best foreign film shortlist 2015

The shortlist for potential Best Foreign Film Oscar nominees is out. As usual, the list is going to generate as much talk about what didn’t make the cut as it does about what ended up on the list. Many of the year’s most significant films were left off: Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s Winter Sleep, which was this year’s Palme d’Or winner at Cannes, didn’t make the cut. Nor did Mommy by Xavier Dolan, also a Cannes prize winner, taking the Jury Prize; or Kornel Mundruczo’s White God; or the Dardenne brothers’ Two Days One Night.

But the Best Foreign Film shortlist for 2015 does feature some great films, including Ida, from Pawel Pawlikowski and Force Majeure (above), from director Ruben Östlund. The full list is below. Read More »

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kubrick-blu-box

There isn’t a thing that hasn’t been written about the films of Stanley Kubrick. His films have been celebrated and reviled; some originally reviled have been reassessed as masterpieces; reams of copy have been written on even his least-appreciated movies. And yet they pull us in time and again. His films feature richly developed concepts that we can appreciate differently as our own lives progress and change.

Kubrick is the most visible representation of a sort of filmmaking that has largely vanished. He was likely the last director to enjoy total creative freedom with the backing of a major movie studio; his deal with Warner Bros. let him do what he wanted, on his own time. His 1999 passing happens to coincide with the transition into a fully digital filmmaking era and into a time when studio films are ever-more focused on sequels and familiar concepts.

The idea of ranking Kubrick films is somewhat absurd; there’s really only one that can be at #1. But there’s a lot of room for discussion about what his other twelve features offer. Warner Bros. recently issued a new box set (Stanley Kubrick: The Masterpiece Collection) with a gorgeous outer shell (above), a fine array of behind the scenes material, and disc packaging that is an improvement over the last blu-ray set from the studio. That box of eight films had us going back through all of Kubrick’s movies, and we’ve laid them out in order below.   Read More »

HBO Music Video show

Hot on the heels of the confirmation that David Fincher and James Ellroy are working together on an HBO show comes the news of another project that Fincher will do for the big cable network. Fincher will direct the pilot for an HBO music video show called Living on Noise, described as a “half-hour HBO project about music videos in the 1980s.”

(Update: The title may actually be Living on Video; see an early and spoiler-free plot report below.) Read More »

The Fly comic book

There was a movie sequel to David Cronenberg’s incredible 1986 reinvention of The Fly, and now a comic book seeks to another sequel storyline. The Fly: Outbreak is from IDW, and writer Brandon Seifert (writer of BOOM! Studios’ Hellraiser comics) and artist menton3. The comic series is an original story, seemingly not based on Fly sequel ideas Cronenberg was toying with a couple years ago, but possibly related to the film The Fly IIRead More »

HBO Series Shakedown

Back in September word leaked out that director David Fincher and author James Ellroy have been planning a series at HBO that would be “ts that “a noir-ish crime show set in L.A., in a similar 1950s milieu (like Ellroy’s L.A. Confidential).” Now deals are done, and the show is moving forward under the title Shakedown.

And it isn’t just a show featuring some of the same noir ideas Ellroy explored in novels such as L.A. Confidential. It is actually based on the life of a real LA crime figure named Fred Otash, who (in fictionalized form) featured in two of Ellroy’s other novels and one novella, and upon whom the Jack Nicholson character in Chinatown was partially based. Read More »

spielberg Cold War movie

I called the upcoming Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg collaboration — currently referred to as the director’s Untitled Cold War Thrillerone of my most anticipated films of 2015. The movie sees Spielberg reunited with Hanks for a fourth big-screen collaboration, with a script polished by Ethan and Joel Coen and a cast that also includes Amy Ryan and Mark Rylance. Now we’ve got the first on-set image of Tom Hanks in the Spielberg cold war movie, and you can see it below. Read More »

‘American Sniper’ Trailer: Bradley Cooper Breaks Down

New American Sniper trailer

There’s a new American Sniper trailer, and if this second look at Clint Eastwood‘s film about decorated Navy sniper Chris Kyle isn’t as tense and perfect as the first trailer, it does show off a lot more of Bradley Cooper‘s portrayal of the man. Here we see Kyle — who in real life was murdered at a gun range while home in the States — as he wrestles with his role as a sniper, and the conflicts that creates with his life as a father and husband.  Read More »

First Look: Jessica Chastain in ‘Crimson Peak’

Jessica Chastain in Crimson Peak

Guillermo del Toro and Legendary Pictures are following Pacific Rim with Crimon Peak, a horror thriller in the grand old “big haunted house” mode, but with a cast and budget that are more typical of today’s tentpole films. The cast includes Jessica Chastain, Mia Wasikowska, Tom Hiddleston, and Charlie Hunnam. The first image of Jessica Chasten in Crimson Peak — in a stunning head to toe costume designed by Kate Hawley — is now available. See it below. Read More »

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