<p>&nbsp;Seth Rogen</p>

 Seth Rogen

Credit: AP Photo

Seth Rogen to host Independent Spirit Awards

Producer-star's '50/50' also nominated for best feature

Funnyman Seth Rogen will host the 27th annual Independent Spirits Awards next year, lending his brand of smart-stoner sass to the proceedings.

He'll also have an interest in the show's results; Rogen co-produced and starred in this year's "50/50," with Joseph Gordon-Levitt, which is up for multiple Spirit Awards including Best Feature. Also nominated in that category are the films "Drive," "The Descendants," "Take Shelter," "Beginners" and "The Artist."

He also recently co-starred in the Toronto Fest hit "Take This Waltz," with Michelle Williams.

Rogen, whose first break was on TV's "Freaks and Geeks," has been everywhere in the last few years, and may be best known for his handful of films with "Freaks" producer Judd Apatow, including "The 40-Year-Old Virgin," "Superbad," "Knocked Up" and "Funny People." 

“We’re incredibly excited to have Seth as the host for the 2012 Film Independent Spirit Awards and join us in celebrating this year’s exquisite films and talented filmmaking artists. Seth’s charm, intelligence and quick wit are sure to light up the room and will make for a truly entertaining afternoon,” said Film Independent's Sean Mc Manus in a release.

The 27th annual awards ceremony is scheduled for Saturday, February 25, and will air that evening at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT on IFC. 

Rogen's pal and frequent co-star James Franco did a less-than-stellar job of co-hosting the Oscars last year with Anne Hathaway, but we can assume that The Spirits and Rogen are a better match. 

Last year's Spirit Awards show was hosted by "Community: star Joel McHale. Previous hosts have included Eddie Izzard, Steve Coogan, Rainn Wilson, Samuel L. Jackson, Queen Latifah, Jennifer Tilly, Sarah Silverman and frequent host John Waters.

Do you think Rogen's a good choice to host?

Read Full Post
<p>Angelina Jolie discusses her role as director on the new drama &quot;In the Land of Blood and Honey.&quot;</p>

Angelina Jolie discusses her role as director on the new drama "In the Land of Blood and Honey."

Credit: FilmDistrict

Watch: Director Angelina Jolie jokes she 'stole it all from Clint' Eastwood

'In the Land of Blood and Honey' filmmaker on taking the big step behind the camera

This is not your typical Angelina Jolie interview.  This is not an interview discussing Jolie's humanitarian efforts across the globe.  This is not an interview pestering Jolie about whether she thinks' longtime companion Brad Pitt will finally win an Oscar this year.  This is not an interview diving into the ridiculous tabloid headlines that follow Jolie on a daily and sometimes hourly basis.  This isn't an interview fishing for a bite on whether Jolie will star in sequels to "Salt" or "Wanted" or if and when the Kay Scarpetta movie is going to happen.  No, this is an interview about Angelina Jolie the director.

Read Full Post
<p>Paul Feig on the set with Kristen Wiig on the set of &quot;Bridesmaids.&quot;</p>

Paul Feig on the set with Kristen Wiig on the set of "Bridesmaids."

Credit: Universal Pictures

An epic conversation on 'Bridesmaids,' 'The Office' and 'Dumb Jock' with Paul Feig

Could a 'Bridesmaids 2' ever happen?

The Golden Globes and SAG Awards nomination announcements are right around the corner and one film that could be a major surprise is "Bridesmaids." Sure, Melissa McCarthy seems like as shoe-in for a best supporting actress nomination for SAG and possibly the HFPA, but a best ensemble (SAG) and best picture - comedy or musical (Golden Globes) could also be in the works too. Screenwriters Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo may also find their way to a WGA Awards nomination in the original screenplay category.  This all comes after McCarthy has already been lauded today by the Boston Society of Film Critics and the New York Online Film Critics.  It seems appropriate then, that I share a long and intriguing conversation I had last month with the film's director, Paul Feig.

Read Full Post
Awards Season Super Sunday: LA Film Critics anoint 'The Descendants' as AFI dumbfounds
Credit: Fox Searchlight

Awards Season Super Sunday: LA Film Critics anoint 'The Descendants' as AFI dumbfounds

Boston Film Critics also have their say

The presidential campaign may have Super Tuesday, but awards season has Super Sunday.  Sure, you could argue that moniker should be designated to Oscar Sunday, but when you have the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, the AFI yearly Top 10 and Boston Film Critics being announced on the same day, that's pretty significant.  Plus, there's also those minor orgs such as the San Francisco Film Critic's Circle, the New York Online Film Critic's and the Houston Film Critic's Circle who dish out their yearly picks on this fine December day.  (And, no, the last three really don't mean anything in the larger scheme of things, but they look pretty on for your consideration ads).

Read Full Post
<p>Tilda Swinton in a portrait taken at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival.</p>

Tilda Swinton in a portrait taken at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival.

