Talking Movies, Episode 6: Safety Last! (1923), The General (1926), City Lights (1931) ... Talking Movies, Episode 5: The Last Picture Show (1971), Mean Streets (1973), The Conversation (1974) ... Talking Movies, Episode 4: Bonnie and Clyde (1967), Easy Rider (1969), The Wild Bunch (1969) ... TALKING MOVIES, EPISODE 3: MARTY (1955), THE BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI (1957), BEN-HUR (1959) ... Talking Movies, Episode 2: The Lost Weekend (1945), The Best Years of Our Lives (1946), and Gentleman’s Agreement (1947) ... Alfred Hitchcock – The 39 Steps (1935) ... Talking Movies, Episode 1: ‘The Third Man’ (1949) ... Akira Kurosawa – ‘Ran’ (1985) ...
Countdown to Oscars

Posts Tagged ‘Aron Ralston’

Thursday January 6th, 2011

YOUR DAILY FIX OF OSCAR: 1/6/11

  • Entertainment Weekly: Dave Karger speaks with Julia Roberts after a special screening of “Biutiful” at CAA that she hosted for industry insiders to help call attention to the performance of her “Eat Pray Love” co-star Javier Bardem. (Robert Forster, Kyle MacLachlan, and Bardem’s pregnant wife Penelope Cruz were among the attendees.) Roberts explains, “I think the movie hasn’t gotten the exposure. You don’t know where it is. It’s like this hidden little jewel… I just have a great appreciation for what he went through to show us all this.”
  • Deadline Hollywood: Mike Fleming interviews producer-extraordinaire Scott Rudin, who this week became the first producer to receive PGA Award nominations for two features in the same year (for “The Social Network” and “True Grit”), and who will also be receiving the David O. Selznick Achievement Award at the PGA Awards ceremony. Rudin credits his “great [producing] partners on both” and emphasizes that while “the Oscar stuff is fantastic, rewarding and in some ways exciting… it’s not why you do it. You do it because you want to hold your own work to a standard of excellence.” He also notes that while he was heavily involved with the pre-production of both films (he worked closely with the screenwriters, for instance, while they formulated their scripts), he stayed out of the way of the directors during the filmmaking process itself.
  • Awards Tracker: Tom O’Neil advises those who believe that “True Grit” is now the best picture favorite just because it has done well at the box-office ($91.5 million and counting) to “hold your horses.” He submits that “financial success isn’t as important as it used to be to Oscar victory,” citing the fact the best picture Oscar winner went to films that earned at least $100 million domestically 75% of the time between 1986 and 2005, but that 60% of those since have gone to films that did not, including “Crash” ($54 million), “No Country for Old Men” ($74 million), and “The Hurt Locker” ($14 million, or $746 million less than it’s fellow nominee “Avatar”).
  • Hollywood-Elsewhere: Jeff Wells passes along an andorsement of the work of the cinematographer Hoyt Van Hoytema on “The Fighter” from legendary cinematographer Michael Chapman, who lensed perhaps the greatest boxing movie of all-time, “Raging Bull” (1980), among other classics. Chapman writes, “The movie struck me as doing the basic thing that cinematography does when it’s done well, which is to present a three-dimensional stage in which the actors can move.”
  • The Carpetbagger: Larry Rother mourns the fact that the French film “Carlos,” one of the most critically-beloved movies of 2010, is ineligible for Oscar consideration in any category this year “because of a quirk in the rules set by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences.” The film “was initially broadcast on French television before it was packaged and sold abroad for distribution, in two different versions, one long and one short, as a feature film,” which constitutes a violation of an Academy rule that states, “Films that, in any version, receive their first public exhibition or distribution in any manner other than as a theatrical motion picture release will not be eligible for Academy Awards in any category.”
  • Vulture: Jordana Horn asks Quentin Tarantino why he omitted Sofia Coppola’s “Somewhere” — the film to which the Venice Film Festival jury, over which he presided, awarded the Golden Lion back in September — from his year-end top 20 film list. “I’m a little embarrassed by it, actually,” Tarantino says, explaining, “It was never meant to be a dig against ‘Somewhere,’ or Sofia. I simply didn’t consider any of the films I’d seen in Venice for the list.” I put them in a separate box — I was on official duty at that time, not seeing the films theatrically, independently… Now I wish I’d put it on there — I didn’t think anyone would pay attention.” He adds, “I’d have put it in my top 10.”

Photo: Javier Bardem and Julia Roberts. Credit: Entertainment Weekly.

