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Natalie Portman's career survived Star Wars, but the actress wasn't quite sure it was going to turn out that way. Portman has gone on to become one of the most acclaimed performers of her generation and has won numerous awards, including Best Actress for Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan. Still, it came very close in her estimation to not being a happy ending and she can point fingers at George Lucas. In a recent New York Magazine article, a section dedicated to the late Mike Nichols includes »
- Alex Maidy
As Disney and J.J. Abrams looks to restore some pride in the Star Wars saga following George Lucas’ Prequel Trilogy, Natalie Portman has told New York Mag that “everyone thought I was a horrible actress” after her role as Padme Amidala in The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith, and that “no director wanted to work with me”. Fortunately, the late Mike Nichols – who directed Portman in Closer – managed to help her get her career back on track…
“Star Wars had come out around the time of Seagull, and everyone thought I was a horrible actress. I was in the biggest-grossing movie of the decade, and no director wanted to work with me. Mike Nichols wrote a letter to Anthony Minghella and said, ‘Put her in Cold Mountain, I vouch for her.’ And then Anthony passed me on to Tom Tykwer, who passed me on to the Wachowskis. »
- Gary Collinson
Below is Part 2 of my annual look at the films that have a shot at making the Foreign Language Oscar shortlist. There are 83 submissions this year with some truly remarkable films in the bunch — and no 100% frontrunner. Here’s a refresher on how the nine films are chosen for the shortlist which is expected to be revealed tomorrow: The phase one committee determines six of the candidates, and the other three entries are selected by the Foreign Language Film Award Executive Committee. For the profiles below and yet to come, I spoke with the directors of the films about their inspirations and expectations. In many cases, I also checked in with the U.S. distributor about why they acquired the movies. Below is a look at the second group of four titles that have generated serious buzz over the past several weeks of screenings, Q&As and consulate lunches. For »
- Nancy Tartaglione
Portman first worked with Nichols in an all-star production of Chekhov's The Seagull in 2001, while she was in between Star Wars movies.
"Star Wars had come out around the time of Seagull, and everyone thought I was a horrible actress," she told NY Magazine.
"I was in the biggest-grossing movie of the decade, and no director wanted to work with me.
Portman also credited Nichols »
It was a year of many tortured geniuses onscreen — Alan Turing, Stephen Hawking, J.M.W. Turner, Brian Wilson — and behind the scenes, where directors like Bong Joon-ho, James Gray and Paul Schrader fought producers and distributors over final cut, and the right to see their films properly released. Of course, the very idea of distribution has become nearly as diffuse in the digital era as that of film itself, a material on which few movies are still made and even fewer shown — unless you happen to be Paul Thomas Anderson, Quentin Tarantino or Christopher Nolan, who earned the ire of some theater owners when he demanded they reinstall 35mm projectors if they wanted to screen his “Interstellar” two days early. In light of the film’s $600 million worldwide gross (and counting), one can only say: poor them.
Speaking of “Interstellar,” if there was one undeniable constant at the movies in 2014, it was time, »
- Scott Foundas
But then the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer never ceases to break new barriers, which is why director Darren Aronofsky approached her for help with his song when they were serving as jurors at the Venice Film Festival. "He gave me such a daunting task," Smith admitted by phone from Rome, where she performed Saturday at the Vatican's annual Christmas concert. "It had to be a bit of oral history, an Old Testament message, handed down from generations, and it had to serve Noah [Russell Crowe], it had to serve his step-daughter [played by Emma Watson], and it had to serve the end of the film. And for those babies, his grand-daughters, it's the first song that they hear. So I really got to contemplate all of this in the writing of it. It was a challenge but when Darren told me about the film and what he was trying to do and deliver a »
- Bill Desowitz
Back in November of last year, our own Samantha Wilson dove deep on Hollywood’s newly revitalized and ritualized love for the big screen Biblical epic, as inspired by a fresh trailer for Darren Aronofsky‘s Noah. Sam pointed out a hefty number of new Biblical epics bound for the big screen, from Exodus and Gods and Kings (which, what, became the same film?) to Redemption of Cain and a new Pontius Pilate feature. By all means, it looked like the Biblical epic was back! It’s not. This weekend saw the release of Ridley Scott‘s Exodus: Gods and Kings, which earned a relatively paltry $24.5M on an estimated $140M budget. But it wasn’t just that the audience didn’t turn out for the film — the critics didn’t like it either, giving it a dismal 28% Rotten rating on the Tomatometer. The film certainly didn’t inspire much goodwill amongst most people — audiences or critics »
- Kate Erbland
Ridley Scott's latest epic historical movie hit theaters this weekend and while it took an easy number one, there wasn't anything historic or epic about its box office performance. Exodus: Gods and Kings debuted at the top spot with $24 million. Scott's directorial efforts are always hit and miss when it comes to box office openings, but this not only marks one of the lower for his career, but also low compared to another Biblical epic that opened this year. Darren Aronofsky's Noah, considered to be far more controversial and notably less broad in its appeal opened at $40 million. Chris Rock's comedy Top Five, which he wrote, directed and starred in, opened at number four with $7 million. That's only a small step up from the $5 million opening his last acting/directing double effort I Think I Love My Wife back in 2007. For the full weekend top ten check »
From “Noah” to “Exodus: Gods & Kings,” 2014 was supposed to be the year that Hollywood found religion.
