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All hope isn’t lost for “American Sniper.” Even though the Bradley Cooper drama about Navy Seal Chris Kyle hasn’t leapt into the award season race yet, it still holds a stealth advantage as it enters Oscar balloting — passionate fans.
The Golden Globe nominees (announced on Thursday) and SAG Awards (Wednesday) don’t necessarily take passion into account. But the Academy Award nominating system for best picture, determined by a preferential ballot (that puts more “weight” on a film ranked as No. 1 by a voter), can help out a movie like “Sniper,” which has ardent groupies. In recent years, films such as “A Serious Man,” “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close,” “District 9,” “Tree of Life,” “Toy Story 3″ and “Amour” were nominated in the top Oscar category because their fans loved them in a fanatical way.
Here are seven filmsthat could benefit from a similar surge this year.
1. “Unbroken »
- Ramin Setoodeh
Almost every year, Clint Eastwood attempts to have an Oscar contender ready to drop into the race. Sometimes, those campaigns pan out, as when Million Dollar Baby (2004) and Letters from Iwo Jima (2006) drummed up Academy support. Recently, however, Eastwood films like Hereafter, J. Edgar and Jersey Boys have failed to generate awards heat. Will American Sniper connect with voters, or fizzle out before the race even begins? We discuss the film.s prospects in this week.s Awards Blend podcast. Not a lot has changed this week, as few movies that haven.t already been seen chose to show their cards. Most of us are still waiting on Angelina Jolie.s Unbroken, which held its world premiere in Australia (but is under strict embargo for every print outlet). Movies like Selma and American Sniper did start screening for wider critical audiences, however, and I.ve shifted the charts accordingly based »
The story is a reinvention of the 1977 film that revolves around Pete and his best friend Elliot, who happens to be dragon. The first pic was a musical, but sources say this will be a straight narrative. The movie will be live-action with CGI used to bring the dragon to life.
Jim Whitaker is producing.
- Justin Kroll
Cannes– ‘Call My Agent!,” the comedy mini-series marking French helmer Cedric Klapisch’s smallscreen debut, has attracted a top-notched cast of Gallic talent.
Cecile de France (“Hereafter,” pictured above), Nathalie Baye (“Catch Me If You Can”), Audrey Fleurot (“The Intouchables”), have joined the cast of show, which is being shopped by TF1 International at Mipcom. Cast also boasts Joey Starr (“Polisse”), Laura Smet (“Eden”), François Berléand (“Transporter, The Series”) and Julie Gayet (“Profilage”).
The show centers around a tight-knit and dysfunctional team of Parisian talent agents who battle to get contracts for important clients, while juggling their personal lives.
Penned by Klapisch, Lola Doillon and Antoine Garceau, “Call My Agent!” will go into production in November and has been commissioned by pubcaster France Televisions. It’s produced by Mon Voisin Production and Mother Production. »
- Elsa Keslassy
Gregory Ellwood asks if the rest of the Oscar Best Picture contenders should fear Clint Eastwood's "American Sniper." He has already proven late season success before with "Million Dollar Baby" (2004) and "Letters from Iwo Jima" (2006). On the other hand, he has also had contender duds like "Hereafter" and "J. Edgar." The new film slated for December stars two-time nominee Bradley Cooper as Chris Kyle, the most decorated sniper in U.S. military history. Ellwood's current top 10 for Best Picture predictions (in order): "Interstellar," "The Imitation Game," "Birdman," "Unbroken," "The Theory of Everything," "Boyhood," "Gone Girl," "The Grand Budapest Hotel," "Foxcatcher," and "American Sniper." HitFix -Break- Join the lively film and TV discussions going on right now in the Gold Derby message boards Joshua Rothman r »
If it's mid October that means a number of expected Best Picture contenders are increasingly becoming questionable players. Guess things are getting serious, huh? "Inherent Vice" received strong reviews, but mixed reaction from those on the ground at the New York Film Festival over the weekend. Paul Thomas Anderson's adaptation of Thomas Pynchon's novel won't open in theaters until December and Warner Bros. will slowly screen it over the next few months in Los Angeles as they hope it gets a better audience reception on the West Coast. Still, like "The Master," the shine is somewhat off "Vice" as a potential nominee (although never say never). David Fincher's "Gone Girl" is huge hit with significant critical support, but based on one Academy screening you'd think it has absolutely no shot at a nod. That's silly. 20th Century Fox has months to push the thematic elements of the »
- Gregory Ellwood
In many ways this was always going to be a ‘Marking Time’ summer. The hoopla of debuting blockbusters was constantly being eclipsed by breaking news about the big summer movies of 2015/16. With photos and plot details being drip-fed all summer from the sets of Star Wars: Episode VII, Avengers: Age of Ulton and Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice, it took a bit of effort to get genuinely excited about the upcoming fourth Transformers movie.
