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TIFF 2014 Recap: After 19 Films in Toronto - Which Ones Stand Out?

Fri, 12 Sep 2014 22:40:37 +0000

At the end of another festival. Over the last weekend I traveled up to Toronto to attend my 8th year at TIFF, or the Toronto International Film Festival, one of the major festivals every fall. TIFF is now best known for scheduling over 300 films in their line-up, from tiny international discoveries to mainstream premieres, which means there's no way any hardcore critic/blogger/cinephile is missing this fest. There's just too many films to see, from various Sundance and Cannes holdovers that I've been waiting for, to major unveilings like the latest films from directors Jason Reitman and Mia Hansen-Løve. This year I was able to see 19 films as part of TIFF 2014, complimenting everything else from Cannes & Telluride. Which ones stand out? To be honest, my selection of films does not fully represent everything playing at TIFF 2014. In fact, this is only my list of the 19 out of ~300 that I saw. Other big films that had ...

Check Out 100% Soft's Adorable Childlike Movie MacGuffin Art Series

Fri, 12 Sep 2014 21:52:09 +0000

We just recently featured some adorable childrens book inspired artwork that pays tribute to films like Pulp Fiction and Guardians of the Galaxy with artistic cues from the classic Golden Books. Now both those films get the kiddie artwork treatment again, this time from a Los Angeles artist called 100% Soft. The style is very unique, with almost baby-like characters, and this time he's used his trademark style in a new exhibition called Lil MacGuffins, using the plot device term to drive pieces that show characters and the item they're after in the film in question. They're adorable and awesome at the same time. See some below! Here's some of the pieces from 100% Soft's art exhibit Lil MacGuffins (via SlashFilm): Lil MacGuffins goes on display at the Bottleneck Gallery in Brooklyn, New York, along with MacGuffin-related artwork from Glen Brogan and Russ Moore, on September 12th (an opening reception happens from 7pm-9pm) and runs through September 27th. If you can't attend ...

TIFF 2014: Baldvin Zophoníasson's Icelandic Drama 'Life in a Fishbowl'

Fri, 12 Sep 2014 21:03:05 +0000

"What is light without dark?" Every once in a while I come across something so unique, so refreshing, so exciting to watch that as soon as the lights come up I immediately want to start raving and telling others about it. This is one of those films, and I hope I can bring some additional attention to it. Thanks to a tip on Twitter from filmmaker @DarrenAronofsky, I caught an Icelandic film called Life in a Fishbowl, from director Baldvin Zophoníasson, an ensemble feature premiering at the Toronto Film Festival. Amidst all the darkness, death, stress, and horribleness in this world, here is a story that finally has some optimism to it. As explained by TIFF, Life in a Fishbowl (which just opened in theaters in Iceland this August) is described as a "multiple-narrative drama" that focuses on three different people living in the cold, darkness of Iceland: "a struggling single mother, a former athlete trying to scale the corporate ladder, ...

Dakota Fanning Caught in Victorian Love Triangle in 'Effie Gray' Trailer

Fri, 12 Sep 2014 20:15:22 +0000

Despite having been completed a year and a half ago, the period drama Effie Gray has been held back by silly legal entanglements from writers Even Pomerance and Gregory Murphy, both claiming that the film seemed to borrow too much from their existing plays and screenplays on the historical figure and Victorian-era love triangle. But all that's been solved, and the film is at least poised for release in the United Kingdom this fall with Dakota Fanning in the title role of Euphemia "Effie" Gray. The film follows her troubled marriage with art critic and social reformer John Ruskin (Greg Wise) and eventual relationship with painter John Everett Millais (Tom Sturridge). It doesn't look half-bad for this kind of flick. Watch? Here's the first UK trailer for Richard Laxton's Effie Gray from The Telegraph (via The Playlist): Effie Gray is directed by Richard Laxton ("Burton & Taylor") and written by actress and screenwriter Emma Thompson (Sense and Sensibility, Nanny McPhee). The film ...

Dane DeHaan & Rooney Mara Get Musical in the 1920s with 'Ziggy'

Fri, 12 Sep 2014 19:24:00 +0000

Over the past few years, both Rooney Mara and Dane DeHaan have become quite the impressive young actors, with the former making waves in The Social Network, Ain't Them Bodies Saints and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and the latter breaking through with Chronicle and expanding with Kill Your Darlings, Life After Beth and The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Now the two will team up in a completely different genre for both of them as THR reports DeHaan and Mara will star in a 1920s set musical called Ziggy, which will be directed by Australian filmmaker Diesel Schwarze, a protégé of Moulin Rouge director Baz Luhrmann. The film will follow the rise and fall of the title character (DeHaan), a hunchback escape artist who arrives in New York during the mass-culture boom of the late 1920s and falls in love with the fiancée (Mara) of a powerful media mogul. Sounds like a classic stage musical to be honest. But it sounds ...

