Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Video Review: ‘Gone Girl’ - James @ the Movies

TGK Editor James A. Molnar launched a new YouTube series, "JAMES @ THE MOVIES," and his first movie review is for David Fincher's latest film, "Gone Girl."

Take a look:

Be sure to check out his full written review here and comment below with your thoughts on the movie.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Oscars 2015: Shortlist announced for Doc Shorts

The field of 58 Documentary Short Subject contenders has been whittled down to eight films, the Academy announced Monday. (This is up from 40 last year and 31 two years ago.) Three to five will earn Oscar nominations.

Voters from the Academy’s Documentary Branch viewed this year’s eligible entries and submitted their ballots to PricewaterhouseCoopers for tabulation.

Here are the films, listed in alphabetical order by title, along with their production company:
  • Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1,” Perry Films
  • Joanna,” Wajda Studio
  • Kehinde Wiley: An Economy of Grace,” Show of Force
  • The Lion’s Mouth Opens,” Tree Tree Tree
  • One Child,” New York University
  • Our Curse,” Warsaw Film School
  • The Reaper (La Parka),” Centro de Capacitación Cinematográfica
  • White Earth,” Weary Traveler

We are less than 90 days away from the 87th Academy Awards nominations announcement on Thursday, Jan. 15, 2015, at 5:35 a.m. PT.

Trailers and synopses
The Gold Knight searched the web for trailers and information about each film. Here's what we found:

Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1” presents an inside look at the call center for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. It was produced by Dana Perry and directed by Ellen Goosenberg Kent and has since aired on HBO. "The movie captures gripping moments when professionals, many who are veterans themselves, attempt to interrupt the plans of suicidal callers and steer them out of crisis." (Links: HBO website)

Joanna,” from Polish director Aneta Kopacz, follows a woman who starts a blog after learning she has cancer and has three months to live. The title character blogs for her 5-year-old son, Jas. (Links: Official website)

Kehinde Wiley: An Economy of Grace” follows an artist's latest project: Classical portraits of African-American women. (Links: Official website)

The Lion’s Mouth Opens,” from Oscar nominee Lucy Walker, follows young actress Marianna Palka as she confronts her inherited risk of the fatal and incurable Huntington's Disease. (Links: Official website)

No trailer available.

One Child” spotlights three families reeling from the aftermath of the 2008 Sichuan earthquake, China's deadliest disaster in three decades. By Zijian Mu, Student Academy Award winner, Bronze Medal, New York University. (Links: Official website)

Our Curse” is another film from a Polish director, Tomasz Śliwiński. This 27-minute film is a personal statement from the director and his wife, who have to deal with their newborn child's rare, incurable disease — the Ondine’s Curse, also known as Congenital Central Hypoventilation Syndrome or CCHS. (Links: Official website)

The Reaper (La Parka)” is a 29-minute film from Mexican director Gabriel Serra Argüello about a man, known as the Reaper, was has worked at a slaughterhouse for 25 years.

White Earth,” is a tale of the North Dakota oil boom seen through the eyes of children. By J. Christian Jensen, Student Academy Award winner, Silver Medal, Stanford University. (Links: Official website)

The 87th Academy Awards, for outstanding film achievements of 2014, will be presented on Sunday, Feb. 22, 2015, at the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center, and will be televised live on ABC and in more than 225 countries worldwide.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Neil Patrick Harris to host the 87th Academy Awards on Feb. 22, 2015

Neil Patrick Harris announced Wednesday via Twitter that he would be hosting the 87th Academy Awards.

Watch the video he later posted to Instagram below:

It's been quite the day...

While it won't be the first time we've seen him at the Oscars, this will be Harris' first time hosting the ceremony. The show will air live on ABC on Oscar Sunday, Feb. 22, 2015.

Harris has hosted the Tony Awards four times and won a Tony himself for "Hedwig and the Angry Inch" this year. He currently appears in David Fincher's new film "Gone Girl."

He spoke with Terry Gross in an interview this week on "Fresh Air." He spoke about hosting the Tonys, along with writing his new memoir, which came out Tuesday.

Take a listen:

As for the Oscars, everyone at the Academy is excited.

"We are thrilled to have Neil host the Oscars," said show producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, in a statement. "We have known him his entire adult life, and we have watched him explode as a great performer in feature films, television and stage. To work with him on the Oscars is the perfect storm, all of his resources and talent coming together on a global stage."

"It is truly an honor and a thrill to be asked to host this year's Academy Awards. I grew up watching the Oscars and was always in such awe of some of the greats who hosted the show," said Harris, in a statement. "To be asked to follow in the footsteps of Johnny Carson, Billy Crystal, Ellen DeGeneres, and everyone else who had the great fortune of hosting is a bucket list dream come true."

