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The Hateful Eight has had such a long bumpy road but once it was on track to roll, the publicity machine is on fire. Here is your first look of one revived star (Jennifer Jason-Leigh) joined by the rad Kurt Russell and Samuel L. Jackson.

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Indiewire reports that Xavier Dolan will direct Juste la fin du Monde (It’s only the end of the World) next month with Marion Cotillard, Lea Seydoux, Vince Cassel, Nathalie Baye and Gaspard Ulliel.

Dolan’s statement, “I’m absolutely thrilled about ‘It’s Only The End of the World,’ especially for the work with the actors. It is my utmost priority and most visceral passion to work with inspiring talent on set and not only direct them, but, as an actor-director, act with and through them, even from the other side of the mirror. To reunite them has been a jigsaw puzzle of the highest Byzantine complexity but I’d honestly kill to be in a room with those five extraordinary, creative individuals.”

Dolan will later direct his first English language film, The Death and Life of John F. Donovan, with Kit Harrington, Jessica Chastain, Kathy Bates and Susan Sarandon. Ah, Dolan, he will single-handedly bring back great actresses.

Juste La Fin du Monde is about a writer who returns to his hometown to announce his upcoming death.

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Tomorrowland stars George Clooney and was directed by the very talented Brad Bird. But it’s still a movie based on a Disneyland ride. There is just no getting around that fact. No one seems to be bothered by this particularly – pre awareness being the name of the game now.It will make shitloads of money.

Thankfully, they’ve opted for a female in the lead, Britt Robertson. That is very very cool thing.

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Meryl Streep seems to defy any sort of constraints put upon her by our bizarre culture — by all rights she should have packed it in long ago – and yet here she is, holding the record for Oscar nominations, holding an electric guitar in 2015. Streep will star in Ricki and the Flash, written by Diablo Cody and directed by Jonathan Demme. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the film isn’t killed by critics sharpening their knives for Cody. We need more Diablo Codys in Hollywood. The pic opens in August which has all of the internet chickens clucking about, like it’s some big catastrophe. If this year proved anything it’s that it doesn’t really matter anymore when a film comes out.

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Vulture got the scoop on the upcoming (True Detective’s) Gary Fukunaga adaptation of King’s insanely brilliant book, It:

“The idea is to start official prep in March for a summer shoot,” said Lin. “Cary likes to develop things for a while, and we’ve been with this for about three or four years, so we’re super excited that he stayed with it. You guys are gonna be really excited.”

Lin says his big plan is to split King’s sprawling novel into two movies. “The book is so epic that we couldn’t tell it all in one movie and service the characters with enough depth,” explained Lin; the first film, then, will be a coming-of-age story about the children tormented by It, while the second will skip ahead in time as those same characters band together to continue the fight as adults.

If you’ve not read It, you’re in for a treat. Walk, don’t run to your nearest bookstore. It is absolutely one of King’s best books.  I never wanted it to end. Dividing it up into two movies breaks up King’s carefully laid narrative that shifts back and forth between past and present. It’s important because the stories from the past explain the continuing stories in the present.  I am not sure how well it will sit to tell the children’s version first. Yet, he can’t really tell the adult version either. The kid part is by far the most exciting, of course. I think it could work best in the True Detective long form television movie format — then Fukunaga could take his time without having to shift so much of the story’s structure.

But it’s a mistake to think an adaptation has to work the same way the book worked. In fact, the best adaptations take their cue from cinematic language, what works on the screen, as opposed to what works in a book.

Either way, this is fantastic news for fans of the book. Now, let’s see Doctor Sleep, Mr. Mercedes and Revival all made into movies.

These images from Deviant Art.Stephen_King__s_It_by_AmandaBellman Pennywise____by_RayDillon STEPHEN_KING__S_IT_detail_by_MalevolentNate Pennywise_by_UndeadCelt Stephen_King__s_IT_by_juhoham pennywise_by_berkozturk

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50 shades

What can I say? Call it a palate cleanser. (But wait, no, don’t put it in your mouth. We’re not sure where it’s been.) Read this synopsis so you won’t have to read the book: Fifty Shades of Grey is the hotly anticipated film adaptation of the bestselling book that has become a global phenomenon. Since its release, the “Fifty Shades” trilogy has been translated into 51 languages worldwide and sold more than 100 million copies in e-book and print—making it one of the biggest and fastest-selling book series ever.

Stepping into the roles of Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele, who have become iconic to millions of readers, are Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson.

Joining Dornan and Johnson in the cast are Luke Grimes as Elliot, Christian’s brother; Victor Rasuk as José, Anastasia’s close friend; Eloise Mumford as Kate, Anastasia’s best friend and roommate; Marcia Gay Harden as Dr. Grace Trevelyan Grey, Christian’s mother; Rita Ora as Mia, Christian’s sister; Max Martini as Taylor, Christian’s bodyguard; Callum Keith Rennie as Ray, Anastasia’s stepfather; Jennifer Ehle as Carla, Anastasia’s mother; and Dylan Neal as Bob, Carla’s husband.

