April 23, 2014

Tag Archives: Steven Zeitchik

TIFF ’10: Tom Hooper’s ‘King’s Speech’ declared an Oscar lock

By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: Strong buzz for Tom Hooper’s film created massive lines, and those hoping to rush the theater were left out in the cold.
But plenty of others filled the seats at Roy Thompson Hall last night, and reaction to “King’s Speech” this morning is very strong … especially with regards to the Oscar race.
Peter Howell, writing in the Toronto Star, calls Hooper’s film “the fest’s first major Oscar player,” adding that “everything from Best Picture on down” is sure to be considered by the Academy.
Steven Zeitchik speculates in the L.A. Times that “Speech” could be the Oscar contender Harvey Weinstein wanted “A Single Man” to be.
Borys Kit writes in the Hollywood Reporter that the Weinstein Co. “may have a serious awards contender on its hands.” Kit says the Gala audience “shot to their feet for a standing ovation, cheering, whistling and hollering,” and added that the film “has best picture and best actor nominations written all over it. And maybe best screenplay, best director and best supporting actor, too.”
And Erik Childress of eFilmCritic tweets, “You can lock up The Kings Speech for at least 5 oscar nods: picture, actor (firth), support actor (rush), screenp,lay & cinematography.”
This mirrors responses for “Speech” out of Telluride, as well. So expect “King’s Spech” to be in it for the long haul, as Weinstein Co. rides this horse to another potential Best Picture nomination … and maybe a win.
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‘The Expendables’ is subtly patriotic but not nationalistic, says Bill O’Reilly

By Scott Mendelson
HollywoodNews.com: It’s a common tactic brandished on the Right, and occasionally used by the Left, to create a straw-man argument and then bring on someone to validate or combat said viewpoint. Bill O’Reilly himself has been famous for his annual ‘War on Christmas’ series that seems to crop up every December. I know of no one who has discussed “The Expendables” in anything but the broadest social terms (it has no real agenda other than to entertain and make money), and certainly not a single critic has vilified Stallone for the film’s content aside from its worth as an action drama. The Film is subtly patriotic, but it’s not NATIONALISTIC, which is what O’Reilly is defending it against. For what it’s worth, the Film’s villain is an American imperialist tycoon, and the bad guys use water-boarding to torture a damsel in distress, and righteous Americans do battle to put a stop to it. In other words, heroic Americans do battle with evil Americans and save an indigenous populace for outside invaders because they basically want to do a ‘mitzvah’ for once in their greedy, soulless lives (yes, it’s the same broad idea as The Wild Bunch).
Sure, Stallone is obviously a moderate Conservative, but that doesn’t mean every movie he makes is an action-movie equivalent to “An American Carol.” Hell, I’ve long argued that the horrifying violent and relentless hopeless “Rambo” was an apology for how his prior “Rambo” films were interpreted as pro-war, gung-ho adventures in imperialism. As far as O’Reily preemptively defending the movie from smears it has not really received, it’s the same thing as a NBC announcing that the newest episode of “Law and Order: Special Victims Unit” is ‘controversial’ before it even airs. It gets people to pay attention who otherwise wouldn’t care and/or lets them feel righteous over their endorsement of an entertainment that they would have seen and enjoyed anyway.
O’Reilly is dead-on at one point of the interview, stating that ‘these pinheads, in order to justify their column, have to go in and blow this stuff up’. Steven Zeitchik at the LA Times needed an excuse to write about “The Expendables,” so he basically asked a ‘when did you stop beating your wife?’ type question regarding the film’s alleged nationalism, something which is not the least bit apparent to anyone actually watching the film (he quotes the misleading trailer, rather the film [...]

Why family films are better than the adult movies at the moment

By Scott Mendelson
HollywoodNews.com: Here’s a novel idea: “Toy Story 3″ is making bank because it’s the best big-studio movie of the year and audiences have already noticed. Steven Zeitchik of the “LA Times” is wrong. Audiences are not flocking to family films because of some rebellion against adult pictures. Audiences are flocking to family pictures because the kids-flicks are better than the adult movies at the moment. Audiences want good films, period. Sure, critics and audiences may disagree on what is ‘good’, and lousy all-ages pictures like “Alice in Wonderland” or teen-centric movies like “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” may be massive hits despite their lack of quality. But at the end of the day, if studios make a good movie and can open the picture through marketing, audiences will usually respond. “The Hangover” didn’t gross six times its opening weekend because it tapped into some kind of zeitgeist. It grossed $277 million off a $44 million opening weekend because it was good. “How to Train Your Dragon” didn’t slowly pull in $215 million from a $43 million opening weekend because audiences suddenly remembered that they had kids. It stuck around because it was a terrific movie, and those that initially saw it fought like hell to make sure their friends and family saw it too.
“The Karate Kid” was unique amongst the summer fare in that it was arguably the lone big summer movies that based its marketing campaign on the idea that it was a good movie. The marketing did not base its campaign on the fact that is a sequel to a movie you liked two years ago (“Iron Man 2″), or a film you had an obligation to see if you were a female (“Sex and the City 2″), or a desperate knock-off of a movie you loved ten years ago (“Robin Hood”), or a dumbed-down version of a 25-year old TV show that was pretty dumb to begin with (“The A-Team”), or something that vaguely resembled action/fantasy franchises that you really liked over the last decade (“Prince of Persia”). Sony sold the character work of Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan and the inherent drama in the story that was being told and got audiences, young and old, into the theater based on the promise of quality. Of all the big summer movies thus far, Sony’s “The Karate Kid” campaign was the only one that had faith [...]