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The Year in Film: Hustle and Isolation

Last year made Academy voters feel good about themselves, but in 2013 films about the life-affirming power of love, collaboration and unity were replaced with greed, corruption and isolation.

Three very prominent winter releases were about conning the system or using it to enrich yourself. Dallas Buyers Club chronicled the true story of Ron Woodroof and his efforts to find alternative treatments for HIV. American Hustle told the tale of Irving Rosenfeld and Sydney Prosser's transition from conning the public to doing it for the FBI. Perhaps the biggest picture about corruption was Martin Scorsese's The Wolf of Wall Street based on the life of Jordan Belfort, the titular lead of the film, a man who did everything (and everyone) he could to make a name for himself.

Review: The Wolf of Wall Street

Any word synonymous with Wall Street hasn't been a friendly one for some time now. Gordon Gekko's infamous declaration that "Greed is good" sealed the fate of Wall Street brokers' reputations for good. For this reason Oliver Stone's searing indictment used to be the seminal film on the rampant greed that takes place on America's most corrupt street, but that title now belongs to The Wolf of Wall Street.

At Movie Mezzanine: History of Film - The Godfather Pt I and II

Few people could have anticipated during the course of adapting Mario Puzo’s best-sellerThe Godfatherto the big screen that it would become a lasting legacy in cinema. Forty-plus years have passed since its theatrical release, yet it stands the test of time as not only one of the greatest depictions of a crime family, but as one of the best films ever made. The audience is introduced to the Corleone family during the wedding of patriarch Vito’s only daughter. We learn something about the family members as each vignette coalesces into a portrait of organized crime. Francis Ford Coppola chronicles the ins-and-outs of the organized crime business, from Vito’s fair-handed rule over his territory to Michael’s cruel, calculating and lasting reign over New York City and eventually Nevada. When Vito bare survives an attempt on his life, the family quickly seeks to fill the power vacuum left by his absence.  Keep reading at Movie Mezzanine!

Las Vegas Film Critics Society Announces 2013 Winners

’12 Years A Slave’ has been winning a rash of critics awards the last week, and today the Las Vegas Film Critics Society joined in the fun also awarding top prize to the Fox Searchlight film along with Steve McQueen for directing and Lupita N’yongo for Supporting Actress. All total ’12 Years A Slave’ took six Sierra Awards.

'Legend of Hercules' Giveaway

"In the epic origin story THE LEGEND OF HERCULES, Kellan Lutz stars as the mythical Greek hero -- the son of Zeus, a half-god, half-man blessed with extraordinary strength. Betrayed by his stepfather, the King, and exiled and sold into slavery because of a forbidden love, Hercules must use his formidable powers to fight his way back to his rightful kingdom."

Leave a comment below and be entered to win a poster of The Legend of Hercules signed by Kellan Lutz. Only U.S. residents may enter, contest ends January 1st.

Each household is only eligible to win ONE Autographed Poster via blog reviews and giveaways. Only one entrant per mailing address per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you will not be eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

Review: Her

How difficult it must feel to be lonely surrounded in a city of 8 million people. Wrapped up in your devices, eyes glued to your shoes on a crowded street. Removing one's self from society is easier than ever in the digital age. Plug in the ear buds, tune out the crowds, bury your head in your iPad and divorce yourself from reality. Women who would be completely unattainable in person are available at the convenience of a few clicks.

Spike Jonze excels in his studies of characters that fall back in the crowd and Her is perhaps his finest entry to date. Romantic comedies are largely considered a dead genre, but Her is proof that when a romantic comedy is done well, it can be one of the finest experiences moviegoers can have in a theatre.

Review: American Hustle

Confidence is a dangerous trade. It allows people to be taken advantage of and trust to be used as a currency. Men like Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale) uses what people project on him, what big-time opportunities they want. The lies stare them right in the face, but the perks are far too much to resist. People see what they want to see. As American Hustle opens, Irving plants himself in front of a mirror and carefully crafts an image for himself, assembling his comb-over, putting on his shades and sealing the deal with a crushed velvet suit. If a con is to work, everything must be presentable.

