12 items from 2014
By Anjelica Oswald
The American Film Institute’s AFI Fest opens tonight in Hollywood with the world premiere of J.C. Chandor’s A Most Violent Year. The film stars Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain as a couple trying to run a business and live in New York City during 1981, which was statistically one of the city’s most violent years. This is Chandor’s first film to premiere in Los Angeles. Though the film is hoping to garner some Oscar nominations, only six of the past 14 films to open AFI Fest have gone on to receive Oscar nominations and none have been for best picture.
Of the six films to garner Oscar nominations, the only film to win an award was 2005’s Walk the Line, which resulted in Reese Witherspoon taking home the Oscar for best actress. The Johnny Cash biopic scored four other nominations, including film editing and best actor. »
- Anjelica Oswald
The most recent Fall season of TV has a couple of new crime dramas, one squarely rooted in the realm of comic books and fantasy, and one smack in the middle of contemporary soaps. “Gotham” and “How to Get Away with Murder” are two vastly different shows, but they share that common tie of not just crime, but the people who spend their lives working within the parameters of the justice system.
“Gotham” airs on Monday nights on Fox at 7:00. There have been several visual retellings of the origins of “Batman”, but “Gotham” delves much further into the story. Instead of focusing on the evolution of Bruce Wayne into the Dark Knight, “Gotham” shows the evolution of key players in the Batman saga, and the decline of the city from corruption to outright haven for criminals.
Thus far, only the first episode has aired. In it, we’ve seen Selina Kyle, »
In tonight's Gotham, Oswald Cobblepot (Robin Lord Taylor...still great) finally makes his return to the city and begins working in a restaurant run by one Sal Maroni (Dexter's David Zayas making his debut). We continue to see how vicious and completely unstable penguin Jr. is here, while possibly getting an insight into his plan to get revenge on Fish Mooney...and Jim Gordon? Meanwhile, we spend a bit more time with the young Selina Kyle as she promises to provide Gordon with information about the Wayne's real killer, only to give him the slip. Camren Bicondova continues to impress in this role, and may just emerge as a highlight of the show. We also drop in on Bruce and Alfred, as the two engage in a spot of swashbuckling tomfoolery. It's nice to see a more fun side to the butler, though he also sees how far he can »
How to Procrastinate Film Blogging? Live-blog a tv show.
Since The Film Experience has been in Viola Davis's corner for a dozen years now -- I gave her one of her first film prizes even if she didn't know it: a gold medal for best cameo in Antwone Fisher (2002) -- I felt obligated to watch her new headlining gig for at least a couple of episodes. I'm not remotely a procedural kind of person or a Shondaland person. Grey's Anatomy, her career-maker, had too much whining and Scandal is too hysterical and (worse) wildly uneven in its acting. Nevertheless I thought I'd live blog the first two episodes and see if it's fun enough to stay with (?) and largely to see if you are watching, too.
How To Express Your Feelings? Comment on said blog.
00.01 Opening sequence is like those 'we're changing scenes and denoting the passage of time! »
- NATHANIEL R
Why was anyone surprised that "The Equalizer" was a solid hit, opening at an estimated $35.0 million?
Tracking suggested that the Denzel Washington movie would open only in the high 20s; after all, it's a movie based on a second-tier 1980s TV action drama that no one under 50 remembers fondly, and it's competing in the marketplace with Liam Neeson's similar "A Walk Among the Tombstones."
Nonetheless, "The Equalizer" pulled off the fourth largest September opening ever and marked the 12th straight $20-million-plus opening for a Washington wide-release movie, a track record stretching back a decade.
Clearly, Washington remains, at 59, one of Hollywood's most reliable box office draws. (And like fellow Aarp-aged action hero Neeson, Washington shows no sign of slowing down.)
What is he doing right? What does he have that others don't? Here are a few things.
Consistency. The world-weary, vengeful man-of-action role that Washington plays in "Equalizer" may »
- Gary Susman
Is there any movie star more consistent than Denzel? Pro: No matter what he makes, it opens big. Con: Maybe that's because he's just not a risk taker. He may be our least adventurous megastar.
Top O' The Box Office
1 Equalizer $35 million New
2 Maze Runner $17.5 (cum. $58) Review
3 Boxtrolls $17.2 million New best animation studio right now
On the stage he only appears in time-tested prestige pieces (Raisin in the Sun and August Wilson or Shakespeare plays). Onscreen he only makes two kinds of movies: disposable action thriller flicks & would-be prestige dramas. The Equalizer, adapted from a television series, is obviously one of the former. People won't remember he made it in a couple of years as a newer model surfaces to replace it.
