Samuel L. Jackson confirmed for Tarantino’s Django Unchained

For those of you who’ve read the script, Samuel L. Jackson will be playing the key part of Stephen, the house-slave to the film’s bad guy, evil plantation owner Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio though I’m still skeptical about Leo’s participation because he has movie commitment issues). For those of you who haven’t read the script, (read…)

Festival Falderal Round 12: Bobcat Goldthwait, Rebecca Hall and a couple more midnight horror hits

Sharni Vinson in Adam Wingard’s Midnight Madness hit You’re Next Business: Liddell Entertainment picked up William Friedkin’s Killer Joe. Check out the roundup of reviews here. Magnolia has picked up Bobcat Goldthwait’s new satire God Bless America (reviews below). Their genre arm Magnet also grabbed the hockey comedy Goon (reviews below). There’s been some buzz (read…)

Drive (2011)

(This is a reworking of the LA Film Festival review I originally posted back in June. If you’re more into the hastily written snap judgment thing, then by all means enjoy the original instead. If anything, my opinion of the film has dimmed in the intervening months. Part of that comes from having subsequently read (read…)

Festival Falderal Round 11: Sister Lady’s Victorian Vibrator

Your Sister’s Sister. d:Lynn Shelton. s:Rosemarie DeWitt, Emily Blunt, Mark Duplass Lynn Shelton (Humpday) tells the story of an unlikely threesome spending a week at a cabin together. Mark Duplass (Humpday, Baghead) is still mourning his brother who died a year before. Emily Blunt (The Young Victoria, The Devil Wears Prada) is his best friend (read…)

Festival Falderal Round 10: Machine Gun Preacher, Double shot of Weisz from Davies & Meirelles

Gerard Butler is a Machine Gun Preacher News and notes: Madonna made waves at the Venice press conference for her critically-panned W.E. last week when she accepted a bouquet of hydrangeas from a fan and was then caught on microphone telling the person next to her she hates hydrangeas. For some reason this became a (read…)

NSFG (Not Safe For Germaphobes) Contagion bacteria billboard

Seriously, don’t watch this if moldery germ goo gives you the creeping willies.

Festival Falderal Round 9: Coppola’s Twixt stiff-armed in Toronto?

Elle Fanning and Val Kilmer in Francis Ford Coppola’s Twixt This is getting exhausting and I’m not even in Toronto. Twixt. d:Francis Ford Coppola. s:Val Kilmer, Elle Fanning, Bruce Dern As of this writing, only a small sampling of reviews have come in for Coppola’s latest self-funded personal project, but the Twitter buzz has not (read…)

A box office full of surprises

Pic of the Week: Skin Deep (click to enlarge) It’s been a while since there’s been much to say about the weekend box office, but this week there were a couple of surprises that also happened to dovetail with the two movies I saw. First off, I’m a little bit stunned that Warrior (*** 1/2) (read…)

Festival Falderal Round 8: Stillman, Maddin and Hallstrom

Another roundup of what’s doing on the festival scene: Business: CBS Films looks to be picking up Lasse Hallstrom’s Salmon Fishing in Yemen starring Ewan McGregor. Check out the reviews below. And now the movies: Damsels in Distress. d:Whit Stillman. s:Greta Gerwig, Analeigh Tipton, Adam Brody 90’s Indie favorite Whit Stillman (Metropolitan, Barcelona, The Last (read…)

Warrior (2011)

Tom Hardy and Nick Nolte in Warrior Warrior is an underdog story, a misfit story, a dueling brothers story, a father and son story, a blue collar guy on the ropes story and a redemption story. Not content to set the record for cramming the most sports movie clichés into one film, director/co-writer, Gavin O’Connor (read…)

For 9/11

Cliff Robertson, Actor: 1923 – 2010

Cliff Robertson died today at the age of 88. I suppose his Oscar-winning turn in Charly first comes to mind when I think of him, but he had a long and varied career in both film and television. On TV he appeared on some of the more popular shows of the 1950s and 1960s including (read…)

Tinker, Tailor, Trailer

We’ve already seen the international version, but here’s how Focus is selling Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy in the US. It looks like Tomas Alfredson’s really captured John le Carre’s novel. How a contemplative, adult thriller with action that is largely internal will play to a wider audience, I’m not sure. Oldman looks like an excellent (read…)

Poster: Weisz/Hiddleston in Terence Davies’ The Deep Blue Sea

Rachel Weisz and Tom Hiddleston in Terence Davies’ The Deep Blue Sea One of a number of films I’m anxious to hear about at Toronto is Terence Davies’ The The Deep Blue Sea though I found myself on the outside looking in at the rapturous critical response his documentary Of Time and the City got. (read…)

Festival Falderal Round 7: Roland Emmerich’s Anonymous is surprisingly un-terrible

Roland Emmerich’s Shakespeare conspiracy thingamajig Anonymous makes its Toronto debut Awards: Aleksandr Sokurov’s Faust takes Venice’s Golden Lion. Check out some of the reviews in yesterday’s edition of Festival Falderal. Michael Fassbender meanwhile won best Actor for Shame. LiC’s Shame review roundup is here and a full list of Venice winners can be found at (read…)

Festival Falderal Round 6: The Raid kicks Killer Elite’s ass

The Raid. d:Gareth Huw Evans. s:Iko Uwais An Indonesian crime lord lives at the top of a 30-story building. 20 elite cops are sent in to get him out. Every good festival needs a vibrant midnight movies program and it sounds like Toronto’s was kicked off in excellent fashion. No US release date as of (read…)

Teaser: Nacho Vigalondo’s ‘Extraterrestrial’

I really enjoyed Vigalondo’s debut feature Timecrimes so I’m curious to see this one described as a sci-fi romantic comedy which asks the question: “What do you do when aliens invade on the morning you’ve just woken up with the girl of your dreams?” Extraterrestrial will be playing the Toronto International Film Festival. No US (read…)

Weekend Forecast: Don’t touch your face!

