February 2016 - Posts

Review: 'Better Call Saul' Season 2 Episode 3, 'Amarillo,' Goes For the Close-Up

LAST WEEK'S REVIEW: 'Better Call Saul' Season 2 Episode 2, 'Cobbler,' Triggers Something In Us All Case SummaryJimmy McGill has his talents, and his role in managing client relations for the Sandpiper trial is definitely making use of them. Unfortunately, his natural instincts for how to proceed in terms of signing up new victims of Sandpiper's illicit bookkeeping turn out to be a bit ethically shaky. It's Chuck who spots the fact that Jimmy might be bordering on solicitation, which could jeopardize the case. But it's Kim's disapproval that convinces Jimmy to try a different approach; specifically, targeting the 65-plus set with a TV commercial airing during an afternoon broadcast of "Murder, She Wrote." The commercial he makes looks great and gets the phones ringing, but he didn't get permission from the partners at Davis and Main before airing it, and the episode ends with Jimmy getting reamed out by Clifford Main for overstepping his bounds. At the end of the episode,...
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Examining Michael Caine's Unstoppable Career By Each Outstanding Era

Editor's Note: This post is presented in partnership with Time Warner Cable Movies On Demand. Catch up on this year’s Awards Season contenders right now On Demand, including today's pick, "Youth."  "You were only supposed to blow the bloody doors off!" Most Michael Caine fans will likely scream out this infamous line in a poorly imitated cockney accent, should you ask them to impersonate the OBE honored actor. Having gained such a cultural standing that contemporaries continue to honor, impersonate, satirize and mimic the charmingly affable British actor, it's no surprise that Michael Caine has had one of Hollywood's most prolific careers in modern memory. READ MORE: Cannes Review: Michael Caine and Harvey Keitel Give Their Best Performances in Years in Sorrentino's Whimsical 'Youth' From a British army commandant to a troubled conductor, Michael Caine has appeared in over 100 films, transitioning the supremely talented actor from being a...
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How the 2016 Oscars Weekend Revealed The Real Problem With the Film Industry (Analysis)

READ MORE: Oscars 2016 Review: They Might Have Dragged, But Didn't Stop Being Funny About Race An hour after the Oscars ended, I stood next to a director who wouldn't have won an award even if his movie did. The Indonesian co-director of "The Look of Silence," which finds a young man confronting perpetuators of his country's genocide, shares directing credit with the Copenhagen-based Joshua Oppenheimer. His collaborator would face blowback from his government if he were associated with the film, and so he was credited only as Anonymous. We were standing outside Ago restaurant, near the valet and a nest of post-Oscars paparazzi; the filmmaker committed to exposing his country's sins through cinema looked distinctly out of place. But he also seemed happy to be there. He beamed about the popularity of his work throughout Indonesia. Although police found ways to cancel some 10% of the screenings throughout the country, plenty of people still got to see it. "That's still...
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Ellen Page to Give Fourth and Final SXSW Keynote at 2016 Festival

The 2016 SXSW Film Festival and Conference is a little over one week away from kicking off, and organizers are putting the last touches on the exciting slate by announcing that "Gaycation" co-creators Ellen Page and Ian Daniel will be giving the fourth and final SXSW Film Keynote. The event runs March 11-19 in Austin, Texas. READ MORE: Watch: Go on a 'Gaycation' to Japan With Ellen Page and Ian Daniel, Thanks to VICELAND Sneak Peek "Gaycation" is Page and Daniel's new documentary series for VICELAND. The show finds the duo traveling to different countries to learn about and immerse themselves in each region's LGBTQ culture. Their SXSW Keynote will center on their careers, the equality movement and different cultural attitudes towards LGBTQ people. The event will take place Saturday, March 12 at 11:00am.  Page and Daniel will be the fourth and final Film Keynote for the 2016 event. Previously announced 2016 SXSW Film Keynotes will be given by...
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Can the Oscars Improve Their Ceremony Without Damaging the Academy's Reputation?

The Oscars are a tricky beast. As much can be told by the annual agonizing over not only who wins, but what's done right and — far more often — wrong during the ceremony itself. After all, the Oscars are a television event. They draw an audience consistently large enough to rank them among the Top 10 (or even five) most watched programs every year. The telecast itself is something worth breaking down, especially considering that so many people are tuning in for a three-and-a-half-hour broadcast. READ MORE: Review: The 2016 Oscars Might Have Dragged, But Didn't Stop Being Funny About Race This year, many critics, pundits and awards season vets were eagerly anticipating Chris Rock's opening monologue and general opportunity to take Hollywood down a peg — even if everyone in the audience was likely on pins and needles hoping the camera didn't cut to them for a reaction shot. So while #OscarsSoWhite trended all night, the actors, directors and other filmmakers in the theatre were...
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Watch: 'Louder Than Bombs' Trailer is a Powerful Mediation on Grief

