ENJOY THE SHOW
If there's one man of science you do not want to mess with, it's Neil deGrasse Tyson. With over 1 million followers on twitter @neiltyson, Tyson is a brilliant astrophysicist who often tweets scientific accuracies and mesmerizing facts about our universe. So, of course, we can't be surprised that he caught Alfonso Cuarón's Gravity over the weekend and had some things to say about it. Not necessarily nice things, instead, Tyson lists a bunch of "mysteries of #Gravity" questioning its scientific accuracy. But he does say after: "if you must know, I enjoyed Gravity very much." Phew. So, what did they get wrong? Read on for all his mysteries.
Now that you've seen it, what did you think? Don't let go. After years of waiting, delays, hype and anticipation, it's finally here. Alfonso Cuarón's Gravity arrives in theaters everywhere in 3D this weekend. This is one of those spectacular movies that is a must see on the biggest screen around. Sandra Bullock stars with George Clooney as NASA astronauts who experience a major catastrophe in space and attempt to return safely to Earth. Does it live up to the hype? Does it compare at all to space classics like 2001: A Space Odyssey? Once you've seen it, leave a comment with your own thoughts on Alfonso Cuarón's Gravity.
We're not one to chase stories about budgets, box office, and Hollywood financials, but this is too good to pass up. Plus, I'm admittedly still a big fan of Peter Jackson and his adventures in Middle Earth, and it's interesting to hear just how much has been spent on this new trilogy. Days after the second trailer for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug arrived, Variety has a story confirming that after 266 days of filming, two years of post-production and two extra months of "pick-up" shoots, the costs for The Hobbit trilogy have already passed half a billion. Then again, An Unexpected Journey already passed $1 billion at the box office.
This is definitely going to rile up the Trekkies. Over the last four years since J.J. Abrams directed and delivered Star Trek, Super 8 and the sequel Star Trek Into Darkness, many (many) people have complained about his overuse of lens flare in the movies. In an interview conducted just a few weeks ago (likely for the Blu-ray release of Into Darkness), Abrams finally manned up and admitted he has a problem: he's addicted to lens flares. "I think admitting you're an addict is the first step towards recovery," he said. J.J. explains it was his wife, of all people, who finally got him to realize just how much he went overboard with lens flares.
Now that you've seen it, what did you think? The closer you are to death, the more alive you feel. Now showing in theaters is Ron Howard's Rush, telling the story of rival Formula One drivers Niki Lauda (played by Daniel Brühl) and James Hunt (played by Chris Hemsworth). The two raced against each other in the 1970s, with Lauda ending up in a fiery crash that almost took his life, but he was back out on the track again within weeks. So how is the new Ron Howard movie? As good as the trailers look? Does it have problems or is it perfect? If you've seen it, leave a comment with your own thoughts on Ron Howard's Rush.
The debate over the death of 35mm film has been a bit quieter in the last few years as many have moved on to digital. This story might be the final nail in the coffin, as the few remaining prominent filmmakers still sticking with film are converting to digital as well. The Coen Brothers' latest film Inside Llewyn Davis just screened for press at the New York Film Festival this week (I saw it again and loved it as much as I did in Cannes) and the brothers sat in for the press conference after. They were asked about the muted look and went on to comment about digital, admitting that Inside Llewyn Davis might be their last one shot on film.
Ask a dozen different Oscar prognosticators about Bennett Miller's latest drama Foxcatcher (starring Channing Tatum, Mark Ruffalo and Steve Carell as John du Pont) and you're likely to get a dozen different responses in terms of its awards chances. Some folks have it completely shut out, while others have it pegged as a sleeper film to beat in the major categories. Me? Well, I'm caught somewhere in the middle right now (without any trailers out yet), but truth be told I think it's at least got the potential to be a bigger player than some are expecting it to be. It certainly can fall short, but I believe it's a bit silly to bet against it totally.
