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The Broadcast Film Critics Association announces nominees Monday. It will be interesting to see which way they (well, we; I'm a member) go. Unlike the other critics groups that have announced so far, the Bfca — which, it should be pointed out, isn't completely made of critics, a line increasingly blurred — is a vast organization with something like 300 members. So within that, you can get a bead on consensus. Anyway, that's Monday. For now, the organization has announced a number of special awards for the Jan. 15 ceremony. The Lifetime Achievement Honor will go to Kevin Costner, seen on screens this year in Mike Binder's "Black or White." A fine choice, particularly with the resurgence in films like "3 Days to Kill" and "Draft Day" as of late. Fingers crossed he saddles up to another western one of these days, as "Dances with Wolves" and particularly "Open Range" remain stellar samples from the genre. »
- Kristopher Tapley
All hope isn’t lost for “American Sniper.” Even though the Bradley Cooper drama about Navy Seal Chris Kyle hasn’t leapt into the award season race yet, it still holds a stealth advantage as it enters Oscar balloting — passionate fans.
The Golden Globe nominees (announced on Thursday) and SAG Awards (Wednesday) don’t necessarily take passion into account. But the Academy Award nominating system for best picture, determined by a preferential ballot (that puts more “weight” on a film ranked as No. 1 by a voter), can help out a movie like “Sniper,” which has ardent groupies. In recent years, films such as “A Serious Man,” “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close,” “District 9,” “Tree of Life,” “Toy Story 3″ and “Amour” were nominated in the top Oscar category because their fans loved them in a fanatical way.
Here are seven filmsthat could benefit from a similar surge this year.
1. “Unbroken »
- Ramin Setoodeh
Kevin Costner knows how to play the studio game as well as anyone, from directing 1991 Best Picture winner "Dances with Wolves" and his streak as a major movie star in such hits as "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves," "Bull Durham," "Tin Cup," "Field of Dreams" "JFK" and "The Bodyguard," not to mention the infamous "Waterworld," which made a lot more money and is a better film than anyone remembers. (Watch the official trailer for "Black or White" after the Q & A, below.) What a career! He doesn't lack for confidence, and has always had a maverick streak--he loves his westerns, from "Open Range" to TV's "Hatfields and McCoys." Heading toward 60, Costner takes on character roles in "Superman: Man of Steel" and carried the recent football drama "Draft Day." But the guy has always been a maverick, and when director Mike Binder kept plying him with roles »
- Anne Thompson
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
Every year Amazon puts the extended Blu-ray edition of the Lord of the Rings trilogy on sale during Black Friday Deals Week and this year is no different in that respect, though it is a little different in that they are bundling it with even more J.R.R. Tolkien goodies for fans of Middle Earth. Along with the Lord of the Rings trilogy, which includes the extended Blu-ray editions of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, you can buy bundles that also include all four books, including "The Hobbit" as well as either the PS4 or Xbox One edition of the Shadow of Mordor video game. I've included the links below along with a selection of other deals on more Blu-rays, Blu-ray players, televisions, soundbars and more! The »
- Brad Brevet
Amazon has started offering several Blu-ray titles at deep discounts as part of their Black Friday Deals Week and I've gone through and selected some choice titles such as David Fincher's Fight Club, Seven and Zodiac are available for cheap, several Sylvester Stallone titles including all his Rambo films and first two The Expendables features, both of James Cameron's Terminator movies are on sale, Rain Man for only $3.99, personal favorites such as A Time to Kill, Primal Fear and many others. I've listed several below and you can find even more right here if this isn't enough. Note: Sign up for Amazon Prime and get free two-day shipping. Blu-rays for $3.99-$7.99 300 ($7.99) (500) Days of Summer ($6.99) A Good Day to Die Hard ($3.99) A Time to Kill ($6.99) Bad Teacher ($7.00) Beetlejuice ($6.99) Bernie ($4.99) Cosmopolis ($5.78) Dances with Wolves ($3.99) Dazed and Confused ($6.96) Fight Club ($3.99) Hard to Kill ($4.88) Hugo ($6.99) Inside Man ($3.99) No Country for Old Men »
- Brad Brevet
There have been many movies about the infamous Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar in the starting blocks for years but it took a Frenchman, Rassam, to deliver the first narrative feature about him in “Escobar: Paradise Lost.” Starring Benicio Del Toro and Josh Hutcherson, the film earned critical kudos at its Toronto festival preem in September.
In the past eight years, Rassam has succeeded in raising the financing for some of France’s biggest-budgeted English-language movies, such as “Upside Down” (estimated budget: $40 million) and the upcoming animated feature “The Little Prince” (budget: $77 million), directed by “Kung Fu Panda” co-helmer Mark Osborne with a voice cast that includes James Franco, Marion Cotillard and Rachel McAdams.