Interstellar Trailer Debuts

Paramount and Warner Bros. made a lot of cinephiles happy today by posting the first trailer for Christopher Nolan's upcoming sci-fi Interstellar. Like the teaser trailer for Inception, very little about the film's plot or characters is made clear during the footage unveiled, but Mr. Nolan has certainly brought the "wow."

How bad should Congress feel for cutting all funding to NASA? Pretty damn awful. With any luck maybe this film will re-ignite an interest in space again.

The film stars Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Ellen Burstyn, John Lithgow, Michael Caine, Casey Affleck, Wes Bentley, Bill Irwin, Mackenzie Foy, Topher Grace and David Gyasi.

Interstellar is set to hit theatres and in IMAX November 7, 2014.

Review: Out of the Furnace

The town that Out of the Furnace takes place is one of those communities that hasn't quite died yet, but there is no hope for a future. The steelmill dominates life and once the mill closes, the outlook is grim. With few to no prospects left, locals resort to gambling and underground activities for cash. Russell Baze (Christian Bale) pushes on, working extra shifts at the mill, hoping for the best and saving for a child with his girlfriend, Lena (Zoe Saldana).

Review: Inside Llewyn Davis

Making it as a professional musician comes with its own set of challenges, namely finding that first big break. Millions chase dreams of playing music professionally, but only a precious few get to realize them. Faceless and forgotten by time, nearly all of these strugglers never get their fifteen minutes of fame.

There are the Bob Dylans and Jimi Hendrixes of the music world and then there is Llewyn Davis (Oscar Isaac). He lacks a marketable name, a shadow of mystery and the air of cool those other counter-culture artists have. The only distinctive thing about him is the black cloud that trails him everywhere he goes.

Inside Llewyn Davis follows Llewyn over the course of a week on the music scene in 1960s Greenwich Village. He carries all his possessions on his person, guitar in hand, bumming it on friend's couches around the Five Boroughs. He's staying with fellow singers Jean (Carey Mulligan) and Jim (Justin Timberlake), but that arrangement comes to a halt when Jean deliv…

At Movie Mezzanine: Why We Watch Movies

The first time I remember going to the movies was in 1994 at the age of five. It was the first outing that my sister and I were privy to that didn't involve coloring mats, kid's menus, or a playground. This was something adults got to do, this was something magical.

The Regal theatre didn't appear to be very large driving past it on the street a couple of times a week, but walking in through the entrance everything appeared larger and more grand. The lobby checkered with posters of coming attractions and standees for summer blockbusters. Four hallways led to sixteen individual screens for that weekend's exhibitions.

My father handed me my ticket and I ran quickly to hand it to the older gentleman in a red satin vest. "Is this your first show?" he asked, I nodded enthusiastically to signal yes. "Well enjoy the show" he added as he gave me the bottom half of the stub and pointed the way to the movie I was going to see, the film in question being Disn…

Review: Dallas Buyers Club

Part-time electrician and some-time bull rider Ron Woodroof (Matthew McConaughey) likes to live dangerously, indulging in cocaine, ample amounts of booze and sex with loose women. A mishap on a job scene sends him to the hospital where the news is worse than he could have possibly imagined: Ron has HIV.

His chances of survival are uncertain at best, given only thirty days to live by Dr. Sevard and Dr. Eve Saks (Jennifer Garner). Unlike most, Ron doesn't just lay back and accept his diagnosis, he rages and rebels convinced that the louder he shouts the less real his positive HIV diagnosis will be. HIV only happens to people like Rock Hudson, not him.

Review: Thor - The Dark World

2011's Thor was considered the least accessible of all the films that take place in the Marvel Cinematic Universe when it was first released, but Chris Hemsworth's burgeoning stardom and the mix of fantasy and sci-fi has coupled together for something much more intriguing for audiences this time around.

At present moment Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is busy restoring peace and order to the nine realms doing battle with Warriors Three (Ray Stevenson, Zachary Levi and Tadanobu Asano) and Sif (Jaimie Alexander). There is much merriment to be had as future king after his string of victories, but banquets bring Thor no pleasure. Odin (Anthony Hopkins) and mother Frigga (Rene Russo) hope to see their son seek marriage with Sif and take his rightful place as successor to the throne, yet they can sense that Thor's priorities lie elsewhere on Earth.

