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Update: The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed TheWrap’s scoop and added that Phoenix is now in active negotiations for the lead role, not simply considering an offer by Marvel. Chances seem good that he’ll take the role.
Original: When Marvel goes to Comic-Con for its panel tomorrow, there will undoubtedly be some absolutely jaw-dropping reveals – and we’re expecting that the actor who’ll be playing Stephen Strange in Marvel’s Doctor Strange may be announced there. However, we may have uncovered the lucky actor one day early.
According to TheWrap, The Master star Joaquin Phoenix, who recently appeared in James Gray’s acclaimed The Immigrant, is being eyed for the lead role in Doctor Strange, which Sinister helmer Scott Derrickson is directing for the studio from a script by Jon Spaihts, as part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s upcoming Phase Three.
“Multiple sources” close to the project »
- Isaac Feldberg
While Benedict Cumberbatch and Tom Hardy have been previously rumored to play Doctor Strange, a new report believes that Joaquin Phoenix will be announce as Marvel's next leading man this Saturday during their Comic-Con 2014 panel.
Marvel is said to still be finalizing their planes for Saturday, which means talks must be on-going at this very second. Doctor Strange director Scott Derrickson is expected to make an appearance on Saturday, though Marvel and Disney have no comment. Deadline, though, has confirmed the actor is in talks.
It is believed that no deal is in place yet, but Joaquin Phoenix has had discussions about the project. It's speculated that Joaquin Phoenix wouldn't want to sign a long term contract with Marvel, which the studio requires of its actors. But this may be a special case with the actor signing on a per movie basis.
Joaquin Phoenix was previously rumored for the Lex »
James Gray seems like an anachronism. Between visually noisy blockbusters and indies that display a greater interest in bending narrative conventions rather than mastering them, his adherence to a more classical form of storytelling feels out-of-touch with contemporary filmmaking practice. His evident influences and forerunners include Robert Bresson, Roberto Rossellini and Francis Ford Coppola, and his cinematic relationship to New York City feels indebted to Sidney Lumet yet remains unmistakably his own. Gray doesn’t use other filmmakers’ work as a Tarantino-esque palette for diversion, despite his shared affinity for crime drama, that signature ’90s indie genre staple (Gray’s first feature was a 1994 gangster film starring Tim Roth – that’d be Little Odessa, not Pulp Fiction). Gray’s narratives are classical and familiar, but they’re never derivative or postmodern. The filmmaker instead uses cinema’s history as a tool to master storytelling, character development, mood and setting as a form of practice, and »
- Landon Palmer
Are you getting restless about all these halfway posts? We're almost done. The Power of List compels me. There's one more halfway post to go that's basically 'The Oscar Charts are Updated!' as the coding problem I mentioned is fixed and the updates are happening behind the scenes as you read this. We must get all this halfway business behind us by Saturday morning so that we can ape out all weekend with Andy Serkis & Co and start this second half of the year off right.
The Greatest Performances Of 2014's First Half
Best Leading Actress: Keira Knightley does her most relaxed and fluid work ever in Begin Again as a musician at a crossroads, never letting any one aspect of the character's situation pigeonhole her emotional responses; Agata Kulesza is an abrasive and evasive presence in her first scenes in Ida as a cynical woman who is »
- NATHANIEL R
Hong Kong – Locally-made crime thriller “Felony,” which stars Joel Egerton, Tom Wilkinson and Jai Courtney, has been set as the closing night movie of the Melbourne International Film Festival (July 31-Aug 17, 2014.)
The film (pictured), follows three detectives who are variously involved in committing a crime and covering it up, had its premiere in Toronto last year.
It is directed by Melbourne-based Matthew Saville, and is set for its Australian commercial release on Aug 28.
The festival also sets other Australian films in prominent positions. Tony Ayres’ crime thriller “Cut Snake” will play as the centrepiece gala midway through the festival, while the Spierig brothers “Predestination” has previously been announced as the opening film.
In total the festival will play some 341 films across 17 different sections.
