<p>Scott Cooper accepts the award for Best First Feature at the 2010 Independent Spirit Awards. How will he follow it up?</p>

Scott Cooper accepts the award for Best First Feature at the 2010 Independent Spirit Awards. How will he follow it up?

Credit: AP Photo/Chris Pizzello

'Out of the Furnace' director Scott Cooper on the road after 'Crazy Heart'

An impressive slate that could include...Elvis Presley?

Scott Cooper's slate of upcoming projects is about as impressive and varied as fellow Cooper Bradley's as of late. Three years removed from his debut film, "Crazy Heart" (which earned Jeff Bridges an Oscar for Best Actor), the writer/director is set to traverse the nation, from the streets of New York to Depression Era Central California, the Tidewater of Virginia to the blast furnaces of Pittsburgh.

Read Full Post
<p>&quot;Inside Llewyn&nbsp;Davis&quot;</p>

"Inside Llewyn Davis"

Credit: CBS Films

The Coens' 'Inside Llewyn Davis' gets a release date in the thick of awards season

The film premieres at Cannes later this month

The Coen brothers' "Inside Llewyn Davis" was picked up by CBS Films some time back and the course was set for a Cannes debut, which it will receive later this month. Oscar Isaac is on the rise and has the leading role, supported by the likes of Carey Mulligan, Justin Timberlake, John Goodman and Garrett Hedlund, among others. Bruno Delbonnel has filled in for the Coens' usual cinematographer, Roger Deakins (who has been nominated five times for Coen endeavors), and the trailer promises lush production value.

So…how will the film figure into the awards scheme later this year? We'll know in due time, but for the distributor's part, eyes are clearly on the circuit as it has just been announced the film will receive a December 6 limited release with plans to expand wider on December 20. That puts it right in the thick of it, though it's also a frame that didn't pan out so well for Paramount's period music drama "Not Fade Away" last year, financially speaking.

Seven Coen films have been recognized by the Academy to date. A brief history lesson...

Read Full Post
<p>Marion Cotillard and Jeremy Renner in &quot;The Immigrant.&quot;</p>

Marion Cotillard and Jeremy Renner in "The Immigrant."

Credit: The Weinstein Company

Cannes Check 2013: James Gray's 'The Immigrant'

Continuing our cheat sheet for the Cannes Competition

(Welcome to Cannes Check, your annual guide through the 20 films in Competition at next month's Cannes Film Festival, which kicks off on May 15. Taking on a different selection every day, we'll be examining what they're about, who's involved and what their chances are of snagging an award from Steven Spielberg's jury. We're going through the list by director and in alphabetical order -- next up, James Gray with "The Immigrant.")

Read Full Post
<p>Get ready for lots of this awesomeness.</p>

Get ready for lots of this awesomeness.

Credit: Warner Bros.

Check out this massive 'Pacific Rim' banner

Go big or go extinct is right...

If you followed along with our summer movie countdown over the last few weeks, you saw that Guillermo Del Toro's "Pacific Rim" was #1 on the list. It beat out stiff competition from the likes of "Iron Man 3," "Man of Steel" and "Star Trek Into Darkness," and that's no easy feat given that those are all films derived from intellectual properties with built-in fan bases. "Pacific Rim" is brand new, thought up out of clear blue sky from the mind of screenwriter Travis Beacham. That it was made at all is already a huge win. That excitement is at such a fever pitch is gravy.

My hunch is that the freshness of the concept could hold it back a bit at the box office, though. That's just how these things work. It's part of the "formula" that goes into the Hollywood machine that, ergo, cranks out familiar cookie-cutter product year in and year out. But of course I hope my hunch is wrong, and come what may, nothing will top "Pacific Rim" for sheer scale this year, of that you can be sure.

So it's understandable, then, that Warner Bros. would cook up a bit of promotion that attempts to match that scale. Indeed, the tagline of the film is "Go big or go extinct," and a new banner promotion embodies that spirit, to say the least. I mean…does this thing exist outside of a JPEG? Can you put it on a wall? It's HUGE! If I was Beacham I'd have a room in my house dedicated to just wrapping this thing around all four walls. It's a dazzling piece of promo art to whet the appetite as we await the film's release.

Read Full Post
<p>&quot;Iron&nbsp;Man 3&quot;</p>

"Iron Man 3"

Credit: Marvel Studios

Tell us what you thought of 'Iron Man 3'

Tony Stark is back for more this weekend

I'm struggling with using the "Iron Man Three" title, I just noticed. That's how it's written in the film's credits, but is that going to take hold? I'm also curious why the choice. Anyway, way off on a tangent here, so let's get down to brass tacks. Marvel's latest hits US theaters today after already crossing $300 million worldwide. It is likely to dominate the summer box office with ease (I'm betting "Man of Steel" won't touch these numbers and "Pacific Rim" will probably struggle more than people are willing to admit). The reviews are in and they're mostly positive.

