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Movies: Past, present and future

Category: Brad Pitt

Brad Pitt goes 'Blonde'; can he jumpstart Marilyn Monroe pic?

June 1, 2012 |  5:00 am


Marilyn Monroe has been everywhere lately, from the fictitious musical on "Smash" to the 2011 Michelle Williams movie to even this questionable  hologram extravaganza.

But she could be getting another treatment if Brad Pitt and Andrew Dominik have anything to say about it.

The A-list actor has come aboard to produce the filmmaker’s long-gestating drama about the blond bombshell. "We're going to get this one done," Pitt told 24 Frames in a joint interview with Dominik.

Pitt said it's unclear whether he would take a role in the movie as well (suggestions welcome on who he should play) or simply produce. Pitt's been on a bit of a producing hot streak lately: His company, Plan B, was behind two best picture nominees in 2012 ("The Tree of Life" and "Moneyball").

Pitt and Domink collaborated on "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford" and the upcoming hit-man movie "Killing Them Softly." "Blonde" would mark a shift from those hard-boiled genres;  it would look at an imagined inner life of the iconic actress, an inner life first imagined by Joyce Carol Oates, who wrote an acclaimed 2000 novel on which the film would be based.

Oates' "Blonde," which also got the TV mini-series treatment a decade ago, has been in feature development since at least 2009, when Dominik began writing a script based on the book. Soon after, the foreign-sales company Wild Bunch began peddling the project.

But it's back on the front burner thanks to Pitt's interest and to some new financing possibilities. Dominik wouldn't comment on the specific progress of the project, but said that shooting it in January or February of 2013 was not out of the realm of possibility.

When it was first incarnated with Wild Bunch, Naomi Watts was slated to play the lead part of Marilyn. But that was a long time ago, and it's unclear at this point if the filmmakers would continue in that  direction.

It should be noted that "My Week With Marilyn" was hardly a blockbuster performer: It grossed $14 million and garnered mediocre reviews. But that film covered only a small slice of the actress' life. And, in any event, expect a different kind of film from the Australia-based Dominik, who departed from convention with both “Jesse James" (a non-Western Western) and "Killing Them Softly” (which turns the hit-man movie into a meditation on capitalism). Meanwhile, interest in Monroe continues to grow with the 50th anniversary of her death approaching on Aug. 5.

Since coming on the scene with his cult hit “Chopper” in 2000, Dominik hasn't exactly worked at a feverish pace. He took seven years to make "Jesse James" and five for "Killing." "He's got a terrible habit for writing things on spec," Pitt said with a good-natured smile, implying that the rights issues on "Blonde" may have bogged it down too. (Dominik wrote his first draft on spec, that is, without locking down rights.)

But Pitt's brand of surfer-boy intellectual and Dominik's auteur intensity clearly combine for a kind of chemistry, with both of their collaborations yielding solid reviews.  Pitt said that "I think 'Jesse' is going to be the film I'm most proud of when I'm done with this [acting] thing."

Frustrated by the meager box-office for "James," Dominik hopes that "Killing," which hits theaters in September as a Weinstein Co. release, rekindles the industry's interest in the pair's work.

 "I wanted to make a $15-million movie. I wanted to make a movie that was cheap and could make its money back, because I'd like to keep working with Brad and I'd like us to have more expensive playdates than the last one," he said. "I would like to make someone some money."

Generally, he said, he struggles with the balance between passion and pragmatism, which he said may be why he's made just two movies since "Chopper."

"I'd like to make movies, man,” he said. “But I don't want to just make movies. I want to make the movies I want to make."


Cannes 2012: Brad Pitt's 'Killing Them Softly,' anti-capitalist screed?

Can Michelle Williams pull off Marilyn Monroe?