Radius Also Buys Nick Kroll's TIFF Selected Comedy 'Adult Beginners'

Fri, 12 Sep 2014 19:01:08 +0000

Weinstein Company's genre label Radius-TWC has already picked up the promising musical romance The Last 5 Years starring Anna Kendrick and Jeremy Jordan from the Toronto Film Festival, and now they've grabbed a buzzworthy comedy, too. Adult Beginners comes from In the Bedroom and Lost in Translation producer Ross Katz, making his feature directorial debut, and follows comedian and "The League" star Nick Kroll as a struggling young entrepreneur who heads back home to lick his wounds, the childhood home where his sister (Rose Byrne) and her husband (Bobby Cannavale) live with their three-year old son. And then he finds a job as their new nanny, for better or worse. And apparently it's funny and touching. The press release hypes up the film pretty well saying, "Jeff Cox and Elizabeth Flahive's punchy, humour-filled script is animated brilliantly by the cast. With his dry wit and mischievous grin, Kroll is pure charisma, while Byrne gives a vivid portrayal of a working mother ...

Theo James to Lead 'Underworld' Reboot, Which is More of a Sequel

Fri, 12 Sep 2014 17:12:58 +0000

Towards the end of last month, it was revealed that Lakeshore Entertainment intended to reboot the Underworld franchise. However, that's only half true as more details have emerged in a report from THR. Instead of rebooting the series completely, instead it will merely continue by following a new lead character. Theo James, who played David, the vampire ally of Selene (Kate Beckinsale) who came into play when she united with her daughter and sought out the hybrid Michael Corvin (Scott Speedman) in Underworld: Awakening, will take the lead this time. So instead of being a reboot, this is basically a sequel or spin-off. Variety's report on the matter says Beckinsale won't show up in the film at all, which seems to indicate she's completely done with the franchise. It only makes sense that James would take over, especially following his pivotal supporting turn alongside Shailene Woodley in Divergent. However, it's a little disappointing that we won't see Beckinsale kicking ass anymore, ...

Review: Tom Hardy Makes 'The Drop' a Slow, Dark Ride Worth Taking

Fri, 12 Sep 2014 16:29:26 +0000

Tom Hardy tackles yet another awkwardly-spoken eccentric (with something of a dark edge) in The Drop, and, once again he hits the role hard. That is to say, he owns it, and the crime drama elevates to something endlessly watchable with every line he speaks and every twitch his eye gives. With a screenplay from novelist Dennis Lehane and execution in guile from director Michaël R. Roskam, The Drop delivers a powderkeg of subtle intensity, suspenseful in all that it does and doesn't do. Though Hardy shines past every distinct aspect the film brings, the solid drama sprinkled with a dusting of violence makes for a fine thriller. Hardy plays Bob Saginowski, a bartender as meek as his vanilla first name would imply. The bar where Bob works, Cousin Marv's - the late James Gandolfini plays the Marv after which this particular bar is named - is the local drop spot for Brooklyn's underground crime syndicate to hold and pass along its dirty money. Given ...

Watch: Keanu Reeves Wants Revenge in First Trailer for 'John Wick'

Fri, 12 Sep 2014 16:13:15 +0000

"It's not what you did son. It's who you did it to." Keanu Reeves is back in badass mode in the first trailer for John Wick, the action thriller debuting at Fantastic Fest this month. "Game of Thrones" star Alfie Allen steps over his bounds as the son of a crime boss by stealing the title character's car and dog, the latter left to him by his dead girlfriend, and now Mr. Wick wants his stuff back. But he also seems hellbent on teaching them a lesson too. This looks pretty slick and fun as hell, and there's plenty of room for supporting stars like John Leguizamo and Adrianne Palicki to be badasses alongside Reeves too. Watch below! Here's the first trailer for David Leitch & Chad Stahelski's John Wick from IGN: John Wick is directed by David Leitch & Chad Stahelski and written by Derek Kolstad (The Package, One in the Chamber). Keanu Reeves plays the title character, an ex-hitman on ...

Chris Evans Gets Back to Romantic Comedy in 'Playing It Cool' Trailer

Fri, 12 Sep 2014 15:41:10 +0000

Following the trailer for Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper's reunion in Serena, yet another film that was shot in 2012, but has sat on a shelf for a couple years, has a trailer that has surfaced online. Playing It Cool (formerly called A Many Splintered Thing) marks the return of Captain America franchise star Chris Evans to the romantic comedy genre, and it's even a bit of a meta story as it sees him playing  a screenwriter who gets pushed by his agent to write a romantic comedy to help boost his career. But Evans isn't the kind of guy who believes in that cheesy love bullshit. Cue falling in love with the right girl. Watch! Here's an international trailer for Justin Reardon's Playing It Cool (via The Playlist): Playing it Cool (formerly A Many Splintered Thing) is directed by Justin Reardon and written by Paul Vicknair & Chris Shafer (Before We Go). The film follows a screenwriter (Chris Evans) disillusioned by love ...

