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New Post has been published on AwardsCircuit.com - By Clayton Davis

New Post has been published on http://www.awardscircuit.com/2014/07/31/new-international-trailer-birdman-drops/

New International Trailer for ‘Birdman’ Drops

birdman_1We have an international trailer today for Birdman with Michael Keaton.  We are just under a month away from its premiere at the Venice Film Festival.  After that, the film will move to the New York Film Festival where it will be closing the festival.

Check it out below:

— 1 hour ago
#Birdman  #Featured Post  #International Trailer  #Michael Keaton  #NYFF  #Oscars  #trailer  #Venice 
New Post has been published on AwardsCircuit.com - By Clayton Davis

New Post has been published on http://www.awardscircuit.com/2014/07/31/first-official-teaser-rob-marshalls-woods-meryl-streep/

First Official Teaser for Rob Marshall’s ‘Into the Woods’ with Meryl Streep

Meryl-Streep-Into-The-WoodsThe teaser trailer for Disney’s INTO THE WOODS is now available on iTunes Trailers. Check it out!

INTO THE WOODS opens in theaters December 25, 2014!

Cast:                                     Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt, James Corden, Anna Kendrick, Chris Pine, Tracey

Ullman, Christine Baranski and Johnny Depp.

Director:                                Rob Marshall

Producers:                             Rob Marshall, John DeLuca, Marc Platt, Callum McDougall

Screenplay by:                       James Lapine

Based on the musical play by:   Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine

“Into the Woods” is a modern twist on several of the beloved Brothers Grimm fairy tales, intertwining the plots of a few choice stories and exploring the consequences of the characters’ wishes and quests. This humorous and heartfelt musical follows the classic tales of Cinderella (Anna Kendrick), Little Red Riding Hood (Lilla Crawford), Jack and the Beanstalk (Daniel Huttlestone), and Rapunzel (MacKenzie Mauzy)—all tied together by an original story involving a baker and his wife (James Corden & Emily Blunt), their wish to begin a family and their interaction with the witch (Meryl Streep) who has put a curse on them.

Rob Marshall, the acclaimed filmmaker behind the Academy Award®-winning musical “Chicago” and Disney’s “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides,” directs the film, which is based on the Tony®-winning original musical by James Lapine, who also penned the screenplay, and legendary composer Stephen Sondheim, who provides the music and lyrics. Produced by Marshall, John DeLuca, “Wicked” producer Marc Platt and Callum McDougall, “Into the Woods” will be released in theaters Dec. 25, 2014.

— 2 hours ago
#Academy Awards  #Featured Post  #Into the Woods  #Meryl Streep  #Oscars  #trailer 
New Post has been published on http://www.awardscircuit.com/2014/07/31/top-ten-greatest-performances-time-karen-peterson/Top Ten Greatest Performances of All Time (Karen Peterson)When I found out we were doing this Top Ten Greatest Performances of All Time series, I was immediately nervous about it. For a couple of reasons. First, how was I ever going to narrow down thousands of performances into my personal Ten Greatest? And second, I could very well be run right out of the Awards Circuit when I admit to not having seen some truly iconic films. Oh, and third, my list is probably going to garner some pretty stiff (and probably deserved) criticism from you, our discerning readers.
My process for creating this list was pretty simple. I made a rule that I wouldn’t select any performance after 2010. That’s just too recent to stand the test of time. I originally wanted to focus more on female performances, but as I jotted down names that came to me, they were more predominantly male. Which surprised and disappointed me as a contributor to the Women in Cinema column.
I wrote down every amazing performance I could think of, eventually coming to 54 finalists. And there are some truly stunning performances in that list of 54. From all decades of film, all genres, and even a fairly balanced split between men and women.
Unfortunately, I had to leave off some notable roles. (This is the part where I admit I’ve never seen The Godfather, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Raging Bull, Sunset Boulevard, A Streetcar Named Desire or Network.)
But as I whittled my list down to its final 10, I was forced to make cuts. Gone was Brad Pitt in 12 Monkeys. Away with Sissy Spacek‘s Carrie. Sidney Poitier for In the Heat of the Night? Not this time. And my list didn’t have room for Edward Norton, Julie Andrews, Kevin Spacey, Morgan Freeman, Barbara Stanwyck, Natalie Wood or Meryl Streep either.
Eventually I came to my chosen Ten. A ten that I’m still not completely satisfied with or certain about. A ten that will be jeered far more than it is lauded, I know. A ten that I will want to change yet again the second this post is published.


10. Amy Adams, “Giselle”, Enchanted
It’s easy to discount what, on the surface, seems like a silly character in a silly Disney movie. But what Amy Adams did with the role of Giselle was fascinating to watch. She didn’t just play a Disney princess. She WAS a Disney princess, embracing all of the mannerisms and characteristics familiar in some of the best loved princesses of all time. Amy Adams did what no other actress could have done as well, and she deserved a lot more accolades than she ultimately received.  The result is a character that is adorable and memorable without becoming a cliché.


9. Tom Cruise, “Frank T.J. Mackey”, Magnolia
Despite being one of the biggest movie stars ever, it seems audiences are continually surprised whenever Tom Cruise pulls out a truly great performance. And his work in Magnolia is arguably the best work of his career. Cruise’s misogynistic Mackey is at once a hateful villain and a tragically flawed man-child trying to navigate some deep-rooted familial issues. It’s a departure from the norm for Cruise and he proves he is not only a star, but a true actor.



 8. Javier Bardem, “Anton Chigurh”, No Country for Old Men
One of the creepiest villains ever to grace the silver screen, Javier Bardem’s Anton Chigurh became an instant favorite character for his chilling, patient gun-for-hire. Bardem’s performance here was reminiscent of Robert Mitchum in some of his darker roles, but Bardem brings something extra to the part. Perhaps it is the fact that he takes his time, never rushing through any moment of any scene. It is his patience and deliberation that make Chigurh such a memorable, and terrifying, character and earn Bardem a place among the greatest performances ever.


