Latest Blog Posts

<p>Celine and Jesse through the years...</p>

Celine and Jesse through the years...

Credit: Sony Pictures/Warner Independent/Sony Pictures Classics

SPC looks to keep 'Before Midnight's' awards hopes alive with New York and Santa Barbara trilogy showcases

Bicostal events presenting all three 'Before' films will happen in January

Sony Pictures Classics is putting together a nice push in the lead-up to Oscar nominations on behalf of "Before Midnight" by spotlighting the film's place in a trilogy of films that mark a true landmark progression for the medium. Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke seem like good bets for Best Adapted Screenplay recognition, but with the placement the film is receiving on year-end top 10 lists and superlatives announcements, it has a strong foothold to register in other categories, too, perhaps even Best Picture.

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<p>Margot Robbie, Leonardo DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese on the set of &quot;The Wolf of Wall Street.&quot;</p>

Margot Robbie, Leonardo DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese on the set of "The Wolf of Wall Street."

Credit: Paramount Pictures

Roundup: Scorsese gets a telling-off at Academy screening

Also: James Schamus honored by WGA, and will 'Her' affect our waistlines?

Well, we knew that Martin Scorsese's "The Wolf of Wall Street" wasn't going to be to the taste of certain Academy members, and a couple of them made that abundantly clear at a screening over the weekend. Actress Hope Holiday -- who herself declares the film "three hours of torture" -- reports that an unnamed screenwriter accosted Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio after the screening, exclaiming, "Shame on you!" Some Academy members were vocally unimpressed by "The Wolf of Wall Street" at a screening over the weekend. Can't win 'em all, of course -- though is this an isolated incident or indicative of larger resistance the film might encounter from more conservative Oscar voters? [The Wrap]

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<p>Amy&nbsp;Adams in &quot;American Hustle&quot;</p>

Amy Adams in "American Hustle"

Credit: Sony Pictures

Tell us what you thought of 'American Hustle'

David O. Russell's awards season stab went out into wider release this weekend

I like "American Hustle" and don't have much to add past what I said in the first SAG screening report. A NYFCC Best Film prize feels excessive, but it's a crowd-pleaser. And it could do as well with the Academy, but I'll get into that in Monday's Oscar column. The SAG ensemble nomination has some pretty stellar performances across the board and it seems the kind of thing where everyone will have their favorites (mine are Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence). But I'll be interested to hear how it lands with the readership, so whenever you get around to the film, do let us know your feelings in the comments section below and feel free to vote in our poll.

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Julia Roberts discusses the 'appealing' intimidation of 'August: Osage County'

Julia Roberts discusses the 'appealing' intimidation of 'August: Osage County'

Also, why no one but Tracy Letts could have restructured it for the screen

After recognition from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the Broadcast Film Critics Association and, most importantly, the Screen Actors Guild, "August: Osage County" star Julia Roberts seems primed for a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination next month. As Barbara Weston, daughter of matriarch Violet (and a role originated by Tony-nominated actress Amy Morton), Roberts holds her own on screen opposite the steaming locomotive that is Meryl Streep.

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"The Real Housewives of Atlanta"

"The Real Housewives of Atlanta"

Credit: Bravo

'Real Housewives of Atlanta' recap: What's up with Mynique?

The new girl doesn't seem to know the lingo - or her husband

Isn't cute that Cynthia has to explain to Mynique how to talk like a gay man? When all the girls howl after she cluelessly bats her eyes and says, "I don't feel red," it's a little bit like watching a new exchange student try to order lunch or the first act of "Bambi." It's not enough that Mynique has no idea how to act like an African-American woman among women; the real issue is that she isn't apparently smart enough to sit back and let the beautiful car wreck that is "The Real Housewives of Atlanta" wash over her until she has enough ammunition to jump into the fray. No, she charges in, empty guns firing away at nothing -- right up until she gets shot down. 

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<p>Margot Robbie tortures Leonard DiCapro oh-so-well in Martin Scorsese's wicked, decadent 'The Wolf Of Wall Street'</p>

Margot Robbie tortures Leonard DiCapro oh-so-well in Martin Scorsese's wicked, decadent 'The Wolf Of Wall Street'

Credit: Paramount Pictures

Scorsese's 'Wolf Of Wall Street' delivers a wicked epic take-down of the American hustler archetype

Leonardo DiCaprio anchors an amazing cast in the year's wildest ride

It is easy for casual audiences to make a surface connection between something like "Good Fellas" and "Casino" and "Wolf Of Wall Street" because of the overt connections between those worlds, the decadence and the crime and the excess. What people miss in those comparisons, though, is that Scorsese has made other versions of that same basic film, these dense social x-rays of the way communities work, in films as disparate as "Kundun" and "Age Of Innocence" as well. He is one of the keenest observers of the way systems function we have ever had in cinema, and "Wolf Of Wall Street" is a powerful reminder that at the age of 71, he is as vital and as ferocious a voice as ever.

It is, of course, inaccurate to say that "Wolf Of Wall Street" is "about" the financial crisis that America recently suffered. I'm not sure what a film "about" that would look like. It's such a broad topic that I don't really see how you could make any film that would encompass every angle of that story. Instead, using Jordan Belfort's book about himself, Scorsese does his best to show us exactly who it was who helped perpetuate the system that burned so many people, and the end result is a depraved, hallucinatory plunge into a truly ugly psyche. Scorsese's real gift when making one of these movies is showing us the small details of how things work, and one of the most interesting things about "Wolf" is how often Jordan Belfort starts to explain something, only to stop because he is convinced there's no way the audience is smart enough or interested enough to understand. That's what he says, anyway, but I think the real reason is because a good con man, like a good magician, never really gives away the trick. Belfort is a natural-born manipulator and liar, and anyone who believes that this is the "true" story of Belfort's rise and fall simply isn't paying attention.

