: Directors Guild Announces Nominations
Posted on Wednesday January 9, 2008, 10:14 by Olly Richards in
The Directors Guild of America has announced its list of nominees for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures for 2007. The DGA awards are quite closely scrutinised as their selection very often end up in the running for Best Picture at the Oscars (since only getting three right in 2001, they've chosen at least four the same as the Academy each year). Their choices are:
Paul Thomas Anderson – There Will Be Blood
Joel and Ethan Coen – No Country For Old Men
Tony Gilroy – Michael Clayton
Sean Penn – Into The Wild
Julian Schnabel – The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
Those are some fine movies, but our first reaction was pa-HAH?! Michael Clayton? That movie was just fine and featured some terrific performances, but one of the best of the year and, indeed, one of the best directed of the year? Not in our book. Tim Burton, Brad Bird, Joe Wright or Pau...
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: Golden Globes Cancelled!
Posted on Wednesday January 9, 2008, 10:13 by Olly Richards in
As many had predicted, the Golden Globe awards have fallen foul of the ongoing writers strike. The 65th Golden Globe ceremony will now not happen in its usual starry, schmoozy, sycophantic way. Instead the 25 awards will be announced via press conference on January 13.
"We are all very disappointed that our traditional awards ceremony will not take place this year and that millions of viewers worldwide will be deprived of seeing many of their favorite stars celebrating 2007's outstanding achievements in motion pictures and television," Jorge Camara, President of The Hollywood Foreign Press Association, said in a statement. "We take some comfort, however, in knowing that this year's Golden Globe Award recipients will be announced on the date originally scheduled."
The Golden Globes had been hoping to make a deal with th...
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: Can Juno Bump Off The Oscar Competition?
Posted on Monday January 7, 2008, 10:17 by Olly Richards in
Sure, we all know that Juno hasn't won any of the big critics' prizes yet in this awards season (so far, Boston, Chicago, New York and the National Board of Review have plumped for No Country For Old Men and LA chose There Will Be Blood). But these are still potentially early days in the awards marathon and Juno is starting to show something that the other contenders this year are short on: strong box office legs. It's for that reason that I'm prepared to put my money on it taking the big prize come February. Though obviously I will not be putting down any money because gambling is wrong and will lead to moral and financial decline and leave the gambler lying in the gutter with a dog trying to eat their face and the stench of urine enthusiastically gripping their being. But, anyway, back to Juno.
Here's why I think Jason Reitman's comedy about a pregnant teen could be the dark horse of this particular race. Firstly, there's the aforementioned financial aspect. Oscar likes to reward keeping the indus...
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Empire States: The Dark Knight Prologue – Empire’s Take
Posted on Friday December 7, 2007, 17:43 by Olly Richards in Empire States
Earlier today, Empire was shown the opening seven minutes of The Dark Knight, which will be shown in front of IMAX screenings of I Am Legend. To immediately dispel one rumour: this isn’t the Joker origin story; it’s the opening sequence of the final movie with The Joker already established and apparently well known in Gotham. To confirm another rumour, it is brilliant.
While Batman Begins was largely nocturnal, The Dark Knight opens, almost paradoxically given the name, with a palette from a little earlier in the day. Nolan opens at dawn on the top of a Gotham office block, making full use of every inch of the IMAX screen to take in the city (vertigo sufferers may get a touch of the woozies), closing in slowly on an office block until a couple of clown-masked villains blow out one of the windows. We then quickly and elegantly plough into a bank heist planned by The Joker with all the wit, sophistication and deviance we’ve come to expect of the clown prince of crime.
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Empire States: Oscar, Remember These Performances!
Posted on Friday November 30, 2007, 11:01 by Olly Richards in Empire States
The award season officially began this week with the announcement of the Independent Spirit Award nominations. It's always around this time that I start getting a little nervous for all the people in movies that weren't particularly well received by critics, but featured performances that deserve all manner of shiny mantelpiece filler. The Academy particularly likes to give nominations to people in movies they love just for being there, which is why you see unremarkable turns like Queen Latifah's in Chicago and Gloria Stewart's in Titanic getting recognised. But they often ignore great turns in movies that might otherwise have been a little disappointing. They also have a habit of missing subtle turns amid noisier ones.
One particular actress I am prepared to paint a placard for this year is Marcia Gay Harden in Frank Darabont's The Mist. The film, which I thought was terrific, if a touch pass-me-the-Prozac bleak, has received mixed reception in America. But Harden's take on the Bible thumpin...
