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 Maybe it's just because I got a cat this year -- the first living, breathing creature I've owned since I failed to keep a hamster alive circa 1995 -- but I couldn't help noticing that the films of 2011 featured some damn great animals. Some were the stars of their films, like Rango (Johnny Depp) in Rango, while others played second fiddle to less interesting, or at least less adorable, human stars, like Rosie (Tai) in Water for Elephants, but all deserve special mention in my book. And yeah, okay, the fact that they also serve as a convenient excuse to post cute animal photos during a slow news week happens to a nice little bonus as well. Read on after the jump.  Honorable Mention: Beaver (Mel Gibson), The Beaver -- Technically, the beaver in The Beaver wasn't actually an animal at all, but a ratty puppet controlled by sad-sack exec Walter (Mel Gibson). Still, »
- Angie Han
Mel Gibson has mad a lot of bad decisions in his life. There was his notorious drunken tirade against a Malibu cop. There was his recent film "The Beaver" about a guy who talks through a hand puppet. But these all pale in comparison to his decision not to secure a prenup with his now ex-wife Robyn. That decision ended up costing him $425 million.
In a divorce settlement that was finalized on Friday (Dec. 23), the Oscar winner had to fork over half of his $850 million fortune to his wife of 31 years, People magazine is reporting. To make matters worse for Gibson, his ex-wife is also entitled to half of his future residuals for the rest of his life.
The two filed for divorce in 2009. They have seven children together. Since their break-up, Gibson entered into another doomed relationship, that with Oksana Grigorieva. That highly-publicized mess resulted in a $750,000 payout from Gibson. »
Downer: The UK On The Big Screen
Come to Leeds! If you're lucky, you'll escape with a kicking! Paddy Considine's ludicrously grim movie heaped abuse after abuse on its poor cast. No one got off lightly, not even the innocent little boy across the road. Or the dog that chewed his face off.
Sket/The Veteran/Junkhearts/Attack The Block/Anuvahood
When they're not busy rioting, Londoners are often to be found selling drugs, wearing hoodies, taking drugs, obtaining firearms and chasing each other through one of about three photogenically claustrophobic council estates – all to a blaring grime soundtrack.
Come to Glasgow, if you think you're hard enough. Everyone there is either a violent yob who'll end up in prison, or a good kid »
- Steve Rose
If The Millionaire Matchmaker Patti Stanger woke up last night out of a dead sleep drenched in cold sweat, now we know why: Mel Gibson is about to be single and…well, he was always ready to mingle, wasn’t he? According to TMZ, Mel Gibson’s divorce from wife Robyn Gibson will allegedly be finalized today; Robyn filed for divorce in April 2009. That’s right! In case you had forgotten that one pesky detail, Mel was in fact still married during every part of his public meltdown: the anti-Semitic rant, the relationship and child with mistress Oksana Grigorieva, and, perhaps worst of all, The Beaver.
Gibson’s ongoing legal battle with Grigorieva aside, we’re assuming his divorce took so long because the couple married in 1980 without a pre-nup; as such, the mother of seven of Mel’s eight children stands to earn a sizable chunk of well-earned change. »
- Halle Kiefer
The newish Sherlock Holmes franchise was down from its first go around and the news was even worse for The Chipmunks in their third attack on the box office. Those high pitched rodents were off 50% so maybe we can safely bury this franchise?
I could have put a picture of Alvin and the Chipmunks here. Thank me!
The big story was crowded houses in limited release for the return of Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) in Mission: Impossible 4. (The four is silent or pronounced "Gost Pro•toh•call".) I'm eager to see it myself, not because of that prologue to The Dark Knight Rises that's attached in some theaters but because... director Brad Bird! He hasn't let us down yet: Family Dog, The Incredibles, Iron Giant, Ratatouille! So curious to see how he handles flesh and blood actors instead of drawings and pixels.
Box Office Top Ten
01 Sherlock Holmes A Game »
- NATHANIEL R
Chicago – Yesterday, we brought you some of the most engaging and memorable supporting performances of 2011. As much as I love some of the acting work in that feature, it’s nothing compared to the talent on display below. The fact is that the Best Actor and Best Actress categories this year are arguably more crowded than ever, with an amazing number of performances that will be remembered for years to come. My runner-ups, in both categories, could have easily beaten most other years’ top five lead nominees. It actually pains me to list some of them outside this year’s top five, but we’ve had an embarrassment of riches in 2011. What an amazing year for acting.
The Best Actor Performances of 2011
There is a staggering level of variety and depth on display in this list of performances from some of the best working actors today. I loved the sheer »
- email@example.com (Adam Fendelman)
As 2011 draws to a close, James looks back over the year’s films, and concocts his very own awards ceremony to celebrate the best of them…
Drum roll and peppy fanfare, please. 2011 is coming to a close, which means it's time to construct end of year lists. "Build it and they will come," as Kevin Costner once said in a baseball movie. I, however, don't like this sort of activity, and don't think I can do it, partly because I find it impossible to work out what my favourite thing is.
