Were you paying attention to the big screen and all the Hollywood happenings in 2014? We thought we'd kick off the New Year with a quick look back over the last 12 months of WENN movie news and pose a few questions to one and all that might just help you recall some magical moments at the cinema, or some hot gossip from the year just gone.
The prize for the winner? Bragging rights and a front row seat to the 2015 Oscars in your own living room! Best of luck!
1. The Fault in Our Stars was based on a book written by which author?
a. John Green
b. John White
c. James Green
d. James Brown
2. What song did not feature on the soundtrack to Guardians of the Galaxy?
a. I'm Not in Love
b. Mama Told Me Not to Come
c. Spirit in the Sky
d. Hooked on a Feeling
3. From which hit animated movie did the catchy tune Everything is Awesome come?
a. Muppets Most Wanted
b. The Lego Movie
c. How to Train Your Dragon 2
d. Mr Peabody and Sherman
4. Game of Thrones star Kit Harington starred in which epic disaster film based on true events?
b. 300: Rise of an Empire
5. The son of which longtime Hollywood couple starred alongside Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill in 22 Jump Street?
a. Colin Hanks, son of Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson
b. Oliver Hudson, son of Bill Hudson and Goldie Hawn
c. Jaden Smith, son of Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith
d. Wyatt Russell, son of Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn
6. Which of the following was not a cast member in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes?
a. Andy Serkis
b. James Franco
c. Jason Clarke
d. Gary Oldman
7. Get On Up was a biopic based on the life of which legendary musician?
a. James Brown
b. Stevie Wonder
c. George Clinton
d. Smokey Robinson
8. Which Hollywood veteran portrayed the family matriarch in This Is Where I Leave You?
a. Anjelica Huston
b. Jane Fonda
c. Bette Midler
d. Dame Judi Dench
9. Which musical did The Amazing Spider-Man star Emma Stone make her Broadway debut in?
d. Les Miserables
10. Which one of these celebrities was NOT part of Ellen DeGeneres' famous 'selfie' taken during the 2014 Academy Awards?
a. Channing Tatum
b. Kevin Spacey
c. Matthew McConaughey
d. Jared Leto
11. Which actress celebrated her one-year wedding anniversary to her tennis pro husband on New Year's Eve?
a. Ashley Tisdale
b. Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting
c. Naya Rivera
d. Ginnifer Goodwin
12. Who will play the villain in the next James Bond movie?
a. Quentin Tarantino
b. Mark Strong
c. Christoph Waltz
d. Bryan Cranston
13. Which country do the two actors who played Solomon Northup in 12 Years a Slave and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Selma come from?
14. Who rang in 2014 with Charlize Theron and has since become her boyfriend?
a. Sean Penn
b. Chris Pratt
c. Mark Wahlberg
d. Joaquin Phoenix
15. Name new mum Scarlett Johansson's daughter.
16. Which famous Jessica played Matthew McConaughey's grown-up daughter in Interstellar?
a. Jessica Alba
b. Jessica Biel
c. Jessica Chastain
d. Jessica Lange
17. Which Brit picked up the Best Actor prize at the Cannes Film Festival in May for his portrayal of grumpy artist J.W. Turner?
a. Colin Firth
b. Timothy Spall
c. Ray Winstone
d. Alan Rickman
18. What was the highest grossing movie of 2014?
a. Transformers: Age of Extinction
b. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1
c. Guardians of the Galaxy
d. The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
19. Which awards season favourite was filmed over 12 years?
20. In what film did Jennifer Lawrence debut her singing voice, scoring a chart hit all around the world?
a. Silver Linings Playbook
b. American Hustle
c. X-Men: Days of Future Past
d. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1
21. What is the bestselling music soundtrack on iTunes this year?
c. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1
d. Guardians of the Galaxy
22. He ended 2014 a newlywed with a hit movie, called The Theory of Everything. Name the British actor who married fiancee Hannah Bagshawe in England on 15 December.
a. Benedict Cumberbatch
b. Timothy Spall
c. Eddie Redmayne
d. Colin Firth
23. Why did model-turned-actress Milla Jovovich announce she was putting the next film in her Resident Evil franchise on hold in August?
