September 03, 2015

Tag Archives: Entertainment/Culture

Vin Diesel, Paul Walker – Furious 7 World Premiere

Deckard Shaw seeks revenge against Dominic Toretto and his family for the death of his brother.
Director James Wan. Cast: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Jason Statham, Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster, Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris, Dwayne Johnson,Lucas Black,Kurt Russell

Brad Pitt – “Moneyball”: The Best Baseball Films of All Time

Play ball! With Baseball season coming next week, I wanted to do something a little bit fun and look at not just the best sports movies, but the best baseball movies ever made. There’s more than a few to choose from, with a solid handful starring Kevin Costner, I might add. I’m even going to make some potentially controversial choices, as you’ll see below. It’s all in good fun though, and as I get set to spend another year getting my heart broken by the New York Mets, I wanted to put this out there for you all. Enjoy and get ready for baseball…
Here are the ten best baseball movies of all time:
10. Rookie of the Year – Perhaps a lot of this is nostalgia fueling the pick, but I have a real soft spot for the story of a kid who winds up pitching for the Chicago Cubs. It’s wish fulfillment for pre teen boys and a little on the scattershot side, but it’s certainly got a charm. I couldn’t resist putting this on my list, since it’s, you know…my list.
9. Major League – Baseball often transitions to comedy, with this film perhaps being the most successful pure comedic outing of the lot. The sports movie cliches and elements are handled well here, but they’re buoyed by the laughs that are liberally spread out through the entire film. It’s just a ton of fun.
8. Fever Pitch – I really dug the look at baseball fandom contained within this romantic comedy. I’m not sure how appealing it is to die hard baseball fans of sole rom-com nuts, but if you have an affinity for both sides, this merges the two worlds surprisingly well. I think it’s incredibly underrated, quite frankly.
7. Little Big League – The slightly more mature version of Rookie of the Year’s wish fulfillment, this movie looks more at coaching and the front office than at playing ball. It’s still plenty silly, but the premise gets a little bit more gravitas, as it were. Still, nostalgia is at work here, no doubt about that.
6. The Natural – An undisputed classic, I’m not quite a high on it as most others, but I still recognize it for what it is. This is a great film that perhaps suffers a small bit from heavy praise, but clearly deserves its place in history all the same. I like it a lot, […]

Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron- Mad Max: Fury Road / Trailer Rollout

In a post-apocalyptic world, in which people fight to the death, Max teams up with a mysterious woman, Furiousa, to try and survive.
Director George Miller. Starring: Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult, Hugh Keays-Byrne, Nathan Jones, Zoë Kravitz, Riley Keough, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Abbey Lee, Courtney Eaton.
Direct

Will Ferrell: His Ten Best Films

Consider this a bit of an experiment today. Instead of doing something like what I used to do with the Spotlight on the Stars series, I’m going to try honoring an actor or a filmmaker with a personalized top ten list. We’ll start off with none other than Will Ferrell, who happens to have the new comedy Get Hard hitting theaters this weekend. This initial piece will look at the ten best movies he’s been in, as opposed to just his best performances, but those will be contained within this list too, of course, so fear not. Anyway, let’s give this a shot and see how it goes!
Here now, without any delay, are the ten best films that Ferrell has found himself a cast member in…
10. The Producers – Though a pale comparison to the original Mel Brooks movie (or the Broadway production), this remake of sorts does happen to be decently entertaining as well as feature Ferrell as one of its highlights. He scored his first Golden Globe nomination for this role in Best Supporting Actor, beating out some dramatic heavies for the nod too, so that’s something.
9. Melinda and Melinda – It’s lesser Woody Allen for sure, but an underrated title of his with Ferrell mostly doing a more serious than average version of an Allen impression. Ferrell happens to be one of the better parts of the flick, so that gives it a definite boost, helping it crack this list.
8. Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back – I’m not as wild about this one as most Kevin Smith fans are (it’s second tier Smith to me), but when it’s funny…it’s hilarious. Ferrell might not be the highlight, but he’s a solid part of a really game to play ensemble. That’s something that he’s better at than a lot of people realize. He’s a showy comedian, but he also can blend pretty well too.
7. Everything Must Go – One of Ferrell’s best performances to date comes in this effectively low key dramedy. With none of his usual mannerisms, he’s really just inhabiting a character. The reason this movie works is his performance, plain and simple. He raises it up.
6. Elf – Easily one of the most likable roles for Ferrell is found within this charming little family comedy. There are times when it’s a little too cute for its own good, but there’s such warmth radiating from this […]

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 […]

Tom Cruise is back! “MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE – ROGUE NATION”

Paramount Pictures today announced that tickets for the first showings of the highly anticipated film “MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE – ROGUE NATION” are unlocked with today?s trailer debut and on sale now ? four months before the film?s theatrical release.
The advance tickets are available for Thursday, July 30th showings at 7:00 p.m. in IMAX® and premium large format theaters and 8:00 p.m. at additional participating locations nationwide. The tickets are available online at Fandango, Movietickets.com and participating theater box offices.

