September 23, 2015
        Brad Pitt, Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling - "The Big Short" enters 2015 and could shake the Oscar race up                "Room" wins the People's Choice Award at the Toronto Film Festival                “Inside Out”: Looking at potential Best Animated Feature Contenders                "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?        

Tag Archives: Kodi Smit-McPhee

“5 to 7″: The Best of the First Third of 2015

Ahoy! With it now being May, we’ve officially finished up with the first third of the year. As such, I wanted to highlight the best of the year so far, consisting of my top ten and various awards for 2015 to date. Much like last time, when I did the first quarter of the year, I’m mostly limiting it to things that have already hit theaters. My only exception is that I’m including titles from the recently concluded Tribeca Film Festival. There are some others from last year that I’m fond of and might have otherwise included, but I didn’t want to cheat too badly, so they’re on hold. Anyway, let’s get to the fun stuff…
Below you’ll find my top ten of the year so far, along with my awards for the first quarter of 2015. Here you go, and enjoy:
10. Amira & Sam – Much like I said last time out, this is one of the bigger surprises this year for me so far. I really did fall hard for this romantic dramedy. Not only does it give Martin Starr his best and most dramatic role to date, it also crafts one of the better movies about New York that I’ve seen in the past few years. It was cruelly under-seen earlier this year, but I hope this recommendation does its part to fix that when it hits home video next week.
9. Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief – Without question, this documentary is taking aim at a slightly easy target in the Church of Scientology and L. Ron Hubbard, but tons of incredible claims come out of it all the same, as I said the last time I spoke about it. Director Alex Gibney isn’t doing his best work ever, but it’s still an angry and passionate bit of work. The ratings when it played on HBO were through the roof, so it definitely caught on.
8. ’71 – To reiterate, this was a title that I first saw at NYFF 2014 but had it stick with me well into 2015. This war drama is the best tale of survival starring Jack O’Connell yet, and yes, I know that Unbroken exists too (that only furthers my argument). This is a small scale and gritty flick that manages to really captivate you. Another barely seen title that I want to shine a light on. Go seek it out […]

Michael Fassbender and “Slow West”: Films to look forward to at the Tribeca Film Festival

As you read this, the Tribeca Film Festival will be getting fully underway with Press and Industry Screenings of all their titles. Each year, they offer up something very unique in the world of independent cinema. I’ll be taking in some films at the fest and have seen a handful already, so the choices below are sometimes more than just educated guesses. Tribeca is a unique environment, offering up smaller flicks of all ilk, so there’s the possibility of discovering something new and exciting at all times. Still, what you’ll see below are some of the most interesting higher profile titles that are screening.
Here are ten films playing at the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival to keep an eye on…
10. Good Kill – A new Ethan Hawke collaboration with filmmaker Andrew Niccol, this is a look at the toll that working a drone can take on a man. It played at the Sundance Film Festival a few months ago to a muted response, but I’m always down for Hawke working with Niccol. I’ll definitely have more to say about this one once I see it.
9. Anesthesia – An ensemble piece from actor/filmmaker Tim Blake Nelson, there’s a great cast for this tale of the effect a crime has on all those who were around for it. The premise doesn’t instill a ton of enthusiasm, I know, but Nelson is an interesting triple threat and this could overcome the “indie ensemble drama about crime” trappings.
8. Misery Loves Comedy – I’ve seen this comedic documentary by Kevin Pollak about if stand ups need to be downers in order to be funny, and it’s very solid. To be fair, it’s not going to cure cancer or really make a difference in the world, but it’s an amusing doc that goes down easy. Especially if you’re a fan of stand up comedy, this is a look inside their world and 100% worth seeing.
7. Dirty Weekend – By and large, Neil LaBute is a filmmaker whose work always demands your attention. His latest dark comedy stars Matthew Broderick and seems like a slighter than usual plot, but that might be deceiving. LaBute is enough to hook me, and if you’re into his particular cinematic voice, this will be one to really look forward to.
6. Mojave – Anything with Oscar Isaac is worth seeing, but this one seems to really give him a strong showcase. Oscar winning […]

