Friday, November 25, 2016

Paul Schrader on today's cinema

This quote from The Guardian interview dated 11.13.16

"There’s probably more talented people making films today than there were back then (1970s),” says Schrader. “The biggest and only difference – and people don’t understand this – was the audiences were better. The audiences were going through social uncertainty and they wanted artists to help them out. And the moment that a society turns to artists for answers, great art emerges.”
Sure sounds like our time. Will people rely on artists again "for answers" in the age of Drumpf?

The "Best Actor" Oscar showdown this year: Casey Affleck vs Denzel Washington

Source: Gold Derby

Martin Scorsese's "Silence" to premiere at the Vatican - Director will be joined by 400 priests for screening of film

This was the poster Luc Besson created, as a blueprint, with the intention of shooting "Mathilda," a sequel to 1994's "Leon: The Professional."

This was the poster Luc Besson created as a blueprint with the intention of shooting a sequel to "Leon: The Professional." 

Isla Fischer Pasted Amy Adams' Face on Her Family Christmas Cards and No One Noticed

Isla Fischer Pasted Amy Adams' Face on Her Family Christmas Cards and No One Noticed

Thursday, November 24, 2016

2017 Has EPIC potential. Movies from PTA, Nolan, Aronofsky, Haynes, Cuaron, Spielberg, Bigelow, Villeneuve, Soderbergh, Von Trier, Haneke and Payne.

The year is almost over and most of the important films have been seen. I promised myself I'd do something like this once "Silence" had a trailer, so here we are, it's Thanksgiving and it looks like Scorsese's epic actually does exist. What titles are you looking forward to the most for 2017? I split the titles I found into three categories. If there's anything, worthy of a mention, missing on this list please let me know and I'll add it.

Editing WSJ's headline about ‘Moonlight'

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

The first official poster for ‘Alien: Covenant' is just about perfect.

First Color Image for ‘Logan’ Revealed, Director James Mangold: Film Is Not “A City-Block Destroying CG F*ckathon”

Many thanks to my colleagues over at The Playlist for this news, click HERE

The picture above is the first color image for James Mangold's "Logan"

Mangold tweeted the second page of the script which basically gives you everything you need to know about his vision for the film.

The Best Action Movies of All-Time

Over at Complex they just published their list of the "50 Best Action Films of All-Time."
I have to say, their list pretty solid. 9 of their top ten films made my own list, which I wrote for AwardsDaily just last year (click HERE). Here are some excerpts from that article dated 05.30.16:

Here comes the smear campaign for Casey Affleck's precious Oscar

The Daily Beast has just published what seems to be the start of a scathing smear campaign towards Best Actor frontrunner Casey Affleck. Amanda White, who served as producer for "I'm Still Here," the Affleck directed mockumentary starring Joaquin Phoenix, allegedly complained that she was "repeatedly harassed by Affleck" during the shoot back in 2009.

‘Silence' receives an R rating for 'disturbing violent content', Rogue One PG-13

Tuesday, November 22, 2016


"Allied" is a triumph of craft. Director Robert Zemeckis is, just like his buddy Steven Spielberg, an expert at the cinematic tropes that have enriched film history over the last 100+ years. This is an ode to old-fashioned storytelling and, if you're willing to accept this, the film is a richly satisfying ride. Of course, if the central relationship between Pitt and Cotillard was a little more developed, defined, established, whatever you will, the final punch in the gut the film delivers in its final shot might have stirred the emotions a little more. Alas, this is the movie we get: A well-told and well-acted film that does its job and does it well. Earlier today I spoke about how "un-cinematic" "Fences" felt, well "Allied" is the complete opposite, a film that is eerily nostalgic for a time and place that it seems almost completely out of step with the now. THAT, in essence, makes it feel like a very touching cinematic valentine to a bygone era of filmmaking.