a. Script problems
b. Financial issues
c. Her director husband Paul W.S. Anderson had abandoned the movie
d. She was pregnant
24. In 2014, this actor played Moses and became a new dad. Name him.
a. Joel Edgerton
b. Chris Pratt
c. Christian Bale
d. Mark Wahlberg
25. Another new dad, Chris Hemsworth, was named People magazine's Sexiest Man Alive in 2014, but who's the lucky actress, the mother of his kids, who gets to cuddle up to him every night?
a. Eva Mendes
b. Elsa Pataky
c. Scarlett Johansson
d. Jessica Alba
A handful of The Sopranos castmates will reunite to induct James Gandolfini into the New Jersey Hall Of Fame on Thursday (13Nov14). Vincent Curatola, who will present the formal induction, will be joined by Tony Sirico, Aida Turturro, Vincent Pastore, show creator David Chase and director Timothy Van Patten at the event in Asbury Park, New Jersey.
The late actor's widow, Deborah Lin, will accept the posthumous honour on his behalf.
Jazz musician Dizzy Gillespie, U.S. newsman Brian Williams, girl group The Shirelles and former U.S. basketball star Patrick Ewing will also be honoured at the event.
Gandolfini passed away in June, 2013.
Michael Keaton, Timothy Spall and Eddie Redmayne have emerged as early favourites for the coveted Best Actor prize at next year's (15) Oscars. As movie critics sharpen their pencils to vote for the year's top film performances, it seems the 2015 Best Actor race will be one of the most fiercely fought.
Spall has been the top man since he won gold at Cannes for his lead role in biopic Mr. Turner, but now the Los Angeles Times has earmarked Keaton for the trophy, thanks to his role in Birdman, and The Hollywood Reporter is confident Redmayne's turn as Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything will make him an Oscars season favourite.
The Hollywood Reporter recently honoured Redmayne and his co-stars Felicity Jones and James Marsh with a Breakthrough in Film award at the Toronto International Film Festival in Canada and editors called the My Week With Marilyn star's performance "landmark".
Meanwhile, America's top critics have given Keaton the edge in the first serious odds list on awards season go-to website GoldDerby.com.
The former Batman is a 13/5 favourite, ahead of Steve Carell in Foxcatcher and Redmayne, while Spall and fellow Brit Benedict Cumberbatch (The Imitation Game) also make the early top five.
GoldDerby's critics have given Amy Adams (Big Eyes) the Best Actress edge over fellow former Oscar winners Reese Witherspoon (Wild) and Jessica Chastain (The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby), while the Best Picture race is wide open.
The early top picks are Boyhood, Birdman, Angelina Jolie's upcoming biopic Unbroken, Foxcatcher, Gone Girl, Interstellar and Brad Pitt's Fury.
Walt Disney Studios/Marvel
As the most anticipated blockbuster of the year, Guardians of the Galaxy has a ton of marks to hit. Almost immediately, it reveals its lackluster aim in a few of these departments. Director James Gunn, working with a budget that amounts to 10 times the cash allowed for his previous two features combined, shows that he has a lot to learn in bringing action scenes to life. The large-scale aerial battles neglect coherent geography; the hand-to-hand combat takes place in a virtual fog machine. When he aims to jump from one piece of his temperately constructed world to the next, the seams are bold and abject. The film’s narrative is jagged, its exposition is clunky, and its sense of rhythm seems to vanish altogether from time to time. And that score… oh, my, that score.
So with technical flaws coming out the wazoo, you’ll really have to touch the personal to figure out why and how Guardians of the Galaxy manages to be one of the most wonderful blockbuster movies in ages.
Walt Disney Studios/Marvel
You’ll have to think back to your earliest experiences with superheroes, science fiction, and adventure. Perhaps back to your first big screen encounter with Star Wars — for me, a trip to Flushing, Queens’ multiplex with my uninterested father (if it’s not The Sting, he’s not into it) and ecstatic pal Timothy in 1997 — the film to which Guardians owes just as much as Godzilla does to Jurassic Park, though with an attitude less pious than devilishly affectionate.