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<p>David Morse in &quot;Trem&eacute;.&quot;</p>

David Morse in "Tremé."

Credit: HBO

Review: 'Treme' - 'Sunset in Louisianne'

Delmond plays Albert a tune, Antoine pulls an all-nighter and Davis faces a milestone birthday

A review of tonight's "Tremé" coming up just as soon as I open a Young Republicans club...

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<p>This image, from the final scene Paul Walker shot for the 'Fast and Furious' series, was released by Vin as well.</p>

This image, from the final scene Paul Walker shot for the 'Fast and Furious' series, was released by Vin as well.

Credit: Universal Pictures

Vin Diesel reveals new 'Fast and Furious 7' release date via Facebook

At the same time, Marvel finally confirms Diesel's 'Guardians' role

If you hire Vin Diesel, you might as well just get comfortable with the idea that he's going to share things on his Facebook page, and he's going to do it on his timetable. He likes to share. He shares a lot. And at this point, he's worth quoting as a source because whether his information is "officially" confirmed or not, it is eventually revealed as correct.

Good example: how long now has Vin been teasing the idea that he's contributing the voice of Groot? And now, Marvel has officially confirmed that he'll be playing the character, contributing some motion capture as well. The other big project he's got brewing, made only bigger by the unfortunate recent accidental death of co-star Paul Walker, is "Fast and Furious 7," and there has been much conversation for the last few weeks about the film's release date.

Originally set for July 11, 2014, the film shut down production so that everyone involved could deal with the impact of Walker's death. These weren't just films that paid lip service to the notion of family, but were actually made by a group of tight-knit people who had gone through so much together, and it must be incredibly difficult for them to have conversations about how to proceed finishing the movie.

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<p>Mickey Sumner and Greta Gerwig in &quot;Frances Ha.&quot;</p>

Mickey Sumner and Greta Gerwig in "Frances Ha."

Credit: IFC Films

From 'Inside Llewyn Davis' to 'Frances Ha,' the consensus favorites of year-end polls

And most of them aren't even in the Best Picture race

It seems a long time ago that many breathless journos in Telluride and Toronto were predicting one film to rule them all when it came to year-end accolades: "12 Years a Slave," we were told, was such a cast-iron critical phenomenon that every other film would have to consider itself unlucky to be released in its shadow. As we now know, things didn't quite pan out that way: Steve McQueen's formidable historical drama may have gobbled up an enviable amount of awards on the US critical circuit thus far, and is poised for a leading haul of Oscar nods, but the year-end discussion of the year's best films has, happily, been far more malleable and wide-ranging than initially predicted.

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<p>Oscar Isaac in &quot;Inside Llewyn&nbsp;Davis&quot;</p>

Oscar Isaac in "Inside Llewyn Davis"

Credit: CBS Films

Tell us what you thought of 'Inside Llewyn Davis'

The Coen brothers' latest moved out into wide release this weekend

I held off on this one until the film made its way out into wider release, which it did on Friday. I'm very eager to know what readers think of the Coen brothers' "Inside Llewyn Davis," which was my #3 film of the year and just a rich experience that delivers more and more upon subsequent viewings. The work from T Bone Burnett on the soundtrack, curating a spectacular, thematically relevant assortment of period songs and then producing gorgeous new renditions is the kind of thing that deserves its own category. And Oscar Isaac delivers the year's best performance, one I delighted in mulling over in my lengthy interview with the actor. I could really go on, but again, I want to know what you all thought, so when you get around to seeing the film, tell us what you thought in the comments section below and vote in our poll. (Also, if you happened to catch the "Another Day, Another Time" concert documentary on the film, which T Bone Burnett discussed with us here, tell us what you thought of that, too.)

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<p>Tom&nbsp;Hanks in &quot;Saving&nbsp;Mr. Banks&quot;</p>

Tom Hanks in "Saving Mr. Banks"

Credit: Walt Disney Pictures

Tell us what you thought of 'Saving Mr. Banks'

Disney's Disney glorification is in theaters in time for the holiday

Lots of drama -- certainly in the pages of LA Weekly -- met the release of "Saving Mr. Banks," though certainly the studio ought to have known it was coming. A whitewashing of history? A self-glorification that avoids the nuance? Yeah, that's all in there. It's a Disney product romanticizing a Disney product. What's to be expected? I found the film charming and Emma Thompson to be wonderful but it's really just cotton candy for me this season. And it's now in theaters for your judgment, so if you've gotten around to it, tell us your thoughts in the comments section and feel free to vote in our poll.

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<p>Leonardo DiCaprio tries to hang with an unpredictable Jack Nicholson in a scene from &quot;The&nbsp;Departed.&quot;</p>

Leonardo DiCaprio tries to hang with an unpredictable Jack Nicholson in a scene from "The Departed."

Credit: Warner Bros.

Thelma Schoonmaker recalls an unpredictable Jack Nicholson in Best Picture winner 'The Departed'

Plus: How a Chicago test screening of the film succeeded her wildest expectations

Talking with Thelma Schoonmaker recently, it became quickly apparent that I wasn't even going to scratch the surface of her career's work with Martin Scorsese in a single piece. I couldn't help but play the retrospective game with her, and while I of course didn't address all 19 feature collaborations, I was curious about six films in particular that I think represent a nice cross-section of their work together. Each of them — "Who's That Knocking At My Door," "Raging Bull," "The Last Temptation of Christ," "Goodfellas," "Bringing Out the Dead" and "The Departed" — will get its own space in the next few days.

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