Film & TV

‘Whiplash,’ ‘Big Hero 6’ Arrive on Home Video

Forrest Hartman

In “Whiplash,” J.K. Simmons plays Terrence Fletcher, a college music professor so brutal and intense that he is literally capable of making students ill. It’s a role Simmons inhabits completely, and it has, quite correctly, become one of the most celebrated performances of the movie awards season. Fletcher is, in the simplest sense, a monster. But he is also capable of inspiring his students to greatness.

A Big Night for ‘Birdman’ at the Oscars

Lisa Richwine and Nichola Groom

The dark comedy "Birdman" held up a mirror to Hollywood and its struggling actors and in return received the film industry's highest recognition on Sunday, the Academy Award for best picture. Director Alejandro G. Inarritu's story of a washed-up, former superhero actor attempting an improbable comeback on Broadway won four Oscars in its nine nominations.

Oscars Race Heats Up Between ‘Birdman,’ ‘Boyhood’ for Best Picture

Mary Milliken

Even if "Birdman" has the slightest edge, the race is one of the hardest to predict in years, experts say, adding welcome suspense to Hollywood's annual climax, the largest televised event in the United States outside of the sports world. And there's room for a dark horse to come in and win the top honor from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, made up of 6,100 people who toil in the industry.

‘The Theory of Everything,’ ‘Birdman,’ ‘St. Vincent’ Arrive on Home Video

Forrest Hartman

When Stephen Hawking was 21 years old, he was given two years to live. Today, he is 73. Hawking’s story isn’t amazing simply because he beat the odds in his battle with ALS (better known as Lou Gehrig’s disease), it is remarkable because he continued to work, becoming one of the most renowned theoretical physicists in the world. Nominated for best picture at the upcoming Academy Awards, “The Theory of Everything” considers many of the major events in Hawking’s life.

Abderrahmane Sissako’s ‘Timbuktu’ Is a Spellbinding Political Film

Angelo Franco

With ardent subtlety of shifting tones, a number of seemingly unconnected subplots, and breathtaking imagery, director Abderrahmane Sissako’s Timbuktu is challenging and oftentimes unbearably honest, which is precisely what makes this film a beautiful and sensational piece of political art, never at the expense of every accolade it boasts and justly deserves. 

‘Nightcrawler,’ ‘Force Majeure’ Arrive on Home Video

Forrest Hartman

Writer-director Dan Gilroy’s “Nightcrawler” is the sort of absurdist thriller that presents uncomfortable truths in an entertaining, but undeniably disturbing, manner. The focus is on Louis Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaal), a shifty hustler who makes his living by any means possible. One day, he stumbles upon an auto accident and learns that freelance TV crews make good money selling crash footage to local news outlets. So, Louis gets a cheap video camera and launches his career. 

Alejandro Inarritu’s ‘Birdman’ Is Favored to Win ‘Best Picture’ Oscar

Mary Milliken

A favorite to win the Academy Award for best picture, director Alejandro G. Inarritu's satirical jab at show business takes the audience down a cinematic rabbit hole - and not just because it takes place in the warren of a Broadway theater. Upon embarking on "Birdman," the Mexican filmmaker felt that cinematic storytelling was a "little bit stuck" and he wanted to do something novel because audiences deserved it.

‘John Wick,’ ‘Dracula Untold’ Arrive on Home Video

Forrest Hartman

Keanu Reeves has always had a limited range, but he’s solid when tapped for the right role, and he’s particularly good with action. “John Wick” plays to the actor’s strengths, giving him a part that requires both impressive athleticism and old-fashioned movie star charisma. The film focuses on its title character (Reeves), a former assassin who retired to a more peaceful existence after finding the love of his life.

Hollywood's Indie Film Pool Prepares for the Amazon Plunge

Mary Milliken

With plans to produce 12 films per year with budgets ranging from $5 million to $25 million, for theatrical release and streaming on Amazon Prime video 4-8 weeks later, a digital company is creating a new art-house studio and getting films into consumers' hands and living rooms faster. "It's a great business," said Mark Gordon, the veteran Hollywood television and film producer behind movies like "Saving Private Ryan" and the new Steve Jobs biopic.

‘The Judge,’ ‘Fury’ Arrive on Home Video

Forrest Hartman

Robert Duvall has again entered the Oscars race thanks to his portrayal of a grumpy-but-fair-minded legal professional in “The Judge.” The movie features Robert Downey Jr. as Hank Palmer, a flashy, big-city defense attorney who returns to his tiny, Indiana hometown for his mother’s funeral. Director David Dobkin wastes no time establishing that Hank and his father, Joseph (Duvall), have unresolved problems. The latter is a no-nonsense judge known for dispensing firm rulings.

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