Trailer for THE DROP Starring Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace, and James Gandolfini

by     Posted 17 days ago


Fox Searchlight has released the trailer for the crime drama The DropTom Hardy plays Bob, a former criminal and current bartender working at a bar that serves as a money “drop” for local gangsters.  When the bar gets robbed, Bob and his cousin/employer Marv (James Gandolfini) find themselves in the crosshairs of an investigation and the criminal underworld.  Directed by Michaël R. Roskam (Bullhead) working from a script by Dennis Lehane (Gone Baby Gone), who adapted his own short story, I have high hopes for this one, not only because of the talent on board, but because it’s Gandolfini’s final film, and I want his filmography to go out on a high note.

Hit the jump to check out the trailer.  The film also stars Noomi Rapace, Matthias Schoenaerts, John Ortiz, Ann Dowd, and James FrechevilleThe Drop opens September 19th.

First Look at James Gandolfini in His Final Film THE DROP Alongside Tom Hardy

by     Posted 23 days ago


The first images from director Michaël R. Roskam’s (Bullhead) crime drama The Drop (formerly titled Animal Rescue) have landed online, offering us a first look at what will sadly be James Gandolfini’s final film.  Tom Hardy leads the pic as a former criminal and current bartender working at a place that serves as a money “drop” for local gangsters.  Gandolfini plays his cousin, and the story kicks into gear when Hardy’s character rescues a pit bull puppy, only to become the target of the dog’s abusive and mentally unstable former owner.  Mystic River and Shutter Island author Dennis Lehane penned the screenplay, and the impressive cast also includes Noomi Rapace and Matthias Schoenaerts.

Hit the jump to check out the debut images.  The Drop opens in theaters on September 19th.

HBO to Air James Gandolfini Tribute Special Sunday, December 22nd; Trailer Unveiled

by     Posted 119 days ago


The passing of actor James Gandolfini earlier this year was an enormous loss for us all, and now HBO has set a tribute special to honor the man and his work.  The network will air James Gandolfini: A Tribute this coming Sunday, December 22nd at 8:30pm ET.  Though Gandolfini is best known for excellently portraying mob boss Tony Soprano on HBO’s The Sopranos, this trailer more closely focuses on Gandolfini the man.  We see friends and castmates ranging from Edie Falco to Diane Lane to Sopranos creator David Chase remembering the late actor, and the special is sure to be an emotional half hour.  Watch the trailer for the tribute special after the jump. 

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

by     Posted 123 days ago


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.

Oscar Beat: Best Supporting Actor – Is Jared Leto on His Way to an Oscar Win?

by     Posted 125 days ago


As we continue our in-depth look at the coming awards season, it’s now time to delve in the Best Supporting Actor race.  It’s a tough category this year, with a number of impressive turns from a variety of actors.  The two big standouts emerged at the Toronto Film Festival this past September with Jared Leto earning extremely high praise for his turn as a transsexual opposite Mattthew McConaughey in Dallas Buyers Club, and Michael Fassbender turning heads as a ruthless slave owner in the highly emotional 12 Years a Slave.  But there are plenty of other contenders as well, with both Jonah Hill and James Franco firmly in the race for a pair of more comic performances.

Hit the jump to read the latest edition of Oscar Beat, in which we examine the Best Supporting Actor category.

Los Angeles, Boston, and New York Online Critics Announce Awards; HER and GRAVITY Tie for Best Picture in LA Awards

by     Posted 131 days ago


The critics group awards are off and running.  Last week we saw the New York Film Critics Circle, the National Board of Review, and the Boston Online Critics announce their annual awards, and today we have three more groups to add to the pile.  12 Years a Slave won Best Picture in the Boston and New York Online groups, but the Los Angeles voting resulted in a tie for Best Picture between Gravity and HerAlfonso Cuaron took Best Director in the Los Angeles and New York Film Critics Online awards, while Boston went for 12 Years a Slave’s Steve McQueen.  While many votes seemed to be in line with early predictions, James Franco shared the Best Supporting Actor moniker in the Los Angeles group for his work in Spring Breakers.

