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Eight-Time Best Actor Academy Award Nominee O'Toole Dead at 81

15 December 2013 12:59 PM, PST

Peter O’Toole: ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ actor, eight-time Oscar nominee dead at 81 (photo: Peter O’Toole as T.E. Lawrence in David Lean’s ‘Lawrence of Arabia’) Stage, film, and television actor Peter O’Toole, an eight-time Best Actor Academy Award nominee best remembered for his performance as T.E. Lawrence in David Lean’s epic blockbuster Lawrence of Arabia, died on Saturday, December 14, 2013, at a London hospital following "a long illness." Peter O’Toole was 81. The Irish-born O’Toole (on August 2, 1932, in Connemara, County Galway) began his film career with three supporting roles in 1960 releases: Robert Stevenson’s Disney version of Kidnapped; John Guillermin’s The Day They Robbed the Bank of England; and Nicholas Ray’s The Savage Innocents, starring Anthony Quinn as an Inuit man accused of murder. Two years later, O’Toole became a star following the release of Lawrence of Arabia, which grossed an astounding $44.82 million in North America back in 1962 (approx. »

- Andre Soares

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Tough Dame Totter Dead at 95: One of the Last Surviving Stars of Hollywood Noirs

15 December 2013 1:12 AM, PST

Femme fatale Audrey Totter: Film noir actress and MGM leading lady dead at 95 (photo: Audrey Totter ca. 1947) Audrey Totter, film noir femme fatale and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer contract player best remembered for the mystery crime drama Lady in the Lake and, at Rko, the hard-hitting boxing drama The Set-Up, died after suffering a stroke and congestive heart failure on Thursday, December 12, 2013, at West Hills Hospital in Los Angeles County. Reportedly a resident at the Motion Picture and Television Home in Woodland Hills, Audrey Totter would have turned 96 on Dec. 20. Born in Joliet, Illinois, Audrey Totter began her show business career on radio. She landed an MGM contract in the mid-’40s, playing bit roles in several of the studio’s productions, e.g., the Clark Gable-Greer Garson pairing Adventure (1945), the Hedy Lamarr-Robert Walker-June Allyson threesome Her Highness and the Bellboy (1945), and, as an adventurous hitchhiker riding with John Garfield, »

- Andre Soares

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Star Wars Icon Among Surprising Nominees for the 2013 Sf Film Critics Awards

14 December 2013 7:25 PM, PST

Leonardo DiCaprio, ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’: 2013 San Francisco Film Critics Awards nominations (photo: Leonardo DiCaprio in ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’) There were few surprises among the nominations for the 2013 San Francisco Film Critics Circle Awards. First of all, the somewhat surprising absentees: Amy Adams and Christian Bale for American Hustle; Emma Thompson for Saving Mr. Banks; Julia Roberts for August: Osage County; Forest Whitaker for The Butler; Tom Hanks for Captain Phillips; Joaquin Phoenix for Her; Oscar Isaac for Inside Llewyn Davis. Additionally, Spike Jonze’s Her is missing from the Best Picture roster, even though Jonze was nominated in both the Best Director and Best Original Screenplay categories. (See San Francisco Film Critics Awards 2013 Winners.) Now, among the surprising inclusions are Best Actress nominee Brie Larson for Destin Cretton’s Short Term 12 (Larson is turning out to be 2013′s Elizabeth Olsen — think Martha Marcy May Marlene »

- Steve Montgomery

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Costly Hobbit Sequel a Disappointment at Domestic Box Office?

14 December 2013 2:59 PM, PST

‘The Hobbit 2′ weekend box office: Far behind ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’ in North America? (Photo: Orlando Bloom as Legolas in ‘The Hobbit 2′) First the (domestic) good news for distributor Warner Bros. and producing companies Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, New Line Cinema, and WingNut Films: The Hobbit 2 aka The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, the second movie in Peter Jackson’s $567 million-budgeted* The Hobbit trilogy, opened Friday, December 13, 2013, with an estimated $31.14 million from 3,903 North American venues, including $8.8 million from Thursday midnight shows. That likely means that the sequel to The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey will have earned more than $70 million in the U.S. and Canada by Sunday evening. Early Friday estimates indicated that The Hobbit 2 would debut below the $70 million mark at the domestic box office. Now, The Hobbit 2 bad news: A year ago, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey opened with a — relatively speaking — disappointing $84.61 million at 4,045 theaters. Even if it reaches $75 million, »

- Zac Gille

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North American Box Office: Second Hobbit Movie to Trail First One by a Wide Margin?

