Black Sea
Credit: Focus Features

The 'Black Sea' poster dredges up all the right '90s thriller memories

The 'Black Sea' poster time traveled from the 1990s

It takes a high-brow director to deliver quality low-brow entertainment. Just look at thrillers from the 1990s. Say what you will about John McTiernan, but the man knew character as well as he knew action. "Patriot Games" and "Clear and Present Danger" Philip Noyce balanced out his action resume with movies like "Rabbit Proof Fence" and the upcoming "American Pastoral." And Martin Scorsese, David Cronenberg, and Richard Donner shot some of the best genre movies of that decade. So it gives me great hope that Kevin MacDonald, seasoned documentarian and occasionally solid narrative filmmaker ("The Last King of Scotland, "How I Live Now"), can turn the upcoming "Black Sea" into a down-and-dirty thriller a la the best of the '90s. Early glimpses at the film point to something along those lines.

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Tech Support: 'Boyhood,' 'Imitation,' 'Interstellar' slice and dice in Best Film Editing

Tech Support: 'Boyhood,' 'Imitation,' 'Interstellar' slice and dice in Best Film Editing

'Argo' Oscar winner pulls double duty this year

Want to know what's in contention for Best Picture? Look to Best Film Editing. No category except Best Director has as much overlap with the top category as of late. Is that how things will turn out this year? Let's take a look…

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American Werewolf in London
Credit: Universal Pictures

Monster make-up legend Rick Baker to receive lifetime achievement award

The veterans receive the Make-up Artists and Hair Stylists Guild highest honor

In October, Rick Baker appeared in an Academy-approved video, touring industry outsiders around his makeup studio, a treasure trove of special effects wonderment. The inside look came tinged with sadness; With modern blockbusters opting for more CG effects over practical makeup, Baker’s craft has slowly faded into the history books, prompting him to move out of his sprawling warehouse. For those left weeping over the video comes a hint of good news: The Make-up Artists and Hair Stylists Guild Awards will honor the monster movie make-up master during its 2015 ceremony.

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Michael Shannon and Kevin Spacey
Credit: AP

Michael Shannon and Kevin Spacey will be 'Elvis & Nixon' (respectively)

New indie to chronicle the musician and political figures’ strange 1970 meeting

Ron Howard’s "Frost/Nixon" disappointed with only $18 million at the domestic box office. So the logical thought was, "Sequel!?" Well, say hello to "Elvis & Nixon," the "Mothra vs. Godzilla" of the Richard Nixon franchise.

OK, "Elvis & Nixon" has nothing to do with Howard’s film, but it is an in-the-works docudrama starring two major talents that could prove even more fruitful than the Michael Sheen/Frank Langella pairing.

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New 'Into the Woods' trailer finds Meryl Streep singing in a 'Maleficent' world

New 'Into the Woods' trailer finds Meryl Streep singing in a 'Maleficent' world

Does Johnny Depp's wolf look more like a cat or is it us?

Could Disney's "Into the Woods" be a Christmas surprise for moviegoers and Oscar? Judging by the film's second trailer, let's just say we're pleasantly surprised. Here are five quick thoughts to ponder on Rob Marshall's latest endeavor before or after you watch the new preview.

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Jessica Chastain stays classy as 'Interstellar' vs. 'A Most Violent Year' goes public

Jessica Chastain stays classy as 'Interstellar' vs. 'A Most Violent Year' goes public

Find out when she first met Christopher Nolan in person

Frankly, many of us saw this coming. As soon as A24 Films confirmed that J.C. Chandor's "A Most Violent Year" would be released just in time for Oscar consideration, the questions began. Was Jessica Chastain's performance a leading or supporting proposition? Moreover, how would that relate to her work in Christopher Nolan's "Interstellar," which Paramount Pictures was clearly positioning (accurately) for Best Supporting Actress consideration? Once the film began to screen, word got out that her turn in "Year" was clearly supporting and at some point a choice was going to have to be made. A24 probably hoped things would work out for everyone and Chastain would be considered a lead for Chandor's film, but based on the news The New York Times broke tonight, it might not have mattered.  

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<p>&quot;Footprints&quot;</p>

"Footprints"

10 animated shorts advance in 2015 Oscar race, Pixar snubbed

Bill Plympton officially has two shots on goal

The Academy has announced the 10 animated short films that have advanced in this year's Oscar race. Five nominees will be announced along with all other categories on January 15, 2015.

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<p>&quot;Begin Again&quot;</p>

"Begin Again"

Credit: The Weinstein Company

'Birdman,' 'Dragon 2,' 'Begin Again' win Hollywood Music in Media Awards

'It's about time drummers get some love.'

The fifth annual Hollywood Music in Media Awards were held Tuesday night at The Fonda Theatre in Hollywood. "Birdman" composer Antonio Sanchez walked away with top film honors while "How to Train Your Dragon 2" and "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug" also brought home awards.

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Matt Damon
Credit: AP

Matt Damon joins Alexander Payne’s high concept sci-fi, 'Downsizing'

The long-gestating project follows a man who shrinks himself to save money

Alexander Payne sticks to the real. Even with the biting satire of "Election," "Sideways’" melancholy sitcomisms, and the quirk "Nebraska," his films keep their feet on the ground. But there’s a high-concept side to Payne, a writer capable of penning "Jurassic Park 3" and "I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry." We’ll see those skills put to good use when his percolating script "Downsizing" finally comes to fruition with one of Hollywood’s most talented leading men.

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David O Russell
Credit: Sony Pictures

David O. Russell’s lost film 'Nailed' revived as 'Politics in Love,' recut for UK release

The grisly satire will surface in 2015.

"Nailed" haunts writer-director David O. Russell. A health care satire starring Jessica Biel suffering from a near-fatal nail gun shot to the head, the film went into production before "The Fighter" and imploded before making it through post-production. Russell moved on, for the clear better, but onlookers anxious for a taste of the writer’s sardonic humor kept wondering if the film would ever surface. Whether he was talking about "The Fighter," "Silver Linings Playbook" or "American Hustle," nearly ever interview steered towards "Nailed" out of due diligence. When our own Drew McWeeny spoke to Russell in 2011, he summed up the experience he was happy to distance himself from: "['Nailed'] was supposed to be a fresh page and comeback and it turned out to be disappointment, another notch on my belt in this business."

Fans would never see "Nailed." Or fans were resigned to never seeing "Nailed"… until now. 

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