David Ayer's World War II actioner "Fury" with Brad Pitt, Logan Lerman and Shia LaBeouf has arrived in theaters nationwide. The film enters the awards season without bothering with a festival bow (aside from this weekend's post-release closing night London Film Festival slot). It might be an Oscar contender at the end of the day, it might not, but surely Sony is mostly concerned with finding some box office capital before worrying too much about that.
One of the unique fixtures of an opening weekend in Los Angeles, whether it's an art house release or a studio blockbuster, are filmmakers and sometimes stars popping their heads into a theater to see how their baby plays. Well, if you're going to a screening of the new animated feature "The Book of Life" in the Southland this weekend, there's a good chance you might see Jorge R. Gutierrez dropping by your theater.
The conversation around "Birdman" has shifted a little bit since early raves out of the Venice and Telluride film festivals. Maybe as expected, a number of writers are taking umbrage with a certain critic depiction in the film. Some reviews go so far as to read like performance art based on that depiction. Nevertheless, there was always going to be a bend in that road, and I'm fine with that. But I want to talk about something else. I want to talk about how Michael Keaton deserves the Oscar for Best Actor walking away.
After a quiet bow at the Toronto International Film Festival, a distributor is finally coming to the rescue of writer-director Mike Binder's racially charged drama "Black and White." Excuse me, "Black or White," because someone owned the rights to the former and producers couldn't get it cleared. Sharing a title with a Michael Jackson track is easier, apparently.
The 18th Hollywood Film Awards will mark the first time the pre-season awards bonanza's history airs for public viewing. Because the world needs another televised awards show. They do! Someone does.
With the ceremony's promotion comes a host with a personality worthy of the screen: Queen Latifah. The Oscar-nominated actress, musician and talk show host will will play ringleader to the event, which CBS will air in mid-November.
As massive and business-minded a corporation as it is, Walt Disney Animation leaves room in their pipeline for experimentation. Each year, crew members on any and every rung of the bureaucratic ladder have the opportunity to pitch short films to John Lasseter and the WDA "story trust," a group of the company's veteran directors, writers, and artists. The goal: Push story and animation technology to places where the feature slate can't go (at least, not until the shorts lay the groundwork). Animator Patrick Osborne pitched "Feast" as a living work of concept art — graphic, fluid, and nostalgic — that also fell into the Disney mold, a sweet story of a dog that loves food. Lasseter took to it, and this November, the fully rendered short hits theaters in front of "Big Hero 6."
A month after attending the world premiere of Chris Rock's "Top Five" at the 2014 Toronto Film Festival, I still can't get it out of my head. I have not laughed louder or more often in a theater this year. "Top Five" is also the one movie from Toronto I cannot wait to see again. It's simply the truth.
A lot has happened since we last talked to composer Steven Price. This little movie he scored called "Gravity" took off with critics, audiences and the Academy and he walked away with an Oscar for his troubles. Now he's on David Ayer's bold WWII film "Fury," and once again, he's bringing a non-traditional touch to genre.
Oscar finally has a host, Neil Patrick Harris, but does she have a frontrunner yet? Not really.
This has been a curious awards season so far in terms of the Best Picture race. There are a number of potential contenders that could win it all, but even the films that have already screened such as "The Imitation Game," "The Theory of Everything," "Birdman" and "Boyhood" haven't really separated themselves from the pack (not yet, anyway). That will all change when Christopher Nolan's "Interstellar" begins to screen for critics, pundits and the industry soon.