Friday, January 31, 2014

Paramount Pictures Reveals Official "Noah" Poster

Academy Award® winner Russell Crowe stars as Noah, a man chosen by God for a great task before an apocalyptic flood destroys the world.

In theaters March 28, 2014


Official Website:
Official Facebook:
Official Twitter:

Happy Birthday, Ed

Have the best day, "old" friend.  Well, the good thing about 65 is that you will be exempt from paying state taxes next year...  Happy Birthday and many, many, many more.

"The Wizard of Oz" Gets Oscar Celebration of 75th Anniversary

Oscars® To Celebrate The 75th Anniversary Of "The Wizard Of Oz"

BEVERLY HILLS, CA — The Oscars will honor the 75th anniversary of “The Wizard of Oz,” a best picture nominee in 1939, show producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron announced today.

"We are delighted to celebrate the birthday of one of the most beloved movies of all time at this year’s Oscars,” said Zadan and Meron.

“The Wizard of Oz” received six Oscar nominations, winning two for Original Score and Song.

Oscars for outstanding film achievements of 2013 will be presented on Oscar Sunday, March 2, 2014, at the Dolby Theatre® at Hollywood & Highland Center® and televised live on the ABC Television Network. The telecast, produced by Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, also will be televised live in more than 225 countries and territories worldwide.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Review: "Equilibrium" Borrows from Dystopian Classics (Happy B'day, Christian Bale)

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 165 (of 2006) by Leroy Douresseaux

Equilibrium (2002)
Running time:  107 minutes (1 hour, 47 minutes)
MPAA – R for violence
PRODUCERS:  Jan de Bont and Lucas Foster
EDITORS:  Tom Rolf and William Yeh
COMPOSER:  Klaus Badelt

SCI-FI/ACTION/DRAMA with elements of mystery and thriller

Starring:  Christian Bale, Taye Diggs, Emily Watson, Sean Bean, Sean Pertwee, William Fichtner, Angus Macfadyen, Dominic Purcell, Matthew Harbour, and Emily Siewert

The subject of this movie review is Equilibrium, a 2002 dystopian science fiction film and action movie from writer-director Kurt Wimmer.  Starring Christian Bale and Taye Diggs, the film is set in a fascist future where all forms of feeling are illegal, and the story focuses on a law enforcement officer who rises to overthrow the system.

In a dystopian future, the totalitarian regime of the city-state, Libria, has eliminated war by suppressing emotions.  The rulers believe that ultimately emotions cause humans to kill one another.  The cost of ridding the world of violent emotions, however, is the loss of love and kindness.  Books, art, music, or any kind of creativity that might arouse the emotions are also strictly forbidden, and such material is contraband to be destroyed on sight.  Feeling is a crime, and those who insist on feeling are called sense offenders.  Sense offenses are punishable by death, and the government requires its citizens to inject themselves with a drug called prozium, which keeps their emotions in check.

Of course such a government would face rebellion, and it does from the regions outside the city known as the Nethers.  To fight sense offenders in the city and in the Nethers, the government created an elite unit made of a special kind of police officer/warrior known as the Grammaton Cleric.  Stronger, inhumanely agile, and quicksilver fast, clerics use a form of fighting known as “the Gun-Katas,” which mixes martial arts and firearms handling that makes it possible for one cleric to kill a room full of armed men in the span of several seconds.

The best of these warriors is John Preston (Christian Bale), who destroys sense offenders with ease (and perhaps relish, if he could feel emotions).  However, when Preston misses a dose of Prozium, he begins to have feelings again, and he experiences a pang of conscience when he must kill in the Nethers.  Suddenly being capable of feeling, he finds himself drawn to a sense offender scheduled for execution, Mary O’Brien (Emily Watson).  There is, however, danger in Preston’s feelings.  His new partner, Brandt (Taye Diggs, who gives a nice sheen to Brandt’s bold and ruthless ambition), is, like Preston, intuitive – able to sense when someone is have feelings and emotions, and Brandt is determined to make a name for himself – even if it means bringing Preston down.

Some might mistake writer/director Kurt Wimmer’s 2000 film, Equilibrium, for a clone of The Matrix (1999).  The fancy, martial arts fighting (Gun-Kata, a style developed by Wimmer and the film’s choreographer, Jim Vickers) certainly encourages that belief, but unlike The Matrix, wire work martial arts (or wire-fu) – using wires to lift the actors high off the ground – wasn’t used here.

Equilibrium actually borrows from or resembles (in part or whole) such classic science fiction novels dealing with dark futures as Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, George Orwell’s 1984, and Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, and even a bit of William F. Nolan and George Clayton Johnson’s Logan’s Run.  In the case of Equilibrium, the filmmakers make the right choice of focusing on crime (feeling) and punishment (death) rather than on the practicality of these future laws against emotion and feeling.  In that way, the plot is free to unfold as a narrative about the struggle for freedom in a futuristic setting.  In terms of entertainment, that’s better than an examination of the hard science of using drugs to suppress emotions or even telling the story from a sociological point of view.

Christian Bale is expert at playing the tightly coiled male or the stoic warrior.  However, he’s also quite artful at slowly revealing his emotional side in ways that endear him to the viewer.  Watching his government-issued impassive and detached façade crumble to reveal a fully functional human is a joy.  Bale may not be the leading man, but he is a leading man.  Good performances from Taye Diggs, Emily Watson, and Sean Bean add credibility to Equilibrium’s concept.  Still, it would have been nice to see more character in the supporting characters.

7 of 10

Friday, August 4, 2006

Updated:  Thursday, January 30, 2014

The text is copyright © 2014 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this site for syndication rights and fees.


2014 Sundance Film Festival Jury and Audience Award Winners

by Amos Semien

Actor and filmmaker Robert Redford founded the Sundance Institute, a non-profit organization, in 1981.  The Sundance Institute actively advances the work of filmmakers and storytellers worldwide.  Through its offices in Park City, Los Angeles, and New York City, the organization provides creative and financial support to emerging and aspiring filmmakers, directors, producers, film composers, screenwriters, playwrights, and theater artists via a series of Labs and Fellowships

One of the programs put on by the Sundance Institute is the Sundance Film Festival, one of the premier platforms for American and international independent film.  This American film festival takes place annually in January in UtahPark City, Salt Lake City, and Ogden, as well as at the Sundance Resort.  One of the largest independent film festivals in the United States, it comprises competitive sections for American and international dramatic and documentary films, both feature-length films and short films, and a group of out-of-competition sections, including “NEXT,” “New Frontier,” “Spotlight,” and “Park City At Midnight.”

The 2014 Sundance Film Festival took place in Park City, Salt Lake City, Ogden and Sundance, Utah.  The festival opened Thursday, January 16, 2014 and closed Sunday, January 26, 2014.

Sundance Institute announced the Jury, Audience and other special awards of the 2014 Sundance Film Festival at the feature film Awards Ceremony, hosted by Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally, in Park City, Utah. Video of the ceremony in its entirety is available at

2014 Sundance Film Festival Awards with presenter and recipient:

[Film description and synopsis provided by Sundance Film Festival:]

The U.S. Grand Jury Prize: Documentary was presented by Tracy Chapman to:
Rich Hill / U.S.A. (Directors: Andrew Droz Palermo, Tracy Droz Tragos) — In a rural, American town, kids face heartbreaking choices, find comfort in the most fragile of family bonds, and dream of a future of possibility.

The U.S. Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic was presented by Leonard Maltin to:
Whiplash / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Damien Chazelle) — Under the direction of a ruthless instructor, a talented young drummer begins to pursue perfection at any cost, even his humanity. Cast: Miles Teller, JK Simmons.

The World Cinema Grand Jury Prize: Documentary was presented by Andrea Nix Fine to:
Return to Homs / Syria, Germany (Director: Talal Derki) — Basset Sarout, the 19-year-old national football team goalkeeper, becomes a demonstration leader and singer, and then a fighter. Ossama, a 24-year-old renowned citizen cameraman, is critical, a pacifist, and ironic until he is detained by the regime's security forces.

The World Cinema Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic was presented by Nansun Shi to:
To Kill a Man / Chile, France (Director and screenwriter: Alejandro Fernández Almendras) — When Jorge, a hardworking family man who's barely making ends meet, gets mugged by Kalule, a neighborhood delinquent, Jorge's son decides to confront the attacker, only to get himself shot. Even though Jorge's son nearly dies, Kalule's sentence is minimal, heightening the friction. Cast: Daniel Candia, Daniel Antivilo, Alejandra Yañez, Ariel Mateluna.

The Audience Award: U.S. Documentary Presented by Acura, was presented by William H. Macy to:
Alive Inside: A Story of Music & Memory / U.S.A. (Director: Michael Rossato-Bennett) — Five million Americans suffer from Alzheimer's disease and dementia—many of them alone in nursing homes. A man with a simple idea discovers that songs embedded deep in memory can ease pain and awaken these fading minds. Joy and life are resuscitated, and our cultural fears over aging are confronted.

The Audience Award: U.S. Dramatic Presented by Acura, was presented by William H. Macy to:
Whiplash / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Damien Chazelle) — Under the direction of a ruthless instructor, a talented young drummer begins to pursue perfection at any cost, even his humanity. Cast: Miles Teller, JK Simmons.

The Audience Award: World Cinema Documentary was presented by Felicity Huffman to:
The Green Prince / Germany, Israel, United Kingdom (Director: Nadav Schirman ) — This real-life thriller tells the story of one of Israel’s prized intelligence sources, recruited to spy on his own people for more than a decade. Focusing on the complex relationship with his handler, The Green Prince is a gripping account of terror, betrayal, and unthinkable choices, along with a friendship that defies all boundaries.

The Audience Award: World Cinema Dramatic was presented by Felicity Huffman to:
Difret / Ethiopia (Director and screenwriter: Zeresenay Berhane Mehari) — Meaza Ashenafi is a young lawyer who operates under the government's radar helping women and children until one young girl's legal case exposes everything, threatening not only her career but her survival. Cast: Meron Getnet, Tizita Hagere.

The Audience Award: Best of NEXT <=&gt; was presented by Nick Offerman to:
Imperial Dreams / U.S.A. (Director: Malik Vitthal, Screenwriters: Malik Vitthal, Ismet Prcic) — A 21-year-old, reformed gangster's devotion to his family and his future are put to the test when he is released from prison and returns to his old stomping grounds in Watts, Los Angeles. Cast: John Boyega, Rotimi Akinosho, Glenn Plummer, Keke Palmer, De'aundre Bonds.

