10 Great Films of 2014 You May Have Missed and You Should Absolutely Watch

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Critics and the general populace live very different lives.  Critics live in the bubble—a wonderful place where you see movies early and for free.  Other moviegoers must carve out time in a busy schedule, track down films, and then pay high ticket prices.  We’re incredibly sympathetic to these moviegoers, and so we don’t expect you to see every movie.  It’s easy to miss a lot of them, especially when you want to get a lot of bang for your buck.

However, there were plenty of movies this year that deserved your attention, and we urge you to track down these ten films you might have missed due to their limited theatrical release.  Hit the jump for Matt and Adam’s list.

79 Original Songs and 114 Original Scores in Contention for Oscar Race

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The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has unveiled lists of the eligible contenders in the Oscar races for Best Original Song and Best Original Score.  In the former category I’d have to say “Everything Is Awesome” from The LEGO Movie is an early favorite, and I would love to see Tegan & Sara and The Lonely Island perform on the Oscar stage.  Other standouts include two songs from Boyhood, both co-written by Ethan Hawke, and the beautiful “For the Dancing and the Dreaming” from How to Train Your Dragon 2.  On the Best Original Score side of things, it’s kind of an embarrassment of riches.  How to choose between John Powell’s Dragon 2 score, Alexandre Desplat’s incredible work on The Imitation Game, Hans Zimmer’s astounding Interstellar score, James Newton Howard‘s propulsive work on Nightcrawler, etc.?

Check out the full lists of eligible contenders in both categories (79 songs and 114 scores) after the jump, along with a bit more analysis.  Nominations for the 87th Academy Awards will be announced on January 15, 2015.

Tommy Lee Jones and Hilary Swank Talk THE HOMESMAN, the Shorthand They Developed on Set, Jones as a Director, Swank’s Singing and More

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Tommy Lee Jones’ latest directorial effort, The Homesman, is a moving portrait of the harsh unpredictability of pioneer life in the mid-19th century American West told from the viewpoint of a resilient, resourceful woman.  The harrowing tale is based on Glendon Swarthout’s award-winning novel about Mary Bee Cuddy (Hilary Swank), an intrepid frontierswoman who convinces a low-life drifter (Jones) to accompany her on an arduous journey transporting three ill women across the Nebraska Territories to Iowa.  Opening November 14th, the film features an impressive supporting cast that includes John Lithgow, Hailee Steinfeld, James Spader and Meryl Streep.

At the film’s recent press day, Jones and Swank spoke about playing characters with so many layers of emotions, how they captured the authenticity of an era, why the film is not just a period piece but also parallels everyday life for a lot of people, the qualities of strength, vulnerability and relatability that Mary Bee possessed which appealed to Swank, working with Jones as both an actor and a director and the shorthand they developed on set, how Jones’ experience as an actor informs his work as a writer and director, Swanks’ singing scenes, and shooting on location in New Mexico and Georgia.  Check out our interview after the jump.

New Trailer for Tommy Lee Jones’ THE HOMESMAN Hints at a Compelling Western

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Back in the spring we saw an international trailer for Tommy Lee Jones‘ western drama (in which he directs as well as acts), The Homesman and now we’re getting a domestic one along with a reminder that this film’s release is just around the corner.  The story centers on a claim-jumping rascal (Jones) and a frontierswoman (Hilary Swank) as they escort three insane women from Nebraska to Iowa and battle the harsh elemental conditions of the prairie.  I dig this trailer a lot actually, I love good westerns and am of the mind that the best westerns are the ones that actually find new stories to tell as opposed to stridently embracing lapsed tropes.  It looks like this could be one of the good ones.

Hit the jump to check out The Homesman domestic trailer.  The film also stars Hailee Steinfeld, Meryl Streep, Tim Blake Nelson, James Spader, William Fichtner, and Jesse Plemons.  Roadside Attractions will release the film on November 14th, 2014.

2014 Telluride Film Festival Lineup Announced; ’71, 99 HOMES, FOXCATCHER, WILD, MADAME BOVARY, THE IMITATION GAME and More

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As Adam pointed out in Oscar Beat yesterday, four out of the last five Best Picture winners screened at both the Toronto International Film Festival and the Telluride Film Festival.  If that trend continues, we can really narrow down the Best Picture contenders now because the Telluride main program lineup was just announced.

This year’s Toronto and Telluride crossovers (not including the documentaries and foreign language selections) are the Jack O’Connell-starrer ’71, Ramin Bahrani’s 99 Homes, Bennett Miller’s Foxcatcher, The Imitation Game starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley, Madame Bovary with Mia Wasikowska, Mike Leigh’s Mr. Turner, Rosewater starring Gael García Bernal and Wild with Reese Witherspoon.  Hit the jump for more on what’s to come at the 2014 Telluride Film Festival.

