11 items from 2015
14 years ago, Universal Pictures was banking on the re-invention of one of its top movie franchises becoming its biggest hit of the summer. The studio handed one of its greatest money-making franchises to a visionary director and tasked him with breathing new life into a sagging franchise. This director would need to create a movie that winked at its past, while also expanding its world beyond its memorable but somewhat limiting premise. Sound familiar?
Long before Jurassic World there was Jurassic Park III, a 2001 movie that has largely been swept under the rug by fans of the blockbuster film series. Pinpointing exactly why Jurassic Park III is so often ignored is difficult. When Jurassic Park III is referenced in the public discourse, it's often unfavourably compared to the original Jurassic Park or disregarded as being as bad or worse than The Lost World. Make no mistake - Jurassic Park III is much, »
Paper Moon is as much about the movies as it is about a couple of thieves in the midst of the Great Depression. Director Peter Bogdanovich preceded his career as a filmmaker by studying to be an actor, programming screenings at the Museum of Modern Art, and writing film criticism for Esquire. Movies are in his blood, and they peek through the edges of Paper Moon.
Con man Moses Pray (Ryan O’Neal) had hoped to merely pay his last respects to a fun-loving gal when fellow mourners decide it’d only be right for him to take her young, now-orphaned daughter to some relatives in Missouri. Seeing as they’ve got this Depression on, he’s heading that way and, after all, you can trust a man who sells Bibles, his con has left him little room to decline. For her part, Addie (Tatum O’Neal) isn’t exactly obstinate, »
- Scott Nye
London — The Munich Film Festival is to pay tribute to Alexander Payne with a complete retrospective of his movies.
Payne’s last visit to the event was in 1997 when he won the High Hopes Award for “Citizen Ruth,” the predecessor of the festival’s CineVision Award. The film starred Laura Dern as a white trash antihero who becomes a cause celebre when she gets pregnant with her fifth child.
Among the movies to play in Munich this year are “Election,” which was the international breakout role for Reese Witherspoon, “About Schmidt,” starring Jack Nicholson, “Sideways,” which stars Paul Giamatti, “The Descendants,” starring George Clooney, and “Nebraska,” with Bruce Dern toplining.
The Munich retrospective will show all Payne’s shorts, features and TV films. On June 26, there will be a gala held in his honor, and the director will also speak about his life and movies at Filmmakers Live in the Gasteig Black Box. »
- Leo Barraclough
'Sideways' movie, with Paul Giamatti and Thomas Haden Church 'Sideways' movie review: California winery tour follows conventional road to male maturity With the 1999 Matthew Broderick-Reese Witherspoon vehicle Election, Alexander Payne displayed a flair for satirical comedy the likes of which would have turned Billy Wilder greener (with envy) than the Sideways poster found further below in this commentary. With the 2002 Jack Nicholson star vehicle About Schmidt, Payne demonstrated that his comedic flair could go the way of Wilder's in fluff like Sabrina and Love in the Afternoon: artificial, cutesy, bland.* In Sideways, Payne opted for the safer About Schmidt route – which may explain the film's enormous popularity with critics and audiences alike. For my part, I found his adaptation (with Jim Taylor) of Rex Pickett's novel to be an overlong, moralistic, and thoroughly unconvincing effort. (Warning: This Sideways movie review contains spoilers. »
- Andre Soares
Oh dear – the newly released picture of Jared Leto as The Joker got a bit of a mixed reception last week, and now it's even made an ex-Joker cry.
