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Tuesday
Nov252014

Birdman Leads Spirit Nominations 2014. Discuss!

Sony Pictures Classics leads the nominations for the Spirit Awards this year with an incredible 15 nominations though Fox Searchlight's Birdman leads all films with 6 nominations. And rather ridiculously even at the Spirits we have to play category fraud with Alfred Molina dubbed supporting in the marriage drama Love is Strange while his screen hubby John Lithgow is declared lead. (sigh). But we're happy that Love is Strange did so well wtih 4 nominations including Best Feature.

In case you forgot last year's nominations and would like a comparison, you can see them here as well as the eventual winners. Of all the awards shows you'd think that Spirit Awards could at least be a little different but last year they weren't with Best Picture and all four acting prizes repeating on Oscar night. Will this year have a greater and thus more exciting and wealth-spreading disconnect? We'll see but given the nominees in the acting categories (many from presumed Oscar hopefuls, we could well see a four for four again. 

Complete list of 2014 nominees is after the jump... 

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Nov252014

Thanksgiving Break. Screener Madness. What's Left?

1/2 my screener stack. The ones that are coming with me for the holiday. Just in case. What do you still have to cram in before your film year is done? I imagine a lot given the Christmas release dates, damn these last-minute movies, amirite? This Thanksgiving, I am very thankful for screenings and screeners. I couldn't keep up without them given the writing and interviewing and blog prep and awards coverage necessary in December and January.

SCREENER SUGGESTIONS
Over at the Gurus of Gold, David Poland asked us to name three screeners we'd suggest that Academy / SAG / etcetera voters watch over the holiday break. The collective results aren't up yet but I went with:

  • Pride because it might end up topping the list of 'best movies of 2014 that people didn't watch or even hear about'
  • Nightcrawler because Jake Gyllenhaal did better work than some of the alleged frontrunners and I've been surprised to realize how few AMPAS voters have seen it from the anecdotal evidence I've collected at luncheons & parties. (Six more luncheons/dinners/parties to get through next week before they're not allowed to throw them anymore once voting begins)
  • Ida -Speaking of Jake. He showed up at his sister Maggie Gyllenhaal & Peter Sarsgard's FYC screening of the Polish hit I attended last week. I only included this one (which isn't exactly an underdog in its category) because I think Oscar voters should be thinking of it in other categories, too. 

How would you have answered that question? 

OSCAR BAIT MOVIES YOURS TRULY HAS LEFT SO SEE

  • Unbroken 
  • American Sniper
  • The Homesman

Otherwise I will try to rewatch a few that feel way fuzzy in memory (Grand Budapest for sure) and try to catch up with a handful or two of key films I missed this year before handing out the film bitch awards, like this sample pack...

  • Archaelogy of a Woman
  • Blue Ruin
  • Calvary
  • Fury
  • A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night
  • Only Lovers Left Alive
  • Skeleton Twins

I'm heading to Vermont for a "Friendsgiving" starting tonight but some posting will still be headed your way this week. What are your big plans this week?

Next up today: The Spirit Award Nominations

 

Monday
Nov242014

Curio: Black Friday at Gallery 1988

Alexa here with your weekly art appreciation. In addition to pie and turkey gorging, many this week will be loading up their carts at Black Friday sales. I prefer to load up my virtual cart, so the only Black Friday sales I'll be checking out are the online variety.  Gallery 1988, the pop-culture art gallery known for their annual Crazy 4 Cult shows, is holding their own holiday sale starting this Friday, with 30% most of the gallery inventory.

After the jump a selection of movie prints that are still available...

Click to read more ...

Monday
Nov242014

Lukewarm Off The Presses: Hugh & Amy's Musicals, Diana's Director, Lee's Horror, & Eddie's Operation

Five stories we didn't share in all the hulaballoo of our trip to Los Angeles, the recovery week's madness and now our Thanksgiving prep. Can't let these stories go unremarked upon since many of them are related to this year's Oscar race as well as 2015 and possibly 2016. Let's get ahead of ourselves! 