Marilyn Monroe gets the musical treatment on Smash

--Steven Zeitchik


Photo:Cannes Film Festival chief Thierry Fremaux, from left, Brad Pitt, Andrew Domink and Pitt producing partner Dede Gardner at the Cannes Film Festival. Credit: Valery Hache / AFP/Getty Images


Cannes 2012: Breaking down Brad Pitt's 'Killing' (Video)

May 24, 2012 |  5:27 am

Brad Pitt's "Killing Them Softly" divided audiences when it screened this week at the Cannes Film Festival: Some responded to the film's metaphoric overtones about capitalism and politics; others found it heavy-handed. The Times' Steven Zeitchik and the Chicago Tribune's Michael Phillips recap one of the more provocative films of this year's movie gathering.


Cannes 2012: Is "Sapphires" a fine gem or costume jewelry?

Cannes 2012: Shia LaBeouf's "Lawless," parable for the drug war?

Cannes 2012: Brad Pitt's "Killing Them Softly": Anti-capitalist screed?

-- Steven Zeitchik

Cannes 2012: Brad Pitt's 'Killing Them Softly': Anti-capitalist screed?

May 22, 2012 |  6:21 am

 Brad Pitt's "Killing Them Softly," directed by Andrew Dominik, has anti-capitalist themesMost feature filmmakers shy away from acknowledging overt political messages in their films, hiding behind platitudes such as "I just wanted to tell the best story" or "I'd rather let others be the ones to interpret my work."

Not "Killing Them Softly" writer-director Andrew Dominik and his star-producer, Brad Pitt, who offered with frankness -- both in the film and at a Cannes Film Festival news conference that followed on Tuesday morning -- their unfavorable opinion of capitalism as recently practiced in the U.S.

Everything you need to know about Dominik's worldview came with a moment in the news conference in which the Australian said that in his experience America is largely about making money, and that that went double for Hollywood.

PHOTOS: Scene at Cannes

Or, as the film's touchstone piece of dialogue has it: "America isn't a country -- it's a business.”

Pitt and Dominik reunited after 2007's "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford" for "Killing," which is set to be released commercially by the Weinstein Co. in September. Dominik said at the presser that if "Jesse James" was "a Leonard Cohen song," his new film is "a pop song."

Certainly that's true in terms of genre -- "Killing Them Softly" is a hit-man movie, albeit an arthouse one, and contains many of the schemes and stylized violence you might expect from a film with that label.

But the various criminal elements--including Pitt's Jackie Cogan, who likes to kill his marks from a distance, or "softly"--that try to rub each other out and protect their own interests are, well, often beside the point, their arcs followed slowly and circuitously. Instead, characters serve as symbols of, among other things, the hierarchy in a capitalist system. Dominik's larger notion is that U.S. capitalism is deeply flawed, and that government, whether Democrat or Republican, has let down its people.

CHEAT SHEET: Cannes Film Festival movies to see

Lest there be any doubt about his intentions, the director set his film in 2008, against the backdrop of the economic crisis and the Obama-McCain election. He allows empty campaign promises -- including plenty from Obama -- to play underneath much of the action. The result is a commentary on the cruel Darwinian dynamic of the have-and-have-not crime world; indeed, though it was written before the Occupy movement took hold, it is arguably the first post-Occupy film -- or, perhaps, what the documentary "Inside Job" might look like if it was a fictional feature.

Pitt even said at the news conference that it was "criminal that there still haven't been any criminal repercussions" for the financial crisis, pretty much channeling the spirit of "Inside Job" director Charles Ferguson, who on the 2011 Oscar stage famously said that "no single financial executive has gone to jail, and that's wrong."

The actor was more muted than Dominik, but he didn't totally hold his fire either. Asked about the decision to get behind this film, he said that at the time  "we were at the apex of the home mortgage debacle and people were losing homes right and left," adding of this movie that "you believe you're watching a gangster film and it wasn't until the end when it coalesced [at the "America is not a country" volley, as well as a line about Thomas Jefferson that's best experienced firsthand] that you realized it was saying something about the larger world."

