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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
Kevin Costner came into the Toronto International Film Festival on Saturday for the world premiere of his powerful new drama, Black And White, a stirring story dealing with our racial divide, but mostly a riveting human tale from writer/director Mike Binder. It’s unflinchingly honest and contains a crackerjack courtroom scene that’s priceless. In that scene, Costner delivers perhaps the best performance of his career, or at least since the period of his career circa Field Of Dreams. It played to a packed house yesterday at Roy Thomson Hall and won a strong ovation from the crowd.
Costner told me that even the though the hard-hitting film is not a comedy, the audience responded with laughs in just the right places and really seemed to be moved by what they saw on screen.
That said, the film is still looking for a domestic distributor and the star, who »
- Pete Hammond
I'll try to be brief. With the triple threat of Venice, Telluride and Toronto, we've entered that foggy realm known to the industry as "awards season." And with it we're getting, like clockwork, self-satisfied dismissals of this time of year, pieces that surmise that the Oscar frame is "ruining movies," and that coverage of the prestige months (i.e., places like In Contention) are a root of the problem. I suppose it's time for a reminder that such a position is nonsense. First and foremost, is your passion for movies really so easily ruined? A segment of press devoted to covering the, typically, quality work presented by studios this time of year is such a blight on the industry? I won't argue that it's too noisy out there; it absolutely is. And as someone who's covered this beat for 14 years now, I've certainly taken note of the increasing volume. But »
- Kristopher Tapley
50 to 1
Directed by Jim Wilson
Imagine, if you will, a horse race that starts and finishes in a blink of an eye. We see your choice winner bucking behind the starting gate. His chances of winning are slim to none, fifty to one in fact. You may not know anything about the horse, but you like the sound of his name on the program, and figure you can make some nice cash from a long shot. The gate opens and your horse bellows out the door. Immediately cut to the first bend and he is trailing behind the team. Now, immediately cut to the last and he strides to the finish line by a large margin. Victory is yours, but to what fulfillment? Sure you’re happy that your horse won, and heck, you might have made a serious winning. You probably »
- Christopher Clemente
Reported over at Deadline, Villard said, “The book is an extraordinary example of Frank Herbert’s brilliant writing, and it is something I’ve always wanted to turn into a film. I remember the rights being unavailable when I first pursued the Soul Catcher project in the ’80s, but as my producing career developed I never forgot the powerful effect the story had on me.”
The Frank Herbert Estate have given their full support towards Villard – after he negotiated with them for a year – in his pursuit in bringing Soul Catcher to the screen. Dimitri Villard is now looking to secure a director who can steer the character-driven story in the right direction; Villard has already added »
Frank Herbert’s most famous work of fiction Dune is the topic of this week’s 1984 look back series. Showing uncanny timing news has reached us that another of the author’s works has just been optioned. The story in question is Soul Catcher, a story that was first published in 1972.
Surprsingly although Herbert has the accolade for having written the best-selling science fiction novel ever, Dune remains his only work to be transformed into celluloid. That might have some to do with the reception the Dune film received, with director Lynch distancing himself from the project (read all about it in our feature). Before his death in 1986 Herbert had written dozens of stories including several Dune sequels.
Soul Catcher appears to have a rather strange and interesting plot. A militant Native American student seeking vengeance for his people kidnaps the teenage son of a Us politician. The pair then »
- Kat Smith
Exclusive: Four decades after Dune scribe Frank Herbert published his acclaimed 1972 novel Soul Catcher, the book has been optioned for the big screen by producer Dimitri Villard. The Flight Of he Navigator and Once Bitten producer first pursued the Herbert tome during the 1980s but tabled his film career to run music company ArtistDirect until last year. Now he’s returning to the screen biz with Soul Catcher, about a militant Native American student who kidnaps the 13-year-old white son of a U.S. politician, intending to sacrifice the child for vengeance against wrongs committed against his people. As the captor and the captive flee from hunters across the Pacific Northwest, they form a bond that throws the planned act into question.
- Jen Yamato
This weekend, Megan Fox plays April O’Neil in Paramount’s “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” but she’s not the first actress to portray the character. In 1990, Judith Hoag originated the role of the intrepid reporter who befriends the pizza-loving heroes, although she almost turned down the part. “When I first heard of it, I thought it was a horror film,” Hoag recalls on a recent telephone call with Variety. “‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ is such a strange name. I wasn’t into the comic books at all.”
Hoag, 22 at the time, was in the middle of shooting the Robin Williams comedy “Cadillac Man,” and her schedule prevented her from committing to “Ninja Turtles.” Then the producers were able to make it work, and Hoag had to fly from New York to Wilmington, North Carolina, on the weekends for production. “People would be wondering where I would racing off to on a Friday, »
- Ramin Setoodeh
Kevin Costner admits he has many qualities, and fortunately one of them is persistence. The two-time Academy Award winner (Best Picture and Best Director for “Dances with Wolves”) spoke openly about the challenges of getting his film “Black and White” made on Saturday at the National Association of Black Journalists (Nabj) Convention in Boston. “I just thought it was an interesting movie … I can't speak for why . I know a lot of people want to make these big, giant movies and I understand … But I thought this movie is just as valid as those movies. So that's why I »
- Anita Bennett
With the awards season on the horizon, now is as good a time as any to look back on the movies that won favor with the Academy. Earlier this year, a supercut emerged highlighting the Best Picture Oscar winners of the 2000s, and now video editor Miguel Branco has turned his eye to the 1990s, with a fresh video celebrating the movies that defined a decade. And indeed, the 1990s seemed to mostly be defined by the epic drama, with "Dances With Wolves," "Braveheart, "Schindler's List" and "The English Patient" taking home Oscar gold. But the Academy took chances too, honoring Jonathan Demme's horror "Silence Of The Lambs," Clint Eastwood's western "Unforgiven" and Sam Mendes' "American Beauty" as well. Take a look a the full video below, and let us know if these winners still stand the test of time, or if you would have chosen differently. »
- Kevin Jagernauth
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