Tuesday, December 22, 2015

'The Force Awakens' gets late nod for BFCA best picture

Daisy Ridley as the heroic Rey
The Broadcast Film Critics Association today announced that “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” has earned a Critics’ Choice Award nomination for Best Picture.  Winners will be revealed at the 21st annual Critics’ Choice Awards show on Jan. 17. It will be televised  live at 8 p.m. on A&E, Lifetime and LMN and hosted by T.J. Miller.  

The film was not screened for BFCA voters in time for the initial nominations balloting but, after members of the nation’s largest film critics group saw “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” last week, it was decided to hold a special referendum yesterday to determine if it would have been nominated if the BFCA membership had been able to consider it.
Harrison Ford as Han Solo -- again.

The exception was made for only the Best Picture
category. All other Critics’ Choice Award nominations remain as previously announced.

While making an amendment to the Critics’ Choice Awards nominations is highly unusual, having an 11th Best Picture nominee is not unprecedented. In 2000, “Cast Away” was similarly screened too late for normal consideration and the BFCA included it among 11 Best Picture nominees.

It is the purpose of the Critics’ Choice Awards to honor the finest in cinematic and television achievement.  Making this exception to our rules serves this purpose. Historically, the “Critics' Choice Awards” are the most accurate predictor of the Academy Award nominations.

Click here to read John M. Urbancich's review of the film.

Monday, December 14, 2015

'Mad Max: Fury Road' earns 13 Critics' Choice noms

The Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA) and Broadcast Television Journalists Association (BTJA) have announced the nominees for The 21st Annual Critics’ Choice Awards.  The winners will be revealed live at a star-studded Critics’ Choice Awards gala, which will be broadcast from the Barker Hangar in Santa Monica on A&E, Lifetime and LMN at 8 p.m. Sunday, Jan, 17, immediately following “Critics’ Choice Red Carpet Live," which begins at 7 p.m. As previously announced, actor and comedian T.J. Miller will serve as the show’s host. 

The Big Short
Bridge of Spies
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant

Bryan Cranston – Trumbo
Matt Damon – The Martian
Johnny Depp – Black Mass
Leonardo DiCaprio – The Revenant
Michael Fassbender – Steve Jobs
Eddie Redmayne – The Danish Girl

Cate Blanchett – Carol
Brie Larson – Room
Jennifer Lawrence – Joy
Charlotte Rampling – 45 Years
Saoirse Ronan – Brooklyn
Charlize Theron – Mad Max: Fury Road

Paul Dano – Love & Mercy
Tom Hardy – The Revenant
Mark Ruffalo – Spotlight
Mark Rylance – Bridge of Spies
Michael Shannon – 99 Homes
Sylvester Stallone – Creed

Jennifer Jason Leigh – The Hateful Eight
Rooney Mara – Carol
Rachel McAdams – Spotlight
Helen Mirren – Trumbo
Alicia Vikander – The Danish Girl
Kate Winslet – Steve Jobs

Abraham Attah – Beasts of No Nation
RJ Cyler – Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
Shameik Moore – Dope
Milo Parker – Mr. Holmes
Jacob Tremblay – Room

The Big Short
The Hateful Eight
Straight Outta Compton

Todd Haynes – Carol
Alejandro González Iñárritu – The Revenant 
Tom McCarthy – Spotlight
George Miller – Mad Max: Fury Road
Ridley Scott – The Martian
Steven Spielberg – Bridge of Spies

Matt Charman and Ethan Coen & Joel Coen – Bridge of Spies
Alex Garland – Ex Machina
Quentin Tarantino – The Hateful Eight 
Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve, Josh Cooley – Inside Out
Josh Singer and Tom McCarthy – Spotlight

Charles Randolph and Adam McKay – The Big Short
Nick Hornby – Brooklyn
Drew Goddard – The Martian
Emma Donoghue – Room
Aaron Sorkin – Steve Jobs

Carol – Ed Lachman
The Hateful Eight – Robert Richardson
Mad Max: Fury Road – John Seale
The Martian – Dariusz Wolski
The Revenant – Emmanuel Lubezki
Sicario – Roger Deakins

Bridge of Spies – Adam Stockhausen, Rena DeAngelo
Brooklyn – François Séguin, Jennifer Oman and Louise Tremblay
Carol – Judy Becker, Heather Loeffler
The Danish Girl – Eve Stewart, Michael Standish
Mad Max: Fury Road – Colin Gibson
The Martian – Arthur Max, Celia Bobak

