New Images from A LITTLE CHAOS, LOVE & MERCY, MISS JULIE, and MR. TURNER

by     Posted 28 days ago

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The impressive lineup announced for the upcoming 2014 Toronto International Film Festival includes a number of extremely promising films, and we’ve got some new images from four such features for your perusing pleasure.  Briefly:

  • A Little Chaos – (Directed by Alan Rickman) Starring Kate Winslet, Stanley Tucci, Matthias Schoenaerts, and Alan Rickman.
  • Love & Mercy – (Directed by Bill Pohlad) Starring Paul Dano, Elizabeth Banks, John Cusack, and Paul Giamatti.
  • Miss Julie – (Directed by Liv Ullmann) Starring Jessica Chastain, Colin Farrell, and Samantha Morton.
  • Mr. Turner – (Directed by Mike Leigh) Starring Timothy Spall, Dorothy Atkinson, Marion Bailey, Paul Jesson, Lesley Manville, Martin Savage, Joshua McGuire, Ruth Sheen, David Horovitch, and Karl Johnson.

Hit the jump to check out the images and synopses, and click here to check out all of the TIFF images released thus far.  The 2014 Toronto International Film Festival runs from September 4 – 14th.

Oscars: Lupita Nyong’o, Josh Hutcherson, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Clark Gregg, and More Added to Academy Voting Body

by     Posted 54 days ago

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The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced its list of actors, filmmakers, and others involved in the moviemaking industry that have been invited to join the Academy’s membership.  271 artists made the cut this year, ranging from recent winners and nominees like Lupita Nyong’o and Michael Fassbender to more eclectic choices like Rob Riggle, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Josh Hutcherson, and even Jason StathamChris Rock also finally gets a ballot years after hosting the ceremony, and Clark Gregg will bring some Marvel pedigree into the fold.  On the filmmaking side, brothers Mark and Jay Duplass, David Gordon Green, Denis Villeneuve, and Gina Prince-Bythewood (The Secret Life of Bees) join the directors branch, while DP Sean Bobbitt (12 Years a Slave) has been added to the cinematographers group.  Eddie Vedder and Pharrell Williams (sans hat) are also now Academy members should they accept their invitations.  The full list is still disappointingly short on females, however.

Hit the jump to check out the complete list of 2014 invitees to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.  The 2015 race will be here before you know it, folks.

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 106 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.

TOP 5: ENDER’S GAME, First Trailer for X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST, 12 YEARS A SLAVE, THE WOLF OF WALL STREET, A Detailed History of GHOSTBUSTERS

by     Posted 290 days ago

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With Halloween 2013 now a few days behind us, I may be a little late to the punch on this recommendation. Still yet, every October I find myself liking 1995′s Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers more and more. Directed by Joe Chappelle (who would later go on to direct episodes of The Wire and Fringe among others) and written by Daniel Farrands (a long-time fan of the franchise who, at the time, had little produced work under his belt), the film is notorious for its troubled production and its “Producers Cut” which features nearly 45 minutes of alternate footage, including a different ending. Watching it as a kid I remember it being the Halloween film that made me fear Michael Myers. To date, I still feel like the pic features the killer at his most ruthless (just try looking at doing the laundry the same way after watching). Rewatching it as an adult, I admire Farrands’ script for exploring the forces at work behind Michael’s madness. Even with October 31st, 2014 a distant 363 days away, I encourage Halloween fans to watch or revisit The Curse of Michael Myers this next week and see how your feelings towards the film stack up against my own.

Mid-90′s horror recommendations aside, this week’s Top 5 includes Ender’s Game interviews with Asa Butterfield and more, the excellent first trailer for X-Men: Days of Future Past, a slew of interviews for 12 Years a Slave, a new trailer for The Wolf of Wall Street, and a detailed history of the Ghostbusters movies, comics, cartoons, and merch. In what should come as no surprise, a brief recap and link to each of the above can be found after the jump.

New Featurette for 12 YEARS A SLAVE Highlights the Film’s Terrific Cast

by     Posted 291 days ago

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Fox Searchlight has released a new behind-the-scenes featurette for director Steve McQueen’s immensely powerful drama 12 Years a Slave, this time focusing on the film’s fantastic ensemble cast.  Led by a truly phenomenal lead performance by Chiwetel Ejiofor as a free man who was kidnapped and forced into slavery for over a decade, the film boasts a wide range of actors that includes Michael Fassbender, Benedict Cumberbatch, Alfre Woodard, Brad PittSarah Paulson, Adepero OduyeMichael K. Williams, Paul Giamatti, Paul Dano, Scoot McNairy, and newcomer Lupita Nyong’O.  This featurette provides a nice overview of the performances and interviews with some of the cast members about the difficult material, and having seen the film I’ll admit I still get choked up seeing snippets of some of these scenes.  You’ll also get a preview of Hans Zimmer‘s score in this featurette as well.  The film expands wider this weekend and next weekend, and I implore everyone to go out and see it.  Take your friends, go to a quiet bar afterwards, and have a long conversation over a pint or two.

