July 24, 2016
        Hollywood Contenders: Looking at potential Best Actress contenders                "Star Trek Beyond" is a rare success for the 2016 summer movie season                The 2016 New York Film Festival will open with Ava Duvernay's documentary "The 13th"                Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone make us swoon as "La La Land" drops a luminous Teaser Trailer                "Loving" announces itself as an awards player with a great Trailer                Hollywood Contenders: New Oscar Predictions for July                Woody Allen has another crowd pleaser on his hands with "Cafe Society"                Hollywood Contenders: Looking at potential Best Actor contenders                Kristen Stewart shines in the sci-fi love story "Equals"                'Ghostbusters' is an excellent re-invention of the classic franchise                Hollywood Contenders: Looking at potential Best Director contenders                "Captain Fantastic" is one of the year's most pleasant surprises                This week brings an adorable bit of animation in "The Secret Life of Pets"                Aaron Eckhart has plum supporting roles in "Bleed for This" and "Sully"                "Cafe Society", "Captain Fantastic", and "Ghostbusters": Films to see in July        

Tag Archives: Ben Affleck

“Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” shows off an epic Teaser Trailer

Hot on the heels of the new Star Wars movie flexing its muscles last week (as well as a hot new Trailer for Jurassic World earlier today), the sequel to Man of Steel also has sought to do the same. Yes, we got our first Teaser Trailer for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice recently and at least to this humble writer, it was more than worth the wait. Besides showing off Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne, we also got to see him in costume (and hear him) as the Caped Crusader himself. His upcoming clash next year with Henry Cavill’s son of Krypton looks like a true event movie.
This is no surprise to any of you, but this film is going to set up a Justice League team up for the Warner Brothers/DC slate of heroes. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice picks up where Man of Steel left off, with the citizens of Metropolis debating the merits of Superman being a god among men. This captures the attention of Batman over in Gotham City, and they cross paths, with much fighting to ensue before they get on the same page to presumably overcome Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor. Man of Steel’s Zack Snyder returns to direct, with David S. Goyer and Chris Terrio co-writing. The cast, aside from the aforementioned Affleck, Cavill, and Eisenberg includes Amy Adams, Laurence Fishburne, Ray Fisher, Gal Gadot, Holly Hunter, Jeremy Irons, Diane Lane, Harry Lennix, Jena Malone, Scoot McNairy, Jason Momoa, and more.
In this Teaser, which you can see below, the big highlight is of course getting to see Batman and Superman on the screen at the same time. For many comic book fans, that’s a big screen concept that many thought would never happen. In fact, it seemed even less likely once the initial Justice League of America movie from almost a decade ago fell apart. In the wake of The Avengers though, obviously the WB was keen to get this idea moving again. Now, we have it, with Affleck playing an older and grizzled Dark Knight driven protect the human race from the danger he sees in Superman’s actions. The Teaser mainly consists of audio, but when we see the new Batsuit and Batmobile, it’s pretty cool, I must say.
A fringe benefit of sorts with this film is going to be seeing the Justice League of America come together. Besides […]

Kevin Smith: “Mallrats 2” represents the rare 90’s movie reunion

As a pretty big fan of filmmaker Kevin Smith, I tend to be inclined to support whatever project he’s interested in making, be it a new movie, a new podcast, or anything in between. Even so, I was initially a bit confused as to why Smith was looking to follow up Clerks III (which I’m hugely looking forward to) and his next two Canadian set genre outings (this year’s Yoga Hosers and the still to be shot Moose Jaws) with a sequel to Mallards. Yes, it’s developed over the years from a box office disappointment to one of his most beloved titles, but was anyone yearning for Mallrats 2? Then, I listened to Smith explain why and now, not just am I on board, I think it has the potential to be the rare 90’s movie reunion that really works.
The reason that Smith decided to make Mallrats 2 was to honor his friend and Mallrats producer Jim Jacks, who passed away about a year ago. As a way of honoring Jacks, a man who had once upon a time championed a potential sequel, Smith recently decided to make it a reality. As much as this could be just another one of those interesting announcements that go nowhere, that hasn’t been the case. Over the past few weeks, Smith has been on social media slowly teasing all of the former cast members who are coming back to the mall, as it were. That’s pretty impressive, regardless of the cast. For those who don’t remember, Mallrats starred Jeremy London, Jason Lee, Shannen Doherty, Claire Forlani, Ethan Suplee, Michael Rooker, Renee Humphrey, Joey Lauren Adams, Jason Mewes, Ben Affleck, as well as Stan Lee in a cameo and of course Smith himself as Silent Bob. Right now, only Adams, Affleck, and Forlani have yet to sign on.
Sequels tend to be inherently unnecessary, but there’s something about this one that feels like it could be a ton of fun, especially when you consider what a lovely place this idea is coming from. Honoring a fallen colleague and pushing his own early whimsy is a winning formula in my book. Smith has already said that he’s got three more cast members to rope back in, so while that could mean Adams, Affleck, and Forlani are up next, there’s probably someone else who’s the final name, with Affleck just an added bonus if he has time […]