On Netflix: Serenity

Watch Haywire and other movies"Now think real hard. You been bird-doggin' this township awhile now. They wouldn't mind a corpse of you. Now, you can luxuriate in a nice jail cell, but if your hand touches metal, I swear by my pretty floral bonnet, I will end you."

And with that line my infatuation with Firefly began. The Joss Whedon series ran for only fourteen episodes, of which only eleven aired - thanks again FOX - but the devotion of Firefly fandom brought the series back to the big screen. Serenity doesn't waste time jolting off immediately with a Michael Mann-esque heist sequence. This is no ordinary robbery as there is no cash or merchandise to be had, Malcolm Reynolds' (Nathan Fillion) crew seeks only to break out River (Summer Glau). River, a recent addition to Serenity, after having her mind tampered with by the Alliance seeks only to get back to her old life with her brother Simon (Sean Maher). After rescuing River, Mal and the crew of Serenity in…

On Netflix: Hugo

Thinking of Martin Scorsese, the top five pictures that came to mind are probably violent. The living legend of cinema has made his name on gangster films such as Mean Streets, Goodfellas, Casino, Gangs of New York and The Departed, but a tale about an orphaned child in Paris wouldn't seem to be his forte. After watching Hugo, you'll know that assumption was wrong.

Scorsese's enthusiasm for the material waves a kind of spell over the audience. Aided by an excellent cast led by the vastly underrated Ben Kingsley and the two young leads (Asa Butterfield and Chloe Grace Moretz) with a great deal of potential. The director has a talent for drawing the best out of actors and he surprises no one in doing so again. What is surprising is the technical proficiency with which Scorsese wields 3D cameras. He doesn't go for the gimmicky shot, every sequence serves the story and dazzles simultaneously.

Hugo is part fiction, part history of film, and also a wonderful fantasy. Over hi…

Bring Intermissions Back

During Hollywood’s heyday in the 1930s, ’40s, and ’50s when long-form epics were all the rage, films, especially the higher-grossing ones, would run over three hours long. Lawrence of Arabia, the poster child for movies with intermissions, was aided tremendously by a break because the tonal shift between the two parts is much more jarring kept as one long piece. When I caught a revival of it a year ago, I thought, “Why can’t we still have those today?”

Of course, that film was released over 50 years ago and the time of three-hour-long period pieces is largely behind us. Intermissions no longer seemed necessary with the death of massive epics. Yet here we are in the 21st century and running times continue to crawl north of two and a half hours. This winter alone sees the release of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, The Wolf of Wall Street, and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, all of which run over 140 minutes. Couple these lengthy features with an additional 10 minutes of advertisem…

New Trailer, New Release Date for Wolf of Wall Street

Martin Scorsese has a gift for all of us this year and it comes in the form of The Wolf of Wall Street, which was rumored to be delayed until 2014, but Paramount announced today that the Leonardo DiCaprio starring feature would be released theatrically on Christmas instead.

"Revered filmmaker Martin Scorsese directs the story of New York stockbroker Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio).   From the American dream to corporate greed, Belfort goes from penny stocks and righteousness to IPOs and a life of corruption in the late 80s.  Excess success and affluence in his early twenties as founder of the brokerage firm Stratton Oakmont warranted Belfort the title – “The Wolf of Wall Street.”

Critic Speak at Movie Mezzanine

This week's Critic Speak over at Movie Mezzanine focuses on review aggregators.

Headed to the theatre this weekend? Were you intending on seeing The Counselor? Prior to purchasing tickets, I bet you logged on to Rotten Tomatoes before making the final decision. And there it sat a 35% rotten rating like a sore thumb on a new releases list with four other film deemed “fresh.” If that number dissuaded you from seeing the film then this next installment of Critic Speak is for you.

Critical debate regarding The Counselor has been raging back and forth this weekend with critics drawing lines in the sand over who “gets it” and who “hates it” with the ferocity reserved for a Lars Von Trier release. With all these feuds now is as good a time as any to address one of the stranger aspects of film criticism in the post-modern era: the obsessive pursuit of critical consensus.

Read more at Movie Mezzanine!

