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Solid biopic of the godfather of funk and soul, but there’s not much genuinely memorable about it beyond Chadwick Boseman’s stunning breakout performance. I’m “biast” (pro): nothing
I’m “biast” (con): nothing
(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)
I’m skinny but I’m strong. I can read a little and I like to sing.” So does James Brown describe himself as a young man, just out of prison and ready to get on with his life. His cruelly long sentence for a petty nonviolent crime, of course, is but one racially charged injustice a black man would face in mid-20th-century America. Director Tate Taylor (The Help) — and screenwriters Jez Butterworth and John-Henry Butterworth (Edge of Tomorrow) and Steven Baigelman — avoids turning this solid, sympathetic biopic of the godfather of funk and soul into a sermon on racism, instead homing in »
- MaryAnn Johanson
By Scott Feinberg
The Hollywood Reporter
It’s not often that one gets to spend 75 minutes talking about the good, bad and ugly sides of indie filmmaking with eight distinguished filmmakers, but that’s precisely what I had the pleasure of doing last Sunday when I moderated the AFI Fest’s Indie Contenders Roundtable, which was presented by The Hollywood Reporter.
Each of the eight panelists were associated with top-notch 2014 indies: writer-director J.C. Chandor (AFI Fest opener A Most Violent Year); writer-director Damien Chazelle (Sundance grand jury and audience award winner Whiplash); Oscar-winning actress Marion Cotillard (Belgian Oscar submission Two Days, One Night, as well as 2013 Cannes selection The Immigrant); Oscar-nominated actor Jake Gyllenhaal (Toronto selections Nightcrawler and, from 2013, Enemy); actor Bill Hader (a best actor Gotham Award nominee for Sundance selection The Skeleton Twins); actress Michelle Monaghan (Fort Bliss); actress Kristen Stewart (Toronto selection Still Alice, as well as »
- Anjelica Oswald
AFI Fest 2014 presented by Audi today announced this year’s Jury and Audience Awards for features and short films included in the festivals New Auteur and Shorts programs. The New Auteurs section highlights first and second-time feature film directors and the Shorts selections represent diverse and varied international perspectives. Grand Jury Awards were presented to Self Made (Boreg), which received the New Auteurs Critics’ Award, and to The Tribe (Plemya), which received the Vizio Visionary Special Jury Award. Buffalo Juggalos by Scott Cummings received the Live Action Short Award, and Yearbook by Bernardo Britto received the Animated Short Award. Special Jury Award winners went to GÜEROS and Violet. Red Army, GÜEROS, 10,000 Km and The Midnight Swim received Audience Awards.
Select award-winning films will screen again today at the Chinese 6 Theatres. Admission is available to AFI Fest 2014 pass holders and the general public via the rush line, which begins forming one »
- Michelle McCue
Marco Beltrami’s soundtrack for "The Homesman" is like an old photograph. Stare long enough at an 19th century relic and the memories start reverberating through space and time (not to get too "Interstellar" about it). Recreating pioneer era music, mining that Western language, is only part of Beltrami's goal for "The Homesman"; There are twists of ambience and metallic pangs that give old-timey melodies a contemporary sound. Intertwined and layered into the soundtrack, Tommy Lee Jones' film starts feeling less like a transportive period piece than a look backwards from our fixed position in 2014 — an unnerving quality that fits the film’s arduous travelogue. To achieve these sounds, Beltrami (the composer behind "World War Z," "Snowpiercer," "The Wolverine," and "The Hurt Locker") and his sound design-minded collaborator Buck Sanders constructed their own instruments that would meld the archaic and new. The creations were as tiny as a refitted lap steel guitar to giant, »
- Matt Patches
Directed by Tommy Lee Jones, the film’s all-star cast includes Jones, Hilary Swank, Meryl Streep, and Hailee Steinfeld. The unconventional western follows three women, driven mad by pioneer life, who are being transported across the country by covered wagon by the pious, independent-minded Mary Bee Cuddy (Swank), who in turn employs low-life drifter George Briggs (Jones) to assist her.
