Saturday, December 3, 2016

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2 – Official Trailer


As much as I've been bitching about the number of superhero movies out there, especially from the "Marvel Cinematic Universe," I have to say there are always exceptions to the rule. Take for instance "Captain America: The Winter Soldier," which plays like a solid 1970s political thriller and even has in its cast, king of the 70s paranoid political thriller, Robert Redford. Ya think that was coincidence casting? I think not. Then there's Shane Black's "Iron Man 3" which is far from being your average, by-the-numbers comic book movie. In fact Black's sardonically witty black comedy is destined to be some kind of future twisted, Christmas classic. Finally we have "Guardians of the Galaxy": A silly, but fun pop culture ditty that plays by its own rules, has a killer soundtrack and doesn't really adhere to any comic book movie conventions, safe for its anticlimactic ending, and features the kind of well-written and portrayed outcasts that invaded Lucas' original "Star Wars" back in 1977. In fact, this is the closest we'll get to a "Star Wars" in the meta era. I'm looking forward to this latest escapist adventure.

Behind closed-doors at the NYFCC

I can't really comment on who was the insider that revealed to me all of these details about NYFCC voting, we don't want another Lou Lumenick fiasco, but I got enough interesting info out of this NYFCC member to publish this mini recap of voting. NYFCC has been very strict the last few years when it comes to revealing the details of voting, nevertheless this is some of what happened last Thursday in New York:

Best Actor
"Denzel Washington was competitive, but Casey Affleck won it pretty quickly."

Best Actress
"Isabelle Huppert was leading throughout, but Ruth Negga was also in the mix, as I recall."

Best Picture 
"La La Land won by the narrowest margin possible. It tied w/ Moonlight in points, but was on just ONE more ballot. Manchester was close behind."

Best Director 
"The award for Best Director was relatively tight b/w Chazelle & Jenkins (and Lonergan close as well)"

Best Documentary
"Doc went several rounds I believe. I think Weiner might have been No. 2, but OJ led throughout."

What we really want to know: Was "Silence" competitive in any category?
"It did. It actually got close in cinematography. A number of critics I'm pretty sure hadn't seen it. And a number of them didn't quite know what to make of it yet. And a couple of them just plain didn't like it. But a few did love it. It is just not the kind of movie that's gonna screen at the last second and then ride a wave of on-the-spot adoration. It's just not that kind of film. (And Paramount knows this. I think they basically had no choice re: timing.) "Silence" supporters were vocal, but not strong enough I think Josh Rothkopf, Peter Travers, Owen G. and Bilge Ebiri were a solid SILENCE voting bloc. 

Zemeckis is dead-on

Director Robert Zemeckis capturing the current cinematic zeitgeist when asked by /Film why there won't be a sequel or reboot to his beloved "Back to the Future" and "Who Framed Roger Rabbit"

"Most sequels, you’re behind the eight-ball on them. When audiences clamor for a sequel, what they’re really doing is expressing their enthusiasm for the movie they just saw. And that means they’ll have a love-hate relationship with whatever comes next, because they want it to be the same movie, but different. If it’s too similar, they don’t like it. And if it’s too different, they really don’t like it. There’s nothing more difficult."

The 15 Best Posters Of 2016

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Happy 86th Birthday Jean-Luc Godard

If Amy Adams gets an Oscar nomination for "Arrival", and then proceeds to lose, she will tie Glenn Close for most nominations without a win from any living actor.

Amy Adams has been nominated 5 times ("Junebug," "Doubt," "The Fighter," "The Master," "American Hustle"). It's been a tremendous career for an actress that, in my books, hasn't even reached her artistic peak yet. With heavy buzz for "Arrival," she will more than likely get a nomination for Best Actress. However, so far most Oscar predictors are saying that this may be Emma Stone's year for "La La Land," there's also "Jackie" and Natalie Portman, whom many people believe could upset Stone. This puts Amy Adams at six nominations, sharing the record with Glenn Close ("The World According to Garp," "The Big Chill," "The Natural," "Fatal Attraction," "Dangerous Liaisons," oh the 80s, and "Albert Nobbs"). Just to compare the magnitude of this situation, Leonardo DiCaprio was nominated 4 times before winning Best Actor with his fifth nomination for "The Revenant." Most people were clamoring for him to win that beloved Oscar, where's all the love for Adams?

