When listing influences for "Inherent Vice," an adaptation of Thomas Pynchon's 2009 detective novel, Paul Thomas Anderson drops genre staples that don't come as much of a surprise: "The Long Goodbye," "Kiss Me Deadly," "The Big Sleep" — on-screen mystery fiction done right. But his tonal reference points turn any conjured vision of the movie on its head. “‘Police Squad!’ and ‘Top Secret!’ are what I clued into,” Anderson told the New York Times in a recent profile. “We tried hard to imitate or rip off the Zucker brothers’ style of gags so the film can feel like the book feels: just packed with stuff. And fun.”
Tonight the New York Film Festival showed off the first of its wares with the opening night world premiere of David Fincher's "Gone Girl." A faithful adaptation of Gillian Flynn's twisted 2012 page-turner, it brings a very different swagger into the season, one of cynicism, the cold chill of deep truths ripe for the kind of dead-faced satire the filmmaker has bathed them in here. But is it an Oscar player for Fox or will the Academy flinch? (I hate myself for even typing that sentence, trust me.)
NEW YORK — David Fincher's "Gone Girl" had a triumphant debut at the 2014 New York Film Festival Friday night and the acclaimed filmmaker and his cast spent a good 30 minutes after the official press screening taking questions from the media the movie so deliciously skewers. Entertainment reporters may not be at the level of a Nancy Grace, but they will still spin what they can from a pull quote, including anything that relates to the fact that none other than the new Batman, Ben Affleck, was on stage. And, yes, even his co-stars wouldn't let him forget it.
TORONTO — You likely have no idea who Ben Schnetzer is. Even if you're one of the few moviegoers who saw the WWII drama "The Book Thief" in theaters last year you wouldn't know the name. You'd remember his performance as Max, the young Jewish man who hides in the family's basement, but you'd find yourself scratching your head as to who actually played him. Since finishing "Thief," the 24-year-old has shot three other movies: "The Riot Club," "Pride" and Duncan Jones' big screen adaptation of the classic video game "Warcraft." Each project finds him playing widely different roles, but if you're looking for a true sign of his talent you must see his performance in the new drama "Pride."
There's been barely a moment to breathe since "The Imitation Game," "Birdman" and "The Theory of Everything" showed their wares at Venice, Telluride and Toronto, but there's rarely any rest for the weary during awards season. Three films are making noise in the Best Picture rankings this week and all for different reasons.
Part of me still hopes Universal/Legendary pulls Michael Mann's "Blackhat" into the season. It's probably not an awards movie but I just want to see it sooner, OK? Mann stumbled for many on "Public Enemies" but I was a fan and I'm looking forward to him getting back on the horse anyway, and a hacker thriller with Chris Hemsworth sounds like a nifty remedy. A newly released trailer, meanwhile, finally gives us a better look at the whole enterprise.
Apparently they didn't have the make-up to turn Johnny Depp into a 16-year-old boarding school student, so "Hugo" and "Ender's Game" star Asa Butterfield is Tim Burton's top choice for the lead in the upcoming "Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children."
In an age where mature dramas are an endangered species, William Monahan remains a defender of the movies-for-adults business. The "Departed" and "Body of Lies" writer won't even let his uncredited work on "Oblivion" sneak into his IMDb credits. That's diligence.
Reviews of Barry Levinson's "The Humbling" out of the Venice Film Festival, where the Philip Roth adaptation premiered in competition, seemed mixed at best. Our own Catherine Bray dumped pretty hard on it, mostly bewildered about the choice of source material and the neutering of its gratuitousness. The "watering down" of "Roth's smut," she surmised, leaves the viewer with "just some mumbling from Pacino about how he don't get no respect." Others were kinder, still others not, but no matter, as a newly configured Millennium Entertainment has picked up the film with an eye toward insinuating it into the Oscar conversation.
The fact is the work someone like costume designer Deborah Cook does on a film like "The Boxtrolls" should be afforded the same respect during the Oscar season as what, say, Colleen Atwood does on "Into the Woods." Or what another legend like Milena Canonero conjures on "The Grand Budapest Hotel." The disciplines are one and the same, to say nothing of the fact that the level of detail on Laika's latest is as eye-popping as ever. Yet the season often relegates everything done on a stop-motion film to the realm of "animation" and leaves it at that.