September 17, 2015
        "Black Mass" could get Johnny Depp back in the Oscar game                J.J. Abrams and Denis Villeneuve: Ten potential first time writer/director nominees for Oscar in 2015                Roger Deakins offers up some of his very best cinematography in "Sicario"                "The Martian" launches itself as an awards hopeful at the Toronto Film Festival                "Steve Jobs": Oscar predictions for September                "Sleeping with Other People" is one of the most charming films of 2015                Sandra Bullock looks like a contender in the Trailer for "Our Brand is Crisis"                Sam Smith will sing the theme song for the upcoming 007 film "Spectre"                Richard Gere is an under the radar Best Actor contender for "Time Out of Mind"                Telluride and Venice launch festival debuts into the Oscar race                “The Hateful Eight”: Looking at potential Best Original Screenplay Contenders                David O. Russell and Ridley Scott: Which filmmaking contenders this year are most due for their first win?                Telluride Announces 2015 Lineup - Steve Jobs, Black Mass, Suffragette                “Sicario”: Ten Films to see in September                Will Smith crusades for Best Actor in the "Concussion" Trailer        

Tag Archives: James Vanderbilt

J.J. Abrams and Denis Villeneuve: Ten potential first time writer/director nominees for Oscar in 2015

Much like I’ve been saying, of the many storylines that begin during awards season, few are usually as compelling as the ones centered around who’s most due for an Academy Award. I think that it’s usually pretty satisfying to see a former bridesmaid finally become a bride, as it were. The other side of the coin, which is just as exciting to me, if when a first timer can finally get in the Academy’s good graces. Continuing this list trend I’ve been, below you can see a list I made up of ten filmmakers who’ve never been nominated for Oscars but are in contention this year. I’ve more or less ranked them by how due they are, and just to be fair, as per the usual. Take a look at the writers/directors below and as always, I hope you all enjoy!
Here now are the ten writers and/or directors most due for their first Oscar nomination:
10. Judd Apatow – A filmmaker who traffics in comedy, Apatow had one of this most well received titles this year in Trainwreck. He’s always been more likely to be nominated for his writing than his directing, but anything is possible, especially considering he didn’t work on this script. Apatow is also a producer here, so if a Best Picture nomination can happen, he can finally join the club.
9. John Crowley – Here’s a below the radar contender. Crowley’s Brooklyn is looking like a possibly safe bet to score with the Academy in a number of categories, but could Best Director be one of them? Crowley might be a longer shot among the possible Best Picture nominees, but time will tell in that regard. He’s definitely going to be a player, that’s for sure.
8. Alex Garland – Mostly known as a writer, Garland made his directorial debut this year with Ex Machina. Almost out of nowhere, it became a crossover success, sparking some Oscar buzz. While his screenplay is the more likely nominee than his direction, both will have trouble against more prestigious titles. Garland is worth keeping an eye on though, as he’s well respected within the industry for his genre work.
7. Derek Cianfrance – You can almost feel the greatness radiate from the work of Cianfrance. We’re still waiting to see if his contender The Light Between Oceans comes out this year or not, but if it does…watch out. The odds favor a […]

Spider-Man scribe snared for sequel

By Sean O’Connell Do you think Sony/Coljmbia has faith in what James Vanderbilt was able to do with the anticipated Spider-Man reboot currently being filmed by director Marc Webb?
The screenwriter received a serious vote off confidence when the studio recently hired him to begin penning a planned sequel … even before “The Amazing Spider-Man” wraps or reaches theaters.
Vanderbilt “had a meeting with the Spider-Man filmmakers and studio execs yesterday outlining his take, getting a thumbs up, and will now begin writing,” THR reports.
The current production is expected to wrap its filming in mid-April. It stars “Social Network” collaborator Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker and Emma Stone as his love interest, Gwen Stacy.
Webb’s “Amazing Spider-Man” will be in theaters on July 3, 2012. Now we’re left to wonder if it will conclude with a tease for the second movie, or possibly set up a trilogy like Sam Raimi recently attempted.
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Martin Sheen joins “Spider-Man,” and Sally Field might be next