Fifty Shades of Grey is directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson and produced by Michael De Luca and Dana Brunetti alongside E L James, the creator of the series. The screenplay for the film is by Kelly Marcel.

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My friend and “second daughter” is raising money for an independent film about domestic violence for The Trees. So far, she’s just gotten $410 against $10k. In case you want to help, here’s the link and here’s the vid.

I’m not nerdy enough to know who Ultron was before now and even though I can’t say I’m thrilled to find out that he’s apparently a terrorist Transformer, gotta confess that I do like it best when these superfriend movies are dark as hell. So if Ultron is a mobile HAL 9000 with the voice of Bane and the menace of The Joker, all he lacks is a pervy sex drive to be the perfect villain. Say what you will, but Marvel continues to do everything right by this whole mythology. As great as The Avengers was, Age of Ultron is already looking like The Empire Strikes Back. Now if we can just get Captain America and Black Window colliding together as naked as PG-13 will allow.

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I hereby declare a moratorium on my personal skepticism about Ron Howard. This. Looks. AmaZing. Opens March 13, 2015. 19 Days after Oscar Night.

|| Oscar winner Ron Howard (“A Beautiful Mind”) directs the action adventure “In the Heart of the Sea,” based on Nathaniel Philbrick’s best-selling book about the dramatic true journey of the Essex.

In the winter of 1820, the New England whaling ship Essex was assaulted by something no one could believe: a whale of mammoth size and will, and an almost human sense of vengeance. The real-life maritime disaster would inspire Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick. But that told only half the story.

“In the Heart of the Sea” reveals the encounter’s harrowing aftermath, as the ship’s surviving crew is pushed to their limits and forced to do the unthinkable to stay alive. Braving storms, starvation, panic and despair, the men will call into question their deepest beliefs, from the value of their lives to the morality of their trade, as their captain searches for direction on the open sea and his first mate still seeks to bring the great whale down.

“In the Heart of the Sea” stars Chris Hemsworth (“The Avengers,” “Rush”) as the vessel’s veteran first mate Owen Chase; Benjamin Walker (“Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter”) as its inexperienced Captain, George Pollard; Cillian Murphy (“The Dark Knight Rises”) as second mate Matthew Joy; and Ben Whishaw (“Skyfall”) as novelist Herman Melville, whose inquiries into the event 30 years later helped bring the story to light.

Tom Holland (“The Impossible”) also stars as young seaman Tom Nickerson, and Brendan Gleeson (“Edge of Tomorrow”) as the same man, 30 years later. Spanish actor Jordi Mollà (“Riddick”) is the captain of another ship, the Archimedes, who tries to warn the Essex of what may lie ahead.

Howard directed from a screenplay by Charles Leavitt (“Blood Diamond”), story by Charles Leavitt and Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver (“Rise of the Planet of the Apes”), based on the book In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex by Nathaniel Philbrick, winner of the 2000 National Book Award for Nonfiction.

The film is produced by Joe Roth (“Oz the Great and Powerful”), Paula Weinstein (“Blood Diamond,” “This is Where I Leave You”), Will Ward, Brian Grazer (“J. Edgar”) and Ron Howard. Serving as executive producers are Bruce Berman, Sarah Bradshaw, Palak Patel, Erica Huggins and David Bergstein, with William M. Connor as co-producer.

The behind-the-scenes creative team includes Oscar-winning director of photography Anthony Dod Mantle (“Slumdog Millionaire,” “Rush”); production designer Mark Tildesley (“The Fifth Estate”); Oscar-winning editors Michael Hill (“Apollo 13,” “Rush”) and Dan Hanley (“Apollo 13”); costume designer Julian Day (“Rush”) and composer Roque Baños (“Evil Dead”).

“In the Heart of the Sea” is a Warner Bros. Pictures presentation, in association with Village Roadshow Pictures, a COTT Productions-Enelmar Productions, A.I.E. co-production, a Roth Films/Spring Creek/Imagine Entertainment Production, in Association with Kia Jam.

Opening on March 13, 2015 in theatres and IMAX, the film will be distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company, and in select territories by Village Roadshow Pictures.

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A new teaser for JC Chandor’s A Most Violent Year has just been sent out. Oscar Isaac, Jessica Chastain star.  The movie, judging from the trailer, looks top notch, in keeping with the dramatically diverse palate of the young Mr. Chandor, who had already made Margin Call and All is Lost.   The film will be given a limited release date of December 31 (hopefully screening before that) and then opening in 2015, a press release just announced.

WEBSITE: newyorkcity1981.com
FACEBOOK: fb.com/amostviolentyear
TWITTER: @mostviolentyear

SYNOPSIS:    

Set during the winter of 1981 — statistically one of the most crime-ridden of New York City’s history — A MOST VIOLENT YEAR is a drama following the lives of an immigrant and his family as they attempt to capitalize on the American Dream, while the rampant violence, decay, and corruption of the day drag them in and threaten to destroy all they have built. Running time: 110 minutes. MPAA Rating: TBD.

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Here is the trailer.

