In Contention

OFF THE CARPET: The great, appreciated unknown

Posted by · 5:47 pm · September 19th, 2011

As we move out of the Toronto fray, Venice and Telluride already a memory, we look to the season ahead. The starting gun echo of those three early fall festivals is beginning to fade away, and with the dust settled or settling, it’s interesting to note the lack of an inarguable emerging player. In fact, […]

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OSCAR TALK: Ep. 61 — Wrapping up Toronto, ‘Moneyball’ and Brad Pitt’s Oscar positioning, Roland Emmerich’s ‘Anonymous,’ ‘Rampart’ and turning out the lights

Posted by · 8:53 am · September 16th, 2011

Welcome to Oscar Talk. In case you’re new to the site and/or the podcast, Oscar Talk is a weekly kudocast, your one-stop awards chat shop between yours truly and Anne Thompson of Thompson on Hollywood. The podcast is weekly, every Friday throughout the season, charting the ups and downs of contenders along the way. Plenty […]

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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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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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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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(UPDATED) ‘Moneyball’ reviews fire the Toronto starting gun

Posted by · 9:23 am · September 8th, 2011

Okay, not reviews, plural. Not yet. The only reaction I’m finding for Bennett Miller’s “Moneyball” (which screened here in LA a few times despite the usual studio falsehood — “we don’t have any screenings set right now” — typical) is Jeff Wells’s take at Hollywood Elsewhere. And it’s a glowing assessment, to say the least. […]

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Malick goes deeper underground

Posted by · 11:57 am · June 10th, 2011

First up, some good news for our British readers: the distribution wrangles surrounding “The Tree of Life” have been resolved, and Fox Searchlight will bring the film to UK screens on July 8. Not much longer until you can join the conversation. Given Terrence Malick’s usual work rate, it feels almost perverse to begin talking […]

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Diving back into ‘The Tree of Life’ (SPOILERS)

Posted by · 1:51 pm · May 27th, 2011

If you’ve been fortunate enough to catch Terrence Malick’s “The Tree of Life” in its limited release already, don’t forget to tell us your thoughts in the reactions thread. I’ve written about the film at length once (during a lunch break at jury duty downtown after sleeping on it). Guy reviewed it in full out […]

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THE LISTS: Top 10 performances in Terrence Malick films

Posted by · 9:40 am · May 24th, 2011

If you can believe it, it’s been since Halloween that we kicked the dust off this feature at In Contention. We made it all the way through the Oscar season without feeling compelled to go there. Odd. So, with Terrence Malick’s “The Tree of Life” opening in New York and Los Angeles this weekend, before […]

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On the Oscar prospects of ‘The Tree of Life’

Posted by · 11:59 am · May 22nd, 2011

With “The Tree of Life” winning the Palme d’Or in Cannes today, Oscar talk has already swelled on Twitter (after whispered considerations in the wake of the premiere last week). I’ll be writing about the film again next weekend, when some of you will be able to take a look, but for now, I thought […]

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OSCAR TALK: Ep. 56 — Special Edition! — Cannes so far, ‘Tree of Life,’ Von Trier, taking the 2011 awards pulse

Posted by · 8:32 am · May 20th, 2011

Welcome to Oscar Talk. In case you’re new to the site and/or the podcast, Oscar Talk is a weekly kudocast, your one-stop awards chat shop between yours truly and Anne Thompson of Thompson on Hollywood. The podcast is weekly, every Friday throughout the season, charting the ups and downs of contenders along the way. Plenty […]

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Filed in: Oscar Talk

REVIEW: “The Tree of Life” (***)

Posted by · 4:51 am · May 16th, 2011

Cannes Film Festival Landscape has always been character in the films of Terrence Malick. The even, rolling fields of “Days of Heaven,” the sweatily green hill ladders of “The Thin Red Line,” even the dry-toast mesa of “Badlands”: all expansive, overwhelming environments that dictate the behavior of the films’ human occupants through sheer force of […]

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CANNES CHECK: ‘The Tree of Life’

Posted by · 6:30 am · May 6th, 2011

The director: Terrence Malick (USA) The talent: Do you need reminding by this point? The Competition’s most high-profile film stars Brad Pitt, Sean Penn and the soon-to-be-ubiquitous Jessica Chastain; the name I’m most pleased to see in the supporting cast, meanwhile, is Irish stalwart Fiona Shaw. The technical crew is, obviously, first-class: DP Emmanuel Lubezki, […]

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Shedding more light on ‘Tree of Life’

Posted by · 11:33 am · March 14th, 2011

Apologies for the radio silence last week — Kris is still enjoying his hiatus, while I had all manner of dull earthbound duties to take care of. As I kept one eye on Twitter and my regular blog roll, however, I didn’t feel I was missing matters of paramount importance: I have nothing to say […]

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LIFE WITHOUT OSCAR: 1997 and 1998

Posted by · 6:09 pm · December 7th, 2010

Catch up with the idea behind this series here. Before James Cameron was making $3 billion grossing movies, he was stuck directing $2 billion grossing art films that won tons of Oscars. I remember seeing “Titanic” three times in the theater at the age of 15, trying to get Kelly Adams to make out with […]

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James Cameron tops Guardian’s “most powerful” list

Posted by · 8:55 am · September 24th, 2010

There has been some debate this morning in the British corner of the Twitterverse about the merits of The Guardian’s inaugural Film Power 100 list, which claims to represent the 100 industry figures current wielding the most power over, and influence on, UK filmgoers. It’s an ungainly and frequently baffling collection of names, mashing together […]

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TELLURIDE: ‘Inside Job,’ ‘Chico & Rita’

Posted by · 4:21 pm · September 3rd, 2010

It’s a bit of a scorcher in Telluride this year.  Relatively speaking, of course.  I’ve got all these long pants in the suitcase but can’t seem to shake the shorts as of late. Anyway, tonight brings “Never Let Me Go” and “The Way Back.” I’ll likely hit up the former and catch the latter sometime […]

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COMIC-CON: ‘Megamind’ inverts comic genre tropes

Posted by · 11:03 am · July 22nd, 2010

The opening Hall H panel of this year’s San Diego Comic-Con belonged to DreamWorks Animation’s “Megamind” from “Madagascar” director Tom McGrath.  The film, set for release November 5, is an “action comedy that takes the whole genre and turns it on its head,” McGrath told the packed hall. In the film, Will Ferrell gives his […]

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