The Big Short – Hank Corwin
Mad Max: Fury Road – Margaret Sixel
The Martian – Pietro Scalia
The Revenant – Stephen Mirrione
Spotlight – Tom McArdle

Brooklyn – Odile Dicks-Mireaux
Carol – Sandy Powell
Cinderella – Sandy Powell
The Danish Girl – Paco Delgado
Mad Max: Fury Road – Jenny Beavan

Black Mass
The Danish Girl 
The Hateful Eight
Mad Max: Fury Road 
The Revenant 

Ex Machina
Jurassic World
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant
The Walk

The Good Dinosaur
Inside Out
The Peanuts Movie
Shaun the Sheep Movie

Furious 7
Jurassic World
Mad Max: Fury Road
Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation

Daniel Craig – Spectre
Tom Cruise – Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation
Tom Hardy – Mad Max: Fury Road
Chris Pratt – Jurassic World
Paul Rudd – Ant-Man

Emily Blunt – Sicario
Rebecca Ferguson – Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation
Bryce Dallas Howard – Jurassic World
Jennifer Lawrence – The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2
Charlize Theron – Mad Max: Fury Road

The Big Short
Inside Out

Christian Bale – The Big Short
Steve Carell – The Big Short
Robert De Niro – The Intern
Bill Hader – Trainwreck
Jason Statham – Spy

Tina Fey – Sisters
Jennifer Lawrence – Joy
Melissa McCarthy – Spy
Amy Schumer – Trainwreck
Lily Tomlin – Grandma

Ex Machina
It Follows
Jurassic World
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian

The Assassin
Goodnight Mommy
The Second Mother
Son of Saul

Cartel Land
Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief
He Named Me Malala
The Look of Silence
Where to Invade Next

Fifty Shades of Grey – Love Me Like You Do 
Furious 7 – See You Again
The Hunting Ground – Til It Happens To You
Love & Mercy – One Kind of Love
Spectre – Writing’s on the Wall
Youth – Simple Song #3

Carol – Carter Burwell
The Hateful Eight – Ennio Morricone
The Revenant – Ryuichi Sakamoto and Alva Noto
Sicario – Johann Johannsson
Spotlight – Howard Shore

The Critics' Choice Awards” are bestowed annually by the BFCA and BTJA to honor the finest in cinematic and television achievement. The BFCA is the largest film critics' organization in the United States and Canada, representing more than 300 television, radio and online critics. BFCA members are the primary source of information for today's film-going public. BTJA is the collective voice of almost 100 journalists who regularly cover television for TV viewers, radio listeners and online audiences. Historically, the “Critics' Choice Awards” are the most accurate predictor of the Academy Award nominations.

Click here for a complete list of BTJA television nominations, led by "Fargo," with eight. 

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Trailer for TIFF-headed 'Martian' sends you out of this world

The first sighting of "The Martian" is here!

Featuring a star-studded cast that includes Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig, Kate Mara, Michael Peña, Jeff Daniels, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Donald Glover, the Ridley Scott film is based on a best-selling novel by Andy Weir. 

You can watch the NEW trailer here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ej3ioOneTy8

"The Martian" will have its world premiere at this year's Toronto International Film Festival (Sept. 10-20) and hits theaters on Oct. 2.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Vallee's 'Demolition' to open 40th annual TIFF

 The Toronto International Film Festival today announced that Jean-Marc Vallée’s "Demolition" will open the 40th annual event on Sept. 10.

Jake Gyllenhaal and Naomi Watts in a lighter moment from "Demolition."
Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Naomi Watts, Chris Cooper and Judah Lewis, "Demolition" will have its world premiere at Roy Thomson Hall. “Over the years the Festival has been proud to present Jean-Marc Vallée’s feature films. including 'Black List,' (festival favorite) 'C.R.A.Z.Y.,' 'Café de Flore,' 'The Young Victoria,' 'Dallas Buyers Club,' and 'Wild,' " said Piers Handling, Director and CEO of TIFF. “Vallée is a proud Canadian with a distinct and powerful filmmaking voice and we can’t wait to share his latest film with festival audiences on Opening Night.”

