'Tis the season for big movies with big stars to battle it out for big box office profits and Oscar nominations. Yet, it was a low-budget and starless horror movie that made it to number one this past weekend. Earning $23 million in its opening weekend, “Texas Chainsaw 3D” slashed its way to top of the box office competing with some of Hollywood's biggest blockbusters. The gory thriller beat out Quentin Tarrantino's “Django Unchained” and Peter Jackson's “The Hobbit”, as well as the star-studded musical Les Miserables. Bradley Jacobs, Senior Editor of US Weekly, comes to the studio to comment on the success of the film, and potential Oscar nominees.
While there are major contenders in the theaters with substance and plenty of Oscar buzz, Jacobs explains that this movie serves well for “an ironic date night”. “This is counterprogramming. You have all these heavy Oscar movies you've really got to get around to seeing, like “Les Mis” and “Lincoln”, which are three hours long,” Jacobs offers. “Or you can see half naked girls running around and people throwing chainsaws through the air. Did I mention leather face and it's all in 3D?”
Soledad O’Brien says she was surprised to see that three out of top four movies "are very horrifically violent, and this is all in the wake of the Sandy Hook massacre.” “But the violence in “Texas Chainsaw” is cartoonish,” Jacobs explains.
With award season in its peak and Oscar nominations to be announced this Thursday, Jacobs makes his predictions for possible nominees. “Anne Hathaway,” Jacobs begins, “she’s is a lock to win best supporting actress this year. She was incredible in that role. 'Lincoln', you have the pedigree of Steven Spielberg and Daniel Kushner and Daniel Day Lewis, who's won the Oscar twice before, and looks like he's going to win again.”
Chris Farley, the Senior Editorial Director of Digital Features at the Wall Street Journal, joins "Starting Point" Wednesday to discuss the upcoming hit films to look out for in the new year. Farley's top movies of 2013 include "World War Z," "The Host," "Old Boy," "The Great Gatsby," and more.
"Zero Dark Thirty" is one of the hottest, most anticipated movies of the year and is receiving a lot of oscar buzz after receiving several Golden Globe nominations. The movie gives a nail-biting account of the decade-long hunt for the world's most wanted man. While the movie critics seem to love the movie there are others like New York Republican Congressman Peter King believe that director Kathryn Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal got access to classified info to make their movie. King who is also chairman of the house homeland security committee joins “Starting Point” this morning to discuss the movie controversy.
King says he asked for the investigation on the film a year and a half ago because “there were many examples I felt had too much collusion” and people who are operators came to him with concerns over pressure. King adds that this is not his investigation and the call for a full investigation of the movie and its film director Kathryn Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal came to be after findings from a preliminary investigation commissioned by the Inspector General and the U.S. Defense Department. King goes on to say that it is a fact that the movie producers used democratic lobbyists to gain access to special operators, CIA locations and sensitive information. King says he was told by the CIA that as a result of their own findings they have “changed procedures based on the inappropriate action that was taken by a number of people in the CIA at the pressure of the administration.” The congressman stresses he has “no problem with the movie” and gives the president “tremendous credit” for killing Osama bin Laden. He says his concern is “having an administration lean on people in the Defense Department and the CIA to provide sensitive or perhaps classified information.”
King says that “when all the details come out there should be sanctions against anyone in the administration … there should be action taken, there should be names who did it and if they have to lose their jobs – if they pressured anyone, any special operator was pressured to talk to and to deal with anyone in Hollywood then that person I think should lose their jobs for requiring them to do that.”
Actor Aidan Quinn’s new film, "Allegiance", harkens back to 2004, when National Guard troops were sent to Iraq. Thousands of soldiers who had signed up for part-time duty were suddenly faced with a year of combat in a foreign country. In the new film Quinn plays a battalion commander who has to prepare a part-time unit for combat. "Allegiance" explores issues of loyalty versus duty and Quinn comes to the studio to talk about the film.
Based on director Mike Connors’ personal experiences while serving in the military, the film pays tribute to the 21 million veterans living in the United States today. It was written, directed, produced and financed almost entirely by veterans. Former Navy SEALS and Army Green Berets were enlisted to train the actors and extras. "We had military always there," Quinn says. "They just made sure that they kept it real."
Soledad O'Brien asks if military movies are becoming more common in Hollywood. Quinn says no. “I think Hollywood’s very afraid of any military films,” Quinn says, “because they’re tough for the audience, because we have conflicted feelings about involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan. I think the great thing that has changed is we have 100%—almost seems like 100%—approval of our veterans and support for our veterans.”
"Allegiance" is now available on VOD, and hits theaters on December 28 in NY and January 4 in LA.
Awards season is just starting up in Hollywood. Nichelle Turner joins Soledad with the 70th Annual Golden Globe nominations that were just announced this morning.
Argo, Django Unchained, Life of Pi, Lincoln, and Zero Dark Thirty were all nominated for Best motion Picture Drama, as were their directors. On the comedy side, Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Les Miserables, Moonrise Kingdom, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, and Silver Linings Playbook took the honors.
Not many surprises for the best picture choices, but a few in the Actor category. Richard Gere nabbed a nomination for his work in Arbitrage and, after bad-mouthing awards and criticizing their merit, Joaquin Phoenix earned a nomination for his work in The Master.
