The third annual Sundance NEXTFEST kicked off Sunday evening with a screening of “Cop Car” at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery in conjunction with Cinespia. The thriller debuted at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival in the NEXT selection and has become a buzzed about title because its director, Jon Watts, has been chosen to helm the next incarnation of the “Spider-Man” franchise. We’re not exactly sure what Marvel Studios and Sony Pictures saw in Watts’ helming of “Cop Car,” but that’s a topic for another day.
Is the fifth time the charm for “Mission: Impossible”? The almost 20-year-old franchise has gone through some ups and downs over the years, but “Rogue Nation” has arguably earned even better reviews than the last installment, Brad Bird's “Ghost Protocol.” Who knew?
Is Cate Blanchett going for the triple crown this year? The two-time Academy Award winner already delighted audiences as the wicked, but semi-sympathetic step mother in Kenneth Branaugh’s live action “Cinderella” in March. In May she earned critical acclaim for her work as the title character in Todd Haynes’ “Carol.” The Weinstein Company is going to release that highly anticipated awards player in November. But, Blanchett fans can rejoice because they’ll have one more shot to enjoy the incredible Aussie’s talents before the end of 2015 and it promises to tell the “Truth.”
This probably wasn't the reaction Warner Bros. was expecting when they moved the new comedy "Vacation" from October to July. The fifth big screen edition of the franchise that helped make Chevy Chase a star was supposed to be a summer comedy "surprise." This year's "Meet the Millers" or "Let's Be Cops," but, um, actually funny. That doesn't seem to be the case.
Johnny Depp is coming for you haters. Sure, you mocked him for a string of bombs over the past few years including "Lone Ranger," "Transcendence" and "Mortdecai," but now word is spreading that he delivers the performance of a lifetime as mobster Whitey Bulger in the new drama "Black Mass." Warner Bros. released a new trailer for the Scott Cooper directed flick today and, well, Johnny's coming for you.
Movies that slip under the radar are nothing new. Just last year the press thought so little of "Still Alice" that only HitFix and the entertainment trades were on hand to review its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival. We all know how silly that must have seemed when Julianne Moore was taking home Oscar gold five months later.
In 2009 "Precious" (then known as "Push: A Novel by Sapphire") debuted at the Sundance Film Festival to an rapturous audience filled with few members of the media because some "other" film was the hot ticket at the same time (a movie that was so hot no one remembers what it was now). "Precious" starred Mariah Carey and Mo'Nique. How good could it be? Well, quite amazing it turns out.
While there will no doubt be a surprise or two amongst the deluge of new films screening at Venice, Telluride and Toronto, the new teaser for A24's "Room" will make sure this indie drama isn't a complete unknown when it makes its expected debut at that annual Colorado film festival held over Labor Day weekend.*
Movie trailers are starting to scare us a bit. Last week Lionsgate released a preview for "Freeheld" which made the gay rights drama look like a Lifetime movie. Today we have the first look at "Spotlight," the new ensemble drama centered on The Boston Globe's investigation into child abuse by Catholic priests and the Church's subsequent cover-up. We're hoping the movie is better than the first preview.
Some of the most anticipated movies of the Fall will make their debut at the four major festivals that annual suck up the movie world's attention during a five-week period beginning in September. The New York Film Festival has already revealed that "The Walk," "Steve Jobs" and "Miles Away" will be its major galas. The 40th Toronto International Film Festival announced its initial wave of selections on Tuesday giving away many of the "secret" premieres at the Telluride Film Festival over Labor Day weekend. Earlier this month Venice announced it would open with Universal Pictures' "Everest" and debut Scott Cooper's "Black Mass" with Johnny Depp out of competition. Now, the festival has unveiled a majority of its slate with some very exciting surprises.
The 40th edition of the Toronto International Film Festival now has something of a slate. Festival toppers Cameron Bailey and Piers Handling presided over a press conference Tuesday morning where more than 34 films were announced including the world premieres of "The Martian," "The Family Fang" and "Demolition." It's an intriguing initial lineup for the venerable Canadian institution and something of a steadying the ship after losing some major debuts to Venice, Telluride and the New York Film Festival over the past few years.
There has to be some irony in the fact I missed a key opportunity to ask Jesse Eisenberg about a very incendiary comment while interviewing him about a movie where he plays a journalist who scored a rare interview with one of the greatest authors of the 20th Century. It may not fully fall under the definition of irony, but it certainly deserves some sort of shake of the head.