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Saturday, May 30, 2015

Can You Love a Movie You Don't Understand?

I remember asking this very question on Twitter last year, when the conversation surrounding Paul Thomas Anderson's "confounding" INHERENT VICE was at its peak. All I kept hearing was "what a great movie!" and "PTA does it again!" Um, excuse me, does what again exactly? Can you really follow this adulation with "I don't really understand [the movie], but I love it?" Is this love for the film more a fascination with the idea of it than a sincere admiration for the work? Are folks just saying they love it because it's the popular thing to do?

One thing was clear for after I recently saw the film: I am just not a Paul Thomas Anderson fan.

And I never have been. But for some reason I continue to try to put myself through his films (not all of them, but enough of them), and arrive at the same sentiment. I can just never bring myself to care about them, and he never seems to have a perspective. He's not a moment-capturer, but more of a tone-capturer (particularly for INHERENT VICE, which was basically a limp acid trip from the 70s). If there was something impressive about portraying a mood, jaggedly, maybe that's what Anderson is going after. That's his, er, shtick I guess. Whatever, he can keep it. He, and his legions of fans who have (from what I have been able to gather) all agreed that they have no idea what his latest film is about but have given him all the props in the world. Come on, guys. Do better.

I know there are quite a few Anderson naysayers like myself out there (many are now in the Witness Protection Program). We're often confused for people who "just don't get it." Oh please, trust me, we get it. We just don't care about it. I'm (not) sorry if you love to discuss movies that you say are profound but actually say nothing at all. Please, feel free to bask in the pretentious world of PTA, who seems to be able to attract some of the finest actors of our generation (Joaquin Phoenix, never change) but reduces them to mere cartoon characters (and not the good kind). Seriously, it grates on my last nerves.

If I'm going fawn over a puzzling film, I'd rather it be something like Inception or The Matrix, movies that entertain me but also provoke so much thought and analysis that I can't take my mind off it. I want to talk to everyone about it. Those are the movies that are worthwhile, the ones that remind me why I even write about movies. We're not all going to have the same taste in film; some people get certain things from certain films that I don't (and vice versa). But hey, I expect you to at least come up with a better response to it than "It was great, but I don't know what was going on in it." Isn't that called wasting your own time?

Friday, May 29, 2015

Also: We Need to Start Taking Nicholas Hoult Seriously (Other Than Calling Him Jlawr's Ex)

It's been nearly a week and I am still obsessing over MAD MAX: FURY ROAD. I know everyone is singing Charlize Theron's praises for her performance in the film (and with good reason), but can we get a round of applause for Nicholas Hoult, who continues to evolve as an actor in one eye-catching performance after another? I mean, come on folks, he's not just Jennifer Lawrence's ex. This guy has gone from a child actor stealing movies from Hugh Grant (About a Boy) to playing Colin Firth's love interest (A Single Man), an X-Men mutant, a zombie (Warm Bodies) and now Nux, Fury Road's lone antihero. And he's only 25 years old.

I guess you can say I am a fan.

In an industry in which stunt casting prevails and Hollywood clearly can't differentiate one under-30 actor from another (so they just decided to cast the same 3-5 stars in every role), it's nice to see an actor with actual talent who doesn't need to be part of a tabloid headline to prove his worth. Hoult has the intrigue of an unknown actor and the talent of a veteran who's constantly studying his craft. In other words, he makes you want to watch everything he does, and be surprised each time. Which makes his performance in MAD MAX: FURY ROAD that much more thrilling. Nux, a young man of the apocalypse weak from undefined sickness who uses the title character (Tom Hardy) for blood donations. Hyped up  from the prospect of a new battle (in the guise of Theron's Imperator Furiosa) and appropriately glistening from chrome (the ultimate pre-game for war), he sets off to take down Furiosa, instantly presenting himself as the villain (albeit a terribly engaging one)  in the film.

But later in the film, something happens. You kinda start to root for Nux. Oh, he's outrageous and can easily pass as a post-apocalyptic mascot, but there's a moment when Hoult begins to humanize him. Though his dialogue decreases throughout the latter half the film, Hoult softens his facial expressions (revealing his natural babyface features) and audiences get to see another side of Nux. Perhaps the pre-apocalypse Nux? That's what we're left to assume as a viewer, but I just love the way that Hoult added so much nuance to a character that could have easily been wooden and scene-chewy in the wrong hands.

I look forward to seeing what Hoult will do next.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Quirky Romance Indies: When Your Teenage Crush Is On Alexander Skarsgård

This seriously looks like one of those quintessential Sundance films that wreaks of elite indie: quirky, half animated/half live action, with random mega celebs playing super low-key characters. But I kind of dig THE DIARY OF A TEENAGE GIRL, in a Garden State-meets-Juno kind of way. Even if it presents itself as the everyday, normal teenage girl who only happens to also represent the default white surburbia. Oh, Hollywood, you're nothing without being predictable.