 7. Frances McDormand, “Marge Gunderson”, Fargo
The best thing about Frances McDormand’s performance in Fargo is that she could easily have relied on the quirky accent and funny dialogue to portray local police chief Marge Gunderson. But she doesn’t. She embodies the role of a police officer who will do what it takes to solve her case. She is smart, tough, and yet gentle when she needs to be. She is one of the most rounded characters on this list and it’s impossible to imagine another actress doing justice to the role.

6. Andy Serkis, “Gollum”, The Lord of the Rings
What can be said about Andy Serkis that hasn’t already been said by many, many others? The most tragic of all characters in the Lord of the Rings trilogy and, possibly, one of the most tragic characters in all of cinema, Andy Serkis gave the perfect embodiment of Gollum without ever crossing over into making him silly or ridiculous.


  5. Kathy Bates, “Annie Wilkes”, Misery
The creepiest thing about Kathy Bates’s portrayal of Annie Wilkes is the fact that she so seamlessly folds herself into the role. It’s hard to separate the actress from the character because the lines are perfectly blurred by a flawless performance. Annie is unpredictable and unstable, a deadly combination, and Bates plays the part so expertly that people still talk about it to this day.



4. Tom Hanks, “Chuck Noland”, Cast Away 
This performance was one of the first that came to mind when I began to think about my Top Ten. Tom Hanks is a gifted (and decorated) actor whose range of memorable characters extends from Josh in Big to Forrest Gump to his most recent work in Captain Phillips. But when I think of Tom Hanks and his long career, the performance that stands out most to me is his work in Cast Away, as a plane crash survivor stranded on an island all alone. For some 62 minutes, Hanks is alone on screen with only a Wilson volleyball as his co-star. He makes the audience laugh and cry and feel the entire range of human emotions and he does it with only the skills that made him the star he is.


3. Marlon Brando, “Terry Malloy”, On the Waterfront
Marlon Brando is a gifted actor. I know, I haven’t seen two of his most well-known films, but that doesn’t mean I can’t still appreciate his talent and abilities. His work in On the Waterfront, as a former boxer-turned dockworker and mob informant is one of the earliest examples of truly great acting. Before Brando came along, so much of acting was about the words and not the emotions attached to them. Brando, particularly in this film, showed that a great performance embraces both.

2. Anthony Hopkins, “Dr. Hannibal Lecter”, The Silence of the Lambs
Honestly, what can I say about Anthony Hopkins? Particularly in his role as Hannibal Lecter? He is perfect. He’s never had a more perfect performance or a better character. And there will probably never be a more memorable villain. Except maybe…
1. Heath Ledger, “The Joker”, The Dark Knight
When I think of great performances, the one that I can never get out of my head is Heath Ledger’s work in The Dark Knight. When he was first cast, many (myself included) thought Christopher Nolan had lost his mind. But then the trailers began to spread across the internet and the film was a hit before it was ever released in theaters. This is largely due to Ledger’s work proving himself and Nolan worthy of every accolade that could be heaped upon them. And if Ledger’s untimely death wasn’t tragic enough, it was made even more so by the fact that he didn’t live to receive his deserved Oscar.
Okay, folks. There you have it. My 867th draft of the Top Ten Greatest Performances of All Time. I know you’ve been sharing some of your own personal favorites over the past week or so, and I invite you to yell at me and tell me how wrong and how right I am. Just please be nice. This is REALLY hard!
Share this:

New Post has been published on http://www.awardscircuit.com/2014/07/31/top-ten-greatest-performances-time-karen-peterson/

Top Ten Greatest Performances of All Time (Karen Peterson)

top10When I found out we were doing this Top Ten Greatest Performances of All Time series, I was immediately nervous about it. For a couple of reasons. First, how was I ever going to narrow down thousands of performances into my personal Ten Greatest? And second, I could very well be run right out of the Awards Circuit when I admit to not having seen some truly iconic films. Oh, and third, my list is probably going to garner some pretty stiff (and probably deserved) criticism from you, our discerning readers.

My process for creating this list was pretty simple. I made a rule that I wouldn’t select any performance after 2010. That’s just too recent to stand the test of time. I originally wanted to focus more on female performances, but as I jotted down names that came to me, they were more predominantly male. Which surprised and disappointed me as a contributor to the Women in Cinema column.

I wrote down every amazing performance I could think of, eventually coming to 54 finalists. And there are some truly stunning performances in that list of 54. From all decades of film, all genres, and even a fairly balanced split between men and women.

Unfortunately, I had to leave off some notable roles. (This is the part where I admit I’ve never seen The Godfather, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Raging Bull, Sunset Boulevard, A Streetcar Named Desire or Network.)

But as I whittled my list down to its final 10, I was forced to make cuts. Gone was Brad Pitt in 12 Monkeys. Away with Sissy Spacek‘s Carrie. Sidney Poitier for In the Heat of the Night? Not this time. And my list didn’t have room for Edward Norton, Julie Andrews, Kevin Spacey, Morgan Freeman, Barbara Stanwyck, Natalie Wood or Meryl Streep either.

Eventually I came to my chosen Ten. A ten that I’m still not completely satisfied with or certain about. A ten that will be jeered far more than it is lauded, I know. A ten that I will want to change yet again the second this post is published.

Amy Adams | Enchanted

10. Amy Adams, “Giselle”, Enchanted

It’s easy to discount what, on the surface, seems like a silly character in a silly Disney movie. But what Amy Adams did with the role of Giselle was fascinating to watch. She didn’t just play a Disney princess. She WAS a Disney princess, embracing all of the mannerisms and characteristics familiar in some of the best loved princesses of all time. Amy Adams did what no other actress could have done as well, and she deserved a lot more accolades than she ultimately received.  The result is a character that is adorable and memorable without becoming a cliché.

