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Monthly Archives: January 2016

What Has Everyone Buzzing About “Birth of a Nation”?

With every great event comes a highlight moment or situation and for Sundance 2016 that highlight was the record setting deal Fox Searchlight made for Nate Parker’s passion project about revolted slave Nat Turner. Parker directed, wrote, produced, and starred in this indie hit and was lauded for all the above. Since then, it has won all the big awards at Sundance and will likely be the film audiences flock to once it gets a wide release in theaters.

The hot topic of discussion in Hollywood is the lack of opportunities for minorities to shine and showcase their all around talents and with Birth of a Nation, people are quickly figuring out this could be one of the many keys that unlocks the issue at hand.

Nate Parker has been around long enough to know how Hollywood works and his skills as an actor are highly underrated. A commanding presence on screen and a class act off screen makes him endlessly likable with the leading man qualities you’d think studios are looking for, but it is only in the indie circuit and the backing of other black film makers – Denzel Washington and Gina Prince Bythwood – has he been able to showcase what he is really made of. Beyond his roles in The Great Debaters and Beyond the Lights, Parker has been stuck in the same trap that actors like Ryan Reynolds or Gerard Butler have fallen into which is being incredibly talented leading men who can’t seem to get consistently good leading roles in good movies.

With Birth of a Nation getting the attention it likely deserves it proves that all it takes for more diversity to occur in Hollywood is recognition and for them to be given more chances.

SAG Awards: Big Winners Could Determine Oscars, Diversity Reigns

The Screen Actors Guild Award is one of largest and most respected awards and award shows out there behind the Oscars and possibly the Director’s Guild of America, but the SAG got a message I think the rest of Hollywood will be reacting to more rapidly than ever. Harping on the diversity subject doesn’t seem as necessary this time around – assuming you guys have had discussions over it – and I think we will just let the award winners speak for themselves. Keep in mind that the SAG Awards tend to be the precursor to the winners at the Academy Awards…

Note: The SAG’s also do television in case you were wondering.

Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
Beasts of No Nation
The Big Short

Straight Outta Compton

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role in a Theatrical Motion Picture
Bryan Cranston, Trumbo
Johnny Depp, Black Mass
Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant
Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs
Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role in a Theatrical Motion Picture
Cate Blanchett, Carol
Brie Larson, Room
Helen Mirren, Woman in Gold
Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn
Sarah Silverman, I Smile Back

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role
Christian Bale, The Big Short
Idris Elba, Beasts of No Nation
Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies
Michael Shannon, 99 Homes
Jacob Tremblay, Room

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role
Rooney Mara, Carol
Rachel McAdams, Spotlight
Hellen Mirren, Trumbo
Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl
Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series
Downton Abbey
Game of Thrones
House of Cards
Mad Men

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series
The Big Bang Theory
Key & Peele
Modern Family
Orange Is the New Black

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series
Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones
Jon Hamm, Mad Men
Rami Malek, Mr. Robot
Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul
Kevin Spacey, House of Cards

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series
Claire Danes, Homeland
Viola Davis, How to Get Away with Murder
Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife
Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey
Robin Wright, House of Cards

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series
Ty Burrell, Modern Family
Louis C.K., Louie
William H. Macy, Shameless
Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory
Jeffrey Tambor, Transparent

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series
Uzo Aduba, Orange Is the New Black
Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie
Ellie Kemper, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries
Idris Elba, Luther
Ben Kingsley, Tut
Ray Liotta, Texas Rising
Bill Murray, A Very Murray Christmas
Mark Rylance, Wolf Hall

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries
Nicole Kidman, Grace of Monaco
Queen Latifah, Bessie
Christina Ricci, The Lizzie Borden Chronicles
Susan Sarandon, The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe
Kristen Wiig, The Spoils Before Dying

Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture
Furious 7
Jurassic World
Mad Max: Fury Road
Mission: Impossible
Rogue Nation

Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Comedy or Drama Series
The Blacklist
Game of Thrones
Marvel’s Daredevil
The Walking Dead

I want to thank Vulture for making the list for me. I can’t take credit for the need listing of awards and winners this time around.

Kathryn Bigelow Set To Direct a Detroit Based Crime Drama

The award winning director of Point Break, The Hurt Locker, and Zero Dark Thirty may just have her next project. There is no name for the “true crime drama” but she will be behind the camera as well as producing the film.

