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“Wild,” the Fox Searchlight drama about a woman’s 1,100-mile hike along the Pacific Crest Trail, is a redemption story in more ways than one. In adapting Cheryl Strayed’s 2012 memoir about a personal breakdown, Reese Witherspoon rescued herself from the brink of Hollywood’s own Appalachia.
After winning the Oscar for “Walk the Line” in 2006, Witherspoon stumbled through a series of box office and critical mishaps–“Rendition,” “How Do You Know,” “This Means War,” etc. Then came the “Gone Girl” fiasco: Witherspoon attached herself to produce Gillian Flynn’s best-selling novel, but director David Fincher told her that he wanted someone else to play the anti-heroine Amy Dunne (he eventually cast Rosamund Pike). As a result, Witherspoon dropped her manager of 19 years, and went on to make “Wild” (she’d optioned the book rights herself). At 38, she’s had to work three times as hard as her male counterparts to sustain her movie-star glow. »
- Ramin Setoodeh
Question. What do The Skeleton Twins, The Better Angels and actor Miles Teller have in common? There’ll always be some head-scratcher surprises and snubs and the 2015 Indie Spirit award nominations are no different. It goes with the territory. As we tend to some wounds, we access those that were criminally overlooked in the key categories. Here is a glance at some of the shoulda, woulda and coulda.
Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Falling below the 21 million mark set by the Indie Spirit folks, it is indeed an odd year when a major studio release figures among the fives noms. Considering that Ava DuVernay is an indie talent, I didn’t think her film would be part of the equation. That said, it was a given that Boyhood and the more deserving Birdman and Whiplash would all face off. In »
- Eric Lavallee
James Franco stars as Pulitzer Prize winning poet C.K. Williams in The Color of Time. The film centers on the struggles of the real-life writer, from childhood throughout his career. The film has eleven credited directors, so the film could be a beautiful experiment or a wonderful mess. There is also a very Terrance Malick-esque quality to the trailer, which should be interesting to see how that style carries over into the full, given that no one can do Malick besides Malick (and even then it’s a little iffy sometimes). The Color of Time also stars Mila Kunis, Jessica Chastain, Zach Braff, Henry Hopper, and the always-fantastic Bruce Campbell of Evil Dead fame.
- Max Molinaro
Here's a sneak peak at a provocative new film -- A Most Violent Year -- that focuses on the moral codes of "doing business" in NYC in 1981, a time when the city was nearly bankrupt and certainly corrupt. It's by the director J.C. Chandor and stars Oscar Isaac (Inside Llewyn Davis) and Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty). Opening on December 31, 2014.
- Dusty Wright
First of all, Happy Turkey Day to you all! With a Thanksgiving mention out of the way, let’s talk movies. Whenever there is a big precursor announcement that isn’t just a winners list, there’s going to be some glaring omissions. Such was the case with the 30th annual Independent Spirit Awards, which made some excellent picks but also some head scratchers as well. That’s always the name of the game, but this year there especially was some unexpected shut outs. As such, I’m going to be running down ten of the most egregious ones that I noticed. A few will be personal surprises, but the others will be ones that were clearly noticed by others. The Spirit Awards do a solid job, but like any other precursor, they’re far from perfect. Here now are the ten biggest snubs from the Spirit Award nominations: 1. Oscar Isaac »
- Joey Magidson
"...in this searing crime drama set in New York City during the winter of 1981, one immigrant is determined to climb up a morally crooked ladder...
"...where simmering rivalries and unprovoked attacks threaten his business, family, and – above all – his own unwavering belief in the righteousness of his path..."
Click the images to enlarge and Sneak Peek "A Most Violent Year"...
- Michael Stevens
A Most Violent Year is a searing crime drama set in New York City during the winter of 1981, statistically the most dangerous year in the city’s history. From acclaimed writer/director J.C. Chandor, and starring Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain, this gripping story plays out within a maze of rampant political and industry corruption plaguing the streets of a city in decay.
J.C. Chandor’s third feature examines one immigrant’s determined climb up a morally crooked ladder, where simmering rivalries and unprovoked attacks threaten his business, family, and – above all – his own unwavering belief in the righteousness of his path. With A Most Violent Year, Chandor journeys in a bold new direction, toward the place where best intentions yield to raw instinct, »
- Gary Collinson
A24 have just released a great new ‘character profile’ poster and featurette for their upcoming release, A Most Violent Year – which is 1981 Fyi. The film stars current Hollywood hot properties Oscar Isaac (Star Wars: The Force Awakens) and Jessica Chastain, who is currently appearing in the international hit Interstellar. We have the new poster and featurette for A Most Violent Year below, but first, the official synopsis.
