The Rebellion Takes Flight in Full-Length THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY – PART 1 Trailer

by     Posted 8 days ago

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Lionsgate has released the full-length The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 trailer for the first half of director Francis Lawrence’s conclusion to the Hunger Games franchise.  The film finds Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) at the forefront of the rebellion in District 13 while Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) and Johanna (Jena Malone) are held captive in the Capitol.  Francis Lawrence surprised the hell out of me with Catching Fire, which I thought was hands-down the best “tentpole” film of last year, and so I have high hopes for his adaptation of Mockingjay (the weakest book of the trilogy).  What strikes me most about this trailer is that the film appears to be in the vein of an action pic, whereas Catching Fire was more of a thriller and the first film was essentially a survival movie.  District 13 isn’t exactly a cinematic location and there’s a lot of bunker-set scenes in the book, so I’m very curious to see what changes have been made in the feature film adaptation.  The pic looks rather epic in scope, and I imagine Mockingjay – Part 1 will be the most intense and largest scale entry in the franchise yet.  Hold on to your butts.

Hit the jump to watch the Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 trailer.  The film also stars Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Julianne Moore, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Elizabeth Banks, Natalie Dormer, Sam Claflin, and Donald SutherlandThe Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 opens in theaters on November 21st.

Oscar Beat TIFF 2014: Reese Witherspoon Enters Frustratingly Thin Best Actress Race with WILD

by     Posted 11 days ago

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While the Toronto International Film Festival is a regular launching pad for awards season fare, this year’s fest lacked any one big breakout film like last year’s 12 Years a Slave and Gravity.  TIFF 2014, instead, was all about the performances.  I’ve already written about the awards prospects of the incredible work in Foxcatcher, The Imitation Game, and The Theory of Everything, not to mention a potential dark horse in Jake Gyllenhaal’s Nightcrawler, and now it’s time to discuss Reese Witherspoon’s raw, naked lead performance in director Jean-Marc Vallée’s pleasantly surprising and refreshing drama Wild.

You can read my full review of the film right here, but in this TIFF 2014 edition of Oscar Beat, I consider Witherspoon’s chances in the frustratingly weak Best Actress race.  Read on after the jump.

TIFF 2014 Acquisitions: TOP FIVE, BEFORE WE GO, STILL ALICE, PAWN SACRIFICE and More

by     Posted 11 days ago

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The Toronto International Film Festival is starting to wrap up, so we’ve got quite a few sales to report.  Here’s what’s coming at a glance:

  • RADiUS took the US rights to Adult Beginners starring Rose Byrne.
  • RADiUS also snatched up the US rights to Chris EvansBefore We Go.
  • Sony Pictures Classics closed a deal for the Julianne Moore-starrer, Still Alice.
  • Saban Films picked up the US rights to American Heist with Hayden Christensen.
  • Bleecker Street snagged Pawn Sacrifice starring Tobey Maguire.
  • Paramount put up $12.5 million for Chris Rock’s Top Five.

Hit the jump for more.

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MAPS TO THE STARS Trailer Featuring Julianne Moore, Mia Wasikowska and Robert Pattinson

by     Posted 12 days ago

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When you’ve got a film featuring a Cannes Film Festival Best Actress awarding winning performance from Julianne Moore, you better put it to good use and this new trailer for David Cronenberg’s Maps to the Stars does just that.  The first 25 seconds of the piece is just Moore whining on the phone, but her work is so amusing and commanding that it instantly sparks a desire for more.

And best of all, we’re going to get to see more Moore (sorry, I had to) because earlier this month, Focus Features’ alternative distribution initiative, Focus World, snatched up the U.S. distribution rights to the film and plans to release it in early 2015.  Hit the jump to check out that new Maps to the Stars trailer.  The film also star Mia Wasikowska, Olivia Williams, Evan Bird, Sarah Gadon, John Cusack and Robert Pattinson.

David Cronenberg’s MAPS TO THE STARS Acquired by Focus World for Early 2015 Release

by     Posted 22 days ago

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Filmmaker David Cronenberg’s latest effort will find its way to U.S. screens early next year.  Ahead of the film’s North American debut at the Toronto International Film Festival, Focus World announced today that it has acquired U.S. distribution for Maps to the Stars with plans to release the film stateside in early 2015.  The film follows an archetypical Hollywood dynasty including a writer of self-help manuals (John Cusack), his wife (Olivia Williams) who manages the career of their 13-year-old son, and their daughter (Mia Wasikowska), who was recently released from a sanatorium where she was treated for criminal pyromania.  The plot also includes Havana (Julianne Moore), an actress who wants to remake a movie that starred her now-deceased mother.  The pic premiered earlier this year at the Cannes Film Festival, and while the overall reaction was mixed, Moore drew high praise for her performance and won the Best Actress award.

