August 28, 2015
        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...                Lily Tomlin in 'Grandma' represents a true Best Actress contender        

Tag Archives: george clooney

What were the Ten Best summer releases of 2015?

We’re in the final days of August, which means that the summer movie season has basically come to an end. As is the case when things wrap up, I like to rank them, and this is no exception. September is right around the corner, so it’s a perfect time too. Below you will see what I feel were the ten best releases during the summer, which I’ve extended to potentially include April and May releases as well, since that’s part of the now expanded season, cinematically speaking. Take a gander, remember that it’s just my opinion here, and as always…I hope you enjoy my list!
Here now are what I feel were the best that the summer of 2015 had to offer us:
10. Avengers: Age of Ultron – Perhaps a disappointment to some, this mega sequel still delivered what it promised and was rather satisfying, so it deserves a spot on the list. Joss Whedon and his superhero team know how to entertain, so even if it wasn’t the second coming, it did do its job, so credit where credit is due. Marvel does this sort of thing like no other.
9. Spy – A bit of a pleasant surprise, though by now the team of Paul Feig and Melissa McCarthy is basically a sure sign of comedic gold. As effective a an action flick as it is a parody of spy movies, this is a comedy that does just about everything right. Could it have been slightly funnier? Sure, but now we’re just splitting hairs. It was a hit and deservedly so.
8. Ant-Man – One of the summer’s riskier blockbusters (and certainly a gamble for Marvel, to say the least) was also one of its more troubled productions, yet when push came to shove…it was another very solid comic book movie. An origin story for a second tier character, Peyton Reed took what Edgar Wright developed, and along with Paul Rudd, made it something a bit different. It wasn’t always as neat as it could have been, but it certainly worked.
7. Tomorrowland – I know folks were pretty mixed on this one, but I really appreciated the ambition on display here. Brad Bird and Damon Lindelof made a summer sci-fi epic that dares to encourage creativity, hope, and optimism for the future, and that’s a rare breed indeed. It probably was always going to be too expensive to be financially successful, […]

George Clooney Seeks to Expose Those Who Finance/Profit From Wars in Africa

The Enough Project announced the launch of THE SENTRY, a new investigative initiative that seeks to dismantle the networks of perpetrators, facilitators, and enablers who fund and profit from Africa’s deadliest conflicts. The Sentry’s arrival comes as President Obama prepares for an historic trip to Africa later this week.
Co-founded by George Clooney and John Prendergast, building on lessons learned from their earlier Satellite Sentinel Project initiative, The Sentry uses open source data collection, field research, and state-of-the-art network analysis technology to track and analyze how conflict is financed, sustained, and monetized. The new website for The Sentry, www.TheSentry.org, also features a secure portal for the confidential and anonymous submission of tips, leaks, and information.
John Prendergast, co-founder of TheSentry.org, said: “Conventional tools of diplomacy usually have not helped end conflicts because they don’t alter the calculations of those fueling war and committing atrocities. Given the current profitability of conflict, new efforts must center on how to make war more costly than peace. The objective of The Sentry is to follow the money and deny those war profiteers the proceeds from their crimes.”
George Clooney, co-founder of The Sentry, said: “Real leverage for peace and human rights will come when the people who benefit from war will pay a price for the damage they cause.”

The Sentry today also published four Country Briefs detailing the nexus of conflict, corruption, and violent kleptocracy in South Sudan, Sudan, Central Africa Republic, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Sentry Analyst Akshaya Kumar pointed out, “The points of convergence where illicit schemes rely on legitimate global financial and transport infrastructure, at times represent the most profitable links in the conflict value chain, and also those most vulnerable to disruption. Direct perpetrators of mass atrocities may be relatively insulated from international pressure, but their facilitators are certainly not.”
Omer Ismail, Sentry Analyst, said: “Without countering systematic looting by governments and rebel groups, peace and protection efforts stand little chance of success. The good news story that Africa has become, and which in the next days the President will appropriately highlight, in many parts of the continent will continue to be undermined by these hijacked states and their long-running, predatory civil wars. A new framework must be developed to adapt, implement, and enforce the tools of financial crimes enforcement to give these countries back to the people.”
Sentry Co-Founder John Prendergast elaborated: “The Sentry’s ultimate objective is to alter the incentives for funding […]

“Tomorrowland” starring George Clooney is an ambitious family friendly blockbuster

