Woody Allen

Kinostarts - "Dallas Buyers Club"

All we need now is for Shia Labeouf to streak across the stage of the Dolby Theatre during the 2014 Academy Awards, copying Robert Opel’s famous stunt of 40 years ago as a bold bit of promotion for Lars von Trier’s Nymphomaniac, to make this year’s event possibly the most controversy-laden of all time. Or throw in an honorary Oscar for Roman Polanski, give another special tribute to Elia Kazan or give Best Picture to a Frank Capra film. Let Michael Moore on stage to criticize Obama, Sacheen Littlefeather to protest The Lone Ranger‘s nomination and have Rob Lowe back to ruin his resurrected career by dancing this time with all of the Disney princesses. Actually, we’re probably pretty set with controversies for the 86th Academy Awards show, which will be held only three weeks from now. From a nominee’s disqualification to the usual issues with documentary contenders, from complaints about a specific drama’s depiction of and its actors’ sensitivity to the LGBT population to problems with one of the Academy’s most recognized filmmakers, we might be in store for some extra picketing or contentious remarks or any number of other surprises on March 2nd. Let’s look at what we’ve got so far in the controversy basket below. 

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Emma Thompson 2014 Golden Globes

Another Golden Globes is behind us, and what have we learned? The Hollywood Foreign Press Association is full of surprises. Do they really think Jon Voight is great in Ray Donovan, or will they simply always love him for making Angelina Jolie? Speaking of whom, she and husband Brad Pitt were very much missed this year, even with Pitt getting the last shoutout of the night in appreciation for all he did for getting 12 Years a Slave produced — didn’t the show basically end like the awards ceremony equivalent of that controversial Italian poster for the movie? I may have done really embarrassingly awful with my predictions this year — 11 out of 15 total, 6 out of 14 for movies and 5 out 11 for television — so we’ll see if I’m allowed to do that again next year. Hopefully my live-tweeting was more successful. Give me some feedback, positive or scathing. And also see if you agree with my picks for the best parts of this year’s ceremony and telecast below.

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Frankenstein 1931

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Don

The morning’s best writing from around the movie website-o-sphere. Just leave a tab open for us, will ya?

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Allen and Turturro

“I’ve always been open to acting in other people’s films, but no one has ever asked me to be in their films, only two or three times in 30 years. When John Turturro asked me to be in Fading Gigolo, I said sure.” Not many people can get Woody Allen to play a part in their movie, but I guess all you really have to do is ask. And Turturro’s latest directorial effort, Fading Gigolo, looks like an absolute blast- partly because of Allen’s presence. Even without Allen, Fading Gigolo seems like a very Woody Allen-ish film. Turturro stars as Fioravante, whose friend Murray (Allen) convinces him to become a gigolo for a little extra cash. With a frazzled, bespectacled suitor finding an unlikely (and unconventional) outlet for romance, this one definitely seems like Allen has been rubbing off on Turturro (especially to the sounds of Louis Prima). And the trailer doesn’t ever get to extreme with the sex jokes (save for a brief bit with Sofia Vergara). Fading Gigolo seems to focus on companionship, growing older, and romance, with Allen making continual “I need more money” jokes along the way. Think of it as a grown-up version of Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo. Check out the first trailer for the film after the break.

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marion dougherty casting by

One of the best anecdotes in the documentary Casting By, which premieres tonight on HBO, relates the start of Warren Beatty’s screen career on a 1957 episode of Kraft Television Theatre. We’re told that like many young actors of the time he modeled himself way too much on Marlon Brando. Then we actually see a clip, and sure enough the future movie star looks and sounds like he’s doing a comical impersonation. Fortunately, within the next five years he would find his own comfortable style and manage to break out in Hollywood in order to become one of his generation’s finest. And apparently we have casting director Marion Dougherty to thank for giving him his first shot. There are a lot of first- and second-hand stories in the film about a lot of actors and actresses’ beginnings. And a lot of rare clips to prove just how terrible or terrific they really were. There’s Jon Voight‘s embarrassing performance on Naked City in 1963, which actually kind of foreshadows most of his later work (personally, I’ve always thought him to be one of the worst in the business). Jeff Bridges talks about how he witnessed audiences literally laughing at his tearful work in 1970′s Hall of Anger. Bette Midler thanks Dougherty for allowing her to hide her Jewishness and play a missionary in Hawaii and earn a paycheck that would finally get her to New York. And then there’s a claim that Michael Eisner, while President and CEO of Paramount Pictures, kept trying to […]