Sunday December 26th, 2010

SCOTT FEINBERG’S TOP 10 FILMS OF ’10

PLEASE NOTE: The following rankings and remarks reflect my personal opinions and do/will not in any way impact my projections or analysis on this site, wherein I strive above all else to correctly forecast what will happen, not what I believe should happen. My demonstrated ability to do that over the years is what has led most of you to my site, and any failure to do that will undoubtedly lead you away from it, so you can rest assured that I mean it when I say that one has/will have no bearing on the other.

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Thursday December 16th, 2010

YOUR DAILY FIX OF OSCAR: 12/16/10

  • Sports Illustrated: The most popular sports publication in America has released the cover of its 2010 “Year in Sports Media” edition, and the stars of the boxing drama “The Fighter” — best actor hopeful Mark Wahlberg and best supporting actor hopeful Christian Bale — grace the cover. Inside the magazine, coverage is also devoted to the horse-racing thriller “Secretariat,” the soccer doc “After the Cup,” and the mountain-climbing saga “127 Hours.”
  • Time: Lev Grossman reports that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, the 26-year-old billionaire who is portrayed in “The Social Network” by Jesse Eisenberg, has been named Time’s 2010 “Person of the Year.” This only reinforces the narrative that the film’s backers are trying to push for the film — namely, that it is “the movie of the moment,” a timely, relevant reflection of the current zeitgeist and world in which we live today, unlike, say, “The King’s Speech,” which has little connection to the present.
  • Awards Campaign: Greg Ellwood reports that Fox Searchlight — the same studio that famously hired a Volkswagen minibus to drive around Hollywood to promote “Little Miss Sunshine” (2006) and mailed hamburger phones to journalists to promote “Juno” (2007) — has come up with yet another crafty marketing tactic to promote its 2010 hopeful “127 Hours.” This week, industry insiders were sent a T-shirt reading, “I KEPT MY EYES OPEN FOR 127 HOURS” — the film’s subject Aron Ralston did that literally; the studio would be thrilled if you would do that figuratively.
  • Los Angeles Times: Betsy Sharkey questions the sanity of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association in light of the group’s many questionable selections for the upcoming Golden Globes. Among them: best actor and best actress nominations for Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie, respectively, for laughable performances in “The Tourist,” but nary a mention in those same categories for Robert Duvall for “Get Low” or Tilda Swinton for “I Am Love.” As Sharkey puts it, in light of Depp’s second nomination for “Alice in Wonderland,” “If this is Wonderland, even Alice wouldn’t want to live here any more.”

Photo: Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale, the stars of “The Fighter.” Credit: Sports Illustrated.

