April 23, 2014

Tag Archives: Independent films

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

Directed by: Darren Aronofsky
Written by: Darren Aronofsky and Ari Handel
Main Cast: Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Anthony Hopkins, Emma Watson, Logan Lerman, Ray Winstone, Douglas Booth, Marton Csokas, Nick Nolte, Mark Margolis, and Frank Langella
Past Oscar relations: Crowe won Best Actor for Gladiator and has two other acting nominations, Hopkins won Best Actor for The Silence of the Lambs and has three other acting nominations, Connolly won Best Supporting Actress for A Beautiful Mind, Nolte has three acting nominations, Langella has one acting nominations, Aronofsky has a nomination for Best Director, and DP Matthew Libatique has a nomination for Best Cinematography
Here we go now with our first true article in this new series on 2014 contenders. First up is Darren Aronofsky’s Noah, which again brings him together with the likes of Jennifer Connelly, composer Clint Mansell, co-writer Ari Handel, and cinematographer Matthew Libatique, along with newcomers like Russell Crowe, Anthony Hopkins, Ray Winstone, Emma Watson, and Logan Lerman. It’s a retelling of the story of Noah (shockingly enough), though apparently more in line with Aronofsky’s prior work like The Fountain than more straightforward biblical tales to date.

What this movie has going in its favor is quite simply Aronofsky. He’s a visionary director and this has long been a passion project of his. I’ll have a bit more to say about passion projects this weekend, but I’m someone who’s always interested in them and how much potential they have. Aronofsky finally caught the Academy’s attention last time around with Black Swan (though both Requiem for a Dream and The Wrestler scored acting citations), so if Oscar voters are now on his wavelength, we could see them look to honor his ambition here.
Working against Noah is publicity that the flick will get because of its origins, as opposed to the final product itself. Early reviews have been mixed but mostly positive, so it’s not a question of if the film is any good or not, but if it’ll be given a real chance. My heart wants to say that folks will look past the potential protests from the religious right, but my head thinks that it’ll become something all too easy to ignore for voters. Taking into account that it’s an early year release as well, and the movie clearly will have an uphill battle for any major recognition, to say the least.
So, can this be a player at all? My gut says [...]

‘Noah’ debuts a new TV Spot

If there’s one new release this month that I’m really looking forward to in a big way, it’s Darren Aronofsky’s Noah, which has long been a passion project of his. The last time he had one of those on his mind, we got The Fountain, which is a divisive film, yes, but also one of my five favorite films of all time, so suffice to say, I’m 100% in for this one. Aronofsky has a top notch cast on hand too, including Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connolly, Emma Watson, Ray Winstone, Anthony Hopkins, Logan Lerman, and Nick Nolte, among others. I’m not usually big on biblical epics, but this could be an exception. A new look at the movie has arrived today in the form of a 30 second TV Spot, and I’ve got that for you all to check out momentarily. The flick comes out in theaters at the end of the month and is a must see in my book based on the filmmaker’s reputation alone, for whatever that’s worth. Decide for yourself though below…
Here’s the new TV Spot that dropped today:

This will likely either be a huge hit or a huge flop, financially at least, but one thing is for certain, it won’t be for lack of ambition on Aronofsky’s part. Either way, for me, March 28th can’t come soon enough!

Oscars®: Get to know a Best Picture nominee: “12 Years a Slave”

12 Years a Slave
Directed by: Steve McQueen
Written by: John Ridley
Main cast members: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Lupita Nyong’o, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Dano, Paul Giamatti, Sarah Paulson, Brad Pitt, Paul Giamatti, Scoot McNairy, and Alfre Woodard
Number of Oscar nominations in total: Nine
Other nominations besides Best Picture: Best Director (McQueen), Best Actor (Ejiofor), Best Supporting Actor (Fassbender), Best Supporting Actress (Nyong’o), Best Adapted Screenplay (Ridley), Best Production Design, Best Costume Design, and Best Film Editing
Notable precursor wins: Tied for Best Picture at the Producers Guild of America Awards, won Best Drama at the Golden Globe Awards, won Best Supporting Actress at the Screen Actors Guild Awards, won Best Picture, Best Supporting Actress, Best Adapted Screenplay at the Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards and and USC Scripter Award.
Chances at winning Best Picture: One of the top three contenders and main frontrunners for the award
Chances at other Academy Award wins: Frontrunner in the Best Supporting Actress and Best Adapted Screenplay races

