I’ve never read any of Elmore Leonard’s novels, and yes, I’m ashamed. But I know from the film adaptations of his crime novels that there’s a way to do them right and wrong. They have a confidence, a swagger, a sly wink, a braggadocio, and they’re smart. They have the talk for the walk, and some directors, most notably Quentin Tarantino with Jackie Brown (based off Leonard’s Rum Punch) and Steven Soderbergh’s Out of Sight, are smart enough to bring that confidence to the screen. Those films make the uninitiated feel embarrassed that they haven’t joined the club. Even with Daniel Schechter’s cautious adaptation of Life of Crime (based on the novel The Switch) the audience can hear Leonard speaking. Schechter’s direction is serviceable enough to not get in the way, he wisely trust his strong cast, accents the comedy, and lets Leonard do the talking.
HBO has released a new trailer and some debut images for the upcoming fourth season of Eastbound & Down, and they give us our first look at a fair amount of footage from the further adventures of Kenny Powers. Danny McBride is on point, as always, as the season’s story looks to find Powers struggling with his lack of fame and purpose. The track record of the three previous seasons bodes extremely well for this final batch of episodes, and I’m really eager to see how McBride and showrunner Jody Hill wrap the story up once and for all.
Hit the jump to check out the trailer and images. Season four of Eastbound & Down begins on HBO Sunday, September 29th.
This morning, the Toronto International Film Festival announced its terrific line-up for their Galas and Special Presentation programs. Among the films with new images and synopses are:
- Life of Crime (Directed by Daniel Schechter) Starring John Hawkes, Yasiin Bey (a.k.a Mos Def), Jennifer Aniston, Tim Robbins, Isla Fisher, Will Forte, and Mark Boone Jr.
- The Railway Man (Directed by Jonathan Teplitzky) Starring Colin Firth, Jeremy Irvine, and Nicole Kidman.
- Third Person (Directed by Paul Haggis) Starring Liam Neeson, Mila Kunis, Adrien Brody, James Franco, Olivia Wilde, Maria Bello, Kim Basinger, and Moran Atias.
- The Art of the Steal (Directed by Jonathan Sobol) Starring Jay Baruchel, Matt Dillon, Kurt Russell, Terence Stamp, Katheryn Winnick, Chris Diamantopoulos, Kenneth Welsh, and Jason Jones.
- Bad Words (Directed by Jason Bateman) Starring Jason Bateman, Allison Janney, Phillip Baker Hall, Kathryn Hahn, and Rohan Chand.
Hit the jump to check out the images and synopses. The 2013 Toronto International Film Festival runs from September 5 – 15th.
Director Baltasar Kormakur (Contraband, The Deep) may have rounded up a group of doomed mountaineers. According to Deadline, Josh Brolin, John Hawkes, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Jason Clarke are in talks to star in Everest. The film is based on the disastrous 1996 expedition that left eight climbers dead, and was chronicled in Jon Krakauer’s excellent non-fiction novel, Into Thin Air. This adaptation will reportedly be “be sourced from various books and interviews with survivors.” One of the fascinating aspects of the climb is that it claimed both novice and experienced climbers, and I’m curious to find out if the actors are playing real people or amalgams.
Earlier this year, we reported that Christian Bale was going to play the lead role, but Deadline makes no mention of him, so presumably he’s out. The production is eyeing a November start date. It’s also worth noting that there’s another Everest movie in production (also titled “Everest”) with Doug Liman attached to direct, but we haven’t heard anything new on the project in almost a year. That movie is about George Mallory, and his three attempts in the early 1920s to become the first man to climb the world’s highest mountain.
Though the 85th Academy Awards are a mere day away, tonight an awards ceremony of a different sort took place to celebrate the best of independent film. Unsurprisingly, Oscar player Silver Linings Playbook took home the most awards of the night with four wins, including Best Picture, Best Director for David O. Russell, Best Actress for Jennifer Lawrence, and Best Screenplay for Russell. The crowdpleasing pic beat out the likes of Beasts of the Southern Wild and Moonrise Kingdom for the top prize, but John Hawkes was named Best Actor for his swell work in The Sessions. The Best First Feature prize deservingly went to The Perks of Being a Wallflower.
Hit the jump to read the full list of winners for the 2013 Independent Spirit Awards.
As Sunday’s 85th Annual Academy Awards loom closer, we’ve using this week as an opportunity to take a look back at how the past year’s Oscar race has played out in a number of categories. We first took a look at the ebbs and flows in the Best Supporting Actor category, and then we chronicled the road that lead us to the Best Supporting Actress nominees. Today we’re examining the Best Actor race, which actually seemed to be all wrapped up months before the nominees were even announced. Hit the jump to read on.
A trailer has been released for the dramedy The Playroom. The film takes place in the 1975, and centers on a group of kids seeing the drama created by their parents. The advertising is practically begging to get the movie some credibility by overloading on blurbs to the point where one of the quotes is along the lines of “this is the stuff Oscar clips are made from.” It would be the first Oscar movie without any buzz whatsoever. I love star John Hawkes, but he does his share of forgettable indies, and this looks like one of them.
Hit the jump to check out the trailer, and maybe you’ll feel differently. The film also stars Molly Parker, Cody Linley, Lydia MacKay, and Olivia Harris. The Playroom hits theaters, DVD, and VOD on February 8th (you know, like all potential Oscar contenders).
At last, Oscar is upon us. Back in November I shared a look at the early awards season race by way of our 2013 Oscar Preview articles, and now nearly two months later there’s still quite a bit up in the air. This truly is one of the more exciting awards races in recent years, as 2012 is so stacked with quality that there are a surprising number of uncertainties this close to the Academy Awards ceremony. Nevertheless, I am once again foolishly going to attempt to predict how the Oscar nominations will shake out when they’re announced tomorrow morning, January 10th. Hit the jump to check out my predictions.
