20 items from 2014
Cheryl Strayed’s heartrending 2012 account of her 1,100-mile hike along the Pacific Crest Trail presented no shortage of obstacles en route to the bigscreen, not least in the way it used the great outdoors as the backdrop for a resolutely interior journey. But director Jean-Marc Vallee, screenwriter Nick Hornby and star-producer Reese Witherspoon have met the challenge head-on with imperfect but rewarding results in “Wild,” that represents a fine addition to the recent bumper crop of bigscreen survival stories. Resting squarely on Witherspoon’s sturdy shoulders (along with the back-crushing backpack she carts around throughout), the Fox Searchlight release should be admiringly received by critics and arthouse audiences come Dec. 5.
Still, the film could face some competition from John Curran’s equally accomplished “Tracks” (set to open Sept. 19 Stateside), this year’s other adaptation of a bestselling woman-in-the-wilderness memoir, and it remains to be seen whether it can improve on »
- Justin Chang
Rectify Season 2, Episodes 7 & 8 “Mazel Tov”/”Weird As You”
Directed by Jim McKay (“Mazel Tov”) and Sanaa Hanri (“Weird As You”)
Airs Thursdays at 10pm Et on Sundance
Part of Rectify‘s appeal in its short first season was its intense focus, be it on a specific character, idea, or even just a singular image. It obviously wasn’t the show’s only strength, but it’s extreme attention to character over plot (a list of characters that included Paulie, Georgia) allowed it to dig deep – a level-headed exploration of faith, the legal system, and the nature of existence rarely found in any form of media.
Season two of Rectify has been quite different: with the scope of the show pulled back in every way, there isn’t as much to draw from and explore. Right down to the »
- Randy Dankievitch
Related 12 Years a Slave Screenwriter Pens American Crime Drama for ABC
Written by 12 Years a Slave Oscar winner John Ridley and set in California’s Central Valley, the series centers on a racially charged murder and the subsequent trial, which are examined through the personal lives of the players involved.
Felicity Huffman (Desperate Housewives), Timothy Hutton (Leverage), Benito Martinez (Sons of Anarchy), W. Earl Brown (Deadwood) and Penelope Ann Miller (Mistresses) lead the American Crime ensemble. Per The Hollywood Reporter, King will appear in »
Cheryl Strayed's New York Times bestseller Wild comes to life, with Reese Witherspoon starring as the author who goes on a long trek across the Pacific Crest Trail to rediscover herself. Join in this soul searching journey with the first trailer, which follows Cheryl's ups and downs as she struggles with addiction, the loss of her mother and her inability to carry on a real relationship with another human being. It's a powerful expose full of breathtaking landscapes and deep emotional drama, in theaters this December.
Based on Cheryl Strayed's New York Times #1 best-seller, Wild follows Strayed (Reese Witherspoon) who, with the dissolution of her marriage and the death of her mother, has lost all hope. After years of reckless, destructive behavior, she makes a rash decision. With absolutely no experience, driven only by sheer determination, Cheryl hikes more than a thousand miles of the Pacific Crest Trail, »
With its December release date, big return for Reese Witherspoon to dramatic acting and a director, Jean-Marc Vallée, who helped two thesps to Oscars at this year’s ceremony with Dallas Buyers Club, Wild would seem to have 'awards bait' written all over it. Adapted by Nick Hornby from Cheryl Strayed’s memoir, it stars Witherspoon as Strayed, who reacted to bad circumstances in her life – some of them her own fault – by taking on a serious challenge. Traumatised by the death of her mother and the breakdown of her marriage, and looking to find a way to fight waves of unhappiness, she decided to make the 1100-mile solo hike along the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert to Washington State. Though she had almost no experience in such a big hiking attempt, she found the mission a life-changer.Wild offers Witherspoon the chance to tackle and vanity-shedding role, »
Fox Searchlight has premiered the first poster for Wild directed by Jean-Marc Vallee (Dallas Buyers Club) and starring Reese Witherspoon based on Cheryl Strayed's memoir of the same name. Here's the synopsis: With the dissolution of her marriage and the death of her mother, Cheryl Strayed has lost all hope. After years of reckless, destructive behavior, she makes a rash decision. With absolutely no experience, driven only by sheer determination, Cheryl hikes more than a thousand miles of the Pacific Crest Trail, alone. Wild powerfully captures the terrors and pleasures of one young woman forging ahead against all odds on a journey that maddens, strengthens, and ultimately heals her. The film co-stars Gaby Hoffmann, Laura Dern and W. Earl Brown and won't be hitting theaters until December 5, which makes it a strong candidate for the fall film festival circuit and I have to assume we'll have a trailer for it soon enough. »
- Brad Brevet
Created by Ray McKinnon
Season two begins June 19th at 9pm Et on Sundance (season 1 available on Netflix)
There are plenty of television shows in 2014 with the ability to amaze an audience, surprising them with bold stories, impressing them with elaborate visuals, or engaging them by drawing parallels to our own world and lives. Many of these shows rank among the best on television, regularly analyzed by critics for their ability to blend cinematic elements, symbolic metaphors, and poignant dissections of life, that blend of intelligent and entertaining that’s hard to find at the box office in this day and age of loud tent poles and cliche, overwrought ‘indie’ films.