Norwegian filmmaker Joachim Trier has proven himself a master of uncanny realism and gripping relationship studies in dramas like "Reprise" and "Oslo, August 31st," and his English-language debut, "Louder Than Bombs," strongly carries on this tradition. The drama earned vast acclaim at its Cannes premiere last May, where it was quickly picked up by The Orchard for U.S. distribution.  READ MORE: Why 'Louder Than Bombs' Filmmaker Joachim Trier Hates Labeling His Work and You Should, Too The film picks up in the aftermath of a famed photographer's tragic death (played in stirring memories by Isabelle Huppert) and focuses on her grieving family. While her husband struggles as a single parent, her two sons take different roads to recovery, with the oldest (Jesse Eisenberg) preoccupied with starting a family of his own and the youngest (a breakout Devin Druid) wearing his alienation as a badge of honor...
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HBO's 'Vinyl': An Illustrated Review of Season 1 Episode 3, 'Whispered Secrets'

Indiewire has commissioned artist Jess Rotter to draw her reactions to the new HBO drama "Vinyl," which features Bobby Cannavale as a record executive in search of personal salvation as well as the next big music sensation.  READ MORE: HBO's 'Vinyl': An Illustrated Review of Season 1 Episode 2, 'Yesterday Once Again' The noses keep on snortin' and the belts are tightened as American Century Records' demise is affecting all involved. In an attempt to trim the fat on some of the artists on the label, Richie decides a Christmas album will bring in the big stacks. He also drops most of the label's artists, but keeps Johnny Winters (because he is an albino, of course).  To stay relevant and busy, housewife Devon gets involved in fundraising: When she can't play her role in dropping cash for an event, she makes the decision to sell her unsigned Andy Warhol portrait/gift, a gutting move that says goodbye to her Factory party past. Meanwhile, after being inspired by...
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How Did Independent Films Fare at the 2016 Oscars?

READ MORE: Full List of All 2016 Oscar Winners And, with the final round of applause and one last shot of a beaming Leonardo DiCaprio, awards season has come to a close. A wild ride from start to finish, punctuated by early contenders ("Steve Jobs," anyone?), unexpected dark horses (looking at you, "Ex Machina") and all sorts of insane stories (see: "The Revenant"), the 2015-2016 season is one that will be hard to shake. But while the season was marked by its unpredictability, one trend did emerge early on and stick around to see it through: Independent films made outside the studio system that got their big awards push care of smaller, boutique outfits that seemed bent on giving them not just a glitzy campaign, but ones crafted with real affection for the final product. From major wins for "Spotlight" to genuine shocks for critical favorites like "Ex Machina," indie film had a big, big night on Oscar Sunday. Here are some of...
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Watch: Dwayne Johnson and Andy Garcia Face Off in 'Ballers' Season 2 Trailer

READ MORE: Watch: Kerry Washington Challenges D.C. in HBO's Powerful 'Confirmation' Trailer In the second season of HBO's "Ballers," Dwayne Johnson returns as an ex-football star who now works with up-and-coming athletes, just one part of a star-studded cast that looks likely to explode in Season 2. When the show premiered last year, it brought in 8.9 million viewers across HBO's multiple platforms and broke the record for most-watched first episode of a half-hour show on the network. For obvious reasons HBO has renewed the series, hopefully giving it the chance to surpass the first season's rather lackluster story lines. This trailer for Season 2 promises more girls, more expensive cars, more Rob Corddry laughing for no reason and introduces Andy Garcia, who seems to be playing the character he often does -- the rich all-powerful kingpin who needs to be taken down. Check it out above -- "Ballers" will return this summer on HBO.  READ MORE: HBO's...
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'Revolution Cuba: Stories of Art & Change' Looks to Use Short Films to Illuminate the Nation's Artists

Here's your daily dose of an indie film, web series, TV pilot, what-have-you in progress -- at the end of the week, you'll have the chance to vote for your favorite. In the meantime: Is this a project you’d want to see? Tell us in the comments. Revolution Cuba: Stories of Art & Change Logline: "Art for the people" collides with market forces in six short portraits of artists at the heart of an evolving nation. Elevator Pitch:  Rum. Jazz. Vintage Cars. We think we know Cuba. We hear about shortages, lack of opportunities, expected regime change, refugees and lucrative business deals. Lost is the remarkable debate where revolutionary ideals face off against the market's seduction. In Cuba, where 98% of the people are literate, have healthcare, a home, and free education, artists are not fringe. They are vanguard and they are in a quandry. Opportunity vs. free expression vs. socialism. How will they choose? Or can they have it all? "(R)evolution Cuba"...
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Oscar Winner 'A Girl In The River: The Price of Forgiveness' Set to Debut on HBO

