New AMERICAN HORROR STORY: FREAK SHOW Images Reveal Kathy Bates’ Bearded Lady, Michael Chiklis’ Strong Man, and More

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Ahead of the fourth season premiere next month, FX has unveiled a batch of new American Horror Story: Freak Show images.  Ryan Murphy’s anthology series returns with a new setting, hook, and cast of characters, this time focusing on the carnies of a traveling freak show in 1952 Florida.  These images give us a close-up look at Kathy Bates as the Bearded Lady, Michael Chiklis as the Strong Man, and plenty more additions to the ensemble.  This anthology format has been a suitable outlet for Murphy, who tends to expend all of his creative energy in a short amount of time.  Even so, portions of AHS seasons in the past have felt too crowded and overloaded at times.  My hope is that the Freak Show story will be a bit more streamlined this year, but regardless, seeing a bearded Kathy Bates and a two-headed Sarah Paulson should be quite entertaining.

Hit the jump to check out the new American Horror Story: Freak Show images and a disturbing new poster.  The series also stars Jessica Lange, Evan Peters, Angela Basset, Emma Roberts, Denis O’Hare, Frances Conroy, Patti LaBelle, Finn Wittrock, Naomi Grossman, and John Caroll LynchAmerican Horror Story: Freak Show premieres on FX on October 8th.

Oscar Beat: Patricia Arquette Going Supporting for BOYHOOD While A MOST VIOLENT YEAR Enters Awards Race

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A couple of interesting developments have surfaced in the past 24 hours with regards to the current awards race.  While you may be saying, “Adam, it’s September, the awards race is still months away,” I’d counter by pointing out that the fall film festivals traditionally signal the start of the very long Oscar season—by this time last year, critics were already buzzing after the debuts of 12 Years a Slave and Gravity on the festival circuit.  I provided live Oscar Beat updates from TIFF just last week, but now we’ve got a couple of news-y bits of awards content to attend to.  Firstly, IFC Films has opted to submit Patricia Arquette in the Best Supporting Actress category for Boyhood instead of Best Actress, greatly increasing her chances of winning.

And secondly, A24 Films has officially set director J.C. Chandor’s highly anticipated All Is Lost follow-up A Most Violent Year for limited release on December 31st, crashing the awards race with an Oscar-qualifying run.  Much more after the jump.

Seth Rogen, Adam McKay, and Ben Schwartz Teaming Up on New Comedy

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A formidable comedy trifecta is taking shape for a new comedy film.  Gary Sanchez Productions, Point Grey Pictures, and Good Universe announced today that they have acquired an untitled comedy pitch from actor/writer Ben Schwartz (House of Lies, Parks and Recreation), with Seth Rogen attached to star and Anchorman and Step Brothers helmer Adam McKay onboard to direct.  Schwartz will also co-star in the film, with Rogen noting, “Every two thousand years the planets of our galaxy align in a perfect line that funnels the cosmic energies of the universe to flow into one perfect comedic collaboration. The time is now. This is that project. Nothing will ever be the same.”  Rogen will also produce the film alongside McKay, Evan Goldberg, and Will Ferrell.

Schwartz recently worked with Rogen and Goldberg as an actor on the upcoming comedy The Interview, and he is a constant scene-stealer whenever he pops up on NBC’s Parks and Recreation as Jean-Ralphio.  Throw in the impeccable comedic talents of McKay and Rogen, and this project looks incredibly promising.  Read the full, humorous press release after the jump.

New MEN, WOMEN & CHILDREN Trailer Digs Deep Into the Darkness of Life in the Digital Age

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Paramount Pictures has released a new Men, Women & Children trailer for director Jason Reitman’s (Up in the Air) excellent new drama.  The film follows the loosely connected stories of a group of teenagers and their parents as they attempt to navigate life in the digital age.  I caught the film at TIFF and found it to be a dark, complex, and emotional snapshot of humanity that also marks another bold step in Reitman’s diverse career.  You can’t say the Juno filmmaker isn’t making ambitious choices, and while some critics found the technology angle in Men, Women & Children to be contrived, I’d argue that the film really isn’t about the dangers of the internet at all—it’s about us.  Adam Sandler is fantastic in the most subdued performance of his career, Ansel Elgort (The Fault in Our Stars) and Kaitlyn Dever (Short Term 12) absolutely shine as the emotional center of the film, and Breaking Bad star Dean Norris is debatably the highlight of a wonderfully talented ensemble.  I highly recommend seeing the film when it comes to a theater near you.

Hit the jump to watch the new Men, Women & Children trailer and click here to read Matt’s review.  The film also stars Judy Greer, Jennifer Garner, Rosemarie DeWitt, J.K. SimmonsTimothée ChalametOlivia Crocicchia and Emma Thompson.  Men, Women & Children opens in limited release on October 1st and expands wide on October 17th.

