alain ResnaisLife of Riley.  Richard Linklater was awarded Best Director for his decade-long undertaking Boyhood.

Check out Steve’s video blog from the festival here and see the full list of awards after the break.

Berlin Film Festival Video Blog: SNOWPIERCER, ’71, BLIND, and THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL

by     Posted 249 days ago

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Over the past week, I got to attend the Berlin Film Festival for the first time.  Unlike Sundance and the Toronto International Film Festival, which feel like they take over their host cities, Berlin’s film festival feels like an intimate event.  The reason I say this is due to the size of the city.  Berlin is massive.  It sort of feels like the Los Angeles of Germany because of the distance from end to end.  However, in one small area of the city, Potsdamer Platz to be exact, the world comes together to celebrate film.  In those surrounding blocks, you can see the best of world cinema and watch excited fans attempt to catch glimpses of their favorite actors and directors.

While at the Festival, I caught a few fantastic movies like Bong Joon-ho’s SnowpiercerYann Demange’s ’71, Eskil Vogt’s Blind and Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel.  The other day, before leaving Berlin, I recorded a video blog about the festival and films with Alex from FirstShowing.  Hit the jump for our thoughts.

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