First Trailer and New Images for James Brown Biopic GET ON UP Starring Chadwick Boseman

by     Posted 38 days ago

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Universal has released the first trailer and some new images from director Tate Taylor‘s (The HelpJames Brown biopic Get on Up.  Cradle-to-grave biopics have a tendency to turn stale rather quickly and they almost all drone on for far too long, but this trailer markets Get on Up as a colorful, high-energy look at Brown’s life, inhabited by actor Chadwick Boseman.  In between all the funk and celebration is a strong dramatic undercurrent focusing on Brown’s mother (played by Viola Davis), and these kinds of scenes are where Taylor excelled in his debut feature The Help.  Boseman did a swell job playing Jackie Robinson in last year’s 42, so I’m interested to see how the actor inhabits the larger-than-life Brown.

Hit the jump to watch the trailer and to check out the images.  Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, Nelsan Ellis, Lennie James, Tika Sumpter, Jill Scott, and Dan Aykroyd co-star.  Get on Up opens August 1st.

SNOWPIERCER to Make Its U.S. Debut June 27th; KILL THE MESSENGER Drops October 10th

by     Posted 45 days ago

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Here are a couple of new release dates:

Snowpiercer, from writer-director Bong Joon-ho, and starring Chris Evans, Octavia Spencer, John Hurt, and Tilda Swinton, will make its U.S. debut on June 27th in limited release.

Kill the Messenger, directed by Michael Cuesta and starring Jeremy Renner, opens October 10th.

Hit the jump for more on both films.

Pilot Roundup: Alyson Hannigan Joins Matt Damon/Ben Affleck Comedy, Octavia Spencer Set for RED BAND SOCIETY, and Jason Isaacs Leads DIG

by     Posted 64 days ago

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It’s pilot season, folks, and with that all the networks are putting together shows that they hope will make this year’s fall schedule.  Briefly, here’s some of the latest casting news:

  • Alyson Hannigan (How I Met Your Mother) will stick around CBS, as the actress has joined the cast of the comedy pilot More Time with the Family, which boasts Matt Damon and Ben Affleck as executive producers.
  • With the Murder She Wrote reboot now defunct, Oscar winner Octavia Spencer will lead the potential Fox drama series Red Band Society.
  • Jason Isaacs will star in the six-episode event series Dig on USA from Heroes creator Tim Kring.

Hit the jump for more on the aforementioned projects.

Melissa Leo & James Franco in THE FIXER; Glenn Close, Sophie Nelisse & Octavia Spencer in THE GREAT GILLY HOPKINS; Cuba Gooding Jr. Is GRIDLOCKED

by     Posted 73 days ago

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Here’s a bit more casting news for you today:

  • Melissa Leo and James Franco are set to star in Ian Olds’ The Fixer.
  • Sophie Nelisse (The Book Thief) will star in the title role of The Great Gilly Hopkins for director Stephen HerekGlenn Close, Kathy Bates, Danny Glover and Octavia Spencer also star.
  • Cuba Gooding Jr. will star in director and co-writer Allan Ungar’s action thriller, Gridlocked.

Hit the jump for more on each picture

Octavia Spencer, Quvenzhane Wallis & Diane Kruger in FATHERS AND DAUGHTERS; Alexandra Daddario in SAN ANDREAS; Kit Harington in TESTAMENT OF YOUTH

by     Posted 75 days ago

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Take a look at today’s latest casting news:

Hit the jump for more on each project.

Japanese Trailer for SNOWPIERCER Features Plenty of New Footage

by     Posted 102 days ago

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The legend of Bong Joon-ho‘s Snowpiercer is beginning to eclipse the actual movie.  The story is set in a new ice age caused by a failed experiment to stop global warming that killed virtually all life on the planet.  The sole survivors live on a train called Snowpiercer—powered by a perpetual machine—who struggle with the class system implemented on the train.  Snowpiercer was a hit in Bong’s native South Korea, and it’s slowly rolling out to other territories.  However, behind-the-scenes wrangling continues between Bong and U.S. distributor The Weinstein Company.  Harvey Weinstein wants a shorter, more action-oriented cut, while Bong obviously wants to keep his cut intact.  The result is that we currently don’t know what we’ll get or when we’ll get it.  As we wait, new trailers continue to roll out, and a new one from Japan features plenty of fresh footage, and a heavy emphasis on the movie’s protagonist, Curtis (Chris Evans).

Hit the jump to check out the trailer.  The film also stars Tilda Swinton, John Hurt, Jamie Bell, Ed Harris, Alison Pill, Ewen Bremner, Octavia Spencer, Kang-ho Song, and Ko AsungSnowpiercer opens in Japan on February 7th.  Let us know what we’re missing, Japan.

