Monday, January 23, 2012

The Week That Was and the Week That Will Be

This was a SLOOOOOOWWWW weekend for movie news, my friends...

Check out Cinema Blend's link to "Star Wars Uncut", a fan-made project that compiles 15-second clips together to re-enact the whole of A New Hope. Won't say I've watched it all but what I did watch was really, really cool. I'd embed it here but I'm afraid of SOPA. 

The annual Sundance Film Festival is in full swing right now. For coverage of the films shown at Sundance, check out the constant updates from /Film

The Artist picked up yet another Best Picture award, this one from the Producer's Guild. *Sigh

Check out these alternative universe movie posters which are pretty sweet. Steve McQueen as The Terminator sounds awesome. 

NPR discusses the modern movie trailer.

Weekend Box Office Results
I’m not surprised that the newest installment from the Underworld franchise leads the pack this week. I am surprised, however, that Haywire had such a poor showing. I wasn’t very excited about it (looks like a renter to me) but the reviews were good and it had the look of a movie lots of people would be into, especially given the cinematic landscape in January. (If nothing else the burgeoning MMA crowd should have been behind that movie, right?) Regardless, it wasn’t a bad weekend for Hollywood considering the total haul. My money went to the ridiculously frustrating Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (review to come) but I imagine I’ll catch a few more of these films at one point or another.

1. Underworld: Awakening - $25.4M
2. Red Tails - $19.1M
3. Contraband - $12.2M ($46.1M)
4. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close - $10.54M ($11.23M)
5. Haywire - $9M
6. Beauty and the Beast - $8.55M ($33.36M)
7. Joyful Noise - $6.07M ($21.9M)
8. Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol - $5.5M ($197.34M)
9. Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows - $4.8M ($178.61M)
10. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - $3.75M ($94.77M)

Oscar Nomination Predictions
We’re going to cover the Academy Awards extensively both here and at I Eat Films as the ceremony gets closer. With the nominations due to be announced tomorrow, I thought it might be prudent to offer up my predictions for the chosen films and performances now and save all opinions (good and bad) for later next month. My predictions (in no particular order) for the major awards are as follows:

Best Actor
George Clooney, The Descendants
Brad Pitt, Moneyball
Jean Dujardin, The Artist
Michael Fassbender, Shame
Leonardo DiCaprio, J. Edgar

Best Actress
Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady
Viola Davis, The Help
Michelle Williams, My Week with Marilyn
Rooney Mara, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Tilda Swinton, We Need to Talk About Kevin

Best Supporting Actor
Christopher Plummer, Beginners
Albert Brooks, Drive
Jonah Hill, Moneyball
Kenneth Branagh, My Week with Marilyn
Nick Nolte, Warrior

(NOTE: As Oscar Guru Mark Harris noted in his Grantland column, this is the category that is most likely to deliver some sort of major shock. Someone like Max Von Sydow (Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close), Alan Rickman (Harry Potter), Brad Pitt (Tree of Life), or even Andy Serkis (Rise of the Planet of the Apes) will end up in the nominated five and it will be well deserved.)

Best Supporting Actress
Octavia Spencer, The Help
Shailene Woodley, The Descendants
Berenice Bejo, The Artist
Jessica Chastain, The Help
Melissa McCarthy, Bridesmaids

Best Director
Alexander Payne, The Descendants
Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist
Martin Scorsese, Hugo
Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris
Terrence Malick, Tree of Life

Best Picture
The Artist
The Descendants
Midnight in Paris
The Help
Tree of Life
War Horse

(NOTE: We don’t know how many films will be nominated for Best Picture. There’s a complicated formula in place now which determines how many films (if any) will be nominated past the first five. I’m guessing eight but the truth is, the list could definitely end at five and there’s virtually no chance ten movies make the final cut.)

DVD Roundup
What I’ll Be Renting This Week
Real Steel (2011) - Hugh Jackman, Evangeline Lilly, Dakota Goyo
Notice I didn’t write, “What I’ll Be Renting This Week Because I Think It Will Be Good.” I can’t tell you why, exactly, I intend to watch this in the relatively near future, I just know I’m kind-of-sort-of-a-little-bit excited about a true throw-away action movie to distract from me from work, weather, and the fact that Dirk Nowitzki is hurt right now. Bring on Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots on Steroids!

What I’ve Seen and You Should See, Too
50/50 (2011) - Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen, Anna Kendrick
The third best movie I saw in 2011 and one that is destined to find a spot on my “Favorite Movies of All-Time” list. In my review I implored my readers to, “just see this movie.” I continue my plea here. This film contains some of the best authentic-but-comedic acting I’ve seen in quite some time. Absolutely in love with this film.

Also New
Paranormal Activity 3 (2011) - Chloe Csengery, Jessica Tyler Brown, Christopher Nicholas Smith (Please stop seeing these movies, people. Please.)
The Whitleblower (2011) - Rachel Weisz, Monica Bellucci, Vanessa Redgrave
The Lie (2011) - Joshua Leonard, Jess Weixler

New to Blu
Stripes (1981) - Bill Murray, John Candy, Harold Ramis
Annie Hall (1977) - Woody Allen, Diane Keaton
Manhattan (1979) - Woody Allen, Diane Keaton
Notorious (1949) - Cary Grant, Ingrid Bergman
Rebecca (1940) - Laurence Olivier, Joan Fontaine
Spellbound (1945) - Ingrid Bergman, Gregory Peck
Stir Crazy (1980) - Gene Wilder, Richard Pryor
See No Evil, Hear No Evil (1989) - Gene Wilder, Richard Pryor
The Toy (1982) - Richard Pryor, Jackie Gleason
The Adventures of Milo and Otis (1986) - Dudley Moore

Coming to a Theater Near You
Last week’s Rotten Tomatoes predictions were spot on for Underworld (26% prediction, 27% actual) a bit off for Haywire (72% to 83%), and well off for Redtails (52% to 33%) though I’m betting George Lucas wishes I had been right. I’m doing pretty well this year if I do say so myself.

The Grey - Liam Neeson, Dermot Mulroney, Frank Grillo
I have so much to say about The Grey but it all basically boils down to this: Liam Neeson is awesome and everyone likes to see him beat the spit out of humans so why wouldn’t they want to see him beat the spit out of wolves? Regardless of what the critics end up saying, this is very likely to be an absolute blast. Rotten Tomatoes prediction: 51%

Man on Ledge - Sam Worthington, Elizabeth Banks, Jamie Bell, Ed Harris
I feel bad for Ledge. It looks to be a perfectly reasonable off-season action movie with a decent cast and solid plot hook. But it’s going to be completely overshadowed by all the other off-season action movies that dominate the first two months of the year. If it had released this time last year, I’m probably there on opening weekend if for no other reason than I’m addicted to movies and there was nothing else worth even looking at. Same goes for September of last year. But this year? Between Contraband, Haywire, and maybe especially The Grey, there’s no room for it. Rotten Tomatoes prediction: 45%

One for the Money - Katherine Heigl, Jason O’Mara, John Leguizamo
I would rather eat glass than watch this movie. Rotten Tomatoes prediction: 28%

Also look for wider expansions for We Need to Talk About Kevin (Tilda Swinton) and Albert Nobbs (Glenn Close), both of which will hope to bank off of the hypothetical Oscar nominations for their respective leading ladies.

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