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Meet the Contenders: Sam Rockwell "Laggies"

5 hours ago

Here's abstew with this weekend's profile of an outside Oscar contender. While this weekend's release is not quite as buzzy as other contenders, Rockwell is always worth celebrating.

Sam Rockwell as Craig in Laggies

Best Supporting Actor

Born: November 5, 1968 in San Mateo, California

The Role: Lynn Shelton's latest film (the director's previous work include mumblecore films Humpday and Your Sister's Sister), that premiered at Sundance this year, takes on a story of a woman with arrested development. Megan (Keira Knightley) is in her late 20's and all her friend's are doing adult things like getting married. But when Megan's own boyfriend proposes, she freaks out, goes into a quarter life crisis, and ends up hanging out with a teenage girl (Chloë Grace Moretz), while finding herself drawn to the girl's divorced father (Rockwell).

Rockwell took over in the role of Craig, which was originally supposed to be played by Paul Rudd. »

- abstew

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Review: Fury

8 hours ago

Michael C here wondering if we are ever going to get more films about 20th Century conflicts other than World War 2? How long has it been since we've had a solid Vietnam film? Did Three Kings and Jarhead say all there was to say about the first Iraq war?

At this point, it feels like there are enough World War II movies to reconstruct something close to the entirety of the conflict, across all theaters of operation. Audiences can be forgiven if the appearance of yet another crew of hard-bitten soldiers marauding through the German countryside in David Ayer’s Fury strike us as more than a bit superfluous. The diffrence this time is that Fury wants to strip away the gauzy Greatest Generation glow that has diminished other depictions of this subject matter. No American flags flapping in the wind, no swells of violins, no famous battles. Just the anonymous, »

- Michael C.

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Posterized: Best Documentary Winners of the Past 30 Years

24 October 2014 4:12 PM, PDT

The Time Of Harvey Milk (1984), a true classic. Have you seen it?

If there's anything that makes me feel unsophisticated when it comes to the cinema it's my general relationship to documentaries. Like your average movie consumer (non cinephile division) I only see them if the subject matter interests me. If there were a narrative equation wouldn't that be "i'll only see this or that genre"? And ewww, that's not the way to be. Variety is always best when consuming art. Man cannot live by multi-quandrant blockbusters Or art films alone. 

Over the years as The Film Experience has expanded we've given more space to documentaries largely because Glenn & Amir are obsessed with them. So for today's Posterized, a special edition surveying the last 30 years of the Best Documentary Feature category. I went back that far because The Times of Harvey Milk (1984) is basically one of my favorite things that »

- NATHANIEL R

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The Wide Open Spaces of Best Supporting Actor

24 October 2014 10:54 AM, PDT

With only six presumed major contenders yet to be screened by these eyes (Unbroken, Big Eyes, Into the Woods, A Most Violent Year, Selma, American Sniper) it's awfully late in the year for there to be so little in the way of clues as to what the full Supporting Actor lineup might look like. In a more competitive year Mark Ruffalo (Foxcatcher), J.K. Simmons (Whiplash), and Edward Norton (Birdman) probably wouldn't seem like cast iron locks in October. But they do. 

Kingsley (Exodus), Waltz (Big Eyes), Caine (Interstellar), Duvall (The Judge). 19% of the nominees in this category in the past 20 years have been previous winners.

In the fantasy world inside my head, the Academy board of governors throws up their hands and admits defeat, making a special ruling that from this day forward there will be 7 Supporting Actress nominees each year and only 3 Supporting Actors because everyone knows that's the »

- NATHANIEL R

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Scandinavians in London: New Films From Those 'Royal Affair' Lovers

24 October 2014 5:01 AM, PDT

A couple more reports from London and Chicago festivals heading your way. Here's David on three new films starring either Alicia Vikander or Mads Mikkelsen, who formerly sizzled together in Denmark's recent Oscar nominee "A Royal Affair" - Editor

Alicia Vikander

That Testament of Youth was made the Centrepiece Gala at the festival seems, sight unseen, predictable: supported by the Mayor of London, the Gala slot is one of the few that really demonstrates the festival's support of homegrown cinema, and the story told here is as British as you can get. 2014 marks the centenary of World War I, and with it comes this adaptation of Vera Brittain's iconic memoir. James Kent's film keeps his focus to the period of the war itself, beginning at its end; Vera (Alicia Vikander) looks oddly distraught amidst the celebrating crowds packing London's streets. Testament of Youth is a compassionate reminder of »

- Dave

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Ahs: Freakshow "Edward Mordrake Pt. 1"

23 October 2014 5:42 PM, PDT

Ahs rips its own plotlines off for this new episode (guest starring Wes Bentley)How do you make an episode in which almost nothing happens almost half-again as long as episodes where lots of things happen? I know not but Hollywood is getting very good at it lately what with all their supersized TV episodes and two part movie finales for quadrilogies where a trilogy (or less) would do.

