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Tech Support: Analyzing the makeup and hairstyling Oscar race

3 hours ago

Welcome to one of the most unique categories at the Oscars. Best Makeup & Hairstyling is the only category to still feature the "bake-off” phase, where three nominees are chosen from seven finalists after those finalists each make a pitch-via-reel to the branch. Every year features surprise omissions and inclusions, both among the final seven and the final three. The category seems almost uniquely immune to being overwhelmed by the overall reputation of a film. (Best Costume Design is its only rival in this respect.) Films of questionable quality are nominated nearly every year. While some lament the titles that have earned the moniker "Oscar nominee” ("Norbit” perhaps being the most infamous example), I for one love the fact that this branch actually strives to do what it is tasked with. While these macro-level characteristics of the category permeate the nominations process, trends among the nominees are nevertheless observable. The category tends to award monster makeup, »


- Gerard Kennedy

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Early best-of lists include 'Birdman,' 'Boyhood,' 'Citizenfour,' 'Under the Skin'

3 hours ago

The 2014 best-of-the-year lists have begun rolling in. I've seen Ann Hornaday at The Washington Post speak up (props for the "Edge of Tomorrow" inclusion) and Sight & Sound's annual poll has just landed as well. The critics phase of awards season has commenced. Let's start with Sight & Sound's list, keeping in mind that international release dates apply: 1. "Boyhood" (Richard Linklater) 2. "Goodbye to Language 3D" (Jean-Luc Godard) = 3. "Leviathan" (Andrey Zvyagintsev) = 3. "Horse Money" (Pedro Costa) 5. "Under the Skin" (Jonathan Glazer) 6. "The Grand Budapest Hotel" (Wes Anderson) 7. "Winter Sleep" (Nuri Bilge Ceylan) 8. "The Tribe" (Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy) = 9. "Ida" (Pawel Pawlikowski) = 9. "Jauja" (Lisandro Alonso) = 11. "Mr. Turner" (Mike Leigh) = 11. "National Gallery" (Frederick Wiseman) = 11. "The Wolf of Wall Street" (Martin Scorsese) = 11. "Whiplash" (Damien Chazelle) 15. "The Duke of Burgundy" (Peter Strickland) = 16. "Birdman" (Alejandro G. Iñárritu) = 16. "Two Days, One Night" (Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne) = 18. "Citizenfour" (Laura Poitros) = 18. "The Look of Silence" (Joshua Oppenheimer) = 18. "The Wind Rises" (Hayao Miyazaki) Singular as always. »


- Kristopher Tapley

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Box Office: 'Mockingjay' takes Thanksgiving over 'Penguins'

4 hours ago

It's certainly not "Catching Fire," but America took a big bite out of "Mockingjay" on Thanksgiving. The third installment of the "Hunger Games" franchise ruled the box office on Thursday pulling in another $11 million for $168.6 million in its first seven days. That's dramatically below the $222.1 million "Catching Fire" earned at this point in its run a year ago.  The good news for Lionsgate, however, is that that international grosses are already at $201.4 million and should end up at least matching "Fire's" $440 take.   DreamWorks Animation's "Penguins of Madagascar" grossed another $3.9 million in second place for $10.2 million in just two days. "Penguins" should have a major bump today and tomorrow when more families are free.  It still has a shot at making $50 million over its first five days.   "Horrible Bosses 2" took advantage of antsy under 35-year-olds for no. 3 and another $3 million.  The all-star sequel has made $7.3 million and it looks like »


- Gregory Ellwood

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Frank Ocean releases rough of gorgeous new song 'memrise'

5 hours ago

For fans of Frank Ocean's "Channel Orange," the wait's been excruciating. The R&B star has been pretty quiet in the two years following the release of that breakthrough album, with a couple guest appearances like on Beyonce and John Mayer's album, and the drop of "Hero" with members of the Clash and Diplo for the Converse series Three Artists One Song series. In April he said the new, as-yet-untitled album was almost done. Just in time for slow Black Friday perusing, Ocean has released a rough clip of a song called "memrise" on his tumblr. Who knows if it makes the final cut -- and it undoubtedly won't be released with the space-bar-play at the beginning -- but you get the idea. Good lines in this one. Lyrics below.     I memorized the wayward expressions Never look down Never let you see me down I memorized the way »


- Katie Hasty

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The 25 best Oscar-winning film scores of all time

6 hours ago

Musical theorist Michel Chion coined the term "synchresis" to define the forging of picture and sound, the way artistry on both sides of the line blurs into our favorite movie moments. Sound design can manifest and warp reality, but film scoring has its own synchresistic effect, albeit one that's rather bizarre. There's no reason music should ever be playing against a film aiming for truth. Yet over 100-plus years of filmmaking, a composer's touch — or restraint — has become an essential part of the medium's power. A musical cue stamps an iconic scene, a director's vision and a film's legacy. There are sense memories connected to the opening notes of an iconic theme. Nevertheless, it took the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences a few years to recognize film music's weight-pulling at the Oscars. Film's transition into a synced sound medium kept the business resisting the honor until the 7th »


