August 29, 2015
        "Carol": Looking at potential Best Adapted Screenplay contenders                What were the Ten Best summer releases of 2015?                Eddie Redmayne: The Danish Girl / Official US Poster                Carey Mulligan, Meryl Streep: SUFFRAGETTE New Poster                Spike Lee, Debbie Reynolds, Gena Rowland to Receive Academy's 2015 Governors Awards                Johnny Depp, Leo DiCaprio - Which acting contenders this year are most due for their first win?                "Joy" is the latest Jennifer Lawrence and David O. Russell project in the Oscar hunt                "Straight Outta Compton" is making the case for Oscar consideration                "The Martian": Oscar predictions for August                Rooney Mara: Looking at potential Best Supporting Actress contenders                Bradley Cooper will heat up the Oscar race in "Burnt"                "Carol" gets a Teaser that firmly puts Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara in the Oscar race                Carey Mulligan is an Oscar contender                Hollywood Contenders for 2015 Best Actor: Leo DiCaprio, Johnny Depp, Tom Hanks, Eddie Redmayne, Michael Fassbender                Hollywood Contenders: 2015 Best Movie Blockbusters: Jurassic World, Inside Out, Mad Max: Fury Road, Fast & Furious 7...        

Tag Archives: Entertainment/Culture

“Godzilla” won’t contend for a Best Picture nomination…but it should

Last night I finally saw the reboot of Godzilla at a press screening here in New York and boy oh boy was I blown away. The once campy monster has gotten a serious, Christopher Nolan-esque treatment from up and coming filmmaker Gareth Edwards, and the results are insanely satisfying. Much in the way that Rise of the Planet of the Apes shocked summer audiences a few years ago and became speculated about as a potential awards hopeful, Godzilla should have the same fate. The inherent ridiculousness of a giant lizard stomping around will prevent it from serious contention, but it deserves some consideration at least.
Think of it this way…how cool would it be to see Godzilla as a Best Picture nominee? Especially back when there was a mandatory field of ten Best Picture nominees, a blockbuster like this would have fit right in. Yes, it’s an odd choice, but why not reward an attempt at infusing a little bit of art into what otherwise might have been just a money grab? We’ve seen countless blockbusters underwhelm, so when one overwhelms, I start to dream of it catching on in a big way. There’s no chance it could ever win, and likely would never even come close to a nomination, but folks…it deserves to at least be realistically considered.
With an A list cast that includes Bryan Cranston, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Ken Watanabe, Elizabeth Olsen, Juliette Binoche, Sally Hawkins, and David Strathairn, Seamus McGarvey as the director of photography, and Alexandre Desplat doing the score, the movie is more than just your garden variety creature feature. The flick has some loftier ambitions, and believe it or not, it hits a lot of the time when it reaches for the sky like that. There’s an environmental message, a nuclear war related theme, and some reflections on real life disasters. You don’t always get that in your summer movies, so I at least feel like that’s worthy of some sort of recognition.
Realistically, the film can only hope for some tech citations, but it’s very deserving of those. It should be in play for Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing, and Best Visual Effects nods, with a nom for Best Original Score not completely out of the question either. Along with those Oscar hopes, look for Edwards to become a go to A-list filmmaker soon, as he’s shown a deft touch at $100 million tentpoles now […]

“The Immigrant” – Marion Cottilard, Joaquin Phoenix, Jeremy Renner

Directed by: James Gray
Written by: James Gray and Ric Menello
Main Cast: Marion Cottilard, Joaquin Phoenix, Jeremy Renner, and others
Past Oscar relations: Cottilard, Phoenix, and Renner all have Oscar nominations, while Cotillard won Best Actress for La Vie en Rose.
Today we’re focusing on James Gray’s The Immigrant, a new period piece opening this weekend which hopes to at long last get Gray headfirst into the awards race. Gray directs and co-writes (with Ric Menello) here, with Marion Cotillard in the lead role of an immigrant struggling to make it in New York. Joaquin Phoenix and Jeremy Renner have the main supporting parts as men in Cotillard’s life, and after a debut last year at the Cannes Film Festival and a spot in the New York Film Festival lineup, the film is coming our way and hoping for the best. The A list cast and period setting definitely has an inherent appeal to awards voters, so that’s a start.
What this flick has going in its favor is a strong cast doing strong work. Cotillard especially is really great here, though Phoenix and Renner are very solid as well. The former two certainly give performances that are up the Academy’s alley, so with a little bit of a push from other voting bodies, Oscar voters could potentially consider their candidacies. Gray also has a great visual palate on display, so it’s hardly just an acting showcase. He really transports you back to turn of the century New York City, so that immersive aspect is a big plus for the film as well.
Working against The Immigrant is that the initial Cannes reviews weren’t overly enthusiastic and Gray’s works on the whole have so far been ignored by the Academy. The period piece aspect here is baity, but without much in the way of raves, as well as a small release from The Weinstein Company here in May as opposed to during prime awards season, this isn’t particularly set up to succeed. Perhaps if it surprises at the box office, things will change, but my hunch is that there won’t be too much of a campaign in place for the movie.
So, can this be a player at all? I’d say that the time has come and gone for this one to make an impact (if it were going to have been a major player, it likely would have been Harvey Weinstein’s horse last awards season, […]

