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Red Carpet: Best Looks of 2014

Year in Review. Two yummy look backs each day!

Jose here. With awards season underway, and a whole new roster of red carpet superstars about to be born (Felicity Jones, we salute you), it's time to celebrate the absolute best red carpet looks of the year that was, which have us revisit a few familiar faces and welcome the return of old fashioned, ridiculously grand Hollywood glamour!

2014's Best Red Carpet Looks

10. Lupita Nyong'o in Ralph Lauren 
Nyong'o was the breakthrough star of 2013 with each of her looks besting whatever it is she had worn to the previous event and the celebration continuing on through Oscar night. The MVP was this red column gown with sewed in cape that she wore to the Golden Globes, which made her look like a true fashion superhero.

9. Emma Stone in Thakoon
While pink is usually a big no-no on the red carpet (only SJP and Gwynnie have succeeded in pulling it off in the last couple of decades) leave it to Emma Stone to not only wear two contrasting shades of pink, but also pull off a bare midriff, a side braid and silver accessories (!!!!) effortlessly. Kudos for sticking to a young brand and showing starlets that you can be sexy while remaining almost practically covered. 

Felicity Jones, Fan Bingbing, and perennial chart-topper Cate Blanchett come after the jump...

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Tweets o' the Week: Batman Returns, Last Christmas, and More

Good morning! It's just three days until Christmas. THREE! To note that I am unprepared is to state, shrugging, 'he thinks movies are alright'

I mean we haven't even started the Year in Review! Rectifying. Rectifying.

This is the kind of time frame wherein you need little friendly woodland animals to be doing all your busy work so that you can focus on the important things like Going to the Ball. I illustrate twitter collections with a picture of birds and today Cinderella seemed natural since Into the Woods is soon upon us. I hadn't really thought about this before but Cinderella is supposed to have this miserable indentured servant life but look at that view from her bedroom window!  Talk about a room with a view... that's prime real estate. Shouldn't she be sleeping in the cellar or something? 

Herewith some tweets that amused, edified, or otherwise cocked a brow this past week for a variety of reasons, posted to get this week chirping away quickly, happily. Enjoy.


Fav Tweets Non-Celebrity Division...

Sadly that tweet describes so many ill advised days o' mine! Moving on with GHOST, BATMAN RETURNS after the jump...

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Stage Door: "Side Show" Brings Out the Auteur in Bill Condon

Jose here. Last week as I sat in the audience for Side Show on Broadway, I was suddenly struck by the fact that beyond the show’s obvious brilliance and many charms, I was also witnessing the apotheosis of Bill Condon as a true auteur of screen and stage. Now bear with me as I make my points...

Condon is perhaps best known for his work as a screenwriter, his adaptation of Chicago having earned him an Academy Award nomination, and his meticulous work in Gods and Monsters having won him an Oscar for the Best Adapted Screenplay of 1998. Some of his other notable projects have included writing and directing Kinsey, Dreamgirls and also the last two installments of The Twilight Saga. If you take all of his important works and analyze them, it’s clear that in bringing Side Show back to Broadway, he has finally found the one project where he finds all of his obsessions unified.

Click to read more ...


FYC: Josh Brolin in "Inherent Vice" for Best Supporting Actor

And so we come to the end of our individually chosen FYCs. Amir, our team coordinator, is off for a month long holiday (!) which leaves myself, Nathaniel, your immortal but ever running-late host to wrap things up. To recap: we asked each team member to write up a personal favorite longshot* from one specific category. Here's the final entry in the series, a performance I really love in a film I really don't.

Why highlight a film I don't care for? Because it's important to remember during all-or-nothing awards season that each individual element of a film is different than the big picture and ought to be treated as such for the purposes of awardage.

Which brings us to...

