COMIC-CON: Live, via satellite, Ridley Scott!

Posted by · 3:06 am · July 22nd, 2011

So Fox’s big reveal Thursday was footage of and chatter about “Prometheus,” Ridley Scott’s (hopefully) triumphant return to the science-fiction genre. Out of the gate, moderator Damon Lindelof asked Scott (who was checking in via satellite from Iceland) why it’s been so long since he saddled back up to “the genre he redefined,” as the […]

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Reitman, Cody reteam on ‘Young Adult’

Posted by · 9:02 pm · August 2nd, 2010

Jason Reitman announced shortly after last season’s “Up in the Air” bonanza that his company had acquired the rights to Joyce Maynard’s novel “Labor Day.” But it turns out that, while he’s hard at work on drafts of that adaptation, another original script from “Juno” scribe Diablo Cody is what’s on deck for the director. […]

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The Great Performances: 2005

Posted by · 5:07 pm · December 18th, 2009

2005 was the year of Heath Ledger’s beautiful, moving performance in “Brokeback Mountain,” which I saw for the first time in Toronto.  It instantly became the talk of the festival, and the film became the one to beat for the Academy Award. Ledger was astonishing as the taciturn cowboy who is more surprised than anybody […]

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Don’t you clean up nice?

Posted by · 9:23 am · December 9th, 2009

After the widely criticized “de-gaying” of “A Single Man,” The Weinstein Company’s next marketing project appears to be the “de-gritting” of “The Road.” How else to explain the choice of a tidily mustachioed Viggo Mortensen and a radiantly smiling Charlize Theron as the largest images in this FYC ad? Never mind that they appear in […]

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The Great Performances: 2003

Posted by · 9:14 am · December 4th, 2009

There is little doubt in my mind I am going to take some heat this week, so let’s kick it off right away with my belief that Sean Penn deserved his Best Actor Oscar for “Mystic River,” a performance of overwhelming ferocity and staggering emotional power. Yes, I too loved Bill Murray in “Lost in […]

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David Poland’s Oscar underdogs … where are the ladies?

Posted by · 1:50 pm · November 13th, 2009

For those of you bored of reading the same ever-narrowing list of names in the assorted Oscar-speculation pieces across the web, David Poland’s latest column is a slight breath of fresh air. Decrying the fact that many pundits are making ludicrous long-shot calls like “This Is It” for Best Picture, while ignoring more deserving contenders […]

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OFF THE CARPET: Looking at the supporting ladies

Posted by · 9:37 am · October 26th, 2009

A few weeks ago in this space I took a dedicated look at the lead actress category.  With little in the way of actual development (this season is curiously divided on the timeline as we’ve got maybe another month before more major titles begin screening), I figured it would be a good idea to keep […]

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10/12 Oscarweb Round-up

Posted by · 8:38 am · October 12th, 2009

• Gregory Ellwood mulls over the pros and cons of this year’s Best Actor hopefuls. [Awards Campaign] • Andrew O’Hehir on the British indie film explosion. [Beyond the Multiplex] • A.J. Schnack does a nice job of wrangling up info on the shortlisted short docs. [All These Wonderful Things]

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OFF THE CARPET: Looking at the leading ladies

Posted by · 9:24 am · October 5th, 2009

Now is the time when everyone begins assessing the race at its beginnings, and the gist I’m getting is that no one really knows what to write about.  Stabs at analysis end up being responses to other takes or rehashed arguments, and nothing really insightful is being brought to the table. And let’s face it.  […]

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9/22 Oscarweb Round-up

Posted by · 7:08 am · September 22nd, 2009

• Peter Bart takes note of two of the season’s leading ladies of the Oscar circuit, unlikely rivals Jane campion and Kathryn Bigelow. [BF Deal Memo] • Eugene Hernandez on the Oscar marathon. [indieWIRE] • Bilge Ibiri compares “The Insider” to “The Informant!” [Future of Classic]

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Kidman, Alfredson get ‘Danish Girl’ on track

Posted by · 5:47 am · September 16th, 2009

Say what you like about Nicole Kidman, but the lady’s taste in directors is beyond reproach. Fresh from having imaginatively recruited John Cameron Mitchell to guide her pet project “Rabbit Hole,” she’s teaming up with another arthouse maverick looking to cross over — Tomas Alfredson of “Let the Right One In” fame. Alfredson will direct […]

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SHORT TAKE: “The Road” (**1/2)

Posted by · 7:54 am · September 3rd, 2009

Telluride Film Festival There is a moment maybe three quarters into John Hillcoat’s “The Road” when it becomes clear that atmosphere may have been preferred over characterization: Viggo Mortensen’s character — known simply as “The Man” in Cormac McCarthy’s original fiction and nameless here — sits by a fire, wary of a cataracts-ridden old-timer (Robert […]

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Did Michelle Monaghan just enter the Best Actress race?

Posted by · 9:11 pm · August 24th, 2009

I haven’t seen James Mottern’s “Trucker,” which had a world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival and was praised in many quarters, most agreeing that Michelle Monaghan’s lead performance was awards caliber. Ironically, the press release (published in part after the jump) quotes The Hollywood Reporter’s Roger Friedman front and center just a few days […]

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Salvaging ‘The Burning Plain’ across the pond

Posted by · 9:28 am · August 14th, 2009

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about the tortuous release schedule that Guillermo Arriaga’s directorial debut “The Burning Plain” has endured since making a respectable bow at Venice almost a year ago. The film’s buzz has fluctuated wildly over the months, but it was never softer than in March, when it opened in the […]

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‘Burning Plain’ is Arriaga at his best

Posted by · 7:57 am · August 6th, 2009

Last night I caught Guillermo Arriaga’s “The Burning Plain,” and like Guy, I’m having trouble settling my thoughts on the piece.  I suppose our combined ponderings will have to serve as the film’s review here at In Contention, but unlike Guy’s relatively reserved recommendation, I have to say I wholeheartedly endorse it as perhaps Arriaga’s […]

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8/6 Web Round-up

Posted by · 7:29 am · August 6th, 2009

• Nikki Finke takes umbrage with the “Nation’s Pride” trailer being used to promote “Inglourious Basterds.” [Deadline Hollywood Daily] • Graeme McRanor sits down with “District 9” composer Clinton Shorter. [Jawbone.tv] • Top 10 movie pregnancies. [The Film Experience]

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The see-sawing ‘Burning Plain’

Posted by · 6:21 pm · August 3rd, 2009

Thanks to the reader (modestly unnamed) who sent me a reminder of the recently released U.S. trailer for Guillermo Arriaga’s “The Burning Plain,” a film that has endured a wildly uneven buzz trajectory since debuting at Venice nearly a year ago. Hailed out the gate as a strong 2008 Oscar vehicle for Charlize Theron, despite […]

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PAGE TO SCREEN: “The Road” by Cormac McCarthy

Posted by · 12:14 pm · May 14th, 2009

We’re working from the outside in on this one, folks. You may recall that Brian Kinsley offered a thorough examination of Joe Penhall’s “The Road” screenplay for this column back in September last year, which already addressed many of the challenges inherent in this particular adaptation. However, in keeping with Page to Screen’s return to […]

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