29 October 2013

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.”

28 October 2013

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!

24 October 2013

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!

15 October 2013

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.

11 October 2013

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.


04 October 2013

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 repair job.

"It's beautiful don't you think" Matt asks as they go on a seemingly routine spacewalk. Ryan looks at the job with clinical detachment, acknowledging only her tasks when in the suit. She finds solace in her work in the silence of space, whereas Kowalski and other members of Explorer take glee in experiencing space first-hand.

The glee will be short-lived. An incoming warning from Houston halts their work: an exploding Russian satellite launches an onslaught of debris flying at them at frightening speeds. Stone, Kowalski and Sharif must abort the mission immediately to get inside if they have any hope of avoiding the wreckage.

Disaster strikes before they can really react and the shower of debris shower collides into the ship destroying the Explorer and stranding Stone and Kowalski completely alone in space. There are no links to Mission Control in Houston and the chances of rescue are slim as every panicked gulp of air leaves precious little oxygen remaining in Ryan's tank.

The film begins with a masterful continuous shot that runs the duration of the thrilling opening sequence. Few movies can get away with that little rapid-fire editing in the ADD age and even fewer attempt to do so with a hovering camera lingering next to characters. Emmanuel Lubezki, known for his spectacular work in Tree of Life and Children of Men, makes excellent use of a multitude of wide angle shots to convey the massive scope of space where everything moves in visual poetry.

Cuarón acknowledges the razor-thin room for error there is with audiences suspending disbelief so Gravity plays by the rules of reality. No deus ex machina rescues, no seemingly invincible characters, only astronauts left in a dangerous scenario. The film also abides by the lack of sound in space and with the exception of Steven Price's score, silence is deafening throughout the runtime of Gravity, each moment punctuated by Ryan's hurried breaths and gasps.

What could be casually dismissed as merely a roller coaster ride—the 3D does place viewers right in the chaos—goes deeper than all that. Much like the project that Alfonso Cuarón had to drop due to scheduling conflicts (2012's Life of Pi), this is a testament to the determination to live, even when life has lost some of its luster.

A lot is asked of Sandra Bullock and she delivers without fail. Any hint of emotional dishonesty could have sunk not only her performance, but the whole film as well. Fortunately, she withstands it all with authenticity and courage. Dr. Ryan Stone is one of the finer female characters to grace the screen in a decade where there are few.

Gravity is an ambitious project on a scale that is not seen much anymore, and watching Cuarón and Bullock succeed on an IMAX screen is a joy worth reveling in.