Dominik adapted the script from a 1974 novel titled "Cogan's Trade" that obviously lacks these contemporary political and economic elements. The fact that he's writing this as an outsider--an Aussie character is one of the few who gets away clean, which Dominik winkingly acknowledged was a comment on his home country's less rapacious form of capitalism--will only fuel the movie's critics, particularly on the right. On the other end of the spectrum, the film will no doubt go over big in Francois Hollande's France when it premieres Tuesday evening.

And then there's this peculiarity: "Killing Them Softly" is financed by Megan Ellison, who, as the very wealthy daughter of the very wealthy Larry Ellison, is of course a prime beneficiary of capitalism. Is this her attempt at repudiating her wealth or a deeper, more head-spinning contradiction? Dominik might say the latter -- but then, given his belief system, he would say that contradictions are nothing new in the American economic order.


Cannes 2012: Is "Sapphires" a fine gem or costume jewelry?

Cannes 2012: Shia LaBeouf's "Lawless,"' parable for the drug war?

Cannes 2012: Redoing Romeo and Juliet for the "Twilight" generation

-- Steven Zeitchik

Photo: Brad Pitt in "Killing Them Softly." Credit: The Weinstein Co.

Cannes 2012: Festival turns 65 with a lineup heavy on U.S. titles

May 16, 2012 |  5:00 am

Cannes Film Festival

If all film festivals are balancing acts, it stands to reason that the annual extravaganza at Cannes, likely the world's most celebrated cinematic event, has more to balance than most. Especially this year.

Opening Wednesday night with Wes Anderson's oddly endearing “Moonrise Kingdom,” Cannes is celebrating its 65th anniversary this year and marking that milestone by embracing all kinds of opposites: old and young, dramatic and documentary, commercial and politically committed, avant-garde and classic, even American and not.

The U.S. presence seems especially strong, starting with the official poster, an Otto Bettmann photo of a luminous Marilyn Monroe blowing out a birthday cake candle. An 80- by 40-foot version looms impossibly large on an outside wall of the Palais des Festivals, while the building's inside walls feature photos of other Hollywood luminaries, including Orson Welles and Rita Hayworth, Clark Gable and Judy Garland, even Marlene Dietrich and Ernst Lubitsch, having a go at birthday cakes of their own.

Cheat Sheet: Cannes Film Festival 2012

On one level, American films are thick in the main competition, with a roster that includes new movies by Lee Daniels, who is following his Oscar-winning drama “Precious” with “The Paperboy,” and Jeff Nichols, whose “Mud” comes after the acclaimed apocalyptic meditation “Take Shelter.”

But some of the most eagerly anticipated American films — Walter Salles' take on Jack Kerouac's legendary “On the Road,” Andrew Dominik's Brad Pitt-starring “Killing Them Softly” (based on George V. Higgins' “Cogan's Trade”) and John Hillcoat's Prohibition era “Lawless” — were all directed by filmmakers who hail from other countries.

Speaking of elsewhere, new films are also on offer from such stalwarts as France's Jacques Audiard (“Rust & Bone”), Italy's Matteo Garrone (“Reality,” following up on “Gomorrah”), Britain's Ken Loach (“The Angels' Share”) and Austria's Michael Haneke (the Isabelle Huppert-starring “Amour”).

The honor of being the oldest director in the competition goes to 89-year-old Alain Resnais, here with the puckishly titled “You Haven't Seen Anything Yet.” Considerably younger, with films in the Un Certain Regard section, are debuting Americans Adam Leon, whose “Gimme the Loot” took the grand jury prize at this year's South by Southwest Film Festival in Austin, Texas, and Benh Zeitlin, whose “Beasts of the Southern Wild” did the same at Sundance in January.

Straddling the young-old divide in a personal way are Canadian director David Cronenberg, in competition with the Robert Pattinson-starring “Cosmopolis” from the Don DeLillo novel, and his son Brandon, in Un Certain Regard with the thriller “Antiviral.”