Hit the jump to watch the new featurette and click here to read Matt’s review of the film from TIFF.  12 Years a Slave is now playing in select theaters.

Paul Dano Talks 12 YEARS A SLAVE, PRISONERS, Playing Brian Wilson in LOVE & MERCY, WARCRAFT Rumors, His Punchable Face, and More

by     Posted 293 days ago

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Over the past few years, Paul Dano has established himself as one of the best actors of his generation and someone that can morph into any role.   While most people will immediately remember his work in Paul Thomas Anderson’s There Will Be Blood and Little Miss Sunshine, he’s also great in Kelly Reichardt’s Meek’s Cutoff, Paul Weitz’s Being Flynn (opposite Robert De Niro), Ruby Sparks, Looper, and many more.   Based on his work in the films I just mentioned, it’s no surprise directors Denis Villeneuve and Steve McQueen wanted him in Prisoners and 12 Years a Slave, respectively, and he delivers some of his best work in both films.

Last week I landed an exclusive interview with Dano.  He talked about how 2013 has been a very good year, working with Villeneuve, Hugh Jackman and Roger Deakins on Prisoners,  McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave, getting to play Brian Wilson in Love & Mercy (which was written by Oren Moverman), if he’s involved in Warcraft and/or Akira, future projects, how he’s changed as an actor, what makes his face so punchable, and more.  Hit the jump for what he had to say.

12 YEARS A SLAVE Review

by     Posted 305 days ago

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[This is a re-post of my review from the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival.  12 Years a Slave opens today in limited release.]

It’s easy to draw the lines regarding slavery in America as “good” and “evil” where the enslavers were evil and everyone else was good. When the issue of slavery culminated in the Civil War, the battle lines were drawn between the “good” north and the “evil” south. As long as we know someone else is to blame for the evil in the world, then we remove all culpability from ourselves. With unflinching, heart-wrenching honesty, Steve McQueen’s adaptation of Solomon Northrup’s memoir 12 Years a Slave shows that the issue of slavery wasn’t as simple as black-and-white. There were shades of grey regarding slavery even among slaves. The vileness of slavery isn’t in question, and McQueen shows it in all its ugliness. He shows slavery to the point of how it not only wears away a person’s body, but also their identity and even their soul. The exploration in 12 Years a Slave is into the culpability of all men and women, free and slave, in this unquestionable shame.

New TV Spot for 12 YEARS A SLAVE Ramps Up the Intensity

by     Posted 320 days ago

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Fox Searchlight has released a new TV spot for director Steve McQueen’s (Shame) incredible drama 12 Years a Slave.  The true story is based on Solomon Northup’s autobiography of the same name, and stars Chiwetel Ejiofor (Children of Men) as Northup, an educated and married black man living in New York in 1841.  Northup was approached by two men about a job offer in Washington D.C., but when he showed up he was kidnapped and forced into slavery for over a decade.  I caught the film at TIFF and it is not only one of the best films I’ve seen all year, but also one of the most emotional moviegoing experiences I’ve had period.  This TV spot is heavy on intensity, but it’s not really indicative of the film’s pace.  McQueen offers an unflinching, terrifying look at slavery in a straightforward manner that captures the reality of the situation without smoothing out the edges or glamorizing the story with flashy editing.

Hit the jump to watch the TV spot, click here for Matt’s review, and click here for my rundown of its awards chances.  The film also stars Michael Fassbender, Lupita Nyong’OBenedict CumberbatchPaul GiamattiQuvenzhane WallisSarah PaulsonPaul DanoScoot McNairyGarrett DillahuntAlfre WoodardDwight Henry, Michael K. Williams, and Brad Pitt.  12 Years a Slave opens in limited release on October 18th before expanding in the following weeks.

Paul Dano, Anton Yelchin, Travis Fimmel, and Anson Mount on the Short List for WARCRAFT

by     Posted 330 days ago

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Duncan Jones‘ fantasy adaptation Warcraft is gearing up to begin production in January, so the casting process is underway.  Yesterday, we reported that Colin Farrell had been offered a lead role, and Paula Patton was in negotiations.  Deadline has now updated their story to report that the production is also looking at Paul Dano (Prisoners), Anton Yelchin (Star Trek), Travis Fimmel (History Channel’s Vikings), and Anson Mount (Hell on Wheels) for roles.  There are no details on who they might play, or if they’re each being offered a different role.

Given their looks and star power, I could see Dano and Yelchin competing for the same role, and Fimmel and Mount competing for another role.  Dano and Yelchin are both skinny, around the same height, and are known mostly for their supporting work.  Fimmel and Mount are the rugged, leading men from their respective TV shows.  We’ll see how it all comes together in the weeks ahead.

