Read more on Circuit Round-Up (Week Ending 10/28)…
Categories: Circuit Round-Up
, Awards Circuit Power Hour
, Daniel Ashtiany
, Editor Snippets
, Joey Magidson
, Joey's DVD Picks of the Week
, Joseph Braverman
, London Film Festival
, Mark Johnson
, Mike Ward
, Nicole Melkonian
, oscar predictions 2013
, Review Snippets
, Robert Hamer
, Terence Johnson
, tiffany chai
, Top 10 Best Video Game Movies
Psycho is by far one of the best horror films ever made. Scream queen of the week, Janet Leigh, is one of the most memorable scream queens in the horror genre. Earning herself an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress, Leigh was given the difficult task of aiding Alfred Hitchcock in changing film. Up until Psycho, the idea of a woman being stabbed to death, naked and in the shower was unheard of. Janet Leigh is absolutely perfect as Marion Crane and shocks the audience when she meets her bloody demise.
Instead of talking about how amazing Janet Leigh is in Psycho, I figured I’d share the famous death scene that changed cinema forever. Sometimes a film can just speaks for itself. Read more on Women in Horror: Janet Leigh…
When I see movie trailers for the first time, I busy myself with thinking about whether it’s meant to showcase the actors, director or plot. Recently, when I see a trailer for an Adam Sandler movie, the only thing I can do is groan in disgust. This once great comedian made very funny films, and with a sensational serious side, displayed the potential to be an Oscar nominee. However, it seems he’s given up on making quality movies and only cares about making money. Read more on Will The Real Adam Sandler Please Stand Up?…
Tags: Anger Management
, Funny People
, golden globes
, Grown Ups
, Jack Nicholson
, James L. Brooks
, Paul Thomas Anderson
, Punch-Drunk Love
, Reign Over Me
As of late I’ve been quite busy, so busy in fact I haven’t had the time to sit down and write. But today my mind started rolling and I came up with this idea. I work almost every night and there are some nights where I come home exhausted and want to sleep, but I never actually get to sleep. So I’ll get out of bed, drag myself to the television and search Netflix for a movie I’ve never seen before. Sometimes I’ll even begin a new television show. But that hour or more I take for myself is always really nice. So I figured why not turn my late nights into a little column called ‘What’s Anna Watching?’
Read more on What’s Anna Watching?…
I hope everyone has enjoyed reading the Awards Circuit Top 10 series as much as we, the staff, enjoyed writing them. Whether we’ve inspired you to write a top 10 or just got you to comment on the different lists, this was such a fun exercise and getting to read the opinion’s of the Awards Circuit community was a pretty cool feeling. We’re getting ready for our next big series, 30 Days of Batman leaden up to the release of The Dark Knight Rises but before we tackle all things Batman, here’s a final look at our Top 10s, by the numbers.
Most Chosen Film: Star Wars appears on 4 lists (Mark, Joseph, Anna, Michael)
Biggest Oscar Winner Chosen: Lord of the Rings: Return of the King with 11 Oscars (Clayton, John)
Most Common Decade Represented: 1950s and 1970s films appear on 9 lists
Highest Average Rotten Tomatoes Score: 98% (Mark Johnson and John Foote)
Lowest rated film (according to Rotten Tomatoes) chosen: The Strangers, 46% (Terence)
Most Foreign Language Films Chosen: Terence (Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, 8 1/2, A Separation, Sin Nombre) and Robert (Seven Samurai, Earrings of Madame de…, The Ballad of Narayama, Persona) with 4 each
Most Oscar Wins: 39, John Foote (Lord of the Rings and Godfather series Oscar wins averaged)
Read more on Awards Circuit Top 10 Films of All Time – By The Numbers…
Planet of the Apes (1968) is a film I will watch over and over, loving every minute of the movie, still gasping aloud when Taylor first sees the apes on horseback, stunned when he finds the Statue of Liberty armpit deep in the sand on the beach, but not for a moment do I believe it to be among the ten greatest films ever made. Certainly I would include it among the best one hundred, but not the ten. Why?
What is a great film? Further, what makes a great film, a greatest film? How do go through the thousands of films you have seen, and decide which are then greatest in your humble opinion. Of course there is nothing humble about the task, which is what makes it fun. Certainly if you choose, a ten greatest films list can be your favorite films, it is entirely up to you because it is your list. However, the list will reflect how you are thought of as a critic or film writer, so it is not something I take lightly, but at the same time I encourage anyone doing it to be bold, to write what your heart tells you, to be honest above all with yourself.
My opinion all, but there are some elements I did indeed consider when creating this list. Read more on 10 Greatest of All-Time (John Foote)…
Who doesn’t love a little romance and getting swept off their feet?
I’m the type of person who has an extremely hard shell, but man do I love romance, a happy ending and those sappy love lines like “You complete me.” I also love when movies have those long monologues about why one character loves the other one. They get me every time, and it’s not normal, I know. But I’m a girl, so get over that.
With Valentine’s Day right around the corner and the release of The Vow this weekend, couples around the world are going to be forced into watching all types of romance films. On Valentine’s Day people love to go out to dinner, but restaurants are always so crowded. So guys and gals make your honey a wonderful dinner and spend the night curled up on the couch watching a movie that will remind you why you love to love.
To make your Valentine’s Day a stress free affair, here is a list of the 50 best love films of the new millennium you can enjoy with your Valentine. Read more on The 50 Best Love Stories of the New Millennium…
Sasha Stone of Awards Daily wrote this very passionate piece about racism and the Oscars. I never share opinion pieces with readers but I was very taken by the truth that was said in the piece. Here’s an excerpt and please give it a quick read:
Read more on Isolation of the Issues…
In 1973 the frontrunners for the Oscar for Best Actor were Jack Nicholson in The Last Detail (1973), Al Pacino in Serpico (1973) and Brando in Last Tango in Paris (1973) though admittedly Brando’s behavior the previous year in refusing his Oscar for The Godfather (1972) made him an unlikely winner. Come Oscar night winner was a jaw dropper, Jack Lemmon in the little seen Save the Tiger (1973). One year later once again it was Nicholson in Chinatown (1974) and Pacino in The Godfather Part II (1974) as the frontrunners, but again the winner was right out of left field, Art Carney in Harry and Tonto (1974). Sometimes being the frontrunner means so little, and other times, as the expected winner you have it in the bag as you walk into the building. Did anyone really doubt that Jeff Bridges was going to lose for Crazy Heart (2009)?
Nope he had won the moment he was nominated because it was his time.
Lemmon won in 1973 likely because they split the vote, and I suspect Carney had the same good fortune in 1974. Through the years there have been clear cut cases of a frontrunner losing the Oscar on the big night to a lesser performance, leaving us shaking our hands in utter disbelief. Sometimes its sheer popularity, Jack Nicholson in As Good As It Gets (1997) over Robert Duvall in The Apostle (1997), other times sentimental choices, split votes, or God forbid, because the actor is said to be, due, whatever that means.
Read more on That Best Actor Race…
The exclusion of Steven Spielberg and War Horse from the DGA race is a big deal indeed. Big enough to impact the entire Oscar race.
It stands to change entire fabric of the current race right down to Best Picture. A nomination for Spielberg as Best Director could have easily become a win and at that moment War Horse becomes the favorite for Best Picture. No more. While I admit I am shocked that Spielberg was ignored, especially by a guild that has made him the single most nominated and winning director in their history, let’s not forget they did not nominate him either A.I. – Artificial Intelligence (2001) or Minority Report (2002). War Horse was a different matter however, because he seemed to be a lock. An absolute lock.
I suppose on one hand it sends out the message that no one is a lock.
The nominees held a couple of major surprises, but more for who is not there than for who is. I fully expected Spielberg to be there, along with Allen, Payne and Scorsese, but admit that I did not see David Fincher in the running at all. Does this mean The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a potential Best Picture nominee? Maybe. Maybe not. Does it mean the DGA feel they owe Fincher for the debacle of last year when he lost for The Social Network (2010) to Tom Hooper for The King’s Speech (2010)??
Does Spielberg’s exclusion mean he’s out of the Oscar race??
Read more on A Word About Spielberg’s DGA Snub…
Probably the most important precursor of them all, the Directors Guild of America announces their nominees tomorrow. With the field of Best Picture anywhere between five and ten, the names called tomorrow morning will be essential to making the final cut in both Motion Picture and Director. Last year, the group chose Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan), David Fincher (The Social Network), David O. Russell (The Fighter), Christopher Nolan (Inception), and eventual DGA and Oscar Winner for Director Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech). Four out of the five men were nominated with Christopher Nolan, yet again, missing out at a nomination. Will this year be more telling?