Another 'Blue Is the Warmest Color' Feud Breaks Out

Things have not been good with Blue is the Warmest Color since winning the Palme d’Or over the summer. Scandals about the treatment of the two lead actresses have overtaken much of the good word that was spreading around and now, with the U.S. release of the film just a day away, director Abdellatif Kechiche, has re-ignited a feud that was considered stagnant.

In a move that surprised many today, the director took out an op-ed in French publication Rue89 to accuse star Léa Seydoux of slandering him to highlight her burgeoning career.

Read the rest at Movie Mezzanine!

'12 Years' Dissenters Signal Oscar Season

It happens like clockwork every year. A film comes out of a festival sitting on a cloud boosted by the word of critics that are left speechless post screenings. The filmmakers receive standing ovations, Oscar pundits run off to their hotel rooms to write their four star reviews, and the film itself is placed front and center in movie discussions for weeks. Things look very good for that film, but then a few months later the knives come out.

Glowing reviews from August and September turn into vitriolic pissing contests where anything nice said is redacted or erased. Discussions like this just don’t make sense on an objective level, movies are an art form and deserve to be measured on their own strengths and weaknesses. Oscar backlash is hardly a new trend, yet it seems to have gotten more publicized and nastier in recent years.

Read the rest at Movie Mezzanine!

All Is Lost Movie Ticket Giveaway

PartnersHub is giving away two tickets to see J.C. Chandor's All Is Lost in theatres, all you have to do is write your own "All Is Lost" story, post it and your email in a comment below and you're entered in the contest.

Contest ends 10/25, U.S. participants only.

Each household is only eligible to win 2 Free Movie Tickets via blog reviews and giveaways. Only one entrant per mailing address per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you will not be eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

Pacific Rim Giveaway

PartnersHub and Warner Bros. are teaming up to give away a copy of Guillermo Del Toro's Pacific Rim All you have to do is take the superfan quiz in the app below and then post your results (and your email) in your comments section as a giveaway entry.

"Each household is only eligible to win 1 Pacific Rim Blu-Ray via blog reviews and giveaways. Only one entrant per mailing address per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you will not be eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification."

Contest ends Oct. 20th and is for U.S. entries only.


Review: Gravity

Space, an endless body that is both mesmerizing and terrifying in its expanse and scope. Nothing inspires more wonder in this day and age, but films have left a gap in stories that take place there. Stanley Kubrick set the bar for space exploration when he made 2001: A Space Odyssey in 1968 and very few movies have attempted to join that rarefied air since.
Alfonso Cuarón has been away from directing full-length features since 2006's Children of Men and the time he has spent away looks like it was well spent. Gravity received ecstatic reviews at screenings at the Venice and Telluride Film Festivals and all the good word rocketed up the expectations for the film in the wait for its release.
It can be safely said, that Gravity lives up to the hype.
This is Dr. Ryan Stone's (Sandra Bullock) first shuttle mission in space. She worked long and hard before making her transition from engineer to astronaut, with vet Lt. Matt Kowalski (George Clooney) joining alongside her for a repai…

Review: Rush

Formula 1 racing may not seem like something that would be Ron Howard's forte, but Howard originally cut his teeth directing features under Roger Corman on flicks like Grand Theft Auto. It is only recently that Howard has transitioned into Oscar fare like Frost/Nixon, Cinderella Man, A Beautiful Mind, but to discount his excellent genre work in The Missing and Apollo 13 would be a mistake.

When Howard is on, he's on (Best Director winner in 2002) and Rush is the director at his prime.

Formula 1 racing features 25 drivers, two of which die each season. The true story doesn't need embellishing.

Chris Hemsworth trades in a cape and hammer for a racing helmet in Ron Howard's true story of the 1970s rivalry between rivals James Hunt and Niki Lauda (Daniel Bruhl). The story details the golden age of Formula 1 racing in the 1970s in which both James Hunt and Niki Lauda risked everything (including their lives) to become world champion in the world's most dangerous sport.

Review: Prisoners

There is nothing more horrifying than having your child being taken from you. It's not just the loss of your child, but the destruction of family and the promise of the future. Few people come back whole from the experience and others wish it was them taken instead.