That distinction in reverence is where you’ll find your connection to Guardians of the Galaxy, a movie that is just as much a tribute to the experience of watching the past half-century’s slate of great fantastical epics as it is to the features themselves. Guardians, a movie that treats itself with the same degree of cheek as it does its predecessors, celebrates everything that happens in the theater during a spectacle of its ilk. It celebrates the wisecracks we can’t help but whisper to our neighbors after a dramatic set piece, the often glossed-over character beats that showcase a scar beneath the heroism of every Skywalker and Solo (rejoice: this film is heavy on the Hans, light on the Lukes). It celebrates our curiosity about every odd shot, creature, and plot contrivance scrapped from focus in the interest of the Hero’s Journey. Guardians celebrates just how much we always hate to say how much more we’d love these movies if they went all the way bananas.
Walt Disney Studios/Marvel
Which, for sure, this one does. The movie bands together the strangest assortment of characters — a jackass space punk (Chris Pratt), a reformed intergalactic assassin (Zoe Saldana), a humorless (and yet the funniest of the bunch) alien menace (Dave Bautista), and a misanthropic raccoon thief (Bradley Cooper) and his kindhearted tree bodyguard (Vin Diesel) — on what amounts to a convoluted brazen rejection of Marvel’s usual A-to-B storyline: there’s a powerful orb, and about a half dozen villains, varying in villainy, who want to get their hands on it for disparate villainous reasons… any attempt to further access the mythology will render you a huddled, nauseated mess.
Throughout this technical haze, Guardians carries forth with more spirit than anything Marvel has put out to date. Its characters aren’t limited by the sincerity of their sacrosanct brethren; Pratt is encouraged to make his Peter Quill the most engaging hero a film of this scale has seen to date. Quill and his literal partners in crime are used toward the perfect end of playing expansively with every trope that we’ve seen in blockbuster past, of tackling every question and quip that has found fertile soil in the brains of three generations of captivated genre fans. And all this, quite remarkably, without expensing the movie’s earnest construction. That’s because Guardians builds its world from the ground up with the heart inherent in that fandom. The kind of heart that loves these movies, but also the exciting, active, imaginative game that is watching them.
Walt Disney Studios/Marvel
That’s the kind of heart you find in Guardians’ story and, better yet, its characters. They’re our people (or aliens, or trees, or raccoons). Ours for the knowing and empathizing with; the very sort of heroes we knew we would be in our own all-the-way-bananas story, were it ever possible… or allowed to happen on the big screen. Piety of the picturesque be damned, we get those kinds of heroes, that kind of story, and — most palpably — this kind of spirit in Guardians of the Galaxy. At the expense of technical perfection and narrative flow? Maybe. Is this not a flaw but a ploy to further personalize this adventure for the ultimate connection one might forge between superhero and superfan? Hard to say. But the connection is made nonetheless, and we have in James Gunn’s wonderful movie a special experience for anyone who has spent years loving this genre from afar: Guardians of the Galaxy doesn’t sit us down to show us a spectacle, it invites us into one.
Follow @Michael Arbeiter | Follow @Hollywood_com
Veteran British actor Charles Dance once turned down the chance to audition for the coveted role of James Bond. The Game of Thrones star played evil henchman Claus in 1981 007 film For Your Eyes Only, and was given the opportunity to rejoin the franchise in the lead role after Timothy Dalton stepped down.
However, Dance decided not to go to the audition on the advice of his agent.
He says, "She (my agent) might have been right. I don't know that it would have ruined my career, but I am not sure I was right (for the part) anyway."
Northern Irish actor Liam Neeson once ruled himself out of the running to play movie superspy James Bond after receiving an ultimatum from his then-fiancee, Natasha Richardson. The Taken star reveals he had been approached to possibly take over from Timothy Dalton as secret agent 007 during the mid-1990s, but he ended up withdrawing from negotiations.
He tells HullDailyMail.co.uk, "I was heavily courted, let's put it that way, and I'm sure some other actors were too.
"It was about 18 or 19 years ago and my wife-to-be said, 'If you play James Bond we're not getting married!' And I had to take that on board, because I did want to marry her."
The couple wed in 1994, but British actress Richardson tragically died following a skiing accident in 2009.