The nominations for the 2013 Independent Spirit Awards have been announced, and Oscar hopefuls Silver Linings Playbook and Moonrise Kingdom lead the pack. Both films picked up nominations for Best Feature, Director, and Screenplay with Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper landing acting noms for SLP and Bruce Willis garnering a swell Best Supporting Actor nomination for his work in Moonrise Kingdom. Beasts of the Southern Wild, Bernie, and Keep the Lights On round out the Best Feature nominees, while The Perks of Being a Wallflower and Safety Not Guaranteed were singled out for the Best First Feature award. Also, Matthew McConaughey pulled double nominations for his stellar work in this year’s Magic Mike and Killer Joe, landing a Best Supporting Actor and Best Actor nod, respectively. Notably shut out of the race entirely was Leos Carax‘s critically-lauded Holy Motors.
Hit the jump to check out the full list of nominations. The winners of the 2013 Spirit Awards will be announced on Saturday, February 23, 2013.
The 2013 awards race is in full swing, and what better way to spend the Thanksgiving holiday then to take a closer look at how the categories are shaping up thus far? Over the next few days we’re providing a bit of an overview of what the state of the race looks like at this point in time. Yesterday we ran down the contenders for Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress, and today we’ll be taking a look at the fiercely competitive categories for Best Actor and Best Actress. Hit the jump to read on.
Fresh off some much-deserved awards buzz for his work in this year’s The Sessions, character actor John Hawkes is looking to tackle another real-life role. Variety reports that Hawkes is set to replace Mark Ruffalo as jazz pianist Joe Albany in the indie drama Low Down. Commercials director Jeff Priess is set to make his feature film debut on the project, which tells the story of Albany’s life from the perspective of his 11-year-old daughter, Amy. The musician found success early in his career playing with the likes of Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, and Charles Mingus, but later struggled with heroin addiction.
The film will apparently tell the story of Amy’s unconventional childhood “with a talented but strung-out father in the shadowy world of cocktail bars and transient hotels.” Ruffalo had been set to play Albany but was forced to drop out when the production was pushed and caused scheduling issues. Filming will begin in March 2013.
Just in time for Election Day, a new international trailer for director Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln has been released, and it’s by far the best one yet. This trailer actually delves into the central focus of the long-in-the-works drama—the passing of the 13th Amendment—and gives us a much better idea of what kind of biopic Spielberg and screenwriter Tony Kushner have crafted. Much of this trailer is reminiscent of The West Wing, with Daniel Day-Lewis’ Lincoln and his advisers working to secure enough votes to ensure that the amendment will pass. The trailer also teases the multitude of strong performances from the ridiculously talented ensemble, and I can’t wait to see the whole thing unfold onscreen.
Hit the jump to watch the trailer. The film also stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt, David Oyelowo, Sally Field, Tommy Lee Jones, James Spader, John Hawkes, Michael Stuhlbarg, David Strathairn, Walton Goggins, Tim Blake Nelson, Bruce McGill, Jackie Earle Haley, Lee Pace and Jared Harris. Lincoln opens on November 16th.
[This is a re-post of my review from the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. The Sessions opens tomorrow in limited release.]
In the movies, pretty adults are supposed to have sex. The male lead and the female lead need to be our idealized selves in an ideal relationship and they need to have attractive people sex. But in the real world, people find a way to fall in love and get it on even if they don’t have chiseled abs or amazing breasts. And then there are those people where, due to their physique, we wonder if sex is even an option and we’re sure that thought has crossed their minds as well. And no matter our physique, we’ve all probably wondered if we’ll ever find love. Those thoughts—of finding love and sex—crossed the mind of writer and poet Mark O’Brien. At the age of six, O’Brien’s body was ravaged by polio and he was placed in an iron lung, which he could only leave for a few hours at a time. As John entered his 40s, he still hadn’t had sex or found love, and in Ben Lewin‘s The Sessions—a movie based on O’Brien’s real experiences—he searches for both. The Sessions comes right up to the line of being painfully sentimental and mawkish, but strong direction and amazing lead performances make the film inspirational, funny, and genuinely heartwarming.
Four clips from the upcoming drama The Sessions have been released. The movie stars John Hawkes as writer and poet Mark O’Brien, whose body was ravaged by polio when he was a child and stuck him in an iron lung for the rest of his life. However, he still wanted to have sex and intimacy, and so he found a sexual surrogate (Helen Hunt) to help him learn the intricacies of intercourse. The pic made waves earlier this year when it debuted to a rapturously positive response at the Sundance Film Festival (read Matt’s review right here), with many singling out the fantastic performances from Hawkes and Hunt.
Hit the jump to watch the clips. The film also stars William H. Macy and Moon Bloodgood. The Sessions opens in limited release on October 19th.
The Sessions tells the remarkable, funny, heartfelt and optimistic story of California-based journalist and poet Mark O’Brien (John Hawkes, in an award-worthy performance), a man who lived most of his life in an iron lung after having survived a bout of childhood polio. At age 38, Mark becomes determined to lose his virginity and sets out to make his dream a reality by hiring a sex surrogate (Helen Hunt), who becomes as deeply moved by the experience as he is. From writer/director Ben Lewin, the film also stars William H. Macy, Moon Bloodgood, Rhea Perlman, W. Earl Brown, Robin Weigert and Adam Arkin.
At the film’s press day, actor John Hawkes talked about how he maintained the body curvature necessary for the role, what it was like to be confined in the iron lung, the challenge of only having his face to convey his entire emotional performance, exploring the sex surrogate relationship with co-star Helen Hunt, and the responsibility of honoring someone’s memory. Check out what he had to say after the jump.