Before “Scaredy Squirrel” appeared on the smallscreen, he was the star of Melanie Watt's book series. The neurotic rodent made such an impact, director Matt Ferguson and Nelvana veep Irene Weibel snatched him up for TV.
“We had this process of stripping the book back to that core character that everybody thought was fun and then building up a brand new world around him,” Ferguson says.
Scaredy's worrywart tendencies would usually peg him as the goofy secondary character in other shows, says Ferguson, but his place as the lead gives him an edge.
“We wanted to focus on him as a specific character, and then make the funniest gag-based show that we can,” Ferguson says.
— Francesca Bacardi
Vince Godinez of Top End Constructors installs Tom Sherak's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Tuesday.
Sherak was scheduled to receive his Star on the Walk of Fame in February but the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce moved up hte installation
L.A. mayor Eric Garcetti said in a statement: "Tom was a true Hollywood original, moving up the ladder to promote blockbusters, running the Oscars and having a bulging Rolodex filled with not just A-list contacts, but so many close friends who were smitten by his humor, drive, and spirit.
Bruce Snyder, former head of distribution at Fox, said, “In an industry of larger-than-life personalities, Tom was a giant.
Sherak died Tuesday in Calabasas, Calif.
While at Fox, Sherak oversaw some of the most famous movies of the 80s and 90s, including "Titanic," "Alien" and "Die Hard."
“American Hustle,” David O. Russell's partially true caper revolving around a disco-era political scandal, is his second straight pic to score a rare Oscar hat trick — nominations for the top prize, director and all four acting categories.
Critics applauded the comic story and its deft delivery by the leading cast, populated with returning vets from the helmer's previous efforts.
Writes Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times, “Like a cowboy working in the biggest of corrals, he lets his characters roam as far and wide as they please before reining them in with perfect control at the close.”
— Jerry Rice
“Gravity,” co-written and directed by Alfonso Cuaron, brings space into cinematic focus as never before.
As A.O. Scott writes in his New York Times review, “The defiance of impossibility is this movie's theme and its reason for being.”
But unlike most overwrought and fevered science fiction, the reason for “Gravity's” magic might be based in its very title.
“Much as 'Gravity' revels in the giddy, scary thrill of weightlessness,” notes Scott, “it is ... about the longing to be pulled back down onto the crowded, watery sphere where life is tedious, complicated, sad and possible.”
— Vivien Mejia
Joaquin Phoenix plays Theodore Twombly, a writer in the near future who pens felicitations for people too busy to do so. Such elements dominate much of the praise behind Spike Jonze's film, which manages to satirize human dependence on technology, the speed of contemporary life, and our march toward singularity.
Others celebrate the love story between Twombly and his Scarlett Johansson-voiced operating system.
“Just when you think someone is about to deliver a Luddite encomium to the primacy of the human,” Dana Stevens of Slate writes, “Jonze will pivot to a romantic scene … between two flawed, headstrong lovers.”
— Josh Neuman
Not until seeing “12 Years a Slave” does one realize how wholesome films about America's primal wound have been up to this point.
The true story of Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor), an African-American freeman snatched by bounty hunters in the North in 1841 and eventually sold to Edwin Epps (Michael Fassbender) gets captured by what Entertainment Weekly's Owen Gleiberman calls the “organic artistry” of director Steve McQueen's approach. He “stages scenes without a lot of cuts, using his camera as a kind of peering, gliding invisible witness.”
As a result, scenes such the one in which Northup avoids choking to death by tiptoeing with a noose around a neck for hours, end up feeling like they go on for hours.
— Josh Neuman
This dark-horse script written by Craig Borten and Melisa Wallack knocked around Hollywood for years before finally making it to the screen. It joins the best pic category primarily on the strength of its breathtaking lead turns.
“Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto give Oscar-worthy performances in frayed-at-the-edges AIDS drama 'Dallas Buyers Club,'” writes Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times film critic. “A feverish film, it often mirrors the opening and closing scenes — a rodeo cowboy on the back of an angry bull.
“...'Dallas Buyers Club' is a rough, raw, ragged and exhilarating ride.”
— Vivien Mejia
No surprise to see “Philomena” here. Its search for a long-lost son is simultaneously a mother-love melodrama, procedural mystery and road movie, genres frequently represented among best pic contenders.
It's also an odd-couple buddy comedy, leading cynical Steve Coogan and devout Judi Dench toward what Time Out NY's Joshua Rothkopf calls “a mature payoff that has two minds meeting and getting further along.”
Equally admiringly noted: Helmer Stephen Frears wraps everything up in a tight, satisfying 90 minutes.
— Bob Verini
No country for old men? No way. The 77-year-old Bruce Dern's portrayal of an alcoholic pursuing a bogus sweepstakes prize gives “Nebraska” a best picture edge.
“It's a career-topping performance,” says Claudia Puig, USA Today film critic. “It's filled with subtle nobility and grace, a nuanced portrayal of someone who could've been a cantankerous coot.”
Dern has pointed out he didn't want to “act” in the film, but be “a real person.” This authenticity creates an emotional resonance unmatched by other noms.
— Kate Hahn
Paul Greengrass' “Captain Phillips” scored on two fronts: as an audience-friendly adrenaline-pumper with mesmerizing turns by Tom Hanks and Oscar-nominated newcomer Barkhad Abdi, and with critics — citing the humanized pirates confronting a military superpower — as a thought-provoking glimpse at geopolitical inequality.
The movie, New York Times film critic Manohla Dargis writes, “shakes you up first with its style and then with its ideas.”
— Robert Abele
Money, drugs, sex. Leonardo DiCaprio. Martin Scorsese. More than 500 “fucks.” It would be hard to frontload a potential Oscar winner better than “The Wolf of Wall Street” does.
In addition, the film's agnosticism toward its subject lends it unexpected gravitas: “If you walk way feeling empty and demoralized … perhaps you truly appreciate the film's critical ambitions,” writes A.O. Scott in the New York Times. “The reverse could also be true.”
And it may not matter; Scorsese, like any good sleight-of-hand artist, hooks his audience from moment one. — Randee Dawn