Sony Pictures Classics is usually the dominant force in the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar race -- they've won the award for the last four years running. But they took a knock when the Academy unveiled the nine-film shortlist last month: with "The Past" and "Wadjda" failing to make the cut, the savvy campaigners were left without a contender in the hunt. Until now. SPC has picked up one of the two distributor-less titles on the list, Hungary's hard-edged Holocaust drama "The Notebook." It was already a strong nomination possibility, given the Academy's seemingly tireless taste for films on that era. Now that it has Sony's undivided attention in this competitive category, however, it's a formidable threat. [Deadline]
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I would be hard-pressed to name any horror franchise that got to film number five that still had my attention in any serious way. I gave up on Freddy Krueger way before most of my peers, I don't acknowledge the existence of more than one film about Michael Myers, and two times around the track with Pinhead was plenty. But somehow, against any logical odds, the "Paranormal Activity" franchise appears to actually still be wringing new tricks out of a very, very basic formula.
"Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones" is written and directed by Christopher Landon, and if there's anyone who can be considered the chief architect of the underlying mythology besides Oren Peli at this point, it's Landon. He was the screenwriter on all but the first film, and one of the things I respect about the way they've parceled out the story so far in this particular series is that each movie has added a new idea or a new perspective to paint a portrait of a wide-reaching conspiracy that has taken years to bring to fruition. All of these tapes fill in some part of the story, and in this case, the story being told doesn't appear at first to have any direct connection to the other films. This time, the main characters are Jesse (Andrew Jacobs) and Hector (Jorge Diaz), both just out of high school, two Hispanic kids in East LA.
"Veronica Mars" unveils its official movie trailer
"Nine years of radio silence and yet I still kind of knew I could count on you," Logan tells Veronica in the first official trailer.
A review of tonight's "Parenthood" coming up just as soon as I make a presidential joke...
"Gravity" picked up another Best Picture prize on the critics circuit today as the Central Ohio Film Critics Association handed it the year's top honor. Alfonso Cuarón won Best Director for the film and Emmanuel Lubezki won Best Cinematography. Top acting honors went to Chiwetel Ejiofor and Adèle Exarchopoulos and James Franco was recognized for his work in "Spring Breakers." Check out the nominees here, the full list of winners below and remember to keep track of the season at The Circuit.
"Community" is somehow back for a fifth season, and with Dan Harmon restored as showrunner after his year away. I reviewed the start of the season in general on Monday, and I have specific thoughts on tonight's two episodes coming up just as soon as I blame owls for how much I suck at analogies...
As you may have noticed earlier today, we are now firmly into the Guild stage of the season -- with the critics (bar a few groups, notably the august National Society) having largely had their say, it's time for the industry to pinpoint their favorites of the season. More often than not, Guild nominations usher in a wave of dull consensus: while you'd hope various groups of professional peers would single out different films for different reasons, they have a tendency to zero in on the same tightening circle of Oscar contenders, whether the films particularly excel in their department or not. (Remember when "Sumdog Millionaire" won everything from the SAG ensemble prize to the Costume Designers' Guild award a few years back?)
My father is more of a man than I will ever be.
When I say that, I am talking about a particular type of masculinity, the classic definition of it that I was aware of as a young man. Growing up, I felt put upon when asked to do anything that felt remotely like a chore, but looking back at it all now, I can see that he was simply trying to pass along the knowledge he had about doing various things because he thought that knowledge was important to have. As a parent now, I am acutely aware of just how much responsibility comes built into that relationship. Kids are sponges, and every word you say could be endlessly analyzed and considered and internalized by them, good or bad.
There is a Steve Martin joke that I've always loved that plays off that responsibility.
"I've got a great dirty trick you can play on a three-year-old. See, kids learn how to talk from listening to their parents, so whenever you're around them… talk wrong. So now it's like the first day of school and he raises his hand. 'May I mambo rhino dogface to the banana patch?'"
That same premise also serves as the springboard for the disturbing "Dogtooth," the film by Giorgos Lanthimos about three teenagers who have been raised in near-total isolation by their parents, who have intentionally taught them to fear anything outside their walls while intentionally teaching them completely insane language skills.
Rush Limbaugh: Conan O'Brien ripped me off
"We were the first to discover and document how the media, all of them, will use the same word or phrase in covering a story," said the conservative talk show host, in reaction to Conan's bits showing how newscasters repeat the same words.
"Duck Dynasty" stars' New Year's Eve interview boosts Fox News ratings
Willie and Kori Robertson didn't say anything newsworthy in their late-night interview.
Why did "Fresh Prince's" Uncle Phil feel so real?
