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Vanity Fair’s Richard Lawson on Love is Strange – but the picture above alone makes me think it could potentially be a player in some fashion, the who/what/where of it:

Last year, the first film I saw at the Tribeca Film Festival was the graceful, rueful, altogether entrancing Before Midnight. A lovely, summery, only slightly stinging story about love and time, it was a perfect way to start the festival. And, wouldn’t you know it, the first film I’ve seen at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival, which began yesterday and runs through next weekend, is the lovely, summery, and only slightly stinging Love Is Strange, the newest feature from writer/director Ira Sachs, whose intimate Keep the Lights On was a highlight of the 2012 festival. A small movie that nonetheless feels like Sachs’s biggest to date, Love Is Strange simulates real life in the most poignant of ways: breaking your heart while sending it soaring.

The film loosely follows what happens after Ben (John Lithgow) and George (Alfred Molina), a couple that’s been together for nearly 40 years, get married in New York City, now that the laws allow them to. George, who is the music director at a Catholic prep school, is quickly dismissed from his job for violating some morality clause in his contract (his marriage got the attention of highers-up in the diocese) and the couple is faced with an ugly reality for any New Yorkers, but especially for people at retirement age: they’re forced to sell their apartment and rely on the hospitality of friends and family while they struggle to find a new home.

James Rocchi writing from Sundance earlier this year:

If “Love Is Strange” were nothing more than as showcase for its performances, it would still be superlative; Lithgow and Molina are perfect not just as Ben and George, but also as the combination they make with each other. It has been noted that early couples say “I love you” with the force of a thousand exploding suns, but that long-standing couples say “I love you” in a way that can also ask, unspoken, if it was you who happened to leave the goddamn garage door open again. That kind of love is rarely seen on film, and hard to portray when it is; Molina and Lithgow make that happen here, with all of the feeling and fights and closeness that a real couple would have.

This is definitely one to keep an eye out for, thanks to Alan for the head’s up.

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W Mag has a profile of Gone Girl Rosamund Pike, detailing how she got the part, and how surprised she was when she got it:

Fincher suggested that they get to know each other via Skype, and Pike had to join a gym near Glasgow just to secure an Internet connection. She had not been given the script but had started reading the book, and she assumed that Fincher was talking to many actresses about the role. After several weeks of conversation, Fincher asked if Pike wanted to fly to St. Louis, where he was scouting locations. “I said, ‘I’ll swim to St. Louis,’ ” Pike recalled as she ate a french fry. “We met there for two days.” Other than Ben Affleck, who was up for the part of Nick Dunne, the boyish, smarter-than-he-looks husband, no other actor had been cast. Weeks after returning to Scotland, Pike received a text message from Fincher, saying, “You have the part,” which she accidentally erased. “The only evidence I have that I got the call to play Amy is a selfie of me jumping in the rain in the Highlands. I look both happy and thoroughly daunted—the whole ‘You got the best gig in years’ scenario gives me the creeps.” She paused. “But then again, I’m a very hard worker, and maybe people who have underestimated me or just thought I looked good will say they were wrong.”

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by Jordan Ruimy

This is the third year I’ve been doing the Sumer Movie Preview for Awardsdaily and it seems like every year the quality only diminishes. Think about it, most of the big name blockbusters that will rake up all the money in the world this summer are either based on a TV show, a superhero movie or a sequel to a movie that never really needed a sequel. So yes, this list does have a few of those and I’m willing to believe they will be good films, but while researching this list I was really trying hard to find stuff that will come under the radar and really aim for more than just cheap thrills. I found nine movies that peaked my interest.

Transcendence (April 17th)

I’m really pushing it with this one since it really isn’t “officially” summer movie season on that date but still, this film looks genuinely thought provoking and it’s from Wally Pfister who’s been Christopher Nolan’s director of photography for god knows how any years. Suffice it to say the plot to this one is very Nolan-esque and it features a pretty great cast, especially Johnny Depp who could probably use a comeback vehicle after quite a few misses the last decade.

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Sourced from here.

Full pic after the jump.

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The HR exclusive tells us that the brilliant Carrie Brownstein from Portlandia (tell me you’ve seen it) has just been added to the cast of Todd Haynes’ drama Carol, starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara. You may remember Ms. Mara gave Ms. Blanchett her award in Santa Barbara.

Where Todd Haynes goes I will follow. He is perhaps among the most underrated American treasures in cinema today. He’s far too humble, perhaps that’s been his problem all of this time. He’s always been ahead of his time. Safe was ahead of its time. I’m Not There, Far From Heaven, etc. Any of those films, if released today, would make a far bigger splash vis a vis the giant crap Hollywood’s been taking lately. So it is with eager anticipation that we await Carol.

