July 24, 2016
        Hollywood Contenders: Looking at potential Best Actress contenders                "Star Trek Beyond" is a rare success for the 2016 summer movie season                The 2016 New York Film Festival will open with Ava Duvernay's documentary "The 13th"                Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone make us swoon as "La La Land" drops a luminous Teaser Trailer                "Loving" announces itself as an awards player with a great Trailer                Hollywood Contenders: New Oscar Predictions for July                Woody Allen has another crowd pleaser on his hands with "Cafe Society"                Hollywood Contenders: Looking at potential Best Actor contenders                Kristen Stewart shines in the sci-fi love story "Equals"                'Ghostbusters' is an excellent re-invention of the classic franchise                Hollywood Contenders: Looking at potential Best Director contenders                "Captain Fantastic" is one of the year's most pleasant surprises                This week brings an adorable bit of animation in "The Secret Life of Pets"                Aaron Eckhart has plum supporting roles in "Bleed for This" and "Sully"                "Cafe Society", "Captain Fantastic", and "Ghostbusters": Films to see in July        

Tag Archives: Riz Ahmed

‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’ drops a thrilling Teaser Trailer

Earlier today, the first Teaser Trailer was dropped for the initial foray into anthology stories for the Star Wars universe. Yes, we got a look at Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, and it was quite compelling. Coming to us at the end of the year, sandwiched between Episode VII (The Force Awakens) and Episode VIII of the main saga, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story will fill in some of the blanks in the franchise, which is a potentially really cool notion. I’ll have the Teaser Trailer for you at the end of this piece, so be sure to look for that below, but right now, let’s whet your appetite a bit!
The movie is the tale of how rebel spies stole the plans to the Death Star, set between the events of Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope. Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) is recruited to lead the mission, which will depict some of the skirmishes between the Rebel Alliance and the Galactic Empire. Gareth Edwards directs here, from a screenplay by John Knoll, Chris Weitz, and Gary Whitta. The ensemble cast, in addition to Jones, includes Forest Whitaker, Mads Mikkelsen, Diego Luna, Ben Mendelsohn, Donnie Yen, Jiang Wen, Riz Ahmed, and Alan Tudyk, among others. On the technical side, cinematography is by under-appreciated DP Greig Fraser, while the score comes from the always busy Alexandre Desplat. That’s a ton of talent in front of and behind the camera, making this a project that would be intriguing even if it had nothing to do with Star Wars.

From the looks of it, this will really put the “war” in Star Wars. The Teaser Trailer showcases a number of large scale set pieces, which will certainly suggest a less than intimate affair. That’s actually a good thing, since it suggests that these side stories won’t be done with any less care than the main Episodes that capture our attention in such a profound way. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story has the potential to be a really big hit, especially if it winds up being anywhere near the quality that Star Wars: The Force Awakens brought to the table. Wouldn’t that really be something?
Awards wise, I think that this one will be limited to the technical categories, though obviously that remains to be seen. Campaigns in Best Picture, Best Director (for Edwards), Best Actress (for Jones), Best Supporting Actor (for […]

Predictions for the Independent Spirit Awards

Yes, the Academy Awards are on Sunday, but they aren’t the only big award show this weekend. The Independent Spirit Awards are on Saturday, making for a great one-two punch. I’ve always enjoyed the Spirit Awards as much as any precursor, even if their Oscar impact is basically nil. They represent a chance to honor some of the films that won’t be cited anywhere else. Sure, the movies have become more Oscar friendly in recent years, but there’s still some wonderful variety on display. Voters here are far different from Academy members, so it’s a different perspective, to say the least. As such, predicting the Spirit winners is a lot harder, that’s for sure.
Below you’ll see my picks, but quickly I’ll just say this…I really like some of their more diverse choices. True, this is another place where the big categories more or less come down to Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu’s Birdman vs Richard Linklater’s Boyhood (and once upon a time Ava DuVernay’s Selma), but Damien Chazelle’s Whiplash is strongly represented here as well. The Spirit Awards always throw in some nominees you’ve barely heard of (the film Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter is that one for me this year), but lately they’ve matched up more and more with Oscar. Still, while Academy picks are all around, they also go more for the little guy. That leads to J.C. Chandor’s A Most Violent Year not getting shut out, along with titles like The Immigrant, Obvious Child, and even Under the Skin getting nominations too. Yes, the big prizes are either going to Birdman or Boyhood, but at least one or two of the winners will be artists/films that never would have had a moment in the sun otherwise. That’s one of the biggest things I love about this precursor. They recognize the little guy. It’s something the movie industry should do more of, in general.
Alright, that’s that. Here now are my Spirit Award predictions. Take a gander:
1. Boyhood
2. Birdman
3. Selma
4. Whiplash
5. Love is Strange
1. Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu – Birdman
2. Richard Linklater – Boyhood
3. Ava DuVernay – Selma
4. Damien Chazelle – Whiplash
5. David Zellner – Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter
1. Dan Gilroy – Nightcrawler
2. Ira Sachs & Mauricio Zacharias – Love is Strange
3. J.C. Chandor – A Most Violent Year
4. Jim Jarmusch – Only Lovers Left Alive
5. Scott Alexander & Larry Karaszewski – Big Eyes
1. Nightcrawler
2. Dear White People
3. […]

