The Telluride Film Festival is getting underway as you’re reading this, and we can now confirm earlier reports that one of the annual surprise screenings at the fest is going to be ‘Argo’. The Playlist has reported here that Ben Affleck’s third directorial outing is getting a spot there before its “official” debut in Toronto. Could this be a signal that Affleck’s flick is a big time awards contender? We shall, and the initial reactions to the flick are sure to come shortly, but after the jump you can find out the details of the premiere as well as what else could wind up showing at Telluride. I’m anxious to see some reviews, and I bet you are as well. Read on below for more on the no longer secret news…
It’s time to visit the week that was via our Around the Circuit piece, where we look back at articles that we feel are worth your time covering the Oscar race, new releases, or really just anything film related.
Link of the week:
Brad Brevet at Rope of Silicon brings us a Fall movie preview, one so extensive that he had to divide it into four parts. Part one looks at films slated for a September release, part two goes over the films coming out in October, part three covers November, and part four, December.
Here is more information on the deadline to submit your short subject documentary, you know, in case you have one and want to win an Oscar for it:
Beverly Hills, CA –Tuesday, September 4, 5 p.m. PT is the deadline for documentary filmmakers to submit short subject documentaries and all required paperwork to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for consideration for the 85th Academy Awards®. To be eligible, the documentaries must complete a seven-day commercial run in a theater in either Los Angeles County or in the Borough of Manhattan in New York, between January 1, 2012, and December 31, 2012. Films completing their qualifying run after September 4 must still complete and submit all paperwork, including legal contracts, by the deadline.
I know that there’s plenty of people who will disregard my take on this documentary due to my politics, but that shouldn’t matter. Yes, I’m a registered Democrat and self identified liberal, one who thinks that President Barack Obama has done a good but not great job and will be voting for him in the fall (not that that’s any of your business), but even if I wasn’t, I’d have major issues with ’2016: Obama’s America’. If the documentaries of Michael Moore are said to be factually iffy, then this doc is all the way on to being better placed in the realm of fiction. I have no idea who directors Dinesh D’Souza (who also is the guide/Moore type of the flick) and John Sullivan think they’re talking about, but the facts show that it’s not Barack Obama. There are many a legitimate gripe to be had about the President, but D’Souza and Sullivan are content to make him into a straw man and just push forward Conservative talking points regardless of their validity, not to mention a heaping dose of Xenophobia. I went into this with an open mind, wanting to see if a documentary that’s against Obama could make salient points to a supporter like me, much like many wish that Moore’s docs could convince those who disagree with that ideology. Sadly, it was not to be. I merely left angry and sad that more people don’t realize what a con job this is. It’s a paranoid conspiracy about where we’ll be if the President wins a second term, but it’s mostly content to just demonize Obama for being, well…there, I guess. Suffice to say, this is one of the worst films of 2012 in my eyes.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt proves a suitable leading man for action films in the bicycle thriller ‘Premium Rush’, a fun flick that basically is a series of chase sequences stitched together. Yes, it’s all just formulaic, but using a bike instead of a car or just being on foot gives the movie a bit of originality as well. Co-writer and director David Koepp may not have that special a story to tell, but he films things in such a kinetic and fun way that it’s hard not to get roped in. Alongside that, we have some surprisingly good performances to factor in, including the aforementioned Gordon-Levitt and Michael Shannon having a blast as the antagonist to JGL’s protagonist. The duo are always a joy to watch, and together they prove to be apt foils for each other. There’s no greater truth or anything of the sort on hand here, but this is a real enjoyable movie, even if it is a bit ridiculous at points. I have no problem recommending it to anyone who’s looking for a late summer release that’s of a higher quality than the release date it was saddled with suggests. Everyone involved with this flick deserved better from the studio than this clear dump of a good little film.
Since winning the Oscar for Best Director last year, it’s safe to say that ‘The Artist’ director Michel Hazanavicius has a lot of offers on his table these days. According to Colliderhere, he’s potentially going to be tackling a high concept comedy project that ‘Little Miss Sunshine’ and ‘Ruby Sparks’ directors Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris wanted to make called ‘Will’. It’s written by actor/comedian Demetri Martin, was supposed to have starred Paul Rudd and Zach Galifianakis in an earlier form (along with being produced by Will Ferrell and Adam McKay), and after the jump you can see what it’s about. I personally would have preferred Dayton and Faris to have made it, but I’m curious to see what Hazanavicius can do with a bigger budget comedy. Read on below for some details…
Remember the debacle in the Original Song category last year (and every year)? Well we have yet another change coming, this time, hopefully for the better. There will now be a solid, concrete, five original songs nominated in their respective field. Here is the official release from AMPAS:
The Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has approved additional rules for the 85th Academy Awards. The most significant changes affect the Original Song category, in which there will now be five nominees.
