It almost seems too perfect for the Santa Barbara Film Festival to recognize “Lee Daniels’ The Butler” star Oprah Winfrey with the annual Montecito Award this year. Winfrey lives in Montecito and doesn’t offer up too many chances for film awards lately, so festival director Roger Durling and company have struck while the iron is hot.
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Gary Ross is going to end up being the Chris Columbus of the "Hunger Games" franchise, the guy who set up a solid template before stepping aside for a director who brought a much stronger sense of style to the series. I think the first "Hunger Games" film is a much better movie overall than the first two "Harry Potter" films were, but I think the weakest link in what Ross did with the first film was his visual plan. I liked that he seemed unconcerned with spectacle, but there could definitely have been a richer sense of world-building in someone else's hands.
What Ross got completely right, though, was casting, and he got really lovely performances out of his entire cast. Jennifer Lawrence may have seemed like a gamble when she got the role, but now Ross looks positively prescient. It's one thing to cast one person correctly, but Ross built a very odd ensemble that doesn't make completely sense on paper, but that seems to perfectly embody the world that Suzanne Collins created. With this second film, new director Francis Lawrence takes that solid ensemble, adds some important new pieces to that group, and then expands the world in a way that doesn't throw out Ross's film, but that uses it as a way to get to something even better.
With Jason Reitman's "Labor Day" effectively out of the awards conversation -- with good reason, in my opinion, though it has its admirers -- Paramount evidently thought it wasn't worth subjecting the film to the commercial pressures of the Christmas rush. The Kate Winslet-John Brolin drama hasn't shifted out of the race entirely: it'll have a one-week qualifying run, beginning December 27. But regular US audiences will only be able to see it from January 31, when it goes wide -- one week before George Clooney's "The Monuments Men." Makes sense for a film that might connect more with adult (particularly female) audiences starved for higher-end mainstream fare in the winter lull, though those peek-a-boo qualifying releases have their detractors. [Hollywood Reporter]
Walt Disney Animation Studios might have the best movie musical of the year on its hands, but up until now they have been somewhat reticent to show it. If you've caught any trailers or TV spots for "Frozen" you may have realized it's just enough story paired with well-tested comedic bits to convince young boys to go see what is essentially a "princess" fairy tale. Well, if you're a fan of great music and specifically songs of the Broadway variety, you're in for a major treat.
"Paul Revere, you rum beggar!" - Ichabod Crane
You're just not going to hear that anywhere else on television. And I think at this point we can safely say that's one of the key reasons why "Sleepy Hollow" has become the breakout hit of this year's freshman class.
As "Man Of Steel" arrives on DVD and Blu-ray this week, it will be greeted by another three weeks of articles written by people willfully mis-interpreting much of what happens in the film, and I will spend those three weeks resisting the urge to get into a million pointless flame wars about the film.
What is apparent to me at this point is that the "complaints" that drive me most crazy are the ones that people simply aren't willing to debate, not even when they hear or read something that contradicts the point they think they're making. You can have the director and the writer specifically discuss what happened in the film, and people will still insist that they saw something else entirely happen.
I'm not talking about "I liked it" or "I didn't like it," either. I'm talking about looking at one scene and seeing two totally different things. I don't know that I've ever seen it happen to quite the extent that it happened with this film, but it amazes me. I'm doubly curious to see what happens with the sequel with this level of division in the audience.
You may recall that last week I said that I was stepping back from regular "How I Met Your Mother" reviews, but that I would likely post talkbacks here each week, and that I would weigh in at some length if the episode warranted it. Well, even though I know "Platonish" was written and produced some time in the past, it does feel a bit like it was specifically designed to shake me from my resolve. For spoiler's sake, a few brief thoughts on why coming up just as soon as I am not allowd to writ th lttr E...
Nat Geo's "Killing Kennedy" broke records for the network, drawing in the most total viewers (3.4 million) of any program in the network's history. If you haven't seen it, you can catch the encore this Fri. Nov. 15 at 8:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. (and watch a deleted clip from the film). But if you have seen it, you probably have a question -- who was that guy who played Lee Harvey Oswald, anyway? In a movie full of name brands (Rob Lowe, Ginnifer Goodwin, Michelle Trachtenberg) he was the unknown quantity, which seemed fitting for the person playing an assassin we think we know but probably don't.
Who is The Collector, and what the hell is he doing in the middle of the credits of "Thor: The Dark World"?
That question, or some variation on it, has been hammering my e-mail inbox all weekend long, and I was asked it by my kids as soon as the movie ended as well. I've seen a fair number of people complaining that the scene is "pointless." While most of the Phase One post-credits tags were concerned with laying groundwork leading to "The Avengers," Marvel's playing a different game this time around, and one that's not as easy for mainstream audiences to get immediately.
After all, it's easy to understand what it means when Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) shows up and asks each of the Marvel characters to join something called The Avenger Initiative. Makes sense, and even if you're not sure what the Avenger Initiative is, you get that there's a program and Sam Jackson's the man in charge and he needs a bunch of superheroes.