Bradley Cooper: the next A-list actor turned director

One of the things I really enjoy seeing in the film industry is when actors get to the point in their careers where they have the ability to move behind the camera and choose their ideal debut projects. Sometimes, you even get a Ben Affleck situation, where the actor turns out to be an even better filmmaker and winds up winning some awards. That’s the ideal situation, though most of the time actors and actresses turn out to be at least competent filmmakers, if not better. Well, we have another top tier actor wanting to direct, and it’s a real A-lister too. The gentleman in question? None other than Bradley Cooper, and wait until you see what he wants his directorial debut to be…
In case you haven’t heard, Cooper is hoping to direct the remake of A Star is Born that his American Sniper director Clint Eastwood had been pursuing for years. Not only that, but Cooper wants to hopefully star alongside Eastwood’s choice of leading lady: Beyonce. Yup, this is truly an interesting pick on Cooper’s part, especially when he’s recently become such a big part of awards vehicles. At the same time though, it will undoubtedly be a chance to show some extra range and only further his career both in front of and behind the camera. If nothing else, you can’t accuse Cooper of making a boring pick.
It’s not hard to imagine Cooper truly following in Affleck’s footsteps, or even Eastwood’s, as they definitely seemed to have a rapport on American Sniper, particularly during the Oscar campaign that followed. This isn’t to suggest that Cooper is a surefire Academy Award winner to come (though I’m pretty sure he’s going to win for Acting one of these days), but just to remark that he’s got the feel of someone who can go far behind the camera. Having the pull as an A-lister that he currently has won’t hurt either, as he can get some things done that might otherwise have roadblocks for someone without the box office and industry clout he now has.
Cooper certainly also has the influences of David O. Russell to utilize as well (among others), which is another interesting factor to consider. Frankly, he’s acted with so many top notch talents and been directed by some of the industry’s best, you have to assume he’s got a treasure trove of advice to cull from. I’ll […]

The 83rd Academy Awards: If I had been a voter

After a brief delay, this series has returned. Yes, once again I’m going to be taking a look back at a recent Oscar lineup and explaining what my vote would have been in each of the big eight categories we all follow so intently each season. I previously mentioned that potentially I could do this once a week with previous Academy Award ceremonies, and while I’m going to be truing to do that, time will still tell. Again, if nothing else, this gives you an interesting look into my cinematic tastes. Over the course of the year you can sort of get a feel for what my current favorites are, but now we can look to the past a bit more.
Alright then, here goes nothing folks…behold my picks:
Best Picture – The Social Network
The nominees here for this ceremony were 127 Hours, Black Swan, The Fighter, Inception, The Kids Are All Right, The King’s Speech, The Social Network, Toy Story 3, True Grit, and Winter’s Bone. My personal pick Blue Valentine wasn’t nominated, of course, so my number two pick is an easy one…The Social Network. Such a shame that it fell short here to The King’s Speech in real life.
Best Director – David Fincher for The Social Network
This category featured Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan), Joel and Ethan Coen (True Grit), David Fincher (The Social Network), Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech), and David O. Russell (The Fighter), and yet the three most interesting choices in Aronofsky, Fincher, and Russell were passed over for Hooper. I’d change that though, and go with Fincher. Had I been given the power to vote for anyone though, I’d probably have gone with Derek Cianfrance for Blue Valentine.
Best Actor – Jesse Eisenberg for The Social Network
I didn’t intend to vote down the line for The Social Network, but so far it just has worked out that way. My personal pick Ryan Gosling for Blue Valentine got snubbed, so I had to go to my second choice. The nominees here were Javier Bardem (Biutiful), Jeff Bridges (True Grit), Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network), James Franco (127 Hours), and Colin Firth (The King’s Speech). It’s hard to argue with Firth’s win, but I think Eisenberg was slightly more deserving overall.
Best Actress – Michelle Williams for Blue Valentine
Honestly, I might prefer Natalie Portman for Black Swan, but I can’t resist the chance to give Blue Valentine an Oscar win […]

Will we have a split between Best Picture and Best Director?