SELMA Set for Limited Christmas Day Release; THE HOMESMAN Rides into Theaters on November 7th; SPARE PARTS Comes Together January 16, 2015

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Here’s a look at the latest release dates:

  • SelmaAva DuVernay’s Civil Rights picture starring David Oyelowo as Martin Luther King, Jr. opens in limited release on Christmas Day, with a theater expansion on January 9, 2015.
  • The Homesman – Writer-director-star Tommy Lee Jones’ Western drama also starring Hilary Swank and Miranda Otto will open on November 7th.
  • Spare PartsSean McNamara’s film that follows a team of high school students participating in an underwater robotics competition will open January 16, 2015.

Hit the jump for more on each picture.

The Cannes Film Festival Gets Underway: See Posters for TRANSFORMERS 4, THE EXPENDABLES 3, THE HOMESMAN, AWOL 72, and More

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transformers age of extinction cannes posters

The Croisette is abuzz with reporters, film critics, wannabes and tourists.  It is time for the annual event that puts all those attending in a cinematographic bubble for ten days.  The rest of the world is being attacked by aliens for all we know, but we would go on unawares. Or the reigning cinematic ambience would annihilate them.  This is, after all, the biggest film festival and market on the planet where imagination, movie stars and clever publicity abound.

Hit the jump for our first report from Cannes, including posters from Transformers: Age of Extinction, How to Train Your Dragon 2The Homesman, The Expendables 3, Awol 72, and more.

2014 Cannes Film Festival Lineup Announced; FOXCATCHER, MAPS TO THE STARS, HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2, and More to Premiere

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The 2014 Cannes Film Festival lineup has been announced, and it has some heavy hitters.  Technically, the biggest is How to Train Your Dragon 2, but Cannes has played host to DreamWorks Animation films in the past in an attempt to give the festival a wider appeal.  Plus, that movie is playing out of competition.  Among the indies, the one I’ll be keeping an eye on is Bennett Miller‘s Foxcatcher starring Steve Carell, Channing Tatum, and Mark Ruffalo.  Other notable contenders include David Cronenberg‘s Maps to the Stars, David Michôd’s The Rover, Mike Leigh‘s Mr. Turner, Tommy Lee JonesThe Homesman, Ryan Gosling‘s Lost River (formerly titled How to Catch a Monster), Zhang Yimou‘s Coming Home, and Atom Egoyan‘s The Captive.

Hit the jump to check out the full lineup.  The 2014 Cannes Film Festival runs from May 15 – 25th.

First Trailer and Images for Tommy Lee Jones’ THE HOMESMAN Starring Jones, Hilary Swank, Hailee Steinfeld, and Meryl Streep

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The first trailer and images have gone online for Tommy Lee Jones‘ western drama, The Homesman.  The story centers on a claim-jumping rascal (Jones) and a frontierswoman (Hilary Swank) as they escort three insane women from Nebraska to Iowa and battle the harsh elemental conditions of the prairie.  I loved Jones’ 2005 film The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada, which played like a modern-day western.  The Homesman looks more like a straight entry into the genre, but also an interesting one.  There appears to be a tricky balance between Jones’ slightly off-kilter character and the serious dangers he and his traveling companions must face.  Nevertheless, it has an outstanding cast, and I assume we’ll be seeing it later this year since it will be released next month in France.  It’s also a safe assumption that it will make its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival, so I’m eager to hear the buzz on the picture.

Hit the jump to check out The Homesman trailer and images.  The film also stars Hailee Steinfeld, Meryl Streep, Tim Blake Nelson, James Spader, William Fichtner, and Jesse PlemonsThe Homesman is currently awaiting U.S. distribution.

Miranda Otto Talks REACHING FOR THE MOON, Playing Poet Elizabeth Bishop, THE HOMESMAN, I FRANKENSTEIN, RAKE, the LOCKE & KEY Pilot, More

by     Posted 1 year, 31 days ago

miranda otto reaching for the moon slice

Reaching for the Moon tells the tale of an unlikely romance between two extraordinary artists, legendary American poet Elizabeth Bishop (Miranda Otto) and architect Lota de Macedo Soares (Gloria Pines).  Hoping to find inspiration, Bishop travels from New York City to Rio de Janeiro, where she finds herself in a tempestuous relationship that spans decades and forever impacts the life and work of both women.

During this recent exclusive phone interview with Collider, actress Miranda Otto, who gives a beautifully complex and layered performance as Elizabeth Bishop, talked about how she received an offer for the role via email, what made her want to play this woman, how Bishop’s poetry helped give her insight and an understanding of her she was, and why she needed time to decompress after doing this role.  She also talked about working with Tommy Lee Jones, as both an actor and a director, on The Homesman, what attracted her to I, Frankenstein, her role in the new Fox TV series Rake, starring Greg Kinnear, her involvement with the Locke & Key pilot, and her desire not to be pigeon-holed.  Check out what she had to say after the jump.

