We've come to an interesting crossroads in the race. With all eyes on "Boyhood" coming into the weekend, and a few others on "American Sniper" and "The Imitation Game," it was "Birdman" that walked away the PGA champ Saturday. The SAG Awards left some doubt late in the evening Sunday as to whether the film's odds-on favorite status for the ensemble prize was jeopardized by Eddie Redmayne's lead actor win over Michael Keaton, but when the dust settled, "Birdman" was on top once again.
SANTA MONICA — Michael Keaton is having the time of his life. Cruising along an awards circuit that has brought him plenty of kudos for his performance in Alejandro González Iñárritu's "Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)" and probably more opportunities to talk about himself than he'd prefer, he seems consistently high on life and not at all phased by the grind. He's not someone who has really sought out this kind of attention and acclaim, often retreating to his ranch in Montana away from the Hollywood fray, but now that he's feeling the love? Let's just say I doubt anyone's having as much fun with all of this than he is.
PARK CITY — A great film is often one that it transcends the cliches of its genre. The 2015 Sundance Film Festival already debuted one movie that overcame the tropes of the coming-of-age picture, "The Diary of a Teenage Girl," Saturday. And on Sunday, it brought another genre-breaker to the zeitgeist with Alfonso Gomez-Rejon's powerhouse "Me and Earl and the Dying Girl."
The 21st annual Screen Actors Guild Awards are going down tonight live from the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. I plead ignorance on a lot of the TV stuff (sorry Dan and Alan), but on the movies side, there is a lot of intrigue. After last night's Producers Guild victory for "Birdman," and with the film being a favorite to take the ensemble and lead actor prizes tonight, everyone is wondering if Alejandro González Iñárritu's film will come out of this weekend looking BOSS. We'll know in due time.
PARK CITY — No one needs to worry about Noah Baumbach and Greta Gerwig experiencing a sophomore slump. After collaborating behind the camera for 2012's "Frances Ha," the duo have reunited for "Mistress America," a hilarious new comedy that premiered Saturday evening at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival. And yes, for those who care, this one is in color.
PARK CITY — The Sundance Film Festival has transformed the careers of many actors over the years. Parker Posey, Mo'Nique, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Jesse Eisenberg, Miles Teller, Amy Adams and Vera Farminga are just a few who had their lives changed after a phenomenal performance shook the festival faithful. Today, another name should be added to that list: Bel Powley. The 22-year-old Brit has her coming out party in Marielle Heller's directorial debut, "The Diary of a Teenage Girl," which premiered Saturday at the 2015 edition of the festival.
Ever since "The Hurt Locker" triumphed over "Avatar" at the 2010 Producers Guild Awards, it has been rather obvious to me that this precursor announcement is the skeleton key to understanding how the Oscar vote will likely play out. Why? Because — as we've noted a number of times — the PGA is the only group that shares the preferential ballot system the Academy employs. So what won this year? "Birdman" won, that's what. And for those who were chalking this up as a boring, telegraphed Oscar season…
PARK CITY — There is a moment in Rupert Goold's "True Story" that is truly captivating. After watching her husband be manipulated from afar, Jill Finkel (played marvelously by Felicity Jones), goes to meet accused murderer Christian Longo (James Franco) at the county jail where he's incarcerated. In less than five minutes Jill uses the tale of 16th century composer Carlo Gesualdo, who murdered his wife and baby in cold blood, to unmask Longo as the killer she knows he is and to make it clear his charade will only get so far as long as she's around. It's a moment that demonstrates how talented the current Oscar nominee for Best Actress is in what has been a thankless role up until his point in the film. It also underlines how frustrating a film "True Story" is that the best scene in the movie doesn't include star Jonah Hill and barely involves Franco.
PARK CITY — The concept of "The D Train," which premiered Friday at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, may sound somewhat familiar. An everyday family man who has never moved out of his hometown discovers the most popular guy in high school is now a successful actor in Hollywood. Our hero decides to go to Los Angeles to convince his idol to return for their high school reunion. If he comes back, said hero will finally be "the man" and earn some respect from his former schoolmates. Sure, it hasn't exactly been made before, but there are numerous elements in the premise you've no doubt seen over the past few decades on both the small and big screen. What makes "D Train" unique is the commitment from directors Andrew Mogel and Jarrad Paul to center the storyline around one outrageous moment and then completely ride it out to an even more jaw-dropping conclusion.