As Oscar voting ends later on today, one of the big questions that remains in my mind is…will there be a Best Picture/Best Director split? Aside from trying to figure out whether Birdman or Boyhood takes the top prize, there’s also the possibility that they each go home with one of them. That leads us to the issue of how likely this is, and which film/director would go home with which statue. Will Alejandro González Iñárritu turn his Directors Guild of America win into a Best Director victory while Boyhood takes Best Picture? Will Richard Linklater wind up winning Director while Birdman transitions its Producers Guild of America win into Picture at the Oscars? It’s all up in the air, but Academy Award voters are finalizing their decisions today, so it’s getting sorted out, basically as you read this.
First of all, there’s the matter of if we’ll get a split at all. I think we have the likeliest situation perhaps in history in terms of this, at least where both major contenders are up for both categories. It was different, for example, when Ben Affleck was snubbed for Argo but the film itself was almost a lock for Best Picture. Voters here could easily pick either Iñárritu or Linklater as well as their films for both prizes (or even Best Original Screenplay too, though that seems more likely to go to The Grand Budapest Hotel now). Historically, I almost never predict splits, since they don’t often happen and you run the risk of picking the wrong combination, etc. Last year that caused me to pick Gravity to win Picture even though I knew 12 Years a Slave was ultimately going to go home with it. This year though…I’m actually contemplating the split. Regardless of that, I think it’s at least a 50/50 shot that one happens.
Now, if there’s a split, what does it look like? There’s one camp that sees Boyhood winding up with the Picture win while Iñárritu gets Director as a consolation prize. I actually think that the more likely scenario has that flipped, with Linklater getting Director and Birdman taking home Picture, but either is definitely possible. The thing is, Academy members don’t engage in group think, as it were. They vote as individuals, so you can’t quite plot a scenario where everyone goes home happy. For example, a split, along with The Grand Budapest Hotel winning […]

Ben Affleck, Jessica Chastain, Viola Davis, Kevin Hart, Shirley Maclaine, Chris Pine, Miles Teller and Naomi Watts to present at 87th Oscars®

Ben Affleck, Jessica Chastain, Viola Davis, Kevin Hart, Shirley MacLaine, Chris Pine, Miles Teller and Naomi Watts will be presenters at this year’s Oscars, show producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron announced today. The Oscars, hosted by Neil Patrick Harris, will air on Sunday, February 22, live on ABC.
Affleck, a two-time Academy Award® winner, received an Original Screenplay Oscar® for “Good Will Hunting” (1997) and a Best Picture Oscar for “Argo” (2012), on which he served as a producer, director and star. His most recent role was opposite Rosamund Pike in “Gone Girl” (2014). He will play Batman in the upcoming feature “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” and “The Accountant.”
Chastain has received two Oscar nominations, one for Actress in a Leading Role for “Zero Dark Thirty” (2012) and one for Actress in a Supporting Role for “The Help” (2011). Her most recent films include 2014’s “Interstellar,” “A Most Violent Year” and “The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby.” She will next be seen in “Crimson Peak” and “The Martian.”
Davis has been nominated for two Oscars, one for her supporting role in the 2008 film “Doubt” and one for her leading role in 2011’s “The Help.” She currently stars in the ABC primetime hit “How to Get Away with Murder.” Davis’s film credits include “Get on Up,” “The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Them,” “Ender’s Game” and “Prisoners.” She will next been seen in “Lila and Eve,” due out this year.
Hart, who currently stars in the feature comedy “The Wedding Ringer,” appeared in last year’s “Ride Along,” “About Last Night,” “Think Like a Man Too” and “Top Five.” His previous credits include “Think Like a Man” (2012) and “The Five-Year Engagement” (2012). He will star opposite Will Ferrell in “Get Hard” later this year.
MacLaine won an Oscar for Actress in a Leading Role for 1983’s “Terms of Endearment.” She also received nominations for her leading roles in “The Turning Point” (1983), “Irma La Douce” (1963) “The Apartment” (1960) and “Some Came Running” (1958), as well for the documentary feature “The Other Half of the Sky: A China Memoir” (1975), which she produced. Her next role is in “Wild Oats.”
Pine most recently appeared as Cinderella’s Prince in “Into the Woods” (2014). He also has starred in such features as “Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit” (2014), “Star Trek Into Darkness” (2013), “People
Like Us” (2012), “Unstoppable” (2010), “Star Trek” (2009) and “Bottle Shock” (2008). […]