IT IS HERE! Martin Scorsese's ‘Silence' - Official First Trailer

Review: Denzel Washington and Viola Davis swing for the ‘Fences'

'Fences' is a 130 minute acting showcase for Denzel Washington and Viola Davis. That's what it is, that's what you'll be hearing critics say about it and that's what most of you will gather once the credits start rolling in this powerfully ambitious epic adapted for the screen from August Wilson's stirring play, by Wilson himself no less, which also stars the play's original leads, Washington and Davis. 

You will also be hearing people complain that the theatrics are intact and that it does not feel cinematic. I would agree with that as well. In trying to adapt Wilson's play, director Denzel Washington was going to fall into the trappings that have bogged down past talky adaptations to the screen such as "Closer" and "Doubt." That's fine and it comes with the ambitious territory of trying to make theatrics come alive in a cinematic way. 

'Fences' might drag at times, but the heart and soul of Wilson's play is not lost. No thanks to Washington who plays Troy, an African American father struggling to raise his family in the 1950s, but also not able to come to terms with his personal life and the inner demons still lurking from a failed baseball career. He is married to Rose, a lovely, loyal woman, as played by an Oscar-bound Viola Davis. Rose gives Troy many free passes in life, maybe one too many, but she accepts what she has and feels satisfied by her situation. Much of it having to do with their high-school son Cory (Jovan Adepo) being such a succesful student and athlete. Cory and Troy don't get along, and it is with those scenes, between Adepo and Washington, that the film's true fireworks come out.

Marriage, poverty and the struggles between father and son are tackled in Wilson's play and the treatise is competently rendered by Washington in an un-stylized way. You can tell Washington and Davis know their parts front and back, they live and breathe their characters and flesh them out just enough to let them roll on a cinematic level.

The film is episodic with some of the passages encompassing enormous power, but others feeling strained and forced in their delivery. It is in the powerful scenes that Washington gains his stride and ensures his film is, at the very least, watchable and faithful to August Wilson. There really was no other way around the flaws, especially if you wanted to do Wilson (who wrote the screenplay) primal justice. This is a beast of a movie, but one done with the upmost of cumulative restraint [B]

‘Rogue One’ to Be the First Star Wars Movie without an Opening Crawl


What'd you know? It is the 'rogue' one after all. Ha, ok, I'll stop with the lame puns for now. Anyway, Kathleen Kennedy says only the saga films have a crawl, but that doesn't seem to be the case. The comic books have a crawl. The video games have a crawl. Who cares? That's what I think, I just want to have a good movie and the reshoots, director problems have been worrisome. Kennedy has this to say:

“We felt that’s so indicative of what those saga films are. Initially, we probably will begin the film in a way that is traditional, with just the title.”

It is part of what we expect from Star Wars. The crawl should remain with the saga trilogy films and not the side films like 'Rogue One.' I get that. To stylistically differentiate them. I tend to agree with this. The film comes out in a few weeks, I haven't received any press invites just yet, but crossing my fingers it happens before I submit my year-end list to various polls.

More on Kathleen Keneddy's interview with Variety click HERE

Official Poster for ‘Silence'

Monday, November 21, 2016

New photo of Andrew Garfield in Scorsese's ‘Silence'

New Image Of Darth Vader in ‘Rogue One‘ (From EW)

Oscar Predictions Or 'Where We Stand Pre-Turkey Feast'


1) "La La Land"
2) "Fences"
3) "Manchester By The Sea"
4) "Silence"
5) "Sully"
6) "Lion"
7) "Loving"
8) "Jackie"
9) "Arrival"
10) "Moonlight"

Limited edition BABADOOK book, which was hand crafted for two years under the supervision of director Jennifer Kent. It's beautifully creepy.

