Here’s Our Top 5 Oscar Snubs

Woodyallen.com

Woodyallen.com

As you’ve surely heard, the 2014 Academy Award nominations were released this morning. The complete list can be found here, so we won’t bother listing them. But, like any other year, most notable were the snubs and gaffes the Academy seems to have made. These are our top five.

5. “Inside Llewyn Davis”
The Coen brothers‘ quirky and bittersweet look at the folk music scene in 1960s Greenwich Village was blatantly ignored this year, only scoring nods for cinematography and sound mixing. The film received nothing for director nor writing, and all of its cast was overlooked — including Carey Mulligan and John Goodman in incredible, understated performances. What were they thinking?

 
4. Tom Hanks
The “Captain Phillips” star was overlooked for Best Actor, most likely bumped for “American Hustle”‘s Christian Bale. Granted, it was a crowded year. But Hanks’ performance as the embattled sea captain was one of his most touching in recent memory. Failing to recognize it can’t be anything but a blunder.

 
3. Emma Thompson
Appearing alongside Hanks in another movie, “Saving Mr. Banks,” Thompson appeared to be a shoo-in for her portrayal of “Mary Poppins” author P.L. Travers. She, too, faced steep competition. But the general consensus is that it’s Cate Blanchett‘s year, and Meryl Streep probably wouldn’t have minded forgoing her 652nd nod to make room for Mrs. Thompson.

 
2. Scarlett Johansson
In “Her,” Samantha Morton originally voiced the sentient operating system that begins to feel the weight of human emotions and complex interpersonal relationships. But when director Spike Jonze began editing, it wasn’t working, and Scarlett Johansson was brought in to record for post-production. ScarJo paints the most fully realized character in the film using only her voice — a remarkable feat. She’s also never been nominated. Talk about a missed opportunity.

 
1. Woody Allen
We mentioned earlier that Cate Blanchett is this year’s frontrunner for Best Actress for “Blue Jasmine” (as she should be). But “Jasmine” garnered nothing in the Best Picture category, nor a Best Director nod for Woody Allen. Though Woody’s in a pretty good spot for Best Original Screenplay, it seems cruel to largely ignore one of his best efforts in years.

Then again, as Woody once said, “If you’re not failing every now and again, it’s a sign you’re not doing anything very innovative.” (Just don’t ask Mia or Ronan Farrow for comment.)

Here’s Your New Wonder Woman

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After Christopher Nolan‘s Batman films earned enough money to buy out God’s share in Heaven, and “Man of Steel” also did well, DC decided to press forward with a planned “Batman vs Superman” film (even though Superman would win in, like, under five seconds). That film has a Wonder Woman role, and Gal Godot will be filling it.

Who is Gal Godot? Well, she was Miss Israel in 2004, but she’s best known for being in the fourth, fifth and sixth “The Fast and the Furious” films. She also played a character named Lisa in one episode of “Entourage” and briefly appeared in “Knight and Day” with Tom Cruise. Surely, you remember that.

Godot will be appearing beside Ben Affleck‘s doomed-to-fail Batman and Henry Cavill‘s Superman. And although her previous roles might lead one to assume she was chosen based on how good she looks in spandex, director Zack Snyder is saying she’s actually a good actress:

“Wonder Woman is arguably one of the most powerful female characters of all time and a fan favorite in the DC Universe. Not only is Gal an amazing actress, but she also has that magical quality that makes her perfect for the role. We look forward to audiences discovering Gal in the first feature film incarnation of this beloved character.”

And there you have it. Zack Snyder thinks this thing will be great, and he’s the man that brought you “Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole.” Has he ever lied to you? Have the owls of Ga’Hoole ever lied to you? Will they have cameos? No clue.

“Batman vs. Superman” is slated for release in 2015, when the public can decide whether the filmmakers should have just used stock footage of Lynda Carter. (Yes.)

5 Films to Watch With Family This Thanksgiving

Tomorrow, Thanksgiving will be upon us. It’s a time to get together and reflect on what’s important to us — to catch up with family and enjoy each other. It’s a time to wonder whether you actually just saw Uncle Bill drool into the bowl of mashed potatoes.

In the spirit of the season, we’ve compiled a list of 5 films that capture the feel of Thanksgiving. So gather ’round the television and bask in the togetherness.

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5. Planes, Trains and Automobiles

This one has the simplest of plots: a man is trying to get back home to his family for Thanksgiving and is beset by comedy pitfalls every step of the way. John Hughes crafted a poignant and funny movie, and for many people, this is the best Thanksgiving film ever. But they aren’t on our level.

 

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4.  Nutty Professor II: The Klumps

Honestly, we don’t remember anything about this movie except that large portions of it involved grotesquely obese people eating food. No, inhaling food.  It’s also completely intolerable and makes you question your entire life.  It’s the perfect embodiment of the holiday, and it will remind everyone how disgusting they are. Beautiful.

