New to Blu-ray: THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY, RIDE ALONG, REALITY BITES: 20th Anniversary Edition, and More

by     Posted 247 days ago

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This week’s new Blu-ray releases include two directorial projects from Ben Stiller (one from 1994 and one from 2013), a recent Best Picture Oscar nominee, a surprise comedy hit, a directorial effort from Sam Rockwell, and more.  Briefly:

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

by     Posted 344 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.

Weekend Box Office: THE HOBBIT 2 Back on Top on 2013′s Final Weekend

by     Posted 354 days ago

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The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug pulled off a narrow victory over Disney’s Frozen on 2013’s final frame, making it just the second title of the year to spend three weeks on top of the domestic box office.  Smaug now equals the Christmas run (by ranking at least) of An Unexpected Journey, the first installment in The Hobbit trilogy.

 Title Weekend Total
1.  The Hobbit 2 $29,850,000 $190.3
2.  Frozen $28,845,000 $248.3
3.  Anchorman 2 $20,150,000 $83.6
4.  American Hustle $19,550,000 $60
5.  The Wolf of Wall Street $18,510,000 $34.3
6.  Saving Mr. Banks $14,020,000 $37.8
7.  Secret Life of Walter Mitty $13,000,000 $25.5
8.  Catching Fire $10,200,000 $391.1
9.  47 Ronin $9,870,000 $20.5
10.  A Madea Christmas $7,400,000 $43.7

Friday Box Office: FROZEN Takes First From THE HOBBIT 2; New Releases Struggling

by     Posted 355 days ago

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We’ve seen five new releases in three last three days, but not one of them are playing for first place this weekend.  In fact, only one of them made it into Friday’s top five (The Wolf of Wall Street), and two of them missed the top ten altogether.  The real action this weekend is between blockbuster holdovers The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug and Frozen.  Estimates put Disney in front on Friday, though it looks like Bilbo may still be able to pull off a third weekend on top of the domestic box office.  Here’s a look at the top ten, as of Friday’s estimates.

 Title Friday Total
1.  Frozen $10,254,000 $229.8
2.  The Hobbit 2 $10,110,000 $170.5
3.  Anchorman 2 $7,143,000 $71.1
4.  American Hustle $6,400,000 $46.8
5.  The Wolf of Wall Street $6,257,000 $22
6.  Saving Mr. Banks $4,721,000 $28.5
7.  Secret Life of Walter Mitty $4,540,000 $17.1
8.  Catching Fire $3,400,000 $384.3
9.  47 Ronin $3,400,000 $14.1
10.  Walking With Dinosaurs $2,500,000 $16.1

Details after the jump.

Kristen Wiig Talks THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY, Working with Ben Stiller, How She Prepares for a Role, Future Projects, and More

by     Posted 356 days ago

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Now playing in theaters is Ben Stiller‘s latest directorial effort The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.  In the film, Stiller stars as the eponymous LIFE Magazine negative asset manager who, incapable of standing up for himself in the real world, retreats to a fantasy where he becomes his poised, confident opposite.  On his quest, he seeks to find a missing image taken by a photographer played by Sean Penn.  The movie also stars Kristen Wiig as his love interest, and Adam ScottShirley MacLainePatton Oswalt, and Kathryn Hahn.  While Stiller is known for his great work behind the camera on Tropic Thunder and ZoolanderWalter Mitty is definitely his most adult effort to date and the film is a beautiful look at life.

At the New York City press day, I landed a video interview with Kristen Wiig.  She talked about working for Ben Stiller, how it was a cool project because it’s not just a comedy or a drama, how she prepares for a role, other projects like Anchorman 2, How to Train Your Dragon 2 and the possibility of a MacGruber sequel, and more.  Hit the jump to watch

Year in Review: Top 10 Trailers of 2013

by     Posted 358 days ago

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Yesterday, I listed my Top 10 posters for 2013.  To the casual moviegoer, posters are something passed by in a theater lobby.  They’re in between Auditorium 1 and Auditorium 2.  Trailers, on the other hand, are part of the moviegoing experience.  If you’re at the movie by showtime, you’ve got about 20 minutes of trailers ahead of you.  They’ve become so prevalent, that studios have turned the release of a new trailer into an event.  We now have trailers for trailers, which irks me to no end.  Nevertheless, there’s still something to be said for a well-made trailer.  Like posters, studios make plenty of trailers we’ll never see for one reason or another.  Furthermore, these trailers have to abide by parameters such as available footage, studio wishes, licensing music, etc.  But if it’s done right, a trailer can turn the tide of public opinion and create anticipation for a movie like nothing else.

Hit the jump for my Top 10 trailers of 2013.

THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY Review

by     Posted 359 days ago

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[This is a re-post of my review from the 2013 New York Film Festival.  The Secret Life of Walter Mitty opens tomorrow.]