The film opens in select theaters on November 14th, 2014 and the score album will be released through Varese Sarabande digitally on November 17th, 2014 and on CD December 9th, 2014.
- Melissa Thompson
The 6th Annual Governors Awards took place on Saturday, November 8, 2014 in The Ray Dolby Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland Center in Hollywood, CA.
Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award recipient Harry Belafonte, Honorary Award recipient Hayao Miyazaki, Honorary Award recipient Jean-Claude Carrière and Honorary Award recipient Maureen O’Hara were honored by their peers during the evening.
The Honorary Award, an Oscar statuette, is given “to honor extraordinary distinction in lifetime achievement, exceptional contributions to the state of motion picture arts and sciences, or for outstanding service to the Academy.”
The Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, also an Oscar statuette, is given “to an individual in the motion picture industry whose humanitarian efforts have brought credit to the industry.”
Pictured (left to right): Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award recipient Harry Belafonte, Honorary Award recipient Hayao Miyazaki, Honorary Award recipient Jean-Claude Carrière and Honorary Award recipient Maureen O’Hara
Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs introduces the 2014 Governors Awards
- Michelle McCue
Jose here. As Nathaniel noted, the Governors Awards were held last night in Hollywood (yay Maureen O’Hara!). As usual they were pretty much a rehearsal dinner for the Oscars next year. While their red carpet is more subdued than Oscar’s - they’re there to pay tribute to legendary honorees, not to steal their thunder - there were a few exceptions to the rule. After all, if you want people to vote for you, you gotta make sure they remember you.
Let's take a look at what 16 of the Oscar hopefuls wore. What might it mean in the larger scheme of things?
Emily Blunt has worn this exact same thing to at least 10 other award ceremonies, color variations aside. Don't get me wrong, she's stunning etc. etc. etc. but will it help The Baker's Wife's Oscar cause, to look so every-year Blunt? The under-nominated actress should start »
Some call it the most important dress rehearsal of awards season. Saturday night's annual Governors Awards, held just a few floors above the distinguished Dolby Theatre where the Oscars take place, was initially created as a way to speed up the prime-time telecast by siphoning off the honorary awards to an event of their own. But now, in its sixth year, in addition to honoring some very distinguished guests, including Harry Belafonte for his decades of humanitarian work and legendary red-headed screen siren Maureen O'Hara, the night has transformed into a coming out party for the year's crop of Oscar »
- Nicole Sperling
Audiences will likely be divided on Bong Joon-ho’s Snowpiercer, a brutal, bold and beautiful film that flies by, even at a hefty 126 minutes – so long as you’re willing to climb on board with its somewhat ludicrous premise. There are those who will struggle to swallow the basic set-up – that a failed climate change experiment plunged the world into another ice age, the only survivors of which had managed to clambor onto a fortified train that uses a perpetual motion engine to endlessly travel the globe. To those people, I say this: do your best to suspend your disbelief, because where Bong goes from there is truly spectacular.
In big-budget moviemaking today, there are Big Dumb Fun popcorn spectacles, slick and intelligent blockbusters and then, much more rarely, productions like Snowpiercer, which seem to operate in a different realm entirely. You see, Snowpiercer isn’t just a smart film. »
- Isaac Feldberg
Variety‘s awards season events continue to grow with the “Actors on Actors” conversations set to be shown on PBS SoCal. The interview show features one-on-one conversations between actors and actresses including Benedict Cumberbatch, Jake Gyllenhaal, Reese Witherspoon and Jessica Chastain in discussion with one another about their craft and films.
Four episodes of the Variety Studio series will air, starting on December 21 at 7 p.m. Subsequent episodes are set for Sunday, December 28 at 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. and on January 4 at 7 p.m. Wnet in New York will also air the series, which will be distributed to PBS stations around the country in January. The videos will also stream on Variety.com beginning November 18.