Though the world's artier directors are always to be found at the festival, Cannes is also determined to embroil itself in the commercial side of things, which it does by scheduling the animated adventure “Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted” in an out-of-competition slot.

Then there are the numerous billboards for features that dot the city's streets and the fronts of hotels. Most noticeable this year is the way names that were considered edgy once upon a time have now become commercial enough to merit major-league spending.

Billboards could be seen not only for Quentin Tarantino's “Django Unchained” but also for Harmony Korine's “Spring Breakers.” And who should look right at home in the prime real estate of the entrance to the Carlton Hotel but Sacha Baron Cohen in full Admiral General Aladeen regalia for his satirical comedy “The Dictator.” Thus pass the bad boys of the world.

Perhaps even more startling, however, is the recent announcement from Canada's Alliance Films that it would charge Canadian journalists for interview access to the stars of some of the company's films.

If this is starting to sound all too frivolous, Cannes has political antidotes all ready to go. There will be a special screening of “The Oath of Tobruk,” Bernard-Henri Levy's doc about the fall of Moammar Kadafi, with “four key figures of the Libyan revolution” in attendance.

Closer to home is “The Central Park Five,” a quietly devastating documentary co-directed by Ken Burns, his daughter Sarah Burns and her husband, David McMahon, that examines how and why five innocent teenagers ended up being convicted of and imprisoned for the savage rape of a jogger in New York's Central Park in a case that became an international media sensation.

If you view film as a refuge from the cares of the real world, Cannes is ready for you as well. The ever-expanding Cannes Classics section features an impressive variety of restorations, including Alfred Hitchcock's silent “The Ring,” a 4-hour, 13-minute reconstruction of Sergio Leone's “Once Upon a Time in America” and Andrei Konchalovsky's aptly named “Runaway Train.”

Also, there are master class lectures by director Philip Kaufman (here with HBO's “Hemingway & Gellhorn” starring Nicole Kidman and Clive Owen) and 97-year-old Norman Lloyd, who has seen a lot (he co-founded the Mercury Theater with Welles) and remembers it all.


Cannes 2012: Alexander Payne, Ewan McGregor named to jury

William Friedkin to serve as L.A. Film Fest's guest director

'Gangster Squad' trailer highlights L.A. landmarks

— Kenneth Turan

Photo: A giant canvas of the official poster of the 65th Cannes Film Festival featuring Marilyn Monroe. Credit: Stephane Reix / EPA.

George Clooney vs. Brad Pitt: Who has more awards heat?

February 3, 2012 |  3:01 pm

PittmoneFans of George Clooney and Brad Pitt tend to feel strongly about their respective A-listers; for every "Good Night, and Good Luck" a Clooney-ite will lob, a member of the Pitt Crew will come back with a "Curious Case of Benjamin Button." And so it goes.

It’s rare enough when an awards season brings one movie from each superstar; it’s even less common to get a pair of films from each of them. But 2011 yielded just that, with Pitt starring in and producing “The Tree of Life” and “Moneyball,” and Clooney starring in “The Descendants” and starring in, producing, directing and co-writing “The Ides of March.”

Which of the two has more awards season heat? We turned to The Times’ Heat Meter system, which tallies points for nominations and awards from specific organizations — in any category — that a person has received throughout the season. Turns out the contest has been as dramatic as the pennant race in “Moneyball.”

Pitt jumped off to a big lead thanks to accolades from the New York Film Critics Circle and Los Angeles Film Critics Assn. Clooney made up some ground once the Screen Actors Guild and Golden Globe nominations came out, then leapfrogged Pitt after winning the lead actor in a drama prize at the Golden Globes.

The Oscar nominations, though, have made the race close again, with Pitt picking up best picture points as a producer on "Moneyball." Now it’s anyone’s game as we head into the Oscars: Pitt trails Clooney by just nine points in our Heat Meter rankings.

