Filmmaker J.J. Abrams is set to receive the Visionary Award at the Visual Effects Society Awards next year (15). The Star Trek director, who is currently making the latest Star Wars movie, will be feted at the prizegiving ceremony on 4 February (15) for his efforts to "foster imagination and ignite future discoveries by way of artistry, invention and groundbreaking work."
Previous recipients have included Christopher Nolan, Ang Lee and Alfonso Cuaron.
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
A familiar face will be cruising through Marvel's cinematic galaxy come this August. Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn has confirmed that the one and only Nathan Fillion will appear in the upcoming space adventure in a "very small fun cameo." While earlier rumors suggested that Fillion might play a bigger role in the film, Gunn set the record straight via his Twitter account last night. With Fillion's addition the cast, Guardians of the Galaxy is looking like it might be the most geek-friendly film of the decade. In light of the good news, we've decided to assess to geek cred of every major cast member in the film.
Relevant Projects: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly, Serenity, Dr. Horrible's Ding-Along Blog, Justice League Unlimited, that one episode of Lost Geek Cred: Through his frequent collaborations with nerd Jesus Joss Whedon, including a guest-stint on the last season of Buffy and a leading role in the cult sci-fi western Firefly, Fillion has built up an incredibly loyal legion of fans. Even 10 years after it's cancelation, some of the more deluded browncoats out there still believe there's a chance Firefly can somehow become un-cancelled. Now, there's some credibility for you.Rating: 5 out of 5
Chris PrattRelevant Projects: Jennifer's Body, Wanted Geek Cred: Pratt doesn't have a whole lot of nerd fodder to his name, but appearances in the comic book film Wanted and the underappreciated horror comedy Jennifer's Body to give him a decent boost. Rating: 3 out of 5
Relevant Projects: Star Trek, Star Trek Into Darkness, Avatar, The LosersGeek Cred: Saldana has a prominent role in the newest chain of Star Trek film, though that might boost or diminish her cred, depending on who you talk to. There are similarly mixed feelings about her other two genre pictures, Avatar and The Losers.Rating: 3 out of 5
Relevant Projects: The Man with the Iron Firsts, RiddickGeek Cred: Batista has spent more time wrestling than appearing in movies so most geeks probably aren't familiar with their new Drax the Destroyer. He did have a role in the latest Riddick sequel, but was overshadowed by Vin Diesel. (More on him later)Rating: 2 out of 5
Relevant Projects: AliasGeek Cred: Unfortunately, Bradley Cooper doesn't have the most geek friendly filmography as of yet, but his role as Rocket Raccoon should change that quite soon. Geeks might remember him in Alias, but even in the J.J. Abrams show, he wasn't the one doing the cool spy stuff.Rating: 2 out of 5
Relevant Projects: Doctor Who, Outcast, OculusGeek Cred: Huge! Gillan three-year stint on the British import Doctor Who was almost perfectly timed with the show's explosion in popularity in the states.Rating: 4 out of 5
Relevant Projects: Stargate, Alias, EragonGeek Cred: Not very high. Hounsou has enjoyed small roles in things like Stargate, Alias, and Eragon, but noting really major for geeks to really get to know the actor.Rating: 2 out of 5
John C. Reilly
Relevant Projects: Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant, Wreck-it Ralph, everything Tim and EricGeek Cred: Reilly doesn't have a huge backlog of geeky things on his resume, but Wreck-It Ralph and his work in the absurdly wonderful world of Tim and Eric does give him some clout to work with.Rating: 3 out of 5
Relevant Projects: Mars Attacks!Geek Cred: Despite being a A-lister in Hollywood, Close has mostly steered clear of genre pictures, though her appearance in Mars Attacks! does give her something.Rating: 1 out of 5
Relevant Projects: The 6th Day, Slither, Stargate SG-1, Chuck, The Walking DeadGeek Cred: Rooker's cred skyrocketed with his role as Merle on The Walking Dead, but the longtime character actor has stealthily built up quite the geeky filmography over the years with appeareances in shows like Chuck and Archer.Rating: 4 out of 5
Benicio Del Toro
Relevant Projects: Sin City, The Wolfman, Thor: The Dark WorldGeek Cred: Fans recieved a snapshot of Del Toro's "The Collector" character in the end credits stinger for Thor: The Dark World, but beyond that, the actor's geek cred is pretty slim.Rating: 2 out of 5
Relevant Projects: All the Riddick moviesGeek Cred: Huge. Even outside of his career, Diesel is a well-documented geek and enjoys playing Dungeons and Dragons on his off-time. He has also developed a good relationship with fans, appearing in video game adaptations of his Riddick films, and even putting up his own money to fund the 2013's Riddick.Rating: 5 out of 5
Relevant Projects: The Fall, the Hobbit moviesGeek Cred: Pace has impressed in the last two Hobbit films, but he doesn't quite have the same history as some of his cast members.Rating: 2 out of 5
Dreamworks via Everett Collection
Director Cameron Crowe is reportedly developing his first TV series centring around a fictional U.S. rock band's tour.
