I haven't yet had a chance to see "The Heat," but it's one of the summer studio movies I've been looking forward to most this year. Director Paul Feig's "Bridesmaids," if not a home run, made me laugh more than any film of its type in the last couple of years, and I'm a fully paid-up member of the Sandra Bullock fan club. (Why, yes, I do own a "Forces of Nature" DVD. Thanks for asking.) If you haven't been paying attention, this is Bullock's first leading role since winning the Oscar for "The Blind Side" nearly four years ago. Drew McWeeny didn't enjoy the film but gives it a respectable B- rating, while many critics seem to be higher on Bullock's chemistry with Melissa McCarthy than the film itself. Fine by me -- commercial movies headlined by two female stars are rare enough these days that I can accept some compromise. Is this buddy comedy worthy of them? Vote in the poll after the jump, and share your thoughts in the comments.
This weekend Roland Emmerich's "White House Down" hits theaters. While it's a minor romp that will either delight you or cause you to roll your eyes out of your head, it reminds of that old staple of the cinema: the movie president.
I've certainly voiced my share of regret with regard to Pixar sequels. I'm honestly not against them in principal (some might argue the "Toy Story" films got better with each subsequent installment), but I do understand frustration from those who'd like to see the animation studio steer away from the brand expansion market and back to original concepts.
That said, it's odd to me that "Monsters University" seems to be such a last straw for so many. I couldn't stand "Cars 2," and yes, I'm pretty perturbed at the notion of my favorite Pixar film receiving the sequel treatment while a film that seems to be aching for it -- "The Incredibles" -- remains singular. But I was charmed by the new "Monsters," which landed to one of the biggest openings in the studio's history last weekend. It's not the poster child here, in my opinion.
Nevertheless, it seems Pixar has heard the moaning and taken it to heart. In an interview with Pixar president Ed Catmull, Buzzfeed reveals that the studio is planning to scale back on sequels and aim for one original film each year.
Lars von Trier's "Nymphomaniac" -- a supposed sexual odyssey with a starry cast including Shia LaBeouf, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Uma Thurman, among others -- is currently enjoying such a feverish level of anticipation that it could announce a new typeface for its credits and the internet would collectively freak out for a minute. So it's inevitable that the first, minute-long clip to be revealed from the film has been eagerly seized upon by the web -- and even more inevitable that von Trier has punked us with a wholly chaste clip that, alluring as it is, doesn't reveal much of anything (or any of its famous faces). Come on, you didn't think Lars was going to let the cat out of the bag just yet, did you?
One of the pleasures I’ve allowed myself at this year’s Edinburgh fest is more time than usual to graze the handpicked short film programme – annually a point of pride for the festival, though inevitably swamped in the attention stakes by even the most negligible features in the lineup. That’s understandable: it’s hard to cover films that your readers have no certain way of accessing, and even with advances in online exhibition, distribution of shorts remains a niche affair. Taking aside from the annual release of those fortunate shorts rather randomly singled out by the Oscars, civilian cinemagoers are unlikely to see any at all.
The Academy has announced its annual list of invitees to its esteemed membership, including 276 names from actors Jason Bateman, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Jennifer Lopez and Milla Jovovich to directors Steve McQueen, Todd Phillips and last year's wunderkind Benh Zeitlin.
American audiences will have to wait until December 6 to see "Inside Llewyn Davis," the Coen Brothers' folk-scene study that wowed critics (and Steven Spielberg's jury) at Cannes last month. But take heart: you can hear it -- well, sort of -- a few months earlier, as the film's excellent (and highly integral) soundtrack is released on September 17. That's in time for Grammy consideration, by the way -- and while it won't be eligible for any music Oscars, they may as well start engraving the Best Compilation Soundtrack Grammy statuette right now.
There's a lot of apologizing for Roland Emmerich's "White House Down" going on out there. On one hand, I get it. It's fun. Etc. And I've certainly been an Emmerich apologist in my time. On the other hand, the film is so PAINFULLY derivative and you can only roll your eyes so many times in a film before it just stops being an enjoyable experience, no? I just didn't realize you could get paid for a script that so liberally cribs another ("Die Hard"). Right down to the Beethoven. Noted. Anyway, HitFix's Drew McWeeny is on my side of the line, calling the film "inconsequential summer programming." But let's hear what you have to say about it. Rifle off your thoughts in the comments section below when and if you see the film, and feel free to vote in our poll, too.
As I was saying the other day, James Franco has a lot going on. As an actor, he's already had four films out this year, others from Sundance and Berlin still awaiting release, while his sixth feature as a director, the William Faulkner adaptation "As I Lay Dying," just premiered at Cannes. He's got an art exhibition on the go in London, and, with his producer's cap on, is currently seeking crowdfunding for three feature-length adaptations of his short stories. Whether you love, loathe or are simply bemused by Franco, you can't accuse him of hiding his light under a bushel.
When you take a look across Sony Pictures' impressive slate for the upcoming fall movie season, it becomes clear that the studio has a lot to work with. There's George Clooney, fresh off "Argo"'s Best Picture Oscar win with his directorial effort "The Monuments Men." There's also another heavyweight from last year's Oscar race, David O. Russell, back in the saddle with a big cast in "American Hustle."
Those two would be more than enough for any awards campaign to handle, but then there's Paul Greengrass's "Captain Phillips," the true-life account of a 2009 Somali pirate raid starring Tom Hanks. And finally, "Moneyball" director Bennett Miller will be back with "Foxcatcher," the bizarre true story of convicted millionaire murderer John duPont with Steve Carell, Mark Ruffalo and Channing Tatum. Something might need to blink, and the way I hear it, it may just be "Foxcatcher."