The Oscars’ Real, True, ACTUAL Start Time

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The 87th Academy Awards begin tonight, Sunday, February 22, 2015 at 8:30pm Eastern Time (7:30pm Central, 6:30pm Mountain, 5:30pm Pacific).

For years, every time the Oscars come around I search online for the start time, plan my party around that, and then get annoyed with an extra 30-90 minutes of Red Carpet coverage that I could care less about. The Oscars’ OFFICIAL WEBSITE, for instance, lists the start time at “7e/4p.”

Last year I decided to dig a little deeper and discovered that the real answer is a full HOUR AND A HALF LATER than advertised. My blog post to that effect was subsequently the single most viewed post in the history of this blog – by several orders of magnitude!

In a brazen attempt to capture lightening in a bottle twice, I have done my research again and have returned to tell you that, yes, the real, true, actual start time is indeed 90 minutes later than advertised. In fact, the LA Times has a complete breakdown of the entire day’s broadcasting events and times. (Note: their times are all Pacific, so if you live in Central or Eastern, etc. just do the math.)

So once again, if you want to avoid all the Red Carpet nonsense, the Oscars REALLY start at 8:30pm EST/5:30pm PST.

Enjoy the show!

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Birdman, Whiplash Skewered in Brilliant Indy Spirit Awards Opening Sketch

Last night’s Independent Spirit Awards opened with an amazing Birdman/Whiplash spoof. Fred Armisen, Kristen Bell, Miles Teller and Bill Hader definitely throw down the gauntlet for NPH at the Oscars tonight!

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Oscar Predictions 2015

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The 87th Academy Awards presentation is tomorrow night: Sunday, February 22, 2015 at 8:30pm EST. Here, just in the nick of time, are The Screen Life’s official ranked predictions.

Several of these races are completely locked at this point. There should be no surprises when it comes to Supporting Actor, Lead AND Supporting Actress, Cinematography, and almost every craft category The Grand Budapest Hotel is eligible for.

On the other hand, many of the biggest races are an incredibly close toss-up between 2 or even 3 movies: Picture, Director, Actor, BOTH Screenplays, Editing, even VFX could all go a number of different ways. These rankings are intended to give you an idea of the closest challengers and dark horses.

While I’m probably bound to get a few of these wrong (I admit a bit of a bias toward Whiplash), I believe that sticking with these predictions are the best way to win your office Oscar pool.

Happy Oscaring!!!

Best Picture

  1. Birdman
  2. Boyhood
  3. The Grand Budapest Hotel
  4. American Sniper
  5. Selma
  6. The Imitation Game
  7. Whiplash
  8. The Theory of Everything

Best Director

  1. Alexandro G. Iñárritu, Birdman
  2. Richard Linklater, Boyhood
  3. Wes Anderson, The Grand Budapest Hotel
  4. Morten Tyldum, The Imitation Game
  5. Bennett Miller, Foxcatcher

Best Actor

  1. Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything
  2. Michael Keaton, Birdman
  3. Bradley Cooper, American Sniper
  4. Benedict Cumberbatch, The Imitation Game
  5. Steve Carell, Foxcatcher

Best Actress

  1. Julianne Moore, Still Alice
  2. Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl
  3. Felicity Jones, The Theory of Everything
  4. Reese Witherspoon, Wild
  5. Marion Cotillard, Two Days One Night

Best Supporting Actor

  1. K. Simmons, Whiplash
  2. Edward Norton, Birdman
  3. Ethan Hawke, Boyhood
  4. Mark Ruffalo, Foxcatcher
  5. Robert Duvall, The Judge

Best Supporting Actress

  1. Patricia Arquette, Boyhood
  2. Emma Stone, Birdman
  3. Keira Knightley, The Imitation Game
  4. Laura Dern, Wild
  5. Meryl Streep, Into the Woods

Best Adapted Screenplay

  1. Whiplash
  2. The Imitation Game
  3. American Sniper
  4. Inherent Vice
  5. The Theory of Everything

Best Original Screenplay

  1. The Grand Budapest Hotel
  2. Birdman
  3. Boyhood
  4. Foxcatcher
  5. Nightcrawler

Best Animated Feature

  1. How to Train Your Dragon 2
  2. Big Hero 6
  3. The Boxtrolls
  4. The Tale of Princess Kaguya
  5. Song of the Sea

Best Cinematography

  1. Emmanuel Lubezki, Birdman
  2. Robert Yeoman, The Grand Budapest Hotel
  3. Roger Deakins, Unbroken
  4. Lukasz Zal and Ryszard Lenczewski, Ida
  5. Dick Pope, Turner

