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Year in Review: 3 of 5
The Prime Prestige Poster Girls
Disturbing Factoid: You're unlikely to spot Kate Winslet or Cate Blanchett on movie screens outside of Oscar season. Of Blanchett's 20 most recent films, a full 50% were released in December. Many from the other 50% were small films in which she had supporting roles. Kate works much less often but of her past 20 films (excluding voice work) 45% of her work debuted in Oscar's favorite month of the year. At this point aren't both of them more accurately described as Oscar Stars than Movie Stars?
In lieu of the traditional annual deep thoughts overview on the 2008 film year, I am opting to get something off of my chest regarding the imbalance of movie distribution. I'm tired of feeling overwhelmed every December. I want a steadier film diet. I am not bulimic and don't enjoy being treated that way by the studios.
I've discussed this »
- NATHANIEL R
"What took you so long?" asks Clint Eastwood, jesting when we tell him this interview will be printed in Back Stage, which has never spoken to him until now. He appeared on the cover in 2003 when the Screen Actors Guild honored him with a Life Achievement Award, but a SAG representative said at the time that he wasn't available to be interviewed. Eastwood looks stricken when he hears this and apologetically explains that the request never got to him. Perhaps that's because although he's one of the most respected filmmakers and actors working today, he prefers not to have a personal publicist. He is a man of seeming practicality and probable frugality. Anyone who works with him will tell you he "takes the B.S. out of filmmaking," as his longtime production designer, the late Henry Bumstead, so bluntly put it. In fact, Eastwood drove himself to our interview. The »
- Jamie Painter Young
Since switching the comment system from one where you need to register to comment to the more traditional and online friendly version I use now there has not only been a Vast increase in comments, but also an increase in mudslinging in my direction. For the most part it's not that much of a problem. I know taste in film differs for everyone, even folks who tend to agree on most every film will always have those films that separate them. It's the wonder of the art form and it's what makes sites like RopeofSilicon.com and all the other movie websites you visit possible. Arguing film has gone on for ages and it will continue to go on long after we're all gone. That said, the mudslinging and overly negative comments have me baffled. They are comments without anything to add to the argument and simply a means to spew vitriol. »
- Brad Brevet
The film, for the BBC's highly-acclaimed Arena series, will feature the Dirty Harry star interviewing the singer, and will include contributions from movie director Martin Scorsese, actor Alec Baldwin, and funnyman Mel Brooks.
Eastwood, a keen pianist, has already produced shows on the Monterey Jazz Festival and musician Thelonious Monk, and has now added the 90-minute Bennett film to his resume.
It will be broadcast by the BBC at a date yet to be announced. »
Michael Musto of the Village Voice isn't the only guru who believes that Clint Eastwood ("Gran Torino") will win best actor at the Oscars. Snooping through The Envelope's Buzzmeter, I see that Anne Thompson of Variety, Jeff Wells of Hollywood-Elsewhere.com and Kris Tapley of InContention.com agree. Thelma Adams of Us Weekly ranks Clint second behind Sean Penn ("Milk"). Hmmmm. Most other pundits rank Clint Eastwood low — down in the fourth position (Sasha Stone of AwardsDaily.com, Lou Lumenick of the New York Post and Ed Douglas of Comingsoon.net) or fifth place (Pete Hammond, Scott Feinberg, Mark Olsen and Patrick Kevin Day of The Envelope, Anthony Breznican of USA Today and Susan Wloszczyna of USA Today. »
"No person or entity associated with this film received payment or anything of value, or entered into any agreement, in connection with the depiction of tobacco products."
In other words: Some of the characters smoke in this movie, but that was our choice. The tobacco industry didn't pay us off.
According to the site Smoke Free Movies, which makes some excellent points but tends to go overboard (they think any film with smoking should automatically be rated R), the disclaimer is a recent addition to Warner Bros. products. It started appearing on Warner DVDs of movies that contain smoking at the beginning of 2008, and was added to smoky theatrical releases this fall. Gran Torino was the first time I'd noticed it, but I don't always stay for the credits. »
- Eric D. Snider
Miss Freida Pinto is the source of love and humility in the bittersweet flick, "Slumdog Millionaire." And now, the 20th Annual Palm Springs International Film Festival will honor the actress with the Breakthrough Performance Award for her performance in the movie.
Congratulations Miss Freida, and click Read More to see the full article, and updated information on the Palm Springs International Film Festival.
The 20th Annual Palm Springs International Film Festival (Psiff) will honor Freida Pinto with the Breakthrough Performance Award for her performance in Slumdog Millionaire from Fox Searchlight. This is the final award to be announced for the Awards Gala, presented by Cartier, on Tuesday, January 6, 2009 at the Palm Springs Convention Center and will be hosted by .Entertainment Tonight.s. Mary Hart. The Festival is scheduled to be held January 6-19, 2009.
