'Dear White People' cast consider: Could Tyler Perry present our movie?

'Dear White People' cast consider: Could Tyler Perry present our movie?

Oh, and about this talented new director Justin Simien...

PARK CITY - I'm not entirely sure when I first met Justin Simien. Actually, correct that.  It was four and a half years ago ( found the E-mail introducing him as the new online publicist for Paramount Pictures from 2009). Having worked for the venerable studio one time myself, we immediately had a number of similar acquaintances both socially and professionally.  And in my position I ended up talking to him about work related items usually once  week.  But, as we chatted about more interesting topics than say the latest publicity opportunities for "The Last Airbender" (you poor child) I quickly realized something about this young twentysomething: He was way too smart for the room and he wouldn't be there long. And within two years, he'd moved on to bigger and better things. 

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<p>Anne Hathaway and Johnny Flynn in &quot;Sound One.&quot;</p>

Anne Hathaway and Johnny Flynn in "Sound One."

Review: 'Song One' with Anne Hathaway won't strike a chord with everyone

HitFix
C+
Readers
n/a
So, you like white guys with guitars?

PARK CITY - No matter what the original intent, some movies inherently are made for a specific audience. And it's not the genre we're talking about, either. A horror movie can have broad appeal just as a comedy may only make a select few laugh. Instead, some films will just touch a nerve with a very small, specific audience. Kate Barker-Froyland's directorial debut, "Song One," is one of those films. And it's probably an audience of white-guy-with-a-guitar fans.

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Matt Damon predicts big things for 'Interstellar' and praises co-star McConaughey's hot streak

Matt Damon predicts big things for 'Interstellar' and praises co-star McConaughey's hot streak

The 'Monuments Men' star had a blast collaborating with Christopher Nolan

I sat down with the "Monuments Men" crew last week (more on that film in due time) and, like most bozos, figured a softball "Interstellar" question lobbed Matt Damon's way might produce something interesting. Christopher Nolan always keeps his cast and crew on lockdown when it comes to his projects so it's almost like you have to preface it with "I know you're sworn to secrecy," but you can get interesting nuggets early in the process sometimes. Matthew McConaughey, for instance, had some engrossing things to say about his trepidations going into the project.

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<p>Kelly Reilly and Brendan Gleeson in &quot;Calvary.&quot;</p>

Kelly Reilly and Brendan Gleeson in "Calvary."

Credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures

Review: A superb Brendan Gleeson tackles Catholic guilt in dark, difficult 'Calvary'

HitFix
B
Readers
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John Michael McDonagh's second feature is a challenging comedy of faith

PARK CITY - From the first line of dialogue in John Michael McDonaugh's second feature "Calvary," it's clear we're in for a very compromised comedy indeed: as rural Irish priest Father James (Brendan Gleeson) sits impassively in his dim confession booth, an unseen male parishioner bluntly says, "I first tasted semen when I was seven years old." The words are so ugly, so out of step with their serene surroundings, that a large proportion of the Sundance audience responded with a queasy laugh, as if it were a dirty joke cracked at a funeral. But it's no joke at a holy man's expense; it's an admission, and as its implications become clear, tied to the uncovered legacy of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, silence takes over.

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<p>Shorts HD&nbsp;and&nbsp;Magnolia Pictures bring the nominations to you.</p>

Shorts HD and Magnolia Pictures bring the nominations to you.

Credit: Shorts HD

2014 Oscar-nominated short films heading to theaters and VOD on Jan. 31

Contenders in animated, live action and documentary ready for their close-up

One of the coolest things to have seen take shape over my years covering the awards beat has been watching the program of Oscar-nominated short films find an outlet to the public through Shorts HD and Magnolia Pictures' annual theatrical and, eventually, VOD showcase of the contenders. And they're more accessible than ever as, in addition to theatrical distribution on Jan. 31, they'll be available on things like iTunes, Amazon Instant Video and DirecTV.