By Sean O’Connell Some “Spider-Man” casting news is hitting the Interwebs this evening as Marc Webb rounds out his big-budget reboot.
Since we know the plot, conceived by James Vanderbilt, will focus on Peter Parker and his masked hero during his high school years, Webb and his already cast lead, Andrew Garfield, is going to need an Uncle Ben. And Variety reports Martin Sheen is in final negotiations to play Peter’s doomed relative.
But who will play the legendary Aunt May? Hours after announcing Sheen’s interest, the trade says Sally Field has been “offered” the role and is considering joining the production ahead of its December start.
What else do we know about Spidey? Well, Rhys Ifans is on board as The Lizard. And Emma Stone of “Easy A” will play Spidey’s love interest, Gwen Stacey. I think Sheen’s an excellent choice for Uncle Ben, though I wonder if he’ll survive long enough to appear in a few installments now that they’re not doing the traditional origin story that Raimi adapted in his first “Spider-Man.”
As for Field, I’m unsure. In a way, I wish Webb would just invite Rosemary Harris to return, as she nailed to role in Raimi’s films. She and J.K. Simmons would be the only actors I’d hold over from Raimi’s universe. Sadly, it ain’t happening.
“Spider-Man” will be in theaters in 2012.
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Rhys Ifans cast as (unidentified) villain in next “Spider-Man” film

By Sean O’Connell Well that didn’t take very long.
Sony just announced that Rhys Ifans of “Pirate Radio” and “Notting Hill” will play the villain, opposite Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker and Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy, in the next installment of Spider-Man from Columbia Pictures and Marvel Studios.
Here’s the release, in part:
The film, to be directed by Marc Webb from a screenplay by James Vanderbilt and produced by Avi Arad and Laura Ziskin, will begin production in December and will be released in theaters nationwide in 3D on July 3, 2012.
Commenting on the announcement, [Matt] Tolmach said, “We have been very fortunate to attract some of the best actors working today to play the villains in the Spider-Man movies, and it is exciting to see that trend continue with Rhys Ifans. After seeing his performance in our upcoming film ‘Anonymous,’ we’re in awe of his talent and think he’s the perfect choice to take on this role.”
The filmmakers prefer to not reveal which character Ifans will be playing in the forthcoming film.
Webb added, “What sets the Spider-Man villains apart is the complexity of their relationships with Peter Parker. Rhys’ incredible ability to embody both warmth and rage makes him the ideal choice for this character.”
So they don’t want to say who Ifans is playing yet? Interesting. I wonder how long Sony will be able to keep that cat in the bag. Given Ifans’ look, I think we can count out Venom … though that villain has been rumored. Unless they are skipping the normal Eddie Brock look like Sam Raimi did with Topher Grace.
Ifans certainly could pass for The Vulture, if he’s willing to shave his head. He’d also make an excellent Carnage, if the studio wanted to go down the symbiote route but avoid Venom altogether.
Interesting news, and a good choice out of left field. More info on Webb’s “Spider-Man” as it develops!
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‘Easy A’s’ Emma Stone joins Andrew Garfield in “Spider-Man” Emma Stone has been cast as the female lead in the upcoming “Spider-Man” film from Columbia Pictures and Marvel Studios, it was announced today by Amy Pascal, co-chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment and Matt Tolmach, president of Columbia Pictures. Stone has been tapped for the role of Gwen Stacy opposite Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker. The film, to be directed by Marc Webb from a screenplay by James Vanderbilt and produced by Avi Arad and Laura Ziskin, will begin production in December and will be released in theaters nationwide in 3D on July 3, 2012.
The casting continues an association between Sony Pictures Entertainment and the actress, who previously starred in “Superbad,” “The House Bunny,” and “Zombieland,” all for Columbia Pictures; she may currently be seen in Screen Gems’ hit comedy “Easy A,” and takes a cameo role in Screen Gems’ upcoming “Friends with Benefits.”
Commenting on the announcement, Tolmach said, “It’s been an incredible journey for us to watch Emma’s star rise as an actress. She is extraordinarily talented and has a very special on-screen spark that is perfect for this role. Given her history with the studio, casting her in one of our most important franchises is a real thrill.”
Webb added, “The chemistry between Andrew and Emma was stunning and made Emma the clear choice. At the heart of the story of Peter Parker is not only the amazing Spider-Man, but also an ordinary teenager who is wondering what he has to do to get the girl. Andrew and Emma will bring everything audiences expect to these roles, but also make them their own. Much to my surprise, it was fun to find out that our choice for Gwen (Emma) is also a natural blonde.”
EMMA STONE can currently be seen starring in Screen Gems’ hit comedy “Easy A.” Next year, she will star in Warner Bros.’ “Crazy, Stupid, Love” opposite Steve Carell and Ryan Gosling and in “The Help,” the adaptation of Kathryn Stockett’s bestselling novel; she also takes a cameo role in Screen Gems’ “Friends with Benefits” and will voice a role in DreamWorks Animation’s comedy “The Croods.” Stone’s recent credits include “Paperman,” “Zombieland,” “Ghosts of Girlfriends Past,” “The House Bunny,” “The Rocker,” and “Superbad.”
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Emma Stone about to be cast as Mary Jane Watson in “Spider-Man” reboot?

