Archive for the ‘Movie News’ Category

Irish Movies, Irish Stars and Irish Awards–The Irish Oscars!

March 15, 2014

Blair StoverIt’s March, which means Academy Awards, but today, why not take a completely different approach and give a nod to another great March event—St. Patrick’s Day—and talk about movies with great Irish characters? Combining the idea of the Oscars with Irish film, here is a list of my personal favorite movies with Irish themes or Irish actors and why I like them.

Best “Serious” Irish Movie: Dancing at Lughnasa

To start with, it features Meryl Streep, but that is not really the best thing about this movie. Dancing at Lughnasa was a play before it was a movie and both do a wonderful job of portraying a segment of the human experience we might never think about. Five unmarried Irish sisters deal with singleness, illegitimacy, raising a child and the start of World War II in this beautiful film that is not only “arty” but also has a good story line. Michael Gambon, Sophie Thompson and an all-star cast head up this scintillating film.

Best “Action” Irish Movie: The Boondock Saints

If you don’t like bad language and blood, this movie is not for you. On the other hand, if you love action, you cannot miss it! The Boondock Saints is a cool movie because it was never really supposed to happen. The film was slated for the dustbin when it was rescued and turned into a direct-to-video cult phenomenon. Starring Sean Patrick Flanery, Norman Reedus and the incomparable Willem Dafoe, the movie generated a great deal of controversy and stands out as unique in the annals of “good guy vs. bad guy” films.

Best “Kids” Irish Movie: The Secret of Kells

Kids and adults will enjoy the breathtaking animation as well as learn something about the history of Ireland. This is the story of the famed Book of Kells, the Irish illuminated manuscript that highlights the beauty of ancient monastic art. Starring the voice talents of Evan McGuire and Christen Mooney, this movie is one you can enjoy with the entire family.

Best Irish Actor: Liam Neeson

Since his roles as the protagonist in Ethan Frome and as Oskar Schindler in Schindler’s List, we all knew Liam Neeson was something special. His latest films have only served to support that belief. He is probably one of the most versatile actors on the screen today and consistently shows his talents by taking on “stretch” roles, although he can still play a good tough guy when he wants to!

Best Irish Actress: Maureen O’Hara

Sure, we are going back a few years, but Maureen O’Hara, the beautiful redhead from Miracle on 34th Street and The Quiet Man opposite John Wayne, deserves the crown for most entrancing Irish actress. Maureen epitomized the Hollywood starlet but managed to get her teeth into some really good roles, as well!

That is my take on the Irish Oscars—Erin go braugh!

The History of The Oscars

March 1, 2014

Blair StoverThe 86th annual Academy Awards, popularly known as the “Oscars,” was held recently, with 12 Years a Slave winning “Best Picture,” Matthew McConaughey named “Best Actor” and Cate Blanchett named “Best Actress.” While most of us at least nod in the direction of the Oscars each year and a few of us are glued to our sets, few people really know the history of the Academy Awards or how they came to be. Since they have been going strong now for 86 years, perhaps it is time to educate ourselves about this fascinating American film staple.

The Beginnings

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences was founded in 1927 as a way to promote harmony between film studios and unions. Today, the Academy has grown to promote excellence in the film industry. The academy is composed of 6,000 filmmakers from the United States and around the world, and routinely gives money in the form of scholarships and other financial incentives to upcoming filmmakers.

The first Oscar awards were given on May 16, 1929, to 15 people who achieved special things in the motion picture industry. The ceremony lasted approximately 15 minutes, and the winners had been announced in advance to the media. Clearly, the very first awards from the Academy were quite different from those of today!

How The Oscars Are Decided

Most people have voiced, at some point or another, disappointment with the Oscar choices in one category or another. There are currently 24 awards given, covering many of the aspects of the film industry. There are also five special categories for awards in chosen areas. A film must be a feature film of at least 40 minutes and must have opened no earlier than January 1 of the previous year in order to qualify for consideration.

Some people claim that the Oscars are simply a money-maker for the film industry. Others complain that the voting representatives either pay too little attention to critically-acclaimed films or focus on “artsy” films that the public does not like. Further, some actors have refused to accept their Oscar awards because of various personal or political beliefs.However, the Oscars continues to fascinate most of us and will probably do so for the future, as well. Ultimately, the Oscars represent a snapshot of the film culture at any given time in American history.

