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“The Wolf of Wall Street” screened today for media members. Was it worth the wait? You betcha. When awards nominations are announced next week, the question isn’t whether the Martin Scorsese film will be included but rather how many nods it will get.
Paramount has imposed a review embargo until Dec. 17 for the film, so details will be restrained. But this may be the only time you see restraint and “Wolf” used in the same sentence.
Within the first five minutes, the film pops off the screen with energy, style, sex, profanity and drugs. It’s a film about excess and at three hours, it’s a marathon of all those elements. So conservative awards voters may be put off.
But in general, audiences and voters love the familiar mixed with the new: They like to see a favorite star or filmmaker but be surprised when they go in new directions, »
- Tim Gray
The term "Oscar bait" is one that, unfortunately, gets bandied about a lot this time of year. At worst, it's used to refer to every faintly serious-minded film released between July and December. At best, it describes a very particular kind of middlebrow drama that seems to have been created from the ground up with the sole purpose of appealing to the Academy—think "The Iron Lady" or "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close," to name two recent examples. Stephen Frears' "Philomena" appears on the surface to fit into the latter category. It's a based-in-fact comedy-drama with a mix of laughter and tears, with a prestigious filmmaker (albeit one who's been off his game for a while), an already awarded lead in Dame Judi Dench, and the might of The Weinstein Company behind it. But if "Philomena" is Oscar bait (and ultimately, we're not all that fond of the phrase »
- Oliver Lyttelton
What’s new, what’s hot, and what you may have missed, now available to stream on Netflix, Lovefilm, blinkbox, and BBC iPlayer.
new to stream
Safety Not Guaranteed: charming but slight and less than fully satisfying dramedy about how time travel means never having to let go of regrets [at Netflix]
in the zeitgeist (and mentioned only for your information)
Starbuck: creepy and nonsensical, though it’s supposed to be charming and funny; basis for the upcoming Vince Vaugh flick Delivery Man [my review] [at Netflix]
new to stream
Freaky Friday: the 1976 original starring Barbara Harris and Jodie Foster; so much fun, and so very slyly feminist, too [at Lovefilm] The Kings of Summer: mashes a heightened sense of the absurd rather awkwardly up against arty pastoral, and the mock-seriousness of the endeavor comes across as unpleasantly snide [my review] [at Lovefilm] Race to Witch Mountain: mildly diverting kids’s sci-fi adventure that, at least and at most, »
- MaryAnn Johanson
Stunningly accomplished space survival adventure: heartstopping and heartbreaking; the best film of 2013 so far. Just don’t call it science fiction. I’m “biast” (pro): the trailers were horrifying and amazing; love Cuarón and Clooney
I’m “biast” (con): have not been the biggest fan of Bullock
(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)
It’s making me a little bit crazy that people are calling Gravity “science fiction.” It’s not. There’s nothing speculative or fantastical about it. If anything, it’s historical… because, you know, the space shuttles ain’t flying anymore, and are now firmly lodged in the “mothballed technology” category. Not that there isn’t historical science fiction, of course. But Gravity ain’t that, either. The few things that aren’t quite factually accurate here — like how Sandra Bullock wouldn’t actually look so sleek and pretty when she shimmies »
- MaryAnn Johanson
I worry about overpopulation, I worry about recent industry layoffs and I worry that it’s only 50-some days until Christmas. But today, my top concern is “The Wolf of Wall Street,” since Paramount confirmed it will indeed open Dec. 25.
I’m not worried about the film itself. With Martin Scorsese at the helm, and with that subject matter, that cast (Leonardo DiCaprio et al) and that writer (Terence Winter), you know it’s going to be worthwhile. But I fear that anticipation is so high it will do the pic a disservice: Even if it’s great, that won’t be enough for some.
I worry that awards-centric journalists (myself included) are putting too much pressure on the film. Awards have become the cart leading the horse. Toronto used to be a showcase for films that needed nurturing; now it’s become a campaign stop. And as each new film is screened, »
- Tim Gray
This weekend, a Ridley Scott-directed drama starring Michael Fassbender, Javier Bardem, Cameron Diaz, and Brad Pitt got trounced at the box office by Johnny Knoxville in an old-man costume. Yep, Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa topped the chart with an excellent $32 million in its first three days, giving Knoxville his sixth No. 1 movie after his three Jackass films, Men in Black II, and The Dukes of Hazzard. Not a bad run for a guy who built his career on getting pushed into street curbs while sitting inside shopping carts!
- Grady Smith
It’s prom night in October, and although horror remake Carrie is eying a solid debut, the film will have to work some major box office magic to prevent Gravity from being crowned queen for a third weekend. Carrie isn’t the only new wide release hitting theaters — there’s also Escape Plan and The Fifth Estate, whose prospects are decidedly dimmer.
Here’s how the box office might shake out this weekend:
1. Gravity – $34 million
- Grady Smith
The New York Film Critics Circle will be the first critics group out of the gate this year, voting Dec. 3 on awards and announcing the results immediately thereafter.