For a complete look at the heat index by various films and personalities, visit The Times' landing page for all things Heat Meter.

--Steven Zeitchik


Heat Meter: Who's hot and who's not?

Oscars: Geoge Clooney, Brad  Pitt might be their own worst enemies

Heat Meter: 'The Help' gets a SAG boost, but is it enough?

Photo: Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill in "Moneyball." Credit: Sony Pictures


Oscars 2012: Brad Pitt won't face himself in best picture race

January 27, 2012 |  5:15 pm

Tree of Life
Brad Pitt can relax—he won’t be competing against himself in the best picture race. At least, not as a producer.

The actor already has been nominated as a producer of “Moneyball,” in which he stars, but on Friday the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences did not include Pitt as one of the four credited producers on the best picture selection “The Tree of Life,” in which he also stars.

When Oscar nominations were announced Tuesday morning, the academy said the “Tree of Life” credits had not been finalized. When the film was released theatrically, five producers were listed in its credits: Pitt, his business partner Dede Gardner, director Terrence Malick’s longtime collaborator Sarah Green, financier Bill Pohlad and Grant Hill, a veteran of Malick’s “The Thin Red Line.”

The academy, following standards set by the Producers Guild of America, typically limits best picture nominees to no more than three producers, a consequence of the producer stampede when 1998’s “Shakespeare in Love” won the top Oscar statuette.

The academy’s producers branch, working in collaboration with its executive committee, said “The Tree of Life” represented a "rare and extraordinary circumstance” in which four producers could earn a credit. The academy determined that Gardner, Green, Pohlad and Hill would be eligible to collect the trophy should “Tree of Life” win.

When the nominations were announced, Pitt said he would be happy if Gardner was the sole representative from their company, Plan B Entertainment. “It’s a great problem,” he said of the potential of facing himself. “Pancakes for everybody.”


Oscar nod a tall order for short films

PHOTOS: 84th Academy Awards nominees

Pixar’s awards hopes may lie with its short film, not ‘Cars 2’

--John Horn

Photo: Brad Pitt in "The Tree of Life." Credit: Merrie Wallace/Fox Searchlight.



National Society of Film Critics: 'Melancholia' best of 2011

January 7, 2012 |  1:51 pm


Kirsten Dunst, from left,  Alexander Skarsgaard, Kiefer Sutherland and Charlotte Gainsbourg  in "Melancholia."

The National Society of Film Critics, which is made up of 58 the country's major film critics, rarely agrees with the choices of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for the Oscars. And the group probably stayed true to form with its picks for its 46th annual awards, naming Lars Von Trier's end-of-the-world drama "Melancholia" best picture Saturday.

Terrence's Malick's "The Tree of Life" came in second and the lauded Iranian drama "A Separation" placed third. "Separation" also won best foreign-language film and best screenplay for Asghar Farhadi.

Malick took best director honors with Martin Scorsese for "Hugo" coming in second and Von Trier placing third.

The annual voting, using a weighted ballot system, is held at Sardi's Restaurant in New York City; this year 48 of the 58 members participated.

Best actor went to Brad Pitt for both "Moneyball" and "The Tree of Life." Pitt also won best actor from the New York Film Critics' Circle and is nominated for a Golden Globe, a SAG award and a Critics Choice award. Runner-up was Gary Oldman for "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy," and Jean Dujardin placed third for "The Artist."

Notably missing from the list was Michael Fassbender for "Shame" and George Clooney for "The Descendants."

Best actress honors went to Kirsten Dunst for "Melancholia," with Yun Jung-hee for the Korean film "Poetry" coming in second. Meryl Streep's turn in "The Iron Lady" placed third.

Best supporting actor went to Albert Brooks for a his dramatic turn in "Drive." Christopher Plummer placed second for "Beginners," followed by Patton Oswalt for "Young Adult."