The Directing Award: U.S. Documentary was presented by Morgan Neville to:
Ben Cotner & Ryan White for The Case Against 8 / U.S.A. (Directors: Ben Cotner, Ryan White) — A behind-the-scenes look inside the case to overturn California's ban on same-sex marriage. Shot over five years, the film follows the unlikely team that took the first federal marriage equality lawsuit to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Directing Award: U.S. Dramatic was presented by Lone Scherfig to:
Cutter Hodierne for Fishing Without Nets / U.S.A., Somalia, Kenya (Director: Cutter Hodierne, Screenwriters: Cutter Hodierne, John Hibey, David Burkman) — A story of pirates in Somalia told from the perspective of a struggling, young Somali fisherman. Cast: Abdikani Muktar, Abdi Siad, Abduwhali Faarah, Abdikhadir Hassan, Reda Kateb, Idil Ibrahim.

The Directing Award: World Cinema Documentary was presented by Sally Riley to:
Iain Forsyth & Jane Pollard for 20,000 Days On Earth / United Kingdom (Directors: Iain Forsyth & Jane Pollard) — Drama and reality combine in a fictitious 24 hours in the life of musician and international culture icon Nick Cave. With startlingly frank insights and an intimate portrayal of the artistic process, this film examines what makes us who we are and celebrates the transformative power of the creative spirit.

The Directing Award: World Cinema Dramatic was presented by Sebastián Lelio to:
Sophie Hyde for 52 Tuesdays / Australia (Director: Sophie Hyde, Screenplay and story by: Matthew Cormack, Story by: Sophie Hyde) — Sixteen-year-old Billie’s reluctant path to independence is accelerated when her mother reveals plans for gender transition, and their time together becomes limited to Tuesdays. This emotionally charged story of desire, responsibility, and transformation was filmed over the course of a year—once a week, every week, only on Tuesdays. Cast: Tilda Cobham-Hervey, Del Herbert-Jane, Imogen Archer, Mario Späte, Beau Williams, Sam Althuizen.

The Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award: U.S. Dramatic was presented by Peter Saraf to:
Craig Johnson & Mark Heyman for The Skeleton Twins / U.S.A. (Director: Craig Johnson, Screenwriters: Craig Johnson, Mark Heyman) — When estranged twins Maggie and Milo feel that they’re at the end of their ropes, an unexpected reunion forces them to confront why their lives went so wrong. As the twins reconnect, they realize the key to fixing their lives may just lie in repairing their relationship. Cast: Bill Hader, Kristen Wiig, Luke Wilson, Ty Burrell, Boyd Holbrook, Joanna Gleason.

The Screenwriting Award: World Cinema Dramatic was presented by Sebastián Lelio to:
Eskil Vogt for Blind / Norway, Netherlands (Director and screenwriter: Eskil Vogt) — Having recently lost her sight, Ingrid retreats to the safety of her home—a place she can feel in control, alone with her husband and her thoughts. But Ingrid's real problems lie within, not beyond the walls of her apartment, and her deepest fears and repressed fantasies soon take over. Cast: Ellen Dorrit Petersen, Henrik Rafaelsen, Vera Vitali, Marius Kolbenstvedt.

The Editing Award: U.S. Documentary was presented by Jonathan Oppenheim to:
Jenny Golden, Karen Sim for Watchers of the Sky / U.S.A. (Director: Edet Belzberg) — Five interwoven stories of remarkable courage from Nuremberg to Rwanda, from Darfur to Syria, and from apathy to action.

The Editing Award: World Cinema Documentary was presented by Sally Riley to:
Jonathan Amos for 20,000 Days On Earth / United Kingdom (Directors: Iain Forsyth & Jane Pollard) — Drama and reality combine in a fictitious 24 hours in the life of musician and international culture icon Nick Cave. With startlingly frank insights and an intimate portrayal of the artistic process, this film examines what makes us who we are and celebrates the transformative power of the creative spirit.

The Cinematography Award: U.S. Documentary was presented by Kahane Cooperman to:
Rachel Beth Anderson, Ross Kauffman for E-TEAM / U.S.A. (Directors: Katy Chevigny, Ross Kauffman) — E-TEAM is driven by the high-stakes investigative work of four intrepid human rights workers, offering a rare look at their lives at home and their dramatic work in the field.

The Cinematography Award: U.S. Dramatic was presented by Peter Saraf to:
Christopher Blauvelt for Low Down / U.S.A. (Director: Jeff Preiss, Screenwriters: Amy-Jo Albany, Topper Lilien) — Based on Amy-Jo Albany's memoir, Low Down explores her heart-wrenching journey to adulthood while being raised by her father, bebop pianist Joe Albany, as he teeters between incarceration and addiction in the urban decay and waning bohemia of Hollywood in the 1970s. Cast: John Hawkes, Elle Fanning, Glenn Close, Lena Headey, Peter Dinklage, Flea.

The Cinematography Award: World Cinema Documentary was presented by Caspar Sonnen to:
Thomas Balmès & Nina Bernfeld for Happiness / France, Finland (Director: Thomas Balmès) — Peyangki is a dreamy and solitary eight-year-old monk living in Laya, a Bhutanese village perched high in the Himalayas. Soon the world will come to him: the village is about to be connected to electricity, and the first television will flicker on before Peyangki's eyes.

The Cinematography Award: World Cinema Dramatic was presented by Carlo Chatrian to:
Ula Pontikos for Lilting / United Kingdom (Director and screenwriter: Hong Khaou) — The world of a Chinese mother mourning the untimely death of her son is suddenly disrupted by the presence of a stranger who doesn't speak her language. Lilting is a touching and intimate film about finding the things that bring us together. Cast: Ben Whishaw, Pei-Pei Cheng, Andrew Leung, Peter Bowles, Naomi Christie, Morven Christie.

A U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Use of Animation was presented by Charlotte Cook to:
Watchers of the Sky / U.S.A. (Director: Edet Belzberg) — Five interwoven stories of remarkable courage from Nuremberg to Rwanda, from Darfur to Syria, and from apathy to action.

A U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Intuitive Filmmaking was presented by Charlotte Cook to:
The Overnighters / U.S.A. (Director: Jesse Moss) — Desperate, broken men chase their dreams and run from their demons in the North Dakota oil fields. A local Pastor's decision to help them has extraordinary and unexpected consequences.

A U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Award for Musical Score was presented by Dana Stevens to:
The Octopus Project for Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter / U.S.A. (Director: David Zellner, Screenwriters: David Zellner, Nathan Zellner) — A lonely Japanese woman becomes convinced that a satchel of money buried in a fictional film is, in fact, real. Abandoning her structured life in Tokyo for the frozen Minnesota wilderness, she embarks on an impulsive quest to search for her lost mythical fortune. Cast: Rinko Kikuchi.

A U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Award for Breakthrough Talent was presented by Dana Stevens to:
Justin Simien for Dear White People / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Justin Simien) — Four black students attend an Ivy League college where a riot breaks out over an “African American” themed party thrown by white students. With tongue planted firmly in cheek, the film explores racial identity in postracial America while weaving a story about forging one's unique path in the world. Cast: Tyler Williams, Tessa Thompson, Teyonah Parris, Brandon Bell.

A World Cinema Dramatic Special Jury Award for the Delightful Ensemble Performance, and How the Director Brought His Own Unique Universe into Cinema was presented by Carlo Chatrian to:
God Help the Girl / United Kingdom (Director and screenwriter: Stuart Murdoch) — This musical from Stuart Murdoch of Belle & Sebastian is about some messed up boys and girls and the music they made. Cast: Emily Browning, Olly Alexander, Hannah Murray, Pierre Boulanger, Cora Bissett.

A World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award for Cinematic Bravery was presented by Caspar Sonnen to:
We Come as Friends / France, Austria (Director: Hubert Sauper) — We Come as Friends is a modern odyssey, a science fiction–like journey in a tiny homemade flying machine into the heart of Africa. At the moment when the Sudan, Africa's biggest country, is being divided into two nations, a "civilizing" pathology transcends the headlines—colonialism, imperialism, and yet-another holy war over resources.

The Short Film Audience Award, Presented by YouTube, based on web traffic for 15 short films that screened at the Festival and were concurrently featured on, was presented to:
Chapel Perilous / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Matthew Lessner) — Levi Gold is paid an unexpected visit by Robin, a door-to-door salesman with nothing to sell. The ensuing encounter forces Levi to confront his true mystical calling, and the nature of reality itself. A metaphysical comedy trip-out with Sun Araw.


2014 Sundance Film Festival Short Film and Special Award Winners

The 2014 Sundance Film Festival took place in Park City, Salt Lake City, Ogden and Sundance, Utah.  The festival opened Thursday, January 16, 2014 and closed Sunday, January 26, 2014.

Short Film Award Winners (Descriptions provided by Sundance Institute):

Short Film Grand Jury Prize: "Of God and Dogs"/Syrian Arab Republic (Director: Abounaddara Collective) — A young, free Syrian soldier confesses to killing a man he knew was innocent. He promises to take vengeance on the God who led him to commit the murder.

Short Film Jury Award: U.S. Fiction: "Gregory Go Boom"/U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Janicza Bravo) — A paraplegic man leaves home to be on his own.

Short Film Jury Award: International Fiction: "The Cut"/Canada (Director and screenwriter: Geneviève Dulude-Decelles) — The Cut tells the story of a father and a daughter, whose relationship fluctuates between proximity and detachment, at the moment of a haircut.

Short Film Jury Award: Non-fiction: "I Think This Is the Closest to How the Footage Looked"/Israel (Directors: Yuval Hameiri, Michal Vaknin) — A man with poor means recreates a lost memory of the last day with his mom. Objects come to life in a desperate struggle to produce a single moment that is gone.

Short Film Jury Award: Animation: "Yearbook"/U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Bernardo Britto) — A man is hired to compile the definitive history of human existence before the planet blows up.

Short Film Special Jury Award for Unique Vision: "Rat Pack Rat"/U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Todd Rohal) — A Sammy Davis Jr. impersonator, hired to visit a loyal Rat Pack fan, finds himself performing the last rites at the boy's bedside.

Short Film Special Jury Award for Non-fiction: "Love. Love. Love."/Russia (Director: Sandhya Daisy Sundaram) — Every year, through the endless winters, her love takes new shapes and forms.