A Most Violent Year is a searing crime drama set in New York City during the winter of 1981, statistically the most dangerous year in the city’s history. From acclaimed writer/director J.C. Chandor, and starring Oscar Isaac (Inside Llewyn Davis) and Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty), this gripping story plays out within a maze of rampant political and industry corruption plaguing the streets of a city in decay.
J.C. Chandor’s third feature examines one immigrant’s determined climb up a morally crooked ladder, »
- Paul Heath
The cast and crew of A Most Violent Year examine the American dream in a new featurette for this upcoming drama from A24 Films, arriving in theaters December 31. This searing crime drama is set in New York City during the winter of 1981, statistically the most dangerous year in the city's history. The gripping story plays out within a maze of rampant political and industry corruption plaguing the streets of a city in decay.
Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain star as Abel and Anna Morales, the owners of a heating oil company trying to take their business to the next level, while dealing with a rash of violent robberies. While most of Abel's competitors are arming themselves against these attacks, Abel wants to take "the long view," according to Oscar Isaac, as this complex character tries to maintain his morality in a corrupt business. David Oyelowo, who plays a district attorney trying to prosecute Abel, »
What’s not to love about “A Most Violent Year”? It’s an ‘80s-set moral crime drama that stars Oscar Isaac — who’s seemingly on his way to becoming a household name with roles in “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” and “X-Men: Apocalypse” — Jessica Chastain and David Oyelowo, arguably the three greatest actors of their generation, who all seem poised for A-list greatness. Then there’s director J.C. Chandor: he arrived immediately with his economic crisis drama “Margin Call” and then seriously upped the ante with the left turn of “All Is Lost,” an existentialist action drama on the high seas that was Robert Redford’s best performance in eons. So what's "A Most Violent Year" about? Here’s part of the synopsis that describes yet another new bold direction for the filmmaker, an interesting take on the American Dream, compromise, and the cost of doing business in »
- Edward Davis
I caught A Most Violent Year last night and will be holding off on a review until a little later in December, definitely before I publish my Top Ten of 2014. Suffice to say, I enjoyed it, though I do have a few reservations, particularly with Jessica Chastain's character. Today a new poster for the film, which is set in 1981 and centers on Abel Morales (Oscar Isaac), a heating oil distributor in Long Island City who's facing some issues with his competitors, the district attorney (David Oyelowo) and the banks. It's a throwback feature that fans of the likes of Sidney Lumet will surely appreciate and A24 has certainly embraced that in the marketing as much as Director of Photography Bradford Young (Ain't Them Bodies Saints) embraced it in his lighting and cinematography. The film hits limited theaters in late December and expands nationwide in January. »
- Brad Brevet
Over the years, Oscar Isaac is an actor that’s been constrained to supporting roles, having cropped up in films like Drive, Robin Hood and Zack Synder’s Sucker Punch. But when the Coen Brothers placed him front and center for their wonderful, critically-acclaimed drama Inside Llewyn Davis, it was almost a bygone conclusion that the actor’s career would receive a monumental shot in the arm.
Fast forward to today, and Isaac has landed himself a number of eye-catching roles including Alex Garland’s promising sci-fi Ex Machina, Star Wars: The Force Awakens and, more recently, X-Men: Apocalypse. But before diving into the genre of science fiction, the actor is set to play Abel Morales in J.C. Chandor’s upcoming drama, A Most Violent Year, which recently debuted an all-new featurette that takes a closer look at the concept of the American Dream.
Joining Isaac for the film »
- Michael Briers
When Sony Pictures first tapped Aaron Sorkin to write a Steve Jobs biopic, many assumed the project would come together rather quickly. While the film has indeed attracted some very high level talent, getting it off the ground has proved more difficult. David Fincher flirted with the director’s chair before ultimately walking away, leading Danny Boyle to sign on to take the helm. Then Leonardo DiCaprio circled the starring role before dropping out, followed by Christian Bale who did the same thing. Michael Fassbender attached himself to star earlier this month, but somewhat surprisingly Sony put the picture in turnaround last week (possibly on account of losing Bale as the star). Universal subsequently swooped in and acquired the project (with an eye on Awards Season 2015, no doubt), and now another major piece of the puzzle has been solved: Natalie Portman is in talks to join the cast. More after the jump. »
- Adam Chitwood
Watch the trailer Here.
Directed and written by Academy Award nominee J.C. Chandor (All Is Lost, Margin Call), A Most Violent Year is a searing crime drama set in New York City during the winter of 1981, statistically the most dangerous year in the city’s history. Also starring David Oyelowo, Alessandro Nivola, and Albert Brooks, the gripping story plays out within a maze of rampant political and industry corruption plaguing the streets of a city in decay.