Monday November 8th, 2010

YOUR DAILY FIX OF OSCAR: 11/8/10

  • indieWIRE: Peter Knegt reports that Roman Polanski’s dramatic thriller “The Ghost Writer” garnered a field-leading seven nominations for the 2010 European Film Awards including one for best film. “The most notable aspect of the nominations,” he writes, “was the fairly remarkable batch of films absent from the awards’ top category,” including Mike Leigh’s “Another Year,” Luca Guadagnino’s “I Am Love,” Olivier Assayas’s “Carlos,” Abbas Kiarostami’s “Certified Copy,” and Sylvain Chomet’s “The Illusionist.” Knegt adds, though, that “some of those films picked up nominations in other categories.” Winners will be announced at a ceremony on December 4 in Tallinn, Estonia.
  • New York Times: A.O. Scott visits with his great uncle, the legendary character actor Eli Wallach, less than a week before the Academy presents the 94-year-old with an honorary Oscar at its second annual Governors Awards ceremony.
  • Virgin Media: An unattributed report features quotes from the actress Mila Kunis about her portrayal of Natalie Portman’s nemesis in the soon-to-be-released thriller “Black Swan.” Regarding her lesbian sex scene with Portman, Kunis acknowledged, “It is slightly uncomfortable to have to be intimate with a good friend. The scene’s important for the character, but we went in going, ‘This is going to be a little different,’ yeah.” Kunis added, “She’s the strangest character I’ve ever played.”
  • New York Times: Manohla Dargis dissects director Tyler Perry (“For Colored Girls”), a film industry phenomenon who “has been led out to critical slaughter so many times, it might seem a wonder that he continues to make movies,” but who has found “enormous commercial success with a mainly black audience.” As Dargis puts it, “Whether you like Mr. Perry’s work may depend on your color or sex or love of boiling melodrama, ribald comedy, abrupt tonal shifts, blunt social messages, unforced talk about God, and flourishes of camp, sometimes whipped together in one scene.”
  • indieWIRE: Peter Knegt breaks down the impressive box-office numbers generated this weekend by “127 Hours,” which played in just four theaters in New York and Los Angeles but raked in $265,925 revenue from — or, in other words, “a whopping $66,481 per-theater-average.” That number comes close to but does not surpass 2010′s record, which is held by “The Kids Are All Right,” which brought in $70,282-per-seven screens this past July, but it is “now the clear runner-up, beating out ‘The Ghost Writer‘ and ‘Cyrus,’ which each had debut averages around $45,000.”
  • The Observer: Sean O’Hagan chats about cinema’s “digital revolution” with Hussain Currimbhoy, curator of Britain’s Sheffield Doc/Fest. The duo specifically focus on the unprecedented access to “affordable high-end digital camera and laptop technology,” and Lucy Walker, the young director of two of this year’s top docs — “Countdown to Zero” and “Waste Land” — insists that this low-budget technologyis responsible for “a golden age of documentary filmmaking” that is now upon us.
  • 24 Frames: Amy Kaufman sits down with three of Hollywood’s hottest young stars — Jesse Eisenberg, 27, Andrew Garfield, 27, and Carey Mulligan, 25 — to discuss the ways in which they handle “the challenges of global stardom as twentysomethings,” as well the perks of the job (including private jets, which Eisenberg tells her he enjoys because they are bigger than his New York City apartment.) This year, Eisenberg and Garfield co-starred in “The Social Network” and Garfield and Mulligan co-starred in “Never Let Me Go.”
  • Vanity Fair: Kate Reardon profiles the up-and-coming French actress Clemence Poesy, who American audiences will soon come to know as the ex-girlfriend of Aron Ralston (James Franco) in Danny Boyle’s heart-pounding “127 Hours.” The 27-year-old, described as “polite, enthusiastic, and well educated,” will subsequently star in the title role of a new adaptation of the Joan of Arc story.
  • 24 Frames: Steven Zeitchik wonders what exactly propelled Bruce Beresford’s “Mao’s Last Dancer,” an Australian-produced film that “features no big-name stars, drew mediocre reviews, and traffics in the esoterica of Chinese ballet,” to become one of the most acclaimed art-house hits of the year. “Despite a tough climate for specialty films,” Zeitchik writes, “the largely English-language movie is nearing the $5 million mark in U.S. box office ($4.5 million coming into this weekend) — an impressive run that’s lasted nearly three months.”
  • New York Times: Margalit Fox mourns the passing of actress Jill Clayburgh, who died on Friday at the age of 66 following a 21-year battle with chronic leukemia. Clayburgh, who was best known for her strong feminist roles — especially those in “An Unmarried Woman” (1978) and “Starting Over” (1979), both of which brought her best actress Oscar nods — and whose final performance can be seen in the upcoming “Love and Other Drugs,” in which she portrays the mother of Jake Gyllenhaal’s character.
  • Movieline: Dixon Gaines reports that Oscar show producers Bruce Cohen and Don Mischer asked Hugh Jackman, who hosted the 81st Academy Awards in 2009, to host the 83rd Academy Awards on February 27, 2011, but were turned down by the actor. Gaines, therefore, offers a few “humble suggestions” for others to whom the producers could turn: among them, Neil Patrick Harris, Steve Martin, Ricky Gervais, Tina Fey, and Joan Rivers. (Other reports suggest that 88-year-old Betty White is being seriously considered for the job!)

Photo: Ewan McGregor in “The Ghost Writer.” Credit: Summit.

