Mike Nichols, Director of ‘The Graduate’, Has Died

Mike Nichols directing Closer

Mike Nichols, the award-winning director of films such as The Graduate, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, and Working Girl, has died. No cause of death has been given. He was 83. He is survived by his wife, ABC News Anchor Diane Sawyer, as well as three children and four grandchildren.

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50 Great Films You Should See From 2014

great films from 2014

2014 has been an amazing year for movies, but it’s easy to be overwhelmed by the number of films being released. With VOD and digital viewing options starting to gain ground on traditional theatrical distribution, there’s more to watch than ever before. When compiling the list, Peter, Angie, Germain and I easily came up with a raw list of about 100 movies, and that’s while feeling there’s still a lot we have to see.

The great news is that many of these films are excellent. The bad news is that the biggest films can drown out everything else. Most movies don’t have a Marvel Studios ad budget; many come and go in a matter of weeks. Sure, they end up on disc, VOD and Netflix soon, but there they join thousands of other options. So here’s a list of 50 great films from 2014 you should see, drawn from the independent circuit and from foreign releases with independent US release.

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Inherent Vice movie review

Paul Thomas Anderson never ceases to amaze. He makes a rain of frogs look plausible, turns Adam Sandler into an actor, and makes an iconic image out of drinking milkshakes. He’s always doing something surprising and wonderful. Anderson’s latest film, Inherent Vice, is two hours of those moments loosely strung together with a detective narrative.

Based on the novel by Thomas Pynchon, Inherent Vice stars Joaquin Phoenix as Doc, a ratty detective whose mysterious ex-girlfriend Shasta (Katherine Waterston) asks for help with a supposed plot against her new squeeze. Doc obliges, as Doc does with many people in the film, but the movie never really cares about solving this mystery. It’s more interested in Doc’s pot-infused, Choose Your Own Adventure lifestyle where he says “yes” to everything and takes the ride that follows.

That ride introduces some absolutely insane, memorable characters played by the likes of Josh Brolin, Martin Short, Reese Withersooon, Owen Wilson, Benicio Del Toro, Eric Roberts, Maya Rudolph and Jena Malone, all of whom pop in and out of Doc’s life on a whim. Some play significant roles, others do not, but Inherent Vice isn’t a movie about connecting these points. It’s pretty much just about the trip.

Inherent Vice had its Los Angeles Premiere at the AFI Fest presented by Audi and you can continue reading our Inherent Vice movie review below.

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Movies Being Adapted Into TV Shows

TV companies are going crazy trying to mine film libraries for the next big television series, because why come up with an original untested idea without an established brand name title, right? I almost included the movie to television series trend in my 9 Current Movie and Television Trends I Hate article last month, but I decided it was too soon to make that judgement.

While I’m already tired of seeing the announcements, I really loved Fargo (and I really mean LOVED — it’s my favorite television series of the year), I’m still enjoying Friday Night Lights/Parenthood showrunner Jason Katims‘ About a Boy, and I know many people who really dig Hannibal, Bates Motel, and From Dusk till Dawn: The Series. So it’s hard for me to condemn it at this point.  And yes there are also GothamConstantine and Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., but I consider those shows comic book adaptations.

You might be shocked to learn that there are currently over 30 television shows in development right now based on big screen movies. Which are good ideas? Which sound horrible? After the jump, I attempt to rank all of the movies being adapted into TV shows, by concept from worst to most promising ideas.

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Let’s Talk About the Ending of ‘Birdman’

birdman

Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Birdman is one of the most technically dazzling and thematically ambitious films of the year. With an all-star cast and some spectacular digital effects to make the film seem like it was done in one long continuous shot, Birdman is stuffed to the gills with ideas and importance. This movie doesn’t just want to make you feel something, it wants to say something about humanity and stardom and the inner lives of celebrities and the “cultural genocide” that superhero films have wrought upon us.

But what was up with that ending? Let’s explore. Massive spoilers for Birdman follow.
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Who is daniel bruhl playing in captain america

Marvel announced last week that Inglourious Basterds star Daniel Brühl would be joining Captain America: Civil War. That in itself is big news, because Brühl is a great actor and we’re always happy to see him. But what really got fans buzzing was Marvel’s decision not to offer any hints whatsoever abut his role. That opened the door to a whole lot of guesses, some more out there than others, and we got to wondering whether Marvel might be keeping his character a secret for a reason.

Officially, the studio has said only that Brühl would appear in Captain America: Civil War and that they’re excited about his “ability to deliver intense, nuanced performances.” However, the trades soon reported that Brühl would be playing a villain (though maybe not the main villain), and that he could return in Doctor Strange as the big bad for that film. So who is Daniel Bruhl playing in Captain America: Civil War, really? Hit the jump for our best guesses.

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Dreamworks-Hasbro Merger

Yesterday news broke that DreamWorks Animation had entered merger talks with toy-maker Hasbro. If the merger happens, DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffery Katzenberg would head the new single-family entertainment company known as DreamWorks-Hasbro. I’m surprised something like this hasn’t happened sooner as the combination seems oh-so-obvious. But Hasbro isn’t just a toy company, it has quite a few brands of its own that a company such as DreamWorks Animation could leverage into big screen computer animated features. Which movies could work under the new company? Which movies don’t we want to see from the Dreamworks-Hasbro merger? Find out after the jump.

Update: It’s entirely possible that the merger won’t happen, as Hasbo’s stock price tumbled when word of the possible merger went public. THR and Deadline both report that merger talks are off, though there is caution that talks could be revived if a different valuation of Dreamworks Animation is floated as part of the merger. We’ll still present our list below, and if talks re-open, we’ll report back.

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There's Something About Mary - farrelly brothers films ranked

Bobby Farrelly and Peter Farrelly, better known as The Farrelly Brothers, are responsible for some of the biggest and most quotable comedies of the past twenty years. This week, they’re making their first sequel, which also brings them back to the film that made them famous: Dumb and Dumber. Dumb and Dumber To reunites Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels as idiots Lloyd Christmas and Harry Dunne, and in so doing almost brings twenty years of comedy full circle.

To celebrate the release of Dumb and Dumber To, we’re ranked all 12 directorial efforts of the Farrelly Brothers. Theirs is a career that started with a bang and has since slowed down a bit. Still, their work is an impressive collection of films with unique and innovative plots.

Below, read our ranking of the films of the Farrelly Brothers. Read More »

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