The recent events involving Ariel Castro sent a chill down the spines of parents everywhere and director Denis Villeneuve taps into this primal fear for his follow-up feature to 2011's Best Foreign feature nominee, Incendies. Few crimes motivate such rage and vigilante justice like child abduction and where Prisoners will tread, few may make the journey without finding darkness within themselves.

During a Thanksgiving get together between two families, a pleasant dinner shared between friends with music and football on in the background. This happy mood (the last of the film's 153 minute runtime) pocket is punctured when the unthinkable happens, both the Anna Dover and Joy Birch go missing. Keller Dover (Hugh …

Nebraska Trailer

Alexander Payne's Nebraska has debuted to good worth of mouth across the festival circuit, and today marks the first trailer for all audiences.

"After receiving a sweepstakes letter in the mail, a cantankerous father (Bruce Dern) thinks he’s struck it rich, and wrangles his son (Will Forte) into taking a road trip to claim the fortune.  Shot in black and white across four states, Nebraska tells the stories of family life in the heartland of America."

Ch Ch Ch Changes

Today marks a new day for me, I start as critics editor over at Movie Mezzanineand while this venture and my time at GotchaMovies may take some time away from NMPF, I assure everyone reading that it will be a move for the best.
Sam Fragoso and Tom Clift have been putting together a veritable who's who over at Movie Mezzanine, compiling not just great writers, but a buffet of film reviews, essays and festival coverage. It is a site worth reading (just ask the guys and gals over at The Dissolve) and if you haven't been, you can start by checking out my first post there.

It's quite safe to say that I feel a little overwhelmed by the majority of good writers there, but nothing worthwhile comes easy. Thank you all for reading and following me over the last five years.

Affleck's Batman "Tired and Weary"

Not much has been revealed about Ben Affleck's new interpretation for the upcoming Batman/Superman movie to be released in 2015, but Warner Brothers' CEO, Kevin Tsujihara, offered this tidbit to the media today.

Ben Affleck’s Batman will be “tired and weary and seasoned and been doing it for awhile,” according to Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsujihara.

Tsujihara added “We think it’s the perfect springboard for Batman and Superman. Ben is perfect for the vision Zack has for that character. The fact that you saw such a passionate response in the blogosphere is really kind of a testament to the love that people have for this character.”

Pairing off a world-weary, aged Batman against an up and coming Superman (Henry Cavill) could create an interesting dynamic, especially when it comes to combat. It sounds more and more that The Dark Knight Returns will be a key inspiration for how the Man of Steel sequel will go.

Review: Blue Jasmine

Ruthless tycoons have been a fixture in recent years with men like Bernie Madoff building corporate conglomerates with other people's money. Less seen in news coverage are the wives left behind after the arrests are made. Jasmine French serves as a challenge for Woody Allen and Cate Blanchett in basing a film around a woman who would be (rightfully) scorned by others and trying to make audiences see things from her perspective, make her feel real.

Jasmine, formerly Jeanette, lives in the lap of luxury after falling in love with Hal (Alec Baldwin) at Martha's Vineyard. Their story is a romantic one scored to "Blue Moon", as she tells it anyway. Jasmine doesn't know much of Hal's business, but she doesn't question when he presents her with papers to sign and lavish gifts. She seems set for life... until Hal winds up in prison on charges of fraud.

Jasmine sinks low and quickly after the money dries up. Left with no alternative, she moves to San Francisco wi…

2013 Fall/Winter Preview

The summer season is over and along with the changing of the leaves comes films where the third act isn't resolved by characters punching each other or a city being demolished. Studios shift from superhero origins to character studies, or message pieces that hit the sweet spot between pure entertainment and awards-bait.

This winter's offerings may not blow out your speakers or induce epilepsy, but they are thrilling in their own right.

All of these films feature A-list casts, acclaimed directors and choice scripts ranging from astronauts lost in space, a lawyer in over his head in the drug game, a corrupt Wall Street broker, a FBI sting of a New Jersey mayor, a runaway slave, and a man who chose to combat the pharmaceutical system.

