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Date: Friday, 10 Oct 2014 00:42
We can all breathe a sigh of relief that Tarantino has chosen terrific character actress Jennifer Jason Leigh for the female lead in "Hateful Eight." Her classy low-key acting style in mostly present-set films doesn't exactly scream "Tarantino." But there's a reason for that: he's casting against type.

It will be great fun to see Leigh take a bite out of the role of a wanted murderess in wintry Civil War-era Wyoming with a $10,000 hit on her head. Daisy takes a lot of abuse in this claustrophobic Western homage while trapped in a blizzard with a surly lot of stagecoach travelers, bounty hunters and a Confederate soldier. 

From too-cool Mia Wallace in "Pulp Fiction" to the female revenge-seekers in "Kill Bill" and "Inglorious Basterds," Tarantino writes juicy women's roles, and his actresses make meals out of them. At Tarantino's historic Los Angeles live read of the "Hateful" script, Amber Tamblyn read for Daisy, a role that according to The Wrap was chased by top talent including Michelle Williams, Hilary Swank, Robin Wright and Demi Moore.

There is a lot of rumor and uncertainty surrounding the rest of the ensemble. But live read participants Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, Michael Madsen and Walter Goggins are among those slated to star.

Per usual, Weinstein will handle worldwide distribution for the film in 2015. Also per usual, rabid celluloid defender Tarantino will shoot on 65mm film stock. Shooting begins this November.
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Author: "Ryan Lattanzio"
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Date: Thursday, 09 Oct 2014 23:48
In case you've forgotten, Will Smith is still an actor. It seems like Mister Box Office has been absent from action in front of the camera for a little while, giving way for his son, Jaden Smith, to develop, while also producing for both film and TV.

The actor will next be seen in the Warner Bros' con-man/romance "Focus," which centers on an inexperienced female con artist who teams up with a more seasoned male con artist, and sparks fly between them as they go about their con-artist ways.

Aussie actress Margot Robbie ("The Wolf of Wall Street"), co-stars alongside Smith, playing the inexperienced female con artist who rocks his boat.

Written and directed by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa ("Crazy, Stupid, Love"), the project is one that the filmmakers had been trying to get off the ground for a couple of years, when their original idea was to re-team their "Crazy, Stupid, Love" co-stars, Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, for the lead roles. Scheduling conflicts with Gosling got in the way of that happening. 

Other top-tier actors had been courted for the part, including Brad Pitt. Pitt apparently wasn't interested; but Ben Affleck was. However, he was pulled away by other commitments.

An interesting choice for Will Smith here, especially when you consider that, looking over his IMDBPro page, there are at least 20 different projects that he could've tackled next, over this one.

But maybe it's a great script, and/or it provides him with the opportunity to do something different, assuming that it is.

So let's see how this goes.

Here's your first good look at the film, via its first trailer; and underneath it, you'll find a 2013 press conference in Argentina (where the cast and crew did some shooting on the film), where Will shared some back-story on the character he plays, providing insight into the man, and his motivations. For those who don't speak Spanish, you may (or may not) want to skip ahead to about the 1-minute mark.

"Focus" opens in theaters on February 27.


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Author: "Tambay A. Obenson"
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Date: Thursday, 09 Oct 2014 23:36
It has been a long time since Will Smith has made a movie that wasn't a sequel, action movie, or grim faced drama. Arguably, you'd have to go all the way back to 2005's "Hitch." But the Fresh Prince is back with something a bit lighter in "Focus" — at least initially — and the first trailer for the movie is here.

Co-starring "The Wolf Of Wall Street" star Margot Robbie, and written and directed by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa ("Bad Santa," "I Love You Phillip Morris"), the film tells the tale of older grifter who takes a newcomer to the trade under his wing, but things get complicated when they fall in love. It's a project that has been long in the works, and at various times had Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone attached, as well as Ben Affleck and Kristen Stewart.

But the Smith/Robbie version is the one made it in front of cameras, and you can see the result with the first trailer below. "Focus" opens on February 27, 2015.

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Author: "Kevin Jagernauth"
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Date: Thursday, 09 Oct 2014 23:32
When rumors first surfaced at the end of the summer that Léa Seydoux was being sought for "Bond 24," we took a wait and see approach. Would the actress want to return to franchise territory after mixing it up in "Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol," or was she content doing indie and arthouse fare? Well, it looks like we now have our answer.

Baz Bamigboye reports that Seydoux has joined "Bond 24" as the femme fatale. So does this mean Seydoux is the "Bond girl" for this film? We'll see, but the label sticks, and certainly 007 hasn't had the best of luck with the women he beds in Daniel Craig era. For a super spy, the guy really can't see trouble when it's right in front of him, but we digress. 