Meanwhile, Cincinnati.com has pics from the Carol set:

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Buzzfeed puts us to the test to see how many Best Picture winners we’ve actually seen. I missed six, though I suspect I will have to watch all of them so I can say I’ve seen them all. I get bogged down most in the very early Best Picture winners.  Take the quiz and tell us how you did.

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Quentin Tarantino will introduce Los Angeles to his new screenplay, Hateful Eight, which was leaked online and a lawsuit with Gawker ensued. Now, he’s turning proceeds for the reading to Film Independent and LACMA. Press release:

Film Independent, the nonprofit arts organization that produces the Film Independent Spirit Awards and the Los Angeles Film Festival, has announced today the World Premiere of a Staged Reading of Quentin Tarantino’s unmade script The Hateful Eight. This special, once in a lifetime event, will be held on Thursday, April 24 at LACMA’s Bing Theater. The Hateful Eight is the unproduced Tarantino script that made headlines when he decided to shut down production after the script leaked without his approval. The event will not be recorded or live streamed.

“Quentin Tarantino is a key figure in the independent creative community,” said Josh Welsh, President of Film Independent. “We are thrilled that Quentin will be holding the World Premiere Staged Reading of his script of The Hateful Eight with Film Independent at LACMA. Film Independent supports diversity, innovation and uniqueness of vision with events like the Spirit Awards, the Los Angeles Film Festival, our Filmmaker Labs, as well as our year-round film programing curated by Elvis Mitchell. We offer unique cinematic experiences to the people of Los Angeles, and this event is going to deliver just that.”

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Of all of the terrible movies coming at you this summer this is the one I am personally most excited about. Where Planet of the Apes are concerned, the more the better. I can’t wait.

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Ryan promises to write a longer piece about his own reaction to Darren Aronofsky’s Noah but I thought I’d put it out there what I did like about the movie.

For the most part, I sit on way on the opposite side of any kind of religious thought being taken literally – specifically, using Genesis to, in any way, talk about the birth of “man.” This I believe is fundamentally flawed view on life itself; mankind is not the center of the universe. Never has been, never will be, despite our desire to be so. We are one of many life forms battling life and death every day. The Buddhists, it seems to me, have it right in viewing religion but that’s another topic for another time. Therefore, it doesn’t matter to me if Aronofsky sought to explain evolution through Genesis (not necessary) or to talk about the creator this, the creator that – if you believe in God you’re probably going to dig Noah. But if you either don’t know what is behind all of this life that has been thriving for billions of years, or don’t need to know, you might find Noah suffocating in its sexism (women being necessary only to reproduce) and its heteronormative view of life (one male, one female).

But there are two things I really liked about the movie and that’s this:

1) Aronofsky’s disdain for mankind it palpable and true. His film makes no bones about what has led to the destruction of this planet. We are at fault. We are barbaric and disgusting in our disregard for the natural world and all of the life on it. I was right there with Noah all the way on that. I also felt his pain in not knowing what to do – there are so many beautiful things about humanity. It isn’t ALL bad. But there is so much bad. That struggle, to me, stuck with me after I saw the film in a way I never saw coming. I assumed it would not penetrate my psyche at all but it did for that reason. Now, when I read stories that depress the hell out of me, when I look at our very bleak future, I think about this tortured man. I’ll leave God out of it because you know, if he wanted to fix things he could. I don’t believe he “gave” us this planet to do with what we wanted. We are a very successful, dominant, intelligent species but we will destroy ourselves eventually – at which point the planet will shrug us off like old skin and rebuild itself. Nature doesn’t think we’re the center of the universe.

2) This is a bit of a spoiler because I do believe this isn’t in any of the original Noah stories so if you haven’t seen the film and you’d like to see how the story is told (Arofonsky take liberties with the Judao-Christian interpretation though this movie is still very much a religious epic that pays reverence to God) do not read any further.

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Thanks to reader Bryce for point us to the news that Josh Brolin has let slip a few interesting tidbits from Anderson’s new film. The Film Stage got the story from Cigs & Red Vines, which got the story from The Independent. Here are a few choice quotes:

“I just did a movie for P T Anderson that I didn’t understand. The writing of Thomas Pynchon is so Shakespearean. It was crazy, chaotic but really, really gratifying.” He added, “We took it I think in a direction that the book doesn’t necessarily go, hoping it will work.” A hint at what direction that may be comes from a Cigs’ source, who notes that Jonny Greenwood, having completed the score, reveals that it’s “more romantic” than his last two collaborations with Anderson, There Will Be Blood and The Master.