Jennifer Lawrence Goes to War in New THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY – PART 1 Images

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Lionsgate has unveiled a collection of new The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 images from the first half of director Francis Lawrence’s conclusion to the franchise.  As seen in the full-length trailer, the story finds Jennifer Lawrence’s Katniss on the frontlines of an all-out war between the rebels of District 13 and the Capitol.  These new images showcase Katniss’ battle-readiness, but the highlight of Mockingay – Part 1 for me continues to be Game of Thrones actress Natalie Dormer’s Cressida.  She looks absolutely badass in the role, and after hearing Dormer’s thoughts on women in the movie industry at the “Women Who Kick Ass” panel at this year’s Comic-Con, I’m essentially ready to vote her into office.

Hit the jump to take a look at the new The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 images.  The film also stars Liam HemsworthWoody HarrelsonJulianne MoorePhilip Seymour HoffmanElizabeth BanksNatalie DormerSam Claflin, and Donald Sutherland.  The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 opens in theaters on November 21st.

PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 5 Gets a Title and March 13, 2015 Release Date

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The Paranormal Activity 5 release date has been pushed yet again, but Paramount has also given a title to the found footage sequel, which likely signals this release date will (hopefully) stick.  The follow-up will be titled Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension and will now open in theaters on March 13, 2015 instead of October 25th of this year (which didn’t seem likely to happen anyway).  The pic will square off at the box office against Disney’s live-action Cinderella and Ron Howard’s sea-set drama In the Heart of the Sea with Chris Hemsworth.  This latest chapter in the supernatural franchise marks the directorial debut of Gregory Plotkin, who produced the last three installments in the series.

This is the next proper sequel after Paramount went the spinoff route earlier this year with Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones.  As always, plot details are non-existent, but given the Blumhouse Productions model, it’s possible the film’s story is still in flux—Blumhouse movies are prone to significant reshoots not unlike the Pixar approach.  More after the jump.

FORCE MAJEURE Trailer: How Would You React in the Face of a Devastating Avalanche?

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Magnolia Pictures has released the first Force Majeure trailer for writer/director Ruben Östlund’s wickedly funny new film, which was one of my favorites of the Toronto International Film Festival (read my review here).  The story revolves around a family vacationing in the Alps who are thrown into flux when, as a seemingly devastating avalanche heads their way during lunch, the father Tomas (Johannes Kuhnke) grabs his phone and runs away instead of trying to protect his family.  When the avalanche turns out to be nothing more than a dusting and everyone comes out fine, Tomas and his wife Ebba’s (Lisa Loven Kongsli) relationship begins to unravel.  I caught the film at TIFF and found it to be positively delightful.  It’s at turns sharply hilarious and devastatingly sad, and I imagine it will be a serious contender in the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar race.

Watch the first Force Majeure trailer after the jump.  The film also stars Kristofer Hivju, Fanni Metelius, and Brady CorbetForce Majeure opens in theaters on October 24th.

Matthew McConaughey Looks to the Stars in Another INTERSTELLAR Poster, While Brad Pitt Is Bruised in New FURY Poster

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New posters for two of the most anticipated films of the year have arrived online.  Hot on the heels of yesterday’s icy one sheet, another new Interstellar poster grounds Matthew McConaughey on Earth in director Christopher Nolan’s sci-fi film.  It pairs nicely with yesterday’s space-set poster, and also focuses on what looks to be the emotional hook of the story: a father-daughter relationship.  I’m more than sold on this movie already, so now I’m just counting down the days until the pic’s November 7th release in both traditional theaters and IMAX.

We’ve also got a brand new poster for director David Ayer’s original World War II drama Fury.  The story revolves around a tank crew in the final days of the war, as they battle a desperate German army.  This new poster puts Brad Pitt front and center as the tank’s leader Wardaddy, while also providing a snapshot of the tank crew in its entirety.  It’s tad over-photoshopped, but the film remains one of my must-sees of the fall.  Fury also stars Logan Lerman, Shia LaBeouf, Michael Pena, and Jon Bernthal and opens on October 17th.  Hit the jump to check out both posters.

Paul Greengrass Could Direct Leonardo DiCaprio/Jonah Hill Project Before BOURNE 5; LEGACY Sequel Still Moving Forward

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A bombshell was dropped a couple of days ago when news broke that Matt Damon and director Paul Greengrass are currently in discussions to return to the Bourne franchise, with Greengrass also penning the screenplay.  The prospect of the duo responsible for the brilliant The Bourne Supremacy and The Bourne Ultimatum coming back to the series was an exciting one, but it raised a lot of questions about Universal’s other Bourne franchise.  When Damon and Greengrass departed the Bourne series, Universal kept the property alive with The Bourne Legacy, which saw Jeremy Renner playing another agent living and working in the same universe as Bourne.  The film did so-so at the box office, but Universal was happy enough that it began developing a sequel with director Justin Lin to hit theaters in 2016.

When we learned that Greengrass and Damon were talking about returning to the Bourne series, we heard that Universal was also hoping to make that film before the Legacy sequel, taking over the Renner-fronted film’s 2016 release date.  Now some clarity has materialized with regards to the situation, as Greegrass could instead shoot an entirely different movie before Bourne.  More after the jump.