Best Costume Design

  1. The Grand Budapest Hotel
  2. Inherent Vice
  3. Into the Woods
  4. Maleficent
  5. Turner

Best Film Editing

  1. Whiplash
  2. Boyhood
  3. American Sniper
  4. The Grand Budapest Hotel
  5. The Imitation Game

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

  1. The Grand Budapest Hotel
  2. Guardians of the Galaxy
  3. Foxcatcher

Best Original Score

  1. Alexandre Desplat, The Grand Budapest Hotel
  2. Johann Johannsson, The Theory of Everything
  3. Hans Zimmer, Interstellar
  4. Alexandre Desplat, The Imitation Game
  5. Gary Yershon, Turner

Best Original Song

  1. “Glory,” Selma
  2. “Everything is Awesome,” The LEGO Movie
  3. “I’m Not Gonna Miss You,” Glen Campbell…I’ll Be Me
  4. “Lost Stars,” Begin Again
  5. “Grateful,” Beyond the Lights

Best Production Design

  1. The Grand Budapest Hotel
  2. The Imitation Game
  3. Interstellar
  4. Turner
  5. Into the Woods

Best Sound Editing

  1. American Sniper
  2. Birdman
  3. Interstellar
  4. Unbroken
  5. The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

Best Sound Mixing

  1. Whiplash
  2. American Sniper
  3. Birdman
  4. Interstellar
  5. Unbroken

Best Visual Effects

  1. Interstellar
  2. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
  3. Guardians of the Galaxy
  4. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
  5. X-Men: Days of Future Past

Best Foreign Language Film

  1. Ida
  2. Leviathan
  3. Tangerines
  4. Timbuktu
  5. Wild Tales

Best Documentary — Feature

  1. CITIZENFOUR
  2. Virunga
  3. Last Days of Vietnam
  4. Finding Vivien Maier
  5. The Salt of the Earth

Best Documentary — Short

  1. The Reaper
  2. Joanna
  3. Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1
  4. Our Curse
  5. White Earth

Best Live Action Short

  1. Butter Lamp
  2. The Phone Call
  3. Boogaloo and Graham
  4. Parvaneh
  5. Aya

Best Animated Short

  1. Feast
  2. Me and My Moulton
  3. The Dam Keeper
  4. The Bigger Picture
  5. A Single Life

Total predicted wins per film:
Birdman – 3
The Grand Budapest Hotel – 5
Whiplash – 4
(everything else – 1 or 0)

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Review – Whiplash

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Whiplash is not a “horror film”. It’s a drama about musicians. I repeat: it’s not “horror” in the sense that anyone would define the genre. I feel the need to point that out, because this little student/teacher drama is the most terrifying “non-horror” movie I’ve ever seen.

Warning: I’m going to overuse that word here– “terrifying” – because there’s simply no better description. But before I go too far down that road, let me just point out that I truly believe Whiplash is the greatest film of 2014. (See my Top 10 Films of 2014.) Every single aspect of this production is perfectly calculated, expertly crafted, and the result is an experience that drives into your soul and stays there.

I don’t cry much in real life, but I have been known to leak a little at the occasional movie. No big heaving sobs or anything. Just the kind of overwhelming spine-shivering wave of emotion that involuntarily activates the tear ducts. They’re usually happy tears, or for the scrappy underdog giving their last, best attempt against insurmountable odds.

But never, in my entire memory, have I ever been LITERALLY SCARED TO TEARS by a movie. That changed while watching Whiplash.

You know that dream where you go to school, and there’s a big exam, but you never studied for it, never even actually went to this class, and, oh yeah, you’re also naked? Remember the awful feeling of that nightmare? Multiply that by 10, and you MIGHT come close to the climactic scene of this movie.

(I have other good analogies, but I can’t write them without spoiling the moment.)

Miles Teller plays Andrew, a young jazz drummer in his first year at the most prestigious, cutthroat conservatory in the country. JK Simmons plays Fletcher, Andrew’s teacher, director of the top ensemble, and a maker of the greatest musicians in the world.