That’s not all Brolin revealed regarding the production, as he goes on to tell Yahoo, “More than any woman I’ve ever worked with, I absolutely fell in love with Joaquin Phoenix. [He’s] the most wonderful human being and actor.” Diving into an example, he says, “Joaquin and I would do these scenes together and Paul would say, ‘This time do it with the table upside down, and you guys get under the table and I’m going to put a blanket over you, and I want you to whisper your lines. And now this time, no lines and no dialogue at all, and I want you to just dance your dialogue. Whatever that next line is, I want you to create a movement that’s going to be what that line of dialogue was going to be if you spoke it.’ It was just craziness, you know, but really fun. After that, we’d go back to the scene and it would be fed by all those other things that you can create something magical. But you have to do some pretty weird things.”

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Reactions to the footage shown at CinemaCon for Gone Girl are all positive:

From the Hollywood Reporter:

Gone Girl’s dark trailer showed Ben Affleck’s character dealing with a media frenzy after his wife (Rosamund Pike) disappears. The trailer promises a haunting thriller, very much in line with Gillian Flynn’s book on which it is based. Affleck’s character can be seen creepily posing with his wife’s “Missing” poster and being harassed by media and police as the search continues for her. “I did not kill my wife. I am not a murderer,” says Affleck’s haunting voice-over towards the end of the trailer.

Angelina Jolie at Cinemacon

This might be her first but it won’t be her last – Angelina Jolie brought seven minutes of Unbroken to Cinemacon. It’s already being called an Oscar juggernaut, which of course guarantees it will getting serious reaming when it opens. Can’t people start measuring and managing their expectations now? But, yeah, written by the Coen brothers (+

Richard LaGravenese and William Nicholson), lensed by Roger Deakins? How can it go wrong.

Jack O’Connell plays Zamperini.

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Laura Hillenbrand (author of the Book Unbroken) on the film’s subject:

Growing up in California in the 1920s, Louie [Zamperini] was a hellraiser, stealing everything edible that he could carry, staging elaborate pranks, getting in fistfights, and bedeviling the local police. But as a teenager, he emerged as one of the greatest runners America had ever seen, competing at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, where he put on a sensational performance, crossed paths with Hitler, and stole a German flag right off the Reich Chancellery. He was preparing for the 1940 Olympics, and closing in on the fabled four-minute mile, when World War II began. Louie joined the Army Air Corps, becoming a bombardier. Stationed on Oahu, he survived harrowing combat, including an epic air battle that ended when his plane crash-landed, some six hundred holes in its fuselage and half the crew seriously wounded.

On a May afternoon in 1943, Louie took off on a search mission for a lost plane. Somewhere over the Pacific, the engines on his bomber failed. The plane plummeted into the sea, leaving Louie and two other men stranded on a tiny raft. Drifting for weeks and thousands of miles, they endured starvation and desperate thirst, sharks that leapt aboard the raft, trying to drag them off, a machine-gun attack from a Japanese bomber, and a typhoon with waves some forty feet high. At last, they spotted an island. As they rowed toward it, unbeknownst to them, a Japanese military boat was lurking nearby. Louie’s journey had only just begun.

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By Brandon Engel
for AwardsDaily

Filmmaker Richard Linklater’s body of work has touched upon a number of fascinating topics: everything from lucid dreaming, to speculative-fiction style dystopian projections of the future, to the subtle non-adventures of teenagers philosophizing and getting stoned in small town Texas circa 1976. In addition to his novel, and typically accessible, concepts, Linklater is also notable for using interesting visual storytelling techniques – for instance, his films Waking Life (which attempts to replicate the experience of a lucid dream) and A Scanner Darkly (which is an adaptation of a Philip K. Dick novel by the same name) both employ the use of a digital rendering process wherein real-time footage is animated over, creating a sort of uncanny, dream-like image quality reminiscent of what the animators of older times would create with the use of rotoscopes.

This year at SXSW, Linklater received the “Lone Star” award (issued to native Texas filmmakers) for his latest film Boyhood (2014). It’s potentially his greatest offering as a filmmaker to date, and it also stands as one of the most fascinating technical and conceptual experiments ever conducted in the annals of film. Linklater shot the film over the course of twelve years, and constructed a narrative that focuses on the growth and development of a young boy named Mason in Texas. The role of Mason was played by Ellar Coltrane, who was six years old when he first met Linklater. The film follows the boys intellectual, social, interpersonal, and even physiological evolution from first grade up through when the boy graduates high school and prepares to leave for college at the age of 18.“I was trying to write something about childhood,” Linklater said in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, “and I couldn’t pick one moment – so I had this idea… ‘could you shoot a little bit, and have it evolve’… ‘cause I kind of wanted to bite off the whole thing: childhood.”

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When you think about it, it is only liberal Hollywood that has been responsible for shutting out the ever-growing population of Christian, and/or very religious potential movie goers. With purity balls taking place all over the country, the ever-widening exodus away from science and towards creationism, Hollywood would be remiss in not taking advantage of this untapped segment of the population.

