The 2014 Oscars, hosted by Ellen DeGeneres, started off with a bang. The comedienne, who previously hosted seven years ago, took the stage and immediately made it her own. Like any host worth her salt, she took the material given to her and blended it with her own specific persona, giving the telecast a gentle and amusing start.
Every Oscar night has its fair share of dramatic and moving moments, but nothing ever comes close to the "In Memoriam" segment, which honors the actors, actresses, writers, directors, producers and technicians who passed away in the past year. Just when you think you've gotten over the death of a talent who truly mattered to you, this portion of the show rears its head and tears your heart open all over again.
And here we are: five weeks into the new year and we already have our first major blockbuster of 2014. Early estimates had 'The LEGO Movie' opening big, but the animated adventure shattered all expectations this weekend, with universally positive reviews and word of mouth sending the film to a massive opening.
Few people are as welcome on our televisions as Terry Crews and few felt creatures warm our hearts quite like the Muppets. In other words, if you want to sell us a Toyota, there are far worse spokespeople (and spokespuppets) to use. In the grand tradition of modern Super Bowl ads, the presumably very expensive spot starring these guys is online in advance of the big game, giving everyone who doesn't watch football a chance to remember how much they like the Muppets and that really funny guy who used to play sports-ball once upon a time.
And, of course, a chance to BUY TOYOTA BUY TOYOTA BUY TOYOTA.
Ah, a week at the box office where the new release flies completely under the radar and everything else feels like it's just hanging out because there's nothing else to push it off the charts. Welcome to January. Welcome to the home of movies like 'I Frankenstein,' which was dead on arrival this weekend and will vanish into dollar theaters within the next week or so.
We think that talking or texting during a movie is the epitome of rudeness and shouldn't be tolerated in any way. While we fully support hushing and zero-tolerance policies that eject talkers from theaters, we draw the line at physical violence and we imagine that even the most ardent movie fans would agree.
Every year presents a new apocalypse for the film industry and every year sees movies and theaters evolving to match the increasingly strange age that we live in. However, Hollywood's evolution may not be happening fast enough to win back certain audiences. A new Harris Poll asked Americans about their moviegoing habits and the results are a fascinating combination of the surprising and the not-so-surprising.
New releases have a habit of floundering in January, which tends to be one of Hollywood's biggest dumping grounds. Even this year's big January horror release, which is commonly a sure thing, floundered. What does tend to do well are the prestige pictures that opened late in the previous year (often in limited release) and finally expand in the new year, riding awards momentum to solid box office.
Of course, this is just a roundabout way of saying that Peter Berg's 'Lone Survivor' emerged from limited release this week to kick everyone's ass at the box office.
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