Based on last evening’s Golden Globes, the upcoming Oscar race is anybody’s to win…anybody’s except, perhaps, David O. Russell’s. While The Silver Linings Playbook managed to eek out a trophy for star Jennifer Lawrence, the quasi-comedy featuring Bradley Cooper as a bipolar man trying to reestablish his life post-institutionalization pulled a proverbial Lincoln. Like Steven Spielberg’s amazing look at our 16th President, Russell’s movie went in with a few key nominations, and only managed the one success (Daniel Day-Lewis being its sole winner). In fact, the controversial Django Unchained picked up more trophies than either profile release, earning statues for Supporting Actor Christoph Waltz and, in a major surprise, Best Original Screenplay for Quentin Tarantino’s curse and N-word laced script.
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If it’s awards season, then you know that not far behind must come some hyperventilating about what films, filmmakers, or actors are getting “snubbed.” The season has barely begun and already there was some breathless noting of Les Miserables being overlooked by the New York Film Critics Circle.
Right on its heels comes word from The Hollywood Reporter that the makers of the documentary 2016: Obama’s America were peeved that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ shortlist of Oscar-contending documentaries didn’t include their film. The articles notes that 2016 was a surprise hit that pulled in over $33 million, a staggering amount for a nonfiction film and more than the 15 documentaries have made combined.
Over the weekend, something rare occurred. While critics were chiming in on how much they enjoyed the new Brad Pitt crime thriller, Killing Them Softly (currently sitting with a 78% at Rotten Tomatoes), the word of mouth was something else all together. While other recent releases were earning A’s (Argo, Flight, Lincoln) and B’s (Red Dawn, Dredd 3D), the Andrew Dominik drama pulled in an unheard F. That’s right, Cinemascore, the polling service that’s been asking actual audience members for their reaction to films for nearly 35 years discovered that this latest bit of hoods and hitmen earned one of the lowest ranks ever. Even so called “crap” like Silent Hill: Revelation and Taken 2 surpassed this surprise bomb.
By now, you’ve all heard the news. It’s been buzzing around the social media like angry geek bees to a parent’s basement hive. Lucasfilms, those purveyors of all things Star and Wars has been bought, lock, stock, and dark side of the force, by the Walt Disney Company, in a deal worth nearly $4 billion dollars. Along with the boardroom bartering, it was also announced that the long desired sequels to the original trilogy, those promised by Big George himself way back before Jar-Jar, Hayden Christensen, and the pathetic prequels, would finally be made. Episode VII is scheduled for sometime in 2014, with the rest already in greenlight development. And that’s just the beginning…
Immediately, shockwaves spread out within Fanboy Nation as obsessives of the films and the franchise wondered how the House of Mouse would handle the far, far away galaxy’s uneven entertainment traits. Many worried about the almost mandatory Disney-fication of the source, citing chances to tie-in the company’s already standing characters with those of the scattered Skywalkers. There was speculation over a potential theme park based on the material, as well as cartoons and other content for Disney’s many marketing outlets. Others argued over the entire money grab element of the exchange, wondering what Lucas would do with such a huge and potent windfall.
Determining the greatest gore films of all time is not an easy task. After all, splatter tends to measure its own value in gallons of blood and baskets of body parts. For some, any grue is way too much. Many felt that The Exorcist had pushed the boundaries of taste when director William Friedkin showed young Regan McNeal having her artery tapped for a CAT scan (apparently, the crucifix and the pea soup were easier to tolerate), while Broadway He-va Bob Fosse offered an extended sequence of open heart surgery smack dab in the middle of his autobiographical musical All That Jazz. From David Warner’s decapitation in the original Omen to the infamous fish tank frenzy in Silent Partner, the mainstream movie has readily embraced entrails as a means of making its point. This doesn’t mean viewers have enjoyed it. Like liver or limburger cheese, they are willing to sample small doses, and that’s about it.