Now that you've seen it, what did you think? Every moment matters. Now showing in theaters is Prisoners, a chilling new crime drama featuring a Black List screenplay by Aaron Guzikowski, directed by French-Canadian filmmaker Denis Villeneuve. In the film, Hugh Jackman and Terrence Howard play fathers of daughters who are kidnapped, and the two set off to find them. Jake Gyllenhaal plays a detective trying to put all the pieces together before time runs it. So how is it? Does it live up to all the buzz? Is it as good as Zodiac? Once you've seen it, leave a comment with your thoughts on Villeneuve's Prisoners.
"I'm a big boy, I could handle any snub... I can handle anything." There isn't much revealed about his role or the story, but that's no surprise. A month ago, Ben Affleck was officially cast as a "tired and weary and seasoned" Batman in Zack Snyder's in-development Man of Steel sequel, tentatively called Batman vs. Superman. The news rocked the entertainment world and caused fanboys all over to lose their minds, and not necessarily in the good way. However, after remaining silent for weeks, Affleck finally talked about the Batman news on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon on Monday night, briefly addressing all the early reactions.
"We can't afford to let ourselves be guided by contemporary cultural standards—particularly now..." -M. Scorsese on cinema. Last week at the Toronto International Film Festival, my story and name made headlines around the world. But for all the wrong reasons. I love TIFF, I've been attending for seven years and hope to return for many more. But the fest has an embarrassing problem with rampant cell phone use during Press & Industry screenings. And I am the first person in the festival's history to stand up to it, say something about it, and make a ruckus big enough to actually draw the attention of the festival's decision-makers. It's time for them to make a change. It's time for this repulsive problem to be brought to light and for the festival to once again set a precedent for preserving the profoundly affecting experience of cinema.
Now that you've seen it, what did you think? It will take what you love most. Now in theaters is the second horror film directed by James Wan this year, a sequel to the 2010 indie hit Insidious. Picking up moments after the first film ends, Insidious: Chapter 2 brings back Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne as the parents of a family haunted by a malevolent force from the spirit world. Leigh Whannell & Angus Sampson are also back as investigators Specs & Tucker. So how is this one? Is it as good as the first film, or worse? Once you've seen it, leave a comment with your own thoughts on James Wan's Insidious: Chapter 2.
One of the things an Oscar blogger looks forward to each year is the calendar turning over to September, which is the start of the fall festival season and the unofficial launch of the awards race. That being said, historically things have moved a lot slower than they are this year. It got me thinking... why is that? What's made the current festival offerings immediate awards season mammoths when that's never really been the case before? Does it have something to do with the dearth of first half contenders in 2013? Does it have something to do with how folks at the Telluride Film Festival are overshadowed by the Toronto Film Festival and wanted to change that this year? Is it the studios and their campaign strategists?
Now that you've seen it, what did you think? "You're not afraid of the dark, are you?" Returning to theaters is the character Richard B. Riddick, played by Vin Diesel, in the newest Pitch Black sequel titled simply Riddick directed by David Twohy (interview here). Left for dead on a barren planet, Riddick ends up hunted by a bevy of hungry bounty hunters while fending off viscous native creatures. So how is this one? Better than 2004's Chronicles of Riddick or 2000's Pitch Black, or much worse? How is Katee Sackhoff as one of the bounty hunters? If you've seen it, leave a comment with your own thoughts on Twohy's Riddick.
For a large amount of movie fans, Joaquin Phoenix is easily one of the best actors working in Hollywood today. In fact, after you get past Daniel Day-Lewis, he is arguably the second best currently in the business, and few would leave him out of a top ten regardless of other choices. Unlike Day-Lewis though, Phoenix's performances aren't automatically deemed worthy of Oscars and a nomination on his behalf is hardly a sure thing. In fact, sometimes (especially lately) Phoenix can have a harder road to a nod than someone else in the same role. Why is that, and what does that mean for his upcoming role this year in Spike Jonze's offbeat romance Her? Well, I have some thoughts on the matter, and they go well beyond his chances for a citation this year. Essentially, Phoenix's worst enemy when it comes to awards noms actually happens to be himself.