Kristen Stewart + The Rolling Stones = Highly watchable


The Rolling Stones' latest album is getting some fairly decent reviews, maybe their best since 1994's "Bridges to Babylon"? or maybe you'd have to go further back, the early 80s and "Tattoo You" possibly? Anyway, its been billed as a "back to the basics" of sorts for the band, every song is a blues number recorded in a spur-of-the-moment live way kind of way in the studio. This video, for the song entitled "Ride 'Em On Down," is directed by FranΓ§ois Rousselet in a very late 90s/early aughts kind of stylistic throwback. Remember when celebrities used to star in music videos that made them look "badass"? Yeah, that's what Rousselet is going for here and I don't mind that at all, especially since the celebrity here is Kristen Stewart. I love me some Kristen Stewart. The song isn't too bad either.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Staney Kubrick laughing amongst the wreckage of THE SHINING set after the lights burned it down



















Richard Brody: Wise beyond his years








I really like Richard Brody. He's a smart, articulate film writer who just gets the details right. I might not always agree with his views on film, but he sure as hell can write, and not only does he write, but he does so in a way that recalls the spawned child of Pauline Kael and, yikes, Vincent Canby with an added dose, or more like a forest, of facial hair. This particular tweet by Brody was retweeted, ironically, by the New York Film Critics Circle just days before they awarded their "Best Film" prize to "La La Land," a film drenched in nostalgia for old Hollywood.  The irony of it all has probably not hit them yet.

New York Post critics don't seem to like SILENCE very much


Amy Schumer is going to play "Barbie"


In more WTF news today, Deadline is reporting Amy Schumer will be playing Barbie in the live-action movie due out summer 2018. It's no secret the popular doll/toy has had major issues when it comes to image in recent years so I guess Schumer, not being super thin and all, was chosen as a body image issue, as well her having a decent sense of humor as a comedian of course. 

According to Deadline, "Schumer will play a character that lives in "Barbieland" ... Barbie gets kicked out, basically because she’s not perfect enough, is a bit eccentric and doesn’t quite fit the mold. She then goes on an adventure in the real world and by the time she returns to Barbieland to save it, she has gained the realization that perfection comes on the inside, not the outside, and that the key to happiness is belief in one self, free of the obligation to adhere to some unattainable standard of perfection."

I like the message, I like the female empowerment aspect of the picture, but this is just not for me folks. There's something almost migraine-inducing about Schumer these days and I just can't fathom watching a whole movie with a PG Schumer leading performance. I'll take an R-rated Schumer ala "Trainwreck," but not this.

Also, Barbie doesn't have a vagina, what is Schumer going to make jokes about?

Pic of Rooney Mara, playing Mary Magdalene, on a cigarette break next to a crucified Joaquin Phoenix, playing Jesus, on a set break for next year's "Mary Magdalene"



Garth Davis' "Mary Magdalene" has been filming for a few weeks now, but this is a great on-set picture of production. That's Joaquin Phoenix on the cross.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Who keeps green-lighting all of these Steven Seagal movies?






















Look at all these movie he has coming out? The man is a paycheck machine. Most of these are going straight to DVD infamy, but, still, there's something almost sadistic about how there might actually be a contingent of Steven Seagal fans out there. As far as I'm concerned, the only good movie he has ever made in his career was "Under Siege" which benefits, greatly might I add, from the once-in-a-lifetime chemistry Gary Busey and Tommy Lee Jones had as the film's killer antagonist's. I guess having a competent director such as Andrew Davis at the helm didn't hurt either. Also, correct me if I'm wrong, wasn't "Under Siege" the most successful movie of his career, box-office wise?

Peter Travers' Best Movies of 2016

Plan ahead much? James Cameron announces a fifth "Avatar" movie is in the works ...


Cameron has gone overboard with this ship. It's been more than 7 years since the last "Avatar"  came out and, for all of its groundbreaking technology, it seems like the hype has finally died down and people are starting to realize that the story was thin as paper, a Pocahontas meets Dances With Wolves mishmash that was carried, ever so problematically, by Cameron's penchant for tin-eared dialogue. Yes, the 3D was mesmerizing when I saw it on the big-screen, but the high started to wander once all-out war broke out in the film's final hour. Why is Cameron doing four more of these? The risk of it under-performing at the box-office is there. Do people even care what happens next?

