The moment Paramount Pictures plopped down a hefty chunk of change for Chris Rock's "Top Five" in Toronto, all eyes turned toward it as a potential awards player. After all, it was wildly loved out of the fest. One even wonders if it was a significant threat in the People's Choice Award situation up there. But the studio has a ton on its plate for the end of the year. Could it really take on another end-of-year opener? "Oh well," they seem to be saying on Melrose. "Let's go for it." A December release it shall be. Dec. 5, to be exact.
Fans of Danish director Susanne Bier have been crossing their fingers for "Serena." When the project was announced, all the elements of a great film were there: Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper, surrounded by "Silver Linings Playbook" buzz, would star; Bier, Best Foreign Language Film Oscar-winner for 2010's "In a Better World," was in the director's chair; Together, they'd translate an acclaimed novel by author Rob Rash. That was in April 2012. Two years of radio silence painted a discouraging picture in need of wishful thinking.
The New York Film Festival told us its main slate. We believed it. But it was hiding something.
BAFTA-nominated cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema has been turning heads ever since his stunning work in the stylish Swedish horror film "Let the Right One In" crossed the Atlantic six years ago. And lately, he's just getting all the good gigs, having stepped in for Spike Jonze regular Lance Acord on last year's "Her" and for Christopher Nolan's right hand man Wally Pfister on the upcoming "Interstellar." Well, you can add another big pair of shoes for the talented director of photography to fill. With Roger Deakins exiting the James Bond franchise after 2012's "Skyfall," we can confirm that director Sam Mendes has tapped van Hoytema to shoot the still untitled 24th installment of the series.
And Andrew Garfield and Michael Shannon to the Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor races as Ramin Bahrani's "99 Homes" has landed domestic distribution after playing the Venice, Telluride and Toronto film festivals. Indie upstart Broad Green Pictures has landed the film stateside with an aim to release in the spring of 2015. The film will not, however, be competing for Oscars consideration this year, despite early reports to the contrary.
Disney's upcoming musical "Into the Woods" boasts an all-star cast, but Oscar-magnet Meryl Streep takes center stage in a new poster for the film, inviting viewers to take a trip into those dark, spooky, wonderful woods.
Writer-director David Ayer is all about in-your-face verisimilitude. For 2005's "Harsh Times," he relayed his South Central childhood directly to screen. With 2012's "End of Watch," he flocked to those same streets for a found footage exercise. And despite it's World War II setting, Ayer's ambition for raw intensity should keep his latest film, "Fury," squarely in the real. Not every director would pull strings to get an actual 1943 tank out on his recreated battlefield.
Daniel Radcliffe will win an Oscar, eventually. He's driven, he's eclectic, he's riding Leonardo DiCaprio-esque blockbuster momentum that he's happy to cash in for provocative material, and, most importantly, he's good. And getting better. Holding his own against Alan Rickman, Maggie Smith and Ralph Fiennes for a decade certainly helped.
Actress Virginia Madsen worries that we aren't doing "Network" justice. "It's one of those great films that isn't seen enough, isn't talked about enough," she admits in the latest installment of "Let's Go to the Movies," the Academy's wish fulfillment video series. When invited to pluck a print from the Academy archive to take in on the big screen, Madsen went straight for Sidney Lumet's 1976 TV news satire, a remnant of a bygone era when movies were political, dangerous, and as prickly as their film grain.
George Clooney's latest film "The Monuments Men" may have turned out to be an awards season bust (I still quite liked what he tried to do with that picture), but that doesn't mean he doesn't have a place in the season. Courtesy of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, he'll need to dust off the tux and head to the Beverly Hilton for the Golden Globes in January because he's this year's recipient of the organization's Cecil B. DeMille Award.