April 18, 2014

Tag Archives: Cinema of the United States

Red Carpet: “A Haunted House 2″

There’s nothing worse than an ex-girlfriend scorned. Unless it’s a demonic ex-girlfriend scorned.
Marlon Wayans, Jaime Pressly, Gabriel Iglesias and Cedric the Entertainer were among the film’s cast on the red carpet Wednesday night at LALive for the premiere of “A Haunted House 2.” No one was frightened away from this sequel, which opens Friday and is expected to scare up some tidy box office grosses for distributorOpen Road Films.
Fans lined the block to try and get a glimpse of their favorites,who included a variety of celebrity names like singer-actress Brandy, musicexec Russell Simmons, former football great Shawne Merriman as well as welterweightboxing legend Floyd Mayweather, Jr., who, with his full Money Team entourage, tooktime out getting ready for his upcoming fight to support his friend, Wayans. Ablizzard of flashes went off when the two embraced on the carpet in front ofphotographers.
Wayans was taking red carpet selfies and live tweeting to fans todrum up the base. He’s a pro at this, considering his other “Scary Movie” franchise and it’s success. Wayans and producing partner Rick Alvarez wrote and produced “A Haunted House 2,”
Directed by Michael Tiddes, the ‘?Hauned House’ sequel revolves a round Wayans’ character, Malcolm, who moves with his new girlfriend and hertwo children into their dream house only to find the place plagued by bizarreparanormal events.

Academy Announces Key Dates for Oscars®

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the ABC Television Network today announced the dates for the 87th Oscars. The Academy Awards® presentation will air live on ABC on Oscar® Sunday, February 22, 2015.
Key dates for the Awards season are:
Saturday, November 8, 2014 The Governors Awards
Wednesday, December 3, 2014 Official Screen Credits and music submissions due
Monday, December 29, 2014 Nominations voting begins 8 a.m. PT
Thursday, January 8, 2015 Nominations voting ends 5 p.m. PT
Thursday, January 15, 2015 Oscar nominations announced
Monday, February 2, 2015 Oscar Nominees Luncheon
Friday, February 6, 2015 Final voting begins 8 a.m. PT
Saturday, February 7, 2015 Scientific and Technical Awards
Tuesday, February 17, 2015 Final voting ends 5 p.m. PT
Oscar Sunday, February 22, 2015 87th Academy Awards begins 7 p.m. ET/ 4 p.m. PT
The Oscars will be held at the Dolby Theatre® at Hollywood & Highland Center® in Hollywood, and will be televised live by the ABC Television Network. The Oscar presentation also will be televised live in more than 225 countries and territories worldwide.
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ABOUT THE ACADEMY
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is the world’s preeminent movie-related organization, with a membership of more than 6,000 of the most accomplished men and women working in cinema. In addition to the annual Academy Awards–in which the members vote to select the nominees and winners–Academy presents a diverse year-round slate of public programs, exhibitions and events; provides financial support to a wide range of other movie-related organizations and endeavors; acts as a neutral advocate in the advancement of motion picture technology; and, through its Margaret Herrick Library and Academy Film Archive, collects, preserves, restores and provides access to movies and items related to their history.
Through these and other activities the Academy serves students, historians, the entertainment industry and people everywhere who love movies.
FOLLOW THE ACADEMY
www.oscars.org
www.facebook.com/TheAcademy
www.youtube.com/Oscars

Transcendence – Johnny Depp, Paul Bettany, Rebecca Hall, Kate Mara, Morgan Freeman, Cole Hauser, Cillian Murphy