Washington hasn't altered this pattern in twenty years -- take a look for yourself if you don't believe me -- unless you count his curiousity about directing (both »
- NATHANIEL R
The Caribbean based indie tale, "Happy People" has found its cast and begun production in the Bimini islands, The Bahamas. The film marks the directorial debut of AFI alum Logan Sandler. The film, which started production in Bimini on Monday, September 15, 2014, will star Dree Hemingway (Starlet, the Cosmopolitans, While We Were Young), Keith Stanfield (Short Term 12, Selma, Straight Outta Compton), Robert Wisdom (The Wire, Dark Night Rises, Nashville, Chicago Pd), Leonard Earl Howze (Antwone Fisher, Barbershop, Masters of Sex) and Sam Dillon (Boyhood, Scenes from the Suburbs, Memoria). “It is incredibly exciting to have such an amazing cast working on this project. »
- Press Release
Soon, brothers and sisters—soon, Smash Brothers will return. The latest edition of Nintendo’s button-mashing mascot-crushing fun fest arrives on the 3Ds and the Wii U later this year. For years, the rumor mill has been churning with possible new additions to the lineup. We already know that Mega Man and Pac-Man are joining the Smash crew. But how deep would Nintendo dig into their back catalogue? Could Birdo finally be a playable character? Would Bubbles the Bubble Fish finally get her chance at a comeback? Whither the Tatangas of yesteryear?
Now, a possible leak appears to reveal at »
- Darren Franich
Here's Matthew Eng on where we are in the career of one of the great screen actresses...
“Holy shit, I love watching this woman act!” is what I immediately thought during Viola Davis’s doozy of a “big scene” in Get on Up, which nearly every review of Tate Taylor’s surprisingly strong James Brown biopic has been well-inclined to praise. As Brown’s aged, long-estranged mama, Davis—with the aid of terrific star Chadwick Boseman and some pretty expert makeup artists whose numbers Clint Eastwood should find immediately—manages to reinvigorate a set-up familiar from any number of tortured artist-biopics (i.e. absentee parent comes groveling years later to abandoned child-turned-superstar at the peak of his fame) with the same smart, electrifying clarity of character and tender yet tough-minded emotionalism that should be long-recognizable by now to anyone who has seen Doubt or Antwone Fisher or Solaris or Won’t Back Down, »
- Matthew Eng
Artist: Michael Walsh
The creators of the TV series Gotham are doing something really intriguing with the villain Joker. Yesterday, we showed you a few screenshots from the pilot episode of the Batman inspired series that showed a comedian performing in a club for Fish Mooney. There was a lot of speculation that this could be the future Joker, and it might! But there are going to be several characters that will be introduced throughout the first season that might end up being the Joker as well.
According to Bleeding Cool, "every episode in the first season will introduce a character that might be a future Joker, each emphasising aspects of the character’s iconography, a card sharp, a flower seller, a clown, or just a guy with a very big grin."
I love how they are handling this series and character! This show is going to be so good! »
- Joey Paur
There’s the one night stand, and there’s the long-term relationship.
Both have their place in the modern world of dating, but can the former become the latter, the heat of the moment transforming into the ever-burning fire?
It’s a perennial question, one that introduces a host of others: does it matter who says “I love you” first? How long should a couple wait before moving in together? When should best friends get involved, and should it be with positive encouragement or by playing devil’s advocate? (And does it matter if the friends’ romantic lives carry their own problems?)
In the insightful, hilarious romantic comedy About Last Night– arriving just in time to become the latest Valentine’s Day movie classic — four Los Angeles singles get a thorough workout in the ups and downs of today’s dating world. On yet another night of playing wingman to »
- Movie Geeks
Which music stars went home with awards at the 2014 Grammy Awards? Find out with this full winners list.
Winners in each category are bolded.
Record of the Year
"Radioactive" -- Imagine Dragons
"Royals" -- Lorde
"Blurred Lines" -- Robin Thick feat. T.I. and Pharrell
Album of the year
"The Blessed Unrest" -- Sara Bareilles
"Random Access Memories" -- Daft Punk
"Good Kid, M.A.A.D City" -- Kendrick Lamar
"Red" -- Taylor Swift
Song of the year
12 items from 2014
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