MEN, WOMEN & CHILDREN Review

by     Posted 29 days ago

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[This is a re-post of my review from the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival.  Men, Women & Children opens today in limited release.]

It’s comforting to view the Internet as a force. Things existed one way, the Internet came along, completely changed everything, and now—for better or worse—those things are barely recognizable. We’re all looking down, clacking into our smart phones, so the Internet must have transformed us, right? It’s just so powerful, and we were caught in its wake. Current communication technology has changed us, but Jason Reitman’s Men, Women & Children wryly, wisely, and astutely observes our fears and insecurities long preceded our smartphones. The film is a sharp commentary on the decay of intimacy as we, isolated in the cosmos, have now become isolated from each other. Woven together with well-crafted storylines, sharp performances, and convincing drama, Reitman’s latest film mostly avoids being a cautionary tale and instead provides an insightful look on how online communication changes our relationships but doesn’t define our lives.

EFFIE GRAY Trailer: Emma Thompson Returns to British Period Dramas in Grim Fashion

by     Posted 45 days ago

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The first Effie Gray trailer for director Richard Laxton’s (Burton and Taylor) significantly delayed period drama has arrived.  Written by Emma Thompson, the film is a biopic of Effie Gray (played by Dakota Fanning) that centers on her doomed marriage to art critic John Ruskin (Greg Wise) in 1840s London.  Despite her beauty, Ruskin didn’t consummate the marriage and the devastate Gray eventually fell in love with Ruskin’s protégé, painter John Everett Milias (Tom Sturridge).  Thompson won an Oscar for starring in 1992’s Howards End and another for writing 1995’s Sense and Sensibility, and she returns to the “British Period Drama” genre with Effie Gray.  The film looks to be considerably grim and feels slightly reminiscent of the drab and dull Therese, but there is certainly a strong pedigree behind it, so here’s hoping it’s worth the wait.

Watch the Effie Gray trailer after the jump.  The film also stars Robbie Coltrane, Claudia Cardinale, James Fox, Julie Walters, Derek Jacobi, and David Suchet.  While a U.S. release date is still pending, the pic is slated to open in the UK on October 10th.

MEN, WOMEN & CHILDREN Trailer: Adam Sandler, Jennifer Garner, Ansel Elgort and More Have Internet Issues in Jason Reitman’s New Drama

by     Posted 72 days ago

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Our very first look at Jason Reitman’s latest is here and based on the tone of the trailer, Men, Women & Children could be one of his darker, most somber films yet.  In fact, I don’t think there’s a single smile in this entire thing.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but when you fall for laugh-heavy films like Juno and Young Adult (and also manage to forget that Labor Day even exists), this feels like quite the switch.  This is only a teaser trailer so it’s impossible to pass much judgment, but Reitman could have the performances to support it, with The Fault in Our Star’s Ansel Elgort being a standout here.  The piece also doesn’t offer up any concrete story details, but from the official synopsis and Chad Kulten’s source material, we know that Men, Women & Children will focus on high school students and their parents, and how their relationships, self-image and quality of life are affected by the internet.

Hit the jump to watch the Men, Women & Children trailer.  The film also stars Adam SandlerRosemarie DeWittJennifer GarnerJudy GreerKaitlyn DeverDean NorrisJ.K. Simmons, Timothée ChalametOlivia Crocicchia and Emma Thompson.  Men, Women & Children will have its world premiere at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival and opens in limited release on October 3rd.

Emma Thompson & Ray Winstone Lead THE LEGEND OF BARNEY THOMPSON; Gabourey Sidibe & Ian McShane Join GRIMSBY; Adam DeVine Joins THE INTERN

by     Posted 141 days ago

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

  • Emma Thompson and Ray Winstone will topline Robert Carlyle’s feature directorial debut, The Legend of Barney Thompson.
  • Gabourey SidibeIan McShaneDavid Harewood, and Johnny Vegas join Sacha Baron Cohen in Louis Leterrier’s spy spoof, Grimsby.
  • Adam DeVine joins Anne Hathaway and Robert De Niro in Nancy Meyers’ comedy, The Intern.

Hit the jump for more on each picture.

Edgar Ramirez in Talks for POINT BREAK Remake; Nic Cage to Lead THE TRUST; Emma Thompson & Daniel Brühl Join BERLIN

by     Posted 169 days ago

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We’ve got a few more casting stories to attend to this afternoon.  Briefly:

  • Edgar Ramirez (Carlos) is in talks to replace Gerard Butler in the Point Break remake.
  • Nicolas Cage and Jack Huston (Boardwalk Empire) will star in the crime thriller The Trust.
  • Emma Thompson, Daniel Brühl (Rush), and Mark Rylance (The Other Boelyn Girl) will star in the Hans Fallada adaptation Alone in Berlin.