Prisoners (Sept 20th)

When Keller Dover's (Hugh Jackman) daughter and her friend go missing, he takes matters into his own hands as the police pursue multiple leads and the pressure mounts. But just how far will a desperate father go to protect …

Best Movie Apps

There are about a hundred million apps available for your iPhone and other smartphones, but there are only about five that are truly deserving of your attention. For your consideration, the top five movie apps available on your phone.
Fandango Fandango is one of the best movie ticketing apps on App store that allows you to buy a tickets to any movie you want to see. Other useful features available by installing this app on your iPhone include movie trailers, clips, stills and exclusive interviews.
Movies by Flixster Flixster users can create their own lists of "must-see" movies coming soon to theaters. Watch full length trailers, catch movie showtimes, and read reviews. With reviews gathered from Rotten Tomatoes, you can pick the best movie to watch with your family or friends. 
Netflix Netflix iOS app lets you watch your favorite movies and TV shows on your iPhone or iPad. With Netflix, you can watch unlimited movies and TV shows at very low monthly subscription fee, browse y…

Hitmen Movies to Kill For

Films about assassins can sometimes be trite, but every once in a while a gem comes out. The best flicks that capture these professionals don't just feature killing machines, but fully-fleshed with motivations they keep all to themselves. These characters are fascinating with their natural charisma and yet merciless nature when dealing with others. Characters like Vincent (Tom Cruise) and Anton Chiguhr (Javier Bardem) are oddities in cinema, but their unique behavior makes for compelling viewing.

Below are ten of the best hitmen movies on Netflix and DVD.

Pulp Fiction

Jules and Vincent (Samuel L. Jackson and John Travolta) are the most memorable characters from Quentin Tarantino's touchstone Pulp Fiction, and it comes with good cause. The two enforcers keep it all interesting while they chew the fat on such philosophical topics as French names for American fast food and t.v. pilots in between laying down the law. The dialogue pops, nods to old classics are weaved throughout ev…

In An Alternate Universe...

Casting is really an underrated art in filmmaking. A movie can have everything going for it; an ace director, wonderful cinematography, and a perfect script, but the wrong actor/actress for a part can wreck havoc on the film.

With all of the uproar surrounding the casting of leads in the upcoming Batman vs. Superman and Fifty Shades of Grey, let's consider what other fan favorties could have looked like with a few tweaks.

To think, in a different world...

Bill Murray dons the cowl and cape for Tim Burton's Batman.
Silver Linings Playbook stars Vince Vaughn and Zooey Deschanel.
Tom Selleck is the famed Dr. Indiana Jones.
Val Kilmer is the one Dirty Dancing.
Sean Penn contemplates "What Would Tyler Durden Do" in Fight Club.
Ellen Page trades in a hamburger phone for a Dragon Tattoo.
Will Smith takes the red pill in The Matrix.
O.J. Simpson is The Terminator.
Michelle Pfeiffer chases down Buffalo Bill in Silence of the Lambs.
Daniel Day-Lewis takes the floor with Uma Thu…

'True Detective' Trailer

Cary Fukunaga, director of Sin NombreJane Eyre, has put something special together for HBO in 2014 and this looks like it could make the loss of Breaking Bad go a little bit easier.
True Detetctive stars Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey and looks like it could rival David Fincher's Zodiac for a tale of the long, cold road some officers have to walk before they can find peace. The look on Matthew McConaughey's face toward the end of the trailer suggests that some men may never find it at all.
True Detective hits HBO in January 2014.

New Stills from 'Foxcatcher'

Prior to Foxcatcher's debut at AFI Fest on November 8th, Sony Pictures Classics released two new photos from the upcoming Bennett Miller film starring Steve Carell, Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo.

Foxcatcher depicts the insane, true story about the relationship between millionaire John duPont (Carell) and Olympic Wrestling Champion brothers, Mark and Dave Schultz. Mark (Tatum) sees a way out from the shadow of his more celebrated wrestling brother Dave (Ruffalo) and a life of poverty when he is summoned by eccentric multi-millionaire John du Pont (Carell) to move onto his estate and train for the 1988 Seoul Olympics.



The film also stars Sienna Miller, Vanessa Redgrave, and Anthony Michael Hall.

Foxcatcher hits theaters on December 20th.

For Your Consideration: James Franco

It is tradition in Hollywood to take out glossy, half-page ads in Variety and other trade papers to garner awards buzz. Actors and actresses are asked to be gracious and humble during that process, James Franco has other ideas.