Rassam, who launched On Entertainment with his longtime associate Aton Soumache in January, is prepping a move to L.A. in March. “I already travel there 10 to 12 times a year, and I’m now really looking »
- Elsa Keslassy
Here’s a bittersweet win for the 59-year-old Kevin Costner: The American Association of Retired Persons will pay tribute to the "Dances with Wolves" and "JFK" actor during their annual Movies for Grownups Awards. He’ll receive the organization’s Career Achievement Award at the noteworthy ceremony, taking place on Feb. 2, 2015 at the Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel. Making this a slightly bigger deal than it seems, news comes in from Relativity Media that Costner’s Oscar-hopeful "Black or White" has a solid date before year’s end, bumping him into the awards contenders pool. Relativity made it clear when they picked up the Toronto Film Festival premiere that an awards push was in the cards, and now it’s official: "Black or White" will open in a limited engagement on Dec. 3, 2014. Our review of Mike Binder’s racially charged drama didn’t have too many kind things to say »
- Matt Patches
Exclusive: Kevin Costner has been chosen to receive Aarp’s Career Achievement Award, which will be presented as part of the organization’s annual Movies For Grownups Awards on February 2 at the Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel. Costner also has officially joined the Oscar race this year with his powerful racial drama Black Or White, which Relativity Media picked up and will release for a one-week Oscar-qualifying run beginning December 3 ahead of its regular run in late January.
The Aarp honor, previously bestowed on the likes of Susan Sarandon, Robert Redford, Robert De Niro and Sharon Stone among others, is one of many Costner has been receiving of late (he got a similar honor at March’s CinemaCon gathering in Las Vegas) and certainly doesn’t hurt in raising the profile of his late entry into this year’s awards season. The Oscar winning actor, who turns 60 in January, will also »
- Pete Hammond
A Marvel comic book movie as a serious contender for a Best Picture Oscar nomination? My reaction when the idea was recently pitched to me by a top publicity firm floating the April 4 release Captain America: The Winter Soldier was that this publicist must be on crack.
Don’t they know the Academy is basically made up of snobs? The Imitation Game, The Theory Of Everything, Boyhood, Yes, but c’mon, Comic Book movies have no place in the Best Picture race. That became painfully obvious when The Dark Knight was egregiously overlooked as a Best Pic nominee in 2008.
That led the Academy the next year to expand the number of possible Bp nominees from five to ten in an effort to include deserving popular fare like Knight. However to date the expansion has only resulted basically in a larger number of the usual suspects that normally get recognized among the year’s best. »
- Pete Hammond
Director and writer Quentin Tarantino burst into the mainstream 20 years ago this week with the debut of "Pulp Fiction." Matthew Chernov says that it was "like a shot of adrenaline to the heart" that "changed the movie landscape" forever. He adds that movies from that timeframe like "Dances with Wolves" and "A Few Good Men" were "content to play it safe." Calling it the "coolest" film of the 1990s, he praises the soundtrack, razor-sharp dialogue (from an Oscar-winning screenplay by Tarantino and Roger Avary), the cinematography, and stars John Travolta, Samuel L. Jackson, Bruce Willis, and Uma Thurman. While nominated for the Best Picture of 1994, it lost that Oscar race to "Forrest Gump." Variety -Break- Jimmy Fallon grabs the YouTube late night crown from Jimmy Kimmel. Just eight months after starting "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon," NBC's program is now at 4.76 million s...' »
Like a shot of adrenaline to the heart, “Pulp Fiction” changed the movie landscape when it opened on Oct. 14, 1994. Quentin Tarantino’s ode to crime and pop-culture was a bold new cinematic vision in a decade that badly needed one. Before “Pulp Fiction,” prestige films like “Dances with Wolves” and “A Few Good Men” seemed content to play it safe, while blockbusters like “Jurassic Park” and “The Fugitive” focused squarely on the mainstream. Overnight, the term ‘Tarantinoesque’ became shorthand for audaciously stylized ultra-violence and genre-bending thrills. On its 20th anniversary, here’s why “Pulp Fiction” remains the coolest movie of the ’90s.
The Soundtrack: From the rumbling reverb of Dick Dale’s surf-rock rendition of “Misirlou” to the soulful crooning of Dusty Springfield’s “Son of a Preacher Man” and the strip club sexiness of Kool & the Gang’s “Jungle Boogie,” the “Pulp Fiction” soundtrack effortlessly mixes musical styles the way the film blends genres. »
- Matthew Chernov
138 is a magic number. It's the average length, in minutes, of a Best Picture winner. Here are the running times of all winnners from longest to shortest. You'll see that the majority of winners are over 2 hours long which has caused no end of padding in "serious" movies but alas, not enough padding for tender buttocks watching the interminable movies.
Here are your Best Picture winners from longest film to the shortest.