Short Film Special Jury Award for Direction and Ensemble Acting: "Burger"/United Kingdom, Norway (Director and screenwriter: Magnus Mork)

2014 Sundance SPECIAL AWARDS winners:

The winning directors and projects of the Sundance Institute:
Mahindra Global Filmmaking Awards, in recognition and support of emerging independent filmmakers from around the world, are: Hong Khaou, Monsoon (Vietnam/UK); Tobias Lindholm, A War (Denmark); Ashlee Page, Archive (Australia); and Neeraj Ghaywan, Fly Away Solo (India).

The Sundance Institute/NHK Award, honoring and supporting emerging filmmakers, was presented to Mark Rosenberg, director of the upcoming film Ad Inexplorata.

The 2014 Red Crown Producer’s Award and $10,000 grant was presented to Elisabeth Holm, producer of Obvious Child.

The 2014 Alfred P. Sloan Feature Film Prize, presented to outstanding feature films focusing on science or technology as a theme, or depicting a scientist, engineer or mathematician as a major character, was presented to I Origins, directed and written by Mike Cahill. The film received a $20,000 cash award from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Renowned Casting Director Swims with "Sharknado 2"

Mike Fenton & Ann Frederick to Cast ‘SHARKNADO 2’

Iconic casting director drafting A-level talent for TV smash sequel

BURBANK, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Legendary casting director Mike Fenton, together with partner Ann Frederick, have struck a deal with The Asylum to cast SHARKNADO 2: THE SECOND ONE, set to film in New York City. Fenton’s long and storied career includes casting credits on THE GODFATHER: PART II, ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST, BACK TO THE FUTURE, and RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK.

Mike Fenton and Ann Frederick are currently looking to cast A-list talent, from film actors to Broadway stars to music celebrities to television hosts, in a wide range of cameo roles.

The sequel to 2013’s summer TV smash will reunite the creative team from the original, headed by director Anthony Ferrante. SHARKNADO 2: THE SECOND ONE will air on Syfy in July 2014.

Fenton-Frederick Casting will hire all cameo casting alongside Gerald Webb, The Asylum’s Director of Talent.

About The Asylum
The Asylum is one of the world's leading brand-oriented motion picture and television studios. With a focus on high-concept, market-driven entertainment, like SHARKNADO, The Asylum finances, produces and releases 25 films per year through its direct pipeline to the nation's top retailers and its network of international partners. Since its founding in 1997, The Asylum has released more than 500 films and built a library of over 200 original productions, including top-rated movie premieres for Syfy and Lifetime networks. The Asylum is releasing 10 theatrical films in 2013 and is developing TV properties for 2014, including a comedy-horror series for MTV.

About Fenton-Frederick
CHINATOWN, THE GODFATHER II, ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST, AMERICAN GRAFFITI, NORMA RAE, TOTAL RECALL, ALIENS, E.T., RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, BLADE RUNNER, HONEYMOON IN VEGAS, RISKY BUSINESS, BACK TO THE FUTURE, THE GOONIES, CHAPLIN …These are just a few of more than 250 motion pictures and television shows from Fenton-Frederick Casting. Acclaimed for his creative contributions to many of the greatest films of the past 25 years, Mike Fenton has acquired legendary status among Casting Directors. Also, Mike Fenton has the distinction of co-founding the Casting Society of America (C.S.A.) in 1982. Ann Frederick is co-owner of Fenton-Frederick Casting and has been working with Mike Fenton for over twelve years. Ann has worked on many films including “Journey to the Center of the Earth 3-D,” cult-favorite Allan Moyle’s “Weirdsville,” “Camille” starring James Franco and Sienna Miller and “A Very Muppet Christmas.” Ann has also cast music videos for such major music artists as Katy Perry, Janelle Monae, Gym Class Heroes, Ashlee Simpson and Panic at the Disco, as well as several commercials, including one of Coca-Cola’s “Open Happiness” commercials starring CeeLo Green. Mike and Ann are members of Local Union no. 399 (IBT), the Casting Union.

Happy Birthday, Anna

Hello Kitty super-fan, Anna, is 8-years-old today.  Miss Anna, have a Happy Birthday and many, many, many more!

Happy B'day, Negromancer 2.0

It was four years ago, on or about today, that Negromancer returned, after a two-and-a-half year absence as an active website.  It arrived on Blogger, and things have worked out - for the most part...

Monday, January 27, 2014

Daft Punk Wins "Album of the Year" at 56th Grammy Awards - Complete Winners List

by Leroy Douresseaux

"Random Access Memories" by Daft Punk is "Album of the Year."

The Grammy Awards (or Grammys) are given out by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences of the United States.  The Grammy is an accolade that recognizes outstanding achievement in the music industry.  It is the music industry equivalent to the Academy Awards for film, the Emmy Awards for television, and the Tony Awards for stage.

They are helmeted, mute, and mysterious, and now, French electronic music pioneers, Daft Punk, are the toast of the music world following their big night at music’s biggest night, the 56th Annual Grammy Awards.  Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter are the guys behind the masks.  They perform as Daft Punk; last night at the Grammy Awards ceremony, however, everyone seemed to be referring to them as “the French robots.”

Daft Punk won four awards, including “Album of the Year” for the album, Random Access Memories, and “Record of the Year” for their worldwide hit song, “Get Lucky.”  The song features Pharrell Williams (who also won the Grammy for “Producer of the Year, Non-Classical”) and Nile Rodgers, a renowned songwriter and producer best known as the co-founder of Chic, one of the bestselling and most popular dance bands of the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Daft Punk’s four Grammy Awards in one night is a first for a French music group.  Random Access Memories also received a Grammy for “Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical.”  Since Daft Punk only appears in public behind helmets, Pharrell Williams, who accompanied them on stage, made the acceptance speeches for their awards.

Other big winners at the 56th Annual Grammy Awards included Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Justin Timberlake, Lorde, and Kacey Musgraves.

The eligibility period for the 56th Annual Grammy Awards is October 1, 2012 to September 30, 2013.  The 56th annual Grammys awards ceremony was held at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California and aired on CBS on Sunday, January 26, 2014.  See a complete list of nominees at

2014 / 56th annual Grammy Awards winners:

1. Album of the Year: "Random Access Memories," Daft Punk

2. Record of the Year: "Get Lucky," Daft Punk Featuring Pharrell Williams & Nile Rodgers

3. Song of the Year: "Royals," Joel Little & Ella Yelich O'Connor, songwriters (Lorde)

4. Best New Artist: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

5. Best Pop Solo Performance: "Royals," Lorde
6. Best Pop Duo/Group Performance: "Get Lucky," Daft Punk Featuring Pharrell Williams & Nile Rodgers
7. Best Pop Instrumental Album: "Steppin' Out," Herb Alpert
8. Best Pop Vocal Album: "Unorthodox Jukebox," Bruno Mars
9. Best Dance Recording: "Clarity," Zedd Featuring Foxes
10. Best Dance/Electronica Album: "Random Access Memories," Daft Punk
11. Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album: "To Be Loved," Michael Buble
12. Best Rock Performance: "Radioactive," Imagine Dragons
13. Best Metal Performance: "God Is Dead?" Black Sabbath
14. Best Rock Song: "Cut Me Some Slack," Dave Grohl, Paul McCartney, Krist Novoselic & Pat Smear, songwriters (Paul McCartney, Dave Grohl, Krist Novoselic, Pat Smear)
15. Best Rock Album: "Celebration Day," Led Zeppelin
16. Best Alternative Music Album: "Modern Vampires Of The City," Vampire Weekend
17. Best R&B Performance: "Something," Snarky Puppy With Lalah Hathaway
18. Best Traditional R&B Performance: "Please Come Home," Gary Clark Jr.
19. Best R&B Song: "Pusher Love Girl," James Fauntleroy, Jerome Harmon, Timothy Mosley & Justin Timberlake, songwriters (Justin Timberlake)
20. Best Urban Contemporary Album: "Unapologetic," Rihanna
21. Best R&B Album: "Girl On Fire," Alicia Keys
22. Best Rap Performance: "Thrift Shop," Macklemore & Ryan Lewis Featuring Wanz
23. Best Rap/Sung Collaboration: "Holy Grail," Jay Z feat. Justin Timberlake
24. Best Rap Song: "Thrift Shop," Ben Haggerty & Ryan Lewis, songwriters (Macklemore & Ryan Lewis Featuring Wanz)
25. Best Rap Album: "The Heist," Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
26. Best Country Solo Performance: "Wagon Wheel," Darius Rucker
27. Best Country Duo/Group Performance: "From This Valley," The Civil Wars
28. Best Country Song: "Merry Go 'Round," Shane McAnally, Kacey Musgraves & Josh Osborne, songwriters (Kacey Musgraves)
29. Best Country Album: "Same Trailer Different Park," Kacey Musgraves
30. Best New Age Album: "Love's River," Laura Sullivan
31. Best Improvised Jazz Solo: "Orbits," Wayne Shorter, soloist
32. Best Jazz Vocal Album: "Liquid Spirit," Gregory Porter
33. Best Jazz Instrumental Album: "Money Jungle: Provocative In Blue," Terri Lyne Carrington
34. Best Large Jazz Ensemble: "Night In Calisia," Randy Brecker, Włodek Pawlik Trio & Kalisz Philharmonic
35. Best Latin Jazz Album: "Song For Maura," Paquito D'Rivera And Trio Corrente
36. Best Gospel/Contemporary Christian Music Performance: "Break Every Chain [Live]," Tasha Cobbs
37. Best Gospel Song: "If He Did It Before... Same God [Live]," Tye Tribbett, songwriter (Tye Tribbett)
38. Best Contemporary Christian Music Song: "Overcomer," David Garcia, Ben Glover & Christopher Stevens, songwriters (Mandisa)
39. Best Gospel Album: "Greater Than [Live]," Tye Tribbett
40. Best Contemporary Christian Music Album: "Overcomer," Mandisa
41. Best Latin Pop Album: "Vida," Draco Rosa
42. Best Latin Rock, Urban or Alternative Album: "Treinta Días," La Santa Cecilia
43. Best Regional Mexican Music Album: "A Mi Manera," Mariachi Divas De Cindy Shea
44. Best Tropical Latin Album: "Pacific Mambo Orchestra," Pacific Mambo Orchestra
45. Best American Roots Song: "Love Has Come For You," Edie Brickell & Steve Martin, songwriters (Steve Martin & Edie Brickell)
46. Best Americana Album: "Old Yellow Moon," Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell
47. Best Bluegrass Album: "The Streets Of Baltimore," Del McCoury Band
48. Best Blues Album: "Get Up!" Ben Harper With Charlie Musselwhite
49. Best Folk Album: "My Favorite Picture Of You," Guy Clark
50. Best Regional Roots Music Album: "Dockside Sessions," Terrance Simien & The Zydeco Experience
51. Best Reggae Album: "Ziggy Marley In Concert," Ziggy Marley

