BIRDMAN Review | NYFF 2014

by     Posted 10 days ago

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You would think that one movie that blurs the line between reality and fiction to convey the challenges of being an actor would be enough for one week, but Birdman is just as absorbing as Clouds of Sils Maria and also offers up a totally unique experience.  It’s neat that Michael Keaton portrays a former superhero movie star after having played Batman himself and the one-shot shooting style is an absolutely astounding technical achievement, but the best part is that both are used in ways that serve the story, not as alluring gimmicks.  If it were the other way around, Edward Norton’s Mike Shiner wouldn’t approve of it.

Filming Begins on Steven Spielberg’s Untitled Cold War Spy Thriller Starring Tom Hanks

by     Posted 16 days ago

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DreamWorks and Disney have announced that principal photography has commenced on Steven Spielberg‘s untitled Cold War spy thriller starring Tom Hanks.  As we previously reported, the film tells the true story of James Donovan, an attorney who finds himself thrust into the center of the Cold War when the CIA sends him on the near-impossible mission to negotiate the release of a captured American U-2 pilot.  The film will also star Mark Rylance, Amy Ryan, and Alan Alda, and will shoot on location in New York and Berlin.  Following Saving Private Ryan, Catch Me If You Can, and The Terminal, this will mark Spielberg’s fourth film collaboration with Hanks, and hopefully it will be a fruitful one, especially since they’re working from a script by the Coen Brothers.  Hanks and Spielberg’s most recent collaboration was as executive producers on HBO’s miniseries The Pacific.

Hit the jump for the press release.  The untitled Cold War spy thriller is set to open on October 16, 2015.

Julia Roberts Joins THE SECRET IN THEIR EYES; Zac Efron and Robert De Niro Team for DRIVING DICK KELLY; LOUDER THAN BOMBS Cast Set for NYC Shoot

by     Posted 48 days ago

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Here’s a look at today’s latest casting news:

  • Julia Roberts will join Chiwetel Ejiofor and Gwyneth Paltrow in Billy Ray‘s The Secret in Their Eyes, a remake based on the 2009 Oscar-winning Argentinian thriller of the same name from director Juan José Campanella.
  • Zac Efron and Robert De Niro are attached to star in the adult comedy Driving Dick Kelly, previously known as Dirty Grandpa.
  • Joachim Trier’s Louder Than Bombs sets its cast, which includes Gabriel Byrne and Jesse Eisenberg, and starts shooting in New York City this week.

Hit the jump for more on each film.

Matthew McConaughey May Be THE COMPANY MAN; Four More for Spielberg & Hank’s UNTITLED COLD WAR THRILLER; Naomi Watts Joins DEMOLITION

by     Posted 93 days ago

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A few casting items crept up in today’s second half.  In short:

  • Mathew McConaughey is said to be in talks to join The Company Man.  The former Black List script is currently looking for a director.
  • Amy Ryan, Eve Hewson, Alan Alda and Billy Magnussen look to be joining Steven Spielberg’s Untitled Cold War Thriller starring Tom Hanks.
  • Speaking of talks, Naomi Watts is apparently in them to join Jake Gyllenhaal in Demolition, the new picture from Dallas Buyers Club-director Jean-Marc Vallée.

Hit the jump for more on each announcement.

BIRDMAN, Starring Michael Keaton and Edward Norton, to Open the Venice Film Festival; Early Awards Contender

by     Posted 104 days ago

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Alejandro González Iñárritu’s new film Birdman, starring Michael Keaton, will be the opening film of the 71st Annual Venice Film Festival.  This move obviously conveys a high amount of confidence in the film not only on the part of the Fest, but on behalf of distributor Fox Searchlight as well.  So far everything bodes well for what looks to be a truly original work.

Hit the jump for more on Birdman opening the Venice Film Festival.  The film also stars Edward Norton, Naomi Watts, Emma Stone, Zach Galifianakis, Andrea Riseborough, and Amy RyanBirdman (aka The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) opens October 17th. And if you haven’t checked out the trailer, please do so. It’s wonderful. 

