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Oscar Talk: 'Argo' vs. 'Lincoln,' PGA, SAG, and DGA; Affleck and Day-Lewis Hit Santa Barbara

1 February 2013 9:00 AM, PST

On this week's Oscar Talk podcast, Kris Tapley and I discuss the recent PGA and SAG wins for Ben Affleck's "Argo," which is now mounting a formidable challenge to Steven Spielberg's "Lincoln." And we cover last weekend's Affleck and Daniel Day-Lewis tributes in Santa Barbara. While I can see several key Oscar races going "Argo"'s way, Affleck's lack of a director nom remains a statistical barrier to a Best Picture win. Kris advocates for "Argo" all the way, while I want to see what happens at the Directors Guild Awards this weekend. He says Affleck or Ang Lee will win that group; I think it's Spielberg. This means I have backed off my bet on Lee. Next week we'll read the tea leaves after the DGA awards, and check out the race for animated and live action shorts--picking right can determine whether or not you win your Oscar pool. »


- Anne Thompson

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Trailers from Hell: Larry Karaszewski on Peter Bogdanovich's 'What's Up, Doc?,' Starring Barbra Streisand and Ryan O'Neal

1 February 2013 8:00 AM, PST

Comedy Classics! week concludes at Trailers from Hell with screenwriter Larry Karaszewski introducing Peter Bogdanovich's "What's Up, Doc?," one of the biggest comedy hits of the early '70s. Following up on his dramatic breakthrough with The Last Picture show, movie scholar turned director Peter Bogdanovich evokes '30s screwball comedies and classic Looney Tunes in this self-consciously wacky homage to Bringing Up Baby. As befits the brief post Easy Rider era when directors were as famous as stars, this is an unusually auteur-centered trailer. »


- Trailers From Hell

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Watch: Spanish Teaser for Pedro Almodovar's 'I'm So Excited' with In-Flight Song and Dance

31 January 2013 10:07 PM, PST

A new peak at Pedro Almodovar's latest, "I'm So Excited," has arrived. The Spanish auteur's cast includes Javier Camara, Cecilia Roth, Lola Duenas, Raul Arevalo, Carlos Areces, Antonio de la Torre, Hugo Silva, Willy Toledo, Miguel Angel Silvestre, Blanca Suarez, Jose Luis Torrijo, Jose Maria Yazpik and Laya Marti, plus "special collaborations from" Penelope Cruz, Antonio Banderas (who both appear in this new Spanish teaser) and Paz Vega. The two teasers below offer very little plot information, but assert that it may be the silliest entry into Almodovar's oeuvre. His last film was 2011's "The Skin I Live In." "I'm So Excited," will be released by Sony Pictures Classics next Summer. Watch the brand new teaser below: Rtve.es te adelanta el tráiler de 'Los amantes pasajeros', la nueva comedia de Pedro Almodóvar »


- Sophia Savage

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Tom Hardy and Noomi Rapace May Marry for 'Child 44'

31 January 2013 1:20 PM, PST

Tom Hardy and Noomi Rapace are in negotiations for "Child 44," set up at Ridley Scott's Scott Free banner and to be directed by Daniel Espinosa. The script, penned by Richard Price from Tom Rob Smith's novel, is a thriller set in the 1950s centering on a member of the Soviet police (Hardy) investigating a series of child muders who himself becomes the target of his government's suspicions. Rapace, who also starred in Scott's "Prometheus," would play his wife. The pair is also due to shoot "Animal Rescue" in March for Fox Searchlight. "Child 44" will shoot later in the spring in Budapest. »


- Sophia Savage

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Sundance: 'It Felt Like Love' Review and Roundup

31 January 2013 12:47 PM, PST

One of the much-vaunted Sundance slate of movies directed by women, "It Felt Like Love" marks yet another micro-budget hand-held look at an adolescent's coming of age. This one is well-shot in HD by director Eliza Hittman, a Cal Arts grad making her feature debut after screening her short "Untitled" at Sundance, with help from D.P.  Sean Porter and rookie teen actress Gina Piersanti, who has a future. Filmed in the Brooklyn area, on the beach and other local environs, the movie is slow, intimate and almost silently observational but eventually its impact builds as this motherless lonely young girl seeks connection via sex with an older guy. Some of Hittman's images are hauntingly memorable. Next up: Rotterdam. More festival reviews below. THR: "Piersanti and Hittman jointly hit exactly the right notes in depicting an innocent kid's transparent attempts to seem worldly. Lila reuses Chiara's comments verbatim, bragging to the. »


- Anne Thompson

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Academy Celebrates Oscar Week with Special Public Events