The future is bright for Joaquin Phoenix

Here we go with another installment of my Spotlight on the Stars series. As a refresher for those of you who aren’t familiar with the series, each week I’ll look at an A-list 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 most weeks, honestly) or just because I feel they deserve to have a moment in the sun, but each time out it’ll be a bit of positivity about someone who I’d like to pay tribute to. You can count on that much.
For this week’s piece, I wanted to take a look at one of Hollywood’s most talented actors…Joaquin Phoenix. He’s definitely been an odd duck at times (just look at everything that surrounded his art experience/mockumentary I’m Still Here), but his skill is undeniable. He’s the sort of actor that you’re shocked hasn’t won an Oscar yet. His time is definitely coming though. It’s a matter of when, not if.
At the start of his career, Phoenix (then known as Leaf Phoenix) was a child actor with plenty of talent on display, even in something like SpaceCamp. For me though, it wasn’t until he first teamed up with filmmaker James Gray in The Yards that we saw what he was fully capable of. He has a new collaboration with Gray out this week in The Immigrant, and between then and now he’s also worked with the director on We Own the Night and Two Lovers, the latter of which is one of his finest performances to date.
Phoenix earned his first Oscar nod for his supporting turn in Gladiator and then worked on a few films with M. Night Shyamalan (Signs and The Village) along with some solid genre fare before earning his second nom and first lead citation for playing Johnny Cash in Walk the Line. That set him up to be a real A-list star, but the actor was uncomfortable with the spotlight and went away for a while, creating the persona we saw in I’m Still Here. Phoenix returned though, and when he did, he was better than ever.
Lately we’ve seen the man at his best. From The Master to Her, he’s shown new range and given two of his absolute top performances to date. It was a crime to me that he wasn’t cited in 2013 for Her, though […]

Katy Perry to perform ‘Birthday’ at the 2014 Billboard Music Awards

dick clark productions and Billboard announced today that Katy Perry will be performing her new smash hit ‘Birthday’ for the first time on television, at the 2014 Billboard Music Awards. Perry joins an already star-studded lineup of previously announced musical performers that includes 5 Seconds of Summer, Florida Georgia Line, Imagine Dragons, Jason Derulo, Jennifer Lopez, John Legend, Lorde, Luke Bryan, Miley Cyrus, Miranda Lambert and Carrie Underwood, OneRepublic, Pitbull, and Ricky Martin. The 2014 Billboard Music Awards will broadcast live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on Sunday, May 18, on ABC at 8pm ET.
Three-time Billboard Music Award winner Katy Perry, who is a finalist in 10 categories this year, including Top Artist and Top Hot 100 Song, will be performing via satellite from her PRISMATIC WORLD TOUR. The tour kicked off May 7th in Belfast, and continues with 17 dates in the United Kingdom. Second and third legs will take her through North America, Australia and New Zealand for a total of 107 shows this year, with more dates being planned for 2015.
In 2011 she was the Top Hot 100 Artist and the Top Digital Songs Artist. In 2012 she received the Spotlight Award, honoring her achievement as the first woman to earn five No. 1 songs on the Billboard Hot 100 chart from one album (“Teenage Dream”). Her new hit ?Birthday? is currently in the Top 15 on the Billboard Pop Songs Chart.
Fan voting for the 2014 Milestone Award presented by Chevrolet will continue through the first two hours of the awards show, ending at 10pm ET. To vote for finalists Ellie Goulding, OneRepublic or Carrie Underwood go to billboard.com/milestone. The special editorial award will be given to an innovative artist who has achieved a notable chart milestone over the past year.
The 2014 Billboard Music Award festivities start with the “Samsung Galaxy Red Carpet LIVE! @ The 2014 Billboard Music Awards,” which will live stream on Yahoo at 6pm ET / 3pm PT. The two hour pre-show, hosted by Lance Bass, Jordin Sparks, Ted Stryker and more, can also be viewed at BillboardMusicAwards.com, Billboard.com, and additional online destinations by embedding the Yahoo Screen media player (available upon request). Fans can check out the full experience at https://music.yahoo.com/programs/billboard-music-awards/.
Fans can ask questions to their favorite nominees, presenters and performers at the Billboard Music Awards using Instagram’s Q&A Station. To submit, fans should create an Instagram […]

