8 items from 2015
American Ultra stars Kristen Stewart and Jesse Eisenberg will be reunited later this year in another project: Woody Allen's next as yet untitled feature. Bruce Willis is the third cast member whose name has been publicly announced. The source for this information is an "exclusive" report via Deadline.com's Mike Fleming Jr. So far, as Fleming explains in his brief piece, Woody Allen and "his people" haven't confirmed the casting. In other words, things could change in the not-too-distant future. See also: Kristen Stewart Joins Kelly Reichardt Movie Project, also featuring Laura Dern and Michelle Williams. Unsurprisingly, no plot details about the upcoming Woody Allen project have been forthcoming. In fact, one wonders if Kristen Stewart, Jesse Eisenberg, and Bruce Willis – in case they have indeed joined the fold – know what the movie is going to be about. Allen's latest collaborators – Letty Aronson, Stephen Tenenbaum and Edward Walson – will be producing the film. »
- Zac Gille
The Ukrainian director Oleg Sentsov first came to the attention of the international film world in 2012 with “Gamer,” which screened to great acclaim at the Rotterdam Film Festival. Inspired by a computer and videogaming club for kids that Sentsov had founded, “Gamer” was shown in the Bright Future section of the festival for talented newcomers.
Today the “bright future” that Sentsov is looking at is 20 years in a Russian prison, accused of being a terrorist.
Sentsov was arrested in his home town of Simferopol, Crimea, in May 2014. Since then he has been tortured, locked up on false charges in Moscow’s notorious Lefortovo prison and refused access to representatives of the Ukrainian government.
A campaign by the European Film Academy for Sentsov’s release, »
- Mike Downey
Some people are angry that Channel 4 is developing Hungry, a comedy set in one of Ireland’s darkest times. But don’t judge a script before it’s written
The idea dies hard that comedy automatically trivialises – or disrespects – whatever it touches. There’s a hoohah right now about a sitcom script Channel 4 is developing, called Hungry, about the 19th-century Irish famine. Chortle records a recent dust-up on the subject at the London Irish comedy festival, at which one protestor railed: “Why not make comedy about Negro slavery? Why not make comedies about the Holocaust?” Why not, indeed? Dave Chappelle did so in the former case, Roberto Benigni in the latter – and in neither instance was the gravity of the original subjugation or slaughter diminished one jot.
What’s with the assumption that comedy is inherently disrespectful? Would the same protestors complain if Hollywood announced a historical drama about the famine? »
- Brian Logan
The Academy Awards offer a huge, guaranteed audience of both industry and civilian fans. That makes it a unique opportunity for stars and non-stars alike to act out with the assurance that someone, somewhere will be paying attention to them. And this has happened a lot. As we approach the 87th Academy Awards, let's take a look back at some of the strangest moments to grace Oscar night. Some Dude Steals Alice Brady's Oscar In 1938, as the story goes, an unidentified man strode onstage to accept Alice Brady's Best Supporting Actress Award (for In Old Chicago), because she »
- Alex Heigl, @alex_heigl
The secret to a great Oscars telecast is not a perfect set of winners or speeches; it's the fabulous Oscar presenters who really carry the whole thing. Presenting is a thankless task. You're given stale TelePrompter feed to read, and you probably spend more time onstage than most of the sputtering winners. You're doomed to be boring unless you try one of the five methods of Awesome Oscar Presentation we've outlined below. We hope this year's presenters take a hint from these wonderful podium moments. 1. The F. Murray Abraham method: Compliment the hell out of the winner Here's F. Murray Abraham dramatically presenting Best Actress at the 1986 ceremony. Watch as he drums up excitement with florid descriptions of each nominee and concludes by giving Geraldine Page an unprecedented compliment: "This is the greatest actor in the English language!" 2. The Sophia Loren method: Utter jubilation Roberto Benigni's hammy theatrics are a bit polarizing, »
- Louis Virtel
By Anjelica Oswald
Four different directors whose films are nominated for best picture could all win Oscars at Sunday’s ceremony.
Birdman, directed by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, and Boyhood, directed by Richard Linklater, are frontrunners in the best picture race. Both directors are nominated as co-producers on their respective films and both are also nominated for best director. If Inarritu wins for best picture and Linklater wins for best director (or vice versa), it would be the 24th time in Oscar history where best picture and best director have split.
Wes Anderson, director of The Grand Budapest Hotel, and Damien Chazelle, director of Whiplash, are nominated for original screenplay and adapted screenplay, respectively. Anderson co-produced The Grand Budapest Hotel.
If Anderson and Chazelle win for their screenplays (and Linklater and Inarritu win), it would be the second year in a row where three or more directors won at the same awards ceremony. »
- Anjelica Oswald
Sean Penn: Honorary César goes Hollywood – again (photo: Sean Penn in '21 Grams') Sean Penn, 54, will receive the 2015 Honorary César (César d'Honneur), the French Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Crafts has announced. That means the French Academy's powers-that-be are once again trying to make the Prix César ceremony relevant to the American media. Their tactic is to hand out the career award to a widely known and relatively young – i.e., media friendly – Hollywood celebrity. (Scroll down for more such examples.) In the words of the French Academy, Honorary César 2015 recipient Sean Penn is a "living legend" and "a stand-alone icon in American cinema." It has also hailed the two-time Best Actor Oscar winner as a "mythical actor, a politically active personality and an exceptional director." Penn will be honored at the César Awards ceremony on Feb. 20, 2015. Sean Penn movies Sean Penn movies range from the teen comedy »
- Steve Montgomery
By Anjelica Oswald
Set in 1960s Poland, Pawel Pawlikowski’s black-and-white drama Ida focuses on faith and identity after family secrets are revealed. Anna (Agata Trzebuchowska) is a young orphan brought up in a convent preparing to take her vows to become a nun. When told she must visit her aunt, her only living relative, Anna discovers she’s Jewish, her name is actually Ida and her parents were killed in WWII. Anna/Ida and her aunt embark on a journey to learn more about the family’s history and discover the truth about what happened.
The film landed on the Oscar shortlist for best foreign-language film and was nominated for a Golden Globe in the same category.
A number of foreign films focused on WWII have done well at the Oscars throughout the years. Ones based on real events include The Counterfeiters (2007), about the Nazis’ attempt to »
- Anjelica Oswald
8 items from 2015
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