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The Academy Awards

Sure, the Oscars are probably older than you are, but how much do you really know about the iconic event?

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Feb 21

Trump bemoans South Korean film's historic Oscars win: 'Can we get Gone With the Wind back?'

by Allyson Chiu

Four Oscars. Two BAFTAs. A Golden Globe. A Palme d'Or.

By most accounts, South Korean director Bong Joon-ho's critically acclaimed film "Parasite" - a provocative commentary on class warfare packaged into a dark comedic thriller - deserved all the awards it received.

President Trump disagrees, though he admitted that he doesn't know whether the film is good.

On Thursday night, Trump took a quick break from attacking Democrats and Fox News during a campaign rally in Colorado Springs to bemoan the movie's historic best picture win at the Academy Awards earlier this month. Set in modern-day South Korea, "Parasite" is the first foreign-language film to take home the award.

"And the winner is a movie from South Korea, what the hell was that all about?" Trump said, drawing laughter from the crowd. "We got enough problems with South Korea with trade. On top of it, they give them the best movie of the year? Was it good? I don't know."

"Can we get 'Gone With the Wind' back, please?" the president continued, fondly remembering the classic Civil War movie that has long weathered criticism for its depiction of African Americans. The film, set on a plantation in Georgia, garnered a slew of Academy Awards in 1940, including best picture.

Continue Reading at: The Washington Post

Feb 19

Netflix Takes Adam McKay Meteor Movie 'Don't Look Up'; Jennifer Lawrence To Star

Jennifer Lawrence, pictured here in 2019 at the premiere for "Dark Phoenix", is on board for Adam McKay Netflix comedy "Don't Look Up" (image courtesy Getty)
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by Anthony D'Alessandro

Netflix has boarded Adam McKay's new comedy feature Don't Look Up, which Oscar winner Jennifer Lawrence will star in. Deadline first broke the news about the project last November when we announced the Oscar-winning Big Short filmmaker's new first-look deal at Paramount under his label Hyberobject Industries.

Don't Look Up tells the story of two low-level astronomers who must go on a giant media tour to warn mankind of an approaching asteroid that will destroy Earth. Production will begin in April for a release later this year.

McKay wrote the comedy and will produce under his Hyperobject Industries banner with Kevin Messick.

"I'm so thrilled to make this movie with Jen Lawrence. She's what folks in the 17th century used to call 'a dynamite talent'," McKay said. "And the fact that Netflix sees this movie as a worldwide comedy sets the bar high for me and my team in an exciting and motivating way."

Continue Reading at: Deadline

Feb 17

How Internet Backlash Helped 'Sonic the Hedgehog' Avoid Box Office Disaster

A publicity still from "Sonic the Hedgehog" (image courtesy Paramount Pictures / Sega)
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by Rebecca Rubin

It's not a stretch to say Universal's "Cats" and Paramount's "Sonic the Hedgehog" had two of the most polarizing movie trailers in recent memory. Both caught fire online for all the wrong reasons after fans on social media torched the questionable CGI.

"Cats," an adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical, used a new science called "digital fur technology" to bring the four-legged felines to the big screen. The expensive CGI, which had been teased relentlessly, would have been too costly to completely retool before it was unleashed over the holidays. The film became a box office disaster and lost $100 million theatrically after factoring in marketing costs.

"Sonic" could have easily suffered the same fate. But rather than releasing the movie when it was initially slated to debut last November, Paramount delayed the film so director Jeff Fowler could redesign the animated character, whose creepy teeth initially made him look a little too human. It was an unusual move, but one that ultimately resulted in positive reviews and a three-day opening weekend of $58 million, the best showing ever for a movie based on a video game.

"I can't remember another time there's been a reset, but it was incredibly smart of everyone involved to listen to the fans and give them what they want," said Paramount's president of domestic distribution Chris Aronson, who worked at Fox when the studio pumped the brakes on "Sonic." "The consumer always determines what is right and what is wrong. They made their voices clear, and we listened."

Continue Reading at: Variety

Feb 16

Box Office: 'Sonic the Hedgehog' Booms With Record $68M Opening

A publicity still from Box Office champ "Sonic the Hedgehog" (image courtesy Paramount Pictures and Sega of America)
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by Pamela McClintock

Paramount's Sonic the Hedgehog made a loud boom at the Presidents Day box office with a three-day domestic opening of $57 million, a record for a video game adaptation. The film's projected four-day gross of $68 million is among the best showings ever for the long holiday weekend, which coincided this year with Valentine's Day.