There was an orderly, uncontroversial tone to the summer line-up this year; everybody behaved as predicted. There were no Lone Rangers or John Carters; no Battleship-level disasters. The biggest disappointments of the season were probably Seth MacFarlane’s Ted follow-up, A Million Ways to Die in The West and the entirely unwanted Expendables 3 (which scraped back $27m; barely enough to cover the cod liver oil and Sanatogen allowance for the cast).
Instead, the malaise was »
- Cai Ross
It's been an interesting run of films for director Clint Eastwood in the 10 years since his "Million Dollar Baby" crashed the 2004 Oscar party and ran away with the gold. I say "interesting" because, at least in awards season terms, it's been a run particularly notable for lots of revving but nothing that ever materialized as a significant player. Right after "Baby" it was the one-two punch of "Flags of Our Fathers" and "Letters from Iwo Jima" in 2006, a bold play for the then-75-year-old filmmaker. While developing an adaptation of John Bradley's book for the former, Eastwood felt a perspective from the Japanese side of the WWII equation was warranted, so he quickly developed the latter. And it was "Letters" that felt like it had more on its mind, yielding surprise (for some) nominations for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay, as well an Oscar for Best Sound Editing. »
- Kristopher Tapley
Walt Martin Dies At 69
Martin passed away on July 24 of vasculitis at Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center in Burbank after being hospitalized for chest pains, his wife Elena Martin told The Hollywood Reporter.
Martin first teamed up with Eastwood on 1999 picture True Crime. He went on to work with him on Space Cowboys (2000), Blood Work (2002), Mystic River (2003), Million Dollar Baby (2004), Letters From Iwo Jima (2006), Changeling (2008), Gran Torino (2008), Invictus (2009), Hereafter (2010) and Trouble With the Curve (2012).
Martin also worked with Eastwood on this summer’s Jersey Boys musical and most recently on the Chris Kyle biopic American Sniper starring Bradley Cooper, which is to hit theaters next year. He won an Oscar for sound mixing Eastwood’s 2006 World War II drama Flags of Our Fathers.
Prior to becoming part of Eastwood’s crew, »
Trevor Hogg chats with visual effects producer Allen Maris, production visual effects supervisor John Dykstra; visual effects supervisors Ken McGaugh, Guillaume Rocheron and Darren Poe, previs supervisor Eric Carney and designer Christian Pearce about the monstrous task of bringing a Toho Studios icon back to the big screen….
“I received a call from Kim LoCascio, Legendary’s VFX Executive, saying they had a cool project that was starting to gear up and asked if I’d like to meet for it,” recalls VFX Producer Allen Maris (Prometheus) as to how he became involved with reviving a Toho Studios iconic diakaiju (giant monster) called Gojira which is better known outside of Japan as Godzilla. “I met with her and Ty Warren and then they set up a Skype interview with Gareth [Edwards]. I started the week after that.” A major conventional presentation served as a starting point. “Coming into this one, they »
- Trevor Hogg
Think Like a Man Too narrowly defeated fellow Sony comedy 22 Jump Street to take first place at the box office this weekend. Meanwhile, Clint Eastwood's Jersey Boys got off to a quiet start.Overall, it was a slow weekend at the box office, with the Top 12 earning $138.8 million. That's down a whopping 40 percent from the same weekend last year, when Monsters University, World War Z and Man of Steel combined for $190 million.Playing at 2,225 locations, Think Like a Man Too opened to $29.2 million this weekend. That's a bit lower than the original Think Like a Man's $33.6 million, and is also below November's The Best Man Holiday ($30.1 million). It is at least an improvement over February's About Last Night, which also starred Kevin Hart and opened to $25.6 million.A $29 million opening for a modestly-budgeted relationship comedy is undeniably good. Still, with Hart's increased popularity and with a fun new »
- Ray Subers <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Okay, so the reviews are in, and it turns out I'm not alone in thinking that Clint Eastwood's "Jersey Boys" -- the 84-year-old actor-director-producer's 33rd effort behind the camera -- is a bit of a dud. Worse still, it's not the only recent misfire for the four-time Oscar winner frequently referred by critics as the last true classicist in American cinema. "J. Edgar," "Hereafter," "Invictus" and "Changeling" all met with varying degrees of opposition, though his defenders stand firm. "Has any working director had more wobbly movies defended by auteurist critics than Clint Eastwood?" tweeted Mark Harris recently. This iffy run of form, however, follows a recent purple patch during which Eastwood could seemingly do no wrong, as he racked up three Best Picture nominees in the space of four years (effectively erasing the less ecstatically received film that served as the precursor to the third of those). Eastwood's »
- Guy Lodge
When a film begins you have to give yourself over to it or you will never enjoy something that seems outside your immediate interest. Walking into Clint Eastwood's Jersey Boys this was exactly my approach. I even told some people around me I didn't even really want to see it, not because I felt it would be bad, in fact, I thought it would be entirely passable, but trips to the theater to see "passable" movies aren't exactly what we're looking for, especially when they're lacking in energy as this movie is. That said, in my attempt to give myself over, even as the characters (yes, plural) started breaking the fourth wall in the first scene, I stuck with it. I laughed at Christopher Walken being Christopher Walken as he played Jersey mobster Angelo 'Gyp' DeCarlo and I had a fun time trying to figure out just who exactly »
- Brad Brevet
When Hollywood brings a Broadway show to the bigscreen, the first casualty is usually the stage actors. This dates back to 1964′s “My Fair Lady,” which passed Julie Andrews over for Audrey Hepburn (with Marni Nixon dubbing the singing). Idina Menzel recently revealed that she and Kristin Chenoweth were told they were too old for the upcoming “Wicked” movie. And sometimes, recasting is inevitable: By the time “Chicago” made it in front of cameras after a protracted development process, it was more than 25 years since the original Broadway production. Director Tom Hooper’s “Les Miserables” suffered a similar fate.