Enter Noah. Darren Aronofsky’s CGI epic is being sold as both a geek cred movie (they flew several key leaders in the film geek community down there to get an early look) and one that hopes to tap into the ever-growing demand for movie fiction and religious fiction to meet. And why not. Movies aren’t real anyway, most of them, so why should “reality” play a part when it comes to movies. They are movies, most of them. They are mythological at times, inspiring at other times and have taken the place OF religion, probably, for many of today’s youth.

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Cannes and Oscar couldn’t be more polar opposite from each other. To make a sweeping statement about the difference, I’d say that the Oscar race isn’t about the movies: it’s about the industry that votes on the movies. Their choices illuminate who they are, how they’ve evolved, what they care about. Cannes has no such handicap. It is a true celebration of cinema from all over the world without concern about star power or box office. As an American covering Cannes it’s important to remember that – sure, box office gets thrown around, as in “it’s great but it won’t make a dime” in the same way movies are square pegs that often get stuffed into the round hole when deeming them “Oscar worthy,” as in “but will the Academy go for it.”

Where Cannes is concerned, one need not bother with second guessing its jury. You will lose anyway if you try to do that – who would have thought that a Steven Spielberg-led jury would have picked Blue is the Warmest Colour for their Palme d’Or? Most journalists figured no way would they ever go for that and they were modifying their predictions accordingly, thinking Spielberg would go the sentimental route. The end goal of Cannes isn’t really their awards so much, not for our purposes anyway. We’re more interested in what movies are worthy of attention, with one lazy eye on what’s potentially “Oscar worthy.”
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Meryl Streep, Jeff Bridges and Katie Holmes in the latest of the YA craze in cinema:

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The times, they are changing.  When True Detective aired, the buzz caught on slowly.  Folks were watching it but they weren’t really REALLY watching it. Around the time of episode 4 that started to change. Suddenly, the obsession ballooned to consume a global audience. How people watched, how they accessed it, varied. The incentive was there to seek it out by whatever means necessary.  By the end of the series, the hype had eclipsed what the creators originally had in mind. An elegant, perfectly executed series was not big enough for the hungry imaginations of the obsessed, who took the random tangents, or subtext of the series to be actual clues that would point, ultimately, to the bad guy.  But the story was only ever really about the two true detectives, Rust and Marty — the most excellent Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson.  This series was about their inner structure. What lies beneath the surface of the landscape of that deep, soggy, American south — slave cabins and everything rotting underneath illuminates the disease upon which this country was founded.  We want it to not be there. But it’s there.  The evil represented in the show can’t be blotted out by anyone, not these two characters, not even God himself.   Rust was a manly Christ-like figure, absorbing the sins of mankind though now having lost “faith” in even himself.  That last shot of Rust in the hospital ought to make that abundantly clear.

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The blood is just about dried on this year’s Oscar race but throughout the web are predictions for next year’s race. Yes, already. Here’s the thing. It ain’t rocket science. Early Oscar predictions aren’t some kind of magic formula – so people who brag about those are just fooling themselves. The truth is, the Oscar race is an industry that supports another industry – the film industry.  There is a pretty good chance the movies that head into the Oscar race are on the radar already before they’re even finished filming, perhaps even before getting financed, sometimes when the book rights are sold. You go by subject matter, director, stars, sometimes producer – almost always Oscar strategist.  These films have a 90% chance of making it in. The only thing that stops them is if they are poorly received.  Otherwise, their chances are pretty good they fly into the airport, land on the designated runway and glide easily into the gate. Lock and load.

Check out some early articles, like this one at Indiewire has some interesting selections, and The Atlantic has some early predictions that probably hew closer to “reality.”

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Tomorrow, on a rainy midday afternoon, the Independent Spirit Awards will host their own version of the year’s best.  In year’s past, the Spirit Awards have been sort of the anti-Oscars in a way, the alternative to what is the moneyed world of the popularity contest that takes place on Sunday.  This will be an interesting year because it will put the Spirit Awards possibly in line with the Oscars for Best Picture for the third time in their history. Only Platoon and The Artist have won both.

I am attending the Spirit Awards for the first time tomorrow.  While the weather has made it a tad less than ideal (beachside awards on a beautiful day is probably divine) but I will be happy to see what I hope is a good day for 12 Years a Slave.

Let’s take a look at the nominees, shall we?

Best Picture
12 Years  Slave <–Predicted Winner
All is Lost
Frances Ha
Inside Llewyn Davis
Nebraska <–but maybe

It isn’t as easy a call as you’d think.  Inside Llewyn Davis could easily win this, as could Nebraska. Probably not Frances Ha or All is Lost.  Still, I’ll put my chips behind 12 Years a Slave.

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