Kristen Wiig, who's clearly going hard core for this indie kick, plays the mother of said teenage girl (Bel Powley), who's crushing on her mom's boyfriend (kinda hard not to when he's played by Alexander Skarsgård). More on the film in its synopsis:

Like most teenage girls, Minnie Goetze (Bel Powley) is longing for love, acceptance and a sense of purpose in the world. Minnie begins a complex love affair with her mother's (Kristen Wiig) boyfriend, "the handsomest man in the world," Monroe Rutherford (Alexander Skarsgård). What follows is a sharp, funny and provocative account of one girl's sexual and artistic awakening, without judgment.

Set in 1976 San Francisco, THE DIARY OF A TEENAGE GIRL begins at the crossroads of the fading hippie movement and the dawn of punk rock. News commentary of the Patty Hearst trial echoes in the background, as Minnie's young expressive eyes soak in a drug-laden city in transition- where teenage rebellion and adult responsibility clash in characters lost and longing. Minnie's hard-partying mother and absent father have left her rudderless. She first finds solace in Monroe's seductive smile, and then on the backstreets of the city by the bay. Animation serves a refuge from the confusing and unstable world around her. Minnie emerges defiant- taking command of her sexuality and drawing on her newfound creative talents to reveal truths in the kind of intimate and vivid detail that can only be found in the pages of a teenage girl's diary.

THE DIARY OF A TEENAGE GIRL is based on Phoebe Gloeckner's novel of the same name, hailed by Salon as "one of the most brutally honest, shocking, tender and beautiful portrayals of growing up female in America." Writer/Director Marielle Heller unlocks this diary with a richly comedic and deeply personal vision. In her feature film directorial debut, Heller brings Gloeckner's book to life with fearless performances, a stirring score, inventive graphic novel-like animation sequences, imagination, humor and heart. It is a coming of age story that is as poignant as it is unsettling.

Based on the novel by Phoebe Gloeckner (has anyone here read this?), THE DIARY OF A TEENAGE GIRL also stars Christopher Meloni and hits theaters August 7. 


Monday, May 25, 2015

Can We PLEASE Make Zoë Kravitz an Action Star Already?

So I finally caught up with MAD MAX: FURY ROAD, which did two things for me: 1) restore my faith in the early summer releases (am I the only one who's been bored lately with movies, save for Avengers: Age of Ultron?) and 2) reminded me that Zoë Kravitz really needs to be considered a major action star, like now.

In short, MAD MAX: FURY ROAD is everything you've already heard it is: an exhilarating, feminist thrill ride (with a kickass soundtrack) that is filled with three-dimensional characters. Seriously though, I left the theater wanting to throw guitars and douse myself with chrome (a common cosmetic in the film's post-apocalyptic setting). But I am still left with the same question I had after watching Divergent: Why isn't Kravitz a major action star by now? Granted, Charlize Theron, the baddest b*tch in the film (and truly my latest obsession) is positively magnetic as Imperator Furiosa, Woman of Women. But Kravitz has once again shown that she can rise to the occasion as well as Toast the Knowing, a hardened victim ready to pick up a weapon and avenge her captors.

Even despite her dead eyes (something I've noticed a few years back, which describes her emotionless eyes--usually a detriment for actors), Kravitz brings a fire to this performance in just a few lines. She seamlessly goes from scared to fearless by the end of the film (also a testament to director and co-screenwriter George Miller), and though she spends the entire film wrapped in scant threads, she doesn't become a weak, flashy character to be seen and not heard.

While Kravitz portrays a supporting character, she is never an inferior character. She's a humanist; a hero in her own right, even if she must become a hero of her own self--a staggering accomplishment only few can attest to. Hollywood, take note.

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?

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Rose McGowan Has Had it With Misogyny in Hollywood

It's funny, we were just talking about this during Sunday night's "Cinema in Noir" podcast: how most of us know that sexism exists in Hollywood, and have even offered solutions to fix it, yet there has been little to no movement on the matter.

So I am glad that actress Rose McGowan (Charmed, Grindhouse: Planet Terror) spoke out last month about her frustrations with the industry, AND provided very clear (and seemingly very easy) options to resolve the issue in front of the Sisterhood of Traveling Producers, a small, invite-only group of young female executives and producers founded by Stacy Keppler.

