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Glenn Whipp says to "think again" if you believe the Oscar race for Best Actress is "thin" this year. He partially blames "the allure of the new, with some pundits flailing their arms each time an unseen movie debuts." A few days ago, Julianne Moore ("Stil Alice") jumped to the tops of prediction lists strictly because she came out of nowhere and was the most recent person to be screened. Along with Moore, Reese Witherspoon ("Wild") and Felicity Jones ("The Theory of Everything") are strong possible choices. He also adds in the lesser-viewed Gugu Mbatha-Raw ("Belle"), Marion Cotillard ("The Immigrant"), Lindsay Duncan ("Le Week-End"), and Jenny Slate ("Obvious Child") to consider. L.A. Times -Break- Join the lively film and TV discussions going on right now in the Gold Derby message boards Gregory Ellwood provides eight important revelations after Venice, Telluride, and »
Each and every single awards season, there are tons of both newcomers and veterans to the Oscar game. Tomorrow I’ll be taking a bit of a look at those seeking their first nominations from the Academy, but today I’m going to be going ahead and listing some of the major players who’ve already been nominated before, and in some cases are already winners. It’s leading up to me re-ranking the contenders in the major categories next week, but right now it’s just going to be a preview of which old hands to the Oscar ranch are saddling up for another ride on the awards season pony. In the Best Actor race, the highest profile former nominee is Joaquin Phoenix, who will look for his first win this year with Inherent Vice. He represents the most likely non first time nominee who could win the Oscar in this category, »
- Joey Magidson
Just days before its debut at the Venice International Film Festival, the first trailer and clip has been released from Cymbeline, a modern-day adaptation of William Shakespeare's play of the same name.
Ethan Hawke leads an all-star cast including Ed Harris, Milla Jovovich, Anton Yelchin and Dakota Johnson in this story set against the backdrop of a deadly battle between crooked cops and and a drug-dealing biker gang. Take a look at the first footage, then read on for more details from Lionsgate's official press release.
Lionsgate's Grindstone Entertainment has acquired all North American rights to Hamlet writer/director Michael Almereyda's modern day adaptation of Shakespeare's play Cymbeline ahead of its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival, it was announced today by the film's producers, Michael Benaroya of Benaroya Pictures and Anthony Katagas of Keep Your Head Productions. The film, starring Academy Award nominees Ethan Hawke (Boyhood »
Lionsgate’s Grindstone Entertainment has acquired all North American rights to Hamlet writer/director Michael Almereyda’s modern day adaptation of Shakespeare’s play Cymbeline ahead of its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival, it was announced today by the film’s producers, Michael Benaroya of Benaroya Pictures and Anthony Katagas of Keep Your Head Productions.
The film, starring Academy Award nominees Ethan Hawke (Boyhood) and Ed Harris (A Beautiful Mind), Milla Jovovich (Resident Evil), John Leguizamo (Chef), Penn Badgley (Margin Call, Easy A), Dakota Johnson (the upcoming 50 Shades of Grey) and Anton Yelchin (Star Trek Into Darkness) will be distributed in spring 2015 by Lionsgate Home Entertainment.
Cymbeline unfolds amidst an epic battle between dirty cops and a drug dealing biker gang, set in a corruption-riddled contemporary America. In the style of Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet, Cymbeline is a fresh take on a universal story of love, betrayal and revenge. »
- Michelle McCue
It is not prerequisite that the period costume drama needs a hook, but it certainly doesn’t hurt. Joe Wright’s stylish “Anna Karenina” dazzled with a theatrical approach, and Andrea Arnold’s “Wuthering Heights” employed an austere commitment to form coupled with an expressively Malick-ian appreciation of nature. Gracefully pitched acting can also be enough (see James Gray’s “The Immigrant”), but unfortunately for Sophie Barthe, her adaptation of “Madame Bovary” is largely bereft of these qualities in any compelling form. Instead, the movie is delivered in a restrained, far-too measured tone that is often flat and enervating. There have been countless TV and film adaptations of “Madame Bovary.” In cinema, Vincente Minnelli, Albert Ray, Claude Chabrol and Jean Renoir have all had a go at Gustave Flaubert's debut novel, but rarely has Flaubert’s sensibilities been rendered for the screen by a female director. But feminist thoughtfulness »
- Rodrigo Perez
Recent weeks have proven fruitless in terms of an official announcement from the studio, with a rumour surfacing in the past couple of days that Jack Huston (Boardwalk Empire) is circling the role. But rumours being rumours, especially when it comes to comic book movies, you have to take things with a pinch of salt.