31 January 2013 12:05 PM, PST

The Academy will celebrate the week leading up to the Oscars with five public events celebrating this year's nominees. The events are as follows: Tuesday, February 19, 7:30 p.m. - Oscar Celebrates: Shorts
 Hosted by actor Jason Schwartzman. Schwartzman’s feature credits include “Moonrise Kingdom,” “Fantastic Mr. Fox,” “The Darjeeling Limited,” “I Heart Huckabees” and “Rushmore.” “Oscar Celebrates: Shorts” includes screenings of all of the 2012 Oscar-nominated films in the Animated and Live Action Short Film categories, plus onstage discussions with the filmmakers (schedules permitting). Wednesday, February 20, 7:30 p.m. - 
Oscar Celebrates: Docs
 Hosted by Documentary Branch governor Michael Moore. Moore won the 2002 Documentary Feature Oscar for “Bowling for Columbine” and also was nominated in 2007 for “Sicko.” “Oscar Celebrates: Docs” »


- Sophia Savage

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SXSW 2013 Announces Lineup: World Premieres of 'Short Term 12,' 'We Always Lie to Strangers'; Fest Favorites 'Upstream Color,' 'Before Midnight' and 'Don Jon's Addiction'

31 January 2013 12:00 PM, PST

The SXSW Film Festival, March 8-16, is celebrating 20 years with a slew of films honoring the meeting point of culture and creativity--among them 109 features announced below. Among the features playing the Austin, Texas fest are 69 world premieres, 14 North American premieres and five Us premieres. Additional titles in the Midnighters and Short Film program will be announced February 6, along with the complete panel lineup. Fest producer Janet Pierson states: “Many films reflect importantly on our culture and include intimate looks at iconic figures, and we’re lucky to have a plethora of hugely entertaining and audience pleasing films. Even more thrilling is the opportunity to support so many filmmakers we’ve followed for years who’ve made enormous creative leaps in their work.” Eight narrative and documentary world premieres will compete for the Grand Jury Prizes. All features (with the exception of Headliners) are also eligible for »


- Sophia Savage

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Oscar Watch: West Bank Man with '5 Broken Cameras' Updated

31 January 2013 11:52 AM, PST

"I film to heal," says Emad Burnat, a Palestinian filmmaker and activist living in the West Bank, towards the end of "5 Broken Cameras," the disturbing and intricately layered documentary composed predominantly of Burnat's footage, which he crafted into a film along with Israeli director Guy Davidi. To forget, Burnat says, is to allow the wounds to fester in some hidden place; it is memory—and documentation—that are necessary to experience true recovery. Update: The first Palestinian documentary to earn an Oscar nomination, "5 Broken Cameras" won the top prize at the Cinema Eye awards; is returning to theaters, and is also available on DVD, Netflix, iTunes, Hulu, Amazon and VOD. Burnat's filmmaking began in 2005, when he bought a camera to record the life of his newborn son Gibreel, as well as the burgeoning demonstrations that had begun in his village of Bil'in to oppose the encroachment of a nearby Jewish. »


- Jacob Combs

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Lena Dunham Talks Success, Image Misconception, Franco, Fey and Poehler in New EW

31 January 2013 11:32 AM, PST

In the new issue of Entertainment Weekly (on newsstands February 1), "Girls" creator and recent Golden Globe winner Lena Dunham talks her surprise meteoric rise, the misconception that she comes from a rich family, James Franco as a TV critic, Globes hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler and more. Highlights below. Miranda July also interviewed Dunham for Interview magazine here. Dunham on James Franco accusing "Girls" of being "another show about white people": “I think someone told James Franco that it’s his duty to have an opinion on everything that happens in culture. We are going to find out that he’s in the CIA, he’s a fireman, and he’s going on the next moon mission with Lance Bass.” On her Golden Globes comment that Tina Fey and Amy Poehler inspired her during middle school: “It came from the most earnest place. But I’d forgotten that we’re in Hollywood, »


- Beth Hanna

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MVPs of the Movies: Tom Hanks, Harrison Ford, Eddie Murphy and Robin Williams Top the List

31 January 2013 11:22 AM, PST

What does it take to be one of the most valuable actors of all time? 24/7 Wall St. considered this and ranked almost 700 leading actors. They found that in order to top the list, an actor needed to have starred in not just one but several high-grossing franchises. They point out that "Success in the box office is not the same as success with the critics. A look at the top actors on this list makes that clear." But two of the top ten--all men--are also double Oscar winners: Dustin Hoffman and Tom Hanks, who is #1. Take a look at the top ten below.  Here's how they calculated the list: There are movie stars, and then there are actors whose involvement appears more important than the movie itself. Some are so critical to success that studios will pay them tens of millions of dollars to be in their pictures. To identify »


- Sophia Savage

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Oscar Watch: 'The Gatekeepers' Pops the Lid Off the Israeli/Arab Conflict, Dror Moreh Q & A (Video)