Oscar Beat: Best Supporting Actress – Could Jennifer Lawrence Play the Spoiler?

by     Posted 134 days ago

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Though there’s normally a fairly agreed-upon shortlist of contenders for each Oscar category before the nominations are announced, every year has its fair share of surprises.  More often than not, these occur in the Supporting Actor/Actress categories, and it could very well happen again this year.  Though the general lack of well-written female characters tends to result in a thin crop of contenders for the Best Supporting Actress category, there are no doubt a number of excellent supporting female performances to thumb through in 2013.  The contenders range from fresh newcomers to acting veterans, and the ever-popular Jennifer Lawrence has made a late surge thanks to David O. Russell’s American Hustle finally being unveiled.

In this edition of Oscar Beat, we examine the current state of the Best Supporting Actress category.  Read on after the jump.

National Board of Review Names HER Best Film of the Year; GRAVITY, PRISONERS, and WOLF OF WALL STREET Land in Top 10

by     Posted 137 days ago

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The critics awards are off and running after the New York Film Critics Circle announced its picks for the best of the year yesterday, and today the National Board of Review has named Her the best picture of 2013.  Spike Jonze was also named Best Director for the film, while the acting honors went to Bruce Dern (Nebraska), Emma Thompson (Saving Mr. Banks), Will Forte (Nebraska), and Octavia Spencer (Fruitvale Station).  Always an eclectic list, the NBR’s Top 10 includes The Wolf of Wall Street, Gravity, Lone Survivor, and Prisoners.  Wholly absent from the Top 10 is the NYFCC’s pick for Best Film, American Hustle.

The NBR winner for Best Picture has failed to match up with Oscar since 2008’s Slumdog Millionaire, as last year’s award went to Zero Dark Thirty, but for the past 13 years every NBR winner has landed a Best Picture nomination, so this bodes well for Her‘s Oscar prospects.  Read the full list of NBR winners after the jump.

Octavia Spencer to Star in MURDER, SHE WROTE Reboot for NBC

by     Posted 178 days ago

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Jessica Fletcher is returning to television.  NBC is developing a reboot of the mystery series Murder, She Wrote, with Oscar-winning The Help actress Octavia Spencer set as the lead.  The original murder mystery show ran for 12 seasons on CBS from 1984 to 1996, with Angela Lansbury playing an English teacher turned mystery writer who solved crimes.  Deadline reports that the new series will be a “light, contemporary procedural in the vein of Bones or Fargo,” with Desperate Housewives alum Alexandra Cunningham penning the script and executive producing alongside producer David Janollari.

Spencer will play a hospital administrator and amateur sleuth who self-publishes her first mystery novel, with the logline as follows: “Set in a day where sensational headlines inundate the news, this woman’s avid fascination with true crime leads her to become an active participant in the investigations.”  Lansbury has been approached about being a part of the reboot, and the project has received a put-pilot commitment from NBC.  Watch the opening credits from the original series after the jump.

Julianne Hough and Octavia Spencer Talk PARADISE, Drawing from Personal Experience, Fear of Zip Lining, and More

by     Posted 186 days ago

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From writer/director Diablo Cody, the charmingly sweet dramedy Paradise tells the story of a sheltered young woman named Lamb (Julianne Hough), who loses her faith after a plane crash that leaves much of her body severely burned.  Setting out on a journey to Las Vegas to experience the wild side of life, Lamb meets unlikely companions Loray (Octavia Spencer) and William (Russell Brand), and they form a bond that will help each of them find their own salvation.

During a press conference at the film’s press day, actress Julianne Hough talked about bring restricted by the prosthetics for her character, what she learned from talking to burn survivors, being too tired to have girls’ nights while they were shooting in Vegas, and how much she drew on her own life for this role, while Octavia Spencer talked about how Loray is different from her, why she likes working with writer/directors, how petrified she was to try zip lining, and how her life has changed since receiving so much acclaim for The Help.  Check out what they had to say after the jump.

French Trailer for SNOWPIERCER Starring Chris Evans, Tilda Swinton, Octavia Spencer, and Alison Pill

by     Posted 213 days ago

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A French trailer has been released for Bong Joon-ho‘s Snowpiercer, and it provides our best look at the movie yet.  The story is set in a new ice age caused by a failed experiment to stop global warming that killed virtually all life on the planet.  The sole survivors live on a train called Snowpiercer—powered by a perpetual machine—who struggle with the class system implemented on the train.  This trailer provides not only a clearer picture of the plot, but also tons of visual effects we haven’t seen before.  It also has Alison Pill firing an automatic weapon, so that’s fun too.  Overall, Snowpiercer looks like an exhilarating ride, but we’ll have to see if we get the original South Korean cut or a shorter, dumbed-down version The Weinstein Company wants for U.S. distribution.