Hailee Steinfeld Talks ENDER’S GAME and Working With Tommy Lee Jones on THE HOMESMAN

by     Posted 1 year, 48 days ago


Hailee Steinfeld has been poised to be the “next big thing” ever since she stole the show from veterans Matt Damon and Jeff Bridges in the Coen Brothers’ True Grit.  The young actress has a virtually unending list of upcoming projects: the Tommy Lee Jones directed The Homesman, the Luc Besson/McG collaboration Three Days To Kill, the Civil War drama The Keeping Room… This weekend, the rise of Steinfeld begins with the big budgeted children-versus-aliens Ender’s Game.  Steinfeld co-stars as Petra, an ally and confidant to lead protagonist Ender (Asa Butterfield).  Asa and she have an easy-going chemistry, never quite blossoming into romance but teetering on the brink.  It’s a difficult relationship to get just right – and it’s a credit to Steinfeld and Butterfield that they’re able to suggest such depths with relatively little material.

In the following interview with Steinfeld, she discusses the challenges of acting in such a heavy effects driven film as Ender’s Game, the tricks to pretending like you’re in zero gravity and working with Tommy Lee Jones on The Homesman. For the full interview, hit the jump.

Noah Emmerich Joins JANE GOT A GUN, Tom Holland Set for Ron Howard’s IN THE HEART OF THE SEA, and Hailee Steinfeld Added to THE HOMESMAN

by     Posted 1 year, 254 days ago

We’ve got casting news for every taste this evening. Here’s the latest:

  • Noah Emmerich will be teaming up with Warrior director, Gavin O’Connor once again. This time for the production-troubled Western Jane Got a Gun.
  • Tom Holland (The Impossible) has joined the ensemble of Ron Howard’s whaling drama In The Heart Of The Sea.
  • Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit) is ready for another frontier round, as she joins the cast of Tommy Lee Jones’ The Homesman.

Hit the jump for more details on each casting.

Tommy Lee Jones Talks EMPEROR, Surprises During Research, and More; Also Comments on His Next Directing Gig, THE HOMESMAN

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Opening this weekend in limited release is director Peter Webber’s (Girl with a Pearl Earring) historical drama Emperor.  The film takes place during the days following the Japanese surrender at the end of World War II and stars Tommy Lee Jones as General Douglas MacArthur, the de facto ruler of Japan as Supreme Commander of the occupying forces.  Matthew Fox plays a leading Japanese expert on the staff of MacArthur who is tasked with deciding whether or not Emperor Hirohito should be tried as a war criminal.  Fox’s mission becomes more complicated as he searches for a school teacher (Eriko Hatsune) who first drew him to Japan years before the war.  For more on the film, watch these three clips.

A few days ago, we got to speak with Jones.  He talked about the research he did, what surprised him about MacArthur, collaborating with Peter Webber to make sure the film was an accurate depiction and not a Hollywood version of the events, script changes, and more.  In addition, Jones talked about The Homesman, which he’ll be directing next month.  Hit the jump to watch.

Meryl Streep and Hilary Swank Join THE HOMESMAN Written and Directed by Tommy Lee Jones

by     Posted 2 years, 83 days ago


We previously reported that Tommy Lee Jones would be writing, directing, producing and starring in The Homesman; now it looks as if Meryl Streep and Hilary Swank will join the picture.  (For those of you playing along at home, that would make six Oscars among the three actors.)  The Homesman is a pioneer period piece which follows a claim-jumping rascal (Jones) and a frontierwoman as they escort three insane women from Nebraska to Iowa and battle the harsh elemental conditions of the prairie.  Swank will play the frontierwoman, but The Wrap reports that it’s not yet clear which part Streep will take on (insane woman perhaps?).  This will mark a reunion of Jones and Streep, who starred together in Great Hope Springs this summer.  The Homesman will mark the first time Swank has worked with either actor.

Casting Call: Tommy Lee Jones Pioneers THE HOMESMAN, John Hawkes is TOO LATE in Indie Thriller and John C. McGinley Joins Jackie Robinson Pic 42

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Some casting news for you today, including a project in which Tommy Lee Jones (No Country for Old Men) is taking on four roles! Here they are at a glance:

  • Jones is set to write, direct, produce and star in the pioneer period piece, The Homesman.
  • Oscar-nominee John Hawkes (Winter’s Bone) boards the indie thriller, Too Late.
  • John C. McGinley (Scrubs) is the latest addition to the Jackie Robinson biopic, 42.

Hit the jump for more on each project.

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