Considering how little we've seen of Marvel's cosmic side on film so far, it's not surprising people are unsure what to make of the scene that appears about a minute and a half into the credits for "Thor: The Dark World." From this point on, we're going to be talking in very explicit spoilers with some speculation factored in.
Stephen Colbert delivers The Gettysberg Address as Abraham Lincoln
It's part of Ken Burns' project to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the address, which happens on Nov. 12. Burns is also releasing a film on "The Address" in April.
Kate Upton is wanted for the female lead in "Entourage" movie
The Sports Illustrated swimsuit model is in early talks to join the cast, according to The Wrap.
Alec Baldwin's MSNBC show is losing its most important viewers
Baldwin has lost 41% of his viewers in the key demo since his launch last month.
"SNL" alum Abby Elliott joins Conan's TBS' pilot "Dream Comedy"
She and Dan Fogler will star in a "post-recession" comedy about a town that is reinvigorated by the opening of a brewery.
Elisabeth Rohm books "Beauty and the Beast" gig
The "Law & Order" alum will guest as an FBI agent over four episodes.
Amy Poehler: "Parks and Rec" will bring back Ann & Chris as much as possible
This is the last week of filming for Rob Lowe and Rashida Jones. "Knowing our show, no one ever really leaves Pawnee — we still call people back that did stuff in the first and second season," she says. "So, I’m certain that Rob and Rashida will make their way back to Pawnee as many times are we can drag them."
Why are black entertainers so successful in daytime, but not primetime?
Queen Latifah, Cedric the Entertainer, Steve Harvey and Michael Strahan have found success on daytime TV, but few black performers are prominently featured in primetime.
Travel Channel orders Adam Richman's "Eat Secrets," plus 4 new shows
"Resort Recon" is joining "Castle Secrets & Legends," "Hotel Secrets & Legends" and "National Park Secrets & Legends" on the Travel Channel schedule.
Kids today live in an on-demand TV world
Today's children don't understand the concept of live TV, or waiting for a show to air at a certain time.
George R.R. Martin thanks Australians for illegally downloading "Game of Thrones"
"When the first series came out on TV, I found out Australia led the world in illegal downloads because they weren't willing to wait six months to watch," he says. "In a way, I take that as a compliment."
Rob Lowe: "The West Wing" is the best TV show ever made -- better than "Breaking Bad"
"I would love 'The West Wing' if I wasn't on it," Lowe tells Larry King. "I just happened to be on it. I think it's a tremendous show."
Clint Eastwood's wife returns to anchoring local news after E! reality stint
Former E! reality star Dina Eastwood has returned to KSBW in Monterey, CA, where she first met Clint in 1992.
Are the anti-Jimmy Kimmel protesters overreacting?
Kimmel and ABC have apologized profusely for the "kill everyone in China" skit, yet that hasn't been enough for certain members of the Chinese American community.
Son of "Doctor Who's" 1st writer demands BBC stop using the TARDIS
Stef Coburn, whose dad Tony Coburn wrote the first "Who" episode, says the BBC's rights to use the TARDIS expired when his dad died in 1977. PLUS: Meet the man behind the "Who" titles.
"SportsCenter" will try more celeb guest co-anchors after Ken Jeong boosts ratings
The struggling 6 pm ET "SportsCenter" may have found a reliable way to get viewers interested again.
Ben McKenzie on his "O.C." past: "We were all babies. Such babies"
McKenzie recalls how he and everybody behaved like jerks from the sudden fame of the Fox series.
"Hot in Cleveland" books Chris Isaak
The crooner will play a famous musician not named Chris Isaak.
DirecTV now has a "Before Netflix" menu
Is this a subtle jab at the video on-demand service?
Shocker: Kerry Washington looks bad on a magazine cover
Did Lucky magazine do too much airbrushing on the "Scandal" star?
"Betrayal" and "Hostages'" limited-run status may have saved them from the axe
It's easy for networks to not cancel a series when it's going to end soon anyway.
"Girls" star and ex-Marine Adam Driver will spend tonight performing for troops
Driver and his wife are founders of Arts in the Armed Forces, which stages performances for members of the military.
Can "Meet the Sloths" become the new "Meerkat Manor"?
Animal Planet has started its eight-part exploration of sloths.
"Family Ties" mom Meredith Baxter is marrying her girlfriend
According to TMZ, the 66-year-old Baxter has just received her marriage license.
Letterman asks Julianna Margulies about her and George Clooney?
Are the former "ER" stars still close?
ABC's "What Would You Do?" returns in December
The ABC News hidden came show is back on Dec. 3.
"Bones" bringing back a dead character
The character will "be back in the flesh," says exec producer Stephen Nathan.
8 great TV series you probably haven't seen
From "Samurai Jack" to "Star Blazers."
Now on Hulu: Tony winner James Corden in BBC's "The Wrong Mans"
The former "Gavin & Stacey" star is featured in this comic spy thriller.
This fall's new trend: Acting pairs?
From "The Crazy Ones" to "Sleepy "Hollow," there are a lot of two-character shows new this season.
"American Experience" kicks off a 2-night exploration of JFK's life
Tonight examines John F. Kennedy's life before the presidency and Tuesday will look back at his days in the White House.