Sean O'Connell

Denzel Washington: At his best when at his worst

Article: Denzel Washington: At his best when at his worst

Have you ever noticed that Denzel Washington is at his best when he’s behaving his worst?

The actor’s first Oscar win arrived in 1989, when he played the bitter, furious ex-slave Trip in Ed Zwick’s Civil War drama GLORY. Washington further embraced his dark side, and delivered his second Oscar-winning performance, by playing a corrupt L.A. street detective in Antoine Fuqua’s TRAINING DAY. And it’s likely he’ll earn a sixth Academy Award nomination early next year for his gripping portrayal of an alcoholic airline pilot in Robert Zemeckis’ FLIGHT, in theaters now.

It wasn’t until this pattern presented itself that we doubled back and realized just how often Washington willingly accepts the role of a hero mired in morality’s grey areas. Unlike Tom Cruise or Tom Hanks — bankable A-listers who desperately want to be loved by audiences worldwide — Washington repeatedly challenges his followers by asking them to accept a flawed protagonist who stands at an emotionally complicated crossroads and often makes an unpopular decision.

Faster, Jason! Kill! Kill! Five top FRIDAY THE 13TH deaths

Article: Faster, Jason! Kill! Kill! Five top FRIDAY THE 13TH deaths

Talk about following in your parent’s footsteps.

Earlier, as part of Sundance Channel’s WTF, we celebrated the film industry’s most psychotic mothers – triggered by Mrs. Voorhees’ hack-job through the original FRIDAY THE 13TH. Yet, as most of you know, Jason Voorhees picked up his mother’s torch with FRIDAY THE 13TH, PART 2 … and promptly buried it in some poor teenager’s chest. The sequel screens just after midnight Thursday night (Friday, Nov. 9th at 12:15A, to be specific).

Is Leonardo DiCaprio difficult to work with?

Article: Is Leonardo DiCaprio difficult to work with?

Why don’t most directors want to work with Leonardo DiCaprio more than once?

You can count on two fingers the number of times DiCaprio has collaborated with a filmmaker on multiple films: Martin Scorsese (on numerous projects) and Baz Luhrmann. On the flip side, you’d need an abacus to tally the number of high-profile directors who hired DiCaprio once and never went back for seconds. James Cameron (TITANIC), Woody Allen (CELEBRITY), Steven Spielberg (CATCH ME IF YOU CAN), and Danny Boyle (THE BEACH) are just a few names that come to mind. Boyle’s one-off feature with DiCaprio premieres Saturday, November 3, on Sundance Channel, and was the film that got us contemplating this topic.

Mamma Mia! The five meanest moms in horror history

Article: Mamma Mia! The five meanest moms in horror history

It’s a popular trivia question meant to stump horror newbies: Who terrorized the horny counselors at Camp Crystal Lake long before Jason Voorhees donned his trademark hockey mask and wielded his trusty machete? The answer – his mother – is revealed in the original FRIDAY THE 13TH, which airs on Thursday at midnight on Sundance Channel.

Yes, Jason was yet another serial killer born from a long line of deranged and murderous mothers, but he’s hardly alone. The overprotective mum has reared her ugly head in many horror movies through the years, prompting us to pick our five favorite frightening maternal figures. Don’t neglect to send them a card on Mother’s Day.

From AN AMERICAN HAUNTING to BUFFY: The underappreciated roles of Donald Sutherland

Article: From AN AMERICAN HAUNTING to BUFFY: The underappreciated roles of Donald Sutherland

Can you think of anything more terrifying than the words “Based on true events” placed on a title card at the beginning of a horror movie? Few of us want to believe that the scares we’re about to encounter on screen could be real. You’ll come across that warning before Courtney Solomon’s AN AMERICAN HAUNTING, which kicks off Sundance Channel’s SCARY POLITICS–films as frightening as the issues themselves–Tuesday, Oct. 16th at 9P. It also kicks off our chance to take a look at some of the less appreciated roles of one of the film’s stars.

Christian Bale should do more movies like RESCUE DAWN and fewer like BATMAN

Article: Christian Bale should do more movies like RESCUE DAWN and fewer like BATMAN

Very few people speak ill of Christopher Nolan’s BATMAN trilogy. The series shattered box office records, earned multiple Oscar nominations (and wins), and is often considered the greatest superhero trilogy in movie history. And yet, deep down in my heart, I’ll never be able to forgive Nolan for wasting precious years of Christian Bale’s productive career, when the versatile actor could have been making more passionate, provocative films like Werner Herzog’s stirring RESCUE DAWN — airing tonight at 10P on Sundance Channel.

JOY DIVISION and more music docs that break your heart and rock your soul

Article: JOY DIVISION and more music docs that break your heart and rock your soul

Though Joy Division’s time on the music scene was brief, their influence continues to be felt to this day. Guitarist Bernard Sumner’s aggressive, driving riffs — coupled with singer Ian Curtis’ hypnotic lyrics — inspired such musical acts as the Cure and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, to name just a few. And while their short-lived musical career was a mere burst in the flaming circus that is rock ‘n’ roll, the Joy Division story has fueled two feature-length films, one of which —- Grant Gee’s JOY DIVISION —- makes its Sundance Channel debut tonight.

Toronto International Film Fest '12 wrap-up: Big hits (and big misses)

Article: Toronto International Film Fest '12 wrap-up: Big hits (and big misses)

No matter which way your cinematic tastes go, the Toronto International Film Festival likely has you covered. It’s easy at TIFF to program your daily viewing schedule with Oscar hopefuls like Paul Thomas Anderson’s THE MASTER, mainstream popcorn thrillers like Rian Johnson’s LOOPER, gory Midnight Madness exercises like Barry Levinson’s THE BAY and international sensations like Michael Haneke’s AMOUR.

The greatest living actor? My choice is clear: Javier Bardem

Article: The greatest living actor? My choice is clear: Javier Bardem

Have you ever had the “greatest living actor” debate with a friend? It’s a great party game. My answer is always the same, and it has been for decades: Javier Bardem. Lucky for you, you’ll be able to see why in the underrated THE SEA INSIDE, tonight at 8P and 10P and all month long.

Amy Adams' road less traveled leads straight to Oscar

Article: Amy Adams' road less traveled leads straight to Oscar

It was, at the time, the pinnacle of Amy Adams’ career.

By 2005, Adams had appeared in a handful of television shows (The West Wing, Smallville) and logged a minor role in Steven Spielberg’s CATCH ME IF YOU CAN. But her open-hearted performance as sweet and simple pregnant Southerner Ashley in Phil Morrison’s JUNEBUG put her on the map, establishing her as one of the brightest new stars in Hollywood. The buzz began with a Special Jury Prize at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival, and continued as she won an Independent Spirit Award, multiple critics’ group nominations, a Critics’ Choice Award and an Oscar nomination.