12 Years a Slave is the first film in my “get to know a Best Picture nominee” series, and it’s one of the main contenders in the category. The film is about the true life tale of Solomon Northrup, a free black man who was tricked into slavery and kept for the dozen years that gives the movie its name. Ever since it was announced that the film was being made, pundits like myself speculated that it was going to be an awards juggernaut. Well, it didn’t disappoint and after being the most cited flick among the precursor season, it’s now one of the most nominated films by the Academy and deep in the fight for Best Picture.
Working in 12 Years a Slave’s favor is that it is basically a universally beloved film. There might be more passionate support for other contenders, but it’s almost impossible to find someone who doesn’t think that the movie is at least very good, if not great. That creates a situation where voters are basically assured of placing it high up on their ballot. Consensus is the key to victory in this category, and this is a flick that will not want for number one votes. The question is simply if the other two main competitors (American Hustle and Gravity) can amass a wider range of Academy members to vote for them as opposed to this one.
If you’re looking for something that’s not in this film’s favor, it’s [...]

Kudos for ‘Before Midnight’ Writers Linklater, Delpy and Hawke

The 17th Annual Hollywood Film Awards announced today that it will be honoring Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke and Richard Linklater, with the “Hollywood Screenwriters Award,” for their screenplay for Sony Pictures Classics’ Before Midnight.
The announcement was made today by Carlos de Abreu, founder and executive producer of the Hollywood Film Awards. He said: “It is a privilege to honor such multi-talented screenwriters.”
The award will be bestowed at the Hollywood Film Awards Gala Ceremony on Monday evening, October 21, 2013 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills.
This is the third film in the series, preceded by Before Sunset in 2004, also written by the trio, and Before Sunrise in 1995, written by Linklater and Kim Krizan. In the latest film, we meet Celine and Jesse nine years after their last rendezvous. Almost two decades have passed since their first encounter on a train bound for Vienna, and we now find them in their early forties in Greece. Before the clock strikes midnight, we will again become part of their story.
The Hollywood Film Awards honors cherished stars, filmmakers and up-and-coming talent, and traditionally kicks off the film awards season with the biggest stars and top industry executives in attendance.
“We are very proud to be the first stop of the awards season. In the last ten years, a total of 96 Oscar® nominations and 34 Oscars® were given to the honorees of the Hollywood Film Awards,” said de Abreu.
Last year’s awards show received more than 41 million media impressions, in addition to more than 300 million online and print readers’ impressions.
ABOUT JULIE DELPY
After graduating from NYU’s Tisch Film School, Delpy’s film Blah Blah Blah debuted at the Sundance Film Festival in 1995. That year she also starred in Richard Linklater’s film Before Sunrise, with Ethan Hawke. The film received glowing reviews, and lead to a follow-up with the characters nine years later with Before Sunset in 2004. Delpy co-wrote the script with Hawke and Linklater, and it earned them an Academy Award nomination for Adapted Screenplay. Delpy has also been recognized for her work by the César Awards, having been nominated three times, and is well-known for an additional film series she has written, directed, edited and co-produced; 2 Days in Paris and 2 Days in New York.
ABOUT ETHAN HAWKE
Ethan Hawke is an Academy Award nominated actor and screenwriter who has starred in over 40 films that have spanned [...]

DRINKING BUDDIES starring Olivia Wilde, Jake Johnson, Ron Livingston and Anna Kendrick acquired by Magnolia