Directed by: Wally Pfister
Written by: Jack Paglen
Main Cast: Johnny Depp, Paul Bettany, Rebecca Hall, Kate Mara, Morgan Freeman, Cole Hauser, Cillian Murphy, and others
Past Oscar relations: Pfister won Best Cinematography for Inception and Morgan Freeman won Best Supporting Actor for Million Dollar Baby
Here now we have the next article in this series on 2014 contenders hoping to compete for Oscar attention at the Academy Award ceremony in 2015. Next up is DP turned filmmaker Wally Pfister’s directorial debut Transcendence, which hopes to more or less establish Pfister as the next Christopher Nolan (especially since he’s Nolan’s longtime cinematographer), though that may be a somewhat overly optimistic ambition. There’s clearly a bit of Nolan in Pfister though, so we’ll see. He’s got a top notch cast in place here, including Johnny Depp, Paul Bettany, Rebecca Hall, Kate Mara, Morgan Freeman (a Nolan veteran), Cole Hauser, and Cillian Murphy (ditto), so that’s a big help. If Pfister can take scribe Jack Paglen’s well regarded script and make it into something special, perhaps this can be the sort of smart blockbuster that the Academy notices?
What this flick has going in its favor is mainly its pedigree. From the A list cast to the directorial debut of one of the best cinematographers in the business to the hot script that got this all start, hopes have been high from day one here. There’s also the allure of seeing Depp in a role that doesn’t require massive amounts of make up, so older fans of his may be intrigued by this more than many of his recent Disney outings. Followers of Nolan also know Pfister pretty well, so there’s some level of anticipation of him getting to helm his own movie. There’s an original premise on display as well, which is sort of rare these days. This all adds up to a film with lots of potential.
Working against Transcendence is that it appears to be caught between the worlds of heady science fiction and summer blockbuster action. The film could be too talky for the crowd who wants to see things blow up and it could be too reliant on adding spectacle for those who are looking to really get into the nitty gritty of the story here. Honestly, the release date makes me think that Warner Brothers themselves aren’t quite sure how this will all play out, so unless there are top notch [...]

Critics’ Choice: Joey Berlin from BFCA

Joey Berlin from the Broadcast Film Critics Association – Critics’ Choice Awards
By ROBERT W. WELKOS
In 1995, Joey Berlin and Rod Lurie, two entertainment reporters and film critics who had written for rival publications, joined forces to create the Broadcast Film Critics Assn.
While Lurie would go on to carve out a successful Hollywood career as a screenwriter and director with such films as “The Contender” and “The Last Castle,” Berlin hasn’t faired too badly, either, as the president of the BFCA.
Starting with 44 members the first year, the BFCA’s voting membership today hovers between 285 and 290 and the organization bills itself as the largest film critics group in the U.S. and Canada.
At the same time, the BFCA created the Critics’ Choice Awards, a glitzy tux-and-gown gala now televised on the CW Network that features red carpet celebrity arrivals, drawing worldwide media attention and plenty of Oscar buzz since the show coincides with the run-up to the Academy Awards.
But as the show has catapulted the broadcast critics into the Oscar conversation each movies awards season, tax records show that the nonprofit group Berlin leads has paid his privately-owned company, Berlin Entertainment, Inc., hundreds of thousands of dollars each year for production services.
IRS Form 990 filings list Berlin Entertainment, Inc., receiving a combined $992,270 from the nonprofit between fiscal 2009 and 2011.
Berlin notes that his members seem to be satisfied with the job he’s doing since he has been repeatedly re-elected president every two years.
The tax files show that Berlin’s base compensation and benefits were a combined $1,297,133 for the three-year period spanning fiscal 2009 to 2011. But his compensation is listed as coming from “related organizations” and not directly from the BFCA, according to the Form 990 documents, which all nonprofits are required to file with the IRS to qualify for tax-exempt status.
When asked about his sizeable compensation, Berlin told HollywoodNews.com in a recent telephone interview: “I did this for five years for zero compensation, but this is what I do all day, every day. I’m really proud of what we’ve built and accomplished….
“My compensation has grown with the growth of the show,” he adds without apology. “The television show is an incredible benefit to the members.” He notes that these benefits include such things as access and awards screeners. “That seems a comfortable arrangement for everybody.”
One plus for maintaining membership in the BFCA is that—much like [...]

