On March 31, 1999, Andy and Lana (née Larry) Wachowski's "The Matrix" hit theaters. That's 15 years ago today, and it was a pretty significant event.
When Jason Sudeikis presented at the Oscars earlier this month, it was as good an indication as any that the industry no longer sees him simply as an overgrown "Saturday Night Live" comic. And while his films thus far (a small role in "Drinking Buddies" notwithstanding) have been in a fairly broad mainstream comic vein, he's evidently looking to class things up a bit with something a little more festival-friendly. "Tumbledown," an independent romantic comedy in which he stars alongside Rebecca Hall, has begun shooting in Massachusetts -- filling in for Maine, apparently.
The last thing I heard about Susanne Bier's long-awaited "Serena" is that certain parties involved didn't want the film released in 2013. I have no idea if it's a bad film or not and would have hurt the Oscar prospects of Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence in "American Hustle," but it remains quite strange that a film starring that hot a duo coming off "Silver Linings Playbook" still hasn't been released, nor (at least) landed a release date.
It's also been in post-production for a long while, however, and films can be fashioned out of trouble with the right editorial care. Just ask, well, "American Hustle." I'm a big Susanne Bier fan (she took home the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar a few years back for "In a Better World" — more awards cache for the film) and I'm intrigued by this story, set in Depression Era North Carolina and based on the Ron Rash book about timber magnate George Pemberton (Cooper) and his wife (Lawrence). So here's hoping it finds its way into the light of day soon enough.
I think we can now emphatically put a lid on the 2013/14 awards season, as the Empire Awards -- voted on by the readers of the British film magazine -- took place in London last night. Unsurprisingly, given the magazine's inclination toward populist and genre fare, this is one ceremony where "Gravity" managed to trump "12 Years a Slave": Alfonso Cuaron's space adventure took Best Film and Best Director, while "Slave," which had received six nominations, won only Best Supporting Actor for Michael Fassbender.
There's quite a lot of firepower already stacked up behind Ava DuVernay's Martin Luther King Jr. biopic "Selma." Brad Pitt and Plan B partners Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner are producing (hot off a Best Picture Oscar win for "12 Years a Slave") along with Oprah Winfrey, and today, a new actor has been announced for the cast.
The Arnold Schwarzenegger comeback continues apace, though if you've already forgotten that "Escape Plan" and "The Last Stand" came out in the last year, no one would blame you. Can "Sabotage" make a more lasting impression? Not if the critics have anything to do with it: reviews of the DEA task-force thriller have been largely dismissive, which is disappointing considering the promise of director David Ayer ("End of Watch," "Harsh Times") and a classy supporting cast. I haven't seen it myself, so let's open the floor to you: Are the critics right, or does "Sabotage" deliver? Share your thoughts in the comments, and vote in the poll below.
It says something that even detractors of Darren Aronofsky's "Noah" remain in his corner for the most part, and at least the vast majority of them (those who aren't quick to be dismissive and move on, adding absolutely nothing to the discussion) are willing to consider. Personally, I found the film to be a big miss, but I also know it's a passion project of Aronofsky's and coming off the wild success of "Black Swan," it was now or never for this one. I'm happy he made the movie and the ambition is readily apparent on the screen. Sometimes that swagger hits ("The Fountain" is an all-timer). Sometimes it doesn't. But I'll be curious to hear what the readership thinks, so if you make it out to the film this weekend, head on back here with your thoughts.
The Weinstein Company can be very eager to change to change a film's title after its festival premiere -- sometimes with more necessity than others. "Can a Song Save Your Life?," however, is such a tooth-rottingly twee title that they were probably right to ditch it, even if "Begin Again" isn't the most inspired replacement. Anyway, that's what John Carney's musical dramedy will henceforth be known as, with the first official trailer for the summer release landing today.
The Cannes Film Festival is turning into quite the refuge for postponed Oscar bait. After "The Great Gatsby" skipped the 2012 awards season to open last year's fest instead (and wound up with a pair of Oscars to boot), the Weinsteins' seemingly troubled "Grace of Monaco" is following the same path. Now, on a more prestigious note, a source tells In Contention that Bennett Miller's much-anticipated drama "Foxcatcher" -- one of the films Variety recently bandied about as a potential Cannes bow -- will have its world premiere on the Croisette in May, though no one at Sony Classics would confirm at this time.
As one Biblical epic sets sail (so to speak) in theaters this weekend, news out of Las Vegas' CinemaCon is that another has undergone a title change.