22nd Annual Critics Choice Awards




I never really liked the Critics' Choice Awards, their picks have always struck me as being too safe and in praise of formulaic fare. Remember, in 2014 they nominated "Unbroken," "The Theory of Everything" and "The Imitation Game." YUCK. This year it's not so bad, but they still managed to nominate the icky "Lion" which has a killer first half that is purely subtitled and set in a foreign country, but the second hour is atrocious and meant to bait awards bodies, such as this group.

It's that time of the year! John Waters' Top 10 Films of 2016 feature KRISHA, TICKLED, EVERYBODY WANTS SOME and much more

Tom Cruise tries to kickstart a new franchise in his resume with THE MUMMY



I usually like the roles and films Tom Cruise chooses, he just has a knack for picking smart, but entertaining fare, but this? This is just a sad attempt at trying to kickstart a new franchise in his resume. I don't see any other reason why. Cruise used to pick smart, adult roles ("Minority Report," "Collateral," "Magnolia," "Eyes Wide Shut,") but now it seems like he's trying to bank on a bunch of different franchises to keep his career going into the future. It's Tom Cruise the businessman.  The director for "The Mummy" is Alex Kurtzman and he's been a writer for most of his young career, but his writing resume reveals a hack, not an artist: "The Island," "Transformers," "Cowboys & Aliens," "The Legend of Zorro," "The Amazing Spider-Man 2." Yikes. Is this really the best this film could get for director? This looks horrible, I guess the better Tom Cruise movie next year will be his, already, Oscar-buzzed "American Made" directed by Doug Liman.

LA LA LAND named Best Picture by New York Film Critics Circle

BEST FILM: La La Land πŸ‘
Great pick

BEST DIRECTOR: Barry Jenkins for "Moonlight" πŸ‘ 
If there ever was a director's film this year it's this or "Silence"

BEST ACTOR: Casey Affleck for "Manchester by the Sea"πŸ‘ 
Basically Affleck or Denzel Washington in "Fences," both deserving of award

BEST ACTRESS: Isabelle Huppert for both "Elle" and "The Things to Come" πŸ‘πŸ’—
Tour-de-force performance in "Elle," Emma Stone and Natalie Portman also great

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Mahershala Ali for "Moonlight"πŸ‘
Great pick

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Michelle Williams for "Manchester By the Sea" and "Certain Women" πŸ‘ŽπŸ˜• 
barely in "Manchester by the Sea" and she was the weak link in "Certain Women"

BEST ANIMATED FILM: Zootopia πŸ‘πŸ’—
Great pick

BEST DOCUMENTARY: "O.J.: Made in America" πŸ‘πŸ’—
"Weiner" also deserves serious mention, but nothing can beat the 8 hour landmark

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM: "Toni Erdmann" πŸ‘
... or "Elle

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY: James Laxton for "Moonlight"πŸ‘
... or "La La Land"

BEST SCREENPLAY: Kenneth Lonergan for "Manchester by the Sea" πŸ‘
Great pick

BEST FIRST FILM: "Krisha" and "The Edge of Seventeen" πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ’—
The two best possible choices

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

First Reactions to Scorsese's SILENCE

 

New Image of Ridley Scott on the set of Alien: Covenant

New picture of Ridley Scott on the set of Alien: Covenant

Sundance Film Festival announces its lineup

You can now listen to the score for Scorsese's 'Silence' online


  

"The Eyes Of My Mother" Director Nicolas Pesce [Interview]

Image result for the eyes of my mother









No Surprise: 'Rogue One' Writer Tony Gilroy Made Millions Off Reshoots



















What's even more worrisome is the fact that this goes exactly the way my insider source described to me the on-set friction and how Edwards was pushed aside. Gilroy basically became the main director when the reshoots started. I got a lot of heat from fanboys for posting the article, but, fact of the matter is, I believe what he said and he was credible. You can find the whole article HERE.

The Hollywood Reporter has the following:

Just in case you wondered why the last movie in the Hobbit trilogy dragged on...

Just in case you wondered why the last movie in the Hobbit trilogy dragged on...

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Lucasfilm President: There Will Be No 'Rogue One' Sequel



Cars 3 Official Poster



I had this to say on 11.21.16

"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."

