19 items from 2015
Senior Staff Writer Scott Davis looks at this week’s big Blu-ray releases in the Us…
All roads have led to this point, as they say. The final film in both The Hobbit Trilogy and J.R.R. Tolkien adaptations (at least for now), director Peter Jackson bids a fond farewell to Hobbits, Orcs and Wizards alike. Martin Freeman, Ian e, Richard Armitage, Evangeline Lily and Orlando Bloom return amongst the stellar cast, as Bilbo and friends face the final battle to save Middle-earth from the deadly Smaug.
You read what Flickering Myth contributor Alfie Nobes made of the final chapter here.
Order The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies On Blu-ray Here
While it failed to make as much of an impact along the awards season over the last few months, Angelina Jolie’s excellent sophomore directorial effort made over $160 million »
- Scott J. Davis
Into the Woods opened on Broadway in 1987, with the music and lyrics written by Stephen Sondheim and the book by James Lapine. It is Sondheim’s most performed musical and one of his best known works. The story combines familiar characters from childhood fairy tales such as Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, and the ubiquitous Witch, and explores their journeys to get their wish, as well as the negative consequences of the small dishonesties committed by each character to get what they want. As the witch sings, “Told a little lie/Stole a little gold/Broke a little vow/Did you?/Had to get your prince/Had to get your cow/Had to get your wish/Doesn’t matter how.” As the story unfolds, the traditional dichotomies of good and evil, and our expectations of each character, are shaken.
Fairy tales exist in a world of fantasy, and have been »
- Lord Christopher Laverty
By Anjelica Oswald
The Oscars are almost here.
In anticipation of the 87th Academy Awards on Feb. 22, here is a breakdown of some fast facts and statistics we’ve gathered. Click the links below for more information:
Of the 86 films to win best picture, 36 (42 percent) have won without procuring a single Oscar in the acting categories. Only one film has ever won the DGA, SAG and PGA Awards and not gone on to win the best picture Oscar, and that was Apollo 13 19 years ago. Four of the past 14 best picture winners are based on actual people and events, two of which won last year and the year before, and three others were inspired by real events. Birdman joins a number of Oscar-nominated films that center on performers or feature performance elements. Selma is the 15th race-related film to land a best picture nomination.
- Anjelica Oswald
By Anjelica Oswald
With the DGA Award in hand, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu has become a frontrunner in the best director Oscar race for Birdman.
Only seven winners of the DGA Award have not won the best director Oscar in the 66 years that the Directors Guild of America has given the award. The most recent case was two years ago, when Ben Affleck wasn’t even nominated for the best director Oscar for Argo, which won best picture.
No American has won for best director since 2011 and if Inarritu, who is from Mexico, takes the Oscar this year, the trend will continue. Inarritu could become the second Latin American director to win for best director, following Alfonso Cuaron’s win last year.
In the 86 years since the Academy Awards’ inception, 89 Oscars have been given for best director. Twenty-six awards (29 percent) went to non-American born directors.
At the first annual »
- Anjelica Oswald
By Anjelica Oswald
The 87th Academy Awards acting race is almost evenly divided between veterans and first-time nominees.
Nine of the 20 nominees in the four acting categories are newcomers — four lead actors (Steve Carell, Michael Keaton, Eddie Redmayne and Benedict Cumberbatch), two lead actresses (Rosamund Pike and Felicity Jones), two supporting actresses (Patricia Arquette and Emma Stone) and one supporting actor (J.K. Simmons).
As for the 11 veterans, the number of Oscar nominations between them ranges from 19 to one. Four of them have previously taken Oscars home.
Meryl Streep received her 19th nomination this year for her supporting role as The Witch in Disney’s Into the Woods, the film adaptation of James Lapine and Stephen Sondheim’s musical. She holds the record for most acting nominations ever received and is one of six actors to have won three or more Oscars. Streep was first nominated in 1979 for her »
- Anjelica Oswald
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences has been under fire for the lack of racial and gender equality in Oscar nominations, but there’s one area where the org can freely boast about diversity: this year’s international contenders. There are non-u.S. nominees in 22 out of 24 categories.
The long list includes two of the five directors — Norway’s Morten Tyldum (“The Imitation Game”) and Mexico’s Alejandro G. Inarritu (“Birdman”) — as well as all five nominees in the music-score category, the first time that’s ever happened.
The roster also includes contenders in two “mainstream” categories for their foreign-language work: cinematographers Lukasz Zal and Ryszard Lenczewski for Poland’s “Ida” and Marion Cotillard with a French-lingo performance in Belgium’s “Two Days, One Night.”
Academy honchos have been working hard to broaden the organization’s makeup, to better reflect the international film business. AMPAS president Cheryl Boone Isaacs, »
- Tim Gray
Oprah Winfrey and Clint Eastwood mingled with documaker Rory Kennedy and songwriter Gregg Alexander as more than 150 contenders gathered for the 34th annual Oscar Nominees Luncheon at the Beverly Hilton hotel, where the emphasis was on creative democracy — and maintaining energy.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences likes to emphasize that all categories are equal, so seating intentionally mixes it up, with actors, writers, directors and actors eating with short-docu contenders, sound mixers, animators and journalists.
