It's been a rough couple of years to be a fan of Reese Witherspoon: when the actress picked up her Oscar eight years ago for "Walk the Line," the universe appeared to have better things in store for her than, say, "This Means War." Even when her films have worked out -- the critically-endorsed Americana of "Mud" or the ripe Camembert pleasures of "Water for Elephants" -- they haven't showcased her especially well. So it's nice to see Witherspoon getting busy again with a range of upscale projects this year.
After landing nomination after nomination without a win, cinematographer Emmanuel "Chivo" Lubezki finally claimed an Oscar a few months ago for his jaw-dropping work on Alfonso Cuarón's "Gravity." But it wasn't just the technical prowess of the accomplishment that landed him that spotlight, conceiving of new technology to tell the story Cuarón wanted to tell and making it all work so well with the visual effects on display. It was also the drawn-out, patient takes, which Lubezki and Cuarón had been playing with ever since "Y Tu Mamá También" over a decade ago. All of that went toward an identifiable style that became the visual trademark of the movie, and the result was a much-deserved Oscar. But if the word on Alejandro González Iñárritu's "Birdman" is true, then Lubezki could very well be in line for his second in a row.
Okay, so the reviews are in, and it turns out I'm not alone in thinking that Clint Eastwood's "Jersey Boys" -- the 84-year-old actor-director-producer's 33rd effort behind the camera -- is a bit of a dud. Worse still, it's not the only recent misfire for the four-time Oscar winner frequently referred by critics as the last true classicist in American cinema. "J. Edgar," "Hereafter," "Invictus" and "Changeling" all met with varying degrees of opposition, though his defenders stand firm. "Has any working director had more wobbly movies defended by auteurist critics than Clint Eastwood?" tweeted Mark Harris recently.
NEW YORK - John Lloyd Young won a Tony Award for bringing Frankie Valli to Broadway in the hit musical "Jersey Boys," but he knew trying to land a role in Clint movie adaptation wouldn't be easy. That being said, he didn't flinch when he was asked to audition.
I had been sitting back wondering whether Ava DuVernay's "Selma" would be ready in time for this year's upcoming awards season. Paramount already has a couple of things to play with, from Jason Reitman's "Men, Women & Children" to Christopher Nolan's "Interstellar." Well, add another, as DuVernay's film has just been slated for a Christmas Day limited release.
LOS ANGELES — For the first time in nearly a decade, Pixar Animation Studios is taking the year off. The Emeryville-Calif.-based company will not be releasing a film in 2014, and it also finds itself in an interesting position, striving to maintain its identity as a haven for bold original visions while at the same time seeing some of its biggest successes inevitably move into franchise and sequel terrain. Wednesday night representatives of the studio took over a theater in West Hollywood's Directors Guild of America (DGA) headquarters to present materials from one such original vision from "Monsters, Inc." and "Up" director Pete Docter: "Inside Out."
As "Dear White People" heads to theaters on Oct. 17, remember: this isn't "The Help," "The Butler," or any of the other films where a white person leads black people in the charge, or one where Tyler Perry wears a dress.
Tomorrow, more than a year after its Cannes Competition premiere, Roman Polanski's "Venus in Fur" finally opens in US theaters. It's the 20th narrative feature of a career that now spans six decades, so a list themed around the Oscar-winning director's work seemed in order. Given that "Venus in Fur" -- Polanski's third film, after "Death and the Maiden" and "Carnage," to replicate the scale and pace of an intimate stage production -- is based so explicitly around notions of performance, and the push-pull relationship between actor and director, a selection of his most successful actorly collaborations seemed the obvious way to go.
The folks over at Disney have to be tearing their collective hair out this morning. It seems that "Into the Woods" composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim has spilled the beans on the studio's upcoming filmic adaptation of the musical (directed by Rob Marshall and starring Meryl Streep, Johnny Depp, Emily Blunt and Anna Kendrick, among others) and revealed that some conservative changes have been made.
NEW YORK - It goes without saying that Broadway actors are rarely able to reprise their roles in the movie versions of stage musicals they've starred in. For every Anthony Rapp in "Rent," Rita Moreno in "West Side Story" or Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick in "The Producers" there are countless other films that didn't even consider actors who played the same role on the stage. Usually it's just too risky for Hollywood execs to fund a musical without some old fashioned movie starpower on board (it's still considered a risky proposition). Don't tell that to Clint Eastwood, however.