Could Brad Pitt Finally Be Heading For Oscar Glory?

November 30, 2011 by  
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The movie awards season is soon to be creeping upon us, and with the prestigious New York Film Critics Circle Awards on Tuesday, winners are now being tipped for success at the next Academy Awards.

The best actor gong went to Brad Pitt for his roles in this year’s The Tree of Life and the baseball flick Moneyball. Could this be his year? The New York FCC Awards are one of the most esteemed ceremonies, and so his win there could prove favourable with the Academy’s critics. He has been nominated twice before for his roles in Benjamin Button and Twelve Monkeys, yet failed to win either time. Pitt is often thought of as a stellar movie star, yet some might argue that he has never quite matched up to the reputations of some of his contemporaries.

In New York the success of both Pitt’s movies did not stop at him. Emmanuel Lubezki won best cinematography for The Tree of Life and Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin won best screenplay for Moneyball.

Other winners at the awards included Meryl Streep for her performance as Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady and Jessica Chastain for The Help.


The Conan Workout Challenge: Final Week

November 30, 2011 by  
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The final week is here of Eric Laciste’s backbreaking AR7 Conan The Barbarian workout is upon me. I can hear the distant chorus of cherubic angels and the celebratory sounds of my congratulatory parade of honour. Or alternatively, the sounds of the microwave defrosting a meal for one and bubbling of potatoes on a hot stove.

It’s been tough, and I’ve gone through three weeks of unenviable physical pain and tastebud annihilating tedium (Week 1, Week 2, Week 3)

Right, time to finish strong and knuckle down to the serious business of punishing my body. I will carve myself into a vascular fortress of steel if it kills me.

As before, here are the beginning of the week photos:
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Margaret Review: Do The Right Thing

November 30, 2011 by  
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MARGARET (15): On General Release Friday 2nd December

Margaret is a sprawling (i.e. very long) post 9/11 message from director/writer Kenneth Lonergan, that takes a close look at growing up in the world today and what you inevitably learn when you try and do the right thing.

17-year-old New York City high-schooler Lisa Cohen (Anna Paquin) inadvertently causes a bus accident when she distracts the driver (Mark Ruffalo), and it results in a woman’s death. As she and the victim’s best friend (Jeannie Berlin) try to set things right, she learns that the real world is full of injustice and compromise and she takes her frustrations out on her mother (J. Smith-Cameron) and teachers (Matt Damon, Matthew Broderick).

No character is actually named Margaret, but the title is derived instead from the Gerard Hopkins poem Spring and Fall, in which he speaks to a young girl, Margaret, about the disillusions that come with losing innocence. Once Matthew Broderick reads some of this poem halfway through the film, you begin to realize what Lonergan is going for. As Lisa struggles to atone for her mistake, she comes to realise that in the real world there is no room for her youthful ideals. Read more

Radcliffe Rumoured For Allen Ginsberg

November 30, 2011 by  
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Daniel Radcliffe told a French publication that he would be interested in playing a gay character in a 2012 film and now the internet is swarming with rumours that the role will be Beat poet Allen Ginsberg in the upcoming thriller Kill Your Darlings.

The film, which will be directed by John Krokidas, will also feature Ginsberg’s contemporaries William S. Burroughs, Jack Kerouac and Lucien Carr. Kill Your Darlings will likely focus on how Carr, who introduced the poets, was implicated in the 1944 murder of David Kammerer.

Back in 2009, it was announced that Jesse Eisenberg would take on the role of Ginsberg, with Chris Evans as Kerouac and Ben Whishaw as Carr but it appears as if the casting has not yet been finalized. There has been no official announcement made, but Radcliffe does have free time with his Broadway How To Succeed In Business role winding down and his upcoming The Woman In Black scheduled to hit theatres in February.

It might be very familiar territory though as Ginsberg was most recently played by James Franco in Howl, a film about the writer’s most famous and controversial poem last year. How will Radcliffe stack up?