52. Best World Music Album: (TIE) "Savor Flamenco," Gipsy Kings; AND "Live: Singing For Peace Around The World," Ladysmith Black Mambazo

53. Best Children's Album: "Throw A Penny In The Wishing Well," Jennifer Gasoi
54. Best Spoken-Word Album: "America Again: Re-becoming The Greatness We Never Weren't," Stephen Colbert
55. Best Comedy Album: "Calm Down Gurrl," Kathy Griffin
56. Best Musical Theater Album: "Kinky Boots"
57. Best Compilation Soundtrack For Visual Media: "Sound City: Real To Reel," Butch Vig, compilation producer

58. Best Score Soundtrack For Visual Media: "Skyfall," Thomas Newman, composer
59. Best Song Written For Visual Media: "Skyfall," Adele Adkins & Paul Epworth, songwriters (Adele)

60. Best Instrumental Composition: "Pensamientos For Solo Alto Saxophone And Chamber Orchestra," Clare Fischer, composer (The Clare Fischer Orchestra)
61. Best Instrumental Arrangement: "On Green Dolphin Street," Gordon Goodwin, arranger (Gordon Goodwin's Big Phat Band)
62. Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s): "Swing Low," Gil Goldstein, arranger (Bobby McFerrin & Esperanza Spalding)
63. Best Recording Package: "Long Night Moon," Sarah Dodds & Shauna Dodds, art directors (Reckless Kelly)
64. Best Boxed or Special Limited Edition Package: "Wings Over America (Deluxe Edition)," Simon Earith & James Musgrave, art directors (Paul McCartney And Wings)
65. Best Album Notes: "Afro Blue Impressions (Remastered & Expanded)," Neil Tesser, album notes writer (John Coltrane)
66. Best Historical Album: (TIE) "Charlie Is My Darling - Ireland 1965," "The Complete Sussex And Columbia Albums"
67. Best Engineered Album: "Random Access Memories," Peter Franco, Mick Guzauski, Florian Lagatta & Daniel Lerner, engineers; Antoine "Chab" Chabert, Bob Ludwig, mastering engineers (Daft Punk)
68. Producer of the Year, Non-Classical: Pharrell
69. Best Remixed Recording, Non-Classical: "Summertime Sadness (Cedric Gervais Remix)," Cedric Gervais, remixer (Lana Del Rey)
70. Best Surround Sound Album: "Live Kisses," Al Schmitt, surround mix engineer; Tommy LiPuma, surround producer (Paul McCartney)
71. Best Engineered Album, Classical: "Winter Morning Walks," David Frost, Brian Losch & Tim Martyn, engineers; Tim Martyn, mastering engineer (Dawn Upshaw, Maria Schneider, Australian Chamber Orchestra & St. Paul Chamber Orchestra)
72. Producer of the Year, Classical: David Frost
73. Best Orchestral Performance: "Sibelius: Symphonies Nos. 1 & 4," Osmo Vänskä, conductor (MinnesotaOrchestra)
74. Best Opera Recording: "Adès: The Tempest," Thomas Adès, conductor; Simon Keenlyside, Isabel Leonard, Audrey Luna & Alan Oke; Jay David Saks, producer (The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra; The Metropolitan Opera Chorus)
75. Best Choral Performance: "Pärt: Adam's Lament," Tõnu Kaljuste, conductor (Tui Hirv & Rainer Vilu; Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir; Sinfonietta Riga & Tallinn Chamber Orchestra; Latvian Radio Choir & Vox Clamantis)
76. Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance: "Roomful Of Teeth," Brad Wells & Roomful Of Teeth
77. Best Classical Instrumental Solo: "Corigliano: Conjurer - Concerto For Percussionist & String Orchestra," Evelyn Glennie; David Alan Miller, conductor (Albany Symphony)
78. Best Classical Vocal Solo: "Winter Morning Walks," Dawn Upshaw (Maria Schneider; Jay Anderson, Frank Kimbrough & Scott Robinson; Australian Chamber Orchestra & St. Paul Chamber Orchestra)
79. Best Classical Compendium: "Hindemith: Violinkonzert; Symphonic Metamorphosis; Konzertmusik," Christoph Eschenbach, conductor
80. Best Contemporary Classical Composition: "Schneider, Maria: Winter Morning Walks," Maria Schneider, composer (Dawn Upshaw, Jay Anderson, Frank Kimbrough, Scott Robinson & Australian Chamber Orchestra)
81. Best Music Video: "Suit & Tie," Justin Timberlake Featuring Jay Z - David Fincher, video director; Timory King, video producer
82. Best Music Film: "Live Kisses," Paul McCartney - Jonas Akerlund, video director; Violaine Etienne, Aron Levine & Scott Rodger, video producers


2014 International Cinephile Society Award Nominations Announced

by Amos Semien

The International Cinephile Society (ICS) was formed in 2003.  The ICS is an online group made up of approximately 80 members, who it describes as “accredited journalists, film scholars, historians and other industry professionals who cover film festivals and events on five continents.”

Each year, in February, the ICS honors the finest in American and international cinema with the ICS Awards.  On the Sunday, January 12, 2014, they announced the nominees for their 11th annual awards.  The nominations are a mixture of critical favorites such as Inside Llewyn Davis, Her, and 12 Years a Slave, which each received seven nominations, including “Best Picture.”  However, they also went with such films as Frances Ha and Spring Breakers, which have not received much, if any, best picture love.  The winners will be announced Sunday, February 23, 2014.

2014 / The 11th ICS Awards nominees (for the year in film, 2013):

• 12 Years a Slave
• Before Midnight
• Blue is the Warmest Color
• Frances Ha
• Gravity
• The Great Beauty
• Her
• Inside Llewyn Davis
• Laurence Anyways
• Spring Breakers
• The Wolf of Wall Street

• Ethan Coen & Joel Coen - Inside Llewyn Davis
• Alfonso Cuarón - Gravity
• Xavier Dolan - Laurence Anyways
• Spike Jonze - Her
• Abdellatif Kechiche - Blue is the Warmest Color
• Paolo Sorrentino - The Great Beauty

• Beyond the Hills
• Blancanieves
• Blue is the Warmest Color
• Faust
• The Great Beauty
• The Hunt
• In the House
• Laurence Anyways
• The Past
• A Touch of Sin

• Leonardo DiCaprio - The Wolf of Wall Street
• Chiwetel Ejiofor - 12 Years a Slave
• Oscar Isaac - Inside Llewyn Davis
• Mads Mikkelsen - The Hunt
• Joaquin Phoenix - Her
• Melvil Poupaud - Laurence Anyways

• Juliette Binoche - Camille Claudel 1915
• Cate Blanchett - Blue Jasmine
• Suzanne Clément - Laurence Anyways
• Adèle Exarchopoulos - Blue is the Warmest Color
• Greta Gerwig - Frances Ha

• Anton Adasinsky - Faust
• Michael Fassbender - 12 Years a Slave
• James Franco - Spring Breakers
• Jared Leto - Dallas Buyers Club
• Matthew McConaughey - Mud

• Sally Hawkins - Blue Jasmine
• Scarlett Johansson - Her
• Lupita Nyong'o - 12 Years a Slave
• Léa Seydoux - Blue is the Warmest Color
• Kristin Scott Thomas - Only God Forgives

• Blue Jasmine - Woody Allen
• Frances Ha - Noah Baumbach, Greta Gerwig
• Her - Spike Jonze
• Inside Llewyn Davis - Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
• Laurence Anyways - Xavier Dolan

• 12 Years a Slave - John Ridley
• Before Midnight - Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke
• Blue is the Warmest Color - Abdellatif Kechiche, Ghalia Lacroix
• In the House - François Ozon
• Short Term 12 - Destin Cretton

• Blancanieves - Kiko de la Rica
• Faust - Bruno Delbonnel
• Gravity - Emmanuel Lubezki
• Inside Llewyn Davis - Bruno Delbonnel
• Leviathan - Lucien Castaing-Taylor, Verena Paravel

• Blue is the Warmest Color - Sophie Brunet, Ghalia Lacroix, Albertine Lastera, Jean-Marie Lengelle, Camille Toubkis
• Frances Ha - Jennifer Lame
• Gravity - Alfonso Cuarón, Mark Sanger
• Leviathan - Lucien Castaing-Taylor, Verena Paravel
• Spring Breakers - Douglas Crise
• The Wolf of Wall Street - Thelma Schoonmaker

• Blancanieves - Alain Bainée
• Faust - Elena Zhukova
• The Great Gatsby - Catherine Martin
• Her - K.K. Barrett
• Inside Llewyn Davis - Jess Gonchor

• 12 Years a Slave - Hans Zimmer
• All is Lost - Alex Ebert
• Blancanieves - Alfonso de Vilallonga
• The Great Beauty - Lele Marchitelli
• Her - Owen Pallett

• 12 Years a Slave
• American Hustle
• Frances Ha
• Inside Llewyn Davis
• Short Term 12

• Ernest & Célestine
• From Up On Poppy Hill
• Frozen
• Monsters University
• The Wind Rises

• The Act of Killing
• At Berkeley
• Leviathan
• Room 237
• Stories We Tell

• Child's Pose
• The Congress
• Gloria
• Home from Home: Chronicle of a Vision
• The Immigrant
• Like Father, Like Son
• Norte, The End of History
• Only Lovers Left Alive
• The Rendez-Vous of Déjà-Vu
• Snowpiercer
• The Strange Little Cat
• Stranger by the Lake
• Stray Dogs
• Tom at the Farm
• Young & Beautiful


Sunday, January 26, 2014

Alfonso Cuarón Wins Directors Guild Top Prize for "Gravity"

by Amos Semien

The winners of the Directors Guild of America Outstanding Directorial Achievement Awards for 2013 were announced Saturday, January 25, 2014 during the 66th Annual DGA Awards Dinner at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza in Los Angeles.

Alfonso Cuarón won the DGA’s Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film for Gravity.  Historically the DGA Awards are a good predictor of the five directors who will receive Oscar nominations.  Four of the five directors who received Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film nominations this year also received best director Oscar nominations, and Cuarón was one of the Oscar nom recipients.