The National Board of Review has pegged its awards announcement for Dec. 4.
The big question is whether Paramount’s “The Wolf of Wall Street,” directed by Martin Scorsese, will meet the deadline. The film is scheduled to open Nov. 15, but it’s not clear when it will be ready or indeed if it will open this year.
The early Oscar season has created previous situations in which films in post-production come up against looming voting deadlines. In 2011, the N.Y. group delayed voting one day, to Nov. 29, to accommodate Sony’s “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.” However, Warner Bros.’ 2011 “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” missed out on the voting for both Nyfcc and Nbr, since the pic wasn’t ready until Dec. »
- Tim Gray
Tom Hanks is getting rave reviews for his performance in Captain Phillips (out today). It’s familiar territory for the two-time Oscar winner, but after recent offerings like Cloud Atlas, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, and Larry Crowne underperformed, we began to worry about his status inside Hollywood’s golden circle. With Phillips and the forthcoming Saving Mr. Banks (he plays Walt Disney!), Hanks is poised to once again be a mainstay come awards season–and we couldn’t be happier. Nobody hits a promo circuit like Hanx.
In addition to his fine acting, Hanks continues to be one of the most adorable, endearing people in the biz. From his contributions to the internet, to his continued support for his longtime love (and aspiring rapper of a son), Hanks is the one actor we’d want to play our father in the hypothetical movie about our lives. If you’ve »
- Emily Exton
Gravity scored an out-of-this-world $55.6 million on its opening weekend, and it’s held up remarkably well over the Monday-to-Thursday period. The Sandra Bullock/George Clooney spectacle has already earned over $73 million in its first six days, and it’s destined to soar past $100 million this weekend. Of course, the Oscar-hopeful Captain Phillips and the couldn’t-care-less-about-an-Oscar title Machete Kills will both hit theaters this weekend, but neither has much of a chance of dethroning the sci-fi blockbuster. Here’s how the chart might look this weekend.
1. Gravity – $40 million
Warner Bros.’ $100 million hit has earned an average of $6 million over the past three weekdays, »
- Grady Smith
Tom Hanks has been a beloved Hollywood star for so long that it sounds like a fact-checking error when you read that he hasn’t been nominated for an Oscar in 12 years. During an historic stretch that spanned from A League of Their Own to Cast Away, Hanks could do no wrong, winning two Academy Awards and starring in 10 movies that topped $100 million. But his last decade’s highlights have been animated films, a Dan Brown franchise, and the HBO historical epics that he’s produced; his last few starring vehicles underachieved.
Notable recent movies: Box-office gross, (Metacritic/Rotten Tomatoes)
Cloud Atlas (2012): $27.1 million, »
- Jeff Labrecque
By Joey Magidson
Each year, Oscar voters reward several previously unrecognized talents with their first Academy Award nominations. But they have a habit of filling many if not most of their 20 acting slots with people whom they have previously been nominated. (If you happen to have already won an Oscar? Well, then you are sitting even prettier.)
Why is this the case? That’s probably a question for a psychologist, although my own guess would be that voters are more inclined to check out the work of — and reward — work by quantities who are known and established than who are not.
Regardless, there are, as usual, plenty of previous nominees and winners — actors, actresses, directors, writers, and various behind-the-scenes talent — angling this year to be a part of the Oscar race once again. I have decided to highlight the 10 whom I believe have the best shot at scoring that desired recognition. »
- Joey Magidson
Strong critical reviews and audience applause for "Captain Phillips" mean that producer Scott Rudin (Best Picture champ "No Country for Old Men," 2007) is now back in the Oscar derby. Last year he kept a relatively low profile ("Moonrise Kingdom") after blitzing the contest in 2011 with "Moneyball," "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" and "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo." This year he's also got more than one contender, too: the Coen brothers' "Inside Llewyn Davis." "Captain Phillips" will probably reap Oscar nominations for Best Picture, acting (Tom Hanks), directing (Paul Greengrass), adapted screenplay (Billy Ray), cinematography (Barry Ackroyd), editing (Christopher Rouse), sound editing and sound mixing. It might get nominated for music score (Henry Jackman), too. Currently, it's ranked in ninth place for Best Picture by the Experts polled by Gold Derby. »
The term "Oscar bait" is one that, unfortunately, gets bandied about a lot this time of year. At worst, it's used to refer to every faintly serious-minded film released between July and December. At best, it describes a very particular kind of middlebrow drama that seems to have been created from the ground up with the sole purpose of appealing to the Academy—think "The Iron Lady" or "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close," to name two recent examples. Stephen Frears' "Philomena" appears on the surface to fit into the latter category. It's a based-in-fact comedy-drama with a mix of laughter and tears, with a prestigious filmmaker (albeit one who's been off his game for a while), an already awarded lead in Dame Judi Dench, and the might of The Weinstein Company behind it. It's even screening at Venice almost seven years to the day after the director's "The Queen, »
- Oliver Lyttelton
• Oscar predictions 2014: American Hustle
• Oscar predictions 2013: August: Osage County
This year's …
Winter's Bone – a meaty-sounding slice of blue-collar Americana, with a teenage protagonist coming dangerously close to serious crime.