PRISONERS Review

by     Posted 334 days ago

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[This is a re-post of my review from the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival.  Prisoners opens tomorrow.]

There’s enough symbolism and religious themes to give Prisoners some weight. There’s enough curiosity to keep its mystery intriguing. Director Denis Villeneuve does slightly more than expected to keep us interested in its segregated storyline where one hand provides the mystery and the other hand provides some semblance. In between is a film that’s far longer than it needs to be but is supported by Roger Deakins’ striking cinematography and a great cast with a standout performance from Hugh Jackman.

Watch 5 Clips from Denis Villeneuve’s PRISONERS Starring Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal and Paul Dano

by     Posted 341 days ago

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Word out of the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival has Hugh Jackman, star of Denis Villeneuve’s Prisoners, as a potential dark horse in the upcoming Oscar race.  You can read up on Matt’s review of the film here, but we’ve got five clips from the film for you today so that you might better acquaint yourselves with it.  Co-stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Paul Dano also feature as a big city detective and a suspect, respectively.

Hit the jump to watch the clips.  The film also stars Maria BelloTerrence Howard, and Viola Davis.  Prisoners opens September 20th.

TIFF 2013: 12 YEARS A SLAVE Review

by     Posted 343 days ago

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It’s easy to draw the lines regarding slavery in America as “good” and “evil” where the enslavers were evil and everyone else was good.  When the issue of slavery culminated in the Civil War, the battle lines were drawn between the “good” north and the “evil” south.  As long as we know someone else is to blame for the evil in the world, then we remove all culpability from ourselves.  With unflinching, heart-wrenching honesty, Steve McQueen’s adaptation of Solomon Northrup’s memoir 12 Years a Slave shows that the issue of slavery wasn’t as simple as black-and-white.  There were shades of grey regarding slavery even among slaves.  The evil of slavery isn’t in question, and McQueen shows it in all its ugliness.  He shows slavery to the point of how it not only wears away a person’s body, but also their identity and even their soul.  The exploration in 12 Years a Slave is into the culpability of all men and women, free and slave, in this unquestionable evil.

TIFF 2013: PRISONERS Review

by     Posted 346 days ago

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There’s enough symbolism and religious themes to give Prisoners some weight.  There’s enough curiosity to keep its mystery intriguing.  Director Denis Villeneuve does slightly more than expected to keep us interested in its segregated storyline where one hand provides the mystery and the other hand provides some semblance.  In between is a film that’s far longer than it needs to be but is supported by Roger Deakins’ striking cinematography and a great cast with a standout performance from Hugh Jackman.

First Featurette for Steve McQueen’s 12 YEARS A SLAVE Starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, and Brad Pitt

by     Posted 350 days ago

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Steve McQueen‘s 12 Years a Slave received massive acclaimed when it premiered at the Telluride Film Festival, and now the first featurette for the film has been released.  The true story is based on Solomon Northup’s autobiography of the same name, and stars Chiwetel Ejiofor (Children of Men) as Northup, an educated and married black man living in New York in 1841.  Northup was approached by two men about a job offer in Washington D.C., but when he showed up he was kidnapped and forced into slavery for over a decade.  The featurette contains plenty of new footage, and listened to the interviews, it looks like they’ve stayed pretty close to the source material.  I read the book earlier this year, and found it to be revelatory and emotional, and I couldn’t understand why it’s not on middle school reading lists alongside Uncle Tom’s Cabin.  It’s a powerful story, and it looks like it will be a powerful movie.

Hit the jump to watch the featurette.  The film also stars Michael Fassbender, Benedict CumberbatchPaul GiamattiQuvenzhane WallisSarah PaulsonPaul DanoScoot McNairyGarrett DillahuntAlfre WoodardDwight Henry, Michael K. Williams, and Brad Pitt12 Years a Slave will play at the Toronto International Film Festival before opening on October 18th.

New Clip from PRISONERS Starring Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Paul Dano

by     Posted 357 days ago

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Prisoners, the new film from director Denis Villeneuve (Incendies), will be making its premiere next week at the Toronto International Film Festival.  The film stars Hugh Jackman as a working-class father who sets out to track down the man he believes is responsible for kidnapping his daughter and her friend. Along the way, he runs up against the big city detective (Jake Gyllenhaal) assigned to the case.  In this clip, Gyllenhaal’s detective confronts a suspect played by Paul Dano.  Plot and character wise, there’s not much to the clip, but what really jumped out at me was the cinematography.  It’s dark and raining and the only the flashlights are cutting through.  Of course, when your cinematographer is Roger Deakins, amazing visuals are pretty much a given.

Hit the jump to check out the clip.  The film also stars Maria BelloTerrence Howard, and Viola DavisPrisoners opens September 20th.

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