Best supporting actress was given to Jessica Chastain for her roles in three films: "The Tree of Life," "Take Shelter" and "The Help." Jeannie Berlin came in second for "Margaret" and Shailene Woodley placed third for "The Descandants."

"Tree of Life" also took home best cinematography for Emanual Lubezki with Manual Alberto Claro placing second for "Melancholia" and Robert Richardson taking third for "Hugo."

Werner Herzog's "Cave of Forgotten Dreams" was best nonfiction film. He also came in third place in the category for "Into the Abyss." Steve James' "The Interrupters" placed second.

In best screenplay category, Steve Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin's script for "Moneyball" was second behind "A Separation" and Woody Allen's "Midnight in Paris" took third.

 The Experimental Award went to Ken Jacobs for "Seeking the Monkey King."

There were also several Film Heritage honors given out:

-- BAM Cinematek for its complete Vincente Minnelli retrospective, with all titles shown in 16mm or 35mm.

-- Lobster Films, Groupama Gan Foundation for Cinema and the Technicolor Foundation for Cinema for the restoration of the color version of Georges Melies' "A Trip to the Moon."

-- New York's Museum of Modern Art for its extensive retrospective of Weimar Cinema.

-- Flicker Alley for its box set "Landmarks of Early Soviet Film."

-- Criterion Collection for its two-disc DVD package, "The Complete Jean Vigo."


'Melancholia' -- Kirsten Dunst ponders the end of the world [video]

Veteran Koreanactress Yun Jung-hee comes out of retirement for 'Poetry'

Jessica Chastain heading to Broadway in 'The Heiress'

-- Susan King

Photo: Kirsten Dunst, from left,  Alexander Skarsgaard, Kiefer Sutherland and Charlotte Gainsbourg star in "Melancholia." Credit: Christian Geisnaes/Magnolia Pictures.


Golden Globes: A hunk of hot men for dramatic actor [poll]

December 15, 2011 |  8:45 am

The 81 voters in the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. may work for obscure publications and make any number of bizarre Golden Globe picks, but they seem united in their selections for best dramatic actor -- the hotter the better.

In a field that will have women and any number of gay men swooning along the red carpet, the HFPA's picks for the 69th annual awards were more than a little hunky-dory: George Clooney ("The Descendants"), Leonardo DiCaprio ("J. Edgar"), Michael Fassbender ("Shame"), Ryan Gosling ("The Ides of March") and Brad Pitt ("Moneyball").

Gosling also was nominated in the comedy or musical lead actor contest for "Crazy, Stupid, Love" in a category that isn't nearly as easy on the eyes (sorry, Brendan Gleeson, who was nominated for "The Guard") but does include Jean Dujardin from "The Artist."

Clooney was nominated three times -- for starring in "The Descendants," and directing and co-writing "The Ides of March." So expect the NBC cameras to be trained on the actor/filmmaker for much of the ceremony on Jan. 15.


Golden Globes: The complete list of nominees

Golden Globes: Cable shows dominate TV nominations

More coverage of the Golden Globes and SAG nominations

--John Horn

Photos: From left, George Clooney, Leonardo DiCaprio, Michael Fassbender, Ryan Gosling and Brad Pitt. Credits: From left, Ken Hively/Los Angeles Times; Kevork Djansezian/Associated Press; Dave Hogan/Getty Images;  Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times; Evan Agostini/Associated Press


New York critics name 'The Artist' best film of the year

November 29, 2011 | 10:50 am

The artist

"The Artist," a black-and-white silent movie, was named best picture of 2011 Tuesday morning by the New York Film Critics Circle. The film's director, Michel Hazanavicius of France, also earned best director for his valentine to the early days of Hollywood.

It is the first time the critics have given its top award to a silent film. Earlier in the morning, the film earned five nominations for the Spirit Award.