I love ambition. When you’re a filmmaker with some measure of clout, it always makes sense to really shoot for the stars, as it were. Not everyone does it, but director Brad Bird sure does. On Friday, Bird’s new flight of fancy Tomorrowland opens in theaters, hoping to capture the imaginations of families throughout the world. After the wild successes of The Incredibles and Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, Bird could basically do whatever he wanted, so he teamed up with scribe Damon Lindelof in order to make this unique tale happen. Not everyone agrees with me, but on my end, I’m thrilled that they did. Tomorrowland is something very singular and enjoyable.
In short, Tomorrowland is about imagination fueling the future. Without giving too much away, there is an actual place called Tomorrowland that basically features the world’s best and brightest. George Clooney plays an inventor who was once a visitor to the land as a boy. Now, he’s tracked down by Britt Robertson’s teen girl, someone who has been invited to the land, though this time it’s so she can essentially save the world. To say more would be to spoil the fun, but it’s got plenty on its mind, trust me there. The aforementioned Bird directs and co-writes with Lindelof and Jeff Jensen, while the cast besides Clooney and Robertson includes Raffey Cassidy, Pierce Gagnon, Judy Greer, Kathryn Hahn, Keegan-Michael Key, Hugh Laurie, Tim McGraw, Thomas Robinson, and more. Clooney, Laurie, and Robertson are the main attractions, though Cassidy has a surprisingly big part to play.
What works best here is the look and feel of the film. From Michael Giacchino’s score to Claudio Miranda’s cinematography, it all works towards Bird’s vision. You mix that with how ambitious and big hearted the story is, and there’s a lot going on. It’s not perfect, mind you, but any blockbuster that has a moral centered around hope, imagination, and optimism is something with a message worth spreading. Miranda and Giacchino help out Bird on the technical front, while Jensen and Lindelof are assisting on the scripting front. Throw in the cast, particularly Clooney and Robertson, and you have a team all racing towards the same admirable goal. It’s family friendly while never talking down to its audience.
I have my doubts that this will do much with the Academy, but there is a small amount of Oscar potential here. You can count […]

TOMORROWLAND in these new featurettes starring George Clooney, Britt Robertson and Director Brad Bird!

From Disney comes two-time Oscar® winner Brad Bird’s “Tomorrowland,” a riveting mystery adventure starring Academy Award® winner George Clooney. Bound by a shared destiny, former boy-genius Frank (Clooney), jaded by disillusionment, and Casey (Britt Robertson), a bright, optimistic teen bursting with scientific curiosity, embark on a danger-filled mission to unearth the secrets of an enigmatic place somewhere in time and space known only as “Tomorrowland.” What they must do there changes the world—and them—forever.
Featuring a screenplay by “Lost” writer and co-creator Damon Lindelof and Brad Bird, from a story by Lindelof & Bird & Jeff Jensen, “Tomorrowland” promises to take audiences on a thrill ride of nonstop adventures through new dimensions that have only been dreamed of.
The film also stars Hugh Laurie as brilliant scientist David Nix, Raffey Cassidy, Tim McGraw, Kathryn Hahn, Keegan-Michael Key and Thomas Robinson.
“Tomorrowland” is produced by Damon Lindelof, Brad Bird and Jeffrey Chernov and directed by Brad Bird, with John Walker, Bernard Bellew, Jeff Jensen and Brigham Taylor serving as executive producers. “Tomorrowland” opens in U.S. theaters on May 22, 2015.

Oscar Predictions for the month of May, 2015

Almost five full months into the 2015 movie season and I’m happy to report that we know zilch about the Oscar race. Why happy? Well, it means there’s plenty of fun guesswork to be done, and I’m all about that. The Cannes Film Festival has gotten underway and that can be used for a hint or two, but right now, it’s only eliminated one film (The Sea of Trees, which seems to be out of it entirely, outside of perhaps Matthew McConaughey) and made another a question mark (Woody Allen’s Irrational Man), with some other contenders like Carol still to screen. As such, your guess is as good as mine, which is part of the early year fun, at least in my book.
The one thing of note that I want to make mention of for this latest Oscar prediction update is that I expanded the fields a bit. The Best Picture lineup I’ve bumped up to 30, actually, with 15 for the other seven remaining categories that make up the “Big Eight”. As a bonus, I even went with ten for Best Animated Feature, just to have things as open as possible, which is what things are like right now, no question about it. My winners are still largely the same, including Steven Spielberg and his film Bridge of Spies, while something like Brooklyn or Carol is making its way up my rankings, slowly but surely. It’ll be a few months still until we have some semblance of an idea about the Oscar race, but right now, it’s a ton of fun to speculate…