Seydoux will join Daniel Craig, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Whishaw and Naomie Harris, for a read through of the script at the end of November, before cameras roll in December. "Bond 24: Titled To Be Determined, But Hopefully Better Named Than Skyfall" will open on November 6, 2015.
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Author: "Kevin Jagernauth"
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Date: Thursday, 09 Oct 2014 23:22
Always excellent, and sorely underutilized, Jennifer Jason Leigh is one of those actresses who is so good, it's easy to take her for granted. And indeed, Hollywood certainly has as it's been years since the actress has had a leading role. But Quentin Tarantino is about to fix that situation.

The director has cast Leigh as the female lead in "The Hateful Eight." She'll be taking the part of Daisy Domergue, played in the live reading of the script this past spring by Amber Tamblyn, and rumored at one point for Jennifer Lawrence. And given that Leigh is older than those two names, it suggests that Tarantino has aged up Daisy in rewrites. The character is a prisoner in a stagecoach, who along with a couple of bounty hunters,  a would-be sheriff and the coach driver, enter a haberdashery where the action and tension reaches a boil (check out more details here).

Leigh joins a cast that's expected to include Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, Walton Goggins, Bruce Dern and Denis Minochet. Filming will begin next year, with the movie to be released in 2015. [The Wrap]
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Author: "Kevin Jagernauth"
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Date: Thursday, 09 Oct 2014 22:19
“I knew that [my character] was literally and figuratively hungry,” Jake Gyllenhaal told US Weekly, about his character in the upcoming nocturnal thriller “Nightcrawler” which was met with rave reviews out of Toronto last month. The normally 180lb actor lost 20lbs for the role transitioning into a "mode where I was always a bit hungry.” To Variety he added, “I would try to eat as few calories as possible. I knew if I was hungry that I was in the right spot. Physically, it showed itself, but chemically and mentally, I think it was even a more fascinating journey. It became a struggle for me.” And from all accounts, including our own rave review, Gyllenhaal’s method worked and then some.

All lean and desperate, in “Nightcrawler,” the directorial debut of veteran screenwriter Dan Gilroy (and yep, the brother of Tony Gilroy), Gyllenhaal plays a man struggling to get by who discovers the world of nightcrawlers: vampiric freelance camera newsmen who track gruesome accidents, murders and mayhem like prey, selling to the highest bidder desperate themselves for ratings.

“Gyllenhaal is a revelation once again, and the control of his instrument is a wonderful thing to witness,” our TIFF reviewer wrote. “Luminescent with coyote-like eyes, Gyllenhaal’s like a hollowed out animal that spends nights hunting for marginal scraps to keep himself alive.” Beyond a great lead performance, “Nightcrawler” sounds like a hell of an entertaining and intense thrill ride. Here’s the official synopsis:

NIGHTCRAWLER is a pulse-pounding thriller set in the nocturnal underbelly of contemporary Los Angeles. Jake Gyllenhaal stars as Lou Bloom, a driven young man desperate for work who discovers the high-speed world of L.A. crime journalism. Finding a group of freelance camera crews who film crashes, fires, murder and other mayhem, Lou muscles into the cut-throat, dangerous realm of nightcrawling -- where each police siren wail equals a possible windfall and victims are converted into dollars and cents. Aided by Rene Russo as Nina, a veteran of the blood-sport that is local TV news, Lou blurs the line between observer and participant to become the star of his own story.

Co-starring Rene Russo, Bill Paxton, Riz Ahmed, "Nightcrawler" is due in theaters October 31. Watch a new clip, TV spot, poster and many many, new photos from the film below. 

 
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Author: "Edward Davis"
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Date: Thursday, 09 Oct 2014 19:33
IFC Films and Sundance Selects president Jonathan Sehring openly spoke on topics ranging from Richard Linklater's critically acclaimed "Boyhood," to being called names by director Abel Ferrara, in a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter. What are the six important takeaways? We've got them below. 

On the biggest changes seen in the industry during the 12 year production of "Boyhood": 

"A lot of people came in and out of the business. Digital technology exploded. [Linklater]'s solution as a filmmaker was really prescient. He wanted 'Boyhood' to look the same, feel the same, which is why he chose to shoot on 35mm -- knowing that if he had chosen digital, digital would change and look different [as the technology evolved]. Today, you can't find 35mm film to shoot on. And you can't find the cameras."

On being called a "punk" and a "vampire" by Abel Ferrara for not releasing the NC-17 version of "Welcome to New York": 

"I've been called names before. I'd rather not comment that much on it other than to say we've been in business with Abel for a long time and are big fans of his. We got involved in this movie with our producers knowing that for the type of investment we were [making] what we had to do. But aside from that, I'm a big Abel fan. He's a great filmmaker."

