Focus announces the fracking film will be released on December 28
Alright, make some room. Another potential Oscar play has joined the party.
We've been speculating for some time that either Sacha Gervasi's "Hitchcock" (Fox Searchlight), Scott Cooper's "Out of the Furnace" (Relativity) or Gus Van Sant's "Promised Land" (Focus) could be last-minute additions to the season. Gervasi's film, it appears, is sticking with a 2013 launch, while Cooper's -- which came *this* close to peeking out this year -- will hold off as well.
But Focus has just announced that Van Sant's film, from a screenplay by Matt Damon and John Krasinski (based on a story by author Dave Eggers), will indeed hit the ground running in 2012. The film, starring Damon and Krasinski, along with Frances McDormand, Rosemarie DeWitt and Hal Holbrook, will miss the festival circuit but it's set for release New York and Los Angeles on December 28.
Tim Burton's animated feature will have its world premiere at Fantastic Fest
The BFI London Film Festival has enjoyed mixed fortunes with its opening night slot in recent years. They lucked out in 2008 and 2009, securing highly anticipated world premieres in "Frost/Nixon" and "Fantastic Mr. Fox," attracting unprecedented international media attention to a festival that had never been noted for such publicity coups: its chief purpose, after all, is to bring the highlights of Cannes, Venice, Toronto and the like to local film buffs who don't have the luxury of festival-trotting for a living.
It was an exciting development, but it couldn't last: for the last two years, former LFF director Sandra Hebron kicked off the festival with films that had already premiered in Toronto. And while "Never Let Me Go" was a respectable choice -- if a bit on the glum side for curtain-raising duties -- last year's choice of Fernando Meirelles's dismal, critically savaged "360" (which only recently slumped in and out of US and UK cinemas) was calamitous.
Steven Spielberg's biopic hits theaters November 9
It may still be gloriously summery -- where I am, at least -- but I'm feeling an intangible autumnal chill this week, as the upcoming prestige-movie season, and all the awards talk that comes with it, looms ever larger. Venice kicks off the fall festival circuit in exactly one week's time, I'm attending screenings with embargoes signed in blood, and every day seems to bring another new poster, trailer, clip or press release for a film with the O-word on its mind. (Yesterday's announcement of the Golden Globes voting schedule just about had me burying my head under the couch cushions, begging for another few months of sun.)
Today, then, marks the first move in the marketing campaign for "Lincoln" -- a sober monochrome one-sheet that quite clearly establishes, in case you thought otherwise, that Steven Spielberg's presidential biopic (and sight-unseen Oscar threat) won't be reframing Honest Abe's life story as a romantic comedy. It's not a terribly inspired poster, though I suppose it carries the requisite gravitas -- between the shot of Daniel Day-Lewis's artfully made-up profile and the grainily etched black and white of the imagery, it recalls nothing so much as a weathered penny coin in its iconography. That's surely no accident.
As 'Cosmopolis' goes wide on Friday, we round up Cronenberg's best thesps
After a divided reception at May's Cannes Film Festival (and a UK release earlier this summer), David Cronenberg's "Cosmopolis" finally opened for New York and Los Angeles audiences on Friday. On Friday, meanwhile, it opens wide, exposing itself itself to hordes of Robert Pattinson fanatics who might well find themselves baffled by Cronenberg's (or rather Don DeLillo's) chilly, talky, unapologetically freeze-dried essay on the alienation of the One Per Cent. They'll do anything for love, those Twi-hards, but I'm not sure they'll do that.
The Pattinson fans that decide to give it a skip, however, will ironically be missing their idol's best screen work to date. Many sneered when it was announced that the veteran director would be working with the modern matinee idol, not an actor yet treasured for immense range -- but his pinched, low-temperature charisma has found its perfect manipulator in Cronenberg, a director who has seemingly always been as interested in a star's physique as their technique. In my review of "Cosmopolis," I noted "the effectively slippery [energy] inherent in Pattinson’s compellingly blank screen presence," which perhaps sounds more backhanded than I intended; it's harder than it looks to play a cypher.
Actress Nicole Kidman and program director Richard Peña to be feted
This year's New York Film Festival just keeps expanding. Yesterday it was revealed that anniversary screenings of "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," "Lawrence of Arabia" and "The Princess Bride" would be on the docket for the 50th annual, and today, it's been revealed that, like Telluride and AFI Fest, NYFF has added a tribute element to its proceedings.
The first-ever honorees will be actress Nicole Kidman -- whose film "The Paperboy," from director Lee Daniels, was also added to the line-up today -- and NYFF Selection Committee Chair & Program Director of the Film Society of Lincoln Center Richard Peña.