Hit the jump to watch the trailer.  The film also stars Chris Evans, Tilda Swinton, John Hurt, Jamie Bell, Ed Harris, Ewen Bremner, Octavia Spencer, Kang-ho Song, and Ko AsungSnowpiercer currently does not have a U.S. release date.  The film premiered in Bong’s native South Korea last month, and was a big hit at the box office.

42 Star Chadwick Boseman to Play James Brown in Biopic; Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, and Nelsan Ellis Eyed for Supporting Roles

by     Posted 237 days ago

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Producer Brian Grazer has been trying to make a James Brown biopic for over a decade.  Tate Taylor (The Help) signed on to direct and produce late last year, and Mick Jagger came to produce and lend his music cred, but there was no obvious candidate to play the Godfather of Soul.  One black actor surfaced in the last year and proved he could carry a period biopic: Chadwick Boseman.  Boseman played Jackie Robinson in 42, which premiered in April to solid reviews and went on to gross nearly $100 million domestic.  Variety reports Boseman was identified as the top choice weeks ago, but Universal and Imagine Entertainment needed to sort out the budget before an offer could be made.  Now, Boseman is Brown.

Another report suggests Taylor is eying a few members from the Help cast—Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, Nelsan Ellis—for supporting roles.  More after the jump.

First Trailer for Diablo Cody’s PARADISE Starring Julianne Hough, Russell Brand, and Octavia Spencer

by     Posted 260 days ago

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The first trailer for Oscar-winning Juno and Young Adult scribe Diablo Cody’s directorial debut Paradise has landed online.  Formerly titled Lamb of God, the film centers on a young woman (Julianne Hough) who loses her faith after a plane crash and decides to go to Las Vegas to experience the wild side of life.  Once there, she encounters a couple of unlikely companions—a bartender (Russell Brand) and a card dealer (Octavia Spencer)—who aid her on her “journey of sin.”  Though this trailer doesn’t really tease anything too spectacular, Cody appears to have crafted an entertaining and heartfelt little dramedy for her first foray behind the camera.

Hit the jump to watch the trailer.  The film also stars Nick Offerman and Holly HunterParadise will be available VOD on DirecTV starting August 8th before hitting theaters on October 18th.

New SNOWPIERCER Trailer Highlights Action of the Train and Axe Variety

by     Posted 270 days ago

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Give me a futuristic science fiction premise and a stylish director, and I’m a happy moviegoer.  By the looks of it, Bong Joon-ho (The Host) delivers with Snowpiercer—and adds a nice cast to boot: Chris Evans, Tilda Swinton, John Hurt, Jamie Bell, Alison Pill, Ed Harris, Ewen Bremner, Octavia Spencer, Kang-ho Song, Ko Asung.

The story is set in a new ice age caused by a failed experiment to stop global warming that killed virtually all life on the planet.  The sole survivors live on a train called Snowpercer—powered by a perpetual machine—who struggle with the class system implemented on the train.  You’ll have to take my word on the story, because the brief 47-second clip—labeled “Final Trailer” in the week leading up to the August 1 release in South Korea—focuses more on speedy train rides through a snowy mountain landscape and Evans axing a few passengers than class politics.  Still looks great.  No word on the U.S. release date yet, so stay tuned.  Watch the trailer after the jump.

FRUITVALE STATION Review

by     Posted 282 days ago

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[This is a re-post of my review from the 2013 Sundance Film Festival.  It has been slightly altered to reflect the new title.  Fruitvale Station opens in limited release today.]

Here’s one of the most morbid thoughts you can ever put in your head: will I die today? This thought isn’t to spur you to live each day like it’s your last. It’s a simple observation. Where has life led you to this point, where would you like your life to go, and how does one affect the other? In his debut feature Fruitvale Station, writer-director Ryan Coogler goes into the last day in the life of Oscar Grant, who was infamously shot by BART police officers in Oakland, California on New Year’s Day, 2009. Coogler’s solemn, no-frills direction lets us walk into Oscar’s life, and become absolutely devastated as it heads to its inevitable conclusion. The film’s emotional impact is only lessened by Coogler’s bizarre decision to push a message that doesn’t coincide with his movie’s theme.

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