19 items from 2014
Justin Chang: Scott, I know it will come as little surprise to you that when Peter Debruge and I sat down to discuss this year’s Oscar nominees for best supporting actor and supporting actress, we spent almost as much time talking about the performances that should have been nominated as we did talking about the ones that actually were. This is hardly a new ax for any critic to grind, but it bears repeating: Those who vote on the Academy Awards are largely in the business of making movies — not seeing them, thinking about them and writing about them week in and week out. No wonder this organization’s choices often strike us as so pedestrian and provincial, less engaged by the boundary-expanding possibilities of cinema than beholden to the power of hometown hype.
See Also: Oscars Picks: Variety Critics on Who Should Win Best Supporting Actor »
- Justin Chang and Scott Foundas
Hollywood's going to make Adam Driver happen. It's not a question of "if," but just a question of "when." Variety reports today that Driver is in talks to join "Star Wars: Episode VII," and they suggest that his character will be a major villain in the film. Driver was one of the names in the mix to play Lex Luthor for "Man Of Steel 2," which ran contrary to earlier reporting that he was being considered as Nightwing, and it looks like he's being viewed as a candidate for bad guy roles in a number of these big movies right now. I certainly think he has the right charisma to make a character like that interesting, but I hope that's not the only way Hollywood sees him. He's more interesting than that. It's always interesting to see how Hollywood tries to figure out an actor once they've made that first big splash. »
- Drew McWeeny
With filming set to begin in April, Disney has made its first casting revelation for Star Wars: Episode VII. According to Variety, Girls star Adam Driver is in final talks to play the villain role that will be in the vein of the franchise's iconic villain, Darth Vader. Disney was also rumored to have been looking at Michael Fassbender and Hugo Weaving for villain roles. Though he currently stars on HBO's Girls, the 30-year-old Driver has been busy on the big screen as well. His recent credits include Lincoln, Inside Llewyn Davis, Frances Ha and J. Edgar. He also has a number of films currently in production that will be released over the next two years. Star Wars: Episode VII will begin filming in London and more casting announcements are likely in the coming...
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"Girls" star Adam Driver has done the auteur thing—Clint Eastwood ("J. Edgar"), Noah Baumbach ("Frances Ha"), Steven Spielberg ("Lincoln"), Coen Brothers ("Inside Llewyn Davis") and soon Martin Scorsese in "Silence"—but now's getting his blockbuster shoes on, joining the biggest damn franchise in the planet galaxy. Variety reports that the actor has bagged the villain role in J.J. Abrams' "Star Wars: Episode 7." Since he is the first actor to be officially signed on to the sequel, naturally, plot details are being kept under wraps, though he is said to be playing a character in the vein of Darth Vader (though let's hope he's not related to him in some way). Michael Fassbender and Hugo Weaving were also named as contenders for the part, but for whatever reason, they did not nab the role. Lawrence Kasdan and Abrams have penned the script, taking over from Michael Arndt last fall, »
- Kevin Jagernauth
If Oscars were given out for consistent box office performance (there's already a prize for that and it's called "money") Julia Roberts would have won her Oscar in the 1990s when everything she churned out was a $100 million slam dunk and Leonardo DiCaprio would have followed suit right about now for a long run of the same incredible trick. Most of Julia's big triumphs were in the popular thriller or romantic comedy genres but Leo seems to be a special case making practically anything (save the dimly lit dim of wit J. Edgar) into a $100 million grosser whether it's a foul-mouthed 3 hour comedy, a mixed review prestigious literary adaptation, or any other genre really. He might be the only mega star who is worth his full asking price given that his marketability doesn't seem to be tied to anything but his beloved creased-brow face.