Tom Cruise | Magnolia

9. Tom Cruise, “Frank T.J. Mackey”, Magnolia

Despite being one of the biggest movie stars ever, it seems audiences are continually surprised whenever Tom Cruise pulls out a truly great performance. And his work in Magnolia is arguably the best work of his career. Cruise’s misogynistic Mackey is at once a hateful villain and a tragically flawed man-child trying to navigate some deep-rooted familial issues. It’s a departure from the norm for Cruise and he proves he is not only a star, but a true actor.

Javier Bardem - No Country for Old Men

 8. Javier Bardem, “Anton Chigurh”, No Country for Old Men

One of the creepiest villains ever to grace the silver screen, Javier Bardem’s Anton Chigurh became an instant favorite character for his chilling, patient gun-for-hire. Bardem’s performance here was reminiscent of Robert Mitchum in some of his darker roles, but Bardem brings something extra to the part. Perhaps it is the fact that he takes his time, never rushing through any moment of any scene. It is his patience and deliberation that make Chigurh such a memorable, and terrifying, character and earn Bardem a place among the greatest performances ever.

Frances McDormand | Fargo

 7. Frances McDormand, “Marge Gunderson”, Fargo

The best thing about Frances McDormand’s performance in Fargo is that she could easily have relied on the quirky accent and funny dialogue to portray local police chief Marge Gunderson. But she doesn’t. She embodies the role of a police officer who will do what it takes to solve her case. She is smart, tough, and yet gentle when she needs to be. She is one of the most rounded characters on this list and it’s impossible to imagine another actress doing justice to the role.

gollum andy serkis

6. Andy Serkis, “Gollum”, The Lord of the Rings

What can be said about Andy Serkis that hasn’t already been said by many, many others? The most tragic of all characters in the Lord of the Rings trilogy and, possibly, one of the most tragic characters in all of cinema, Andy Serkis gave the perfect embodiment of Gollum without ever crossing over into making him silly or ridiculous.

Kathy Bates | MIsery
  5. Kathy Bates, “Annie Wilkes”, Misery

The creepiest thing about Kathy Bates’s portrayal of Annie Wilkes is the fact that she so seamlessly folds herself into the role. It’s hard to separate the actress from the character because the lines are perfectly blurred by a flawless performance. Annie is unpredictable and unstable, a deadly combination, and Bates plays the part so expertly that people still talk about it to this day.

TomHanks_CastAway

4. Tom Hanks, “Chuck Noland”, Cast Away 

This performance was one of the first that came to mind when I began to think about my Top Ten. Tom Hanks is a gifted (and decorated) actor whose range of memorable characters extends from Josh in Big to Forrest Gump to his most recent work in Captain Phillips. But when I think of Tom Hanks and his long career, the performance that stands out most to me is his work in Cast Away, as a plane crash survivor stranded on an island all alone. For some 62 minutes, Hanks is alone on screen with only a Wilson volleyball as his co-star. He makes the audience laugh and cry and feel the entire range of human emotions and he does it with only the skills that made him the star he is.

Marlon_brando_waterfront_2

3. Marlon Brando, “Terry Malloy”, On the Waterfront

Marlon Brando is a gifted actor. I know, I haven’t seen two of his most well-known films, but that doesn’t mean I can’t still appreciate his talent and abilities. His work in On the Waterfront, as a former boxer-turned dockworker and mob informant is one of the earliest examples of truly great acting. Before Brando came along, so much of acting was about the words and not the emotions attached to them. Brando, particularly in this film, showed that a great performance embraces both.

Anthony Hopkins Silence of the Lambs

2. Anthony Hopkins, “Dr. Hannibal Lecter”, The Silence of the Lambs

Honestly, what can I say about Anthony Hopkins? Particularly in his role as Hannibal Lecter? He is perfect. He’s never had a more perfect performance or a better character. And there will probably never be a more memorable villain. Except maybe…

heath-ledger-the-joker
1. Heath Ledger, “The Joker”, The Dark Knight

When I think of great performances, the one that I can never get out of my head is Heath Ledger’s work in The Dark Knight. When he was first cast, many (myself included) thought Christopher Nolan had lost his mind. But then the trailers began to spread across the internet and the film was a hit before it was ever released in theaters. This is largely due to Ledger’s work proving himself and Nolan worthy of every accolade that could be heaped upon them. And if Ledger’s untimely death wasn’t tragic enough, it was made even more so by the fact that he didn’t live to receive his deserved Oscar.

Okay, folks. There you have it. My 867th draft of the Top Ten Greatest Performances of All Time. I know you’ve been sharing some of your own personal favorites over the past week or so, and I invite you to yell at me and tell me how wrong and how right I am. Just please be nice. This is REALLY hard!