But Fletcher’s techniques don’t just border on the sadistic; they thrive there. He wields psychological torture like a sculptor’s scalpel, using it to mold his students into an absurd level of perfection. Every word and action is a carefully crafted piece of an elaborate mind game that takes “winning” and “losing” to more extreme conclusions than you can possible imagine.

Simmons plays Fletcher with a terrifying confidence. I physically winced every time he was onscreen, which was most of the time. That meant I spent the vast majority of this movie in as much of a fetal position as the theater seat would allow. He is as scary as all the classic screen villains you can think of… combined.

For his part, Teller did an amazing job of playing Andrew as a young musician who sacrifices everything in his life, even his own blood – I have never seen so much blood in a movie about musicians before – to become the greatest. It’s sad that his performance might be overshadowed by Simmons, because they are both at the absolute top of their game.

Full disclosure time: I am a musician. It occurs to me that I might’ve had a more visceral reaction to this movie in part because of my personal background. I never studied jazz, and no I never had a sadistic coach like Fletcher. But anybody who has ever studied any form of art will know that these teachers really do exist. Maybe not quite to this extreme, but pretty damn close. We may even know one personally, and if not we know colleagues who have.

What’s more, we know that special relationship that forms between student and teacher. Fletcher is a personal mentor, coach, director, idol, and parent all wrapped up in one. The abuse he inflicts is all the more painful, because I can feel exactly where the stings land from each precise lash of his whip.

And finally, speaking of the title: Whiplash perfectly describes the form of the film. 95% of it is one long painful whip, but just you wait for that lash.

Whew, there’s that spine-shivering wave again!

[Check out more reviews by clicking the “REVIEWS” link at the top of the page.]

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2015 Oscar Nominations

Oscar statues

Nominations for the 87th Annual Academy Awards were announced this morning.

Birdman and The Grand Budapest Hotel lead the way with 9 nods apiece. I find it interesting that the two films with the most nominations are both comedies. That’s a bit unusual, I think. We have 8 nominees for Best Picture this year. This is a slight change: ever since the new rule that allowed anywhere from 5-10 nominees depending on the voting, we’ve always ended up with 9. I’m sure there will be countles article on the various snubs and surprises, but for now the biggest surprise, in my opinion, is The LEGO Movie being left out of the Animated Feature race, where I think most people considered it the frontrunner.

Scroll to the bottom to see a breakdown of total nominations per film.

Best Picture
American Sniper
Birdman
Boyhood
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
Selma
The Theory of Everything
Whiplash

Best Director
Alexandro G. Iñárritu, Birdman
Richard Linklater, Boyhood
Bennett Miller, Foxcatcher
Wes Anderson, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Morten Tyldum, The Imitation Game

Best Actor
Steve Carell, Foxcatcher
Bradley Cooper, American Sniper
Benedict Cumberbatch, The Imitation Game
Michael Keaton, Birdman
Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything

Best Actress
Marion Cotillard, Two Days One Night
Felicity Jones, The Theory of Everything
Julianne Moore, Still Alice
Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl
Reese Witherspoon, Wild

Best Supporting Actor
Robert Duvall, The Judge
Ethan Hawke, Boyhood
Edward Norton, Birdman
Mark Ruffalo, Foxcatcher
J.K. Simmons, Whiplash

Best Supporting Actress
Patricia Arquette, Boyhood
Laura Dern, Wild
Keira Knightley, The Imitation Game
Emma Stone, Birdman
Meryl Streep, Into the Woods

Best Adapted Screenplay
American Sniper
The Imitation Game
Inherent Vice
The Theory of Everything
Whiplash
 

Best Original Screenplay
Birdman
Boyhood
Foxcatcher
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Nightcrawler

Best Animated Feature
Big Hero 6
The Boxtrolls
How to Train Your Dragon 2
Song of the Sea
The Tale of Princess Kaguya

Best Cinematography
Emmanuel Lubezki, Birdman
Robert Yeoman, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Lukasz Zal and Ryszard Lenczewski, Ida
Dick Pope, Mr. Turner
Roger Deakins, Unbroken

Best Costume Design
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Inherent Vice
Into the Woods
Maleficent
Mr. Turner

Best Film Editing
American Sniper
Boyhood
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
Whiplash

