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Telluride — There is a moment near the end of "Wild" where Cheryl Strayed (Reese Witherspoon) runs into a young boy and his grandmother out on a weekend hike. Strayed has walked hundreds of miles on the Pacific Crest Trail in an attempt to deal with personal, emotional pain that has plagued her most of her young adult life. After learning of Strayed's heartbreaks the young boy (Evan O'Toole) sings her the song "Red River Valley." In the hands of a lesser director this scene could have been overly saccharine and misplaced. But director Jean-Marc Vallée makes it as artful and touching as it needs to be. Clearly, we should not have doubted him. Vallée was one of the main creative forces of "Dallas Buyers Club," but did not earn a Best Director Oscar nod. Instead, he made due with an editing nomination. This was disheartening in some respects because there »
- Gregory Ellwood
As we look in the rearview mirror of the summer blockbusters, September heralds the start of the fall movie season. Filled with Hollywood heavyweights and A-listers, here’s our Big list of the most anticipated movies coming to cinemas this autumn and during the holidays.
Our exhaustive list includes films that are playing at the upcoming Toronto Film Festival as well the ones that already have a theatrical release date. With the awards season on the horizon, we also added a few bonus films at the end to keep your eye out for in the months ahead.
Pull up a chair, grab a pen and paper and get ready for Wamg’s Guide to the 100+ Films This Fall And Holiday Season.
We kick it off with what’s showing in Toronto at the film festival that runs September 4 – 14.
- Movie Geeks
Variety has announced its annual list of 10 Actors to Watch, an honor the publication has been bestowing since 1998.
Past honorees include many future Oscar-winners and nominees such as Adrien Brody, Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Patricia Clarkson, Samantha Morton, Lupita Nyong’o, Viola Davis, Michael Shannon, Melissa Leo.
This year’s honorees will be featured in the Oct. 7 issue of Variety and for the third year, several of the honorees will participate in Variety Ten to Watch activities at the Hamptons Film Festival, which runs Oct. 9-13.
This year’s 10 Actors to Watch are:
Dakota Johnson, star of the upcoming »
- Jenelle Riley
With Mud, Shotgun Stories and Take Shelter under his belt, Jeff Nichols is quickly becoming one of the most promising and exciting filmmakers in Hollywood. His next effort, Midnight Special, isn’t set to arrive until November 25th, 2015, but already anticipation is high. Details on the sci-fi thriller have been scarce, but today we have the first plot synopsis, and you can check it out for yourself below.
Midnight Special is a supernatural sci-fi thriller from acclaimed writer/director Jeff Nichols (Mud, Take Shelter). It stars Oscar nominee Michael Shannon (Boardwalk Empire, Man of Steel) as Roy, a father desperate to protect his uniquely gifted, eight-year-old son Alton, played by newcomer Jaeden Lieberher.
Joined by Joel Edgerton (The Great Gatsby, Animal Kingdom) and Kirsten Dunst (Spider-Man, Melancholia), this group must race to get Alton to a secret location all while being hunted by an extreme religious sect led by Sam Shepard (Mud, »
- Matt Joseph
I have always wanted McConaughey as Stu and Bale as Flagg. Still not sure how that story leaked – just not true.
— Josh Boone (@JoshBooneMovies) August 23, 2014
Not that either couldn’t play the other role brilliantly – but my heart’s been there since I started writing.
— Josh Boone (@JoshBooneMovies) August 23, 2014
There you have it. McConaughey as Flagg may not be in the cards, but how do you feel about him playing protagonist Stu Redman? And how does Christian Bale sound as Flagg? Sound off below!
Original: Warner Bros. and The Fault in Our Stars helmer Josh Boone have apparently let slip their dream casting for the role of villain Randall Flagg in their upcoming adaptation of Stephen King’s post-apocalyptic classic The Stand. »
- Isaac Feldberg
Hello again, dear readers. There are only two weeks left in August, and the summer movie season has started winding down. With that in mind, it’s time to start looking ahead to what’s coming out in the fall and winter. And this week’s Trailer Trashin’ examines what looks like a very promising November release – Christopher Nolan’s upcoming sci-fi film Interstellar.
Premise: When a wormhole – which theoretically can connect widely-separated regions of space – is discovered, explorers and scientists unite to embark on a voyage through it, transcending the limits of human space travel. Among the travelers is Cooper (Matthew McConaughey), a widowed engineer who decides to leave behind his two children to join the voyage with the goal of saving humanity.
- Timothy Monforton
As the first original series from SundanceTV, Rectify was something of a gamble on the part of the network. Premiering on April 22 2013 with six episodes, however, the drama quickly established itself as a critical success, winning loyal fans and avid followers. Season two followed on June 19 2014, and is about to wrap after 10 episodes. Fans need not worry, though, as the show has now been renewed for a third season.