Other highlights include the world premieres of “Electric Boogaloo: The Wild Untold Story of Cannon Films” and the Emmanuelle Beart-starring “Mistress.”
- Patrick Frater
Before the holiday weekend we wondered what AMPAS voters might latch on to had they had to vote right then on the Oscars. It was a hypothetical exercize since we all know the studios backload the year and 85% of the intended contenders for "best" honors are as of yet unavailable. On to something not at all hypothetical.
Consider this my tracking sheet for the film bitch awards at year's end. It also doubles as an Fyc directed at Academy members. Awards are too often regarded as trivial pursuits but they aren't at all. Award winners and nominees go into the history books or web archives as it were and, later, baby cinephiles seek them out for cinematic education. I speak from experience and I've heard so many similar growing up cinephile stories over the years that I know this to be true. So think carefully over even movies you didn't »
- NATHANIEL R
Every now and then, a film falls through the cracks. Independent dramas in particular are susceptible to a weird phenomenon we'll call the Distribution Bermuda Triangle – they're made, they play at a film festival or two, they rack up some early buzz and movie fans get excited.
And then... nothing. A gaping void where the release date ought to be.
The UK has been especially bad for this of late, with a slew of 2013's most buzzed-about dramas still without distribution. Below, Digital Spy rounds up the five we're most desperate to finally see on this side of the pond
In the wake of Shailene Woodley's recent box office double whammy (Divergent and The Fault in Our Stars, if you've been snoozing), our hopes were high that this sophisticated teen drama would finally see the light of day in the UK. But as yet, there's been no word. »
15. Stranger by the Lake
Directed by Alain Guiraudie
Written by Alain Guiraudie
Though Stranger by the Lake premiered at last year’s Cannes Film Festival (and appeared on Sound On Sight’s best of 2013 list), it finally reached North American audiences in January of this year. Alain Guiraudie’s stunning noir-tinged thriller is set entirely against the backdrop of a secluded lake–known to locals as a popular gay cruising spot. A tale of murder complicated by intense sexual obsession (garnering equal parts praise and criticism for its frank depiction of unsimulated gay sex) it accomplishes the rare feat of subtly guiding the way we pay attention to details as we watch. The film’s deceptively simple geography is mapped out as much aurally (and orally) as visually. By the time of the pulse-pounding climax, Guiraudie has masterfully taken hold of all of our senses in an ever-tightening claustrophobic grip. »
We've officially reached the half-way mark of 2014. This time a year ago the only Oscar players on the table were Sundance debut "Before Midnight" and Cannes debuts "Nebraska" and "Inside Llewyn Davis," give or take a "Croods," "Great Gatsby," "Lone Ranger" or an "Iron Man 3" that would pick up support outside of the major categories. So what does the year have to show for itself so far this time around? Sundance feels like it might have an off year this season, though screenplay hopes and more abound for films like "Boyhood" and "Dear White People." "Whiplash" could find a stride depending on how Sony Pictures Classics' slate shakes out for them, but as ever, the year's first big splash for new films will make more of an impression in the documentary feature category than anywhere else. Not long after things wrapped up in Park City, Warner Bros. released »
- Kristopher Tapley
The Academy has announced the new class of invited members for 2014 and, as is typical, many of which are among last year's nominees, which includes Barkhad Abdi, Michael Fassbender, Sally Hawkins, Mads Mikkelsen, Lupita Nyong'o and June Squibb in the Actors branch not to mention curious additions such as Josh Hutcherson, Rob Riggle and Jason Statham, but, okay. The Directors branch adds Jay and Mark Duplass along with Jean-Marc Vallee, Denis Villeneuve and Thomas Vinterberg. I didn't do an immediate tally of male to female additions or other demographics, but at first glance it seems to be a wide spread batch of new additions on all fronts. The Academy is also clearly attempting to aggressively bump up the demographics as this is the second year in a row where they have added a large number of new members, well over the average of 133 new members from 2004 to 2012. As far as »
- Brad Brevet
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is extending invitations to join the organization to 271 artists and executives who have distinguished themselves by their contributions to theatrical motion pictures.