However, these great shows (of which there are too many to name in this small space), there have been but a few that can transcend entertainment »
- Randy Dankievitch
Principal photography is underway on the as-yet-untitled drama based on the book Black Mass: The True Story of an Unholy Alliance Between the FBI and the Irish Mob, about the infamous gangster Whitey Bulger.
The film stars Oscar nominee Johnny Depp (“Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street,” “Finding Neverland,” the “Pirates of the Caribbean” films) as Whitey Bulger and Joel Edgerton (“The Great Gatsby,” “Zero Dark Thirty”) as FBI Agent John Connolly.
- Michelle McCue
Principal photography is underway on the as-yet-untitled drama based on the book Black Mass: The True Story of an Unholy Alliance Between the FBI and the Irish Mob, about the infamous gangster Whitey Bulger. The film stars Oscar® nominee Johnny Depp (“Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street,” “Finding Neverland,” the “Pirates of the Caribbean” films) as Whitey Bulger and Joel Edgerton (“The Great Gatsby,” “Zero Dark Thirty”) as FBI Agent John Connolly. Filming began in Boston under the direction of Scott Cooper (“Out of the Furnace,” “Crazy Heart”).
The film also stars Benedict Cumberbatch (“Twelve Years a Slave”) as Whitey’s brother, Billy Bulger, who is a Massachusetts State Senator; Jesse Plemons (AMC’s “Breaking Bad”) as Whitey’s longtime partner in crime, Kevin Weeks; Sienna Miller (HBO’s »
- Kellvin Chavez
Now that it is just barely summer, it’s time for the networks to try their best to get you excited for fall television. ABC wants you to get excited for their schedule, and their new shows, and I’ve got some previews for you, as well as some initial thoughts.
I have to tell you, ABC is looking more and more strange as time goes on, and the overall efforts of the network really have to make you wonder. While there are some hints of interesting shows, and one or two that might turn into worthwhile vehicles, in the Eddie and the Cruisers world of television, ABC is Joe Pantoliano, clutching his tapes, and furiously blathering about the lunacy of not giving the idiotic public what they want, especially since they keep demanding it.
To that end, ABC has declared Thursday, Shonda Rhimes night, largely because someone apparently had »
- Marc Eastman
After remaining quiet all spring, ABC monopolized the attentions of the nation's TV critics on Thursday (May 8) with an evening full of big announcements. You can read about seven of the network's renewals here, as ABC extended its relationship with "Scandal," "Grey's Anatomy," "Modern Family" and more. Fortunately, despite all of these renewals, ABC still has a number of bubble shows waiting for news on Friday, which means more content. And you can also read about ABC's renewal of "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." and pickup for "Marvel's Agent Carter" here. But like the game show host says... That's not all! In addition to "Marvel's Agent Carter," ABC gave series orders to dramas "How To Get Away With Murder," "American Crime," "The Whispers" and "Forever." On the comedy side, "Black-ish," "Manhattan Love Story" and "Selfie" earned series orders. And on the musical comedy fairy tale front? »
- Daniel Fienberg
ABC has begun its run-up to next week’s upfront presentations by giving the greenlight to a seventh season of Castle, a fourth season to Once Upon a Time and an 11th year to Grey’s Anatomy. Scandal will be back, as will Modern Family and The Middle.
It also gave a fourth year to Revenge and a second year to Resurrection. The Goldbergs earned a second season, too. Somebody dodged a bullet, eh?
As of right now six new dramas have been picked up for fall, including the latest one from Shonda Rhimes. Here are the official log lines: »
- Lynette Rice
In Draft Day, on the day of the NFL Draft, general manager Sonny Weaver Jr. (Kevin Costner) has the opportunity to rebuild his team when he trades for the number one pick. He must quickly decide what he’s willing to sacrifice in pursuit of perfection as the lines between his personal and professional life become blurred on a life-changing day for a few hundred young men with dreams of playing in the NFL. Recently, Wamg sat down with Kevin Costner in a press conference where he spoke to members of the media about his new role in Draft Day, Field Of Dreams, and how affected he was by Rock Hudson in Giant. Check it out below!
There’s a line in the movie where you say, “What do you want?!” Is this a direct reference to Field Of Dreams where you at one point said, “What do you want? »
- Melissa Howland
The 2014 NFL Draft. The culmination, for most players, of a lifetime of playing football – hundreds of NFL hopefuls waiting to hear their names announced during one of the seven rounds of the draft.
The 2014 NFL Draft returns to primetime, with the first round taking place Thursday, May 8, followed by the second and third rounds on Friday, May 9. Rounds 4-7 will be held Saturday, May 10.