Festival chairman Harold Matzner said, .Slumdog Millionaire is one of the best films of 2008 and »
20th Century Fox's pooch comedy "Marley & Me" has topped the box office with an estimated 3 day weekend take of $37 million and a reported $51.6 million from Thursday to Sunday performances. Owen Wilson makes his return, starring alongside Jennifer Aniston in the comedy helmed by “The Devil Wears Prada” director David Frankel. Film barked in an average of $10,632 per venue from 3,480 theatres. Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures’ family offering “Bedtime Stories” starring Adam Sandler, held on for second place with $28 million over three days and $38 million with Thursday included. However, t he adventurous comedy pulled in less than Paramount’s “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” over the long weekend period. The Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett starrer brought in around $27 million from the standard weekend run but managed $39 million after four days. Bryan Singer helmed “Valkyrie” starring Tom Cruise, Kenneth Branagh, Bill Nighy, Tom Wilkinson, Thomas Kretschmann, Terrance Stamp and Eddie Izzard »
There will be no further discussion of Minutegate. I have now devoted 5,000 words to "Tru Loved," and read more than 114,000 words of comments. The Miami Herald even did a round-up of their critics discussing Minutegate. But all those words were focused entirely on the single issue of not watching a movie all the way through. There are many other ethical issues involved in film criticism, and with the current unemployment crisis, we should all be mindful of them.
We can't be too careful. Employers are eager to replace us with Celeb Info-Nuggets that will pimp to the mouth-breathers, who underline the words with their index fingers whilst they watch television. Any editor who thinks drugged insta-stars and the tragic Amy Winehouse are headline news ought to be editing the graffiti on playground walls. As the senior newspaper guy still hanging onto a job, I think the task of outlining enduring »
- Roger Ebert
As specialty films with awards hopes elbow one another for any advantage they can find, Miramax's "Doubt" made its move into wide release during the weekend and proved it could play with the big boys.
Meanwhile, Paramount Vantage's "Revolutionary Road" bowed in just three theaters Friday but enjoyed a commanding per-screen average, and Warner Bros.' "Gran Torino," adding 65 theaters, motored to the best per-theater average of the top 25.
While most of the year-end awards contenders are taking the slow rollout route, Paramount opted for the mainstream road with "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," which has been described as a big-budget art house movie. Launching on Christmas Day in 2,988 theaters, it ranked as one of the frame's top movies -- No. 2 over the four days, No. 3 over the three-day portion of the weekend -- as it collected an estimated $39 million.
"It's a gratifying start because it lets people know it's a movie worth seeing, »
- By Gregg Kilday
Year in Review: Part 1 of 5
Recently I was discussing my Cep (Clint Eastwood Problem) with a friend. Frequent or even fairweather Oscar-time readers will know what that is since Eastwood makes movies every single year (he's become Woody Allen regular in his 70s). I find the megastar an overappreciated filmmaker. Though he's made some fine films (no argument from me there...and my estimation of Million Dollar Baby went up on a subsequent viewing) he's also made his share of mediocrities. Yet each and every film, even the ones that fade quickly and eventually produce many detractors (say, Flags of Our Fathers) open to anywhere from a few to abundant "masterpiece!" raves and impossible-to-miss Oscar buzz. This, if you're at all sympathetic to my "issue", is maddening. This, if you're unsympathetic, you'll view as only just and right. I bring this up because I was hashing Gran Torino out with a friend the other day. »
- NATHANIEL R
Note: I wanted to let you know you can also follow my predictions over at the Los Angeles Times in their Buzzmeter section as I join a large crew of Oscar prognosticators in predicting this year's Oscar nominees. Now, to the predictions... Well, I hope you all had a Happy Holidays and were able to get through the snow and into the theaters, at least here in the States I believe there was a point that 50% of the country was covered in snow, which I am sure made it tough for some to justify driving to the cinema. Either way, all of the major contenders have hit theaters at this point with the December 31 release of Defiance and Good marking the final installments for 2008, but neither of them are vying too hard for any of the top categories outside of what I hope will be a score nomination for James Newton Howard »
- Brad Brevet
Wow, the 20th Annual Palm Springs International Film Festival Awards Gala is shaping up to be a star-studded extravaganza! Kate Winslet, Leonardo DiCaprio, Ron Howard, and Gus Van Sant are just some of the creative folks being honored.
Congratulations Mister Sean!
To read the full press release, and if you're interested to purchase tickets, click Read More!