Hit the jump for more on this casting news.

Anna Kendrick and Sam Rockwell Team for MR. RIGHT; Emma Thompson and Nick Offerman Join WOODS; Rachel Weisz and More Set for YOUTH

by     Posted 178 days ago

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We’ve got a few casting stories to attend to this afternoon.  Briefly:

  • Anna Kendrick and Sam Rockwell will co-star in the hit man romantic comedy Mr. Right, scripted by Max Landis.
  • Emma Thompson, Nick Offerman, and Kristen Schaal (The Daily Show) have joined Robert Redford and Nick Nolte in the indie comedy A Walk in the Woods.
  • Rachel Weisz, Harvey Keitel, and Paul Dano will star in director Paolo Sorrentino’s drama Youth opposite Michael Caine.

Hit the jump for more on the aforementioned casting stories.

SAVING MR. BANKS Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 187 days ago

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Sometimes a movie that screams Academy Award-pedigree just doesn’t score the nominations–let alone the rewards.  Such was the case in 2013 for Saving Mr. Banks, which landed numerous critics’ award nominations but tallied only one Oscar nom (for Best Original Score).  Perhaps that says more about the strength of the then seemingly wide-open Oscar field than the film itself, since Saving Mr. Banks is a thoroughly delightful film.  Hit the jump for my Saving Mr. Banks Blu-ray review.

Emma Thompson to Star in Robert Carlyle’s Directorial Debut THE LONG MIDNIGHT OF BARNEY THOMSON; Jake Gyllenhaal & Amy Adams Join EZEKIEL MOSS

by     Posted 272 days ago

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Here’s more of today’s casting news:

Hit the jump for more on both pictures.

Adam Predicts the 2014 Oscar Nominees

by     Posted 289 days ago

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Well, folks, the time has finally come.  I’ve been covering this year’s awards season since last fall when we launched our awards column Oscar Beat, and after running through the ups and downs of the season thus far, it’s now time to predict which films, performances, screenplays, and other cinematic achievements from 2013 the Academy will choose to single out.  I feel very confident about some of my choices while others feel like more of a crapshoot.  One thing’s for sure: this has been quite an interesting season thus far, and there’s still no consensus with regards to some of the big winners.

Hit the jump as I take a stab at predicting the 2014 Oscar nominees.  The nominations will be announced at 5:30am PST on January 16th.

Emma Thompson Talks SAVING MR. BANKS, Her Preparation Process, Getting Input from Richard Sherman, Terrence Malick’s VOYAGE OF TIME, More

by     Posted 314 days ago

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Now playing in theaters is Saving Mr. Banks, the new film from The Blind Side director John Lee Hancock.  Based on a true story, the pic focuses on Walt Disney’s (Tom Hanks) twenty-year pursuit of the film rights to author P.L. Travers’ (Emma Thompson) novel Mary Poppins and the rocky relationship that formed between the two when she finally came to Hollywood.  Loaded with great performances, a strong script, and the first time Walt Disney has been portrayed on screen, Banks is a likely contender for this year’s award season.  The film also stars Paul Giamatti, Bradley Whitford, Jason Schwartzman, B.J. Novak, Annie Rose Buckley, Ruth Wilson, Rachel Griffiths, Kathy Baker, and Colin Farrell.

At the recent Los Angeles press day, I landed an exclusive interview with Emma Thompson.  She talked about how she got involved in the project, the way she prepared for the role, getting to talk with Mary Poppins songwriter Richard Sherman about P.L. Travers, and more.  She also talked about how people always want to talk to her about Nanny McPhee and what it was like to work for Terrence Malick and narrate Voyage of Time.

Production Begins on Jason Reitman’s MEN, WOMEN & CHILDREN Starring Adam Sandler and Rosemarie Dewitt; Full Cast Revealed

by     Posted 318 days ago

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Though writer/director Jason Reitman’s latest feature Labor Day doesn’t open in theaters until later this month, production is already underway on his follow-up film Men, Women & Children.  Based on the novel of the same name by Chad Kultgen, the film “follows the story of a group of high school teenagers and their parents as they attempt to navigate the many ways the internet has changed their relationships, their communication, their self-image, and their love lives.”  Reitman co-wrote the screenplay with Erin Cressida Wilson (Secretary), and the ensemble cast includes Adam Sandler, Rosemarie Dewitt, Jennifer Garner, Judy Greer, Dean Norris, J.K. Simmons, Ansel Elgort, and Emma Thompson.

