15 items from 2014
As I'm sure you're well aware, a massive hacking of Sony Pictures has taken place, which has resulted in a flurry of revelations as emails between Sony executives and their contacts have been made public. A variety of outlets have covered the story in detail and it all reads like a dirty memoir, while at the same time offers fascinating insight into an industry that somehow manages to keep a lot of its dirty laundry quiet. You hear rumblings every now and then, but nothing too damning or revealing. With this recent hack the studio has reportedly had to suspend filming on some of its features as it can't process payments and in our first story looking at the fallout we'll take a look at the saga of one film that was once in Sony's hands and how it came to find its way to Universal. Myself and my podcast »
- Brad Brevet
By Anjelica Oswald
The American Film Institute’s AFI Fest opens tonight in Hollywood with the world premiere of J.C. Chandor’s A Most Violent Year. The film stars Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain as a couple trying to run a business and live in New York City during 1981, which was statistically one of the city’s most violent years. This is Chandor’s first film to premiere in Los Angeles. Though the film is hoping to garner some Oscar nominations, only six of the past 14 films to open AFI Fest have gone on to receive Oscar nominations and none have been for best picture.
Of the six films to garner Oscar nominations, the only film to win an award was 2005’s Walk the Line, which resulted in Reese Witherspoon taking home the Oscar for best actress. The Johnny Cash biopic scored four other nominations, including film editing and best actor. »
- Anjelica Oswald
The critics really liked it, international audiences checked it out, but in the United States it seemed no-one was catching the Tom Cruise-led "Edge Of Tomorrow" in cinemas and many wrote it off as a flop on launch.
Yet, rather sneakily, the film has stuck around and this week officially crawled past the $100 million mark at the U.S. domestic box-office. That is significant as according to Box Office Guru, this marks the first Cruise-led film outside the "Mission: Impossible" franchise to have done so since 2005's "War of the Worlds".
Yes, 'Edge' has outpaced "Jack Reacher" ($80M) "Knight and Day" ($76M), "Oblivion" ($89M), "Rock of Ages" ($38M), "Valkyrie" ($83M) and "Lions for Lambs" ($15M) domestically. "Tropic Thunder" ($110M) did pass the mark, but Cruise was not the lead in that and it wasn't marketed on his involvement.
Considering 'Edge' opened to around $28 million, it has made three-and-a-half times »
- Garth Franklin
What’s new, what’s hot, and what you may have missed, now available to stream.
new to stream
Forgotten Men: 1934 English antiwar propaganda film is a fascinating and, in retrospect, bittersweet document of the brief era between Wwi and WWII [my review] [iTunes UK] 20 Feet from Stardom: must-see documentary for any fan of modern pop music introduces us to the extraordinary women you didn’t know were behind some of the songs you know by heart [my review] [iTunes UK] After the Dark: a thrilling combination of drama, near-science-fiction, suspense, coming-of-age agita, and intellectual exploration of ideas — pity it derails itself [my review] [iTunes UK]
streaming now, before it’s on dvd
Starred Up: could be the most realistic depiction of the horribleness and the ineffectiveness of institutional incarceration — on levels that impact both the individual and society on the whole — that I’ve ever seen [my review] [Amazon UK Instant Video] 112 Weddings: startling and welcome breath of reality for an institution overladen by fantasy »
- MaryAnn Johanson
According to Deadline, the director of last year’s critically acclaimed human survival film All Is Lost is heading back to sea, and will helm a film about the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil rig tragedy.
The explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico killed 11 men and injured 17 others. The ensuing gush of oil into the ocean wasn’t capped for three months, becoming the second-largest U.S. environmental disaster in history.
Chandor is set to direct the film, which is described as being “the survival story [about] the courage shown by those who worked on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig,” after finishing post-production on his latest project, A Most Violent Year, which stars Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain.
Written by Matthew Sand (Ninja Assassin) and Matthew Michael Carnahan (Lions for Lambs, World War Z), Deepwater Horizon will be overseen by Transformers franchise producers Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Mark Vahradian, »
- James Garcia
In the perfect marriage of politics and Hollywood casting, Robert Redford might portray Dan Rather in a dramatic thriller about the 2004 60 Minutes II investigation into whether or not President George W. Bush received preferential treatment to avoid Vietnam service in 1968. Cate Blanchett is also in talks to play Mary Mapes, the CBS producer who worked on the controversial story and is the central figure in the proposed film, which still lacks financing. Her 2005 book, Truth and Duty: The Press, the President and the Privilege of Power, is the basis for the movie, which will be directed by screenwriter James Vanderbilt »
- Jeff Labrecque
As a filmmaker, Robert Redford has never strayed from personal politics, whether it's his early work like All the President's Men or The Candidate or more recent films like Lions for Lambs or The Company You Keep. Now after staying quiet in last year's All is Lost, he'll be diving back into a political topics with Truth, an adaptation of Mary Mapes' memoir Truth And Duty: The Press, The President, And The Privilege Of Power. For those not familiar, the film will dig into the scandal that followed a controversial report by veteran CBS News anchor Dan Rather on "60 Minutes II" that former President George W. Bush received preferential treatment that placed him in the National Guard to avoid the Vietnam War draft. More below! The scandal comes from the fact that following the report, Mapes (a CBS News producer) and anchorman Rather were fired, all during Bush's campaign to »
- Ethan Anderton
Robert Redford has never been one to keep his personal politics out of his film choices. From as early as "All The President's Men" and "The Candidate," to recent efforts like "The Company You Keep" and "Lions For Lambs," the actor has never shied from putting political concerns front and center with his efforts. And it looks like he'll do that once again. Deadline reports that Redford is set to play "60 Minutes" anchor Dan Rather in an adaptation of Mary Mapes' "Truth and Duty: The Press, The President, And The Privilege Of Power." The memoir tells the behind the scenes tales of what really happened after Rather's report about the machinations that kept George W. Bush out of the Vietnam War, made headlines and created a national scandal. And oh, playing Mapes, who was a producer on "60 Minutes"? Cate Blanchett. Yes, please. Here's the Amazon synopsis: It was a great story. »
- Kevin Jagernauth
In 1986, peaceniks were mad at Tom Cruise. That year, the Navy thanked Top Gun for boosting enlistment another 20,000 recruits. Since then, he's made more critiques of military than advertisements, most of which (Lions for Lambs, Born on the Fourth of July, The Last Samurai, Valkyrie) j'accuse bad leadership of wasting the lives of a few — or a million — good men.