“Paranorman” Winner of 15 Best Animated Feature Film awards

Winner of 15 Best Animated Feature Film awards, winner of two Annie Awards in the category of Character Animation & Design and now also nominated for an Academy Award, a BAFTA Award, and a GLAAD Media Award, ParaNorman was made at the LAIKA Studios located in Oregon.
Over the two years of making the movie, a dedicated crew of over 320 talented animators, designers, artists, and technicians came together to hand-craft the year’s most original animated feature.
CLICK HERE to view/download an interactive booklet and experience a closer look at the members of the filmmaking team and their handiwork. Feel free to share with your readers!
We hope you enjoy your visit to Norman’s town of Blithe Hollow and the people who made it possible.
Available to Own on Blu-Ray, DVD, Digital Download & On Demand
Story: The new 3D stop-motion comedy thriller from animation company LAIKA, reteaming the company with Focus Features after the groundbreaking Academy Award-nominated “Coraline.” “ParaNorman” is, following “Coraline,” the company’s second stop-motion animated feature to be made in 3D. In “ParaNorman,” a small town comes under siege by zombies. Who can it call? Only misunderstood local boy Norman (voiced by Kodi Smit-McPhee), who is able to speak with the dead. In addition to the zombies, he’ll have to take on ghosts, witches and, worst, of all, grown-ups, to save his town from a centuries-old curse. But this young ghoul whisperer may find his paranormal activities pushed to their otherworldly limits.
Sam Fell and Chris Butler
Chris Butler
NEIL Tucker Albrizzi
MITCH Casey Affleck
COURTNEY Anna Kendrick

Paranorman: A Solid Movie with Impressive Visuals

by Michael Ward After dazzling us with Coraline, it should come as a surprise to no one that Laika Stuidos newest film, ParaNorman would be at least a solid movie with impressive visuals. But man did they take it to the next level with this film. With ParaNorman, directors Sam Fell and Chris Butler manage to not only deliver beautiful visuals, but 90 minutes of an incredibly rich story filled with solid themes and great characterizations.
An uproariously funny homage to zombie films and 80s films like The Goonies, ParaNorman tells the story a boy named Norman (voiced by Kodi Smit-McPhee) who has the ability to talk to ghosts. He’s picked on by a bully named Alvin and misunderstood by everyone, especially his parents. Already ostracized, he manages to make a friend named Neil, but at the same time come visions and a warning from his crazy uncle about a witch’s curse that will be enacted if he doesn’t read a story on the witch’s grave. Unfortunately for him hijinks ensue and the dead rise, leading Norman to team up with some unlikely people including his sister, his tormentor, his friend Neil and Neil’s brother Mitch to save the town from the zombies and the witch’s curse.
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This Week In Movies – ‘Social Network,’ ‘Case 39,’ ‘Let Me In’

By Pete Hammond For the third weekend in a row, a major studio adult-oriented, dialogue-driven film with more on its mind that non-stop mayhem or mindless sight gags topped the boxoffice thus keeping the resurgence of thinking-person’s cinema on a thrilling roll. Surprise, surprise! The fact that The Town, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps and now this week’s The Social Network are drawing crowds Hollywood had seemed to give up on (55% of Social Network’s audience was over the age of 25) with movies that can be described as that five letter word: “Drama” is heartening to this observer even if most of the business for ‘Social’ had to be drummed up from big cities and not the heartland. The Social Network directed by David Fincher and brilliantly written to an inch of its life by Aaron Sorkin harkens back to the kind of piercing dramas like “Network”, “All The President’s Men” and even the hallowed “Citizen Kane” (although let’s not get carried away) so the fact that it could more than DOUBLE the gross of two competing horror genre films, Let Me In and Case 39, opening against it is quite astonishing since we were led to believe studios were in the tentpole big event business these days and not interested in grown up ideas anymore. How wrong. Of course it really helped that Sony brilliantly marketed the movie, invited bloggers in early and got lots of laudatory ink from critics, another group whose influence was said to be going the way of the dinosaurs. If that New York Times two page ad opening day chock full of quotes is any indication then that may be another modern myth exploded. Of course this is the Fall, a time for studios to trot out the one or two more adult projects they may have in their hopper and its doubtful we would ever see any of the recent box office leaders dare to open in the more lucrative summer months for sure. At any rate with a B+ Cinemascore and an even better 97% fresh rating at the Rotten Tomatoes movie review site, Social Network should be able to make a good run of it and further depress its key subject, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg who has disowned it as a piece of “fiction”. Of course when you’re only 26 years […]

