Office Christmas Party Starts Strong Behind Critical Praise

Stuart Winchester by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

Office Christmas Party is already burning the ho-ho-house down.

Fans love it, with a social media following of nearly 40 million. This early interest led to a tidy opening – it made almost a million dollars last night alone.

Critics love it too. Forbes Scott Mendelson writes, “Office Christmas Party is exactly what it promises, and delivers it in spades. … It is filled to the brim with funny men and women being allowed to be funny in both expected and surprising ways, in a story which respects the inherent drama of its story without drowning in schmaltz. The characters are funny, the situations are funny and the film just plain works.”

It’s easy to see why the consensus is so favorable: a raucous, feel-good holiday flick filled with Jennifer Aniston, Jason Bateman, T.J. Miller, Kate McKinnon and more at their very funniest.

Office Christmas Party is just one entry in a strong late-year slate for Paramount, which also includes the acclaimed Arrival and the powerful Allied, and will soon add Martin Scorsese’s Silence (Dec. 23) and Denzel Washington’s reprisal of Fences (Dec. 25), both of which are riding critical praise and awards buzz.

Official Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Paramount Secures 23 Critics’ Choice Nominations, Led by Arrival, Fences

Stuart Winchester by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

Paramount has stormed theaters this year with a slate of critically acclaimed films, from the cerebral alien invasion flick Arrival to the buoyant Florence Foster Jenkins to the explosively powerful Star Trek Beyond, with Martin Scorsese’s Silence dropping Dec. 23 and a highly anticipated reprisal of August Wilson’s Fences due on Christmas Day. With this sort of high-caliber film drumming regularly from the lot, it is no surprise that, when the Critics’ Choice Awards announced their 2016 nominations this week, Paramount secured a total of 23 nominations.

Arrival leads with 10 nominations, second only to La La Land and tied with Moonlight. Fences follows with six nominations, two for actor and director Denzel Washington. And fully half of the Best Sci-Fi/Horror nominations belong to Paramount, with 10 Cloverfield Lane, Arrival, and Star Trek Beyond all vying for the honors.

Check out all of Paramount’s nominations, as well as a peak at each film, below. The 22nd Critics’ Choice Awards air Sunday, Dec. 11 at 8 p.m. on A&E.

Arrival – 10 Nominations

  • Best Picture
  • Best Director (Denis Villeneuve)
  • Best Actress (Amy Adams)
  • Best Adapted Screenplay (Eric Heisserer)
  • Best Cinematography (Brandon Young)
  • Best Editing (Joe Walker)
  • Best Production Design (Patrice Vermette, Paul Hotte, André Valade)
  • Best Score (Jóhann Jóhannsson)
  • Best Visual Effects
  • Best Sci-Fi/Horror Movie

Fences – 6 Nominations

  • Best Picture
  • Best Director (Denzel Washington)
  • Best Actor (Denzel Washington)
  • Best Supporting Actress (Viola Davis)
  • Best Adapted Screenplay (August Wilson)
  • Best Acting Ensemble

Read More

100 Billion Trillion Planets in the Cosmos – Why Do They Keep Coming Here? First Look at Transformers: The Last Knight

Stuart Winchester by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

We see explosions and mayhem across human epochs, from hordes of charging armored knights to Old World plazas festooned with Nazi flags to back-packed youngsters gazing awestruck at aerial wreckage pocking a modern football stadium. We do not see exactly who the humans are fighting, but the narration clues us in: “Two species at war. One flesh. One metal.”

What is certain is that Transformers: The Last Knight is going to transport us to battlefields we have not seen before. We have a long wait to see exactly what’s coming – the movie won’t drop until June 23 of next year – but the teaser trailer gives us an inkling of what director Michael Bay will deliver in the latest installment of the explosive franchise, which stars Mark Wahlberg, Anthony Hopkins, Josh Duhamel,Laura Haddock, Jerrod Carmichael and Isabela Moner.

This will be Paramount’s fifth Transformers movie, and more are planned, including a Bumblebee spin-off in 2018. Take a look back at the first four below.