In "honor" of the bloating, we're going svelte with a briefer rundown . 

Plot: A con artist and his protege arrive at the freakshow with nefarious plans. Bette and Dot still hate each other. Bearded Lady gets bad news. And, finally, ripping itself off completely Freakshow reboots Coven's Danny Huston plotline about a ghostly mass murderer from the past being unintentionally summoned to visit our makeshift family of weirdos.

Episode Mvp: Kathy Bates. Ethel visits a doctor and learns she only has a year to live. »

- NATHANIEL R

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Ciff Foreign Film Oscar Report, Vol. 1: Czech Republic, Finland, Georgia & Uruguay

23 October 2014 3:00 PM, PDT

Tim here. Now that the Chicago Film Festival is all over, I can offer the rest of my thoughts on the official submissions for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar that I was able to catch.

Czech Republic: Fair Play

A political drama about sports, or a sports drama about politics? Why not be both, says this film about a teenage track star in 1980s Czechoslovakia, who gets bullied into taking steroids by the government forces that want to show off a whole population of physically gorgeous super-athletes at the 1984 Olympics. The battle being waged over ownership of one’s body and health in a dictatorship is an interesting one, and well presented; lead actress Judit Bárdos is a bit shapeless and superficial in portraying the internal tensions of this conflict, but the film around her has been constructed with enough merciless geometry and clinical coolness that it’s surprisingly »

- Tim Brayton

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Things Johnny Depp's 'Into the Woods' Costume Makes Him Look Like

23 October 2014 11:53 AM, PDT

Margaret here, examining the first image released of Johnny Depp as The Wolf in Into the Woods.

Take it in. There is a lot going on here. Allow me to guide you through it via the magic of list-making.

Things This Costume Makes Johnny Depp Look Like, From Greatest Resemblance To Least

1. A first-round cut from Big Bad Voodoo Daddy auditions

2. Zsa Zsa Gabor's mustachioed coat rack

3. The illegitimate lovechild of Carmen Sandiego and Templeton the Rat

4. A pile of 1970s car seat covers in dire need of a shampoo

5. The Mask when he watches Cameron Diaz sing for the first time 

6. The "after" in a poorly executed "Smokey Eye" makeup tutorial

7. Johnny Depp on a regular Thursday

8. Fanciest presenter at the WerePimp convention

9. A Zoobilee Zoo

10. A Halloween costume assembled from whatever was left at Party City at 8pm, Oct. 31

11. Villain of Wallace & Gromit and the Curse of »

- Margaret de Larios

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Gotham Nominees: Boyhood vs. Birdman vs. Budapest

23 October 2014 9:17 AM, PDT

The Gotham Awards juried nominations have recently surplanted the ancient Nbr as the first real awards nomination/wins of the film year. That it happens in October is more than a little crazy, but what'cha gonna do? The New York centric film prizes, think of it as the Spirit Awards's East Coast Cousin albeit with far fewer prizes will be held on December 1st. Since they only have six categories and four separate juries (composed of critics and programmers), multiple nods aren't as easy to come by as they are at other shows but a handful of films managed it: Boyhood, Birdman, Dear White People, Nightcrawler, and Under the Skin.

Best Feature 

 

Birdman Boyhood Grand Budapest Hotel Love Is Strange Under The Skin

Very happy to see the intensely moving Love is Strange, in constant danger of being undervalued, show up. Especially since it didn't show up anywhere else. 199 films were eligible for these honors. »

- NATHANIEL R

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Yes No Maybe So: Avengers Age of Ultron

23 October 2014 8:20 AM, PDT

And by Yes No Maybe So I mean Yes Yes and Also Yaaassss.

Tony Stark modelling the signature look from Hulkbuster Summer Line 2015

Though the thought of 20 plus superhero movies in the next few years makes me psychologically ill (nothing is special if it's all the time - see also Streep playing every part for women over 60 and tv shows about lawyers/doctors/crimescenes) at least roughly half of the Marvel movies are actually good examples of this soon-to-be oversaturated genre, generally getting the balance right of big pop flair, comic relief and stylized gravitas. And by "half" I'm referring of course to both Captain Americas, Joss Whedon's take on The Avengers and every other Iron Man. I'm hoping the genre goes out* with a big bang, that bang being Avengers: Age of Ultron.

