Dustin Hoffman Joins Stephen Frears’ Untitled Cycling Project; Juliette Binoche, James Brolin, and Oscar Nuñez Join Chilean Miners Picture, THE 33

by     Posted 321 days ago

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

  • Dustin Hoffman (Luck) will join director Stephen Frears’ untitled cycling project that stars Ben Foster as Lance Armstrong.
  • Juliette Binoche (Words and Pictures), James Brolin and Oscar Nuñez (The Office) join Antonio Banderas and Martin Sheen in The 33, director Patricia Riggen’s film about the Chilean workers trapped in a mining disaster.

Hit the jump for more on both pictures.

New US Trailer for PHILOMENA Starring Judi Dench and Steve Coogan

by     Posted 1 year, 25 days ago

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The Weinstein Company has released the US theatrical trailer for director Stephen Frears’ (The Queen) upcoming comedic drama Philomena.  Based on a true story, the film centers on Philomena Lee (Judi Dench), an Irish woman seeking the illegitimate son she was forced to put up for adoption.  Steve Coogan plays former BBC journalist Martin Sixsmith, who aided Lee in the search for her son.  I caught the film at TIFF and it’s much less “gooey” than this trailer would suggest, but the trailer does do a nice job of showcasing Dench’s wonderful performance as the titular Philomena, even if it does verge on giving away too much of the story.  Dench and Coogan make a truly great comedic duo, and the film is surprisingly thoughtful despite its Lifetime Movie-esque premise.  Honestly, it’s one of the more pleasantly surprising films I’ve seen this year and will like put Dench in the Best Actress race.  Read my full review here.

Hit the jump to watch the theatrical trailer.  The film also stars Michelle Fairley, Sophie Kennedy Clark, Mare Winningham, and Charles EdwardsPhilomena opens in the US in limited release on Christmas Day and expands nationwide on January 10th.

TIFF 2013: PHILOMENA Review

by     Posted 1 year, 41 days ago

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Steve Coogan and Judi Dench might not immediately jump out to most viewers as an obvious big screen dream team, but director Stephen Frears somehow saw a peanut butter and chocolate combination in the two legendary Brits and brought them together for a bittersweet dramedy (what else?) called Philomena. Mixing remorseful tragedy for Dench and sardonic a-hole comedy for Coogan, the film is an interesting combination and works fairly well. Sure, it’s not perfect. But really, what else could you expect from a clash of screen personalities this unexpected and diametrically opposed? Hit the jump for all the diddy-details. 

TIFF 2013: PHILOMENA Review

by     Posted 1 year, 45 days ago

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At first glance, Philomena’s premise reads like that of a Lifetime movie of the week.  An older, unassuming woman sets out in search of her long-lost son with the help of reluctant journalist.  Life lessons are learned, hearts are warmed, and humor ensues.  However, director Stephen Frears and co-writers Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope take this simple logline (based on a true story) and run with it in complete earnestness, crafting a sweet, thoughtful, and endearing story of guilt, redemption, and friendship that is buoyed by a remarkable performance from Judi Dench and excellent chemistry between the actress and her co-star, Steve Coogan.  Hit the jump for my full review.

First Teaser Trailer for MUHAMMAD ALI’S GREATEST FIGHT Starring Benjamin Walker and Christopher Plummer

by     Posted 1 year, 71 days ago

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HBO has released the first teaser trailer for director Stephen Frears’ (The Queen) new film Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight.  The pic focuses on Muhammad Ali’s refusal to go to Vietnam and the court battle that ensued, centering on Justice Harlan (Christopher Plummer) and his clerk, played by Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter star Benjamin Walker.  This teaser doesn’t show too much footage from the film, but it looks like Ali won’t actually be portrayed onscreen by an actor.  Instead, we see archival footage of the legendary fighter while the narrative plays out in the courtroom and the judge’s chambers.

Hit the jump to watch the trailer.  The film also stars Frank Langella, Danny Glover, Bob Balaban, Ed Begley Jr., Barry Levinson, and Pablo SchreiberMuhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight premieres on HBO on October 5th.