— 6 hours ago
#Amy Adams  #Andy Serkis  #Anthony Hopkins  #Cast Away  #Enchanted  #Fargo  #Featured Post  #Frances McDormand  #Heath Ledger  #Javier Bardem  #Kathy Bates  #Magnolia  #Marlon Brando  #Misery  #No Country for Old Men  #On the Waterfront  #Silence of the Lambs  #The Dark Knight  #The Lord of the Rings  #tom cruise  #tom hanks 
New Post has been published on http://www.awardscircuit.com/2014/07/31/calvary-%e2%98%85%e2%98%85%c2%bd/Calvary (★★½)It seems like I’m going to be distinctly in the minority when it comes to this one. I was a big fan of John Michael McDonagh‘s directorial debut The Guard, so I was definitely looking forward to this sophomore outing. While I wouldn’t say that I didn’t like Calvary, it’s about as different from McDonagh’s prior film as you can get, and perhaps I was just expecting something different? For whatever reason, I seem to be one of the few who was underwhelmed by this movie. Granted, I’m with my colleagues on the fact that Brendan Gleeson is as good as he ever has been in the lead role, essaying a character that’s complex and actually quite poetic, despite the dark material. Likewise, McDonagh’s direction is very solid, including some rather beautiful shots that he and DP Larry Smith have composed. It’s just the screenplay attempts something more profound than what actually is accomplished, leaving just the sense of fatalism that runs throughout the narrative and little else. There’s a lot of talk about faith and such here, but it all added up to very little for me. I kept waiting for that moment where I’d be fully invested, but it never quite happened. I really wanted to be able to recommend this one to you all, and Calvary is probably the highest of the two and a half star films this year for me, but it’s still more of a mixed bag than it should be. Alas.
Despite some humor, this is a weighty story (seriously think about what the title is referring to). Father James Lavelle (Gleeson) is a good priest in a small Irish village. He’s smart, humorous, and cares about his flock. He almost functions as a sort of peacekeeper in the community, shown in a scene where he begins to investigate who beat one of the women in the town, a supposedly lose woman named Veronica Brennan (Orla O’Rourke). Was it her butcher husband Jack Brennan (Chris O’Dowd)? One of her lovers? Someone more sinister? James cares, to the point where it goes beyond faith. He wants these people to be happy. That’s his life, at least until the morning where he receives the confession of someone who was abused by a priest as a child. The confessor is angry and wants a measure of vengeance. Instead of killing that bad priest, which wouldn’t have a point apparently, the confessor has decided to kill a good priest…namely James. He’s going to murder him in one week, which basically starts a countdown in James’ head. He begins speaking to the residents of the town, trying to figure out who the mysterious person is, while also learning just how deeply unhappy and mostly faithless they are. At the same time though, James appears almost resigned to his fate, despite having a daughter named Fiona (Kelly Reilly) that he’s trying to maintain a relationship with. I won’t spoil what happens, but the fatalism apparent in especially the third act was a little much for me, I must say.
If the story gave me some degree of pause, Brendan Gleeson’s performance made me want to stand up and cheer. He brings so much to this already loaded character, and it’s critical that he does so too. Many of the scenes are just repetitive conversations about faith and life with different types of people, so Gleeson is very much the glue that bonds everything together. He’s magnificent, but not in the sort of showy way that you can easily describe. It’s probably too subtle work to gain awards traction, but he’s good enough to deserve an award from someone. The supporting cast is fine, but aside from Chris O’Dowd getting to do more of a dramatic role than usual, no one really gets too much to do. Kelly Reilly especially is a bit wasted to me. There’s a decent supporting turn from M. Emmet Walsh as an elderly American resident, but that’s about it. The likes of Isaach De Bankolé, Aidan Gillen, Domhnall Gleeson (Brendan’s son, yes), Dylan Moran, and the aforementioned O’Rourke are solid enough, but they don’t hold a candle to Gleeson, plain and simple.
I hate comparing McDonagh’s work here to his work on The Guard (or even his brother Martin McDonagh‘s films In Bruges or Seven Psychopaths), but I can’t help having this minority opinion that Calvary is the weakest movie of the lot. The flick is very nice to look at, as mentioned above, but the script goes in circles, taking its time to make a simple point. I can see where it has value, but something like Philomena happened to make similar points at times in a lighter way. I’m not against heavy themes, but it seems to weight this film down. You sort of know where things are going and just sit around and wait for it to happen. Perhaps I was expecting something else, but I just wanted more than previously made points about the damage morally corrupt priests can do to human lives and religious fatalism. McDonagh also draws his supporting characters a little too broadly, so you look at them more as oddball suspects than anything else. It’s not a huge issue, but it’s noticeable…to me, at least.
I’m sure that when many of you see Calvary, you’ll think I’m nuts for not being head over heels in love with it. I certainly loved Gleeson’s performance and really came close to going three stars here, but my issues haven’t subsided in the few days since I saw it. I’m almost mad at myself for not liking it better, but I have to listen to my heart here. Calvary is worth seeing, but I have enough of a problem with it that it won’t have my overt recommendation here. I certainly won’t stop you, and in fact sort of want a lot of people to see it so a discussion can be had, but consider me just a bit on the disappointed side.
-Thoughts? Discuss in the comments!
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New Post has been published on http://www.awardscircuit.com/2014/07/31/calvary-%e2%98%85%e2%98%85%c2%bd/

Calvary (★★½)

calvaryIt seems like I’m going to be distinctly in the minority when it comes to this one. I was a big fan of John Michael McDonagh‘s directorial debut The Guard, so I was definitely looking forward to this sophomore outing. While I wouldn’t say that I didn’t like Calvary, it’s about as different from McDonagh’s prior film as you can get, and perhaps I was just expecting something different? For whatever reason, I seem to be one of the few who was underwhelmed by this movie. Granted, I’m with my colleagues on the fact that Brendan Gleeson is as good as he ever has been in the lead role, essaying a character that’s complex and actually quite poetic, despite the dark material. Likewise, McDonagh’s direction is very solid, including some rather beautiful shots that he and DP Larry Smith have composed. It’s just the screenplay attempts something more profound than what actually is accomplished, leaving just the sense of fatalism that runs throughout the narrative and little else. There’s a lot of talk about faith and such here, but it all added up to very little for me. I kept waiting for that moment where I’d be fully invested, but it never quite happened. I really wanted to be able to recommend this one to you all, and Calvary is probably the highest of the two and a half star films this year for me, but it’s still more of a mixed bag than it should be. Alas.