Julia and Leo both, who received »
- NATHANIEL R
In decades of tracking the Academy Awards, I honestly can’t recall any category, in any year, when a race was as fiercely, thrillingly white-hot competitive as this year’s Best Actor race. Just think about it: Not one, not two, not three, but four of the nominees each stands a very real chance of winning. Consider each scenario, and you’ll realize it’s true. When Jennifer Lawrence gets up to present the Best Actor award and tears open that envelope, if she ends up saying, “And the Oscar goes to…Chiwetel Ejiofor for 12 Years a Slave,” it will not be a shock, »
- Owen Gleiberman
By Michael Russnow As Oscar voters continue to mark their ballots until this Wednesday, I wonder what goes into their thinking? Do they vote specifically for what they believe is the best achievement of last year, a surprising performance and accomplishment or is it a cumulative assessment of someone’s career? For all these reasons, and not just one, I’m going against the grain of what appears to be the general consensus and strongly suggest that Leonardo DiCaprio deserves the Oscar this year for The Wolf of Wall Street, even more than favorite Matthew McConaughey. This doesn’t in any way diminish McConaughey’s performance in Dallas Buyers Club. It was terrific, and the subject matter of the film made it that much more compelling. However, DiCaprio’s execution, in my view, was even more powerful, in particular as it was a totally different characterization and portrayal than we »
Longtime Warner Bros. exec Sarah Schechter has exited her post and joined Berlanti Productions, the prolific Warners-based film and TV banner run by writer-producer Greg Berlanti. Schechter was a highly respected senior production vp who is known for working with Clint Eastwood, working with the esteemed filmmaker on films such as Invictus and J. Edgar. Most recently, she had been shepherding the studio’s Peter Pan tentpole titled Pan, which Berlanti is producing. Story: Warner Bros. Promotes Ana de Castro to Senior VP, Deputy General Counsel At her new gig, she will head both the film and television divisions as
- Borys Kit
• Russell Brand, Sasha Pieterse (Pretty Little Liars), and Austin Abrams (The InBetweeners) are reportedly in talks to star in Vernon God Little for director Werner Herzog (The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call – New Orleans). Based on Dbc Pierre’s Booker Prize-winning novel, the story is a dark, satirical portrait of a Texas town in the aftermath of a school shooting told from the point of view of its 15-year-old protagonist. [The Wrap]
- Lindsey Bahr
Here's the latest casting news out of the Berlin International Film Festival: Vera Farmiga will star in writer-director Evan Greenburg's ballet-themed relationship comedy, Prima. Clea DuVall (Argo), Sheryl Lee (Winter's Bone), Emily Alyn Lind (J. Edgar), and Ryan Bingham (Crazy Heart) join writer-director Ami Canaan Mann's drama, Your Right Mind, starring Katherine Heigl and Ben Barnes. Jeremy Sumpter (Friday Night Lights), Phoebe Tonkin (The Originals) and Sebastian Koch (A Good Day to Die Hard) are in talks for Jim Gillespie's young-adult thriller, Take Down. Hit the jump for more. Check out the full details on each film via the following press releases with synopses in bold: Prima Vera Farmiga To Star In The Allegiance Theater’S Ballet Comedy “Prima” Highland Film Group (Hfg) to Handle Worldwide Sales at Efm in Berlin Los Angeles, Calif., Feb. 6, 2014 – The Allegiance Theater and MediaBiz International announced that Vera Farmiga (Up In The Air, »
- Dave Trumbore
Clea DuVall ( Argo , pictured), Sheryl Lee ( Winter's Bone ), Emily Alyn Lind ( J. Edgar ), and Academy Award Winning musician/actor Ryan Bingham have joined the cast of the contemporary romance Your Right Mind starring, Katherine Heigl ( Knocked Up ) and Ben Barnes ( The Chronicles of Narnia ). Ami Canaan Mann ( Texas Killing Fields ) is directing her script with principal photography currently underway in Utah. Molly Hassell is producing with Ami Canaan Mann and John Jencks. Jon Avnet ( Black Swan ), Rodrigo Garcia ("In Treatment"), Highland Film Group's (Hfg) Arianne Fraser and Delphine Perrier, and Main Street Films' Craig Chang are serving as executive producers. Hfg represents the worldwide rights and will continue to shop it to buyers at Efm in Berlin. Your »
When the 86th Annual Academy Awards nominations were announced today, Dallas Buyers Club landed five nods, for Best Picture, Best Actor (Matthew McConaughey), Best Supporting Actor (Jared Leto), Best Original Screenplay (Craig Borten and Melissa Wallack) and Best Makeup and Hairstyling (Adruitha Lee and Robin Mathews). On the heels of this big news, Focus Features has released a behind-the-scenes featurette that will be included on the Blu-ray and DVD release arriving February 4. Watch as Matthew McConaughey, Jared Leto and Jennifer Garner discuss their experiences on the set of this critically-acclaimed drama based on an incredible true story. You can also take a look at the special features details for the Blu-ray and DVD release.
Texas cowboy Ron Woodroof (McConaughey) sees his free-wheeling life overturned when he's diagnosed as HIV-positive and given 30 days to live. Determined to survive, Woodroof decides to take matters in his own hands by tracking down alternative »
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
The bad news from having such a great year at the movies is the inevitable disappointments on Oscar nominations morning–there wasn’t enough room for everybody.
But Thursday morning’s nomination announcement was especially tough on the legends. No Oprah Winfrey for “The Butler”? No Emma Thompson for “Saving Mr. Banks”? No Robert Redford in “All Is Lost”? No Tom Hanks in “Captain Phillips”? And no posthumous nomination for James Gandolfini in “Enough Said”?
