The first major awards show of the season is just weeks away. On Friday, January 15, the 15th Annual Critics' Choice Movie Awards will be broadcast live on VH1 at 9:00 PM ET/PT. This week the nominees were announced.
The Broadcast Film Critics Association, the largest movie critics organization in the United States and Canada, bestows the awards. Nominees, especially winners, often bring home Academy Awards. Here is a glimpse at the best of the batch — movies that have earned an 85+ rating. Posted 12.17.09 by reelz
Fantastic Mr. Fox, which opened on a few screens about 10 days ago, gets a nationwide release tomorrow. Critics are liking it, hailing the movie as a return to form for director Wes Anderson.
"With its virtuoso tomfoolery, Fantastic Mr. Fox is like a homegrown Wallace and Gromit caper."
— Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly
"Although it may initially seem to be yet another kids-film-for-adults of the kind the industry has been pumping out of late, Mr. Fox manages to be something else entirely. Pandering to neither audience, it remains true to its story's vulpine nature."
— Chris Barsanti, filmcritic.com
"...an adventure in pure imagination that plays to the smart kid in all of us."
— Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
"Sometimes too clever by half, the film, replete with in-jokes, may in some ways work better for adults."
— Peter Rainer, Christian Science Monitor
"...exactly what one might imagine a stop-motion Anderson film to be: multitudes of quirky characters, immaculately arranged compositions and camera pans, soundtrack outbursts of classic rock, and a blend of tender humanism and melancholic existentialism."
— Nick Schager, Slant Magazine Posted 11.24.09 by reelz
Midway through Wes Anderson's Fanatstic Mr. Fox, the title character's son is shown reading a comic book called White Cape. Anderson included the comic simply as an interesting explanation for why the young fox wears a white cape throughout most of the movie. Apparently, the 40-year-old director is now considering developing White Cape into a full-fledged spin-off comic.
Anderson talked about this possibility in an interview with MTV, in which he discussed the development of the comic.
It was our chief storyboard artist.... He became the artist that does White Cape, and we sort of made this comic-book series.... We didn't ever figure out any full stories, but in fact he wants to do some White Cape comics now, so maybe we will be developing that property.
Well, it's good to hear that Anderson has good feelings about the movie and is on good terms with someone from the project. Because we were nervous after hearing the stories about how Anderson was at odds with the production team. Either way, we're excited about Fantastic Mr. Fox, which opens in wide release next Friday. Posted 11.16.09 by reelz
Earlier today, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences announced the list of 20 animated movies that will be considered for nomination at the Oscars, which air March 7, 2010.
The Best Animated Feature category traditionally consists of three nominees. (We should add that the use of the "traditionally" is kind of funny, considering the category is less than 10 years old). But according to Academy rules, if at least 16 movies are submitted for consideration, then the number of nominees increases to five.
Among the potential contenders already released are Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Coraline, Disney's A Christmas Carol, Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, Monsters vs Aliens, Ponyo, and Up. Also being considered are several titles yet to be released, such as Fantastic Mr. Fox, Planet 51, and The Princess and the Frog.
Although it's not likely, there is a slight chance the whole five-nominee thing might not happen. Variety cites the fact that for a title to qualify, a print of the movie must first be submitted to the Academy by this coming Monday. In addition, a movie can be disqualified simply on the basis of bad quality. The nominating committee has to confirm each of the 20 entries by awarding each a score of at least 7.5 (on a scale of 6 to 10). Titles falling below that range will not be eligible for competition. Posted 11.11.09 by reelz
George Clooney is a busy man these days. Last seen in the spy comedy Burn After Reading, Clooney is currently filming The American, and he has three more films slated for release in the next two months: The Men Who Stare at Goats, Up in the Air, and The Fantastic Mr. Fox (voice).
Variety is reporting that Clooney may also be starring in director Alexander Payne's first feature in five years, The Descendants, about a wealthy man who drags his two daughters along on a quest to find his wife's lover. The script, which is based on Kaui Hart Hemmings's novel of the same name, was written by Nat Faxon and Jim Rash and is being developed by Fox Searchlight. Posted 11.03.09 by BrentJS
Just a few weeks ago, it was revealed that Wes Anderson disappeared from the production of Fantastic Mr. Fox and directed via email from a residence in Paris. This led to some not-so-nice words from crew members.
As if that weren't enough to convince us of Mr. Anderson's often-maddening idiosyncrasies, the 40-year-old director of The Royal Tenenbaums and Darjeeling Limited dropped this quote in a recent interview with Access Hollywood:
I'd like to do a movie in space. If possible I would like to try to actually shoot some of it on location in space. That's my preference.
Just for clarification: He's not talking about a movie that takes place in space; he's talking about a movie actually shot in space. We can only imagine the logistics of such a project. Would it be shot in zero-gravity?
We'll have wait to hear more about Anderson's astronomical ambitions. In the meantime, we can expect an original project from him in the near future, rather than another adaptation. "The next thing, I have an idea for something that's just my own," he said. Posted 11.02.09 by reelz
All is not well in the world of Fantastic Mr. Fox. The stop-motion animation feature — which is based on the children's book by Roald Dahl — is still due out in a little over a month. But according to recent reports, the project has been hampered by unhappy relations between director Wes Anderson (The Royal Tenenbaums, Rushmore, and Darjeeling Limited) and his crew.
Digital Spy writes that Anderson apparently took a hike for most of the on-site production's one-year duration, choosing instead to correspond with crew members by email from a residence in Paris.
Understandably, many of the crew members are a bit upset, perhaps none more than director of photography Tristan Oliver. Speaking to the press, he seemed to release some pent-up resentment when he lashed out at Anderson, and he made sure he pulled no punches:
It's not in the least bit normal. I've never worked on a picture where the director has been anywhere other than the studio floor. Honestly, yeah, he has made our lives miserable ... I think he's a little sociopathic; I think he's a little OCD. Contact with people disturbs him. This way, he can spend an entire day locked inside an empty room with a computer. He's a bit like the Wizard of Oz. Behind the curtain.
Ouch. We've heard of directors not getting along with cast and crew before. Stanley Kubrick was notorious for being extremely difficult on-set, and Roman Polanski had a famously harsh relationship with actress Faye Dunaway on the set of Chinatown. But in all cases, the directors were actually on the set, interacting with cast and crew.
We have to admit, Anderson's disappearing act does sound a bit odd and more than mildly unprofessional. On top of this, experts hired for the movie are reportedly frustrated with Anderson's lack of stop-motion animation knowledge. Knowing how singular Anderson's vision is, and also how stubborn he likely is in trying to get that vision onto the screen, we could see how this would create some big problems.
Anderson tried to speak in his defense, both on this point and on his disappearance:
[I] didn't want to be at Three Mills Studios for two years. I thought I'd make the script and cast it and record the actors. I'd work with some people to design it, get it to look a certain way. But at a certain point, I'd hand it over to the people that animate it. And they'd give it back to me and I'd work on the music and kind of spruce it up.
The simple reality is, the movie would not be the way I wanted it if I just did it the way people were accustomed to doing it. I realised this is an opportunity to do something nobody's ever seen before. I want to see it. I don't want afterward to say, "I could have gone further with this."
Well, maybe, but that doesn't really justify abandoning your crew. We're guessing that since Anderson is hiding out in France, on indefinite hiatus from contact with the real world, then there's probably more to this story than meets the eye. Now the only question is whether the contentious relationship will hamper the final product. Posted 10.13.09 by reelz