The most evident snubs from the awards are Anthony Hopkins for his portrayal of the legendary director in Hitchcock and Keira Knightly as tragic lover Anna Karenina.
The biggest award for the evening named after its first recipient and famed director, Cecil B. Demille will be given to Jodie Foster. Foster began her career as a child and starred in Taxi Driver, Silence of the Lambs, and Nell. She has been nominated seven times before, winning twice.
Hosted by nominees themselves Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, both nominated in Best Actress in a Comedy Television Series. They are taking over for Ricky Gervais, who hosted 2010, 2011, and 2012.
Christmas is right around the corner, a time for forgiveness for the family. But the holidays can be dramatic family occasions as well. The plot of director Ed Burns’ new film, "The Fitzgerald Family Christmas", shows just that family dynamic. It's a return to his Irish-American roots, as the film explores the complex relationships between siblings and parents, which tend to be heightened around the holidays. Burns wrote, directed and acted in this film, alongside co-star Connie Britton. He also shot the film in the neighborhoods where he grew up in Long Island.
"The Fitzgerald Family Christmas" is reminiscent of his directorial debut in "The Brothers McMullen", which was also written by Burns and starred him in it. It told the story of three Irish Catholic brothers from Long Island struggling to deal with love, marriage, and infidelity. Burns comes to talk about the new film and its connection to his first one this morning on “Starting Point”.
“It was a conscious decision on my part, 17 years later, which is scary,” Burns says, “to go back to that milieu, that world, and literally, a homecoming.” He says the way he shot the film, “the Fitzgerald’s live about 6 doors down from where the McMullens lived in Valley Stream, Long Island,” which is his own neighborhood.
“It’s not autobiographical,” Burns says, “but the Fitzgerald’s definitely come from the same world that I came from. They grew up in the same neighborhood, shaped by the same experiences, went to the same schools. So it was one of those screenplays that really poured out of me.”
Already getting Oscar buzz, “Flight” is a film about a Captain that lands a doomed plane. In her first American television appearance, British actress Kelly Reilly shares with Soledad her experience working with a focused Denzel Washington.
Reilly plays a recovering heroin addict that tries to help the alcoholic Denzel Washington post- fame. To prepare, she worked with a recovered heroin addict to really capture the essence of the struggle that leads a person to drugs and to stray away from stereotypes.
As for the underlying message in the film, she reverts to what the director said while filming, saying, “There are a lot of messages in his movies, but he [director, Robert Zemeckis] does not like to moralize or throw lessons down the audience’s throat so to speak. He’d actually rather just tell a story and let people get what they get from it.”
Whitney Houston's final movie, "Sparkle," opened in the fifth spot this weekend at the box office bringing in $12 million dollars. Houston plays the overprotective mom of a girl group, with dreams of a singing career of her own. The movie also stars "American Idol" season six winner Jordin Sparks, and Tamela Mann who plays the role of Whitney’s best friend. Mann has also appeared in several Tyler Perry films including "Madea Goes to Jail" and "Madea's Big Happy Family" and played the role of Cora Simmons in Tyler Perry's "Meet the Browns" on TBS.
This morning on “Starting Point,” Mann discussed her role and what it was like working with Houston on her final film.
“It was wonderful," Mann says. "I mean it was nothing like I’ve heard. She didn’t come in acting like a diva. She was very professional, very pleasant to work with. I mean we had a lot of fun. We’d sit and talked about God a lot on the set and kids of course and singing.”
Mann who is also an award winning gospel singer talked about sharing some of her songs with Houston before they debuted on her new album “Best Days". “She was actually like one of the first persons to hear a couple of my songs before they came out… I asked her ‘do you mind?’ and she was like ‘yea!’ So she was singing and she was like ‘yea baby get to this part and just ride it.’ But it was really wonderful working with her.”
Famed director Tony Scott who is best known for hits like "Top Gun," "Days Of Thunder" and "Beverly Hills Cop Two" has died. The Los Angeles County coroner's office is treating the case as a suicide, saying he jumped off the Vincent Thomas Bridge yesterday in San Pedro, California.
Scott also produced a number of films with his brother Ridley, including this summer's "Prometheus." Their next collaboration, a creepy medical mini-series called "Coma," is set to premiere next month on A&E. According to "Box Office Mojo," Scott's movies as director and producer grossed more than $1.6 billion in theaters.
Showbiz411 and Parade.com’s Roger Friedman talks about 68-year-old Scott’s legacy.
In his new movie "Lawless," Dane DeHaan plays one of the infamous Bondurant Brothers who made a run for the American dream during the prohibition era in Virginia. DeHaan says the movie which features three bootlegging siblings, guns, crime and violence is ultimately about family. "The movie is a bloodbath. But its a bloodbath because its ultimately about three brothers and their heritage and providing for their family with their heritage," DeHaan says.
DeHaan, a rising star who is best known for his portrayal of Jesse on HBO's series "In Treatment" talks about not being overtaken by the celebrity. DeHaan says, "I've never really done this to be a celebrity. I've done it because I really love acting and because I really love the work."
The movie also stars Shia Labeouf, Tom Hardy, Guy Pearce, Gary Oldman, and Mia Wasikowska. "Lawless" Opens in theatres August 29.