2014 / The 66th Annual DGA Awards (for the year in film 2013):

Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film:

(Warner Bros. Pictures)

Mr. Cuarón’s Directorial Team:
•Unit Production Manager: David Siegel (Arizona Unit)
•First Assistant Directors: Josh Robertson, Stephen Hagen (Arizona Unit)
•Second Assistant Director: Ben Howard

This is Mr. Cuarón’s first DGA Award.


Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Documentary:

The Square
Netflix, Participant Media, Noujaim Films, Maktube Productions, Worldview Entertainment, Roast Beef Productions

This is Ms. Noujaim’s second DGA Award and third nomination. She won the DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Documentary for in 2001 (together with Chris Hegedus) and was also nominated in this category in 2004 for Control Room.


Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Movies for Television and Mini-Series:

Behind the Candelabra

Mr. Soderbergh’s Directorial Team:
•Unit Production Manager: Michael Polaire
•First Assistant Director: Gregory Jacobs
•Second Assistant Director: Jody Spilkoman
•Second Second Assistant Director: Lynn Struiksma

This is Mr. Soderbergh’s first DGA Award and third nomination. He was previously nominated in 2000 for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film for both Erin Brockovich and Traffic. He is also the recipient of this year’s Robert B. Aldrich Service Award for extraordinary service to the DGA and its membership.


Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Dramatic Series:

Breaking Bad, “Felina”

Mr. Gilligan’s Directorial Team:
•Unit Production Manager: Stewart A. Lyons
•Assistant Unit Production Manager: James Paul Hapsas
•First Assistant Director: Nina Jack
•Second Assistant Directors: Anna Ramey, Louis Lanni
•Second Second Assistant Director: Joann Connolly
•Additional Second Assistant Director: Marcia Woske

This is Mr. Gilligan’s first DGA Award and second nomination. He was previously nominated in the Dramatic Series category for the “Face Off” episode of Breaking Bad in 2011.


Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Comedy Series:

30 Rock, “Hogcock!/Last Lunch”

Ms. McCarthy-Miller’s Directorial Team:
•Unit Production Manager: Diana Schmidt
•First Assistant Director: Stephen Lee Davis
•Second Assistant Director: Vanessa Hoffman
•Assistant Unit Production Manager: Bill Sell
•Location Manager: Suk Yi Mar

This is Ms. McCarthy-Miller’s third DGA Award and tenth nomination. She was also nominated this year, together with Rob Ashford, in the Movies for Television and Mini-Series category for The Sound of Music Live! She was previously nominated in the Comedy Series category for 30 Rock episodes “Live from Studio 6H” in 2012, “Live Show” in 2010, “The Reunion Episode #304” in 2008 and “Somebody to Love” in 2007. She won the DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Musical Variety twice, in 2001 for America: A Tribute to Heroes (co-directed with Joel Gallen) and in 2000 for the “Val Kilmer/U2” episode of Saturday Night Live. She was also twice nominated in that category for Saturday Night Live episodes “Christopher Walken & The Foo Fighters” in 2003 and the 25th Anniversary episode in 1999.


Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Variety/Talk/News/Sports – Series:

Saturday Night Live, “Saturday Night Live with Host Justin Timberlake”

Mr. King’s Directorial Team:
•Associate Directors: Michael Mancini, Michael Poole, Matt Yonks, Bob Caminiti
•Stage Managers: Gena Rositano, Chris Kelly

This is Mr. King’s first DGA Award and seventh nomination. He was previously nominated for Saturday Night Live episodes in 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012.


Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Variety/Talk/News/Sports – Specials:

The 67th Annual Tony Awards

Mr. Weiss’s Directorial Team:
•Associate Directors: Ken Diego, Robin Abrams, Stefani Cohen, Ricky Kirshner
•Stage Managers: Garry Hood, Phyllis Digilio-Kent, Peter Epstein, Andrew Feigin, Lynn Finkel, Doug Fogel, Jeffry Gitter, Arthur Lewis, Jeffrey M. Markowitz, Joey Meade, Seth Mellman, Tony Mirante, Cyndi Owgang, Jeff Pearl, Elise Reaves, Lauren Class Schneider

This is Mr. Weiss’s fifth DGA Award and tenth nomination. He won the DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Musical Variety in 2007, 2010, 2011 and 2012 for the 61st, 64th, 65th and 66th Annual Tony Awards. He was previously nominated in the same category in 2001, 2002, 2005, 2006 and 2008 for the 55th, 56th, 59th, 60th, and 62nd Annual Tony Awards.


Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Reality Programs:

72 Hours, “The Lost Coast”

This is Mr. DeGroot’s second DGA Award. He won the DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Reality Programs in 2011 for “Episode 1115” of The Biggest Loser.


Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Children's Programs:

An Apology to Elephants

This is Ms. Schatz’s fifth DGA Award and eighth nomination. She won the DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Children’s Programs four times for A Child’s Garden of Poetry in 2011, Classical Baby (I'm Grown Up Now) “The Poetry Show” in 2008, 'Twas the Night in 2001 and Goodnight Moon & Other Sleepy Time Tales in 1999. She was also nominated an additional three times in this category for Don’t Divorce Me! Kids’ Rules for Parents on Divorce in 2012, Hard Times for an American Girl: The Great Depression in 2009 and Through a Child's Eyes: September 11, 2001 in 2002.


Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Commercials:

Epoch Films

“The Man Who Couldn’t Slow Down, Hennessy VS – Droga5”
• First Assistant Director: Shawn Thomas

“Human Race, Acura MDX 2014 – Mullen”
•First Assistant Director: Jey Wada
•Second Assistant Director: Dillon Neaman
•Second Second Assistant Director: Erin Stern

This is Mr. de Thurah’s first DGA Award.


Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Special Awards:

In a surprise announcement, DGA President Paris Barclay called former National Vice President Steven Soderbergh to the stage to accept the Robert B. Aldrich Award in honor of Soderbergh’s extraordinary service to the DGA and its membership. Joined by former DGA President/current Secretary-Treasurer Michael Apted and former DGA President Taylor Hackford, Barclay thanked Soderbergh for his devotion to the Guild, especially his work to protect and extend the creative rights of directors. Soderbergh, who was first elected to the National Board in 2001, served for nine years as National Vice President before stepping down last June. Soderbergh was also a founding member of the Guild’s Independent Directors Committee, a chair of the Eastern Directors Council, a member of the Western Directors Council, and he chaired DGA Honors three times. Soderbergh currently serves on the PAC Leadership Council and the DGA Foundation, and he is co-chair of the Guild’s Theatrical Creative Rights Committee, a position he has held since 2002.

The recipients of the Directors Guild of America Service and Achievement Awards for 2014 are:

Robert B. Aldrich Service Award: STEVEN SODERBERGH

Given in in recognition of extraordinary service to the Directors Guild of America and to its membership.


Given in recognition of commitment to diversity hiring and providing jobs and opportunities to women and minorities in DGA-covered categories.

Frank Capra Achievement Award: LEE BLAINE

Given to an Assistant Director or Unit Production Manager in recognition of their career and service to the industry and the DGA.

Franklin J. Schaffner Achievement Award: VINCENT DeDARIO

Given to an Associate Director or Stage Manager in recognition of their service to the industry and DGA.


The 67th Annual DGA Awards will take place on Saturday, February 7, 2015.


Reivew: Sayles Draws Viewers in "LIMBO" (Happy B'day," David Strathairn)

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 34 (of 2003) by Leroy Douresseaux

Limbo (1999)
Running time:  126 minutes (2 hours, 6 minutes)
MPAA – R for language
PRODUCER:  Maggie Renzi
COMPOSER:  Mason Daring
Palme d'Or nominee


Starring:  Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, David Strathairn, Venessa Martinez, Kris Kristofferson, and Casey Siemaszko

The subject of this movie review is Limbo, a 1999 drama and crime-thriller from writer-director John Sayles.  The film focuses on a fisherman who tries to protect his new girlfriend and her daughter from his past and his brother’s present.  The film was nominated for the Palme d'Or at the 1999 Cannes Film Festival, and at the 1999 Seattle International Film Festival, Sayles received the “Golden Space Needle Award” for “Best Director.”  The National Board of Review, USA also gave Limbo a “Special Recognition” award “For excellent in filmmaking.”

John Sayles is a true independent filmmaker, rarely dealing with the major studios to produce his pictures, although they have distributed them, as is the case with Limbo.  Upon seeing this film, one can understand why he remains an independent.  Most directors can do this kind of film once or twice, but to make a career out of films like this, a director has to have an iron will.

Joe Gastineau (David Strathairn, a veteran of several Sayles films) lives, but that’s all he does.  He merely lives, working a few odd jobs in a small Alaska town.  He meets and helps out Donna De Angelo (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves) a lovelorn lounge singer and the mother of one of Joe’s coworkers Noelle (Vanessa Martinez), and Joe gently falls for Donna.  When Joe’s self-inflated half-brother Bobby (Casey Siemaszko, Young Guns) blows into town, the four take a journey to up-country Alaska that changes and endangers their lives.

The acting is good, especially from the trio of Strathairn, Ms. Mastrantonio, and Ms. Martinez.  Strathairn is a vulnerable and moody character, but a quite approachable guy, a strong and supportive man when he has to be.  Ms. Mastrantonio is punch drunk from the love of broken relationships, but she never gives up on the positive, even when things keep falling apart.  Ms. Martinez is the sullen, self-pitying teen; quiet and withdrawn, she is an imaginative storyteller who can take elements of her life and create metaphorical delights.  Sayles has affection for these characters, and, because he takes time to give them depth, we care about them.

Sayles, a novelist and short story writer, creates films with characters that are very much like real people.  Each and every character has their own story, and a Sayles movie is actually of composition containing all these characters’ stories.  His gift is to show the viewers enough of each story so that they can get a feel for the film.  We see more of the lead characters’ stories, but we get a taste of every person’s story.  He is a visionary, able to weave stories with the same complexities and depth of a novel into the visual shorthand of a film.

Critics have accused his films of not having passion, but they have sold their souls for the press junkets and star interviews of the major studios and their product.  A Sayles film is vibrant and engaging.  He makes you think, and he lets you be part of the film, to put yourself inside the story.  This is as vicarious a thrill as any adrenalin-monkey action movie.

8 of 10

1999 Cannes Film Festival:  1 nomination: “Palme d'Or” (John Sayles)

Updated:  Sunday, January 26, 2014

The text is copyright © 2014 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this site for syndication rights and fees.


