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Monday
Jan202014

Linking

The Stir Laura Linney had a baby despite none of us knowing she was pregnant
The Wire Joe Reid plans to see all 58 Oscar nominated movies from 2013 
LA Times George Clooney pretends to be pissed about Tina Fey's Golden Globes joke 
Gawker loves the idea of Detroit getting a bronze Robocop statue. It needs a hero! 


Film School Rejects
as I predicted Margot Robbie is wracking up the roles in the wake of Wolf of Wall St
Interview Magazine Kanye West interviewed by Steve McQueen. Expect quotables 

tv
/Film what's going on with Nicolas Winding Refn's Barbarella TV series? 
previouslytv "your crotch is not that interesting" on HBO's Looking 
Vulture on the new and improved Lady Edith on Downton Abbey 
Coming Soon Jason Isaacs is joining the Rosemary's Baby tv miniseries as Roman Castavet (good part!) ... and word is that Zoe Saldana may get the famous pixie cut for it

Looking premiered and I missed it. But more when i catch up with it

a chain reaction
NY Times has a piece about why it might be better for the cinema if there were less movies each year. It's an interesting article that I mostly agree with though I wholeheartedly wish that Manohla hadn't felt the need to diss Iron Man 3 which is hardly the best example of junk blockbusters out there -- at least it was trying something vaguely new, making a Tony Stark movie rather than an Iron Man movie essentially. But let's not get distracted. Her piece was provocative asking for curation over consumption for programmers and money people. 
The New Yorker disagrees, arguing that we only get the great discoveries because so many indie films are made. You can't predict which new artists will actually deliver. 
The Front Row takes this as an opportunity to talk about what the purpose of film criticism is in the internet era and then
Mark Harris comments, too
...all of which gives us plenty to think about. 

Monday
Jan202014

Sundance: With "Boyhood", We Can Officially Crown Richard Linklater King of Longform Cinema

Our Sundance Film Festival continues with Nathaniel on Richard Linklater's "Boyhood" 

Life can sneak up on you. Individual moments may linger and shape us but most of life's power is cumulative. It's all in the daily living. When narrative art wants to approach the impossibly grand subjects of Life Itself or at least whole huge swaths of it like Falling in Love or Coming of Age or Starting Over, it's usually in the form of a snapshot: one season, one day, one year, one life-changing event. Richard Linklater's incredible Boyhood, 12 years in the making and longer still gestating before that, starts small. When we first meet Mason Jr (Eller Coltrane) he's a boy of 6 or 7, and not that much different than any little boy... staring at clouds, playing outside, fighting with his sister. But Boyhood has much larger scope and Linklater wanders right out of the singular snapshot and bicycles straight for the mosaic. And what a mosaic! [more...]

Click to read more ...

Monday
Jan202014

PGA Shocks With a Best Picture Tie

My head is spinning as fast as Sandra Bullock's  tiny white spacesuit body during Gravity's terrifying opening calamity. The Producers Guild of America, which could have ended the Oscar race with a win for American Hustle, which had been gaining strength via high profile Globe and SAG wins, opted out. They looked elsewhere, two elsewheres to be specific: Gravity and 12 Years a Slave tied for their top prize. [more...]

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Jan192014

Box Office: America Goes For a Ride Along

Amir here, with the weekend’s box office report. Initially I had decided to mirror last week’s column and predict Oscar winners based on their current financial gains – hey! It worked for the Globes! – but Ride Along’s performance has been so stellar that it warrants a mention.  The buddy cop comedy starring Ice Cube and Kevin Hart has been described in some quarters as a comedy version of Training Day with a romantic subplot. That’s probably enticing enough; add to it the fact that Kevin Hart’s hot off the incredible box office performance of his standup show, Let Me Explain, it’s really no wonder Ride Along did so well. Still, snatching the best ever January opening, beating a six year old record set by Cloverfield in the process, is beyond the studio’s best expectations. January is always dominated by the previous year’s holdovers though, and remains a box office hell for new films. To put things in perspective, Ride Along would not have had the biggest opening of all time in any other month, coming only close to the September record (Hotel Transylvania).

Ice Cube and Kevin Hart in Ride Along

Lone Survivor occupied second place with a respectable drop. I have yet to see it for myself and my level of interest in ever seeing it can probably be found with a very powerful microscope somewhere, but the film’s been creating “controversies” because of its – depending on who you ask – realistic depiction, endorsement or sanctification of soldiers. You can count on it to continue to do good business based on the on-going conversation. Another film that’s still going strong is Frozen, which continues to sing and dance its way into American hearts in its eighth week. This week’s 18 percent drop is better than most had expected because direct competition has finally arrived in the shape of The Nut Job, which is surprisingly not a porn parody. Given the latter film’s modest budget, we can expect a profit despite its limited appeal to adult audiences.