Credit: AP Photo/Carlo Allegri

An epic conversation with Tilda Swinton

The struggles of getting 'Kevin' made and how independent cinema has changed in 20 years

Tilda Swinton has earned a reputation as an iconoclast. A rebel.  A visionary. An artist.  So, it was somewhat jarring to meet Swinton on the rooftop deck of the ritzy Montage Hotel smack dab in the middle of gaudy, downtown Beverly Hills.  The best supporting Oscar winner for "Michael Clayton" wasn't staying there, mind you.  She was spending the afternoon going from one locale to another doing interviews.  In fact, Swinton was in the middle of an intense few days of press opportunities to promote a film she helped bring to the screen and stars in, "We Need To Talk About Kevin."

Read Full Post
<p>The &quot;Transformers&quot;&nbsp;franchise is once more in the running for a VFX&nbsp;Oscar nomination.</p>

The "Transformers" franchise is once more in the running for a VFX Oscar nomination.

Credit: Paramount Pictures

'Thor,' 'X-Men,' 'Transformers' and 'Tree of Life' among 15 official Oscar Visual Effects contenders

If it was a summer blockbuster it's on the list

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences revealed the top 15 films in contention for the 2012 Visual Effects Oscar today and there were hardly any surprises. 

Read Full Post
<p>Michael Shannon in Jeff Nichol's acclaimed Sundance drama &quot;Take Shelter.&quot;</p>

Michael Shannon in Jeff Nichol's acclaimed Sundance drama "Take Shelter."

Credit: Sony Classics

Michael Shannon on audiences needing 'guts' to see 'Take Shelter' and 'Boardwalk Empire's' season finale

How did an Oscar nominee shoe-in at Sundance become a borderline contender?

As you'd expect for the first week of December, it's pretty chilly in Vancouver, B.C. these days.  But, Michael Shannon, who is north of the border shooting Zack Snyder's "Man of Steel," took a few minutes on Thursday to warm up and chat about his acclaimed performance in "Take Shelter."

Read Full Post
<p>Alan Rickman's final turn as Prof. Servus Snape in &quot;Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Pt. 2.&quot;</p>

Alan Rickman's final turn as Prof. Servus Snape in "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Pt. 2."

Credit: Warner Bros.

Alan Rickman clarifies just how much J.K. Rowling told him about Snape's fate in the 'Harry Potter' series

Could the audience and critic's favorite crash the supporting actor party?

More than any awards season in recent memory, the past few months has shined the spotlight on the great actors and actresses who still haven't been honored with the Oscar spotlight.  Whether it's the embarrassing fact that Gary Oldman still hasn't been nominated once or that legendary actors such as Nick Nolte, Christopher Plummer, Glen Close, Julianne Moore, Ian McKellen or Sigourney Weaver are statue-less, the unrecognized club has found more vocal support than usual.  One member of that illustrious group who should be getting a bit more consideration for his work this year is none other than Alan Rickman.

Read Full Post
Watch: Meryl Steep transforms into Margaret Thatcher in 'The Iron Lady' trailer
Credit: The Weinstein Company

Watch: Meryl Steep transforms into Margaret Thatcher in 'The Iron Lady' trailer

Will the actress break her Oscar losing streak with this performance?

If Gregory's recent review of the film is any indication, Meryl Streep looks headed for another Oscar nomination - perhaps even a win? - for her performance as former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher in the upcoming historical drama "The Iron Lady". Indeed, judging from the full-length trailer for the film that hit the web today, I'd say that's a pretty safe bet. 

Juding from the mere 2 1/2 minutes of the Phyllida Lloyd-directed film (Lloyd also directed Streep in "Mamma Mia!") shown in the new spot, Streep certainly looks and sounds the part of the Conservative leader - the first and so far only female to hold the nation's top political office - but of course it's the soul of the performance that will secure her a nod come Oscar time.

Known for her often-astonishing ability to mimic accents, Streep has proven time and again that she's capable of not only mastering the technical aspects of playing a role but cutting to the heart of the characters she plays. I have no doubt she'll manage to do that again here, but will it be enough to garner her a third Best Actress Oscar? 

As noted by Gregory in his review, Streep hasn't won an Academy Award since 1983, for her performance as Polish Holocaust survivor Zofia "Sophie" Zawistowski in "Sophie's Choice". Though she's surely the most lauded actress of her generation, it still doesn't seem quite right that it's been so long since she last took home the gold. Will she break her long Oscar "losing" streak next year? Guess we'll have to wait and see.

As for the trailer itself, I found it to be a good mixture of the film's political and human elements (as Gregory points out in his review, it focuses quite a bit on the relationship between Thatcher and her now-deceased husband Denis Thatcher, played here by Jim Broadbent). My favorite moment comes at around the :35second mark, when Streep as Thatcher opens her eyes with a look of astonished consternation after being belittled by a fellow politician. Needless to say, I'd hate to be the poor guy on the receiving end of that particular onslaught.

My grade for the trailer: "A". Check it out below and then rate it for yourself at top left!


Read Full Post
<p>Mark Strong, Gary Oldman and Colin Firth in &quot;Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.&quot;</p>

Mark Strong, Gary Oldman and Colin Firth in "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy."

Credit: AP Photo/Matt Sayles

Lunch with Oldman, Firth, Strong, Alfredson as 'Tinker' takes LA

The critically acclaimed thriller finally hits the U.S.

"I love this lunch set up," Mark Strong says to me. "It actually allows you to talk [to the press] about the little things."

Read Full Post