Filming is currently underway in Austin, Texas, with Paramount onboard to distribute.  No word on when the film might hit theaters, but one imagines Reitman could make the fall festival circuit with the finished pic next year.  Hit the jump to read the full press release, which includes the cast list and extended synopsis.

12 YEARS A SLAVE and AMERICAN HUSTLE Lead Critics Choice Award Nominations

by     Posted 318 days ago

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The Broadcast Film Critics Association has unveiled its list of nominees for the upcoming Critics’ Choice Movie Awards, and 12 Years a Slave and American Hustle lead the pack with 13 nominations each—though three of Hustle’s nominations come from “Comedy” categories.  The BFCA added some genre categories last year for Action, Sci-Fi/Horror, and Comedy, so the list of nominations is a bit more diverse than those we’ve seen previously.  That being said, Brie Larson made the overall Best Actress cut for her excellent turn in Short Term 12, and it’s nice to finally see The World’s End and star Simon Pegg getting some attention (nicer still that BFCA recognizes actual comedies in the Best Comedy category, unlike the Golden Globes).  Other notable additions include Scarlett Johansson nabbing a Best Supporting Actress nod for her voice-only role in Her and Christian Bale landing a Best Actor nomination for the aforementioned American Hustle.

Hit the jump to check out the full list of nominations and to find out how closely the Critics’ Choice Awards correlate with Oscar.  The 19th annual Critics’ Choice Movie Awards will be held on January 16, 2014.

SAVING MR. BANKS Review

by     Posted 322 days ago

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All films based on real events should have historical license.  The most important thing is trying to tell the best story possible, and if that means playing a little fast and loose with the facts, then so be it.  But when those facts become elastic in order to serve an agenda coated in mawkish sentiment, then history a serious consideration rather than a suggestion.  In the case of Saving Mr. Banks, Disney is attempting to rewrite history in service of bolstering the argument of corporate wisdom seducing the misguided artist who doesn’t understand that synergy is the best way to catharsis.  The film pays a bit of lip service to cold studio pragmatism, and Tom Hanks is at his most charming, but Saving Mr. Banks‘ warm, sunny attitude can’t mask calculating, self-congratulatory motives.

2 New Featurettes for SAVING MR. BANKS Delve into the Music and Tom Hanks’ Performance as Walt Disney

by     Posted 323 days ago

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Disney has released two new behind-the-scenes featurettes for director John Lee Hancock’s upcoming film Saving Mr. Banks.  The film’s story focuses on Walt Disney’s (Tom Hanks) pursuit of the film rights to author P.L. Travers’ (Emma Thompson) novel Mary Poppins and the rocky relationship that formed between the two.  The film is considered a potential Oscar contender, especially as far as Hanks and Thompson’s performances are concerned.  One of these two featurettes explores how Hanks approached playing Walt Disney in what will be the first time the visionary has ever been portrayed onscreen, while the second featurette delves into the music of Mary Poppins, as B.J. Novak and Jason Schwartzman play the legendary Sherman Brothers.

Hit the jump to watch the new featurettes, and if you missed Steve’s lengthy and wide-ranging chat with Hanks, click here.  The film also stars Bradley Whitford, Paul Giamatti, Annie Rose Buckley, Ruth Wilson, and Colin FarrellSaving Mr. Banks opens in limited release on December 13th before expanding wide on December 20th.

Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks Talk SAVING MR. BANKS, Bringing the Essence of Their Characters to the Screen, and How P.L. Travers Would Have Reacted

by     Posted 325 days ago

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Saving Mr. Banks tells the tale of when Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) invited Mary Poppins author P.L. Travers (Emma Thompson) to his studio in Los Angeles in 1961, to discuss his interest in obtaining the movie rights to her beloved book and character.  While there, Travers, who had been resistant for 20 years, spent two weeks uncompromisingly fighting every idea and suggestion, on the road to bringing this classic to the big screen.

At a press conference to promote the film’s release, co-stars Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks talked about bringing the essence of these people to life without doing an exact imitation, what they learned about these individuals from playing them, the characters they were each obsessed with, growing up, and what P.L. Travers might have thought of this film.  Thompson also addressed whether there might ever be another Nanny McPhee movie.  Check out what they had to say after the jump. 

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