BOX OFFICE
RIDE ALONG $41.2m new
LONE SURVIVOR $23.2m (cum. 74m)
THE NUT JOB $20.5m new
JACK RYAN: SHADOW RECRUIT $17.2m new
FROZEN $11.9m (cum. 332.6m)
AMERICAN HUSTLE $10.6m (cum. 116.4m)
DEVIL’S DUE $8.5m new
AUGUST: OSAGE $7.6m (cum. 18.1m)
THE WOLF OF WALL STREET $7.5m (cum. 90.2m)
SAVING MR. BANKS $4.1m (cum. 75.3m)

Among the Oscar nominees, the biggest winners were American Hustle and 12 Years a Slave. The former lost more than 400 screens but had a nearly 30% improvement in sales; the latter regained 650 screens and sold five times as much as last week. Captain Phillips also added more than 700 theatres and saw a dramatic surge in ticket sales, but the nominations didn’t come to the rescue of two films: Inside Llewyn Davis and Her. Last week I mentioned that the Oscars would need to help them out if they want to turn their small fortunes around. I was proven right in the case of Llewyn Davis, as it failed to gain any momentum from Thursday’s announcement and sadly saw its numbers crash. Her experienced a more modest drop but still didn’t benefit at all from its Best Picture nomination. I have several theories, but none of them seem plausible. My best guess is that, the demographic to whom Her appeals, was always going to watch it irrespective of its awards success. Oscar nominations can’t convince everybody to watch a mustachioed, bespectacled man dressed in high pants fall in love with a computer.

Anyway, I didn’t hit the theatres this weekend, and looking ahead, nothing appeals to me before Rhymes for the Young Ghouls, which opens on January 31st in my corner of the world. What did you watch this weekend? Any theories on the Her drop?

Sunday
Jan192014

Four Links To Go

Vulgar Cinema "You're nothing to me until you're everything" strong piece on American Hustle
E! Why Emma Thompson won at (if not won the) SAG Awards
BDC Wire A satirical Bro ode to The Wolf of Wall Street. So much choice lingo.

Best. Picture. Of. The. Year, playa! This is a motion picture that is exploring new terrain, broseph"

Den of Geek "Why Jennifer Lawrence is Good for America"

Finally... I would like you to know that I can't stop staring at this picture. Since I didn't see the SAG Awards this year I can only imagine that Emma was quipping about Ewan McGregor backwards aging (seriously what is happening there?!)

Sunday
Jan192014

Sundance: Only Lovers Left Alive

Our Sundance Film Festival coverage continues with Michael Cusumano on Jim Jarmusch's Only Lovers Left Alive.

Tom & Tilda - who needs neck pillows travelling when you have each other

Before Jim Jarmusch’s Only Lovers Left Alive I would have gladly placed a moratorium on all vampire films. Beyond the exhausting cultural ubiquity of the undead, Tom Alfredson’s masterpiece, Let the Right One In appeared to be the final word on the sub-genre for the foreseeable future. What was left to say after that?

I should’ve known better.  All it takes is the synopsis “Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton in a vampire movie by Jim Jarmusch” to remind one that there is new life to be found in any song, provided that the singer is right. [more...

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Jan182014

SAG Winners Win Again

A quick break from festival screenings to shove food in my face (tortilla chips, peppermint patty, a tangerine. Healthy!) and watch a few minutes of the SAG Awards. But I won't be able to do the whole thing as I'll be racing back to hopefully get into a new Mark Ruffalo movie with the unwieldy title of Infinite Polar Bear. Why must everything happen within the same two weeks? Since I didn't get to watch, not really, I trust you'll share your favorite moments in the comments so I can seek them out on YouTube later (like the non-movie obsessed civilians who see everything they're curious about that way. Such a strange lifestyle!)

It may seem morbid to say but I enjoy SAG's "in memoriam" section so much more than Oscars. Perhaps it's their limited focus on actors but it gives them a chance to show a million clips instead of just quick flashes without much in the way of dialogue

FILM WINNERS

ENSEMBLE IN A MOTION PICTURE

American Hustle

MALE ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE

Matthew McConaughey, "Dallas Buyers Club"

FEMALE ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE

Cate Blanchett, "Blue Jasmine"

MALE ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Jared Leto, "Dallas Buyers Club"

FEMALE ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Lupita Nyong'o, "12 Years A Slave"

ACTION PERFORMANCE BY STUNT ENSEMBLE

"Lone Survivor"

TELEVISION

ENSEMBLE IN A DRAMA SERIES

"Breaking Bad"

ENSEMBLE IN A COMEDY SERIES

"Modern Family"

MALE ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES

Bryan Cranston, "Breaking Bad"

FEMALE ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES

Maggie Smith, "Downton Abbey"
Dame Maggie has better things to do then attend awards show!

MALE ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES

Ty Burrell, "Modern Family"

FEMALE ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES

Julia Louis-Dreyfus, "Veep"

MALE ACTOR IN A TELEVISION MOVIE OR MINISERIES

Michael Douglas, "Behind the Candelabra"

FEMALE ACTOR IN A TELEVISION MOVIE OR MINISERIES

Helen Mirren, "Phil Spector"

ACTION PERFORMANCE BY STUNT ENSEMBLE IN A TELEVISION SERIES

"Game of Thrones"


I'm always hoping that the Oscar acting races will be real competitions but most years this ends up happening with all the big shows in regimented lock-step for all four categories with maybe ONE errant choice by one show. It's such a drama killer... and these people are in the business of making drama for us to enjoy. Why does this happen, this winner-takes-all effect? Theories. Got any?