“We share Craig and Neil’s excitement in welcoming the incredibly talented Neil Patrick Harris,” said Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs, in a statement. “He is the consummate entertainer. Neil’s distinctive charm and showmanship make him the ideal host to honor the Oscar legacy and ensure we all enjoy another unforgettable celebration.”

“Neil is a terrific actor, singer, risk-taker and collaborator,” said Academy CEO Dawn Hudson, in a statement. “We can't wait to see the show that he and Craig and Neil create together.”

The Hollywood Reporter is reporting that last year's host Ellen DeGeneres passed on returning as host and Julia Louis-Dreyfus was approached, but turned it down.

A screenshot from Harris' video
with "Host the Oscars" on his bucket list.

The 87th Academy Awards, for outstanding film achievements of 2014, will be presented on Sunday, Feb. 22, 2015, at the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center, and will be televised live on ABC and in more than 225 countries worldwide.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Review: David Fincher’s ‘Gone Girl’ is a thrill ride with unpredictable twists and turns

By James A. Molnar
TGK Editor

Be warned: There are moments in David Fincher’s “Gone Girl” that will make audiences lose their minds and grasp their armrests.

The best way to describe Fincher’s latest film is as a thrill ride. As soon as audiences anticipate the plot heading in a certain direction, it swerves swiftly the other way.

Up and down, over and around. This is a thrill and a heck of a mystery. And some scenes may not be for the faint of heart.

The opening sequence of “Gone Girl” features three-second shots around town as a haunting score from Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross builds.

The scene of the crime never sounded so eerie.

A score from this same Oscar-winning duo helped elevate Fincher’s “The Social Network” to precision and evoked a similar feeling of suspense.

But with “Gone Girl,” this is suspense on a whole new level.

Telling audiences who plan to see this movie to hold on to their seats may not be enough. They may need a helmet and kneepads.

The movie, adapted from the best-selling novel of the same name by Gillian Flynn, follows Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) whose wife Amy, played with cunning perfection by Rosamund Pike, comes up missing on the couple’s fifth wedding anniversary.

Throughout the 149-minute film, audiences are given glimpses at what may or may not have happened to Amy. As curiosity and attention from neighbors and then the country builds, the details of exactly how Amy disappeared unravel like the layers of an onion. But what is revealed is something remarkably unpredictable — no spoilers here.

Also along for the ride in the film is Detective Rhonda Boney (Kim Dickens), who helps drive the drama forward. Attorney Tanner Bolt (Tyler Perry) and Nancy Grace-like anchor Ellen Abbott (Missi Pyle) add life and depraved yet realistic humor to the story. Carrie Coon also delivers a strong performance as Nick’s twin sister Margo.

With such a list of impressive performances, “Gone Girl” almost has it all.

The story falls short in the denouement however, by attempting to wrap everything up with a nice red bow and unnecessarily speeding up a calculatingly deliberate pace.

But the experience along the way is definitely worth the ride. Just grab a helmet.

/ 5

Official trailer:

Rated R for a scene of bloody violence, some strong sexual content/nudity and language.

Listen to the soundtrack:

Friday, September 26, 2014

Introducing a new YouTube series: JAMES @ THE MOVIES

TGK Editor James A. Molnar has launched a new YouTube series, "JAMES @ THE MOVIES."

Each week, he will share his thoughts on a new movie and, as awards season draws closer, the latest Oscar news.

Watch his introduction to the series here and be sure to be a part of the conversation:

RELATED: Watch James‘ fall movie preview

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Video: Reviewing dystopian sci-fi ‘The Maze Runner’

TGK Editor James A. Molnar — also film editor of Toledo Free Press — stops by FOX Toledo's “Daybreak” and WTOL-11's “Your Day” in Toledo every Friday morning and talks about the latest movies at the box office. On the Friday, Sept. 19, segment, he reviews "The Maze Runner," based on the first book in a young-adult dystopian trilogy by James Dashner. Think "Lost" meets "The Hunger Games" meets "Lord of the Flies."

He also chats about three other movies coming out: Crime thriller "A Walk Among the Tombstones" with Liam Neeson; comedy-drama "This Is Where I Leave You" by by Shawn Levy with Tina Fey, Jason Bateman and Jane Fonda; and the most intriguing, "Tusk," a horror dramedy from Kevin Smith.

RELATED: Watch James‘ fall movie preview

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Video: Reviewing James Gandolfini’s final film ‘The Drop’

TGK Editor James A. Molnar — also film editor of Toledo Free Press — stops by WTOL-11's “Your Day” in Toledo every Friday morning and talks about the latest movies at the box office. On the Friday, Sept. 12, 2014, he reviews James Gandolfini's final film, "The Drop," with an impressive performance from Tom Hardy. He also chats what else is coming out.