- Matt Patches and Kristopher Tapley

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TV Ratings: Fox's 'Cause for Paws' is solid, but NBC football leads Thanksgiving

8 hours ago

Fast National ratings for Thursday, November 27, 2014. Expect to see a second "Cause For Paws: An All-Star Dog Spectacular" next year, because the Fox special drew solid Thanksgiving ratings, but it still couldn't compete with NBC's telecast of the NFL game between the Seahawks and 49ers. Airing on Thanksgiving didn't hurt CBS' "Elementary," which was up from last week in the key demographic, but it did now favors for new episodes of "Mom," Two and a Half Men" and "The McCarthys," which falters without "Big Bang Theory" to lead the night. The "Cause for Paws" numbers are presumably NFL-inflated, while CBS' NFL numbers are inaccurate as per usual. [Pre-Thanksgiving Wednesday Notes: Due to power outages in New Hampshire, I didn't get to Wednesday's ratings. CBS led both overall and among adults 18-49 thanks to new episodes of "Survivor" (8.93 million and a 2.1 key demo), "Criminal Minds" (10.85 million and a 2.2 key demo) and "Stalker" (8.15 million and a 1.6 key demo). NBC's "Making of Peter Pan Live" drew a weak 3.02 million viewers and a 0.6 key demo rating. And Fox's new "Hell's Kitchen" (3.47 million and a 1.1 key demo) and "Red Band Society »


- Daniel Fienberg

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8 tiny universe changes you didn’t notice in the ‘Star Wars’ Episode VII trailer

9 hours ago

It’s here, it’s here, it’s here! The first trailer “Star Wars: The Force Awakened” dropped on Black Friday. #BreakTheInternet came a few weeks later than anticipated. Go watch it. I’ll wait. … Okay. You back? 88 seconds is not a very long time, but it’s more than enough to cram in tons of hints as to the state of the galaxy, three decades after the death of the Emperor. With the Extended Universe officially stricken from the record, anything is possible. Did the Empire crumble into infighting, Grand Moffs clamoring to fill the void in power? Did the New Republic get a foothold in the Core worlds, or are they still pushing the front to liberate thick pockets of civilization? Or have they even formed at all? These questions and more are definitely not answered in the trailer. But! It did hold small hints to the »


- Donna Dickens

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Behold! The 101 Greatest Gifs Of All Time

9 hours ago

Is there any higher form of communication and entertainment than the Gif? Of course not! The versatility of the Graphics Interchange Format lies in its succinct nature. No one has time for fripperies like “words” or “facial expressions” these days, much less the attention span needed to watch something longer than a 10 seconds! But not all Gifs are created equal. For every one elevated to the status of Internet Immortality, a thousand thousand more are banished forever to the depths of the Deep Internet*. How is anyone supposed to separate the chaff from the digital wheat? With an arbitrary list, obviously. Below, we’ve collected the 101 best Gifs the Internet has ever spewed forth. That’s right. The. Best. Definitively. We’re totally right and there’s no room for speculation or doubt. Our word is law!** *warning: do not enter **totally just subjective »

- Donna Dickens, Chris Eggertsen, Louis Virtel,

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First trailer for 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' puts fresh faces front and center

11 hours ago

That's right, folks. A year from now, "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" will be omnipresent, but for now, it's still a closely-guarded secret, and Disney decided today to lift the veil for the first time with a trailer that introduces us to plenty of new faces, and we'll have a discussion about it as soon as I've had a chance to watch it 300 times in a row. Watch the trailer above so you can play along! Okay... so I caught a little more sleep, then I watched the trailer a few more times, and my first thought is that there's something quietly revolutionary about having the first new face we see from this first new "Star Wars" film be that of John Boyega. And the second new face is Daisy Ridley? Yeah, I think I like this new world order for "Star Wars" right away. If I was a betting man, »


- Drew McWeeny

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Emily Blunt: Every day someone tells me they love 'Edge of Tomorrow'

11 hours ago

Ladies and gentlemen, Emily Blunt can sing. Like almost of all of her co-stars in Rob Marshall's "Into The Woods," she proves that not only does she have a lovely singing voice, but that she can pull off Sondheim as well. The film hits theaters on Christmas Day and will wrap up another whirlwind year for Blunt. She gave birth to her first daughter in February, promoted the critically acclaimed "Edge of Tomorrow" for most of May and June (her first major action role), filmed the new Denis Villeneuve drama "Sicario" alongside Benicio del Toro and Josh Brolin immediately afterward and is now in the middle of a long publicly (and awards) tour for "Woods." Blunt plays the role of The Baker's Wife in Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine's Tony Award-winning musical and, along with the Baker (played by James Corden), her character helps connect the different Grimm »