Best Makeup and Hairstyling
Foxcatcher
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Guardians of the Galaxy

Best Original Score
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
Interstellar
Mr. Turner
The Theory of Everything

Best Original Song
“Lost Stars,” Begin Again
“Everything is Awesome,” The LEGO Movie
“Glory,” Selma
“Grateful,” Beyond the Lights
I’m Not Gonna Miss You,” Glen Campbell…I’ll Be Me

Best Production Design
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
Interstellar
Into the Woods
Mr. Turner

Best Sound Editing
American Sniper
Birdman
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
Interstellar
Unbroken

Best Sound Mixing
American Sniper
Birdman
Interstellar
Unbroken
Whiplash

Best Visual Effects
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Guardians of the Galaxy
Interstellar
X-Men: Days of Future Past

Best Foreign Language Film
Ida
Leviathan
Tangerines
Timbuktu
Wild Tales

Best Documentary — Feature
Citizenfour
Finding Vivien Maier
Last Days of Vietnam
The Salt of the Earth
Virunga

Best Documentary—Short
Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1
Joanna
Our Curse
The Reaper
White Earth 

Best Animated Short
The Bigger Picture
The Dam Keeper
Feast
Me and My Moulton
A Single Life

Best Live Action Short
Aya
Boogaloo and Graham
Butter Lamp
Parvaneh
The Phone Call

Total nominations per film:
Birdman – 9
The Grand Budapest Hotel – 9
The Imitation Game – 8
American Sniper – 6
Boyhood – 6
Interstellar – 5
The Theory of Everything – 5
Whiplash – 5
Foxcatcher – 4
Mr. Turner – 4
Into the Woods – 3
Unbroken – 3
Guardians of the Galaxy – 2
Ida – 2
Inherent Vice – 2
Selma – 2
Wild – 2

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Top 10 Films of 2014

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And here it is: my Top 10 for 2014!
(In case you missed the rest, check it out here.)

  1. Whiplash (read the full review)
  2. The LEGO Movie (read the full review)
  3. Nightcrawler
  4. Birdman
  5. Gone Girl
  6. Boyhood
  7. The Babadook
  8. The Grand Budapest Hotel
  9. Snowpiercer
  10. The Boxtrolls

The Films of 2014

interstellar

Was 2014 a bad year for good movies? The list below kinda seems that way. I mean, yes I did see a handful of really wonderful films, but nowhere near the massive output of the past few years, where I struggled to keep my Top 10 list to just 10. This year I had the opposite struggle. Only the top 3 or 4 could have made it into my previous lists.

Full disclosure: this has been an insanely busy year personally, and my movie habit – not to mention this blog – has had to take a back seat to other ventures. Put simply, I haven’t even watched a fraction of the number of movies I usually catch in a year. And there’s a fair number of films I missed, or haven’t gotten around to yet, that have been getting some really good press. Still others haven’t even made it to Grand Rapids yet. (See list at the bottom of this article)

Then again, I’m not the only one proclaiming 2014 a weak year. Even the greatest films seem not quite as great. And maybe that partially contributed to my lack of movie stubs. I just wasn’t as excited about this year’s crop. At least that’s what I’m going to tell myself, so I can feel better about not seeing most of them.

So here you go. Ranked simply “Good,” “OK,” and “Bad,” and in no other particular order, here is the list of all (minus my new Top 10up next) the 2014 Films I’ve seen so far…

Good
Muppets Most Wanted
How to Train Your Dragon 2
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Guardians of the Galaxy
Big Hero 6
Interstellar
The Imitation Game
The Theory of EverythingGodzilla
The Hunger Games: Monckingjay
22 Jump Street
Edge of Tomorrow
X-Men: Days of Future Past
Fury

OK
Filth
Into The Woods
Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit
The Monuments Men
Maleficent
Noah
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
The Giver
Under the Skin

Bad
RoboCop
Transformers 4: Age of Extinction
Hercules
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Into the Storm
The Expendables 3
The Interview

And here are the ones I would like to see, but still haven’t…

American Sniper
Big Eyes
Calvary
Frank
Foxcatcher
The Hobbit: The Babble of the Flies Swarming
Jodorowsky’s Dune
Inherent Vice
Lucy
A Most Violent Year
A Most Wanted Man
Mr. Turner
Nymphomaniac
Obvious Child
Only Lovers Left Alive
Pride
Rosewater
The Rover
Selma
St. Vincent
Top Five
Unbroken
Under The Skin
Wild

Netflix’s Newest Streaming Additions for September

Netflix provided a list of additions to their streaming catalog for September, complete with synopses and release dates. There are several titles you’ll likely recognize, from Cool Runnings to Crocodile Dundee to Silver Linings Playbook. But, personally I can’t wait to add The DoubleFilth, and Le Week-end to my list!

