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2014 Oscars Favorites: A Year Of Adversity, Heroes, And Con Men

2/22/2014 4:01pm EST
2014 Oscars Favorites: A Year Of Adversity, Heroes, And Con Men
2013 was one of the best years in a long time for great films and great performances - they were so great in fact, it was hard to come up with our favorites.

But we did! Now these aren't John's picks, but another 'Jew' (Marilyn) has opinions that are as strong as my wonderful husband's.

Two Jews on Film Oscars 2014 Favorites: This is the year that reminded us of how cruel and ignorant we humans can be...

'12 Years a Slave,' 'Mandela,' '42' and 'Philomena,' all these films demonstrated the power of the human spirit to overcome adversity and in the end, to more than prevail.

2013 was al...

'Her' And 'Captain Phillips' Are Surprise Wins At Writers Guild Awards

2/2/2014 10:17am EST
Writers Guild Awards
Her and Captain Phillips have surprised Hollywood after picking up Writers Guild of America awards ahead of the favorites American Hustle and The Wolf of Wall Street.

Her director Spike Jonze claimed the Best Original Screenplay prize at the 66th annual bash on Saturday, and Captain Phillips beat The Wolf of Wall Street, Before Midnight and August: Osage County for Best Adapted Screenplay.

Breaking Bad was a big TV winner, landing the Best Drama and Best Episodic Drama honors, and the writing team behind Veep won the Best Comedy prize. The 30 Rock series finale was named Best Episodic Com...

Blu-ray Review: 'Captain Phillips'

1/23/2014 10:10am EST
Captain Phillips header
Being held captive by pirates may be harrowing but can also make for a powerful flick.  That’s why we’re checking out the new to Blu-ray flick "Captain Phillips" out now from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.  We review the tragic events below.



   Title: "Captain Phillips"

   Grade: 3

   Cast: Tom Hanks, Barkhad Abdi, Chris Mulkey

   Director: Paul Greengrass

   Rating: PG-13

   Runtime: 135 minutes

   Release Company: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment



The Flick: As a film "Captain Phillips" is easy to spot as the work of Pa...

The Biggest Snubs From The 2014 Oscar Nominations

1/16/2014 12:03pm EST
Captain Phillips
Not everyone or every movie can be nominated for an Academy Award, but that won't stop us from declared who was snubbed by the Academy this morning when the nominations were announced.

Inside Llewyn Davis: Many of today's snubs felt like it was the Academy saying, "give someone else a chance." After six Oscars and countless nominations, Joel and Ethan Coen were stricken from the record this awards season - other than cinematography and sound mixing nods. The film has an astonishing 94% on Rotten Tomatoes after over 200 critic reviews, but it did not receive one best picture nomination from...

'Gravity,' 'American Hustle' & '12 Years A Slave' Dominate 2014 Oscar Nominations (See Full List Of Nominees)

1/16/2014 9:38am EST
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - Actor Chris Hemsworth and Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs announced the nominations for the 86th Academy Awards® today (January 16).

Hemsworth and Boone Isaacs announced the nominees at a 5:38 a.m. PT live news conference attended by more than 400 international media representatives. For a complete list of nominees, visit the official Academy Awards website,

Academy members from each of the branches vote to determine the nominees in their respective categories - actors nominate actors, film editors nominate film editors, etc. In the Animated Featur...

Predictions: 2014 Oscar Nominations Could Be A 'Hustle'

1/15/2014 8:50pm EST
American Hustle
The Oscar nominations are relatively easy to predict most years, but there are always a couple of nominees that seem to sneak in out of nowhere. Remember Maggie Gyllenhaal in ‘Crazy Heart’ a couple of years ago? Or Jacki Weaver for ‘Silver Linings Playbook’ last year?

That being said, there are a few question marks this year. Let’s take a look at who has the best shot at being nominated tomorrow morning.

Best Picture

Most likely:

’12 Years a Slave’


‘American Hustle’

‘Dallas Buyers Club’


‘Captain Phillips’


‘The Wolf of Wall Street’

There could be anywhe...

'American Hustle,' 'Her' And '12 Years A Slave' Top Producers Guild Nominees

1/2/2014 11:38pm EST
American Hustle
American Hustle, Her and 12 Years a Slave are among the top films of 2013, according to the Producers Guild of America, which announced its list of nominees for the 25th annual Producers Guild Awards on Thursday.

The three films, along with Gravity, The Wolf of Wall Street, Blue Jasmine, Captain Phillips, Saving Mr. Banks, Dallas Buyers Club and Nebraska were all given a strong Oscar boost as they were announced as the nominees for the 2014 Darryl F. Zanuck Producer of the Year Award.

The films that make the short list of nominees each year usually go on to land several Golden Globe and O...

Golden Globe 2014 Nomination Predictions

12/11/2013 8:30pm EST
Dallas Buyers Club
The Golden Globe nominations are tomorrow morning. The Globes tend to nominate big films and big actors. Case in point, the Globes nominated The Tourist. So, smaller actors in smaller films are likely to get lost. This is not the awards show for Fruitvale Station. That being said, there are always a few performances from new actors that can’t be ignored. Even though no one knows who she is, Lupita Nyong’o is still going to get a globe nomination. Here’s a brief overview of what I think will land where:

12 Years A Slave
Captain Phillips
Saving Mr. Banks
Dallas Buyers Clu...

SAG Award Nominees Named: '12 Years A Slave' Tops Nods (Full List)

12/11/2013 11:14am EST
12 Years a Slave
Some people were surprised by The Butler’s presence here, but I don’t see any surprises from them. Movies like Gravity and Her (which are frontrunners for a Best Picture nomination) aren’t large cast films, and wouldn’t get the Ensemble nomination over The Butler. The big surprise is Dallas Buyers Club, which is a relatively small cast, and did manage an Ensemble nomination. That could go a long way in getting DBC to a Best Picture nomination. Also, Daniel Bruhl is back in the race with a Supporting Actor nomination for Rush.