See, it wasn't just the eternal sunshine of California or the vast vistas of desert land and salt water. It wasn't even really the hazy hash-filled air that P.T. Anderson's troupe was breathing. But I was parched and hungry the whole time I was watching Inherent Vice. I needed a fresh water oasis in the salty Pynchonian desert and Josh Brolin came to my rescue as "Bigfoot". Repeatedly. Fortunately he was also hungry, orally fixated you might say, and an eager lunch companion.

Like many characters in the film he's introduced with wonderfully descriptive prose that one assumes is lifted from the novel for voiceover. Brolin's introduction is in glorious widescreen longshot. The V.O.:

Like a bad luck planet in today's horoscope, here's the ol' hippie-hating mad dog himself in the flesh, Lieutenant Detective Christian F. "Big Foot" Bjornsen, SAG member, John Wayne walk, flat top, of Flintstone proportions, and that little evil shit twinkle in his eyes that says 'civil rights violations'" 

Brolin just owns this, presenting as a black & white Western rectangle stiffly inserting itself into the movie's otherwise geometrically ragged and fringed array of colorful people. Of course you can't see an evil shit twinkle in someone's eyes in long or medium shot but you can hear it in their voice.

Congratulations hippie scum! Welcome to a world of inconvenience"

Immediately we move to Bigfoot's office where the detective taunts Doc Sportello with carefully chosen words and obscene self-lubricated hand gestures; he's always shoving things into his mouth: frozen bananas, fingers, diner food. Brolin's line readings aren't just well delivered but perfectly balanced and heaped, as if he's collecting the best syllables on a fork, whichever wons have the most condescending flavor. The actor captures how natural all of this comes to Bigfoot now, that its both performative for Doc and completely innate in Bigfoot's character (we instantly register that the performance is now the reality after numerous pre-movie variations of these same conversations between the two detectives) since he's even doing the same things when he's out of view on the phone or half lost in his own strictly business thoughts when he's eating.

BigFoot's buzzkill nature would be suffocating if Brolin didn't find so many ways to play the notes. And though Bigfoot is mean to stand in opposition to the movie's other characters, he'd be totally at odds with the movie's loose hippie daze tone if he also weren't so damn funny. There are a great many people who think Inherent Vice is a good time movie in and of itself. Whether or not that proves to be your experience know this: it's a far greater party every single time Josh Brolin shows up to crash it.

Motto pankēki!" 

*I selected Brolin before his BFCA nomination so perhaps he's not quite as improbable as expected in a low key supporting actor competition, so I'm crossing my fingers... or licking them in Bigfoot's honor.


Each Longshot FYCs In Case You Missed Any
Actor, Locke | Actress, Belle | Supp. Actress, Gone Girl | Supp. Actor, Inherent Vice
Picture, Obvious Child |  Adapted Screenplay, A Most Wanted Man 
Sound Mixing, Grand Budapest HotelCostume, The Boxtrolls 
Cinematography, Homesman | Prod. Design, Enemy | Editing, Citizenfour  

Short-Lived Longshot FYCs = Academy Thought Otherwise
Makeup, Only Lovers Left Alive (eliminated) | FX, Under the Skin (eliminated)
Screenplay, The Babadook (ineligible) | ScoreThe Immigrant (eliminated)


Box Office: The Battle of the Holiday Releases Part 1

Manuel here reporting for box office duty. While news about the Sony hack dominated headlines, the domestic box office was slowly showing signs of life after a rather muted start to december (Exodus: Gods and Kings anyone?). Thankfully (for studios, critics would clearly disagree) the crop of new films offered some needed entertainment and seem poised to offer some successes as the holidays approach this coming week.

Peter Jackson’s sixth (sixth!!) entry in the Tolkien saga easily won the weekend (having opened on Wednesday), proving that, yes, audiences will visit Middle Earth #OneLastTime. New family-friendly films Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb and Annie came in second and third respectively while in the lower-rung of the Top 10 (and hovering right below it), specialty releases and Oscar-bound films performed rather well. I for one, am happy to see Reese Witherspoon (who we just Posterized) and Cheryl Strayed’s Wild at #6. It’s a great film which has, for reasons that feel both expected and frustrating, not been making enough of a dent in the “Best of”/Oscar conversations (after the McConnaissance and the Reesurgence, might Jean-Marc Vallée ratify the Gyllenhaalism we’re all experiencing with Demolition, out next year? Who should he take on next?)