Donald Sterling Talks: “I’m not a racist and I’ve never been a racist.”

Anderson Cooper sat down for an exclusive interview with Donald Sterling today in Los Angeles.
Below sound bites from the interview.
Donald Sterling: I’m not a racist, I made a terrible, terrible mistake. And I’m here with you today to apologize and to ask for forgiveness for all the people that I’ve hurt. And I’ve hurt so many people. So many innocent people and I’ve hurt myself. you know I spoke to a girl that I was fond of. When I listen to that tape, I don’t even know how I can say words like that. I’m so sorry, I’m so apologetic
Anderson Cooper: What are you sorry about.
DS: well I’m sorry that so many people are hurt. I never dreamed that this could happen it’s a terrible, terrible nightmare.
My players, they didn’t need this. they didn’t need this cloud over their head.
their good people and I love them and respect them and I would always be there for them.
AC: when you saw them..
DS: And for them to hear that I’m a possible racist is so painful to me cuz I’m not a racist and I’ve never been a racist. it’s not me.
AC: when you saw the players wear their warm up jerseys in reverse so the Clippers name wasn’t on, what did you think?
DS: I really didn’t pay attention, they are clippers and their mine and I’m theirs. that’s how I feel. I would do anything for them, I made a mistake I hope it’s in their heart to forgive me for that mistake.
I don’t know why the girl had me say those things.
AC: You’re saying you were set up?
DS: Well yes, I was baited I mean that’s not the way I talk. I don’t talk about people for one thing, ever. I talk about ideas and other things, I don’t talk about people.
AC: do you know how the tape got released?
DS: No,
AC: do you think she did it?
DS: I don’t know, an 80 year old man is kind of foolish, and I’m kind of foolish. I thought she liked me and really cared for me. I guess being 51 years older than her, I was diluting myself.
AC: do you trust her now?
DS: no, I don’t trust her and I just wish I could ask her why? And if she was just setting me up, I think that people say she was taping me for 2 years. So maybe I was just […]

Angelina Jolie is our “Hollywood Actress of the Week” – Photo Gallery

Our selected star to be included in our “Hollywood Actress of the Week Photo Gallery” is Angelina Jolie
In 2011, Jolie made her directorial feature debut with In the Land of Blood and Honey, a love story between a Serb soldier and a Bosniak prisoner of war, set during the 1992–95 Bosnian War. She wrote the script after twice visiting Bosnia and Herzegovina in her role as a UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador, with the aim of rekindling attention for the survivors of a war that took place in recent history. To ensure a sense of authenticity, she cast only actors from the former Yugoslavia, most of whom lived through the war—including stars Goran Kostić and Zana Marjanović—and incorporated their experiences into her script. The resulting film, which she also co-produced, was released in U.S. theaters entirely in the Serbo-Croatian-Bosnian language.