13 December 2013 9:27 PM, PST

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug’ box office: Domestic midnight grosses far behind ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’ opening last year The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, the second movie in Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit trilogy, opened with a (relatively speaking) disappointing $8.8 million from Thursday midnight, December 12-13, 2013, shows in North America. For comparison’s sake: At about this time last year, and in a similar number of theaters, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey debuted with a considerably more impressive $13 million. (See also: “‘The Hobbit 2′ weekend box office” [early estimates]. Image: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.) As it stands, Peter Jackson’s two Hobbit movies have had the biggest domestic December midnight openings ever. That sounds good, but how high will The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug go this weekend? Well, at this stage it seems that the Hobbit sequel will trail its predecessor in North America. Some have been »

- Zac Gille

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Movie About Man-Computer Love Is San Diego's Best Film of 2013

13 December 2013 5:11 PM, PST

Her’ movie tops 2013 San Diego Film Critics Awards (Joaquin Phoenix in ‘Her’) The San Diego Film Critics Society has released its list of 2013 nominees and winners. The nominations themselves were quite eclectic, ranging from Best Actress nominee Brie Larson for Short Term 12 to Best Film nominee Gravity. The list of winners, however, tended to be more mainstream. For instance, Warner Bros.Spike Jonze-directed Her, starring Joaquin Phoenix as a man who falls in love with a Scarlett Johansson-voiced computer, was chosen as the Best Film of 2013, in addition to receiving honors for Best Original Screenplay (also Spike Jonze) and Best Score (Arcade Fire). Alfonso Cuarón was the Best Director for another Warner Bros. release, Gravity, a 3D space action melodrama about an astronaut and bereaved Mom (Sandra Bullock) who learns that, no matter what, Life Is Worth Living. George Clooney co-stars. Among the other San Diego Film »

- Andre Soares

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Renowned French Magazine Picks Two Unusual Thrillers as Year's Best: Erotic Gay Tale, Girls Gone Wild Flick

13 December 2013 12:32 AM, PST

‘Cahiers du Cinéma’ Top Ten Films of 2013: Gay erotic thriller ‘Stranger by the Lake,’ Girls Gone Wild thriller ‘Spring Breakers’ are top picks (image: ‘Stranger by the Lake’ poster) We’ve begun updating our posts featuring end-of-the-year awards season winners and nominees, in addition to various Top Ten lists. So, below you’ll find the top ten films of 2013 according to the iconic French magazine Cahiers du Cinéma, which announced its selections in late November. Now, what was Cahiers du Cinéma‘s top movie of 2013? The answer is Alain Guiraudie’s gay erotic thriller Stranger by the Lake / L’inconnu du lac, about a young man (Pierre de Ladonchamps) who falls in lust with a suspected murderer (Christophe Paou). Back in the spring, Stranger by the Lake won the Queer Palm at the Cannes Film Festival. ‘Cahiers du Cinéma’ top ten list: Several curious picks The Cahiers du Cinéma »

- Steve Montgomery

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Golden Globes Nominations: American Hustle, Jennifer Lawrence, Christian Bale Among Nominees? Check Out Our Fearless Predictions

12 December 2013 1:24 AM, PST

Golden Globes 2014 predictions (image: Jennifer Lawrence, Jeremy Renner, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper, Christian Bale in ‘American Hustle’ movie poster) They may be ridiculed, derided, and dismissed, but the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s Golden Globes ceremony remains the second most important awards-season event — in terms of international public awareness — trailing only the Academy Awards. The nominations for the 2014 Golden Globes ("2013 Golden Globes," if you want to be technical about it) will be announced by Zoe Saldana, Olivia Wilde, and Aziz Ansari (very, very early) on Thursday morning, December 12, 2013. Who will be the nominees? Which movies and performances will Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences members want to check out after they hear the names and/or titles of this year’s nominees? Well, below are our 2014 Golden Globes predictions. Like the Academy Awards, Hollywood guilds, and most critics’ groups, quality is an important element in the HFPA members’ selections; but then again, »

- Zac Gille

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Italian Siren of Sword-and-Sandal Epics, Sex Comedies Has Died: Rossana Podestà

10 December 2013 12:43 PM, PST

Rossana Podestà dead at 79: ‘Helen of Troy’ actress later featured in sword-and-sandal spectacles, risqué sex comedies (photo: Jacques Sernas and Rossana Podestà in ‘Helen of Troy’) Rossana Podestà, the sensual star of the 1955 epic Helen of Troy and other sword-and-sandal European productions of the ’50s and ’60s — in addition to a handful of risqué sex comedies of the ’70s — died earlier today, December 10, 2013, in Rome according to several Italian news outlets. Podestà was 79. She was born Carla Dora Podestà on August 20, 1934, in, depending on the source, either Zlitan or Tripoli, in Libya, at the time an Italian colony. According to the IMDb, the renamed Rossana Podestà began her film career in 1950, when she was featured in a small role in Dezsö Ákos Hamza’s Strano appuntamento ("Strange Appointment"). However, according to online reports, she was actually discovered by director Léonide Moguy, who cast her in a small role in »

- Andre Soares

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Dead at 91: Oscar-Nominated Parker Steals the Show in Early Abortion-Related Drama