Those who accept the invitations will be the only additions to the Academy’s membership in 2014.
“This year’s class of invitees represents some of the most talented, creative and passionate filmmakers working in our industry today,” said Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs. “Their contributions to film have entertained audiences around the world, and we are proud to welcome them to the Academy.”
The 2014 invitees are:
- Michelle McCue
Michael Fassbender and Lupita Nyong’o of 12 Years a Slave were two of the 271 artists and industry leaders invited to become members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which determines nominations and winners at the annual Oscars. The entire list of Academy membership—which numbers about 6,000—isn’t public information so the annual invitation list is often the best indication of the artists involved in the prestigious awards process. It’s worth noting that invitations need to be accepted in order for artists to become members; some artists, like two-time Best Actor winner Sean Penn, have declined membership over the years. »
- Jeff Labrecque
Pop quiz: What do Chris Rock, Claire Denis, Eddie Vedder and Josh Hutcherson all have in common? Answer: They could all be Oscar voters very soon. The annual Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences invitation list always makes for interesting reading, shedding light on just how large and far-reaching the group's membership is -- or could be, depending on who accepts their invitations. This year, 271 individuals have been asked to join AMPAS, meaning every one of them could contribute to next year's Academy Awards balloting -- and it's as diverse a list as they've ever assembled. Think the Academy consists entirely of fusty retired white dudes? Not if recent Best Original Song nominee Pharrell Williams takes them up on their offer. Think it's all just a Hollywood insiders' game? Not if French arthouse titans Chantal Akerman and Olivier Assayas join the party. It's a list that subverts expectation at every turn. »
- Guy Lodge
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences has invited 271 individuals to become members, with the list reflecting the org’s determination to bring more diversity to its ranks.
Every year, the list of invitations includes several recent Oscar nominees. That’s true this year as well, with letters going out Wednesday to a cross-section of people including 2013 contenders Barkhad Abdi, Lupita Nyong’o, Hayao Miyazaki, Pharrell Williams, Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez, plus such creatives as Megan Ellison, Chris Rock, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Steve Coogan, Jason Statham, William Chang Suk Ping, Joan Sobel, Tracey Seaward, Mads Mikkelsen and Chantal Akerman.
Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs told Variety Thursday, “This is a continuation of an initiative to bring in new voices. Filmmaking has gotten more diverse, and audiences have been responding. There are terrific filmmakers around the world at the top of their game and we want to recognize them and bring them into the Academy. »
- Tim Gray
June 30 marks the year’s midpoint — i.e., the halfway mark of Oscar eligibility. And so far, 2014 is in better shape than last year. The fests have offered some hot contenders that will open later in the year, as usual. But the difference this year is that several commercial releases in the first six months were knockouts. If voting were held next week, they’d be shoo-ins; the big question is whether they can go the distance.
That list includes “The Grand Budapest Hotel” (Fox Searchlight) and “The Fault in Our Stars” (Fox/Fox 2000), both possible in multiple categories. Also contenders are “How to Train Your Dragon 2” (DreamWorks Animation, distribbed by Fox) and “The Lego Movie” (Warner Bros./Village Roadshow). Animated features have received Oscar best picture nominations (“Up,” “Toy Story 3”) but there have never been two in the same year, so it would be nice if 2014 broke some traditions. »
- Tim Gray
Argentine director Lisandro Alonso will be the Film Society of Lincoln Center and Jaeger-LeCoultre’s 2014 Filmmaker in Residence.
A minimalist filmmaker whose narrative work has a documentary-like aesthetic, Alonso’s most recent film was “Jauja” with Viggo Mortensen, which was nominated for the Un Certain Regard Award at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.
“Many times I think less is more,” Alonso told Variety. “It makes for a nice contrast to many big U.S. films.”
Alonso told Variety that he plans to use his residency to develop his next project, an exploration of people who live (and search for gold) in the Amazon jungle environment.