Below is a transcript of her full speech:

"To the wonderful women in this business of film: Your welcoming kindness last night meant a lot to me. As an actress, I've been treated as property or as a competitor. There is very little camaraderie on my side of the business. Your warmth was a new experience for me. How wonderful that you women have each other, and how wonderful that we got to meet.

I've been thinking about what I said last night. I feel inspired to expand on last night's topic, that of Being Progressive.

Historically, artists have had patrons to finance and shepherd their work. To me, that is what anyone working on your side of the business is: a patron of the arts. We artists need you to be our protectors and our warriors. Not that we need coddling -- quite the opposite -- but we need fighters. Washington, D.C., accuses us of having an agenda. Damn right we do. We have a responsibility to push for our world to be better. We all know the power of media. Let's use it to our benefit. As I said last night, we count as audience members, too.


Here are a few actions you can take to improve and change the role of women in film and the role of film in society.

--Just because a writer or director "succeeded" at something before doesn't mean they should do it again.

--If you know certain directors (men) behave reprehensibly, fight against their hire and offer up alternatives. BE BOLD. If someone is a known dickhead, stop their hire. If they are misogynists, stop their hire. These are not the people we need to reward. Stand up and stop perpetuating the cycle. We are responsible. Stop protecting evil. We didn't join the Mafia when we joined this business. We owe no one our vow of silence.

--Suggest traditional men's roles be turned into ones for women. It will instantly make your work more layered. Anyone from the lead to the sidekick to a character with one line -- turn them into women. It is imperative that we start seeing women on film in other roles than The Wife or The Sexpot. How boring. Let's reflect on film what society ACTUALLY looks like: 50% female. Women are in all kinds of jobs and have complex lives, so put that on the screen. I'm curious about the plumber who says two words on film if she's a woman. What's her story? How'd she get there? People love relating to othe rpeople onscreen. So why aren't we women allowed to relate to our own lives? Where is our representation? Let's take action to change these tropes. It is time.

--Put female writers and directors on the TOP of your lists. Do it every time. If asked why, say why not, smile and walk away. Give them something to think about. It's about time to see women in films as equals. This is a simple way to start. Remember: Just because it's been done a certain way doesn't mean it should still be done that way. The sad fact is, Hollywood is out of date. Let's bring our town into the modern world. Dwindling ticket sales are a reflection of how largely passé Hollywood films are. Let's be better, let's do better.

--Stop rewarding males that do half-ass jobs. Hire women instead of men. Be bold when you hire. Go with your gut. Go with someone interesting and not someone "safe."

--If someone yells at you or puts you down, stop them in their tracks. Retrain them. If someone says your name wrong, you correct them, so why don't we do it when mistreated? Correct bad behavior as it happens. If Scott Rudin throws a phone at your head, throw one back and throw it harder. No one gets to abuse you. If someone is a misogynist, an abuser of talent and crew, or worse, DO NOT LET THEM GET HIRED.

--Finally, please stop viewing film and TV as product. It is not product. You and I are making documented history. We are creating a time capsule. Choose what you put in it wisely.

We can be the change we want to see. Let's go, let's have an agenda, and let's do this."

Source: Women and Hollywood

I absolutely love this speech. What do you think?

Monday, May 4, 2015

Keanu Reeves Returns for More Ass-Kicking in JOHN WICK 2

And my body is ready. 

Last year's John Wick was the ultimate popcorn revenge film. Not great, but a ton of fun to watch. Not only that, it put Keanu Reeves back on the map and thank Goodness for that. Of course, as in the case of any successful action films, the box office receipts have given birth to a sequel with Reeves and directors David Leitch and Chad Stahelski, along with screenwriter Derek Kolstad, returning for another round of kicking bad guys asses. 

“With such tremendous fan and critical support for John Wick, we knew that there was still so much more of this story to tell,” Jason Constantine, President of Acquisitions and Co-Productions at Lionsgate's Summit Entertainment said in a press release issued today. “We are thrilled that Keanu, David and Chad have re-teamed with us and promise to bring audiences even more excitement the second time around.”

A release schedule has not yet been announced, but I'll keep you updated as I learn more. Who else is hyped?

Sunday, May 3, 2015

I May Be Back In Love With PENNY DREADFUL Again

I remember a year ago when I first started hearing about a show called Penny Dreadful, I COULD NOT WAIT. Vampires, Frankenstein, and other sinister sorcery starring the effortlessly frightening Eva Green and Hollywood comeback kid Josh Hartnett. I just knew I was going to love it.

Then, something happened. I didn't love it. I mean, I watched the first few episodes and just could not get into it. I found it way too academic, with too much dialogue and not enough action; so much talking and background information that it took me right out of the story. I just couldn't follow it. So, I stopped watching. Well actually, I stopped watching after Eva Green's fabulous seance scene early in season one, then quickly jumped ship after I realized that captivating sequences like that one would be too few and far between.

