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Bart: Critics don’t like to admit it, but the conditions under which you see a film strongly influence your opinion. Birdman is a good example: If you see a film like this with a pack of cinephiles like at Telluride, everyone gets every inside joke, and you instinctively go along with the crowd. I made it a point to see Birdman with a paid civilian audience and it was like screening it in a mausoleum. No laughs, just occasional grunts and lots of walkouts. Some reviews predicted Birdman “will captivate arthouse and multiplex crowds alike and send awards pundits into orbit” (the Variety review). Well that ain’t happening with the audiences; we’ll see about the awards. »
- Mike Fleming Jr
On Nov. 19, voting began for SAG nominations. On Dec. 1, art directors and producers kick off the guild voting, while the New York Film Critics Circle are first out of the gate by announcing their winners.
As we get down to the wire, Hollywood calendars are jam-packed with awards events. And at each gathering, voters trade notes about titles they’ve seen recently and the handful of films they need to see. The conversation is always dominated by the latest contenders — and yet this year, “The Grand Budapest Hotel” keeps coming up.
The Wes Anderson film premiered at Berlin almost a year ago and bowed domestically in March, which in an awards-season-timetable is the equivalent of 200 years ago. It has long been on VOD and video, so as a flock of terrific films open to fanfare and media attention, “Budapest” may seem like old news. Au contraire, mes amis.
Six months ago, »
- Tim Gray
Directed by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu.
Riggan Thomas (Michael Keaton) attempts to distance himself from his famous role as the superhero, Birdman by staging a Broadway play adaptation of Raymond Carver’s ‘What We Talk About When We Talk About Love‘. In the days leading to the premier, Riggan must overcome his ego and family troubles to ensure he can once again hit the big time.
There’s a scene in Birdman where Michael Keaton’s character, Riggan Thomas, confronts the theatre critic who threatens to shut down his play with a single review, without even seeing it. It’s one of the films best scenes – in a film where it’s difficult to choose just one – as Keaton describes her writing as full of labels and adjectives, with nothing about technique, structure or execution, reducing his »
- Gary Collinson
Antonio Sanchez is a Grammy-winning jazz musician, but "Birdman" is his first-ever film score, and it's quite a unique score at that: it consists entirely of drums. "[Director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu] was looking for something more spontaneous, improvised, jazzy if you will," said Sanchez in our recent video chat (watch it below). "He said, 'You're a jazz musician, I want you to do what you do.'" -Break- Michael Keaton and Edward Norton: What we think of acting, 'Birdman' and verbs (video) Sanchez had already known Inarritu for years when the director asked him to score the film. He used to listen to Inarritu when the future filmmaker was a radio deejay, and they met years later after a show where Sanchez had played with the Pat Metheny Group. "I was actually a little annoyed because I wanted to go to my dressing room because I was all sweaty and stuff, »
"Birdman" star Michael Keaton has sat atop our Best Actor chart all awards season long. Rounding out the top five are three British thespians -- Eddie Redmayne ("The Theory of Everything"), Benedict Cumberbatch ("The Imitation Game") David Oyelowo ("Selma) -- and another American, Steve Carell ("Foxcatcher"). There are three more Brits -- Timothy Spall ("Mr. Turner"), Bill Nighy ("Pride") and Jim Broadbent ("Le Week-End") -- jockeying for that fifth slot currently occupied by Carell. And Keaton should be hoping that one of them makes it in as the lone American has always won an Oscar when facing four foreign rivals. -Break- Michael Keaton and Edward Norton: What we think of acting, 'Birdman' and verbs (video) In 1971, Jane Fonda ("Klute") won her first Best Actress award over Julie Christie ("McCabe and Mrs. Miller"), Glenda..." »
Congratulations to SNL's Aidy Bryant, who reached 10,000 tweets in a cut sketch from last weekend's Saturday Night Live! To celebrate, she had a party with the mayor, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, her seventh-grade crush, President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, Edward Norton, and God. That's what happens when you get really good at tweeting, so keep up the good work, and one day, you'll get smooched by Edward Norton. »
- Lindsey Weber
Now playing in theaters is one of the best films of 2014: Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Birdman. Made to look like one long shot, Birdman stars Michael Keaton as an actor who once played an iconic superhero and now faces troubles with his ego and family as he prepares to mount a Broadway play in a bid to reclaim past glory. While some movies have incredible performances or a great script, Birdman is one of those rare films where everything across the board is memorable. It’s absolutely one of my favorite films of the year and it should be seen as soon as possible. Trust me, this is a special movie that you will want to see. The film also stars Edward Norton, Naomi Watts, Emma Stone, Zach Galifianakis, Andrea Riseborough, and Amy Ryan. At the New York City press day I landed a video interview Naomi Watts and Andrea Riseborough. »
- Steve 'Frosty' Weintraub
So contrary to popular belief director Alejandro González Iñárritu is actually capable of having a sense of humor. The man who gave us the two hour misery fests like Babel, Biutiful, and 21 Grams is now shockingly making a comedy – well as close to a comedy that he can get.