By Sean O’Connell After “Easy A,” most critics predicted big things for charismatic starlet Emma Stone.
They had no idea how right they were.
Stone is about to be offered the role of Mary Jane Watson in Marc Webb’s anticipated reboot of the “Spider-Man” franchise, according to Deadline. This after actresses Dianna Agron (“Glee”) and Georgina Haig (“Wasted on the Young”) were linked to the film as contenders for the coveted role.
Deadline reporter Mike Fleming says Webb also will be filling the role of Gwen Stacy, who is Peter Parker’s first girlfriend in the Marvel Comics. The presence of both Stacy and Watson suggests that Webb’s “Spider-Man,” penned by James Vanderbilt, will draw its inspirations from later animated series like “The Spectacular Spider-Man,” which was set in high school but featured both female characters.
Of course, Andrew Garfield of “The Social Network” and “Never Let Me Go” has landed the lead role of Spider-Man. Other rumors circling around the Internet say Sony is casting for the villain Venom, and is eyeballing Phillip Seymour Hoffman, but that has not been confirmed.
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DVD Review: “Kick-Ass” hurls the controversial Hit Girl to home video

By Sean O’Connell stays on top of the latest DVD and Blu-ray releases so you know which films are worth your time and money. This week, we review:
Matthew Vaughn’s “Kick-Ass” could be viewed as the anti-“Batman Begins,” and in a strange way, that’s a good thing.
While both detail a superhero’s rise to power, the protagonist at the heart of Christopher Nolan’s origin story has valuable resources, authentic skills, a legitimate beef with society, and the power to make a difference.
That’s not necessarily the case with Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson), a mild-mannered teenager who becomes the costumed crime-fighter Kick-Ass after being mugged one afternoon, but quickly realizes he’s in way over his head. Kick-Ass can’t hang with bona-fide heroes Big Daddy (Nicolas Cage) and Hit Girl (Chloe Moretz). And after interfering with the criminal activities of Frank D’Amico (Mark Strong), Kick-Ass angers a volatile foe … and gives birth to a potential nemesis in Red Mist (Christopher Mintz-Plasse).
Those who protested the excessive violence of Vaughn’s serial thriller likely haven’t picked up a comic in decades. Clearly, though, Vaughn and co-screenwriter Jane Goldman adore the medium and worship Mark Millar’s source book, treating Kick-Ass’s ascension with reverence and spending just enough time on Mintz-Plasse’s character to make his eventual conversion appropriately chilling. And yes, Moretz and Cage steal the show as the deranged father-daughter crime-fighting duo, though how their actions could be considered shocking years after Batman tutored Robin in the art of violence is a mystery.
While “Kick-Ass” and “Batman Begins” have their differences, they each deserve credit for approaching the comic book genre from viciously new perspectives, successfully breathing new life into an ever-shifting storytelling method.
Specifications for the DVD and Blu-ray are as follows:
• Ass-Kicking Bonus View Mode (Blu-ray Disc Exclusive) – Synchronous with the feature film, this innovative multi-media presentation incorporates video and audio commentary, behind-the-scenes clips and illustrative graphics with Co-Writer/Producer/Director Matthew Vaughn, plus cast and crew providing an all-access perspective on Kick-Ass
• “A New Kind of Superhero: The Making of Kick-Ass “ documentary (Blu-ray Disc Exclusive)
• “It’s On! The Comic Book Origin of Kick-Ass” featurette
• Audio Commentary with Writer-Director Matthew Vaughn
• “The Art of Kick-Ass” gallery
• Marketing Archive
• BD Touch and Metamenu Remote
• Lionsgate Live™ enabled, featuring extra content for Internet-connected players
• Enhanced for D-Box™ Motion Control Systems
*Subject to change
• Standard Definition DVD Copy of the feature film
DISC […]