Many had pegged Moore as a contender in this year’s Oscar race, but if Focus World doesn’t stage a limited release in December to qualify for contention, that takes her out of the running.  That said, Focus World’s specific release strategy is unknown at the moment.  Read the full press release after the jump.

SEVENTH SON Rises with New Trailer, Posters, and Images Starring Jeff Bridges and Ben Barnes

by     Posted 26 days ago

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Universal and Legendary Pictures have released a new Seventh Son trailer and poster along with some new images.  The plot follows mystical knight Father Gregory (Jeff Bridges) and his apprentice Tom Ward (Ben Barnes) and their fight to defeat the evil witch, Mother Malkin (Julianne Moore) and her followers.  If you feel like you’ve been vaguely hearing about this movie off and on the past several years, it’s because you have.  Seventh Son was originally scheduled to open on February 15th…2013.  After being pushed back three times, the movie is now (probably) going to finally come out.  That’s a big build up for a movie where the Dude and Prince Caspian fight monsters, but we’ll see if it was worth the wait.

Hit the jump to check out the Seventh Son trailer, poster, and images.  The film also stars Alicia Vikander, Kit Harington, Olivia Williams, Antje Traue, and Djimon HounsouSeventh Son opens February 6, 2015.

New MAPS TO THE STARS Trailer: Director David Cronenberg Highlights the Madness and Paranoia of Hollywood

by     Posted 43 days ago

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Entertainment One UK has released a new Maps to the Stars trailer online.  David Cronenberg‘s latest film follows an archetypical Hollywood dynasty including a writer of self-help manuals, his wife who manages the career of their 13-year-old son, and their daughter, who was recently released from a sanatorium where she was treated for criminal pyromania.  The plot also includes Havana, an actress who wants to remake a movie that starred her now-deceased mother.  I’m still not 100% sure what to expect from Cronenberg’s new picture, but that’s one of the reasons it’s one of my must-see films at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival.

Hit the jump to check out the new Maps to the Stars trailer.  The film stars John Cusack, Julianne Moore, Mia Wasikowska, Robert Pattinson, Olivia Williams, and Sarah GadonMaps to the Stars opens in the U.K. and Ireland on September 26th.  There is currently no U.S. release date.

New THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY – PART 1 Posters Focus on the Revolutionaries of District 13

by     Posted 46 days ago

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Lionsgate has released new The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 posters focusing on key members of the resistance in their home base, District 13: President Coin (Julianne Moore), Finnick (Sam Claflin), Plutarch (Philip Seymour Hoffman), Beetee (Jeffrey Wright), Effie (Elizabeth Banks), and Haymitch (Woody Harrelson).  I like these character posters because while these are the members of the resistance, they’re also behind cold, grey walls.  It’s a signal that while the resistance has a headquarters, they don’t have a sanctuary.

Hit the jump to check out the hi-res The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 posters.  The film opens November 21st, and also stars Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Jena Malone, Stanley Tucci, and Donald Sutherland.

THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY – PART 1 Teaser Trailer Hints at the Battle to Come

by     Posted 58 days ago

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Lionsgate has released the first teaser trailer for the first half of the conclusion to the Hunger Games series, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1, directed by Francis Lawrence.  Since the teaser trailer is only a minute, Lionsgate has wisely chosen to let the visuals and minimal dialogue set the stage at the battle to come.  I especially enjoyed seeing Plutarch Heavensbee (Philip Seymour Hoffman) and Alma Coin (Julianne Moore) discussing Katniss’ purpose in the rebellion.  Plutarch insists, “Listen to me.  No one else can do this, but her.”  Coin disagrees.  “She won’t be able to handle it.  The games destroyed her.”  Shortly after their scene we get a glimpse of Natalie Dormer as Cressida with her half shaved head as well as Liam Hemsworth looking serious as Gale.   Hit the jump to check it out.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 also stars Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Jena Malone, Sam Claflin, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Jeffrey Wright,, and Donald Sutherland, and opens in theaters November 21st.  Watch the first The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 trailer after the break.

First Images from MY OLD LADY, NED RIFLE, THE RIOT CLUB, and STILL ALICE

by     Posted 62 days ago

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Earlier today, the Toronto International Film Festival announced additions to their Galas and Special Presentations programs. Among the films with new images and synopses are:

  • My Old Lady (Directed by Israel Horovitz) starring Maggie Smith, Kevin Kline, and Kristin Scott Thomas.
  • Ned Rifle (Directed by Hal Hartley) starring Aubrey Plaza.
  • The Riot Club (Directed by Lone Scherfig) starring Natalie Dormer, Max Irons, Sam Clafin, Jessica Brown Findlay, and Douglas Booth.
  • Still Alice (Directed by Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland) starring Kristen Stewart, Alec Baldwin, Kate Bosworth, and Julianne Moore.

