A top 10 list is a such a subjective quandary. It should speak to the consensus of cinematic quality to a degree, but it also needs to reflect the films that moved you personally. A great piece of cinema can entertain and it can inform, but as art you need to feel something from it. It needs to haunt you. It needs to stick with you. Therefore, in theory, the list should be the films that immediately come to mind when you ponder the last 12 months. As a critic, it's a reflection of your taste at the time. There is no justification; it's an opinion. Simple as that.
It seemed this year that if any artist was due for the retrospective treatment, it was "Unbroken" cinematographer Roger Deakins. While I of course did not address all of the 50-plus films he has shot throughout his illustrious career during a recent extended interview, I settled on a few in particular that I think represent a nice cross-section of his work. Each of them — "Nineteen Eighty-Four," "Sid and Nancy," "Barton Fink," "The Shawshank Redemption," "Kundun," "The Man Who Wasn't There" and "The Village" — will get their own space in the next few days.
Jonah Hill and James Franco are both part of Judd Apatow’s comedy crew, together taking lowbrow to new heights (depths?) over the last decade. But they’re also Academy Award nominees; Hill being a two-timer, earning props for "Moneyball" and "The Wolf of Wall Street," and Franco earning a nod for his leading work in "127 Hours." So why don’t they ever act like it when they’re together? Well, now they do, thanks to the cold-as-ice, non-fiction drama "True Story."
The Utah Film Critics Association has spoken up with its list of superlatives this year and "Birdman" came out on top, winning Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor and Best Original Screenplay honors. Jessica Chastain made for a nice change of pace in the supporting actress category, and guess what film was passed over entirely? "Boyhood."
In politics, a Presidential endorsement can be the magic touch, imbuing a candidate with exposure and voter confidence. Does the same hold true in the Oscar race? The team behind "Boyhood" hopes so.
Kristen Wiig is taking the road less traveled, and after a bumpy start, it's starting to show signs of life.
The Sony hack story is going to keep unfolding and there will be no shortage of opinions and takeaways. Writer Aaron Sorkin already took aim at the media for its behavior in the early days of the dust-up, sentiments echoed by "Nightcrawler" writer/director Dan Gilroy, whose film is very much about ethical slippage in journalism. Well, the "Newsroom" creator and "Social Network" screenwriter fired back yet again today after news broke that North Korea was, according to the FBI, "centrally involved" in the hack.
At this point we're pretty far along on the Sony hack story. But a number of morally and ethically suspect pieces were published a week ago and, of course, news organizations rationalized their behavior. Since then, things have taken a darker turn with terrorist threats and the decision, first by theater owners and then by a corporate giant, to bow to those whims. But before all that started happening, I got "Nightcrawler" writer and director Dan Gilroy on the phone earlier this week to talk about the media's role and responsibilities when something like that arises. Reporters devouring a hacked carcass, scavenging for ratings under the thin guise of integrity — I was, to say the least, quite reminded of his film.
I imagine you've been paying attention since yesterday as theater chain after theater chain has opted out (with Sony's blessing) of showing the Seth Rogen/James Franco film "The Interview" in the wake of terrorist threats. With major chains like AMC and Regal joining others like Arclight, Bow Tie and Cinemark, perhaps the studio was left with little choice but to pull the film from release. Some might argue, though, that a day-and-date VOD release would be a good way of getting a film out there that clearly someone (supposedly) wants suppressed, but for now, Sony has simply decided not to move forward with the Christmas Day release. Read the official statement below.
HOLLYWOOD — "Unbroken" is Angelina Jolie's second directorial effort to date, but she bit off a whole lot more than she expected to chew. The production became a huge undertaking, particularly at the script stage when a number of various elements could have been included from the epic life of Louis Zamperini. So it was as important as ever to do a lot of heavy lifting on the page.