AFI Fest got two major gets this year – Lincoln and now, just announced – Sacha Gervasi’s Hitchcock willopen the fest November 1, 2012.

Anthony Hopkins, Helen Mirren, Scarlett Johansson, Jessica Biel, and James D’Arcy. The heat of this season is almost too much to take – usually you see bomb after bomb, disappointment after disappointment.

This year it’s like a multiple filmgasm – boom! boom! boom! One great film after another. Not sure whether this film will be good or not but if this trend continues it’s going to be tough finding a Best Picture winner with so many great choices…

From the press release:

“HITCHCOCK is a love story about one of the most influential filmmakers of the last century, Alfred Hitchcock and his wife and partner Alma Reville.
The film takes place during the making of Hitchcock’s seminal movie Psycho.”

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From the Academy Award-nominated directors of Jesus Camp, Heidi Ewing & Rachel Grady, Detropia premiered September 7 and is showcased in select theaters across the country.

Detroit’s story has encapsulated the iconic narrative of America over the last century— the Great Migration of African Americans escaping Jim Crow; the rise of manufacturing and the middle class; the love affair with automobiles; the flowering of the American dream; and now . . . the collapse of the economy and the fading American mythos. With its vivid, painterly palette and haunting score, DETROPIA sculpts a dreamlike collage of a grand city teetering on the brink of dissolution. These soulful pragmatists and stalwart philosophers strive to make ends meet and make sense of it all, refusing to abandon hope or resistance. Their grit and pluck embody the spirit of the Motor City as it struggles to survive postindustrial America and begins to envision a radically different future.

The New Yorker’s David Denby says, “Detropia, a lyrical film about the destruction of a great American city, is the most moving documentary I’ve seen in years.”

It has its share of forlorn images the office buildings with empty eye sockets for windows; the idle, rotting factories with their fantastic networking of chutes, pipes, and stacks. Yet the filmmakers, Rachel Grady and Heidi Ewing (who comes from Detroit), are so attuned to color and shape that they have made a beautiful film. We’re looking at new ruins, American ruins the remains of industrial ambition, a kind of impromptu graveyard of capitalism and the survivors, hanging on, exhibit a mix of awed mournfulness and good cheer. The city’s history is evoked by such chroniclers and guides as George McGregor, a warmly sympathetic union veteran; Crystal Starr, a young video blogger, who breaks into abandoned buildings and installs herself in offices now trashed and empty, as if she had worked there years ago; and Tommy Stephens, a former teacher, who warns of revolution if the middle class continues to be eviscerated. At the end, as young people move in to claim the cheap real estate, the movie hints at a fresh surge of capitalist ebullience and a possible revival.

Continue reading…

yes, same trailer we ran a couple of days ago, but this one is sans subtitles and higher high-def.


Each year, a handful of new faces, and occasionally old ones, revel in the celebratory season known as the Oscar race.  It’s either a celebration or a nightmare, depending on how badly you want it.  Many are unprepared to do what it takes — to Marion Cotillard and Jeff Bridges your way to a win. You can sometimes get away with Monique-ing, if you turned in that kind of performance — so thoroughly good that your non-campaign can be your campaign.

That said, there are several names being bandied about now and the difference between whether they win or not could end up boiling down to how many times they smiled and pressed the sweaty palms of would-be voters.

The Oscar race wasn’t front-loaded this year — in fact, it’s been profoundly back-loaded.  With all of the Big Oscar Movies yet to open it is a tough call to even predict anyone for anything.  However, to that end, here are the names so far that are going to have to step up and Jeff Bridges it in the coming months.

1. Jennifer Lawrence — On the heels of her $400 million dollar franchise, The Hunger Games, Lawrence, along with Kristen Stewart, is one of the women who owned the box office in 2012.  Lawrence has been smartly gathering cred with her first Oscar nomination already in Winter’s Bone, but always managing to turn in a performance of note in whatever movie she happens to star in.  She has navigated every terrain necessary — indie cred, blockbuster cred, red carpet cred. She is the girl of the moment, hard working, drug- and scandal-free.  Lawrence knocks it out of the park in the Silver Linings Playbook, and the one-two punch of that and The Hunger Games puts her at the top of the list. She’s more Helen Hunt in As Good as it Gets than Halle Berry in Monster’s Ball in Playbook. If she weren’t such a rising star she would be in the supporting category for her work here, as her function in the film is mainly to support Bradley Cooper’s character arc. What makes this an award-worthy performance is that Lawrence elevates it beyond what’s written on the page. She makes it deeper, richer, more compelling than it otherwise would be — it’s a male fantasy, yet Lawrence finds the truth in who the character is and that makes the difference.

Continue reading…

Several readers have written in wondering why I have been ignoring the potential for Barbra Streisand Best Actress action from The Guilt Trip. The only reason is that it’s a goofy comedy, not the type that usually gets Oscar attention. BUT who knows, right? Beloved icon, great role -anything could happen. What draws my attention to the project, though, is that it was directed by Anne Fletcher. And god knows women directors need all of the publicity they can get in this day and age.

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Contender Tracker


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

Nate Parker, Birth of a Nation
Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea

Original Screenplay

Adapted Screenplay



Production Design

Sound Mixing

Sound Editing

Costume Design

Original Score

Foreign Language Feature

Documentary Feature

Animated featureZootopia
The Little Prince

Visual Effects



Live Action Short

Animated Short

Documentary Short

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