- Gregory Ellwood

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Review: 'Grumpy Cat's Worst Christmas Ever' with Aubrey Plaza as Grumpy Cat

27 November 2014 3:27 PM, PST

Late in Lifetime's "Grumpy Cat's Worst Christmas Ever" TV-movie, the cat that launched a thousand memes objects to a plot twist by asking, "Is this not my movie?" The film (it debuts Saturday night at 8),  written by "SpongeBob" vet and "Garfield: A Tale of Two Kitties" director Tim Hill (who also directed this) and Jeff Morris, seems at war with itself as to how much it should — or can — be Grumpy Cat's movie, and the answer is "not enough," unfortunately. But at least the movie is aware of that problem, since it opens with Grumpy Cat (aka Tardar Sauce) — played in voiceover by Aubrey Plaza, in a piece of casting that feels like destiny — getting excited at the thought of how disappointed we'll be "when you realize this movie is just a sappy melodrama about me, Grumpy Cat." Except it's only vaguely about Grumpy Cat, and primarily about Chrystal »


- Alan Sepinwall

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See Asa Butterfield, Sally Hawkins in first trailer for British Indie Awards-nominated 'X+Y'

27 November 2014 8:39 AM, PST

Documentarian Morgan Matthews’ feature debut "X+Y" played quietly at the 2014 Toronto Film Festival. The voters involved with this year’s British Independent Film Awards are clearly noticing something fest-goers overlooked. Based on Matthews’ own BBC documentary "Beautiful Young Minds," which followed the selection process and training of Britain's 2006 International Mathematical Olympiad team, "X+Y" stars "Hugo" and "Ender’s Game" actor Asa Butterfield as a young math whiz coping with his emotionally and logistically complex mind. The first trailer for the film plays like a mix between "A Beautiful Mind" and Mark Haddon’s novel "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time," meaning the Bifa’s may not be the only ones prone to falling for it. Adding a bit of gravitas to the uplifting young adult story are Eddie Marsan, Rafe Spall, and the Academy Award-nominated Sally Hawkins, one of the most genuine actresses gracing screens »


- Matt Patches

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What Movie Have You Watched the Most? The Hitfix Staff Answers

27 November 2014 6:00 AM, PST

Everybody has that one movie that they've watched so many times, "knowing it by heart" doesn't even begin to describe the relationship. It's the film that you drop everything to watch when it comes on TV, or that you bought and wore out the VHS copy, and then the DVD and the Blu-Ray... and you're still happy to watch it again on Netflix. Maybe it all started with what your family liked to watch (or what they hated) or what ended up in your stocking at holiday time, or what you fell in love with at the theater. Below, the HitFix editorial staff shares its most-watched movies of all time. What is yours? Tell us in the comments! Donna Dickens "Titanic" I was that fourteen year old girl. The one that saw “Titanic” in theaters multiple times (my personal tally was seven.) I bought the VHS two-pack. I recorded the »


- HitFix Staff

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The Snap: Why We're Thankful for Beyonce, Nph, and More

27 November 2014 5:00 AM, PST

Sure, we've had our disappointments in movies, TV, and music this year, but we also have plenty to be thankful for. In this episode of The Snap, I remind you what to cherish about pop culture just in time for your big tryptophan binge. Check out the abbreviated episode above or the full episode right here. Be sure to check out past episodes of The Snap: Ep. #35: A Salute to the Classic Women of Video Games Ep. #34: Here's Why the '90s Sucked Ep. #33: Why Anne Hathaway Rules Ep. #32: The Sexiest Psychos in Movie History Ep. #31: Why Horror Classics are Still Scary Ep. #30: Everything You Don't Know About Taylor Swift Ep. #29: 5 Unanswered Questions About 'Gone Girl' Ep. #28: 19 Beautiful Things That Look Like Donald Trump Ep. #27: 20 Reasons Fall is the Worst Season Ep. #26: Everything Wrong with Urban Outfitters Ep. »


- Louis Virtel

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Report Card: How did we do with our 'Most Anticipated Films Of 2014' list?