“Nightcrawler”: What’s Up with the 2015 Awards Race

Directed by: Dan Gilroy
Written by: Dan Gilroy
Main Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo, Bill Paxton, and Riz Ahmed, among others…
Past Oscar relations: Gyllenhaal is a former Academy Award nominee, cited in Best Supporting Actor for Brokeback Mountain
Today we have another article in this particular series of mine concerning certain 2014 releases hoping to compete for some sort of actual Oscar attention as a contender at the upcoming 2015 ceremony. Next up for here for us is a nifty little thriller in Nightcrawler that’s hoping to translate its very solid festival run and use that buzz in order to appeal to the Academy, potentially getting some attention in a few different categories. Does it have any chance? Well, let me get into that a bit now below…
This movie is a thriller set within the world of news reporting…well, sort of. We follow a potential sociopath as he discovers the industry of filming crime scenes and selling them to morning news programs. He takes to it like a fish to water and soon is making a name for himself in the business, by any means necessary. Jake Gyllenhaal stars in the lead role, with a solid supporting cast that includes Rene Russo, Bill Paxton, Riz Ahmed, and Ann Cusack, to name a few. Dan Gilroy writes and directs. Ever since it debuted on the fall festival circuit, it’s been winning people over. Now, can it do the same with Academy members?
What this film has going in its favor is the strong performances, mainly the lead one from Gyllenhaal, which is startlingly good. He’s easily worthy of an Oscar nomination in Best Actor, though with a crowded year like this one, no one is assured of anything. That being said, it’s a distinctive enough performance that it could definitely stand out in the crowd. Especially if Gyllenhaal catches on during the precursors and becomes someone to watch in Best Actor, that can only help the chances of the movie in Best Supporting Actress for Russo and Best Original Screenplay for Gilroy. The flick is unlike anything else in the race, which never hurts.
Working against Nightcrawler is that it’s potentially going to be deemed by voters as too cool for school. It’s a unique film, but it could suffer the same fate as Drive, getting pigeonholed as something slick and not worthy of a voter’s attention. They were wrong then, and they’d be wrong now […]

SXSW Announces Closing Night Film

The South by Southwest (SXSW) Film Conference and Festival has announced Chris Morris’ pitch-black satire Four Lions as its Closing Night film, to play on Saturday, March 20 at the Paramount Theatre in Austin, Texas. SXSW also released additional feature and short titles or the 2010 event, which will take place March 12 – March 20, 2010. The festival will open with the world premiere of Kick-Ass, directed by Matthew Vaughn and starring Aaron Johnson, Cholë Grace Moretz, Christopher Mintz-Plasse and Nicolas Cage.
SXSW will also host more than 80 Film Conference panels, which will take place Friday, March 12 – Tuesday, March 16. Previously announced participants for the 2010 SXSW Film Conference include Michel Gondry (The Thorn in the Heart, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind), Quentin Tarantino (Inglourious Basterds), David Gordon Green (Eastbound & Down, Pineapple Express), Jeffery Tambor’s Acting Workshop, and Academy Award-winning Argentine composer, solo artist and producer Gustavo Santaolalla, among many others. For full panel descriptions and participants, as well as the complete film lineup and schedule, visit http://sxsw.com/film/.
Additional Feature Films in the 2010 SXSW Film Festival include:
Four Lions (United Kingdom)
Director: Chris Morris. Screenwriters: Jesse Armstrong, Sam Bain, Simon Blackwell and Chris Morris
Four Lions tells the story of a group of British jihadists who push their abstract dreams of glory to the breaking point. Cast: Riz Ahmed, Arsher Ali, Nigel Lindsay, Kayvan Novak, Adeel Akhtar
American Grindhouse
Director: Elijah Drenner. Screenwriters: Calum Wadell and Elijah Drenner
This feature documentary chronicles the history of the American Exploitation Film. It digs deep into this often overlooked category of U.S. cinema and unearths the shameless and occasionally shocking origins of this popular entertainment. (World Premiere)
Cargo (Switzerland)
Directors: Ivan Engler and Ralf Etter. Screenwriters: Johnny Hartmann, Thilo Röscheisen, Patrik Steinmann
Cargo is an intelligent science-fiction thriller that puts an electrifying, futuristic spin on present-day preoccupations like flight from reality, and destruction of the environment. Cast: Anna Katharina Schwabroth, Martin Rapold, Claude-Oliver Rudolph, Pierre Semmler (U.S. Premiere)
Haynesville: The Hunt for an Energy Future
Director and Screenwriter: Gregory Kallenberg
Haynesville documents the discovery of the largest natural gas field in the nation, its momentous impact on three people’s lives, and the affect this historic find could have on our energy future. (North American Premiere)
A NY Thing
Director & Screenwriter: Olivier Lecot
A French romantic follows his object of desire to New York where over the course of 3 crazed and ardent days he must convince her […]