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10 Films We Haven’t Yet Seen That May Be Serious Oscar Contenders

40 minutes ago

Earlier this week our own Oli Lyttelton argued persuasively for the value of the awards season, despite the fashion for rolling one’s eyes and sighing about it. And really, however much resigned tutting we might want to do, the fact is that over the next few months, we will be discussing a parade of quality films, many from our favorite directors, which makes a nice change from discussing the bottom-line box-office takes of the most recent flat-pack blockbuster to feature shots of people walking away from exploding things. Of course, half the time that discussion is marked by negativity -- as in, why isn’t X brilliant film (oh, let’s say “Two Days, One Night”) figuring in the race when it’s so clearly superior to Y obvious awards bait? -- but even if it’s to point out injustices, we’re getting to jaw about some great films. »

- Jessica Kiang

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Watch: 2 New Clips From ‘Dracula Untold’ Starring Luke Evans & Sarah Gadon

1 hour ago

With super hero films on the rise, every studio is scrambling to see what genre-ready brands they can leverage in a similar way. Universal Pictures doesn't have the rights to DC or Marvel comic properties (it appears that Namor is not quite theirs either), so what does the studio own? The classic monster movies of the '30s and '40s, including Dracula, the Wolfman, The Mummy, were all released under Universal's imprimatur. So of course there’s a plan to to connect them all together in one cinematic universe a la Marvel (because no one in that town has any original ideas anymore and even Dan Aykroyd wants to do the same thing with “Ghostbusters”). Alex Kurtzman ("Star Trek," the “Amazing Spider-Man” series) and Chris Morgan ("Fast Five") have already been tapped to write, produce and get the Universal Monsters cinematic universe up and running. But where does that leave “Dracula Untold, »

- Edward Davis

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Rian Johnson Says The Creative Freedom On Star Wars Is Exciting; J.J. Abrams Continues The Viral Games With Zack Snyder

1 hour ago

One of the more heated debates around The Playlist water cooler often centers around how "assembly line," so to speak, the upcoming “Star Wars” films will be. Perhaps we are jaundiced with respect to the prequels from 1999-2005, or we are cynical regarding Disney’s involvement —the studio reportedly pushed for "Star Wars: Episode VII" to be released in 2015 rather than giving the filmmakers an extra year— but in any case, the more skeptical members of the team assume 'Star Wars' may be compromised from the get-go. The thinking among these quarters is that the movies will have to include things like Jedis, Empires and the original characters of Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, etc. and will thus play it safe to appeal the broadest audience possible. And even being far more optimistic about the reborn franchise then many of my colleagues, I have to admit that »

- Edward Davis

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Watch: New Disturbing, Bloody And Nsfw Trailer For 'V/H/S: Viral'

2 hours ago

Timecrimes” director Nacho Vigalondo, “The Apparition” filmmaker Todd Lincoln, “The Birds Of Anger” helmer Gregg Bishop, “Resolution” duo Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead and the rising horror moviemaker Marcel Sarmiento have something for your Halloween lootbag this year: a brand new entry in the "V/H/S" franchise. And it's neither for those with weak stomachs nor for the faint of heart. A fresh red band trailer has arrived for "V/H/S: Viral," and it promises no shortage of weird, disturbing, bloody and flat out bizarre stuff for horror heads. In an era of endless horror sequels, reboots and remakes, it's kinda nice to see some directors playing with the anthology format in order to tell new stories. And while that structure usually lends itself to uneven results, we suspect genre fans will find something to love within. "V/H/S: Viral" drops on VOD on October 23rd and in theatres on November 21st. »

- Kevin Jagernauth

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Watch: Oscar Isaac And Jessica Chastain Are At War In First Trailer For 'A Most Violent Year'

2 hours ago

Oscar campaigns are laid out months in advances, and as we discussed on our recent podcast, some awards season psychics like to set up the narrative far in advance, even if a lot can change. Those prognosticators better get ready, because the first trailer for J.C. Chandor's "A Most Violent Year" is here, and it looks like strong stuff. The latest from the director behind "Margin Call" and "All Is Lost" is led by Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain, telling the story of an immigrant and his family trying to expand their business amidst the rampant violence, decay, and corruption during one of the most violent years in New York City's history. The film looks to be a pretty fascinating look at the cost of ambition, and the cinematography by Bradford Young ("Ain't Them Bodies Saints") looks pretty damn impressive. "A Most Violent Year" arrives in limited release on »

- Kevin Jagernauth

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Watch: First Trailer And Clip For ‘Low Down' Starring Elle Fanning, John Hawkes, Glenn Close & Lena Headey