Neeson wasn't the only actor considered for the role of Bond during that time - Ralph Fiennes recently revealed he had also auditioned for the job, but lost out to Pierce Brosnan.
For the bulk of every Rocky and Bullwinkle episode, moose and squirrel would engage in high concept escapades that satirized geopolitics, contemporary cinema, and the very fabrics of the human condition. With all of that to work with, there's no excuse for why the pair and their Soviet nemeses haven't gotten a decent movie adaptation. But the ingenious Mr. Peabody and his faithful boy Sherman are another story, intercut between Rocky and Bullwinkle segments to teach kids brief history lessons and toss in a nearly lethal dose of puns. Their stories and relationship were much simpler, which means that bringing their shtick to the big screen would entail a lot more invention — always risky when you're dealing with precious material.
For the most part, Mr. Peabody & Sherman handles the regeneration of its heroes aptly, allowing for emotionally substance in their unique father-son relationship and all the difficulties inherent therein. The story is no subtle metaphor for the difficulties surrounding gay adoption, with society decreeing that a dog, no matter how hyper-intelligent, cannot be a suitable father. The central plot has Peabody hosting a party for a disapproving child services agent and the parents of a young girl with whom 7-year-old Sherman had a schoolyard spat, all in order to prove himself a suitable dad. Of course, the WABAC comes into play when the tots take it for a spin, forcing Peabody to rush to their rescue.
Getting down to personals, we also see the left brain-heavy Peabody struggle with being father Sherman deserves. The bulk of the emotional marks are hit as we learn just how much Peabody cares for Sherman, and just how hard it has been to accept that his only family is growing up and changing.
But more successful than the new is the film's handling of the old — the material that Peabody and Sherman purists will adore. They travel back in time via the WABAC Machine to Ancient Egypt, the Renaissance, and the Trojan War, and 18th Century France, explaining the cultural backdrop and historical significance of the settings and characters they happen upon, all with that irreverent (but no longer racist) flare that the old cartoons enjoyed. And oh... the puns.
Mr. Peabody & Sherman is a f**king treasure trove of some of the most amazingly bad puns in recent cinema. This effort alone will leave you in awe.
The film does unravel in its final act, bringing the science-fiction of time travel a little too close to the forefront and dropping the ball on a good deal of its emotional groundwork. What seemed to be substantial building blocks do not pay off in the way we might, as scholars of animated family cinema, have anticipated, leaving the movie with an unfinished feeling.
But all in all, it's a bright, compassionate, reasonably educational, and occasionally funny if not altogether worthy tribute to an old favorite. And since we don't have our own WABAC machine to return to a time of regularly scheduled Peabody and Sherman cartoons, this will do okay for now.
If nothing else, it's worth your time for the puns.
Follow @Michael Arbeiter
| Follow @Hollywood_com
James Bond star Ralph Fiennes once auditioned for the role of the movie superspy but lost out to Pierce Brosnan. Fiennes was installed as 007's new boss M in 2012's Skyfall but now he has confessed it was not the first time he tried to land a part in the long-running franchise.
The Schindler's List star had talks with producer Albert 'Cubby' Broccoli over the vacant role of Bond in the mid-1990s, but he lost out on the chance to be Timothy Dalton's successor - and he is convinced he would have been terrible as 007 anyway.
Fiennes tells British magazine Seven, "There was an early conversation. There was a conversation that was great, and a meeting with Cubby Broccoli, that was terrific. I think that's all I can really say, except that it didn't lead to anything on both sides. I don't think I felt ready to commit and I think they were looking at Pierce. I think I would have been a terrible Bond anyway."
Dallas Buyers Club and Gravity were the toast of the 2014 Oscars on Sunday (02Mar14), but it was 12 Years A Slave which was named Best Picture on Hollywood's biggest night. The Steve McQueen slave drama was a triple threat, also scoring Best Supporting Actress for Lupita Nyong'o and Best Adapted Screenplay for John Ridley.
AIDS drama Dallas Buyers Club served up a double win in the male acting categories with Matthew McConaughey earning his first Oscar for Best Actor and Jared Leto claiming Best Supporting Actor, while Cate Blanchett took home the Best Actress title for her star turn in Woody Allen's Blue Jasmine.
