Best in show: the year in superlatives

Posted by · 4:29 pm · December 18th, 2009

Wrapping up my perspective on the year today, a personal list of superlatives, Oscar categories and other silly nonsense. Swing back around on Monday for the ultimate wrap-up, my list of the best films of the decade. Best Picture “A Serious Man” (Focus Features) Best Director Ethan Coen, Joel Coen, “A Serious Man” Best Actor […]

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TECH SUPPORT: Best Makeup — Volume II

Posted by · 4:58 pm · November 25th, 2009

Without any doubt, one of the most difficult Oscar categories to predict is Best Makeup. Like Best Visual Effects, the final three nominees are chosen from a previously announced shortlist of seven. Very frequently, films that would seem to be sure things fail to even make the bake-off. Even so, it is possible to gauge […]

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TECH SUPPORT: Best Visual Effects — Volume II

Posted by · 12:17 pm · October 22nd, 2009

As more films have been unleashed, the race for the visual effects Oscar now appears clearer than it did three months ago.  I’m starting to feel the race for the final three will really be down to a handful of films. As I explained in August, a shortlist of seven films will be announced in […]

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TECH SUPPORT: Best Makeup — Volume I

Posted by · 10:30 am · September 10th, 2009

“Make me look good.” While this might seem a vain phrase, in the context of a movie, makeup cannot only make an actor “look good” but it can capture the character and transform the performer, providing invaluable assistance in reaching the “truth” in the portrayal. The Academy Award for Best Makeup actually recognizes the individuals […]

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TECH SUPPORT: Best Visual Effects — Volume I

Posted by · 11:51 am · August 6th, 2009

“How did they do that?”  Movie-goers often ask this in response to spectacular visual effects, one of few elements of a film, apart from acting, directing or story, that a studio might choose to sell a film directly on. Not surprisingly, the Academy’s award for Best Visual Effects is definitely the most mainstream-friendly of all […]

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What’s “unfilmable” now?

Posted by · 9:33 am · July 21st, 2009

In the wake of “Watchmen,” adapted from a notoriously dense piece of popular culture and a nut some think Zack Snyder and company finally cracked this year, Scott Thill at WIRED Magazine is asking what else is out there that’s also “unfilmable.”  I personally think the idea of something being “unfilmable” is bullshit.  Perhaps as […]

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7/21 Web Round-up

Posted by · 8:03 am · July 21st, 2009

• The forthcoming release of “Julie & Julia” delays author Julie Powell’s follow-up book. [New York Observer] • Seth Rogen takes “Entourage” (which is slowly jumping the shark this season) and its creators to task. [Movieline] • Going to Comic-Con?  Download the official iPhone app. [Apple]

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Billy Crudup talks ‘Public Enemies’

Posted by · 8:49 am · May 4th, 2009

At the beginning of the year, my two most anticipated films happened to feature Billy Crudup in pivotal roles.  “Watchmen” came and went and is perhaps better left in the rearview, though the actor received solid notices from proponents and detractors alike.  “Public Enemies,” however, still lies ahead as the summer movie season pushes forward. […]

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Gaiman: Cast David Bowie as the Joker in ‘The Dark Knight Returns’

Posted by · 10:02 pm · April 22nd, 2009

I forgot to mention this in the item below regarding that Wired piece featuring Neil Gaiman and the current goings-on in the comic world.  The subject of “unfilmable” comics came up, with “Watchmen” having landed in March and Gaiman’s own “Sandman” at the top of such a list for some fans. Regarding Frank Miller’s “The […]

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Take the money and run

Posted by · 10:25 am · April 7th, 2009

Jackie Earle Haley’s recently resuscitated career is a textbook example of how true the banal platitude “the nomination is the reward” can sometimes be. Prior to 2006, the former child star hadn’t made a film for 13 years; one devastating performance (in Todd Field’s undervalued “Little Children”), a smattering of critics’ awards and a richly […]

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No comment on the tragic irony

Posted by · 1:42 pm · April 6th, 2009

Eugene (KMTR) – A man shot himself to death in a Eugene movie theater just after midnight Monday morning. Police say about 10 patrons were in an auditorium at Regal Cinemas watching the movie “Watchmen.” About midway through the film some of the moviegoers told the manager they heard a “popping” noise like a gunshot. […]

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SUNDAY CENTS: ‘Monsters’ ball

Posted by · 2:39 pm · March 29th, 2009

“Monsters vs. Aliens” came storming out of the gate with a $58.2 million opening this weekend. That comes from an ultra-wide 4,104 theaters, the fourth-widest release ever for a non-sequel, and that’s enough to top the debuts of “Shrek,” “Madagascar” and every other DreamWorks animated non-sequel aside from “Kung Fu Panda.” It also handily beats […]

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SUNDAY CENTS: Strong showing for “Knowing”

Posted by · 6:20 pm · March 22nd, 2009

I guess I should listen to the murmurs. Nicolas Cage’s sci-fi extravaganza “Knowing” took the top spot at the box office this weekend with $24.8 million. In terms of Cage’s career, it’s no “National Treasure” and can’t compete with the holy trifecta of Cage action — “The Rock,” “Face/Off” and “Con Air” — but it […]

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‘Watchmen’ goodies in the wake of financial disaster

Posted by · 12:06 pm · March 17th, 2009

Sure, “Watchmen” is currently doing a 90 degree nose-dive at the domestic box office, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some goodies across the Internets for the fans who want to soak in the early-March excitement for just a little longer.  So here are a few tid-bits. For instance, what if “Watchmen” were a Saturday […]

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SUNDAY CENTS: ‘Witch Mountain’ takes the crown, ‘Watchmen’ falls hard

Posted by · 5:49 pm · March 15th, 2009

EDITOR’S NOTE: Welcome to the first installment in what will be a weekly column looking at box office here at In Contention.  Chad Hartigan and I attended film school together in another life.  But for the last three years he’s been a box office analyst for Exhibitor Relations.  He’s also tried his hand at making […]

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Keeping score

Posted by · 5:09 pm · March 15th, 2009

By now, “Watchmen” has been assessed and widely shat on from a large array of angles, but one voice I didn’t necessarily expect to pipe in was that of classical music critic Tom Service. Writing for the Guardian, Service praises the film’s “carefully conceived” use of existing music, particularly the heavily intertextual use of Wagner, […]

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Patton Oswalt begs for ‘Watchmen’ understanding

Posted by · 8:55 am · March 11th, 2009

From the actor’s MySpace blog, via /Film (who uses MySpace anymore?): Because Zack Snyder STEPPED UP, motherfuckers…[he] delivered a 2 1/2 hour, honest attempt, and broke his ass cranking out tons of free extras. And no, the movie will not have EVERY LITTLE ELEMENT FROM THE GRAPHIC NOVEL. That’s why the graphic novel exists — […]

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David Hayter begs for more ‘Watchmen’ business

Posted by · 10:23 pm · March 10th, 2009

From a recent open letter: The reviews are out — Some outstanding, others rankly dismissive, which can be frustrating for the people involved, (though I can only speak for myself,) because I firmly believe that WATCHMEN, the novel, must be read through more than once to even have the faintest grip on it. And I […]

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