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Empire States: When Bad Films Turn Good
Posted on Friday November 9, 2007, 16:01 by Olly Richards in Empire States
I was watching some late night TV the other night…OK, it was only about 9.30pm, but I’m getting on now, so that’s pretty much past my bedtime. Anyway, I stumbled across Van Helsing on my channel flicking travails and, despite an initial snort of derision, found myself unable to leave.
When this was released at the cinema, I left the press screening with some churning emotion made of the worst parts of disappointment, resentment and too much popcorn. I couldn’t stand the thing. It was a horribly missed opportunity, one of the worst films of the year and a further reason to kick Stephen Sommers in the soft parts should our paths ever cross. But on second viewing I realised that it is in fact…AWESOME.
What is not to love? You have some Transylvanian accents that skirt the darker depths of Bulgaria, Kazakhstan and Cleethorpes; a Frankenstein’s monster who looks like Mama Fratelli after an hour in a pressure cooker; Kate Beckinsale in impractically co...
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London Film Festival: The 10 Must-See Films At This Year's Festival
Posted on Monday October 15, 2007, 17:22 by Olly Richards in London Film Festival
Lions For Lambs
Mon 22 Oct, Wed 24 Oct
Robert Redford’s take on Iraq does not really have a story as such, but don’t let that put you off. In what amounts to basically a collection of discussions, Redford (as director and one of the stars) outlines the situation in the Middle East from the points of view of a Republican Senator (Tom Cruise), a liberal journalist interviewing him (Meryl Streep) and a university professor relating the story of two enlisted ex-students to an apathetic political science pupil. There are no sides taken, nor pat answers given in this film, but if you come out without a need to discuss it, then you weren’t watching properly...
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Empire States: The Document Hollywood Doesn't Want You To See
Posted on Friday September 14, 2007, 10:39 by Olly Richards in Empire States
As you are probably aware, there is a strike looming in Hollywood, which would require all actors to down tools – or personal assistants or botox or whatever – unless studios agree to pay them more money for using their work on the internet and such, among other demands. This has sent Hollywood into a bit of a tizz and all the studios are fast-tracking as many projects as possible, so they can be shot before June, when the (possible) strike would begin, and avoid a situation where late 2008 and early 2009 would be full of nothing but documentaries and 30th anniversary re-releases of Rocky II.
But, anyway, onto the interesting point. In a bid to get their various movies going as quickly as possible, the studios have sent lists of all their planned films to casting agents to attract talent as quickly as possible. You can see the full list of films...
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Empire States: Why Does Everybody Love Zoolander But Me?
Posted on Wednesday September 5, 2007, 13:50 by Olly Richards in Empire States
Now, as many of you will probably know, last night at 9pm there was a popular Ben Stiller movie on Channel 4 or Film 4 or something – I don't remember, I'm not The Radio Times – and this appeared to be a cause for great celebration among everybody I know. Not particularly distracted by said film, I briefly checked Facebook and everybody, bar my school friend who lives in Australia, had referenced watching it in their status. So, I feel compelled to make a confession: My name is Olly Richards and I don't get Zoolander.
Okay, it's out there. Why does everyone in the world think that this film is the best comedy since Sliced Bread (you should really check that out)? What am I missing? I really want to love it, just so I don't have to spend the inevitable weekly office conversation sitting in silence and singing songs in my head. I have watched it three times in the hope that at some point something will click and I'll suddenly find the comedy gold in lines like, "I'm not an am...
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Empire States: The 27%ers
Posted on Friday August 31, 2007, 09:49 by Olly Richards in Empire States
There is a phrase we like to use in the Empire office: "Get off the bloody pool table and do some work, Pav". But that's not important right now. Another phrase we like to use is 'The 27%ers'. This is a term coined at some unspecified point (I still insist by me) to refer to those actors whose presence piques your interest in a movie, regardless of title, plot or complete absence of any other redeeming feature, merely because you know they will make it worth watching on some level. In short, they make the movie 27% better by seeing fit to exist in its presence. We're not talking your Will Smiths, Angelina Jolies or Will Ferrells here. Movies are rarely funded on the back of a 27%er. To be a true 27%er you should hover at about fourth on the cast list, unless it's straight to DVD, and be known to most of the world as "Oh, that guy? I love that guy!"
My personal favourite among these ranks is Martin Short. I know deep in my bones that he hasn't made a truly great ...
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