2 hours ago

There are some Sundance movies which sustain buzz throughout the year ("Whiplash"), and then there are others that have to work a bit harder to get back on the radar, especially if those film's chances were compromised some initially halfhearted reviews. After premiering in Park City in January, not much was heard about the grimy indie "Low Down," (negative reviews didn’t help). But the film, starring Elle Fanning, John Hawkes and Glenn Close, might have a new lease on life. About the life of jazz pianist Joe Albany (Hawkes) and told from the perspective of his young daughter (Fanning) as she watches him contend with his drug addiction in the 1960s and '70s jazz scene,  “Low Down” was extensively recut and reshaped after Sundance (and some pretty sharp reviews),. In fact, first time feature length director Jeff Priess told THR earlier this year that the movie’s editing »

- Edward Davis

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Watch: 7-Minute Documentary 'A$$, ( . )( . ), And Guns: Censorship In Cinema'

2 hours ago

It's an unofficial rule in Hollywood —the Motion Picture Association of America doesn't like sex. Each year, one movie or another comes along featuring mature and perhaps graphic nudity and sex, and it's promptly stamped with an R-rating. Or worse, such films go out "unrated," meaning most major theater chains won't screen them. Meanwhile, your weekly kill-'em-all-explode-everything tentpole will a PG-13 pass. It's been a longstanding battle between filmmakers and those who control how movies get rated, but how did we get here? This entertaining, seven-minute primer, the cheekily titled "A$$, ( . )( . ), And Guns: Censorship In Cinema" is a good place to start. It tells the history of film censorship, and how it went from local organizations enforcing what could and couldn't be screened to the national purview of the MPAA. And it touches on the constant battle between sex and violence on the big screen as well. It's well worth a click, »

- Kevin Jagernauth

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'Serena' Distributor Says "Susanne Bier Did A Good Job Directorially On The Film"

3 hours ago

When news arrived yesterday that Susanne Bier's long awaited "Serena" had finally landed a stateside release date, it came with the claim from one anonymous buyer that "the film was so edited, it made no sense." So, of course, Magnolia Pictures and director Susanne Bier had to respond to that claim. And the first issue to get out of the way is why the film, shot all the way back in 2012, took so long to get completed. "Once it finished shooting we've all been busy," Bier told Thompson On Hollywood at Tiff, where the movie had apparently been invited (but none of the cast were available to come). "I've been doing another film ['A Second Chance']. [Bradley] Cooper and Lawrence were super-busy, just doing the [post-production sound recording] has been tricky. She had only one day off in two years!" But that's not the only reason. Magnolia confirms the movie went through a few different edits, »

- Kevin Jagernauth

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Tobey Maguire: "Movies Now Have More To Do With An Aesthetic, Than They Do With A Performance"

4 hours ago

There has already been a lot written about the studio shift to blockbuster movies, which has made the playing field for smaller films — at least among the majors — a more rarified ground. And that of course has a direct affect on the kinds of films that audiences get to choose from, but it also means that as an actor, there are fewer parts with depth and complexity going around. And it's a situation not going unnoticed, certainly not by Tobey Maguire, who chatted with Vulture at Tiff — where his chess drama "Pawn Sacrifice" (review here) premiered — about the prospects facing actors these days. "Movies now have more to do with an aesthetic, than they do with a performance," Maguire said. "Growing up, it was always my ambition to work with great actors and great directors, and it was Leo[nardo DiCaprio]'s ambition, too, so that's what we were focused on and aiming for. »

- Kevin Jagernauth

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Go Further With A New Poster For Christopher Nolan's 'Interstellar'

4 hours ago

There's a limit to how much Matthew McConaughey can be featured on posters for a single movie, it seems. This week appears to be "Interstellar" one-sheet week, with two arriving so far featuring the actor walking on a planet and looking up at the stars, and now comes another, which boldly puts no one from the starry cast on it at all. Sorry, Topher Grace! Instead, this one brings us the athletic-shoe-style slogan "Go Further," with a space thingy moving at tremendous speed towards the edge of the galaxy. Why? Because we all ruined the Earth, and now, the last resort is to go to outer space to find another planet that humanity can destroy live on. Or something like that. Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Ellen Burstyn, John Lithgow, Michael Caine, Casey Affleck, Wes Bentley, Bill Irwin, Mackenzie Foy, and David Gyasi are joining McConaughey on his voyage. "Insterstellar" opens on November 7th. »

- Kevin Jagernauth

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Exclusive: First Listen, Artwork And Tracklist For Soundtrack To Alejandro González Iñárritu's 'Birdman'

