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"May the hair on your toes never fall out." Hurry – before the angry legal goons in Hollywood put their foot down and stamp out this fire! In all truth and honesty, I fully expected this (someone would re-cut it into one movie) to happen sooner or later, and I'm glad it was sooner. A J.R.R. Tolkien super-fan who goes by "tolkieneditor" has published a 4-hour re-edit (or "fan cut") of The Hobbit trilogy, with the conclusion still playing in theaters now. His new version has condensed the excess footage from Jackson's trilogy into one extended 4-hour presentation. It's not exactly "one" movie, and I'm sure we'll see someone make that eventually, but it is the first attempt at redoing The Hobbit as a single story–the way it should've been done.
"Some days you wake up, and life just kicks you in the bollocks." Yep. It's Monday, no ones wants to be at work, it's cold out there, the office probably has pranks planned. It's not going to be a fun day. Or is it? The short film Bad Day at the Office from director Nick Scott tries to put a spin on the old fashioned idea of a "bad day at the office". I won't even make the obvious Office Space comparison, because this is much more like Wes Anderson meets Lars von Trier than anything from Mike Judge, but whatever it takes to convince you this is worth 10 mins of your time. There's a polished, professional feel to this and the FX (including all the make-up) look great. It's not the best film I've ever watched, but it's the perfect short to start the week.
"'Is this what you want,' he asked. And I said 'yes.' So he took his skin off for me." Get ready for this. Ben Aston has premiered his short He Took His Skin Off For Me on Vimeo, after its debut at Fantastic Fest and Toronto After Dark Film Festival last year. Aston and his short films were recently profiled at SlashFilm (with a great interview), reminding me that I had been meaning to watch this short, one of his latest and it's so crazy, disgustingly good. Aston's other short, Russian Roulette, is playing at the Sundance Film Festival coming up. But before that, this is the must see - practical SFX make this one extraordinary "fairytale" of sorts. It's a perfect kind of unsettling yet seductively sweet one-of-a-kind creation. Have fun and turn it up.
Now that you've seen it, what did you think? "To you this is just a game, the virtual world!" Director Michael Mann is back with his latest action-thriller Blackhat (once known as Cyber), starring Chris Hemsworth as a blackhat hacker named Nicholas Hathaway, recruited by the government to help them solve an attack on a nuclear power plant in China. The cast includes Leehom Wang and Wei Tang as his Chinese cohorts, along with Viola Davis and Holt McCallany representing the US side. The hacker movie was produced by Legendary Pictures, and is now in theaters. So is it any good? Is it even worth seeing? Is it another hit for Mann or not? Once you've seen it, leave a comment with your thoughts on Mann's Blackhat.
The complete list of nominees for the 87th Academy Awards, the most prestigious award in Hollywood, have been announced today (via oscar.go.com). The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences revealed the nominees this morning live via online/television broadcast. The selection seemed to be quite diverse, with some snubs, but lots of acclaim as well focusing on the excellent films from 2014. There's no need to spend any more time introducing this, so let's get right down to it! This year, The Academy selected a total of eight Best Picture nominee films, including: Birdman, Boyhood, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Selma (!), Whiplash and American Sniper. So without further ado, here is the full list of 2015 nominees from 2014…
"Okay everybody…" Quite a mysterious, odd little trailer. The first teaser has debuted for the upcoming Sundance / Berlinale film H., from filmmakers Rania Attieh & Daniel Garcia, about a town (specifically Troy, New York) that seems to go crazy after a meteor crashes nearby. The meteor moment is kind of in the trailer, but it's a very eerie setup. The narrative follows two different women named Helen, played by Robin Bartlett and Rebecca Dayan, who exist in a world "grounded in the fears of reality where subconscious tensions collide with the tempestuous forces of nature". I'm really not sure what to make of this film, but definitely curious about it. Take a look…? It's a bit weird, I will warn you, but can't deny that I'm intrigued.
As we continue into the awards season in early 2015, more guilds are announcing their nominees/awards for the outstanding films of 2014. Next up is the Directors Guild of America, one of the heavy weights and usually strong indicators of what's to come. The DGA announced nominees for the Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film 2014, and it's a rather eclectic and odd list of selections this year, not at all what we were expecting yet also exactly what we were expecting. Except for Clint Eastwood. How the hell did he end up on here? The two biggest snubs are Ava DuVernay of Selma and David Fincher of Gone Girl, who should've taken the spots given to Tyldum and Eastwood instead. Oh well. Full list below.