Despite some humor, this is a weighty story (seriously think about what the title is referring to). Father James Lavelle (Gleeson) is a good priest in a small Irish village. He’s smart, humorous, and cares about his flock. He almost functions as a sort of peacekeeper in the community, shown in a scene where he begins to investigate who beat one of the women in the town, a supposedly lose woman named Veronica Brennan (Orla O’Rourke). Was it her butcher husband Jack Brennan (Chris O’Dowd)? One of her lovers? Someone more sinister? James cares, to the point where it goes beyond faith. He wants these people to be happy. That’s his life, at least until the morning where he receives the confession of someone who was abused by a priest as a child. The confessor is angry and wants a measure of vengeance. Instead of killing that bad priest, which wouldn’t have a point apparently, the confessor has decided to kill a good priest…namely James. He’s going to murder him in one week, which basically starts a countdown in James’ head. He begins speaking to the residents of the town, trying to figure out who the mysterious person is, while also learning just how deeply unhappy and mostly faithless they are. At the same time though, James appears almost resigned to his fate, despite having a daughter named Fiona (Kelly Reilly) that he’s trying to maintain a relationship with. I won’t spoil what happens, but the fatalism apparent in especially the third act was a little much for me, I must say.

calvarycb2If the story gave me some degree of pause, Brendan Gleeson’s performance made me want to stand up and cheer. He brings so much to this already loaded character, and it’s critical that he does so too. Many of the scenes are just repetitive conversations about faith and life with different types of people, so Gleeson is very much the glue that bonds everything together. He’s magnificent, but not in the sort of showy way that you can easily describe. It’s probably too subtle work to gain awards traction, but he’s good enough to deserve an award from someone. The supporting cast is fine, but aside from Chris O’Dowd getting to do more of a dramatic role than usual, no one really gets too much to do. Kelly Reilly especially is a bit wasted to me. There’s a decent supporting turn from M. Emmet Walsh as an elderly American resident, but that’s about it. The likes of Isaach De Bankolé, Aidan Gillen, Domhnall Gleeson (Brendan’s son, yes), Dylan Moran, and the aforementioned O’Rourke are solid enough, but they don’t hold a candle to Gleeson, plain and simple.

I hate comparing McDonagh’s work here to his work on The Guard (or even his brother Martin McDonagh‘s films In Bruges or Seven Psychopaths), but I can’t help having this minority opinion that Calvary is the weakest movie of the lot. The flick is very nice to look at, as mentioned above, but the script goes in circles, taking its time to make a simple point. I can see where it has value, but something like Philomena happened to make similar points at times in a lighter way. I’m not against heavy themes, but it seems to weight this film down. You sort of know where things are going and just sit around and wait for it to happen. Perhaps I was expecting something else, but I just wanted more than previously made points about the damage morally corrupt priests can do to human lives and religious fatalism. McDonagh also draws his supporting characters a little too broadly, so you look at them more as oddball suspects than anything else. It’s not a huge issue, but it’s noticeable…to me, at least.

I’m sure that when many of you see Calvary, you’ll think I’m nuts for not being head over heels in love with it. I certainly loved Gleeson’s performance and really came close to going three stars here, but my issues haven’t subsided in the few days since I saw it. I’m almost mad at myself for not liking it better, but I have to listen to my heart here. Calvary is worth seeing, but I have enough of a problem with it that it won’t have my overt recommendation here. I certainly won’t stop you, and in fact sort of want a lot of people to see it so a discussion can be had, but consider me just a bit on the disappointed side.

-Thoughts? Discuss in the comments!