Transformers: Age of Extinction – 2014

Read More

Paramount Invites Local Schoolchildren for Halloween Screening of Charlotte’s Web

Stuart Winchester by Stuart Winchester, Viacom
185
185
Stuart Stuart
205
205
Stuart Stuart
208
208
Stuart Stuart
213
213
Stuart Stuart
261
261
Stuart Stuart
291
291
Stuart Stuart
309
309
Stuart Stuart
322
322
Stuart Stuart
137
137
Stuart Stuart
146
146
Stuart Stuart
161
161
Stuart Stuart

Each year, Paramount hosts a Halloween screening of its classic, Charlotte’s Web, for pajama-clad local schoolkids. This year, 1,500 children journeyed from the Santa Monica Blvd Community Charter School and the Van Ness Blend Elementary School to watch the film at the Paramount Theatre.

Paramount has actually distributed two versions of Charlotte’s Web over the decades: the first a fully animated 1973 film; the second a live-action 2006 version produced in part by Nickelodeon Movies. Take a journey back with the trailers below.

2006

1973

Scarlett Johansson Soars in First Trailer for Paramount’s Ghost in the Shell

Stuart Winchester by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

Scarlett Johansson comes tearing from the mid-21st century fantasia of a thrumming Japanese megalopolis in this film adaption of the highly regarded Ghost in the Shell anime franchise. Amid this frantic shadowy world of towering buildings and physics-defying tech laboratories, she roars as the pistol-wielding Major, the cyborg leader of the elite Section 9 task force, as she infiltrates criminal dens and tries to decode the mystery of her own identiy out of the pedestrian world around her.

The trailer above is the first for the film, which Paramount will release on March 31, 2017. The Rupert Sanders-directed thriller also stars Pilou Asbaek, Takeshi Kitano, Juliette Binoche and Michael Pitt.

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Nick’s Strong Programming Run Grows Deep Roots With Albert

Stuart Winchester by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

Nick keeps rolling with its original movies this fall, first with the new Legends of the Hidden Temple dropping on Thanksgiving weekend, and now with Albert, which will feature the voices of Saturday Night Live’s Bobby Moynihan, Sasheer Zamata and Cheri Oteri:

The adventurous anthropomorphic  pine tree  bounces into towering forests, stows away in the back of a highway-charging truck, and even hitches a ride on a helicopter as  his rollicking band of fellow flora take on an unlikely gang of snowbound cactii.

Nick has been steamrolling along lately, spending five consecutive quarters as the top net for kids 2-11 and 2-5 behind hit shows such as The Loud House (which was renewed for a third season before the second even aired), Henry Danger and Blaze and the Monster MachinesThe network owns 12 of the top 20 shows on cable for the same demos, and recently announced that a 30th anniversary special commemorating its much-loved Double Dare will air later this month.

Albert will air Friday, Dec. 9, at 7 p.m. ET.

Critics “Spellbound” With “Beautiful and Thought-Provoking” Arrival

Stuart Winchester by Stuart Winchester, Viacom
A scene from the film ARRIVAL by Paramount Pictures

A scene from the film Arrival by Paramount Pictures

We don’t really know if or when space aliens will drop out of the sky, or whether they’ll come bearing the secrets of interstellar travel or a boring machine to hallow out Earth’s core. But we do know this: when Denis Villeneuve-directed Arrival invades theaters tomorrow, we’re going to collectively witness one of the most well-crafted guesses yet as to how the encounter between earthlings and interstellar guests could go.

Says who? Well, pretty much everyone:

Arrival is such a beautiful and thought-provoking film that it almost single-handedly makes up for every bad aliens-coming-to-Earth film you’ve ever seen. Yes, even Independence Day: Resurgence. The latest from director Denis Villeneuve (Sicario) is a sci-fi movie about life, death and learning a literally alien language on a deadline. Amy Adams turns in one of her best performances, Jeremy Renner shows he’s just as good a math geek as an Avenger, and Villeneuve puts a gorgeous and rich narrative on screen that’s as much about miscommunication among humans as it is communication with extraterrestrials.” – Bill Truitt, USA Today

“The dozen alien vessels in Arrival – stormcloud black, prolate hemispheroids the size of upended airports – aren’t easy to miss. But for sheer neck-craning scale, the film’s ideas and ambitions match them inch for inch. The magnificent new film from Denis Villeneuve is the kind of science fiction picture that hands its audience rocket packs, then goes arcing off into the heavens and dares you to keep up.” – Robbie Collin, The Telegraph

Arrival plays like a high-end, handsomely appointed, feature-length version of a classic Twilight Zone episode. Most of the thrills and chills are of the intellectual and philosophical sort, and we’re asked to take a leap of faith when it comes to the time-space continuum, and why not, let’s do it.” – Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun Times

Read More

Check Out This Video Calendar of Viacom’s Upcoming Premieres

Stuart Winchester by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

There’s a whole lot coming up at Viacom over the next few months.