31 January 2013 10:57 AM, PST

Things aren't getting any easier in the Middle East. Filmmaker Dror Moreh decided to look at the Israeli/Palestine conflict from another angle. He went to the six living men who have run Shin Bet, Israel's Secret Service, from 1980 through 2011. Backed by Israel, France, Germany and Belgium, "The Gatekeepers" (February 1) was acquired by Sony Pictures Classics and has been a hit on the festival circuit from Telluride to Sundance. It is a strong Oscar contender for best documentary feature. The movie is a chilling shocker because these powerful men-- Avraham Shalom, Yaakov Peri, Carmi Gillon, Ami Avalon, Avi Dichter and Yuval Diskin-- who we expect to be hardliners, are smart, sane and reasoned about the sources and solutions for Israel's 45-year security problem. They know about it first-hand, because they have had to deal with it every day, unlike the politicians who come and go, for whom they have little respect. »


- Anne Thompson

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Create and Win Your Own Ultimate Movie Party with Alamo Drafthouse's New Contest

31 January 2013 10:53 AM, PST

Alamo Drafthouse is launching its latest contest, "Win Your Own Ultimate Movie Party," looking for patrons to submit their ideas for the most creative movie party that can be thrown at their local Drafthouse theater. Grand prize winners will have their movie party thrown for free for up to fifty friends. When submitting ideas, patrons are invited to select all the elements for their dream party, including what movies are screened, what food and drink is served, costumes for guests, props and party favors, etc. Deadline for submission is February 28. Here are the four guidelines: Party must take place inside an Alamo Drafthouse Cinema location. Party is subject to film/theatrical rights availability. Party is subject to minor modifications to ensure it is possible. Party should not revolve around a celebrity guest due to possible scheduling conflicts. Additional info is on the Drafthouse's website. »

- Beth Hanna

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Cristian Mungiu Talks Not Cutting Cannes Winner 'Beyond the Hills,' New Poster, Exclusive Video

31 January 2013 10:49 AM, PST

What's exciting about seeing new movies at festivals before critics get to them is making up your own mind, especially about films that are fashioned outside the box of what is deemed commercial or accessible to audiences. If you don't go to the first screening, though, you are subject to buzz--often a constantly repeated meme about a film that can be dangerous to hear because it may not predict your own experience of the film at all. A case in point is Cristian Mungiu's "Beyond the Hills" (March 8), which IFC picked up sight unseen before the Cannes Film Festival based on their prior relationship with the Romanian auteur's last feature, the Palme d'Or-winning "4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days." The meme? "Too long." But the Cannes jury rewarded the rare and glorious 35 mm "Beyond the Hills" with a shared Best Actress prize for its two non-pro actresses, Cosmina Stratan and Cristina Flutur, »


- Anne Thompson

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'Side Effects': Soderbergh Q & A and Review Roundup [Video]

31 January 2013 10:11 AM, PST

As "Side Effects" co-stars Channing Tatum and Catherine Zeta-Jones were no-shows at Wednesday night’s group Q & A for the twisty new Steven Soderbergh thriller "Side Effects" (February 7), the filmmaker himself was the star of the night. Soderbergh charmed his post-screening audience at Lincoln Center’s Walter Reade Theater as thoroughly as he did the entire internet earlier this week in his conversation with Mary Kate Schilling for Vulture. Per usual, the director waxed acerbic on the Sorry State of Film Today and eloquent on the oeuvre of Joe Eszterhas – a writer whose chief legacy until now has been parody commentary and drinking games (take a shot if you thought you’d ever see the words “oeuvre” and “Eszterhas” in the same sentence). Despite a prior agreement not to discuss Soderbergh’s imminent retirement from filmmaking, the question came up – hilariously – during his »


- Sheerly Avni

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Casting Watch: Chastain Is 'Miss Julie' with Liv Ullmann at the Helm, Farrell and Morton to Co-Star

31 January 2013 9:22 AM, PST

Jessica Chastain is set to star in the title role of "Miss Julie" in Liv Ullmann's film adaptation of August Strindberg's classic play about a young upper-class woman who finds herself attracted to a senior servant. Colin Farrell and Samantha Morton are attached to co-star. Chastain has already had a big start to 2013: she's Oscar-nominated for her role in Kathryn Bigelow's controversial "Zero Dark Thirty" and recently commanded the two top box office spots with that film and horror title "Mama." She is also currently on Broadway in "The Heiress." In the pipeline for Farrell are FilmDistrict's "Dead Man Down," Warner Bros.' "A Winter's Tale" and Disney's "Saving Mr. Banks." Ullmann, best known as Ingmar Bergman's muse in films such as "Persona," "Cries and Whispers" and mini-series "Scenes From a Marriage," has directed before, albeit »


- Beth Hanna

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Berlinale Announces Retrospective Lineup, Includes Restorations of 'On the Waterfront,' 'Tokyo Story,' 'Dial M for Murder'