3 Days to Kill (2014)  After a terminally ill secret agent retires to spend his remaining time with his family, he’s asked to complete a dangerous last mission in exchange survive its hallucinatory side effects – Available 9/17

All is Lost (2013) Robert Redford  In this harrowing drama — which has no dialogue — Robert Redford portrays a man stranded alone at sea, courageously battling a ferocious storm as he struggles to survive with just a sextant and maritime maps to guide him. – Available 9/5

Bad Grandpa (2013) Johnny Knoxville, Jackson Nicoll, Greg Harris, Georgina Cates, Kamber Hejlik, Jill Kill, Madison Davis In-character encounters with real folks provide comic fodder in this franchise featuring Johnny Knoxville in lecherous-gramps disguise. With hidden cameras in tow, Irving Zisman (Knoxville) takes his grandson on an offbeat cross-country tour. – Available 9/27

Beginners (2011) Ewan McGregor, Christopher Plummer, Mélanie Laurent, Goran Visnjic, Kai Lennox, Mary Page Keller, Keegan Boos, China Shavers, Melissa Tang Oliver, a graphic artist, is coming to grips with the imminent death of his father, who, at 75, has one last secret: He’s gay. Inspired and confused by his father’s determination to find true love at last, Oliver tentatively pursues his own romance. – Available 9/16

The Believers (1987) Martin Sheen, Helen Shaver, Harley Cross, Robert Loggia, Elizabeth Wilson, Harris Yulin, Lee Richardson Mourning the accidental death of his wife and having just moved to New York with his young son, laconic police psychologist Cal Jamison is reluctantly drawn into a series of grisly, ritualistic murders involving the immolation of two youths. – Available 9/1

The Blue Lagoon (1980) Brooke Shields, Christopher Atkins, Leo McKern, William Daniels, Elva Josephson, Glenn Kohan Set in the lush environs of a deserted tropical island, this coming-of-age tale follows two shipwrecked children — Emmeline and Richard — who are stranded for years. As the cute kids turn into beautiful teenagers, nature takes its course. – Available 9/1

Cool Runnings (1993) John Candy, Leon, Doug E. Doug, Rawle D. Lewis, Malik Yoba, Raymond J. Barry, Peter Outerbridge A fictionalized account of the unlikely story of Jamaica’s first bobsled team, Cool Runnings follows their journey to the 1988 Olympics. When Derice Bannock’s (Leon) chances of qualifying for Jamaica’s track team are dashed, he looks for another sport. Derice persuades U.S. bobsledding gold medalist Irv Blitzer (John Candy), who now lives in Jamaica, to coach him and his friends as they attempt to become a world-class bobsled team. – Available 9/1

Crocodile Dundee (1986) Paul Hogan, Linda Kozlowski, John Meillon, David Gulpilil, Ritchie Singer, Terry Gilliam, Mark Blum When a New York reporter (Linda Kozlowski) plucks crocodile hunter Dundee (Paul Hogan) from the Australian Outback for a visit to the Big Apple, it’s a clash of cultures and a recipe for good-natured comedy as naïve Dundee negotiates the concrete jungle. Dundee proves that his instincts are quite useful in the city and adeptly handles everything from wily muggers to high-society snoots without breaking a sweat. Hogan’s script earned an Oscar nod. – Available 9/1

Deadly Code (2013) Arnas Fedaravicius, Vilius Tumalavicius, Eleanor Tomlinson, Jonas Trukanas, Vitalij Porshnev, Peter Stormare, John Malkovich Friends Kolyma and Gagarin come of age in a Siberian crime family where Kolyma’s iron-fisted grandfather enforces rules that keep the young men at odds. Their relationship is further tested when they both fall for the same beautiful woman. – Available 9/10

