The conversation around "Birdman" has shifted a little bit since early raves out of the Venice and Telluride film festivals. Maybe as expected, a number of writers are taking umbrage with a certain critic depiction in the film. Some reviews go so far as to read like performance art based on that depiction. Nevertheless, there was always going to be a bend in that road, and I'm fine with that. But I want to talk about something else. I want to talk about how Michael Keaton deserves the Oscar for Best Actor walking away.
After a quiet bow at the Toronto International Film Festival, a distributor is finally coming to the rescue of writer-director Mike Binder's racially charged drama "Black and White." Excuse me, "Black or White," because someone owned the rights to the former and producers couldn't get it cleared. Sharing a title with a Michael Jackson track is easier, apparently.
The 18th Hollywood Film Awards will mark the first time the pre-season awards bonanza's history airs for public viewing. Because the world needs another televised awards show. They do! Someone does.
With the ceremony's promotion comes a host with a personality worthy of the screen: Queen Latifah. The Oscar-nominated actress, musician and talk show host will will play ringleader to the event, which CBS will air in mid-November.
As massive and business-minded a corporation as it is, Walt Disney Animation leaves room in their pipeline for experimentation. Each year, crew members on any and every rung of the bureaucratic ladder have the opportunity to pitch short films to John Lasseter and the WDA "story trust," a group of the company's veteran directors, writers, and artists. The goal: Push story and animation technology to places where the feature slate can't go (at least, not until the shorts lay the groundwork). Animator Patrick Osborne pitched "Feast" as a living work of concept art — graphic, fluid, and nostalgic — that also fell into the Disney mold, a sweet story of a dog that loves food. Lasseter took to it, and this November, the fully rendered short hits theaters in front of "Big Hero 6."
A month after attending the world premiere of Chris Rock's "Top Five" at the 2014 Toronto Film Festival, I still can't get it out of my head. I have not laughed louder or more often in a theater this year. "Top Five" is also the one movie from Toronto I cannot wait to see again. It's simply the truth.
A lot has happened since we last talked to composer Steven Price. This little movie he scored called "Gravity" took off with critics, audiences and the Academy and he walked away with an Oscar for his troubles. Now he's on David Ayer's bold WWII film "Fury," and once again, he's bringing a non-traditional touch to genre.
Oscar finally has a host, Neil Patrick Harris, but does she have a frontrunner yet? Not really.
This has been a curious awards season so far in terms of the Best Picture race. There are a number of potential contenders that could win it all, but even the films that have already screened such as "The Imitation Game," "The Theory of Everything," "Birdman" and "Boyhood" haven't really separated themselves from the pack (not yet, anyway). That will all change when Christopher Nolan's "Interstellar" begins to screen for critics, pundits and the industry soon.
“I'd made it this far and refused to give up, because all my life, I had always finished the race," wrote American World War II POW and Olympic long-distance runner Louis Zamperini in his autobiography "Devil at My Heels." It's a powerful line considering Zamperini's tragic life story, one the new trailer for "Unbroken" boils down the quote Sean Parker-style to its punchiest (and slightly nonsensical) bit: "All my life I had always finished the race." Sure, that sounds inspirational.
I never pictured Ron Howard as much of a Roland Emmerich guy, but that's the unexpected spirit exploding off the trailer for his latest film, "In the Heart of the Sea." The film tells the true story the American whaleship "Essex" and its ill-fated run-in with a mighty sperm whale in November 1820. The story became the basis for Herman Melville's contemplative novel "Moby Dick." Howard's version of the story looks more like that time the Kraken ate Jack Sparrow, a beefed up, seafaring 'Apollo 13.' That's not bad thing.