The Magic Managers

Francis Ford Coppola once said, “I think cinema, movies, and magic have always been closely associated. The very earliest people who made films were magicians.”

Would our contestants for this year’s Academy Award Winning Director agree with that assessment? Ang Lee, who previously won for 2005’s Brokeback Mountain, found a magical world adrift in the Life of Pi, where a full-grown tiger and the sea served as the supreme guide. First-time nominee Benh Zeitlin had to calm the Beasts of the Southern Wild on Louisiana’s terra firma with the help of a wise-beyond-her-years child. Previous Oscar nominee Michael Haneke, meanwhile, found true Amour beyond the barriers of age and illness in a Parisian apartment. What can we say about Steven Spielberg and his 15 Oscar nominations? Even the late, great Lincoln himself would be impressed with all Spielberg has accomplished! Finally, there’s David O. Russell, nominated in 2011 for The Fighter. In the Silver Linings Playbook, he brilliantly tackled mental health, the complexities of family, football mania and ballroom dancing!

What magical stories are left to be guided by Hollywood’s most celebrated tour guides? Is there any challenge they can’t master?

Howard Hawks once remarked, “I’m a storyteller-that’s the chief function of a director. And they’re moving pictures, lets make ‘em move!”

Thankfully, our list of nominated directors told their stories at lightening speed and we are better to have been along for the ride.

Tune in February 24th for the ultimate Hollywood ride…

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A Cinematic Valentine for Everyone

Cupid came to town this weekend, pointing his arrow straight at movie lovers’ hearts. Inspired by his razor-sharp aim, several starry-eyed stories entered the box-office playing field, determined to (in a loving way) take down the zombie’s inhabiting Warm Bodies, steal the Identity Thief’s crown, and find out the secret to Hollywood success written in the Silver Linings Playbook.

Did the Beautiful Creatures find their box-office Safe Haven or a Good Day to Die Hard (from low ticket sales?)

The results are in and the beauties are relegated to the backseat while action drives the show. A Good Day to Die Hard found a good place to live, coming in at #1 with $25 million. The Identity Thief was still stealing the show, but from the slightly less-lucrative #2 locale with $23.4 million. A Safe Haven arrived safely (and profitably), securing the #3 abode with $21.4 million. Escape from Planet Earth brought families to movie theaters on this extended weekend, arriving back to Earth at #4 with $16.1 million. Finally, the Warm Bodies cooled off a bit at #5 with $9 million.

Thanks to this week’s stars, we found safety at our local movie theaters, adventure, animated charm, young love and the ever-popular pickpocket!

What will next week bring?

From seaside days to starry nights, may your week be filled with action, animation and never-ending entertainment…

All you Need is Movie Love

Paul McCartney believed, “Love is all you need.” With that in mind, our weekend at the movies is starting a bit early in honor of Valentine’s Day, which has inspired studio executives to roll out the romantic red carpet and show some cinema love. Leading off the love fest is the Beautiful Creatures, the latest addition to the paranormal teen angst genre hoping to wake the Twilight fans from their winter slumber. Next, Josh Duhamel offers Julianne Hough a Safe Haven, determined to make it safely to a top box-office spot. And what’s Valentine’s Day without a little action/adventure? Bruce Willis, both a lover and a fighter, is back once again, choosing Valentine’s Day as A Good Day to Die Hard. Also showing some animated love to the little ones is the family-friendly Escape from Planet Earth. Will our bevy of beauties entering the movie theaters this weekend pose a threat to our Identity Thief, last week’s #1? Will their tender-hearted ways chill the Warm Bodies? Most importantly, will John McClane ever actually die?

If love is all we need, we need look no farther than the local multiplex, where

Beautiful Creatures inhabiting Warm Bodies find their Safe Haven, as well as everyone’s favorite Identity Thief stealing hearts (and wallets). There is no need to Escape from Planet Earth, where Cupid is caught counting ticket sales, leaving moviegoers wondering if today is A Good Day to Die Hard, in the Hollywood sense, from all the love and big-screen excitement!

From seaside days to starry nights, hope Cupid brings lots of affection, entertainment and movie stars to your weekend…

Once Upon a Hollywood Time

Who doesn’t love a good story? F. Scott Fitzgerald once said, “Draw your chair up close to the edge of the precipice and I’ll tell you a story.” Thanks to this year’s Academy-Award-nominated storytellers, I couldn’t leave my aforementioned chair! Look at where their words have taken us this past cinematic year. We’ve traveled from Hollywood to Iran, visited a Louisiana swampland, set a tragic sail to Canada in a drifting lifeboat, lived through the Civil War and witnessed freedom for all slaves, including, on a different date, one by the name of Django. We’ve walked the Eagles-loving streets of Philadelphia, found true Amour at the end of a long life, took to the sky with an intoxicated pilot and headed toward the dark of night (and found Bin Laden).

While they can’t all collect an award, they can all revel in the well-deserved accolades.