4 hours ago

In our review out of the Venice Film Festival for Alejandro González Iñárritu's "Birdman," we noted the "dazzling" camerawork by Emmanuel Lubezki that renders much of the movie in one continuous shot (with the help of some careful editing). And while that, along with Michael Keaton's comeback performance, will likely be a big part of the conversation around the movie this fall, the film's music will be worth paying close attention to as well. We said the movie was "brilliantly scored" by Antonio Sanchez, and today we have an early, exclusive listen to his work in the film. Both the "Strut (Part II)" and "Doors And Distance" reveal Sanchez's jazzy compositions for the film, which are immediate and invigorating. And given airy, spacious productions, the tunes are infused with some terrific life, bouncing and moving in a manner that sticks with Iñárritu's visually and »

- Kevin Jagernauth

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Kate Mara Orbits Ridley Scott's 'The Martian' & 'Inherent Vice' Star Katherine Waterston Joins 'Queen of Earth'

5 hours ago

Ridley Scott makes new movies faster than you change underpants. And these aren't little indies knocked out on weekends. With his big biblical epic "Exodus: Gods And Kings" headed to theaters by the end of the year, he'll spend the fall switching gears entirely, making the sci-fi "The Martian." Matt Damon will star, and probably Jessica Chastain and Kristen Wiig (though the trades can't decide if they are in the movie, out of the movie or still tentative). And now another actress is perusing a contract. "House Of Cards" and "The Fantastic Four" star Kate Mara has been offered a role in the movie, and....that's the only news there is. No details on the part. The project is sounds promising, centering on a stranded astronaut on Mars, who must figure out a way to get back home to Earth. It has a script by Drew Goddard, based on the book by Andy Weir, »

- Kevin Jagernauth

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Review: 'A Walk Among The Tombstones' Starring Liam Neeson And Dan Stevens

5 hours ago

Before sitting down to watch the new Liam Neeson movie, audiences have been prepped to see the weary-faced action star kicking ass with class, thanks to entertaining flicks like “Taken,” “Non-Stop,” and “The Grey.” But, for every “Taken” there’s a “Taken 2,” and if one year the grizzly Irishman can come out with something as forceful as “The Grey,” the following year “Battleship” can sink people’s opinions once more. It’s just not simple to put a finger on the prospects of a new Neeson film, particularly one directed by screenwriter-turned-director Scott Frank. The only previous feature Frank has directed was the overlooked and underrated “The Lookout,” and he's also got “Get Shorty” and “Out Of Sight” under his writing belt, as well as the less memorable “Flight Of The Phoenix.” With this combined pedigree from the actor and writer-director, the two dominant forces behind “A Walk Among The Tombstones, »

- Nikola Grozdanovic

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Title Revealed For Harmony Korine's Southern Crime Family Movie

6 hours ago

Harmony Korine hasn't yet moved forward on his next feature following "Spring Breakers" (though he did make a Dior ad), however one of the projects he has brewing now has an official title. Way back in the spring of 2013, it was reported that the filmmaker was working on a few projects, including a southern crime family movie produced by John Lesher, who also has his name on Alejandro González Iñárritu's "Birdman." Not much has really been heard about the movie since, but it looks like it at least now it has a title, according to the press notes of "Birdman" anyway. Read on:  So yes, it's called "The Trap" but the movie will actually shoot next year, according to Korine. "Well actually, it’s all done! The script is written," he told Bullett Media (via The Film Stage) earlier this month. "I’m putting the cast together right now, »

- Kevin Jagernauth

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Liam Neeson Eyes 'Tell No One' Remake & Channing Tatum Is 'Struck By Genius'

6 hours ago

Moving along in fits and starts for years now, the remake/re-adaptation of "Tell No One" — based on the book by Harlan Coben, and turned into an excellent 2006 thriller by Guillaume Canet — has had some big names check it out. Ben Affleck was attached to direct for a while, and last year "Warrior" and "Pride & Glory" director Gavin O'Connor was linked for the job. But now, the project is being looked at by someone who knows what it's like to have someone taken from them. (Sorry, had to). Liam Neeson is being wined and dined to take the lead role in the movie, which has Chris Terrio ("Argo," "Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice") penning the script. The simple yet effective plotline follows a doctor who, after his wife vanishes, is at first suspected of having murdered her, but then begins to receive clues that she may in fact still be alive. »

- Kevin Jagernauth

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Review: 'The Maze Runner' Starring Dylan O'Brien, Kaya Scodelario, Patricia Clarkson, Will Poulter And More