Saturday, January 25, 2014

Hugh Jackman is "Blackbeard" in Joe Wright's Peter Pan Prequel

Hugh Jackman to Star in Director Joe Wright’s Live-Action Peter Pan Feature Film

BURBANK, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Academy Award® nominee Hugh Jackman (“Les Misérables”) has been set to star in Warner Bros. Pictures’ upcoming live-action Peter Pan feature for director Joe Wright (“Atonement,” “Pride & Prejudice”). The announcement was made today by Greg Silverman, President, Creative Development and Worldwide Production, and Sue Kroll, President, Worldwide Marketing and International Distribution, Warner Bros. Pictures.

Jackman will portray the villainous Blackbeard in an all-new tale about author J.M. Barrie’s beloved character Peter Pan, the boy who would never grow up.

Silverman stated, “Hugh Jackman always delivers indelible performances that resonate with audiences. We know he will create a Blackbeard who will be a powerful presence in this original Peter Pan adventure.”

Kroll added, “There is a reason that Hugh is known and loved the world over. He is uncompromising in his dedication to every role, and we are all thrilled to be working with him again.”

Best known to audiences worldwide for his portrayal of the Wolverine, Jackman most recently wrapped production on “X-Men: Days of Future Past,” reprising his role as the conflicted Super Hero for the sixth time in that popular film franchise. In addition to an Oscar® nomination, he won a Golden Globe Award and earned a BAFTA Award nomination for his gripping performance as Jean Valjean in 2012’s “Les Misérables.” This past fall, Jackman led an all-star cast in the acclaimed dramatic thriller “Prisoners.” Also an accomplished stage actor, he received a 2004 Tony Award for his performance in the Broadway musical “The Boy From Oz.”

Wright will direct the as-yet-untitled Peter Pan adventure from a screenplay by Jason Fuchs. Greg Berlanti and Paul Webster are serving as producers.

The film is set for a worldwide release on July 17, 2015.

Indiana Film Journalists Choose "12 Years a Slave" as 2013's Best

by Amos Semien

Last year, the Indiana Film Journalist Association surprised many when they picked Safety Not Guaranteed as the "Best Film" of 2012.  This time, they went with the familiar and named 12 Years a Slave as the "Best Film" of 2013.  The film's director, Steve McQueen, also earned "Best Director" honors.

The Indiana Film Journalist Association (IFJA) is a film critics’ organization only formed in recent years.  It seeks to promote film criticism in the state of Indiana and also gives out its annual awards in December.

The full list of 2013 Indiana Film Journalist Association Awards:

Best Film: "12 Years a Slave"
(Runner-up: "Her")

Other Finalists (alphabetical)
"All is Lost"
"Before Midnight"
"Captain Phillips"
"Frances Ha"
"Spring Breakers"
"The Wolf of Wall Street"

Best Director: Steve McQueen, "12 Years a Slave"
(Runner-up: Spike Jonze, "Her")

Best Actor: Chiwetel Ejiofor, "12 Years a Slave"
(Runner-up: Matthew McConaughey, "Dallas Buyers Club")

Best Actress: Adèle Exarchopoulos, "Blue is the Warmest Color"
(Runner-up: Brie Larson, "Short Term 12")

Best Supporting Actor: Barkhad Abdi, "Captain Phillips"
(Runner-up: Jeremy Renner, "American Hustle")

Best Supporting Actress: Jennifer Lawrence, "American Hustle"
(Runner-up: June Squibb, "Nebraska")

Best Adapted Screenplay: "Before Midnight"
(Runner-up: "12 Years a Slave")

Best Original Screenplay: "Her"
(Runner-up: "Rush")

Best Musical Score: "12 Years a Slave"
(Runner-up: "Rush")

Best Animated Feature: "Frozen"
(Runner-up: "The Wind Rises")

Best Foreign Language Film: "Blue is the Warmest Color"
(Runner-up: "The Grandmaster")

Best Documentary: "The Act of Killing"
(Runner-up: "Stories We Tell")

Original Vision Award: "Her"
(Runner-up: "Gravity")

The Hoosier Award: Andrew Cohn and Davy Rothbart, "Medora"


Friday, January 24, 2014

Jeffrey Katzenberg to Receive 2014 Harold Lloyd Award

Jeffrey Katzenberg of DreamWorks Animation (DWA) to Be Honored with 2014 Harold Lloyd Award by International 3D and Advanced Imaging Society January 28 at Warner Bros. Studios January 23, 2014

LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The International 3D and Advanced Imaging Society will present the 2014 Harold Lloyd Award for filmmaking to Jeffrey Katzenberg, CEO of DreamWorks Animation, at its annual Creative Arts Awards on Tuesday, January 28, 2014.

“Harold Lloyd was an actor, director, producer, and passionate advocate for 3D his entire life,” said Suzanne Lloyd, chairman of Harold Lloyd Entertainment. “Harold saw filmmaking as a creative and technical achievement. He understood his audiences and was passionate about serving them. Jeffrey Katzenberg’s work is the embodiment of what Harold believed to be important in this craft.”

“The Lloyd Award is annually given to individuals whose passion and commitment for 3D is equaled by the quality of their work,” said president and CEO of 3net and 3net Studios Tom Cosgrove, who also serves as society co-chairman. “Jeffrey Katzenberg’s dedication to his craft and his unparalleled legacy of groundbreaking 3D movie making at DreamWorks Animation makes him uniquely deserving of this special award recognition.”

“This award has honored Martin Scorsese, James Cameron, and Ang Lee for their extraordinary achievements,” said Society president Jim Chabin. “We now add Jeffrey Katzenberg’s name to this very special group of people who’ve made 3D a remarkable worldwide box office success.”

The Society will present awards for “extraordinary achievement” in 3D content categories including motion pictures and television at its annual ceremony, January 28th at Warner Bros. Studios. Top nominees for animation include DreamWorks’ “The Croods” and “Turbo.”

Entries for the 5th annual awards were submitted from China, Japan, Russia, the U.K., France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, and Taiwan. Winners were selected in voting by more than 300 Society professional members.

The International 3D & Advanced Imaging Society was founded by industry stakeholders, including The Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, DreamWorks Animation (DWA), Sony, Paramount, IMAX, Dolby, Panasonic, and others to advance the creative arts and sciences of stereoscopic 3D. With chapters in the U.S., China, Japan, Korea, Canada, the E.U. and the U.K., the organization has more than 1,100 professional members in over 20 countries. The organization hosts professional education seminars and awards throughout the world at no cost to participants.

Make-up Artists-Hair Stylists Announce 2014 MUAHS Award Nominations

by Amos Semien

The Make-up Artists and Hair Stylists Guild (I.A.T.S.E. Local 706) represents make-up artists and hair stylists in feature films and television, commercials,  and “Live” network television, as wells as in theatrical productions and at Disneyland Theme Parks.

The Make-Up Artists & Hair Stylists Guild (MUAHS) also presents the annual Make-Up Artists & Hair Stylists Guild Awards (also known as “The MUAHS”).  The awards honor Hollywood makeup artists and hair stylists for outstanding achievements in motion pictures, television, commercials, and live theater.

The 2014 Make-Up Artists & Hair Stylists Guild Awards will be held Saturday, February 15, 2014 at the historic Paramount Theater on the Paramount Studios lot.  The Guild describes the awards as “a black tie evening that will bring together the artistic talents that create the characters we see on screen and stage, with the industries of entertainment, makeup and hair that support them.”  Winners will receive “The Artisan” award (a statuette) for both outstanding makeup and hair styling achievements.  Two special Lifetime Achievement Awards and a Distinguished Artisan award will also be presented.

Academy Award-winning Make-Up Artist Dick Smith (Amadeus) will receive the “Make-Up Artists Lifetime Achievement Award” at the 2014 MUAHS.  Academy Award-winner Rick Baker, who was Smith’s apprentice, will present the award.

Academy Award-winning Hair Stylist Gail Ryan will receive the “Hair Stylists Lifetime Achievement Award” at the 2014 MUAHS.  Academy Award-winning actor Benicio Del Toro (Traffic) will present the award to Ryan.  Ryan won an Oscar for her work on How the Grinch Stole Christmas (with make-up artist Rick Baker).

Voting for the 2014 MUAHS began online Tuesday, January 21, 2014 and closes Tuesday, February 11, 2014 at 5 p.m.  All MUAHS members can vote during the final balloting.

2014 Make-Up Artists & Hair Stylists Guild Awards nominations (for the year 2013):


Unfinished Song - Lucy Cain
One Chance  - Christine Blundell, Donald McInnes
Lee Daniels’ The Butler - Candace Neal, Robert Stevenson

Prisoners - Donald Mowat, Pamela Westmore
August: Osage County - Carla White, Bjoern Rehbein
One Chance - Christine Blundell, Donald Mc Innes

American Hustle - Katherine Gordon, Michelle Johnson
The Lone Ranger - Gloria Pasqua Casny, Jules Holdren
Jobs - Nina Paskowitz, Michael Moore

Dallas Buyers Club - Evelyne Noraz, Rachel Geary
The Lone Ranger - Joel Harlow, Mike Smithson, 3rd Petition Robin Beauschesne
The Great Gatsby - Maurizio Silvi, Lesley Vanderwalt

Bad Grandpa - Stephen Prouty
Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters - Mike Elizalde, Lufeng Qu
The Hunger Games – Catching Fire - Ve Neill, Nikoletta Skarlatos


The Voice - Shawn Finch, Jerilynn Stephens
Breaking Bad - Georgie Sheffer, Carmen L. Jones
Bates Motel - Donna Bis

Glee - Kelley Mitchell, Jennifer Greenberg
Super Fun Night - Debbie Zoller, Tami Lane
Breaking Bad - Tarra Day, Sheila Trujillo Gomez

Vikings - Dee Corcoran
Hell on Wheels - Chris Glimsdale, Penny Thompson
Key and Peele - Amanda Mofield, Raissa Patton

Boardwalk Empire - Michele Paris
Hell on Wheels - Sharon Toohey, Rose Gurevitch
Key and Peele - Scott Wheeler

Vikings - Thomas McInerney
Longmire - Steve La Porte
The Walking Dead - Greg Nicotero, Jake Garber


Behind the Candelabra - Marie Larkin, Yvette Stone
American Horror Story: Coven - Monte Haught
Killing Lincoln - Ardis Cohen, Greg Bazemore

Behind the Candelabra - Kate Biscoe, Deborah Rutherford:
American Horror Story: Coven - Eryn Krueger Mekash, Christien Tinsley
Game of Thrones - Paul Engelen, Melissa Lackersteen

Falstaff - Darren Jinks, Brandi Strona, 3rd Petition Samantha Wooten
Magic Flute - Darren Jinks, Samantha Wooten, 3rd Petition Brandi Strona
Frank Zappa’s 200 Motels   - Vanessa Dionne, Cassandra Russek


Wash the Day Away (Kohler) - Tyson Fountaine, Brian Penikas


Thursday, January 23, 2014

Oscar Nominee Credits for "20 Feet from Stardom" Revealed

Academy Determines Nominees for "20 Feet from Stardom"

BEVERLY HILLS, CA — The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has determined the individual nominees for "20 Feet from Stardom" in the Documentary Feature category for the Oscars®.  They are Morgan Neville, Gil Friesen and Caitrin Rogers.