First Look: Matthew McConaughey Lost in Gus Van Sant's 'Sea of Trees'

Fri, 12 Sep 2014 14:52:09 +0000

Following his Oscar-winning performance in Dallas Buyers Club last year, Matthew McConaughey has the anticipated sci-fi drama Interstellar from director Christopher Nolan coming this fall (which could result in the actor getting yet another Oscar nod). And after that, another awards-worthy performance seems to be following next year with The Sea of Trees from Good Will Hunting director Gus Van Sant. We haven't seen footage yet, but the story follows a man who journeys into the infamous “Suicide Forest” at the foothills of Mount Fuji with the intention of killing himself. Sounds pretty powerful, right? And now we have the first photo from the film which also stars Inception and The Last Samurai actor Ken Watanabe. Here's the first photo from Gus Van Sant's The Sea of Trees from EW: The Sea of Trees is directed by Gus Van Sant (Good Will Hunting, Elephant) and written by Chris Sparling (Buried). In the film, Matthew McConaughey plays a man who enters the infamous ...

Jennifer Lawrence & Bradley Cooper in Delayed 'Serena' First Trailer

Fri, 12 Sep 2014 14:28:40 +0000

After completing production in 2012, Susanne Bier's drama Serena has taken a long time to get to the big screen. Photos from the film surfaced online after shooting was done, and even more actually popped up earlier this year, but we've been waiting to hear when the film might actually get released. Well, the film starring Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper will finally hit theaters in the United Kingdom next month, and the first trailer from overseas has arrived. Set in North Carolin around the time of the Depression, a man (Cooper) struggles to maintain the future of his timber empire and things only get more complicated when he learns his wife (Lawrence) cannot bear children to continue his legacy. Watch below! Here's the first UK trailer for Susanne Bier's Serena, originally from Yahoo UK: Serena is directed by Oscar-winner Susanne Bier (In a Better World, Things We Lost in the Fire) from a screenplay by Christopher Kyle (Alexander) adapting Ron Rash's ...

Morgan Freeman Also Getting Epic for MGM & Paramount's 'Ben-Hur'

Fri, 12 Sep 2014 00:07:04 +0000

Just after news surfaced that Morgan Freeman would be playing a civil rights lawyer in Ted 2, the actor has also landed a role in Paramount Pictures and MGM's gestating new take on Ben-Hur. Like the original film, it's the story of Jewish prince Judah Ben-Hur and Messala, the son of a Roman tax collector, who grew up best friends before the Roman Empire rose to power. But this version is more faithful to the book as it also ties in with the tale of Jesus Christ, with whom Ben-Hur has several encounters, moving him to become a believer in the Messiah, which culminates in Christ being sentenced to death. So who will Freeman play? Deadline reports Freeman will take the role of Ildarin, the man who teaches the slave Ben-Hur to become a champion caliber chariot racer. This first bit of official casting seems to intentionally go out of the way to make sure the film from director Timur Bekmambetov doesn't ...

Elizabeth Olsen Joins Hiddleston in Hank Williams Bio 'I Saw the Light'

Thu, 11 Sep 2014 22:44:17 +0000

Briefly: Just after some footage of Tom Hiddleston singing as Hank Williams at a music festival in Michigan surfaced online before he steps in front of cameras for the country western musician's biopic I Saw the Light, the female lead of the film has been revealed. Deadline reports Godzilla and upcoming The Avengers: Age of Ultron star Elizabeth Olsen has landed the role of Williams' wife Audrey Mae, who tragically had to deal with the death of her husband at the far too young age of 29, due to heart failure. The film will chronicle the quick rise to fame Williams attained as a popular singer and musician and how it affected his personal life. That surely includes Mae on a number of levels. Stay tuned for more updates.

James Franco Will Be Adapting Chuck Palahniuk's 2008 Novel 'Rant'

Thu, 11 Sep 2014 22:42:57 +0000

Franco and Palahniuk? Quite an interesting combination. We've been covering news about adaptations of Chuck Palahniuk novels for many years, not to mention anything related to Fight Club. Many projects come and go, some make it into production (like Choke with Sam Rockwell a few years ago), and others stay stuck in development forever. The latest adaptation coming together is of his 2008 novel Rant: The Oral Biography of Buster Casey, about a high school rebel who starts an "urban demolition derby". So who is adapting it? None other than actor/filmmaker James Franco, apparently set to direct following adapting Cormac McCarthy's Child of God. I'm not sure if he's a good fit, but if this actually happens, I say bring it on. Here's the full quote from Chuck Palahniuk himself that Lit Reactor posted as their scoop. Palahniuk says: "As of last night we've finalized a deal for James Franco to option my novel Rant. Details about the casting, shooting and ...

