Let's Go to the Movies with Patton Oswalt

Plenty of comedians reference pop culture, but few are better at actually talking about pop culture than Patton Oswalt. Whether he’s taking George Lucas to task or imagining a Star Wars / Marvel mega-crossover, his affection for all things geeky comes through loud and clear.

Now, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is taking advantage of his film knowledge with a new web series called Let’s Go to the Movies with Patton Oswalt. In the first episode, he’s given the opportunity to screen any movie from the Academy Film Archive. He chooses to watch the 1961 noir Blast of Silence with his friend, comedian Karen Kilgariff. Afterward, they head to the thematically appropriate Shaky Alibi cafe to discuss it.

Watch their delightful conversation after the jump.

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Oscars 2014 ad

In truth, it’s a bit early to be thinking about the Oscars. The awards ceremony isn’t for another two and a half months, and nominations won’t even be announced for another month. Heck, nominations voting doesn’t even begin for another few days. But when the first promo for the event is this charming, it’s tough to complain much.

Set to Fitz and The Tantrums‘ “The Walker,” the spot has Oscar host Ellen DeGeneres getting dressed and then sashaying down a studio street with 250 dancers behind her. Paul Feig directed, I suppose because he’s currently the go-to guy for anything funny that stars a woman. Hit the jump to watch the trailer.

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Seth MacFarlane Won’t Host 2014 Oscars

Seth MacFarlane

Seth MacFarlane‘s performance as Oscar host drew polarized reactions, but it was a proven success in at least one respect. The Family Guy funnyman managed to boost the ratings among audiences in general and younger viewers in particular, just as the Academy had hoped.

The organization was so happy with how things turned out, in fact, that they got producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron back on board for next year’s festivities. Naturally, talk that MacFarlane could also return sprung up shortly afterward. However, MacFarlane has now spoken up (again) to say he will not host again — though he has one idea about who should replace him. Hit the jump to read his comments.

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Seth MacFarlane Asked to Return as Oscar Host?

Seth MacFarlane

The 2013 Oscar ceremony had plenty of fans and detractors alike, but the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has firmly aligned themselves with the former camp. Producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron have already been set to return, in an unusually early decision, and now the word is they’re eager to get host Seth MacFarlane back as well. Hit the jump to keep reading.

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If you liked the Oscars this year, as produced by Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, you’re in luck. The two have been hired to produce next year’s telecast as well. Does this mean we can expect even more celebration of Chicago?

This is a slightly unusual move, as the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences usually chooses Oscar producers after the new AMPAS president takes over in July. (The position is held for one year, but individuals can be elected to up to four consecutive terms.) But current president Hawk Koch floated the idea of re-hiring Zadan and Meron, saying “We believe that continuity is the most important thing. One of the problems we have every year is that you always have a new producer and a new host — there’s so much learning. It’s so much better when you have continuity.”

Host Seth MacFarlane has said he doesn’t want to return, but the re-hire of Zadan and Meron suggests that the Academy is quite happy with this past show, which means we might see an overture towards MacFarlane to don the tux once more. Read More »

Twenty-three days into the month of January, Michael Moore is getting proactive about his New Year’s resolution: he wants one screen in every multiplex in America reserved for foreign films and documentaries. So, how’s your newly implemented exercise regime going so far, everybody? Here’s Moore…

“People want to see documentaries, but there’s a disconnect between that desire and the exhibitors out there,” Moore tells the Hollywood Reporter. “We’re not asking for charity. …This could be on the 15th screen of a multiplex that would otherwise have the sixth showing of the new Harry Potter movie. Some of these films make $200 or $300 per screen.”

If you’re saying to yourself, “Well Michael, I’d like to see that too, and I’d also like to see my college loans turn into Ferraris,” you should know that Moore says he’s spoken to board members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences as well as unnamed documentary directors, industry publicists and marketers in hopes of setting his resolution in motion. His next step is to sit down with the heads of theater chains to get down to what a QT character might call brass tax. No word on whether he’ll sit down with a video camera on his shoulder, but I’d say one of his trusty hats is a lock for a cameo.

And hey, if the theater chains’ top suits won’t give him one screen per cineplex, he says Mondays, which draw reliably weak box office, are ideal common ground. Who else sees Mark Cuban getting involved in this shortly, because I’m getting visions like The Dead Zone? Moore’s ultimate goal is to see foreign films and documentaries unleashed from the “art house ghetto” and into the glorious pits of suburbia, where Diablo Cody once wrote the script to Juno inside a Starbucks nestled inside a Target (or so she says, I’ll go ahead and save you the comment, thanks).

Now, I think Moore’s mission is commendable. My mom needs something to do on Monday nights besides calling me up to fuss over election coverage and personally I don’t give a damn what Hollywood Elsewhere spews, Americans are more open to indie films and foreign films than ever. Unfortunately (but semi-fortunately), the torrent boom plays a huge part in this, but I’ll save that aspect for another post that is a longtime coming. But, yes, the distribution is out-of-whack, too. If Sicko, Moore’s doc about the health-care crisis in America, can gross $25 million, his ideas on documentary and indie distribbing deserve to be heard and pondered. Imagine Tony Kaye’s Lake of Fire playing five miles away from you next Monday.

There is nothing like walking out of a movie into the night and hitting an aloof stride on the parking lot with a wedgie in your ideologies. To adjust or not to adjust. That is the question we need more of.