Previously, 2019's Pokemon Detective Pikachu boasted the top North American debut for a video game adaptation with a three-day start of $54.3 million, not adjusted for inflation.
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The $87 million film - which received an A CinemaScore - is based on the popular Sega video game and sees the titular character (voiced by Ben Schwartz) team up with a small-town sheriff (James Marsden) to battle the evil genius Dr. Robotnik (Jim Carrey).
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Sonic quashed its next closet rival, Warner Bros. and DC's Birds of Prey, which fell to No. 2 in its second weekend with an estimated $17 million over the three days and $19 million for the four-day frame. The troubled superhero pic tumbled 48 percent, a steep drop for a holiday weekend, to finish Monday with a domestic total of $61.7 million. Internationally, it took in $23 million in its sophomore outing for a foreign tally of $83.6 million.

Sony's Blumhouse-produced Fantasy Island, a horror reimagining of the classic television series of the same name, bowed in third place with an estimated $12.4 million for the three days and $14 million for the four despite getting tagged with a C- CinemaScore.

Continue Reading at: The Hollywood Reporter

Feb 15

Indiana Jones 5 Will "See Part of His History Resolved," According to Harrison Ford

by Jim Vejvoda

The Indiana Jones films have so far explored a range of the globe-trotting archaeologistís life. The Last Crusade portrayed Indy's youth as well as his role as a son. The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull depicted Indy as a father and ended with him marrying his former flame Marion Ravenwood. So what does actor Harrison Ford -- who recently revealed that he begins filming Indiana Jones 5 in the next couple of months -- want to see explored about his iconic character in the next sequel?

IGN got the chance to ask Ford that very question at the press junket for his newest film, The Call of the Wild, and while he was reluctant to spill too many beans the actor did promise that Indy 5 will "see part of [Indy's] history resolved."

"Well, I'm not going to share the story with you because that doesn't seem like a good idea," Ford began. "But we'll see new developments in his life, his relationship. We'll see part of his history resolved."

Ford added, "It's a very good script. I'm looking forward to it." That script was most recently worked on by Jonathan Kasdan, one of the writers of Solo: A Star Wars Story and the son of original Raiders of the Lost Ark screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan.

Continue Reading at: IGN

Feb 13

It's Jackie Chan vs. Arnold Schwarzenegger in The Iron Mask trailer

by Maggie Dela Paz

Signature Entertainment has released the official trailer for their upcoming action fantasy film The Iron Mask , a follow-up to the 2014 film The Forbidden Kingdom / Viy that was loosely based on author Nikolai Gogol's novel of the same name. Starring iconic action stars Jackie Chan and Arnold Schwarzenegger, the film will hit the theaters in the UK and on digital on April 10. Check out the video in the player below!

The Iron Mask is a high concept fantasy historical epic featuring breath-taking fights and stunning visuals. Set in the 18th century, The film follows English traveler Jonathan Green as he journeys from Russia to China encountering dragons, black magic wizardry, and a dragon king during an incredible but deadly adventure.

The film will star Jason Flemyng (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) and Charles Dance (Game of Thrones) who are reprising their roles as Jonathan Green and Lord Dudley from the first film. Joining them are action legends Jackie Chan (Rush Hour) as Master and Arnold Schwarzenegger (The Terminator) as James Hook along with the late Rutger Hauer (Blade Runner).

Continue Reading at: ComingSoon

Feb 12

'The French Dispatch' Trailer: Wes Anderson Directs Chalamet, Swinton, Murray, and More

by Zack Sharf

Following yesterday's batch of first look photos, Searchlight Pictures has dropped the first trailer for Wes Anderson's highly anticipated 10th feature film, "The French Dispatch." Anderson last directed the stop-motion adventure "Isle of Dogs," making "French Dispatch" his first live-action effort since the release of "The Grand Budapest Hotel." Searchlight released "Grand Budapest" in March 2016 to nine Oscar nominations (including Best Picture and Best Director) and $172 million worldwide on a $25 million production budget. The studio is surely hoping to have similar success with "The French Dispatch" which, like "Grand Budapest," boasts a star-studded ensemble cast.