Dennis Miller: America 180 (2014) Five-time Emmy winner Dennis Miller takes a look at the state of the nation in a stand-up routine that touches on health care and climate change.  – Available 9/11

Detention (2011) Shanley Caswell, Josh Hutcherson, Dane Cook, Spencer Locke, Aaron David Johnson, Jan Anderson In this genre-bending slasher flick, a high schooler gets slapped with detention on the same night as senior prom. But plenty of other kids will also be missing the big event when a past-her-prime prom queen shows up to slay them. – Available 9/1

The Double (2013) Jesse Eisenberg, Mia Wasikowska, Wallace Shawn, Noah Taylor, Yasmin Paige, James Fox Jesse Eisenberg plays the dual roles of a timid office worker and his charismatic doppelganger in this cinematic adaptation of a Dostoevsky tale. First spotted on the bus, then at work, Simon’s double may share his looks, but he’s no carbon copy. – Available 9/25

Filth (2014) James McAvoy, Imogen Poots, Jamie Bell, Joanne Froggatt, Eddie Marsan, Jim Broadbent An arrogant, corrupt cop who believes he’s the only competent person in his department sees a recent murder case as a path to promotion. But the investigation brings the deluded officer into a rendezvous with reality that he’s wholly unprepared for. – Available 9/11

Flubber (1997) Robin Williams, Marcia Gay Harden, Christopher McDonald, Ted Levine, Clancy Brown On the verge of losing his girlfriend and his job, a scatterbrained college professor accidentally invents a bouncy material called Flubber. The substance stands to save the day — if the professor can defeat the many rivals who try to sabotage him. – Available 9/1

Girl Rising (2013) Anne Hathaway, Cate Blanchett, Selena Gomez, Liam Neeson, Priyanka Chopra, Chloë Grace Moretz, Freida Pinto, Salma Hayek, Meryl Streep, Alicia Keys, Kerry Washington Nine filmmakers each profile a young girl from a different part of the world to weave a global tapestry of youth in the 21st century. From a 7-year-old Haitian earthquake survivor to an Afghani child bride, these stories inspire and captivate. – Available 9/1

Girlfight (2000) Michelle Rodriguez, Jaime Tirelli, Paul Calderon, Santiago Douglas, Ray Santiago, Víctor Sierra First-time director Karyn Kusama’s powerful film tells the story of Diana (Michelle Rodriguez), a Brooklyn high-schooler who gets little support from her dismissive single father and takes her frustrations out on her classmates. But when she wanders into a local boxing gym, she’s instantly drawn to the action. And though it’s a male-dominated world, boxing provides her a newfound discipline and sense of purpose, as well as a positive male role model. – Available 9/1

Good Morning, Vietnam (1987) Robin Williams, Forest Whitaker, Tung Thanh Tran, Chintara Sukapatana, Bruno Kirby, Robert Wuhl When his manic radio show proves a huge morale-booster, Armed Forces Radio disc jockey Adrian Cronauer gets sent to Vietnam, where his monkeyshines — lampooning any and all sacred cows — tickle the troops but land him in trouble with his superiors. – Available 9/1

Grace Unplugged (2013) AJ Michalka, James Denton, Kevin Pollak, Shawnee Smith, Michael Welch, Jamie Grace Every Sunday, 18-year-old Grace performs at church with her ex-rock star father, but she longs to share her talent with the rest of the world. Heading for the bright lights of Los Angeles, she soon must choose between stardom and faith. – Available 9/12

Guess Who (2005) Bernie Mac, Ashton Kutcher, Zoe Saldana, Judith Scott, Hal Williams, Kellee Stewart Ashton Kutcher stars in this remake of the 1967 classic Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner? But the tables are turned this time around, as he plays the fiancé of an African American woman who’s met with skepticism and suspicion from her father. – Available 9/1

Hoodwinked (2005) Anne Hathaway, Glenn Close, James Belushi, Patrick Warburton, Anthony Anderson, David Ogden Stiers In this nod to Little Red Riding Hood, investigators uncover a tangled web of events when they’re called to Granny’s cottage to look into a domestic disturbance involving a sardonic wolf, an axe and a crimson-caped girl. – Available 9/1