TIFF ’10: Five unforgettable moments from this year’s fest

By Sean O’Connell This year’s Toronto International Film Festival surprised me on so many levels: quality of film; accessibility to events; friendliness of the TIFF volunteers and staff; even the weather, which gave attendees a taste of fall … even if we only experienced fresh air for a few minutes in between movie screenings.
I’m going to skip a traditional festival recap. Hopefully you enjoyed what you read over the last six days, and if you want to go back over my coverage of this year’s festival, just put TIFF in our search engine.
Also, I feel that no matter how much I managed to see and do at TIFF, I missed out on just as much. Toronto lives up to its nickname of “The People’s Festival” by offering such a full plate so as to satisfy all tastes. It’s overloaded with opportunities, which couldn’t be better for film junkies like myself.

There was a Cadillac commercial running before every TIFF screening that flashed images such as The Terminator robot, Sharon Stone in the interrogation chair for “Basic Instinct,” or Janet Leigh in the shower in “Psycho.” The message was that some things you see only once, but remember forever.
With that in mind, I wanted to list the five most memorable moments from my Toronto this year, both on screen and off. This isn’t my last TIFF piece. I still have a few unfinished articles and reviews to post, which I will later this week. But these five events are burned in my memory. They are spoiler-ish, to a certain extent. I’ll keep them vague, so as not to ruin any of the film’s mentioned. But when I look back on TIFF 2010, I’m always going to remember:
1. James Franco taking out his digital camera and snapping a photo after the fact in Danny Boyle’s empowering “127 Hours.”
2. Andrew Garfield of “Never Let Me Go” and “The Social Network” extending his arm and pointing his fingers to show me how he’s going to fire his webbing when he plays Spider-Man in Marc Webb’s sure-to-be blockbuster.
3. Natalie Portman spreading her wings, literally and metaphorically, in Darren Aronofsky’s harrowing “Black Swan.”
4. Kodi Smit-McPhee’s eyes welling with tears as the young boy asks his oblivious father if evil really exists in Matt Reeves’ “Let Me In.”
5. A defiant Rosamund Pike telling Paul Giamatti they “had” a life in Richard J. Lewis’ […]

Exclusive “Let Me In” clip sinks its teeth into Internet

By Sean O’Connell We’re keeping a close eye on Matt Reeves’ “Let Me In,” a remake of Tomas Alfredson’s killer vampire flick that stars Kodi Smit-McPhee of “The Road” as a lonely young boy who befriends a young girl in his apartment complex (Chloe Moretz) and eventually learns her deadly secret.
The film will play Toronto next week before heading to Austin to hold court at Fantastic Fest. This morning, though, we have an exclusive clip from the film courtesy of the cleverly titled Web site Enter Under Penalty of Death.
Click here to view it.
Reeves certainly has his work cut out for him. The tremendous original, titled “Let the Right One In,” has a relatively strong cult audience. And it only came out in 2008, meaning it’s still very fresh in people’s mind, so comparisons – positive and negative – will be easy to make.
That being said, if Reeves can duplicate the mood of the first film, he has a chance to introduce a tender and terrifying story to a larger, American audience who don’t like reading subtitles.
“Let Me In” opens everywhere on Oct. 1.
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TIFF ’10: Matt Reeves’ bloodsucking “Let Me In”

By Sean O’Connell We continue to preview anticipated titles screening at the 35th Toronto International Film Festival in our “Road to Toronto” feature.

The fest kicks off on Sept. 9, and will be on the ground bringing you reviews, interviews, and a clearer glimpse at the ever-shifting Oscar race.
So far, we’ve discussed “I’m Still Here” and “Black Swan.” Today, it’s a remake of Tomas Alfredson’s killer vampire flick from the director of “Cloverfield” and the star of “Kick-Ass.”
Let Me In

