Archive for January, 2013

‘Girl Meets World’ lead cast

Posted: January 29, 2013 in Television

Disney have announced that the lead role for their upcoming series Girl Meets World has been cast.  11 year old Rowan Blanchard will be playing the young daughter of Cory and Topanga’s daughter – Riley Matthews – in the show.

Blanchard’s past credits include roles in Spy Kids: All the Time in the World in 4D and The Back-Up Plan.  When asked about why Blanchard was picked, show creator Michael Jacobs said;

“As soon as Rowan walked into the room, I was reminded of why Ben Savage was loved as Cory Matthews.”

“Rowan is real and accessible and I am hopeful this girl is about to meet a world that will love growing up with her as well.”

The pilot for the show is to begin shooting next month with the show scheduled to air during the 2013-2014 Disney line-up.

Via IGN

 

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The Amazing Spider-Man 2 cast just keeps getting better and better.  Word on the streets is that Paul Giamatti is in discussions to sign on to the film to play The Rhino, a villain that uses his concrete like forehead to run through things.

Giamatti would join Andrew Garfield (Spider-Man/Peter Parker), Emma Stone (Gwen Stacy), Jamie Foxx (Electro), Shailene Woodley (Mary Jane Watson), and Dane DeHaan (Harry Osbourne).

The Rhino first appeared in Spider-Man comics playing a Soviet character who wore a suit that gave him superhuman strength and speed.

The report also mentioned that Felicity Jones (Like Crazy) was in talks to play an unspecified role in the film.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is out next summer.

Screen Actors Guild Awards 2013

Posted: January 28, 2013 in Movies, Television

The 2013 SAG awards were handed out last night and by the looks of things, we’re no closer to locking down the potential Oscar winners.  Usually the SAG awards can pinpoint who will be taking home an Oscar trophy at the end of February, but with the Golden Globes awarding one set and the SAG handing out another.  It’s anyone’s guess.

However, one thing can be set for certain – Argo is probably the front runner for the Best Picture Oscar right now.  The film took home the Golden Globe and now has gotten a SAG award for Best Cast in a Motion Picture.

Here’s the full list of winners:

Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture

– Argo

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role

– Daniel Day-Lewis (Lincoln)

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role

– Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook)

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role

– Tommy Lee Jones (Lincoln)

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role

– Anne Hathaway (Les Misérables)

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series

– Modern Family

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series

– Downton Abbey

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series

– Alec Baldwin (30 Rock)

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series

– Tina Fey (30 Rock)

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series

– Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad)

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series

– Claire Danes (Homeland)

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries

– Kevin Costner (Hatfields & McCoys)

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries

– Julianne Moore (Game Change)

Why does Hollywood insist on forcing Jeremy Renner upon the masses?  I get it, he’s been nominated for an Oscar before, it’s OK.  However the dude hasn’t been in a good movie since The Hurt LockerThe Bourne blahblahblah was OK, but that was because it’s a Bourne film, he was merely a sideshow in The Avengers, and now he’s supposed to be comic relief in an action film about Hansel and Gretel?  Please.

Whether we wanted him to or not, Jeremy Renner is a legit A-list actor.  His box office numbers this weekend just prove it.  Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters topped the box office this weekend with $19M.  Now, that may seem like a good well rounded number, but in truth – it really isn’t.  Here in January, the cinemaplex is known as the wasteland.  People really don’t start flocking to the movie theaters again until mid-March.  However studios are getting serious about making their money year-round, so they’re starting to release more big-budget films earlier in the year.  Case in point: Hansel & Gretel.

Second at the box office this weekend was the Jessica Chastain horror flick Mama, which managed to bring in $12.8M.  The fact that the movie, which received mixed reviews, is still going strong is a testament to Chastain’s growing star power.

Third this weekend was Silver Linings Playbook, which continues to do well at the box office given its incredibly limited release back in December.  The film has now made nearly $70M since it’s release and brought in $10M this weekend.  The better it does at the box office the more likely the film will win Best Picture at the Academy Awards at the end of the month.

Rounding out the top five was Chastain’s other Oscar nominated drama, Zero Dark Thirty and Jason Statham’s new stink show Parker.  The film’s made $9.8M and $7M respectively.

Here’s a look at the full top 10:

*Numbers in millions* (TOTAL)

1) Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters – $19 (NEW)

2) Mama – $12.8 ($48.6)

3) Silver Linings Playbook – $10 ($69.4)

4) Zero Dark Thirty – $9.8 ($69.4)

5) Parker – $7 (NEW)

6) Django Unchained – $5 ($146.2)

7) Movie 43 – $5 (NEW)

8) Gangster Squad – $4.2 ($39.6)

9) Broken City – $4 ($15.2)

10) Les Misérables – $3.9 ($137.2)

 

Via Box Office Mojo

*Join me as I review all of the 2013 “Best Picture” Academy Award nominees*

Silver Linings Playbook

Django Unchained

Zero Dark Thirty

– Life of Pi

– Argo

Beasts of the Southern Wild

– Amour

Les Misérables

Lincoln

 

There are films that make us believe in things that we would otherwise not believe in, and then there are films that we want to believe in but sometimes struggle with the reality of such things.  Life of Pi is one of those films that you want to believe in but struggle with.  Ang Lee’s tale of survival at sea with two unlikely friends is one of spirituality and faith.