Here now are my newest set of Academy Award predictions:
BEST PICTURE
1. Bridge of Spies
2. Our Brand is Crisis
3. Carol
4. The Light Between Oceans
5. Joy
6. The Martian
7. The Hateful Eight
8. Steve Jobs
9. The Revenant
10. Brooklyn
Next in line: 11. The End of the Tour 12. Ricki and the Flash 13. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl 14. Lion 15. MacBeth 16. Black Mass 17. By the Sea 18. Demolition 19. Freehold 20. Trainwreck 21. The Danish Girl 22. The Walk 23. Southpaw 24. In the Heart of the Sea 25. Star Wars: The Force Awakens 26. Bleed for This 27. Sicario 28. Irrational Man 29. Suffragette 30. Ex Machina
BEST DIRECTOR
1. Steven Spielberg – Bridge of Spies
2. David Gordon Green – Our Brand is Crisis
3. David O. Russell – Joy
4. Todd Haynes – Carol
5. Derek Cianfrance – The […]

“Mad Max: Fury Road”: Ten Films to Look Forward to in May

With the end of April upon us next week, I wanted to turn our attention to May and the cinematic treats that might be held there. It’s essentially the start of the summer movie season, so there’s a slight turn that takes place in terms of what comes out. There are a few less notable indies, while the mainstream titles veer towards blockbuster status. In fact, a nice grouping of the biggest Hollywood smash hit hopefuls are hitting in May. You’ll see the ones below, clearly, but I tried to mix it up, going from tiny indie horror to massive comic book franchise sequel, with plenty in between. Enjoy!
Here are ten May releases to anticipate…
10. The Ladies of the House – A small independent horror film from John Stuart Wildman and Justina Walford, it offers a welcome throwback to the days of exploitation. I feel like Russ Meyer and Eli Roth would appreciate this in equal measure. It’s genre fare and not for everyone, but those who have a stomach for this sort of thing will likely enjoy discovering some new filmmaking voices. Look for it on May 1st.
9. San Andreas – Dwayne Johnson vs an Earthquake? I’m sure that’s enough to sell a ticket for many of you. I haven’t heard much buzz about this one, but on May 29th we can watch all hell break loose. It’s fair to say that this one could wind up being really entertaining, if likely in a dumb sort of way. We’ll find out on May 29th.
8. Good Kill – I saw this drama at the Tribeca Film Festival (after it came there following a debut at the Sundance Film Festival earlier on in 2015) and on May 15th, you can too. It offers up Ethan Hawke as a drone pilot, which is timely, if nothing else. The movie is solid too, so I can recommend it on its merits as well.
7. Pitch Perfect 2 – The sequel to the surprise hit from a few years ago, this is basically fan service, but we rarely get that in the form of a girl power mid level dance comedy, so you can’t take issue with it at all. Anna Kendrick and company are all back, so if you dug the first one, you can see it on May 15th.
6. Welcome to Me – Kristen Wiig wins the lottery and gets own talk show. […]

“Trainwreck”: Ten Original Summer Movies to look forward to

As you all know by now, the summer movie season is getting longer and longer each and every single year. At the same time, the films being released are getting less and less original as well. It’s not necessarily a knock on quality, but everything seems to be a prequel or a reboot or a sequel, leaving very little room for originality. Sure, there’s original takes on things, but original ideas themselves appear to be in short supply. As such, I wanted to highlight some of the 2015 summer releases that seem to buck this trend. There’s a handful of titles that aren’t based on existing material, and that’s delightful to me.
Below you’ll find a list of ten flicks hitting theaters between the beginning of May and the end of August that aren’t comic book adaptations or anything even close to that. I might do a separate list of films like that next week, as the summer movie season basically officially kicks off, but for now, I’m going with this list. They tend to be mainstream outings, though there’s one or two small indies thrown in there to mix it up, for good measure, of course. Take a gander and use this as a way to plan out a well round couple of months of going to the cinema…
In alphabetical order, here are ten original concept movies to look forward to this summer:
Aloha – As a huge Cameron Crowe fan, I’m certainly eager to see his latest romantic comedy that’s sure to have a great soundtrack. Bradley Cooper stars alongside Emma Stone, with Rachel McAdams and Bill Murray among the top notch supporting cast. Crowe hasn’t been the king of the rom-com in a while, so perhaps this will be his return to wide level acclaim? We’ll find out at the very end of May.
Digging for Fire – Indie filmmaker Joe Swanberg always makes original films, but they rare show up on summer movie lists. This year, however, he continues his trend of working with bigger actors on slightly more mainstream a scale. He’s finally being noticed, so another teaming with Jake Johnson could continue that upswing. I believe this one comes out in August.
Inside Out – Pixar goes back to their non-sequel roots with this look inside the mind of a young girl, particularly at her emotions and how they control/interact with her. It has a spot at the […]