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Blue Jasmine

The first thing you’re likely to hear from a fan of Woody Allen’s new film, Blue Jasmine, is that star Cate Blanchett is amazing (because she is) and that the perpetually Oscar-worthy actress turns in yet another Oscar-worthy performance in the auteur’s black as night comedy. The second thing you’re likely to hear from that same fan is that co-star Sally Hawkins is also amazing and that she proves herself adept at supporting the work Blanchett does while also imperceptibly straddling the line between comedy and drama with her own performance. Blue Jasmine, on a whole, lives and dies at the hand of its two central female performances – so it’s good news that Blanchett and Hawkins are both more than up to the task at hand, but it’s even better news that the film’s male-dominated supporting cast is also tremendous. A fairy tale about the 1%, Blue Jasmine sees Blanchett as the eponymous Jasmine, disgraced Park Ave. housewife and social gadfly, who decamps from Manhattan after her husband (Alec Baldwin) hits her with the one-two punch of “I’m leaving you for the nanny” (not even their nanny! Someone else’s nanny!) and “Also, I was running a Ponzi scheme and am now going to jail and, oops, now you’re impoverished.” Unskilled, mortified, and slipping into psychosis, Jasmine heads west to the only family she has left, her sister Ginger (Hawkins), who has more than enough problems of her own. The film unfolds thanks to a back-and-forth narrative that flits between […]

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bluejasmine

If a movie was written and directed by Woody Allen, you can pretty much guarantee that its main character is going to be a basket case who’s plagued with neuroses. But while there’s always a dark twinge to the way human beings create compulsions around their past traumas, Allen is famous for being able to look at our foibles from a slanted enough angle to make them funny, even while they’re tearing us apart. His new movie, Blue Jasmine, may see Allen working closer to the dark end of that floating scale that goes from funny to troubling, however, because the work that Cate Blanchett is doing in the new trailer for the film looks to be too raw nerve and edgy to fit alongside much of the patented Woody Allen aloofness that we’ve become familiar with over the course of his career. What happens when a rich and snooty New Yorker loses all of her money and is forced to go stay with her sister in the Earthy, pot smoke-clouded confines of San Francisco? Turns out she breaks down, hard, and though there’s obviously laughs to be had due to her ridiculous behavior, some of her fall can get rough to watch.

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review paris manhattan

Love isn’t always easy, but sometimes the wisdom you need to navigate matters of the heart can be found in the movies. Cinema actually contains the answers to most of life’s questions provided you ask the right ones, know where to look and don’t have terrible taste in films. This is well-established fact. Alice (Alice Taglioni) is a believer in this theory I just made up, but she subscribes to a very specific application of it. Put simply, she loves Woody Allen and his films to the point that she has conversations with the life-size poster of him in her bedroom. She asks for advice, and he replies with dialogue from his movies. The results haven’t exactly been spectacular, but she’s convinced that he knows what he’s talking about. She meets and falls for a young man, but her sister swoops him up and makes him her own. Ten years later and Alice is still single and pining for her sister’s now husband, but things start looking up when she meets a new beau (Yannick Soulier). Except she also meets Victor (Patrick Bruel)… Paris Manhattan is less of a love letter to Allen than it is a mash note as it tries to say a lot in a limited space to varying effect. It finds both romance and comedy in its story, and while they work well enough the 77 minute run-time ensures neither really takes hold.

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stoneshocked

What is Casting Couch? It’s a list of recent casting news. Recent as in, like, the last 24 hours recent. How’s that for service? Today we have news on what’s next for young actors like Craig Roberts and Chloe Moretz. If you were to make a list of dream directors who pretty much every young actor hopes they’re some day going to get to work with, Woody Allen would definitely be near the top of most of them. And if you made a list of all the young actresses who Woody Allen would like to have in his upcoming movies, chances are Emma Stone is somewhere near the top of that one. It’s probably time these crazy kids finally get together then, so Deadline is reporting that Stone is negotiating to star in Allen’s next movie, which is reportedly going to shoot in the south of France. Stone’s charisma and comic timing, Allen’s wit—it sounds like a match made in heaven, doesn’t it?

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easter bunny critters 2

On Easter Sunday, many people watch the old religious film favorites. Just look at today’s TCM schedule to see the epic staples programmed, like King of Kings, The Robe, The Greatest Story Ever Told and Ben-Hur (which Neil highlighted for Scenes We Love last year). They’re also showing the obviously appropriate musical Easter Parade. But there are a lot of other movies that aren’t recognized enough for either being Easter movies or including memorable Easter scenes. Did you know Altman’s Cookies Fortune takes place over Easter weekend? And major events happen on the holiday in such films as Chocolat, Steel Magnolias and Resnais’s The War is Over. Quite suitably, Charlton Heston’s first movie, Dark City, opens with him carrying a gift box with an Easter bunny inside. Six other movies selected here are rarely thought of as Easter movies, if they’re thought of at all. Consider them like hidden eggs ready to be discovered or re-discovered. They’re personal favorites, and we’d like to share them on this holiday to be enjoyed along with your Peeps and jelly beans.

