18 items from 2014
By Anjelica Oswald
Jake Gyllenhaal’s performance as a sleazy freelance TV reporter determined to go to any length in search of crime footage in Dan Gilroy’s Nightcrawler could get him “recognized as one of the most daring actors working in Hollywood today” and has been called some of the “best work of his career.” With this type of praise, award contention usually follows, but historically speaking, “genre films” don’t fare well at the Oscars. It’s not impossible for films that deviate from the Oscar norm — biopics, period pieces or dramas — to secure Oscar nominations for the actors involved, but looking back through the years, from 2000 to the present, shows that these films constitute a lower percentage of overall nominees.
Musicals are a type of “genre film” that actors have managed to score Oscar nominations for, though they have had more difficulty doing so since the late 60s. »
- Anjelica Oswald
Full disclosure: I’m not completely well acquainted with the work of Kanye West, save for half a dozen songs and his very public persona. His egoism almost seems to speak for itself, but there a moments where even I, as someone who rarely listens to rap, understand that there’s more to him than meets the Tweet.
Perhaps part of West’s appeal is his ability to play off of himself intentionally. He has a good sense of humor, and there appears to be a self-awareness in his work, especially in his presentation of his public persona. Kanye West is, to my meager understanding, just as calculated of an artist as Lady Gaga or anyone else.
Spike Jonze, who was first a maestro of the music video before he moved into film, just might be the best person to continue to help hone West’s vaguely Joaquin Phoenix-à-la-i’m Still Here personality. »
- Kyle Turner
“How happy is the blameless vestal’s lot!
The world forgetting, by the world forgot.
Each pray’r accepted, and each wish resign’d”
This writer is no romantic. As much as a need exists for romantic comedies there are few capable of breaching my cynical defences; less still which bear repeat viewing. Thankfully there are those who cater to the romantic realist, striking a balance between the fluff of Ephron and flim-flam which is Richard Curtis. Those are the ones I return to because few people intellectualise love like Allen in Annie Hall, while Kaufman’s Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is both love letter and warning shot for the unwary.
My primary reason for revisiting is simply one of fascination. Love is defined by scientists as a chemical reaction built through the sharing of collective experience. In filmic terms »
- Gary Collinson
Wow, how long has it been since we’ve heard from Wild Salomé? Almost three years, that’s how long. But now it appears as though Al Pacino’s examination of how Oscar Wilde’s play impacted his mind is finally being primed for release (despite playing at the Venice Film Festival in 2011). And now it’s going to be packaged as a double bill with Salomé, what is apparently Pacino’s actual adaptation of the play. Bonus? They both star Jessica Chastain. Right now it seems as though this double bill will only be screening in the U.K. (Stephen Fry is hosting a screening on Sunday, September 21st) but we’ll let you know if that changes. Hit the jump for the Salomé and Wild Salomé trailer! This thing looks kind of nuts in a great way. Sort of like Pacino’s rumpled take on Charlie Kaufman’s »
- Evan Dickson
The prospect of seeing an original TV series from the mind of Charlie Kaufman was almost too good to be true. Alas, after producing a pilot for a comedy called How and Why, FX has decided to pass on the Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Adaptation. scribe’s potential series, per Deadline. The show was to star John Hawkes as a man who can explain how and why a nuclear reactor works, but is clueless about life. The promising cast also included Michael Cera, Sally Hawkins, and Catherine Keener, but apparently it wasn’t up to snuff for the network. Hit the jump for more. FX has shown a willingness to go left-of-center with Louis C.K.’ Louie—which is at turns hilarious and heartbreaking and also exceedingly strange—but its new comedy series outputs haven’t exactly been of the same ilk. The network recently launched a pair of more traditional comedies, »
- Adam Chitwood
Ever since his Academy Award-winning turn in Raising Arizona, Nicolas Cage has taken on a few decent roles (including in Adaptation. and Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call – New Orleans) and lots of bizarre ones (including in meritless pieces of dreck like Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance and the upcoming Rage). However, he may be in for a career resurgence thanks to his amazing performance in Joe, which is no doubt one of the best films the actor has ever been associated with. And as the film prepares to hit Blu-Ray and DVD on June 17th, we’re pleased to be able to exclusively share with you a clip from “The Making of Joe” featurette.