Palm Springs, CA (December 26, 2008) . Marking a Festival first, Academy Award® winner Sean Penn will be honored two years in a row at the 20th Annual Palm Springs International Film Festival (Psiff) Awards Gala on Tuesday, January 6, 2009. Penn will receive the Desert Palm Achievement Award for Acting, after being presented last year with the Director of the Year Award for Into the Wild. Past honorees »
In honor of the year that was 2008, we here at Cinematical have once again spent a whole bunch of long, hard-fought hours (days even!) slogging through the best of the best in order to present you with our list of the 25 Hottest of 2008. What were the biggest trends in the entertainment world this year? Which movies made the most money? Alternatively, which films garnered the largest fanbase? Which actor or actress enjoyed the most success? And just because they were big in 2008, does that mean we'll still remember them at the end of 2009? Chipping it to help dissect 2008 were Cinematical's Erik Davis, Scott Weinberg, Eric D. Snider, Monika Bartyzel, Jessica Barnes, Eugine Novikov, William Goss, Jette Kernion and Peter Martin. Just when you thought the year was over ... the lists have just begun. Check out the gallery below (then come back later in the week when we spin it around »
- Erik Davis
Photo: Warner Bros. If you are an Asian reading this review (or any minority, just replace the slurs) I can only wonder how many times it would take for an ignorant old Korean War vet calling you a "gook" or a "slope" before you either punched him in the face or asked him to never speak to you again. Gran Torino presents such a man as Clint Eastwood plays Walt Kowalski, an old school war vet who has seen the neighbors he once knew either move or die away and have since been replaced by a more diverse group of families. Living next door is a family of Hmong immigrants who bring to the surface Walt's prejudice only to be outdone by the Asian, African American and Latino gang-bangers now roaming the streets. »
- Brad Brevet
Unlike its title might suggest, Gran Torino isn’t a racing movie, nor is it in any way about cars. The title refers to the prized object that serves as the film’s plot device: a mint condition 1972 Ford Gran Torino owned by Clint Eastwood’s growling Korean War veteran character Walt Kowalski. Like its namesake, the film evokes a feel that is retro and timeless at the same time. It’s an old school—perhaps even old fashioned—take on gang issues and race relations in the ghetto.Honestly, I expected this film to be all kinds of idiotic, with perhaps some unintentionally hilarious scenes to entertain. The premise certainly does nothing to deter that thought, but it ended up being an admirably brave look at America and its forgotten citizens (Kowalski himself is shunned by his mainstream upper-middle-class American family). When it comes to dealing with the marriage between racism and political correctness, »
- Arya Ponto
As Paramount/DreamWorks "Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa" and Fox's "The Day the Earth Stood Still" delivered a one-two punch at the overseas boxoffice during the weekend, the major studios were focusing on Christmas week, the top moviegoing period of the year.
The animated "Madagascar 2," which took command of the international boxoffice with a $36.6 million weekend, will have almost 6,000 screens working in 43 markets this week, while the reimagining of "Earth," which dropped to second place with $21.3 million, will offer about 7,800 sites in 92 territories.
The anticipated clout of the two tentpoles, however, is not stopping other hopefuls from eyeing a piece of the holiday business. Chief among them is Fox's Baz Luhrmann's Western-style epic "Australia," set to take off on Christmas Day in 45 markets, including the U.K., Germany, France, Spain and Mexico; and Disney's Adam Sandler starrer, "Bedtime Stories," booked in 15 territories, including the U.K., Germany, France and Australia. »
- By Hy Hollinger
Billy Loves Stu notices a stupid trend in horror remakes
Gallery of the Absurd Brangelina Collector Plates. Hee
Tractor Facts smart piece on Carrey & Deschanel in Yes Man
The House Next Door interesting Doubt review. Negative but it's good for counterbalance. This film has definitely been coddled due to its solid performances
Hollywood Elsewhere Baz not taking Australia's failure well?
Webster's Is My Bitch Brad & Ang make each other Christmas gifts. (Awww... who else here loves Running on Empty and their similar birthday tradition?)
CarpetBagger discovers the Life Magazine Oscar archives. Yummy
Coffee, Coffee and... Rip Robert Mulligan
- NATHANIEL R
"Gran Torino" is a memorable film in that I will always remember it as featuring the most over-the-top racist character in modern mainstream American cinema. The fact that the racial epithets are issuing forth from Clint Eastwood, a man who does "grizzled" like sunshine does warmth, makes it all the sweeter. I may have laughed more often at "Gran Torino" than any other movie this year. This isn't to say "Gran Torino" is a bad movie; it's just a painfully simple one. Following the death of his wife, Walt Kowalski (Eastwood) inadvertently becomes a hero to his Hmong neighbors after beating a violent Hmong gang off his lawn and thus happening to save his neighbors. The film has to repeat this situation again when Walt saves his neighbor Sue (Ahney Her) from a different bunch of thugs. You see, Walt, even though every other word out of »
Top 10 Assassination Movies This week we have the Christmas Day release of the new MGM thriller Valkyrie starring Tom Cruise and directed by Bryan Singer in which Tom Cruise is out to assassinate Hitler, and MGM decided they wanted to sponsor a list of my Top Ten Assassination Films in conjunction with the release. How cool is that!?!? However, it wasn't all roses putting the piece together. When trying to figure out my top ten assassination films I had to quickly look at the list I was putting together and figure out is it a revenge film or an assassination film? For example, Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill is a revenge film carried out by an assassin... So it is it an assassination film? I decided - no. Gangs of New York was another one I felt fit into the revenge category and didn't make the list even though I love it. »
- Brad Brevet
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