‘We Bought a Zoo’ trailer

Posted by · 11:38 am · September 14th, 2011

Just in time to capitalize on Scarlett Johansson’s nude photo scandal (that was low, sorry), the trailer for Cameron Crowe’s latest, “We Bought a Zoo,” hits the web. The first half of this early glimpse really makes it look like a return to character study form for Crowe, while the second half lays on the […]

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Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes

Posted by · 10:07 am · September 14th, 2011

I’m elated to see that this morning’s news has been so warmly received, both by the readership here and behind the scenes in the industry. In Contention has been — as my quote mentions in the press release — a labor of love since I opened the doors (on an unassuming Blogspot domain) back in […]

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Moverman’s expressive ‘Rampart’ offers tour de force performance from Woody Harrelson

Posted by · 8:26 am · September 14th, 2011

Oren Moverman’s “Rampart” is absolutely fantastic. Top to bottom, it’s a considerable directorial achievement, and an exciting, brazen departure from his excellent 2009 debut, “The Messenger.” The film — from an original screenplay by James Ellroy, re-written by Moverman — uses the 1999 Los Angeles Police Department Rampart corruption scandal as a frame, a state […]

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‘Le Havre’ tapped to represent Finland in foreign film race

Posted by · 7:52 am · September 14th, 2011

I finally caught up with Aki Kaurismaki’s “Le Havre” at Telluride two weeks ago. “I don’t count myself as the biggest Kaurismäki fan,” I wrote at the time, “but it’s very difficult to argue with the heart in this film. It should melt you a bit, if you have warm blood pumping through your veins.” […]

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Clooney on ‘Descendants’ at Telluride, with clips

Posted by · 7:40 am · September 14th, 2011

Via our new partners at HitFix, specifically Greg Ellwood’s Awards Campaign blog:

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9/14 OSCARWEB ROUND-UP: Plays storm the screen in Toronto, Liddell acquires ‘Killer Joe,’ Barker on Calley

Posted by · 7:30 am · September 14th, 2011

• Michelle Kung writes up Toronto from the perspective of plays taking to the screen en masse, like Tracy Letts’s “Killer Joe”… [Speakeasy] • …which Liddell Entertainment, by the way, picked up at the fest. [Variety] • Sasha Stone on life after the 2011 fall festival circuit. [Awards Daily]

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InContention.com partners with HitFix

Posted by · 4:03 am · September 14th, 2011

I’m happy to forward the following exciting news via press release. I’ll get into the details of all of this later today, but for now… INFLUENTIAL INCONTENTION.COM FILM BLOG NOW POWERED BY HITFIX.COM LOS ANGELES, September 14, 2011 – HitFix, a leader in entertainment news, today announced a strategic partnership with film and awards season […]

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The writing shines in dense and rewarding ‘Moneyball’

Posted by · 11:53 am · September 13th, 2011

Bennett Miller’s “Moneyball” is a tightly constructed piece of work, thematically layered, rich in substance, hard work from two of the best writers in the business clearly evident. And the last thing it is is a sports movie. The film is about so much. It’s a David vs. Goliath story of changing the status quo. […]

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9/13 OSCARWEB ROUND-UP: Madonna in Toronto, SPC’s would-be ‘Shame’ plan, Clooney overexposed?

Posted by · 9:12 am · September 13th, 2011

• Michael Cieply reports from the “W.E.” press conference in Toronto, where Madonna is doing slightly better than she did over in Venice. [Arts Beat] • Speaking of Toronto, Tilda Swinton keeps hitting the press rounds at the fest. [Speakeasy] • Pete Hammond hears that Sony Classics wanted to lay the groundwork for a Michael […]

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Mark Harris joins the discussion with fringe lead actor picks

Posted by · 10:26 pm · September 12th, 2011

Two years ago author and journalist Mark Harris wrote what I think is one of the most salient Oscar season observances ever squeezed out of this unnecessary corner of the web. I always look to him for one of the most above-the-fray, but smart and informed, perspectives on a given season. And this piece over […]

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‘Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy’ US trailer

Posted by · 11:49 am · September 12th, 2011

I’m hoping to see Tomas Alfredson’s “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy” soon-ish. It has a solid track out of Venice for a spot as the thinking man’s Best Picture play (especially considering the British vote). The US trailer sets up the intrigue nicely for those on these shores, nevertheless opting to go back to the international […]

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OFF THE CARPET: Strong year for double-dippers

Posted by · 8:58 am · September 12th, 2011

We find ourselves right in the middle of the big Toronto press junket, er, film festival, where 200-plus films are landing, many of them as world premieres, and the landscape of this year’s Oscar race is really beginning to take shape. As I looked out at the various films in play this year, it suddenly […]

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9/12 OSCARWEB ROUND-UP: Clooney on self-competition, Woodley ready for her close-up, genre movies at the Oscars

Posted by · 8:03 am · September 12th, 2011

• Bill Desowitz calls “The Lion King 3D,” which hits theaters Friday, “a noteworthy achievement for post-converting hand-drawn animation.” Agreed. He also talks to those responsible for it. [Thompson on Hollywood] • Clooney: Clooney vs. Cooney just hype. [Variety] • Shailene Woodley, meanwhile, is ready for her close-up in Toronto. [The Guardian]

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Mixed reaction to Moverman’s ‘Rampart’ in Toronto, some measured praise for Woody Harrelson

Posted by · 6:04 pm · September 11th, 2011

One of the more anticipated Toronto bows, for me, is Oren Moverman’s “The Messenger” follow-up, “Rampart.” I was a big fan of his last effort and have been intrigued by the possibility of Woody Harrelson bubbling up in the Best Actor race (assuming a studio bites on the film). But things aren’t looking stellar for […]

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(UPDATED) Coppola’s ‘Twixt’ under serious fire in Toronto

Posted by · 5:30 pm · September 11th, 2011

I stand by my (out of context) excitement for Francis Ford Coppola probing the outer reaches of what we expect of cinema, but it appears “Twixt” nevertheless came and underwhelmed (to say the least) in Toronto, failing to fully reach its aspirations. Tweets Motion/Captured’s Drew McWeeney: It is appropriate that they screened Coppola’s “Twixt” today, […]

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Day of rest

Posted by · 9:50 am · September 11th, 2011

Now, if you’ll excuse me…

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BOX OFFICE: ‘Contagion’ finally stops ‘The Help,’ ‘Warrior’ stumbles in the first round

Posted by · 9:15 am · September 11th, 2011

I don’t pretend to be a box office expert, but I have to think five million for “Warrior” on opening weekend is a disaster for that film. What’s the ceiling when you start out there? It has to be low. Money was always going to be the difference for its Oscar chances. If it hit, […]

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10 years

Posted by · 8:45 am · September 11th, 2011

I don’t want to really dig in here or anything. It’s just a mark of time. There was an open sore in lower Manhattan tied up by bureaucracy, partisan nonsense and greed that became embarrassing, a symbol for a country so gridlocked by internal machinations that perhaps the truly poignant thing would have been to […]

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