"38 days ago your beacon disappeared from radar." Wow. Here's a fantastic space adventure sci-fi short to kick off the new year. From director Eli Sasich & writer Clay Tolbert comes a 9-min short called Atropa, about an "off-world detective" who investigates a missing research vessel adrift in deep space. It's described as a concept short, for a feature or series, inspired by "'70s and '80s sci-fi classics like Alien and Blade Runner." There's some excellent VFX work in this, and some great sci-fi concepts that do really show the potential of these filmmakers. I would definitely like to see more, it almost ends too short, right when I was really getting into it and things were getting interesting. But I will still say - this is one short not to miss.
The winners of the HFPA's 72nd Annual Golden Globe Awards, the precursor to the Academy Awards, have been announced tonight at a ceremony held at The Beverly Hilton hotel, hosted by the incredibly talented Tina Fey & Amy Poehler, back for three years in a row as some of the best hosts they've had. Our list below will be updated with all film-related winners as they're revealed during the ceremony's live broadcast. The nominees were odd as usual, and we're not sure who will win with so many great films in the running, so let's find out what the HFPA likes this time. Find out which films took home Globes! List below.
Some very early Sundance news a few weeks before the festival kicks off. Fox Searchlight has officially announced that they've acquired Noah Baumbach's latest film Mistress America for worldwide release. This is one of two new Baumbach films coming up, the other being While We're Young which just premiered at TIFF 2014 last fall, and will be released in spring by A24 Films. Mistress America is premiering at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival in just a few weeks, and stars Baumbach's muse Greta Gerwig as well as newcomer Lola Kirke. Fox Searchlight will release the film in 2015, but an exact date hasn't been set yet.
From one galaxy to another. One tiny piece of news at the beginning of this year involves a screenwriter we've been following for a long time. His name is Gary Whitta and he just spent the last year working on the screenplay for the first Star Wars spin-off movie, the one due out in late 2016, being directed by Gareth Edwards. Before that he wrote the After Earth and The Book of Eli scripts, and also worked on numerous video games and other geek properties. Whitta has announced that he's moving on to develop an adaptation of Mark Millar's Starlight for 20th Century Fox next after finishing Star Wars, so he's set and ready to go.
Now that you've seen it, what did you think? "But if you're Doc, it may all start to get a little peculiar after that…" Now in theaters is the latest from acclaimed filmmaker Paul Thomas Anderson, an adaptation of Thomas Pynchon's novel Inherent Vice, starring Joaquin Phoenix as PI "Doc" Sportello. This stoner comedy/drama/mystery begins when Doc looks into the disappearance of an ex-girlfriend named Shasta, played by the effervescent Katherine Waterston. PTA's cast includes a bunch of other goofy characters: Josh Brolin as Bigfoot, Joanna Newsom as Sortilège, Benicio Del Toro as Smilax, even Owen Wilson, Jena Malone and Martin Short.. So how is it? One of PTA's best or did PTA get too high on his own supply? Once you've seen it, leave a comment with your thoughts on PTA's Inherent Vice.
Holy crap, zombies everywhere! Another fun short film to wrap up the week, this one a point-of-view (POV) film based on the upcoming zombie video game Dying Light. Directed by Scott Bass, the short follows one parkour runner as he escapes a zombie attack on rooftops (they filmed in Cambridge, England). The game is also first person, so that experience extends to this short in order to introduce gamers to a ravaged world where they'll fight off "hordes of mindless, flesh-hungry enemies". It's another solid example of how much can be done with just a camera and a good idea, since filmmaking technology is readily available. Fun times.
Now that you've seen it, what did you think? It ends here! He's back, again, for another round of phone threats and high stakes action. In theaters now is Taken 3, bringing back Liam Neeson for a third time as Bryan Mills, father of Kim, played by Maggie Grace, the one person he will kill anyone to protect. The cast in this sequel includes Forest Whitaker and Dougray Scott, and involves a twist where Bryan is framed for the murder of his wife Lenore, played by Famke Janssen. How is it? Any better than the first two or more of the same? Once you've seen it, leave a comment with your thoughts on Megaton's Taken 3.