 

Sophie's Choice (clip)

3. Sophie’s Choice

We’ve all been there. You sit down at a dinner table and your grandmother asks how things are going at the bible college. Do you explain to her that you are now an atheist and have dropped out of bible college to fulfill your dream of being a porn fluffer? Or do you just say everything’s fine?

Maybe Grandma Sophie brings up how Obama is a secret Muslim. Do you spend time tediously correcting mistakes and alienating everyone, or do you sit tight and grab another spoonful of cranberries?

This movie gets Thanksgiving.

 

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2. Dawn of the Dead

Here is a film that, despite its age, unabashedly echoes the sentiments of Black Friday shoppers: shuffling around malls, banging on glass storefronts and tramping on each other to get in. That’s what it’s all about, right? This is America, and we’re thankful for big screen televisions, and we will beat someone to death with a blender to get at one.

Coincidentally, the creatures in this film also gorge themselves on human flesh. They openly feast on intestines and look glassy-eyed at new clothing. Between the shopping and the eating, this is in some ways the greatest Thanksgiving film of all time.

 

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1. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

At the end of the day, Thanksgiving is really about family. Whether you enjoy being around them of not, that’s what it’s about. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is also about family.  Sure, it’s a family that builds lampshades out of human bones and skin and keeps people on meathooks. But it’s a family nonetheless.

They sit down and eat meals like everyone else, and they also get mad at each other like everyone else. And they engage in family activities to grow their bonds. That’s a beautiful thing.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Shia LaBeouf Has Sex In A Pretty Gross Teaser for Lars Von Trier’s ‘Nymphomaniac’ – NSFW

Danish filmmaker Lars Von Trier is known for his provocative, divisive films and huge, pretentious ego. So when he announced that his next film would be called “Nymphomaniac” and star the wonderful Charlotte Gainsbourg and the generally obnoxious Shia LaBeouf, I knew things were going to get weird. But not this weird.

Seen here in a trailer so NSFW that it was booted from Youtube for violating terms of service, we get to see Shia and co-star Stacy Martin’s characters engaged in some sexytime, juxtaposed with shots of animals and Bach music. Of course.

Earlier this year the film’s producer revealed that they shot the actors simulating sex acts and then shot body doubles actually having sex and combined the two in post production.

Here’s what the clip’s description on Youtube was before it got yanked:

A chorale prelude by Bach: Three voices each with its own character, but in complete harmony. In other words: POLYPHONY

The nymphomaniac is easily inspired, and acts it out.

Right. Or, “People boning interspersed with shots of animals.” whatever.

Even though I sat through the graphic castration sequence in Von Trier’s “Antichrist” no problem, seeing Shia LaBeouf getting paid to cradle this beautiful women was pretty stomach churning, and it kind of makes me wish someone would punch him in the face.

Oh yeah. Nevermind.

Watch Christian Bale Audition for ‘Batman Begins’ While Wearing Val Kilmer’s Batsuit

Here’s Christian Bale‘s “Batman Begins” audition tape, featuring Bale in Val Kilmer‘s “Batman Forever” suit and Amy Adams standing in as Rachel Dawes — a role that eventually went to Katie Holmes.

In addition to the footage, director Christopher Nolan talks about how Bale was able to express an “extraordinary visual iconography” and “project[ed] massive energy,” but none of that really comes across in the video because it’s mostly just Bale standing around and occasionally speaking to Adams.

He also goes into Bale’s infamous bat-voice, saying it was a “big part” of the impression he made during the audition. (Even though Michael Keaton was just as intimidating without sounding like a county fair carny with stage 4 esophageal lung cancer.)

It’s also worth noting that while we only see the backside of her head, Amy Adams projects more emotions in this clip than Katie Holmes has in her entire life. But it’s okay that she didn’t get the Batman gig — she went on to be Lois Lane, who’s cooler anyway because Superman could totally kick Batman’s ass.

Yeah. We said it.

[h/t The Superficial]

You’d Be Lucky To Escape ‘Prisoners’ (** 1/2)

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“Prisoners” is a film about child abduction. There’s a lot of those. Most recently, audiences were delighted to see Liam Neeson dispatch a barrage of henchmen in “Taken” and its sequel. For films about child abduction, those are fairly fun. “Prisoners” isn’t.

Little Anna Dover and Joy Birch are abducted while walking back from a Thanksgiving dinner. An RV they were seen playing on earlier is now gone, but is quickly tracked down, as is its driver: Alex Jones (Paul Dano). Jones has the I.Q. of a 10-year-old and is quickly ruled out, but Anna’s father (Hugh Jackman) thinks he knows something anyway, so he kidnaps him and proceeds to torture him in an abandoned building. Meanwhile, Detective Loki (Jake Gyllenhaal) is on the case, chasing clues and trying to find the real culprit.

If nothing else, there’s a great cast here. Viola Davis, Terrance Howard and Melissa Leo all round out the film with supporting roles. It’s also given a dull, rain-pounded look by famed cinematographer Roger Deakins, most famous for his work with the Coen brothers. But Aaron Guzikowski’s screenplay will ultimately make or break the film for most.