Barnum by way of Jackson / Amy to play Janis

1. Hugh Jackman as P.T. Barnum
When I was coming out of Into the Woods the other day and coming out of The Last Five Years back in Toronto, I was wracked with indecision about how I felt. My cinephile self was mounting a civil war with my inner musical theater geek who is deeply devoted to both shows. The former musical is among my top 3 favorite Sondheim shows (the others being Company & Follies) and the latter is literally my favorite original musical of the 21st century to date. The solution to this inner turmoil is surely ORIGINAL SCREEN MUSICALS. We haven't had one since Dancer in the Dark, right? So I'm absolutely excited to see Hugh Jackman belt out whatever tunes they're writing for him as P.T. Barnum in a new musical biopic about the circus pioneer called The Greatest Showman on Earth. Having seen Jackman absolutely slay audiences on Broadway as another flamboyant showman (Peter Allen in "The Boy from Oz"), this could be his Oscar ticket if the movie is good. The songs are by a composing duo you know from "Smash" but before you get too excited it's not from the composers behind the fictional musical "Bombshell," damnit!, but the composers behind the fictional musical "Hit List" which wasn't half as good. (Sigh)

Bette Midler as Janis Joplin (sort of) in The Rose (1979)2. Amy Adams as Janis Joplin
Should Adams be nominated (maybe) and lose (definitely) the Best Actress Oscar for Big Eyes this season she will join the "Biggest Actress Loser Club" that is currently a three-person tea party with Thelma Ritter, Glenn Close, Deborah Kerr. Fine company, don't you think? The solution is UNDOUBTEDLY a Janis Joplin biopic since Amy Adams has a great singing voice, considerable awards momentum, and is still young enough to be interesting to Oscar... for at least another few years. We're far enough away from Bette Midler's wildly acclaimed take on that iconic musician (by another name) in The Rose (1979) that the earlier Oscar run won't be an issue either. [More after the jump...]

Click to read more ...

Monday
Nov242014

Beauty vs Beast: Guests Gotten, Hosts Humped

Howdy folks, it's Jason from MNPP here with a brand new round of "Beauty Vs Beast" and a brand new chance to pit the sorta-good against the sorta-bad, or the sorta in-between, and for us to choose our side with due diligence (at least with enough enough energy to click one way or the opposite). It was a slow creep realization when Mike Nichols died last week, what we'd lost - I'm not a Broadway person and as of late that's what I'd associated him with, so it was only once I started skimming back through his filmography, and once I read wonderful tributes like Nat's here, that my brain clicked into place that "Why yes, Jason, you've loved and been affected by a ton of this man's work for your entire life, duh." And so I've found myself going back and re-watching things I hadn't seen in many years - Working Girl (Sigourney MVP!) and Silkwood (probably my favorite Nichols film) and then today's piping hot dish of husband-wife combat for the ages...

 

 

If you're here in the US you'll probably spend sometime this week giving thanks to the turkey and stuffing for all the good stuff in your life, and I wouldn't blame anybody who placed these two performances on their Good Stuff Lists. Personally I'm Team George because 1) I've never been much of a Burton fan but I think he's phenomonal in this movie, and 2) I see way too much of myself in Martha, and that's the sort of thing you reflexively snap your eyes away from. You have one week to vote!

PREVIOUSLY Checking back in on the gorgeous ladies of 1870s society, last week's Age-of-Innocence Off ultimately sided with the poor unfortunate soul Countess Olenska (Michelle Pfieffer) over wily Winona's little Miss May; we do love a wounded bird. Said Murtada:

"Countess Olenska was way ahead of her time, a pioneer against vicious social mores. And she endured a false life despite getting a glimpse of a real one. Hasn't she suffered enough? She gets my vote."

Monday
Nov242014

LOL. Yes, Today Show, it's True. Julianne Moore *is* Still Among the Living

Oops.

Monday
Nov242014

I didn't link it, but if i'd linked it, how could you tell me that i was wrong?

The New Yorker Anthony Lane on Mike Nichols
Playbill congratulations to Chicago which became the 2nd longest running Broadway show of all time tonight surpassing Cats
Screen Crush bitches about the long uneventful Part 1s of modern franchise culture as I've been bitching about forever. But as long as audiences keep buying tickets, why should Hollywood stop? They make double the money this way.
YouTube first TV spot for Jurassic World. It's mostly Chris Pratt & Bryce Dallas Howard's faces and you know what they look like. But a brief flash of dinosaurs, too.


