9 items from 2015
This week marks the 10th anniversary of the release of "Crash" (on May 6, 2005), an all-star movie whose controversy came not from its provocative treatment of racial issues but from its Best Picture Oscar victory a few months later, against what many critics felt was a much more deserving movie, "Brokeback Mountain."
The "Crash" vs. "Brokeback" battle is one of those lingering disputes that makes the Academy Awards so fascinating, year after year. Moviegoers and critics who revisit older movies are constantly judging the Academy's judgment. Even decades of hindsight may not always be enough to tell whether the Oscar voters of a particular year got it right or wrong. Whether it's "Birdman" vs. "Boyhood," "The King's Speech" vs. "The Social Network," "Saving Private Ryan" vs. "Shakespeare in Love" or even "An American in Paris" vs. "A Streetcar Named Desire," we're still confirming the Academy's taste or dismissing it as hopelessly off-base years later. »
- Gary Susman
Written and directed by Orson Welles
The Lady from Shanghai (1947) didn’t come easily for Orson Welles. No film ever really did after his breakthrough, the great Citizen Kane (1941), the movie that put him on the map and in the crosshairs of the Hollywood establishment. They wanted little to do with this iconoclastic hotshot from New York, and for the rest of his days, Welles struggled to achieve an autonomous artistic vision. That so many astonishing films came out of this struggle, like The Lady from Shanghai, surely says something about his cinematic gift, an inherent talent that could not be restrained or denied.
It took considerable wheeling and dealing for Welles to convince Harry Cohn to back the film. Welles had three features on his directorial résumé, and though Citizen Kane and The Magnificent Ambersons (1942) were not financially successful, his third film, The Stranger (1946), was. »
- Jeremy Carr
Exclusive: It’s the best of journalism meets The Amazing Race meets Around the World in Eighty Days. Phineas Fogg, move aside. One of the most daring stories in history is that of investigative journalist Elizabeth Jane Cochrane (aka Nellie Bly) who in 1889 decided she would try to beat the fictional record in Jules Verne’s now classic story and go around the world less than 80 days. At the same time, because competition is the name of the game in journalism… »
Talent is currently being sought for the production of “Around the World in 80 Days.” Actors Co-op Theatre Company’s production of “Around the World in 80 Days” is casting five actors to play various different roles. This gig is paid, and auditions are being sought from the Hollywood area. For more details, check out the casting notice for “Around the World in 80 Days” here, and be sure to check out the rest of our Los Angeles audition listings! »
That cult movie you love from 30 years ago? It’s coming back as a remake. Did the last attempt at a movie adaptation of a well-loved comic book hero not go so well? Don’t worry, they’re rebooting it. Does your favorite childhood film no longer appeal to newer generations? One word: remake.
On Wednesday of last week we were greeted with the news that Neil Blomkamp’s next film would be another addition to the Alien franchise. This film will likely be a remake or reboot of the original film based on the confusion of Prometheus that will hopefully be explained by the end of Prometheus 2 (a sequel after Alien: Resurrection 20 years later just doesn’t make sense to me). Fans everywhere were excited for the announcement. Even if you don’t particularly like movies with Xenomorphs in them, the news wasn’t really that surprising. A »
- email@example.com (G.S. Perno)
Better late than never on filing a report from yesterday's Spirit Awards and pre-Oscar festivities, I guess. It was a late night, Harvey Weinstein and his peeps rounding things out with a big soiree/dinner that drew to a close around midnight, so my bed was far more enticing than my keyboard when I got back to the homestead. The Spirit Awards are generally my favorite event of the season, largely because the imbibing starts early and the attitude is super lax. But it's also my own personal bow on things (as I always happily steer clear of the Oscars), saying final goodbyes to colleagues and talent I've interacted with consistently over the season. And given that Film Independent was apparently looking to break the record for most commercial breaks in a single awards show, I was able to bounce around and catch up with just about everyone I was hoping to. »
- Kristopher Tapley
It seems that each year, fewer and fewer people take the Academy Awards seriously as the great night in entertainment it is incessantly promoted as. One could suggest that the lack of viewer enthusiasm is due to the films that ultimately win the Best Picture prize. It doesn’t help that the choices from the last five ceremonies were not crowd-pleasers: the lowest-grossing Best Picture winner of all time (The Hurt Locker); a silent film that never found its way into the Top 10 at the weekend box office (The Artist); a raw glimpse at American slavery (12 Years a Slave).
I don’t expect viewership to increase this year, even though the Best Picture race is actually a race. Due to a producers’ and directors’ guild victory for Birdman, Boyhood is no longer the frontrunner it had been a month ago. Regardless of which of those two films win – and it »
- Jordan Adler
By Anjelica Oswald
Birdman has claimed a number of principal awards this season, including the top awards from the Directors Guild of America, Producers Guild of America and Screen Actors Guild, and is one of the lead contenders in the best picture race.
The film has received nine nominations, including a supporting actor, supporting actress and leading actor nomination. Though the film probably won’t land Oscars in the supporting categories, Michael Keaton has situated himself as a frontrunner in the leading actor category, along with The Theory of Everything’s Eddie Redmayne.
Of the 86 films to win best picture, 36 (42 percent) won without procuring a single Oscar in the acting categories. Seven of those 36 won before the supporting acting categories were implemented at the ninth annual Academy Awards, and 11 of the 36 won without any acting nominations.
If Birdman wins for best picture but Keaton loses to Redmayne, Alejandro »
- Anjelica Oswald
Mina Summers reviews 80 Days…
Phileas Fogg has wagered he can circumnavigate the globe.
Hundreds of journeys, thousands of routes. Travel by steamer, express train, airship, hover-car, hydrofoil, gyrocopter, camel, horse-back, hot-air balloon…
Can you make it in 80 Days?
This brilliant interactive novel re-imagines Phileas Fogg’s journey around the world with you as loyal valet Jean Passepartout. The key achievement here is in the writing. 80 Days is an expertly crafted interactive text adventure in which players tap to select the next line in a novel that seems to write itself as you go. 80 Days is essentially a ‘choose your own adventure’ book, albeit presented with the sort of swagger and literacy that some examples of the genre can’t muster.
The story is what makes this game. Even if you have never read Around the World in 80 Days, it’s easy to get into 80 Days, especially if you love »
- Gary Collinson
9 items from 2015
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