Also: The boring hotness of 'Blue is the Warmest Color,' and Stone on Ebert
There's much to celebrate if this race comes down to McQueen vs. Cuarón
Also: Reports from Academy screenings of 'Captain Phillips' and '12 Years a Slave'
Harvey Weinstein didn't acquire that "Scissorhands" nickname casually -- no producer in the modern era has exerted quite such fierce artistic control over the films he decides needs it. But is he an enabling or obstructive influence? Karina Longworth breaks down the pros and cons in this excellent long-form piece, which goes from his recent editing input on such films as "August: Osage County" and "Snowpiercer" back through the likes of "Gangs of New York" and Billy Bob Thornton's "Sling Blade." (The quoted exchange between Weinstein and Thornton is priceless.) Finally, Longworth wonders if a villainous reputation is exactly what Weinstein has been deliberately cultivating all along. [Grantland]
Latest one-sheet highlights the Broadway adaptation's darkly comedic qualities
Let's just say that Julia Roberts and Meryl Streep aren't exactly seeing eye to eye.
Is the media doing another disservice to the film?
Much has been made the last couple of days about the "tough medicine" of Steve McQueen's slavery drama "12 Years a Slave." Two stories, one at the LA Times and another at The Wrap, played up modest attendance at the film's Academy screening* this weekend as evidence that its "brutal" depictions are keeping the squeamish at bay.
In reality, though, this is just another step the media has taken in doing another disservice to a film that is hardly something you have to take a deep breath and suffer through. (The first disservice, of course, being breathless proclamations that it was the Best Picture Oscar contender to beat.) The film's account of slavery is unflinching, yes, but some reports, ever since it was first unveiled for audiences at the Telluride Film Festival, would have you believe it was shackles by way of Gaspar Nöe or Eli Roth rather than the thoughtful Brit at the helm.
All of this was on my mind this morning when I talked to McQueen about the movie, so I led in with it. Is his film so brutal, I asked.
Can the film meet the bar set by 'Blue Jasmine?'
I'm keeping my expectations tempered for Woody Allen's 2014 project, "Magic in the Moonlight" -- which officially revealed its title today, along with a couple of first-look images. It's been a while since Allen strung together two successful films in a row, so after the justly acclaimed (and unexpectedly popular) "Blue Jasmine," recent form dictates that his follow-up will be more of a "To Rome With Love."
Happy day, happy day
Yes, ladies and gentlemen. Our long national nightmare is over. No, the government is still shut down and Congress is still driving us toward a default, but one of the greatest unanswered questions of the 2014 awards season has been answered: Tina Fey and Amy Poehler are hosting the Golden Globes again.
Ralph Fiennes and Saoirse Ronan lead a line-up packed with the director's regulars
Wes Anderson's "The Grand Budapest Hotel" is finally taking reservations.
The director's follow-up to "Moonrise Kingdom" boasts perhaps his biggest cast yet in a 1920s-set tale about a concierge (Ralph Fiennes) at a fancy hotel taking a younger employee (Saoirse Ronan) under his wing.
It won't hit screens until sometime next year, but Fox Searchlight has started rolling out the marketing campaign today by unveiling a very Anderson-esque poster.
Rough violence but sleek craft in director David Mackenzie's best film to date
LONDON - Two promises are fulfilled -- one with more time to spare than the other -- in David Mackenzie's "Starred Up," a wholly prison-set nightmare picture that careers wildly between the punchy and the plain punch-drunk, and fascinates equally in either register. For the hitherto raggedly gifted Scots filmmaker Mackenzie, it's the film that most satisfyingly stitches together his twin impulses toward grit and grace, energizing familiar genre terrain with a coarse but literate ear and violently poetic eye. For his 23-year-old leading man, Jack O'Connell, it's a gratifyingly early arrival, a seemingly bespoke vehicle that jolts his wild, woolly talent into something that looks a lot like stardom. "Starred up" is British penal jargon for the contentious promotion of a juvenile offender promoted to adult status; for a film that consolidates this much raw potential, it seems an oddly appropriate title.
The danger of losing an intimate experience was very apparent to the actor
Speaking with Matthew McConaughey about his work in Jean-Marc Vallée's "Dallas Buyers Club" last week, it was obvious -- as it was at Sundance when he was promoting "Mud" -- that the actor is savoring every step of his career's newfound upward trajectory. He's taken to the "McConnaissance" like a duck to water, and it's because he's clearly a guy who relishes an experience.