7 hours ago

In Greek mythology the labyrinth was a byzantine structure utilized to house the deadly minotaur, built at the behest of a powerful king and deadly in its complexity and size. In perhaps the most memorable modern approximation, "The Shining," a hedge maze is employed for the film's snowy climax, in order to trap another deadly monster – an alcoholic author played by Jack Nicholson. This week's leaden "The Maze Runner," adapted from a best-selling young adult novel by James Dashner, also features a monster-filled maze but narrative ambition and any kind of metaphoric underpinnings have been stripped away. Instead, the maze is, like the rest of the movie, giant, dreary, and inert. Like most halfway decent Ya adaptations, "The Maze Runner" starts off intriguingly enough: Thomas (Dylan O'Brien) wakes up in a mysterious community known as The Glade. His memory has been wiped (the only thing he remembers is his name »

- Drew Taylor

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Watch: Everyone's Disconnected In The New Trailer For Jason Reitman's 'Men, Women & Children'

18 hours ago

Jason Reitman's got a new drama and it's called "Men, Women & Children." It's got a terrific ensemble cast in Emma Thompson, Adam Sandler, Jennifer Garner, Judy Greer, Kaitlyn Dever (“Short Term 12,”) Rosemarie DeWitt, Ansel Elgort (“The Fault In Our Stars”) Dean Norris (“Breaking Bad”), J.K. Simmons, Dennis Haysbert and Elena Kampouris (“Labor Day”). But reviews out of Toronto, where the film premiered, were decidedly mixed. One crowd found it to be a thoughtful and powerful look at the way the digital age brings us together while also dividing us. Another crowd described it as akin to "Crash" for the Internet (we mean the Paul Haggis version, not the Cronenberg version, which could be pretty awesome). Our reviewer in Toronto was decidedly in the latter camp. "Jason Reitman's film becomes the very thing it initially mocks, a 'Dateline'-esque ensemble piece about the dark consequences of logging on, that »

- Edward Davis

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Review: Bland, Forgettable, 'This Is Where I Leave You' Starring Jason Bateman, Adam Driver, Tina Fey, Rose Byrne & More

20 hours ago

This is a reprint of our review from the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival. The proverb/cliché “you can never go home again” is arguably rooted in dysfunction. Hollywood will always contrive to make characters return home and face family melodrama whether they are willing or not, whether it be a reunion, a marriage, or of course, the one obligation almost impossible to escape: a funeral. So Shawn Levy’s “This Is Where I Leave You” exploits a death to bring a large and sprawling family back home, but with a somewhat new twist: utilizing the Jewish ritual of sitting Shiva —gathering to mourn for seven days while receiving visitors in the house of the deceased person— to keep a family claustrophobically under house arrest for an entire week. Of course, the family in Levy’s film are non-practicing Jews and appear more like uptight Wasps than anything, and the father was even an Atheist, »

- Rodrigo Perez

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Review: 'Tracks' A Gorgeous Film Led By A Terrific Performance From Mia Wasikowska

21 hours ago

Tracks” has been a long time coming. Ever since Robyn Davidson wrote her 1979 memoir of her 1700-mile, eight-month trek across the Australian outback from Alice Springs to the Indian Ocean, and the book became an award-winning best-seller around the world, Hollywood has been sniffing around it. Multiple attempts to mount an adaptation have been made — Julia Roberts was attached to a version for much of the 1990s — but it finally took the producers of “The King’s Speech” and the oft-undervalued New York-born, Australian-based director John Curran (“We Don’t Live Here Anymore,” “The Painted Veil”) to get it made. And for many, it’ll have been worth the wait: it’s a very handsome film with a terrific central performance, even if it’s not quite an unqualified triumph. Mia Wasikowska takes the lead role of Davidson who, haunted by tragedy and far from comfortable around civilization, heads to »

- Oliver Lyttelton

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Exclusive: Matthew McConaughey Won’t Be Back For ‘Magic Mike Xxl,’ Director Says Sequel Will Be “Very Different”

22 hours ago

Let’s get right down to it, while Channing Tatum has said the entire cast would be back, Dallas, aka Matthew McConaughey, won’t return for the “Magic Mike” sequel. We spoke to “Magic Mike Xxl” director Greg Jacobs this week about his new Amazon pilot, “Red Oaks,” and the filmmaker, known for producing many of Steven Soderbergh’s films, including his current series “The Knick,” confirmed to us that McConaughey will not be back. And while cameras have rolled on the “Magic Mike” sequel—you’ll recall Soderbergh posting slates on Twitter over Labor Day weekend—Jacobs told us that was just second unit footage and the real shoot doesn't begin until the end of the month. Much of the cast—Tatum, Matt Bomer, Joe Manganiello—will reprise their roles, but it’s unknown beyond that who else is returning, and Jacobs said he couldn’t say much more. »

- Edward Davis

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