Andrew Garfield to play Peter Parker in ‘Spider-Man’ After a comprehensive worldwide casting search, Andrew Garfield has been chosen to portray Peter Parker when Spider-Man swings back onto the screen in 3D on July 3, 2012. The new film will begin production in early December directed by Marc Webb from a screenplay by James Vanderbilt. Laura Ziskin and Avi Arad will produce the film from Columbia Pictures and Marvel Studios.
Today’s confirmation culminates what has been one of the most eagerly anticipated casting announcements in recent memory. Bloggers, pop culture speculators, and everyday fans have pored over and analyzed every conceivable online rumor in an attempt to discover the identity of the next actor to play Peter Parker. Garfield will immediately begin preparing for the coveted role.
The Spider-Man franchise is one of the most successful in film history and the three previous motion pictures have collectively grossed more than $2.5 billion in worldwide box office.
On selecting Garfield, director Marc Webb said, “Though his name may be new to many, those who know this young actor’s work understand his extraordinary talents. He has a rare combination of intelligence, wit, and humanity. Mark my words, you will love Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker.”
Commenting on the announcement, Amy Pascal, co-chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment, and Matt Tolmach, President of Columbia Pictures said, “Spider-Man is a classic superhero — a young man who balances his responsibility to serve humanity and crush evil with the shyness and normalcy of someone struggling to find himself. The role demands an extraordinary actor. You need someone who can magically transform himself from Peter Parker into Spider-Man. An actor who will depict the vulnerability of youth and the strength and confidence of a legendary figure at the same moment. We have found that actor in Andrew Garfield. From the first time we saw him in the upcoming film The Social Network, to his glorious screen test, which floored all of us, we knew that we had found our new Peter Parker.”
Producer Avi Arad added, “I’m incredibly excited about Andrew Garfield. In the Spider-Man tradition, we were looking for a smart, sensitive, and cool new Peter Parker who can inspire us and make us laugh, cry, and cheer. We believe we have found the perfect choice to take on this role and lead us into the future.”
Producer Laura Ziskin said, “We are thrilled to have Andrew Garfield for this new incarnation of Spider-Man under Marc […]