Jay and Silent Bob’s Super Groovy Cartoon Movie (2013) Jason Mewes, Kevin Smith, Eliza Dushku, Tara Strong, Ralph Garman, Neil Gaiman, Ben Gleib After hitting the lottery jackpot, Jay and Silent Bob use their newfound cash to become crime-fighting superheroes Bluntman and Chronic. – Available 9/1

Justin and the Knights of Valor (2013) Antonio Banderas, James Cosmo, Rupert Everett, Freddie Highmore, Saoirse Ronan In this animated saga set in medieval times, a young boy slips away from his family home and begins a long journey to pursue his dream of becoming a knight. Seeking instruction from three wise monks, he makes his way to their remote abbey. – Available 9/13

Kid Cannabis (2014) Kenny Wormald, Jonathan Daniel Brown, Ron Perlman, Aaron Yoo, John C. McGinley, Corey Large Teaming with his best friend and a ragtag group of potheads, enterprising teen Nate Norman sets up a lucrative operation smuggling large amounts of marijuana from Canada to Idaho. But the young drug traffickers soon sow the seeds of their downfall. – Available 9/6

Killing Them Softly (2012) Brad Pitt, Scoot McNairy, Ben Mendelsohn, James Gandolfini, Richard Jenkins, Vincent Curatola When a couple low-level crooks make a dumb move by robbing a Mob-protected poker game and unwittingly bringing a recession to the area’s criminal economy, a slick enforcer is hired to track down the offenders and take care of business. – Available 9/30

Le Week-End (2014) Jim Broadbent, Lindsay Duncan, Jeff Goldblum, Olly Alexander, Judith Davis, Xavier De Guillebon Returning to Paris long after their honeymoon there, a British couple hopes to rediscover the magical feelings of their early years together. There, they meet an old friend whose perspectives on love and marriage help them recover what was lost. – Available 9/6

Lords of Dogtown (2005) Emile Hirsch, Victor Rasuk, John Robinson, Michael Angarano, Nikki Reed, Heath Ledger Stacy Peralta, one of the competitive skaters portrayed in the film. Known as the Z-Boys, the radical riders invent a brazen style of skating and deal with heartache when the sport they live for turns into big business. Heath Ledger, Emile Hirsch and Rebecca De Mornay co-star. – Available 9/1

Lullaby (2014) Garrett Hedlund, Richard Jenkins, Jessica Brown Findlay, Anne Archer, Jennifer Hudson Long after breaking ties with his family, Jonathan learns that his long-ill father has elected to take himself off of life support in two days. Drawn in by the dire news, Jonathan returns to face his kin in an intense emotional encounter. – Available 9/29

Mirage Men (2012) Fascination and controversy regarding UFO sightings have been with us for centuries, but this absorbing documentary offers a disturbing new thesis: that the U.S. military has been distributing false information about them for decades.  – Available 9/1

The Moment (2013) Jennifer Jason Leigh, Martin Henderson, Alia Shawkat, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Meat Loaf After her lover vanishes, a photojournalist winds up in a psychiatric hospital, where she tries to make sense of her fragmented memories — and begins to uncover some unexpected and disturbing truths. – Available 9/11

One Day (2011) Anne Hathaway, Jim Sturgess, Patricia Clarkson, Romola Garai, Rafe Spall, Tom Mison, Jodie Whittaker, Joséphine de La Baume, Ken Stott After a romantic tryst on college graduation night, Emma and Dexter pursue separate dreams. This romantic drama based on a novel of the same name checks in with them each year on the same date, tracking their personal and professional progress. – Available 9/16

Refuge (2012) Krysten Ritter, Brian Geraghty, Logan Huffman, Madeleine Martin, Juliet Garrett, Joe Pallister, Chris Papavasiliou, Helen Rogers After Amy’s parents abandon her two younger siblings — one of them brain-damaged — she’s obliged to leave college to take care of them. While struggling to accept her dreary new existence, Amy meets a man who may change everything. – Available 9/6

School of Rock (2003) Jack Black, Adam Pascal, Lucas Papaelias, Chris Stack, Sarah Silverman, Mike White, Lucas Babin Fired from his band and hard up for cash, guitarist and vocalist Dewey Finn finagles his way into a job as a fourth-grade substitute teacher at a private school, where he secretly begins teaching his students the finer points of rock ‘n’ roll. – Available 9/1