Paramount sends aliens hurtling from the cosmos and Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard back to World War II. Denzel Washington and Viola Davis dazzle in Fences while Jennifer Aniston and Jason Bateman burn down the city in Office Christmas Party.

Martha Stewart and Snoop Dogg team up on VH1really – for what is likely to be the dopest cooking show around. America’s Next Top Model returns to the same net. We wave goodbye to MTV’s Teen Wolf, but meet a pair of bad-ass campus vigilantes on Sweet/Vicious.

Original content continues to rule across our networks, from TV Land’s smash hit Younger to CMT’s January debut of Nashville to BET’s Being Mary Jane and New Edition biopic. Spike delivers some hard truth with a documentary on the tragic story of Kalief Browder.

And more favorites keep pouring back in: RuPaul returns with season six of RuVealed on Logo while The Daily Show With Trevor Noah and @Midnight continue their runs on Comedy Central.

And for the kiddos, Nick keeps the incredible stuff coming with Albert and Rusty Rivetsalong with a nostalgic run back to the 90s with a Legends of the Hidden Temple movie.

Watch previews of all of this and much more below:

Who Needs Turkeys? CMT to Serve Up Chicken-Themed Treat for Thanksgiving Eve

Stuart Winchester by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

Have you ever heard a chicken being favorably compared to Paris Hilton?

Or being described as a warrior?

Or being analyzed for its behavior in its social cliques? Its cliques of, you know, other chickens?

Well, you will. And you will because you will watch CMT’s documentary Chicken People, a deeply engaging and human exploration of the surprisingly enormous world of prize chicken breeders. And when it’s all over, you will understand why the Ohio National Poultry Show is considered the Westminster of Chickens, and why the subjects of this film care so deeply about the competition that they dedicate enormous portions of their lives to cultivating the perfect fowl.

Critical reception has been strong since Chicken People, directed by Nicole Lucas Haimes, debuted at SXSW earlier this year before going on to screen at nearly a dozen other festivals, including Nashville, Seattle and Atlantic. Reviewers have responded favorably to the documentary’s success in distilling meaning from the sprawling, intricate and exacting world of competitive chicken breeding.

“As enthusiastic as [the other main characters] are, however, their narratives are overshadowed by the poignant story of Shari McCollough, a homemaker and mother of five (children, not chickens) from Crawford, Ind., who credits poultry breeding and competition with helping her overcome depression and alcoholism,” writes Variety’s Joe Leydon. “When she says, late in the documentary, ‘Chickens make me brave — they make me face fears head-on in life,’ her matter-of-fact sincerity carries an unexpectedly potent emotional wallop. Just as important, it encourages a viewer to consider just how common her attitude is among the other breeders.”

Read More

Vin Diesel Tries to Look Dope While Kicking Ass on Facebook Live Release of New xXx Trailer

Stuart Winchester by Stuart Winchester, Viacom


Vin Diesel is exploding back into his role as Xander Cage this January in xXx: Return of Xander Cage. He is skiing into jungles off of cell phone towers and launching fools out the back of airplanes. He’s skateboarding off the sides of buses. He is riding his motorcycle over water. Oh, and he’s also saving the world.

As if the new trailer weren’t cool enough, the way Vin dropped it on the world was even cooler: through a Facebook Live stream that featured cameos from costars Ruby Rose, Nina Dobrev, Donnie Yen, and others.

Standing on the Paramount Lot in Hollywood, Diesel explained why he decided to deliver the latest promo on Facebook. “Part of the reason I was excited to be doing this with Facebook, is that none other than [Facebook founder] Mark Zuckerberg actually requested me to make another Triple X.”

Vin’s affection for his castmates and the process of making the movie is infectious. “I needed to do a movie where I could smile again,” he says on the stream. “I needed a movie where I enjoyed the laughter, where the laughter would fill me, where the laughter was bursting out. I needed to do a movie where I could get into some of these extreme sports stunts again. I had so much fun just training for these stunts. … When we started filming and I was with this incredible cast, and this atmosphere, and everyone was so excited, everyone was like, ‘Vin, I’ve never seen you so happy.’ I needed it, and you know it.”

It’s easy to see why he’s so excited when you check out the trailer. You can watch the entire Facebook Live stream, in which Vin himself sees the promo for the first time, here:

 

Official Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram