15 items from 2014
In the lead-up to the 86th annual Academy Awards on March 2, HitFix will be bringing you the lowdown on all 24 Oscar categories with multiple entries each day. Take a few notes and bone up on the competition as we give you the edge in your office Oscar pool! For much of the year, the Best Animated Feature category was looking like a bit of a problem area: as one studio effort after another met with either an indifferent or disastrous reception, the threat of the weakest field in the award's 13-year history hovered in the air. In the end, however, things picked up: the Mouse House came through in November with a certifiable smash, and the Academy enriched the category by venturing further afield than Hollywood. As it is, it's a respectable enough contest, though a five-nominee field is beginning to look over-generous. The nominees are... "The Croods" (Chris Sanders, »
- Guy Lodge
Now that the mad rush by every major studio to schedule their buzziest projects in the summer of 2015 appears to have subsided, savvy execs are beginning to look further forward to book slots in 2016. Yesterday, we brought you news that Warner Bros. had slotted romantic comedy How to Be Single for that year’s Valentine’s Day weekend, and now Sony is getting in on the action by handing their children’s book series adaptation Goosebumps a spring release date of March 23, 2016.
Currently, the Rob Letterman-helmed film, inspired by R.L. Stine’s massively popular Ya horror anthology series, has the weekend all to itself, though it will probably face stiff competition from two holdovers: Summit’s already-scheduled Divergent sequel Allegiant and DreamWorks’ ambitious Mumbai Musical. Putting Goosebumps so close to both films indicates that Sony has a large amount of confidence in the film’s ability to overcome the pair, »
- Isaac Feldberg
Be prepared for one squirrelly adventure in the action-packed comedy, The Nut Job, starring Will Arnett (Despicable Me, Ratatouille) as Surly, a mischievous squirrel on a mission to prove himself. The Nut Job comes to Blu-ray 3D and Blu-ray Combo Pack including Blu-ray, DVD, & Digital HD with UltraViolet as well as On Demand on April 15, 2014, from Universal Studios Home Entertainment. The film will also be available on Digital HD one week early on April 8, 2014.
Surly (Will Arnett) is a mischievous squirrel with a mission: to find the tastiest nuts for winter. When he discovers a whole store filled with his favorite food, he plans a heist of nutrageous proportions. But the place turns out to be owned by ruthless bank robbers so it's up to Surly and his furry friends to stop the nearby bank heist and save the town.
The Goosebumps feature film is quickly picking up steam, especially with Jack Black having signed on for the lead role. Now, a new casting report provides the first real plot details. According to The Wrap, the movie centers around Mr. Shivers, “a Stine-like author whose scary characters literally leap off the page, forcing him to hide from his own creepy creations.”
Jack Black will play Mr. Shivers, while it’s being reported that Odeya Rush will take on the role of his niece, “who teams up with her young male neighbor to battle the monsters unleashed from Mr. Shivers’ works.”
While this movie won’t be an adaptation of a specific Goosebumps story, we expect that »
- Jonathan James
Ryan Reynolds voices Theo the snail in the animated comedy Turbo from DreamWorks. Featuring a garden snail whose dream of becoming racing world champion comes true, it was one of the most popular family films of 2013.
The film is available to watch online now without a subscription, thanks to blinkbox.
Here are five reasons you should clear your schedule and watch Turbo instead:
1. It's not just for kids
Like with most DreamWorks offerings, the film is not exclusively aimed at children, and there are plenty of gags and pop culture references that all family members will enjoy. It's also surprisingly dark at times when it comes to the scary crows who terrorise the garden snail population.
2. It has a great voice cast
Voting is now open in the 8th Annual KidsPickFlicks.com Pick Awards and Your vote is important! The Pick Awards is the way teens, tweens and kids can show what we think is Best and what is important to us in movies. Check out the categories and the nominees and then go to the home page of KidsPickFlicks.com to vote - you can vote once a day in each category!
Pick Movie of 2013:
Ick Movie of 2013:
G.I. Joe: Retaliation
Hailee Steinfeld, "Juliet Capulet" in Romeo & Juliet
Sophie Nelisse, "Liesel Meminger" in The Book Thief
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Tara the Mom)
Fans of Parks and Recreation will already know the name Chris Pratt. Outside of Nick Offerman's Ron Swanson, Pratt's loveable and slightly dense Andy Dwyer is one of the most beloved elements of the hit show. Whether he is shining shoes, singing for Mouse Rat or being his alter-ego Bert Macklin, Chris Pratt never fails to raise a laugh. His comedic timing is perfect, he can do slapstick when needed and he is charismatic and good-looking enough to command the screen even when he is just in the background. As a supporting actor he's great, but now is the time to show that he can also be the leading man. 2014 is going to be Chris Pratt's year.
Every year, without fail, a new emerging actor comes out of the woodwork to star in a big budget »
Director: David Soren,
Running Time: 96 Minutes
A snail wants to be superstar racer. It’s the kind of pitch that could be generated in a studio meeting along with countless other [blank] wants to be [blank]. A penguin wants to be a pilot. A worm wants to be a foot model. A tortoise doesn’t want to be a home owner. Anyone with an ounce of a brain could come up with non-stop plots for life based on the formula of something not being able to do a certain activity and their struggle to prove everyone else wrong. Another word would be “lazy”, and although Turbo isn’t a complete right-off, the plot truly holds the entire film back.