Soderbergh To Swallow The Bitter Pill

November 30, 2011 by  
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Famed director of Contagion, Traffic and the Ocean’s 11 series Steven Soderbergh has announced that he will be taking a break from filmmaking after the release of his HBO Liberace biopic, Behind the Candelabra. Before that comes out however, he will be releasing Magic Mike which is already in post-production, and was scheduled to work on Arthur & Lancelot and The Man From well, but when his U.N.C.L.E. plans fell through amidst casting difficulties, Soderbergh decided to jump onto a project close to filming.

That project will be The Bitter Pill, which was going to be screenwriter Scott Z Burns (Contagion, The Informant!) directorial debut, until Steven stepped in. It’s based on some research that Burns did for TV drama Wonderland, which never made it to screens and is based on our reliance on mood regulating drugs and what that makes us vulnerable to. It also promises a twist.

Scheduled to start shooting next spring, The Bitter Pill should begin nabbing Hollywood stars shortly. As one of Soderbergh’s last films for at least a little while, we expect to be hearing a lot more about it soon.

Miller Announces Plans for New Mad Max Trilogy

November 30, 2011 by  
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As if the Mad Max: Fury Road reboot hasn’t had enough trouble getting to the screens already, director George Miller plans to make it just the first installment in a new trilogy.

In an interview with Australia’s Financial Review Miller’s production partner Doug Mitchell revealed “we started with Fury Road, but we then started to do a second story and a third… We’ve written the script for the second and almost finished the third. We never intended to; they were part of the exploration of the characters.”

The new instalment will take place slightly after the last Mel Gibson film, Beyond Thunderdome.

It’s been a bumpy road (get it?) for the remake, which has had trouble keeping its budget in check and though it was supposed to begin shooting back in September of 2010 and then last April, cameras are now scheduled to begin cranking in April 2012. However, with a cast rumored to include the likes of Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult, and Zoe Kravitz and with George Miller in the director’s chair, it could be a huge success.

As for the potential sequels, no more evidence has surfaced besides what we know from the interview and it will probably depend mostly on how Fury Road does in the box office.

Harrison Ford For Ender’s Game?

November 30, 2011 by  
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Gavin Hood’s (X-Men: Origins, Rendition) adaptation of Ender’s Game nabbed its star earlier this week with Asa Butterfield (Hugo) confirming he will appear as the title character via Twitter. Now Hood can turn his attention to casting the adult lead, Colonel Hyrum Graff.

While they first set their sights on Viggo Mortensen, a deal was never reached so the producers are now discussing other Hollywood veterans, including Harrison Ford. While he’s still just a name being thrown around without any formal discussions taking place, this role could see the triumphant return to sci-fi that Cowboys & Aliens and Indiana Jones and the Glass Alien Head failed to deliver for Ford.

In the book, Graff is the training commander for the elite boys’ military academy, which selects gifted, young tacticians (such as Ender) and trains them to fight off an insect-like alien race. Hood, who is directing and writing, hopes to get the film out by March 29, 2013.

The Thing: Exclusive Cast And Crew Interviews

November 30, 2011 by  
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The prequel to John Carpenter’s The Thing (imaginatively titled The Thing) is out this Friday.

Here’s a look behind the scenes with the cast and crew, including Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Joel Edgerton, Eric Christian Olson and director Matthijs van Heijningen Jr.


The Thing Review: Attack Of The Clones

November 30, 2011 by  
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THE THING (15): On General Release Friday 2nd December

John Carpenter’s The Thing was at the time of its release in 1982 an underrated masterpiece, a terrifyingly tense and paranoid horror about an alien that could assume the form of anyone it came in contact with and a triumph of special effects.  2011’s The Thing is a prequel to the ’82 original and reveals what happened to the original Norwegian outpost that uncovered the parasitic shape-shifting monstrosity in the first place.

As in the first movie, it begins slowly, introducing us to palaeontologist/Ellen Ripley impersonator Kate Lloyd (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), rough and ready solider Carter (Joel Edgerton – sort of like Kurt Russell’s MacReady from ‘82 version without the effortless cool) and unscrupulous scientist Sander Halvorson (Ulrich Thomsen).  That quickly changes when they arrive at the Antarctic research station where they excavate and thaw a frozen alien body which subsequently breaks free and goes about snacking on crew members like they were humanoid pieces of popcorn chicken.