Though the faithful have flocked to the multiplexes at times, proving that films that embrace the Bible and its teachings can find an audience, the conversion hasn’t always been smooth.
“These movies do draw an audience, but they’re expensive to make,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst with Rentrak. “These films are still finding their way and trying to find the right voice, and they’re going to have to watch the bottom line.”
“Exodus” could end up being a success for 20th Century Fox, if it does robust business overseas and builds an audience over the Christmas holiday, but the film opened to a mediocre $24.5 million. With a production cost of $140 million plus tens of millions of dollars in advertising and marketing costs, it faces a long road to profitability.
- Brent Lang
It's another ugly weekend at the box office, this time topped by the $140 million budgeted Exodus: Gods and Kings. Ridley Scott's Biblical epic finished with a whopping $24.5 million (44% from 3D showings) against a "B-" CinemaScore, which pretty much says this one is dead in the water, at least domestically. By comparison, Fox's Son of God opened at $25.6 million earlier this year from 300 fewer theaters and went on to make only $59.7 million. This result is also well below Darren Aronofsky's Noah, which also opened earlier this year and also came under scrutiny from the faith-based sector of the audience. Noah, however, managed to open with $43.7 million, finishing its run with $101.2 million. The $261.4 million it made overseas, however, may bode well for Exodus. Perhaps international dollars can save Exodus, but at this point who really caresc It's not worth saving. It has been rather ugly at the box office as »
- Brad Brevet
Darren Aronofsky has established himself as a director who is great at making huge big budget movies like Noah and smaller art house type film like Black Swan. His last movie was Noah, which was his big dream project, and I liked it! I’ve been curious to see what he would do next. After all, what does a director do after they make their dream project?
He’s been developing a couple of things, such as an adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s MaddAddam for HBO. The Tracking Board is saying that he's looking to direct a film adaptation of The Good Nurse, which based on the novel by Charles Graeber. It’s based on the true story of a nurse who was also an insane serial killer who was implicated in the deaths of hundreds of people.
The film is set up at Lionsgate, and it’s being written by Krysty Wilson-Cairns. »
- Joey Paur
Though this year’s Noah turned a lot of heads and made more than a handful of viewers frustrated, be it for declining to use the word “God” or just including Rock Titan Angel things into a Biblical story, Darren Aronofsky still remains a highly valued director and ever rising auteur in Hollywood.
Aronofsky is currently working on MaddAddam for HBO, an adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s trilogy of dystopian sci-fi books. But The Playlist has done a little digging and determined that his next film could be based on the book The Good Nurse, written by Charles Graeber.
The Good Nurse is a non-fiction story of Charlie Cullen, a medical professional arrested in 2003 after it was discovered that he was responsible for the deaths of as many as 300 patients over the course of his long career, and quite possibly the most prolific serial killer in American history. The media »
- Brian Welk
Talks are under way to create a movie based on Charles Cullen, who is suspected to be the most prolific serial killer in American history. An adaptation of Charles Graeber.s book on these atrocities, The Good Nurse, is currently being developed over at Lionsgate, and moviegoers from across the globe will be overjoyed to hear that Darren Aronofsky is currently attached to the project. Charles Cullen.s story is one of subtle terror and menace. A registered nurse, he was arrested in 2003 and ultimately convicted of killing up to 40 patients over the course of his 16-year career in the profession. Charles Cullen insisted that he overdosed patients in order to stop them from going into either cardiac or respiratory arrest, and to end their suffering. The New Jersey-based killer is believed to have murdered around 400 other individuals during this time, as well. Charles Cullen admitted that there were hundreds »
Exodus: Gods and Kings, out Friday, stars Christian Bale as Moses in the Biblical epic, opposite Joel Edgerton as his brother and ruler. Also starring John Turturro, Ben Mendolsohn, Ben Kingsley, Aaron Paul and Sigourney Weaver, Ridley Scott's adaptation of the Israelites' journey out of Egypt is updated with 3D technology. Still, Exodus won't match the other big-budget Biblical epic this year, Darren Aronofsky's Noah. Prerelease tracking suggests it may open in the $25 million to $30 million range, behind the $43.7 million debut of Noah. Read more Christian Bale Defends 'Exodus' Casting, A New Kind of Moses and
- Ashley Lee
When the entire span of Ridley Scott's career is finally written about, it's tough to say where a film like "Exodus: Gods and Kings" will stand. On the one hand, it's a big, brash, big-budget retelling of an ancient Biblical tale, a story of such big proportions that no less a titan than Cecil B. DeMille made two distinct versions of the Hebrews-out-of-Egypt story. On the other hand, it's a film that doesn't lend itself to hyperbolic enthusiasm, the way Scott's "Alien," "Blade Runner" or "Thelma and Louise" did.
