A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting Existence
Credit: Magnolia Pictures

Magnolia acquires 'A Pigeon Sat on a Branch,' already one of the funniest films of 2015

Roy Andersson's film took home Venice's Golden Lion award

Do not take "A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence" at face value. What sounds like a horrifically arty student film is the latest from Roy Andersson, wry sociological observer and "Swedish master," as he's correctly touted in a press release announcing the film's acquisition. In "Pigeon," Andersson confronts the mundanity of life, humanity's strangest impulses, and the absolutes of death in Monty Python-like vignettes, realized with a painterly quality. With a distributor in place, audiences now have a deadline for digesting Andersson's previous work in preparation for this trilogy-capping "Pigeon," a true tragicomedy triumph.

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Sam Raimi
Credit: Walt Disney Pictures

Sam Raimi in talks for 'Silver Linings Playbook' novelist's 'Love May Fail'

Matthew Quick's romantic drama will hit shelves in June 2015.

There's the mischievous horrormeister Sam Raimi, the blockbuster wizard Sam Raimi, and the pensive character-observing Sam Raimi. The latter doesn't get enough work — welcome to Hollywood, folks! — but sturdy relationships from the "Spider-Man" director's past may put a high-profile, awards-friendly project at the front of his "to do" queue. Fans of the "A Simple Plan" and "The Gift," rejoice.

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Best Actress 2015: Oscar contenders include Reese Witherspoon, Shailene Woodley and Rosamund Pike

Best Actress 2015: Oscar contenders include Reese Witherspoon, Shailene Woodley and Rosamund Pike

Did Julianne Moore crash the party for everyone at Toronto?

It's probably been said too much at this point, but 2014, at least in terms of potential Oscar nominees, has been very thin for lead actresses. Call it a byproduct of an industry that doesn't seem overly concerned with stories featyring strong female characters (despite the notion that they don't make money having been summarily dispelled), or certainly with finding females in key creative positions. It's simply slim pickings this year.

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<p>David Ayer on the set of &quot;Fury&quot;</p>

David Ayer on the set of "Fury"

Credit: Sony Pictures

David Ayer calls 'Fury' the study of a family that happens to live in a tank and kill people

'I'm going to be a film guy for as long as I can.'

David Ayer took a big leap with "Fury." After smaller projects like "Street Kings" and "End of Watch" (as well as the critical dud "Sabotage"), he went right at the bull with a massive World War II drama featuring one of the world's biggest stars. Over budget and bursting at the seems, the resulting film is a fascinating shaggy dog entry in the well-worn genre of war, one with a lot of ideas flying around but a central intention: exploring a family dynamic in the middle of hell itself.

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<p>Michael Keaton and Edward Norton in &quot;Birdman&quot;</p>

Michael Keaton and Edward Norton in "Birdman"

Credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures

'Birdman' star Edward Norton wonders why people think franchise films are taking over

Plus: 'Fight Club's' place in a landmark movie year

After big festival bows at the Venice, Telluride and New York film festivals, Alejandro González Iñárritu's "Birdman" finally opens in limited release this week. Michael Keaton is well on his way into the awards spectrum this year, but his co-stars deserve some looks, too, and none more so than Edward Norton, whose mercurial method actor Mike Shiner lights up the screen every time he's on it, and might be the best thing he's done since "Fight Club" and "American History X."

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<p>&quot;The Gambler&quot;</p>

"The Gambler"

Credit: Paramount Pictures

'The Gambler' with Mark Wahlberg to premiere at 2014 AFI Fest

Can the film crack a tough Best Actor category?

We've been pretty much telling you for some time that Rupert Wyatt's remake of "The Gambler" would be one of the few premieres at this year's AFI Fest (along with J.C. Chandor's "A Most Violent Year"). Well, now it's official.

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<p>Russell Crowe in &quot;Noah&quot;</p>

Russell Crowe in "Noah"

Credit: Paramount Pictures

Off the Carpet: Can Paramount rekindle Darren Aronofsky's 'Noah' for Oscar voters?

A below-the-line campaign is afoot as the March release looks to swing back

It's always difficult to bring a spring release back around for the Oscar season, no matter the film's size or impact. But in a year like 2014 — which seems rather atypical as subversive comedy, American auteurs and blockbuster craftsmen all duke it out for room alongside the traditional, baitier offerings — anything can slip on through. That's what Paramount is surely hoping for with Darren Aronofsky's "Noah."

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Stacy Martin
Credit: Joel Ryan/Invision/AP

'Nymphomaniac' star joins Robert Pattinson in 'The Childhood of a Leader'

Film marks the directorial debut of actor Brady Corbet.

The fresh-faced Stacy Martin bent over backwards (among other positions) to humanize "Young Joe," a companion to Charlotte Gainsbourg's character, in Lars von Trier's "Nymphomaniac." While this year's only two-part sex parable isn't earning much love in the way of awards buzz, the model-turned-actress made enough of an impression to catch filmmakers' eyes. Her latest projection pairs her with a leading man that will inevitably catapult her to the mainstream. That's the magic of Robert Pattinson.

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Men Women and Children
Credit: Paramount Pictures

Adam Sandler and 'Men, Women & Children' cast reunite for 'American Beauty' live-read

Rosemarie DeWitt, Kaitlyn Dever, and Dean Norris join the LACMA event

By the end of its theatrical run, Jason Reitman's Internet drama "Men, Women & Children" will likely amount to the director's least financially successful picture. No, not every film can click with the zeitgeist like "Juno" and haul in $143.5 million. But when Reitman's Kate Winslet-Josh Brolin drama "Labor Day" tapped out at $13.4 million this past winter, analysts considered it a disappointment. This weekend's specialty box office reports pin "Men, Women & Children" just under $128,500 after its second weekend — something beyond mere disappointment for Reitman and Paramount Pictures.

The silver lining: With "Men, Women & Children," Reitman found actors that ignite him and perhaps vice versa. The door for future collaborations appears to remain open, with the first already in motion.

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CitizenFour

Review: 'CITIZENFOUR' is a thrilling re-examination of Snowden's NSA leaks

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There's no going deeper than the where Laura Poitras' drives her latest documentary.

Imagine sitting in on Deep Throat's first meeting with Woodward and Bernstein. Not like "All the President's Men," shrouded in Gordon Willis shadows or dramatized by William Goldman's cunning ear, but watching as a fly on the wall, witnessing men risk careers, futures and lives in the name of uncovering conspiracy.

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