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.
The Toronto International Film Festival announced more selections Tuesday for the upcoming 2014 edition of the annual awards season kick-off. The majority of the festival's program was announced last month, but this group includes intriguing world premieres from notable directors such as Todd McCarthy ("The Cobbler") and Gina Prince-Bythewood ("Beyond the Lights").
Sony Pictures has jerked David Ayer's World War II drama "Fury," starring Brad Pitt, from an original Nov. 14 release date to Oct. 17. That's a date currently occupied by the limited bow of Alejandro González Iñárritu's "Birdman," which shares a producer with "Fury" in John Lesher, but it puts the film right in the mid-month corridor that has worked out for awards season players like "Argo," "Gravity" and "12 Years a Slave" in recent years.
To a generation, Robin Williams, Billy Crystal and Whoopi Goldberg will forever be linked. The trio of comedy talents hosted the groundbreaking "Comic Relief" specials from 1986 to 2006. Over those two decades all three stars had major ups, major downs and ended up hosting the Academy Awards (OK, technically Williams hosted the Oscar show four days before the first "Relief," but it had been announced). And when one hosted you could almost guarantee one of the remaining two would appear as a presenter on the show with a wave or a kiss back to his or her good friend.
She's a two-time Academy Award nominee who has delivered impressive performances in films such as "The Tree of Life," "The Help," "Take Shelter," "The Debt," "Zero Dark Thirty," "Mama" and the upcoming "The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby." She's been called the next Cate Blanchett or Meryl Streep (take your pick). Yes, Jessica Chastain is well on her way to earning the title of America's finest actress, and it turns out we may have Robin Williams to thank for her.
I had to stop and think about it. When was the first time I encountered Robin Williams? I'm pretty sure it was reruns of "Mork & Mindy" at a young age, if not the boisterous Oscar-nominated performance he gave in Barry Levinson's "Good Morning, Vietnam." By then he had already dazzled countless audiences in "The World According to Garp." Whatever it was, like so many, it was the start of, as his widow noted in a release, "countless moments of joy and laughter" he would deliver for the next three decades of my life. And now, he's gone.
One of the films we've been expecting to land on the annually secretive Telluride line-up this year is Werner Herzog's "Queen of the Desert" with Nicole Kidman. A period piece chronicle of the life of traveler, writer, archaeologist, explorer and political attaché Gertrude Bell, the film sounds like it could be a meaty opportunity for Kidman, and if a studio were to bite at these late stages and prime a strategy, it might even be a potential awards player. Alas, the film won't be ready for the early festival circuit, at the very least, and that includes Telluride.