We've had tons of coverage here at HitFix, most of it over at Drew McWeeny's Motion/Captured blog. He loved the movie. I was more reserved. We can all agree it's a great way to kick-start the season. If you want something a little more low key, I recommend "The Iceman," starring upcoming Superman baddie Michael Shannon. But if it's octane and high concept you're after, this is your best bet -- though ironically enough, it's not a movie built on set pieces so much as character. (Our picks for Robert Downey Jr.'s best characterizations can be found here.) In any case, when you get around to seeing the film, head on back here with your thoughts. And feel free to vote in the poll below.

<p>Bradley&nbsp;Cooper at the Los Angeles premiere of &quot;The Place Beyond the Pines&quot;</p>

Bradley Cooper at the Los Angeles premiere of "The Place Beyond the Pines"

Credit: AP Photo

'August: Osage County' director John Wells saddles up to 'Chef' with Bradley Cooper

The 'Silver Linings' actor is putting together a compelling slate

Bradley Cooper has been moving right along with his post-"Silver Linings" playbook. He's currently shooting David O. Russell's "American Hustle" and smartly backed away from the on-going circus that is "Jane Got a Gun" this week. Earlier today it was announced that Steven Spielberg will be tackling "American Sniper" with Cooper in the lead role as the most lethal sniper in US military history, while he attached himself to the Steven Knight-scripted "Chef" not too long ago.

On the latter, it's a fantastic script and an unbelievably meaty role. For a time David Fincher was looking into it with Keanu Reeves in the starring role as a high-strung two-time Michelin Star chef dodging drug dealer debts and mixing it up from Paris to New York.

Read Full Post
AMPAS names finalists for Student Academy Awards

AMPAS names finalists for Student Academy Awards

43 short films will compete across six categories

In March, we talked about some of the rule changes the Academy is making to the short film categories -- one of which is that Student Academy Award winners will qualify for Oscar consideration. So it's worth keeping an eye on this year's Student Academy Award competition; some of the films selected could pop up at the big show next year. 

Read Full Post
Robert Downey Jr.'s 10 greatest performances to whet your 'Iron Man 3' appetite

Robert Downey Jr.'s 10 greatest performances to whet your 'Iron Man 3' appetite

Where does your favorite rank?

Tomorrow Robert Downey Jr. suits up once again as Marvel's keystone in Shane Black's "Iron Man 3." It's expected to be the end of a trilogy, though we'll surely see Tony Stark again (as the film's closing credits promise). It's also a bit of a door closed on the actor's rebirth which began, in no uncertain terms, with his return to insurability in the 2008 original. What better time, then, than to look back on his finest work over the last three decades?

Read Full Post
<p>Justin Timberlake at the Grammys in February</p>

Justin Timberlake at the Grammys in February

Credit: AP Photo

Justin Timberlake and 'Dreamgirls' producer team for music biopic 'Spinning Gold'

Soundtrack will feature hits of the era re-imagined by today's artists

There was a moment in a Saturday Night Live sketch a few years back, around the time of "The Social Network," between Justin Timberlake and Andy Samberg. Samberg jokingly said to his buddy, "Why can't you just make more music?" Timberlake stood and, as he turned to leave, exclaimed, "I'm trying to take this seriously, okay?!"

Indeed, the Mouseketeer-turned-boy-band-member-turned-solo-artist-turned-actor (whew) has been making a strong go of the silver screen over the last decade. In my opinion, he's found fertile ground. I know it was a little difficult to take at first for a lot of people, but I've been a fan of his work since "Alpha Dog."

Timberlake has worked with filmmakers like David Fincher, Clint Eastwood and the Coens as of late, making all the right movies. And now he's poised to take on a big leading role in a biopic of 1970s record icon Neil Bogart.

Read Full Post
<p>William Friedkin with &quot;Killer Joe&quot; star Matthew McConaughey.</p>

William Friedkin with "Killer Joe" star Matthew McConaughey.

Credit: AP Photo

William Friedkin to receive Golden Lion for lifetime achievement at Venice Film Festival

Fest will also present a restoration of the Oscar-winning director's 'Sorcerer'

The collective mind of the film world may be squarely on Cannes right now, but the Venice Film Festival -- which runs this year from August 28 to 7 September -- has taken this moment to remind us of its existence by announcing the winner of its annual Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement: Oscar-winning director William Friedkin.

Read Full Post