The Almost Famous filmmaker is preparing for his first foray into the small screen with an ensemble comedy titled Roadies, according to NikkiFinke.com. Crowe, who created the series and is producing the programme with J.J. Abrams' production company Bad Robot, is also slated to direct the pilot.
The Oscar winner is currently wrapping up an as-yet-untitled romantic comedy starring Bradley Cooper and Emma Stone, which is set to hit cinemas by the end of the year (14).
20th Century Fox via Everett Collection
In the era of the World Wide Web, the story for Home Alone would go something like this: young Kevin wakes up and realizes that his family is nowhere to be found. Wanting to make sure that they haven't disappeared, he grabs his iPad, checks Buzz's Twitter feed which says, "On the way to the airport. Can't wait to check out Paris babes!" Relieved, Kevin brings up FaceTime to contact his mother and let her know that he was left behind. She takes a cab back to the house, goes onto the airline's website to change their flight and the two of them fly out a short while later to enjoy Christmas. The end.
When British scientist Tim Berners-Lee drew up his proposal in 1989 for what would become the World Wide Web, he was just hoping to share information within the scientific community. Instead, 25 years later the Web has changed daily life for most people in ways that are too numerous to list. The rise of the Web also did something else that wasn't anticipated… it changed movies.
From a practical standpoint, the entertainment industry has taken full advantage of the Web. Every new movie release has a web presence for marketing purposes. Websites like Netflix and Amazon deliver streaming films. There are sites to tell you when movies are playing, that rate them, that show trailers and that sell movies. Thanks to Kickstarter, there are even websites that help finance productions.
What the Web has also done is changed the way that filmmakers have to tell their stories. Besides Home Alone, there are a variety of plot points that had to be abandoned once the Web became an omnipresent part of life. Sam's family in Sixteen Candles wouldn't have forgotten her birthday, because they all would've gotten Facebook reminders. Dr. Richard Kimble doesn’t have to go all over Chicago to find his wife's killer in The Fugitive; he just needs access to Google. Ferris Bueller would've been busted as soon as his parade antics went viral on YouTube. In Sleepless in Seattle, Jonah would've just brought up Annie's profile on the Baltimore Sun website and said "See, she's pretty!" Die Hard basically wouldn't have a plot left… same with My Cousin Vinny and numerous others.
Screenwriters and directors now have to account for the Web (and cell phones), when plotting out their stories. Want to update Romeo & Juliet? Have fun trying to work around the leads not e-mailing, Skyping or texting. Want to remake The Usual Suspects? Better have an answer for why that picture of Keyser Soze isn't available on any law enforcement websites.
Anyone wishing to tell a story with farcical elements has to work harder than ever to create the ruse, because no part of it can hinge on information that is readily available on the Web. If the character could look it up on Wikipedia, it's kind of hard to explain why they wouldn't just do that.
