Ever since Robert Downey Jr. revitalized his career, first proving he was for real on "Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang" and then making good on big-boy movie insurance with "Iron Man," I've been wondering if we'll see him really seize an awards season opportunity. Yes, he was nominated in 2008 for a hilarious turn in "Tropic Thunder," but that was as much a stunt as it was genius. When he really sinks his teeth into something non-genre again, will the Oscar machine be at his beck and call? "The Judge" could provide an answer in due time.
David Michod's "The Rover" opened in Los Angeles and New York today and the Aussie filmmaker has to be happy with the reception so far. It's scored positive reviews across the board including intriguing raves from the LA Times, Wall Street Journal and Village Voice. As Michod's follow up to his 2010 critically acclaimed drama "Animal Kingdom" "The Rover" would have been a must-see for any true movie fan, but the presence of Robert Pattinson and, to a lesser extent Guy Pearce, has brought even more attention.
As DreamWorks' "How to Train Your Dragon 2" lands in theaters this weekend, shooting to the top of the Best Animated Feature Film Oscar race, Focus Features and Laika Entertainment have a counter in the form of the first full-length trailer for their latter-year hopeful "The Boxtrolls."
There's a lot of high-quality fare hitting theaters today, but we know which film a certain sect of die-hard fangirls will be going to see. Quite what the young R.Pattz-fixated contingent will make of "The Rover," David Michod's dark, dystopian western, is another question altogether. Pattinson acquits himself well in this striking sophomore effort from the Australian director of "Animal Kingdom," and Guy Pearce is on particularly strong form as an ex-soldier out for revenge in a barren post-apocalyptic desertscape.
I'm generally a fan of director Gregg Araki's brand of neon-kitsch provocation, but his new film "White Bird in a Blizzard" disappointed me at Sundance. Based on Laura Kasischke's coming-of-age novel and starring ubiquitous ingenue Shailene Woodley as a high-schooler discovering her sexuality while being haunted by her femme fatale mother, it's material that provides ample scope for Araki's signature erotic fixations and camp detailing, but winds up feeling like his tamest effort to date.
The principals involved with "22 Jump Street" have a lot of momentum coming into this project: Channing Tatum's leading-man career keeps going from strength to strength, while Jonah Hill is coming off his second Oscar nomination in three years. Directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, meanwhile, currently have the year's highest grosser in "The LEGO Movie" -- a film that hit theaters only four months ago. "21 Jump Street" pleasantly surprised critics and audiences two years ago, so has this team again surpassed expectations for the sequel? Have they ever.
I've gushed about DreamWorks Animation's "How to Train Your Dragon 2" plenty at this point, I think. For me, it fits comfortably on top of the studio's long list of output over the past 20 years or so, and not only does it deserve to spear-head this year's Best Animated Feature Oscar race, it deserves to be in the Best Picture discussion, too. Whether that happens or not, though, I simply adore it's scope and wonder, and I hope you do, too.
Many expected Alejandro González Iñárritu's "Birdman" to compete at last month's Cannes Film Festival, where three of the Mexican director's previous four features have premiered -- but it wasn't to be. The initial assumption when it didn't show up was that the film wasn't ready, but Cannes director Thierry Fremaux said otherwise: apparently it was distributor Fox Searchlight that declined to submit the film to the festival. (Hey, their decision to hold "12 Years a Slave" until the fall festival circuit certainly paid off.)
LOS ANGELES - After back to back years of opening night duds "To Rome with Love" and "I'm So Excited," the Los Angeles Film Festival kicked off its 2014 campaign with a real winner, Joon-ho Bong's "Snowpiercer." Stars Tilda Swinton, Ed Harris, Allison Pill, Kang-ho Song, and Ah-sung Ko were on hand as Bong's critically acclaimed post-apocalyptic thriller finally hit U.S. shores. Chris Evans, who is essentially the film's lead, sent a video message from London where he's shooting "Avengers: Age of Ultron" proclaiming how happy he was over the LA premiere.
There's been a lot of talk already around "Interstellar," "Birdman," "Unbroken" and "Foxcatcher" in the Best Picture race, but one movie that should not be discounted is David Ayer's "Fury."