To promote Franco's performances as Alien in Harmony Korine's Spring Breakers, A24 has put out a banner emblazoned with "CONSIDER THIS SH*T" in bold neon pink as Mr. Franco holds Oscar statues in eachhand. An A24 spokesperson said of the ad, "James Franco has created a character so indelible it deserves recognition. We are excited to be able to support it with a campaign and know the impact of Allen will last far past this awards season."

When prompted about the colorful language, the spokesperson responded, "We plan to create an awards campaign that is thematically consistent with the film itself."

Bold move, Franco. We'll see how the awards blogosphere responds.

Hayao Miyazaki to Retire from Directing

Not so great news comes our way from Venice today, reports are circulating that Hayao Miyazaki will be retiring from feature directing. The news was announced at the Venice Film Festival, where his latest film The Wind Rises is in competition. The statement regarding Miyazaki's retirement came from Studio Ghibli president Hoshino Koji instead of Miyazaki himself.

Seeing a legend of cinema go before he has to is always sad, but keep in mind that Miyazaki has said he would be retiring from directing once before, so this could prove to be premature. Couple that with the announcement specifically wording that he was retiring from directing and creating other works or producing features could still be in the cards.

The Wind Rises hits theatres September 28th.

'All Is Lost' Poster Drops

J.C. Chandor's All Is Lost gets checked out by quite a few critics at Telluride Film Festival this week and along with that receives a theatrical one-sheet. There isn't much to the poster, just star Robert Redford, his boat and some very bad weather coming his way.

The minimalist poster fits the film perfectly and should give audiences an idea of what to expect: dialogue is virtually nil and Redford will be putting on a one-man show with no supporting performances to back him up. It's a risky move this late in Redford's career, but it should be a thrill to watch.

All Is Lost hits theatres October 18th.

Telluride 40th Film Festival Lineup

The Telluride Film Festival starts tomorrow and for the past few months the lineup was a complete mystery. Telluride has a tradition of keeping critics and attendees in the dark until the last moment and today they revealed their slate of this year's contenders.

Top mentions include: Cannes winner Abdellatif Kechiche‘s Blue Is The Warmest Color, Alfonso Cuaron's Gravity, Jason Reitman‘s Labor Day, Asghar Farhadi’s The Past, Ralph Fiennes‘ The Invisible Woman, Jonathan Glazer’s Under the Skin and documentaries from Errol Morris (The Unknown Known), Werner Herzog (Death Row: Blaine Milam and Robert Fratta). With the aforementioned list of films, I think it's safe to say that this is a solid group, most notable among the pictures being J.C. Chandor's All Is Lost, the Coens' Inside Llewyn Davis and Alexander Payne's Nebraska — all big coups for Telluride considering those three pictures will not be making it to Toronto International Film Fest this year.

Along with …

Gravity Receives Raves from Venice Film Fest

There are only five weeks left before Alfonso Cuaron's Gravity hits theatres and the early word from critics at the Venice Film Festival is that it's a sure-fire hit. Test screenings that took place last year were also positive, but know that the film is complete the good word has turned into universal praise from all that have seen it.

The critics are in agreement that Gravity is a technical marvel thanks to some stunning camerawork from cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki (Tree of Life) that could warrant a trip to an IMAX theatre near you. It's not just the cinematography and effects that are drawing good word though, Sandra Bullock's performance as Ryan Stone is right up there as a career best.

Varietys Justin Chang said:

"Suspending viewers alongside Bullock for a taut, transporting 91 minutes (with George Clooney in a sly supporting turn), the director’s long-overdue follow-up to Children of Men is at once a nervy experiment in blockbuster minimalism and a fil…

Dallas Buyer's Club Trailer

Following the success of his roles in Killer JoeMagic MikeMud, it seems like the man who couldn't escape romantic comedies has an upcoming slate that most actors would kill for. After Dallas Buyer's Club, he has The Wolf of Wall Street and Interstellar on his plate. Pretty nice for a guy who was only remembered for being shirtless there for a while.
Dallas Buyer's Club tells the story of Ron Woodroof, a Texas man diagnosed with HIV in the early days of the disease. Desperate to live and running out of time, he finds alternative treatments from other countries, and eventually smuggles them into the country to share with a “buyers club” of other HIV-positive people.