Heather Courtney’s Where Soldiers Come From Yes, I liked Steven Soderbergh’s Contagion quite a bit though it’s not any kind of a slam dunk classic. Critics seem to be falling for Warrior too, but this week’s Pick of the Week is a little documentary called Where Soldiers Come From which opens in NY this weekend (read…)

Festival Falderal Round 5: Moneyball and the return of Friedkin

Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill in Moneyball You hopefully know the Festival Falderal drill by now: the high profile stuff gets quick links while the smaller stuff gets a more extended workout. As Venice winds down, Toronto kicks into gear tonight and Moneyball reviews have been trickling in all afternoon. Brad Pitt stars as Oakland (read…)

From Page to Screen: The Hunter, Point Blank and Payback x 2

A Parker for every generation: The same book retitled for each adaptation “His hands, swinging curve-fingered at his sides, looked like they were molded of brown clay by a sculptor who thought big and liked veins. His hair was brown and dry and dead, blowing around his head like a poor toupee about to fly (read…)

Trailer: Ellen Barkin is having a ‘Shit Year’

Cam Archer’s follow-up to his Gus Van Sant executive produced and Scott Rudin produced debut feature Wild Tigers I Have Known is called Shit Year and it stars Ellen Barkin as a fading actress who falls for young up-and-comer Luke Grimes. Shit Year opens in NY on September 21. (via indieWIRE)

Poster: The Rum Diary

Click for full size at IMP Awards After seeing the trailer, the more I think about this the less on board I am, and I say that as someone who was interested when the project was first announced. Johnny Depp, Aaron Eckhart, Amber Heard, Richard Jenkins and Giovanni Ribisi star in Bruce Robinson’s adaptation of (read…)

Festival Falderal: Round 4

The Moth Diaries. d:Mary Harron. s:Lily Cole, Scott Speedman Mary Harron (American Psycho, The Notorious Bettie Page) adapts the popular pre-Twilight young-adult vampire novel by Rachel Klein. After getting clobbered in its Venice debut, it’ll probably get similarly rough treatment when it hits Toronto. No US release date, but this kind of thing is too (read…)

The internet…er…weighs in on Eddie Murphy as Oscar host

Will Eddie Murphy do unspeakable things to Oscar? The Academy clearly wanted to stir up some buzz by hiring Eddie Murphy as the host of the 2012 Oscar telecast and they were almost instantly gratified with a flurry of commentary all over the internet once this past weekend’s rumors became official. The general opinion seems (read…)

Festival Falderal: Digging for Gold Round 3 – Wuthering Heights

The fall festival freight train continues. Ok, the calendar says it’s still summer, but Movie Fall starts for me on September 1. Anyway, Telluride is over and done with, but Venice is still chugging along with Toronto waiting to pick up the slack later this week. With most of the big films having blown their (read…)

Poster: Pariah

Pariah Focus Features has sent out the first striking poster for Dee Rees’ Pariah, which debuted to positive notices at Sundance where it nabbed a cinematography award. Unable to choose between several designs, the folks behind the film put them all on Facebook to let the public decide. That nugget of information would be a (read…)

Poster: Jason Reitman and Diablo Cody’s ‘Young Adult’

Click for larger image at THR It’s no secret I’m in the minority of folks who weren’t crazy about Diablo Cody and Jason Reitman’s first collaboration, Juno, but I’m looking forward to see if Young Adult is an improvement. Charlize Theron stars as an alcoholic writer of… wait for it… young adult fiction, hence the (read…)

Roundtable Interview: Ludivine Sagnier for ‘Love Crime’

Ludivine Sagnier and Kristin Scott Thomas in Love Crime Ludivine Sagnier came to Los Angeles earlier this summer to present the thriller Love Crime (*** 1/2) at the Los Angeles Film Festival. It’s the final film from Alain Corneau and it opened on September 2 in New York and Los Angeles. In the film Sagnier (read…)

Festival Falderal: Digging for Gold Round 2

Gary Oldman in Tomas Alfredson’s adaptation of John le Carre’s Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy If you read the first Festival Falderal, you know the drill this year: for the higher profile films playing Venice, Telluride and Toronto, I’m just going to link directly to the carefully curated critical links compiled by David Hudson at MUBI (read…)

Labor Pains

Photo of the Week: Muse by Moonlight Click to Enlarge Driving all over town on a holiday weekend and mostly getting burned by movies is cranky making. Of the three movies I sought out, the best was only adequate even with modest expectations. Besides The Debt (***) which I’ve already reviewed here, I checked out (read…)

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