Life of Pi stars Suraj Sharma as Pi, a likely genius of a boy who grows up in India with his family and their zoo.  Irfan Khan plays Pi all grown up and telling his life story to a reporter (Gérard Depardieu) who doesn’t know exactly what to believe while Pi is telling this story of grandeur.  Pi’s family gets a chance to move to America and they load up the zoo on a cargo ship and set off on the Pacific ocean.  A freak storm causes the cargo ship to sink killing everyone on board but Pi.  He escapes the wreckage on one of the ship’s life boats with a Bengal Tiger.   It’s from this point the film examines Pi’s character and the relationship he strikes with said Tiger.

The film takes three parts; Pi – short for “Piscene” but sounds like “pissing” – in his adolescent years where he goes through rounds struggling with his faith, Pi’s life and his religion takes a hit when he witnesses the Bengal Tiger – Richard Parker – eat a goat in his father’s zoo.  It’s at that moment that he learns to fear certain aspects of life.  The sinking of the ship that Pi’s family is on takes place nearly an hour into the film but the sequence is so good that it’s hard to argue with how long it takes for Life of Pi to find its sure footing.  The film’s second act begins with Pi and the animals that survived the ship and what Pi does to survive crossing the Pacific.  Pi’s co-existence with Richard Parker fulfills the second act of the film leading up to the third act, where the life boat comes across a deserted island (that may or may not really exist).  Pi is eventually rescued on the shores of Mexico and is questioned by representatives of the company who’s ship sank.  It’s here where the film kindof falls apart.  It’s during these questions that Pi offers up an alternate string of events of what really happened on that lifeboat.  He tells a different story of survival that pretty invalidates the entire film up to that point.  The movie may have been more believable or different had Ang Lee decided to give us a visual representation of the alternate events of what happened, but he doesn’t.  We’re told what to believe on faith, and on faith alone.

If you think about it, the entire film is about faith and then we’re all the sudden told to believe something we never saw.  Why?  The film is a grand spectacle up until that point.  Why wouldn’t Lee want us to visualize what really happened?  Richard Parker is the perfect companion for Pi on his survival journey.  It forces Pi to believe in Parker and to trust him without completely trusting him.  If Richard Parker wasn’t really a Bengal Tiger but indeed an actual person on that rescue boat, why couldn’t we see it?  After all, seeing is believing.

Life of Pi is a good film.  It’s a film of grand illusions and great performances.  It’s one of the better films of the year, hence the Best Picture nomination.  However, Life of Pi could have been the best film of the year if we would have been given a better picture of events.  Still, the movie is more than worth your time.

After months of speculation and rumor, it looks like two mega-science fiction franchises will not be too large for J.J. Abrams.   While Disney has not made an official announcement yet, several publications have cited more than one source that the Abrams is the man.

No other details were made clear, but Abrams has long been the front runner for the Star Wars gig even though he recently turned down interest, saying he was “flattered” but was focused on his upcoming Star Trek films.

Abrams makes the most sense for the new Star Wars films.  He’s a sci-fi director through and through and his experience handling sacred material – such as Star Trek – is second to none.

It will be interesting to find out if he’s the director for the long haul or just for Star Wars Episode VII.  I’ll attempt to keep you guys updated.

*Join me as I review all of the 2013 “Best Picture” Academy Award nominees*

Silver Linings Playbook

Django Unchained

Zero Dark Thirty

– Life of Pi

– Argo

– Beasts of the Southern Wild

– Amour

Les Misérables

Lincoln

 

Rarely does a director’s debut film strike such a chord with its audience the way that Benh Zeitllin’s debut Beasts of the Southern Wild does.  A tale about a little girl and her dying father’s struggle in the poverty-stricken outskirts of a bayou in Louisiana to co-exist and live in a world void of nice things, imagination takes precedence.

Beasts‘ is filled with southern charm and great acting, which is nothing short of a miracle considering the film stars a (then) nine-year old Quvenzhane Wallis – so good that she is nominated for a Best Actress Oscar – and first time actor Dwight Henry.  The cinematography is second to none and while watching you’re constantly in amazement that Zeitlin was able to pull this type of film off.

The movie centers around Hushpuppy (Wallis) as she fights to stay a imaginative little girl while looking out for her alcoholic, dying father.  While Hushpuppy knows there is something seriously wrong with her father, she can’t yet put two and two together.  The two travel the bayou preparing for a major storm but their world comes shattering down after the storm when their home is destroyed.  It’s the road the two take fighting/arguing/making up/and loving each other which really makes the film great.

You might be tempted to think Hushpuppy is a distraught little girl in need of rescuing, but it’s also made painstakingly clear that that could not be further from the truth.  It’s Hushpuppy who does the rescuing.  She is the hero/damsel/princess/and grown up all in one.  It’s her imagination that keeps her going and probably rescues her from herself.  You never once get the sense that Wink doesn’t love Hushpuppy but at times it’s hard to imagine why Hushpuppy would stick her neck out for that guy.

At its best Beasts of the Southern Wild is a coming of age story about a mature little girl who’s heart is not so little.  At its worst it’s a character study of poverty-level Louisiana intertwined with a genuine feel for what is real and what is imagination.  It’s not hard to see why Beasts is nominated for a Best Picture Oscar.