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National Society of Film Critics Picks Waltz with Bashir

Waltz with Bashir

One year after honoring There Will Be Blood, the National Society of Film Critics has named its favorite film of 2008. Although it’s primarily been considered in the Best Animated or Best Foreign Language categories, Ari Folman’s was selected as this group’s top film of 2009.

The animated Israeli film - Folman’s memoir of his country’s 1982 Invasion of Lebanon - is currently up for a Golden Globe.

Here are the remaining 43rd Annual National Society of Film Critics Awards winners:

  • Best Film: Waltz With Bashir
  • Best Director: Mike Leigh, Happy-Go-Lucky
  • Best Actor: Sean Penn, Milk
  • Best Actress: Sally Hawkins, Happy-Go-Lucky

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Read More | Variety

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2009 Screen Actors Guild Award Nominations (Film)

Doubt

Although last January’s were spared from the writers’ dispute, SAG is facing its own strike this year. Regardless, the awards season must go on. Next month’s event - scheduled to air on Sunday, January 25th on both TNT and TBS - will come just three days after the Oscar nominations are announced.

Here are some of the noteworthy mentions from this year’s list of film nominees:

  • led this year’s crop with three nominations. Milk and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button came in second with two nods each.
  • Richard Jenkin was honored for The Visitor while Clint Eastwood (Gran Torino) was left off.
  • added another nom to his belt. Meanwhile, Robert Downey Jr. was nominated for his turn in Tropic Thunder.
  • Kate Winslet was named for both The Reader and Revolutionary Road. Leonardo DiCaprio was left empty-handed.
  • The Dark Knight, Revolutionary Road and The Reader were all left out of the Best Ensemble categories.

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Read More | Screen Actors Guild Awards

Box Office Breakdown: The Day The Earth Stood Still Stands Tall

The Day the Earth Stood Still

Mediocre reviews couldn’t keep from vaulting into first place this weekend.

The sci-fi remake starring Keanu Reeves and Jennifer Connelly earned $30.5 million over the last three days, more than doubling the take of its nearest competitor. Although Earth had the smallest debut for a #1 film since October 17th (when Max Payne grossed $17.6 million), the Fox feature only cost a reported $80 million to make. It was also the studio’s best open since Horton Hears a Who unfolded in back in March.

The only other new entries in this week’s Top Ten were Nothing Like the Holidays and . Holidays took in $3.5 million and scored itself a 7th place finish. Meanwhile, Milk - which had actually reached #10 before - reentered the charts at #9.

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Read More | Variety

2009 Golden Globe Nominations (Film)

Revolutionary Road

Although a looming SAG strike may threaten next year’s Academy Awards, the Golden Globes ceremony should finally go on as planned. The 66th annual event is scheduled to air on Sunday, January 11th, just 11 days before the Oscar nominations are announced.

Here are some of the noteworthy mentions from this year’s list of film nominees:

  • Frost/Nixon and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button both led the field with five nominations each.
  • Despite being chosen Best Film by the New York Film Critics, Sean Penn was the only nod Milk received by the HFPA.
  • Meryl Streep earned two nominations for her work in Doubt and Mamma Mia.
  • Kate Winslet is also up for two awards. Her films - Revolutionary Road and The Reader - are also up for Best Picture.
  • Heath Ledger did get a posthumous nomination as expected.
  • Although he was recently recognized for his acting work in Gran Torino, director Clint Eastwood (Changeling) was only acknowledged for his musical achievements.

(You can find the full list of film nominees after the jump. Click here for the TV nominations.)

 

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Read More | Hollywood Foreign Press Association

New York and Los Angeles Film Critics Choose Milk, Wall-E

Milk

Just last week, the National Board of Review named Slumdog Millionaire its Best Film of 2008. Not surprisingly, that selection isn’t an opinion shared by all.