In the category of Original Screenplay, we have Michael Haneke, who wrote about the ultimate test of Amour. Then there’s Quentin Tarantino, whose words gave freedom to Django Unchained. John Gatins’ dialogue took Denzel Washington to a toxic Flight while Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola’s story brought out the stars residing within the Moonrise Kingdom. Finally, Mark Boal created a script that illuminated Zero Dark Thirty. Which story was the most innovative?

In the category of Adapted Screenplay, Chris Terrio found the right blend of Hollywood and politics in Argo, Lucy Alibar and Benh Zeitlin calmed the Beasts of the Southern Wild, David Magee made the Life of Pi sail in a turbulent world as Tony Kushner bequeathed Lincoln with a hard-won legacy. David O. Russell, meanwhile, found the fundamental rules in the Silver Linings Playbook, taking that story beyond the printed page. Who told the best rendition?

The next stop on our storytelling journey will be to the Dolby Theater on February 24th.

Hope you pull up to that imaginative abyss in the comfiest chair!

Identifiable Movie Lovers

Filmmaker Abel Ferrara once said, “In the film business, it’s basically honor among thieves.”

A thief holds the honor of getting the biggest laughs this week in films, stealing the limelight from zombies, fairy tale creatures and Channing Tatum!

With much of the Northeast experiencing snowy weather, the movie theaters cranked up the heat, ready to serve a dose of cinematic fun (for those not snowed in). The Identity Thief appeared with a purpose, to take the #1 spot at the all –important North American box office, coming away with $36.6 million. The tender-hearted zombies in Warm Bodies have yet to feel the cold, coming in at #2 with $11.5 million. The newly released Steven Soderbergh-directed Side Effects suffered little consequences, coming in at #3 with $10 million. The loved-by-critics-and-audiences alike Silver Linings Playbook continued to play the optimistic field, this time at #4 with $6.9 million. The fairy tale plays on for Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters, albeit at a less charming locale, coming in at #5 with $5.8 million.

While many of us are waiting patiently for winter to take its final bow, moviegoers everywhere found the climate to be just right at their local movie theaters. Horror fans felt the heat, romantic comedy worshipers wallowed in the love while those searching for their identities wished they had Melissa McCarthy’s career!

From seaside days to starry nights, hope your week comes with an easily-identifiable happy ending…

Dinner or Dessert, Anyone?

Alfred Hitchcock believed, “A lot of movies are about life, mine are like a slice of cake.” Hmmm…when I look at the latest choice of movies, I can see his point. Last week’s  top two films, Warm Bodies and Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters, focused on zombies in love and a rebooted fairy tale, respectively; more frothy dessert than thought-provoking slice of life. On the flip side, last week’s #3 film, Silver Linings Playbook, played well for moviegoers looking for more substance, giving special attention to each characters place in the often-messed-up universe (zombies and fairy tale creatures can only be so deep). Meanwhile,  a scary Mama and a Stallone-driven Bullet to the Head strive to keep the popcorn-loving crowd coming as new films look to please the hungry multitudes.

So, what’s been added to the menu this weekend? A satisfying meal or second-rate appetizers? Both, luckily, appear to be the bill of fare at your local movie theater.

From a comedic standpoint, Melissa McCarthy as the Identity Thief has the potential to fill a cinematic plate. Throw in a side dish of Jude Law and Channing Tatum, who are experiencing some major Side Effects, and I’d say we’ve got ourselves a show!

Will these heavy hitters satisfy or suffer nasty consequences (i.e. terminal low-ticket sales?)

From seaside days to starry nights, may your weekend be filled with appetizing, entertaining options…

A Starry Support System

Charles Dickens once said, “No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.” I think no better description applies to our esteemed list of Academy Award Supporting Actors and Actresses, who, in their own cinematic way, lightened the load of their films’ supposedly bigger stars. In the supporting actress category, there’s Anne Hathaway, whose Fatine in Les Miserable struggled to care for her young daughter as she musically lit up the screen. Who would Lincoln be without Mary Todd? Thanks to Sally Field, the 16th (cinema) President thrived. Helen Hunt gave The Sessions of a lifetime, easing the burdens of a severely disabled poet. Jacki Weaver’s performance in Silver Linings Playbook made the sky shine even brighter while Amy Adams made the life of The Master more spiritual.

Just as impressive are our nominees for this year’s most useful, in a creative way, supporting actors.

Alan Arkin portrayed Argo’s “imaginative” Hollywood producer, making the lights of Tinseltown glow while Robert DeNiro took hold of that light, setting his own rules in the Silver Linings Playbook. Lincoln witnessed a fierce abolitionist in the form of Tommy Lee Jones, who took Congress to a higher, more radical level. Philip Seymour Hoffman was The Master of all as the supreme spirit guide. Christoph Waltz made Django Unchained, and where would that film (or its title) be without him?

Where would each of our films be without this year’s ultimate supporters?

Tune in February 24th to discover which of our faithful film followers gave the most award-winning performances…