Read more on Directors Guild of America Preview & Predictions…
Categories: Article, Editor
, Directors Guild of America
, Martin Scorsese
, Michel Hazanavicius
, Midnight in Paris
, Steven Spielberg
, Tate Taylor
, the artist
, The Help
, war horse
, Woody Allen
New York City has had a moment in 2011, that’s for sure. From ‘Shame’ to ‘Margaret’ to ‘Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close’ (not to mention appearances in the likes of ’The Adjustment Bureau’, ‘Bill Cunningham New York’, ‘HappyThankYouMorePlease’, and ‘Margin Call’…hell, even trash like ‘New Year’s Eve’), the city of New York has been a looming character in many films this past year. How ironic is it that in a year where this is the case, Woody Allen is actually one of the filmmakers who didn’t contribute to this? Regardless, it’s a year where I’ve seen New York captured as a character in movies like I haven’t witness in a long time. Specifically with the first three films I mentioned, the city is an omnipresent character an an emotional piece of the puzzle. From ‘Shame’ compounding the loneliness of Brandon with the emptiness of the city on a late night run to ‘Margaret’ making the post 9/11 city a real concern for Lisa and most others to ‘Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close’ focusing on a trip throughout the boroughs that relates back to “the worst day” for Oskar, New York has been worthy of a Best Supporting Actor (or is it Actress?) nomination in 2011. Especially considering that 2011 was the 10th anniversary of 9/11, the omnipresence of New York makes a bit of sense, to say the least. Each film used it in a different way, but all did it with aplomb. There are a trio of films that really made New York a character last year, and I want to talk a bit about each and give them their due. Trust me, as a New Yorker, they deserve it in a big way.
Read more on New York City: The Best Cinematic Character in 2011?…
In 1992 my wife and I went out to a movie, our first since the birth of our first child Aurora. We were nervous about leaving the baby with a sitter, but knew that this had to happen at some point, so we took the plunge. Sherri had always gone to the movies with me, press screenings excepted of course, and I missed having her along with me. The film was Unforgiven (1992) and two hours later we emerged from the film looking at each other as though we had eaten something bad. Neither of us liked the film very much, and voiced this to each other all the way home. But then for the next week, I could not stop thinking about the movie, the little moments, the performances, the many layers of the deceptively simplistic screenplay that contained enormous depth. Eastwood’s superb performance, Hackman’s terrifying Little Bill, all weighed on my mind. Oddly enough, Sherri had also been thinking about the film so we decided to go and give it another try.
This time we emerged from the theatre knowing we had seen one of the greatest films of all time. Perhaps it was the thought of our new baby at home in the hands of another that impacted our first viewing of the picture, perhaps we needed a different type of film for that first night out, but whatever had happened, the second time the movie hit us as it should have the first time.
Read more on Re-Thinking ‘The Tree of Life’…
They may not be the youngest actors working in movies, but through the last ten years they made an impact with a performance that changed the course of their career. While they might have been acting for ten years or more, their breakthrough work took them to a new level in the business, and thrilled us with its brilliance. I plan another piece on the great debuts of the last ten years but for now, here are the breakthroughs of the new millennium.
Read more on Great Breakthrough Performances of the Millennium…
In the midst of his great success Tom Hanks was compared to James Stewart, said to be the everyman of this generation, and perhaps like Hanks badly underappreciated as an actor. Like John Wayne, James Stewart’s abilities as an actor have been celebrated more since his death than they were in his life. Hanks has not had that problem, yet the comparison persists. Instead of comparing him to anyone I would rather think of Hanks as an original, a light comedic actor who slid into romantic comedy with ease and then into dramatic acting with equal ease. Not blessed with God given good looks, he looks average, like you and me; therefore the connection to him is stronger, more realistic than say connecting to Brad Pitt in Troy (2004). When Hanks is in character we can easily say, “I know that man; I am that man” and not be out of line for thinking or saying it. He is us and we are him, and no one understands that better than Tom Hanks who brings an easy grace and realism to each and every character he portrays.
Read more on Tom Hanks & His Best Work…
Frances O'Connor in Steven Spielberg's "A.I.: Artificial Intelligence"
The American Film Institute will be unveiling their top ten films of 2011 tomorrow and I couldn’t be more excited. This particular group doesn’t have a huge impact on the race like it should but they do often present some eclectic choices. Last year they named every Best Picture nominee except for Oscar Best Picture Winner “The King’s Speech.” Go figure.
In 2002, the group started citing the best performances of the year along with their top ten lists which was very enjoyable but the group has not done since. 2002, one hell of a year for acting in general had the likes of Russell Crowe, Halle Berry, and Denzel Washington, all of which were nominated by the AFI. Also cited was the incredible works by Billy Bob Thornton in The Coen Brothers classic, “The Man Who Wasn’t There,” Brian Cox in the controversial “L.I.E.,” and Frances O’Connor who was the heart and soul of Steven Spielberg’s “A.I.: Artificial Intelligence.” The group has shied away from that type of awards recognition and is simply sticking with the normal set of ten. This year we should have a different range of films from the group.
