<p>Michael Keaton in &quot;Birdman&quot;</p>

Michael Keaton in "Birdman"

Credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures

'Birdman' with Michael Keaton to kick off Oscar season as 2014 Venice opener

Iñárritu's latest will drop on the Lido Aug. 27 ahead of Oct. 17 release

The fall festival season is lurking around the corner and before long, the Telluride guessing game will commence, the massive Toronto slate will be set (it'll be interesting to see how the tug of war between those two fests shakes out) and the always finely curated Venice line-up will help point the way after high profile debuts like "Gravity" and "The Master" in recent years. Add another to that growing list, as Alejandro González Iñárritu's highly anticipated "Birdman" has been tapped to open the 71st annual fest in a move you probably could have seen coming.

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Oscar Bait: Robert Redford to play Dan Rather in film about 2004 'Rathergate' scandal
Credit: AP Photo

Oscar Bait: Robert Redford to play Dan Rather in film about 2004 'Rathergate' scandal

'Truth' will also feature Cate Blanchett as '60 Minutes' producer Mary Mapes

Robert Redford isn't messing around with this Oscar business.

After losing out on a nomination for his acclaimed, nearly dialogue-free performance in last year's "All Is Lost," the legendary actor is making another go at Academy consideration (at least in theory) as the star of "Truth," in which he'll play former CBS news anchor Dan Rather during the career-derailing 2004 "Rathergate" scandal, according to Deadline.

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<p>Ethan Hawke, Ellar Coltrane, Lorelei Linklater, Richard Linklater and Patricia Arquette at the New York premiere of &quot;Boyhood&quot;</p>

Ethan Hawke, Ellar Coltrane, Lorelei Linklater, Richard Linklater and Patricia Arquette at the New York premiere of "Boyhood"

Credit: AP Photo

On 'Boyhood' as Richard Linklater's Truffaut film

Ellar Coltrane's Mason follows Celine and Jesse in the spirit of Antoine Doinel

Richard Linklater's "Boyhood" is a masterpiece. Full stop. It's an effortless piece of humanist filmmaking we don't often see, particularly on these shores where the Hollywood machine has forever altered the concept of what a movie should be, where independent cinema is pushed to the fringes while soaring budget gambles dominate the status quo and the middle ground of American cinema is consistently eroded. "Boyhood" is, at last, I think, the film Linklater has been striving toward his whole career. It is his Truffaut film.

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<p>&#39;Wild&#39;</p>

'Wild'

Credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures

Reese Witherspoon hits the road alone in new 'Wild' poster

Can 'Dallas Buyers Club' director Jean-Marc Vallée lead her to Oscar glory?

It's been nearly a decade since Reese Witherspoon picked up a Best Actress Oscar for "Walk the Line," but her recent renaissance (kicked off by her supporting turn in "Mud") could culminate in more Oscar attention.

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<p>&quot;Dawn of the Planet of the Apes&quot;</p>

"Dawn of the Planet of the Apes"

Credit: 20th Century Fox

Time to dust off that 'Andy Serkis for Best Actor' Oscar discussion

In fact, let's make some room for Toby Kebbell in the supporting conversation

A couple of years ago, Andy Serkis' name again made the rounds in the awards conversation vis a vis his performance capture work. The talk concerned his performance in "Rise of the Planet of the Apes," and came nearly a decade after he stirred consideration among more progressive minds for his work in Peter Jackson's "The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers." Well, with a performance in "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes" that is sure to outshine a great many that will be in the actual running, it's time to dust off that conversation once again.

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<p>Joel Edgerton and Christian Bale in &quot;Exodus: Gods and Kings&quot;</p>

Joel Edgerton and Christian Bale in "Exodus: Gods and Kings"

Credit: 20th Century Fox

'Exodus: Gods and Kings' trailer finds Ridley Scott back in 'Gladiator' territory

Plus: Check out the new posters and photos from the film

Ridley Scott's "Exodus: Gods and Kings" is coming this winter, another spin on the Moses story and…I don't know, why can't I get excited about this? Part of it might be the fact that the last Scott film that really lit my fire was "Matchstick Men," though I did quite like "American Gangster" and the director's cut of "Kingdom of Heaven," and I have a ton of below-the-line respect for "Prometheus." But it also just feels, I don't know, passé? This is Scott back in "Gladiator" territory, and "Gladiator" was 14 years ago, by the way.

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Would Roger Ebert have loved Baz Luhrmann's 'The Great Gatsby?'

Would Roger Ebert have loved Baz Luhrmann's 'The Great Gatsby?'

Chaz Ebert talks about her husband and 'Life Itself'

One of America's greatest film critics received a welcome honor this past weekend. "Life Itself," the documentary chronicling the career of Roger Ebert, opened in limited release grossing $131,411 in 23 theaters. That might not seem substantial, except when you realize the doc debuted simultaneously on VOD, a modern day necessity for small films that the technologically forward thinking Ebert may have been more than OK with (or not).

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<p>Patricia Arquette in &quot;Boyhood&quot;</p>

Patricia Arquette in "Boyhood"

Credit: IFC Films

Patricia Arquette calls her 12-year 'Boyhood' experience an 'anti-movie'

For you it's a film, for her it's a significant part of her life

HOLLYWOOD — This Friday is a significant date for the cast and crew of Richard Linklater's "Boyhood." After 12 long years of production on one of the most unique film projects of all time, the film will finally be unleashed on the movie-going public.

For Patricia Arquette, the anxiety mostly came at the end of shooting, when she realized this clearly life-altering experience was coming to a close. In the film, she stars as the mother of Mason (Ellar Coltrane), a headstrong woman already dealing with the effects of a broken home at the beginning of the story who is challenged with finding her way through the ups and downs of life as much as her son. The film could just as easily have been called "Motherhood," and indeed, you come away sensing that Arquette delivers the film's stand-out performance.

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<p>Ben Affleck in &quot;Gone Girl&quot;</p>

Ben Affleck in "Gone Girl"

Credit: 20th Century Fox

Rosamund Pike narrates dark new trailer for David Fincher's 'Gone Girl'

Tyler Perry and Neil Patrick Harris also join the party

Fox pretty much sat the Oscar season out last year after coming off a big 2012-2013 season with Ang Lee's "Life of Pi." This year, they have a David Fincher film to peddle, and indeed, "Gone Girl" could be an intriguing zeitgeist play dealing in elements of misogyny and misandry and the overall war of the sexes just four years after the director tapped an au courant vein with his critically acclaimed "Social Network." The latest trailer for the film (teased over the weekend by the studio on a key date) sets the stage nicely.

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<p>Christian Bale and Natalie Portman in &quot;Knight of Cups&quot;</p>

Christian Bale and Natalie Portman in "Knight of Cups"

Italian 'Knight of Cups' distributor says to expect Terrence Malick's film this year

I'm sure we'd like to just take this guy's word for it...

Terrence Malick is so secretive with his projects that it's sort of a perfect storm for the internet era. People track down any and all morsels of information and get hung up on whatever might be breathed about this or that project (the filmmaker is uncharacteristically prolific these last few years). Naturally, with a pair of films on the way sooner or later, the feeding frenzy is on, particularly as it pertains to "Knight of Cups" (the only one of them with a title). Is it going to hit theaters this year? That's what the film's Italian distributor says, anyway.

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