Book Watch: <i>Film Firsts: The 25 Movies That Created Contemporary American Cinema</i>

What was the first film to kick off the current CGI-boom? How about the first film to turn the Sundance Film Festival into independent cinema's premiere event? Or maybe the first film to take full advantage of the Internet as a marketing tool? All of those film firsts -- plus many more -- are covered in the new Praeger-published book Film Firsts: The 25 Movies That Created Contemporary American Cinema, written by TWoP's lead film critic, Ethan Alter.

Short Reviews of the 2014 Oscar-Nominated Short Films: Documentary

Our coverage of the 2014 Oscar nominated shorts concludes with some true-life tales.

Short Reviews of the 2014 Oscar-Nominated Short Films: Live Action

Continuing our look at this year's crop of Oscar nominated shorts with the live action nominees.

Short Reviews of the 2014 Oscar-Nominated Short Films: Animation

Once upon a time, only select audiences had the opportunity to view the various short films that were up for Oscar consideration. Now though, these movies are available to (almost) everyone thanks to Shorts HD and Magnolia, which have teamed up annually to distribute all fifteen nominees in three separate categories -- Animation, Documentary and Live-Action -- theaters (starting January 31) and via VOD (starting February 25). (Visit the official site for more details.) Here are short reviews this year's short films -- starting with Animation -- along with our picks for which will win and which should win.

Indie Snapshot: I’m So Excited

by Ethan Alter June 28, 2013 12:12 pm
Indie Snapshot: <i>I’m So Excited</i>

It's been a good two decades since Pedro Almodóvar has attempted one of the zany farces that first put him on the world cinema map in the mid-'80s -- think movies like Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown and Labyrinth of Passion. And while I wish I could say that I'm So Excited was worth the wait, this strained, resoundingly unfunny comedy instead emerges as one of the Spanish director's few creative misfires. Remember Woody Allen's painful mid-2000s run of laugh-free bombs like The Curse of the Jade Scorpion and Hollywood Ending? Well, I'm So Excited is basically Almodóvar's Jade Scorpion -- a trip down memory lane that leaves you wishing the filmmaker had never tried to go home again.

Oscars 2013: The Oscar-Nominated Animated Shorts

by Ethan Alter January 31, 2013 6:00 am
Oscars 2013: The Oscar-Nominated Animated Shorts

We judge this year's crop of the animated shorts that are up for Oscar.

Oscars 2013: The Oscar Nominated Live-Action Shorts

by Ethan Alter January 31, 2013 6:00 am
Oscars 2013: The Oscar Nominated Live-Action Shorts

We break down the nominees for live action short.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey: On the Road Again

by Ethan Alter December 14, 2012 12:01 am
<i>The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey</i>: On the Road Again

It's been almost a decade since the One Ring was cast into the fires of Mount Doom, rescuing Middle-earth from the scourge of Sauron. In the wake of that triumph, Aragon reclaimed his throne, Frodo sailed off to the Grey Havens and Sam returned home to his wife and daughter with an earnest, "Well, I'm back." As for Peter Jackson -- the unlikely filmmaker who brought J.R.R. Tolkien's fantasy epic The Lord of the Rings to life onscreen in a trio of much-loved blockbusters -- he's gone from being a New Zealand-based cult favorite to a reigning master of Hollywood spectacle, alongside directors like James Cameron and Steven Spielberg.

Ted: Ruder Than the Average Bear

by Ethan Alter June 29, 2012 6:00 am
<i>Ted</i>: Ruder Than the Average Bear

Apparently not content with overseeing 75 percent of Fox's Animation Domination Sunday nights, Seth MacFarlane has decided to take his talents to the multiplex as well. Today brings the release of the Family Guy creator's live-action filmmaking debut Ted, about a young boy's magical wish that results in his loveable stuffed teddy bear coming to life. But before you accuse MacFarlane of getting soft in his old age, be aware that the film's family-friendly aura lasts only as long as its pre-credits prologue. Because, as with so many things, once Ted (voiced by MacFarlane) and his boy John (Mark Wahlberg) grow up, they ain't so cute anymore... and neither is the movie.

Happy Anniversary, CQ and The Darjeeling Limited

by Ethan Alter May 23, 2012 1:17 pm
Happy Anniversary, <i>CQ</i> and <I>The Darjeeling Limited</i>

Before you see Moonrise Kingdom this weekend, check out these two films from the movie's co-writers, Roman Coppola and Wes Anderson.

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