— 6 hours ago
#2014 release  #Aidan Gillen  #Brendan Gleeson  #Calvary  #Chris O'Dowd  #domhnall gleeson  #Dylan Moran  #Featured Post  #Isaach De Bankolé  #John Michael McDonagh  #Kelly Reilly  #Larry Smith  #M. Emmet Walsh  #Orla O'Rourke 
New Post has been published on http://www.awardscircuit.com/2014/07/31/radio-days-%e2%98%85%e2%98%85%e2%98%85%c2%bd/Radio Days (★★★½)HISTORICAL CIRCUIT: For everything that’s been written about Woody Allen, good or bad, you can’t ignore his fond embrace of nostalgia. And for audiences who’ve yet to take in his entire filmography – I mean myself when I say “audiences” – his fondness has the power to transport. Allen’s Radio Days is both accessible and remote for modern audiences. The former because it takes a common item we’re all acquainted with, music and the radio, while depicting a time anyone born after its heyday will dream of touching since radio lacks the same power it once held. Allen’s bittersweet ode to the golden days of radio, celebrity, and family, is sweet, hilarious, and should get more attention than it did in 1987.
Narrated by Allen himself, he tells the story of a family in Rockaway Beach – Seth Green playing the Allen facsimile – whose personalities and lives are affected by the stories and music they hear on the radio in the 1940s. Outside their house, Allen tells us stories of various radio personalities of the time.
Despite its deeply autobiographical tone using stories from Allen’s childhood, Allen is never on-screen, content to narrate while a cadre of actors acts out his memories, an ironic moment of a new medium reflecting and honoring an older medium. It’s a testament to the cast assembled that they never come off as an acting troupe; you believe they’ve been a family for decades. So many of these sequences remind me of my own family, an understandable feeling considering Allen’s intent is to unify while isolating events to his own, personal experiences; and yet these moments are idyllic in nature, possibly proving Allen’s point that we all romanticize and identify through the same means. Julie Kavner and Michael Tucker, hilarious as the couple who’ve been together so long they’ve run out of things to argue about and thus debate about which ocean is better, are identifiable to anyone who grew up with parents who didn’t realize hitting their kid in public was wrong. Joe (Green) being lovingly disciplined by his parents and the family rabbi is ludicrous in its flippancy (oh, how times have changed).
But it isn’t all bad in the family’s household, far from it. Sure, they suffer from money troubles, and way too many relatives live under one roof, but they understand and accept each other and their quirks. This is where the actors’ chemistry works to great effect. It’s not enough for the characters to say they love each other; it’s in their showing of it. Case in point, when Joe runs through the house, evading his father’s belt, while his aunt and cousin do the Conga, all of which is interrupted by the radio announcement that a little girl has fallen down a well. As Tucker and Kavner hug little Joe upon hearing the girl has died, the immense sorrow for the girl’s family is perceived, but also Joe’s family’s love for him. The family’s grief is isolated, but the radio unifies families around the world, aiding them in their remembrance of what’s important.
The title being “Radio Days,” it stands to reason the radio is just as much a character as Joe and his family. Receiving equal treatment Allen provides anecdotes about various radio celebrities, many based in fact. Each of the various radio personalities, and their respective series, corresponds and externalizes a family member of Joe’s. (Dianne Wiest’s Aunt Bea loves music in order to meet guys, while Joe idolizes Wallace Shawn’s heroic, albeit equally diminutive, Wallace Shawn.) Allen is just as sentimental about the stars of radio as the Rockaway family who consumes its entertainment. There’s a reason the film starts with “Once upon a time because everyone sees celebrities, even now, as embodiments of a certain fairy tale. The main protagonist of the radio section is Mia Farrow’s cigarette-girl turned gossip columnist, Sally “Who’s Pearl Harbor” White. Channeling Judy Holliday and Lina Lamont with her nails on a chalkboard screech, Farrow’s loveable as the daffy social climber whose lucky break starts once she witnesses a murder and is subsequently kidnapped by a Mafioso. The two bond over their mutual hometowns and said gangster takes Sally home to his mother as they discuss where to dump Sally’s body (“Dump her in Red Hook!”).
Despite Joe’s presence as the narrative focus, Allen spends a lot of time on the women, as he’s done with countless films in his oeuvre. Sally White epitomizes Hollywood’s rags to riches mentality, but there’s little to relate to if you’re the average moviegoer who’ll identify with Joe’s family as they consume the glitz and glitter of the radio stars. Dianne Wiest steals scenes as Joe’s Aunt Bea, a woman who just wants to find romance and always ends up with the runt of the litter, whether it’s a man who abandons her on the street while hearing a radio broadcast mimicking Orson Welles’ “War of the Worlds,” or the suitor who can’t get over his beloved…Leonard.
It’s apparent Allen’s characters and scripts are on fire, with the script one of only two Oscar nominations Radio Days received (the other being Art Direction). The language is colloquial and wistful. The humor is genuine and consistently funny without being too quirky. The family’s discussion about the Communists next door interrupting Yom Kippur is punctuated with Tucker’s Father exclaiming “I want to burn their house down, but I’m not allowed to light matches today!” The set decoration is also a well-warranted nomination as the sets are lessons in contrasts; the warm, cramped house of Joe’s family – lit in amber tones – contrasted with the shimmering, neon billboards of Times Square. There’s a sense of scope in terms of the two worlds, but an equal sense of confinement with the audience only getting a taste of each world as both are bound by Joe’s childlike worldview and the audiences’ distance from the stars of the radio.
“Now it’s all gone…except for my memories.” Radio Days closes with a new year, literally ending on New Year’s Eve, with Mother fearing the future, but realizing they’ll get through it as a family. A billboard of a top hat on Times Square tips up and down as Allen contemplatively says how the memories are getting dimmer with the passing of the years. Radio Days is a brief history in a grander scheme of how technology unifies us as people; it’s both contemporary and blissfully dated. Allen’s character are flesh and blood and hilariously so. The memories are there, and as long as we have the memories in some way (or this movie to remind us of them), they live on.
Twilight Time’s Blu-ray release of Radio Days is slim on any type of bonus content. There’s the requisite isolated soundtrack which is great if you’re a fan of 1940s pop standards; there’s also the original theatrical trailer. You can’t fault Twilight Time for not pushing for an audio commentary or something radio related to give up, but there’s a few opportunities they missed out on. Thankfully, the movie’s entertaining enough that their Blu-ray is worth a purchase if you want the best picture quality.
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Radio Days (★★★½)

Radio DaysHISTORICAL CIRCUIT: For everything that’s been written about Woody Allen, good or bad, you can’t ignore his fond embrace of nostalgia. And for audiences who’ve yet to take in his entire filmography – I mean myself when I say “audiences” – his fondness has the power to transport. Allen’s Radio Days is both accessible and remote for modern audiences. The former because it takes a common item we’re all acquainted with, music and the radio, while depicting a time anyone born after its heyday will dream of touching since radio lacks the same power it once held. Allen’s bittersweet ode to the golden days of radio, celebrity, and family, is sweet, hilarious, and should get more attention than it did in 1987.

Narrated by Allen himself, he tells the story of a family in Rockaway Beach – Seth Green playing the Allen facsimile – whose personalities and lives are affected by the stories and music they hear on the radio in the 1940s. Outside their house, Allen tells us stories of various radio personalities of the time.

Despite its deeply autobiographical tone using stories from Allen’s childhood, Allen is never on-screen, content to narrate while a cadre of actors acts out his memories, an ironic moment of a new medium reflecting and honoring an older medium. It’s a testament to the cast assembled that they never come off as an acting troupe; you believe they’ve been a family for decades. So many of these sequences remind me of my own family, an understandable feeling considering Allen’s intent is to unify while isolating events to his own, personal experiences; and yet these moments are idyllic in nature, possibly proving Allen’s point that we all romanticize and identify through the same means. Julie Kavner and Michael Tucker, hilarious as the couple who’ve been together so long they’ve run out of things to argue about and thus debate about which ocean is better, are identifiable to anyone who grew up with parents who didn’t realize hitting their kid in public was wrong. Joe (Green) being lovingly disciplined by his parents and the family rabbi is ludicrous in its flippancy (oh, how times have changed).