“We have such an incredibly talented and dynamic group of actors joining us for these insightful, intimate one-on-one conversations on the art and craft of acting,” said Variety’s co-editor-in-chief Claudia Eller, “And we »
- Variety Staff
Exclusive: South Korean writer and director Bong Joon-ho has signed with Wme, hot off the success of his dystopian science fiction actioner Snowpiercer. I hear this was a competitive signing for the agency, which also recently inked Michelle Williams to its roster. Bong was previously with CAA.
Snowpiercer was a major coup for Bong, who scored unprecedented VOD returns this summer with the Chris Evans/Tilda Swinton futuristic train picture. That came after Bong fought and won a creative battle with Harvey Weinstein over releasing his version of the film, which debuted via Radius-twc and added over $11 million in combined VOD/theatrical to the critical darling’s $82 million overseas take.
The award-winning filmmaker has emerged as one of Korea’s strongest cinematic exports in recent years. His feature debut, the 2000 comedy Barking Dogs Never Bite, toured the film festival circuit and starred Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance and Cloud Atlas actress »
- Jen Yamato
If you believe the awards season chatter, the Oscar race is practically over—even though the season is only beginning. There’s already been a lot of talk about the frontrunners this year (from “The Imitation Game’s” Benedict Cumberbatch to “Wild’s” Reese Witherspoon). But the Academy always throws some curveballs into the mix come January. Here are nine under-the-radar performances that deserve a fighting chance in this year’s Oscar race.
Best Actor, “Foxcatcher”
The trio of male performances in “Foxcatcher”—from Channing Tatum, Steve Carell and Mark Ruffalo—are all worthy of Oscar nominations. But the problem is, where do you put each actor? Sony Pictures Classics had decided to campaign Tatum and Carell in lead and Ruffalo in supporting, but I fear the strongest performance in the film may slip through the cracks. Carell has gotten a lot of ink for his portrayal of lunatic millionaire John du Pont. »
- Ramin Setoodeh
Tilda Swinton is a brainy actress who swings easily from passion indie projects ("Orlando," "The Deep End," "Julia," "I Am Love," "The Zero Theorem") to studio fare, from arch-villains to objects of desire, and from devoted mother in the Scottish highlands to glamourous globe-trotting movie star. Swinton's androgynous attributes, from Sally Potter's "Orlando" to Bong Joon-ho's "Snowpiercer," are an asset for this chameleon. Her latest roles in "Snowpiercer" (which is now streaming on Netflix) and "The Grand Budapest Hotel," Wes Anderson's follow-up to "Moonrise Kingdom" (in which she also starred), are generating supporting actress awards talk. They both brought out the clown in her, she says in our video interview below at the Sunset Tower Hotel. She got a kick out of creating these face-distorting roles. She and Bong wanted to »
- Anne Thompson
The Museum of Modern Art, New York, and the Hammer Museum in La have announced their bicoastal collaboration on The Contenders, MoMA's annual end-of-the-year series that surveys the year's best films, awards hopefuls and cult classics in the making. Many are accompanied by Q&As with talent. Opening the series at MoMA on November 13 (following its November 6 AFI Fest world premiere) is the NY premiere of J. C. Chandor’s urban crime drama "A Most Violent Year," starring Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain. Opening the series at the Hammer Museum on December 8 is summer hit "Snowpiercer," directed by Bong Joon- ho and starring Chris Evans, Tilda Swinton (who we interview here) and Ed Harris. Both Chandor and Bong will be on hand to discuss their films. Highlights of The Contenders at MoMA (November 13, 2014—January 15, 2015): Boyhood (2014); with appearances by director Richard Linklater and actor Ethan »
- Ryan Lattanzio
StreamFix keeps you up to date on the best streams of the web. Here's the best of what's up and coming for Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and Crackle this November. Netflix "Portlandia, Season 4" Here is what you need to do: Go right now and watch the episode where Toni and Candice take over the Portland Trailblazers dance team. It is painfully funny, and their final dance routine is a shocking horror for the ages. "Snowpiercer" (Nov. 22) Chris Evans. On a post-apocalyptic train. With Tilda Swinton in her wildest getup yet. What are you supposed to do, not watch this? "Nebraska" (Nov. 8) Alexander Payne's black-and-white Midwestern pseudo-road movie has a bunch of fabulous moments. The shot of Bruce Dern's relatives watching TV in the living room is sincerely one of the most memorable things I saw in 2013. And all hail June Squibb for showing us how to really »
- Louis Virtel
Each Wednesday in "Threads" we'll be obsessing over a single costume we're fixated on that week. This one's an apology: how on earth did Snowpiercer get left out of those Halloween Costume Suggestions yesterday?