How, after all, can you compare, say, X-Men: First Class, The Tree Of Life, Immortals, The Extraordinary Adventures Of Adèle Blanc-Sec, Submarine and The Troll Hunter? And, indeed, which one is 'best'?
The answer is you can't – none of them are better, and you shouldn't even try to find a favourite 'superior' flick, because moods are fleeting, minds and memory are fickle monsters, »
The Help, Bridesmaids, Hugo: Golden Globes 2012 Top Contenders Best Film Drama/Comedy
Best Actor – Drama likely nominees: Leonardo DiCaprio for the title role in Clint Eastwood's J. Edgar, Brad Pitt for Moneyball, Brad Pitt again for The Tree of Life, Michael Fassbender for Shame, and Ryan Gosling for Drive.
Demián Bichir was a SAG Awards surprise nominee for his performance as an undocumented immigrant in Chris Weitz's A Better Life, but we don't really expect Bichir will be as lucky with the Hollywood Foreign Press Association members. Maybe if A Better Life had co-starred Robert Pattinson or Kristen Stewart, two of the leads in Weitz's The Twilight Saga: New Moon. As a starless small movie »
- Steve Montgomery
Chicago – Kicking off our annual series of year-end film features, we begin with the ensemble players, the supporting cast members who provided the necessary dramatic support to allow their leading men and women to shine. Would George Clooney be getting some of the most pronounced critical praise of his career without the emotional weight provided by Shailene Woodley? Is Elizabeth Olsen’s performance as powerful without John Hawkes? Could Michael Fassbender get half the attention he’s received without Carey Mulligan? Here are my favorite supporting performances of 2011, the men and women who really stood out in a great year for film. Come back tomorrow for our picks for the best lead performers and next week for our Top Ten Films of 2011.
The Best Supporting Actor Performances of 2011
I’ll be blunt — it has not been a very good year for this category. Sure, there have been a few standouts »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Adam Fendelman)
With Mel Gibson‘s dramatic return in The Beaver this spring, some thought he could head back into the spotlight and was ready to be forgiven for his actions. It turned out to be the exact opposite, with Jodie Foster’s drama flopping, not even crossing $1 million at the domestic box-office. So with that not working out, what is next for Gibson?
He is attached to a heist comedy titled Sleight of Hand, and plans to make a film about a Jewish warrior. But he already wrapped an action film that hasn’t seen the light of day. Helmed by his Apocalypto and Edge of Darkness second-unit director Adrian Grunberg, the action/drama is How I Spent My Summer Vacation.
Gibson co-stars with Peter Stormare and there hasn’t been a peep about Us distribution. But out of the blue today we were sent the first official image as well as the first poster, »
- email@example.com (thefilmstage.com)
It seems that America and/or Hollywood isn't quite ready to forgive Mel Gibson just yet. His attempted comeback films -- the dreadful "Edge Of Darkness" and the middling "The Beaver" -- weren't the vehicles they were supposed to be, and his offscreen behaviour has continued to dog the actor. And while he was rumored for a couple of new projects this year -- the international heist thriller "Sleight" as well as a Jewish historical epic -- they both seem to be stalled and/or have courted controversy. So given the uneasy relationship the industry continues to have with the actor/writer/director it's no suprise he still has one movie sitting on the shelf, waiting to be released. "How I Spent My Summer" is a project Gibson shot in Mexico in late 2009. Helmed by longtime second unit and assistant director Adrian Grunberg ("Apocalypto," "The Limits Of Control," "Traffic," "Jarhead") and. »
The Beaver, 2011.
Directed by Jodie Foster.
After losing his job and his family a man develops an alternate personality, which takes the form of a beaver hand puppet.
The Beaver is based around the deeply depressed Walter Black (Gibson). Alienated from his family, Walter uses a beaver puppet to communicate through, in order to give himself a new identity and distance himself from his emotions.
This film owes itself to Gibson’s performance as he plays this double act to a tee. He creates a complex protagonist whose depression seems deep set and painful. He pulls on the audiences’ heartstrings as his character Walter watches his life fall apart. »
As the British Academy Film Awards 2012 approaches, BAFTA have announced their shortlist for the Orange Wednesday's Rising Star Award - their only accolade to be decided by the British public. The award looks to honour emerging talent, with previous winners including Kristen Stewart (Twilight), Noel Clarke (Adulthood), Shia Labeouf (Transformers), Eva Green (Casino Royale) and James McAvoy (The Last King of Scotland), and last year's recipient, Tom Hardy (Inception).
This year's nominees for BAFTA's Orange Rising Star Award are...
Adam Deacon - British rapper and actor Adam Deacon enjoyed roles in the likes of Ali G Indahouse, Kidulthood, Adulthood and Shank before co-writing, co-directing and starring in the urban comedy Anuvahood. He has a number of future acting projects in production, such as the comedy Outside Bet and drama Payback Season.