READ MORE: IFC Films President Jonathan Sehring Wants You to Know a Few Things 

On new film distributors stepping out on the scene:  

"Everyone's a competitor. The studios are releasing fewer films, and everybody sees it as an opportunity to come into this space because there are still a lot of movies being made. But it's a challenging business. Everyone who's getting into it thinks they have a new formula, and they may." 

On starting the day-and-date release business model: 

"Profitability on a movie can last 15, 20 years. We had a tough time trying to figure out economically how you could make just traditional theatrical distribution work on a consistent basis. We couldn't. It turned out most independents and in-studio specialty divisions couldn't at that time either, but they were slower to [change]. We had the ability to move a little quicker, and when we launched VOD, we thought the best way to look at the success of a film was not box office but taking a look at the whole pie, the whole revenue stream and the whole expense pie."

On why he thinks the film industry is too box-office focused: 

"Because that's not where the majority of the revenue of any movie comes from. The revenue flows for 15 years. We're in a long-term business. We have a very substantial library, and I am a firm believer in that long tail theory. I started my professional career at Janus Films, which is now the Criterion Collection, and that's a library that is 75 years old, has films from the '20s and '30s that are still producing revenue." 

On IFC Films in the Oscars race: 

"We have a great team. But we are a David vs. Goliath. We're up against huge movie studios that do this for a living every year. We're not going to be spending tens of millions of dollars in an Academy campaign. That's not who we are. But we know the Academy has rewarded movies like '12 Years a Slave' and 'The Hurt Locker,' so we feel we'll be in the conversation. We'll be rereleasing the movie theatrically during the awards season."

READ MORE: 'Boyhood' Producer and IFC President Jonathan Sehring on Finally Releasing 'Boyhood': 'I feel a huge responsibility.' 
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Author: "Zainab Akande"
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Date: Thursday, 09 Oct 2014 18:30
Anthologies are one way the horror genre has experimented with new stories, effects, and themes without the arduous burden of stretching out a good idea or visual into feature length. 

As with pretty much all things cinema, though, those anthologies tend to have a lot of dudes in front of and especially behind the camera. Magnet Releasing is thus giving female filmmakers a (torture) room of their own with XX, a collection of four horror shorts, all directed by and starring women. 

Contributing to XX will be Mary Harron (I Shot Andy Warhol, American Psycho, The Notorious Bettie Page, The Moth Diaries), Karyn Kusama (Girlfight, Aeon Flux, Jennifer's Body, The Invitation (2015)), Jennifer Lynch (Boxing Helena, Surveillance, Hisss, Girls! Girls! Girls!, Chained), and Jovanka Vuckovic (the shorts The Captured Bird, Self Portrait, and The Guest).

[via Deadline]
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Author: "Inkoo Kang"
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Date: Thursday, 09 Oct 2014 18:26
The African Diaspora International Film Festival (ADIFF) has set the Danny Glover indie drama/thriller feature "Supremacy," as the opening night film for its 2014 edition, on Friday, November 28, 2014, at 7:30PM, at Symphony Space in New York City.

Based on a true story about a recently-paroled white supremacist who, after killing a police officer, takes an African American family hostage, the official synopsis reads:

A paroled white supremacist has just killed a cop, and takes a black family hostage over a long night of terror as authorities cordon off the neighborhood where he and his lady accomplice are laying low. Mount plays the role of Sobecki, a heavily tattooed maximum security prison inmate who's the head of the Aryan Brotherhood and oversees his criminal empire from behind bars. He's the kidnapper's leader and not thrilled when he learns of his charge's screw-up when he's called in by authorities to negotiate with the kidnapper.

The film is directed by Deon Taylor, whose most recent and maybe most prominent work was the 2010 indie horror/thriller titled "Chain Letter."

Joe Anderson ("The Grey," "The River"), Dawn Olivieri (she plays Don Cheadle's ex-wife on Showtime's "House Of Lies"), Derek Luke, Evan Ross, Lela Rochon, Mahershala Ali and Anson Mount, best known from the AMC series "Hell On Wheels," round out the key cast.

Read our interview with director Deon Taylor here, and read our review of the film here.

First trailer follows below, followed by a poster:


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Author: "Tambay A. Obenson"
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Date: Thursday, 09 Oct 2014 18:10
While not nearly as a big an event as San Diego Comic Con, the New York Comic Con could see its profile continue to rise, particularly as it offers studios a chance to market their juicy tentpole films much closer to ever growing fall blockbuster season. And Disney is certainly using the opportunity, dropping a sizzle reel for their upcoming "Big Hero 6."