I'm no fan of "Gladiator," but it's fair to say that it provided a template for Ridley's later work -- mixing high drama, big action sequences and a visual flair that owed as much to early Hollywood extravaganzas as it did to latter-day adventure films. It may be because I watched it only the week before, but the film that »
- Jason Gorber
The Christmas movie season kicks off this weekend with Exodus: Gods and Kings, which will easily take first place away from The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1.Meanwhile, Chris Rock's Top Five opens at 979 theaters and Paul Thomas Anderson's Inherent Vice debuts at five locations in New York and Los Angeles.Playing at 3,503 theaters this weekend, Exodus: Gods and Kings is director Ridley Scott's big-budget retelling of the story of Exodus, which plays a significant role in most major religions (Moses is a prophet in Christianity, Judaism and Islam). The story has also been previously told on the big screen a handful of times: the most notable version is Cecil B. DeMille's The Ten Commandments, which was initially released in 1956 and starred Charleton Heston and Yul Brenner.Scott's version features Christian Bale as Moses and Joel Edgerton as Ramses; Bale has built up a solid following over the past decade, »
- Ray Subers <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Directed by Ridley Scott
Perhaps the End Times are finally upon us. How else to explain a year that began with Russell Crowe playing Noah and ends with Christian Bale as Moses? Whereas Darren Aronofsky’s Noah reached giddily crazy heights, Ridley Scott’s Exodus: Gods and Kings never transcends its plodding, inevitable story arc. Not only does it lack the visual imagination we’ve come to expect from Scott, a potentially-interesting “tale of two brothers” spin is completely wasted by a lazy script. This is about as by-the-numbers as epics get.
You have to admire Christian Bale’s refusal to even attempt a showy accent. His cocksure attitude as Moses is so inappropriate that all you can do is shake your head in bemused wonder. Had the entire film been as defiant as its leading man, »
- J.R. Kinnard
Director John Lee Hancock has created an interesting niche for himself in Hollywood, regularly finding projects that bring true stories to life. In recent years he has done so with films like The Blind Side and Saving Mr. Banks, but now he's preparing to tell the origin story of the biggest fast food chain in the world. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Hancock is now attached to direct a film titled The Founder, which will tell the story of how the restaurant chain McDonald's wound up being created. Robert Siegel, who previously earned acclaim for writing the script for Darren Aronofsky's The Wrestler and for his directorial debut Big Fan, is penning the script, and Jeremy Renner's production company, The Combine, is working along with FilmNation to produce the feature. The story will center on Illinois-born businessman Ray Kroc, who moved to Southern California in the 1950s and »
The Golden Globes will be presented on January 11, 2015, in Los Angeles.
Best Motion Picture – Drama
“We’re grateful to the HFPA for recognising the fantastic work of the whole team behind The Theory Of Everything with these four nominations. This film reflects the extraordinary lives of Stephen and Jane Hawking, and tells their personal story in a way audiences have never seen before. We’re delighted that Eddie’s astonishing performance as Stephen and Felicity’s as Jane have received the recognition we feel they so richly deserve, and we congratulate them and everyone who worked so hard on this film.”
“To receive a Golden Globe Award nomination is a great early holiday gift, one »
Believe it or not, Aronofsky's Noah got an award nomination this morning. It didn't land a nod in any of the major categories, but it did receive a nomination for Best Song for Patti Smith's "Mercy Is." That's probably the biggest honor the film will receive (perhaps it could get an Oscar nomination in the same category), but that film is in the past for director Darren Aronofsky now, and the filmmaker behind The Fountain and Black Swan is lining up new projects. He's already working on an adaptation of the MaddAddam trilogy at HBO, but Tracking Board reports his company Protozoa is adapting the book The Good Nurse. Read on! Update! We've been informed by publicity that Aronofsky is attached to produce with first refusal to direct, so the project is still early in development and there is no assurance that Aronofsky is actually going to direct, but he might. »
- Ethan Anderton
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