On Tuesday night, St. Louis Rams players, Robert Quinn, Rodger Saffold, Chase Reynolds, Johnny Hekker, Greg Zuerlein, and Mason Brodine, came out for the special advance screening of the new NFL Draft based film, Draft Day.
When asked what their favorite Sports films were, Quinn paused and said, “It’s a toss up… Remember The Titans and The Replacements,“ while Saffold said, “easy, Hoosiers.” Speaking of basketball, both picked the University of Connecticut Women’s basketball team to win, “with no problem.”
The official mascot of the St. »
- Michelle McCue
We are 10 days away from the 10th anniversary of the premiere of "Deadwood," David Milch's revisionist Western and one of the greatest drama series to ever grace this medium. You all are no doubt familiar with my love of "Deadwood" by now, whether as a chapter in my book or one of the main topics of conversation for the last three summers of the blog as I re-reviewed each episode. Along the way, we were lucky enough to be graced with the presence of Jim Beaver, Keone Young, W. Earl Brown and Garrett Dillahunt, as these alums of the show offered their own memories of each episode, each of them suffused with the passion that comes from having been part of something so strange and so special for too short a period. Now I have another Beaver-related "Deadwood" reverie for you, in video form. My old partner in crime »
- Alan Sepinwall
In order to mark the occasion viewers will be able to watch again the battle of wits between Sheriff Seth Bullock (Timothy Olyphant) and saloon owner Al Swearengen (Ian McShane) who views the town to be his own private enterprise; the speciality channel will be airing all 36 episodes back-to-back commencing Saturday March 15, 2014 @ 10 a.m. (Et/Pt) and finishing Sunday, March 16, at 10 p.m..
Also on April 2, 2014, HBO Signature will be running one Deadwood episode every weeknight, Monday to Friday at 8 p.m. (Et/Pt) starting Wednesday, April 2, 2014. The Western featured historical characters such as Wild Bill Hickok, Sol Star, Calamity Jane, Wyatt Earp, George Crook, E. B. Farnum, Charlie Utter, Jack McCall, and George »
The pilot, from "12 Years a Slave" Oscar winner John Ridley, is about a racially charged murder trial in California's Central Valley and its effect on those involved. Hutton, formerly of TNT's "Leverage," will play the father of the murder victim. His character is a gambling addict who has managed to turn his life around.
Felicity Huffman ("Desperate Housewives") is in talks to play Hutton's wife, and Penelope Ann Miller has signed on to play the mother of the victim's wife, who was badly beaten when her husband was killed. The cast also includes Benito Martinez ("The Shield"), W. Earl Brown ("Deadwood"), Caitlin Gerard, Elvis Nolasco and Richard Cabral.
Other pilot casting:
Another day, another round of actors joining pilots for the next TV season. "Mad Men" star Rich Sommer is among a few actors to land new pilots, hoping they'll go to series in the fall. Deadline has all the details.
- Sommer has been cast in CBS comedy "Good Session," as the best fiend of a couple who learn quite a bit from a trip to the therapist. His character lives in the suburbs with his wife and kids.
- Formerly of "Treme," Rob Brown has joined NBC's "Salvation" pilot. He will play the adopted son of Ashley Judd's Jennifer Strickland, the widow of a mega-church pastor who is trying to save the church.
The Shield alum Benito Martinez and Deadwood‘s W. Earl Brown have been cast in American Crime, ABC’s drama pilot written and exec produced by John Ridley, fresh off winning an Oscar for 12 Years A Slave. It centers on the racially charged murder of a war veteran and the subsequent trial, which are examined through the personal lives of the players involved. Martinez, repped by Sdb Partners, will play Alonzo, a hardworking, middle-class widowed father whose son is accused of the crime. He previously recurred on Sons Of Anarchy and is coming off an arc on House Of Cards. Brown, repped by Greene & Associates and manager Lynn Rawlins, will play Tom, the emotionally distraught father of Lily, widow of the murdered war vet. He next will be seen in Draft Day and Wild. Related: 2014 ABC Pilots »
- NELLIE ANDREEVA
The upcoming drama Wild from director Jean-Marc Vallée is offering a different type of role for Reese Witherspoon, seen here in the first photo from the film. While she is best known for taking on comedies, this drama was a true challenge for the actress, as it recreates the true-life story behind lone hiker Cheryl Strayed's novel of the same name, which recounts her personal journey throughout the wilds of Oregon.
In the summer of 1995, the novice 26-year-old hiker set out to trek the formidable Pacific Coast Trail by herself, hoping to overcome her own personal demons, which included drug use, a recent divorce, and the death of her mother. Jean-Marc Vallée recently spoke about the actress' transformation for the part, which he likened to Matthew McConaughey in the recent Dallas Buyers Club, which Vallée last directed.
The team shot in chronological order, and used only natural sunlight, »
20 items from 2014
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