Ryan Reynolds voices the titular »
- Luke Ryan Baldock
With 111.5-million U.S. viewers, and a further 7.3-million in Canada, Super Bowl Xlviii was the most-watched in history. The commercial spots were the most expensive for any TV broadcast in any given year, and there were plenty of big name stars and A-list directors who helped create these very expensive advertisements. John Hillcoat, director of The Road, helmed the spot for Coke. The minute long ad featuring a multilingual rendition of “America the Beautiful” was refreshing to many, but left a bitter taste in the mouth of conservative pundits. Bruce Willis and Fred Armisen get close for Hyundai, and prolific music video and film director, Mark Romanek (Never Let Me Go), re-teamed with U2 for the Bank of America “Invisible spot”(Romanek directed U2 in an Apple commercial in 2004). The small screen rarely attracts this many big screen filmmakers in one night, so we decided to vote on our »
Cat goes, “Kill!” Dog goes, “Don’t!” But there’s one sound no one knows, and that’s the sound of laughter at Marjane Satrapi’s “The Voices.” An off-kilter black comedy about a seriously disturbed schizophrenic who speaks to his pets — and whose pets respond with unsolicited feedback about his new serial-killer hobby — this unnatural genre-bender serves as a bizarre vessel for the “Persepolis” co-director to expand her live-action chops. Never cute but occasionally clever, the result recalls a certain strain of fantasy-hued Sundance selections such as “Lars and the Real Girl” or “The Young Poisoner’s Handbook,” few of which go on to do more than specialty biz.
Picture “Psycho” as told from Norman Bates’ perspective, with his crazy world tidied to look the way he might experience it: What if Mother really did sit knitting in that basement rocker, or a brutal shower stabbing left no traces of blood? »
- Peter Debruge
The fourth film from director Marjane Satrapi ("Persepolis," "Chicken with Plums"), "The Voices" navigates the line between the gruesome and the goofy with a step as nimble as a tight-rope walker going over a sea of broken glass. It’s an extraordinarily warm and funny movie about a likable schizophrenic murderer; it’s candy-colored and meticulously composed and yet also shiny with fresh wet blood. It’s weird and funny and perfectly-pitched, and to cap off its catalog of rare feats, it also features an immensely likable performance from Ryan Reynolds. That last is a light dig at Mr. Reynolds, a tremendously charming and gifted actor whose only apparent flaw is his willingness to appear in terrible, bad-idea-from-the-jump films like "Green Lantern" and "Turbo" and "The Amityville Horror." (It’s the crisis that often faces the modern would-be leading man: the industry cares more if you’re appearing in movies »
- James Rocchi
Underwhelming is the word for The Nut Job, an animated kidflick that’s nowhere in the same league as films like Despicable Me 2 or The Croods. Instead it’s more like last year’s Turbo or maybe Hotel Transylvania. Pixar aside, CG-animated films tend to be an interchangeable bunch. There’s invariably a gang of wiseacre animals, a starry cast and a climactic pursuit. The Nut Job doesn’t break the trend so much as tick every box, and while the film, based on director Peter Lepeniotis’ 2005 short “Surly Squirrel”, looks great and tries hard to earn our affection, its mediocre script and lack of memorable characters bring it down a few grades.
The story is set in fictional city of Oakton in the 1950’s, where a nut shortage is threatening the existence of the local park animals. Surly (gruffly voiced by Will Arnett) is a seasoned, tough-talking squirrel who, »
- Tom Stockman
Pixar may have won seven of the past 12 Oscars in the best animated feature category, but it will have to sit back and support sibling toon studio Walt Disney Animation as it competes in the category with “Frozen” this year.
The inclusion of two independently produced foreign films in the category, including Japan’s “The Wind Rises” and GKids’ French-Belgian entry “Ernest & Celestine” nudged out Pixar’s “Monsters University.” Pixar also had been shut out of the running in 2011, when “Cars 2″ wasn’t nominated.
“Frozen,” “The Croods,” “Despicable Me 2,” “Ernest & Celestine,” and “The Wind Rises” were the five nominees announced Thursday morning for best animated feature by the Motion Picture Academy of Arts & Sciences. The 86th Annual Academy Awards take place March 2 at Hollywood’s Dolby Theatre. The animation category was first introduced in 2001.
- Marc Graser
Gravity led the way with 11 nominations. 12 Years a Slave and American Hustle were each nominated in ten categories. Captain Phillips has nine nominations, while Behind the Candelabra and Saving Mr. Banks were nominated five times.
Philomena, Rush and The Wolf of Wall Street have four nominations. Blue Jasmine, The Great Gatsby, Inside Llewyn Davis and Nebraska have each been nominated three times. The Act of Killing, The Butler and The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug have two nominations apiece.
Gravity is nominated in the following categories: Best Film, Outstanding British Film, Director for Alfonso Cuarón, Original Screenplay, Original Music, Cinematography, Editing, Production Design, Sound and Special Visual Effects. Sandra Bullock is nominated for Leading Actress.
12 Years a Slave is nominated for Best Film, Director for Steve McQueen, Adapted Screenplay, »
- Michelle McCue
Like many animated movies, DreamWorks Animation's Turbo features an amazing ensemble cast of voice actors such as Ryan Reynolds, Paul Giamatti, Michael Peña, Samuel L. Jackson, Luis Guzmán and Snoop Lion, just to name a few. Then there's the incomparable Ken Jeong, who plays the cranky Korean woman Kim Ly in this DreamWorks Animation comedy, a role he also reprises in the Netflix TV series Turbo Fast. I recently had the chance to speak with the actor over the phone about the Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray and DVD release, where we discussed what drew him to this role and much more. Take a look at what he had to say.
First off, this is a hilarious character. What goes through your mind when they approached you to voice an old woman?
15 items from 2014
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