Searchlight's official synopsis for "The French Dispatch" reads: "The film is a love letter to journalists set in an outpost of an American newspaper in a fictional 20th Century French city and brings to life a collection of stories published in 'The French Dispatch' magazine." The ensemble cast includes Bill Murray, Timothee Chalamet, Frances McDormand, Bob Balaban, Jeff Goldblum, Elisabeth Moss, Tilda Swinton, Lea Seydoux Owen Wilson, Jeffrey Wright, Tony Revolori, and more. Anderson's longtime cinematographer Robert Yeoman shot the film, while his frequent composer Alexandre Desplat and editor Andrew Weisblum also worked on the project.

Check out the trailer here:

Continue Reading at: Indiewire

Feb 11

'The Hunt' Is Back On: Universal Sets Release for Controversial Elites vs. "Deplorables" Satire

by Kim Masters

The Hunt, the satirical thriller that depicts "elites" kidnapping and then hunting "deplorables," is now set for release March 13 (see new trailer below), six months after Universal pulled the film from its September 2019 opening in the wake of a spate of mass shootings that shook the nation.

Following those attacks, Universal and producer Jason Blum decided to pause the ad campaign for the film. But after The Hollywood Reporter and other outlets reported on the film's premise, it generated instant controversy. Fox News pilloried the concept and the movie was attacked (though not by name) in a President Trump tweet.

Now Universal is going to release and market the film with attitude: A one-sheet, set to debut today, reads, "The most talked-about movie of the year is one that no one's actually seen," with the film's original release date crossed out and blurbs highlighting news coverage of the scrapped release. A new trailer features the same pitch.

In an exclusive interview with THR, Blum and screenwriter Damon Lindelof - who shares credit on The Hunt with Lindelof's Watchmen collaborator Nick Cuse - defend the film as an over-the-top, satirical take on the divided state of the union that is even-handed in its sendup of the opposing factions. "None of us were interested in taking sides with this movie," Blum says.

See the updated official trailer here:

Continue Reading at: The Hollywood Reporter

Feb 10

Parasite's Best Picture win was key to the Oscars' future

by Karen Han

In the lead-up to the Oscars, the sheer number of nominations Bong Joon-ho's social satire Parasite received seemed like a miracle. The Academy Awards had never previously recognized South Korean films. (Lee Chang-dong's magnificent Burning made the Oscar shortlist in 2018, but ultimately wasn't a nominee.) And no non-English-language film had ever taken Best Picture in the 92-year history of the Academy Awards. A win in the Best Foreign Language Film category (recently renamed as "Best International Feature Film") had historically been the cap. Add in the fact that Sam Mendes' 1917 spent awards season picking up steam as a technical marvel, and it seemed as though Parasite's Best Picture chances were slim. Even though it truly was the best picture of 2019, it was competing in an awards show that was historically skewed against it.

Which made it all the more miraculous that Parasite ended the night with not only the prizes for Best Original Screenplay, Best International Feature Film, and Best Director, but for Best Picture, too.

Throughout the night, presenters and winners alluded to the Academy's lack of recognition for female filmmakers and people of color. Though those barbs were attention-grabbing in the moment, they felt hollow, given that they weren't being backed up by actual awards or tangible action. The opening number, performed by Janelle MonŠe, was full of references to films that weren't nominated including Us and Dolemite Is My Name, and the mid-ceremony rap, performed by Utkarsh Ambudkar, began with Ambudkar saying he clearly didn't belong in the room, as a person of a color. Parasite's win, however, was akin to an earthquake. A South Korean film with an entirely Korean cast and almost no English dialogue had won the biggest prize of the night.

The win signaled a real shift in tides in an institution that failed to nominate any of the movie's actors, and that included voters who don't think Parasite should be allowed to compete with "the regular films"). For the first time, a non-English-language film surpassed the barrier of being considered something "other," and cracked open the door for other international features to follow in its footsteps. Speaking to Vulture's E. Alex Jung, director Bong describe the Oscars as "local," in reference to the fact that the awards ceremony really only tends to recognize Western films. "The Oscars are not an international film festival," Bong said. Parasite's win feels like an important first step in making that untrue.

Continue Reading at: Polygon

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