It’s muddled at best. For example, Jackman’s character Mr. Dover is a devout Christian who, after brutally attacking his captive, will recite the Lord’s Prayer. This all plays into tacit condemnation of vigilantism — except that condemnation is completely thrown away at the film’s resolve, exposing whatever deeper meaning you thought it had for smoke and mirrors. All the subtext here is just like a flashy paint job on a Geo Prizm — pointless.

Watching this I couldn’t help but be reminded of “The Pledge,” in which a detective, on the day of his retirement, promises the parents of a young girl that he’ll find her killer — and then things slowly spiral into a web of self-defeating obsession. By focusing on the detective, that film was able to weave a more coherent narrative. “Prisoners,” however, seems fractured — torn between the homes of those affected, the makeshift Guantanamo Mr. Dover has constructed, and the investigation of Detective Loki.

There is some great suspense here. A chase at a candlelight vigil is especially tense. These moments are few and far between, and may or may not even impact the final outcome of the case. But after all the brooding, all the dead ends and all the fruitless beatings, the movie feels about three hours longer than it actually is (a real accomplishment considering it’s already 153 minutes).

When it’s over, with its central premise defeated and director Denis Villeneuve layering on the schmaltz in a tacked-on ending, you can’t help but wonder what else you could have done with those two and a half hours.

New Red Band ‘Machete Kills’ Trailer Will Disembowel You [NSFW]

2010′s “Machete” was an odd duck. A throwback to ’70s exploitation pictures, it starred Danny Trejo as the titular assassin going on a rampage of revenge and also featured Lindsay Lohan, Robert De Niro, Don Johnson, Jessica Alba and Steven Seagal. It was fun, but suffered from an uneven tone and narrative disjointedness.

Now, Machete’s back — and a brand new red band trailer gives us a sneak peek of the carnage he’ll bring.

This time around the villain is played by Mel Gibson, whose motives are unclear (not that it matters). Michelle Rodriguez is back playing a different character than the first film, Sofia Vergara is a woman who can shoot bullets out of her crotch and breasts, and Charlie Sheen is the President. We also get Vanessa Hudgens, Amber Heard, Lady Gaga and Cuba Gooding Jr. in various roles.

The trailer’s barely over half a minute, but we see multiple people’s intestines get thrown into helicopter blades, sucking them up and dicing them. There are explosions, decapitations, genital mutilation, impalings and Gibson wearing a cape. Holy hell, this looks entertaining.

It seems like everyone involved is having more fun this time around, especially Gibson, who really hams it up. Lady Gaga, too, seems to love getting a chance to revisit that Latin accent she rocked in “Alejandro.”

“Machete Kills” hacks its way into theaters October 11th. Bring a blood poncho.

Five Movies Justin Bieber Would’ve Been Even Worse In Than ‘Batman vs Superman’

The Instagram photo that made a million fanboys cry

The Instagram photo that made a million fanboys cry

The internet exploded over the weekend when Justin Bieber posted a picture to Instagram of what appeared to be a script for Zack Snyder’s upcoming “Batman vs Superman,” along with the caption, “#robin?”  

Little girls were overjoyed. Nerds shit their pants in anger. Everyone was confused.

Luckily, it turns out that it was all part of an upcoming Funny or Die video (in this case, we choose die), and superhero fans can rest easy. But even if this had been real, there are definitely other films in which Justin Bieber would have been worse. Let’s take a look.

[ more >> ]

Oh Goodie. They’re Remaking ‘Poltergeist.’

AMC

AMC

Because nobody has any original ideas left, MGM and Fox 2000 are remaking “Poltergeist,” Deadline reports, and actor Jared Harris has been cast in a pivotal role.

Harris is a veteran character actor (and son of Richard Harris), appearing as Moriarty in the second Guy Ritchie’s “Sherlock Holmes” sequel, in a recurring role on “Mad Men,” and as General Grant in Spielberg’s “Lincoln.” But he’s also dipped into genre territory before: He just wrapped Hammer Film’s “The Quiet Ones,” and worked on John Carpenter’s return to the screen in “The Ward” three years ago.

Harris will be joining Sam Rockwell and Rosemary Dewitt, who play the victims of the titular spook. All three are great performers. It begs the question — how in the hell were they roped into appearing in this? Is nothing sacred? Why not remake “The Maltese Falcon” with Zac Efron? Maybe Taylor Lautner can be Quint in the new “Jaws.”

To top it all off, like icing on a shitcake, it’s being penned by David Lindsay-Abaire, who wrote “Rise of the Guardians” and “Oz the Great and Powerful.” By now you’re probably thinking, “How long have I slept?” and scrambling for your calendars to make sure it isn’t April 1st all over again. No such luck.

There’s nothing else to say, really. We covered this because we felt guilty drinking when it’s only Wednesday. Now, armed with the knowledge there’s a remake of “Poltergeist” lurking out there, it’s all justified. Bottoms up.

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