If there’s one takeaway from the critics group awards we’ve seen thus far, it’s that Spike Jonze’s Her has a heavy amount of love in the film community, which could very well translate to Oscar.  Hit the jump to read the full list of winners for all three groups, as well as the runners up for the L.A. and Boston awards.

12 YEARS A SLAVE and NEBRASKA Top 2014 Independent Spirit Awards Nominations

by     Posted 143 days ago


The 2014 Independent Spirit Awards nominations have been announced, and director Steve McQueen’s excellent drama 12 Years a Slave tops the nominees with seven nods, including Best Feature, Best Director, and Best Actor.  Nebraska is not far behind with six nominations, and the Robert Redford drama All Is Lost also did well with four nods.  The much-beloved Short Term 12 failed to land a Best Feature nomination, but Primer director Shane Carruth’s twisty second feature Upstream Color landed nods for Best Director and Best Editing.  The Best Actor category is a strong mirror of the very tight Oscar race in the same category, and the wonderful Shailene Woodley and Brie Larson nabbed Best Actress nominations for The Spectacular Now and Short Term 12, respectively.

Hit the jump for the full list of nominations and additional commentary.  The Independent Spirit Awards will be hosted on March 1, 2014.

Robert De Niro to Replace James Gandolfini in HBO Miniseries CRIMINAL JUSTICE

by     Posted 205 days ago


Shortly before his untimely death, James Gandolfini was poised to make a return to HBO in the limited series Criminal Justice.  The actor’s passion project was put in limbo after he passed, but HBO has now found a way to move forward with the miniseries and honor Gandolfini’s legacy.  Creator/producer Steven Zaillian and HBO worked hard to find a replacement that would befit a man of Gandolfini’s talent, and now that Robert De Niro has agreed to take over the role.  The crime story takes place in New York City and revolves around an ambulance-chasing attorney who gets in over his head when he takes on the case of a Pakistani accused of murdering a girl on the Upper West Side.  Hit the jump for more.


by     Posted 212 days ago


[This is a re-post of my review from the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival.  Enough Said opens today in limited release.]

Enough Said doesn’t have enough to say, and that’s fine because it’s so pleasant, nice, sweet, and cute. There’s some light subtext about not substituting other people’s relationships for our own, but mostly the movie is about pairing together two charming lead actors in a romantic comedy, and just enjoying their chemistry. Julia Louis-Drefyus and James Gandolfini are completely endearing as a couple with playful banter, funny jokes, and mutual hesitations about trying to love someone who was deemed unlovable by somebody else. Even at the movie’s heaviest and most awkward moments, writer-director Nicole Holofcener’s light touch always keeps us smiling.


by     Posted 222 days ago


Enough Said doesn’t have enough to say, and that’s fine because it’s so pleasant, nice, sweet, and cute.  There’s some light subtext about not substituting other people’s relationships for our own, but mostly the movie is about pairing together two charming lead actors in a romantic comedy, and just enjoying their chemistry.  Julia Louis-Drefyus and James Gandolfini are completely endearing as a couple with playful banter, funny jokes, and mutual hesitations about trying to love someone who was deemed unlovable by somebody else.  Even at the movie’s heaviest and most awkward moments, writer-director Nicole Holofcener’s light touch always keeps us smiling.

Trailer and Poster for Nicole Holofcener’s ENOUGH SAID Starring Julia Louis-Dreyfuss and James Gandolfini

by     Posted 255 days ago


Fox Searchlight has released the trailer and poster for Nicole Holofcener‘s comedy Enough SaidJulia Louis-Dreyfuss stars as Eva, a woman who strikes up a relationship with fellow single parent Albert (James Gandolfini) only to discover that he’s the ex-husband of her new friend Marianne (Catherine Keener).  Eva must then struggle to keep seeing Albert in a positive light as Marianne continues to point out his foibles.  Watching this trailer, I’m reminded of how much I miss Gandolfini.  The movie looks like it’s really going to highlight the actor’s sweet side, and I like the dynamic I’m seeing between the cast, which also includes Toni Collette and Ben Falcone.

Hit the jump to check out the trailer and poster.  Enough Said will play at the Toronto International Film Festival before opening on September 20th.