#40. The Motel Life - Alan and Gabe Polsky Producers Alan and Gabe Polsky switched hats in 2011 and directed their first feature film - an adaptation of a chilly novel with a cast that includes Dakota Fanning, Stephen Dorff, Emile Hirsch, Kris Kristofferson and Park City regular Joshua Leonard. Having filmed earlier in the year (see outdoor winter set pic) The Motel Life should be ready to grab one of the Premiere screening slots. The Polsky's were at the fest last year with Elgin James' Little Birds. Gist: Based on the novel, this is about a pair of working-class brothers who flee their Reno Motel after getting involved in a fatal hit-and-run accident. Producers: Polsky Bros. (Little Birds) and Ann Ruark (The Beaver)(Ioncinema.com Preview Page // IMDb Link) »
The title of the new film Like Crazy refers to the tumult of emotions that overwhelm the senses during the rush of attraction that blossoms into love ( particularly amongst the under thirty crowd ). With these two leads we’re probably not talking about first love as they’re just about to finish college. Still the intensity of their feelings practically explode off the screen. But like most examples of romantic cinema this couple’s journey is not an easy one.
The plot of the film almost follows the old cliché movie love story structure / formula : boy meets girl, boy and girl fall in love, boy loses girl, etcetera. A college writing major from England, Emma (Felicity Jones) becomes smitten with the professor’s student assistant, Jake (Anton Yelchin), a furniture designer, while attending school in Los Angeles. She leaves a note with her number (and a poem) on his car windshield. »
- Jim Batts
Oscar producer Gil Cates has died at age 77: "'Gil was our colleague, our friend and a former governor of the Academy,' said Academy President Tom Sherak ... 'His passing is a tremendous loss to the entertainment industry, and our thoughts go out to his family.' Cates produced the Academy Awards® 14 times between 1990 and 2008, more than any other individual. He was responsible for first bringing hosts Billy Crystal, Whoopi Goldberg, David Letterman, Steve Martin, Chris Rock and Jon Stewart to Oscar’s stage." Awards Daily Scott Feinberg & Friends discuss films at risk of flopping when they're finally screened: "This year, a number of films that looked on paper like serious awards possibilities have gone down in flames upon being screened -- among them, 'The Beaver,' 'One Day,' 'W.E.,' and, last weekend, 'The Rum Diary.' Which was the most surprising flop? And which »
By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: For those who’ve read the book, it kind of goes without saying. And yet, Jennifer Lawrence still feels the need to say it.
“‘Hunger Games’ is not ‘Twilight,’” the Oscar nominee told Vanity Fair magazine about her upcoming science-fiction franchise, which will be in theaters in March. “And while I hear the comparisons, it’s really premature to say that it will be the same phenomenon.”
The industry is dying to replace not just “Twilight” but also “Harry Potter” now that those high-powered film series have (or are about to) galloped off into the sunset. And tracking for “Hunger Games” is about as high as Lionsgate needs it to be at this stage.
“If it does become a crazy phenomenon, »
- Sean O'Connell
At only 22, Anton Yelchin has acted alongside Mel Gibson ("The Beaver"), Christian Bale ("Terminator: Salvation"), starred in a TV show ("Huff") and played an iconic role in a blockbuster franchise (a teen Chekov in J.J. Abrams' "Star Trek" reboot). Despite this, Yelchin has the startling appearance of a newfound talent in "Like Crazy," Drake Doremos' Sundance-acclaimed romance that opens Friday. Yelchin maintains a balance between likable heartthrob and unfaithful »
Romance isn’t dead. At least that’s what Justin Bieber told his millions of Twitter followers after a date last month. It’s also what someone blurted out at the Austin Film Festival screening of Drake Doremus’ Like Crazy. Starry-eyed, soul-crushing romance is certainly alive on (virtual) bookshelves, where loins still burn and relationships are forbidden. But on film, romance has recently been relegated to only arthouses by cheesy cut-outs of what passes for love and comedy.
Like Crazy certainly tickled the fancy of 2011’s Sundance Film Festival jury, who awarded it the Grand Prize in January above an impressive field. A special award for acting was granted to its adorable star, Felicity Jones, who is outstanding in her first American film. An arthouse movie that is lousy with potential.
She plays Anna, a British college student who falls for her classmate Jacob (Anton Yelchin). The two meet-cute after class, »
- Jeff Leins
Filed under: Celebrity Interviews, Toronto Film Festival
Ever since he took on Chekov's accent in 'Star Trek,' Anton Yelchin's stock has been steadily rising. He's everywhere you look lately: playing a dysfunctional teen in 'The Beaver' alongside Mel Gibson, fighting vampires in the form of Colin Farrell in 'Fright Night' and, most recently, taking the lead role in indie romantic drama 'Like Crazy.'
Continue Reading »
- Chris Jancelewicz
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