His latest film Birdman is an all-out assault on the comic book movie culture of today’s Hollywood. Along with an indictment of the current movie going audience that favors the popcorn fantasy over the cold hard truth. Also taking aim at the idea of celebrity and the warped mental state one can find themselves in when seeking universal artistic glory. Birdman’s true personality comes from its abrasive style that is like an exploding shotgun »
- Dan Clark
By Anjelica Oswald
Several Oscar contenders are heading to New York and the Broadway stage as the Oscar season progresses in Hollywood. With projects on both coasts, these contenders could score both Tony and Oscar nominations during the upcoming awards season.
Director Bob Fosse won two Tony Awards and an Oscar in 1973. The two Tonys were for direction and choreography for Pippin and the Oscar was for directing Cabaret. Director Stephen Daldry won an Oscar for The Reader and a Tony for Billy Elliot the Musical in 2009.
Five actresses have won both awards in the same year: Shirley Booth won a Tony for The Time of the Cuckoo and an Oscar for Come Back, Little Sheba in 1953; Audrey Hepburn won a Tony for Ondine and an Oscar for Roman Holiday in 1954; Ellen Burstyn won a Tony for Same Time, Next Year and an Oscar for Alice Doesn’t »
- Anjelica Oswald
Update Sunday, 8:17 a.m.: Conventional wisdom holds that you don’t release sequels two decades apart, particularly in a lightning-bottle genre like comedy. But wisdom has never held much sway in the Dumb and Dumber franchise, which returned after a two-decade dormancy to engage in a nip-and-tuck battle with Big Hero 6 that underscored the muscle of raunch this year at the box office.
Dumb and Dumber To looked to take the derby this weekend from a BH6 in its sophomore frame, though Hero’s repeat-viewing younger audiences could still propel it to a follow-up victory when actuals are reported Monday. Still, Universal turned its $30M Ddt into a contender with a “deja-view” strategy that worked the last time Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels got together: gross-out audience, out-gross competitors.
And the studio played up the nostalgia, returning the stars to their bowl cuts, gapped teeth and slack-jawed »
- Scott Bowles
"I'm a realist … sometimes you're popular, sometimes you're not popular. Nobody showed up at my house that I remember and put a gun to my head and dragged me out of the house and said, 'You're going to do this for a living.' It's on me," said "Birdman" Oscar-hopeful Michael Keaton on fickle Hollywood fame. He and co-star Edward Norton sat down to discuss their acting philosophies at the recent AFI Fest. Watch the videos below. -Break- Keaton is our current Best Actor frontrunner for his performance as a washed-up actor trying to make a Broadway comeback in Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's surreal comedy. Do you think he'll win? Click here to make your predictions in all top Oscar categories, or use our drag-and-drop menu below to get started. The prize for best predictions is $1000, and if you're one of our best predictors, you'll be featured next year among our Top 24 Users, »
One of the most interesting precursors to me is always the Independent Spirit Awards. They don’t always cite the same things that the Academy does, so it’s a chance to see smaller and more eclectic fare given a moment in the sun. Even though the Spirit Award have matched up with Oscar more often in the recent past than was usual, it’s still a place where you can see honors for films that wouldn’t otherwise have a chance. Personally, that’s one of the my favorite things about certain precursors, the fact that they bestow citations on worthy cinema that could have been ignored entirely. Before I give you my shot in the dark predictions for this year’s Spirit Awards (which will announce their nominees in under two weeks…specifically on November 25th), I just wanted to further my point about the choices made by this group. »
- Joey Magidson
AFI Fest 2014 presented by Audi today announced this year’s Jury and Audience Awards for features and short films included in the festivals New Auteur and Shorts programs. The New Auteurs section highlights first and second-time feature film directors and the Shorts selections represent diverse and varied international perspectives. Grand Jury Awards were presented to Self Made (Boreg), which received the New Auteurs Critics’ Award, and to The Tribe (Plemya), which received the Vizio Visionary Special Jury Award. Buffalo Juggalos by Scott Cummings received the Live Action Short Award, and Yearbook by Bernardo Britto received the Animated Short Award. Special Jury Award winners went to GÜEROS and Violet. Red Army, GÜEROS, 10,000 Km and The Midnight Swim received Audience Awards.
