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Canada gets no love from Oscar's Foreign Language shortlist

19 December 2014 11:31 AM, PST

The shortlist for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film was revealed today.  The most surprising thing about the list of title wasn’t who was included, instead, it’s all about who was left off.

A few notable contenders and heavily-favoured films from the long list of submissions, including Canada’s ownMommy, failed to make the cut.  Slimmed down to a shortlist of nine contenders, other major exclusions included Cannes Palme d’Or winner Winter Sleep from Turkey, the Dardenne brothers’ Two Days, One Night starringMarion Cotillard, the Golden Globe nominated Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem from Israel, and the Philippines’ Norte: the End of History. 

As a nation, we hung our hopes on Xavier Dolan’s film which won the Jury Prize at Cannes.  Mommy marks the second time a Dolan film has been submitted and failed to make the shortlist.  Canada previously submitted his 2009 film I Killed My Mother. »

- Rachel West

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Go the the woods with the this behind-the-scenes Into the Woods featurette

19 December 2014 7:00 AM, PST

At the heart of Into the Woods, there is a witch.  Played with great effect by Meryl Streep, she offers to break a curse laid upon the Baker (James Corden) and his wife (Emily Blunt) if they are to venture into the woods to retrieve objects of note, all which belong to some familiar characters.  The new musical from Disney weaves famous and familiar fairytale characters into one unique and exciting story as characters cross paths and stories.

Into the Woods shakes up the familiar to give us something entirely new on screen, combining comedy and drama and wrapping it into one luscious musical package with words and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim.

An ensemble cast of Anna Kendrick, Chris Pine, Johnny Depp, Tracy Ullman, Christine Baranski, Lilla Crawford, and Daniel Huttlestone are all on hand to play the fairytale characters we know so well.  Each one of them enters the »

- Rachel West

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Liam Neeson stars in hilarious Taken 3 music video

18 December 2014 8:47 AM, PST

First his daughter was kidnapped.  Then his wife.  How much can one man have taken from him?   

Liam Neeson and Fox, the studio behind the film, get in on your jokes and put that theory to the test in a cheeky new music video featuring their star who just can’t seem to get people to stop taking his stuff.

The team behind highly successful action series Taken, has created a fun – and catchy! – music video with Neeson to promote January’s Taken 3.

The latest theatrical outing sees Neeson’s ex-government operative Bryan Mills accused of a murder he didn’t commit.  Relentlessly tracked by the police, Mills attempts to flush out the real killers while he is on the run from the law.

Thanks in part to his first outing as Bryan Mills in 2008’s Taken, Neeson has become a late-in-life action hero, becoming the go-to guy for »

- Rachel West

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Annie's not the same old song and dance for Jamie Foxx

18 December 2014 7:00 AM, PST

The way Jamie Foxx sees it; it doesn’t matter whether he’s starring in a blood-soaked thriller or a kid-friendly flick. A promising movie, whatever the genre, is appealing both to audiences and to Foxx himself.

No surprise then that he just repeated his role as a murder consultant in the raunchy comedy Horrible Bosses 2, plays a kind-spirited tycoon in this month’s family friendly reimagining of Annie, and is slated to star in an upcoming bio-pic about complicated boxing legend Mike Tyson.

“The world now opens it up for you to play in all these different areas, these different arenas,” he says over the phone from San Francisco. In other words, having success in one category of film isn’t the sort of barrier to variety that it used to be. “Look at Robert Downey Jr., Hugh Jackman, Christian Bale. These guys are all super-powered actors. They »

- Colin Covert

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Smiling’s My Favourite: All your favourite holiday movies in one supercut

18 December 2014 7:00 AM, PST

Holiday movies have access to a very special place in our hearts – and, to be frank, they also sometimes enjoy a free pass from our critical faculties. It doesn’t matter how absurd, bad, or cheesy they are, we love holiday movies and we keep returning to them year after year.

Yes, of course we want to watch Arnold Schwarzenegger risk life and limb for a red Turbo-Man.

Tim Allen as Santa Claus makes complete sense.

And then there are the classics – with Miracle on 34th Street and It’s a Wonderful Life taking top billing. They pluck at our heartstrings, give us the warm-and-fuzzies, and provide us with our annual reminder that Natalie Wood was once a child actor.

Somewhere in between Jingle All the Way and Miracle on 34th Street live the modern holiday classics like Elf – “Saaaaaaanta!” – The Muppets Christmas Carol, and Home Alone. We can't wait »

- Sasha James

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Five reasons why we love The Hobbit

17 December 2014 7:00 AM, PST

With The Lord of the Rings off the big screen and now only taking up two to three inches on our DVD shelves, we were left wanting. If any kind of movie is perfectly made for theatre viewing, it’s a Middle-earth movie.

Thankfully, Peter Jackson had another book to adapt.

Waiting around for Martin Freeman to finish up his season of "Sherlock" was one of Peter’s more genius ideas. We can’t think of anyone else who could portray the younger version of Ian Holm’s stubborn, grumpy, yet weirdly pleasant Bilbo Baggins.

If Bilbo is one reason to love The Hobbit, what are the others? Let’s try and pin down the top reasons why Peter Jackson’s second trek though Middle-earth is just as epic as the first!

 

 

 

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- Sasha James

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Birdman and Budapest top Critics Choice noms

16 December 2014 8:50 AM, PST

BirdmanBoyhood and a host of now regulars on the awards circuit were among the top films listed in the 20th Critics' Choice Movie Awards nominations Monday, but it was Wes Anderson's darkly whimsical The Grand Budapest Hotel that surprised with 11 nominations.