Dallas Buyers Club lands in theaters November 1, 2013.

Review: The World's End

As the Cornetto Trilogy draws near an end, let us take a moment to appreciate how we got here. Before Simon Pegg was a key fixture in massive studio properties like Mission Impossible and Star Trek, he caught on as a layabout, who played video games with his buddy Ed (Nick Frost) before the impending zombie apocalypse. Ten years later and the smashing success of 2004's Shaun of the Dead and 2007's Hot Fuzz have brought Pegg, Frost and Edgar Wright to the mainstream.

As we gather to say goodbye to the wild romps that Wright, Pegg and Frost are known for there is only one question. Will their third feature come out on top?

Gary (Simon Pegg, taking his lead in a different direction this time) was an "outlaw" in high-school, his trademark black duster alerting everyone that he was on the scene. Gary wasn't really liked then and he certainly isn't now as a wayward 40 year old still rebelling against the system.

There was a time though when people did like him, tw…

Affleck to Take On Superman in Batman vs Superman

You heard it right, Warner Bros. announced today that Ben Affleck has signed on to be the new Batman in the upcoming Batman vs Superman film. Affleck is the sixth man to don the cape and cowl after Bale, Clooney, Kilmer, Keaton and West on the big-screen. This comes as a bit of a surprise as Affleck's name wasn't mentioned in the rumor mill along with Josh Brolin, Jon Hamm and Armie Hammer.

When asked to speak about the casting, director Zack Snyder said this:

“Ben provides an interesting counter-balance to Henry’s Superman. He has the acting chops to create a layered portrayal of a man who is older and wiser than Clark Kent and bears the scars of a seasoned crime fighter, but retain the charm that the world sees in billionaire Bruce Wayne,” Snyder said in a statement. “I can’t wait to work with him.”

When the news of a Superman/Batman team-up was leaked during Comic-Con, I don't think anyone anticipated the former Daredevil stepping in for the job. And while Affleck's ca…

Steve Carell in Foxcatcher

Steve Carell hasn't gotten a chance to really convince audiences that he can separate himself from Michael Scott, but in Bennett Miller's upcoming Foxcatcher. The film depicts the insane, true story about the relationship between millionaire John duPont (Carell) and Olympic Wrestling Champion brothers, Mark and Dave Schultz (Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo). duPont is a dark role and one that could make moviegoers see Carell in a brand new light (aided by Carell's undergoing a transformation to embody the part).

Source: EW

Muses and Maestros: Depp and Burton

Part three of a series about the most talented pairings of filmmakers today. On deck: Johnny Depp and Tim Burton.

The players: Johnny Depp and Tim Burton

The works: Edward Scissorhands, Ed Wood, Sleepy Hollow, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Corpse Bride, Sweeney Todd, Alice in Wonderland, and Dark Shadows

While Johnny Depp's status as a leading man hasn't been a question since Pirates of the Caribbean launched him into the A-list stratosphere, Depp wouldn't have gotten that far without Tim Burton. The two started working together in 1990 after Burton's huge success with Batman turned into creative freedom for pictures like Edward Scissorhands. When that quirky tale of a young orphan turned into a big hit, a creative partnership was born.

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Review: The Wolverine

Wolverine has fallen on some hard times with his last two endeavors in cineplexes. While X-Men: The Last Stand and X-Men Origins: Wolverine were both financial successes, but left the most famous X-man feeling stagnant. Expectations were raised temporarily when it was announced that Darren Aronofsky would be directing the next feature, based on Chris Claremont and Frank Miller's acclaimed graphic novel that sets Logan in Japan.

Aronofsky ultimately dropped out, but James Mangold (3:10 to Yuma and Walk the Line) stepped in. With that, the tide turned on the sequel and audiences were low on The Wolverine. So when James Mangold put something together that looked and felt like a character study, it was a very pleasant surprise in a season (with exception to a few indies) that has thrown out more sequels and franchise add-ons than it knows what to do with.

The Wolverine picks up some time after the events of The Last Stand, and Logan (Hugh Jackman), racked with guilt after having to k…