However, it was Gravity which scored the most wins of the night with seven, including Best Director for Alfonso Cuaron and a string of technical awards.
The 86th annual ceremony was presented by Ellen DeGeneres and she opened the prestigious event by joking about the heavy rain which has lashed the usually-sunny state of California in the past few days, and poking fun at Jennifer Lawrence for her clumsy nature after she stumbled and fell to her knees on the red carpet as she arrived at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood - a year after she tripped up the stairs on the way to pick up her 2013 Best Actress Oscar.
Each of the nominations for Best Original Song were performed, but it was Frozen star Idina Menzel's rendition of Let It Go which earned husband and wife songwriting team Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez the award.
Pop star Pink helped to celebrate the 75th anniversary of The Wizard of Oz by belting out Somewhere Over the Rainbow in front of Judy Garland's children Liza Minnelli, Lorna Luft and Joey Luft, who were among the guests in the audience, and Bette Midler made her performance debut at the awards by singing Wind Beneath My Wings following the annual In Memoriam segment, which featured tributes to the likes of James Gandolfini, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Karen Black, Paul Walker, Annette Funicello, Peter O'Toole, Richard Griffiths, Sid Caesar, Shirley Temple Black, Harold Ramis, film critic Roger Ebert and former Academy president Tom Sherak.
The full list of winners at the 2014 Oscars is:
Best Motion Picture of the Year:
12 Years A Slave
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role:
Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club
Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role:
Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine
Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role:
Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club
Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role:
Lupita Nyong'o, 12 Years A Slave
Best Achievement in Directing:
Alfonso Cuaron, Gravity
Best Writing, Original Screenplay:
Spike Jonze, Her
Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay:
John Ridley, 12 Years A Slave
Best Animated Feature Film:
Frozen - Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee & Peter Del Vecho
Best Foreign Language Film of the Year:
The Great Beauty (Italy)
Best Achievement in Cinematography:
Gravity - Emmanuel Lubezki
Best Achievement in Film Editing:
Gravity - Alfonso Cuaron & Mark Sanger
Best Achievement in Production Design:
The Great Gatsby - Catherine Martin & Beverley Dunn
Best Achievement in Costume Design:
The Great Gatsby - Catherine Martin
Best Achievement in Makeup and Hairstyling:
Dallas Buyers Club - Adruitha Lee & Robin Mathews
Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score:
Gravity - Steven Price
Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Song:
Let It Go from Frozen - Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez
Best Achievement in Sound Mixing:
Gravity - Skip Lievsay, Niv Adiri, Christopher Benstead & Chris Munro
Best Achievement in Sound Editing:
Gravity - Glenn Freemantle
Best Achievement in Visual Effects:
Gravity - Timothy Webber, Chris Lawrence, David Shirk & Neil Corbould
Best Documentary, Feature:
Twenty Feet From Stardom - Morgan Neville, Gil Friesen & Caitrin Rogers
Best Documentary, Short Subject:
The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life
Best Short Film, Animated:
Mr Hublot - Laurent Witz & Alexandre Espigares
Best Short Film, Live Action:
Helium - Anders Walter & Kim Magnusson
Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award:
Singer The Mighty Hannibal has died, aged 74. Hannibal, born James Timothy Shaw, passed away last week (30Jan14) at St. Barnabas Hospital in New York after experiencing breathing problems.
Shaw began his career in the 1950s in Atlanta, Georgia, where he sung with a local group, The Overalls.
After moving to Los Angeles in 1958, he released his debut solo single, Big Chief Hug-Um An' Kiss-Um, under the name Jimmy Shaw.
In the 1960s, he returned to Atlanta and penned Hymn No. 5, one of his most successful singles.
But his success was short-lived - he developed a heroin addiction and served 18 months in jail for an unpaid tax bill.
In the 1970s, he revived his career as King Hannibal and in 2009, he co-wrote Elton John and Leon Russell's There's No Tomorrow single for their 2010 album The Union, according to RollingStone.com.
Paying tribute to his one-time collaborator on Wednesday (05Feb14), Elton John says, "Dear Mighty Hannibal, it was a pleasure to know you. Thanks for all the great music."