But before we begin a word about "premieres." why do movie studios even bother announcing »

- NATHANIEL R

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Key & Peele Head to the Movies

23 October 2014 5:00 AM, PDT

 

Margaret here with your update on comedy greenlights. Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele, stars of the eponymous highly-rated Comedy Central sketch show, are making time in their busy schedule of routinely putting SNL to shame to produce and star in their first joint film project.   They just inked a deal with New Line to make Keanu. No, it's not the long-overdue biopic following the rise and fall of the actor who brought us Neo, Ted "Theodore" Logan, and a very Sad Meme. The script, penned by Peele and Community writer Alex Rubens, follows two friends who pretend to be drug dealers to get back a stolen cat (named, you guessed it, Keanu). Peter Atencio, veteran director of Key & Peele, is in talks to direct, and production is slated to begin in April. Says Peele: "The movie should resonate with a large audience as almost everyone has had a house »

- Margaret de Larios

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Sandy Powell's Glorious Bluntness "I won for the wrong film!"

22 October 2014 7:00 PM, PDT

We've revelled in Sandy Powell's uncensored quotes before - like her dismissive "I already have two of these" speech for Young Victoria.

She's at it again providing us with more choice Oscar quotes and I couldn't resist talking about this tonight since the blog had an unofficial Costume Design day today what with the Exodus video, and the debut of "Threads". 

See, recently at the Museum of Contemporary Arts in Chicago, in a series related to David Bowie's legacy and his influence on the arts, the auteur Todd Haynes and his sometime collaborator Sandy Powell were invited to speak about their glam rock classic Velvet Goldmine (1998). You can listen to the complete talk here though be advised that the introductions take an incredible 14 minutes to get through. Longwinded much? 

One of the best bits a little before an hour in is when Sandy is asked about being an Oscar favorite, »

- NATHANIEL R

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A Year with Kate: Olly Olly Oxen Free (1978)

22 October 2014 2:00 PM, PDT

Episode 43 of 52: In which Katharine Hepburn proves she's not afraid of heights or bad scripts.

Look, I’ll be honest with you. There is exactly one reason to see this movie. It happens around the last third of the film. No, it’s not another moth gown. (Remember the moth gown? I miss the moth gown.) Instead, it’s the sight of a sexagenarian, award-winning, legendary actress dangling from a hot air balloon over a cliff. I’m in my 20s, and I wouldn’t do that without at least a net and a shot of whiskey first. Anyway, if you want to know what it looks like, I’ve made a gif that you can skip to at the end of the post. I suggest you stick around for the rest of this article, though, because we have some strange stuff to address (and also some puns).

Really, »

- Anne Marie

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Threads - New Series!

22 October 2014 11:31 AM, PDT

In order to indulge more of Tfe's fetish for costume design, in this new Wednesday series "Threads" we'll discuss (briefly) whichever single costume we're most obsessed with that week, from anywhere in time and any filmed medium. Let's begin with a look from Outlander, currently airing on Starz.

I know this will be very shocking and quite impossible to believe if you haven't yet seen the show, but This bandage festish wear on fantasy-man Jamie (Sam Heughan) is not the best costume on display however enticing it may be...

»

- NATHANIEL R

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Exodus: To Links and Blogs

22 October 2014 9:45 AM, PDT

Let my readers go... to other places. Here are a bunch of articles I enjoyed elsewhere or which are worthwhile for their informational newsiness. But come back soon, okay? Okay.

Screen

Dissolve a new Pee Wee Herman movie is "imminent"  

The Dissolve rights to John Carter of Mars have reverted to the Edgar Rice Burroughs estate. Do you think we'll get another film... and will it be better? 

The Guardian on Renée Zellweger and 'the Actor's face as His/Her brand'. I made a point of not talking about Zeéeeee's looks yesterday in my own post about the photo but this is an interesting non-aggressive non-misogynist piece about movie stars and how shifts to their brand work (or don't).