Though sometimes sadly overlooked, the Telluride Film Festival is an important part of the festival and awards season. Jason Reitman for one can attest to how big a boost the fest can be for a possible Oscar contender, and this year there’s a couple of very interesting films playing in the town over the next few days. Rumors have Ben Affleck’s film ‘Argo’ playing as well, but at the moment that movie hasn’t been announced. Flicks often are screened surprisingly here though, so stay tuned to see if it debuts or not. After the jump you can see what is playing there though, and I personally am really interested in the trio of ‘At Any Price’, ‘Frances Ha’, and ‘The Sapphires’, but that’s just me. Take a gander at the lineup below and see what you think…
Yes I was horrified when Roberto Benigni won the Academy Award for Best Actor for Life is Beautiful (1998), but the Screen Actors Guild had prepared me for the fact it might happen when they awarded him their Best Actor prize a few weeks earlier. There had been such a groundswell of love for the comedy featuring the little Italian clown that by the time Oscar night rolled around, it seemed he was the odds on favorite for the award. It did not matter that Edward Norton in American History X (1998), Ian McKellen in Gods and Monsters (1998), Tom Hanks in Saving Private Ryan (1998) or Nick Nolte in Affliction (1998) had given stronger performances, this was the year of the little Italian and he stomped the competition in one of OScar’s most bizarre Best Actor choices. I remember equal amazement when Adrien Brody took Best Actor for The Pianist (2002) over Daniel Day-Lewis in Gangs of New York (2002) and Jack Nicholson in About Schmidt (2002).
I’m not fully sure whether or not ‘The Possession’ benefits or suffers due to the recent critical thrashing (rightly so, I might add, but you all knew that already) that ‘The Apparition’ received last week, by yours truly as well as by basically every other human being on the planet. This flick is far better than that dreck, but is it really anything special on its own, or just the beneficiary of not being on the inept level of that other work? My star rating was initially 2 stars, but I’ve gone up a half star, possibly just because it looks so good upon comparison. All in all, it’s perhaps more effective than I was expecting, but it’s also frustrating at other points. Essentially, the film never hits any real highs or lows, leaving you mostly indifferent to it. Director Ole Bornedal does a decent enough job with the scares, though he likes jump moments a bit more than he should. He’s also shamelessly cribbing ‘The Exorcist’, but at least he’s stealing from the best. What surprised me here was how deliberate the pace is in the flick. There’s an opening scare, but then things slow down for a bit, and a little more attention is paid to the characters than is the norm for a demonic possession film of this ilk. Scribes Juliet Snowden and Stiles White aren’t masters of the craft, but they didn’t do a bad job at all, especially in terms of flipping the switch on the religion behind the possession of the film’s title. The movie opens on Friday and should certainly do better than last week’s horror offering. I can’t fully recommend it, but I’ve definitely seen worse things this year.
The initial goal of ‘About Cherry’ is one that’s certainly intriguing. The drama sets out to chronicle the story of small town girl and her introduction into the world of pornography while never demonizing it. Cowriter/director Stephen Elliot has the right idea here, but far too often he winds up just showing us things we’ve already seen before in other movies, and done better to boot. Yes, there’s no judgement for the main character, but everything about this movie is just a bit too passive to fully work. The acting is good all around, but this character study just doesn’t give us characters worth studying. Too often it feels like the screenplay is directing them instead of it feeling like their actions and decisions were organic to the story. Individual moments work, but the package on the whole is missing some important pieces. For initially trying something different and for getting some nice performances from his cast, I tip my hat to Elliot, but I just wish he had made an overall better film. The movie comes out in almost exactly a month, and while I don’t want to completely discourage you from seeing it with this Early Review, I do want you to check your expectations. Don’t go looking for a great flick here, because you won’t be getting it.
As an actor, Robert Redford has been a part of a few of my favorite films of all time. From Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969), to The Sting (1973), to All the President’s Men (1976), his resume is pretty outstanding. As a director, however, the results have been a little more mixed bag. Sure, he has gifted us with some pretty great films like Ordinary People (1980), A River Runs Through It (1992), and Quiz Show (1994), but as of late Redford has created a pretty disappointing track record with films like Lions for Lambs (2007) and The Conspirator (2010). His latest film, The Company You Keep, hopes to change that recent slide. Read more on Watch the Trailer for Robert Redford’s ‘The Company You Keep’…
Ingrid Bergman was born on the 29th of August, 1915, in Stockholm, Sweden. Bergman starred in a dozen Swedish films before being introduced to the American audience in an English remake of Intermezzo (1939). Her remarkable elegance and beauty only added to the extraordinary talent that Bergman would display on screen, and she quickly became a major star in Hollywood.
That was as classy as I could keep the title for this post about the deliciously raunchy red band trailer for The To Do List. Intermixed with commentary from Aubrey Plaza, the trailer shows Plaza as Brandy Klark, a type-A high school grad who makes a to-do list of all the sexual activities she never did in high school and wants todo before heading off to college. The movie written and directed by Maggie Carey, stars Plaza and Donald Glover, along with Alia Shawkat, Rachel Bilson, Andy Samberg, Scott Porter, Connie Britton, Clark Gregg, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Johnny Simmons, Sarah Steele and Bill Hader.
The To Do List comes out on Valentine’s Day 2013. Check out the trailer after the jump!