HBO Executives Richard Plepler and Michael Lombardo Talk GAME OF THRONES, James Gandolfini’s CRIMINAL JUSTICE, THE NEWSROOM Season 3, and More

by     Posted 265 days ago


While at the HBO portion of the TCA Press Tour, President of Programming Michael Lombardo and co-President Richard Plepler took some time to talk about new and returning programming.  During the interview, they spoke about how long Game of Thrones and True Blood could run for, what they have currently in development with both David Chase (The Sopranos) and David Milch (Deadwood), the status of the Criminal Justice pilot and why they think it’s best to recast the role James Gandolfini played, the possibility of a second season for Family Tree and a third season for The Newsroom, the half-hour series about high school life that they’re developing with Danny McBride and Jody Hill, and that they are no longer moving ahead with a Transporter series at Cinemax.  Check out what they had to say after the jump.


by     Posted 269 days ago


The Toronto International Film Festival announced its stellar line-up for their 2013 Galas and Special Presentation programs.  Among the films with new images and synopses are:

  • The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Him and Her (Directed by Ned Benson) Starring Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy, Nina Arianda, Viola Davis, Bill Hader, Ciarán Hinds, Isabelle Huppert, William Hurt, and Jess Weixler.
  • Dom Hemingway (Directed by Richard Shepard) Starring Jude Law, Richard E. Grant, Demian Bichir, Emilia Clarke, Kerry Condon, Jumayn Hunter, Madalina Ghenea, and Nathan Stewart-Jarrett.
  • Enough Said (Directed by Nicole Holofcener) Starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Catherine Keener, James Gandolfini, Toni Collette, Ben Falcone, Eve Hewson, and Tavi Gevinson.
  • Hateship Loveship (Directed by Liza Johnson) Starring Kristen Wiig, Guy Pearce, Christine Lahti, Nick Nolte, Hailee Steinfeld, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Sami Gayle.
  • Philomena (Directed by Stephen Frears) Starring Judi Dench and Steve Coogan.

Hit the jump to check out the images and synopses.  The 2013 Toronto International Film Festival runs from September 5 – 15th.

R.I.P. James Gandolfini Passes Away at 51

by     Posted 303 days ago


Sadly, an immensely talented actor from what may very well be the best television series in history has unexpectedly passed away.  James Gandolfini died of a possible heart attack earlier today in Rome at the age of 51, reports confirm.  Gandolfini was born in New Jersey and broke out with his performance as Virgil in 1993’s True Romance.  The actor went on to star in the HBO drama series The Sopranos from 1999 to 2007, earning three Best Actor Emmys in the process.  The show itself truly changed television forever, and Gandolfini’s brilliant performance as patriarch Tony Soprano was the foundation for the series’ success.  He was also active on the stage, appearing in the 2009 Broadway production of God of Carnage, and had many, many memorable feature film roles including Where the Wild Things Are and In the Loop.

Gandolfini had recently wrapped a co-starring role opposite Tom Hardy in Animal Rescue, and he will also appear in Nicole Holofcener’s new film.  Our deepest condolences go out to Gandolfini’s family, friends, and colleagues.  The acting world is a lesser place without him.


by     Posted 315 days ago


[This is a slightly modified re-post of my review from the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival.  Violet & Daisy opens today in limited release.]

The concept of an adorable female assassin is nothing new. I’m pretty sure that at least half of all anime is based on this premise. The appeal is that you juxtapose wide-eyed innocence and blood-drenched experience. However, it’s an idea that’s been done to near-death (see: anime, +50%) and I was curious to see how Oscar-winning screenwriter Geoffrey Fletcher (Precious) would handle adorable-assassins in his directorial debut, Violet & Daisy. Fletcher has delivered a script was tons of potential for a fun action-comedy that doesn’t blow the genre apart, but manages to do a solid job of staying playful and upbeat with the talented Saoirse Ronan and James Gandolfini selling the dramatic aspects of the story. Unfortunately, Fletcher is constantly hamstrung by his lack of experience, budgetary constraints, and Alexis Bledel‘s lackluster performance.

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