Oscarcast producer Craig Zadan, who along with Neil Meron had jumped into Oscar duty after completing NBC’s “Peter Pan Live!,” joked with Variety about the advantage of hard work by the time showtime arrives on Feb. 22: “When you’re that tired, you’re not scared.”
- Tim Gray
Oscar winner Penelope Cruz (Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides) and Diane Kruger (Inglorious Basterds, National Treasure) are in final negotiations to star in the romance feature film This Man, This Woman, to be directed by Isabel Coixet whose new film Nobody Wants The Night opens the 2015 Berlin International Film Festival, it was announced today by Fortitude International co-founders, Nadine de Barros and Robert Ogden Barnum, and producer Mike Lobell (The Freshman, Striptease).
Fortitude International is financing the film and will handle foreign sales on the project being introduced to buyers at the European Film Market in Berlin next month.
De Barros and Barnum serve as executive producers. Lobell is producing the film.
CAA is representing domestic rights.
An estranged man, Matt Heller, and a woman, Martha Parks (Cruz »
- Michelle McCue
The Queen of Pop is crowning a princess!
Yes, Madonna is a fan of Taylor Swift's music, and she can't hide it. The 56-year-old icon told Australia's Network Nine's Today, "It's good to have princesses [of pop]. It means there's lots of pretty dresses around. I like Taylor Swift. I think she writes some really catchy pop songs. I can't get them out of my head."
You're certainly not alone Madonna!
The "Shake It Off" singer can’t believe the compliment that came from the "Material Girl." Swift took to Tumblr on Wednesday to thank the queen for this honor, "Thanks, now I'm dead."
Not knowing how to deal with the attention, Swift tags it as "Be cool Taylor stop being embarrassing."
Photos: 11 Times Madonna Looked Half Her Age
Although Swift is trying to keep it together now, she did not say that Madonna is her role model in music when asked by Time back in November »
Most Richard Linklater fans can tell you which film – and sometimes which scene – ignited their enthusiasm for the director, whether it was 1991’s influential indie Slacker, 1993’s high-school classic Dazed and Confused or 2003’s comedy School of Rock.
But, it all began with Before Sunrise.
Released 20 years ago this week, Before Sunrise boasted fresh-faced actors and a swoon-worthy premise: An American man (Ethan Hawke) meets a French woman (Julie Delpy) on a train, and they spend one magical evening together in Vienna. That alone was enough to attract my 17-year-old self to the theater, as was the case with many of my peers.
News: Julie & Ethan Reunite 'Before Midnight'
The true magic of Before Sunrise, however, lies beyond the picturesque scenery and smitten gazes. Building upon his gift for crafting relatable and engrossing conversation, Linklater’s characters feel fully formed, discussing everything from philosophy and religion to love and their hopes for the future.
"Lost in the Awards Rush" is a new weekly series Slackerwood is running during the awards season, to suggest lesser-known but excellent alternatives to popular frontrunners for big movie awards.
Upon its Broadway debut in 1987, Into the Woods was praised as an innovative, dark, bold and musically astounding work that, to this day, remains unequaled. Naturally, a movie version had to follow of this re-imagining of classic fairy tales and what happens after "happily ever after." Though there were plans for a Rob Reiner-directed movie adaptation featuring Cher, Goldie Hawn, Elijah Wood and Robin Williams in the early '90s, that sadly fell apart -- the notion of bringing a project so well regarded and towering in both story and scope seemed virtually impossible.
Enter Rob Marshall, who successfully brought Chicago (2002) (another seemingly un-adaptable Broadway sensation) to the screen and had set out to work similar wonders with what »
- Frank Calvillo
Stars: Meryl Streep, Anna Kendrick, Emily Blunt, Chris Pine, Tracey Ullman, James Corden, Daniel Huttlestone, Christine Baranski, Tammy Blanchard, Lucy Punch, Lilla Crawford, Simon Russell Beale, Johnny Depp, Billy Magnussen, Richard Glover, Frances de la Tour | Written by James Lapine, Stephen Sondheim | Directed by Rob Marshall
Rob Marshall has had plenty of success in the world of musical motion picture. His 2002 film adaptation of Chicago won Academy Awards and boosted Marshall’s name into the Hollywood “it crowd” in the process. Following up Chicago with a lovely adaptation of the Arthur Golden novel, Memoirs of a Geisha, showed Marshall was an accomplished director who was capable of more than musicals. Those two films showed style, heart and confidence. Since then, Marshall has directed Nine, a less well-received musical in 2009, On Stranger Tides, the latest Pirates of the Caribbean movie, in 2011, a film that many thought was unnecessary and failed in comparison to its prior instalments, »
- Chris Cummings
And the Oscar nominees are ... the whitest since 1998.