Carlos de Abreu: Founder of the Hollywood Film Awards

Celebrating 20 years of success. Carlos de Abreu is a “New York Times” bestselling author, producer, screenwriter, brand marketing expert and Internet pioneer.
Carlos de Abreu is of Portuguese descent and was born in Mozambique. He was a jet pilot in the Portuguese Air Force and studied economics at the University of Witwatersrand, South Africa, and film at UCLA.
His vast experience in brand marketing earned him executive positions and contracts with Cartier International, American Express, and the Italian Government among others. He also co-founded the North American Marketing Services, Ltd., an international luxury goods corporation with offices in three continents; North America, Asia and Europe.

In addition, he launched the Hollywood Network® online, an ecosystem of “verticalized” web models, focused on entertainment and Hollywood. Mr. de Abreu’s multiple websites include HollywoodNews.com (http://www.hollywoodnews.com)

Mr. de Abreu’s organization, the Hollywood Network Inc., is an entertainment marketing company – awards, film conferences, festivals, Internet content, live events – which mandate is bridging the gap between established Hollywood and the global creative community and produces/co-produces live events including the prestigious “Hollywood Film Awards®,” and the “Hollywood Gives Back®” project – highlighting and assisting important local and national causes.
According to the “Los Angeles Times” the “Hollywood Film Awards®,” “launch the push toward Oscar and are the kickoff for the awards season.”
He is the co-author of the national and “New York Times” bestseller, “Husband, Lover, Spy: A True Story,” St. Martin’s Press, and “Opening The Doors To Hollywood,” Crown Publishing.
Presently he is writing the novel “The Soulshaker.” His prior works include two screenplays: Mozambique: The Last Good-Bye and Sworn To Silence.

Specialties: Specialized in the Internet, intelligence gathering, entertainment space, live events production – awards, conferences, festivals, plus branding and distribution of luxury goods and jewelry both in the U.S.A. and the global markets.

Robin Wright: Who’s overdue for their first Academy Award nomination?

Much like I wrote about the actors, actresses, and filmmakers in Hollywood who are overdue to win an Oscar a few weeks ago, there are tons in the industry who are way overdue merely for their first nomination by the Academy. Some of them have gotten close in the past, while others have yet to really sniff that sort of acclaim. They’re both newcomers to the business and old hands, with plenty of in between as well. In my eyes, there are some really overdue ones in particular, and I figured I’d cite some of them here in this article. Narrowing it down to just ten is really difficult, but I wanted to mix and match between different members of the industry and attempt to include some who will have 2014 releases in contention, as you’ll see momentarily…
Below you’ll find ten members of the industry who have yet to receive an Oscar nomination, but who I think are closing in on one, perhaps even within the next year. Take a look:
10. Channing Tatum – I know his name raises some eyebrows, and up until recently I wasn’t his biggest fan, but he’s going to have a big Oscar contender in Foxcatcher this year, so while Steve Carell (who we’ll be talking about shortly) and Mark Ruffalo as more likely nominees, it’s hardly out of the question for Tatum to make it in. In fact, if he’s a standout, it’ll be one of those more youth skewing nominations that the Academy sometimes likes to sneak in.
9. Joseph Gordon-Levitt – I’ve long been saying that Gordon-Levitt is overdue for a nomination, despite his relative youth. His writing and directing debut Don Jon only showed off more of his talents, so while he couldn’t make it in for something like (500) Days of Summer, the next few years should most likely result in him joining the Academy as a nominee. I’d be shocked if he wasn’t nominated by the end of the decade.
8. Kevin Smith – While Smith is probably past the point of making things that will appeal to Oscar voters, that doesn’t make him any less overdue in my eyes. I’ll be talking about him in a Spotlight on the Stars piece soon, but his best chance was probably for the Chasing Amy screenplay. A few years ago he made a great film that nobody saw called Red State too, so [...]