Starting tomorrow, Tuesday, March 24th through Friday, March 27th, fans purchasing advance tickets at Fandango and Movietickets.com will receive a code for a free HD digital copy of any previous installment in the blockbuster “MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE” franchise.
For more information and to purchase tickets, visit www.MissionImpossible.com

How did “Serena” go from an Oscar contender to a pretender?

You probably aren’t aware of this, but a third Bradley Cooper/Jennifer Lawrence collaboration is opening in theaters this weekend. In fact, it has been available On Demand for weeks already. Yes, a film that stars arguably the two biggest stars in Hollywood had a VOD start before the impending limited release on Friday. What movie is this, you ask? Well, it’s Serena, a once incredibly high profile adaptation that had the likes of Darren Aronfosky and Angelina Jolie circling it. Initially slated to come out even before American Hustle, hoping to capitalize on the Cooper/Lawrence success in Silver Linings Playbook, this seemed like a strong Academy Awards player. So…what happened?
For those of you not in the know about Serena, here’s a brief overview. It’s adapted from the novel of the same name by Ron Rash, directed by Oscar winning foreign filmmaker Susanne Bier, and written by Christopher Kyle. The plot concerns timber businessman George Pemberton (played by Cooper) and the machinations of his new wife Serena (played by Lawrence). Deceit, intrigue, and perhaps even murder ensue. In addition to Cooper and Lawrence, the cast includes Rhys Ifans, Sean Harris, Toby Jones, and more. Sounds like sheer awards bait, right? Well, it tuned out to be far from it…and that’s putting it gently.
Essentially, this flick ran into trouble right as production wrapped up. Bier struggled a bit in the editing room and the release date kept changing. Sometimes that’s no big deal, but with a higher profile film like this one, particularly one without a distributor, it begins to influence the buzz. With multiple cuts all failing to land a deal, this quickly got an aura of something potentially disastrous. That’s unfair to a movie that might be misguided but is wholly undeserving of venom, but it had literally years of industry folk crapping on it. Nothing can survive that, even when Cooper and Lawrence had as big a hit in American Hustle as they did with Silver Linings Playbook.
Finally though, Serena is hitting theaters this weekend, giving audiences who haven’t checked it out on VOD a chance to see this for themselves. I have to imagine that it’s become a bit a curiosity among indie film fans, particularly those who followed the troubled history of other movies like Accidental Love (which opened last week after a VOD debut and was originally David O. Russell’s satire Nailed) and Margaret (which […]

The ten films most likely to lead the 2015 box office

As much as I clearly obsess myself with trying to accurately predict the Oscars, I also have a slight fascination with attempting to figure out which film will wind up as the most successful at the box office, even if the actual numbers are incredibly difficult to pinpoint. Sadly, most of the time the movies in contention for that crown are iffy at best in terms of quality, but his year might very well be different. 2015 offers up a number of potentially very strong flicks that will vie to be number one at the box office, including a couple that might actually contend for the all time crown. That’s pretty rare (though with the numbers we see year in and year out, it’s slowly getting less and less rare), making the next nine months or so possibly very interesting…
As a quick refresher, this was what the top ten box office hauls of 2014 were, including what some of these made after the calendar changed over:
1. American Sniper ($341,380,905) *and counting
2. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 ($337,103,873) *and counting
3. Guardians of the Galaxy ($333,176,600)
4. Captain America: The Winter Soldier ($259,766,572)
5. The LEGO Movie ($257,760,692)
6. The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies ($254,916,285) *and counting
7. Transformers: Age of Extinction ($245,439,076)
8. Maleficent ($241,410,378)
9. X-Men: Days of Future Past ($233,921,534)
10. Big Hero 6 ($221,690,346) *and counting
Here now are the ten most likely films to run away with the 2015 box office crown:
10. The Good Dinosaur – The first of two Pixar releases on this list (as well as the first of two to involve dinosaurs), you know that an animated feature is going to rake it in during 2015…the question is just, which one? This has been a slightly troubled production, so that might be an issue, but if it’s not, watch out. Marketing wise, this is a dream for Disney/Pixar.
9. Trainwreck – I spoke about this comedy yesterday, but there’s a chance that this could be even bigger than Bridesmaids. Consider this Judd Apatow flick a dark horse. I think it’s possibly the least likely, but it’s still one very much worth keeping at least one eye on. A comedy always seems to break out, so why not this one, particularly if it’s the critical favorite it’s shaping up to be?
8. Terminator: Genysis – Arnold Schwarzenegger is back as the Terminator in a franchise sequel/prequel/reboot that could bring in […]