Magnolia Pictures announced today that they have acquired North American distribution rights to writer-director Joe Swanberg’s DRINKING BUDDIES, starring Olivia Wilde, Jake Johnson, Anna Kendrick and Ron Livingston.
Produced by Dark Arts’ Alicia Van Couvering and Andrea Roa; Burn Later?s Paul M. Bernon and Sam Slater; and Swanberg, the film premiered this month at the 2013 SXSW Film Festival. The film was executive produced by Mike Witherill, Ashley Bernon, Jessica Klapman, David Kaplan, Anish Savjani, and Wilde. Magnolia Pictures is planning a theatrical release for later this year.
DRINKING BUDDIES follows the lives of Kate (Olivia Wilde) and Luke (Jake Johnson) who work together at a craft brewery. They have one of those friendships that feels like it could be something more. But Kate is with Chris (Ron Livingston), and Luke is with Jill (Anna Kendrick). And Jill wants to know if Luke is ready to talk about marriage. The answer to that question becomes crystal clear when Luke and Kate unexpectedly find themselves alone for a weekend.
“Joe Swanberg has been evolving steadily as a filmmaker, and with DRINKING BUDDIES, he’s delivered his best work yet?a truly funny, smart and insightful film about real adult relationships,? said Magnolia President Eamonn Bowles. “Olivia Wilde, Jake Johnson and the rest of the cast also deliver some of the best work of their careers. We’re raising an imperial pint in celebration.?
“I feel tremendously privileged to work with such a smart, energetic and exciting company,” said Swanberg. “I had an amazing time working with the Magnolia family on V/H/S and I can’t wait to be their drinking buddy again. I just know they will do great things with the film.?
The deal for the film was negotiated by Magnolia SVP of Acquisitions Dori Begley and Director of Acquisitions Peter van Steemberg, with CAA on behalf of the filmmakers and producers.
Swanberg’s prior films include HANNAH TAKES THE STAIRS, ALEXANDER THE LAST, UNCLE KENT, SILVER BULLETS, and V/H/S.
Photo by PRPhotos.com
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Tribeca Film Festival announced the lineup for the 7th annual Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival

The Tribeca Film Festival (TFF) today announced the lineup for the seventh annual Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival. Founded to broaden the audience for independent film through stories about sports and competition, this year’s Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival will consist of nine films, including four titles from ESPN Films’ highly anticipated “Nine for IX” series which celebrates the fortieth anniversary of Title IX with nine documentary films about women in sports directed by outstanding female filmmakers.
The 2013 Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival will run during the 12th edition of TFF, presented by American Express, April 17 – April 28 at locations around New York City.
The Festival revealed that the world premiere of Big Shot, directed by Kevin Connolly, will serve as the gala premiere of the program on Friday, April 19. Connolly is returning to Tribeca having debuted his feature film Gardener of Eden in 2007. In Big Shot, Connolly chronicles John Spano’s fraudulent purchase of the New York Islanders. In 1997, Spano bought the New York Islanders for a staggering $165 million. The scheme behind Spano’s acquisition of the team is revealed as Big Shot takes viewers behind the scenes of the biggest fraud in hockey history.
“The sports film offerings at this year’s Festival give sports fans and movie buffs tremendous opportunities to experience the many ways that sports intersect with our culture,” said Genna Terranova, Tribeca Film Festival Director of Programming. “We are excited that Big Shot, which chronicles one of the most infamous sagas in professional sports management history, will kick-off this year’s Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival, and to share the range of these personal stories seem through the lens of sports.”
“I’ve always thought the expression ‘passion project’ was kind of a cliché until I started working on Big Shot for ESPN,” said Kevin Connolly. “Working side by side and spending time with guys that I literally grew up idolizing has been a once in a lifetime opportunity. The whole experience, including having the film premiere in New York at the festival, has been a dream come true.”
“There are many vibrant, independent voices out there telling incredible sports stories and we’re honored to be involved with the Tribeca Film Festival where together we can shine a light on these documentaries and filmmakers,” said Connor Schell, vice president of ESPN Films. “We produce our films with the intention of capturing both the glory and the heartbreak of [...]

“MACHETE KILLS” – Deadly New Poster – Sofia Vergara, Lady Gaga

Prepare for the epic return of Danny Trejo as the ultimate badass in Robert Rodriguez’s highly anticipated MACHETE KILLS. Recruited by the government for a mission which would be impossible for any mortal man, Machete must take down a madman revolutionary and an eccentric billionaire arms dealer who has hatched a plan to spread war and anarchy across the planet.
Get a load of Sofia Vergara as the deadly Desdemona in the latest MACHETE KILLS poster

With an all-star cast including Michelle Rodriguez, Sofia Vergara, Amber Heard, Charlie Sheen, Lady Gaga, Antonio Banderas, Jessica Alba, Vanessa Hudgens, Cuba Gooding, Jr., Mel Gibson, and Danny Trejo as the legendary Machete, MACHETE KILLS will be in theaters everywhere September 13th.
Get a load of Sofia Vergara as the deadly Desdemona in the latest MACHETE KILLS poster
FACEBOOK/MacheteKills
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Andy Samberg hosts the 2013 Film Independent Spirit Awards