Tilda Swinton spends the bulk of her screentime in Snowpiercer, now on DVD, in a politican-conservative white top and matching skirt adorned with medals. Well, as white as clothing can be in the sooty environs of this dystopian movie where the earth's only living citizens have lived on a speeding train for decades. But when we first see her she's wearing an burnt orange fur with matching tinted glasses, over a brilliant purple skirt suit and boy does it pop surrounded by the grays, blacks, and dour miserabilism of the train. The costume's purpose? Surely to intimidate with its wealthy grandeur and add to that same miserablism. Or, as costume designer Catherine George put it in »
- NATHANIEL R
An eclectic group of eight distinguished filmmakers who did celebrated work on independent films in 2014 will appear on the AFI Fest's inaugural Indie Contenders Roundtable, presented by The Hollywood Reporter and moderated by yours truly, on Nov. 9 in Hollywood. They are: writer/director J.C. Chandor (AFI Fest opener A Most Violent Year), writer/director Damien Chazelle (Whiplash), actress Marion Cotillard (Two Days, One Night), actor Jake Gyllenhaal (Nightcrawler), actor Bill Hader (The Skeleton Twins), actress Michelle Monaghan (Fort Bliss), actress Kristen Stewart (Still Alice) and actress Tilda Swinton (Snowpiercer). The 90-minute conversation — which will touch on the
- Scott Feinberg
Snowpiercer - Radius TWC/Anchor Bay - Blu-ray and DVD Director: Bong Joon-ho Cast: Chris Evans, Song Kang-ho, Jamie Bell, John Hurt,Tilda Swinton. Full cast + crew 2014 has been a banner year for science fiction, and yet there's one movie that still stands apart from the crowd: Bong Joon-ho's Snowpiercer, about a revolt on a train full of the last people on Earth that continually circles the globe lest it freeze to death and the human race dies. It's precisely the kind of weird, subversive, high-concept sci-fi that's so hard to find these days, because it takes a somewhat wacky premise and commits to it without over explaining itself or waiting for the audience to catch up. Chris Evans is just fantastic, turning his Captain America...
- Peter Hall
The 2013 South Korean science fiction film Snowpiercer by acclaimed director Bong Joon-ho featured an international cast and has been recognized as a modern classic of the genre. Adapted from the French graphic novel Le Transperceneige, it tells the story of humanity’s last survivors living together on a massive train in a post-apocalyptic ice age. The movie’s protagonist, Curtis Everett, leads a rebellion on board the train and is played by none other than hunky Captain America star Chris Evans.
The Snowpiercer DVD and Blu-ray Disc comes out today and in celebration we’re posting this exclusive interview clip. Hear Evans and director Bong’s insights into the character of Curtis Everett. Find out why he shows a very different side of Evans acting prowess that fans haven’t seen before.
- B Smith
Far too obvious in its socio-economic metaphor, Snowpiercer could have used a bit more directorial finesse in the presentation of its purpose. Marxism is all well and good, but we do not need to be slammed on top of our heads by Bong's hardback copy of Das Kapital. Even more frustrating is how other seemingly more interesting aspects of the narrative are totally glossed over, tossing rationalism to the waste side and leaving a bunch of nonsensical moments in the wake. Even Tilda Swinton's unrecognizably comical impression of Ayn Rand-cum-Hitler on wacky pills unfortunately cannot save Snowpiercer from the one dimensionality of its one track mind; but if there is only one reason to check out this speeding locomotive of a film, it is Swinton all the way. »
- Don Simpson
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