That's the truth as far as the acting categories are concerned. For the first time in 17 years, not a single person of colour stands to win an acting Oscar. [The Atlantic says the last entirely white Oscar nomination list was in 1995. We'll let them duke out which year it is.]
We here at Moviefone Canada looked at Oscar winners and nominees from the past decade to see how they stack up against the upcoming 2015 ceremony. We restricted ourselves to the acting, directing and screenwriting categories.
The definition of "people of colour," of course, varies widely. But when it comes to Oscar nominations, we largely considered people who don't come from an all-white heritage within the last couple of generations.
We plugged the numbers ... and 47 out of 350 nominees in the past 10 years went to people of colour.
That's 13 per cent ... and it's not enough. Especially when U.S. government statistics show that white people (excluding Hispanics or Latinos) make up only 62.6 per cent of the country's population. »
- Jesse Ferreras
Chicago – In an unprecedented oversight, especially for the film community in Chicago, film critic Roger Ebert’s biography “Life Itself” was snubbed for Best Documentary as the nominations were announced on Jan. 15, 2015 for the 87th Academy Awards. The films “Birdman” and “The Grand Budapest Hotel” tied for most Oscar nominations with nine.
Photo credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures
Both “Birdman” and “The Grand Budapest Hotel” were nominated for Best Picture along with “Selma,” “Boyhood,” “American Sniper,” “The Imitation Game,” “The Theory of Everything” and “Whiplash”. The full list of the nominations is below.
“The Grand Budapest Hotel”
Wes Anderson, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
Marion Cotillard, “Two Days, One Night”
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Adam Fendelman)
Good Morning Oscar fans! Today is nomination day!
Wamg was in the thick of nomination morning fever at the home of the Oscars – the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.
Prior to the announcement, A.M.P.A.S. and the show’s producing team, Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, gave the press assembled in the Samuel Goldwyn Theatre a first look at the new Oscar promo featuring host Neil Patrick Harris, titled “Anything Can Happen,” and given what went down this morning, that’s certainly the case.
Let’s get right to the big shockers – No Lego Movie for Best Animated Feature or Life Itself in Best Documentary Feature.
Also missing among the presumed nominees were Ava DuVernay (Selma, directing), Clint Eastwood (American Sniper, directing), Jennifer Aniston (Cake, best actress), David Oyelowo (Selma, best actor), Jake Gyllenhaal (Nightcrawler, best actor), Ralph Fiennes (The Grand Budapest Hotel, best actor), Gillian Flynn (Gone Girl, »
- Movie Geeks
Nine actors. Eighteen Best Actor Oscars. Let's rank these legendarily thespians much in the way we took a hard look yesterday at the 13 women who scooped up two Best Actress wins. The contenders: Spencer Tracy, Fredric March, Gary Cooper, Marlon Brando, Jack Nicholson, Dustin Hoffman, Tom Hanks, Daniel Day-Lewis, and Sean Penn. Damn. Put on your spurs, Will Kane, because this is a battle of men's men. »
- Louis Virtel
The Oscar-winning filmmaker, whose previous screen musicals also include Chicago and Nine, told Digital Spy that he has talked to Into the Woods producer Marc Platt (who is also shepherding the Wicked film) about bringing the story of Elphaba and Glinda to the big screen.
Wicked review: New London cast makes for a magical experience
The stage show premiered in 2003 and is still running at Broadway's George Gershwin Theatre and London West End's Apollo Theatre. Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth originated the roles of Elphaba and Glinda respectively. »
By Anjelica Oswald
Disney’s Into the Woods, director Rob Marshall’s film adaptation of Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s Broadway musical, is aiming to land a number of Oscar nominations when the nominees are announced Jan. 15. The film opened on Christmas and currently ranks as the fourth highest-grossing Christmas Day release.
Marshall said he loved the musical after first seeing it and the idea to take the stage musical to the big screen was first introduced in the early 2000s after Marshall met with Sondheim to discuss adapting one of his musicals.
Many Oscar predictions are banking on a supporting actress nomination for Meryl Streep’s performance as the Witch, which The Hollywood »
- Anjelica Oswald
By Scott Feinberg
The Hollywood Reporter
The name Rob Marshall has become synonymous with the movie musical. That’s because Marshall has done more than anyone to revive the genre, which thrived in Hollywood until the fall of the studio system in the late 1960s.
At that point, it more or less went away for decades — until, that is, Marshall’s feature directorial debut, Chicago, took the town by storm and won the best picture Oscar. (He also was nominated for best director.)
In the 12 years since then, Marshall, a former dancer and choreographer, has brought two other popular Broadway musicals to the big screen with massive ensembles of big-name stars: Nine, in 2009, and, in 2014, Into the Woods.
The latter, a particular passion project for the 54-year-old, who collected the Palm Springs International Film Festival’s Creative Impact in Directing Award for it on Sunday, was recently named one of »
- Anjelica Oswald
19 items from 2015
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