"Silence" screening for LAFCA/NYFCC tomorrow. Embargo on all reviews until Dec. 10. Social media will, however, be permitted.













Thanks to Variety's, always reliable, Awards pundit Kris Tapley for confirming that this will indeed be the case for tomorrow. I'll be covering the social media firestorm that will happen at around 12:45pm when the first reactions will come out of New York. I'll be catching "Silence" this coming weekend.

"Manchester By The Sea" Named Best Movie Of 2016 by National Board Of Review

casey-affleck-and-kenneth-lonergan-on-the-set-of-manchester-by-the-sea

I have no problem with this choice whatsoever, it might even top my list. I haven't decided yet, but it's right up there.

Anyway, NBR announcing their picks is the start of awards movie season and I couldn't be happier, look for a lot of more in-depth coverage from hereon in. 


Best Film: “Manchester by the Sea”
Best Director: Barry Jenkins, “Moonlight”
Best Actor: Casey Affleck, “Manchester by the Sea”
Best Actress: Amy Adams, “Arrival”
Best Supporting Actor: Jeff Bridges, “Hell or High Water”
Best Supporting Actress: Naomie Harris, “Moonlight”
Best Original Screenplay: Kenneth Lonergan, “Manchester by the Sea”
Best Adapted Screenplay: Jay Cocks and Martin Scorsese, “Silence”
Best Animated Feature: “Kubo and the Two Strings”
Breakthrough Performance (Male): Lucas Hedges, “Manchester by the Sea”
Breakthrough Performance (Female): Royalty Hightower, “The Fits”
Best Directorial Debut: Trey Edward Shults, “Krisha”
Best Foreign Language Film: “The Salesman”
Best Documentary: “O.J.: Made in America”
Best Ensemble: “Hidden Figures”
Spotlight Award: Creative Collaboration of Peter Berg and Mark Wahlberg
NBR Freedom of Expression Award: “Cameraperson”

Indian movies are flooding the IMDb 250. Just last month, out of the 14 new movies entering the top, 10 were Indian.


There are supposed 'ratings farms' in India, Turkey and South East Asia. These countries are using the farms to get a bunch of 10/10 votes registered to their movies. BRUTAL. Even Well-received foreign movies never have such a huge disparity between US votes and non-US votes. This is voter manipulation and it seems like IMDB isn't going to be doing anything about, but they should. The IMDB Top 250 is now as iconic a "best of" list as we have in the industry.

Martin Scorsese to screen 'Silence' for Pope Francis privately before the Vatican premiere of the film


The Vatican Press Office has announcted that tomorrow morning at 8:45am Martin Scorsese and Pope Francis will watch "Silence," in a private screening. Afterwards Scorsese and the Pontiff will discuss the film and the mission of the Jesuits, which is the priestly order Pope Francis belongs to. Oh, to be a fly on the wall for this.

As we speak these are the screenings "Silence" has for the next few days:

Thursday, November 30th Vatican City
Thursday, November 30th New York Film Critics Circle
Sunday December 4th Los Angeles Press, Industry

About the New York Film Critics Circle, they vote for their awards on Friday, which means we can somewhat know a little more about the the quality of Scorsese's film by then. That will be interesting to see since NYFCC has not always been kind to Scorsese, his last film to win their Best Picture award was "Goodfellas" more than 26 years ago. Nothing else has come close to taking their big award since then.

We will surely know the consensus being gathered about the film on Sunday evening when the first tweets show up for Scorsese's picture. I'll be covering it, as I always do with these types of big events, right here by updating the page with every new reaction I can gather from social media. Stay tuned people.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Robert De Niro wants to make a movie with Scorsese/Dicaprio and keeps trying to get Joe Pesci to come out of retirement

Natalie Portman might just win the Oscar for her career-best performance as the former first lady in "Jackie"



Natalie Portman’s performance as Jaqueline Bouvier Kennedy is masterful. If you thought there was nothing else that could be said about that fateful day when JFK was shot and killed in Dallas then you were wrong. "Jackie" has plenty to say about the events that occurred and the fact that it is told in such an artfully seducing way makes it all the more relevant. 

Director Pablo LarraΓ­n (Neruda) dissects the incident through Jackie’s own eyes, as played by a hypnotic Natalie Portman in a career best performance that will be talked about for years to come. The film takes place, for the most part, in the hours following JFK’s death as the First Lady tries to comprehend the magnitude of the event. 

