Warner Bros. wasn't shy about screening James Wan's latest horror film, "The Conjuring," which is why my thoughts on the film are now a number of weeks old. They knew they had a tight piece of genre filmmaking on their hands, and that it is; the film is a huge step up for Wan, a patient, rich exercise that doesn't reinvent the wheel but tells a compelling, familiar story with a lot of control and finely tuned atmosphere. "It is enormously confident, and yet it seems to have enough faith in the audience that it doesn't come across as a big noisy assault," Drew McWeeny wrote in his review. But now it's time to hear what you have to say, so when and if you get around to the film this weekend, chalk up your thoughts in the comments section and feel free to vote in our poll. And if you've caught up with anything else you'd like to discuss, consider this an open thread otherwise.
...or anything else you might have caught up with lately
The Idris Elba biopic opens in November
The Weinstein Company has announced it is celebrating "Mandela Day" (today is Nelson Mandela's 95th birthday and, happily, he seems to be getting a bit better after his recent health scare) by dropping a full-length trailer for Justin Chadwick's upcoming "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom." It's a bigger slice than that teaser we got last weekend, which was purely about capitalizing on star Idris Elba's presence at the multiplexes with "Pacific Rim."
The two-time Oscar nominee is proving his multi-media skills this year
Admittedly, any statistic in this business can be unique if you make it specific enough, but David Fincher's maiden Emmy nomination this morning -- Best Directing of a Drama Series for the pilot episode of Netflix's "House of Cards" -- brought him to a unique awards milestone. He's now the first person to have been nominated for Best Director at the Academy Awards, the Emmy Awards... and the MTV Video Music Awards.
The list is flush with movie award-winning talent this year
Spotlights on 'Veep,' 'House of Cards' and 'Breaking Bad' made my day
So the 2013 Emmy nominees were announced this morning. Poor Kate Mara had engine trouble (her plane, not her) in New Mexico and so Emmys host Neil Patrick Harris filled in at the last minute to announce the lucky names alongside "Breaking Bad" star Aaron Paul.
Looking over the nominees, yeah, okay, right, that's expected, oh that show's still on?, etc., etc. I rarely find much to get excited about in an Emmy announcement, I mean. I had all my hopes on Rob Lowe's facelift getting a supporting actor nomination for "Behind the Candelabra" and somehow they spring for the window dressing of Scott Bakula. Huh?
My favorite notices, however, came for HBO's "Veep," my favorite comedy show on television right now. Last year it got a handful of looks including, naturally, leading lady Julia Louis-Dreyfus, but this year Tony Hale and (this next part is so awesome) Anna Chlumsky got to tag along in the supporting ranks and that's just awesome.
Public invited to choose between 50 standouts from the Venice sidebar's history
The Venice Film Festival may be celebrating its 70th anniversary this year, but there's a separate, smaller milestone contained within it: the tenth birthday of the independent Venice Days sidebar. Founded in 2004 by an association of Italian filmmakers to showcase offbeat independent work outside the main festival selection, Venice Days is effectively the festival's equivalent of the Directors' Fortnight at Cannes, and while it doesn't get as much publicity, a number of significant films have premiered there over the past decade.
French distributors decide against changing release date in order to qualify
A couple of weeks ago, the news landed that this year's vastly acclaimed Palme d'Or winner, Abdellatif Kechiche's romantic drama "Blue is the Warmest Color," is ineligible to be the French entry in the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar race. The simple reason: its domestic release date falls nine days after the submission deadline, making it eligible for consideration in the category next year, but not this time round.
Bill Condon's WikiLeaks drama opens October 18 in the US
I recently caught up with Alex Gibney's terrific documentary "We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks," a no-nonsense study of Julian Assange's rise and fall that plays, for all our familiarity with the elements at hand, very much as a thriller. Still, the material was bound to make for a narrative film sooner or later, and sooner it is: Bill Condon's "The Fifth Estate" opens on October 18, presumably after premiering on the fall festival circuit. Now the first trailer for the film has landed, and it looks to be glossy, smart mainstream entertainment.
After a rough Berlin debut, the martial arts epic is seeking a second wind
Wong Kar-Wai's long-awaited, long-delayed martial arts epic "The Grandmaster" looked to be the dream opening film at this year's Berlin Film Festival, but it received a slightly rude awakening when it finally premiered. I was far from the only critic to voice my disappointment with the film, which bore the scars of work that had been labored over a little too long -- though it still offered sporadic thrills and ravishing beauty aplenty.
Yet another awesome ensemble has taken shape
The cast of Christopher Nolan's upcoming "Insterstellar" is, well, stellar. There are a handful of amazing ensembles out there these days, from "12 Years a Slave" to "Out of the Furnace," but this one is just jam-packed with prestige, movie stardom and just about anything you'd want out of a cast. And now we can add John Lithgow to the ever-expanding list.