Flash forward to last week when I had the pleasure of attending an screening of the premiere episode of season two, which airs tonight, and I think I may officially be back on team Penny Dreadful. Of course, having not watched most of the episodes of season one, some of the context escaped me. But thankfully the beginning of the episode provides a general recap of what went down in season one, so I was able to grasp much of it.

Without giving anything away, all I will say is prepare yourself for the last 10 minutes of the episode. Which, though I hate to endorse hyperbole, may be one of the best sequences I've seen on the small screen all year. It was hypnotic. Actually, the opening sequence of the episode is equally amazing (as is the breathtaking cinematography) and nicely sets up the season by introducing a whole new layer of the story in which the hunters are now being hunted.

Also, according to actor Reeve Carney, who graciously participated in a Q&A after the screening, his Dorian Gray character has a major episode coming up. In addition, Vanessa (Green) and Ethan (Hartnett) will grow closer. He didn't give away anything else (for which I was grateful), but I am already intrigued. Bring it.

Penny Dreadful airs Sundays at 10pm on Showtime.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Check Out 5 Awesome Images from PITCH PERFECT 2

Confession: I wasn't interested in watching PITCH PERFECT 2 until I learned that Elizabeth Banks was directing it. Then, it kinda became a mandatory watch for me. It's not because I didn't like the first film (I was pleasantly surprised by it, actually), but I just didn't think the story needed to be revisited. But, then again, how many sequels of any film actually needed to happen? 


So anyway, I can't wait to see the film, which comes out May 15. In case you need it, here's the synopsis:

The Barden Bellas are back to pitch slap the world in Pitch Perfect 2, the follow-up to 2012's runaway global hit about a group of lovable misfits with only one thing in common: the irresistible way they sound when they're seamlessly mixed together, mashed-up and arranged like never before.

It's been three years since the Bellas brought their signature vocals, style and attitude to become the first all-female group to win a national title. But when they get banned after a scandal that threatens to derail their last year at Barden, the three-time defending champs worry that this time they've lost their harmony for good.

With just one chance left at redeeming their legacy, the Bellas must fight for their right to win the World Championships of A Cappella in Copenhagen. And as they struggle to balance the pressures of musical domination with senior angst, it will take the power of sisterhood to find their voice and see what it takes to be the world's top pitches.

Check out a few more stills from the film, for your viewing pleasure:

Friday, May 1, 2015

Watch Jake Gyllenhaal Get Ready to Throw Down in the New TV Spot for SOUTHPAW

Someone said to me the other day that Jake Gyllenhaal may become one of those great actors who no one realized was great until after he's long gone. That may be a little morbid, but it might not be a bad guess. The actor has almost consistently delivered great performances throughout his career (even in so-so movies), so I can definitely see him following in someone like, say, Leonardo DiCaprio's footsteps.

You probably already heard that Gyllenhaal will next be seen in director Antoine Fuqua's (Training Day, The EqualizerSOUTHPAW, a boxing drama that looks akin to many lauded films that came before it. And it's just the kind of thing the Academy loves: body transformation, an underdog tale and, of course, the fact that it's a drama. Check out the official synopsis:

From acclaimed director Antoine Fuqua (TRAINING DAY) and screenwriters Kurt Sutter (“Sons of Anarchy”) and Richard Wenk (THE MECHANIC), SOUTHPAW tells the riveting story of Billy "The Great" Hope, reigning Junior Middleweight Boxing Champion of the World (Academy Award® nominee Jake Gyllenhaal). Billy Hope seemingly has it all with an impressive career, a beautiful and loving wife (Rachel McAdams), an adorable daughter (Oona Laurence) and a lavish lifestyle. When tragedy strikes and his lifelong manager and friend (Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson) leaves him behind, Hope hits rock bottom and turns to an unlikely savior at a run-down local gym: Tick Willis (Academy Award® winner Forest Whitaker), a retired fighter and trainer to the city's toughest amateur boxers. With his future riding on Tick's guidance and tenacity, Billy enters the hardest battle of his life as he struggles with redemption and to win back the trust of those he loves.

It sounds good, albeit very familiar. I am a huge fan of Kurt Sutter and Antoine Fuqua, so I have high hopes. Also, I really need Rachel McAdams to be cast in a role in which she isn't just the supportive wife or girlfriend (seriously, what has happened to her career?). Another criminally underrated actress, Naomie Harris, is also in the film.

Watch the new TV spot for SOUTHPAW here:

SOUTHPAW hits theaters everywhere July 24. Will you be watching?

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