The last time Paramount Pictures tried a Jason Reitman film on the awards season, it was last year's "Labor Day." I thought it was an impressive bit of stretching from the director and was happy to see a certain sect of critics find value in it. Alas, that was a minority view, as most took aim on the film and fired either at Telluride or Toronto and a misguided December release date finished it off after that. But everyone is back up to the plate this year with the Chad Kultgen adaptation "Men, Women & Children," and the first teaser trailer for the film has arrived to set the tone.
It's been an interesting run of films for director Clint Eastwood in the 10 years since his "Million Dollar Baby" crashed the 2004 Oscar party and ran away with the gold. I say "interesting" because, at least in awards season terms, it's been a run particularly notable for lots of revving but nothing that ever materialized as a significant player.
One of the few remaining mysteries of the season has been where Jason Reitman's "Men, Women & Children" would settle on the calendar. Would Paramount opt for a very late bow like last year's "Labor Day" after the director's traditional Toronto Film Festival premiere slot, or try for earlier in the fall? Turns out it's going to be the latter.
After an underwhelming summer, the fall festival season is finally upon us. And, unlike previous years, it appears the wealth of world premieres has been spread across the Venice, Telluride, Toronto and New York Film Festivals.
I had a hunch when Sony slid "Fury" to a mid-October release date that they might opt for something like the closing night slot of the London Film Festival two days after the domestic release. And so it is. The Brad Pitt WWII film directed by David Ayer, which was filmed outside of London, has been slated to wrap up the fest on Oct. 19.
I've spent the better part of the last few months diving into the catalog of cinematographer Roger Deakins, starting with Michael Radford's "Nineteen Eighty Four" and soaking up each and every indelible image he's given us over the last three decades. I imagine I'll write something up soon enough, as he'll surely be in the thick of things again this season with his work on Angelina Jolie's "Unbroken," but in the meantime, here's a delicious video exploration of some of his work.
The Film Society of Lincoln Center has announced the full slate of this year's 52nd annual event, and as usual it's a tightly curated assortment of world cinema.
Eight and a half years ago, Reese Witherspoon won an Oscar. It came for her leading performance as June Carter in James Mangold's Johnny Cash biopic "Walk the Line." But things fell off after that for a little while. Gavin Hood's "Tsotsi" follow-up, "Rendition," went nowhere with audiences or critics. James L. Brooks' "How Do You Know" stalled. Francis Lawrence's "Water for Elephants" didn't really move the needle. Holiday rom-com "Four Christmases" and spy caper "This Means War" completely bottomed out. And then early last year, that unfortunate Atlanta arrest incident.
But all the while, the actress, who has virtually grown up in the film industry, has been priming the pump with a few projects that will make it to screens this year. At the end of the season, she could well end up with as many as three Oscar nominations. The stage has truly been set for a career turnaround.
How classic can you get? It turns out Clint Eastwood's "American Sniper" with Bradley Cooper will get a limited bow on Christmas Day before going wide on January 16. That puts it smack dab in the middle of the upcoming Oscar season, and gives Universal a little bit of competition on being last pony out of the gate with "Unbroken."
Hollywood has lost a second iconic voice in less than 24 hours. Lauren Bacall, star of screen, stage and television, passed away at the age of 89 Tuesday.