In the summer of 1967, Detroit was victim to some of the more infamous riots in American history that proved that racism will and has been rampant in our country for far too long, and the film will likely encapsulate that very theme.

A producer of the film – Mark Boal – has supposedly been researching for this project for over a year. Boal wrote Bigelow’s last two middle eastern war films, The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty, and helped Bigelow to become the only female director to win Best Director at the Academy Awards (sheesh).

The film begins shooting at an undisclosed time this summer of 2016.

New Trailer For “Angry Birds” Will Make You Piss Your Pants… Funny Pee Jokes

Ah yes, pee jokes, the new fart joke, but funnier if you ask me. Who would have thought that this movie would actually look attractive after being inspired by an overplayed phone game.

This looks surprisingly funny and the voice cast seems perfect for their respective parts. It seems like this will be similar to the other animated films that aren’t strictly Disney, meaning the humor won’t be just for kids or just for adults to get. I’m looking forward to this one.

Ghost in the Shell: Film Starring Scarlett Johannson Moves From Disney to Paramount

Anime fans have expressed their distaste for a “whitewashed” version of one of the most popular anime films ever created. While I don’t understand the complaints and concerns, it’s hard to argue against Scarlett Johansson and Disney right? Well…

Disney has now shifted the rights to the film to Paramount Studios, but will continue to help finance the film and keep Johansson for the lead role.

Not much has been confirmed as to why Disney gave the property to Paramount, but it would make sense for Disney to not overcrowd their slate with films that star one of their heavy hitters i.e. Johansson since she is Black Widow in the Marvel Universe, which is all owned by Disney. Not wanting to compete with their own movies makes enough sense, but anime fans hope and wonder about the chances of the film shifting from PG-13 to its R-Rating that it had for the animated adaptation from 1995 which was also Rated-R.

Is this a good move? I’d say sure it is, but not much is changing from the star to the director – Rupert Sanders (Snow White and the Huntsman) – but that doesn’t get me jazzed up for this movie much…

Blade Runner 2: Film Will Begin Shooting in July with a Bolstered Level of Talent

Ridley Scott has always been great at the genre of science-fiction and it was clear when he gave us his first masterpiece Alien back in 1979 and went on to make another sci-fi masterpiece that has since been recognized for its visual mastery and complex storyline, and that is Blade Runner. 

Harrison Ford will be returning to the film as his original character Rick Deckard and the cast will include Ryan Gosling so far which is enough to make film fans and women around the world swoon. Scott will be producing the film, but not directing, and will pass the reigns to Sicario director Denis Villeneuve who will also bring back legendary cinematographer Roger Deakins.

The film will film in July of 2016, but be sure I will keep an eye and ear out for more news.

Sundance 2016: The Beauty of Film Festivals Bring Fourth Edgy Film Making

Sadly I have yet to attend the iconic film festival that is Sundance, but with a lot of short reviews thanks to those partaking in the winter festivities I have been energized by what films have come out of the minds of renaissance men and women. Festivals and indie film gatherings are always the grounds for smaller budget films with a knack for individualism to seep into the minds and hearts of film lovers that are rarely seen elsewhere.

For those that don’t know, Sundance is the American film festival created by the Sundance kid himself, Robert Redford, in order to give indie film makers a chance to shine their work to an audience that has the utmost respects and passion for storytelling no matter how big or small or weird the stories may become. Great actors and directors and writers have passed through Sundance who are now a part of the large studios teams or have been able to spread influence to movie makers across the world. You think of people like Ryan Coogler as the most recent and successful young standout right now who has passed through Sundance when he released his first feature film Fruitvale Station, and now the rest is history.

Sadly, the reviews for a fair amount of films I have seen so far as less than stellar. With movies pushing taboo subjects to limits that even the largest film fan can’t get past or simply lack of fruitful execution is the problem, but there are always the redeeming few films that make things like festivals all the more worth it. A standout film with a standout Affleck and a “brooding” Lee Chandler has caught people’s attentions that is titled Manchester by the Sea while Daniel Radcliffe becomes a Swiss army knife…man… with Paul Dano. There is also a movie about a girl who falls in love with a wolf so that’s nice and weird, but as a whole, Sundance is exactly what it’s been for the last two and a half decades.

Eventually, I will be in Utah sipping on gourmet hot cocoa and shaking hands with other Cinephiles, but for now, I only look on at the fun and informative tweets regaling us about the films going through Sundance again.


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