Monday November 1st, 2010

YOUR DAILY FIX OF OSCAR: 11/1/10

  • New York Times: Leah Rozen profiles Rachel McAdams, who plays a hotshot television producer in the upcoming comedy “Morning Glory,” and floats the possibility that it could be “the breakout hit that will do for her what ‘Pretty Woman’ did for Julia Roberts in 1990.” McAdams, who doesn’t work often, tells Rozen, “I try to pick movies that I want to make, that offer a challenge, but that people want to see. Why do all that work if it’s for naught? If you act and nobody sees it, is it still acting?”
  • Los Angeles Times: John Horn learns why David Seidler, the screenwriter of “The King’s Speech,” was particularly attracted to the story of King George VI’s fight to overcome his stutter. As a child, “Seidler had been evacuated to the United States before the Blitz. The voyage — in which a convoy ship had been sunk by a U-boat — traumatized him” and left him with a profound stutter. Seidler, who “followed the war’s progress on the radio, listening to King George, who by then could manage his stammer,” tells Horn, “I heard these wonderful, moving speeches, and had heard that he had been a terrible stutterer… it gave me hope.”
  • Los Angeles Times: John Horn lists the latest number of people who have fainted during early screenings of “127 Hours” due to its realistic depiction of the trapped outdoorsman Aron Ralston (James Franco) amputating his own arm with a pocket knife. Horn wonders if it will help or hurt the film’s commercial performance when it is released theatrically on Friday, and solicits a variety of opinions on the matter. Stephen Gilula, the co-president of Fox Searchlight (which is distributing the film), tells him, “I would prefer that people not pass out — it’s not a plus.” However, Jason Squire, who teaches about the business side of the film industry at USC, says, “Are you kidding? I think it really helps.”
  • RogerEbert.com: Roger Ebert interviews Justin Timberlake about how he morphed from a pop-music sensation into a standout actor for this year’s “The Social Network,” noting that the 29-year-old “is new to the front ranks of feature films, with all due respect to ‘The Love Guru’ and ‘Black Snake Moan.’” J.T., who portrays Napster founder Sean Parker in the film, tells him, “The script was its own song, really… The rhythm of this film was so established by Sorkin… I can’t think of a writer working today that could have done a more masterful job… The way that character was written was just too much fun.”
  • Movie City News: David Poland feels that “the most popular trend in Oscar advertising” this year is “waiting as late as possible to launch your campaign.” He notes, “It’s almost Halloween, and with the release of “Toy Story 3 on DVD next week, the first serious Best Picture nomination contender will hit voter’s mailboxes.” That means, of course, that “there will be as big an awards pile-up this early December as we have ever seen,” and “it’s going to be brutal to get voters to watch the smaller movies.”
  • National Public Radio: Pat Dowell chats with filmmaker Lucy Walker about her latest documentary “Waste Land,” which premiered at Sundance in January and won the Audience Award. The film follows Brazilian artist Vik Muniz and a group of “catadores,” or pickers of recyclable materials,” as they sift through a landfill in Rio de Janeiro that “receieves more tons of trash every day than any other dump in the world,” and then turn turn their discoveries into highly-coveted works of art.
  • The Awards Circuit: Jackson Truax believes that of the 65 films eligible for this year’s best foreign language film Oscar, the one with the best shot at winning — indeed, one that looks “custom made to win” — is Rachid Bouchareb’s “Outside the Law,” a controversial drama about three brothers who fight for Algeria’s independence from France after WWII, lose their home, and are scattered across the globe, only to cross paths again years later in ways that they could never have imagined. Bouchareb previously directed another film about the French-Algerian conflict, “Days of Glory” (2006), which was nominated for the best foreign language film Oscar. This one will be released domestically later this month.
  • PopEater: A staff report indicates that Michael Douglas, the 66-year-old star of “Solitary Man”/“Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps” who is currently battling stage 4 throat cancer, has been regularly making the three-hour trek from New York to Pennsylvania to visit his son Cameron Douglas, 31, who is serving a five-year prison sentence there for possessing heroin and dealing large amounts of methamphetamine and cocaine. Douglas’s publicist says, “Michael completed his treatment about three weeks ago and is recuperating from the process. No further treatments are scheduled.”

Photo: Rachel McAdams in “Morning Glory.” Credit: Paramount.

