George Clooney’s Monuments Men
George Clooney directs and stars in his own (co-written with producing partner Grant Heslov) adaptation of Robert M. Edsel’s book The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History. The true story recounts the efforts of seven art experts played by Clooney, Matt Damon, Bill Murray, John Goodman, Jean Dujardin, Bob Balaban, and Hugh Bonneville, who went behind enemy lines to rescue stolen art from the Nazis. Cate Blanchett provides support and the trailer’s best line, “How can I help you steal our stolen art?” The Monuments Men opens December 18th.
Do the Hustle
American Hustle, David O. Russell’s upcoming look at the FBI’s Abscam sting operation, features an amazing cast that includes many actors who have worked with him before (Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, Amy Adams, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro) as well as a few newcomers (Jeremy Renner, Louis C.K., Michael Peña, Jack Huston, and Alessandro Nivola), and reports from early screenings have been very positive. It’s a loaded awards season, but look for American Hustle to be around once the dust settles. See it in select theaters December 13th before it expands on December 25th.
Charles Dickens’ Invisible Woman
Ralph Fiennes follows his directorial debut, the Shakespeare adaptation Coriolanus, with this look at the life of another preeminent English author, Charles Dickens. Fiennes focuses on the author’s life after he is already famous and begins an affair with Ellen “Nelly” Ternan, played by Felicity Jones. Kristin Scott Thomas plays Nelly’s mother, and Joanna Scanlan plays Dickens’ wife. Good reviews greeted the film upon its premiere in Telluride and subsequent screenings in Toronto. Look for The Invisible Woman in theaters beginning December 25th.
A new look at the Coens' Inside Llewyn Davis
With excellent early reviews, the latest film from Joel and Ethan Coen is a favorite to win a few awards from critics in the coming months, but will it be able to win over audiences like the siblings’ last (and highest-grossing) film, True Grit? Well, it is another period piece as the brothers Coen follow Llewyn Davis (Oscar Isaacs), a down-on-his-luck folk singer in 1960’s Greenwich Village, as he stumbles through life and leaves a mess behind. Coen regular John Goodman shows up, joined by Carey Mulligan, Justin Timberlake, Adam Driver, and Garrett Hedlund. Inside Llewyn Davis won the Grand Prix at Cannes and comes to a few theaters on December 6th before expanding nationwide on December 20th.
Out of the Furnace
Writer-director Scott Cooper (Crazy Heart) returns to feature directing after a nearly four-year absence with this story about Russel Baze (Christian Bale), a steel worker with a terminally ill father and a brother, Rodney (Casey Affleck), just released from prison. When Rodney goes missing and the police fail to follow through, Russel takes matters into his own hands, leading to a confrontation with Curtis DeGroat (a very dangerous looking Woody Harrelson). The strong supporting cast includes Zoe Saldana, Forest Whitaker, Sam Shepard, and Willem Dafoe. Your mileage may vary with this trailer, depending on your enjoyment of the cover of Neil Young’s “Heart of Gold” featured throughout. Out of the Furnace hits select theaters December 6th.
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
Early reviews from its premiere at the New York Film Festival were mixed for Ben Stiller’s adaptation of James Thurber’s short story The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, but maybe this second trailer will help convince viewers to give it a shot. Directing from a script by Steve Conrad (The Weather Man, The Pursuit of Happyness), Stiller plays a daydreaming photo editor whose search for a lost negative leads him into a real-life adventure. Joining Stiller in the cast are Kristen Wiig as his love interest, Adam Scott as his new boss, Shirley MacLaine as his mother, Kathryn Hahn as his sister, and Sean Penn as the sought-after photographer. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty comes to theaters on December 25th.
Shia LaBeouf is Charlie Countryman
Frederik Bond’s debut feature tells the story of Charlie Countryman (Shia LaBeouf) who, at the urging of his dead mother, goes to Bucharest, where he falls in love with Gabi (Evan Rachel Wood). Unfortunately, Charlie and Gabi must deal with her violent ex-husband, Nigel (Mads Mikkelsen), and his crazy partner, Darko (Til Schweiger). John Hurt is the film’s narrator and the supporting players include Melissa Leo, Rupert Grint, and Vincent D'Onofrio. When it premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival (under the title The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman), a few critics noted how “unnecessary” the film was, but it will come to theaters nevertheless, on November 15th.
Claire Denis returns with Bastards
Director Claire Denis is always giving film lovers something to talk about, whether it’s regarded as a masterpiece (Beau Travail) or a misstep (Trouble Every Day). Her latest is a psycho-sexual family revenge thriller that played in the Un Certain Regard section of this year’s Cannes Films Festival. The film, starring Vincent Lindon, Chiara Mastroianni, Michel Subor, and Lola Creton, earned solid if not spectacular reviews. Look for it in select theaters and on VOD beginning October 25th.