Academy Awards® for outstanding film achievements of 2013 will be presented on Oscar® Sunday, March 2, 2014, at the Dolby Theatre® at Hollywood & Highland Center® and televised live on the ABC Television Network.  The Oscars, produced by Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, also will be televised live in more than 225 countries and territories worldwide.

Review: "2 Guns" of Fun

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 4 (of 2014) by Leroy Douresseaux

2 Guns (2013)
Running time:  109 minutes (1 hour, 49 minutes)
MPAA – R for violence throughout, language and brief nudity
DIRECTOR:  Baltasar Kormákur
WRITER:  Blake Masters (based on the Boom! Studios graphic novels by Steven Grant)
PRODUCERS:  Andrew Cosby, Randall Emmett, George Furla, Norton Herrick, Marc Platt, Ross Richie, and Adam Siegel
CINEMATOGRAPHER:  Oliver Wood (D.o.P.)
EDITOR:  Michael Tronick
COMPOSER:  Clinton Shorter

ACTION/CRIME with elements of a comedy

Starring:  Denzel Washington, Mark Wahlberg, Paula Patton, Edward James Olmos, Bill Paxton, James Marsden, Robert John Burke, Fred Ward, John McConnell, Jack Landry, Lucky Johnson, and Lindsey Smith

2 Guns is a 2013 action and crime film from director Baltasar Kormákur.  The film is based on Two Guns, a 2007 comic book by writer-creator Steven Grant and artist Mateus Santolouco.  2 Guns the movie stars Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg as a DEA agent and a naval intelligence officer, respectively, on the run and double-crossed after a botched attempt to infiltrate a drug cartel.

2 Guns introduces Robert Lynn Trench (Denzel Washington), who is an agent with the DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency), and Petty Officer Michael Stigman (Mark Wahlberg), who is with United States Naval Intelligence.  They only know each other, however, as Bobby Beans and Stig, two dudes trying to make it big in the world of narcotics dealing.

The duo robs a bank in Tres Cruces, New Mexico, in an attempt to infiltrate the drug cartel controlled by Papi Greco (Edward James Olmos).  They find more than they expect:  about themselves, about their respective superiors in the worlds of law enforcement and the U.S. Navy, and about the money – the really large of sum of money.  Now, Bobby and Stigman’s shaky alliance has to stay strong if they want to stay alive.

I have described some movies as basically being “not great, but entertaining.”  That is 2 Guns.  This is not filet mignon; this is like a Big Mac®, which delivers the tastiness you expect when you buy a Big Mac.  2 Guns delivers the fun you would expect from a movie about a lone gun who is betrayed and on the run – times two lone guns.  The viewer will have to wade through about an hour of set-up and build-up before the buddy-movie action explodes in a hail of bullets and a pile of bodies.

In this film, Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg are pretty much doing the kinds of characters they have done before in one form or another, except this time, there is plenty of winking and nudging.  2 Guns is an action movie with a comic edge.  It is light and fizzy, and by the end of the movie, I was hoping for a sequel.

2 Guns was something of a box office disappointment, but fans of Washington and Wahlberg will be delightfully surprised when they find this movie on DVD or on television – for years to come.

6 of 10

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The text is copyright © 2014 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this site for syndication rights and fees.

Costume Designers Guild Announces 2014 Award Nominees

by Amos Semien

The Costume Designers Guild is an international group that represents motion picture, television, and commercial costume designers, assistant costume designers and costume illustrators.  The Costume Designers Guild (CDG) is Local 892 of the International Alliance of Theatrical and Stage Employees (I.A.T.S.E.).  The Costume Designers Guild Awards began in 1999 to annually honor costume designers in Motion Pictures, Television, and Commercials.

The nominees for the 16th Costume Designers Guild Awards were announced Wednesday, January 8, 2014.  The winners of the seven competitive awards will be revealed at the awards gala will be held on Saturday, February 22, 2014 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel

The guild also announced that acclaimed writer, producer and director, Judd Apatow will receive the “Distinguished Collaborator Award” in recognition of his support of Costume Design and creative partnerships with Costume Designers.  An “Honorary Career Achievement Award” will also be presented to Costume Designer April Ferry for her outstanding work in film and television.

2014 / The 16th Costume Designers Guild Awards nominees (for the year in film 2013):

•“Blue Jasmine” – Suzy Benzinger
•“Her” – Casey Storm
•“Nebraska” – Wendy Chuck
•“Philomena” – Consolata Boyle
•“The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” – Sarah Edwards

•“12 Years a Slave” – Patricia Norris
•“American Hustle” – Michael Wilkinson
•“Dallas Buyers Club” – Kurt & Bart
•“The Great Gatsby” – Catherine Martin
•“Saving Mr. Banks” – Daniel Orlandi

•The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug – Ann Maskrey, Richard Taylor, Bob Buck
•The Hunger Games: Catching Fire – Trish Summerville
•Oz: The Great and Powerful – Gary Jones, Michael Kutsche

•“Breaking Bad” – Jennifer Bryan
•“House of Cards” – Tom Broecker
•“Nashville” – Susie DeSanto
•“Scandal” – Lyn Paolo
•“Saturday Night Live” – Tom Broecker, Eric Justian

•“Boardwalk Empire” – John Dunn, Lisa Padovani
•“The Borgias”– Gabriella Pescucci
•“Downton Abbey” – Caroline McCall
•“Game of Thrones” – Michele Clapton
•“Mad Men” – Janie Bryant

•“American Horror Story: Coven” – Lou Eyrich
•“Behind the Candelabra” – Ellen Mirojnick
•“Bonnie & Clyde” – Marilyn Vance
•“House of Versace” – Claire Nadon
•“Phil Spector” – Debra McGuire

•Call of Duty “Ghosts Masked Warriors” – Nancy Steiner
•Dos Equis: “Most Interesting Man in the World Feeds a Bear” – Julie Vogel
•Fiat “British Invasion” – Donna Zakowska


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Scorsese, DiCaprio Get Second Oscar Nominations for "The Wolf of Wall Street"

Academy Determines Producing Credits For "The Wolf Of Wall Street"

BEVERLY HILLS, CA — The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has determined the individual nominees for “The Wolf of Wall Street” in the Best Picture category for the Oscars®.  They are producers Martin Scorsese, Leonardo DiCaprio, Joey McFarland and Emma Tillinger Koskoff.

Academy Awards® for outstanding film achievements of 2013 will be presented on Oscar® Sunday, March 2, 2014, at the Dolby Theatre® at Hollywood & Highland Center® and televised live on the ABC Television Network.  The Oscars, produced by Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, also will be televised live in more than 225 countries and territories worldwide.

Review "Murder at 1600" Surprises (Happy B'day, Diane Lane)

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 10 (of 2002) by Leroy Douresseaux

Murder at 1600 (1997)
Running time:  107 minutes (1 hour, 47 minutes)
MPAA – R for sexuality, violence and some language
DIRECTOR:  Dwight H. Little
WRITERS:  Wayne Beach and David Hodgin
PRODUCERS:  Arnold Kopelson and Arnon Milchan
CINEMATOGRAPHER:  Steven Bernstein (D.o.P.)
EDITORS:  Leslie Jones and Billy Weber
COMPOSER:  Christopher Young

DRAMA/CRIME/THRILLER with elements of action

Starring:  Wesley Snipes, Diane Lane, Daniel Benzali, Dennis Miller, Alan Alda, Ronny Cox, Diane Baker, Tate Donovan, and Harris Yulin

The subject of this movie review is Murder at 1600, a 1997 crime and detective thriller from director Dwight H. Little and starring Wesley Snipes and Diane Lane.  The film follows a homicide detective and a secret service agent as they try to unravel the conspiracy surrounding a young female staffer found dead in a White House wash room.

Washington D. C. Police Homicide Detective Harlan Regis (Wesley Snipes) gets a call that there has been a murder at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, the address of the White House.  When he arrives, he discovers the body of a slain young woman, and it is obvious that the Secret Service has already tampered with and removed evidence from the crime scene.  He immediately suspects a cover up.

Through a lot of effort, he eventually convinces Secret Service Agent Nina Chance (Diane Lane) to join him in the murder investigation.  From that point, they operate through a myriad of roadblocks and obstacles.  They are constantly on the run from murderous pursuers and others intent on stopping the investigation.  Raising the intensity level, the murder occurs during a touchy international incident between the United States and North Korea.

Directed by veteran helmsman Dwight H. Little (episodes of “The Practice” and Free Willy 2: The Adventure Home), Murder at 1600 is a surprisingly intriguing and exciting movie.  With elements of suspense, mystery, and drama, it is something of a thriller and an action movie.  Little expertly paces them film so that there is never a dull moment.  Something’s always just around the corner, and some seemingly nefarious person is always in the next room.  Add the element of government paid snipers and assassins, and the result is a nice edge of your seat picture - a chase movie for grown ups.

The writers Wayne Beach and the late David Hodgin do a wonderful job creating a single plot line that neatly divides into other interesting plot lines.  Very little is thrown away in this movie.  Like a classic whodunit, the suspects and motives pile on, but not like crap on the wall.  Rather, it’s like a complex puzzle, with not too many pieces, for the viewer it’s an engaging challenge to put together.

Wesley Snipes has always wanted to be an action movie badass, but his gift is in his untapped acting talent.  His rock solid good looks and thespian skills make him a natural leading man in the old Hollywood tradition (Kirk Douglas or Humphrey Bogart).  Like them, he is best in dramas that are suspenseful and intriguing.  He carries this movie on his strong shoulders even when the movie action becomes implausible.