In the Land of Blood and Honey received mixed reviews from critics. Kenneth Turan of The Los Angeles Times criticized its “contrived plot points,” but ultimately acknowledged that, as a first-time director, “Jolie accomplishes much in such a difficult area as the Bosnian war.” Writing for The New York Times, Manohla Dargis likewise criticized Jolie’s script, noting the story’s “somewhat awkward instructional, at times almost proselytizing aspect,” but opined that, for the most part, the film “moves briskly and easily holds your attention.” The film won the Stanley Kramer Award from the Producers Guild of America, which honors films that highlight provocative social issues, and received a nomination for a Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film. It aroused both praise and criticism in the Balkans; the response from Bosniak war-victims advocacy organizations was “overwhelmingly positive,” while a Serb war prisoners group decried the film for its alleged anti-Serb bias. Sarajevo’s regional government named Jolie an honorary citizen of the capital for raising awareness of the war.
After a three-year absence from the screen, Jolie stars in Maleficent. She plays the titular role of Maleficent, the main antagonist from Disney’s 1959 animated feature Sleeping Beauty. The film will show the original story from Maleficent’s perspective, revealing the character’s background. She also directed “UNBROKEN,” a film about World War II hero Lou Zamperini, a former Olympic track star who survived a plane crash over sea and spent two years in a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp. Joel and Ethan Coen rewrote the script, based on Laura Hillenbrand’s biography Unbroken.
Photos by PRPhotos.com

Vengeance is sought when “300: Rise of an Empire” arrives

Vengeance is sought when “300: Rise of an Empire” arrives onto Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack, Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD Special Edition and Digital HD on June 24 from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment. Producer Zack Snyder teams up with Director Noam Murro to create the follow up to the 2007 hit “300” in the same visually stunning style as the original. The stylized epic follows two warring nations that fight for glory amidst a raging sea.
Adapted from a screenplay by Zack Snyder and Kurt Johnstad, and based on Frank Miller’s graphic novel “Xerxes,” Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures’ “300: Rise of an Empire” was directed by Noam Murro. Gianni Nunnari, Mark Canton, Zack Snyder, Deborah Snyder and Bernie Goldmann produced the film, with Thomas Tull, Frank Miller, Stephen Jones, Craig J. Flores and Jon Jashni serving as executive producers.
The film stars Sullivan Stapleton (“Gangster Squad”) as Themistokles and Eva Green (“Dark Shadows”) as Artemisia, alongside Lena Headey (“Game of Thrones”) as the Spartan Queen, Gorgo; David Wenham (“Better Man”) as Dilios; Andrew Tiernan (“Ripper Street”) as Ephialtes; Andrew Pleavin (“The Borgias”) as Daxos; and Rodrigo Santoro (“The Last Stand”) returns in the role of the Persian God-King, Xerxes. The main cast also includes Hans Matheson (“The Christmas Candle”) as Themistokles’ closest friend and advisor, Aeskylos; Callan Mulvey (“Zero Dark Thirty”) and Jack O’Connell (“Skins”) as father and son soldiers, Scyllias and Calisto; and Igal Naor (“Ambassadors”) as the Persian King Darius.
“300: Rise of an Empire” will be available on Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack for $44.95 and on Blu-ray Combo Pack for $35.99. Both include a digital version of the movie on Digital HD with UltraViolet.* Fans can also own “300: Rise of an Empire” in Digital HD on June 24 via purchase from digital retailers.
SYNOPSIS
“300: Rise of an Empire,” told in the breathtaking visual style of the blockbuster “300,” is a new chapter of the epic saga, which takes the action to a new battlefield—the sea.
The story pits the Greek general Themistokles against the massive invading Persian forces, ruled by the mortal-turned-god Xerxes, and led by Artemisia, the vengeful commander of the Persian navy.
Knowing his only hope of defeating the overwhelming Persian armada will be to unite all of Greece, Themistokles ultimately leads the charge that will change the course of the war.

Seth Rogen – “Neighbors” Premiere – Photos

“Neighbors” conquers this weekend’s box office. Starring Seth Rogen, Rose Byrne and Zac Efron, it is the story about a couple with a newborn baby facing unexpected difficulties after they are forced to live next to a fraternity house.
“Not only is he (Seth Rogen) one of the biggest comedy stars on the planet, he’s also a multi-hyphenate, having co-written and co-directed This is the End (along with having co-written The Green Hornet, Pineapple Express, and Superbad, to name a few). He’s probably the most successful of the Judd Apatow troop so far, and he’s showing no signs of slowing down.

By and large, his best films often are broad comedies (like his newest movie opening this week, the very funny flick Neighbors), with Rogen being a likable oaf. He’s a rare leading man who doesn’t look like a leading man. Sometimes, like in Knocked Up or Zack and Miri Make a Porno, that works for the narrative itself, increasing the effectiveness of the films. He’s like a big teddy bear, so you want to like his characters, plain and simple. He’s been able to subvert that here and there in more offbeat works like Observe and Report, but for the most part he’s the guy you want to love in his projects.