In addition to nods for the film, the direction, the script and the cinematography, star Ralph Fiennes was also recognized in two acting categories: best actor and best actor in a comedy.

Though beloved by critics and a box office success, The Grand Budapest Hotel was seen as a dark horse in the awards race due in part to its March release date. But after earning four Golden Globe nominations last week, the quirky film could be rising in awards stature as Hollywood awaits the start of Oscar nominations voting.

Birdman scored the most nominations, though, with 13 in categories such as best picture and best director. LeadMichael »

- Cineplex.com and contributors

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Cate Blanchett and Luke Evans on the legacy of The Hobbit

16 December 2014 7:29 AM, PST

It’s not every day that you get to talk to two elves and Middle Earth’s Bard the Bowman.

At this summer's past Comic-Con, we were lucky enough to score some solo time with both Cate Blanchett andLuke Evans, plus some bonus face time with Orlando Bloom as the actors in Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies stopped to speak with the press in San Diego.

We talked to the radiant Blanchett about what we will see Galadriel get up to in the final chapter of Jackson’s Middle Earth saga.  Can you believe that it’s been 13 years since she first appeared on screen as Galadriel? 

Evans, who hasn’t quite been a Jackson collaborator as long as his co-stars Bloom and Blanchett talked to us about our favourite human in the band of journeymen who we last left in Laketown as the Smaug »

- Rachel West

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Here at the End of All Things: Middle-earth gets its own supercut

16 December 2014 7:00 AM, PST

 It’s been thirteen years since Frodo Baggins (Elijah Wood) first left Bag End in director Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring. Since then, the two Middle-earth trilogies have banked countless Oscar nominations, and have accumulated enough box office gold that comparisons to Smaug’s treasure are not out of realm of modest.

With The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies in theatres right now, we got a tad nostalgic about all those sneaky little hobbitses. Our time in Middle-earth has regrettably come to an end, but in the words of Mr. Frodo: “I am glad you are here with me. Here at the end of all things.”

If you get a little weepy whenever Samwise Gamgee (Sean Astin) gives a speech – like we do – get your tissues ready for our supercut of some of our favourite Middle-earth moments.

 

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- Sasha James

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Terrence Malick's Knight of Cups trailer is high on Christian Bale, excess, and temptation

15 December 2014 1:36 PM, PST

Terrence Malick is an enigma. 

The infamously press-shy writer-director worked sporadically at best until very recently, taking years off between films.  After The Tree of Life was released in 2011, Malick turned around and released To the Wonder before embarking on what seems to be two back-to-back films, with a largely overlapping cast in Knight of Cups and a yet-untitled film.

Of his two upcoming films, Knight of Cups is the one that audiences will get a look at first.  Hot on the heels of the announcement that the film will premiere at the Berlin Film Festival in February, the trailer for the film has dropped online, offering the first glimpse at Christian Bale and co.

The trailer leaves a lot to the imagination as it doesn’t offer any concrete proof as to what the plot of the film is other than it’s a look at a man (played »

- Rachel West

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Quiz: Prepare to return to Middle Earth with our Hobbit quiz!

15 December 2014 7:28 AM, PST

As we all know, one does not simply walk into Mordor.

Before one takes an unprecedented journey with a gang of dwarves, one must prepare for the challenges that lay ahead. Just as Bilbo Baggins is about to wrap-up  the journey of a lifetime, we too must prepare ourselves with all manner of things Hobbit-related. Flex your muscles and warm up your brain as we enter the final countdown to The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies with our Hobbit quiz!

Return to Middle Earth with these ten questions about J.R.R. Tolkein’s world, lovingly imagined on the big screen by director Peter Jackson.

Challenge yourself in our quiz below!

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- Emma Badame and Rachel West

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The Hobbit's Martin Freeman on his last trek into Middle-earth

15 December 2014 7:00 AM, PST

The first thing you notice about English actor Martin Freeman is how much he’s unlike Bilbo Baggins, his character in the Hobbit movies. When we first encountered Bilbo in 2012’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, he was an idle, upper-middle class bachelor, comfortably disengaged from the chaos coming to Middle-earth and utterly disinterested in joining Gandalf and the thirteen dwarves on their quest to reclaim the Lonely Mountain from the dragon Smaug.

Freeman, on the other hand, would probably have jumped at Gandalf’s request. The 43-year-old actor is always working. This year alone, the charming, ever-composed Englishman has had principal roles on two television shows — "Sherlock" and "Fargo" — and on stage playing villainous King Richard in a London production of Richard III, which he describes as his “first professional Shakespeare.”

He managed to juggle his overlapping work commitments in 2011 to get onboard director Peter Jackson’s Hobbitbandwagon, and »

- Ashley Jude Collie

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Frankly, Scarlett: 10 things you might not know about Gone With The Wind

14 December 2014 9:00 PM, PST

 

It was the first color film to win the Best Picture Oscar and is ranked as one of the greatest movie of all time by the American Film Institute. In its first four years of release the film sold 59.5 million tickets, a number equal to half the population of the United States in 1939 and according to Box Office Mojo it’s the highest grossing film of all time when adjusted for ticket price inflation.

Today, Gone with the Wind celebrates its seventy-fifth anniversary as “the most iconic film of all time.”

Set against the backdrop of the American Civil War, the story of Southern Belle Scarlett O’Hara and her torrid affair with blockade runner Rhett Butler remains so popular it has motivated legions of fans, called Windies, to gather in period costume in author Margaret Mitchell’s hometown of Atlanta, Georgia.

It even inspired one of the most famous television parodies of all time. »

- Richard Crouse

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