Just when I was sitting here wishing we could see more movies like Sicario, John Hillcoat rolls up.

A gang of criminals and corrupt cops plan the murder of a police officer in order to pull off their biggest heist yet across town.

Starring Casey Affleck, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Aaron Paul, Anthony Mackie, Gal Gadot, Woody Harrelson, Kate Winslet, and yikes, stop!

Opens February 19, 2016, because sometimes everybody can see from 1000 miles away when a movie is something most Oscar voters can’t handle.


deniro scorsese

It’s no secret that Robert De Niro is one of the greatest actors that ever lived. Just look at the list of classics: Mean Streets, Taxi Driver, The Godfather Part II, The Deer Hunter, The King of Comedy, Once Upon a Time in America, Brazil, The Untouchables, Midnight Run, Goodfellas, Cape Fear, Heat, and Casino. Is there any other actor that can claim to have been in this many great movies and given this many great performances? That’s of course a topic for another story, but notice how Casino was listed last. That’s where many people believe De Niro “gave up” serious films and for the next two decades resorted to choosing movies that didn’t live up to his talents. In fact, there are people in their twenties today who think De Niro is best known for the Fockers trilogy! That’s just criminal and doesn’t do justice to the now 72-year-old legend.

Well, there is great news this week that made movie geeks rejoice. While being interviewed by Digital Spy for his latest film, The Intern, De Niro was asked about the long-planned Scorsese collaboration, I Heard You Paint Houses. “We are doing it… We should be doing it sometime next year,” De Niro said. “We’re slowly, slowly getting it in place.” This is quite possibly the best news a die-hard movie fan could hear, especially with the fact that De Niro and Scorsese are not getting any younger and that Joe Pesci is rumored to be coming back after announcing his retirement back in 1999. Scorsese, Pesci, De Niro -– does it get any better than this? Their collaborative efforts are right up there with Bergman/Von Sydow, Hitchcock/Stewart, and Huston/Bogart.

* * *

Although Scorsese has been as productive and brilliant these last few years as ever before, replacing De Niro with DiCaprio as his muse, De Niro’s career arc has been a different story. Maybe years of method acting and gaining/losing drastic amounts of weight for iconic roles took a toll on him; how else can you explain the constant duds that he’s been churning out year after year?

It’s of course not all that bad, and shades of the brilliance he once showed in abundance have poured down in a few well-chosen movies here and there. If you do catch Nancy Meyers’ The Intern, you will notice a sweet, soulful performance from De Niro that is the clear highlight of the movie. These kinds of performances from De Niro are few and far between these days, but they do happen. A few weeks from now, he’s set to appear in the highly anticipated Joy, starring Jennifer Lawrence and directed by David O’ Russell, his third film with the filmmaker. The buzz is that De Niro’s performance is great –- we all hope it is -– and that he could garner an eight Oscar nomination for it.

Despite his recent duds, here are six examples post-Casino De Niro performances that prove he’s still got it and will “bring it” next year when the new Scorsese film is shot.

Conrad Brean in Wag the Dog (1997)

A presidential sex scandal hits and his advisers try to cover it up as fast as possible. What do they do? Hire a Hollywood producer and a professional spin doctor played by De Niro. “A good plan today is better than a perfect plan tomorrow,” says De Niro’s Conrad Brean, who cooks up a phony international crisis with Albania. De Niro plays Brean as a poker-faced genius who makes you believe a spin doctor can save the day by telling lies: “We’re not gonna have a war, we’re gonna have the appearance of a war,” he says with much-garnered confidence. Just like in Ronin, De Niro seems like a match made in heaven for David Mamet’s poetic street dialogue. He’s never been this wittily relaxed before.

Sam in Ronin (1998)

“You ever kill anybody?” De Niro’s Sam is asked in Ronin. “Yeah I hurt somebody’s feelings once,” he replies in a deadpan way. In my opinion this was the last De Niro-esque performance of his illustrious career: it’s raw, edgy, and dangerous. John Frankenheimer’s movie has some of the best car chase scenes ever put on celluloid and has altogether remarkable chemistry between stars De Niro and his director, two old-school giants. Playing a CIA strategist turned mercenary, De Niro turns out be a pretty badass James Bond in a role that has him spouting out words by screenwriter David Mamet –- who also wrote a great latter De Niro role in Wag the Dog. “You worried about saving you own skin?” Sam is asked midway through the film. “Yeah, I am,” responds De Niro, “It covers my body”.

