Revisit 'Blue Jasmine' with Peter Sarsgaard and Andrew Dice Clay

Revisit 'Blue Jasmine' with Peter Sarsgaard and Andrew Dice Clay

Woody delivers another summer surprise

Looking over the past few months, you might think the summer surprise of 2013 was the critical and box office success of "The Conjuring." Not really. All corners of the industry knew that Warner Bros. release was a hit in the making after early screenings started the buzz in the spring. It wasn't the word of mouth success for "Fruitvale" either.  That award-winning drama had a passionate following out of Sundance in January.  And the disappointments of "Lone Ranger," "White House Down," "After Earth,""Turbo" or "R.I.P.D."?  Um, yeah. Personally, I'm kicking myself for not going to Vegas to put money down on how those movies would perform months ago.  No, the surprise this summer is, hands down, "Blue Jasmine."

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Experience the adorableness of 'Spectacular Now' stars Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley

Experience the adorableness of 'Spectacular Now' stars Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley

They don't make 'em like this anymore

If you were A24 Films you had to be a tad worried going into the opening weekend of "The Spectacular Now."  The Sundance favorite received, um, spectacular reviews (81 on Metacritic, 90% on Rotten Tomatoes), but the art house market and audience can only expand so much in the summer.  "Blue Jasmine" is already a powerhouse and "Fruitvale Station" and "The Way Way Back" continue to do very strong business.  Could "Spectacular" find an audience during this traditionally slow time for prestige indies?  Thankfully, there was no need for concern. "Spectacular" is off to an excellent start grossing $200,000 or $50,000 per theater.  And, happily, it means the great performances from Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley will not be forgotten.

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<p>Ellen DeGeneres</p>

Ellen DeGeneres

Credit: Courtesy of AMPAS

Oscars goes cute and safe with Ellen DeGeneres as host

Pass me a vodka martini with lemon and wake me when it's over

When I woke up this morning I checked my inbox on my phone and quickly saw there were a number of E-mails with the headline "Ellen DeGeneres returns to host…" My first thought was, "Wow, FOX must have spent a ton of money to get DeGeneres to return as an 'American Idol' judge.  I wonder if that means Jennifer Lopez is still coming back?"  Of course, a host and a judge are two very different things (don't worry Seacrest your job is safe and I was half awake) and it quickly dawned on me that, instead, DeGeneres is heading for her second go around as Oscar host.

Oh, well.

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<p>Cheryl Boone Isaacs.</p>

Cheryl Boone Isaacs.

Credit: Courtesy of AMPAS

Cheryl Boone Isaacs makes history as Academy's new president

She replaces Howard Koch

The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences made history Tuesday night by electing its first African-American president, Cheryl Boone Isaacs. The marketing and publicity veteran replaces Howard "Hawk" Koch who served one eventful year-long term. Isaacs is only the third woman to hold the position and the first since Fay Canin was president between 1979 and 1981.

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<p>Cate Blanchett, Sally Hawkins and Andrew Dice Clay in Woody Allen's &quot;Blue Jasmine.&quot;</p>

Cate Blanchett, Sally Hawkins and Andrew Dice Clay in Woody Allen's "Blue Jasmine."

Credit: Sony Classics

'Blue Jasmine's' $102,167 per screen sets 2013 record

A career best for Woody Allen

Woody Allen films have had a built in art house audience for years, but this weekend buzzworthy reviews sent the box office for "Blue Jasmine" to record levels.

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<p>James Gandolfini and Julia Louis-Dreyfus in Nicole Holofcener's &quot;Enough Said.&quot;</p>

James Gandolfini and Julia Louis-Dreyfus in Nicole Holofcener's "Enough Said."

Quick takes on the initial 2013 Toronto International Film Festival selections

Hard choices, people, hard choices

There are arguably five great film festivals in the world: New York, Sundance, Cannes, Venice and Toronto. (Yes, you could argue Berlin is in that mix as well, but how many noteworthy premieres do they really get?) Out of that group, no festival has as many artistic highs and lows as Toronto. It's partly because of their huge program, partly because it's a pseudo fall film market and, well, they sort of like to have lots of famous people walk their red carpets (tough love, TIFF, tough love).