While some have skirted the issue by finding the few corners of the world that technology hasn't reached — think Babel — a number of filmmakers have instead sought solace in the past. Whether it's Ben Affleck with Argo, David O. Russell with American Hustle, Quentin Tarantino with Django Unchained or J.J. Abrams with Super 8, big name directors are opting to tell stories from before the dawn of websites as a way around dealing with the issue. Of the nine Best Picture nominees this year, four were set before 1990… and two of the others took place in the middle of the ocean (Captain Phillips) and in space (Gravity).
Of course, one of the other nominees showed a different path that filmmakers can now explore to tell new and interesting stories. Spike Jonze's Her made technology a character all on its own. Instead of just altering the ways that filmmakers tell stories — and studios produce and market movies — maybe over the next 25 years of its existence the World Wide Web will become a movie star in its own right. Hey, it's not any more farfetched than the various John Hughes plot devices from the '80s that the Web has rendered obsolete.
Britain dominated the 2013 International Emmy Awards in the U.S. on Monday night (25Nov13), picking up three awards, including Best Actor for Sean Bean. The former Game of Thrones star nabbed the top acting prize for his role as a cross-dresser in U.K. TV show Accused, and was overwhelmed upon receiving the honour at the Big Apple's Hilton Hotel.
He gushed, "I've never actually won anything. Thank you. I really am so happy."
Irish actor Chris O'Dowd also scored his first Emmy as he took home the prize for his series Moone Boy, which won in the Comedy category.
Rounding out the country's wins was documentary Freddie Mercury: The Great Pretender, which focuses on the late Queen frontman's solo projects outside of the legendary band. It tied for the arts programming award with South Korea's Hello?! Orchestra.
Director J.J. Abrams was also feted with the International Emmy Founders Award, a prize given to an individual who has crossed cultural boundaries to inspire audiences around the world.
Upon receiving the honour from Star Trek actor Zachary Quinto, Abrams confessed, "I feel unworthy... I feel genuinely grateful. It's a privilege to work in the television medium."
Brazil and France each won two Emmys, including the best actress award for Brazil's Fernanda Montenegro. In addition, Australia, South Korea and Germany each received one award.
British comic John Oliver hosted the event, which recognises excellence in international television programming outside of the U.S.
"People are saying to me, 'Oh, are you gonna be in it, are you gonna be in Star Wars?' In all honesty, I feel it would be detrimental to the film. And that's not me being self-effacing." British actor Simon Pegg feels his involvement in the upcoming Star Wars films would be a bad idea.
Former Color Me Badd frontman Bryan Abrams has blamed his poor health for failing to fulfil a community service order. The singer had been ordered to perform volunteer work and attend counselling sessions after he was arrested last year (12) for allegedly punching his wife in the face during an argument.
An arrest warrant was recently issued for him after authorities discovered he had not completed the punishments as ordered, and he appeared in court in Oklahoma on Wednesday (20Nov13) to answer the claims.
During the hearing, in which Abrams used a walker to help him stand, his lawyer Matt Swain revealed the 44 year old had been struggling with a slew of health issues in recent years, preventing him from completing his sentence.
Swain told the judge that Abrams had been trying to lose weight and had just undergone surgery on his hip, leaving him unable to walk unaided.
The case was continued until January (14), and Swain is hopeful his client's health will improve by his next court date.
The attorney explained, "He wanted everyone to know that he's sober, he's trying to get his life back together right now. The health problems he's had... have kind of derailed his life.
"He's going to continue his counselling, he's got court costs to pay and community service still to do. We're hopeful he can make progress between now and January."
Abrams, a founding member of the R&B four-piece, is no stranger to domestic abuse allegations - he has been charged on four separate occasions since 2006, although two cases were dismissed.
As British actor Matt Smith prepares to hang up the bow tie and step out of the TARDIS one last time on Doctor Who, the rumor mills are spinning about his possible involvement in the upcoming Star Wars sequel.