Critic Wire the terrifying children's book in The Babadook (opening Friday!) is now a real book you can buy
Vanity Fair since I officially stopped watching How To Get Away With Murder I said goodbye by reading / enjoying / giggling through this post on the "who killed Sam" episode
Empire more new projects for Channing Tatum and his creative partner Reid Carolin (who you'll remember as the sister's date in Magic Mike)
Variety why did Mockingjay Part 1 perform below Hunger Games expectations (which were sky high)
Interview Michael Shannon interviews Amy Ryan (currently onscreen in Birdman)
THR is excited about those Lana Del Rey songs in Big Eyes but I only remember the title song (which is played somewhat inside the movie but not enough of it to have a firm opinion of it) I remember the lines being something like "Big Eyes.... and your Big Lies..."
Film School Rejects looks at connections between the documentary and best picture category this year
LA Times Jennifer Aniston on 'drunk singing' for Cake
In Contention The Fault in Our Stars finally does some campaigning for Shailene Woodley
Samuel L Jackson The Hateful Eight cast have met 
Deadline checks out the numerous very dark horses in the Best Actress race: shout-out to Sally Kirkland and Gena Rowlands from the veterans. An interviews with the former and possibly the latter coming up. Stay tuned...

Pic of the Moment
Jake Gyllenhaal submerged. I wish it were in Oscar buzz! [src] (I was horrified to get blank faces from Oscar voters when I brought up this movie at a recent luncheon. They weren't in the actor's branch but still. How had they not heard of his remarkable performance?)

Chart Updates?
Best Actress & Supporting Actor made minor adjustments following Into the Woods & Big Eyes screenings. Unbroken screenings just after Thanksgiving as we enter the final month of the film year. So exciting.

Whither Nicole Kidman?
I missed Before I Go To Sleep in theaters (it left town instantly) and despite wrapping her roles on five more films we don't have firm release dates on any of them! If you're keeping track they are: Queen of the Desert, Strangerland and Grace of Monaco (lead roles) and Paddington and Genius (supporting roles). Here's a teaser for Strangerland.

It's an Australian drama with Hugo Weaving and Joseph Fiennes in which a couple's daughter goes missing. They freak out, naturally. Looks intense. Might it actually be good? I have high hopes for Queen of the Desert, too, given that Werner Herzog is behind the camera but she probably needs one of these films to be at least a minor hit.

 

Monday
Nov242014

Disney Pixar News Roundup

Good morning everyone, Manuel here bringing some news on the animation front.Hot off the heels of the announcement that Disney Animation and Pixar Studios were getting their own presidents (Andrew Millstein and Jim Morris, respectively), it seemed appropriate to check in on both studios:

2014 marked the first year since 2005 when we didn’t get a new Pixar release. And while there’s been talk of the seemingly unstoppable studio faltering (with talks of yet another project changing directorial hands) they’re revving up the marketing push for 2015’s Inside Out, the latest from Up’s Pete Docter. The film, which follows five emotions in the mind of a young girl definitely has a plot description worthy of classic Pixar films. The voice cast alone should get you excited as we'll get Lewis Black as Anger, Mindy Kaling as Disgust, Bill Hader as Fear, Phyllis Smith as Sadness and more importantly: Amy Poehler as Joy! In addition to these character posters, Pixar released five videos introducing us to the emotions at the heart (or mind?) of the film, where you can see these guys in action.

While Pixar’s output has been (arguably) showing diminishing returns, the same cannot be said for Disney Animation studios which is on a roll it hopes will continue for the next few years. They’ve recently released new artwork for their 2016 films: in March we'll get Zootopia from Tangled’s Byron Howard, is a buddy-comedy about a fast-talking fox on the lamb teaming up with a self-righteous rabbit cop while in November we'll get Moana, from Ron Clements and Jon Musker (the folks responsible for The Little Mermaid, Aladdin and Hercules) which centers on the eponymous protagonist as she searches for a fabled South-Pacific island.

Are you angry, disgusted, fearful, joyful or saddened by these news? Are you looking forward to getting a new Ron ‘n Jon flick in the near-future, and can we hope it will live up to their legacy?