Blog Posts by Will Perkins

  • Quebec director Jean-Marc Vallée thanked by ‘Dallas Buyers Club’ Oscar winners

    Jean-Marc Vallée at the Academy Awards. (Getty Images)

    It was a bittersweet night at the Oscars for "Dallas Buyers Club" director Jean-Marc Vallée. The Montreal filmmaker was not nominated for Best Director, but he did make the cut in the Best Film Editing category under the pseudonym John Mac McMurphy. Unfortunately, both Vallée and fellow "Dallas Buyers Club" editor Martin Pensa lost out to Alfonso Cuarón and Mark Sanger for "Gravity."

    It wasn't all bad news for the Quebec director, though, as "Dallas Buyers Club" dominated in the acting categories. Jared Leto kicked off the night winning the Best Supporting Actor trophy, and Matthew McConaughey took home the coveted Best Actor prize. Both actors took a moment during their speeches to thank Vallée.

    Jared Leto and Matthew McConaughey accept their Oscars. (Getty Images)

    Best Makeup and Hairstyling winners Adruitha Lee and Robin Mathews also thanked their "Dallas Buyers Club" director. The film's makeup budget was an astoundingly small $250 U.S.

    The director may not have gone home with any Oscars himself, but the fact that both Leto and McConaughey took home

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  • The ‘Toy Story’ theory that will blow your mind


    Every once in a while, a wild movie theory comes along that is almost too plausible to ignore.

    Pixar movies are full of Easter eggs, in-jokes, and secrets that don’t always register on first viewing. For instance, the Planet Pizza delivery truck from the original “Toy Story” appears in some form or another in every other Pixar movie except “The Incredibles.” Similarly, nods to other Pixar films can be found throughout the “Toy Story” movies and vice versa: A slightly older version of Boo from “Monsters Inc.” can be see at the daycare in “Toy Story 3,” and “Toy Story” baddie Lotso makes a much friendlier appearance in “Up.” The list goes on.

    But there’s one major Pixar Easter egg that may have eluded eagle-eyed fans until now (since “Toy Story 2” hit theatres in 1999 to be exact): The true identity of Andy’s Mom.

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  • Sony wants to release a ‘Spider-Man’ film every year

    Columbia Pictures

    If the ambitious plans of studio Sony Pictures pan out, moviegoers will be seeing a whole lot more of their favourite wall-crawling superhero.

    Sony Pictures co-chair Amy Pascal recently told Variety that when it comes to Spider-Man, the studio intends to take a page out of the Marvel Studios playbook. In addition to the upcoming “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” and the already planned sequels “The Amazing Spider-Man 3” and “4” (set for 2016 and 2018 releases, respectively), Sony wants spin-off movies featuring other Spidey characters to share a single continuity. That follows the similar plan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe featured in the “Avengers,” “Iron Man,” and “Thor” family of movies.

    “We are expanding the ‘Spider-Man’ universe into ‘The Sinister Six’ and ‘Venom,’ so that we have ‘Spider-Man’ movies every year,” Pascal said.

    A “Spider-Man”-related movie every year? The lack of major Marvel superheroes that Sony owns the film rights means the studio will be basing the spin-offs

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  • How much does an Oscar really help a movie career?

    “Starring Academy Award winner…”

    “From the Oscar-winning director of…”

    Winning an Academy Award is generally considered to be one of the highest honours that an actor or director can earn. But is winning an Oscar all it’s cracked up to be? Can a gold trophy and a memorable acceptance speech really help take a Hollywood career to the next level?

    In most cases, the answer is yes, an Oscar win and sometimes even a nomination can definitely give a performer or filmmaker a major career boost. Just look at Jennifer Lawrence's Best Actress nomination for "Winter's Bone": the nod sent her career into the stratosphere and led to her Academy Award-winning role in "Silver Linings Playbook" and Oscar nominated turn in "American Hustle," plus led to her headlining the massively popular "Hunger Games" franchise.

    However, an Oscar win always comes with some major caveats. Sure, an Academy Award opens up a lot of doors, but a winner generally has to continue to work at a very high level in order to

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  • See Benedict Cumberbatch pretend he’s a dragon for ‘The Hobbit’ performance capture sessions

    Many fans of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth already know that it was English actor and current Hollywood “It Dude” Benedict Cumberbatch ("Star Trek Into Darkness") who provided the voice of the fearsome dragon Smaug in Peter Jackson’s “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.” But most Tolkienites probably don’t know the lengths that Cumberbatch went to get into character.

    As the “Desolation of Smaug” behind-the-scenes video seen above shows, Cumberbatch not only breathed fiery life into the gold-coveting dragon with his voice but also with his body. Much like Jackson and Andy Serkis did with Gollum, Cumberbatch's entire performance was digitally captured for the role of Smaug. His facial expressions and body movements were digitally tracked by visual effects studio Weta and translated by animators into the enormous dragon’s performance.

