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'SHOULD WIN' VIDEO ESSAY SERIES: Best Actor Brad Pitt, MONEYBALL

Brad Pitt is one of the biggest movie stars in the world. But he is also a fantastic actor. His phenomenal range has allowed him to play delirious and zany, as in "Twelve Monkeys," but also understated and restrained, as in "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button." Those films brought Pitt a Best supporting actor and a best leading actor Oscar nomination respectively, but both times, he went back home empty-handed. This year, Pitt is once again nominated as best actor in a leading role Academy Award for his performance in Bennett Miller’s "Moneyball." Press Play believes that he deserves the Oscar, and, in this video essay, we will tell you why.
  • By Ali Arikan & Ken Cancelosi
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  • February 9, 2012 7:21 AM
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  • 21 Comments

'SHOULD WIN' VIDEO ESSAY SERIES: PRESS PLAY picks the Oscars

[EDITOR'S NOTE: Press Play presents "Should Win," a series of video essays advocating winners in seven Academy Awards categories: supporting actor and actress, best actor and actress, best director and best picture. These are consensus choices hashed out by a pool of Press Play contributors.]  
  • By Press Play Staff
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  • February 7, 2012 6:21 AM
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  • 1 Comment

VIDEO ESSAY: DEEP FOCUS: SUPERMAN RETURNS, Angel of America

Bryan Singer's "Superman Returns" is no masterpiece. The movie's first act is hobbled by weird misjudgments (including a criminally underused Eva Marie Saint as Ma Kent), and it's so choppy that it seems to have been edited with a meat axe. Kevin Spacey's snidely campy performance as Lex Luthor unbalances the film's otherwise sincere tone. It's also so dependent upon our knowing what happened in 1978's "Superman: The Movie" and its follow-up, "Superman II," that at times it feels like a long-delayed sequel in which the principal cast has been replaced.
  • By Matt Zoller Seitz & Ken Cancelosi
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  • January 9, 2012 4:20 PM
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  • 68 Comments

VIDEO ESSAY: Never Before, Never Again: Henson and Oz; A Muppet conversation

EDITOR'S NOTE: To mark the opening of Jim Henson's Fantastic in July 2011, Matt Zoller Seitz and Ken Cancelosi created Never Before, Never Again: Henson and Oz, a video essay which describes the nature of that long and fruitful collaboration between Jim Henson and Frank Oz. Press Play is re-posting that essay in light of the release of Jason Segel's new directorial effort, The Muppets. Given the length of their 27-year collaboration and their creative influence on the culture, it makes the argument that they should be considered a comedy team on the level of Abbott and Costello and Laurel and Hardy. In addition, we are publishing a discussion between the essay's creators. They discuss the curious fate of the Muppets since Jim Henson's untimely death and the challenges director Jason Segel faces in resurrecting them.
  • By Matt Zoller Seitz and Ken Cancelosi
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  • November 22, 2011 5:43 PM
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  • 1 Comment

In creating "Blind Love: In Memory of Steve Jobs," Illusionist Paul Gertner wonders how humans will process emotions in a digital realm

Look, I don't mean to come across as crass or insensitive, but I'm officially tired of hearing about Steve Jobs' legacy. I'm not saying he wasn't the visionary, creative genius we've been reading about or that the changes he brought to the human world aren't remarkable. But there are only so many words one can read and only so many lazy documentaries one can watch on this one guy. (Besides, I’ve read tens of thousands of words by writers famous, infamous and unknown, and none come closer to explaining Jobs' purpose, personality and legacy than the commencement speech that he himself delivered at Stanford University.) So, when my friend Rich sent me a link to a Steve Jobs tribute video by a magician named Paul Gertner, I will admit to a little eye-rolling – that is, until I saw the video.
  • By Ken Cancelosi
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  • November 15, 2011 4:52 AM
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  • 0 Comments

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