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

by     Posted 49 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.

WILD Review | TIFF 2014

by     Posted 51 days ago

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Perseverance is easier said than done.  We all understand that if we can just get through this, push a little harder, fight through the pain, then we will more than likely come out better off on the other side.  But it is so easy to stop trying.  Laze seems to be some kind of natural instinct that takes over and tells us to just give up and accept our life as it is.  Director Jean-Marc Vallée follows up last year’s Dallas Buyers Club with a much more solitary drama in Wild, which recounts author Cheryl Strayed’s three-month hike along the Pacific Crest Trail, during which she reflects on past mistakes and hardships, and struggles to find some inner peace.  That’s a trite enough premise, but through Vallée’s confident, dynamic direction and a truly fearless lead performance by Reese Witherspoon, Wild turns out to be an honest, surprising, and unabashedly feminist chronicle of determination and rebirth. 

2014 London Film Festival Lineup Announced; TESTAMENT OF YOUTH, FOXCATCHER, SERENA, MONSTERS: DARK CONTINENT and More

by     Posted 58 days ago

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The Telluride Film Festival is over and done with and Venice is coming to a close, but we’ve got the Toronto International Film Festival on the way and the New York Film Festival coming up right after.  On top of that, the lineup for the 58th BFI London Film Festival was just announced.

The list includes a bunch of titles that are already making the festival rounds like the event opener, The Imitation Game, as well as Gala selections Foxcatcher, Whiplash, Wild and Mr. Turner.  In addition, we’ve also got Testament of Youth starring Alicia Vikander, Kit Harington, Hayley Atwell, Emily Watson and Dominic West making its world premiere as well as The Falling with Maisie WilliamsSilent Storm with Andrea Riseborough and Damian Lewis, and Serena with Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper.  Hit the jump for more on the 2014 BFI London Film Festival lineup.  The event begins on October 8th and wraps up on October 19th.

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

by     Posted 64 days ago

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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.

Oscar Beat: Which Awards Contenders Will Emerge from the Fall Film Festival Season?

by     Posted 65 days ago

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Ready or not, the awards season is about to begin.  Every year, Oscar season kicks off with the series of film festivals in late August and early September.  It’s at these festivals—Telluride, Toronto, and Venice—that a hefty number of the year’s Oscar hopefuls debut and begin what they hope will be long and prosperous campaigns.  Four out of the last five Best Picture winners screened at both Telluride and Toronto, and as the festivals are about to start later this week, now felt like a good time to preview the block of awards hopefuls that will be screening since the odds are pretty good that this year’s Best Picture winner will have debuted by mid-September.

Hit the jump for the Fall Film Festival Preview 2014 edition of Oscar Beat.

WILD Trailer: Reese Witherspoon Sets out on a Solitary Hike

by     Posted 113 days ago

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Fox Searchlight has released the first trailer for WildDallas Buyers Club director Jean-Marc Vallée’s adaptation of Cheryl Strayed’s memoir.  Reese Witherspoon takes on the role of Strayed in the pic, as she decides to hike more than a thousand miles of the Pacific Coast Trail alone after the dissolution of her marriage and death of her mother.  There’s plenty more on display here than scrapbook moments from Strayed’s journey of self-discovery, as the trailer cuts between the challenges she faces on her hike and pivotal decisions she made in the past.  One imagines the feature film will follow a similar style, paralleling her trials and tribulations during both her metaphorical journey and her literal one. However Vallée handles the film’s framework, the inspiring story is almost certain to spark some awards talk.

Hit the jump to watch the Wild trailer.  The film also stars Laura Dern, Michiel Huisman, Gaby Hoffman, Thomas Sadoski, and Kevin RankinWild opens in theaters on December 5th.

Release Dates for POINT BREAK Remake, WILD, DON’T MESS WITH TEXAS, and THE DROP

by     Posted 169 days ago

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A few release dates to pass along:

  • The Point Break remake is set for release August 7, 2015.
  • Two Reese Witherspoon projects found a place on the calendar.  The Jean-Marc Vallée-directed drama Wild opens December 5, 2014.  The comedy Don’t Mess With Texas (co-starring Sofia Vergara) opens May 8, 2015.
  • The crime drama The Drop moves up a week from September 19 to September 12, 2014.
  • Universal and Legendary Pictures scheduled an untitled “event project” November 4, 2016.

Dates via Box Office Mojo.  More on each project after the jump.