Oscar missed the boat with all of the “Gone Girl” snubs

The more I think about it, the more it frustrates me that Academy members didn’t go particularly far beyond their comfort zones this year. Sure, things like Birdman, Boyhood, The Grand Budapest Hotel, and Whiplash seem like unusual Best Picture nominees, but they still have plenty in common with past Oscar favorites. I won’t even get started on how they snubbed Selma everywhere but in Picture and Best Original Song, but I will take them to task for something else…snubbing Gone Girl everywhere but in Best Actress. Not only was David Fincher’s film deserving of more in the way of citations, it would have shown some evolution on the part of the Oscar voter.
Somewhat lost in the shuffle during the rightful uproar over Ava DuVernay missing out in Best Director for Selma was that Gillian Flynn was snubbed in Best Adapted Screenplay, a category many had predicted her to win, myself included. Snubbing the most honored female writer of the year while at the same time snubbing the most honored female filmmaker of the year just looks bad. Beyond that, Flynn just delivered a knockout adaptation of her own novel with Gone Girl. It’s hard to see how anyone can say with a straight face (outside of maybe Harvey Weinstein) that Graham Moore’s script for The Imitation Game, which now likely will win, is superior to Flynn’s.
On a slightly smaller scale, Fincher missing in Director isn’t an overt travesty, but when you look at the uninspired choice of Morten Tyldum, you do shake your head. I don’t mean to be picking on The Imitation Game, but it’s exactly the sort of prepackaged Academy Award contender that’s built to get a lot of nominations and then go home empty handed. That’s just a waste to me. If you’re going to give something a handful of nods and then not see those noms turn into wins, make the cited work more interesting. Fincher springs to mind, though obviously DuVernay as well, or Damien Chazelle for Whiplash here in Director, for that matter.
Of course, there’s the Best Picture field. Having only eight nominees raises the question of which film or films missed the cut, something I always try to study. The number nine spot almost assuredly was Foxcatcher’s, so that tenth place slot was between Gone Girl and Nightcrawler. This furthers the argument I’ve made for a few years now that we should […]

The best films and performances of 2014

We’ve come to the end of the line, ladies and gentlemen. 2014 is about to be put into the books, with 2015 upon us in mere few hours. To close out the year, I wanted to pile on to the seemingly never ending group of articles filled with Top Ten lists and the like. I don’t want it to just be my list though, so below you’ll see that, but also my thoughts on the year as a whole, along with my picks for the best performances of the year as well a few specific category awards. Basically, this would reflect sort of what my Oscar ballot would look like in the major categories, though I’ll perhaps save that full look at a personal ballot for a more specific piece when voting comes to an end in a few weeks. We’ll see. Anyway, time to get this show on the road!
The cinematic year that was 2014 has been considered by some to be a real high water mark of late, while others felt that it was a severe let down. Me? I’m stuck in the middle. I had less films that I feel completely in love with than usual, but at the same time I had more films overall that I liked than in many of the prior years. As such, the movies sort of feel on par with the last few years to me. The very best of 2014 was incredible to me, featuring a few modern classics, so I can hardly call it a down year. Perhaps it was just that a handful of the most praised titles were ones that I didn’t go as nuts over, so that contributes to an odd feeling about 2014? Whatever the case, there were plenty of flicks that I adored, despised, and just plain scratched my head over. That makes for a full meal of a film year, so I can’t complain. That’s the year in a nutshell to me though…more of the same.
Obviously, there are a ton of things to look forward to in 2015, so perhaps at this time next year we’ll all be remarking about how much better of a cinematic slate it was, but at the same time, there’s always the chance of a big let down. In that case, we’d be reminiscing about the halcyon days of now. It’s all a shot in the dark when […]

Amy Adams, Ben Affleck, Benedict Cumberbatch, Robert Downey Jr., Jonah Hill, Keira Knightley and Kristen Stewart to appear on the Hollywood Film Awards November 14th on CBS