"Richard Peña has been the Program Director of the Film Society of Lincoln Center and the Director of the New York Film Festival since 1988," the press release states. "At the Film Society, he has organized retrospectives of Michelangelo Antonioni, Sacha Guitry, Abbas Kiarostami, Robert Aldrich, Roberto Gavaldon, Ritwik Ghatak, Kira Muratova, Youssef Chahine, Yasujiro Ozu, Carlos Saura and Amitabh Bachchan, as well as major film series devoted to African, Israeli, Cuban, Polish, Hungarian, Arab, Korean, Swedish, Taiwanese and Argentine cinema."
Bayona and Chbosky bring exciting visions to two completely different stories
Three years ago Summit Entertainment surmounted considerable odds -- a 17-month viewing window, a Goliath "game changer," low box office numbers that became the story -- to claim the Best Picture prize for Kathryn Bigelow's "The Hurt Locker." It was a pretty significant moment. The house that "Twilight" built had secured the industry's highest honor.
Things have changed a bit since then. Obviously, the biggest event has been Lionsgate's acquisition of the company, which yielded plenty of personnel changes. But in the frame of awards season, Summit has been there when it had the goods. Last year brought "50/50," a near-Oscar player that had a good time at the Independent Spirit Awards, and summer release "A Better Life," which brought a surprising Best Actor nomination for star Demián Bichir. This year, they have another one-two punch, a pair of films that couldn't be more different but that nevertheless showcase strong directorial voices.
'The Artist,' 'Drive' and 'The Hunger Games' among those up for honors
Whenever the conversation about potential new categories at the Academy Awards rolls around among award geeks, a Best Casting prize (generally in tandem with one for Best Ensemble) will usually be one of the first suggestions. It's a worthy idea, but one that -- like the oft-suggested category for stunt work -- I fear would prove useless in practice. Casting may be one of the most vital contributions to the filmmaking process, but I doubt most laymen would be able to discern what it actually entails. They struggle enough with sound editing without having to judge off-screen disciplines too.
I strongly suspect an Oscar category for Best Casting would just wind up dully adding to the laurels of sundry Best Picture winners, brilliantly cast or otherwise. You might expect the Casting Society of America's awards to take a different tack, but no: despite landing far outside awards season, the nominations for their Artios Awards check off most of the same 2011 contenders all the other guilds did seven months ago, with a few 2012 early birds thrown in for good measure.
The late director made a real impact on artists in his industry
I don't know what to write about Tony Scott. I saw the news late last night and the Twitter frenzy around it. Everyone, it seems, is so quick to have something to say in these instances. Armchair psychology, knee-jerk career analysis, etc. It's to be expected but I usually just go a bit numb with something like this. Scott is one of the biggest names in this industry to take his leave and, well, it's just awful. And not for Tony, really. For the wife and two kids he left behind.
I was going to offer up the usual "we don't know why these things happen" line, but it's now being reported that Scott recently learned he had inoperable brain cancer. "If true and Tony was terminal, then he died as he lived: Full blown, full speed and down to the very last second," director Joe Carnahan, who has been on a tear about what Scott has meant to him, Tweeted recently.
Synopsis suggests director's latest may be drawn from his romantic past
With screenings of Paul Thomas Anderson's "The Master" suddenly popping up all over the place -- to the consternation, I believe, of Venice festival brass, who usually secure world premiere slots for their Competition titles -- Terrence Malick's "To the Wonder" stands as the greatest unwrapped enigma of the fall festival season. Typically for the publicity-shy director, details of the narrative and stylistic construction of his latest have been spare. There's been no trailer. No poster, either. And while a single still has been floating around online for over a year, no others have joined it to show us what visual poetry Emmanuel Lubezki might have up his sleeve this time round.
We've known for some time that "To the Wonder" -- the first film of Malick's career with a more or less contemporary setting -- is a romance of sorts, centering around a reunion between childhood friends Ben Affleck and Rachel McAdams. The synopsis from production company FilmNation offers a few more specifics -- as well as an explanation of the film's only superficially oblique title -- that suggests the autobiographical urges that propelled last year's "The Tree of Life" may once more be at play here.
The great celluloid vs. digital debate really opens up for the layman
I'm not really sure what's left to be said in the great film vs. digital debate, but if nothing else, Christopher Kenneally's "Side by Side" brings things to a head nicely as it represents the layman's way into the discussion. These things always reach broader consideration last and no film, to date, has been as thorough and definitive as this.
A year after "Hugo" brought concepts of film preservation into a narrative fold and fed a meta fire throughout a season very much about Hollywood and the history of cinema, the debate rages on. That film's director, Martin Scorsese, the great protector of celluloid, appears to be throwing in the towel, while recent pop-up screenings (with one more still to come) of Paul Thomas Anderson's "The Master," shot on 65mm, doubled as a benefit for Scorsese's film preservation-dedicated Film Foundation. These are very divided, even contradictory times.