10 December 2013 12:10 AM, PST

Eleanor Parker: Actress Wasted in ‘Valentino,’ brilliant in abortion-themed crime drama ‘Detective Story’ (photo: Eleanor Parker ca. 1955) (See previous post: "Eleanor Parker Dead at 91: ‘The Sound of Music’ Actress.") Eleanor Parker’s three 1950 releases were her last ones for Warner Bros. The following year, she starred in Columbia’s critical and box office flop Valentino, with Anthony Dexter as silent film idol Rudolph Valentino and Parker as a mix of Alice Terry (Valentino’s leading lady in The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse and The Conquering Power), Agnes Ayres (Valentino’s leading lady in The Sheik), and Hollywood bullshit. As an aside: Alice Terry wasn’t at all pleased with Valentino. Eleanor Parker wasn’t the problem; Terry was angry because Parker’s character, "Joan Carlisle" aka "Sarah Gray," is shown becoming involved with Valentino both before and after Terry’s marriage to The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse director Rex Ingram, »

- Andre Soares

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Julie Andrews' Rival in The Sound Of Music, 3-Time Oscar Nominee Has Died

9 December 2013 4:54 PM, PST

Eleanor Parker dead at 91: ‘The Sound of Music’ actress, three-time Best Actress Oscar nominee (photo: Eleanor Parker ca. 1945) Eleanor Parker, one of the best and most beautiful actresses of the studio era, a three-time Best Actress Academy Award nominee, and one of the stars of the 1965 blockbuster and Best Picture Oscar winner The Sound of Music, died today, December 9, 2013, of complications from pneumonia at a medical facility near her home in the Southern Californian desert town of Palm Springs. Eleanor Parker was 91. “I’m primarily a character actress,” Parker told the Toronto Star in 1988. “I’ve portrayed so many diverse individuals on the screen that my own personality never emerged.” At one point, wildly imaginative publicists called her The Woman of a Thousand Faces — an absurd label, when you think of Man of a Thousand Faces Lon Chaney. Eleanor Parker never altered her appearance the way Chaney did — her »

- Andre Soares

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AFI Awards List: An Upscale, Oscar-Friendly Version of the People's Choice Awards

9 December 2013 3:48 PM, PST

American Hustle,’ ‘Gravity’: AFI Awards 2013 – big-studio movies rule once again (photo: Christian Bale and Bradley Cooper in ‘American Hustle’) The American Film Institute has released AFI Awards list featuring the Top Ten Movies of 2013. As usual, the AFI Awards mostly focus on mainstream, popular fare from the big studios; in fact, they’re a sort of more upscale, Oscar-friendlier People’s Choice Awards, i.e., no Twilight, no The Fast and The Furious, no Adam Sandler, scattered super-hero movies, mostly bypassing Harry Potter. (You’ll see why they’re so big-studio-friendly once you scroll down a bit to check out the list of this year’s AFI Awards’ jury members.) Six of the AFI’s Top Ten 2013 movies come courtesy of the Hollywood majors: American Hustle, Captain Phillips, Gravity, Her, Saving Mr. Banks, and The Wolf of Wall Street. Additionally, 12 Years a Slave was released by Fox Searchlight Pictures, »

- Anna Robinson

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Blue Is the Luckiest Color: Lafca Best Actress Tie (Two Years in a Row); Oscar Chances for Adele?

9 December 2013 1:10 PM, PST

Adèle Exarchopoulos (‘Blue Is the Warmest Color’) and Cate Blanchett (‘Blue Jasmine’): Best Actress tie two years in a row at Los Angeles Film Critics Awards (photo: Léa Seydoux and Adèle Exarchopoulos in ‘Blue Is the Warmest Color’) (See previous post: "James Franco Tattoos, Gold Teeth: Lafca Winners." Another non-Hollywood Los Angeles Film Critics Association’s selection was Best Actress co-winner Adèle Exarchopoulos, cited for her performance as a young woman who falls in love with blue-haired Léa Seydoux in Abdellatif Kechiche’s controversial Cannes Film Festival Palme d’Or winner Blue Is the Warmest Color. The lesbian romantic drama also took home the Lafca’s Best Foreign Language Film Award. Blue was also the luckiest color, at least in the Best Actress category: Cate Blanchett was Exarchopoulos’ co-winner, for her performance in Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine, in which she plays a character somewhat similar to A Streetcar Named Desire »

- Andre Soares

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L.A. Critics Have Their First Best Picture Tie Since First Awards Year

8 December 2013 6:33 PM, PST

James Franco tattoos and gold teeth: Los Angeles Film Critics 2013 Awards’ surprise winners (photo: James Franco in ‘Spring Breakers’) The Los Angeles Film Critics Association (Lafca), which has been around since the mid-’70s, announced earlier today, December 8, 2013, their list of winners and runners-up. As usual, there were a number of surprises, including James Franco, tying in the Best Supporting Actor category, and Shane Carruth’s sci-fi indie drama Upstream Color, selected as the runner-up for Best Editing. (Check out the full list of 2013 Los Angeles Film Critics winners. See also: Boston Society of Film Critics 2013 winners, announced earlier today.) But really, the biggest surprise of the day was the fact that the Los Angeles Film Critics came up with no less than three ties, including Best Picture: Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity and Spike Jonze’s Her. That’s the Lafca’s first Best Picture tie since its first awards year, »

- Andre Soares

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