Robert Downey Jr. Has Father Issues in New THE JUDGE Trailer

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Warner Bros. has released a new The Judge trailer for director David Dobkin’s upcoming drama, and it goes rather heavy on the sentimentality.  Robert Downey Jr. plays an attorney who returns home for his mother’s funeral only to learn that his estranged father (Robert Duvall), a judge who suffers from Alzheimer’s, has been accused of murder.  Reviews out of the film’s TIFF premiere weren’t great and this trailer lays on the schmaltz pretty hard, but Downey Jr. still manages to be engaging.  I was also somewhat surprised to find out that Steven Spielberg’s longtime collaborator Janusz Kaminski was the cinematographer on the pic, marking another rare foray outside of his Spielberg partnership.

Watch the new The Judge trailer after the jump.  The film also stars Vera Farmiga, Billy Bob Thornton, Vincent D’Onofrio, Jeremy Strong, Dax ShepardLeighton MeesterKen HowardDavid KrumholtzBalthazar Getty, and Denis O’Hare.  The Judge opens in theaters on October 10th.

Exclusive WOLVES Poster Unleashes the Beast

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We’ve got an exclusive new poster from X-Men and Watchmen writer David Hayter’s feature directorial debut, Wolves, to share with our readers today.  Hayter wrote and directed the horror film, which stars Lucas Till (X-Men: First Class) as a young high school student who realizes that he’s slowly changing into a werewolf.  After the brutal murder of his parents, he sets off to uncover the truth of what he is, only to find there are many more like him—including a young woman named Angelina (Merritt Patterson).  The cast also includes Stephen McHattie and Jason Momoa, and this debut poster teases confrontation among the beastly creatures as well as some solid werewolf design.

Hit the jump to take a look at the new Wolves poster.  The film will be released VOD on October 16th and opens in theaters on November 14th.

Exclusive GODZILLA Blu-ray Clip Highlights the Importance of Practical Effects and Location Shooting

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When you’re dealing with a big budget iteration of a property involving a ginormous monster, you’re gonna have to utilize a significant amount of visual effects.  However, as seen in a new exclusive clip from the bonus features found on the Godzilla Blu-ray, director Gareth Edwards made sure that even though his titular character would be created in a computer, the film would be grounded in reality.  This clip sees Edwards discussing the importance of shooting on location in Hawaii and how they used a lot of real-world locations in concert with the VFX to create the illusion of the monster’s destruction.  I think they did a bang-up job and I’m very much looking forward to seeing what other Godzilla goodness is in store for us in the sequel—after Edwards directs a little something called Star Wars first, that is.

Watch the Godzilla Blu-ray clip after the jump.  The film is currently available on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital Download.  Click here to buy it on Amazon.

New to Blu-ray: THE FAULT IN OUR STARS, GODZILLA, HANNIBAL Season 2, and More

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This week’s new Blu-ray releases include a tear-jerking box office smash, the King of the Monsters, the second season of the most visually arresting show on television, and more.  Briefly:

Mackenzie Davis in Talks to Join Matt Damon in THE MARTIAN; Jack Huston Lands BEN-HUR Lead

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Matt Damon is getting some company in the sci-fi survival film The MartianThe Wrap reports that Halt and Catch Fire star Mackenzie Davis is in talks to join director Ridley Scott’s next film in a “small but crucial role”.  Scripted by Drew Goddard based on an e-book by Andy Weir, Damon stars as an astronaut who gets stranded on Mars and must figure out how to return home.  Jessica Chastain is set to co-star in the pic in another unspecified role, but one imagines Damon will hold most of the screentime by himself.  Davis has proven to be a formidable talent to watch in films like Breathe In and most recently the romantic comedy What If, and The Martian is certainly her highest profile role to date.

In addition to The Martian, The Wrap notes that Davis is currently filming Anna Axster’s indie A Country Called Home and is set to star in Sophia Takal’s psychological thriller Always Shine.  She’s also set to return for season two of AMC’s Halt and Catch Fire, so her schedule is filling up quite nicely.  Hit the jump to find out who landed the lead role in MGM’s Ben-Hur remake.

CASINO ROYALE Helmer Martin Campbell in Early Talks to Direct HUNTER KILLER

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The game of Hot Potato over the spy thriller Hunter Killer continues.  The film has seen directors like Phillip Noyce, Antoine Fuqua, and most recently McG attached at one point or another, but has failed to come to fruition in the years that it’s been in development.  Relativity is still trying, though, and The Wrap now reports that Casino Royale helmer Martin Campbell is in early talks to direct the pic, which is an adaptation of the novel Firing Point by George Wallace and Don Keith.  The story revolves around an American sub commander and a Navy SEAL team that must rescue the Russian president and defeat a renegade admiral who’s attempting a coup.

Campbell hasn’t directed a film since 2011’s Green Lantern, and while he wasn’t a great match for superhero material, he helmed the excellent The Mask of Zorro and rebooted the James Bond franchise not once but twice with Goldeneye and Casino Royale.  Whether it’s Hunter Killer or some different project, I hope he gets behind the camera again soon.

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