The Weinstein Company has released the first trailer for director Lee Daniels’ (Precious, The Paperboy) historical drama The Butler. Based on a true story, the film stars Forrest Whitaker as Cecil Gaines, a butler who served at the White House from 1952 to 1986. The trailer plays up the film’s awards prospects as we see a flash of famous faces playing the many notable persons who walked the halls of the White House throughout this period (Alan Rickman is particularly striking as President Reagan), and that’s balanced with an overview of Gaines’ life in a racially tense America. While the film certainly looks like it has the potential to be powerful, cautious optimism is key whenever Lee Daniels is involved.
Hit the jump to watch the debut trailer. The film also stars Oprah Winfrey, David Oyelowo, Mariah Carey, John Cusack, Jane Fonda, Cuba Gooding Jr., Terrence Howard, Minka Kelly, Lenny Kravitz, Melissa Leo, James Marsden, Alex Pettyfer, Vanessa Redgrave, Liev Schreiber, and Robin Williams. The Butler opens on October 18th.
The first trailer for the comedy-drama Unfinished Song has been released online. The story takes place in London and centers on a grumpy retiree (Terrence Stamp) who reluctantly joins a local choir made up of elderly folk at the behest of his wife (Vanessa Redgrave). Gemma Arterton plays the upbeat choir director, and the trailer promises all the staples of a Hallmark movie. The cast isn’t bad so it’s possible that the full film isn’t as saccharine as it looks, but the trailer doesn’t exactly give me hope.
Hit the jump to watch the trailer. The film also stars Christopher Eccleston. Unfinished Song opens on February 8th.
Columbia Pictures has picked up U.S. distribution rights to Moneyball director Bennett Miller’s real life drama Foxcatcher. The film tells the true story of John du Pont, a paranoid schizophrenic who built a wrestling training facility on his 800-acre Pennsylvania estate where he subsequently shot and killed Olympic gold medal-winning wrestler David Schultz in 1996. Heir to his family’s chemical fortune, du Pont locked himself in his mansion for two days after murdering his friend, and spent the time on the phone with negotiators.
The swell ensemble cast includes Steve Carell as du Pont and Mark Ruffalo as Schultz, as well as Channing Tatum, Sienna Miller, and Anthony Michael Hall. Today’s announcement adds that Vanessa Redgrave has also joined the cast, making for one hell of an ensemble. Production is underway in anticipation of a Fall 2013 release. Given how great Miller’s past two efforts have been (Moneyball and Capote), it’s safe to assume that Foxcatcher will likely be an awards contender. Hit the jump to read the full press release.
Earlier today, TIFF announced that they were adding new films to their spectacular line-up. Among the new additions are:
- Song for Marion (directed by Paul Andrew Williams) Starring Terence Stamp, Vanessa Redgrave, Gemma Arterton, and Christopher Eccleston.
- Emperor (directed by Peter Webber) Starring Matthew Fox, Tommy Lee Jones, and Eriko Hatsune.
- Arthur Newman (directed by Dante Ariola) Starring Emily Blunt, Colin Firth, and Anne Heche.
- Disconnect (directed by Henry Alex Rubin) Starring Jason Bateman, Hope Davis, Frank Grillo, Paula Patton, Michael Nyqvist, Andrea Riseborough, Alexander Skarsgård, Max Theriot, Jonah Bobo, Colin Ford, and Haley Ramm.
Hit the jump to check out the images and synopses. The 2012 Toronto International Film Festival runs from September 6 – 16th.
Though his latest feature, The Paperboy, was met with a less than enthusiastic response at its Cannes Film Festival premiere, director Lee Daniels continues to fill out the impressive cast for his next film, The Butler. The pic tells the true story of Eugene Allen, a butler who served at the White House from 1952 to 1986, and Daniels is casting a slew of stars to take small roles as the famous men and women who come through the White House over the years. Forest Whitaker plays Allen, Oprah Winfrey is set as his wife, and David Oyelowo will star as Allen’s son. Deadline reports that Alex Pettyfer (I Am Number Four) will play Thomas Westphall, a character who appears early in the film and has a pivotal influence on Allen’s life.