Friday October 22nd, 2010

YOUR DAILY FIX OF OSCAR: 10/22/10

  • Deadline Hollywood: Pete Hammond details the “high profile kick-off” to Paramount’s Oscar campaign for its February release “Shutter Island” — namely, an American Cinematheque retrospective celebrating the collaboration of the film’s director Martin Scorsese and star Leonardo DiCaprio. “Shutter,” as well as the three previous films on which they collaborated — “Gangs of New York” (2002), “The Aviator” (2004), and “The Departed” (2006), each of which snagged best picture nods at a time when the category had only five slots – will be screened over the weekend of November 13-14, after which Scorsese (via satellite) and DiCaprio (in-person) will participate in a “conversation” about them.
  • USA Today: Maria Puente wonders if “The Social Network” can/will become “the iconic film for this generation of young adults.” The measure by which she seems to feel we will find the answer? Its commercial performance. The film came in first at the box-office during both of its first two weekends in release and has accrued $64 million in total receipts, thus far, but one self-appointed box-office “guru” dismisses it as “still a niche situation.”
  • The Hollywood Reporter: Jay A. Fernandez reports that Paramount has moved up the release date for “Morning Glory” — a rom-com starring Rachel McAdamsHarrison Ford, and Diane Keaton — by two days, from Friday, November 12 to Wednesday, November 10. The move is believed to be part of “”an attempt by the studio to capture the attention of moviegoers ahead of the weekend and get a potential jump on good word of mouth to pull viewers away from the other options,” which in this case will include the Denzel Washington action flick “Unstoppable” and the sci-fi thriller “Skyline.”
  • Gold Derby: Tom O’Neil senses that Oscar buzz for Jim Carrey’s performance in “I Love You Phillip Morris” — a film in which Carrey plays a married man who leaves his wife to live his life as a gay man — has already come and gone. “Playing gay is usually an Oscar-savvy move for straight actors,” O’Neil asserts, but this part “looks a bit too silly and camp” for the Academy members’ tastes.
  • Awards Daily: Sasha Stone finally catches up with “127 Hours,” which received a very strong reception at Telluride and Toronto, and is not disappointed. “I don’t think I’ve ever spent a more riveting or emotionally moving hour and a half in the theater,” she writes. “It confirms what I already knew about Danny Boyle: that he is a genius visually, intellectually, emotionally.  He knows that it isn’t just the story of how [Aron] Ralston got out of that canyon; it’s that key bit of truth we all must remind ourselves of everyday: life is not lived alone.” She adds, “Who knew James Franco was capable of this?  I certainly didn’t… he is going to be ["The King's Speech" star] Colin Firth’s biggest threat.”

Photo: Leonardo DiCaprio in “Shutter Island.” Credit: Paramount.

Wednesday October 13th, 2010

VIDEO: BOYLE KICKS OFF “127 HOURS” PRESS TOUR IN BOSTON (WITH ME!)

On Sunday evening, following an advance screening of “127 Hours” (Fox Searchlight, 11/5, trailer) in Boston, I moderated a Q&A with the film’s co-writer/director Danny Boyle, who had just arrived from London and was kicking off a 10-city press tour. As you may recall, I saw and loved “127″ at last month’s Toronto International Film Festival, and I also interviewed and crossed paths with Boyle on numerous occasions throughout the 2008 awards season, so I was thrilled to have this early opportunity to pick his brain about a few things and then listen to questions from the audience.

As you can see for yourself by checking out the footage of our half-hour session below, Boyle — who demonstrated during the ’08 awards season and again on Sunday night that he can charm a crowd as well as anyone since Bill Clinton — covered a lot of territory: how he decided to take on Aron Ralston’s remarkable true story as his first post-”Slumdog Millionaire” project (along with the previous film’s Oscar-winning producer, writer, cinematographer, and composer); how character and camera movement were central to his previous films (especially “Trainspotting” and “Slumdog”), but were obviously impossible for all but the opening bit of this one; how he came to cast James Franco (who, he acknowledged, always seems to be high); how he directed Franco’s performance from outside of the confined space in which only the actor and a cameraman could fit; how the stunt scenes (like jumping down into a pool of water and falling underneath a boulder) were executed; and much more. Enjoy!

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Sunday September 26th, 2010

BIOPICS ABOUND THIS AWARDS SEASON

Based on over 82 years of history, we all know that the Academy takes to biopics like ducks take to water. This probably explains why close to a dozen films about real people are being promoted for awards consideration this year, an even higher number than usual. Here is a rundown of the real people, the actors who play them, and the films in which they are portrayed…

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Monday September 13th, 2010

YOU CAN’T SCARE THE ACADEMY… RIGHT?

Everyone already knows about the scene in “127 Hours” (Fox Searchlight, 11/5, trailer) in which the mountain climber Aron Ralston (James Franco) cuts off his arm in order to save his life, as I wrote in a post yesterday afternoon and as Fox Searchlight acknowledged last night by introducing Aron Ralston to the audience before the premiere screening of the film. As you might imagine, it’s a particularly difficult one to watch — in fact, two people fainted and had to be carted away by ambulance after seeing it at Telluride last week, while two people passed out and one had a seizure after seeing it last night. Which leads to the big question: will apprehension about it keep Academy members from watching and/or voting for the film?

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Monday September 13th, 2010

AFTER 90 MINUTES, BOYLE’S “127 HOURS” HAS TORONTO ROCKING

Over the four years that I’ve covered the Toronto International Film Festival, my three most memorable screenings have all come courtesy of Fox Searchlight and at the Ryerson Theater, and each were met with standing ovations of the sort that one is lucky to witness even just once in a lifetime: the unveiling of “Juno” in 2007; the unveiling of “Slumdog Millionaire” in 2008; and the unveiling of “127 Hours” (Fox Searchlight, 11/5, trailer) last night.

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