One of the things that made the original great was a persistent sense of tension: The Thing could be hiding in any one of the crew members ready to spring out and devour them. Here, it’s often so obvious which one of them is the creature and all sense of paranoid dread is lost.  The station is also so heavily populated that beneath their beards, it’s hard to tell who’s who much less develop any sense of attachment to them, and because we know in advance that the Norwegian station was wiped out, they’re reduced to inevitable squishy walking snacks for the creature. Read more

15 Harry Potter Characters That Never Made The Movies

November 30, 2011 by  
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It’s almost exactly a decade since Harry Potter & Co arrived in cinemas for the first time in The Philosopher’s Stone, but since the first film the cast of characters in JK Rowling’s wizarding world has multiplied faster than the treasure in that Gringotts safe. Yet while the books grew as the series progressed, unfortunately the films still had to come in under the three hour mark (boo!) and more characters were given the chop as we reached the series’ climax. Here are fifteen characters who didn’t make it on to the screen. But have we missed your favourites?

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 releases on Blu-ray Triple Play, DVD and Digital Download on December 2nd.

Up until HP4, various directors had managed to fit most characters from the Potterverse into the film adaptations, but with the tome-like Goblet Of Fire rocking up in 2000, Mike Newell was faced with the unenviable task of swinging the axe. As the intricate side-plot involving Winky and her master Barty Crouch Sr was slashed, the lady house-elf was cut from HP4. Here she can be seen swigging Butterbeer (for which she developed an proclivity) after being sacked by Crouch for letting his son escape and rejoin the Dark Lord. Unlike Dobby, she neither wanted nor enjoyed freedom. Possibly the only alcoholic in the series…

When Hagrid and Madame Maxime set out on a diplomatic mission to recruit the giants in the quite frankly ginormous HP5, it’s Karkus with whom they start negotiating. As the Gurg (Leader) of the world’s last giant colony, he basically just lies about waiting for dinner, yet after he’s killed by a rival (Golgomath) the giants, are less willing to discuss Dumbledore’s proposals. It seems likely that Hagrid got some action while he was out in Russia though…

Neville’s Gran (Augusta Longbottom)
The journey of Neville Longbottom from the clumsy, shy, toad-loving youth of HP1 to the sword-weilding hero of HP7.2 is one of the most satisfying character arcs of the whole series. Just ask his gran. After Voldemort’s supporters tortured his Auror parents to insanity, Neville was left with his gran who always seemed disappointed in him. But that disappointment turned to pride when he led the resistance in Harry’s absence. Ninette Finch played Augusta in the final film, but her scenes were left on the cutting room floor. There was also a touching exchange at St Mungos in HP5 that didn’t make the grade.

Twenty-something Tom Riddle
Despite being the only film he didn’t make a real-time appearance in (with the exception of HP3) HP6 was undoubtedly Lord Voldemort’s book. In the text we discovered much about how history’s most dangerous dark wizard spent his childhood and came to power, but it most of it was left out of the film (for shame!) A couple of the most menacing scenes came when Riddle came to visit Hepzibah Smith (above) but even more crucial to the series was the scene in which Riddle returned to Hogwarts to ask Dumbledore for a teaching position. The increasingly snake-like antagonist used the meeting to hide one of his many horcruxes in the Room of Requirement. “Only I have discovered.. D’oh!”

Merope Gaunt
Another vital character left out of HP6 was Lord Voldemort’s mother, who probably would have been very disappointed in her son if she’d lived past childbirth. The down-trodden Merope Gaunt was despised by her father Marvolo Gaunt, who often called her a squib (although as Caroline points out below, she could perform magic). The poor girl did have a massive crush on local toff Tom Riddle though and after her old man was whisked off to Azkaban, she drugged him with a love potion, got herself pregnant and stumbled off to an orphanage in London to have her baby – selling Marvolo’s priceless locket on the way. Incidentally, Dumbledore reasoned that the absence of love in Voldemort’s conception was one of the main causes for his failure to understand the power of it as a concept later in life. Wise man.. Read more

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