Hollywood Movie Roundup: J-Lo, comic book action and lots of water

How lackluster a week is this for new movies? A movie in its fourth week of release is likely to trump the trio of new films opening. Consider it the calm before the coming Summer storm of blockbusters, sequels and remakes.
Jennifer Lopez returns to the romantic comedy genre that served her well a decade ago starring as a woman tired of waiting for the right guy. Just as she’s about to embark on single motherhood, she meets a potential Mr. Right (Alex O’Laughlin). TV vet Alan Poul (“Six Feet Under,” “Swingtown”) directed from a script by another tube alum Kate Angelo.
Most critics are finding the film blandly inoffensive and suggest you have your own back-up plan — for another movie. Manohla Dargis of the New York Times calls it “a not very good and yet painless waste of time,” while the Los Angeles Times’ Betsy Sharkey labels it “tedious.” Not exactly ad-quote material, but Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times goes a step further, writing that the movie is not even worthy of being compared to a third-rate sitcom. Ouch.
Lopez’s last and biggest hit was “Maid in Manhattan,” which opened nearly eight years ago with $18.7 million ($25M adjusted), according to Box Office Mojo. The performer’s absence from the mainstream figures to cut that figure in half with prognosticators pegging “The Back-Up Plan’s” debut at $12-13 million. That should be low enough to allow holdover “How to Train Your Dragon” to sneak back to the number one spot with approximately $14M.

Jeffrey Dean Morgan, a fresh-off “Avatar” Zoe Saldana, the newly-minted Captain America Chris Evans and Idris Elba head the cast of this adaptation of Andy Diggle’s sci-fi comic. “Stomp the Yard’s” Sylvain White directed the tale of a Special Forces team sent to Bolivia to wreak havoc. The screenplay is credited to Peter Berg and James Vanderbilt.
Critics are divided, but not with the fervor that greeted “Kick-Ass.” Ebert certainly prefers “The Losers,” calling it a “classical action movie,” and praising it as “a clean, efficient and entertaining thriller.” Dargis stakes out a middle-ground with a been-there, done-that review, recalling better films such as “The Dirty Dozen” and “The Wild Bunch.”  John Anderson, registers a stronger dislike in the Wall Street Journal, assailing the film’s cliched overkill and all that it portends for the future of movies.
Hardcore action fans should push “Losers” […]

Spider-Man rumors swirl as we speculate on the eventual villain

Speculation continues to swirl this morning regarding the casting of Spider-Man in Sony’s anticipated reboot. While bloggers duke it out online with studio heads, we’re choosing to look ahead and figure out who ol’ web head will fight in the expected blockbuster.
The rumor mill started churning once HitFix reported that Logan Lerman, star of Fox’s fantasy epic “Percy Jackson,” was the “clear frontrunner” to play Spidey’s alter ego, Peter Parker, in the new picture, which will be directed by Marc Webb (“500 Days of Summer”). Lerman, 18, fits the demographic Sony reportedly wants for its reboot, as the action will shift the Marvel superhero back to high school for a younger adventure — though not, necessarily, an origin story.

Sony, however, immediately denied the report, prompting HitFix to post an update late Sunday night claiming it “stands behind its initial source on this story.” Sony, of course, denied problems with director Sam Raimi’s planned fourth installment of his Spider-Man franchise. Weeks later, the studio pulled the plug on that sequel and went in this current direction.
I’m going to echo a sentiment expressed by David Poland on his Hot Blog, writing, “I don’t really give a flying f*** who the next Spider-Man is.” I agree, though perhaps for different reasons than Poland.
I just don’t think it matters that much who wears the mask as much as who he’s fighting while he wears it.
Villains are crucial to these superhero franchises. You could argue they are more important than the actual hero. Think back to Jack Nicholson’s portrayal of The Joker, who completely overshadowed Michael Keaton’s Batman. Same goes for Heath Ledger when he tackled the same role for Chris Nolan’s “The Dark Knight.” One of the reasons I believe Superman movies fail to captivate larger audiences is because we routinely get updated versions of the same old villain: Lex Luthor.
Even in the Spider-Man realm, villains have trumped Tobey Maguire’s hero. Willem Dafoe and Alfred Molina were excellent choices to play classic Spider-Man foes The Green Goblin and Doctor Octopus, respectively. And when the studio pushed Raimi to include Venom, a villain he didn’t want, for “Spider-Man 3,” the mishandling of the beloved opponent torpedoed the franchise.
So have fun debating who will play Spider-Man in the upcoming film. We’re far more interested in which nemesis Spidey will battle.
I have no idea which villain is showcased in James Vanderbilt’s Spider-Man screenplay (though […]

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