Watch: 'Star Trek Into Darkness' Gag Reel Full of Cast Flubs & Dancing

Thu, 11 Sep 2014 20:50:31 +0000

For some reason, with only two films in the rebooted Star Trek franchise, someone at Paramount Pictures decided it was a good time to release Star Trek: The Compendium. Since it only has Star Trek and Star Trek Into Darkness on Blu-Ray along with a whole slew of extras for each film, we're not sure that we'd call that a compendium, but whatever. The good thing to come out of it are some unseen extras from the sci-fi sequel from J.J. Abrams, including a hilarious gag reel featuring Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana and even Benedict Cumberbatch making the most of their movie mistakes. Watch below! Check out the gag reel teaser for Star Trek Into Darkness found on YouTube (via SlashFilm): Star Trek: The Compendium is available for purchase right now and includes Star Trek and Star Trek Into Darkness on Blu-Ray along with digital copies of each film as well. Star Trek Into Darkness gets beefed up a bit, ...

Katie Holmes to Direct 'All We Had' Adaptation Written by Josh Boone

Thu, 11 Sep 2014 20:34:21 +0000

After making the leap from small screen success in series like "Dawson's Creek" to big films like Batman Begins and The Giver, actress Katie Holmes is ready for a new challenge in the world of film. Variety reports Holmes will now get behind the camera to make her directorial debut with All We Had, a mother-daughter centric drama based on the novel of the same name by Annie Weatherwax. And she'll have help from a recent big screen success with The Fault in Our Stars director Josh Boone adapting the book. Holmes picked up the rights to the book, the author's first, in July before it was even published. Read on! The book tells the story of a mother and her 13-year old daughter, down on their luck on the brink of poverty, who find their luck might be changing when they end up in a small town called Fat River. There they meet a colorful array of quirky townies who ...

Watch: Amanda Mae Meyncke's Relationship Short 'Now We Are Not'

Thu, 11 Sep 2014 20:25:51 +0000

"What - you need an invitation?" As always, we're happy to feature short films that catch our attention so as to inspire, and to provide a quick look at the variety of great filmmakers (and stories to tell) out there. This latest one is titled Now We Are Not, written and directed by Amanda Mae Meyncke (aka @amae and writer for other film websites), and as much as I could start explaining the concept you'll figure out as soon as you start watching. It's almost sort of a reverse Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, without the sci-fi, but with all the emotions. I enjoyed it and hope to see more from Amanda soon. It's only a quick 6 minutes. No synopsis provided! None needed. Thanks to our friend @ChaseWhale for the tip on this. This short film is written and directed by Amanda Mae Meyncke, starring Aimee Parker and Graham Outerbridge, produced by Kaylen Davidson and Trenton Waterson. The film ...

See the Trailer for Netflix's Doc 'Print the Legend' About 3D Printing

Thu, 11 Sep 2014 19:43:36 +0000

"Every once in a while, a revolutionary product comes along that changes everything." From MakerBot to Shapeways, we're in the midst of a 3D printing boom and it's exciting to watch whether you're a part of the industry or not. Netflix is so excited about it that they've made an entire documentary about it, titled Print the Legend, from co-directors Luiz Lopez & J. Clay Tweel. Premiering in the video service later this month, the first trailer for the documentary has arrived and we're happy to share it even though we're bending our own rules for something that's only available via the internet (we always prefer theatrical!). But the trailer looks great, and this looks like a really fascinating and fun doc about 3D printing, so why not. Give it a shot. Here's the trailer for Netflix's upcoming documentary Print the Legend, from YouTube (via SlashFilm): From the description on YouTube: "'The Next Industrial Revolution' is coming to Netflix... Print the Legend, ...

Robert Downey Jr. Defends Your Honor in Two New 'The Judge' Trailers

Thu, 11 Sep 2014 18:27:04 +0000

After premiering at the Toronto International Film Festival earlier this month, there haven't been many rave reviews of David Dobkin's dramatic effort The Judge starring Robert Downey Jr. and Robert Duvall. It sounds like the film decided to forgo subtlety in favor of melodrama that would have fared better two decades ago. Now two new international trailers show off much more than we saw in the first US trailer for the film, and the visual palette alone is already enough to make me feel weird. It just looks and feels so artificial, almost like a soap opera with a budget. Maybe the performances make it better though. Watch! Here are two international trailers for David Dobkin's The Judge from Digital Spy and Apple: The Judge is directed by David Dobkin (The Change-Up, Fred Claus, Wedding Crashers) and writte by Bill Dubuque (of upcoming projects like The Accountant and The Headhunter's Calling). Robert Downey Jr. stars as big city lawyer Hank Palmer, who ...