But it isn’t all bad in the family’s household, far from it. Sure, they suffer from money troubles, and way too many relatives live under one roof, but they understand and accept each other and their quirks. This is where the actors’ chemistry works to great effect. It’s not enough for the characters to say they love each other; it’s in their showing of it. Case in point, when Joe runs through the house, evading his father’s belt, while his aunt and cousin do the Conga, all of which is interrupted by the radio announcement that a little girl has fallen down a well. As Tucker and Kavner hug little Joe upon hearing the girl has died, the immense sorrow for the girl’s family is perceived, but also Joe’s family’s love for him. The family’s grief is isolated, but the radio unifies families around the world, aiding them in their remembrance of what’s important.

The title being “Radio Days,” it stands to reason the radio is just as much a character as Joe and his family. Receiving equal treatment Allen provides anecdotes about various radio celebrities, many based in fact. Each of the various radio personalities, and their respective series, corresponds and externalizes a family member of Joe’s. (Dianne Wiest’s Aunt Bea loves music in order to meet guys, while Joe idolizes Wallace Shawn’s heroic, albeit equally diminutive, Wallace Shawn.) Allen is just as sentimental about the stars of radio as the Rockaway family who consumes its entertainment. There’s a reason the film starts with “Once upon a time because everyone sees celebrities, even now, as embodiments of a certain fairy tale. The main protagonist of the radio section Radio Days 1is Mia Farrow’s cigarette-girl turned gossip columnist, Sally “Who’s Pearl Harbor” White. Channeling Judy Holliday and Lina Lamont with her nails on a chalkboard screech, Farrow’s loveable as the daffy social climber whose lucky break starts once she witnesses a murder and is subsequently kidnapped by a Mafioso. The two bond over their mutual hometowns and said gangster takes Sally home to his mother as they discuss where to dump Sally’s body (“Dump her in Red Hook!”).

Despite Joe’s presence as the narrative focus, Allen spends a lot of time on the women, as he’s done with countless films in his oeuvre. Sally White epitomizes Hollywood’s rags to riches mentality, but there’s little to relate to if you’re the average moviegoer who’ll identify with Joe’s family as they consume the glitz and glitter of the radio stars. Dianne Wiest steals scenes as Joe’s Aunt Bea, a woman who just wants to find romance and always ends up with the runt of the litter, whether it’s a man who abandons her on the street while hearing a radio broadcast mimicking Orson Welles’ “War of the Worlds,” or the suitor who can’t get over his beloved…Leonard.

It’s apparent Allen’s characters and scripts are on fire, with the script one of only two Oscar nominations Radio Days received (the other being Art Direction). The language is colloquial and wistful. The humor is genuine and consistently funny without being too quirky. The family’s discussion about the Communists next door interrupting Yom Kippur is punctuated with Tucker’s Father exclaiming “I want to burn their house down, but I’m not allowed to light matches today!” The set decoration is also a well-warranted nomination as the sets are lessons in contrasts; the warm, cramped house of Joe’s family – lit in amber tones – contrasted with the shimmering, neon billboards of Times Square. There’s a sense of scope in terms of the two worlds, but an equal sense of confinement with the audience only getting a taste of each world as both are bound by Joe’s childlike worldview and the audiences’ distance from the stars of the radio.

“Now it’s all gone…except for my memories.” Radio Days closes with a new year, literally ending on New Year’s Eve, with Mother fearing the future, but realizing they’ll get through it as a family. A billboard of a top hat on Times Square tips up and down as Allen contemplatively says how the memories are getting dimmer with the passing of the years. Radio Days is a brief history in a grander scheme of how technology unifies us as people; it’s both contemporary and blissfully dated. Allen’s character are flesh and blood and hilariously so. The memories are there, and as long as we have the memories in some way (or this movie to remind us of them), they live on.

Twilight Time’s Blu-ray release of Radio Days is slim on any type of bonus content. There’s the requisite isolated soundtrack which is great if you’re a fan of 1940s pop standards; there’s also the original theatrical trailer. You can’t fault Twilight Time for not pushing for an audio commentary or something radio related to give up, but there’s a few opportunities they missed out on. Thankfully, the movie’s entertaining enough that their Blu-ray is worth a purchase if you want the best picture quality.

— 6 hours ago
#Blu-Ray Reviews  #Dianne Wiest  #Featured Post  #Mia Farrow  #Twilight Time  #Woody Allen 
New Post has been published on http://www.awardscircuit.com/2014/07/31/alexandre-aja-talks-horns-daniel-radcliffe-working-snakes/Alexandre Aja talks ‘Horns’, Daniel Radcliffe, and Working with SnakesIf you’ve ever wondered what happens on set when snakes poop or pee, well, this might be the interview for you. I kid (slightly). Alexandre Aja has been regarded as one of the most visually talented filmmakers and if the trailer for Horns is anything to go by, it should certainly add to his acclaim. I sat down with the director to chat about the process of making this film, how he developed the visual style of the film, and what he wants to see more of in horror films. Enjoy!
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Alexandre Aja talks ‘Horns’, Daniel Radcliffe, and Working with Snakes

Insidehorror-AlexandreAjaNickSimonAndMarkKelly350If you’ve ever wondered what happens on set when snakes poop or pee, well, this might be the interview for you. I kid (slightly). Alexandre Aja has been regarded as one of the most visually talented filmmakers and if the trailer for Horns is anything to go by, it should certainly add to his acclaim. I sat down with the director to chat about the process of making this film, how he developed the visual style of the film, and what he wants to see more of in horror films. Enjoy!