'Cars 3' Official US Teaser Trailer

I love Pixar. The classics they've released over the past 20 years have been tremendous (Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, Ratatouille, Wall-E, Up, Toy Story 3) yet there's always been much hate directed towards 2006's Cars which, I'll admit it, did not have the inventiveness of the previously said titles but had a sweet, good natured simplicity to its Americana vibe. I loved every second of it when I saw it 10 years ago, while on vacation, at a screening room in Alberta's Lux movie theater. Cars 2, on the other hand, I did not love. It is by far the worst movie in Pixar's short 21 year history. While the original had a sweet, western-like, small town simplicity to its delivery, "Cars 2" was all flash and turned into a, gosh, Bond-esque spy caper. The characters were wooden and the marketing for the film's products was all over the screen. Not surprising considering Cars is a major business for Pixar, from lunchboxes to toys, Pixar has been milking it ever since the original's release. Another big mistake was concentrating the center of its plot on red-neck talkin Mater, a caricature that ranks amongst Pixar's worst characters. With all that being said, I do not look forward to "Cars 3."

The single tracking shot from Atonement [2007]. Stunning cinematography and direction. The heartbreaking score seamlessly merges with the singing choir and the final framing reminiscent of a painting by Turner. So much detail captured, I'm not sure there's been a better depiction of Dunkirk on film.

Image result for atonement dunkirk

New photo of Liam Neeson in Scorsese's "Silence"

Also this picture of a possible poster just leaked, legit?

I'm quoted in the "Barry" trailer, a look at Barack Obama's college days at Columbia University in NYC

They quoted me in the trailer for "Barry," which captures the tumultuous first few college days of the future U.S. president at Columbia University.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

The problem with Ben Affleck, the actor

"Live By Night" is, by all measures, a decently watchable film that is well directed and stylized well enough to harken us back to a time when Gangster films defined a particular era of cinema. I can't say anything else about it, for the time being, due to embargo restrictions, but I do want to talk about Ben Affleck, not the director, but the actor himself.

"Affleck hasn't really shown any kind of legitimately great acting skills over the course of his, now 22 year, career. If anything I'd say that he gave his truest, most mature performance in "Gone Girl," very much due in part to its director, David Fincher, I presume, purposely casting him as the unlikable protagonist. Other than the "Gone Girl" performance, his acting track record has been spotty at best. The other times he actually pulled off believable, unforced performances were in his more playful, earlier roles such as in "Dazed and Confused," "Mallrats" and, even, "Good Will Hunting."

Over the course of his career, his performances have lacked dimension, felt wooden and too self-absorbed to be taken seriously. Although I do find his directing can be inspired at times. Just watch the way he shoots action in "The Town," there's talent there, but also a severe lack of focus in other parts. What can I say, his art just doesn't impress me. 

Why 3D is a scam

Image result for 3d glasses movie

It's everywhere. It seems as if every film coming out these days is available with 3D glasses. This of course has a lot to do with money. Ever since James Cameron's groundbreaking "Avatar" came out & stormed the Box Office, the studios wanted to take advantage of the 3D medium by releasing every mediocre effort with an extra pair of $3 glasses included with your ticket. When conceived, most of these movies were not meant for 3D viewing, compared to James Cameron's film which was born and bred as a 3D experience. Don't waste your money watching 99% of movies in 3D, it is not essential & the film does not benefit in any way shape or form from it. 

Box Office Week: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them opens at #1 with $75 mil. Other new releases couldn't compete as The Edge of Seventeen opens weak to $4.8 mil at #7, Bleed for This opens worse at #8 to $2.3 mil, and Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk utterly bombs opening wide to $930k at #14.

It was projected to make around $80-90M based on Friday and Saturday's profits, but "Fantastic Beasts" nevertheless dominated the weekend Box-Office with a respectable $75 Million opening weekend. 

Of note: Ang Lee's much anticipated High-Frame-Rate experiment "Billy Lynn's Long Half Time" bombed big time this weekend despite being screened in more than 1,176 screens across the country. It racked up an abysmal $3 Million. Its budget was reportedly at around $40 Million, but it seems like it won't come even close to getting it back and breaking even. Its Oscar hopes have also been obliterated by not only its poor performance, but also the less-than-stellar reviews it has garnered ever since its failed world premiere this past October at the New York Film Festival.

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