In the film, from director David Gordon Green, Cage gives a tour-de-force performance as the titular character, an ex-convict who takes a young boy (Tye Sheridan) under his wing and is eventually faced with a »
- Isaac Feldberg
Is the possibility of having a romantic relationship with some sort of artificial intelligence all that farfetched? While the concept is still largely the stuff you would find in science-fiction films like A.I. or the recent Johnny Depp dud Transcendence, in many ways it has become a reality. On Facebook, we "friend" people without ever meeting them in real life. Full-fledged conversations are often carried out on our smartphones in lieu of talking face-to-face. We also use our personal electronic devices to fight with one another, use emoticons to "kiss each other goodnight" and on occasion, we even end relationships on them. There is even the odd instance where some has wanted to take it to the next level by wanting to marry their computers. As advances in technology continue to "bring us together," it also continues to further and further isolate us.
For Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Phoenix), the »
With VOD numbers still kept a secret by most of Hollywood, it’s tough to tell if Diablo Cody‘s directorial debut, Paradise, was any kind of success when released last fall. But reviews were not good (our own Jack Giroux gave it a ‘C’), and no one was really talking about it, so let’s just assume it was at least a cultural failure if not also financial. Considering neither Young Adult nor Jennifer’s Body were hits, either, the Oscar-winning Juno screenwriter could use a shot of relevance. And that shot seems very likely to come with a report from The Wrap that none other than Meryl Streep is set to speak Cody’s dialogue in a new movie directed by Jonathan Demme titled Ricky and the Flash. Demme himself hasn’t been in the spotlight much in the past five years and could also use this intriguing project. He »
- Christopher Campbell
History is filled with artists who mastered more than one medium. Michelangelo sculpted David and painted the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Leonardo Da Vinci painted The Last Supper and conceptualised the machinery of the future. And thus is the case for some modern-day actors who have also became extraordinary directors – early greats like Charlie Chaplin and Orson Welles, later legends like Clint Eastwood, and contemporary talents like Ben Affleck.
But just because an actor experiences success in front of the camera and is allowed the financial means to direct a movie doesn’t mean he or she has the aptitude to be a fully-fledged filmmaker. Hollywood is filled with actors who tried and failed to be directors. Whether it was because the actors couldn’t handle multiple jobs, were too indulgent, or simply didn’t have great material to work with, the following 10 actors-turned-directors are the reason producers »
- Chris McKittrick
Oscar doesn’t always translate to career gold, but winning an Academy Award can boost reputations, earning power and/or brand value. Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, the poster children of Hollywood’s rags-to-riches stories, launched their careers by winning an Oscar for original screenplay in 1997 with “Good Will Hunting.” Since then, the two friends have become bona fide superstars — in Affleck’s case, both in front and behind the camera.
In the past 20 years, Oscar winners such as Quentin Tarantino (“Pulp Fiction”) and Jennifer Lawrence, who was nominated for her third Academy Award in four years, have proved that an Oscar win or even just a nomination can take a showbiz career to a whole new level.
After a four-year acting hiatus, »
- Maane Khatchatourian
We have six days ’til the Oscars, and that means we have six more days to celebrate one of the most intimidating, established rosters of Best Actress nominees in years. Together the ladies on this list have been nominated 38 times. That’s a serious nomination number, guys. We’re getting into an Alison Krauss/Grammys situation now. Man. Let’s get Judi Dench a fiddle.
The poll question is simple: What are your favorite movies starring this year’s Best Actress nominees? I’ve selected my responses below. Fight for your own (and mine, if you can get around to it).
Winner: Blue Jasmine
Tough one. Elizabeth leaves a lasting impression, and re-watching it recently, I was surprised to find how much Blanchett reminded me of her fellow Australian Judy Davis. Even though she looks like an austere hybrid of Gwyneth Paltrow and a California Suite-era Maggie Smith, »
- Louis Virtel
Our Oscar coverage continues. Here we overview the best acting and best directing award nominees.