— 7 hours ago with 2 notes
#Alexandre Aja  #Comic-Con  #daniel radcliffe  #Featured Post  #Horns  #Interview  #SDCC 
New Post has been published on AwardsCircuit.com - By Clayton Davis

New Post has been published on http://www.awardscircuit.com/2014/07/30/guardians-galaxy-%e2%98%85%e2%98%85%e2%98%85%c2%bd/

Guardians of the Galaxy (★★★½)

guardians_of_the_galaxy_ver10James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy is the best Marvel movie yet.  I challenge anyone who would place Iron Man or The Avengers over this action-packed and thoroughly entertaining picture that is the definitive summer blockbuster.  It’s just f*cking awesome! (pardon my French)

Hilarious, innovative, and just super fun.  I can’t recall enjoying a movie this much, right along with a crowd, in quite some time.  The less you know about the film and these characters, the better.  I’m from a world of movie-watching but not so much on the comic book reading front.  My knowledge of superheroes comes from watching Saturday morning cartoons.  Like many movie lovers, probably one of the few that will actually admit it, I never heard of the “Guardians of the Galaxy.”  I had no idea who they were and what they did.  This may have made the experience even more enjoyable.  There a bunch of funny characters.  I’ll just say that.

There’s a moment that overcomes me in the middle of Guardians.  Chris Pratt is walking across the screen, after just delivering about a dozen hardcore laughs that literally had me in tears; he’s just about gained a theater full of new loyal fans, and Gunn decides to give him a money shot for all the ladies.  He walks across the screen in his underwear, sweaty and doused in yellow paint, and heavily panting.  I couldn’t believe this is the same guy from NBC’s “Park and Recreation,” Bride Wars, and Her.  He’s come into his own, and has fully become a movie star, with talent to boot.  His work as “Peter Quell” trumps anything done by Robert Downey, Jr. in the Iron Man films.  I’d go as far to say that he should heavily be considered a candidate for a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor (Comedy or Musical).  Pratt is the new boy toy for every action figure having kid, and every horny Mom that pretends they hate “these kinds of movies.”

Coming into another big franchise following Star Trek and Avatar, Zoe Saldana moves quietly throughout the film as an unstoppable force as “Gamora.”  Kick-ass fight sequences, and an interesting enough story that should feel satisfying for even the most hardened movie snobs.  Dave Bautista wrecks through the film as “Drax” and even develops his own character ticks and beats that help him stand out considerably.

As the voice of “Rocket,” Bradley Cooper infuses a dynamic and comical performance that stands as one of the actor’s best outings.  All I could think of during the film was this is one of the many reasons the Academy needs a Digital and Voice Acting category.  Something as lively and priceless as Cooper’s voice work deserves some type of recognition.    The same can go for Vin Diesel as Groot, though he lacks the speaking volumes to warrant consideration.  I thoroughly enjoyed their relationship and dynamic and it’s something that plays out completely well on-screen.

guardians-galaxyObviously, the film has faults.  It’s very heavy-handed on the whole “we are one, we are friends” message.  It actually starts to beat us over the head with it at times.  The film also defies all the logic of physics.  There are times that even for a superhero film, you have to raise your eyebrow.  There’s also not really any importance placed on the villain, and I’m not entirely sure I could recite his ultimate plan.  This is no fault of Lee Pace as “Ronan” – just an uninteresting story arc.

Guardians of the Galaxy is the ultimate summer flick.  Something that’s just plain stupid fun for you and the whole family.  Geeks will bow, audiences will cheer, and the film will secure itself as a new and enlightened franchise for years to come.  Gunn’s admiration for films like Independence Day, Star Wars, and Top Gun are on full display.  There are even instances where I thought of Boogie Nights and Running with Scissors.  It’s a blend of every clever nuance and thing you love about the movies rolled into one spectacular experience.  It’s delicious in nearly every way.

Dear younger generation, you have been given your “Star Wars.”  Go see it!

OFFICIAL WEBSITE:
http://www.marvel.com/guardians

TRAILER:

 

— 19 hours ago
#Bradley Cooper  #Chris Pratt  #Dave Bautista  #Editor Film Review  #Editor Film Reviews  #Featured Post  #film review  #Guardians of the Galaxy  #James Gunn  #Marvel  #Superhero  #vin diesel  #Walt Disney Pictures  #Zoe Saldana 
New Post has been published on AwardsCircuit.com - By Clayton Davis

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Guardians of the Galaxy (★★★½)

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— 19 hours ago
#Bradley Cooper  #Chris Pratt  #Dave Bautista  #Editor Film Review  #Editor Film Reviews  #Featured Post  #film review  #Guardians of the Galaxy  #James Gunn  #Marvel  #Superhero  #vin diesel  #Walt Disney Pictures  #Zoe Saldana 
New Post has been published on AwardsCircuit.com - By Clayton Davis

New Post has been published on http://www.awardscircuit.com/2014/07/30/new-trailer-for-christopher-nolans-interstellar-has-dropped/

New Trailer for Christopher Nolan’s ‘Interstellar’ has dropped

At www.awardscircuit.com, the privacy of our visitors is of extreme importance to us (See this article to learn more about Privacy Policies.). This privacy policy document outlines the types of personal information is received and collected by www.awardscircuit.com and how it is used.

Log Files
Like many other Web sites, www.awardscircuit.com makes use of log files. The information inside the log files includes internet protocol ( IP ) addresses, type of browser, Internet Service Provider ( ISP ), date/time stamp, referring/exit pages, and number of clicks to analyze trends, administer the site, track user’s movement around the site, and gather demographic information. IP addresses, and other such information are not linked to any information that is personally identifiable.

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#2014 release  #Anne Hathaway  #Bill Irwin  #Casey Affleck  #Christopher Nolan  #David Oyelowo  #Ellen Burstyn  #Featured Post  #Interstellar  #Jessica Chastain  #Jonathan Nolan  #Matt Damon  #Matthew McConaughey  #Michael Caine  #Oscar hopeful  #Topher Grace  #Wes Bentley