I've had several weeks to draft this piece, and several drafts it has taken, but the introduction is always the hardest part – the part where the bittersweet reason for breaking from our daily programming has to be announced. So let's lead with the good news: I'm excited to announce that my three-year relationship with Variety is growing into something more permanent and prominent – starting this month, I will be contributing regularly to the trade paper, both as a film critic and a features writer. The bad news you may have guessed: this means my time at In Contention has come to an affectionate close.
Louis Zamperini is a hero, no question about it. From Olympian to POW, his story is one for the ages, one laid out on the page beautifully by author Laura Hillenbrand in the book "Unbroken" and adapted by filmmaker Angelina Jolie in a film that will be released later this year. But just six months shy of seeing that life story writ large on the big screen for movie fans the world over to learn about his struggle, Zamperini has passed away, having lived a long and full 97 years.
If you're interested in an anniversary conversation that really has some bearing on today's film industry, I highly recommend American Cinematographer's recent chat with "Collateral" DP Dion Beebe. It's been nearly a decade (if you can believe it) since Beebe and Paul Cameron carved out a serious place for digital with that film, earning an American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) nomination in the process. It got me thinking about the history of the industry's acceptance of digital as reflected in the nominations handed out by both the ASC and Academy's cinematography branch over the last 10 years.
Sony Classics (or maybe it's big Sony behind the scenes) is getting interestingly Tatum-centric with its "Foxcatcher" marketing as of late. First there was the new poster for the film earlier this week, which featured the "22 Jump Street" star front and center, and today a new teaser trailer is quite focused on the heartthrob's contribution to Bennett Miller's film.
Filmmaker Paul Mazursky, the five-time Oscar nominee most famous for films such as "Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice," "Down and Out in Beverly Hills" and "An Unmarried Woman," has passed away. According to a family spokesperson, he died of pulmonary cardiac arrest Monday in Los Angeles. He was 84.
Visiting the set of "Fury" last October, it was impossible to imagine what cast member Shia LaBeouf would be up to less than two months later.
LONDON - On a chilly October day, four Sherman tanks rumble through the mud of the English countryside. They are battle worn and weary, their crews resolute, but they carry scars of a long campaign. For a brief moment the visage makes you believe you've stepped back in time: to April 1945 and the last days of World War II. You haven't, of course; it's just an impressive set for the new period thriller "Fury."
I haven't yet seen Craig Johnson's sibling-centered dramedy "The Skeleton Twins," but have heard mostly warm and fuzzy reports since its January premiere at Sundance -- where it won the screenwriting award for Johnson and co-writer Mark Heyman. This newly released trailer suggests why it went down so well, playing up to Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader's "Saturday Night Live"-trained comic pizzazz, while indicating some not-so-subtle heart-tugging. Greg Ellwood was a fan at the festival, describing it as Wiig's best work and citing Hader's "first chance to show his real dramatic range." The film opens on September 19, presumably after a fall festival berth or two. Check out the trailer at the top and see what you think.
Here's how you know your career's in a good place. You star in a hit film at Cannes and get strong reviews for your work, though it's your co-lead -- himself a headline name -- who garners the most lavish praise and awards buzz. Yet when the film's first official poster comes out, it's still all about you. Ladies and gentlemen, that's how hot Channing Tatum is right now. The "22 Jump Street" star is the sole presence on the somber, classy new one-sheet for "Foxcatcher" -- and while Steve Carell's name appears above his, it's Tatum who is highlighted in the selected critic's quote.
This morning we kicked off our coverage of the upcoming Oscar season, more or less, with our annual list of contenders in each category and some misguided early predictions. One category we don't get around to until later in the season is Best Original Song as we meticulously add to our on-going list of potential nominees. But I can already tell one is going to blow the rest out of the water this season.