Gone With the Wind (1939) 238 minutes
Just two minutes shy of four hours, but worth every second. Lots of Gone With the Wind discussion here. Did you see its recent two day theatrical screening? Lawrence of Arabia (1962) 216 minutes Ben-Hur (1959) 212 minutes
Currently in the process of being remade because that's how Hollywood do. Although this film was itself a remake so... we'll let it pass. Still there is no way its signature scene, the chariot race, will be as thrilling with CGI. »
- NATHANIEL R
It's true that history isn't always kind to the decisions made by Oscar voters: "How Green Was My Valley" over "Citizen Kane," "Dances with Wolves" over "Goodfellas," "Crash" over "Brokeback Mountain," to name a few controversial calls. But are all unpopular Oscar-winners universally reviled? Not so, according to our forum posters, who are sticking their necks out for some of the most unpopular winners of recent years. -Break- 16 Best Picture Champs Trashed by Critics Poster Joe Burns got the ball rolling, making his case in defense of Helen Hunt for Best Actress in "As Good as it Gets" ("Seriously, why do people dislike her so much? She gives a terrific performance"), and "The King's Speech" for Best Picture ("Many will disagree with me, but I find this film wonderful and entertaining, even if it loses some if its impact on repeated vi..."' »
The Hurt Locker producer gives ten tips for producing award-winning films at the right budget.
Voltage Pictures president Nicolas Chartier, producer of The Hurt Locker and executive producer of Dallas Buyers Club, used his keynote speech at the Zurich Summit to offer ten tips for ‘producing award-winning films at the right budget’.
The tongue-in-cheek speech, which went down a storm, included plenty of sage advice.
Chartier agreed to share the speech with Screen and below is the near-entire transcript…
‘Good morning. So yesterday on the plane I was reading Hope For Film, the biography of Ted Hope who for those who don’t know him, was one of the founders of Good Machine, a great independent company which produced Crouching Tiger, Ice Storm, In the Bedroom, Brothers McMullen and many other independent films.
He wrote, I quote: “To make art, survive independently, and make a living that is tied to modest financial gain, you have to »
- email@example.com (Andreas Wiseman)
When we talk about difficult film productions, the same names seem to come through. Apocalypse Now and The Deer Hunter, for instance, are productions with well-told stories of how those behind the scenes went to proverbial hell and back. In more recent times, most of us are more than familiar with the hell that those behind World War Z went through to get it to the screen.
What I though would be a bit different though is take a generally very successful film, and dig a bit deeper to see if there was a troubled story there. One where behind the scenes issues are rarely talked about. Given that I've come to this piece straight after writing about 1991's movies, here, I settled on The Addams Family. »
The film has numerous known America-Indian cast members, including Chaske Spencer (“The Twilight Saga”), Q’Orianka Kilcher (“Sons of Anarchy”), Tyler Christopher (“General Hospital”), Tantoo Cardinal (“Dances with Wolves”) and Tonantzin Carmelo (“Into the West”).
Here is the synopsis of the film:
Shouting Secrets is the tale of a fractured family brought together by tragedy. A richly realized portrait of kin repairing bonds once thought irretrievably broken. Wesley (Chaske Spencer of the Twilight series), a young, successful novelist, long ago left Arizona and the San Carlos Apache Reservation in his rear view mirror. He remains close to his mother June (Tantoo Cardinal) but alienated the rest of the family (Q’orianka Kilcher, Tyler Christopher, Gil Birmingham) with his autobiographical bestseller. He has no intention of »
- Gig Patta
On September 19th, 20th Century Fox will unveil the highly anticipated The Maze Runner and according to early numbers, director Wes Ball’s movie is on track for a $30 million opening when it bows next weekend.
Based upon the best-selling novel by James Dashner, when Thomas wakes up trapped in a massive maze with a group of other boys, he has no memory of the outside world other than strange dreams about a mysterious organization known as W.C.K.D. Only by piecing together fragments of his past with clues he discovers in the maze can Thomas hope to uncover his true purpose and a way to escape.
One of the most popular soundtracks Sony Music has released this year, the original movie score is from American film composer and conductor John Paesano.
Originally from Detroit, Michigan, Paesano initially studied classical music with composition professor Sally Dow Miller of Conservatoire de Paris. »
- Michelle McCue
Earlier this week, a trailer for the upcoming thriller The Town That Dreaded Sundown was released featuring a logo fans of 80s and 90s cinema haven't seen in 15 years. The Town That Dreaded Sundown marks the return of Orion Pictures, the distributor of classics such as The Terminator, Robocop and Best Picture winner Silence of the Lambs, for the first time since 1999's One Man's Hero.
Here is the trailer carrying the original Orion logo:
Orion Pictures declared bankruptcy in 1991, but it was bought by MGM in 1996. MGM resurrected the brand in 2013, which is currently used on the syndicated series Paternity Court. MGM is now planning on using the brand for smaller, independent titles for VOD and limited theatrical releases.
Orion Pictures is alive again. The mini-major studio and distributor behind The Terminator, RoboCop and Best Picture Oscar winners Amadeus, Platoon, Dances With Wolves and The Silence Of The Lambs was acquired by MGM in 1997 after flailing financially through most of the 1980s and ’90s, but it fell off the map within a few short years. Now MGM quietly is positioning Orion Pictures as a specialty multiplatform distribution arm, starting with the October release of horror sequel The Town That Dreaded Sundown.
Deadline revealed this week that Orion will release the Jason Blum- and Ryan Murphy-produced low-budget slasher, which MGM is framing as the first new title from the revived brand. The familiar Orion constellation logo even caught some viewers’ eyes when it appeared in the film’s trailer yesterday. MGM is taking small steps; it won’t be launching the new Orion as a stand-alone initiative and »
- Jen Yamato
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