Diane Lane (“Lonesome Dove”) is also another surprise.  She is a natural beauty, more earthy than doll-like without a model’s overdone and artificial looks.  She’s a woman’s woman – gritty and determined to do her job.  Her Nina Chance is the ideal partner to Snipes' Regis.  She isn’t the typical action movie female baggage; she holds her own, and she gets to pull Regis out of the fire a few times.

Ronny Cox as President Jack Neil and Alan Alda as Alvin Jordan, National Security Advisor are very good and quite intense in their parts.  Both are seemingly determined and over anxious to “be real” in their parts.  Dennis Miller makes a light add-on to the story and manages to serve a function, but nothing, not even his light part, hurts this movie.

Murder at 1600 isn’t by any means great, but it is very good and somewhat smart entertainment.  The last fifteen minutes or so is an exercise in the implausible, and is often inadvertently funny.  However, there is something to be said for making a movie that could have been bad quite enjoyable.

6 of 10

Updated: Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The text is copyright © 2014 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this site for syndication rights and fees.


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

WWE Studios Announces Supernatural Horror Film, "Oculus"

WWE® Studios, Relativity and Blumhouse Productions Partner on Intrepid Pictures’ Oculus

STAMFORD, Conn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--WWE Studios (NYSE:WWE), Relativity and Blumhouse Productions announced today a partnership in connection to the release of Intrepid PicturesOculus, the Mike Flanagan-directed supernatural horror film starring Karen Gillan (Doctor Who, Not Another Happy Ending), Brenton Thwaites (the upcoming Maleficent, The Giver), Rory Cochrane (Argo, Parkland) and Katee Sackhoff (Battlestar Galactica, Riddick). WWE Studios will leverage its extensive multi-platform reach to help promote the film that debuted at the Midnight Madness section of the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival. Oculus was developed and produced by Trevor Macy and Marc D. Evans of Intrepid Pictures, who co-financed with MICA Entertainment and is set for a wide theatrical release on April 11, 2014.

Oculus was directed by Mike Flanagan (Absentia, Ghosts of Hamilton Street), and produced by Trevor Macy and Marc D. Evans (Safe House, The Strangers, The Raven). Ryan Kavanaugh (The Fighter, Limitless), Tucker Tooley (The Fighter, Limitless), Jason Blum (Paranormal Activity, Insidious), Michael Luisi (The Call, Dead Man Down), Anil Kurian (Sahara, The Raven), D. Scott Lumpkin (Safe Haven), Peter Schlessel (Drive, Looper) and Dale Johnson (Stuck in Love) serve as Executive Producers. The screenplay is by Mike Flanagan & Jeff Howard based on the short film Oculus: The Man With The Plan, written by Mike Flanagan & Jeff Seidman.

Ten years ago, tragedy struck the Russell family, leaving the lives of teenage siblings Tim and Kaylie forever changed when Tim was convicted of the brutal murder of their parents. Now in his 20s, Tim is newly released from protective custody and only wants to move on with his life; but Kaylie, still haunted by that fateful night, is convinced her parents’ deaths were caused by something else altogether: a malevolent supernatural force­­ unleashed through the Lasser Glass, an antique mirror in their childhood home. Determined to prove Tim’s innocence, Kaylie tracks down the mirror, only to learn similar deaths have befallen previous owners over the past century. With the mysterious entity now back in their hands, Tim and Kaylie soon find their hold on reality shattered by terrifying hallucinations, and realize, too late, that their childhood nightmare is beginning again…

"WWE Studios is thrilled to be getting into business for the first time with Relativity and partnering again with Blumhouse on the release of such a superbly crafted, heart-pounding thriller as Oculus," said Michael Luisi, President of WWE Studios.

Bradley Buchanan, SVP of Business Affairs, negotiated the deal on behalf of WWE Studios.

About WWE Studios
WWE Studios produces a diverse slate of feature films for theatrical release, home entertainment and digital platforms through distribution partnerships with global entertainment companies. The WWE’s film division led by President, Michael Luisi, is headquartered in Santa Monica, CA and continues to create content for audiences of all ages. Films recently produced by WWE Studios include The Call with Halle Berry and WWE Superstar David Otunga®, Dead Man Down with Colin Farrell and WWE Superstar Wade Barrett®, The Marine 3: Homefront with WWE Superstar The Miz® in the third follow-up in the explosive Marine adventures, 12 Rounds 2: Reloaded, the second installment in the action franchise, starring WWE Superstar Randy Orton®, No One Lives co-produced with Pathé Films and released theatrically by Anchor Bay Films starring Luke Evans and WWE Superstar Brodus Clay™, and Christmas Bounty, an action comedy starring WWE Superstar The Miz and Francia Raisa, which premiered on ABC Family during “The Countdown to 25 Days of Christmas” and released on Blu-Ray/DVD by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment. Upcoming films for WWE Studios include Scooby-Doo! WrestleMania Mystery which pairs WWE Superstars with Scooby and the gang releasing direct to home March 25, 2014 by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment; Leprechaun: Origins directed by Zach Lipovsky starring WWE Superstar Hornswoggle® will be distributed by Lionsgate in August 2014; See No Evil 2 starring WWE Superstar Kane® directed by the Soska Sisters will also be distributed by Lionsgate in October 2014; The Fall Guy starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson releasing in 2015, and The Flintstones another Warner Brothers Animation feature releasing in early 2015 by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment which joins Fred, Barney and the whole Bedrock gang with stone age versions of WWE Superstars and Divas.

About WWE
WWE, a publicly traded company (NYSE:WWE), is an integrated media organization and recognized leader in global entertainment. The company consists of a portfolio of businesses that create and deliver original content 52 weeks a year to a global audience. WWE is committed to family friendly entertainment on its television programming, pay-per-view, digital media and publishing platforms. WWE programming is broadcast in more than 150 countries and 30 languages and reaches more than 650 million homes worldwide. The company is headquartered in Stamford, Conn., with offices in New York, Los Angeles, London, Miami, Mumbai, Shanghai, Singapore, Munich and Tokyo. Additional information on WWE (NYSE:WWE) can be found at and For information on our global activities, go to

Trademarks: All WWE programming, talent names, images, likenesses, slogans, wrestling moves, trademarks, logos and copyrights are the exclusive property of WWE and its subsidiaries. All other trademarks, logos and copyrights are the property of their respective owners.

Forward-Looking Statements: This press release contains forward-looking statements pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, which are subject to various risks and uncertainties. These risks and uncertainties include, without limitation, risks relating to maintaining and renewing key agreements, including television and pay-per-view programming distribution agreements; the need for continually developing creative and entertaining programming; the continued importance of key performers and the services of Vincent McMahon; the conditions of the markets in which we compete and acceptance of the Company's brands, media and merchandise within those markets; our exposure to bad debt risk; uncertainties relating to regulatory and litigation matters; risks resulting from the highly competitive nature of our markets; uncertainties associated with international markets; the importance of protecting our intellectual property and complying with the intellectual property rights of others; risks associated with producing and travelling to and from our large live events, both domestically and internationally; the risk of accidents or injuries during our physically demanding events; risks relating to our film business; risks relating to increasing content production for distribution on various platforms, including the potential creation of a WWE Network; risks relating to our computer systems and online operations; risks relating to the large number of shares of common stock controlled by members of the McMahon family and the possibility of the sale of their stock by the McMahons or the perception of the possibility of such sales; the relatively small public float of our stock; and other risks and factors set forth from time to time in Company filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Actual results could differ materially from those currently expected or anticipated. In addition, our dividend is dependent on a number of factors, including, among other things, our liquidity and historical and projected cash flow, strategic plan (including alternative uses of capital), our financial results and condition, contractual and legal restrictions on the payment of dividends, general economic and competitive conditions and such other factors as our Board of Directors may consider relevant.

About Relativity
Relativity is a next-generation media company engaged in multiple aspects of entertainment, including film production; financing and distribution; television; sports management; music publishing; and digital media. Ryan Kavanaugh is the company’s Founder and CEO.

Relativity Studios has produced, distributed or structured financing for nearly 200 motion pictures, generating more than $17 billion in worldwide box office revenue and earning 60 Oscar® nominations. Recent films include: Safe Haven, Act of Valor and Immortals, the latter two opening number one at the box office in their debut. Relativity’s other films include the eight-time Oscar® nominee The Social Network as well as Limitless and two-time Oscar® winner The Fighter. Upcoming films include 3 Days to Kill, starring Kevin Costner, Earth to Echo, Oculus and author Nicholas Sparks’ The Best of Me.

Relativity Television is one of the country’s largest suppliers of unscripted television and has recently expanded to produce scripted series. Relativity Sports is the industry’s fastest growing sports agency, providing more than 300 NBA, NFL and MLB athletes with services ranging from contract negotiation to custom film and television content production.

For more information, please visit

About Blumhouse Productions
Blumhouse Productions, founded by Jason Blum, is a multi-media production company that has pioneered a new model of studio filmmaking- producing high-quality micro-budget films for wide release. Since its launch, Blumhouse has produced more than 30 feature films including the highly profitable Paranormal Activity, Insidious, The Purge and Sinister franchises, all of which significantly out-grossed their budgets on opening weekend. Blumhouse's The Purge, its first production under its first-look deal with Universal Pictures, opened to more than $34 million on its opening weekend with a budget of just $3 million. Insidious: Chapter Two from FilmDistrict, grossed $41.05 million on its opening weekend with just a $5m budget. Blumhouse's upcoming micro-budget wide releases include Oculus for Relativity, Jessabelle for Lionsgate, The Next Chapter of The Purge for Universal and Paranormal Activity 5 for Paramount. In addition, Blumhouse is working on both scripted and non-scripted television projects. Blumhouse executive produced Stranded for SyFy and The River for ABC, and is also working on projects with HBO and MTV.

About Intrepid Pictures
Founded in 2004 by Trevor Macy, Intrepid Pictures is a feature film production and co-financing company with a mandate to produce horror, thriller, action, and comedy. Intrepid has produced eleven pictures to date, including the $82 million worldwide box office hit "The Strangers". Intrepid Pictures also produced and co-financed Summit Entertainments action film, "The Cold Light of Day" starring Bruce Willis, Sigourney Weaver and Henry Cavill; "The Raven," starring John Cusack and directed by James McTeigue. Additionally, Intrepid developed and executive produced Universal Pictures project “Safe House,” starring Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds, directed by Daniel Espinoza.