Hit the jump to check out the images and synopses. The 2014 Toronto International Film Festival runs from September 4 – 14th.

NON-STOP Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 85 days ago

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Liam Neeson has become the go-to asskicker of late.  Even more so than Jason Statham, audiences have responded to Neeson’s world-weary charms and commanding presence.  So it should be no surprise that Jaume Collet-Serra’s Non-Stop was a modest hit earlier this year.  Neeson stars as air marshal Bill Marks, who is forced to act when he’s contacted on an international flight to deliver a $150 Million ransom or a passenger will die every twenty minutes.  My review of Non-Stop follows after the jump. 

Oscar Beat: Early Contenders Arise from Cannes Film Festival

by     Posted 120 days ago

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It seems like only yesterday we were closing out the lengthy and eventful awards season with my 2015 preview installment of Oscar Beat, but the next race is already starting to heat up.  The first awards barometer of each year arrives with the Cannes Film Festival, and the most recent fest is no different.  A number of potential contenders premiered on the Croisette over the past couple of weeks, and after all the standing ovations (and a fair amount of boos), some serious Oscar contenders have emerged.

Hit the jump as I take a look at the post-Cannes Oscar landscape, which includes contenders like Foxcatcher, Mr. TurnerMaps to the Stars, and even a possible Oscar nomination for Channing Tatum.

WINTER SLEEP Wins the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival; FOXCATCHER’s Bennett Miller Takes Best Director

by     Posted 122 days ago

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Turkish director Nuri Bilge Ceylan is the winner of the coveted Palme d’Or at the 64th XX Cannes Film Festival for his three-hour twenty-minute film Winter Sleep. The director had fierce competition… with better films – mainly Mr. Turner by Mike Leigh, Mommy by Xavier Dolan, Foxcatcher by Bennett Miller, The Homesman by Tommy Lee Jones and the critically-acclaimed Still the Water by Naomi Kawase.

Alice Rohrwacher‘s Le Meraviglie (The Wonders) won the Grand Prize, while Bennett Miller takes home the best direction Palme for another favorite amongst critics, Foxcatcher. Julianne Moore won the best actress award for her performance as a C-list actress in David Cronenberg‘s Maps to the Stars and Timothy Spall the best actor award for his unforgettable rendition in the title role in Mike Leigh’s Mr. Turner.  Hit the jump for more, including the full list of winners.

Exarchopoulos Joins BASTILLE DAY; Shannon on Board for FREEHELD; Rourke and Wolff to Lead ASHBY; McAdams and Nyong’o Circling SOUTPAW

by     Posted 131 days ago

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With the Cannes Film Festival underway, plenty of wheeling and dealing is going down, so that means lots of casting news.  Briefly:

  • Adèle Exarchopoulos (Blue Is the Warmest Color) is joining Idris Elba in James WatkinsBastille Day.
  • Michael Shannon will co-star with Julianne Moore and Ellen Page in Freeheld.
  • Mickey Rourke, Nat Wolff, Emma Roberts, and Sarah Silverman will star in Ashby.
  • Rachel McAdams and Lupita Nyong’o are circling the drama Southpaw.

Hit the jump for more on this casting news.

First 3 Clips from David Cronenberg’s MAPS TO THE STARS Starring Julianne Moore, Mia Wasikowska, and Robert Pattinson

by     Posted 140 days ago

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Ahead of its Cannes Film Festival premiere, three new Maps to the Stars clips have gone online.  David Cronenberg‘s latest film follows an archetypical Hollywood dynasty including a writer of self-help manuals, his wife who manages the career of their 13-year-old son, and their daughter, who was recently released from a sanatorium where she was treated for criminal pyromania.  The plot also includes Havana, an actress who wants to remake a movie that starred her now-deceased mother.  These new clips feature most of the main characters, and they provide a sense of unease as well as Hollywood satire.  I don’t know if that will be the overall tone of the movie, but there’s definitely something quietly unnerving about these clips.

Hit the jump to check out the clips [they're slightly NSFW because of language].  The film stars John Cusack, Julianne Moore, Mia Wasikowska, Robert Pattinson, Olivia Williams, and Sarah GadonMaps to the Stars opens in France and Italy on May 21st.  A U.S. release date has yet to be announced.

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