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Culture Warrior

Criticizing the Academy Awards is becoming a tradition as solidified as the Awards ceremony itself. The ink spilled over anticipation of who will come out swinging during Awards season is typically followed by an anticipated – but, when well-argued, often necessary – critique of the pomp and circumstance of the ceremony itself. Now that we’re neck-deep in Presidential election season, the time dedicated to polling, statistics, and manufactured drama all in the service of something ultimately unpredictable resonates alongside the earliest Fall predictions of the Winter’s Awards competitors: no matter the race, we can become hopelessly invested in every detail in the process of competition. As Matt Taibbi stated bluntly in an editorial on the Presidential race, this is not what democratic participation should look or feel like. Nor, for that matter, is immersing oneself in the Kool-Aid of Oscar anticipation what a genuine investment in cinema should look like. While I’ve bloviated more than enough on the Oscars, it’s something different entirely when someone who ostensibly stands to benefit from the institution itself to criticize it, as potential Best Actor nominee Joaquin Phoenix did recently. Perhaps criticizing the Oscars is not the bravest thing a wealthy famous person can do (perhaps), but the exact form that it takes is certainly worthy of attention because such instances evidence certain power relations and possibilities in Hollywood. Why do some Hollywood figures participate in this criticism, and others don’t?

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The James Bond Files

Not only are FSR’s resident Bond nerds (specifically yours truly and my partner in espionage, Brian Salisbury) gearing up for the release of Skyfall in November, but we are also rubbing our hands together with anticipation of opening our new Bond 50 Blu-ray box sets that came out this week. Since we’re in the movie news business, we can watch all 22 of these films, we can chalk up the 40+ hours of movie watching to a full work week. We bet you’re feeling an extreme amount of jealousy right now (or an extreme amount of pity for us… not quite sure which). But as we prepare to watch all the James Bond movies again, we’ll also reflect upon the different actors who have played James Bond in the past. Here’s a quick breakdown of the legendary (and one not-so-legendary) Bond actors over the years. Fortunately, since Daniel Craig has signed on for some additional post-Skyfall movies, this piece should still be relevant for a while, and that’s a valuable commodity in the ever-changing world of the Internet.

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We love television, but we love movies more. And we love movies a lot more than awards for television. So, why would we watch the 2012 Emmy Awards when we can just watch any number of this year’s nominees in their great film works, a lot of which are streaming on Netflix. Classics that you’ll find from the Watch Instantly service featuring Emmy nominees include Platoon, Fatal Attraction, Reservoir Dogs, Black Hawk Down, The Terminator and plenty others. But I noticed a bunch of recommended titles with the special circumstance of involving two or more Emmy-nominated talents, including a few from the contending directors. Speaking of which, I could have counted Louis C.K.‘s Pootie Tang, but I still haven’t seen it. Maybe that’s what I’ll be watching this evening. Check out the list and links after the jump.

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Perhaps we were spoiled with last year’s Midnight in Paris, auteur Woody Allen‘s return to (delightful) form after a few years of basically forgettable, minor efforts like Whatever Works, Scoop, Cassandra’s Dream, and You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger. Suffice to say, Allen’s next cinematic trip to a classic, romantic European city has come complete with heightened expectations, and while his To Rome With Love occasionally harnesses some of the charm and ease of Paris, it’s a wholly different film experience, and a less enjoyable one to boot. Much like Paris, Allen has lined up a sizable and talented cast for his latest outing, though he’s chosen Rome as his own spin on throwaway rom-coms like New Year’s Eve and Valentine’s Day and the far superior Love, Actually, instead of focusing on a single leading character. Allen uses the city of Rome as the (often only) link between all manner of people – Italians, Americans, young, old, famous, common, talented, sexy, unsexy, ambitious, bored, confused, the list goes on – and lets them play out their theatrically-tinged trials and tribulations against a gorgeous Roman backdrop. It’s frothy and fizzy enough, but To Rome With Love isn’t the sort of film that is likely to leave a lasting impact on its audience. It’s popcorn entertainment for the indie set.