First Trailer for Stephen Frears’ PHILOMENA Starring Judi Dench and Steve Coogan

by     Posted 1 year, 75 days ago

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The first trailer for director Stephen Frears’ (The Queen) new film Philomena has landed online.  Based on a true story, the film centers on Philomena Lee (Judi Dench), an Irish woman seeking the illegitimate son she was forced to put up for adoption.  Steve Coogan plays former BBC journalist Martin Sixsmith, who helped Lee locate her son.  While Frears’ most recent directorial effort Lay the Favorite was pretty much universally panned, Philomena looks to be a nice, simple return to form for the director.  It’s nice to see Dench stretching her comedic side, and Coogan gets a chance to shine as the straight man for once.  There is a chance that the film could be a tad overly sentimental, but this trailer is nevertheless promising.  Moreover, Dench makes a wonderfully off-color joke at the end.

Hit the jump to watch the trailer.  Philomena will play at the Toronto Film Festival and the Venice Film Festival and is slated to open in the UK on November 1st.  A U.S. release date has yet to be set.

Stephen Frears to Direct Lance Armstrong Scandal Film for Working Title [UPDATED: Ben Foster to Star]

by     Posted 1 year, 89 days ago

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Add yet another “Lance Armstrong doping scandal” movie to the list.  Almost as soon as Armstrong copped to doping during his tenure as a 7-time champion of the Tour de France, Hollywood starting moving forward on feature film iterations of his story.  Paramount and J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot were the first studios to take action, as the two studios have teamed up to adapt the Juliet Macur book Cycle of Lies: The Fall of Lance Armstrong.  Warner Bros. is also developing its own version of the story with Jay Roach (Game Change) attached to direct from a script by Scott Z. Burns (Contagion), but now it appears that the first film to actually move forward may come from High Fidelity and The Queen director Stephen Frears and Working Title Pictures.  Hit the jump for more.

[Update: Deadline has updated their story to note that Ben Foster is in final talks to play Lance Armstrong in the film, which has a script by Trainspotting scribe John Hodge and focuses on "Armstrong's career from his cancer ordeal to the scandal that brought him down."]

Dame Judi Dench Talks SKYFALL, Working with Roger Deakins, the Best Part of Playing M, Her Upcoming Stephen Frears Film, and More

by     Posted 1 year, 348 days ago

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At the recent New York press day for Skyfall, I was able to speak with Dame Judi Dench.  We talked about what’s been the best part of playing M for almost two decades, when she first heard that M would be a big part of Skyfall, what it was like to work with cinematographer Roger Deakins, how she prepares for a role, her upcoming film with Stephen Frears, and a lot more.

I absolutely loved Skyfall.  Director Sam Mendes has crafted one of the best James Bond movies ever made and it’s also one of my favorite films of the year.  While the Bond franchise is now 50 years old, Mendes has shown the best might be yet to come.  I really can’t recommend this film enough.  For all our Skyfall coverage including clips, posters, my set visit and more, click hereSkyfall stars Daniel Craig, Judi Dench, Javier Bardem, Helen McCrory, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Whishaw, Berenice Marlohe, and Naomie Harris.  Hit the jump to watch the interview.

New Trailer and Images from LAY THE FAVORITE from Director Stephen Frears and Starring Bruce Willis, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Rebecca Hall

by     Posted 2 years ago

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A new U.S. trailer and some images have been made available for Stephen Frears’ Lay the Favorite.  While it’s a bit better than the previously released trailer for the film, the comedic beats still seem to be missing their marks.  The film stars Rebecca Hall (The Town) as Beth, a Florida stripper who leaves her job to become a Vegas cocktail waitress until professional sports gambler Dink (Bruce Willis) gives her a better option, placing wagers all over town in an attempt to beat the system.  The plot thickens (or falls apart completely) when Beth is fired, tries to find work with a New York bookie and lands herself in trouble with the law.

Lay the Favorite also stars Catherine Zeta-Jones, Vince Vaughn, Joshua Jackson and Laura Prepon and opens in theaters December 7th.  Hit the jump to watch the trailer and see some new images from the film. 

Judi Dench and Steve Coogan to Star in Stephen Frears’ PHILOMENA

by     Posted 2 years, 24 days ago

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We previously reported that Stephen Frears (The Queen) is attached to direct Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Film, and from our interview with on the film’s stars, Benjamin Walker, it looks like that will be Frears’ follow-up to the disappointing Lay the Favorite.  The director is also the frontrunner to helm a Freddie Mercury biopic, and now Variety reports that he’s set to direct Judi Dench and Steve Coogan in Philomena.  Based on a true story, the film centers on Philomena Lee (Dench), an Irish woman seeking the illegitimate son she was forced to put up for adoption.  Coogan will play former BBC journalist Martin Sixsmith, who helped Lee locate her son.

