The Rebels Take Flight in New THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY – PART 1 Posters

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For some reason I keep forgetting that there’s a new Hunger Games movie coming this year.  Catching Fire surprised the hell out of me and was my favorite studio tentpole of last year, so I’m definitely looking forward to seeing how Francis Lawrence tackles the final book in the Hunger Games trilogy (well the first half of the final book, technically).  A peek into what’s in store has surfaced today by way of a new collection of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 posters that introduce the leaders of the rebellion.  There’s Liam Hemsworth’s Gale, of course, but I’m really excited to see Game of Thrones actress Natalie Dormer’s portrayal of Cressida; Dormer’s look for the character is positively fantastic.  And yes, that’s Elden Henson aka Fulton from The Mighty Ducks as Pollux.

Hit the jump to take a look at the Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 posters, which also feature Evan Ross as Messalla, Mahershala Ali as Boggs, and Wes Chatham as Castor.  The film also stars Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Jena Malone, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Julianne Moore, and Donald SutherlandThe Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 opens in theaters on November 21st.

Oscar Beat: Which Awards Contenders Will Emerge from the Fall Film Festival Season?

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Ready or not, the awards season is about to begin.  Every year, Oscar season kicks off with the series of film festivals in late August and early September.  It’s at these festivals—Telluride, Toronto, and Venice—that a hefty number of the year’s Oscar hopefuls debut and begin what they hope will be long and prosperous campaigns.  Four out of the last five Best Picture winners screened at both Telluride and Toronto, and as the festivals are about to start later this week, now felt like a good time to preview the block of awards hopefuls that will be screening since the odds are pretty good that this year’s Best Picture winner will have debuted by mid-September.

Hit the jump for the Fall Film Festival Preview 2014 edition of Oscar Beat.

Early BIRDMAN Reviews Offer Ecstatic Praise for Michael Keaton, Alejandro González Iñárritu; Oscar Future Looks Bright

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Ladies and gentlemen, the Oscar season has begun.  With the Fall Film Festival season kicking off this week, the awards contenders are about to emerge.  I’ll have a full rundown of the potential players in a new Oscar Beat coming shortly, but for now we have the first Birdman reviews for director Alejandro González Iñárritu’s highly anticipated black comedy, which just premiered at the Venice Film Festival.  For those unaware, the pic stars Michael Keaton as an actor who once played an iconic superhero, and now faces troubles with his ego and family as he prepares to mount a Broadway play in a bid to reclaim past glory.  This has been high on my most anticipated list for some time, and I’m happy to see that the first reviews out of Venice are positively glowing, heaping praise upon Keaton’s lead performance and Iñárritu’s ambitious one-take style, and predicting a heavy awards presence for the film overall.

Since the film doesn’t open stateside until October 17th, we’ve rounded up some highlights from a few of the very first Birdman reviews for your perusing pleasure.  Hit the jump for an overview of the reaction.

New PADDINGTON Image Reveals Nicole Kidman as a Sinister Taxidermist

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The Weinstein Company has released a new Paddington image from director Paul King’s (The Mighty Boosh) upcoming film about the lovable bear.  The story centers on said bear (voiced by Ben Whishaw) who is lost at Paddington Station in London, adopted by a kind family, and then sets out in search of an explorer who inspired his aunt years before.  The first trailer revealed the tomfoolery that ensues, and while the pic had a bit of a creative shakeup when Colin Firth opted to step down from main voicing duties, I still remain hopeful that Paddington will be an adorable family friendly adventure comedy.  Today’s new image reveals Nicole Kidman’s character, who happens to be the antagonist of the pic—a sinister, seductive taxidermist.

Hit the jump to take a look at the new Paddington image.  The live-action cast also includes Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Julie Walters, Jim Broadbent, and Peter CapaldiPaddington opens in theaters on December 25th.

New Image of Jennifer Lawrence in SERENA; Film Gets October 24th UK Release Date, But Remains in Limbo Stateside

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Given the popularity of both Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper—especially after the one-two punch of Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle—it’s somewhat baffling that director Susanne Bier’s (In a Better World) drama Serena has sat on the shelf for this long.  The movie was shot back in 2012, and since it was completed Bier has found the time to shoot and finish another movie, with Serena still remaining unreleased.  That changes today, though, as StudioCanal has announced that it will be releasing the film internationally this fall, with a UK bow set for October 24th.  Lawrence and Cooper star as a 1920s newlywed couple who travel to North Carolina to seize control of the timber industry. Infidelity and infertility leads Serena (Lawrence) to plot the murder of George’s (Cooper) illegitimate son while attempting to keep their timber land from being taken by the government.

It’s a promising premise with fantastic pedigree, but the fact that it still hasn’t been released in the US despite Lawrence’s starpower is troubling.  Here’s hoping the fininshed feature is a pleasant surprise.  For now, check out a new Serena image featuring Lawrence after the jump, along with release date news for other international territories.