The premise of the series is simple, but with endless possibility for exploration. The story focuses on Daniel Holden who, as a teenager, was convicted and imprisoned for the rape and murder of his 16 year old girlfriend, Hanna. 19 years later, new DNA evidence proves his innocence and he is freed. His attempts to adjust, and the attempts of those around him to do the same, form a character study within a Southern Gothic tale.
- Sarah Myles
Eight and a half years ago, Reese Witherspoon won an Oscar. It came for her leading performance as June Carter in James Mangold's Johnny Cash biopic "Walk the Line." But things fell off after that for a little while. Gavin Hood's "Tsotsi" follow-up, "Rendition," went nowhere with audiences or critics. James L. Brooks' "How Do You Know" stalled. Francis Lawrence's "Water for Elephants" didn't really move the needle. Holiday rom-com "Four Christmases" and spy caper "This Means War" completely bottomed out. And then early last year, that unfortunate Atlanta arrest incident. But all the while, the actress, who has virtually grown up in the film industry, has been priming the pump with a few projects that will make it to screens this year. At the end of the season, she could well end up with as many as three Oscar nominations. The stage has truly been set for a career turnaround. »
- Kristopher Tapley
Ridley Scott is gunning for an Oscar – and if this fall’s buzzy Exodus: Gods and Kings doesn’t get him to that Dolby theatre stage (as it probably won’t, given the slew of competitors including Inherent Vice, Unbroken, Gone Girl and Interstellar), he’s already lined up his next attempt. The Gladiator director’s next film, sci-fi drama The Martian, has been shifted from its March 2016 date and set for a prime awards-season release date of November 25th, 2015.
That’s a big show of confidence in the project from 20th Century Fox. And perhaps the studio has good reason to be excited, seeing as Warner Bros.’ space-set drama Gravity shaped up into a major awards-season juggernaut last year. Based on the eBook by Andy Weir, The Martian follows an astronaut who becomes stranded on the Red Planet. With depleting oxygen and slimming options, he must reach his crew »
- Isaac Feldberg
"The McConaissance" continues as Gus Van Sant’s new project Sea of Trees starts shooting today. As you may have guessed, the film stars Matthew McConaughey as well as Ken Watanabe and Naomi Watts. Penned by Chris Sparling, the story follows a man who enters the “Suicidal Forest” at Mount Fuji with the intention of taking his own life. When he is interrupted by a Japanese man who is having second thoughts about his own suicide, the two “begin a journey of reflection and survival.” This sounds exactly like the kind of film I feel Van Sant should be doing and it makes me glad that 50 Shades of Grey dalliance ended for him when it did. Hit the jump for the full press release on Sea of Trees starting up. The film will shoot on location in Massachusetts and Japan with no release date set as-of-yet. Here’s the press release: Bloom, »
- Evan Dickson
Bloom, Waypoint Entertainment and Netter Productions announced that two-time Oscar nominated director Gus Van Sant (Good Will Hunting, Milk) began principal photography on Sea of Trees. The film stars Oscar winner Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club, Interstellar, Mud, The Wolf of Wall Street), Oscar nominee Ken Watanabe (Inception, Memoirs of a Geisha, The Last Samurai) and two-time Oscar nominee Naomi Watts (The Impossible, 21 Grams, King Kong, Mulholland Dr.). Two-time Academy Award nominated producer Gil Netter (Life of Pi, The Blind Side), Ken Kao (Rampart, Knight f Cups, Silence) and Kevin Halloran (Million Dollar Arm, Parental Guidance, Water for Elephants) are producing, based on the Black List script by Chris Sparling (Buried). F. Gary Gray, Brian Dobbins and Allen Fischer are also producers. The film will shoot on location in Massachusetts and in Japan.
The Killing was an American remake from AMC based on the nordic noir show popularised over here by showings on BBC 4. The Us version moved things to Seattle where it rained constantly and revolved around the murder of Rosie Larson. Unfairly compared to Twin Peaks when it debuted, it was nonetheless something of a hit on Channel 4 for at least two seasons. I lost track of it around the mid-point of season two, not because I didn’t like it, I enjoyed it lots despite its grimness but it became impossible to keep up with the weekly scheduled showings and 4Od was, and still is not very good. From what I hear season two wrapped up the murder of Larson and season three moved on to a new mystery which was just as gripping.
The reason I mention this anyway is that like Arrested Development, Netflix has picked up »
- Chris Holt
★★★★☆From the same director who brought us such eclectic offerings as George Washington (2000) and stoner comedy Pineapple Express (2008), David Gordon Green's rural noir Joe (2013) - based on Larry Brown's grit-lit novel - stars Nicolas Cage as Joe Ransom, a man who, in the words of Johnny Cash, "Won't back down". Joe leads a work crew clearing trees so the land can be cultivated, and spends his evenings slumped on his sofa, at local dice games or at the whorehouse. Along the way he befriends Gary (Tye Sheridan, previously seen in The Tree of Life and Jeff Nichols' Mud), a homeless stray who washes up at a derelict house with his sister, mother and abusive father, Wade (Gary Poulter).
