Blog Posts by Will Perkins

  • Two Oscar voters admit to voting for '12 Years a Slave' without seeing it

    Summit Entertainment

    Trying to recommend a movie to someone without actually having seen the film is a bit like telling a person to buy a car without driving it first. You can’t really vouch for the quality of something unless you’ve experienced it for yourself.

    Now, you’d think that the people responsible for choosing the Best Picture winner at the Oscars (essentially the ultimate movie recommendation) would have seen all the films they were nominating for the prize before voting. But it seem that that assumption would be wrong.

    Two anonymous members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) recently confessed to the Los Angeles TImes they didn’t actually see Best Picture winner “12 Years a Slave,” despite voting for the film to win the coveted Oscar. The two AMPAS members said they avoided seeing director Steve McQueen’s harrowing slavery drama because they feared it would be upsetting. (You think?) The pair said they felt obligated to vote for the film based simply on its “social

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  • Recycled sequels: '300: Rise of an Empire' recycles footage (and actors!) from the first movie

    Despite being killed during the bloody finale of “300,” King Leonidas (the fearsome Spartan ruler in Zack Snyder’s 2007 film) was originally meant to have a big part in the upcoming “300: Rise of an Empire.” However, when "300" star Gerard Butler turned down an offer to reprise the role, the producers of the sword and sandals sequel had a dilemma on their hands: Do they recast Leonidas or try to find another solution?

    They opted for the latter.

    Whether he chose to be in the film or not, Gerard Butler appears in the “300: Rise of an Empire” by way of re-used footage from the first movie. The events of “300” and “Rise of an Empire” overlap, with parts of the sequel taking place before, during, and after the original film. Though they may not have been able to get Butler back, this convenient arrangement allows “Rise” to ride the proverbial coattails of the hugely popular “300,” despite being a sequel that not a whole lot of people were really asking for.

    The producers likely feared that

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  • Exclusive ‘Enemy’ Trailer: ‘What if you could meet your exact double?’

    What if you discovered that somewhere out in the world you had an exact double? Same face, same voice, different person, different life. Would you want to meet them? What would you do when you did? How would they react?

    That’s precisely the unlikely situation that Toronto man Adam Bell finds himself in “Enemy,” a mind-bending psychological thriller from “Prisoners” director Denis Villeneuve.

    After spotting an actor in a rented movie who appears to be his exact double, meek college professor Adam (Jake Gyllenhaal) becomes obsessed with finding his lookalike. Adam’s double is Anthony Clair (also played by Gyllenhaal), a fiery Mississauga-based actor who, save for their appearance, is the professor’s opposite in almost every way. The pair’s eventual meeting ultimately sends both them and their loved ones down a very dark and dangerous path.

    The best way to categorize “Enemy” would be to call it a mash-up of David Fincher, David Lynch, and David Cronenberg movies. It has the intensity of

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  • Just when you thought the insanely catchy music from Disney’s Oscar-winning animated adventure “Frozen” couldn’t get any catchier, along comes star Idina Menzel, “Tonight Show” host Jimmy Fallon, and the legendary Roots crew. The group delighted viewers with a version of the Academy Award-winning ballad “Let It Go” that is guaranteed to get stuck in your head.

    Menzel stopped by “The Tonight Show” this week and joined Fallon and house band The Roots for a very special version of "Let It Go" -- one accompanied by what can only be described as kid instruments like kazoos, triangles, toy blocks, and xylophones.

    Menzel provides the much needed “Let It Go” vocals (along with not-so-essential triangle dings), Fallon clops toy blocks together and jams on a Casio keyboard, Questlove toots on a kazoo, Black Thought plays the tambourine, and the rest of the Roots add xylophone, melodica, ukulele, lemon shaker, and bongos to the musical mix. It’s a far cry from the orchestrated version that

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  • "12 Years a Slave" (Fox Searchlight Pictures)

    Can Toronto International Film Festival audiences pick ‘em or what? As industry watchers predicted back in September, Steve McQueen’s “12 Years a Slave” became the fifth TIFF People’s Choice award winner in the festival’s history to go on to win Best Picture at the Academy Awards. The slavery drama is also the twelfth winner of the People’s Choice overall to be nominated for Oscar’s top prize.

    Past Best Picture nominees that began their Academy Awards run in Toronto include “Chariots of Fire” (1981), “The Big Chill” (1983), “Places in the Heart” (1984), “Shine” (1996), “Life Is Beautiful” (1998), “American Beauty” (1999), “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” (2000), “Slumdog Millionaire” (2008), “Precious” (2009), “The King's Speech” (2010), and “Silver Linings Playbook” (2012). Of those nominated films, “Chariots of Fire,” “American Beauty,” “Slumdog Millionaire,” “The King’s Speech,” and now “12 Years a Slave” have gone on to win Best Picture.

    The "12 Years a Slave" cast at TIFF 2013. (Getty Images)

    Although TIFF’s People’s Choice award is no

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  • Oscar night filled with uncharacteristically long acceptance speeches

    Was it just us, or were last night’s Oscar speeches a little on the long side?

    In past years, the producers of the show have been notoriously stingy with the time allotted for winners’ acceptance speeches, often attempting to “play off” the stars with music when their remarks went on too long or cutting off mics altogether when multiple people won an award.

    Not so on Sunday night, though, when even the winners of the most obscure categories were given ample time to deliver their thanks. Many of Sunday night’s speeches also seemed longer because after their names were announced, it took the winners around 40 to 60 seconds to get from their seat to the stage.

    Best Supporting Actor winner Jared Leto (“Dallas Buyers Club”) kicked off the night with what felt like an extremely lengthy acceptance speech. Thanking his mother, brother, director, and his band 30 Seconds to Mars (not to mention giving a shout-out to the people of Ukraine and Venezuela), the two-minute and 24-second speech set

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  • 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

    Pixar

    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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