Best Actor Nominees
Previously Best Known For:
Bruce Wayne/Batman – Christopher Nolan’s Batman Trilogy
Patrick Bateman – American Psycho
Previous Oscar Nominations/Wins:
Interesting Fact: If he plays an American character, he will use an American accent in all the interviews related to the film. He says he does this so the audience isn't confused
Previously Best Known For:
Freeman Lowell – Silent Running
Asa Watts – The Cowboys
Previous Oscar Nominations/Wins:
- email@example.com (G.S. Perno)
The Ugly Behind-the-Scenes History of Video Game Movies
“Few Hollywood announcements are treated with such fierce-yet-wounded anticipation as video game adaptations. Full of incredible artistry, instantly-recognizable characters and an increasingly-mature approach to storytelling, you’d be forgiven for thinking gaming is a medium particularly well suited for making the jump to the silver screen. But history tells another story.”
Robocop: The Oral History
“A little more than 25 years ago, Orion Pictures released RoboCop, a grimly hysterical, hyper-violent satire masquerading as an action film. And despite spawning two sequels, a television series, some anime, and now a remake, the film’s success was inimitable. This is partly because RoboCop only really became a great film as it was made. Director Paul Verhoeven (Total Recall, Basic Instinct) worked tirelessly to revise scenes while actors like Kurtwood Smith, who plays Clarence Boddecker, the film’s main heavy, improvised some of the movie’s best lines. »
News Louisa Mellor 12 Feb 2014 - 08:14
Though in general, we here try to reserve judgement until seeing a finished product, there are some TV show premises that, no matter how you frame them, sound as if they've been conceived by Donald Kaufman in Adaptation.
To wit, BBC America is developing a new version of the Robin Hood story called Nottingham. The twist? The Sheriff of Nottingham and his nemesis Robin Hood are the same person. We kid you not. That's the pitch.
"Nottingham centers on the Sheriff of Nottingham whose wife is killed by King John’s men. When nobody is brought to justice, »
In his 30-year career as a composer, Carter Burwell’s film scores have run the veritable cinematic gamut. From composing for Spike Jonze (Being John Malkovich, Adaptation., Where the Wild Things Are) to his work being the best parts of the Twilight saga, Burwell’s résumé is sporadic and unconventional, even for a man who makes film music for a living — it’s fitting, given his less-than-conventional roots as a cartoonist for The Harvard Lampoon and later as a vagrant New York punk rocker. Undoubtedly, Burwell’s become best known for the his collaborations with Joel and Ethan Coen. Last week, Sound on Sight ranked the films of the Coen Brothers, so what better way to take over The Big Score than with a similarly themed meditation on their work with Burwell? As much as the Coens’ filmography is defined by their trademark cynicism and wit, Burwell’s compositions are »
- David Klein
Spike Jonze is, despite proof consisting only of four features, one of the best filmmakers working today. His latest, Her handily verifies it. It seems difficult to justify seeing it on paper, but look at the evidence closer: Quickly evolving from producer/co-creator of MTV’s juvenilia celebration Jackass, to directing music videos (granted, award-winning ones), Jonze saw an Oscar nod for Best Director his first time out at the helm of a feature-length film (Being John Malkovich). He and eminently postmodern screenwriter Charlie Kaufmann followed up Malkovich with the equally solipsistic Adaptation., a film that, while just as assured a »
The romantic comedy-drama has been picking up awards and nominations ever since its debut on the festival circuit in New York last year, building momentum nicely towards the Oscars.
In celebration of the film’s wide release, Warner Bros. has cut a brilliant new trailer taking us behind the scenes of the film, with Joaquin Phoenix and Scarlett Johansson’s dialogue heard over the top.
Set in Los Angeles, slightly in the future, “her” follows Theodore Twombly, a complex, soulful man who makes his living writing touching, personal letters for other people. Heartbroken after the end of a long relationship, he becomes intrigued with a new, advanced operating system, which promises to be an intuitive entity in its own right, individual to each user. Upon initiating it, he is delighted to meet “Samantha, »
- Kenji Lloyd
The romantic comedy-drama has been picking up awards recognition throughout the awards season, and will be hoping to walk away from the end of the weekend not only with a healthy box office taking, but also at least one trophy from its three nominations at the Golden Globes on Sunday.
Leading man Joaquin Phoenix is up for Best Actor in a Comedy or Musical, Jonze is up for Best Screenplay, and the film itself is in the running for Best Picture – Comedy or Musical.
Set in Los Angeles, slightly in the future, “her” follows Theodore Twombly, a complex, soulful man who makes his living writing touching, personal letters for other people. Heartbroken after the end of a long relationship, he becomes intrigued with a new, »
- Kenji Lloyd
18 items from 2014
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