01 BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES $56.2 NEW (cum. $90.6) Five Beautiful Armies
03 ANNIE $16.3 NEW
04 EXODUS: GODS AND KINGS $8 (cum. $38.9) Michael's Review
05 MOCKINGJAY PT 1 $7.7 (cum. $289.2) Michael's Review
06 WILD $4.1 (cum. $7.2) Nathaniel's Review, Laura Dern Interview
07 TOP FIVE $3.5 (cum. $12.4) Nathaniel's Thoughts
08 BIG HERO 6 $3.5 (cum. $190.4) Tim's Review / Nathaniel's Take
09 THE PENGUINS OF MADAGASCAR $3.5 (cum. $64.1)  Tim's Review
10 P.K. $3.5 NEW

11 INTERSTELLAR $2.6 (cum. $171.4) Michael's Review, Podcast
12 HORRIBLE BOSSES $2.1 (cum. $47.7)
13 THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING $1.59 (cum. $19.8) Review, podcast
14 FOXCATCHER $0.95 (cum. $4.4) Review, Michael's Take, podcast
15 BIRDMAN $0.91 (cum. $22.2) Review, podcast, interview

That #10 entry is for the Bollywood film P.K. which made headlines a couple of weeks back with its NSFW-ish poster of leading man Aamir Khan. Needless to say, it’s doing great business in India where it was also released this weekend. You’ll also note that the male-skewing Oscar favorites continue to expand (or hold on, in the case of Birdman) as they rack up critical and industry citations. Indeed, The Imitation Game’s #16 placement is impressive considering it is only in 79 screens, by far amassing the greatest haul for a film in under 100 screens.

PLATFORM (Under 100 screens)
01 IMITATION GAME$0.89 79 locations (cum. $3.19) Review, Glenn's take, Podcast
02 INHERENT VICE $0.147 5 locations (cum. $0.6) Conversation
03 MR TURNER$0.109 5 locations NEW Review, Press conference
04 THE BABADOOK $0.089 79 locations (cum. $0.466) Interview
05 CITIZENFOUR $0.058 52 locations (cum. $2.04) Podcast

Both at five locations, PTA's Inherent Vice and Mike Leigh's Mr Turner posted strong numbers. This gives them both a needed boost (and Vice the distinction of posting the biggest per screen average two weeks in a row, though losing half of its audience. Guess them PTA fans rushed to see it last week?)

What did you see this weekend?


Top Five's Top Five

Have you seen Chris Rock's Top Five  yet? I found it affable and intermittently funny but perhaps never more than mildly so. Here are five quick notes on it..

1. Maybe a little too navel-gazing on Chris Rock's part but we'll let it pass since most comedians turned actors play it like that from Woody Allen back in the day to every comic with a sitcom deal from the past thirty years.

2. True story: This movie has a super cast. It would have made a smarter SAG nomination than The Theory of Everything. (But then what wouldn't? Sorry Theory. I like ya but that nom is a big "D'oh!"). It's great to see a film about a guy actually give actresses fun things to do and Sherri Shepherd, Gabrielle Union, Rosario Dawson, and Leslie Jones all have good moments. I attended a Paramount party a few weeks ago that sort of morphed into a Top Five party because Interstellar left early. I am usually very social at these things but somehow I spent most of it off in a corner discussing Vanessa Redgrave and Faye Dunaway with another writer (appropriate!). I was going to talk to Gabrielle Union but I didn't want to be one of those people and bring up the East Compton Clovers, you know? The reaction would surely have been...

Brrrrrr. It's cold in here.

I did actually talk to Rosario Dawson, though... 

Three more bits including that "top five" after the jump... 

Click to read more ...


Doubleplus Suave