The Best Performances of 2014

Selma trailer

The right director and the right script don’t mean anything without the right actor. Performers are the ones who bridge the gap between the minds behind the camera and the ones in front of the screen. It is their personalities that draw us in, their expressions that tell the story, and their faces that we remember.

There were no shortage of great performances this year, across all genres and all budgets. Inevitably, a few stood out above the rest. See our list of the best performances of 2014 after the jump. Read More »

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empirestrikesbackbook

The things fans love about The Empire Strikes Back are not things present in a live read: John Williams unbelievable score, the breathtaking action set pieces, and locations like Hoth, Dagobah and Cloud City. At a live read, it’s just the actors, the script, a few images and the audience. As a massive Star Wars fan that was my big concern going into the latest Jason Reitman Live Read, presented by Film Independent. Would The Empire Strikes Back hold up without so much of what makes it great?

The answer, as you’d expect, isn’t that straightforward.

Below, read all about The Empire Strikes Back Live Read which not only featured Ellen Page as Han Solo and Aaron Paul as Luke Skywalker, but also Mark Hamill in a special appearance reading the Emperor, Boba Fett and Obi-wan Kenobi roles. Read More »

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 »

Hobbit Battle of the Five Armies review

Note: This review originally ran on December 9. We’ve republished now that The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies is in theaters.

Every time Peter Jackson returns to Middle Earth, we expect something special. All of his Lord of the Rings films got Best Picture nominations and while The Hobbit films haven’t lived up to the achievement of the first three movies, they’ve had their moments. In my reviews of An Unexpected Journey, and The Desolation of Smaug I found things to like about each film, despite their flaws.

So, following the trajectory of the first trilogy, I hoped The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies would be the best of the bunch. Imagine my disappointment to find out it was the opposite. Below, read our Hobbit The Battle of the Five Armies review. Read More »

The Interview pulled

Tuesday, the hackers that exposed Sony’s internal workings went a step further and issued a big threat, invoking 9/11 in a statement that promised action against theaters showing The Interview. But the Department of Homeland Security — a group that really doesn’t mess around when it comes to this sort of thing — said there was no credible information to indicate an actual threat. Sony was fairly magnanimous about the situation, saying it would allow theaters to make the decision to show the film or not, even if bookings had already been locked in.

Last night Carmike Cinemas and Bow Tie Cinemas pulled the film, and today in a precedent-setting move, the five major theater chains in the US and Canada all dropped The Interview.

Update: Sony is now considering a VOD release of the film; more info below.

Update #2: Sony has canceled the December theatrical release of The Interview. Full statement below.

Update #3: Sony has now confirmed they have “no further release plans” for the film while American Intelligence has officially linked North Korea to the Sony hack. Details below.

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YouTube Most Watched Trailers Of 2014

We saw some pretty major trailers in 2014. There were trailers for sequels 10, 20, even 30 years in the making; ones for mysterious passion projects; and trailers for adaptations of beloved books. But only one trailer gets to be the most major trailer of 2014. And it’s probably not the one you think it is.

The top movie might surprise you because its not Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Which movie trailer tops the YouTube Most Watched Trailers Of 2014 list? Find out after the jump.

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Joss Whedon Avengers 2 set interview

On June 12th 2014, I visited the London set of Avengers: Age of Ultron. In October, we posted our on set interviews with Mark Ruffalo and Robert Downey JrToday we’ve been given the green light to publish our interview with Avengers series director Joss Whedon. Here is a short snippet from Joss explaining why he decided to come back for the sequel:

I didn’t actually want to make the film necessarily. I was ragged from the first one, and so I just turned off my brain. I was like, do not think of cool ideas for the next one. Just get through this. But after a few months when they talked about, um… This is now something that makes sense in my life; do I have anything to say? And so my agent calls, I was in London, and he called me and said there’s a deal that’s worth talking about- time to start to think about whether there’s a movie. And I’m going, all right. I went to a pub and sat down with my notebook, and about forty-five minutes later, my notebook was filled. And I texted my agent “yup” and I have so many things to say and I was kind of surprised. It took me unaware. It was very beautiful.

Read our whole Joss Whedon Avengers 2 set interview after the jump.

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Hollywood Heist Movies

Everyone in Hollywood is always chasing the next big trend, and here at /Film we like identifying and watching the hot new trends of the industry. (And, yeah, sometimes complaining about or praising them). We’ve recently noticed that dozens of heist films are gearing up to flood the marketplace over the next few years. From critically acclaimed directors like Steve McQueen, Matt Reeves and John Hillcoat, to big screen sequels, comedy films, Marvel and Star Wars movies and even computer animated children’s films, it seems like almost every studio is working to develop and produce a heist film.

I’ve compiled a list of all the Hollywood heist movies currently being worked on which either have major cast, producer or studio attachment, and ranked the ideas from worst to best.

Read More »

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