With a sound indicative of era, Ebert’s score uses piano, »
- Michelle McCue
It's that time of the year again. Which is to say that it isn't, yet, but it's close enough for us all to start speculating.
The 2015 Oscar nominations won't be announced until January, and thanks to the peculiarities of transatlantic release schedules, many of these contenders will barely have reached UK shores by then.
But we've now seen enough of the heavy-hitters to have a decent sense of how the next awards season is shaping up, and below we've rounded up our best guesses for the ten films that will dominate this year's Academy Awards.
Scroll all the way to the bottom to see our complete list of predictions for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress.
Bennett Miller's brooding true crime drama emerged as one of the year's earliest awards season frontrunners when it opened at Cannes, centring on »
It was previously reported Jessica Chastain might join Danny Boyle's untitled Steve Jobs biopic, but that was before Chistian Bale bailed and we haven't heard of her attachment since. Today, Deadline is reporting Natalie Portman is in talks to star, though just like the Chastain news, there is no word on which character she'll be playing. The report is, however, confirmation things seem to be moving full steam ahead now that the film has moved from Sony to Universal with Boyle directing from an Aaron Sorkin screenplay and Michael Fassbender attached to play Jobs. The news, though, does not contain any word concerning Seth Rogen who is thought to still be attached to play Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak. Interestingly enough, or perhaps not-so, Portman and Fassbender were originally to star opposite one another in Jane Got a Gun before Fassbender departed that troubled project. »
- Brad Brevet
A24 Films has issued a new A Most Violent Year featurette and poster in support of writer/director J.C. Chandor’s (All Is Lost) upcoming crime drama. The featurette is a nice look at not only the making of the piece, but the American economic situation that inspired it. The film is set in New York in 1981 and revolves around “an American immigrant (Oscar Isaac) and his wife (Jessica Chastain) trying to expand their business as violence and corruption threaten to destroy all they have built.” I'm excited to see this movie next week, I typically love Isaac and Chastain so even if it's not all that violent or action-packed, which I've heard, I should be just fine watching a solid drama featuring the pair. Check out the first A Most Violent Year featurette and poster after the jump. The film also stars Alessandro Nivola and Albert Brooks. A Most Violent Year »
- Evan Dickson
Exodus helmer Ridley Scott told Variety that he will likely not direct the Blade Runner sequel he developed with actor-scribe Hampton Fancher. "We talked at length about what it could be, and came up with a pretty strong three-act storyline, and it all makes sense in terms of how it relates to the first one," Scott said. He told the trade that he'd produce, but someone else will have to direct — the project purportedly begins filming within the next year. "Harrison (Ford) is very much part of this one, but really it's about finding him; he comes in in the third act," he added.Blade Runner news aside, the cover story revealed that Scott has begun shooting his adaptation of Andy Weir's sci-fi novel The Martian. The movie (same name) will feature Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig, and Jeff Daniels, among other high-octane names, and will follow a »
- Sean Fitz-Gerald
The Film Independent Spirit Awards are back with their list of the 2015 nominations. Leading the pack is the existential comedy Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) with a whopping six nominations, including one for actor Michael Keaton and one for director Alejandro G. Iñárritu. Closely following with a solid five nominations are Boyhood, Nightcrawler and Selma.
Boyhood (read our review here) is Richard Linklater’s ultimate character study, which filmed over the course of a decade, creates a time-lapse examination like no other before it. The film follows six year old Texas boy Mason, played by Ellar Coltrane, through his childhood years as he transitions into the life of a young adult ready to take on college. Boyhood received nominations for best film, director, editor, supporting actor and actress. It is bold experiment in film and should prove a serious awards contender.
- William Fanelli
On Monday, Nov. 17, the filmmaker and stars of “A Most Violent Year” spoke to a SAG audience following a screening of the film. Moderated by Variety’s Jenelle Riley, the conversation was filmed by SAG Foundation, the non-profit arm of SAG and marked the first time actors Jessica Chastain and Oscar Isaac spoke together at length about the film. They were joined by writer-director J.C. Chandor.
“A Most Violent Year” tells the story of Abel Morales (Isaac), an immigrant in 1981 struggling to grow his business while being investigated by the FBI and dealing with corrupt competitors. Chastain plays his tough-as-nails wife, who happens to have a mob connection.
Chastain not only stars in the film, she was instrumental in getting Chandor to cast Isaac, who she attended the Juilliard School with. “There was another actor attached for awhile,” said Chastain, “But the right actor came on board.” Added Chandor, “Jessica »
- Variety Staff
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