Hit the jump for more.

First UK Trailer for LAY THE FAVORITE Starring Rebecca Hall and Bruce Willis

by     Posted 2 years, 146 days ago

The first UK trailer for director Stephen Frears’ (High Fidelity) new film Lay the Favorite has gone online.  My mind had blanked on the plot before I watched this trailer, and after it was over I was even more confused as to what the film is about.  Moreover, the normally solid Rebecca Hall puts an incredibly grating American voice that I’m assuming doesn’t get less annoying during the film’s two-hour duration.  The pic premiered at the Sundance Film Festival to wildly negative reviews (you can read Matt’s review here), which is surprising given the talent involved.  Hall plays a woman who works for Dink, a high-stakes gambler (Bruce Willis), and takes to the job like a natural, but she begins to fall for Dink, much to the chagrin of Dink’s wife, Tulip (Catherine Zeta-Jones).

I was shocked to see such negative reviews for the film out of Sundance, but after watching this trailer it’s not hard to imagine the pic being bad.  Hit the jump to judge for yourself.

What’s Filming Where, Including IRON MAN 3, DJANGO UNCHAINED, THE TOMB, ENDER’S GAME and More

by     Posted 2 years, 148 days ago

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You’re driving down the street, and it’s suddenly blocked off.  You notice these weird yellow signs with nonsensical letters or numbers.  There’s unusual glow lighting up a neighborhood you can’t usually see from your house.  What you might have here is a film company shooting in your town.  It happens a lot, and you never know where they might pop up…until now.

The following is a semi-comprehensive list of films currently shooting, what they’re shooting, and where they’re shooting.  We’ll be telling you where you might get to see the very famous, the kinda famous and (if all goes well) the soon-to-be famous. While we can’t list every single movie, television show, or student film in production, you’ll get a pretty good idea of what the heck is going on where all those people are buzzing about.  Want to know where in the world are Matt Damon, Harrison Ford, Sylvester Stallone, Woody Harrelson, and Leonardo DiCaprio? Hit the jump for more.

Stephen Frears Frontrunner to Direct Freddie Mercury Film Starring Sacha Baron Cohen

by     Posted 2 years, 166 days ago

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A biopic of Queen frontman Freddie Mercury has been in the works for quite some time.  In an inspired bit of casting, Sacha Baron Cohen is attached to star as the famed rock musician, and now the project is close to landing a director.  Variety reports that Stephen Frears (The Queen) is the frontrunner to land the directing job, though negotiations have yet to begin.  Apparently other filmmakers are still in the mix, but Frears “has the inside track.”  In addition to more serious fare like The Queen and Dangerous Liasons, Frears also directed the excellent 2000 music-centered dramedy High Fidelity.  Hit the jump for more.

Ben Walker Talks ABRAHAM LINCOLN: VAMPIRE HUNTER and Stephen Frears’ MUHAMMAD ALI’S GREATEST FIGHT at WonderCon 2012

by     Posted 2 years, 216 days ago

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At this past weekend’s WonderCon, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter director Timur Bekmambetov, star Ben Walker and writer Seth Grahame-Smith showed off a new trailer and an extended section of a big action set piece that featured all the principal cast.  If you missed Dave’s recap of the panel, click here.  You can also watch the new trailer here.

Shortly before the panel, I got to sit down with Walker for an extended interview.  We talked about his reaction to the footage he’s seen, what it was like to work with Bekmambetov, what kind of research he did to play Abraham Lincoln, how the 3D be used, and he talks about a particularly gory reshoot and his favorite action scene in the movie.  In addition, with Walker getting ready to film Stephen Frears’ Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight, he revealed who he plays and how excited he is to work his Christopher Plummer.  Hit the jump to watch.

Sundance 2012: LAY THE FAVORITE Review

by     Posted 2 years, 272 days ago

I have some theories regarding Lay the Favorite.  I believe screenwriter D.V. DeVincentis was partly paying attention to the script, partly paying attention to ESPN, and mostly paying attention to soft-core porn.  The talented actress Rebecca Hall must have had her brain switched with adult film star Katie Morgan.  And the director Stephen Frears can’t be the same one who directed High Fidelity, The Queen, and The Grifters.  There must be a different director who is also named Stephen Frears, but who is also far less talented.  These theories are the only way to explain why Lay the Favorite is so freaking terrible.

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