With Edge of Tomorrow, Cruise comes full circle. He plays Lieutenant Colonel Bill Cage, a medaled propagandist who goes knock-kneed at the sight of a paper cut. In peacetime, he was an ad man who had dabbled in Rotc. Now that Earth is under siege from the Mimics, whirling space monsters that look like dreadlocked wigs dipped in steel, he's been drafted to serve »
Today’s film is the 2010 short I’m Here. The film is written and directed by Spike Jonze, and stars Sienna Guillory, Daniel London, Annie Hardy, and Andrew Garfield. Garfield has made a name for himself with a filmography that includes Boy A, Lions For Lambs, Never Let Me Go, and The Social Network, before being cast as the titular superhero in 2012′s The Amazing Spider-Man. His newest feature, titled The Amazing Spider-Man 2, opens in wide release in American theatres this weekend.
- Deepayan Sengupta
Today, since I’ve sort of liked mixing and making this Tuesday slot, I’m going to be continuing on with another new-ish series for you all here at the site, one that I started a few weeks ago. Basically, it’s a spinoff of the Spotlight on the Stars series that I normally do here. As a quick refresher for those not in the know, each week I look at an actor/actress/filmmaker that I’d like to celebrate in some kind of way. It could be due to something of theirs coming out that weekend (like in many of the cases so far, including today) or just because I feel they deserve to have a moment in the sun all their own, but each time it’ll be a bit of positivity about someone who I’d like to pay tribute to. Here, I’m going to »
- Joey Magidson
Rome - Rome’s former mayor Walter Veltroni, a reknown film buff who launched the Rome Film Festival, is making his directorial debut with a feature-length docu about late Italo pol Enrico Berlinguer, who headed Western Europe’s largest Communist party, set to screen on Italian movie theatres in March before airing on Rupert Murdoch’s Sky Italia paybox, which fully financed the high-profile pic.
But in terms of potential local audience it makes sense. Berlinguer, who died in 1984, remains a beloved figure in Italy. Sky Italia will air the docu, titled “Quando c’era Berlinguer” (“When Berlinguer Was With Us”), in June on the 30th anniversary of Berlinguer’s passing.
Berlinguer is known for starting a movement among Western European Communists toward greater independence from Moscow. »
- Nick Vivarelli
As Tina Fey joked in her Golden Globes monologue on Sunday, there are still plenty of roles available in Hollywood for Meryl Streeps over the age of 60. The actress received her 18th Academy Award nomination earlier today for her performance in August: Osage County and she is still a formidable box office draw. Naturally, mogul Harvey Weinstein wants to work with Streep again (and nab another chance at Oscar gold) and he plans to do so with The Senator’s Wife, a story that the executive explains will be a fierce indictment of the National Rifle Association gun lobby.
In an announcement on The Howard Stern Show, Weinstein explained that the movie would be like a contemporary version of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, except the subject matter may not be so Capraesque. “We’re going to take this issue head on, and [the NRA is] going to wish they weren’t alive »
- Jordan Adler
The Oscar nominations are in, and if you haven’t glanced at the Best Actress category, you’re in for a star-studded explosion. Collectively, the five chosen actresses have been nominated 38 times for Academy Awards, so any member of this esteemed quintet could run off with the gold.
But every great actor is an entitled to a mediocre performance or two. Here are my least favorite performances by the five nominated actresses of 2014.
Amy Adams: Julie and Julia
I actually appreciate that Julia and Julia was half-about the tribulations of a blogger trying to establish herself. Scaring up pageviews in order to sustain a living is an unusual situation, and I haven’t seen that explored in many movies. But Amy Adams is a pile of quirks and unfunny dialogue in this movie, and I’ve never seen her so flatly perky. You miss Meryl when she’s not »
- Louis Virtel
Thanks to a marketing campaign that played up military heroism while avoiding the moral ambiguities associated with U.S. foreign policy, Afghanistan war drama Lone Survivor scored one of the biggest opening weekends ever in January. Meanwhile, The Legend of Hercules bombed and Her and Inside Llewyn Davis underperformed in their nationwide expansions.Lone Survivor opened to $37.8 million this weekend, which ranks second all-time in January behind 2008's Cloverfield ($40.1 million). It also demolished a handful of comparable January releases like Zero Dark Thirty ($24.4 million), Contraband ($24.3 million) and Black Hawk Down ($28.6 million). Ironically, it also opened much higher than director Peter Berg's 2012 movie Battleship ($25.5 million), despite costing only a fraction as much to produce.As evidenced by the performance of movies like Green Zone ($35.1 million), The Hurt Locker ($17 million), Lions for Lambs ($15 million) and Rendition ($9.7 million), conflict in the Middle East hasn't exactly been a recipe for box office success. »
- Ray Subers <email@example.com>
15 items from 2014
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