Silver Linings Playbook (2012) Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Jacki Weaver, Chris Tucker, Julia Stiles, John Ortiz After a stint in a psychiatric hospital, bipolar Pat has no choice but to move back in with his football-obsessed parents. While he tries in vain to reconcile with his wife, Pat meets a woman who’s as unstable as he is — and she changes his life. – Available 9/16

A Simple Plan (1998) Bill Paxton, Bridget Fonda, Billy Bob Thornton, Brent Briscoe, Jack Walsh, Chelcie Ross When brothers Hank and Jacob discover a dead body and millions of dollars in cash in a downed plane, they plot to hide the loot and split it later. It’s a simple plan — until things go murderously awry amid suspicion and mistrust. – Available 9/1

A Single Man (2009) Colin Firth, Julianne Moore, Nicholas Hoult, Matthew Goode, Jon Kortajarena, Paulette Lamori, Ryan Simpkins, Ginnifer Goodwin, Teddy Sears, Paul Butler Set in 1962 Los Angeles, this stream-of-consciousness drama centers on a day in the life of George Falconer, a gay college professor who plans to commit suicide in the wake of his longtime lover’s recent death. – Available 9/11

Small Apartments (2012) Matt Lucas, Billy Crystal, Juno Temple, James Caan, Peter Stormare, David Koechner Franklin Franklin has a dead landlord on the kitchen floor and an investigator (Billy Crystal) questioning him. But none of this fazes Franklin. He waits each day for a letter from his brother (James Marsden) who has the secret that can set him free. – Available 9/1

Swiss Family Robinson (1960) John Mills, Dorothy McGuire, James MacArthur, Janet Munro, Sessue Hayakawa, Tommy Kirk After being shipwrecked, the Robinson family is marooned on an island inhabited only by an impressive array of wildlife. In true pioneer spirit, they quickly make themselves at home but soon face a danger even greater than nature: dastardly pirates. A rousing adventure suitable for the whole family, this Disney adaptation of the classic Johann Wyss novel stars Dorothy McGuire and John Mills as Mother and Father Robinson. – Available 9/1

The Unbelievers (2013) Richard Dawkins, Lawrence Krauss, Stephen Hawking, Ricky Gervais, Woody Allen, Cameron Diaz,  Richard Dawkins and Lawrence Krauss — the dynamic duo of science — travel the globe seeking to promote a scientific worldview and the rational questioning of religious belief, with celebrities, professors and ordinary folks supporting their work. – Available 9/1

Who Is Dayani Cristal? (2013) Gael García Bernal In the oppressive desert heat, Arizona authorities find a man’s decomposing body with only one clue to his identity: a tattoo reading Dayani Cristal. Gael García Bernal portrays the unknown man in dramatic segments of this intriguing documentary. – Available 9/9

Your Sister’s Sister (2011) Emily Blunt, Rosemarie DeWitt, Mark Duplass, Mike Birbiglia Jack, who is mourning the death of his brother, has a complicated relationship with his best friend, Iris, who used to date his brother. Their chaotic situation becomes even more tangled when Jack has a drunken tryst with Iris’s flighty sister. – Available 9/6

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Trailerama! – New Previews for Rosewater, Leviathan, Foxcatcher, and Bang Baby Bang

Bang Baby Bang

Here’s a synopsis you don’t see everyday:

A small town teenager in the 1960s believes her dreams of becoming a famous singer will come true when her rock star idol gets stranded in town. But a leak in a nearby chemical plant that is believed to be causing mass mutations threatens to turn her dream into a nightmare.


Foxcatcher

The newest film by Bennett Miller (Capote, Moneyball) stars Steve Carell, Channing Tatum, and Mark Ruffalo. There have been other previews out for a while now – it was originally scheduled to be released for the last awards season, but got pushed back a year – but this new trailer gives a little different look at the tone of the film.


Rosewater

Last year, Jon Stewart took an extended break from The Daily Show to direct this film. He also wrote the script based on the memoir, Then They Came For Me, by journalist Maziar Bahari (Gael Garcia Bernal). According to Wikipedia…

Bahari’s imprisonment is connected to an interview he conducted on The Daily Show in 2009; the authorities presented the interview as evidence that he was in communication with an American spy.


Leviathan

This dark take on corruption in Russia is considered a heavyweight for the Oscar for Best Foreign Film. (Sadly, it’s not about a mythological giant sea-monster.)

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