Select award-winning films will screen again today at the Chinese 6 Theatres. Admission is available to AFI Fest 2014 pass holders and the general public via the rush line, which begins forming one »
- Michelle McCue
Like a lot of you, I imagine, my ongoing crime story obsession this fall comes not from TV, but from a podcast: "Serial," a "This American Life" spin-off where reporter Sarah Koenig looks into a 15-year-old Baltimore murder case in which teenager Adnan Syed was convicted of murdering his ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee. "Serial" has become the podcast that launched a thousand think pieces — as well as a second podcast at Slate devoted to analyzing each "Serial" episode. The podcast's fans can't stop discussing the holes in the prosecution's case, whether Adnan is trying to pull an Ed Norton in "Primal Fear" on Sarah (a notion she wisely addressed in last week's episode) and, most importantly, whether the show is going to actually "solve" the case (even if that means confirming Adnan's guilt) — and, if not, how it's going to end. It's that last part that's going to be the sticking point, »
- Alan Sepinwall
Aaron Sorkin certainly doesn.t like to sit still does he? Having only just finished working on the script for his hugely anticipated Steve Jobs biopic, it has now been reported that The Social Network scribe plans on making the best poker movie since Matt Damon and Edward Norton took on a Russian mobster. Aaron Sorkin is going to adapt Molly Bloom.s memoir, Molly.s Game, for the big-screen after the Mark Gordon Company optioned it for him. According to Deadline, Mark Gordon himself will produce the film, making it the second film that he and Aaron Sorkin are currently in pre-production on. He is also involved in the Steve Jobs biopic too. Molly Bloom seems like classic Sorkin fodder. She is clearly an educated and talented soul, because by the time she was 21-years-old she was already ranked No. 3 in North America in moguls. At the same time »
Directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu.
In an attempt to reinvent himself, a has-been actor, who once played a blockbuster superhero, stages a serious Broadway play with hopes to grab hold of his former glory.
Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) is the type of film that only comes around once every several years. It is hilarious and entertaining while at the same time also challenging and dramatic. It is a portrait of a single man that makes bold statements about the current state of our society at large through its use of universal themes.
The film opens with Riggan Thomson (Michael Keaton) having conversation with his growl of an inner voice while levitating in his shabby, theatre dressing room. The voice, that of his legendary former superhero character alter ego Birdman, »
- Gary Collinson
Major Us broadcasters are developing more than 20 TV adaptations of feature films as they follow the example of their cable counterparts.
Us pay-tv networks have recently found success with the likes of Fargo and Teen Wolf, and have lined up further adaptations of Scream (MTV), Twelve Monkeys (Syfy), Shutter Island (HBO) and Sam Raimi’s The Evil Dead (Starz).
Traditional networks - ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC and The CW - are now getting involved and have struck deals for adaptations of well-known films including Big, Minority Report and The Devil’s Advocate, as well as more niche films such as John Ritter’s Problem Child and Val Kilmer’s Real Genius.
The networks have ordered scripts for the 20-plus adaptations and will decide which projects to pilot by January. Those taken to series will likely be ordered in May for an autumn 2015 launch.
UK consultancy firm Tape monitors the Us development process for a number of UK broadcasters »
This week, Simon and Ricky invite Julian Carrington and Kate Renenbohm to discuss director Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Birdman, a technical showcase powered by outstanding performances from Michael Keaton and Edward Norton. We discuss how the film captures the hustle and bustle of the backstage world, Emannuel Lubezki’s camera work, the percussion-based soundtrack from Antonio Sanchez, and so much more.
Gnarles Barkley – “Crazy”
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- Sordid Cinema Podcast
15 years on, the rules are still being broken - we're talking about Fight Club. David Fincher's brilliant adaptation of Chuck Palahniuk's novel hit UK cinemas on November 12, 1999, sparking fierce debate about its merits and message. In the midst of a society encountering massive changes and fears at the dawn of a new millennium, some felt the violence and nihilism were morally irresponsible. Yet others connected to the alienation felt by Edward Norton's unnamed 'everyman' and bought into the anarchic philosophy of Brad Pitt's Tyler Durden. Now, in 2014, the masterpiece feels more relevant than ever, and here's why...
The things you own, end up owning you.
This one quote from enigmatic soap maker Tyler Durden succinctly captures the film's stance on the dangers of consumerism, which – with hindsight – feels like a warning shot that society failed to heed. Bear in mind that in 1999 the internet was still a new beast to many, »
Eight months after it hit theaters, "The Grand Budapest Hotel" is back in business, and here's hoping Hollywood is paying attention. Ralph Fiennes joined co-stars Tony Revolori and Jeff Goldblum for a final SAG nominating committee Q&A Monday night in Los Angeles that this pundit was lucky enough to moderate. Most in the packed theater had already seen "Budapest" but wanted a chance to hear the film's stars discuss their journey into Wes Anderson's latest creation in person. Fiennes, who plays the indomitable M. Gustav, discussed how little he cared to look at Anderson's detailed animatic of the picture and how a friend of the director's gave him slight inspiration for the role (will the real M. Gustav please stand up?). Revolori, who plays Zero the faithful Lobby Boy, recalled how nervous he was meeting Fiennes for the first time during a fitting and how the Oscar nominee reassured him with a hug. »
- Gregory Ellwood
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