James Avery's character, says Rembert Browne, "was the opposite of so many black fatherhood tales that were playing out in the media, on television, and in real life. Instead of abandoning a child, he took in an extra. It's hard to fully express how important it was to see a character like that growing up, but it mattered tremendously. It's why Philip Banks felt real. Mainly because you wanted him to be."
Mindy Kaling's "Mindy Project" character is on Tinder
Users of the matchmaking app have reported being matched with the fictional character, though it's unclear if Kaling is behind it all.
"Downton Abbey" gets the Lego treatment
A man spent 15 hours putting together the "Downton" castle and its people as a Christmas gift for his girlfriend.
Report: "Captain America's" Agent Carter is getting a TV spinoff
Hayley Atwell is set to take on the role after playing Peggy Carter in the movies.
Check out John Travolta on "Kirstie"
It's a "Look Who's Talking" reunion.
"The Big Bang Theory" is a hit in France
The CBS comedy has replaced "Desperate Housewives" as the most popular American comedy around the world. And according to Nico Case, who lived in France in 2011, "bazinga" could be heard more than "bon jour" on the streets of Paris. PLUS: "Big Bang" owes its success to classic TV.
TV Guide Network will air marathons of CW shows
"The Tomorrow People," "The Originals" and "Reign" will be marathoned on Jan. 4, 11 and 18, respectively.
"The Walking Dead" celebrates the New Year with "Apocalypse Resolutions"
The resolution cards include one showing Daryl, with the caption: "GET NEW CLOTHES."
"My Little Pony" does a "Mad Men" tribute
The "Friendship Is Magic" special is set in "Manehattan."
Super Bowl will be live-streamed for free for the 3rd year in a row
But you'll have to pay to watch the NFC Championship game.
How to avoid "Sherlock" spoilers
The British series aired in the UK on Jan. 1 -- 18 days before the U.S. airing.
"Full House" meets "Some Like It Hot"
Check out John Stamos and Bob Saget dressed as the iconic Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis characters.
"HIMYM" co-creator: I watched the "Cheers" finale for inspiration
"Cried as hard as I did in 1993," tweeted Craig Thomas.
"Top Chef's" Gail Simmons welcomes a daughter
Dahlia Rae Abrams is the first child for the "Top Chef" judge.
ABC kicks off 2014 with spy miniseries "The Assets"
The eight-part miniseries debuting tonight tells the story of double agent Aldrich Ames, who sold American secrets to Russia.
Patricia Richardson: There will never be a "Home Improvement" reunion show
"Earl died, we can't have one without Earl," she says.
Check out every "Futurama" character on a single poster
See one fan's tribute to the late sitcom.
Flavor Flav loses his mom
The former reality star's mother, Anna Drayton, passed away on New Year's Eve.
Joseph Ruskin, legendary "Star Trek" guest actor, dies at 89
Ruskin appeared in five "Trek" series.
With Dan Harmon's return, "Community" feels like it's grown up
In many ways, tonight's two-episode Season 5 comeback for Harmon presents a sadder, wiser and more subdued show -- one preferable to last season, says Alyssa Rosenberg. It "feels less elaborate and extravagant than the version of Community that Harmon used to run," she says. PLUS: "Community" feels like "Community" again, it's back to being weird and fun, Donald Glover's departure hangs over the first five episodes, Joel McHale calls "Community" "The Wire of comedy," Gillian Jacobs says the "repilot" is brilliant, NBC promotes "Greenville," and "Community" is planning a '70s disaster movie episode.
Does Jason Reitman have an authorial voice?
It's a fair question to ask at this point. After all, he's got a screenplay credit on four of the six feature films he's directed if you include "Men, Women & Children," which is in production now. When you look at the six films, though, I don't really see a common thread or see a common voice between them. Even "Juno" and "Young Adult," both written by Diablo Cody, have very different sensibilities. And "Thank You For Smoking" is about as far away from "Labor Day" in tone and content as possible.
Does he have to have a recognizable singular voice that we hear in each new project? Is that a requirement if we're going to treat him as a "serious" filmmaker? Or is the real mark of his talent his ability to bring a different voice to each story based on the story itself? After all, "Thank You For Smoking" started as a brutally satirical novel that is outrageous in a way that is totally at odds with the sort of wry sincerity of "Up In The Air" or the blistering anger that simmers just below the surface of "Young Adult." Reitman seems far more concerned with finding the best way to tell each story, and less concerned with making himself the main focus of things.
So, while Brits have already watched the entire fourth season of "Downton Abbey" (the eight episodes plus a Christmas special began way back on Sept. 22 across the pond), American fans are finally getting a chance to catch up -- the show returns stateside on Sun. Jan. 5 (9:00 p.m. on PBS). The real question is, of course, whether or not fans have been able to dodge the spoilers, which have been harder to avoid than zombies in "The Walking Dead."