New BIRDMAN Images Hint at Epic Fight between Michael Keaton and Edward Norton and More

by     Posted 124 days ago

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Fox Searchlight has released five new Birdman images.  Michael Keaton plays Riggin Thomson an actor, who once played an iconic superhero, and now faces troubles with his ego and family as he prepares to mount a Broadway production of Raymond Carver’s What We Talk About When We Talk About Love in a bid to reclaim past glory.  Edward Norton co-stars as an actor in the play and Emma Stone plays Thomson’s daughter.  Birdman is already one of my most-anticipated films for the remainder of 2014, and these images (the one with Keaton and Norton preparing to fight, in particular) make me want to see the movie even more.

Hit the jump to check out the Birdman images, and in case you haven’t seen the great teaser trailer, click here.  The film also stars Naomi Watts, Zach Galifianakis, Andrea Riseborough, and Amy RyanBirdman opens October 17th.

BIRDMAN Trailer: Michael Keaton Looks for a Revival in Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Latest Film

by     Posted 132 days ago

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Fox Searchlight has released the first Birdman trailer.  Birdman (or the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) 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.  Aside from the biographical implications of the story, this teaser trailer has some gorgeous shots, and looks far more fantastical than anything director Alejandro González Iñárritu has done before.  I’m also a huge fan of Keaton, and I can’t wait to see him a dramatic role that puts him front-and-center.

Hit the jump to check out the Birdman trailer.  The film opens on October 17th, and also stars Edward NortonNaomi WattsEmma StoneZach GalifianakisAmy Ryan, and Andrea Riseborough.

Michelle Monaghan Joins PIXELS; Gwendoline Christie Replaces Lily Rabe in THE HUNGER GAMES Finale; Amy Ryan and Jillian Bell Get GOOSEBUMPS with Jack Black

by     Posted 201 days ago

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Here’s today’s latest casting news:

  • Michelle Monaghan is the latest addition to Chris Columbus’ Pixels as the female lead.  Adam Sandler, Peter Dinklage, Kevin James, and Josh Gad also star.
  • Gwendoline Christie will replace Lily Rabe in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2.
  • Amy Ryan and Jillian Bell have signed on for Rob Letterman’s Goosebumps adaptation, starring Jack Black, Dylan Minnette, and Odeya Rush.

Hit the jump for more on each picture.

BREATHE IN Review

by     Posted 208 days ago

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[This is a re-post of my review from the 2013 Sundance Film Festival.  Breathe In opens today in limited release.]

The family drama genre is one that’s very easy to get wrong, and it’s rare to find a film of this kind that is genuinely moving without feeling overly manipulative or sappy.  Writer/director Drake Doremus took the Sundance Film Festival by storm in 2011 with his young love drama Like Crazy, and he returns in 2013 with an intimate take on the family drama genre that marks a major step forward for the filmmaker.  In chronicling the story of a foreign exchange student who causes a deep and devastating rift in a close-knit upstate New York family, Doremus’ Breathe In completely wraps the viewer up in the emotions of its characters and doesn’t let go for 98 captivating, intense, and ultimately heartbreaking minutes.

Kevin Spacey to Play Winston Churchill, Meryl Streep Set for Jonathan Demme/Diablo Cody Project, and Amy Ryan Joins MONSTER TRUCKS

by     Posted 211 days ago

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We have a few interesting casting stories to attend to this afternoon.  Briefly:

  • Kevin Spacey is adding another politician to his roster, as he is set to take on the role of Winston Churchill in the drama Captain of the Gate.
  • Meryl Streep is attached to star in a new project with Jonathan Demme onboard to direct from a script by Diablo Cody.
  • Amy Ryan has been added to the live-action/CG hybrid film Monster Trucks.

Hit the jump for more details on the aforementioned casting.

New Trailer for DEVIL’S KNOT Starring Reese Witherspoon and Colin Firth

by     Posted 226 days ago

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A new trailer for director Atom Egoyan’s real-life drama Devil’s Knot has been released online.  The film is based on the story of the West Memphis Three, who were wrongfully accused and convicted of the murder of three young boys in Arkansas in the 1990s.  Reese Witherspoon stars as the mother of one of the victims while Colin Firth plays a private investigator hired to look into the defense case.  I caught the pic at TIFF last fall and found it to be a massive disappointment.  The film has no real focus and the performances—by talented actors, mind you—are bafflingly atrocious.  Moreover, the story of Witherspoon’s character verges into exploitation territory.