    "Using our motion-capture stage, we recorded his performances, which focused on the conversation with Bilbo sequence,” Weta animation supervisor David

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  • The Oscars: How does Academy Award voting work?

    Getty Images

    For most Oscar watchers, there are two days of every year that are of special concern: the morning the Academy Award nominees are announced and then Oscar night itself. While these two occasions are the most public face of the Academy Awards, there is much more to the the Oscars process than meets the eye. Ever wondered about who the Academy voters are? Want to know how the nominees and winners are picked? Here’s a primer on how Oscar voting works.

    Who are the Academy?

    Getty Images

     Though a full list of AMPAS membership has never officially been publicized, the names of new members are published when they join the Academy, as are the names of members who join the Board of Governors.

    There are exceptions to the rule, but for the most part, if an actor, actress, or other person in the film business has ever been nominated for an Oscar, it’s almost guaranteed that they are a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Members invited to join over the past several years include

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  • Stars remember Harold Ramis on Twitter

    Harold Ramis (Corey Sipkin/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)

    Comedy icon Harold Ramis passed away on Monday, the Chicago Tribute reports. The “Ghostbusters” star died from complications related died to auto-immune inflammatory vasculitis. He was 69.

    Though he may be best known for his on-screen work, particularly for his work during the early days of “SCTV” and his role as the laconic parapsychologist Egon Spengler in the two “Ghostbusters” movies, Ramis was far more prolific behind the camera as a screenwriter and director. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that as a filmmaker Ramis was instrumental in shaping modern comedy.

    Ramis directed some of the most influential comedies of the past forty years, including “Caddyshack,” “National Lampoon’s Vacation,” and “Groundhog Day,” and either wrote or co-wrote equally important comic masterpieces like “Animal House,” “Stripes,” “Ghostbusters” and “Ghostbusters II.” Countless comedy writers, directors, and actors, including the likes of Judd Apatow, David Wain, and Seth Rogen, have cited Ramis as

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  • ‘Wolf of Wall Street’: Can you make a movie about glorifying misogyny without endorsing it?

    Margot Robbie and Leonardo DiCaprio in "The Wolf of Wall Street." (Universal Pictures)

    Martin Scorsese’s “The Wolf of Wall Street” has turned a whole lot of heads with its over-the-top and, at times, downright offensive depiction of white-collar criminals gone wild.

    Though it's made more than $300 million at the box office, the film has turned many people off in the months since its release, most notably voting members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Scorsese reportedly received an earful from several Academy members after a screening of “Wolf of Wall Street” in mid-December. Shouts of “Shame on you!” and “You ought be ashamed of yourself” were said to be leveled at the director after the screening. It’s not clear what exactly the peeved voters were offended by, but there's no shortage of offensive possibilities when discussing "The Wolf of Wall Street."

    Oscar voters weren't the only offended parties, either. New York Times movie critic A.O. Scott offered a glowing review of "The Wolf of Wall Street" but was particularly troubled by how the film

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  • Is Marvel’s ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ too ‘out there’ for its own good?

    The upcoming superhero movie stars Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel, and Dave Batista as a misfit band of thieves and criminals who end up working together to stop a major galactic threat. Standard comic book movie stuff, right?

    However, though “Guardians of the Galaxy” may be set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (the same continuity as “The Avengers,” “Iron Man,” “Thor,” and “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D”), it’s worlds apart (quite literally) from anything the studio has brought to the big screen in the past.

    While there’s no shortage of colourful characters and superheroes in the pages of Marvel comics, perhaps none are stranger than the Guardians of the Galaxy. The inter-planetary super team is made up of the half-human, half-alien adventurer Star-Lord (Pratt), the violent alien assassin Gamora (Saldana), the muscle-bound rage monster Drax the Destroyer (Batista), the talking, gun-toting raccoon Rocket (Cooper), and the monosyllabic tree creature known only as Groot

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  • Viggo Mortensen to honour David Cronenberg at the 2014 Canadian Screen Awards

    Mortensen and Cronenberg at the 2012 Genie Awards. (George Pimentel/WireImage)

    There’s a running joke about lifetime achievement awards: Receiving one is a polite way for one’s peers to tell them that that they’re past their prime. You get a trophy and are then promptly taken out behind the proverbial barn to be put out of your misery.

    That’s why it’s slightly odd that the upcoming Canadian Screen Awards (essentially Canada’s answer to the Oscars and Emmys) are set to give just such a prize to legendary Toronto director David Cronenberg -- a filmmaker who most would agree is definitely not past his prime. Perhaps the awards show is trying to take advantage of the Hollywood star power that the director is able to attract.

    Cronenberg’s frequent collaborator Viggo Mortensen (“A History of Violence,” “Eastern Promises”) will present the lifetime achievement award to the Canadian filmmaker during the live CSA broadcast on March 9. Mortensen won a Canadian Screen Award in 2011 (back when it was still called a Genie) for his performance as Sigmund Freud in Cronenberg’s

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