Through the use of finely crafted flashbacks, Larrain strips the cinematic conventions that come with bio-pics and gets to the core of Jackie’s psyche both before and after the tragedy. Through SebastiΓ‘n SepΓΊlveda brilliant editing and Noah Oppenheim's maze-like screenplay, Larrain finds the core Jackie's tortured soul. 

Portman’s performance is a high-wire act of intrigue. She never fully reveals the exact reasons for some of Jackie’s behavior and though we can never truly know if there was manipulation involved with her grief, this is hinted at. In a way Larrain and Portman are playing with the audience with an immaculate mix of enigma, grief and cynicism. It’s an artfully crafted thing, this “Jackie.

Cannes 2017 Poster?


A French colleague, who has worked for Cannes in years past, sent me this supposed poster for the 2017 edition. Of course, the poster usually comes out in March, but always fun to speculate whether this is the real thing or not. I wouldn't mind having Marlene Dietrich on it at all.

‘Doctor Strange’ Has Made $207M Domestically, $600M Worldwide; Has Become MCU’s Biggest Single-Character Intro.



Worldwide
Doctor Strange ($616M)
Iron Man ($585M).
Ant-Man ($520M)
Thor ($449M)
Captain America: The First Avenger($371M)
The Incredible Hulk ($263M)

Domestically

Doctor Strange ($207M)

Thor: The Dark World ($206.4M)
Thor ($181M)
Ant-Man ($180M)
Cap 1 ($177M)
The Incredible Hulk($135M)

Source: Deadline

Ivan Reitman Says There Are ”Many” More ‘Ghostbusters’ Movies in Development



Director Ivan Reitman, who helmed the original series of films in the 80s, doesn't seem to care that Sony Pictures had a Box-Office disappointment this year with the all-female cast "Ghostbusters" reboot. Earlier this month we already mentioned that director Paul Feig wanted to come back and make a sequel (click HERE), but now we also have Reitman who says others might be in development. In keeping with the same female cast? back to an all-male cast? mixed sexes cast? Who knows, but this is the quote we got when he was interviewed for the Mr. Wavvy podcast:

"There’s going to be many other Ghostbusters movies, they’re just in development right now."

"Come Together"– an H&M Christmas ad directed by Wes Anderson


So instead of hiring an ad agency with a creative director who desperately imitates Wes Anderson, they just hired Wes Anderson. Smart. This film actually felt kinda self-aware in how Wes Anderson it was. I think it was a supposed to be a bit self-parody. But I don't know, it is hard to tell sometimes. His style really works for this and I doubt H&M will make a better, more playful commercial. Very well done. 

I think it's safe to say that we all prefer this more than regular, mindless commercial advertising, and it's certainly more beneficial for everyone involved, including the audience. The brand gets an attentive audience (who will even share the content, such as what I'm doing at the moment). The audience ends up enjoying the content and the work of their favorite filmmaker/actor in the short film. And the filmmakers and actors get a small, low-stakes gig to make use of their talents.

Wes Anderson loves his trains. In fact I can just imagine him retiring from being a filmmaker to become a train conductor of some sorts. It also almost seems like Anderson is trying to out Wes Anderson himself with every ensuing thing he releases. "Grand Budapest Hotel" was definitely the most Wes Anderson-y movie Wes Anderson ever made, which took the title from Moonrise Kingdom before that and etc. etc.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Sign of the apocalypse: Vladimir Putin giving Steven Seagal his much sought Russian passport




"Moana" rules the week-end Box-Office with $55 Million intake, "Fantastic Beasts" nabs a solid second week with $45 Million, "Allied" under-performs, Warren Beatty's "Rules Don't Apply" has the sixth worst opening all-time for a film debuting in 2,000+ theaters.


Source: Box Office Mojo

It's really no big secret that Waren Beatty's "Rules Don't Apply" was going to be a tough film to market. Its trailer was really all over the place. I don't think I met a single person that was impressed by the trailer. The film ended up garnering mixed reviews and, to nobody's surprise, bombed this coming weekend at the box-office. Not just that, it garnered the 6th worst showing ever for a film that opened in 2000+ theaters nationwide. I didn't even think it would open in that many theaters. Who had the brilliant idea of opening this film wide? 


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