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'Fruitvale Station' has superb $53,857 per screen opening

'Fruitvale Station' has superb $53,857 per screen opening

Plus: Michael B. Jordan, Octavia Spencer talk from...Cannes

After conquering the Sundance Film Festival this past January, Ryan Coogler's "Fruitvale Station" dominated the art house circuit this weekend grossing a very impressive $53,857 per screen in just 7 theaters. Based on the true story of Oscar Grant, a Bay Area man who was shot by a BART transit officer during the early hours of Jan. 1, 2009, the film did especially well in Oakland selling out numerous screenings. "Fruitvale's" per screen is one of the biggest for a limited release this year beating tough competition including "The Bling Ring" and "Before Midnight."& Only "Spring Breakers" ($87,667) had a higher per screen. 

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<p>Can &quot;Inside Llewyn Davis'&quot;&nbsp;Oscar Isaac survive the long road of awards season to his first Oscar nomination in January?</p>

Can "Inside Llewyn Davis'" Oscar Isaac survive the long road of awards season to his first Oscar nomination in January?

Credit: AP Photo/Laurent Emmanuel

Did Oscar make a stopover in Cannes this year?

A weak year for awards season on the Croissete

CANNES - The granddaddy of global film festivals has always had an up and down relationship with Oscar. Over the past few years Best Picture nominees such as "Amour," "Midnight in Paris," "The Tree of Life," "Inglorious Basterds," "Babel" and "Up" had their world premiere's on the Croisette. Debuts "The Artist" and "No Country For Old Men" even went on to win the Best Picture prize. Before 2007, however, the pickings were slim for decades. For every "Pulp Fiction" and "Moulin Rouge!" there were multiple years where awards season and Cannes barely intertwined. 2013 looks like something of a mixed bag for films hoping to find recognition from the Academy down the road. Let's take a look at each major category and which contenders emerged from this year's Cannes.

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10 movies from Cannes that we can't stop talking about

10 movies from Cannes that we can't stop talking about

For both good and bad reasons

CANNES - Spend a few days at a major film festival and it won't take long to run into someone who has an opinion on a movie. With the end of the 66th Cannes Film Festival drawing near, it's intriguing to look at some of the films that have generated a lot of buzz over the past week and a half.

Are people still talking about films from the beginning of the festival? Well, in the case of"Great Gatsby," "Jeune & Jolie" and "Bling Ring" they've almost been forgotten. "Jimmy P"? This year's consensus whipping boy (and for obvious reasons). "Only Lovers Left Alive"?  The latest polarizing title that seems split down the middle.  There haven't been a lot of god awful movies at this Cannes, but opinions certainly vary.

With that in mind, here are 10 other films everyone's been talking about and my quick opinions on each.

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<p>Noah Emmerich in FX's critically acclaimed series &quot;The Americans.&quot;</p>

Noah Emmerich in FX's critically acclaimed series "The Americans."

Credit: FX

An epic interview with Noah Emmerich on 'The Americans,' 'Jane's Got A Gun' and 'Blood Ties'

Working on already infamous 'Gun' is 'so much fun'

CANNES - This is not Noah Emmerich's first trip to the Croisette. The character actor who has appeared in films such as "Little Children," "Super 8" and who now stars as FBI agent Stan Beeman in FX's hit series "The Americans" journeyed to Cannes for the premiere of Doug Liman's "Fair Game" three years ago.  Now, he's back to support the ensemble of "Blood Ties" where he plays a NYPD police captain caught in the middle of two feuding brothers (Clive Owen, Billy Crudup) in Guillaume Canet's English-language remake of the 2008 French film "Rivals."  It's a nice break for Emmerich whose in the middle of shooting the troubled and controversial Western "Jane's Got A Gun." 

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