26 November 2014 8:30 PM, PST

One of the things we do every year here at HitFix is compile a list of the things we're most looking forward to in the next year. As the end of 2014 approaches, we're gearing up to write that same list for what promises to be one of the craziest year of giant movie releases ever, and as we started work on that, we looked back at last year's list. Let's just say it was enlightening. We decided to have some fun with it and issue ourselves a report card to see how well we called it before 2014 began. In some cases, I think we were spot on, but we also overestimated just as many things as we underestimated. Then you've got stuff like "Jupiter Ascending," which won't even make it to theaters until February. What is clear, though, is that we had strong reasons to make the predictions we did, »


- Drew McWeeny

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10 Observations About Abigail Breslin's Pop Song 'You Suck'

26 November 2014 5:10 PM, PST

Emergency: Abigail Breslin, the adorable teenaged Oscar nominee from "Little Miss Sunshine" and "August Osage County," is going for grit on her new pop single "You Suck." It is... really something. #AbigailYouTried is trending on Twitter. Just watch and listen.   Here are ten observations about this sacred new jam. 1. Get ready for "Kit Kittredge: An American Flop" to meme.   2. If you listen closely, you can actually hear JoJo turning this down.  3. "You really need to learn to wash your hair!" "I hope it all falls out!" "I'd rather date a rock!" Jan Brady wrote this.  4. Oh, Toni Collette, please pick up this child in an old van and whisk her away to learn about life with Alan Arkin.  5. It's good that Abigail's lashing out this way, I think. Child stars can go awry in this department. And I'm not just saying that because Abigail suddenly bears a serious resemblance to teenage Tatum O'Neal. »


- Louis Virtel

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Does the 'Star Wars: Episode VII' teaser live up to the franchise's previous trailers?

26 November 2014 4:39 PM, PST

After months of on-set reports, wild rumors, tweeted photos and cryptic interviews, Disney and J.J. Abrams have finally unleashed the very first teaser trailer for "Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens." Even after watching it 500 times (watch it again at the top of the page), fans still have questions about what they saw in the same way they did in for 1977's 'Star Wars" and 1999's "The Phantom Menace."  With that in mind, it's time to turn back the clock to re-visit the ever-evolving teasers released in advance of all six films, to compare them to the new "Episode VII" teaser. It's a list a billion of years in the making.  "Star Wars" (1977) It's hard to imagine a time before "Star Wars," when 20th Century Fox had to figure out how to sell George Lucas' space odyssey to the public, but they did something right. Sure, »


- Dave Lewis

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Meghan Trainor's Thanksgiving Carols: 'Uncle Dan Hates Obama' Is Your New Holiday Jam

26 November 2014 3:03 PM, PST

Meghan Trainor's "All About That Bass" is a catchy single, but I'm more partial to her follow-up jam "Uncle Dan Hates Obama (And Won't Shut Up About Benghazi)." Yes, it's Thanksgiving time, and as Jimmy Kimmel notes, it's a holiday woefully short on season-specific tunes. But not to worry: Meghan is here to mint a whole slew of new Turkey Day classics, including but not limited to "My Flight Got Canceled in Denver (I'll Be Sleeping at an Airport Quiznos Tonight)," "I'm Not Bringing Leftovers on the Plane, Mom" and "Grandma's a Racist (Pass the Yams)." Wait, do they actually let you sleep at the Quiznos in airports? That doesn't sound so bad. »


- Chris Eggertsen

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Fifth Harmony's new video will hit you like a 'Sledgehammer' of girl-group cliches

26 November 2014 2:03 PM, PST

Are Fifth Harmony the new Destiny's Child? It's hard to say, but they're definitely trying. The third-place "X-Factor" contestants vamp demurely but effectively in the new video for "Sledghammer," the second single from the group's upcoming debut album "Reflection" that's slated for release in January. It's a perfectly catchy nonsense pop single, and while the clip can't touch the timeless brilliance of that other "Sledghammer" video, there are enough chandeliers, white fabrics and "just lounging here in my Mariah Carey dress" theatrics here to satisfy anyone who remembers fondly the heady days of '90s R&B. Does that make it good? That's for you to decide. But it certainly doesn't do anything we haven't seen before. Check out the video below. What do you think? »


- Chris Eggertsen

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Fans call the shots in Coldplay's lush new interactive video

26 November 2014 1:53 PM, PST

Coldplay's new interactive video gives viewers many choices, but to see them all you have to be a pretty big Coldplay fan, because you'll have to hear their new single "Ink" like 300 times. For the latest single from their smash album "Ghost Stories," the group decided to let fans call the shots in the animated video. In the video playable here, a heartbroken man -- who bears a passing resemblance to frontman Chris Martin -- pursues the love of his life through a surreal world of sumptuous paintings. The limited interactivity allows fans to guide the avatar on his journey, deciding whether he goes right or left, gets rescued by a bear or an eagle (like Gandalf), jumps in the ocean or floats off into the sky. The press release states that there are over 300 possible combinations on the journey, so it helps if you really like Coldplay.  Like an »


- Dave Lewis

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