Paul Vitti in Analyze This (1999)

It’s not uncommon for De Niro to play a gangster, but it is uncommon for it to be in a comedy. Analyze This was one of the first times we saw De Niro’s comedic side. Playing respected mobster Paul Vitti, he visits Billy Crystal’s shrink to try and take control of his crumbling psyche. It works. “You got a gift my friend. You, you, you’re good,” tells Vitti to his frightened shrink. De Niro is hilarious, encompassing to perfection a viciously intimidating side to his gangster, but adding self-contained humor to his role. “Fuck Freud,” says Vitti to a scared shrink who tries everything to get rid of him as a client. The chemistry between Crystal and De Niro is contagious and feels so naturally delivered. The misbegotten sequel that followed should be forgotten, and this original movie always remembered.

Jack Byrnes in Meet the Parents (2000)

Playing father-in-law from hell Jack Byrnes, De Niro perfected the comedic gold that he started with Analyze This just a year before Meet The Parents. Byrnes is a retired horticulturalist who might also be an ex-CIA agent. It helps that co-star Ben Stiller and De Niro seem to be feeding off of each other’s manic energy. “Have you ever purchased pornographic material?” hilariously asks De Niro to Stiller’s ill-received and aptly named Greg Focker during a now iconic lie detector test. Everything about the De Niro’s performance works here, from his sizing up of Stiller’s character, to telling him that he’s going “down, down to Chinatown,” and even down to the smallest details as in the way he calls Greg “Focker”, this is pure comedic gold.

Nick Wells in The Score (2001)

It took four decades for the two Don Corleone’s -– De Niro and Marlon Brando –- to finally make a movie together. The fact that it was The Score might disappoint some, but it shouldn’t detract from the fact that it’s actually a good caper movie. A weaker actor might have overplayed the character of Nick Wells -– an aging thief who is persuaded by a rookie, played by Edward Norton, to execute one last heist -– but it’s De Niro’s steadiness that becomes part of the movie’s subtle, refraining style. Norton and De Niro basically compete to see who can under-act the other (it sounds dull but it isn’t). He’s positively mesmerizing and overshadows the Brando scenes quite a bit.

Pat Solitano Jr. in Silver Linings Playbook (2012)

De Niro richly deserved his Oscar nomination for Silver Linings Playbook. Playing Pat Sr., a sports bookie with a major case of OCD and an even unhealthier obsession with the Philadelphia Eagles, De Niro found a role worthy of his incredible talents. In a memorably touching scene, De Niro wakes up his son in the morning and, failing to convey the repressed emotions in his mind, all Pat Sr. can do is subtly cry and hug his son. In another poignant moment he tells his son to seize the moment, and seize the fortune that has been dealt in his hand: “When life reaches out at a moment like this it’s a sin if you don’t reach back, I’m telling you it’s a sin if you don’t reach back! It’ll haunt you the rest of your days like a curse.” It’s the best De Niro performance in 20 years and proof that the legendary actor still has it in him to deliver.


Directed by Jon Favreau (“Iron Man”), based on Rudyard Kipling’s timeless stories and inspired by Disney’s classic animated film, “The Jungle Book” is an all-new live-action epic adventure about Mowgli (newcomer Neel Sethi), a man-cub who’s been raised by a family of wolves. But Mowgli finds he is no longer welcome in the jungle when fearsome tiger Shere Khan (voice of Idris Elba), who bears the scars of Man, promises to eliminate what he sees as a threat. Urged to abandon the only home he’s ever known, Mowgli embarks on a captivating journey of self-discovery, guided by panther-turned-stern mentor Bagheera (voice of Ben Kingsley), and the free-spirited bear Baloo (voice of Bill Murray). Along the way, Mowgli encounters jungle creatures who don’t exactly have his best interests at heart, including Kaa (voice of Scarlett Johansson), a python whose seductive voice and gaze hypnotizes the man-cub, and the smooth-talking King Louie (voice of Christopher Walken), who tries to coerce Mowgli into giving up the secret to the elusive and deadly red flower: fire. The all-star cast also includes Lupita Nyong’o as the voice of the fiercely protective mother wolf Raksha, and Giancarlo Esposito as the voice of wolf pack’s alpha male Akela. “The Jungle Book” seamlessly blends live-action with photorealistic CGI animals and environments, using up-to-the-minute technology and storytelling techniques to immerse audiences in an enchanting and lush world. The wild adventure swings into theaters in 3D on April 15, 2016.


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.



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.

Meryl Streep

Meryl Streep

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.


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


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.

Screen Shot 2014-11-02 at 8.15.47 AM

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.


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.

MVY_Final Kissing Teaser

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


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.

MVY_Final Kissing Teaser

Here is the trailer.


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.



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?


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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