Oscars highlight next generation of filmmakers

The Academy is now accepting entries for its 2015 Student Academy Awards competition. All Student Academy Award® winners become eligible for Oscars consideration. The 42nd Student Academy Awards presentation will be held on Friday, September 18, at the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills.
Beginning this year, students are able to submit their films online using FilmFreeway, a widely used festival and competition platform. Also new this year, the entry deadline has moved to June 1, and the awards ceremony date has been changed from June to September to better align the competition with the academic calendar.
Complete rules and a link to the online submission platform are available at www.oscars.org/saa.
Past winners have gone on to receive 47 Oscar nominations and have won or shared eight awards. Two previous Student Academy Award winners received 2014 Oscar nominations: J. Christian Jensen, a 2014 Silver Medal winner, received a nomination for Documentary Short Subject for “White Earth,” and Talkhon Hamzavi, a 2013 Silver Medal winner, received a nomination (with Stefan Eichenberger) for Live Action Short Film for “Parvaneh.” Past Student Academy Award winners include such acclaimed filmmakers as Pete Docter, John Lasseter, Spike Lee, Trey Parker and Robert Zemeckis.
Awards may be presented to student filmmakers in the following categories: Alternative, Animation, Narrative, Documentary and Foreign Film.
The Student Academy Awards U.S. competition is open to all full-time undergraduate and graduate students whose films are made within the curricular structure of an eligible accredited institution. In the Foreign Film category, eligible schools are allowed to submit one film to the competition. The deadline to submit entries is Monday, June 1, 2015. For a list of eligibility requirements, visit www.oscars.org/saa.
In 1972, the Academy established the Student Academy Awards to provide a platform for emerging global talent by creating opportunities within the industry to showcase their work.
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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 — the Academy presents a diverse year-round slate of public programs, exhibitions and events; 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 […]

When will Liam Neeson go back to consistently making awards contenders?

Like many of you, I was pretty surprised and more than a little bit delighted when Liam Neeson made the next act in his illustrious career an action packed one. No one expected Taken to be a hit, or as satisfyingly enjoyable as it was, but it signaled a new trajectory for Neeson. That’s been all well and good, but one thing that it’s cost us is his performances in Oscar fare. Since Taken, Neeson has more or less dropped off of the Academy’s radar, with only one upcoming project hopefully set to return him to prestige territory. I like when he kicks ass, like he does in Friday’s new release Run All Night, but I prefer it when he contends for awards.
Neeson is a very strong dramatic actor and certainly very solid as an action hero, but it’s the former where he’s really been able to shine. Think of the performances that you truly remember him for…they’re dramas, not action movies, right? Hell, I’d even argue that something like Love Actually makes better use of Neeson. Again, this isn’t to say that I don’t like when he saves the day, because I do, especially in the first Taken and the action/drama hybrid The Grey, but those other action flicks are a bit more touch and go, quality wise. His dramas (and occasional comedies) have been traditionally more reliable.
For example, these are the action movies he’s done since the first Taken came out, nearly a decade ago: Clash of the Titans, The A-Team, The Next Three Days, Unknown, The Grey, Wrath of the Titans, Battleship, Taken 2, Non-Stop, A Walk Among the Tombstones, Taken 3, and this weekend’s Run All Night. Unless you count his cameo in The Dark Knight Rises, The Grey is really the only one of undisputed quality in that lot. Even when it comes to comedies, at least he has The Lego Movie to fall back on, even if A Million Ways to Die in the West underwhelmed many.
If you look at his dramas though, Neeson has an Academy Award nomination and a trio of Golden Globe nominations to his credit, which should say something. Those nods came for Schindler’s List (also Oscar nominated), Kinsey, and Michael Collins. You could also claim that he’s been in play more than once for other films (Gangs of New York, as one example), but Schindler’s List especially shows just […]

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