Oscars®: Draft Day – What’s up with the 2015 Awards Race

Directed by: Ivan Reitman
Written by: Rajiv Joseph and Scott Rothman
Main Cast: Kevin Costner, Chadwick Boseman, Jennifer Garner, Frank Langella, Denis Leary, Tom Welling, and many others
Past Oscar relations: Ivan Reitman was nominated for co-producing Up in the Air and Kevin Costner won Best Picture and Best Director Oscars for Dances with Wolves
Here now we have the next article in this series on 2014 contenders hoping to compete for Oscar attention at the 2015 ceremony. Next up is Ivan Reitman’s Draft Day, which hopes to essentially be the next Moneyball, just with the NFL Draft as its focus. That film was a bit of an aberration, but this one has a bit in common with it, so perhaps the Academy is more open to sports movies than they have been in the past? Reitman has sports film icon Kevin Costner in the lead role, so that’s certainly a plus, along with a strong ensemble that includes Chadwick Boseman, Jennifer Garner, Frank Langella, and Denis Leary, to name a few. They’re in the service of a fine film, one of the better ones to come out this year so far, in my humble opinion. Being a quality bit of cinema is the first step towards becoming a contender.
What this flick has going in its favor is a crowd pleasing plot and a top notch script, not to mention a great role for Costner to sink his teeth into. Costner always is great in sports films, and this is no exception. Reitman also shows an able hand at drama, something he’s rarely attempted during his illustrious career. As for the screenplay, Black List winning scribes Rajiv Joseph and Scott Rothman have crafted something that both hardcore football fans like myself and newbies can enjoy equally. Moneyball was able to do this, and that screenplay damn near won an Oscar, so especially in the writing field, this movie should have a chance to contend for a nomination.
Working against Draft Day is that it is a sports movie without an awards centric pedigree. Yes, it has a Black List winning script, but that doesn’t always make a huge difference. Costner also has never been nominated for one of his sports outings, so it’s likely that he won’t break that trend here. That makes it Best Original Screenplay or nada in all likelihood, and having that narrow a focus makes it a dicey proposition. Draft Day [...]

Spotlight on the Stars: Kevin Costner

Here we go with another installment of my Spotlight on the Stars series. Each week, I’ll look at an actor/actress/filmmaker that I’d like to celebrate in some kind of a way. It could be due to something of theirs coming out that weekend (like last week and this week, for example) or just because I feel they deserve to have a moment in the sun, but each time it’ll be a bit of positivity about someone who I’d like to pay tribute to.
For this week’s piece (number three overall so far), I wanted to take a look at our first male actor…Kevin Costner. Some see him as a bit of a has been, but I disagree and not only still see a movie star, but an underrated actor as well. Costner is a throwback to an older generation of actor. Very much a man’s man and a real movie star, but one with a softness to him as well. His best performances have perfectly highlighted that. He can be an excellent action hero, that’s for sure, but I’ve always preferred him as a bit more of a working man, be it as a baseball player or just a middle class Joe like he was in The Company Men.

Yes, his best films often involve sports (particularly baseball), but how is that a knock against him? Especially with the very good Draft Day hitting theaters this weekend, it’s just evidence of him knowing where he really fits and playing to that. From Bull Durham to Field of Dreams to For Love of the Game and Tin Cup (and also The Upside of Anger, where he plays a retired player), the sports genre really seems to serve him well. That being said, he’s hardly out of his element when removed from athletics.
Costner has usually challenged himself more than he’s been given credit for, especially considering his directorial career. He won Best Director and Best Picture for Dances with Wolves, and even his projects that were deemed unsuccessful weren’t for a lack of ambition. He can be a risk taker behind the camera, even as he’s a calming and grounded presence in front of it. That’s particularly on display with Draft Day, even when his character is far from calm.
Overall, Costner is am underrated actor with an undeniable screen presence, like I mentioned above. As he begins to enter somewhat of a Hollywood elder [...]