Meryl Streep was named best actress for her performance as former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in "The Iron Lady," which opens in L.A. on Dec. 30. It is the fifth time the New York circle has honored Streep. The last time was two years ago for "Julie & Julia."

Brad Pitt took home best actor honors for his performances as Oakland A's manager Billy Beane in "Moneyball" and as a stern father in Terrence Malick's "The Tree of Life." It is his first honor from the critics' group. Steve Zallian and Aaron Sorkin won for best screenplay for "Moneyball."

This year's golden girl, Jessica Chastain, was named best supporting actress for her roles in "The Tree of LIfe," "The Help" and "Take Shelter." Albert Brooks won best supporting actor for a rare dramatic turn in the film noir "Drive."

Werner Herzog's "Cave of Forgotten Dreams' won best nonfiction film, while "Margin Call," written and directed by J.C. Chandor, was awarded best first feature. Cinematography honors went to Emmanuel Lubezki for "Tree of Life."

Foreign-language film honors went to Iran's  "A Separation," which has already won multiple awards and is the country's submission for the foreign-language film Oscar. The Chilean filmmaker Raoul Ruiz, who died in August, got a special posthumous award.

The awards will be handed out in a ceremony in Manhattan on Jan. 9.

The New York Film Critics Circle, which was founded in 1935, is the first major critics group to announce its picks for the best of the year. The organization, made up of critics from daily newspapers, weekly newspapers, magazines and online sites, traditionally voted after the National Board of Review of Motion Pictures and the Los Angeles Film Critics Assn. But in October, the 33-member group announced it would move its awards selection ahead two weeks.

The voting was supposed to have happened on Monday, but the group didn't have the chance to screen David Fincher's "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo," which opens Dec. 23, until Monday morning, so the voting was delayed until Tuesday. The film received no awards.

Over the decades, the New York critics' selections and those of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences have differed. Last year, the circle chose "The Social Network" as the top film and the academy gave "The King's Speech" the best film Oscar. The two groups agreed two years ago on "The Hurt Locker."

The National Board of Review of Motion Pictures announces its selections Thursday morning.


"New York Film Critics movies awards dates to see 'Dragon Tattoo'"

-- Susan King

Photo: Jean Dujardin and Berenice Bejo in "The Artist." Credit: The Weinstein Co.

George Clooney reveals his favorite films this year

November 15, 2011 |  6:15 pm

George Clooney
George Clooney is a busy man. Last month he starred alongside Ryan Gosling in the political drama "The Ides of March," on which he pulled triple-duty behind the camera by directing, producing and co-writing. Clooney's new film "The Descendants," a family drama in which he plays an indifferent father whose wife falls into a coma, opens Wednesday in Los Angeles and New York.

With two films gunning for awards this season, it's a wonder Clooney finds the time to keep up with the work of his peers. But somehow he manages. The actor-director recently told our colleagues at The Envelope whose work has impressed him recently:

"Jean Dujardin [in 'The Artist']. Because it's not just the style of the film, it's that his performance was so elegant and fun. He just jumps off the screen, and he's so good, and I thought that was a spectacular performance.

"You know what [else] I just saw that I really liked — I thought I'd like it anyway because they're all friends of mine — but I really liked 'Moneyball.' You know I'm still a baseball nut. It's really good. Brad [Pitt] is one of those actors that I think is always sort of underestimated … and the truth is he's really good in that movie."

Audiences will have to wait until Nov. 25 to see if they agree with Clooney's appraisal of Dujardin in "The Artist," a unique black-and-white silent film set in 1920s and '30s Hollywood. In the meantime, let us know what you thought of Pitt and "Moneyball" — and any other actors or films that have caught your attention this year — in the comments below.


Movie review: 'Moneyball'

'The Artist': Give it a try, you'll love it, cast promises

Is Brad Pitt beating George Clooney at his own game?

-- Oliver Gettell

Photo: George Clooney in "The Ides of March." Credit: Saeed Adyani / Columbia Pictures


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