Cameron Crowe's Get Out of Jail card just hit theaters. Well, it hit your multiplex for a sneak peek on Saturday night. "We Bought A Zoo" is Crowe's first movie since the disastrous "Elizabethtown" in 2005. That romance Crowe's second critical failure after "Vanilla Sky," but the former thriller still had enough Tom Cruise star power to turn a profit. Not only did "Elizabethtown" cool Crowe's previously lauded career, but it was one of the reasons Cruise and his then producing partner, Paula Wagner, found themselves out of a production deal at Paramount. Now, six years later, Crowe returns with "Zoo," a very commercial dramedy with some of the filmmaker's trademark touches thrown in for good measure.
Steven Spielberg hasn't been a major player in the Oscar game since "Munich" was nominated for best picture and he received a best director nod in 2006. In the five year since, Spielberg re-teamed with his old buddy George Lucas on another "Indiana Jones" adventure (one best forgotten) and spent a good deal of effort giving DreamWorks Studios new life at the Walt Disney Company after an unsuccessful alliance with Paramount. Spielberg's first directorial effort for the new DreamWorks is "War Horse" and ever since the rights to Michael Morpurgo's 1982 novel were acquired the project had the Oscar bait stamp all over it. The film has been finished since late summer when selected long lead press screened it. Over the past few weeks more media found themselves partaking the approximately 2 hour and 20 min epic as well as some random film screening groups that Spielberg personally attended. On Thanksgiving the floodgates opened and guild, Academy and media members all began to bask in the legendary filmmaker's endeavor. And, surprise, awards season took a turn.
If you're in the vicinity of Los Angeles or New York for the holidays you've already had a chance to catch such awards season players as "My Week with Marilyn," "Hugo," "The Descendants" and maybe even "Melancholia" if you didn't watch it on VOD already. Today, one of the frontrunners in the race finally hits screens on this side of the Atlantic, "The Artist."
Is "In the Land of Blood and Honey" really an awards player? That remains to be seen, but FilmDistrict is providing Angelina Jolie's directorial debut with a prestige release to make Madonna (aka "W.E" helmer) envy. The mini-major already made noise by deciding to release the drama in the native Bosnian language of the film's characters and setting (although it's know officially called Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian (Bosanski/Hrvatski/Srpski)). Joust in case, Jolie shot each scene in English, but the studio and Jolie felt it was better served in Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian. The studio has also released a trailer which shows that Jolie may have more cinematic talent than many would have believed (she also has sole credit on the picture's screenplay). Now, a striking and iconic poster for "Blood" has hit the web and it should absolutely draw moviegoers attention. And, considering the lack of star power in front of the screen, that's a very good thing.
Michelle Williams doesn't have much time. I mean, she really doesn't have much time. The two-time Academy Award nominated actress landed in Los Angeles just a few hours ago and now has only one hour, yes, just one hour to do interviews with a slew of waiting reporters at the always bustling Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills. it won't be long before Williams has to walk the red carpet at the premiere of "My Week with Marilyn" at AFI Fest that evening and when her people say she only has an hour they aren't kidding. My specific warning before sitting down with the best actress contender: Just two questions with the always charming Ms. Williams. Eke. I better make them good.
Needless to say, it was a much different story a year ago when I sat down for a much longer and more intimate chat regarding her acclaimed work in "Blue Valentine." But with Williams still busy filming Sam Raimi's "Oz: The Great and Powerful" with James Franco, the luxury of an in-depth conversation about her turn portraying the iconic Marilyn Monroe isn't going to happen (for anyone). When I first sat down across from a beaming Williams, she asked me, "Are you ready to speed date?" I'm not sure if I passed the test, but it was a cheerful 2 1/2 minutes I likely won't forget.
To find out Williams thoughts about playing one of her childhood icons and the agony of "over thinking" a role watch the interview embedded above. Oh, and note for all you Hollywood producers and directors out there who are likely to be blown away by Ms. Williams singing talents in "Marilyn," she'd love to appear in a movie musical. Really.
For more on Williams transformation as Monroe, check out an intriguing look at the actress getting into character on set and during a special photo shoot for photographer Brigitte Lacombe.
"My Week with Marilyn" is now playing in limited release across the country.
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TORONTO - In the midst of a busy Toronto Film Festival, I found myself racing to the Fairmont Royal Oak Hotel. One particular actress was in town for only a few more hours and this was a rare opportunity for a sit down one on one with her. The star in question was none other than Keira Knightley, the former "Pirates of the Caribbean" star who has spent the last four years running from blockbusters and, instead, gaining respect with stellar performances in films such as "Atonement," the underrated "The Edge of Love," "Never Let Me Go," the also underrated "Last Night" and "The Duchess." This fall she's delivered a career best turn in David Cronenberg's "A Dangerous Method."
Let's be frank, ever since it was announced Meryl Streep would portray highly controversial UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in the new biopic "The Iron Lady" it was assumed she would be nominated once again for best actress. The role was too Oscar friendly for her not to be. When this occurs, it will be her 17th Academy Award nomination overall and her 13th in a row since winning her second Oscar almost 29 years ago for "Sophie's Choice." No, that's not a typing error. The 84th Academy Awards will mark 29 years since Streep last graced the Academy stage to accept an Oscar.
'Arthur Christmas'' James McAvoy says he and Michael Fassbender are keen to do an 'X-Men: First Class' sequel
Want to know a big reason why "Arthur Christmas" should be on your must-see list for the Thanksgiving holiday weekend? Let one of the animated film's leading voices, James McAvoy, explain to you how the "quality" of the script made him jump at the chance to join the project.
If it's a Saturday in November there were likely numerous guild and Academy screenings today for all the major contenders who haven't hit theaters yet. And while many Los Angelenos were home watching the USC/Oregon game or wandering out of a "Breaking Dawn" screening somewhere in the Southland. But, at the legendary Palladium Theater, Variety's 2nd Annual Power of Comedy was underway and this year's recipient was none other than one and only Amy Poehler.