And whilst the same goes for this latest news, the source is much more reliable, with a source close to the project describing Joaquin Phoenix as being very close to signing a contract to take the lead as Steven Strange, better known as Doctor Strange.
The character was of course name-dropped in the Marvel Cinematic Universe earlier this year when »
- Kenji Lloyd
Telluride — With all the reindeer games going on in the fall festival world, a lot of the drama and mystery surrounding Telluride's perennially on-the-lowdown program began to seep out like a steadily deflating balloon this year. Toronto, Venice and New York notations of "World Premiere," "Canada Premiere," "New York Premiere" or "International Premiere" and the like made it all rather obvious which films were heading to the San Juans for the 41st edition of the tiny mining village's cinephile gathering, and which were not. But the fact is, if you're in it just for the surprises — or certainly, for the awards-baiting heavies — you're never going to be fully satisfied by the Telluride experience. That having been said, this year's program might just be the most exciting one in my six years of attending. Starting with all of the stuff we were expecting, indeed, Cannes players "Foxcatcher," "Mr. Turner" and "Leviathan »
- Kristopher Tapley
Edited by Adam Cook
Film festival programmers from around the world are joining in signing a Statement of Support for the Beijing Independent Film Festival:
"As independent film festivals and supporters of independent cinema, we have learned with deep concern that the Chinese government and police authorities have prevented the 11th Beijing Independent Film Festival based in Songzhuang, Beijing, from opening last weekend, August 23rd, and detained its organizers Wang Hongwei, Fan Rong, and Li Xianting for several hours. We are also deeply concerned that Biff’s sponsoring organization, the Li Xianting Film Fund, has been raided, and the entirety of its invaluable archives of independent Chinese cinema have reportedly been confiscated.
We call upon the relevant Chinese authorities to permit the Beijing Independent Film Festival to pursue its mission to nurture and exhibit a full range of alternative cinematic voices in China, to allow the festival to operate without interference, »
The new issue of cléo, a journal of film and feminism, features interviews with Clio Barnard (The Selfish Giant) and Alanis Obomsawin, articles on Michael Glawogger’s Whores’ Glory, Josephine Decker’s Butter on the Latch, James Gray’s The Immigrant, Ivan Reitman’s Junior, Raffaele Brunetti and Marco Leopardi’s Hair India, Sophie Hyde’s 52 Tuesdays, Barbara Kopple’s Harlan County, USA and Sally Potter’s Rage and a roundtable on Gillian Robespierre’s Obvious Child. Also in today's roundup of news and views: J. Hoberman on David Lynch and Werner Herzog, Dick Cavett's steamy interview with Robert Altman and more. » - David Hudson »
Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now turns 35 this month and James Gray (The Immigrant) has written an amazing appreciation for Rolling Stone. Also in today's roundup of news and views: Michael Ventura on John Cassavetes's Love Streams (1984), Luc Moullet on Luis Buñuel's Death in the Garden (1956), New York Times profiles of Sam Taylor-Johnson, Jennifer Yuh Nelson, Ava DuVernay, Sarah Polley, Lisa Cholodenko and Lana Wachowski, Grady Hendrix on Lee Myung-Se, Glenn Kenny and Ben Sachs on Richard Linklater, Sean Nortz on Michael Wadleigh's Wolfen (1981), Steven Shaviro on Bobcat Goldthwaite's Willow Creek (2013) and much, much more. » - David Hudson »
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
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