The Exclusive Canadian Broadcast of the 2013 Film Independent Spirit Awards on Saturday, February 23 rd at 10pm ET, will take place on Sony Movie Channel.
All of the action unfolds a day before the Academy Awards® from a beachside tent in Santa Monica, California with comedian and SNL alumni Andy Samberg hosting the 28th annual awards. The Spirit Awards celebrate artist-driven filmmaking and recognize the finest achievements of today’s independent filmmakers and is the premier awards event for the independent film community.
The Spirit Awards ceremony brings together top talent from independent film and Hollywood. 2013 nominees include Silver Linings Playbook and Moonrise Kingdom for Best Feature, Wes Anderson (Moonrise Kingdom) and David O. Russell (Silver Linings Playbook) for Best Director. Nominees in the acting categories include Jennifer Lawrence & Bradley Cooper (Silver Linings Playbook), Matthew McConaughey (Killer Joe), Helen Hunt (The Sessions) and Bruce Willis (Moonrise Kingdom). Additionally, War Witch from Canada’s Kim Nguyen has been nominated for Best International Feature. Visit www.spiritawards.com for a full list of nominations.
Photo by PRPhoto.com
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Dimension Films to release DARK SKIES

Dimension Films will release DARK SKIES on February 22, 2013. The film is a supernatural thriller from Jason Blum, the groundbreaking producer of the PARANORMAL ACTIVITY franchise, INSIDIOUS and SINISTER.
Dark Skies from the producer of Paranormal Activity, Insidious, and Sinister comes Dark Skies: a supernatural thriller that follows a young family living in the suburbs. As husband and wife Daniel and Lacey Barret witness an escalating series of disturbing events involving their family, their safe and peaceful home quickly unravels. When it becomes clear that the Barret family is being targeted by an unimaginably terrifying and deadly force, Daniel and Lacey take matters in their own hands to solve the mystery of what is after their family.
Cast includes Keri Russell,J.K. Simmons,Josh Hamilton. Producer is Jason Blum and Writer/Director:
Scott Stewart (PRIEST, LEGION)
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Oscars: Amy Adams to be nominated by Academy Awards

We are keeping our fingers crossed. So, that our frontrunner, Amy Adams, can be nominated for “Best Supporting Actress,” for her great performance in “The Master.”
A three-time Academy Award-nominated actress, Amy Adams can currently be seen starring in Paul Thomas Anderson’s “The Master,” opposite Joaquin Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman. The critically acclaimed film broke art house box office records in its opening weekend. Adams can also presently be seen in Robert Lorenz’s “Trouble with the Curve” opposite Clint Eastwood. Later this year she will have a cameo in director Walter Salle’s adaptation of Jack Kerouac’s seminal beat generation novel, “On The Road,” and in 2013, Adams will be seen in Zack Snyder’s “Superman” reboot for Warner Bros., “Man of Steel” where she will play “Lois Lane,” as well as the “Untitled Spike Jonze Film.”
Adams previously starred in David O. Russell’s “The Fighter,” opposite Mark
Wahlberg and Christian Bale. The role garnered Adams Golden Globe, SAG and BAFTA nominations, as well as her third Academy Award nomination in five years. Her previous Academy Award nominated roles include John Patrick Shanley’s “Doubt,” opposite Meryl Streep and Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Phil Morrison’s “Junebug.” Adams is also noted for her performances in box office hits, including “Julie and Julia,” “Enchanted,” and “Sunshine Cleaning.” Behind the camera, Adams has teamed with Maven Pictures’ Trudie Styler and Celine Rattray to produce “Object of Beauty,” which she is also set to star in.

The 2012 Hollywood Film Awards has also announced that it will honor producers Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner with the “Hollywood Producers Award,” writer/director Judd Apatow with the “Hollywood Comedy Award,” actor John Hawkes with the “Hollywood Breakout Performance Award” for “The Sessions,” and Quvenzhané Wallis with the “New Hollywood Award” for “Beasts of the Southern Wild.” Other honorees include cinematographer Wally Pfister and visual effects supervisors Jane Sirrs and Jeff White. In addition, director Peter Ramsey’s “Rise of the Guardians” will be honored with the “Hollywood Animation Award,” along with additional honorees to be announced in the coming weeks.
The Hollywood Film Awards Gala honors cherished stars, filmmakers and up-and-coming talent, and traditionally kicks off the film awards season with the biggest stars and top industry executives in attendance.
“We are very proud to be the first stop of the awards season. In the last nine years, a total of 85 Oscar® nominations and 32 Oscars® were given to the honorees of the Hollywood Film [...]

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