According to Bleeding Cool, the soon to be ex-Timelord has met with J.J. Abrams recently to discuss possibly taking part in Star Wars: Episode VII. While the exact nature of the meeting is of course, unknown, the idea of Matt Smith bringing his witty exuberance to a Star Wars series that was way too stiff and stately in the prequels is enough reason to jump for joy. We can definitely imagine Smith as a wily Jedi Knight that cracks wise in a room full of his stuffy peers that take themselves a little too seriously. Even better than that, Maybe the TARDIS can make a surprise visit to Mos Eisley. I can smell the fanfics being written as we speak.
Lions Gate via Everett Collection
When we last left our heroes, they had conquered all opponents in the 74th Annual Hunger Games, returned home to their newly refurbished living quarters in District 12, and fallen haplessly to the cannibalism of PTSD. And now we're back! Hitching our wagons once again to laconic Katniss Everdeen and her sweet-natured, just-for-the-camera boyfriend Peeta Mellark as they gear up for a second go at the Capitol's killing fields.
But hold your horses — there's a good hour and a half before we step back into the arena. However, the time spent with Katniss and Peeta before the announcement that they'll be competing again for the ceremonial Quarter Quell does not drag. In fact, it's got some of the film franchise's most interesting commentary about celebrity, reality television, and the media so far, well outweighing the merit of The Hunger Games' satire on the subject matter by having Katniss struggle with her responsibilities as Panem's idol. Does she abide by the command of status quo, delighting in the public's applause for her and keeping them complacently saturated with her smiles and curtsies? Or does Katniss hold three fingers high in opposition to the machine into which she has been thrown? It's a quarrel that the real Jennifer Lawrence would handle with a castigation of the media and a joke about sandwiches, or something... but her stakes are, admittedly, much lower. Harvey Weinstein isn't threatening to kill her secret boyfriend.
Through this chapter, Katniss also grapples with a more personal warfare: her devotion to Gale (despite her inability to commit to the idea of love) and her family, her complicated, moralistic affection for Peeta, her remorse over losing Rue, and her agonizing desire to flee the eye of the public and the Capitol. Oftentimes, Katniss' depression and guilty conscience transcends the bounds of sappy. Her soap opera scenes with a soot-covered Gale really push the limits, saved if only by the undeniable grace and charisma of star Lawrence at every step along the way of this film. So it's sappy, but never too sappy.
In fact, Catching Fire is a masterpiece of pushing limits as far as they'll extend before the point of diminishing returns. Director Francis Lawrence maintains an ambiance that lends to emotional investment but never imposes too much realism as to drip into territories of grit. All of Catching Fire lives in a dreamlike state, a stark contrast to Hunger Games' guttural, grimacing quality that robbed it of the life force Suzanne Collins pumped into her first novel.
Once we get to the thunderdome, our engines are effectively revved for the "fun part." Katniss, Peeta, and their array of allies and enemies traverse a nightmare course that seems perfectly suited for a videogame spin-off. At this point, we've spent just enough time with the secondary characters to grow a bit fond of them — deliberately obnoxious Finnick, jarringly provocative Johanna, offbeat geeks Beedee and Wiress — but not quite enough to dissolve the mystery surrounding any of them or their true intentions (which become more and more enigmatic as the film progresses). We only need adhere to Katniss and Peeta once tossed in the pit of doom that is the 75th Hunger Games arena, but finding real characters in the other tributes makes for a far more fun round of extreme manhunt.
But Catching Fire doesn't vie for anything particularly grand. It entertains and engages, having fun with and anchoring weight to its characters and circumstances, but stays within the expected confines of what a Hunger Games movie can be. It's a good one, but without shooting for succinctly interesting or surprising work with Katniss and her relationships or taking a stab at anything but the obvious in terms of sending up the militant tyrannical autocracy, it never even closes in on the possibility of being a great one.
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Star Wars fans' favourite R2-D2 has become the first classic character to be confirmed for Jj Abrams' franchise revival. The robot has appeared in all six of the Star Wars films and will return in the seventh installment, due to arrive in 2015.