I was going to link to another Guardian piece about Julianne Moore and Ellen Page's lesbian drama Freeheld experiencing bigotry already banned from filming at a Catholic school but the »

- NATHANIEL R

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Documentary Short Finalists: A Closer Look at This Oscar Crop

22 October 2014 7:51 AM, PDT

You can watch the Kehinde Wiley documentary here from PBSAs you may have heard, the finalist list for the Documentary Short Oscar has been announced. It is 8 films wide from which (presumably) 5 nominees will emerge though remember in the Aughts when it was usually 4 nominees which is so annoying. (Symmetry please, Oscar). Among those 8 films we have a few about illness (The Lions Mouth Opens, Joanna, Our Curse), one about the arts (Kehinde Wiley: An Economy of Grace) one environmental picture (White Earth) one picture Nathaniel will never be able to sit through because it's about slaughterhouses (The Reaper) which means he can't have a perfect Oscar record this year, and one about a natural disaster (One Child) which killed thousands but which focuses on three families.

The complete absence of World War II / Holocaust related docs will make your Oscar pool way harder this year. Sorry about it. Half »

- NATHANIEL R

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Meryl Streep's Set to Sing Off-Key (& Other News)

22 October 2014 7:13 AM, PDT

Manuel here with some Streeptastic news.

Meryl Streep has just signed on to play Florence Foster Jenkins in an upcoming Stephen Frears film. Florence will follow the eponymous protagonist, a New York heiress whose lack of musical talent didn’t stop her from pursuing a career in opera in the early twentieth century. This should be good news for us Streep fans because it means we may get three back-to-back-to-back musically-centered Meryl films in a row. Remember she’s set to play Maria Callas for Mike Nichols’ HBO adaptation of Terence McNally’s Master Class while she’s currently filming Ricky and the Flash, the Diablo Cody-penned Jonathan Demme film about an aging rock-star. More thrillingly, the Frears/Demme/Nichols triple punch is the closest we’ve gotten in a while to Streep committing to working with top-tier directing talent (no offense to David Frankel, Philippa Lloyd and Philip Noyce »

- Manuel Betancourt

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Top Ten: Oscar at the Oscars

21 October 2014 7:00 PM, PDT

"Fashion is about dressing according to what's fashionable. Style is more about being yourself."

- Oscar de la Renta

Jose here. Legendary designer Oscar de la Renta passed away yesterday at the age of 82. In a career that spanned decades, he became a champion for the curvy female shape, similar to those he had seen growing up in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. In what can only be described as an Almodóvar-ian experience, he spoke many times of how he grew up in a matriarchy, "I was surrounded by sisters. My childhood was all women", all of whom helped inspire him as he seeked a career in design under the wing of Spanish icon Cristóbal Balenciaga. By the mid-60's, de la Renta had become a favorite of Jackie O. and as his fashion empire grew, it became known for its devotion to old-style glamour. As gowns became narrower and more modest, »

- Jose

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Top Ten Oscar Theater Movies Or (The Unexpected Hook of Birdman)

21 October 2014 4:00 PM, PDT

For the concerns in some quarters that Birdman might be too cerebral or idiosyncratic for Oscar, I offer thisfoolproof rebuttal: It's about the theater!

Oscar has a long history of mad love for theater movies from early musicals which were often about vaudeville through biopics about theater giants and on to today's more playful genre hybrids. Even when the Academy doesn't fully commit to its latest greasepaint and footlights suitor, it will often give him a quick kiss in the form of a nomination or three.  Some examples: To Be Or Not To Be (1942 & 1983), Being Julia (2004), Mrs Henderson Presents (2005), The Producers (1967), 42nd Street (1934), and The Bandwagon (1953). While it's true there are exceptions that they completely ignore (Stage Beauty, Waiting for Guffman, Opening Night) it's a subject matter that appeals to showbiz people and showbiz people like congratulating their own.

Oscar's 10 Favorite Theater Movies

Why didn't you include Cabaret, Black Swan or Chicago in this list? »

- NATHANIEL R

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Top Ten Most Important Things About This Photo of The Zeéeeee That Everyone Is Talking About Today

21 October 2014 1:17 PM, PDT

It's a special top ten day. List mania all day long...

10 Renée has reemerged again but there's still no firm word on future movies other than The Whole Truth with Keanu Reeves, directed by Courtney Hunt (Frozen River) which is due next year supposedly

09 Sarah Paulson looks Ahmazing

08 Long rectangular table at these events are terrible because you only get to talk to a couple of people except when everyone is milling about. 

07 If you squint really hard you can pretend Sarah & Renée are non-identical siamese sisters they're so squinched together...

06 Bet you anything they talked about American Horror Story - weird that Ryan Murphy hasn't asked the Zeéeeee to do it? (Although his tastes do run a little more 1980s/1990s than 1990s/2000s as actresses go.)

05 Everyone in this photo has major trophies except for Sarah Paulson and that ain't right!

04 Everyone looks like they color coordinated. Did »

- NATHANIEL R

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