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Summer Box Office Highs and Lows

September 10, 2013

Blair StoverSummer blockbusters did not disappoint this year and neither did summer ticket sales. Blair Stover reports that summer ticket revenue in the North American continent totaled 4.71 billion dollars. This is only for the time period between the first weekend in May and Labor Day. Ticket sales increased 10.2 percent over the previous year during the same time period.

More people attended the movies this summer. Ticket sales rose 6.6 percent over last summer to nearly 573 million. The rest of the growth was contributed to the higher prices of tickets.

There are some other factors involved in the growth numbers. Hollywood crammed a larger number of big-budget movies into this summer. It is understandable since summer accounts for 40% of total box office revenues. This summer, studios released 23 films which cost 75 million dollars and more (sometimes much more). This is an increase of 53% over the same time period last year.

With all of the choices, audiences fragmented over a solid summer favorite. This left films such as “The Hangover Part III” and “The Wolverine” swaying when they should have been aces in the whole. The animated “Turbo” from DreamWorks Animation brought in one of the smallest totals in the history of the company.

The National Association of Theater Owners recognizes that this summer offered almost too much product. Although, overall, the association was quite pleased with the overall box office summer strength. The 4.71 billion dollars in total ticket sales this summer scored a new high mark in the industry.

What did you see this summer and what was your favorite?

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Hathaway to Star in Adaption of ‘The Taming of the Shrew’

January 30, 2013

Anne Hathaway recently won a Golden Globe for her stunning role in Tom Hooper’s musical hit ‘Les Miserables.’ Hathaway is also regarded as a shoe-in for Best Supporting Actress at the Oscar’s next month.

Despite her recent busy schedule, it doesn’t seem that she will be taking much time off. Reports have come out that she is set to star in a modern interpretation of William Shakespeare’s ‘The Taming of the Shrew.’

‘The Taming of the Shrew’ is one of Shakespeare’s most popular plays and has been adapted to the silver screen many times. The most recent film was ’10 Things I Hate About You’ in 1999.

Hathaway was supposed to star in Spielberg’s scifi- ‘Robopocalypse’ with Chris Hemsworth but that project has been postponed indefinitely. With that project on hold, Blair Stover believes that the production of ‘The Taming of the Shrew’ may happen sooner than planned.

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Many Speculating that Anne Hathaway Could Win Academy Award for Role as Fantine

November 30, 2012

Universal Pictures is releasing a screen adaption of the musical ‘Les Miserables’ on December 25th. Blair Stover reports that the musical film will be starring Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway.

Anne Hathaway plays the ill-fated Fantine who becomes sick and turns to prostitution as a means to support her daughter. Hathaway shows off her impressive set of pipes with a musical number that is sure to bring a tear to the theater audience.

Hathaway had to go through some dramatic changes for this role. She had to lose 25 pounds and chopped off her hair to look more like the disease-ridden Fantine. Her first reaction to seeing her short hair was thinking that she ‘looked like her gay brother, Michael!’

Hathaway’s powerful role as Fantine has won over the crowd and many are expecting her to win the Best Supporting Actress award at the upcoming Academy Awards.

Other ‘Les Miserables’ co-stars include Russell Crowe, Amanda Seyfriend, Sacha Baron Cohen, Colm Wilkinson and many others.

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Lucasfilm Purchased by Disney for $4 Billion

November 12, 2012

Disney acquires Lucasfilm from founder, George Lucas. Blair Stover has the details below.

Walt Disney Company became the leader in fantasy movies when it purchased Lucasfilm from its founder, George Lucas for $4.05 billion in stock and cash.

George Lucas, 68, has already announced that he would step down from day-to-day operations for the company but nobody saw this coming. Lucasfilm grew due to the huge success of the “Star Wars” film series and has become an example of great effects-driven science fiction entertainment for large and small screens.

Robert Iger, Disney’s chief executive, says that Disney plans on reviving the “Star Wars” series with the release of a seventh film in 2015. After that, there will be new films in the series every two or three years. Disney acquired a detailed treatment from Lucas for the next three “Star Wars” films and Lucas will still be hands on with future films.

Disney purchased Lucasfilm and the rights to the “Star Wars” movies based off of the potential revenue of future films. “Star Wars” already has a place in the Disney theme parks.

