Gravity

The British Academy of Film and Television Arts unveiled the winners of their 2014 awards this weekend, just two weeks ahead of the Academy Awards. The biggest winner of the night was Gravity, which took home six awards, but Best Film remained out of Alfonso Cuarón‘s grasp. That prize went instead to 12 Years a Slave, which secured only one other win last night, for lead actor Chiwetel Ejiofor.

Elsewhere, American Hustle, widely considered this season’s other Best Picture frontrunner, nabbed three prizes including one for supporting actress Jennifer Lawrence. The corresponding male category offered perhaps the biggest surprise of the night — a win for Captain Phillips‘ Barkhad Abdi, who beat out the likes of Bradley Cooper and Michael Fassbender

Hit the jump for the list of winners.

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bill-murray-monuments-men

Here’s a cheeky sales pitch for George Clooney‘s new film The Monuments Men, which features Clooney, Matt Damon, Bill Murray, Cate Blanchett, Jean Dujardin, Bob Balaban, Hugh Bonneville, and John Goodman as a crew of art guys and their associates who seek to rescue priceless cultural artifacts from Hitler’s war machine. The ads we’ve seen so far were the conventional sort. Now there’s an ad in the old newsreel style (well, very vaguely in the style), which along with the website SupportTheMonumentsMen.com tells you a bit about the film and the people that inspired it. Read More »

How to Train Your Dragon 2 poster header

By the time How to Train Your Dragon 2 comes out, over four years will have passed since the first How to Train Your Dragon hit theaters. And rather than sit idly on the shelf waiting for DreamWorks Animation to bring them back, Hiccup (Jay Baruchel), Toothless, and the rest of their companions have spent the interim growing up.

Since Hiccup revealed the truth about dragons, the flying fire-breathers have been welcomed by the people of Berk, and Hiccup and Toothless’s bond with each other has only deepened. Oh, and Hiccup has “Neville Longbottom-ed” us all by growing from a hopelessly gawky boy into a handsome man. All in all, life looks pretty good.

But the sequel has to have a story, and a story has to have a conflict. So some kind of trouble is brewing for the pair, as you can see in the trailer after the jump.

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Casey Affleck / Michael B Jordan / Chiwetel Ejiofor

Three of this year’s hottest stars are teaming up for director John Hillcoat. Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael B. Jordan, and Casey Affleck have just boarded Hillcoat’s crime drama Triple Nine, joining the previously announced Christoph Waltz and Cate Blanchett.

That’s a cast to rival Hillcoat’s last star-studded affair, the bootlegging pic Lawless. Which is really saying something, since the roster for that one included Tom Hardy, Jason Clarke, Mia Wasikowska, Jessica Chastain, Dane DeHaan, and Guy Pearce. More about Triple Nine, including Ejiofor, Jordan, and Affleck’s roles, after the jump.

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Cate Blanchett

Cate Blanchett has rightly been acclaimed for her work in front of the camera, but now she’ll step behind the camera for a change. The Oscar-nominated actress is set to make her feature directorial debut with The Dinner, a psychological thriller based on Herman Koch‘s novel of the same title. Oren Moverman (The Messenger) is writing the script. Hit the jump for plot details and more.

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monuments-men-2

Here’s the first trailer from The Monuments Men, the new film from director George Clooney. It’s based on a true story, and features Clooney and Matt Damon as two members of a team that ran through the battlefields of World War II trying to save art from destruction by various war machines. As Clooney’s character says in the trailer, ”if you destroy an entire generation of people’s culture, it’s as if they never existed.”

It’s a noble purpose, and since these guys weren’t soldiers — they were museum directors, curators, and art historians — there’s some opportunity for comedy, too. That’s why the rest of the cast includes actors like John Goodman, Bob Balaban, Bill Murray, Cate Blanchett, Jean Dujardin, and Hugh Bonneville.

Check out the footage below.

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The Turning

Omnibus films are tricky beasts. Their very structure tends to make them wildly uneven, particularly if the director and stars change between each segment. But even if the occasional dud is all but unavoidable, a couple of really great pieces can make the whole thing worth watching.

The Turning consists of seventeen interconnected shorts, each based on the short story collection of the same title by Aussie author Tim Winton. It’s too early to tell if any of them are any good, but the ambition on display, at least, is admirable. The director and star lineup is intriguing as well. Mia Wasikowska and David Wenham are among those behind the camera, and Cate Blanchett, shows up as the lead of one chapter, with Rose Byrne, Hugo Weaving, Richard Roxburgh, and Miranda Otto also playing roles. Check out the first trailer after the jump.

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Blue Jasmine (header)

How many career resurgences has Woody Allen had at this point? I’ve lost track, but we’re square in the middle of one now, kicked off with the career-topping success of his 2011 release Midnight in Paris. His new film, Blue Jasmine, stars Cate Blanchett as “a New York housewife struggling through a life crisis.” That sounds middling to dire until you see what Blanchett is doing with it — she’s entitled and insufferable, but ragged and clearly, if comically, worn down to a nub.

This trailer introduces her character, and the sister (Sally Hawkins) who takes her into her San Francisco home when Jasmine’s husband (Alec Baldwin) turns out to be less than an upstanding dude. Bobby Cannavale, Louis C.K., Andrew Dice Clay, Peter Sarsgaard, and Michael Stuhlbarg also star; you’ll only get a glimpse of Louis C.K. here, but he seems to be playing a suitor for Hawkins.

Check out the trailer below. Read More »

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