Amy Adams, Ben Affleck, Benedict Cumberbatch, Robert Downey Jr., Jonah Hill, Keira Knightley and Kristen Stewart to appear on the Hollywood Film Awards November 14th on CBS.
Special Musical Performance by Janelle Monáe
The 2014 Awards Show will be Hosted by Queen Latifah and
Broadcast Live from the Hollywood Palladium
The Hollywood Film Awards today announced additional stars scheduled to appear at the inaugural broadcast of The Hollywood Film Awards live from the Hollywood Palladium, Friday, November 14, 2014 (8:00-10:00 PM, live ET/delayed PT) on the CBS Television Network. Host Queen Latifah will welcome Amy Adams, Ben Affleck, Benedict Cumberbatch, Robert Downey Jr., Jonah Hill, Keira Knightley and Kristen Stewart. Critically acclaimed singer/songwriter Janelle Monáe will also take to the stage for a special musical performance. They join previously announced guests Gerard Butler, Robert Duvall, Michael Keaton, Julianne Moore, Jack O’Connell, Chris Pratt, Channing Tatum, Jean-Marc Vallée, Reese Witherspoon and Shailene Woodley. The Hollywood Film Awards, the official launch of the awards season™, has recognized excellence in the art of cinema and filmmaking for 17 years, honoring some of the world’s biggest stars.
Historically, the Hollywood Film Awards has celebrated some of the biggest names in film. Previous honorees include: Amy Adams, Ben Affleck, Annette Bening, Sandra Bullock, George Clooney, Glenn Close, Russell Crowe, Penelope Cruz, Robert DeNiro, Johnny Depp, Leonardo DiCaprio, Kirk Douglas, Robert Duvall, Clint Eastwood, Jodie Foster, Morgan Freeman, Richard Gere, Dustin Hoffman, Anthony Hopkins, Angelina Jolie, Diane Keaton, Nicole Kidman, Jennifer Lawrence, Jack Lemon, Matthew McConaughey, Julianne Moore, Sean Penn, Joaquin Phoenix, Julia Roberts, Geoffrey Rush, Susan Sarandon, Hilary Swank, John Travolta, Christoph Waltz, Naomi Watts, Forest Whitaker, Michelle Williams and Robin Williams, among others.
The Hollywood Film Awards kicks off at 7:30 PM live ET/delayed PT on CBS with a special half-hour red carpet show featuring fashion and interviews with the stars as they arrive. Following the Hollywood Film Awards broadcast, the festivities will continue with a live one-hour show that will feature interviews with honorees and look back at the evening’s highlights. “CBS This Morning” anchors Charlie Rose, Norah O’Donnell and Gayle King will host, (10:00-11:00 PM, live ET/delayed PT).
The Hollywood Film Awards, founded in 1997 by Carlos de Abreu, who also executive produces, is produced by dick clark productions. Allen Shapiro, Mike Mahan, Mark Bracco and R. A. Clark are executive producers along with de Abreu.
CBS Extended Primetime Schedule for Friday, Nov. […]

A Mid-October Oscar Predictions Update

Ladies and gentlemen, as I’ve been saying over the past few months…oscar predictions are a rather funny thing. Sometimes you have to just update them all wholesale in order to not be way off the mark/behind the times, while sometimes they only require a relatively small bit of tinkering as to be on the right track and not out on crazy limbs. That’s simply the nature of the beast, one where a single new contender on the horizon can upend the race, one way or another. With only a small amount of Oscar hopefuls still to be seen, we’re again waiting for a new contender to potentially change the landscape (I’m looking at you, American Sniper), now that we’re in a world where Inherent Vice has already unveiled itself and not particularly changed things at all. In any event, it’s time for a new predictions update!
If you look at what I have in this particular update, you’ll see that I’ve made some changes, but not a complete overall. Once again though, a special thing I have for you all is the addition of who I have next in line in the major categories. This will give you a better idea of what the larger landscape looks like. I’ll obviously need to update these all again in a few weeks, particularly after I hopefully see things like Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar, but that’s one step ahead of the game for me. Until then (as well as when the other unseen contenders reveal themselves), the educated guesswork will just have to continue on a little bit longer.
In terms of my winners, I just want to say that I think just about every race is still wide open (give or take Best Supporting Actor) and I refuse to predict a split between Best Picture and Best Director this early in the game, so when I switch one, I have to change the other. As such, you’ll see a handful of new winners throughout the big eight categories. They could just be temporary, but time will tell in that regard. For now, that’s just how I see the race…
Well, enough talk though folks. I know you all just want to see how the predictions have changed, even if only a little bit, so let me oblige you. Here now are my most up to date Academy Award predictions:
BEST PICTURE
1. Boyhood
2. The Imitation Game
3. Birdman or […]

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