"The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" and "Nebraska" Movie Reviews -- Which One is My Pick of the Week? 


Two very different movies for you this weekend, we have the surefire blockbuster “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” and the surefire Oscar contender, “Nebraska.” In “Catching Fire,” the sequel to the popular franchise based on the books by Suzanne Collins, Oscar-winner Jennifer Lawrence returns to the role of Katniss Everdeen along with Josh Hutcherson who also returns to the role of Peeta Mellark. This time, political subtext is at the heart of the film with President Snow (Donald Sutherland) acting as the film’s antagonist. Directed by Francis Lawrence, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Lenny Kravitz, Stanley Tucci, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, and Liam Hemsworth co-star.

In “Nebraska,” great storyteller Alexander Payne (“Sideways,” “The Descendants”) takes a look at Americana with Bruce Dern’s Woody in the center of it all. He’s an aging, dementia-addled man who believes he won a million bucks from publisher’s clearinghouse, so he takes his son (played by Will Forte) on a journey from Montana to Nebraska in hopes of cashing in. June Squibb steals the show as Woody’s wife.

So which one is my pick of the week? Take a look:




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"Gravity" Key Scene Explained! This is Really Cool! 


SPOILER ALERT!!!!


Okay, if you haven't seen "Gravity" yet and don't want us to spoil your fun, then leave...now! I don't want to spoil the fantastic movie for you too!

Now...if you've seen "Gravity," you may remember that one key scene where distressed astronaut Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) with someone but they're just not understanding each other? Well, we now know that she was trying to communicate with an Inuit fisherman living in Greenland. How do we know that? Jonas Cuaron, the son of director Alfonso Cuaron (he also co-wrote the script with his dad) created a short film, a companion film if you may, called "Aningaaq" that explains the other half of the scene (video below).

THR reported that "Aningaaq" is eligible for Oscar consideration in the Best Live-Action Short category. Wouldn't that be cool if "Gravity" gets a Best Picture nod and then the short film gets nominated too?

Watch "Aningaaq" courtesy of THR, and yes, I love "Gravity!"



For my interview with Sandra Bullock, click here.

For director Alfonso Cuaron, click here.

For my movie review of "Gravity," click here.

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Big Win for Matthew McConaughey and Scarlett Johansson's Voice! 


Scarlett Johansson is already an award-winner for "Her" and she does not even appear in the movie, just her voice! Spike Jonze's science-fiction romance may by the dark horse this awards season. Now, I haven't seen the movie yet but I can't wait!

Johnsson was given the Best Actress award at the recently concluded Rome Film Festival. Matthew McConaughey took home the Best Actor trophy for "Dallas Buyers Club" which also won the Audience Award. Scott Cooper's "Out of the Furnace" starring Christian Bale, Casey Affleck, and Woody Harrelson won the Best First or Second Feature trophy.

Here are all the winners of the 2013 Rome Film Festival:

COMPETITION

Golden Marc Aurelio Award for Best Film:
Tir by Alberto Fasulo

Best Director Award: Kiyoshi Kurosawa for Sebunsu kodo (Seventh Code)

Special Jury Prize: Quod Erat Demonstrandum by Andrei Gruzsniczk

Best Actor Award: Matthew McConaughey for Dallas Buyers Club

Best Actress Award: Scarlett Johansson for Her

Award for Emerging Actor or Actress: the entire cast of Gass (Acrid)

Award for Best Technical Contribution: Koichi Takahashi for Sebunsu kodo (Seventh Code)

Award for Best Screenplay: Tayfun Pirselimoglu for Ben o degilim (I Am Not Him)

Special Mention: Cui Jian for Lanse gutou (Blue Sky Bones)

CINEMAXXI

CinemaXXI Award for Best Film (reserved for feature-length films): Nepal Forever by Aliona Polunina

CinemaXXI Special Jury Prize (reserved for feature-length films): Birmingemskij ornament 2 (Birmingham Ornament 2) by Andrey Silvestrov and Yury Leiderman

CinemaXXI Award for Short Films: Der Unfertige (The Incomplete) by Jan Soldat

SpecialMention CinemaXXI Short Films: The Buried Alive Videos by Roee Rosen

PROSPETTIVE DOC ITALIA

Premio Doc It - Prospettive Italia Doc for the Best Italian Documentary: Dal profondo by Valentina Pedicini

Special Mention: Fuoristrada by Elisa Amoruso

AWARD FOR BEST FIRST/SECOND FILM

Taodue Golden Camera Award for Best First/Second Film: Out of the Furnace by Scott Cooper

Taodue Award for the Best Emerging Producer: Jean Denis Le Dinahet and Sebastien Msika for Il sud e niente

BNL AUDIENCE AWARD FOR BEST FILM

BNL Audience Award for Best Film: Dallas Buyers Club by Jean-Marc Vallee

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“Dallas Buyers Club” Movie Review -- Why You Have to See This Inspiring Film 


Matthew McConaughey is getting major Oscar buzz for his role as a straight, party animal of a cowboy who contracted AIDS in 1985. Inspired by true events, McConaughey plays Ron Woodruff who decides to travel to Mexico to get alternative treatments. It worked! Soon, he’s selling his concoction illegally with the help of his business partner, the transsexual Rayon, splendidly played by Jared Leto. Jennifer Garner co-stars as the voice of the medical community, playing a doctor who treats both Ron and Rayon.

Is “Dallas Buyers Club” worth your time and money and all the buzz? Watch my review.



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It's Finally Here! See First Official "Maleficent" Trailer! 


Back in May of 2009, we broke the story that Angelina Jolie was being courted by Disney to star as the wicked witch "Maleficent" in the planned retelling of "Sleeping Beauty" tale. (See EXCLUSIVE: Angelina Jolie to Star as Disney's Greatest Villain Maleficent!)

Back then, my super-reliable source revealed to me that Brad Bird was attached to write and direct the project. Well, so many incarnations of the story later (Tim Burton was supposed to direct, then David O. Russell), but now, it's finally here, and we even have a new poster, and a new trailer! And I'm super excited!

The film also stars Elle Fanning, Sharlto Copley and Sam Riley. "Maleficent" is out in theaters on May 30, 2014 and I can't wait!

See the new "Maleficent" trailer below:



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