Spotlight on the Stars: Scarlett Johansson

After last week’s look at Jennifer Lawrence, I think this is now going to become another weekly series for me, tentatively called “Spotlight on the Stars”. Each week, I’ll look at an actor/actress/filmmaker that I’d like to celebrate in some way. It could be due to something of theirs coming out that weekend or just because I feel they deserve a moment in the sun, but each time it’ll be a bit of positivity about someone who I’d like to pay tribute to.
For this week’s piece (which is technically the second one in the series, though I didn’t have a snappy name for the inaugural Lawrence one), I wanted to take a look at Scarlett Johansson. To some, she’s merely a pretty face, but when I look at her, not only do I see a beautiful woman, I also see a criminally underrated actress. From her early days as a child star of sorts to this very weekend when she has a wonderfully complex leading role in an independent film called Under the Skin coming out, Johansson has way more to offer than some realize. Folks also don’t always catch on to why she’s chosen some of the projects that she has, but one look at the filmmakers that she’s acted for will give you some clue as to her decisions.
Johansson has worked with directors like Woody Allen, Sofia Coppola, Cameron Crowe, Brian De Palma, Jon Favreau, Spike Jonze, Christopher Nolan, and Joss Whedon. You can argue that one or two of the movies she did with these auteurs aren’t particularly great, but she’s certainly got an eye for working with talented people. That’s usually the mark of a strong actress with a good head on her shoulders. No one makes perfect decisions all the time, but even when the project might be misguided, usually there’s an A-list director that’s been a part of the decision to sign on.
Just as an actress, she’s got more range than a lot of people give her credit for. Compare her performances in Her, Lost in Translation, Match Point, and now with Under the Skin, and it’s as if there’s a different actress on display each time. Those four Golden Globe nominations didn’t happen by accident, even if sadly it never translated into an Oscar nod. The Academy in particular missed the boat on a nom for either Lost in Translation or Match [...]

‘Noah’ floods the Box Office this weekend

Happy Sunday once more to you all. Here I am again with the weekly box office report I know you crave so deeply. Leading the way this weekend and leaving the competitors all wet (sorry, I couldn’t resist) was Darren Aronofsky’s take on Noah, which debuted with a pretty solid $44 million at the box office. At number two we had the second week of Divergent, which pulled in $26.5 million more. Number three was Muppets Most Wanted, which had a decent hold and took in another $11.3 million from you fine audience members. The only other new release in the top ten besides Noah was the Arnold Schwarzenegger flick Sabotage, which basically flopped with only $5.3 million. Among the independent/limited releases, we had a mediocre debut for the biopic Cesar Chavez, while The Raid 2 was one film that actually opened well in a platform release. Overall, the movies that are doing well are veering more towards the blockbusters again, so you know that spring and summer must be on their way…
Despite some controversy and less than universal praise for the film, Noah managed to be by far the biggest opening of Darren Aronofsky’s career. Personally, I found the movie pretty interesting, and I’m perhaps the least religious person out there, so that says something about the filmmaker’s talent for telling a unique story. Going forward, a lot will depend on if audiences come back for seconds, but regardless, the opening will probably help Aronofsky with whatever he decides to make next. On the flip side, I’m not sure who’s going to want to have Schwarzenegger in their flick anymore, as Sabotage basically bombed, despite being the new film from the director of the well regarded End of Watch. Much like the middling debut for Cesar Chavez, audiences just didn’t seem to be interested at all.
Among the notable holdovers in theaters, we once again have to begin by discussing Wes Anderson’s latest film. The Grand Budapest Hotel expanded to just under 1000 theaters and moved up again, this time to number six this week, taking in $8.8 million. It’s likely going to become the biggest success of Anderson’s career. Also worth mentioning besides the ones mentioned above, 300: Rise of an Empire managed to break the $100 million mark with a $4.3 million weekend, while Mr. Peabody & Sherman is next in line for that mark as they added [...]

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