Perception is not always reality. Especially in the movie business.
Ever since the first trailer for "Paddington" arrived last March, eyebrows were raised. Would this CG-animated-live action hybrid do Michael Bond's beloved literary bear justice? Many thought the teaser looked more "Smurfs" or (perish the thought) "Garfield" than in the vein of a well-regarded "Fantastic Mr. Fox." It didn't matter that "Harry Potter" and "Gravity" producer David Heyman was shepherding the production; this was a movie that ended up having one bad publicity crisis after another.
This year's Best Animated Short Film Oscar race is, as ever, full of fetching displays of boundary-pushing technique and bold artistic voices. I sought out and watched all 10 of this year's contenders, announced recently by the Academy, from Disney's widely-viewed latest to an offering from the legendary Bill Plympton to new work from Oscar winners like William Joyce and Torill Kove. Let's just say I'm glad it's not my responsibility to whittle this down to five.
Palm Springs: The place to be during Oscar season. The California town’s annual film festival is a hotbed of potential nominees, actors and actresses wrangled for speciality honors that amplify existing buzz. Currently receiving accolades from Palm Springs International Film Festival: Eddie Redmayne ("The Theory of Everything"), Julianne Moore ("Still Alice"), and J.K. Simmons ("Whiplash"). Time for another name: Rosamund Pike.
Over the past decade, Lee Smith has worked alongside Christopher Nolan as the director has climbed to the highest peaks of Hollywood, with "Batman Begins," "The Prestige," "The Dark Knight," "Inception," and "The Dark Knight Rises." I recently had the chance to speak to Smith about his approach to editing, Nolan, their relationship, and their change of pace (both literal and figurative) that is "Interstellar."
Marion Cotillard has had what can only be described as a remarkable seven years. Truly.
Since winning the Best Actress Oscar for her breakthrough performance in "La Vie en Rose" she's starred in Woody Allen's best film this century ("Midnight in Paris"), Christopher Nolan's Best Picture nominee ("Inception"), worked with Michael Mann ("Public Enemies"), smartly joined a Steven Soderbergh ensemble ("Contagion"), headlined a massive French-language hit ("Little White Lies"), was already robbed of a second Best Actress Oscar nomination ("Rust and Bone") and was the center of an acclaimed drama already well on its way to cinephile cult film status ("The Immigrant"). Throw in one flick for her life partner ("Blood Ties"), a paycheck too hard to turn down ("The Dark Knight Rise") and a musical that just didn't work ("Nine") and Cotillard is already well on her way to living legend status. Now, get ready to add "Two Days, One Night" to her glowing resume.
When you make movies about people, an eye for casting becomes an auteurist stamp. Richard Linklater knows his characters so well — their personalities, their movements, their sounds — that by the time he inserts actors into each part, the choices feel like absolutes. Take the "Before" series. It’s a war crime to fantasy cast alternatives for Celine and Jesse. Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke are too perfect. Just try. Nope. Not the same movie. Can’t do it. Impossible.
I hated waking up to the Mike Nichols news this morning. That's losing one of the titans right there. That's a loss that you don't fully register until the lack of that artistic voice is later felt in a deep way. But as I always say, we have the work. We have the movies. So the voice, in its way, does endure. And what Nichols' gift to cinema really was, in so many ways, was how fruitful his collaborations with his actors were and the truths that seemed to only be discovered under his watch.
BEVERLY HILLS — It's that time of year, when studios reunite cast and crew from some of their earlier releases to attract a little awards season spotlight. Today, 20th Century Fox had a swanky afternoon lunch at Craft to celebrate "The Fault in Our Stars." The film's premier awards player in the Best Actress race, Shailene Woodley, was on hand as was Ansel Elgort, screenwriters Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber, Laura Dern, producer Wyck Godfrey and the novel's author John Green. Most notably, you realize how important this film is to the studio and how proud they are of it when Jim Gianopulos, the Chairman and CEO, takes time out of his busy day to sit down for lunch with the cast and press on hand.
Hoyte van Hoytema has shot up through the ranks since his career has shifted over to the states. He caught most people's attention with "Let the Right One In," which hit theaters the same year as Christopher Nolan's "The Dark Knight." Now the fruits of his own collaboration with the blockbuster filmmaker, "Interstellar," finds itself in theaters.