“Vallée has a tradition of presenting strong characters who are on journeys to self-discovery and redemption and is the only filmmaker in our history to present both an opening and a closing night film at the festival,” added Cameron Bailey, the festival Artistic Director. "This film tells the story of a man who deals with loss in unexpected ways, and is brought to life on screen through sensitive and commanding performances by Gyllenhaal, Watts, Cooper and newcomer Lewis.”

In "Demolition," a successful investment banker (Gyllenhaal) struggles after losing his wife in a tragic car crash. Despite pressure from his father-in-law to pull it together, the man continues to unravel. What starts as a complaint letter to a vending machine company turns into a series of letters revealing startling personal admissions.

About 50 other films for the 40th Toronto International Film Festival, which runs Sept. 10-20, also were announced today at a press conference moderated by Handling and Bailey. They include movies starring last year's Oscar-winning Best Actor and Actress, Eddie Redmayne and Julianne Moore.

The latter co-stars with Ellen Page as a lesbian couple fighting for their rights and work benefits in the world premiere of "Freeheld," while Redmayne plays the title character in director Tom Hooper's transgender drama, "The Danish Girl."  Redmayne's and Moore's award-winning roles were featured at last year's TIFF in "The Theory of Everything" and "Still Alice," respectively.

Moore also stars in another world premiere at this year's TIFF, "Maggie's Plan" from director Rebecca Miller.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

'Entourage' movie crew evolves toward maturity

Hey, we all mature with age, don't we? I mean, even the "Entourage" crew, which takes takes its HBO cable series to the big screen on Wednesday, sounds as if they're growing up, despite an array of temptations offered in Hollywood.

During a recent L.A.-based press conference, here's what the four principal members of the cast had to say on how their characters have changed since the popular TV show ended its eight-year run in 2011:

Adrian Grenier (Vincent Chase):  "One thing about this crew that's so special is that even after all this time -- despite all the changes, despite all the ups and downs -- is that they remain steadfast in their loyalty to each other. Vince certainly has inspired a generosity amongst them and now they get to give back a little bit and support Vince as he takes the next step in his career as a director."

Kevin Dillon (Johnny "Drama" Chase): "My character probably has changed the least amount. It's all about fame, but not fortune so much, and he's still striving for that. But that's what I love about him. I don't want him to change too much because he's a lot of fun. I've actually had other actors come up to me and tell me how they love the way he stands up to producers. In the end, though, he's really about all the fellas and would do anything for them."

Jerry Ferrara ("Turtle"): "I feel that Turtle was the last to start that evolution process. I like to go back to the very, very early years -- when he told girls that, if they make out with him, he'll show them where Vince eats breakfast in the morning -- to then basically becoming a millionaire. I used to joke around and ask Doug all the time, 'When is Turtle going to grow up a little bit?' He always told me, 'in Season 8,' but I don't think he ever thought we'd get to Season 8. Then it was time, and I love how this guy has evolved. I got to grow up with this guy and, as he matured, I've matured. I still say I'm a little more mature than he is, though."

Kevin Connolly (Eric "E" Murphy): "I think all the characters have evolved. When you look at Season 1 and compare it to Season 8 -- at a different pace -- even Drama has changed. In fact, I think he's become more of his own man. I mean, if Johnny Drama had a resume on IMDB, it would be pretty impressive. And, with my character 'E,' he and Sloane (Emmanuelle Chriqui) are taking the big step by bringing a tiny new character into the 'Entourage' family. It's certainly a big step for anyone in real life, so for my character and Sloane, having a baby is really a big deal."

For more on "Entourage," check out our story about all the film's celebrity cameos.

Then learn how this current entourage compares to producer Mark Wahlberg's tough crew of Boston-bred buddies.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Actors say scientists signed off on 'San Andreas' script

