Film Friday: This Week's Movie News and New Trailers

  • Publish Date: September 20, 2013
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Alexander Payne takes a trip to Nebraska

Alexander Payne’s latest road trip follows a senile alcoholic (Bruce Dern) and his estranged son (Will Forte) as they travel from Billings, Montana, to Lincoln, Nebraska, in order to collect a $1 million sweepstakes prize. While Payne has taken to the road before in About Schmidt and Sideways, this is the first time he has not written the script, which comes instead from the pen of first-time screenwriter Bob Nelson. Payne also makes his first foray into black and white, an artistic choice that concerned some studios despite the success of The Descendants, his highest grossing film to date. Dern won the best actor prize at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, and he’s joined in the eclectic cast by Bob Odenkirk, Stacy Keach, and June Squibb. Nebraska comes to theaters November 22nd.

First U.S. trailer for controversial Blue Is the Warmest Color

Controversy has followed this year’s Palme d’Or winner since its first screening at Cannes, but few have questioned the strength of the lead performances in this lesbian coming-of-age drama that chronicles the love between Adele (Adéle Exarchopoulos) and Emma (Léa Seydoux). The first U.S. trailer for Abdellatif Kechiche’s Blue Is the Warmest Color, an adaptation of Julie Maroh’s graphic novel, proudly declares itself NC-17, is wordless (save for a few breaths and whispers) and is set to “Take Care” by Beach House. Sundance Selects will release the film in theaters on October 25th.

Not quite meeting Great Expectations

Working from a script by David Nicholls (One Day), Mike Newell, whose career has ranged from High Fidelity to Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire to Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time) directs this latest adaptation of Charles Dickens' classic novel. Starring Ralph Fiennes as Magwitch, Helena Bonham Carter as Miss Havisham, Jeremy Irvine as Pip and Holliday Grainger as Estella, the film disappointed viewers when it premiered at TIFF last year, and early reviews have been mixed. Great Expectations comes to U.S. theaters November 8th.

Nicole Kidman is Grace of Monaco

Olivier Dahan, who directed Marion Cotillard as Edith Piaf in La Vie en Rose, takes on another historical figure with Grace of Monaco. Nicole Kidman stars as Grace Kelly in this look at her role in helping to resolve the 1962 political dispute between Prince Rainier III (Tim Roth) and French president Charles Charles De Gaulle (André Penvern). The script comes form Arash Amel (Erased) and the supporting cast includes Paz Vega, Parker Posey, Frank Langella and Milo Ventimiglia. Grace of Monaco comes to theaters November 27th.

A NSFW trailer for Concussion

Writer-director Stacie Passon’s debut feature tells the story of a married lesbian (Robin Weigert) who becomes an escort in Manhattan after suffering a blow to the head from a ball thrown by her son. Reviews out of Sundance were mixed for the film overall, but many praised Weigert’s lead performance. Julie Fain Lawrence plays Weigert’s wife, and Maggie Siff plays a housewife who enlists Weigert’s services. Concussion comes to theaters, iTunes and VOD on October 4th.

Last Days on Mars

Life on Mars is fraught with danger for a group of scientists hoping to make the discovery of a lifetime in this feature-directing debut from Ruairi Robinson. Clive Dawson’s script is an adaptation of Sydney J. Bounds’ short story “The Animators,” but, according to early reviews, the cast of Liev Schreiber, Olivia Williams, Romola Garai, and Elias Koteas can’t save this “derivative” sci-fi trip. Last Days on Mars comes to iTunes and VOD on October 31st and to theaters on December 6th.

Machete Kills’ bloody red-band trailer

If nothing else, Robert Rodriguez’s sequel to 2010’s Machete has come up with some novel ways to use various blades, especially helicopter blades. The latest red-band trailer focuses on the red spewing from several severed limbs—after all, this is Machete. With a plot that has the president (played by Carlos Estevez, aka Charlie Sheen) calling Danny Trejo’s Machete for help in dealing with a billionaire criminal mastermind played by Mel Gibson and a cast that includes Demián Bichir, Michelle Rodriguez, Antonio Banderas, Amber Heard, Sofia Vergara, Lady Gaga, Cuba Gooding Jr., Jessica Alba, Zoe Saldana, Vanessa Hudgens, Jessica Alba, and Alexa Vega, Machete Kills hopes to clean up when it hits theaters October 11th.

A Touch of Sin

The latest from director Jia Zhang-ke (Unknown Pleasures, The World, 24 City) surprised critics with its stark violence when it premiered at Cannes this year. Comprised of four stories inspired by newspaper headlines, the narrative takes place in different regions of China and focuses on a drifter, a coal mine worker, a spa receptionist, and a factory worker. A Touch of Sin won the best screenplay award at Cannes and gets a U.S. debut on October 4th.