Some would say it took Meryl Streep 29 years to win her third Oscar. Others would say it took her 29 years to work with the Weinsteins, who produced The Iron Lady, for which Meryl finally won that elusive third award. Having won back-to-back Best Picture titles with The King’s Speech (2010) and The Artist (2011), most people recognize how far down Oscar’s pants the Weinstein’s hands are. Heck, even their documentary, Undefeated, took home the Oscar for Best Doc Feature last year. So when it comes to getting long deserved artists their due recognition, who would doubt the power of the Weinsteins?
Ryan Gosling’s acting career is so hot right now that any move he makes will be highly anticipated. Which is why it’s pleasantly surprising that the news today isn’t about his acting career, rather his choice to make his directorial debut. The Hollywood Reporter has learned that Gosling is set to direct How to Catch a Monster, from a screenplay he and Sierra Affinity wrote. Described as a fantasy noir, the film will star Ryan’s Drive co-star Christina Hendricks. The film, which Gosling is producing via his Phantasma production company along with Marc Platt and Adam Siegel of Marc Platt Productions and Michel Litvak and David Lancaster of Bold Films, will be shopped to foreign buyers at the Toronto International Film Festival.
Amy Adams was a guest on Late Night with David Letterman last night, and with her appearance came yet another clip from Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master. Many of us think Adams has a great chance at a nomination for her performance in the film, where she plays the wife and assistant of Lancaster Dodd (Philip Seymour Hoffman). We still have a few weeks before The Master goes wide, but the anticipation has certainly boiled over for many at this point. We’ll hear more buzz on the film as it plays at the Venice Film Festival and The Toronto International Film Festival in early September.
The often impending yet always delayed release of ‘On The Road’ has been a source of bemusement and anticipation here at The Awards Circuit, especially from myself and Clayton. At long last, the film premiered at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year, to expectedly mixed reviews. One of the big issues seemed to be the length of the movie, and according to The Playlisthere, the flick has been trimmed down by about 15 minutes or so, going from about 2 hours and 20 minutes to only a bit over 2 hours. After the jump you can see a bit about what this may do for the film, but I’d expect the adaptation to remain a niche item that will only really find its audience in the years to come on DVD and Blu-Ray. Read on below for a bit more…
In The Sessions, Academy Award nominee John Hawkes (Winter’s Bone) plays real-life writer and poet Mark O’Brien, a man stuck in an iron lung after being stricken with polio as a child. When O’Brien decides that he wishes to lose his virginity, he enlists the help of Cheryl Cohen Green, a sexual surrogate played by Academy Award winner Helen Hunt (As Good As It Gets). The first clip from the film shows O’Brien in a very anxious state, while Green lays out some ground rules for their relationship. The Sessions also stars Williams H. Macy, and the trio – along with the film itself – looks set to take on the upcoming awards season by storm. The Sessions will be in theatres October 26th.
In a move that would see two of our more ubiquitous actors working together, Vulture is reporting that Michael Fassbender is in the final stages of signing on to join Oscar winner Natalie Portman in the western Jane Got a Gun. Based on a 2011 Black List script written by Brian Duffield, Portman would play a woman married to an outlaw who returns home bullet-riddled and half-dead, betrayed by criminal confederates hot on his heels. Jane reluctantly reaches out to an ex-lover (Fassbender) who she hasn’t seen in over ten years to help her defend her farm when her husband’s gang eventually tracks him down to finish the job.
In just about 2 and a half weeks time, theaters will begin showing ‘The Master’, and the fall Oscar season will fully be upon us. The new Paul Thomas Anderson movie has already shown off some brilliant Posters and Trailers, and now they’ve concluded the marketing essentially with one final Trailer, which you can see after the jump. I’m impressed as usual, and expect the PTA flick to be a real treat. Obviously we’ll be talking more about its awards chances in the coming months, but for now feast your eyes on this Trailer. Check it out below and let us know what you thought of it…
This week the highs of the prior Blu-Ray/DVD output are met with a real slide in quality, if not in quantity. It’s not a wasteland by any stretch, but when 2 of my 10 worst films of the year so far are coming out and only one movie actually is recommendation worthy for me, well…it’s not a good day for me. Still, there have been worse, even recently, so I’m not going to get too up in arms. I was just getting used to the uptick in quality again, that’s all. Anyway, we like to make the best of things here at The Awards Circuit, and that’s certainly the case with this column as well. With that said, let’s look at the top pick from today’s slate, which I know had its fans. For my PICK OF THE WEEK, I went with a flick I didn’t like quite as much as some did but still found entertaining enough to put in this spot. Which movie is it? Well, it’s:
The Pirates! Band of Misfits
There’s enjoyment to be found in this Aardman Animations endeavor, but not quite as much as usual…at least in my eyes. That being said, the voice cast is real good (which includes Hugh Grant, Salma Hayek, Martin Freeman, Brendan Gleeson, Jeremy Piven, and David Tennant) and the animation is as appealing as you’d expect from the well regarded studio. It’s not a Pixar film, but it’s fun enough to recommend in a weak grouping like this one. Give you’re a fan of Aardman, animation in general, or just like pirates…this is a flick to check out. I’d expect you to enjoy it as much as I did, if not more.