- CineVue UK
Every now and then, between schlocky action thrillers, Nicolas Cage applies the brakes and says enough with the deadpan wisecracks, the schizoid twitching and the mad shark-toothed grin; it's time to do something interesting. Playing a guy called Joe mightn't sound like edge-of-your-seat stuff - indeed, the name implies distinct averageness - but it's the way Cage contains all that fiery energy that makes him a riveting presence in this slow-burning drama.
Throughout, there's a powerful feeling that something hot and sticky is about to hit the fan in the small Southern town where Joe works hard and plays hard - deforesting the landscape by day, drinking and getting his rocks off at the local whorehouse by night. Eco-minded New Age types may find it »
It centres around an ageing comic known only as The Comedian (Turkington), who travels across the South-Western Us to reunite with his estranged daughter while he also attempts to revive his flagging career.
He finds himself lost and disillusioned among the desert populace.
Turkington, Alverson and writer-comedian Tim Heidecker (Tim and Eric) wrote the screenplay.
Entertainment will be released in 2015. »
Reese Witherspoon’s looking to find herself—and maybe a little awards recognition along the way.
The just-released trailer for Wild finds Witherspoon playing real-life author Cheryl Strayed, who decided to take a 1,000-mile-plus hike along the Pacific Crest Trail alone to atone for years of addictive and destructive behavior. The film is based on the book Strayed wrote about the experience.
Given the upcoming slate of films starring the Oscar-winner (including Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice), it looks like Witherspoon is prepping for a possible Matthew McConaughey-like career resurgence. And it’s worth noting that Witherspoon starred in Mud, »
- Jackson McHenry
There’s a time-honored tradition of the Academy honoring A-list actors who put themselves through the mill with harrowing, stripped-down performances. Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto took home trophies last year for playing individuals afflicted with AIDS in Dallas Buyers Club, James Franco cut off his arm and got a nod for 127 Hours, and Naomi Watts took on a tsunami and came out with a nomination for The Impossible, to give some recent examples. I could go on, but I won’t. Suffice to say, Reese Witherspoon is undoubtedly gunning for some attention this year with Wild, in which she plays a woman who embarks on a 1,100-mile journey of self-discovery across America.
It’s perhaps a little cynical to dismiss this venture, based on the memoir by Cheryl Strayed, as purely an awards hopeful, but the trailer certainly paints it in that light. However, whether Fox Searchlight and Witherspoon »
- Isaac Feldberg
Reese Witherspoon has not had much of a career since her Best Actress win for Walk The Line. In fact, you could say she pretty much disappeared, turning in a handful of forgettable performances in comedies and thrillers. Like Matthew McConaughey, Witherspoon has been trying something of a comeback over the last year having appeared in Mud (opposite McConaughey) and with Colin Firth in Devil's Knot. Neither seemed to boost her back into the limelight, so how about an adaptation of a major »
- Alex Maidy
It's been nearly a decade since Reese Witherspoon picked up a Best Actress Oscar for "Walk the Line," but her recent renaissance (kicked off by her supporting turn in "Mud") could culminate in more Oscar attention. "Wild," from "Dallas Buyers Club" director Jean-Marc Vallée, is no doubt hoping to be a strong contender in the category. Based on Cheryl Strayed's memoir "Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail," the film depicts Strayed's (Witherspoon) staggering, life-changing 1,100-mile hike on the Pacific Crest Trail, during which she recalls her troubled early life. "Wild's" new poster highlights the Strayed's isolation amid some vivid natural beauty. Check it out here: "Wild" also stars Gaby Hoffmann, Michiel Huisman, Charles Baker, Kevin Rankin and Laura Dern. Novelist Nick Hornby ("High Fidelity," "About a Boy") wrote the script. Vallée, of course, directed both "Dallas" stars Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto to Oscar glory last year. »
- Dave Lewis
It’s no surprise that “Little Accidents,” which played at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival tonight for press, was a Sundance premiere: as a directorial debut from a promising new U.S.-based director, with a roster of reliable indie actors plus the added gloss of the higher-profile Banks in the mix, set against the backdrop of a hardscrabble mining town, led by a child protagonist and promising a minutely observed morality play, it ticks a whole warehouse full of “Sundance movie” boxes. That doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing, but in the case of Sara Colangelo’s first film, it is certainly a very familiar one. Well-intentioned, competently shot and put together, solidly acted, especially by tomorrow’s superstar Jacob Lofland (who we’d call a revelation if he hadn’t already impressed us so much as Neckbone in Jeff Nichols’ “Mud”), and unafraid to »
- Jessica Kiang
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