Wanda Sykes doesn't give a damn what Kanye West thinks after bum-rushing Beck at the Grammys. • "He's crazy. He's just an egomaniac. He's nuts," Sykes said by telephone from Los Angeles, just getting warmed up about what occurred the night before. • "I wanted someone to ask him, when he's going off about real artists and Beck and whatever: Have you listened to Beck's album? It's pretty good. And having (West) think singing over a manhole cover is pretty spectacular? I say no, thank you, sir."...
For Will Smith, there is life after After Earth, his most embarrassing failure in an otherwise charmed career.
Smith's swagger is back in Focus, a caper not as clever as co-creators Glenn Ficarra and John Requa would like us to believe. Focus is a movie about con artists that itself is a complete con. It swivels logic and loyalties when necessary, borrows from better cinema scams like The Sting, and plays everyone for suckers....
Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks spent six days filming locally in 2013, mostly exterior shots to disguise the fact that the "St. Pete Beach" where it's set is really Budapest, Hungary, where principal filming occurred.
Viewers won't easily spot the difference, says Richard Alfieri, the stage play and now screenplay's author.
"It's all very true to the area," Alfieri said from Los Angeles, where he splits time with a family home in Redington Shores....
One of these Oscars, someone will arrive on the red carpet in a gown to top them all.
After 87 years, there must be enough awareness ribbons, slogan buttons and lapel pins for an enterprising designer to stitch together into a fashion statement of everything good and true.
That is what the Academy Awards spectacle is about: promoting yourself. In the old days of studio control, it was solely a star's next movie or new beau. Then it got weirdly political for a while — Brando's bogus Native American accepting his Oscar, Vanessa Redgrave's "Zionist hoodlums" remark and a telegram from the Viet Cong....
Oscar sprouted wings Sunday when Birdman or (the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) was named 2014's best picture at the 87th Academy Awards.
Birdman is undoubtably the academy's most avant-garde choice ever, magically realistic and filmed under the illusion of a single, uninterrupted two-hour take. Alejandro G. Inarritu's fantasy swirls in the meta comeback of a flamed-out movie star (Michael Keaton) taunted by his superhero alter ego....
Anyone feeling giddy after last year's Academy Awards predictions should take a sobering look at this year's choices.
Last year was a breeze, a two-horse race with 12 Years a Slave and Gravity perfectly complementing each other in the grand scheme of Oscar balloting — historical art versus fantasy spectacle. I correctly picked 20 of 24 categories, a personal record over a lifetime of picking....
Filming begins Saturday around Tampa Bay on director Tim Burton's next feat of movie magic, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children.
Yet attracting the production here is a neat trick itself, making a friendly rivalry between Pinellas and Hillsborough counties disappear.
Both counties' film commissions are joining forces, putting money where their individual interests lay. Each agency will pay $100,000 incentives to the production, after certain requirements are met....
Meryl Streep makes it seem so easy.
Win an Academy Award for acting and immediately you're expected to do it again, or at least be in the discussion from time to time. Streep has three statuettes on her shelf, and a record 19 nominations overall.
An Oscar is a promise of continuing greatness that doesn't always pan out. For every Streep, Jack Nicholson or Daniel Day-Lewis justifying their bestowed posterity with long, acclaimed movie careers, there's a Roberto Benigni or Cher who never really pans out. Or a Mo'Nique who doesn't seem to care....
This year's acting nominations set one record and extended another. Robert Duvall (The Judge) passed Hal Holbrook to become the oldest nominee ever at age 84, and Meryl Streep (Into the Woods) earned her 19th nomination.
All four acting categories would be swept by first-time Oscar winners for the first time since 2010 if the favorites prevail. Eddie Redmayne (or Michael Keaton), Julianne Moore, J.K. Simmons and Patricia Arquette have never won before....
Give John Cusack credit for putting his art before money and skipping Hot Tub Time Machine 2 (R). Of course, if Cusack was that concerned about his art he wouldn't have starred in the first one.
Actually, his replacement is funnier (if only by default). Adam Scott, star of Parks and Recreation and vodka commercials, steps in as the most sensible member of four dudes gone wild. After the original took them back to 1986 in the titular mode of time travel, this one takes them back to the future. Part 2, that is, when Biff used the DeLorean to rig a fortune for himself....
Before Sunday's Academy Awards, take time to see Marion Cotillard's worthily nominated performance in Two Days, One Night, a sliver of working class life from the Dardenne brothers, Belgium's gift to filmmaking.
A common theme for Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne is ordinary people in everyday financial straits. It's no different for Cotillard's clinically depressed Sandra, a factory worker who can barely drag herself from bed to learn she's laid off from her job. Worse is why it happens: A foreman pitting co-workers against her, saying their work can be accomplished with one less employee, which would allow them to receive a bonus everyone needs....
Watching Kingsman: The Secret Service made me think of Casino Royale. Both of them. The silly first one with David Niven playing 007, and Daniel Craig's rebooted, bare-knuckle Bond. One spy romp nothing like the other, nor a particularly good match.
Matthew Vaughn's moshing of spy genre extremes is based on a comic book, a medium from which many of the director/co-writer's creative juices flow. Kingsman is as violently kinetic as anything Vaughn has made, a list including Kick-Ass (the good one) and Craig's U.S. breakthrough, Layer Cake....
It is finally here, the swooningly anticipated movie version of Fifty Shades of Grey, the book that millions read but far fewer were caught doing it.
And you know what? Director Sam Taylor-Johnson's movie isn't nearly as terrible as E.L. James' novel would make you expect. There's perverted, like the sado-masochistic sex games played by tycoon Christian Grey, and then there's perverse, like the pleasure of watching trash so glossily compacted....
It isn't a spoiler to reveal that Still Alice doesn't have a happy ending. Alzheimer's disease doesn't allow for that, at least not in a conventional sense. Joy comes in a life fully lived, and how loved ones preserve it.
In that regard, the way Still Alice ends can leave you feeling pretty good. For all of its movie-of-the-week mechanics, this is a deeply moving dramatization of what Alzheimer's does to mind and spirit, anchored by the finest performance, male or female, from any 2014 movie release....
Fifty Shades of Grey? • I can get you 10 shades of the same plot, right off the top of my head. • You won't find a more standard outline for an erotic odyssey: A sexually naive or repressed woman meets a mysterious man wooing her into forbidden encounters, pulling her into a carnal maelstrom that. . . . • Sorry, cold shower time. • But before I go, take a look back at 10 movies that, like Fifty Shades of Grey, created quite a stir in their days. We'll focus on postsexual revolution releases — after 1970 — because practically everything before in movies was peekaboo innuendo. • We'll lay out the seductive scenarios, highlight the hottest scenes and identify celebs who went some degree of Monty in the movie. (Mostly women, of course, because this is male-centric Hollywood.) • Enjoy, and just leave payment on the dresser....