Director Jean-Marc Vallée Talks DALLAS BUYERS CLUB, Looking for Humanity in the True Story, and His Next Project WILD

by     Posted 361 days ago

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Montreal-born filmmaker Jean-Marc Vallée has always been drawn to character-driven material that’s emotional and inspiring.  His strong sense of storytelling through imagery is evident in his new film, Dallas Buyers Club, based on the real-life story of Texas cowboy turned AIDS activist, Ron Woodroof (Matthew McConaughey).  Shooting the movie 100% handheld with available light, Vallee’s visceral direction enhances the richness of character and raw emotion in this drama about an imperfect man who was given a death sentence but was determined to beat the odds.  Now playing in limited release, the film also stars Jared Leto and Jennifer Garner.

At a recent roundtable interview, Vallée talked about looking for the humanity in the story, his directorial approach, wanting to tell a story that’s faithful to Woodroof, finding the balance between seriousness, comedy and respecting the facts, what McConaughey brought to the role and how his way of working took Vallée out of his comfort zone, his homage to Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life, how the film evolved in the editing room, the moving supermarket scene between Ron and Rayon, and his new project, Wild, starring Reese Witherspoon based on Cheryl Strayed’s best-selling memoir.  Hit the jump to read the interview:

First Look at Reese Witherspoon in Jean-Marc Vallée’s Adaptation of Cheryl Strayed’s WILD; Laura Dern Joins Picture

by     Posted 1 year, 10 days ago

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Last week, production began on the adaption of Cheryl Strayed‘s best-selling memoir, WildReese Witherspoon stars as Strayed, who decided to hike more than a thousand miles of the Pacific Crest Trail alone after the dissolution of her marriage and death of her mother.  Witherspoon has tweeted the first image from the set, and it confirms our suspicions that such a trip will require a large backpack.  It’s good to know they’re playing to the reality of the situation.

Hit the jump to check out the image.  Additionally, Deadline reports that Laura Dern has joined the cast.  Wild also stars Thomas Sadoski (The Newsroom), the film will also co-star Michiel Huisman (World War Z), W. Earl Brown (The Lone Ranger), Gaby Hoffman (Veronica Mars), and Kevin Rankin (Dallas Buyers Club).

Production Begins on WILD Starring Reese Witherspoon; W. Earl Brown, Gaby Hoffman, Kevin Rankin, and More Join Cast

by     Posted 1 year, 20 days ago

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Principal photography has begun in Oregon for the drama Wild.  Directed by Jean-Marc Vallée (Dallas Buyers Club) and starring Reese Witherspoon, the story is about a woman who decides to hike more than a thousand miles of the Pacific Crest Trail alone after the dissolution of her marriage and death of her mother.  The script by Nick Hornby (High Fidelity) is based on Cheryl Strayed’s memoir of the same name.  The press release also announces that in addition to Thomas Sadoski (The Newsroom), the film will also co-star Michiel Huisman (World War Z), W. Earl Brown (The Lone Ranger), Gaby Hoffman (Veronica Mars), and Kevin Rankin (Dallas Buyers Club).

Hit the jump for the full press release, which contains the official synopsis.

Ellie Kemper Makes a SEX TAPE with Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel; Thomas Sadoski Goes WILD with Reese Witherspoon

by     Posted 1 year, 41 days ago

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Here’s a bit more casting news for you today:

  • Ellie Kemper (The Office) has joined Jake Kasdan’s Sex Tape, starring Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel.  Sex Tape opens July 18, 2014.
  • Thomas Sadoski (The Newsroom) is in talks to star opposite Reese Witherspoon in Jean-Marc Vallee’s Wild.

Hit the jump for more on each film.

Reese Witherspoon Confirmed for Nick Hornby’s WILD; Linda Cardellini, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Tim Robbins Join WELCOME TO ME

by     Posted 1 year, 107 days ago

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Here’s today’s newest casting announcements:

  • Reese Witherspoon (Walk the Line) has been confirmed for Nick Hornby’s adaptation, Wild.
  • Linda Cardellini (ER), Jennifer Jason Leigh (The Machinist) and Tim Robbins (The Shawshank Redemption) will join Kristen Wiig in Welcome to Me.

Hit the jump for more on both pictures.

Reese Witherspoon to Star in Nick Hornby Adaptation of Cheryl Strayed Memoir, WILD

by     Posted 1 year, 335 days ago

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Oscar-nominated screenwriter Nick Hornby (An Education) is set to adapt Cheryl Strayed’s memoir, Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, with Reese Witherspoon (Walk the Line) in the lead. The true-life tale tells of Strayed’s journey to traverse the 1,100-mile Pacific Crest Trail alone after her mother died, her family fractured and her marriage failed, all at the age of 22. Witherspoon will also produce the picture along with Bruna Papandrea and River Road Entertainment’s Bill Pohlad. Hit the jump for comments from Hornby and Witherspoon, as well as a synopsis of the book. 

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