Hit the jump to watch the trailer, and click here to read Matt’s review.  The film also stars Alessandro Nivola, Stephen Moyer, Dane DeHaanMireille EnosBruce GreenwoodElias Koteas, and Amy Ryan.  Devil’s Knot opens in theaters May 9th.

New Trailer and Poster for Drake Doremus’ BREATHE IN Starring Guy Pearce and Felicity Jones

by     Posted 285 days ago

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It’s been a bit of a wait for fans to see Like Crazy writer/director Drake Doremus’ follow-up feature, but Breathe In finally opens stateside in just a couple of months.  A new trailer and poster for the pic have been released online, and they both do a nice job of capturing the tone of the intimate family drama. Guy Pearce stars as a former rock musician and current music teacher whose life begins to unravel when he develops an attraction towards a young foreign exchange student (Felicity Jones) that is staying with his family for her final semester.  I was a big fan of the pic when I caught it at last year’s Sundance Film Festival (read my review here), and Pearce and Jones both give captivating, magnetic performances as the two leads.  The supporting cast is great as well, especially relative newcomer Mackenzie Davis.

Hit the jump to check out the new trailer and poster, and click here to read my extensive interview with Doremus about the pic.  The film also stars Amy Ryan and Kyle MacLachlanBreathe In opens in the U.S. on March 23rd.

ESCAPE PLAN Review

by     Posted 1 year, 5 days ago

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Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger would really like it to be the 1980s, or at the very least, the 90s.  For Stallone, he had Tango & Cash, Cliffhanger, and Demolition Man.  For Schwarzenegger, he had Total Recall, Terminator 2, and True Lies.  Over the past several years, they’ve tried to rejuvenate their careers by giving the fans the team-up films they didn’t get 20-30 years ago.  Their past outings with The Expendables movies have been straight fan service with Schwarzenegger spouting lines like “I’m back!”  Escape Plan is their first real movie together, and while it’s a nice evolution for Schwarzenegger, the movie is caught between playing it straight and acknowledging the goofiness of its premise.  It eventually breaks free to embrace its B-movie personality, but it has a hard time getting there.

TIFF 2013: DEVIL’S KNOT Review

by     Posted 1 year, 42 days ago

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The injustice perpetrated against The West Memphis Three—three teenagers who in 1994 were wrongly convicted of the brutal slayings of three young boys in Memphis, Arkansas—was powerfully revealed in the 1996 documentary Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills.  Directors Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky proceed to keep interest in the case alive with their two sequels, and the accused were finally released from jail in 2011.  Berlinger and Sinofsky did the hard work and compelling filmmaking that captured the drama and tragedy of the case.  Atom Egoyan’s Devil’s Knot takes that hard work and turns it into a based-on-true-events movie that’s not only pointless, but also exploitative and disrespectful.

New Full Trailer for Larry David’s CLEAR HISTORY Starring Jon Hamm, Danny McBride, and Bill Hader

by     Posted 1 year, 116 days ago

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The first full trailer for writer/star Larry David’s new HBO film Clear History has made its way online.  David plays a hipster marketing exec named Nathan who sells his shares to a start-up over a fight with his boss (Jon Hamm), only to miss out on billions when the company’s new product becomes a smashing success.  We’ve see the footage of David in his long beard previously, but this new trailer reveals that the majority of Clear History takes place 10 years after David’s character sells his shares.  Nathan, now clean-shaven and very different in appearance, runs into his old boss at his island off the coast of Massachusetts, and proceeds to plot his revenge.

The trailer makes the film look like a feature-length episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm, which is in no way a bad thing, and its prospects are buoyed by promising appearances from the likes of Danny McBride, Bill Hader, and Michael Keaton.  Hit the jump to watch the full trailer.  Directed by Greg MottolaClear History premieres on HBO August 10th.

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