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Exclusive Clip: Sundance doc 'Watchers of the Sky' and the word genocide

Exclusive Clip: Sundance doc 'Watchers of the Sky' and the word genocide

U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power discusses its importance

PARK CITY - Even with four critics reviewing movies it's hard to catch everything at a festival as big as Sundance. One movie that we'll be reviewing over the next few days is Edet Belzberg's new documentary "Watchers of the Sky."  The film debuted last weekend in the U.S. documentary competition and follows four modern day humanitarians who all owe something to the legendary Raphael Lemkin, the man who first termed the word genocide (and that was just the beginning of his legacy).

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<p>Terence Winter at the National Board of Review Awards Gala in New York earlier this month.</p>

Terence Winter at the National Board of Review Awards Gala in New York earlier this month.

Credit: AP Photo

'Wolf of Wall Street' scribe responds to criticisms and his first-ever Oscar nomination

'We wanted to let Jordan sell you his story.'

Screenwriter Terence Winter, who last week was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay for his work on Martin Scorsese's "The Wolf of Wall Street," was just as confused by some of the reactions to his film as Leonardo DiCaprio was toward the end of the year. The hedonistic depiction of Wall Street excess had led some to question its moral standing, surmising that it seemed to take far too much delight in its depictions.

But that thin line is also partly the point. It's a film that shows you a good time and dares you to have fun with it, because it's a display of antics that appeal to base, primal desires in many ways. That having been said, the idea that anyone would take away from it the idea that it was meant to be a glorification was "sort of a head-scratcher" for Winter, he says. "You'd think it would go without saying, but anyone who would watch that behavior and want to emulate what's going on on screen has got a screw loose as far as I'm concerned."

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<p>Carey Mulligan and Leonardo DiCaprio in &quot;The Great&nbsp;Gatsby&quot;</p>

Carey Mulligan and Leonardo DiCaprio in "The Great Gatsby"

Credit: Warner Bros.

Oscar-nominated 'Gatsby' designer wasn't originally a fan of Fitzgerald's novel

Also: How does she view the encroachment of the digital art department?

"The Great Gatsby" turned out to be a bone of contention between director Baz Luhrmann and his wife, costume designer and production designer Catherine Martin. He had loved F. Scott Fitzgerald's book for many years, while it didn't exactly bowl her over when she first read it as a teenager in Australia. As a 15-year-old, it alienated her, and she couldn't quite understand the central love story.

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<p>Harvey&nbsp;Weinstein on &quot;Piers Morgan Live&quot;</p>

Harvey Weinstein on "Piers Morgan Live"

Credit: CNN

Roundup: Harvey pledges to strip back violence in movies

Also: Below-the-line Oscar surprises and Emma Thompson wins the SAG Awards

Probably the story that caught the most traction over the holiday yesterday was Harvey Weinstein's recent comments on violence in films on CNN's "Piers Morgan Live." Said the Weinstein Company co-chairman, "You have to look in the mirror," he said on the program. "I have to just choose that aren't as violent as they used to be. For me, personally, I can't continue to do that. So change starts here." Of course, Weinstein hasn't really traded in violence beyond his relationship with Quentin Tarantino. [CNN]

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<p>Adele Exarchopoulos in &quot;Blue is the Warmest Color.&quot;</p>

Adele Exarchopoulos in "Blue is the Warmest Color."

Credit: Sundance Selects

'Blue is the Warmest Color' tops France's Lumiere Awards

The erotic drama wins all four of its categories, Polanski takes Best Screenplay

It may have been left out of the Oscar race entirely, but Cannes champion "Blue is the Warmest Color" reigned supreme at France's Lumiere Awards -- which hold a similar place in the French awards calendar to the Golden Globes. (The French Oscar equivalent, the Cesar Awards, announced their nods on January 31.) "Blue" won all four categories in which it was nominated: Best Film, Director, Actress for Lea Seydoux (shared with her work in "Grand Central") and Breakthrough Actress for Adele Exarchopoulos. Roman Polanski took Best Screenplay honors for "Venus in Fur"; Bertrand Tavernier's "The French Minister," which led the field with five nods, won nothing. Full list of winners below; everything else at The Circuit

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