10 items from 2015
This article contains a spoiler for the ending of Interstellar.
In case you missed it, the Oscars were this past weekend and Birdman was the big winner. The Academy’s choice to award Alejandro González Iñárritu's fever dream was a genuine shock, with Boyhood the running favourite for many months. Nonetheless, some things never change, and in that vein it's certainly a non-surprise the Academy also hardly noticed the most ambitious blockbuster of 2014: the Christopher Nolan space epic, Interstellar. Indeed, I use the phrase "non-surprise", because how could it be a winner when it was only nominated for the bare minimum of five Oscars in technical categories that are reserved as consolation prizes?
This is by all means par for the course with a film that has »
Why should I care about the Oscars?
No, that’s a serious question. Because as much as I hate to admit it, I do. At their very best, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences gets it right by tripping and falling into a “Market Irglova & Glen Hansard” here or a “12 minute standing ovation” there. At their very worst, AMPAS indulges in the most regressive, ass-backwards impulses of the industry. Whether enforcing asinine restrictions on eligibility or blacklisting via internal politics, Academy voters can be inept, close-minded and utterly humorless about their annual pat-on-the-back. Too old, too white, and too male, AMPAS is like a closet mob comprised solely of Bud Selig clones, perpetually fumbling in the dark for their reading glasses.
And yet despite all this, I’m still going to throw the remote through the television if Alexandre Desplat’s The Grand Budapest Hotel doesn’t bring »
- David Klein
Organisers announced the entire festival and conference line-up on Tuesday (February 17) ahead of the event, set to run in Austin, Texas, from March 13-22.
Programming includes the Conversations series with Ryan Gosling, Sally Field and Amy Schumer from the upcoming summer release Trainwreck, as well as Jeff Nichols and collaborator Michael Shannon and Henry Rollins.
All in all 150 features will screen, of which 102 are world premieres, 14 are North American premieres and 11 are Us premieres.
SXSW programmers culled the 256 films including 106 shorts from close to 7,500 submissions, marking a festival record.
Conference subjects, panels and discussions will cover such areas as virtual reality, the future of film criticism and Us-European co-production and funding opportunities »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Jeremy Kay)
By Anjelica Oswald
Birdman, The Grand Budapest Hotel and Guardians of the Galaxy all received awards from the Make-up Artists & Hair Stylists Guild during its awards ceremony Feb. 14. Both Guardians and Grand Budapest are nominated for the Oscar for best makeup and hairstyling (along with Foxcatcher).
Guardians’ Elizabeth Yianni-Georgiou was awarded for contemporary makeup and David White won for special makeup effects. Grand Budapest’s Frances Hannon and Julie Dartnell won for best period and/or character makeup, as well as best period and/or character hairstyling. Birdman’s Jerry Popolis and Kat Drazen won for contemporary hairstyling.
Aside from feature films, the Make-up Artists & Hair Stylists Guild Awards also recognizes make-up artists and hair stylists for television and new media, as well as television miniseries and made-for-tv movies. The guild first gave out awards in 2000 and continued through 2004 until they stopped for 10 years. The awards were again given out last year. »
- Anjelica Oswald
Ex Machina, 2015
Written and directed by Alex Garland
A young programmer is selected to participate in a breakthrough experiment in artificial intelligence by evaluating the human qualities of a breathtaking female A.I.
28 Days Later and Sunshine‘s Alex Garland moves from the writer’s desk to the director’s chair with his debut effort Ex Machina. Garland shows his ability to pen a believable science fiction tale, while still showing off directorial flair with a beautiful and claustrophobic style. Sadly though, outside of one or two moments, Ex Machina‘s whole isn’t as good as the sum of its parts. Like Ava herself, Ex Machina doesn’t feel complete.
Garland has made a smart play by taking on a small production for his first endeavour. Rather than hire a cast of a dozen characters with multiple locations, Ex Machina »
- Luke Owen
Jude Law has turned into a very surprising actor. When he first hit the scene in films like A.I. and The Talented Mr. Ripley, it almost felt like Hollywood was forcing him to be an A-lister. Fast forward to now and Law has not headlined a major film in a while. Yeah, he has been a supporting player in several Steven Soderbergh films and the Sherlock Holmes franchise, but as a leading man he has found a comfortable home in smaller productions like Dom Hemingway and the upcoming Black Sea. »
- Alex Maidy
Imagine if Steven Spielberg had directed Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone? It could have happened, as Spielberg was offered the job, but he turned it down, deciding to take his career in "another direction." That direction, as it happened, was Minority Report and A.I. Artificial Intelligence. As you may or may not remember, it was around this time, fifteen years ago, that Spielberg's name was linked to the anticipated Philosophers/Sorcerer's Stone adaptation. This was back when J.K. Rowling's now-beloved magical series was only just starting to generate real buzz stateside. Take a look at this recently resurfaced news clipping, which announces that Steven Spielberg would not be directing Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone... We have the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences and Oscars.org to thank for showcasing this 15-year-old clipping. It's included in the new Harry Potter Highlights page, which was recently »
A self-acknowledged "showcase for Academy Award frontrunners," the Santa Barbara International Film Festival is often overlooked for the actual films that earn it festival status. An amalgamation of international discoveries and ’merica’s circuit highlights, the Sbiff curates a week of best-of-the-best to pair with their star-praising. The 2015 edition offers another expansive selection, bookended by two films that aren’t on any radars just yet. Sbiff will open with "Desert Dancer," producer Richard Raymond’s directorial debut. Starring Reece Ritchie and Frieda Pinto, the drama follows a group of friends who wave off the harsh political climate of Iran’s 2009 presidential election in favor of forming a dance team, picking up moves from Michael Jackson, Gene Kelly and Rudolf Nureyev thanks to the magic of YouTube. The festival will close with "McFarland, USA," starring Kevin Costner and Maria Bello. Telling the 1987 true story of a Latino high school’s underdog cross-country team, »
- Matt Patches
On Thursday, March 12th—the eve of the 2015 SXSW Film Festival—at Austin Studios, Texas Film Awards will go to these five Texans: Oscar winner Tommy Lee Jones, who in 2014 directed and starred in the overlooked, deconstructed Western "The Homesman," starring Best Actress hopeful Hilary Swank as a spinster frontierswoman and Jones as the claim-jumper who helps her escort three mentally insane women across the country. Producer Bonnie Curtis who got her start in the film business in 1990 as Steven Spielberg’s assistant before producing "Saving Private Ryan," "A.I. Artificial Intelligence," "Minority Report" and more years later. Her latest production, Rodrigo Garcia's "Last Days in the Desert," premieres at Sundance this month. Director Guillermo Del Toro, whose gothic horror "Crimson Peak" hits theaters this October and stars Jessica Chastain, Tom Hiddleston and Mia Wasikowska. He also co-created and co-exec »
- Ryan Lattanzio
For a certain music fan, the '90s are defined by the collaborations between knob twiddler Aphex Twin and director Chris Cunningham. The pair delivered two of the most iconic videos of the decade with "Come to Daddy" and "Windowlicker," while Cunningham also directed the beautiful video for Bjork's "All Is Full Of Love" (which reportedly features some of the work he did for Stanley Kubrick on "A.I.: Artificial Intelligence" during his brief association with the project, and obviously before Steven Spielberg became involved). But where has Cunningham been lately? He's been doing commercials and music videos here and there, while also being loosely affiliated with various big screen projects that never seem to pan out. But it seems he has one in the can...he's just not going to release it. In a feature for Groove, the electronic artist took questions from other musicians, and Gernot Bronsert of Moderat asked, »
- Kevin Jagernauth
10 items from 2015
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