By Anjelica Oswald
It’s safe to assume that Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy is going to end the year as the highest-grossing film at the domestic box office with more than $331 million earned as of Nov. 23, but its Oscar prospects lie in below-the-line categories, such as visual effects and sound.
More often than not, the highest-grossing films tend to be neglected in the best picture category. Though The Dark Knight (2008), which was widely-acclaimed and was the highest-grossing film of the year, received eight nominations and won two (sound editing and supporting actor), it was snubbed by the Academy in the best picture category. The following year, the number of best picture nominees increased from five to 10 (and can now fall between those numbers). Since this increase though, the only highest-grossing films to land best picture nominations are 2009’s Avatar and 2010’s Toy Story 3. Neither of the films won. »
- Anjelica Oswald
Josh Brolin credits his mid-career turnaround to Robert Rodriguez on "Grindhouse" which led to the Coens and "No Country for Old Men" and "True Grit," not to mention Gus Van Sant's "Milk" and Oliver Stone's "W" and "Wall Street 2" and Woody Allen's "You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger." Brolin is a chiseled American actor who boasts that rare combination: dangerous masculinity and sexy vulnerability. He plays both villains and lovers. See Jason Reitman's sexy "Labor Day." Brolin clearly had a blast working with Paul Thomas Anderson on his adaptation of Thomas Pynchon's 2009 novel "Inherent Vice" (December 12) and gets to dig into into one of the more colorful character roles of any year. He tells me, in our video interview below, how "Renaissance detective" Bigfoot Bjornsen comes to sport his dramatic flat top. This is not your usual straight-arrow foil to 70s hippie gumshoe Doc. »
- Anne Thompson
Every year Amazon puts the extended Blu-ray edition of the Lord of the Rings trilogy on sale during Black Friday Deals Week and this year is no different in that respect, though it is a little different in that they are bundling it with even more J.R.R. Tolkien goodies for fans of Middle Earth. Along with the Lord of the Rings trilogy, which includes the extended Blu-ray editions of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, you can buy bundles that also include all four books, including "The Hobbit" as well as either the PS4 or Xbox One edition of the Shadow of Mordor video game. I've included the links below along with a selection of other deals on more Blu-rays, Blu-ray players, televisions, soundbars and more! The »
- Brad Brevet
Among the most influential and important filmmakers of their generation, The Coen Brothers continue to pump out modern masterpieces (“Fargo," “No Country For Old Men," “Barton Fink," “A Serious Man”), solid genre-subverting efforts (“True Grit,” “Miller’s Crossing,” "The Big Lebowski," perhaps the greatest noir-comedy of all time), as well as the occasional dud (“The Ladykillers,” “Intolerable Cruelty”). As filmmakers, Joel and Ethan Coen find a sweet spot between technical and thematic predictability and subversive originality. There are many visual approaches, character archetypes and themes that link their films, yet they still manage to construct works that are original and unpredictable, especially when those works are expected to fit inside the mold of a certain genre. Vimeo user Grant Pichla’s twenty-minute dissection covers the brothers’ use of similar themes, characters, dialogue and visual styles, their tendency to create »
- Oktay Ege Kozak
Amazon has started offering several Blu-ray titles at deep discounts as part of their Black Friday Deals Week and I've gone through and selected some choice titles such as David Fincher's Fight Club, Seven and Zodiac are available for cheap, several Sylvester Stallone titles including all his Rambo films and first two The Expendables features, both of James Cameron's Terminator movies are on sale, Rain Man for only $3.99, personal favorites such as A Time to Kill, Primal Fear and many others. I've listed several below and you can find even more right here if this isn't enough. Note: Sign up for Amazon Prime and get free two-day shipping. Blu-rays for $3.99-$7.99 300 ($7.99) (500) Days of Summer ($6.99) A Good Day to Die Hard ($3.99) A Time to Kill ($6.99) Bad Teacher ($7.00) Beetlejuice ($6.99) Bernie ($4.99) Cosmopolis ($5.78) Dances with Wolves ($3.99) Dazed and Confused ($6.96) Fight Club ($3.99) Hard to Kill ($4.88) Hugo ($6.99) Inside Man ($3.99) No Country for Old Men »
- Brad Brevet
Just like Jack Sparrow's liver, the "Pirates of the Caribbean" franchise takes a licking and keeps on ticking. The cast is slowly coming together for the fifth movie in the series, and its latest addition seems to be Brenton Thwaites. The young Aussie actor ("The Giver," "Maleficent," the upcoming "Son of a Gun") is reportedly in talks to join the cast as a British soldier named Henry. If he signs on the dotted line, he'll be joining Johnny Depp as Sparrow - or is it Sparrow as Johnny Depp? It's hard to tell the difference any more, what with all the accessories and drunken hijinks.
We're way more excited for the rumor Javier Bardem will join the gang as the villain of the movie, a vengeful ghost named Captain Brand. Bardem is no stranger to creepy characters; he won an Oscar for his performance as Anton Chigurh in "No Country for Old Men, »
- Jenni Miller
Michael Radford's 1984 version of 1984 starring John Hurt is, in my mind, not only a powerful dystopian vision that holds up very well after 30 years, but one of my favourite films of all time. So Where Is The Blu-ray already!?