READ MORE: Full List of All 2016 Oscar Winners Eager to check out some new Oscar winners? The newly minted best documentary short from last night's 88th Academy Awards ceremony, "A Girl In The River: The Price of Forgiveness," will be able for HBO subscribers to watch in just one week, on Monday, March 7. The timing of HBO's exclusive televised debut of the Oscar winner coincides with International Women's Day, which takes place the following day, March 8. Thanks to HBO, the masses wil have the opportunity to watch Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy's short documentary, which tells the astounding story of a young Pakistani woman's survival of an attempted honor killing by her own family. The discrepancy between the ancient and modern world of Pakistani customs is richly portrayed in the form of a love story that plays out over the course of a one-hour run time. "A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness" is Obaid-Chinoy's second Oscar-winning...
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Watching the Oscars at The Weinstein Company Viewing Party

When Chris Rock speaks, people listen. Especially inside the Beverly Hills Montage's Marchesa Ballroom at The Weinstein Company's official Oscars viewing party (presented in part by Indiewire). Even though some guests were still assembling their dinner plates, by the end of his opening salvo, the gathered audience was clapping along, ready for the rest of the evening.  READ MORE: Inside The Weinstein Company's Pre-Oscar Dinner Though not a Weinstein offering, the early onslaught of wins for "Mad Max: Fury Road" generated some big buzz, particularly whenever the film was listed among the nominees. Whether people were cheering associates or personal Oscar pool victories, there was an overall positivity to the entire evening. Even in the best supporting actress category, where two TWC hopefuls (Jennifer Jason Leigh for "The Hateful Eight" and Rooney Mara for "Carol") had a chance, Alicia Vikander's win was met with people audibly pleased with the...
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Watch: Bob Odenkirk Charms the Elderly (And Us) in Exclusive 'Better Call Saul' Season 2 Clip

This Monday marks the third episode of the second season of "Better Call Saul," and the cast and crew, led by the extraordinary Bob Odenkirk as Jimmy McGill, continue to prove that the show is more than just a "Breaking Bad" spinoff.  READ MORE: Review: 'Better Call Saul' Season 2 Episode 2, 'Cobbler,' Triggers Something In Us All According to AMC, in tonight's episode, entitled "Amarillo," Jimmy begins new efforts to expand his client base, while Mike receives some interesting news from his daughter-in-law Stacy. In the exclusive clip above, we'll see just what he'll try in order to reach his clientele.  "Better Call Saul" airs on Mondays at 10pm on AMC. READ MORE: 7 New Netflix Shows to Binge Watch in February 2016 (And the Best Episodes of Each)
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Review: The 2016 Oscars Might Have Dragged, But Didn't Stop Being Funny About Race

There was never any doubt that, thanks to #OscarsSoWhite rage and host Chris Rock's intelligent and fearless outlook on race in Hollywood, this year's Academy Awards would be (at least at the beginning) a show about race first, and movies second. Honestly? That was pretty welcome, as approaches go.  READ MORE: The Best Things Phyllis Nagy, Laszlo Nemes and More Said on the Red Carpet at the 2016 Academy Awards Many years, the Oscars have leaned heavily on the theme of "movies are important!" that can become a bit of a hard sell for justifying the big fancy party they're throwing. Movies are important, don't get me wrong, but sometimes movies are just movies, and sometimes a big fancy party is a big fancy party — except when it's a big fancy party that also lets Chris Rock throw some shade at an industry which is (sometimes) pretty aware of how badly it can screw things up.  Thus, an opening monologue full of commentary on the state of race in...
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The Best Things Winners Leonardo DiCaprio, Brie Larson and More Said Backstage at the 2016 Academy Awards

READ MORE: Full List of All 2016 Oscar Winners Hollywood's starriest night paid tribute to both the year's biggest winners and assorted achievements that had otherwise been overlooked by the annual awards show (mostly thanks to host Chris Rock, who didn't balk at skewering the event's lack of diversity throughout the evening in various ways, from the pointed to the hilarious). The night was punctuated by a flurry of wins for George Miller's "Mad Max: Fury Road" (including a wham-bam series of below-the-line wins, along with a major best editing win) and some big love for features like best picture winner "Spotlight" and acting achievements of "Room" and "The Revenant," and it sent awards season out on a very high note. Indiewire was on hand for the show, including holding down a prime spot backstage, where all of the night's winners happily made their way back to chat about their newest honor to a room filled with journalists...
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