Disney has already purchased Marvel Entertainment in 2009 for $4 billion and Pixar Animation Studies for $7.4 billion in 2006. With the addition of Lucasfilm, Disney has solidified its status as leader in animation and superhero films.

Depp Lands Lead Role in Transcendence

November 5, 2012

The “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” star has landed another major role. Blair Stover has the details below.

Johnny Depp has been offered the lead role in Wally Pfister’s upcoming film, “Transcendence.” Depp has accepted the role of a husband who gets sucked into an evil man-made computer. He will receive $20 million for his role in the movie.

Noomi Rapace is being considered by Pfister for the lead female role in the film. James McAvoy and Tobey Maguire are also being considered for the other two leading male roles. It is also reported that Chistoph Waltz is being considered for a supporting role.

In other movie news, Michael Fassbender, Hugh Grant, and Bradley Cooper have also been placed into new leading roles.


‘Peanuts’ Crew Headed to the Big Screen

October 29, 2012

The Peanuts characters are almost 65 years old and are planning to celebrate in a big way. Blair Stover has the details below.

In 2015, Charlie, Lucy, Linus, Snoopy and Sally will all be hitting the big screen in celebration of their 65th anniversary. The comic strip first ran on October 2, 1950, created by the late Charles Schulz, Charlie and Co. 2015 will also mark the 50th anniversary of the first airing of A Charlie Brown Christmas.

Blue Sky Studios is teaming up with 20th Century Fox to create this Peanuts gang film. The script for this film has been co-written by the original creator Charles Schulz’s son, Craig Schulz, and grandson, Bryan Schulz, along with Cornelius Ulian. Craig Schulz stated, “We have been working on this project for years. We finally felt the time was right and the technology is where we need it to be to create this film. I am thrilled we will be partnering with Blue Sky/Fox to create a Peanuts movie that is true to the strip and will continue the legacy in honor of my father.”

The film is set to hit theaters on November 25, 2015.

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Universal Pictures Names ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ Screenwriter

October 21, 2012

Writer Kelly Marcel has been chosen to be the screenwriter for the erotic love story, “50 Shades of Grey.” Blair Stover has the details below.

Universal Pictures and Focus Features won the rights to the “50 Shades” series in March and released a statement this month announcing Kelly Marcel as the screenwriter. “50 Shades of Grey” is the first book in a trilogy, written by Erika Leonard who writes under the name E L James. The trilogy follows the relationship of a naïve girl’s sexual experiences with a possessive, billionaire.

Producing the film will be Michael De Luca and Dana Brunetti. Brunetti stated, “We were all taken with the depth and passion of Kelly’s engagement with the characters and world E L James has created and we knew she was the right person to augment out Fifty Shades family.”

Marcel is known for her writing of the TV series “Terra Nova” and the Marry Poppins bio-pic “Saving Mr. Banks.” Marcel recently tweeted, “Beyond thrilled to be jumping aboard the 50 Shades train. Very Exciting!”

“50 Shades of Grey” has sold over 32 million copies in the United States alone.

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J.K. Rowling Not Closing Door on More Harry Potter Stories

October 17, 2012

J.K. Rowling released her first book since the”Harry Potter” series on September 27th, “The Casual Vacancy.” Although Rowling is starting to move on in her career, writing a book aimed at more of an adult crowd, doesn’t mean that she’s putting “Harry Potter” completely behind her.

Rowling recently did an interview with BBC and stated that she’s “done” with the Harry Potter story, but said that she has “left the door ajar” just in case magical idea pops into her head. She said, “If I had a fabulous idea that came out of that world, because I loved writing it, I would do it. But I’ve got to have a great idea.”

She also told BBC News that at some point she would like to go back and rewrite the first few “Harry Potter” books. “There were a couple of the ‘Potters’ and I definitely knew that they needed another year,” she said. “I had to write on the run and there were times when it was really tough, and I read them, and I think ‘Oh God, maybe I’ll go back and do a director’s cut’, I don’t know. But you know what, I’m proud I was writing under the conditions under which I was writing, no one will ever know how tough it was at times.”

Blair Stover’s fingers are crossed that a brilliant “Harry Potter” idea comes to J.K. Rowling very soon! Possibly a follow-up to that James Potter and Sirius Black prequel she penned several years back?

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