There was also an adaptation made in the 1950s.
Anyway, it am extremely interested to see what direction this adaptation takes. Radford's film set a gritty, apocalyptic visual style that is still prevalent today for this kind of material. In light of the current digital world and the state of surveillance, I'm sure a new take of the film will be very different. [Continued ...] »
© 2014 Getty Images
The final, and yet-to-be-seen, film of the awards season had its world premiere in Sydney, Australia on Monday. Director Angelina Jolie and husband Brad Pitt walked the red carpet for Best Picture hopeful Unbroken, along with stars Jack O’Connell and Miyavi, to greet fans, sign autographs and take photos.
The epic drama follows the incredible life of Olympian and war hero Louis “Louie” Zamperini (Jack O’Connell) who, along with two other crewmen, survived in a raft for 47 days after a near-fatal plane crash in WWII—only to be caught by the Japanese Navy and sent to a prisoner-of-war camp.
Variety writes: “Reaction to the often-intense film was largely positive, with the black-tie audience gasping audibly at one particularly shocking maritime moment and the unrelenting visceral wartime brutality that punctuates Zamperini’s tale of survival. Warm applause at the end of the film drowned out the opening »
- Michelle McCue
It would appear that the filmmakers behind the James Bond franchise have begun using the Best Supporting Actor Oscar winner pool of the last few years to help them find an appropriate villain. For Skyfall, Sam Mendes turned to Javier Bardem - who took home the aforementioned prize for his turn in the Coen brothers' No Country For Old Men - and now it's being reported that the upcoming Bond 24 is looking to bring on two-time Academy Award winner Christopher Waltz to square off against 007. The news comes from The Daily Mail, which says that the Django Unchained star has joined the project - but notes that there is a shade of mystery regarding exactly what role he is playing. One inside source told the British newspaper that Waltz is playing a "nemesis of sorts" -which makes us naturally think "villain" - but other insiders were a bit more »
Roger Deakins is about as close to being a household name as you can get for a cinematographer. That's a relative term, obviously: the man or woman on the street probably can't pick him from a line-up. But anyone with even a little bit of cinephile DNA will know that Deakins is one of the top Directors of Photography in the world, a man who's collaborated with the Coens (most regularly), Martin Scorsese and Andrew Dominik, who's lensed Bond movies and Oscar winners, and who's seemingly incapable of making an unattractive movie. He's also an eleven-time Oscar nominee, and a zero-time Oscar winner, marking him among the most prominent permanent awards bridesmaids around. Deakins was nominated for "The Shawshank Redemption," "Fargo," "Kundun," "O Brother Where Art Thou," "The Man Who Wasn't There," "No Country For Old Men," "The Assassination Of Jesse James," "The Reader," "True Grit," »
- Oliver Lyttelton
The awards season has its usual blend of old traditions, including online predictions, Q&A screenings and parties “in honor of” a film. However, the race is very different from last year, when “12 Years a Slave” and “Gravity” were declared the front-runners by early September.
With only two months to go in the calendar year, there is no clear leader at this point. Some pundits seem to think this is a failure of the 2014 crop, but in fact, there are four basic scenarios in the Oscar best-pic race, and they rotate. And while this year is unlike 2013, there are a lot of past precedents.
Scenario 1: The best-picture winner gains its stronghold only in retrospect. In 2000, “Gladiator” opened in May and was much admired but nobody was talking about its Oscar chances as best picture. It was only as the year-end films opened and were underwhelming that “Gladiator” looked even better after the fact. »
- Tim Gray
In honor of Veterans Day, join Universal Pictures in recognizing former Olympian, WWII veteran and Pow survivor Louis Zamperini and other heroes like him who have served or are currently serving in the military by taking part in the #IAmUnbroken project.
The #IAmUnbroken project celebrates and inspires unbroken spirits from all walks of life and invites users to share their own #IAmUnbroken stories.
Go to www.IAmUnbroken.com to upload your videos, photos and text or take to social media to post your inspirational story with hashtag #IAmUnbroken. Stories are now being featured on the site, and a select few will be chosen to have a team create a professional video segment of their story with the chance to be featured on NBC’s Today.
Submit your #IAmUnbroken stories, videos, photos and text here.
- Michelle McCue
Hollywood — You'd never guess it from the reviews, but after Paul Thomas Anderson's "Inherent Vice" screened at the New York Film Festival last month, the word on the street wasn't great. The iconic filmmaker's adaptation of Thomas Pynchon's novel earned immediate respect, but numerous industry attendees spread the word it wasn't Academy friendly and potentially not commercial enough to really be a player for Warner Bros. It even prompted questions on whether the reaction to the uniquely Los Angeles tale would have been better suited for a hometown debut. Following "Vice's" Southern California unveiling at the 2014 AFI Film Fest Saturday night, the answer to that question is still up for debate, but one thing's for sure: it's time to start the "don't forget Josh Brolin in the Best Supporting Actor race" campaign. Yes, a "reminder" campaign usually occurs after a film has at least hit limited release, but »
- Gregory Ellwood
The film is based on the inspirational true story of World War II veteran and Olympian ‘Louie’ Zamperini who, along with two other crewmen, survived for 47 days in a raft after a near-fatal plane crash only to be caught by the Japanese and sent to a prisoner-of-war camp.