So which films could eventually be up for the Academy Award come February 22nd? (That is - assuming a possible SAG strike doesn’t halt the ceremony altogether.) Based on the choices just revealed by the New York and Los Angeles film critics, it could be anyone’s game.

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Read More | LAFCA

Box Office Breakdown: Number One for Four Christmases

Four Christmases

Theatergoers still recovering from Thanksgiving had no problem getting into the Christmas spirit this last weekend.

Despite horrible reviews, - a holiday feature starring Reese Witherspoon and Vince Vaughn - managed to pull in over $31 million over the past three days. (The comedy’s five-day total was $46 million.) That was enough to tame some hungry vampires and give Reese her best opening since Sweet Home Alabama. (The 2002 film had a $35.6 million debut.)

But even with Witherspoon and Vaughn’s combined wattage, Christmases still wasn’t the brightest spot on the box office tree. This weekend’s top performer was actually a political drama with a very limited release. Although it was only seen in 35 theaters, , starring Sean Penn and James Franco, found itself sitting in 10th place. The Gus Van Sant film also averaged $40,385 per theater…nearly $31,000 more than the laugher did per screen.

Click to continue reading Box Office Breakdown: Number One for Four Christmases

Read More | Variety

In Theaters This Holiday Week (11/26)

Sean Penn in Milk

Here are some possible suggestions for your Thanksgiving weekend:

  • Australia (PG-13): starring Nicole Kidman, Hugh Jackman, David Wenham (directed by Baz Luhrmann)
  • Four Christmases (PG-13): starring Vince Vaughn, Reese Witherspoon, Robert Duvall (directed by Seth Gordon)
  • Transporter 3 (PG-13): starring Jason Statham, Robert Knepper, Justin Rodgers Hall (directed by Olivier Megaton)
  • Milk* (R): starring Sean Penn, Emile Hirsch, Josh Brolin (directed by Gus Van Sant)
  • Oye Lucky, Lucky Oye!* (NR): starring Abhay Deol, Paresh Rawal, Neetu Chandra (directed by Dibakar Banerjee)
  • The Secrets* (R): starring Fanny Ardant, Ania Bokstein, Michal Shtamler (directed by Avi Nesher)

*limited and/or gradual release


Preview Sean Penn in the Trailer for Milk

Last month, we told you about Milk, a biopic about the first openly gay man elected into a public office.

Now we’re getting our first chance to see as Harvey Milk in this feature from Gus Van Sant (Good Will Hunting).


Based on those 2.5 minutes, I’m going to make an early prediction and utter the words “Oscar nomination” for Penn.

- also starring Josh Brolin, Diego Luna, James Franco and Emile Hirsch - opens this November 28.


James Franco Talks About Kissing Sean Penn

Sean Penn and James Franco

UPDATE: You can see James Franco detailing his experience with Sean Penn after the jump.

Since so much was made about Scarlett kissing Penelope in Vicky Cristina Barcelona, why don’t we turn the tables for a bit? Later this year, we’ll get to see Sean Penn and James Franco sharing a few lip locks of their own.

In Milk, Sean stars as real-life politician Harvey Milk, the first openly gay man to be elected into a public office. (San Francisco’s city supervisor was later assassinated in 1978.) James plays Scott Smith, one of Milk’s boyfriends.

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Top 5 High School Movies

High School Musical

Disney’s Camp Rock will soon delight tweens and teens with tuneful summer fun. The cable network hopes to re-capture the success of …but is this movie truly the pinnacle of cinematic high school fun? Isn’t it possible to strive for higher in the high school movie genre? Check out my list of the Top 5 High School Movies, and find out if your favorite made the cut.

Fast Times at Ridgemont High
as a stoner and Jennifer Jason Leigh as a budding young slut - what says high school quite like that? This uproariously funny cult classic will absolutely never go out of style (I think it has something to with Judge Reinhold). The music and fashion might be dated, sure, but certain truths always remain despite the years that pass.

Click to continue reading Top 5 High School Movies


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