31 January 2013 9:17 AM, PST

The Berlin International Film Festival (February 7-17) has announced the titles in its expanded retrospective lineup, Berlinale Classics. The five films on the slate are all restorations, and include Elia Kazan's "On the Waterfront," Yasujiro Ozu's "Tokyo Story" and Alfred Hitchcock's 3-D "Dial M for Murder." Full list below. Cabaret By Bob Fosse, USA 1972 Sat, Feb 9, 11.00 am Kino International, presented by Harold Nebenzal Dial M for Murder By Alfred Hitchcock, USA 1954 Tue, Feb 12, 6.00 pm and Sat, Feb 16, 10:00 pm Haus der Berliner Festspiele, European premiere of the digital 3D projection On the Waterfront By Elia Kazan, USA 1954 Wed, Feb 13, 7.00 pm Cinestar Event Cinema, world premiere of the 4K digital restoration (2013) Der Student von Prag (The Student of Prague) By Hanns Heinz Ewers, Germany 1913 A coproduction of the Filmmuseum München, Orchester Jakobsplatz München and »


- Beth Hanna

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Cinedigm Takes 'Narco Cultura,' Sundance Documentary on Drug Cartels

31 January 2013 8:35 AM, PST

Cinedigm has picked up North American distribution rights to Israeli photographer and filmmaker Shaul Schwarz' documentary "Narco Cultura," which premiered last week at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. The film looks at the influence of drug cartels on pop culture on both sides of the Mexican-American border, through the eyes of an L.A. narcocorrido singer and a Juarez crime scene investigator. Cinedigm plans an awards-qualifying run for the film in 2013. The doc's next screening will be at the Berlin Film Festival (February 7-17). "Narco Cultura" is Schwarz' feature film debut. His photography has appeared in National Geographic, the New York Times Magazine, Time and Newsweek, among other publications. »


- Beth Hanna

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Christopher Nolan's Top Ten Films for Criterion: Lang, Welles, Malick Make the Cut [Video]

30 January 2013 3:57 PM, PST

Director Christopher Nolan has selected his Top Ten films for Criterion.  His choices are varied, and the themes unsurprising: morality, mortality, life-or-death decisions, larger-than-life situations, and characters pushed to their total limits.  The films he selected -- from Erich von Stroheim in 1924 and Orson Welles in 1955 to Terrence Malick in 1998 -- share ambition.  Watch the trailers and clips from Nolan's selections below. The full list is here, published in the Criterion newsletter. "The Hit" | 1984 | Dir. Stephen Frears Starring John Hurt, Tim Roth, Terence Stamp, and Laura Del Sol, this breakthrough 1984 feature has music by Eric Clapton.  The gangster flick was famously difficult to find until Criterion claimed it. Nolan says: "That Criterion has released this little-known Stephen Frears gem is a testament to the thoroughness of their search for obscure masterworks. Few films have gambled as much on a simple portrayal of »


- Maggie Lange

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Immersed in Movies: Talking Disney Animated Short Oscar Nominee 'Paperman,' See Full Video

30 January 2013 12:56 PM, PST

Is Disney's hand-drawn animated legacy dead? Let's hope not. The "Paperman" short may provide the answer for its survival. (See full short and featurette below.) "Paperman," which played in theaters alongside Disney's "Wreck-It Ralph," is widely considered the frontunner for the animated short Oscar. Utilizing a minimalist black-and-white look, "Paperman" merges computer-animation and hand-drawn more holistically than ever before, thanks to a new interface. It's perfect for this dreamy mid-century tale of a lonely clerk who has a chance encounter with a beautiful woman during the morning commute in New York City. Determined to find her, he creatively uses a series of drawings on his quest. In other words, "Paperman" is about the expressive power of hand-drawn animation to seduce us. For first-time director John Kahrs, it was an opportunity to exorcise some old demons from his younger days in New »


- Bill Desowitz

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Immersed in Movies: Revisiting 'Frankenweenie' with Tim Burton

30 January 2013 11:29 AM, PST

If "Frankenweenie" has an edge in the Oscar race for best animated feature, it's because of the Tim Burton factor. He's long overdue for an Academy Award and if it weren't for the continued popularity of "The Nightmare Before Christmas" (which he made with Henry Selick), there likely wouldn't be three stop-motion movies competing for the Oscar this year. And Burton's the first to admit that stop-motion movies are purely artistic labors of love that can't compete commercially with their CG siblings, so an Oscar for Burton would finally be an acknowledgment of his stature and influence. Plus, it would be fitting to honor Burton for "Frankenweenie," which is the director's most personal movie about his love of monster movies and the craft of stop-motion, growing up in Burbank, and, yes, an ode to his childhood dog (the premise of his original live-action short from 1984). "For me, 'Frankenweenie' was a. »


- Bill Desowitz

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