Source: Universal »
- Sacha Hall
Just yesterday, the trailer debuted for 28 Days Later, Dredd, and Sunshine writer Alex Garland’s directorial debut, the fantastic-looking sci-fi thriller Ex Machina, and now Garland is lining up another incredibly promising directorial project. Variety reports that he has been tapped by Paramount to write and direct an adaptation of the first book in Jeff VanderMeer’s excellent Southern Reach trilogy, Annihilation. The books are at once terrifying and incredibly compelling, with each novel written from a different perspective and with a unique authorial voice. The first book, Annihilation, follows the expedition of four women who are sent into the mysterious “Area X”, a portion of land in the United States that has been secretly quarantined due to abnormal activity. They are the twelfth expedition sent into Area X. The second ended in mass suicide, the third in a hail of gunfire as the members turned on one another, and »
- Adam Chitwood
Universal Pictures has announced that the Coen brothers' "Hail, Caesar!," starring Josh Brolin, George Clooney, Ralph Fiennes and Scarlett Johansson, among others, will be released on Feb. 5, 2016. That effectively removes it from much awards season discussion that year, but you could sort of gather that, given the subject matter and apparent tone of the film. Like "The Hudsucker Proxy," "The Big Lebowski" and "Burn After Reading" — romps that came after heady prestige pics like "Barton Fink," "Fargo" and "No Country for Old Men" — "Hail, Caesar!" looks like the boys just having a bit of fun. What's interesting about the film, which begins shooting in Los Angeles next month, is that it marks cinematographer Roger Deakins' first trip back to the world of celluloid since his last collaboration with the filmmaker siblings, "True Grit." That was four years ago. He has since embraced digital photography, preferring the Arri Alexa camera on films like "In Time, »
- Kristopher Tapley
The Coen Brothers are set to tackle Hollywood’s Golden Age with their unique mischievous style that’s earned the pair a reputation for crafting cinematic masterpieces. Their next pic, Hail, Caesar!, is already showing signs of replicating the pair’s earlier successes, and now we know for certain when we’ll be able to see it!
In a press release put out earlier, Universal has revealed the film’s release date. That’s right folks, you can get in line for your next big screen dose of Coen action when Hail, Caesar! is released on February 5th, 2016. Thus far, the film is the only one releasing that day, but it’s unlikely to stay that way for long.
- Gem Seddon
The stigma of a movie being released in the first few months of the year seems to be fading. Steven Soderbergh's "Side Effects" hit in February 2013, Wes Anderson's "Grand Budapest Hotel" arrived this past March, and Michael Mann's "Blackhat" is coming next January. And now, a pair of auteurs are also looking at a winter release. Universal has set the Coen Brothers' "Hail, Caesar!" with a February 5, 2016 release. The starry comedy now has an official synopsis too. Check out all the details in the press release below. ----- Universal Pictures’ Hail, Caesar! will be released on Friday, February 5, 2016. About Hail, Caesar! Four-time Oscar®-winning filmmakers Joel and Ethan Coen (No Country for Old Men, True Grit,Fargo) write and direct Hail, Caesar!, an all-star comedy set during the latter years of Hollywood's Golden Age. Starring Josh Brolin, George Clooney, Ralph Fiennes, Tilda Swinton, Channing Tatum, »
- Kevin Jagernauth
Universal Pictures has set a Hail, Caesar! release date for the next film from writers/directors Joel and Ethan Coen. The comedy has been slated for release on February 5, 2016, which marks the first 1st Quarter release date for a Coen Brothers film since 2004’s The Ladykillers. The film takes place in 1950s Hollywood, during the latter years of Hollywood’s Golden Age, and “follows a single day in the life of a studio fixer who is presented with plenty of problems to fix.” The incredible ensemble cast is led by Josh Brolin, George Clooney, Ralph Fiennes, Tilda Swinton, Channing Tatum, Scarlett Johansson, and Jonah Hill. More on this curious choice of release date for Hail, Caesar! after the jump. It’s been a decade since a Coen Brothers film wasn’t released in the fall, in the heat of awards season, so it’s a bit odd to see Hail, »
- Adam Chitwood
In an interesting move, Universal Pictures has given Hail, Caesar!, the next film from writers/directors Joel and Ethan Coen a release date of February 5, 2016. The four-time Oscar-winning filmmakers, (No Country For Old Men, True Grit, Fargo) usually have their releases in the fall to run alongside award season; February isn’t typically a release month for high profile directors and production on this project begins this year. It’s a comedy too, but you never know; maybe »
- Graham McMorrow
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