Moreover, Deadline adds that Vanessa Redgrave is circling a role in the pic as well. The supporting cast thus far includes Alan Rickman, Cuba Gooding Jr., Terrence Howard, Minka Kelly, Jane Fonda, and Lenny Kravitz. Production begins next month and Pettyfer will next be seen in Magic Mike.
The 14th Annual British Independent Film Awards were held tonight and the brutal drama Tyrannosaur took home trophies for Best Film, Best Debut Director (Paddy Considine), and Best Actress (Olivia Colman). Other BIFA winners included Senna for Best Documentary, Lynne Ramsay for Best Director (We Need to Talk about Kevin), Michael Fassbender for Best Actor (Shame), and Richard Ayoade for Best Screenplay (Submarine).
I thought Tyrannosaur failed to derive honest drama from its ugliness and violence, but I can understand why the movie struck a chord with most viewers. As for the other winners, I think Ramsay is still an outsider in the Oscar race, but Fassbender, Ayoade, and Colman may have boosted their chances, although Colman will probably compete in the Best Supporting Actress category since that’s where she has a better chance for a nomination. Hit the jump for the full list of winners.
We’ve got a batch of new posters to share with you today. First up is the extraordinary new poster for Zhang Yimou’s The Flowers of War. Poster art is definitely not dead, and this gorgeous one-sheet is proof. The film stars Christian Bale in the Chinese period pic about the invading Japanese Imperial Army taking over Nanking. The UK quad for Coriolanus is pretty great as well. Marking Ralph Fiennes’s feature directorial debut, the film is based on Shakespeare’s tragedy of the same name. The new poster for Underworld: Awakening is a bit uninspired (not to mention confusing; why does Kate Beckinsale want to shoot met?), and the poster for the hockey comedy Goon is underwhelming as well, especially when compared with the film’s previous posters.
Hit the jump to take a look at the posters. The Flowers of War opens in China on December 16th (and in the U.S. sometime in December), Coriolanus opens January 20th, 2012, Underworld: Awakening opens January 20th as well, and Goon will be available VOD February 24th, and in theaters March 30th. [Update: We've been asked to take the Underworld poster down. An official version should be released soon.]
[This is a re-print of my review from the 2011 Toronto Film Festival]
In Anonymous, Edward de Vere, the Earl of Oxford (Rhys Ifans) tells young playwright Ben Jonson (Sebastian Armesto), “All artists have something to say because otherwise they’d just make shoes.” It’s a funny quote when you consider that director Roland Emmerich‘s previous filmography is mainly comprised of brainless blockbusters like Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow, and 2012. Anonymous, a political thriller wrapped in a conspiracy theory, could not be further from those movies and Emmerich sets out like a man with something to prove. There are no monsters, aliens, cataclysms, and the only explosion is the destruction of the Globe Theatre, which actually did burn to the ground in 1613. The film plays fast and loose with most historical facts (including why the Globe burned down), but it manages to craft an intriguing period piece before getting bogged down in political intrigue and tearing down historical figures.
In Anonymous, Edward de Vere, the Earl of Oxford (Rhys Ifans) tells young playwright Ben Jonson (Sebastian Armesto), “All artists have something to say because otherwise they’d just make shoes.” It’s a funny quote when you consider that director Roland Emmerich’s previous filmography is mainly comprised of brainless blockbusters like Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow, and 2012. Anonymous, a political thriller wrapped in a conspiracy theory, could not be further from those movies and Emmerich sets out like a man with something to prove. There are no monsters, aliens, cataclysms, and the only explosion is the destruction of the Globe Theatre, which actually did burn to the ground in 1613. The film plays fast and loose with most historical facts (including why the Globe burned down), but it manages to craft an intriguing period piece before getting bogged down in political intrigue and tearing down historical figures.