The Armstrong Lie
The extremely prolific Alex Gibney (this is his third directorial effort released this year following We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks and The Last Gladiators) began his latest documentary as a look at Lance Armstrong’s comeback in 2009, but, as you’ve surely heard, there have been a few revelations and admissions since then. As a result, Gibney retooled his look at the cyclist to include his now admitted drug use and the fallout surrounding his confession. Early reviews out of Toronto were good. The Armstrong Lie opens in select theaters November 8th.
Quick notes: Rumors, release dates, casting news and more
- Destin Cretton (Short Term 12) will direct Jennifer Lawrence in an adaptation of Jeannette Walls' best-selling memoir The Glass Castle. - Variety
- Jamie Foxx is in early discussions to play Martin Luther King Jr. in a biopic that Oliver Stone has been approached to direct. - The Wrap
- Fox’s reboot of The Fantastic Four is casting and some of the names being mentioned are Saoirse Ronan, Kate Mara, and Margot Robbie for Sue Storm and Kit Harrington, Jack O’Connell, and Miles Teller for Reed Richards. - Variety
- Kathryn Hahn (Afternoon Delight) has joined George Clooney, Hugh Laurie, and Britt Robertson in Brad Bird’s Tomorrowland. - Heat Vision
- Danny Boyle will direct a feature adaptation of the recently released documentary Smash & Grab: The Story of the Pink Panthers. - Variety
- Lake Bell will join Owen Wilson and Pierce Brosnan in John Erick Dowdle's action-thriller, The Coup, about an American family caught up in a violent Southeast Asia revolution. - THR
- Jennifer Ehle (Zero Dark Thirty) will play Anastasia Steele’s mom in Sam Taylor-Johnson’s adaptation of EL James’ Fifty Shades of Grey. - Deadline
- Jason Isaacs has joined Brad Pitt, Shia LaBeouf, Logan Lerman, and Michael Pena in David Ayer’s WW II tank movie, Fury. - Heat Vision
- Terry Rossio (The Lone Ranger) will write Masters of the Universe, but Jon M. Chu (G.I. Joe: Retaliation) will not direct. - Heat Vision
- Emily Watson and David Thewlis have joined Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones in the Stephen Hawking biopic The Theory of Everything. - Variety
- James McTeigue (The Raven) will direct Milla Jovovich, Pierce Brosnan, Emma Thompson, Dylan McDermott and Angela Bassett in the thriller Survivor. - Deadline
- Sam Worthington, Jim Sturgess and Ryan Kwanten have joined Anthony Hopkins in Daniel Alfredson’s true-story thriller Kidnapping Freddy Heineken, about the 1983 kidnapping of the titular CEO of the Dutch brewing company. - Variety
- Doug Liman is in talks to replace the late Tony Scott as the director of Narco Sub. - The Wrap
- Alexander Payne is in talks to write and direct an adaptation of Ruth Prawer Jhabvala’s final New Yorker story, The Judge’s Will, the story of a dying Delhi judge, his wife and his mistress. - Deadline
- The friendship between Russ Meyer and Roger Ebert will be depicted in the film Russ & Roger Go Beyond from a script by Christopher Cluess. Read the press release at /Film.
- Peter Dinklage will play a man who tells people he’s a leprechaun in an R-rated comedy written by Andrew Dodge (Bad Words). - THR
- Jean-Marc Vallée (Dallas Buyers Club) will direct the Bryan Sipe-penned Demolition, the story of a “young investment banker struggling to understand his emotional disconnect after the tragic death of his wife.” - Deadline
- Sacha Gervasi (Hitchcock) will direct Chloe Moretz in November Criminals, an adaptation of Sam Munson’s novel about a teenager investigating the murder of a classmate. - The Wrap
- John Lee Hancock (The Blind Side) will write a new beginning and be on set for reshoots on the Angelina Jolie-starring Maleficent. - Heat Vision
- Emma Watson will re-team with director Stephen Chobsky (The Perks of Being a Wallflower) and star in While We're Young, an adaptation of Adena Halpern’s novel 29 penned by (500) Days Of Summer writers Michael H. Weber and Scott Neustadter. - Deadline
- Ron Burgundy is back, and he’s peddling the Dodge Durango.
- Spike Jonze asked Steven Soderbergh to do an edit of Her. - Vulture
- Quentin Tarantino’s list of his top 10 films of 2013 so far includes the much maligned The Lone Ranger.
- Ever wondered what the actors of Lars von Trier’s Nymphomaniac look like when they’re climaxing in character? Then check out this SFW but occasionally disturbing gallery (we’re looking at you Udo Kier) at THR.