On the flip side though, Rogen has from time to time gone towards more dramatic parts, and he’s done quite well there too, I might add. The best example of that is Take this Waltz, where he’s amusing but very much a dramatic character, and a romantic one too, at that. He was Oscar nomination worthy there, as were many elements of that sadly ignored film. The same goes for his supporting turn in the dramedy 50/50, where he was ignored by the precursors as well. He was also quite good in another dramedy, Apatow’s Funny People, so he’s got more going on than some realize.

Overall, Rogen is a bit of an underrated actor, with more talent than he’s given credit credit for. With this week’s Neighbors showing him in a slightly different light than usual (he’s still an immature comedic character, but he’s also shown as a husband and a parent, hinting at some more responsibility than he usually has), it could be that Rogen is on his way to trying something new. I certainly hope he keeps trying his hand at dramedies, as he’s potentially going to get […]

Are Passion Projects actually a good thing for filmmakers?

If you’re a lover of cinema like I am, there’s an inherent extra bit of interest on hand when a director announces that he or she is finally going to make a passion project of theirs. Just this year, we’ve seen Darren Aronofsky finally get Noah to the big screen, while Richard Linklater completed his more than a decade in the making Boyhood in time for the Sundance Film Festival. Almost two years ago, Steven Spielberg brought his vision of Lincoln to the Oscar ceremony, and next year Martin Scorsese seems at long last set to shoot his own passion project Silence. They happen every single year, but the thing is…are they actually a good thing?
Obviously, the upside to passion projects is that the filmmaker in question is almost obsessed with making it as good as possible. They’ve perhaps even had a one track mind for years with these projects. When done right, you get Oscar contenders like the aforementioned Lincoln. It doesn’t always go that way, but when it’s a success, it always seems like a bigger success.
The downside however, is that sometimes it can blind said filmmakers to the inherent issues with the project. Look no further than this year’s Winter’s Tale or 2012’s Cloud Atlas. In the former’s case, Akiva Goldsman encountered near venomous reviews and in the latter’s case, the trio of Andy Wachowski, Lana Wachowski, and Tom Tykwer received as many reviews calling it the worst movie of the year as they did calling it the best. Both films suffered potentially from filmmakers too emotionally invested in the material to see where changes needed to be made.
Earlier this year, Aronofsky’s film Noah met with decidedly mixed reviews, some of which stemming from thoughts that he should have taken a more objective look at the movie. Granted, some of the issues came from his deviations from the religious text, and that’s not a legitimate criticism to me, but the purely cinematic issues are ones that I find to be somewhat valid. Aronofsky is a master filmmaker, but the two films that he received less than raves for were his passion projects (the other one being The Fountain, ironically one of my all time favorite films). Coincidence?
We’ll see soon with Scorsese’s Silence if all this time spent waiting to make the flick will help or hurt it. He spent a long time trying to make Gangs of […]

MALEFICENT stars Angelina Jolie, Elle Fanning, Sam Riley, and Lesley Manville – Photos

MALEFICENT stars Angelina Jolie, Elle Fanning, Sam Riley, and Lesley Manville walked the blue carpet at the “World of Maleficent” event at Kensington Palace in London. A special display of costumes and props from the film were featured.
“Maleficent” explores the untold story of Disney’s most iconic villain from the classic “Sleeping Beauty” and the elements of her betrayal that ultimately turn her pure heart to stone. Driven by revenge and a fierce desire to protect the moors over which she presides, Maleficent cruelly places an irrevocable curse upon the human king’s newborn infant Aurora. As the child grows, Aurora is caught in the middle of the seething conflict between the forest kingdom she has grown to love and the human kingdom that holds her legacy. Maleficent realizes that Aurora may hold the key to peace in the land and is forced to take drastic actions that will change both worlds forever.

The film stars Angelina Jolie as Maleficent, Sharlto Copley, Elle Fanning, Sam Riley, Imelda Staunton, Juno Temple and Lesley Manville.

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“Maleficent” is produced by Joe Roth and directed by Robert Stromberg, with Angelina Jolie, Michael Vieira, Don Hahn, Palak Patel, Matt Smith and Sarah Bradshaw serving as executive producers. Linda Woolverton wrote the screenplay. “Maleficent” opens in U.S. theaters on May 30, 2014.
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