Big Sur

Along with On the Road and Kill Your Darlings, Michael Polish’s Big Sur is another look at the Beat generation, but this time the focus is on their later years in this adaptation of one of Jack Kerouac's last novels. As Kerouac (Jean-Marc Barr) struggles to escape the fame brought on by On the Road, he seeks refuge in the Big Sur cabin owned by Lawrence Ferlinghetti (Anthony Edwards). Josh Lucas plays Neal Cassady, Radha Mitchell plays Cassady’s wife, and Kate Bosworth plays his mistress. Polish directs without the aid of his twin brother, Mark, and the score comes from Bryce and Aaron Dessner of The National. Look for Big Sur in select theaters beginning November 1st.

Oldboy and the hotel from hell

Spike Lee’s English-language remake of Park Chan-wook’s Oldboy stars Josh Brolin, but in this teaser Samuel L. Jackson and a series of creepy images take center stage (check out the poster on the wall). Oldboy comes to theaters November 27th.

Quick notes: Rumors, release dates, casting news and more

  • Saoirse Ronan, Michael B. Jordan, and David Oyelowo are the latest names to be rumored in connection with Star Wars: Episode VII. - Latino Review
  • Bryan Cranston will play blacklisted screenwriter Dalton Trumbo in a biopic to be directed by Jay Roach. - Deadline
  • Adam Sandler is in talks to join Win Win director Tom McCarthy’s The Cobbler. - THR
  • Hope you liked Insidious: Chapter 2 because Chapter 3 will be coming to cinemas as soon as possible. - Variety
  • Lucas Black will return as Sean Boswell in Fast & Furious 7, 8 & 9. - Deadline
  • Pixar’s The Good Dinosaur has been delayed more than a year until November 25, 2015, making 2014 a Pixar-free year. Finding Dory, the sequel to Finding Nemo, will now be released June 17, 2016. - L.A. Times
  • Leonardo DiCaprio will produce and star as Woodrow Wilson in a biopic of the 28th President of the United States based on A. Scott Berg’s book, Wilson. - Variety
  • Matt Bomer will play actor Montgomery Clift in a biopic written by Christopher Lovick and directed by Larry Moss. - Deadline
  • Michael Shannon will star alongside Andrew Garfield in Ramin Bahrani’s 99 Homes, a drama about the collapse of the housing bubble. - THR
  • Emily Ratajkowski of “Blurred Lines” video fame will play Ben Affleck’s mistress in David Fincher’s adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl. - The Wrap
  • Andres Muschietti (Mama) is in talks to direct Universal’s reboot of its Mummy franchise. - Heat Vision
  • Jack Black is in talks to re-team with his Gulliver’s Travels director, Rob Letterman, in his adaptation of R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps series. - The Wrap
  • Paul Greengrass will not be directing The Trial of the Chicago 7. - THR
  • Lily Rabe (American Horror Story) will play Commander Lyme in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Parts 1 & 2. - Variety
  • Laurie Holden (The Walking Dead), Steve Tom, and Rachel Melvin will star alongside Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels in Dumb and Dumber To. - THR
  • Rob Lowe has joined Cameron Diaz, Jason Segel, Rob Corddry, and Jack Black in Jake Kasdan’s comedy Sex Tape. - Deadline
  • Andrew Dosunmu (Mother of George) will direct Fela Kuti, a biopic based on Michael Veal’s book Fela: The Life and Times of An African Musical Icon. - THR
  • Fede Alvarez (Evil Dead) will direct the adaptation of Electronic Arts’ Dante’s Inferno. - Deadline
  • Etan Cohen, the writer of Tropic Thunder, will direct Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart in the comedy Get Hard, the story of an investment banker who seeks out advice on how to prepare for a prison term. - Variety
  • Kelsey Grammer will take the role intended for Nicolas Cage in The Expendables 3. - Deadline
  • Garrett Hedlund will star with Jack O’Connell, who will play Louis Zamperini, in Angelina Jolie’s adaptation of Laura Hillenbrand's bio of Zamperini, Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption. - Variety
  • Simon Pegg, Alice Braga, Luke Hemsworth, and Teresa Palmer will star in Kriv Stenders’ Australian crime thriller Kill Me Three Times. - Variety & Deadline
  • Noah Baumbach (Frances Ha) is directing an animated adaptation of Berkeley Breathed’s Flawed Dogs series. - Bleeding Cool
  • Cate Blanchett will make her feature directorial debut with The Dinner, a psychological thriller that Oren Moverman (Rampart) will adapt from Herman Koch’s novel. - Deadline

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