Oscars: Complete List of Nominees
The Academy forgot to nominate some of its most Academy-friendly stars, which speaks to a shifting tide in an organization trying to become younger and hipper. At least Leonardo DiCaprio, for once, wasn’t left off the Oscars list for “The Wolf of Wall Street.” And Harvey Weinstein managed to keep his best picture streak alive–he’s been nominated in the category every year since 2008’s “The Reader”–by sneaking in “Philomena. »
- Ramin Setoodeh
Golden Globe Award winner Matthew McConaughey (Mud, Magic Mike) delivers a career-defining performance as Texas cowboy Ron Woodroof in the "hugely entertaining" Dallas Buyers Club, the inspiring and powerful story of an imperfect man's fight for survival during an uncertain time in America (Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal). Directed by Jean-Marc Vallée (The Young Victoria), Dallas Buyers Club arrives on Blu-ray Combo Pack including Blu-ray, DVD, & Digital HD with UltraViolet and On Demand on February 4, 2014, from Universal Studios Home Entertainment.
Texas cowboy Ron Woodroof (McConaughey) sees his free-wheeling life overturned when he's diagnosed as HIV-positive and given 30 days to live. Determined to survive, Woodroof decides to take matters in his own hands by tracking down alternative treatments from all over the world by means both legal and illegal. After his journey to find a cure leads him to an unlikely ally in Rayon played by Golden Globe Award winner Jared Leto (Lord of War, »
Hang around any Hollywood watercooler right now, and it seems the name you will hear is Adam Driver. Since appearing in an episode of The Unusuals in 2009, the former Us Marine has rocketed to the top of the casting pile, via a regular role on HBO’s Girls – now in its third season – and parts in J. Edgar, Frances Ha, Lincoln and Inside Llewyn Davis. That momentum shows no sign of dissipating any time soon either as he is now set to join Martin Scorsese’s next project, Silence.
Based on the novel by Shusaku Endo, the story follows two Jesuit priests in 17th Century Japan, who witness the persecution of Japanese Christians at the hands of the government, after Catholicism and western influence are banned. With a screenplay by Jay Cocks (Gangs Of New York), and a cast list including Andrew Garfield (The Amazing Spider-Man) and Ken Watanabe (Inception »
- Sarah Myles
In his relatively short time kicking around the movie world, Adam Driver has done it right, logging time with Clint Eastwood ("J. Edgar"), Noah Baumbach ("Frances Ha"), Steven Spielberg ("Lincoln") and the Coen Brothers ("Inside Llewyn Davis"), all while maintaining his day job as Hannah Horvath's grunting boyfriend on "Girls." So what's the next box he's going check off on his movie director bucket list? Martin Scorsese.While officially it's not quite 100%, it's widely expected that Scorsese will shoot his long, long-developing dream project "Silence" this year, and Driver has joined the cast. An adaptation of Shusaku Endo's novel, the story will follow two 17th-century Jesuit priests who face violence and persecution when they travel to Japan to locate their mentor and to spread the gospel of Christianity. Driver will join a cast that includes Andrew Garfield, Ken Watanabe and Issei Ogata with a July shoot previously reported. And don't forget, »
- Kevin Jagernauth
Los Angeles, Jan. 9, 2014 — The Society of Camera Operators (Soc) will present its Camera Operator of the Year Awards at their Annual Awards Event, as announced today by Soc Vice President and Awards Executive Producer David Frederick, Soc. The black-tie celebration announcing the winners will be held on February 15, 2014 at the Skirball Cultural Center. The Soc donates all proceeds from the Awards Event to the Vision Center at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles to help children overcome their vision deficits. As previously announced, this year.s Lifetime Achievement Award recipients are Chris Haarhoff, Soc/Camera Operator (Saving Private Ryan, Fight Club, Almost Famous), William Coe/Camera Technician (The Avengers, J. Edgar, Jersey Boys), Barry Wetcher, Smpsp/Still Photographer (Goodfellas, Quiz Show, Sherlock Holmes) and Jack Carpenter/Mobile Camera Platform Operator (Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Crash, The Matrix). The Distinguished Service Award recipient is Stan McClain, Soc (National Security, Almost Famous, Any Given Sunday »
- THE DEADLINE TEAM
Clint Eastwood returns for his first directorial effort since 2011's J. Edgar with this summer's musical biopic Jersey Boys, which explores how the hit group Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons came together. Warner Bros. has released the first photo, featuring John Lloyd Young (Frankie Valli), Erich Bergen (Bob Gaudio), Vincent Piazza (Tommy DeVito) and Michael Lomenda (Nick Massi) taking the stage together. The studio hasn't announced when the first trailer may debut, but the film hits theaters this summer on June 20.
Jersey Boys comes to theaters June 20th, 2014 and stars Christopher Walken, Vincent Piazza, Freya Tingley, Erica Piccininni, Francesca Fisher-Eastwood, Mike Doyle, Kathrine Narducci, James Madio. The film is directed by Clint Eastwood. »
19 items from 2014
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