Read more on American Film Institute (AFI) Preview & Predictions…
Categories: Article, Editor
Tags: American Film Institute
, arthur christmas
, Martha Marcy May Marlene
, Midnight in Paris
, Take Shelter
, The Adventures Of Tintin
, the artist
, The Descendants
, The Help
, The Ides of March
, The Tree of Life
, tinker tailor soldier spy
, war horse
Just a few weeks ago, no one was really talking Hugo (2011) or Martin Scorsese as threats in the Oscar race, but after the film’s release, and the excellent reviews it has been getting…it is now a very real part of the Oscar race, and a genuine threat to play spoiler to the films most discussed for Best Film. While The Descendants, The Artist, and War Horse remain the films most likely to win that Best Picture Oscar, Hugo should not be counted out. Over at Rotten Tomatoes, the film scored 96% with critics, 87% with audiences, each terrific and more than indicative of the fact the film is a success with both critics and audiences. Add into the mix it is a brilliant picture, directed by a modern master, and suddenly the odds of Hugo getting into the race and perhaps winning, become a whole lot brighter.
Read more on Scorsese and “Hugo” – Taking it Seriously…
You bet it could.
The film opened back in the summer and was very successful at the box office, along with critics and audiences, maintaining that trajectory up to this moment. Based on a bestselling novel, beautifully adapted and brought to the screen with no less than six Oscar caliber performances from gifted women, dealing with a subject that is to this day sensitive and difficult, the film has all the ingredients of an Oscar winner. And let’s never forget Crash (2005) won with a hell of a lot less just a few years ago!!
Read more on Could “The Help” Win Best Picture?…
Though I suspect the Best Director category will be overflowing with talent this year, and the usual group of excellent achievements left out, there is a strong possibility Woody Allen could land a nomination as Best Director. It has been a long time since Woody Allen has won the Oscar as Best Director, not since his film Annie Hall (1977) though he has been oft nominated through the years including Interiors (1978), Broadway Danny Rose (1984), Hannah and Her Sisters (1986), Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989) and Bullets Over Broadway (1994). There should have been nominations for Manhattan (1979), The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985) and Match Point (2005), perhaps even Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008) as well, but other directors slipped in ahead of Allen. While there have been times through the years he fell out of favor with film critics and audiences, when he’s on he’s on, and no one does what he does better. Indeed there have been some terrible films, but with the average of a film a year, sometimes two, they are not all going to be brilliant, how could they be?? He is among the most nominated screenwriters in film history, and remains a comedic icon now in his seventies with an uncanny ability in writing for women. His move away from New York and the United States to make his films seems to have revived him and brought a new freshness to his work that was fading through the nineties. The decision was largely economical, as Allen found it easier to get funding outside of America for his work, but the new surroundings and culture have had a positive effect on the demanding filmmaker, bringing to his films a new energy, and in some cases, a darker Woody Allen. HIs brilliant Match point (2005) was totally unexpected from Allen, the sort of film that had been suggested in Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989) but never had the killing been front and centre as part of the story. This was a dark and nasty film about getting away with murder, and though Martin Landau did the same in the 1989 film, we knew he would be forever haunted by what he had done, while the Jonathan Rhys Meyer character could not care less, and had already moved on when he pulled the trigger.
Read more on Can Woody Land in Best Director?…
Admittedly Kris Tapley over at Hit Fix beat me to this, though I have been tooling around on it for a week or so.
Actors revere Eastwood. They admire the fact he does not get in their way when they are working, creating a character for him in his film. They are hired to serve his film, and they know this. Going in there is an understanding that they will show up and have the role create and be ready to work. Maybe they know he often shoots and prints rehearsals, maybe they will learn that as Meryl Streep did while shooting The Bridges of Madison County (1995). Eastwood creates a hushed set for his actors, so they have a quiet area in which to create. There is no yelling, no temper fits, no cussing someone because you can, just a well oiled machine that the actors are expect to become a part of very quickly. There is a discipline and professionalism that is simply implied and if the actor struggles with that, Eastwood deals with it. Kevin Costner found out the hard way. An Oscar winning directing himself, he pitched a fit over something silly, and stormed off to his trailer. On the spot Eastwood decided to shoot the scenes he needed with Costner’s double, over his shoulder. They had the scenes done by the time Costner returned from his tantrum at which point he very sheepishly apologized and never again let Eastwood down. As Eastwood stated to him, “I am here to shoot film, not fuck around.” And shoot film he did that day. Rarely does he do more than three takes, believing the actors do their best in the early ones, and for those actors who do not do their best in three…catch up and do it. He does deal with egos on his set, and as Sean Penn aptly said, “he is the least disappointing icon in America.”
