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Friday, May 22, 2015

Poster Alert: Tobey Maguire is Chess Prodigy Bobby Fischer in PAWN SACRIFICE

I had no idea this was project was even happening. And I actually like Tobey Maguire as an actor, so I am going to have to stalk this movie now. Maguire, who I've always thought did especially well playing awkward, nerdy and often sullen characters, stars as legendary and enigmatic chess player Bobby Fischer in PAWN SACRIFICE.

Described as a thriller, PAWN SACRIFICE looks to go beyond the Fischer's nail-biting competitions to reveal the man behind the game--and his ultimate descent into madness. More in the synopsis:

In a gripping true story set during the height of the Cold War, American chess prodigy Bobby Fischer (Tobey Maguire) finds himself caught between two superpowers when he challenges the Soviet Empire. Also starring Liev Schreiber and Peter Sarsgaard, PAWN SACRIFICE chronicles Fischer's terrifying struggles with genius and madness, and the rise and fall of a kid from Brooklyn who captured the imagination of the world.

PAWN SACRIFICE hits select theaters September 18. 

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The Rashida Jones-Produced Documentary, HOT GIRLS WANTED, Hits Netflix Later This Month

Well, this is an interesting pairing. Filmmaker and actress Rashida Jones, friend in my head and one half of the team behind the underrated romcom Celeste & Jesse Forever, has produced a documentary chronicling the amateur porn industry through the eyes of young millenials. Yes, this is the same Rashida Jones who just a few months ago lamented about the "pornification" of pop culture. I assume she is looking at it from a different approach here.

(BTW, I was totally behind her on that hypersexualization rant, but I digress).

HOT GIRLS WANTED, which has received critical acclaim beginning with its Sundance premiere, will debut exclusively on Netflix on May 29. The film was directed by Jill Bauer and Ronna Gradus, the duo behind Sexy Baby (another doc on the topic of porn). Read the synopsis:

In the past decade, the proliferation of the Internet has brought significant shifts in the way porn is produced and consumed. Today, for many teenage girls, porn carries fewer taboos than it did for their parents’ generation. Directors Jill Bauer and Ronna Gradus explore this uncharted territory and reveal a business reliant on Millennials who believe empowerment is synonymous with online notoriety. The filmmakers follow one such girl, eager to leave small-town life in search of freedom and fame. With the click of a mouse she transforms from A-student to fledgling amateur actress. She initially feels independent and popular starring in professionally produced videos—uploaded on sites garnering an average of 41 million hits a month. But as she and some of her new friends fall deeper into the darker corners of the Internet, and as new faces arrive daily, they’re forced to reconsider an increasingly dubious line of work. Backed by two Kinsey Institute researchers and an acclaimed team of producers, including Rashida Jones (Parks and Recreation), the directors expose the complicated reality behind this fantasy world. As porn viewership dwarfs other entertainment and seeps deeper into our public and private lives, Hot Girls Wanted is essential viewing.

Hmmm....could be something. Thoughts?

Monday, May 18, 2015

"I Don't Think I Am Going to Be Famous. I Don't Think I Could Handle It." Watch the Teaser Trailer for the Amy Winehouse Documentary

I have to say, I am quite impressed by the slate of documentaries coming down the pipeline. Not only do the stories on Nina Simone and Malala Yousafzai look promising, but so does a new one on the late singer Amy Winehouse. Simply titled AMY, the film has already garnered a standing ovation at its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival last weekend, and if the teaser trailer is any indication, it looks like we may see a side to Winehouse we never have before. Though her songs (as few yet potent as they were) revealed an intimate, tortured look into her life, the documentary looks to delve even deeper.

Here's a little more about it:

From BAFTA award-winning director Asif Kapadia (SENNA), AMY tells the incredible story of six-time Grammy-winner Amy Winehouse – in her own words. Featuring extensive unseen archive footage and previously unheard tracks, this strikingly modern, moving and vital film shines a light on the world we live in, in a way that very few can.

A once-in-a-generation talent, Amy Winehouse was a musician that captured the world’s attention. A pure jazz artist in the most authentic sense – she wrote and sung from the heart using her musical gifts to analyse her own problems. The combination of her raw honesty and supreme talent resulted in some of the most unique and adored songs of the modern era.