We’ve been provided with 5 clips from director Roland Emmerich’s period drama Anonymous to share with our readers. Best known for big-budget films like 2012 and Independence Day, the film marks quite a departure for the director. The story centers on a conspiracy to cover up the true authors of William Shakespeare’s plays, as the works were used to criticize the monarchy. The cast includes Jamie Campbell Bower, Rhys Ifans, David Thewlis, Joely Richardson, and Vanessa Redgrave. Hit the jump to watch the clips. Anonymous opens October 28th.
Before now, my reaction to Coriolanus was “Oh, Ralph Fiennes is making his directing debut by adapting Shakespeare’s Coriolanus and setting it in a modern-day battlefield. That’s nice.” But the UK trailer just makes me go, “This is Fiennes’ directing debut? Holy hell.” The dialogue and plot may be Shakespeare’s but Fiennes has clearly amped up the setting with some sweet looking action and intense drama. I hope this all comes together because it has an outstanding cast (Fiennes in the title role and joined by Vanessa Redgrave, Brian Cox, Gerard Butler, Jessica Chastain, and James Nesbitt).
As you’ll gather from the trailer, the plot centers on a banished former war hero who plans to conquer his homeland. Hit the jump to check out the madness. Coriolanus will play at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival. It opens in the US on December 2nd and in the UK on January 20, 2012.
A new trailer for Roland Emmerich’s Anonymous has gone online. Like the previous trailer, there’s the poor decision to use Radiohead’s “Everything in Its Right Place”, but we also get a better explanation of the plot. The movie isn’t simply about the controversial theory that William Shakespeare didn’t write his own plays. The controversy is wrapped up in a much larger period drama involving political intrigue and how the plays were used to criticize the monarchy while protecting the identities of the true authors. The larger question isn’t whether or not Shakespeare wrote his plays and poems, but if a big-budget director like Emmerich can go through an entire movie without destroying a revered building or monument.
Hit the jump to check out the new trailer. The film stars Jamie Campbell Bower, Rhys Ifans, David Thewlis, Joely Richardson, and Vanessa Redgrave. Anonymous will play at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival and hit theaters on October 28th.
Vanessa Redgrave, Terence Stamp, Gemma Arterton, and Christopher Eccleston are set to star in the British comedic drama Song for Marion. The story has Stamp playing a grumpy retiree who reluctantly joins a local choir at the urging of his wife Marion (Regrave). There he learns valuable life lessons through “musical self discovery”. I know that synopses that are from press releases don’t always do the best job of conveying the tone of a film, and so I hope Song for Marion isn’t as saccharine as it sounds. Paul Andrew Williams (London to Brighton) will direct from his own screenplay.
Hit the jump to check out the press release and feel doubtful about this movie.
The US trailer for The Whistleblower has gone online. Based on real events, Rachel Weisz stars as a UN peacekeeper in post-war Bosnia who uncovers rampant corruption and a massive cover-up of criminal activity. The film played the festival circuit last year to positive notices and I’m glad I’ll finally get a chance to see it in the near future. In addition to Weisz, the impressive cast features David Strathairn, Monica Bellucci, Benedict Cumberbatch, Jason Isaacs, and Vanessa Redgrave.
Hit the jump to check out the trailer. The Whistleblower opens August 5th.
Columbia Pictures has released the first trailer for Roland Emmerich’s Anonymous, a political thriller based on the controversy of who really wrote the plays credited to William Shakespeare. Per the official synopsis, “Anonymous poses one possible answer, focusing on a time when cloak-and-dagger political intrigue, illicit romances in the Royal Court, and the schemes of greedy nobles hungry for the power of the throne were exposed in the most unlikely of places: the London stage.” Since this is Emmerich’s first film where he’s not obliterating a city, the curiosity factor is too high to avoid, but this trailer does an awful job of explaining the plot beyond “Shakespeare didn’t write his plays. Now please enjoy 16th century CGI England.” The release date is still a ways off so I’m sure we’ll get a more plot-heavy trailer a few months from now.
Hit the jump to check out the trailer. The film stars Jamie Campbell Bower, Rhys Ifans, David Thewlis, Joely Richardson, and Vanessa Redgrave. Anonymous hits theaters on September 30th.