George Clooney – TOMORROWLAND – New Trailer and IMAX Sneak Peek

A brand new trailer from Disney’s Tomorrowland starring George Clooney has been released.
From Disney comes two-time Oscar® winner Brad Bird’s riveting, mystery adventure ‘Tomorrowland,’ starring Academy Award® winner George Clooney. Bound by a shared destiny, former boy-genius Frank (Clooney), jaded by disillusionment, and Casey (Britt Robertson), a bright, optimistic teen bursting with scientific curiosity, embark on a danger-filled mission to unearth the secrets of an enigmatic place somewhere in time and space known only as ‘Tomorrowland.’
What they must do there changes the world and them forever.
Featuring a screenplay by ‘Lost’ writer and co-creator Damon Lindelof and Brad Bird, from a story by Lindelof & Bird & Jeff Jensen, ‘Tomorrowland’ promises to take audiences on a thrill ride of nonstop adventures through new dimensions that have only been dreamed of.

George Clooney Acquires “Three Minutes to Doomsday.”

Abrams Artists Agency is pleased to announce that George Clooney and Grant Heslov’s Smokehouse Pictures has acquired the film rights for Joe Navarro’s Three Minutes to Doomsday. The North American rights for the book were recently acquired by Scribner, a division of Simon & Schuster.
As the FBI’s leading body language expert, Joe Navarro was sent to track down Rod Ramsey to report on his knowledge or association with Clyde Lee Conrad. It all started with a trembling cigarette: when Navarro asked Ramsay about Conrad, his cigarette shook. Navarro’s expertise enabled him to decipher the meaning behind Ramsay’s tic. Noticing this miniscule movement led him to a series of interviews in an increasingly complex relationship that would uncover one escalating revelation after another, until he eventually uncovered the most dangerous security breach in US history. Along the way Navarro had to develop Ramsay’s trust, engage and convince a skeptical federal bureaucracy, and spend hundreds of hours preparing for each of 42 interviews with Ramsay over the course of a year, as the west is increasingly vulnerable against the backdrop of the Cold War.
Navarro is assisted in his writing by Howard Means, who has collaborated on multiple New York Times Bestsellers, including See No Evil and Sleeping with the Devil, both by Robert Baer. Baer’s books provided the basis for the film Syriana; Clooney received an Academy Award ® for his performance in that film.

The 82nd Academy Awards: If I had been a voter

As I mentioned last time out, this series has officially returned. Yes, once again I’m going to be taking a look back at a recent (or now recent-ish) 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 attempting to do just that, time will still tell if it’s something that gets stuck with or not. Again, if nothing else, this continues to give 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 for this particular ceremony:
Best Picture – Up in the Air
The nominees here were A Serious Man, An Education, Avatar, The Blind Side, District 9, The Hurt Locker, Inglourious Basterds, Precious, and Up. The main snub here, in my book at least, was (500) Days of Summer, and I nearly went with the actual winner in The Hurt Locker, but Up in the Air was my #1 film of this year, so that made it pretty academic in the end.
Best Director – Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker
A history making and diverse category this time out, the field consisted of Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker, James Cameron for Avatar, Lee Daniels for Precious, Jason Reitman for Up in the Air, and Quentin Tarantino for Inglourious Basterds. I believe Marc Webb was snubbed for (500) Days of Summer and really wish that Reitman had come closer to winning, but when you come right down to it, I can’t argue with Bigelow. The first woman to ever win Best Director gets my vote here as well.
Best Actor – George Clooney for Up in the Air
Here the nominees were Jeff Bridges for Crazy Heart, George Clooney for Up in the Air, Colin Firth for A Single Man, Morgan Freeman for Invictus, and Jeremy Renner for The Hurt Locker. The Academy missed the boat on nominating Sam Rockwell for Moon, but aside from him, I’d have to go for Clooney.
Best Actress – Carey Mulligan for An Education
The big snub to me here was Zooey Deschanel for (500) Days […]

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