THE BRIEF

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Academy Award®-winning director Oliver Stone, who brought Platoon, Born on the Fourth of July, Wall Street and JFK to the big screen, tackles the most important and fascinating true story of the 21st century. Snowden, the politically-charged, pulse-pounding thriller starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Shailene Woodley, reveals the incredible untold personal story of Edward Snowden, the polarizing figure who exposed shocking illegal surveillance activities by the NSA and became one of the most wanted men in the world. He is considered a hero by some, and a traitor by others. No matter which you believe, the epic story of why he did it, who he left behind, and how he pulled it off makes for one of the most compelling films of the year.

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The news about Passengers coming out of CinemaCon made it sound like a comedy, maybe not aimed squarely at the Oscars. But some further digging indicates that it’s not a comedy comedy, and it’s very likely headed straight for the Best Picture race. It’s being released December 21st of this year, but will likely start screening sooner. Will it hit any of the major festivals first?

The Oscar race is making the jump slowly but surely to be more inclusive of “genre films,” but specifically Sci-Fi. Inception, District 9, Gravity, Mad Max: Fury Road and The Martian are all recent Best Picture nominees, Ex Machina likely almost was. Thus, it isn’t even a strange thing to think about a nomination for Passengers, which tells the story of a group of colonists en route to a new world, two of whom wake up about 90 years too soon. Apparently, it’s a love story, but it’s also likely about the future of humanity.

The one constant in the science community, across almost all disciplines, is the fundamental idea that if we stay on this planet, eventually mankind will die off (best thing for all the other life on the planet, really). Thus, the next question is how and where can the human race survive. Can we get to any of those Earth-like planets so far away that they would require two hundred years of space travel to reach? That is the premise of Passengers.
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2016 Cannes Jury

  • George Miller – President (Director, Writer, Producer – Australia)
  • Arnaud Desplechin  (Director, Writer – France)
  • Kirsten Dunst  (Actress– United States)
  • Valeria Golino (Actress, Director, Writer, Producer – Italia)
  • Mads Mikkelsen  (Actor – Denmark)
  • László Nemes  (Director, Writer – Hungaria)
  • Vanessa Paradis  (Actress, Singer – France)
  • Katayoon Shahabi  (Producer – Iran)
  • Donald Sutherland SUTHERLAND (Actor – Canada)

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The Founder is tells the true story of how Ray Kroc (Michael Keaton), a salesman from Illinois, met Mac and Dick McDonald, who were running a burger operation in 1950s Southern California. Kroc was impressed by the brothers’ speedy system of making the food and saw franchise potential. He maneuvered himself into a position to be able to pull the company from the brothers and create a billion-dollar empire.

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Unthinkably sad news. Posting this as a place for us to sign the memorial guestbook for Prince.

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There has to be a reason why Telluride often calls the Best Picture winner. This trend, like all trends, is destined to be broken at some point. Every year we think this is the year. Every year at the mountaintop festival, we see a good movie like Spotlight or 12 Years a Slave or Argo, and we think that was really good but it might not be able to compete with the big movies coming up in October and November. Yet somehow, with the preferential ballot still a factor, that Telluride launch seems to have become more important than ever.

But Telluride doesn’t happen until the end of summer. Right before that, a number of major premieres hit Venice, sometimes launching a winner (Birdman) or a near-winner (Gravity). But lately, those Venice sensations have to hit Telluride next before bringing home the gold.

Cannes is somewhat different because it really does come early early. The festival is set to launch May 11, in fact. As far as Oscar goes, although an occasional winner launches at Cannes (The Artist, No Country for Old Men), or a contender can get a showcase putting it closer to the Oscar race (Mad Max: Fury Road, Inside Out), more often Cannes is able to give a film a major push, only to see its momentum slow as the later fall festivals roll out (Carol, Foxcatcher).
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The new trailer for Girl on a Train is great, meeting all expectations for fans of the novel, at least so far. If you’ve not yet read it, I strongly recommend the audiobook version with three different actresses playing the three different women. They are all so good and the book reads like radio theater.

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The Hollywood Foreign Press Association and Dick Clark Productions has set a date for the 74th Annual Golden Globe Awards – Sunday, January 8, 2017. The ceremony will air on NBC from 5-8 pm PST and 8-11PM ET live from the Beverly Hilton Hotel.

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epa05107913 US actress Melissa McCarthy arrives for the 21st Annual Critics' Choice Awards at Barker Hangar in Santa Monica, California, USA, 17 January 2016.  EPA/NINA PROMMER

Every so often a writer shines in our huddled little world of film coverage. That writer this week is Mark Harris, on the Oscar beat at Vulture this year. Harris chose to write up the success of Melissa McCarthy whose films must always be filtered through that “straight white guy” gaze each and every time they come out. I don’t see this as sexist, particularly, or misogynist or anything like that – it’s just this idea that the films might be aimed at women. And if they aren’t aimed at women, they would be aimed at people laughing AT McCarthy. Well, whatever the reason it does seem as though she could be suffering from Hillary Clinton syndrome – it doesn’t matter how successful or ambitious she becomes, she will always be painted as “struggling” or failing somehow.

Harris writes:

Critics can like or dislike these movies and her work in them, but to survey them in toto and perceive uniformity feels like a willful refusal to see her at all, an insistence that the difference between her various performances matters less than the sameness of her strange determination to continue to be Melissa McCarthy while starring in movies. Is it because she looks so different than other movie stars that some people have convinced themselves she’s always the same?

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The powerful trailer offering us a first look at Birth Of A Nation has arrived. Produced, Written, and Directed by Nate Parker, the film tells the story about Nat Turner, a slave who led a rebellion in 1831 Virginia.

Fox Searchlight will release the film on October 7.

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Gustavo H. Razera
Pretty topical. It should be a hit overseas, given the ...
Al Robinson
Better or worse than Christian Bale's Batman voice in T ...
filmboymichael
This has definitely re-piqued my interest in Oliver Sto ...
Al Robinson
I didn't care for Under the Skin, but I do agree that h ...
Al Robinson
Nice top 10 directors. It looks like other than Mike Le ...

Contender Tracker

FRONTRUNNERS

Best PicturEBirth of a Nation
Manchester by the Sea



Best ActoRCasey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea
Nate Parker, Birth of a Nation


Best ActresS


Supporting ActoR


Supporting ActresS


Director
Nate Parker, Birth of a Nation
Kenneth Lonergan,


Original Screenplay


Adapted Screenplay

Editing

CinematographY



Production Design


Sound Mixing


Sound Editing


Costume Design


Original Score



Foreign Language Feature



Documentary Feature


Animated featureZootopia

Visual Effects


Makeup AND HAIR


Song


Live Action Short

Animated Short


Documentary Short

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