The Plot: A shy boy (Kodi Smit-McPhee) befriends a young girl in his apartment complex (Chloe Moretz) and eventually learns her deadly secret.
The Director: Matt Reeves (“Cloverfield”)
The Cast: Kodi Smit-McPhee, Chloe Grace Moretz, Richard Jenkins, Elias Koteas, Cara Buono
The Scoop: Reeves has his work cut out for him. The tremendous original, titled “Let the Right One In,” has a relatively strong cult audience. And it only came out in 2008, meaning it’s still very fresh in people’s mind, so comparisons – both positive and negative – will be easy to make.
That being said, if Reeves can duplicate the mood of the first film, he has a chance to introduce a tender and terrifying story to a larger, American audience who don’t like reading subtitles.
Awards Potential: Right now, it seems the two young stars have the best chance to win Oscar’s favor. Both have been good in previous films (“The Road” for Smit-McPhee and “Kick-Ass” for Moretz), and their “Let Me In” parts require serious emotional depth if the film’s going to work. Don’t discount Jenkins, who is terrific in just about everything, though he may want to throw his weight behind his “Eat, Pray, Love” role once the Oscar race starts heating up.
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“Let Me In” to open Fantastic Fest 2010

By Sean O’Connell Fantastic Fest scored a solid opener for its September event, announcing this afternoon that Matt Reeves’ remake, “Let Me In,” will launch the multi-day celebration on Thursday, Sept. 23. It will be the film’s U.S. premiere.
Chloe Moretz (“Kick Ass”) and Kodi Smit-McPhee (“The Road”) star in the modern-day vampire film about a young boy who befriends a special girl.
“We are truly honored that Fantastic Fest has chosen to open their festival with the U.S. premiere of ‘Let Me In.’ It is incredibly exciting to be able to present the film to an audience who I know are just as passionate about John Ajvide Linqvist’s story as I am,” said Reeves.
“Fantastic Fest has been following the development of this movie with rabid interest and we couldn’t be more excited to share what Matt Reeves has up his sleeve in adapting this incredible story. We anticipate that this will solidify his place as a visionary genre artist,” said Fantastic Fest co-founder Tim League.
For more information on Fantastic Fest, which takes over Austin, Texas from Sept. 23-30, visit
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Daniel Radcliffe Confirms “Woman In Black” Casting

By Hanako M. Ricks Daniel Radcliffe, star of the Harry Potter films, has confirmed in a press release that he will indeed star in the latest adaptation of Susan Hill’s novel “The Woman In Black”. The novel, which has been successfully adapted on both the small screen and the stage, will receive the 3D treatment in this latest version, which tells the story of a young solicitor who encounters a mysterious woman in black. The full press release is below:
London, England (19.07.10) – Daniel Radcliffe will take the lead in The Woman in Black, Hammer Films and Alliance Films hotly anticipated adaptation of Susan Hill’s best-selling novel, it was announced today by Simon Oakes, and Nigel Sinclair of Exclusive and Hammer.
To be directed by James Watkins (Eden Lake) and written by Jane Goldman (Kick Ass, The Debt) The Woman in Black follows a young lawyer, Arthur Kipps (Radcliffe), who is ordered to travel to a remote corner of the UK and sort out a recently deceased client’s papers. As he works alone in an old and isolated house, Kipps begins to uncover its tragic secrets, and his unease grows when he discovers that the local village is held hostage by the ghost of a scorned woman set on vengeance. Production is expected to begin in the Fall of 2010.
Exclusive and Alliance Films will co-finance the film. Alliance Films will also distribute the film in the United Kingdom (Momentum), Spain (Aurum) and Canada (Alliance Films). Exclusive Films International, headed by Chairman Guy East and President of International Sales and Distribution Alex Walton, is handling worldwide sales.
Daniel Radcliffe is of course, best known for his portrayal of the bespectacled wizard Harry Potter, in the hugely successful series of feature films based on J. K. Rowling’s publishing phenomenon. He has starred in all eight films and collaborated with respected directors Chris Columbus, Alfonso Cuaron, Mike Newell and David Yates. He also starred in Brian Kirk’s My Boy Jack (written by and also co-starring David Haig), playing the role of Rudyard Kipling’s tragic 17 year old son who went off to fight in the First World War. Most recently Radcliffe has proved him self an accomplished stage actor, receiving tremendous reviews and acclaim for his portrayal of Alan Strang in Peter Shaffer’s Equus in the West End and on Broadway. Radcliffe will return to Broadway next Spring to star in the musical […]

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