“I’m thinking about what kind of film can I make [in Brazil] about people who live outside of civilization and society and all these kinds of structures that we have, »
- Brent Lang
To say that our top three critics don’t always see eye-to-eye would be an understatement, but they can all agree on at least one thing: “The Grand Budapest Hotel” is one of Wes Anderson’s best movies, and one of the strongest entries in a year that has so far offered no shortage of cinematic excellence. Also mentioned by at least one critic: a steamy gay-cruising thriller, a hotly debated biblical epic, and two staggeringly ambitious magnum opuses that clocked in at more than four hours apiece. There will be many more hours (and weeks, and months) of moviegoing to come before they have their final say on the year in movies, but at the moment, 2014 is off to an excellent start.
Here, listed in alphabetical order, are our critics’ picks for the best films released theatrically from January to June 2014:
Re-reading my Variety review of “Moonrise Kingdom,” I found the line, “While (Wes) Anderson is essentially a miniaturist, making dollhouse movies about meticulously appareled characters in perfectly appointed environments, each successive film finds him working on a more ambitious scale.” His latest is the apotheosis of that aesthetic — a nested series of stories as complex and intricately detailed as fine Swiss clockwork, given soul by the great Ralph Fiennes.
Between this and “The Lego Movie,” we’ve been spoiled by great animation this year. My expectations were sky-high for the follow-up to DreamWorks cartoon coming-of-ager, and writer-director Dean DeBlois exceeded them, delivering a sequel with integrity, one that respects and expands upon the original while aging the characters five years — a rarity in a medium where Bart Simpson has spent the last 25 years repeating Mrs. Krabappel’s fourth-grade class.
What an exhilarating experiment: Using just one actor (Tom Hardy), one location (a moving BMW) and a series of phone calls as his script, writer-director Steven Knight has crafted a gripping character-driven drama. It’s the polar opposite of all the comicbook movies hogging screens these days, not simply for its lack of visual effects and spandex suits, but because “Locke” recognizes that a flawed human being is infinitely more interesting than a superhero.
- Variety Staff
From James Gray’s The Immigrant to Richard Linklater’s Boyhood, there’s no shortage of thoughtful, nuanced pictures out this summer. But sometimes, you don’t want thoughtful and nuanced. Sometimes, you just want to turn your brain off for a couple hours and watch famous people blow stuff up real good. That’s where The Expendables 3 comes […]
The post ‘The Expendables 3′ Trailer: “Courageous, But Insane” appeared first on /Film. »
- Angie Han
Directed by James Gray
Coming to America in the early 1920′s was supposed to signify a new start and generate fresh cultural experiences for Polish sisters Ewa Cybulski (Oscar-winner Marion Cotillard, “La Vie en Rose”) and Magda (Angela Sarafyan) in co-writer/director James Gray’s elegant, sweeping and moody melodrama The Immigrant. Gray’s (“The Yard”, “We Own the Night”, “Little Odessa”, “Two Lovers”) character-driven expose of the American dream turned nightmarish hard knocks has some guaranteed richness in its vintage soap opera-esque sophistication.
The Immigrant echoes the lost ambitions, evasive opportunities and seedy-minded expectations of people roaming around but not quite reaching their intended destinations. Gray and his screenwriter collaborator Richard Menello create a tawdry, sullen and cluttered universe in an early turn of the century New York City where foreign visitors gravitate to Ellis Island looking to share »
- Frank Ochieng
Over the last few weeks, I have had many discussions with friends and fellow Flickering Myth writers across podcasts and Twitter about the state of Hollywood as it is right now. Case in point, last weekend’s box office results that have caused many a stir across the pond.
According to the estimates, The Fault in Our Stars, starring Shailene Woodley and based on a best-selling book by John Green, took a “whopping” $48million ($26million on which came in its first day of release with it’s early Thursday night previews). A small chunk of change for sure, and kudos to 20th Century Fox for not only having faith in the film, but to also release it mid-summer blockbuster season amongst the heavyweights.
In second place, with a “meagre” $28million »
- Scott Davis
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