Her huge success, however, resulted in relentless and invasive media attention which coupled with Amy’s troubled relationships and precarious lifestyle saw her life tragically begin to unravel. Amy Winehouse died from alcohol poisoning in July 2011 at the age of 27.

Watch the teaser:

The official trailer will premiere this Wednesday, May 20th. I can't wait to see this on the big screen.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Getting Excited For INSIDIOUS: CHAPTER 3 Yet?

Me? I'm still kinda meh on this one, though I would like to see what Dermot Mulroney will bring to the franchise. Even the recently released clips (below) don't really do it for me. But, you know, I remain hopeful.

As you probably already know, INSIDIOUS: CHAPTER 3 is actually the prequel in the series, and follows the now legendary psychic Elise Rainier (Lin Shaye) as she uses her ability to contact the dead to help a teenage girl who's been targeted by a dangerous supernatural entity.

Watch the new clips:

Focus Features will release INSIDIOUS: CHAPTER 3 nationwide on June 5. 

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Denis Villeneuve's Newest Thriller Looks Promising

While Prisoners wasn't a perfect film, I do admire director Denis Villeneuve's vision and approach to unsuspecting thrillers--even if they spark more questions than answers. So I am definitely looking forward to SICARIO, Villeneuve's newest film that boasts an all-star cast that will debut at the Cannes Film Festival this month. More on it below in the synopsis:

In Mexico, SICARIO means hitman.

In the lawless border area stretching between the U.S. and Mexico, an idealistic FBI agent [Emily Blunt] is enlisted by an elite government task force official [Josh Brolin] to aid in the escalating war against drugs.

Led by an enigmatic consultant with a questionable past [Benicio Del Toro], the team sets out on a clandestine journey forcing Kate to question everything that she believes in order to survive.

Check out a few images from the film:

SICARIO opens in select theaters September 18, then nationwide on September 25.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Finally, JUSTIFIED Gets the Respect It Deserves

Time and time again I have written about how awards committees too often ignore genre TV shows and films, appeasing them by nominating them strictly for their technical achievements and rarely in any writing or acting categories. (Don't even get me started on The Walking Dead or A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night).

So you can imagine my pleasant surprise when I was looking over the nominees announced today for the Critics' Choice Television Awards and found none other than Justified listed not once, not twice, but FIVE times, including best TV drama and best actor in a drama series (Timothy Olyphant). This. Is. Groundbreaking (at least in my world). Sadly, the nominations come after come after the show aired its series finale earlier this year, but hey, better late never, I guess.

Other surprises include nominations for HBO's Bessie and Nightingale, neither of which has debuted yet (but I am excited to watch both).

Read the full list over at Awards Circuit, and watch the live ceremony Sunday, May 31, at 8:00pm ET/5:00pm PT.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Cuba Gooding, Jr. and Sharon Leal Star in FREEDOM, Coming to Theaters June 5

Hollywood sure does know how to milk a trend. After the success of Django Unchained and 12 Years a Slave, it was announced recently that Viola Davis will play Harriet Tubman in a new HBO telepic and the epic miniseries, Roots, is getting a remake. Today brings the news (at least to me anyway) that Cuba Gooding, Jr. and Sharon Leal star in the upcoming drama, FREEDOM, on VOD, Digital and in theaters on June 5.

Recently acquired by ARC Entertainment, FREEDOM also stars William Sadler (The Shawshank Redemption) and is executive produced by Gooding. Here's the synopsis:

FREEDOM tells the true story of two men separated by 100 years who are united in their search for freedom. In 1856 a slave, Samuel Woodward (Gooding, Jr.) and his family, escape from the Monroe Plantation near Richmond, Virginia. A secret network of ordinary people known as the Underground Railroad guide the family on their journey north to Canada. They are relentlessly pursued by the notorious slave hunter Plimpton (Sadler). Hunted like a dog and haunted by the unthinkable suffering he and his forbears have endured, Samuel is forced to decide between revenge or freedom. 100 years earlier in 1748, John Newton the Captain of a slave trader sails from Africa with a cargo of slaves, bound for America. On board is Samuel's great grandfather whose survival is tied to the fate of Captain Newton. The voyage changes Newton's life forever and writes the song “Amazing Grace”, creating a legacy that will inspire Samuel and the lives of millions for generations to come.

I literally have no reaction to this project, so what do you think?

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