"The Rock" says the very scary stuff that happens in his big summer disaster flick, "San Andreas," could actually occur. Paul Giamatti agrees.
Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson gets ready to roll in "San Andreas."
The former, a WWE wrestler now better known as Dwayne Johnson when it comes to making movies, plays a very active search and rescue pilot trying to save the West Coast, mostly Los Angeles and San Francisco, during a series of monster earthquakes. Giamatti co-stars as a Cal Tech professor attempting to warn as many people as he can.
"There is the element of the first responders and the family element," Johnson said during a recent L.A.-based press gathering, "but just as important is the anchor you have with the scientific side of the movie. Prior to Paul coming on board, we had the top scientists challenge the script, before finally saying that all this could happen. 
"We hope it doesn’t, but it could. And having top scientists give it that stamp, and having someone on board to apply it and act it in a way with such conviction gives it the credible heart that Paul did."
Archie Panjabi and Paul Giamatti prep to warn TV viewers.
These (scientists) are amazing," Giamatti added. "They’re not just intellectuals. It’s a real concern for these guys. It’s not just a discipline. They’re deeply committed to trying to find a way to deal with these things.
"I’m from Connecticut, so the only disasters we have there are purely economic," the Oscar-nominated actor quipped. "It actually taught me to call Dwayne if anything happens."
Concluded Johnson. "Hey, it taught me to send a voicemail."
"San Andreas," which opens wide Friday after some Thursday night preview screenings, also stars Carla Gugino, Alexandra Daddario and Archie Panjabi. Read about their exploits in the film here.
Meanwhile click here to read more on what The Rock says

Thursday, February 19, 2015

'Boyhood' or 'Birdman'? Your surefire Oscar winners are here

Way back on Nov. 17, yours truly had the downright gall to write (on a different web site) that three of the four 2014 Academy Award acting winners already had been decided.

And you know what? Things have not changed much, since the predicted choices
in those races for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actor and Actress remain the
same as the names listed in those categories below. Now, however, we've added a
few more picks to the mix in anticipation of Sunday's 87th annual Oscar show,
which brings up the curtain at 8:30 p.m. on ABC-TV (WEWS Channel 5 in northeast Ohio).

Though we've sprinkled in a few possible surprises, don't expect any real shockers this
year since the only really battle looms between Best Picture favorites "Birdman"
and "Boyhood." It's the technical complexities of show biz versus the profoundly
simple story of growing up in America. And the winners are:

Richard Linklater (right) and Patricia Arquette lead the "Boyhood" charge. 
Best Supporting Actor -- Robert Duvall, “The Judge”; Ethan Hawke, “Boyhood”; Edward Norton, “Birdman”; Mark Ruffalo, “Foxcatcher”; J.K. Simmons, “Whiplash”
Will Win: This one has belonged to longtime character actor J.K. Simmons practically since "Whiplash" walked off with a handful of awards from the Sundance Film Festival way back in January 2014. No one else stands a chance, even in this very strong field.
Should Win: Simmons, whose performance as a semi-psychotic professor of music is simply mesmerizing.

Best Supporting Actress -- Patricia Arquette, “Boyhood”; Laura Dern, “Wild”; Keira Knightley, “The Imitation Game”; Emma Stone, “Birdman”; Meryl Streep, “Into the Woods”
Will Win: Once again an easy choice, with Patricia Arquette, ever maternal and equally real and troubled in "Boyhood," dominating a category featuring much bigger names than hers.
Should Win: Arquette deserves all the praise she's getting for being the character engine that could in a film that delivers after more than a decade in the making.

Best Actress -- Marion Cotillard, “Two Days, One Night”; Felicity Jones, “The Theory of Everything”; Julianne Moore, “Still Alice”; Rosamund Pike, “Gone Girl”; Reese Witherspoon, “Wild”
Julianne Moore in "Still Alice."
Will Win: Like Simmons and Arquette, Julianne Moore has won every other award she's been eligible for up till now, and Mr. Oscar certainly won't elude her, either.
Should Win: Moore, movingly elegant as a career wife and mom diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's. The rest are also-rans, including Pike whose riveting lead role will be left in the dust, too.

Best Actor -- Steve Carell, “Foxcatcher”; Bradley Cooper, “American Sniper”;
Benedict Cumberbatch, “The Imitation Game”; Michael Keaton, “Birdman”; Eddie Redmayne, “The Theory of Everything”

Will Win: Eddie Redmayne, a fine actor and well-received young Brit, has delighted
everyone he meets during the months-long awards season. His late stretch run for
this prize should be enough to defeat early frontrunner Michael Keaton, who basically
plays himself in "Birdman."   
Should Win: Oh yeah, Redmayne actually soars as acclaimed and stricken scientist Stephen Hanwking in a role reminiscent of  Daniel Day Lewis' Oscar-winning tasks in "My Left Foot."
Upset Alert: If there is a surprise in any of the four acting categories, it could come here from the popular Bradley Cooper. He's easily the best thing in "American Sniper," whose surprisingly strong box office has heightened its profile immensely in the last month or so. 