Read more on Best Performances in Eastwood’s Films…
Tags: armie hammer
, best lists
, Clint Eastwood
, forest whitaker
, gene hackman
, gran torino
, Hilary Swank
, J. Edgar
, ken watanabe
, Leonardo DiCaprio
, letters from iwo jima
, marcia gay harden
, Meryl Streep
, Million Dollar Baby
, mystic river
, Sean Penn
, the bridges of madison county
“I think, I hope, my work has gotten better through the years”, smiled George Clooney at TIFF this year, “some of my early performances were, well, terrible.”
In fact Clooney has come almost full circle to being one of the most respected actors in the business, an artist able to dig in and give a complex and deep performance, but also a movie star with box office clout, admired by his fans, by men and women and alike, and respected by his peers for his honesty and work. He is what I like to call a “no bullshit” sort of guy, one who speaks his mind, does not take himself all that seriously, and uses his power within the industry to make important films that challenge him and hopefully, his audiences. The awards have come, and while he appreciates them, they do not govern what he does, or how he chooses his films.
Read more on CLOONEY — FULL TIME ARTIST…
Comedy…something the Academy Awards haven’t normally warmed up to in its 83 year history. When Oscar goes for comedy it’s usually in a “dramedy” or “smart comedy” sort of fashion. Look at last year’s The Kids Are All Right. They’ve never went for slapstick or raunchy that typically makes big box office. It’s not them. It’s not necessarily a complaint but an observation as the Academy goes for genre films like Westerns and since the year of ten, Sci-Fi or Action. The “comedy” that AMPAS has embraced the past few years has been films like Alexander Payne’s Sideways which won only one Oscar for Adapted Screenplay after being nominated for a just mere five Oscars. The Academy thought too unconventional to reward Thomas Haden Church for his funny but at times unlikable “Jack” or Virginia Madsen as the beautiful and smart “Maya.” Note, this is the year Clive Owen blazed up the screen in Mike Nichols’ Closer and Morgan Freeman won his long overdue Oscar in Clint Eastwood’s Million Dollar Baby. Sideways nearly swept the critics’ awards winning over seventy five critics’ awards, many as Best Picture of the Year including the Golden Globes and the Broadcast Film Critics Association.
Read more on Comedy…It’s a Funny Thing…
Categories: Article, Editor
, Crazy Stupid Love
, little miss sunshine
, mark wahlberg
, Midnight in Paris
, Oscar hopefuls
, Thomas Haden Church
, We Bought a Zoo
, Young Adult
To those who have been dedicated followers of The Awards Circuit for a while now, it’s no secret that Ryan Gosling is my favorite actor working today. Lucky for me, he’s also one of the pickiest, having yet to appear in anything that I wouldn’t consider a solidly recommendation-worthy film. He’s also been in some incredible and lasting works, showing a real sense of knowing the parts that are right for him and not succumbing to the temptation for easy and high paying parts. With this being perhaps his biggest year as an actor to date in terms of acclaim and notoriety, it’s as good a time as any to dive right into the works he’s done before, the films he had out this year, and what’s next for him. For my money, he ranks right up there with some of the all time greats. When I see Gosling at his best, it’s not much of a stretch for me to feel like I’m watching Marlon Brando when he was a young actor, dazzling the film world with his potential. Am I saying that Ryan Gosling is the next Brando? No, but I think he has the skills to be as good, and maybe even better. In my eyes, he’s surpassed only by Daniel Day-Lewis in regard to being the best actor working today, period. Though plenty of you have seen his recent works, how many of you have seen ‘The Slaughter Rule’ or ‘The United States of Leland’? This article will hopefully shed a light on some of Gosling’s less appreciated but still incredible performances. I wrote an article a few weeks ago on it being Brad Pitt’s year, but I made sure I mentioned Gosling as well, since it’s just as much his year, only without as good a chance at an Oscar nomination at the end of the rainbow. So, consider this a spinoff from that article. In case anyone still isn’t sure if Gosling is a great actor, I present to you my case for him being not only great, but soon to be one of the greats…
Read more on Ryan Gosling: The Past, The Present, and The Future…