Adam Sandler’s Shoes Take Center Stage in First THE COBBLER Poster [Updated]

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Ahead of the film’s world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival next weekend, we’ve managed to get our hands on the first The Cobbler poster for director Thomas McCarthy’s (Win Win) upcoming fantasy drama.  The film stars Adam Sandler as a disillusioned shoe repairman who happens upon a magical heirloom that allows him to step into the lives of his customers and see things from their perspective.  As a fan of McCarthy’s previous work—especially The Station Agent—I’m very much looking forward to seeing how he handles a more fantastical concept.  He’s not entirely unfamiliar with the genre, as McCarthy previously worked on the script for Pixar’s Up, but this also marks a curious turn for Sandler given McCarthy’s dramatic background.  Hopefully the two make a strong pairing.

Hit the jump to take a look at the first The Cobbler poster.  The film also stars Cliff “Method Man” SmithEllen BarkinMelonie DiazDan StevensFritz WeaverYul VazquezSteve Buscemi and Dustin Hoffman. [Update: We've been asked by the studio to remove the unofficial poster.]

A TALE OF LOVE AND DARKNESS Promo Poster Offers a First Look at Natalie Portman’s Directorial Debut [Updated]

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We’ve obtained a first look at the A Tale of Love and Darkness poster for Natalie Portman’s feature directorial debut, which also gives us our first peek at Portman in the film.  The actress wrote, directed, and stars in the adaptation of Amos Oz’s memoir, which recounts the journalist’s childhood in 1940s Jerusalem during the early years after the establishment of the Israeli state.  Portman herself was born in Jersualem before emigrating to New York as a child, and she takes on the role of Oz’s mentally ill mother in the feature adaptation.  This promo poster shows Portman covered in rain, and while it’s unlikely that this will be the theatrical one-sheet, it’s certainly an intriguing peek at Portman’s first feature film as a director.

Hit the jump to take a look at the A Tale of Love and Darkness poster.  No word on when the independent feature will hit theaters. [Update: We've been asked by the studio to remove the unapproved artwork.]

A GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD Director John Moore to Helm Pierce Brosnan Actioner I.T.

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Pierce Brosnan returns to the thriller genre this weekend with The November Man, and now another action-oriented picture of his has landed a director.  Deadline reports that A Good Day to Die Hard helmer John Moore has been tapped to direct I.T., which will star Brosnan as a publisher who is tormented via technology when his relationship with a young I.T. consultant goes south.  Moreover, William Wisher Jr. (Terminator 2, The 13th Warrior) has been tapped to rewrite the screenplay for the Voltage Films picture, which was originally penned by Dan Kay.  In addition to the atrocious A Good Day to Die Hard, Moore’s directing credits also include Max Payne and Behind Enemy Lines.

Producers are currently looking to cast the antagonist role—that of the dreaded I.T. consultant—in anticipation of beginning production on the thriller this fall.  Brosnan is also attached to star in a November Man sequel if the first film does well in theaters, so it’s certainly clear that the actor is game for heading up more action oriented roles in the near future.

INTERSTELLAR TV Spot Repurposes Old Trailer Footage to Remind You That This Movie Will Probably Be Good

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Warner Bros. has released a “new” Interstellar TV spot for writer/director Christopher Nolan’s upcoming sci-fi film.  The spot doesn’t actually contain any new footage, but instead just repurposes footage from the latest trailer in a new 60-second cut—and that’s fine by me.  Nolan usually does a fine job of keeping the major aspects of his films out of the trailers, but even The Dark Knight Rises wasn’t immune to WB’s need to show footage from the third act in the trailers leading up to its release.  Regardless, Interstellar certainly looks to be one hell of a moviegoing experience, and with this absolutely stacked cast onboard I can’t wait to see what Nolan has put together.

Hit the jump to watch the UK Interstellar TV spot for a reminder of just how good this movie looks.  The film stars Matthew McConaughey, Anne HathawayJessica ChastainCasey AffleckMichael Caine, David OyelowoWes BentleyJohn LithgowEllen BurstynTopher GraceDavid GyasiMackenzie FoyBill IrwinTimothée Chalamet, and Matt Damon.  Interstellar opens in traditional theaters and IMAX on November 7th.

Gripping THE AFFAIR Trailer Hints at Darker Undertones in New Showtime Drama Series

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Showtime has released the first The Affair trailer for its upcoming drama series, and it is not at all what I expected.  Starring Dominic West (The Wire) and Ruth Wilson (Luther) and told separately from the male and female perspectives, the series is described as the exploration of two marriages and the emotional and psychological effects of the affair that disrupts them.  However, this first teaser trailer has a much darker tone to it and actually feels a bit reminiscent of HBO’s phenomenal True Detective.  There appears to be a framing device, an investigation of some sort, and a deeply traumatic event at play.  It’s really compelling stuff, especially in the way they set up the West and Wilson’s characters, and this trailer has me 100% committed to checking out the pilot.

