Revision prompted by last year's controversy over 'The Master' wins
Cannes may be just around the corner, but the Venice Film Festival is sooner than you think it is -- the two European majors effectively bookend the summer movie season, meaning the first glimpse of fall prestige fare on the Lido is just over three months away. Last week, the festival named William Friedkin the winner of this year's lifetime achievement Golden Lion, and today they further interrupted the pre-Cannes conversation with the announcement of this year's Competition jury president: Oscar-winning Italian director Bernardo Bertolucci.
A trio answers questions on Baz Luhrmann's latest
After a five-month delay, Baz Luhrmann's long awaited adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby" is finally coming to theaters. So far, reviews have been mixed. "Gatsby" has a 56 on Metacritic and just a 46% on Rotten Tomatoes. And "Gatsby" still has a global stampede of critics ready to pounce after it opens the Cannes Film Festival next week. With that in mind, we're using the film's opening to kick-off a new feature here on HitFix, 3 on 3. What's 3 on 3? Simply, three questions answered by three HitFix insiders on a compelling topic from the world's of movies, music and television.
Let's get to it...
Can this true story return Hanks (and Paul Greengrass) to the awards season?
In our recent list of 10 under-the-radar films to watch out for this summer, I listed the small Danish thriller "A Hijacking" as a title especially worthy of your attention. A sparse, nerve-shredding account of a Danish cargo ship held hostage by ruthless Somali pirates, it's a must-see on its own terms -- but also worth checking out as a primer (and yardstick) for this fall's pumped-up Hollywood take on a notably similar story: Paul Greengrass's "Captain Phillips." Now the first trailer has arrived, and it's a good one.
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, Jia Zhang Ke's "A Touch of Sin.")
The first trailer for Lee Daniels' "The Butler" arrived Tuesday and it's a little all over the place while trying to make one thing clear: this movie has lots of familiar faces.
The biopic centers on Eugene Allen, a real butler who served in the White House for over 34 years until he retired during President Reagan's second term. Allen worked under seven presidents and witnessed some of the darkest days in Presidential history up close and personal. The film was independently financed, but picked up for domestic distribution by the Weinstein Company and because of its pedigree has to be considered a conversation starter for the upcoming awards season. Why might you ask? Well, "The Butler" has an all-star cast of former Oscar winners and nominees including Forest Whitaker as Allen, Oprah Winfrey as his wife Gloria, Cuba Gooding, Jr., Terrence Howard, Melissa Leo, Robin Williams and Vanessa Redgrave. The ensemble also includes Alan Rickman, Live Schreiber, John Cusack, Alex Pettyfer, James Marsden, Jesse Williams and Mariah Carey. The script is by Emmy-winner Danny Strong ("Game Change") and is Daniel's follow up to the controversial "Paperboy." Yep, that's first class Oscar bait people.
The brothers are trying out a new cinematographer, and the results sure look pretty
After initially being something of a question mark on the schedule (remember when IMDb rather unconvincingly asserted that it was being released in February?), the Coen Brothers' "Inside Llewyn Davis" now seems to be falling into the prestige groove we expect for the directors' work these days. A high-profile premiere in Competition at Cannes is just around the corner, while last week, an awards-friendly release date of December 6 was announced for the period folk-music drama. CBS Films may not be terribly experienced in this game, but they sure are aware that three of the brothers' last four films nabbed Best Picture nominations.
His debut, 'Gone Baby Gone,' was also based on the Boston crime writer's work
After Ben Affleck won the Best Picture Oscar for "Argo" -- and, apparently, the admiration and sympathy of the industry at large -- at February's Academy Awards ceremony, he could probably have persuaded Hollywood to greenlight just about anything he felt like making. Those on the lookout for a grand, overreaching folly in the actor's fourth outing behind the camera, however, may be disappointed to hear he'll be on familiar turf: like his 2007 debut "Gone Baby Gone," "Live By Night" will be an adaptation of a Dennis Lehane novel.
He directed her to an Oscar in 'Walk the Line,' so can he get her back on form?
Her recent run-ins with the law may be mildly tarnishing her name at the moment, but the question of what's up with Reese Witherspoon has been on my mind for several years now -- and it has nothing to do with any offscreen activities. Rather, the decline of Witherspoon as a vital screen actress -- all while she's held onto her stardom with impressive ease -- has been far more troubling to witness than any standard-issue TMZ fodder.
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, Jim Jarmusch's late entry, "Only Lovers Left Alive.")
The film, which charms on its own terms, was rescheduled last year
Baz Luhrmann's "The Great Gatsby" is hitting theaters this week in advance of opening the 66th annual Cannes Film Festival on May 15. If you'll recall, the film was all set to open last December amid the awards season glut as part of an already packed Warner Bros. slate. But it was shuffled on to a summer 2013 release to allow more time for post-production and, surely, to have a fighting chance at making some money.
I saw the film a few weeks back and, even as a Luhrmann fan, I was prepared for the worst. Why? A mixture of advance buzz, a trailer indicative of a film that could fall on either side of the line and even that rescheduling scenario, which is the kind of thing that rarely spells much more than trouble. After struggling for about a half hour to get into the film (Luhrmann's usual largesse really takes some getting used to when married with 1920s New York), it settled in and a simple fact took hold: it takes a lot to ruin a story this great. F. Scott Fitzgerald keeps it on an even enough keel, I think.