Kudos to the SAG members for nominating James Gandolfini for E...

Box Office Predictions: 'Hunger Games: Catching Fire' Should Set November Opening Weekend Record

11/22/2013 11:30am EST
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
1) The Hunger Games: Catching Fire- 170M Weekend, 170M Total

The Hunger Games is tracking to be the biggest opening in November, ever. Simply put, it is tracking to do better than the original, which already had a stunning 152.5M opening weekend in March 2012. Even if it matched the opening of the original, it would set a new opening weekend record for November. So, this is a pretty epic weekend. Catching Fire has a 95% on Rotten Tomatoes, pleasing critics across the board. Midnight shows should be huge, and will help to push Catching Fire to new heights.

2) Thor: The Dark World- 16M Week...

Box Office Predictions: 'Thor: The Dark World' Will Repeat At No. 1

11/15/2013 12:11pm EST
Thor: The Dark World
1) Thor: The Dark World- 40M Weekend, 145M Total

With no real direct competition, and good word of mouth, Thor is still “the movie to see” this weekend. It will likely dip in half, and still do far more than everything else in theatres. It will have to contend with the juggernaut that is The Hunger Games next week, so it’s good that it is mopping up as much money as it can right now.

2) The Best Man Holiday- 17M Weekend, 17M Total

As the weekends only new release, as well as being a holiday themed release, you’d think The Best Man Holiday would shoot to the top. Unfortunately, I’m not su...

Weekend Box Office Predictions: 'Thor: The Dark World' Obviously Will Take No. 1

11/7/2013 7:10pm EST
Thor: The Dark World
1) Thor: The Dark World- 75M Weekend, 75M Total

It’s almost an unprecedented move. A summer blockbuster is opening in November. The good news is that the Top 10 films of November (All Time) are almost entirely franchise films. However, most of those are Harry Potter or Twilight films. There really isn’t a superhero sequel in November, ever. That being said, five films have managed to gross over 100M on their opening November weekends. Thor has already been doing some great overseas business, and managed some good reviews. The original opened to 65M, and it’s safe to say the sequel will bea...

Box Office Predictions: 'Ender's Game' or Will 'Free Birds' Fly?

10/31/2013 8:00pm EDT
Ender's Game
1) Ender's Game- 25M Weekend, 25M Total

My gut instinct is that Enders Game is going to disappoint this weekend. Adobe started tracking social media responses to upcoming films, and singled Enders Game out as one of the films most likely to crash and burn this season. I’m going to lowball this, but other prognosticators think this can do over 30M.

2) Free Birds- 22M Weekend, 22M Total

I see a lot of low numbers for Free Birds, but the marketplace is very largely adult right now. Even Enders Game doesn’t feel like a kids movie, so I don’t know if families will flock to it or not. November...

Box Office Predictions: ‘Bad Grandpa’ Will Make An Impact

10/25/2013 10:42pm EDT
Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa
1) Bad Grandpa- 35M Weekend, 35M Total

Entering into a rather serious Top 10 is Bad Grandpa, which is looking to draw in an underserved comedy audience. Specifically, the young male comedy audience. This strategy has worked well for the Jackass films in the past. Jackass 3D opened to 50M, Jackass 2 did 29M. Bad Grandpa is tracking well, and will dominate due to a lack of direct competition.

2) Gravity- 21M Weekend, 200M Total

Gravity is looking to crack 200M this weekend. Another 30% drop to 21M will put it in striking distance. A pretty amazing feat for a film in October, starring only ...

Box Office: 'Gravity' Should Prevail Over 'Carrie' Remake

10/18/2013 11:10am EDT
1) Gravity- 31M Weekend, 165M Total

After dipping a mere 22% last week, Gravity is actually gaining back some of the IMAX screens it lost to Captain Phillips. Another similar drop for Gravity should keep it firmly in first place.

2) Carrie- 18M Weekend, 18M Total

The problem with Carrie is that it is a remake. And they’ve tried to bring Carrie back before (anyone remember Carrie 2?) and it hasn’t worked out well for anyone. The preview makes it seem like critics are loving it, but it only has a 48% on Rotten Tomatoes. It should do OK this weekend, but I don’t think it’s a smash hit.

3) ...

Review: 'Captain Phillips' Will Keep You On The Edge Of Your Seat Till The Credits Roll

10/10/2013 7:40am EDT
Captain Phillips
There are many reasons to see this film, but here's three.

Number One: This is one of the best directed films I've seen in 2013.

Number Two: Tom Hanks as Captain Phillips has never been better.  

Number Three: John, the other half of Two Jews On Film (the super critical half) awarded it with five bagels out of five.

'Captain Phillips' directed by Paul Greengrass is an edge of your seat thriller.  It's based on a true story that took place in 2009 off the coast of Africa. Somali pirates take an American sea captain hostage, while simultaneously, exposing the underlying economic divide th...

Tom Hanks Worked With Real Navy Medics In 'Captain Phillips'

10/6/2013 4:01pm EDT
Tom Hanks
Tom Hanks got to work with real Navy medics on the set of his new film Captain Phillips when they became extras.

The captain of the ship that came to the rescue of Hanks' real-life character was a consultant on the set and when director Paul Greengrass wanted more information about what happened to merchant mariner Richard Phillips after he was rescued from the clutches of Somalian pirates in 2009, the skipper offered to give the cast a crew a tour of the infirmary - to show them.

Hanks explains, "Paul said, 'What did you do with Phillips when you first got him?' The captain said, 'The ...