Hit the jump to check out The Affair trailer and poster.  Executive produced by Sarah Treem (House of Cards) and Hagai Levi (In Treatment), the show also stars Joshua Jackson and Maura TierneyThe Affair premieres on Showtime on October 12th at 10pm ET/PT.

FULL HOUSE Revival in Development with Much of the Main Cast Poised to Return

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Jesse and the Rippers fans, rejoice!  It appears that new episodes of Full House may be on the way, as Warner Bros. Television is reportedly in the early stages of putting together a Full House revival.  The popular (and adorable) sitcom ran from 1987 to 1995 on ABC, teaching invaluable life lessons with equal amounts heart and humor thanks to Uncle Jesse, Uncle Joey, and of course Mr. Woodchuck.  Aside from Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, the cast has remained close-knit since the show went off the air and has been vocal about their willingness to return.  Bob Saget, John Stamos, and Dave Coulier even reprised their characters earlier this year on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, and so it comes as little surprise that much of the main cast is in talks to return for this Full House revival.  More after the jump.

Arnold Schwarzenegger Zombie Movie MAGGIE Acquired by Lionsgate for Early 2015 Release; Will Now Skip TIFF

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One of the more offbeat movies that was poised to premiere at the upcoming Toronto International Film Festival was Maggie, which stars Arnold Schwarzenegger as a father who struggles to come to terms with the fact that his daughter (Abigail Breslin) is slowly becoming a zombie.  I say “was” because Lionsgate announced today that it has acquired distribution rights to the film and, per THR, will be pulling it out of TIFF.  Instead of debuting at the festival, the studio has set a Maggie release date for early 2015, though a specific theatrical bow has not yet been determined.  It’s a bit of an odd move to pull the film out of TIFF, and not exactly a great sign if Lionsgate wants to control the flow of reviews for the pic.

The Black List script was penned by John Scott 3 and directed by Henry Hobson, with Joely Richardson taking on a supporting role in the film.  Read the full press release regarding the acquisition after the jump.

THE FLASH Poster Leaves a Mark and Kicks Off an Easter Egg Hunt

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The Emmys played out in traditional “let’s give it to whoever won last year” fashion last night, and so now it’s time to turn our attention to the upcoming 2014-15 TV season that’s just around the corner.  The CW has released the very first The Flash poster for its anticipated series, which is of course based on the DC Comics character of the same name (who may also be getting the big screen treatment in 2016).  The show is a spinoff of sorts of The CW’s other popular superhero show, Arrow, as the two series will inhabit the same universe—in fact a crossover is already planned for Episode 8 of both shows’ upcoming seasons.  This debut poster certainly flaunts star Grant Gustin’s ability to move quickly while also offering keen-eyed fans more than a couple of Easter eggs.  How many can you spot?

Hit the jump to check out The Flash poster.  The show also stars Danielle Panabaker, Carlos Valdes, Jesse L. Martin, Candice Patton, Tom Cavanagh, Rick Cosnett, and John Wesley Shipp with Robbie Amell, Wentworth Miller, and Clancy Brown poised for guest appearances.  The Flash premieres on The CW on October 7th at 8/7c.

Netflix Chief Says Marvel TV Characters Could Cross Over to the Film World; Confirms Netflix Plan Is Based on THE AVENGERS Model

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When Marvel Studios finally executed its plan of teaming up various individual film characters into one big movie, The Avengers, it was a smashing success to the tune of $1.5 billion.  After that, the studio turned its attention to the small screen with its first self-produced TV series Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.  The show was met with a less-than-enthusiastic response, and while faithful viewers say it found its footing in the latter half of its freshman season, much of the show’s look-in audience had already abandoned it.

And so it’s with a certain mix of anticipation and caution that fans await Marvel’s upcoming series of Netflix shows.  The studio will kick things off with a 13-episode Daredevil series, followed by Jessica Jones, Iron Fist, and Luke Cage and culminating in a 13-episode team-up season of The Defenders.  Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos recently spoke a bit about the shows, revealing that a crossover into the MCU “has been talked about” and confirming that the Netflix plan is modeled off The Avengers.  Much more after the jump.

Mike Epps Confirmed to Play Richard Pryor in Lee Daniels’ Biopic

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A biopic of legendary comedian Richard Pryor has been in the works for years now, but it appears that the film is finally coming to fruition.  We learned earlier this year that Precious and The Butler director Lee Daniels was signing on to helm the biopic, as contenders for the role of Pryor emerged.  Actors like Eddie Murphy and Chris Rock had all vied for the part at one point or another in previous iterations of the project, and Daniels’ iteration was reported to have Murphy, Marlon Wayans, and Michael B. Jordan circling the role.  But over all the iterations, one name had regularly surfaced as a standout: Mike Epps.  Apparently his screen test for a previous version of the film blew people away, and last night on Twitter Daniels and Epps confirmed that the Hangover and Next Friday actor will indeed be playing Richard Pryor in this new biopic.  More on the Richard Pryor movie after the jump.

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