Best Director -- “Birdman, ” Alejandro G. Iñárritu; “Boyhood,” Richard Linklater; “Foxcatcher,” Bennett Miller; “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” Wes Anderson; “The Imitation Game,” Morten Tyldum
Will Win: Flip a coin here, but my pick is Richard Linklater to edge the favored Iñárritu, who already has won this year's coveted Directors Guild award. I just think Academy voters will reward the "Boyhood" auteur for actually masterminding a life project along the way of an already long and creative career.  
Should Win: Linklater, whose grand concept for a movie 12 years in the making might have been a disaster instead of the masterpiece it truly became.

Best Picture -- “American Sniper,” “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance),” “Boyhood,” “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” “The Imitation Game,” “Selma,” “The Theory of Everything,” “Whiplash”
Will Win: "Boyhood," by a mere whisker over "Birdman," an equally grand film which, it says here, remains just a little too weird for Academy voters to give it their top prize.
Should Win: I'd vote for "Whiplash," which I still believe to be 2014's most purely entertaining movie. Alas, besides Simmons' supporting actor honors and possibly the film's precise sound, its best chances for an Oscar could come in adapted screenplay and/or film editing categories, where it likely will have to upset "The Imitation Game" and "Boyhood," respectively. 

Best Original Song -- “Everything Is Awesome” ("The Lego Movie”); “Glory” (“Selma”); “Grateful” (“Beyond the Lights”); “I’m Not Gonna Miss You” ("Glen Campbell…I’ll Be Me”); “Lost Stars” (“Begin Again”)
Will Win: "Glory," the stirring anthem from Common and John Legend that closes the powerful "Selma."
Should Win: "I'm Not Gonna Miss You," the Glen Campbell Alzheimer's ballad with the most meaningful words in any movie song this year.

Best Foreign Language Film -- "Ida,” “Leviathan,” “Tangerines,” “Timbuktu,” “Wild Tales”
Will Win: This one's a two-horse race between Poland's "Ida" and Russia's bureaucratically daunting "Leviathan." Look for politically savvy voters to go with Poland.
Should Win: I'd go with Argentina's aptly named "Wild Tales," a funny and fascinating film focusing on the absurd.

Best Documentary Feature -- “CitizenFour,” “Finding Vivian Maier,” “Last Days in Vietnam,” “The Salt of the Earth,” “Virunga”
Will Win: In this sketchy field, which doesn't include the brilliance of the Roger
Ebert doc, "Life Itself," "CitizenFour" looks like the clearcut choice.
Should Win: "CitizenFour" follows the trail of infamous whistle-blower Edward Snowden, with paranoia running very decisively deep.

Best Animated Feature -- “Big Hero 6,” “The Boxtrolls,” “How to Train Your Dragon 2,” “Song of the Sea,” “The Tale of the Princess Kaguya”
Will Win: It's another head-scratching year in an ever-mediocre category with "The Lego Movie," the year's most universally praised animated film, not even nominated. That leaves a battle between huge money-makers "Big Hero 6" and How to Train Your Dragon 2,” I'll go with the latter. Just because.
Should Win: "The Boxtrolls" is the only one that kept me smiling from beginning to end, but it doesn't have a prayer.
 Upset Alert: Maybe "Princess Kaguya" stands a chance. After all, it did win here in voting by the Los Angeles Film Critics. Then again, there really hasn't been a truly deserving animated feature Oscar winner since "Toy Story 3," and that's already five years ago.

The rest of your winners:

Adapted Screenplay: "Whiplash"; Original Screenplay: "The Grand Budapest Hotel";
Original Score: "The Theory of Everything"; Costume Design" "The Grand Budapest Hotel"; Production Design: "The Grand Budapest Hotel"

Cinematography: "Birdman"; Visual Effects: "Interstellar"; Film Editing: "Boyhood";
Makeup and Hairstyling: "The Grand Budapest Hotel"; Animated Short: "Feast";
Live-Action Short: "The Phone Call"; Documentary Short: "Crisis Hotline, Veterans Press 1

Sound Mixing: "Whiplash"; Sound Editing: "American Sniper"