What's it all about?
Taking place over a Labor Day weekend two decades ago, the story has Adele (the troubled divorcee) venturing out on a rare trip to the supermarket with her 13-year-old son (played by Changeling's Gattlin Griffith). Against all good judgement, they give a ride to a rough-looking man (Brolin) with a bloody wound; he turns out to be an escaped convict, and the three are locked »
- Andrew Pulver
The novelist talks to Emma Brockes about friendship, rivalry and being a '30-year overnight success'
Fiction asks a lot of people, says Meg Wolitzer, "to tell them that you need to learn about these characters, to take time out in your day from being frightened for your livelihood and your children, to think about Susan and Bill, who don't exist. It's a nervy thing to ask." She asks it of herself every time she sits down to write – "What fiction ought to do" – and the answer had better be good. "The anxiety makes me a stronger writer."
The Interestings, Wolitzer's ninth novel, is more ambitious than any she has written so far, tracking a group of friends from the moment they meet, at summer camp, up through the decades of their lives. It has done very well in the Us, so that at 54, Wolitzer has become, as a friend joked to her recently, »
- Emma Brockes
Before We Saw the Trailer We Thought: After a less than stellar reception at this year's Berlin Film Festival, "A Single Shot" dropped off the radar of many film fans. Yes, it has Sam Rockwell, William H. Macy, Jeffrey Wright, and Melissa Leo, but none of those actors have proven infallible, and usually a movie doesn't work in theaters if it misfires at the festivals. That being said, any fan of these four actors -- namely Rockwell and Wright -- would be hard-pressed to completely dismiss this low budget thriller. Even when their movies don't live up to their performances in them ("The Way, Way Back" & "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" to name two), these actors usually get you your money's worth. Can they do it again here? Could the movie have improved since its festival screenings? For more indie film trailers check out Indiewire's trailer page, sponsored by Sony Pictures Classics. »
- Ben Travers
It’s hard to have sympathy with an actor who gets an obscene amount of money for a few weeks work… even if his or her time is wasted and never seen by anyone that wasn’t on set. Sometimes it’s a film length issue, sometimes it’s famous cameos being too distracting, sometimes it’s an issue of adapting the book or sometimes you’re Terrence Malick.
It’s not just minor characters and cameos that have been cut from famous films, recently Malick left scenes by Rachel Weisz, Jessica Chastain, Amanda Peet, Michael Sheen and Berry Pepper on his cutting room floor. The most famous Malick cut has to go to The Thin Red Line where Mickey Rourke, Bill Pullman, Jason Patric, Gary Oldman, Lukas Haas, Viggo Mortensen and Martin Sheen were all ruthlessly omitted from the final cut.
Here’s some other actors that wasted time »
- Amelia Harvey
Between 2000's Billy Elliot, 2003's The Hours, and 2009's The Reader, English director Stephen Daldry has been nominated three time for the Academy Awards Best Director honor, and lost. While his last effort, 2011's Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close was met with mixed reviews, it still earned two Academy Award nods, one for Best Supporting Actor (Max von Sydow), the other for Best Picture. Essentially, we always expect a Daldry drama to be in the Oscar race. So, watch out for Trash! Deadline reports Martin Sheen and Rooney Mara have signed on to the drama, joining Brazilian actors Wagner Moura ( Elysium), and Selton Mello (The Clown, as well as newcomers Rickson Tevez, Eduardo Luis and Gabriel Weinstein. But what's Trash all about? Based on the Andy Mulligan's young adult novel of the same name, Trash is set in a Third World nation in the not-so-distant future. There, lone children »
Rooney Mara and Martin Sheen are on board for supporting roles in the upcoming film by Stephen Daldry ("Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close"), "Trash." Sheen will play a priest, and Mara an Ngo worker in a story adapted from Andy Mulligan's 2010 novel of the same name. The Third World-set tale centers on three impoverished young boys (newcomers Rickson Tevez, Eduardo Luis and Gabriel Weinstein) who unearth something dangerous in a city dump. Richard Curtis ("War Horse," "Love Actually," and the upcoming Rachel McAdams-Domhnall Gleeson starrer "About Time") has penned the adaptation. This marks the first time since Daldry's helming debut, 2000's "Billy Elliott," writes Guy Lodge at HitFix, that a Daldry film hasn't been scheduled to open during awards season. "Trash" begins filming in Rio next month, and Universal is eyeing a May 2014 release. Mara has David Lowery's Western "Ain't Them Bodies Saints" coming out in August, »
- Beth Hanna
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