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Years before Woody Allen became basically the most prolific filmmaker to ever exist, he was making his way through the entertainment industry as a stand-up comedian, so he knows the art of crafting a joke, and he should have a good idea of how to best utilize the talents of those weird weekend warriors who travel from town to town projecting their neuroses onto random strangers in seedy nightclubs. That’s why it is so exciting that it’s just been announced that two of the most successful stand-up comedians of all time have signed on to be a part of his latest film. Woody’s new project doesn’t have a title yet, but what’s known about it is that it’s being filmed in New York and San Francisco over the summer. Also, we now know the names that make up its cast. In a press release put out earlier today ,it was announced that big names like Alec Baldwin and Cate Blanchett made the list, as well as some solid but lesser-known names like Michael Emerson, Sally Hawkins, and Peter Sarsgaard; but the most interesting part of the casting announcement was the inclusion of comedians Louis C.K. and Andrew Dice Clay.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly column that is always topical, often timely and ever ready to rock your world with all the great articles you’d probably find yourself, if you had the time. Lucky for you, we’ve got plenty of time. We begin this evening with one of fourteen new images from Moonrise Kingdom, the upcoming film from Wes Anderson. You’ll know him as the guy who made films such as Rushmore, The Life Aquatic, The Royal Tenenbaums and The Fantastic Mr. Fox. This one comes with just as much star-power, including names like Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton, Jason Schwartzman and Bob Balaban. The young man above’s name is Jared Gilman. He’s new.

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Los Angeles’ hometown film festival, the aptly-titled Los Angeles Film Festival, returns to downtown La-la Land this summer and, if the festival’s first programming announcement is any indicator, Angelenos are in for a real treat this year. The festival has just announced their Opening Night Film, which is set to be the North American Premiere of Woody Allen‘s To Rome With Love. We’ve got quite a bit of love for the film already – it just popped up on our Most Anticipated Movies of Summer 2012 list at number 16 (beating out stuff like G.I. Joe, Battleship, and Step Up Revolution) earlier this week – and Allen has again assembled a great cast for a (hopefully) charming story of love, Italian style. The film stars Allen, Alec Baldwin, Roberto Benigni, Penélope Cruz, Judy Davis, Jesse Eisenberg, Greta Gerwig, and Ellen Page, and will open in theaters on June 22. This year’s festival will again be centered in downtown Los Angeles, with its central hub at the sprawling L.A. LIVE complex. The fest will run from Thursday, June 14 to Sunday, June 24. Passes are currently on sale to past Festival attendees and Film Independent members, and they will be available to the general public on April 22. General admission tickets to individual films go on sale on May 29. Keep your eyes peeled for more on-the-ground Reject coverage of LAFF as we creep ever-closer to downtown’s best summer event.

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Nothing says “summer at the movies” quite like a metric ton of big name blockbusters flooding theaters near you – superheroes on top of superheroes, classic television series brought back from the dead, animated gems about finding yourself – oh my! But with the cinema summer growing ever-larger, the stakes being pushed ever-higher, and enough content to keep audience members in their seats ever-longer, a line has to be drawn somewhere. Which is why all the members of the Voting Body of Film School Rejects gathered together in our secret chambers to vote on just which films have won our Most Anticipated nod. Twenty films emerged from our complicated, decades-old voting process (read: a Google doc) to be crowned winners. Why twenty? Well, there are twenty weeks in the cinematic summer season (if you count May, which we do – April will be included next year if Hollywood keeps this up), and that should give you movie-lovers a reasonable goal to meet for the viewing season. We’ve even managed to pinpoint our most anticipated movie-going weekend of the summer – June 22nd, when four films open in theaters, all of which made our list. But beyond the mathematics that went into picking the summer’s best weekend, there were also some genuine surprises on the list – including big tentpole films missing completely (sorry, Battleship and Dark Shadows), some indies that sneaked in with lots of votes, a battle royale that went down between our number one and number two picks, […]

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Recently, Flavorwire got a kick out of a post from Slacktory where they used that ever-present man behind the curtain called Google to see what our internet age connects with celebrities. Then, we got a kick out of Flavorwire’s answer which involved 25 famous authors and what the search engine had to say. The experiment is simple. Type a name into Google Image Search, and the program automagically suggests more words to narrow down your search. Judging from entries like “white people problems” for J.D. Salinger and “death, oven, daddy” for Sylvia Plath, it seems like Google might be kinder to famous movie directors. Some of the responses fully encapsulate the person’s artistic output while others push toward the fringe, but all are shaped by what we’re searching for. Here’s a few things Google thinks you should add to the names of some of your favorite filmmakers.

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published: 04.19.2014
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published: 04.19.2014
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published: 04.18.2014
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published: 04.18.2014
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