— David Ayer (@DavidAyerMovies) April 25, 2015
Leto previously teased the »
We weren't kidding back in December when we wrote about how this year's Best Actor pool may have been the greatest ever. Two months later, and we seemingly have the tightest race in this category in at least 12 years. And let's put an emphasis on "seemingly." From a pundit, industry and Oscar fan perspective, it appears as though three of the five nominees have a legitimate shot to celebrate on Oscar Sunday. First up is "The Theory of Everything's" Eddie Redmayne. The 33-year-old Brit has already won a Golden Globe, a Screen Actors Guild Award and, as expected, the BAFTA Award in this category for his incredible portrayal of Stephen Hawking in the popular biopic. Redmayne's main competition for most of awards season has been "Birdman's" Michael Keaton. The veteran actor was the apple of critics groups' eyes, earning honors from the National Board of Review and, by our count, »
- Gregory Ellwood
By Anjelica Oswald
With Michael Keaton winning the Golden Globe for best actor in a musical or comedy and Eddie Redmayne winning for best actor in a drama, both men continue establishing themselves as the frontrunners in this year’s lead actor race at the Oscars.
Though not new to films, Redmayne starred in Oscar-nominated films such as Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2008) and Les Miserables (2012). His performance as Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything, however, propelled him to widespread acclaim and put him on the radar. He is one of four best actor nominees — along with Keaton, Benedict Cumberbatch and Steve Carell — to receive their first nomination this year.
For most of his career, Keaton was known for his comedic roles, such as Mr. Mom (1983) and Beetlejuice (1988), and for his turn as Batman in Tim Burton’s Batman (1989) and Batman Returns (1992). These roles earned Keaton praise and »
- Anjelica Oswald
Far be it from us to refer to the Golden Globes as "Hollywood's drunkest night," but the awards show has a bit of a reputation. And honestly, it's pretty great. The evening is a refreshing warm-up to the comparative stuffiness of the Oscars, and even the stars who don't admit to having a drink (or seven) in their speeches would probably readily admit there's a special kind of atmosphere to Globes night that lends itself to some truly memorable moments. Since we'd be here until Sunday if we recapped every hilarious or awkward incident from the Globes' history (oh wait, »
- Alex Heigl, @alex_heigl
Following news that Reese Witherspoon was going to reteam with her Election director Alexander Payne for the satire Downsizing, starring Matt Damon, a trio of new actors have been added to the film. THR reports that Alec Baldwin, Neil Patrick Harris and Jason Sudeikis will all have roles in the film that now finds itself getting produced and financed by Megan Ellison and her fantastic Annapurna Pictures banner. There's still no new details, but it's been said to follow a man, down on his luck, who decides he can have a much better life if he undergoes a process to shrink himself. It's probably Payne's oddest film yet. This also sounds like it could be Payne's most comedic film since Election with names like Baldwin, Harris and Sudeikis involved now. Of course, all of Payne's films have had some quirky comedy, even amongst the drama in films like About Schmidt and The Descendants. »
- Ethan Anderton
Reese Witherspoon has signed on to follow up her critically-acclaimed performance in Wild with Downsizing. Ironically, the actress was initially attached way back in 2009 when we first reported on the project. Paul Giamatti and Sacha Baron Cohen were also attached to star at the time for director Alexander Payne, but it never moved forward, as the filmmaker went on to make Best Picture nominee The Descendants just a few years later. Matt Damon signed on to star back in November, playing a man who believes his life would be far better off if he shrunk himself, in what is described as a social satire.
Back in 2009, Reese Witherspoon was set to play a woman who met the shrinking man, then played by Paul Giamatti. It isn't known if she will still play the same role in this incarnation. Deadline reports that timing may be an issue with Reese Witherspoon, since »
Exclusive: Wild star Reese Witherspoon will star with Matt Damon in Downsizing, the next film from Alexander Payne. The pic was scripted by Payne with Jim Taylor, with whom Payne shared the Adapted Screenplay Oscar for Sideways. They partner in Ad Hominem Enterprises, and their scripting collaborations also include About Schmidt. The film is a social satire in which a guy realizes he would have a better life if he were to shrink himself. Witherspoon’s star making role as she transitioned from child actress to adulthood came in the Payne-directed satire Election.
The timing is the tricky thing here for Witherspoon, who’s squarely in the Oscar mix for her performance as star and producer of Wild. Damon first will do another installment of the Bourne franchise for Universal, and then Downsizing will happen. Witherspoon is repped by CAA and Lbi.
- Mike Fleming Jr
11 items from 2015
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