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The official US one sheet poster for Interstellar has been revealed. The poster prominently features Academy Award winner Matthew McConaughey in a spacesuit. The film is about a group of space travellers who uncover a wormhole and stars Jessica Chastain, Michael Caine, Wes Bentley, Casey Affleck, Mackenzie Foy and John Lithgow.

Director Chris Nolan has kept tight lipped about the film, all we know from the trailer is “We’re not in Kansas anymore.”

Have a look at the poster and mark your calendars. The film is out on November 7.

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For real. No Katniss, though.

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(Press release, Los Angeles, CA) June 25, 2014 – After a competitive pursuit, Annapurna Pictures, in tandem with actress Rooney Mara, has optioned the New York Times bestseller A House in the Sky by co-authors Amanda Lindhout and Sara Corbett. The memoir will be developed as a starring vehicle for Mara, who will also serve as a producer alongside Annapurna’s Megan Ellison. Annapurna’s Chelsea Barnard will be the executive overseeing the day-to-day development and production of the project.

A House in the Sky is the dramatic and redemptive memoir of Amanda Lindhout, whose deep passion for exploration of the world’s most remote and perilous places, took an unexpected turn when she was abducted in 2008 in Mogadishu, Somalia by a rebel terrorist group.

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Very exciting Variety exclusive, this:

With the recent release of “Maleficent,” which grossed more than $170 million worldwide in its opening weekend, Disney is working fast on its next live-action fairy-tale adaptation.

Bill Condon is set to direct a live-action version of “Beauty and the Beast” for Disney.

Casting thoughts anyone? For Belle?

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Today Harvey Weinstein and his team invited journalist and industry folks here in Cannes to announce their upcoming slate of films, and to talk up their new partnership with a Chinese production company. China’s vast market, of course, is being touted as the heir apparent to the future of film and Weinstein Co is getting in on that action now before doomsday. But the reason many of us were there was to see what hand TWC would be playing this upcoming year.

Some of the movies are lighter fare not destined to be part of the Oscar conversation. Still others probably won’t be released in time for consideration this year. But there are a couple of significant films worth talking about. First up, Macbeth, starring Marion Cotillard and Michael Fassbender, directed by Justin Kurzel (Snowtown). Slated for release in 2015, it still seems theoretically possible that Macbeth could screen for early Oscar contention. On the basis of that hope alone I don’t know how you come out of today’s event and declare “no Oscar contenders in sight,” as Anne Thompson has just done over at Thompson on Hollywood. Opening Christmas Day, Tim Burton’s Big Eyes has Oscar cred, with a promising performance by Amy Adams as Margaret Keane, painter of immensely popular doe-eyed portraits for which she received no recognition because her husband, played by Christoph Waltz, took all the credit. Both of these films revolve around strong female characters. So once again we see Weinstein Co. bucking the recent trend in Hollywood of having women relegated to the shadows cast by leading men.
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by Jordan Ruimy

A few weeks back I wrote a Summer Movie Preview in which I tried to pin down the studio films that looked the most promising this summer. That piece was met with mixed approval – some thought I should have included more big name blockbusters. It was indeed a mistake to leave out the new “Godzilla”, which finally gives Bryan Cranston a long overdue leading role in movies and looks like it could erase the bitter aftertaste of that god awful 1998 films starring Matthew Broderick. What were they thinking? Also “X-Men: Days Of Future Past” could either kick ass or put out a real stink bomb. Given that director Bryan Singer is back and he made the best X-Men film to date (X2) I have high hopes for this new one. Otherwise, I do stand by everything else that I selected. I have seen “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” and it is in fact not very good. Also does anyone actually expect anything good to come from “Transformers: Age of Extinction”, “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, “The Expendables 3” and “Hercules”? I doubt it.

I’ve written a follow up to that first article but this time focusing on independent and foreign fare coming out in these dog days summer. I have seen a big chunk of these, whether at film festivals or advanced press screenings, while other promising fare I have yet to catch up with.
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One of the few films with a central female character …full poster after the jump.

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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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JustJared reports that there has been “talks” for Naomi Watts to possibly star in The Birds remake. Thank Christ Michael Bay is not directing the reboot, but instead it will be Diederik Van Rooijen. Supposedly this version will not adhere to Hitch’s interpretation, but rather more closely to the Daphne du Maurier short story [read online here].

I’m all for Naomi Watts in this version. There are so many up and coming hot young blondes who could bump her. You could go for Margot Robbie, for instance. But by now, Watts has earned blonde icon status in Hollywood – Mulholland Drive and King Kong solidified that status. But the movie The Birds, Hitch’s version of it, injected the story with twisted sexuality which is missing from the short story. In Hitch’s version, Melanie Daniels (Tippi Hedren) comes to down – a sexy, rebellious blonde up to mischief. Her mere appearance there seems to upset the whole dynamic – jealousy from a mother (of course), an “old maid” (ditto) and the usual Hitchcock tropes have swallowed up what the original story was about. This version, if they really do go off the short story, will be more about the horror elements — nature vs. man — than they are about the sexual dynamics at play in Hitch’s version. Watts could play either version but I suspect if they were going the Hitchcock route they would cast someone sexually threatening. But either way, it’s an intriguing project so far.

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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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