The problem with platitudes is that they may profess a nice sentiment, but the statement tends to be an obvious one, and it will be a fleeting memory by the time you finish reading that t-shirt or bumper sticker. Platitudes can’t cut deeper and provide a thoughtful, lasting impression that would cause us to seriously take stock of our lives and values. Ben Stiller’s two-hour platitude, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, may seem like it’s championing bravery and adventure, but the presentation, while initially enjoyable, quickly becomes hollow, frivolous, and overbearing. It’s a movie where a man’s facial hair defines his character more than his actions.

Ben Stiller Talks THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY, Balancing the Tone, Deleted Fantasy Sequences, and More

by     Posted 360 days ago

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Opening Christmas Day is Ben Stiller‘s latest directorial effort The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.  In the film, Stiller stars as the eponymous LIFE Magazine negative asset manager who, incapable of standing up for himself in the real world, retreats to a fantasy where he becomes his poised, confident opposite.  On his quest, he seeks to find a missing image taken by a photographer played by Sean Penn.  The movie also stars Kristen Wiig as his love interest, and Adam ScottShirley MacLainePatton Oswalt, and Kathryn Hahn.  While Stiller is known for his great work behind the camera on Tropic Thunder and ZoolanderWalter Mitty is definitely his most adult effort to date and the film is a beautiful look at life.

At the New York City press day, I landed a video interview with Stiller.  He talked about balancing the tone, the length of his assembly cut, deleted fantasy sequences, what will be on the Blu-ray, his desire to direct more often, and more.  Hit the jump to watch

75 Songs Eligible for Best Original Song Oscar Including Tracks from FROZEN, THE GREAT GATSBY, and ANCHORMAN 2

by     Posted 1 year, 2 days ago

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After unveiling the list of scores that will be competing for the Best Original Score Oscar last week, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences has now unveiled the list of 75 songs that are in contention for Best Original Song.  The fantastic “Let It Go” from Frozen is already an early favorite, and five songs are eligible from Baz Luhrmann’s music-heavy The Great Gatsby including “Young and Beautiful” by Lana del Rey and “Over the Love” by Florence and the Machine.  As for pleasant surprises, it would be most excellent to see the emotional rap “So You Know What It’s Like” from Short Term 12 land a nomination.  Upcoming films that have eligible original songs include “Doby” from Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues and “The Moon Song” from Her.

Hit the jump to check out the full list of songs eligible for the Best Original Song Oscar.  The 86th Academy Award nominations will be announced on January 16th, followed by the Oscar ceremony on March 2nd.

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

by     Posted 1 year, 14 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 Trailer and Poster for THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY

by     Posted 1 year, 23 days ago

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20th Century Fox has released a new trailer and poster for Ben Stiller’s upcoming drama The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.  Stiller both directs and stars in the film as a daydreaming Life Magazine employee who has to start going on real adventures in order to track down an elusive photographer (Sean Penn).  This new trailer gets some help from Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” to showcase the titular Mitty’s fantasy sequences, and the visuals in the film remain extremely strong.  The pic had a bit of a polarizing effect on critics (read Matt’s take here and Steve’s take here), but it feels more like a commercial crowd-pleaser than a critical darling.

Hit the jump to check out the new trailer and poster, which is a tad heavy on the photoshop.  The film also stars Adam Scott, Kristen Wiig, Shirley MacLaine, Kathryn Hahn, Patton Oswalt, and Sean PennThe Secret Life of Walter Mitty opens on Christmas Day.

Ben Stiller Discusses His eHarmony Profile in New Clip from THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY

by     Posted 1 year, 26 days ago

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A new clip from Ben Stiller’s latest directorial feature The Secret Life of Walter Mitty has been released online.  Stiller stars in the film as a daydreaming Life Magazine employee who has to start going on real adventures in order to track down an elusive photographer (Sean Penn).  In this new clip, we see Stiller riding a bicycle in a rather gorgeously remote location and discussing his eHarmony profile on the phone with a character played by Patton Oswalt.  The film premiered at the New York Film Festival to a rather mixed response (Steve loved it, while Matt did not), but I’m interested to see more from what looks to be Stiller’s most visually ambitious film yet.

Hit the jump to watch the clip.  The film also stars Kristen WiigAdam ScottShirley MacLaine, and Kathryn Hahn.  The Secret Life of Walter Mitty opens December 25th.

Oscar Beat: Box Office, Best Picture, and GRAVITY

by     Posted 1 year, 60 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.

International Trailer for THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY Starring Ben Stiller

by     Posted 1 year, 65 days ago

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An international trailer has gone online for The Secret Life of Walter MittyBen Stiller (who also directed the film) stars as a daydreaming Life Magazine employee who has to start going on real adventures in order to track down an elusive photographer (Sean Penn).  The international trailer features a little more new footage than the recent new trailer, but it’s still pushing the “uplifting film you’ll see on Christmas” angle.

Hit the jump to check out the international trailer, click here for Steve’s thoughts on the movie, and click here for my review.  The film also stars Kristen Wiig, Patton Oswalt, Shirley MacLaine, Kathryn Hahn, and Adam ScottThe Secret Life of Walter Mitty opens December 25th.

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 1 year, 67 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.

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