Which is why Clint Eastwood’s decision to keep the stage cast of “Jersey Boys” is an anomaly. John Lloyd Young, who won a Tony for originating on Broadway nine years ago, is back as Four Seasons crooner Franki Valli. »
- Ramin Setoodeh and Scott Foundas
Director Clint Eastwood’s discomfort with his own material is enormous and obvious. Does he just not get pop music, or is he actively disdainful and suspicious of it? I’m “biast” (pro): nothing
I’m “biast” (con): nothing
I have not seen the source material
(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)
Alas, the same could be said to director Clint Eastwood of his film adaptation of the Broadway and West End hitJersey Boys, about the rise and rise and rise — with only a little bit of stumbling — of the now legendary Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons. This is a stodgy mess of a movie in which a mostly »
- MaryAnn Johanson
If one were compiling a list of natural choices to direct the long-awaited big screen adaptation of Jersey Boys, Clint Eastwood probably wouldn't be anywhere near the running. His approach to drama has always wavered somewhere between earnest and po-faced, with his last few efforts (J Edgar, Hereafter, Invictus) leaning distinctly towards the latter, while this jukebox musical won hearts on Broadway and the West End thanks chiefly to its catchy tunes and snappy, fleet-footed pace.
There's not much rhythm or vim to Eastwood's enjoyable but slavish chronicle of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons' origins, which translates Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice's book more or less word-for-word but inevitably lacks the immediacy of live theatre. What it does have is the musical chops, thanks to »
Clint Eastwood hasn't hit it big on the Oscar circuit in some time. Films like "Changeling," "Invictus" and "Hereafter" scored the casual nomination here or there, but his last Best Picture nominee came nearly a decade ago with "Letters from Iwo Jima." Will "Jersey Boys" change all of that? We'll know if the adaptation of the Tony Award-winning musical has that kind of muscle sooner rather than later, as the film has been announced as the closing night premiere of this year's Los Angeles Film Festival. "It’s exciting to see Eastwood still tackling new forms," Laff Artistic Director David Ansen said. "His deft, rousing translation of ‘Jersey Boys’ from stage to screen is further confirmation of his amazing, ageless talent." Also announced Tuesday are special gala presentations of Ira Sachs' "Love is Strange" and Justin Simien's "Dear White People," both hits when they bowed at the Sundance Film Festival in January. »
- Kristopher Tapley
Term Life centres on Vaughn as a conman called Nick Barrow, who takes out a life insurance policy on himself before going on the run with his estranged daughter, Deadline reports.
Steinfeld will portray Vaughn's on-screen daughter Cate, as the pair attempt to dodge thieves, contract killers, and crooked cops.
France will play Steinfeld's mother Lucy and former wife of Vaughn.
The script comes from screenwriter Aj Lieberman, who also penned the graphic novel with Nick Thornborrow.
From Tommy Lee Jones directing himself and The Swank we turn to another far more accomplished actor-turned-director. Clint Eastwood has won four Oscars in his career from two films (Unforgiven & Million Dollar Baby) but the 83 year old director has had a bit of a rougher run than usual in recent years, critically speaking. He's back with Jersey Boys based on the Broadway jukebox hit about the Four Seasons.
Let's divvy up our reactions to the trailer.
• There will be a lot of music
• Counterprogramming in the blockbuster realm of summer movies could help with critical reception so that's a smart move.
• Newish handsome actors in plum star-making position (if the movie is good and they ace it)
- NATHANIEL R
Clint Eastwood's output as of late has been pretty uneven: for every triumph ("Letters from Iwo Jima"), there's a major disappointment ("J. Edgar") or outright dud ("Hereafter"). When given great material, though, Eastwood can really make it shine, and there's some potential in his adaptation of the hit musical "Jersey Boys," which just released its first trailer. Eastwood's first musical as a director (following his aborted attempt to remake "A Star is Born" with Beyonce), "Jersey Boys" tells the story of the Four Seasons (later known as Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons) as they went from rags to riches, and as their personal troubles became greater, including debts, mob involvement, strained friendships, and Valli's relationship with his troubled daughter. The pedigree here is huge: the jukebox musical won three Tony Awards, including Best Musical and Best Actor for John Lloyd Young (who reprises his role as Valli here »
- Max O'Connell
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