So what do you need to know? Well, it has a ridiculously huge voice cast (Scott Adsit, Ryan Potter, Daniel Henney, T.J. Miller, Jamie Chung, Damon Wayans Jr., Genesis Rodriguez, James Cromwell, Alan Tudyk and Maya Rudolph), it's based on a Marvel comic (they won't reprint because they are not involved with this movie, so bah humbug), and it takes place in a pretty nifty futureworld. Here's the official synopsis: 

From Walt Disney Animation Studios, the team behind “Frozen” and “Wreck-It Ralph,” comes “Big Hero 6,” an action-packed comedy-adventure about the special bond that develops between Baymax (voice of Scott Adsit), a plus-sized inflatable robot, and prodigy Hiro Hamada (voice of Ryan Potter). When a devastating event befalls the city of San Fransokyo and catapults Hiro into the midst of danger, he turns to Baymax and his close friends adrenaline junkie Go Go Tomago (voice of Jamie Chung), neatnik Wasabi (voice of Damon Wayans Jr.), chemistry whiz Honey Lemon (voice of Genesis Rodriguez) and fanboy Fred (voice of T.J. Miller). Determined to uncover the mystery, Hiro transforms his friends into a band of high-tech heroes called “Big Hero 6.”

"Big Hero 6" arrives on Nov. 7th. Get another taste below.

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Author: "Kevin Jagernauth"
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Date: Thursday, 09 Oct 2014 18:07
Lately, it seems like filmmakers have been taking inspiration from Steven Spielberg's classic "Close Encounters Of The Third Kind." Christopher Nolan recently cited it as an influence on his upcoming "Interstellar," and it looks like the movie will also have some fingerprints on Brad Bird's "Tomorrowland." 

"Another big influence for Jeff Jensen and I when we first started talking about this story was 'Close Encounters of the Third Kind,' ” screenwriter Damon Lindelof told EW. “Somehow it was able to do what no modern movies are able to do, which is tell a story that doesn’t have a bad guy who is trying to blow up the planet, or giant robots fighting, or lots of karate —though who doesn’t love karate?  It was so not plot driven. It was just a pure discovery movie. It was pure what-if. Just that idea of what’s going on here? What does this mean? That was a real jumping off place for a movie like this.”

Here's the official synopsis:

From Disney comes two-time Oscar® winner Brad Bird’s riveting, mystery adventure “Tomorrowland,” starring Academy Award® winner George Clooney. Bound by a shared destiny, former boy-genius Frank (Clooney), jaded by disillusionment, and Casey (Britt Robertson), a bright, optimistic teen bursting with scientific curiosity, embark on a danger-filled mission to unearth the secrets of an enigmatic place somewhere in time and space known only as “Tomorrowland.” What they must do there changes the world—and them—forever.

Featuring a screenplay by “Lost” writer and co-creator Damon Lindelof and Brad Bird, from a story by Lindelof & Bird & Jeff Jensen, “Tomorrowland” promises to take audiences on a thrill ride of nonstop adventures through new dimensions that have only been dreamed of.

It's an intriguing touchstone, certainly, and one to consider when watching the first trailer for the film. Starring George Clooney, Britt Robertson, and Hugh Laurie, the film tells the story of a teenage girl who stumbles across a mysterious pin that opens the door to a futuristic world, and the hermit inventor she crosses paths with, who may know much more about her discovery than meets the eye.

"Tomorrowland" opens on May 22, 2015. Watch below.
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Author: "Kevin Jagernauth"
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Date: Thursday, 09 Oct 2014 17:32
Roger Ebert was one of the most prolific critics in history, and his output only increased after cancer removed his ability to speak. But one (small) piece of his legacy has gone unexamined: The edits he made to Wikipedia. Artist and documentarian Quenton Miller has rectified that oversight with "Collected Wikipedia Edits," a hardcover book compiling Ebert's changes to the online encyclopedia.

As "Rebert," Ebert edited his own entry twice, Russ Meyer's three times, and made changes to 15 more, most often introducing links to articles he'd written, and once adding a lengthy paragraph on the geographical origins of the various Gotham Cities in different Batman movies, in which his native Chicago plays a prominent role.

Miller only made one copy of the book, and he's keeping it himself, but he did publish several pictures of it on his website, turning it into a kind of ephemeral art object? Why? He explains to the Atlantic's Shirley Li:

To Miller, the curious presence of Ebert on Wikipedia and the subsequent changes to Ebert's revisions are more fascinating than the edits themselves. Ebert may have been famous for his writing, but on Wikipedia, he was just another contributor whose words could eventually be buried under others'.

And that was the point, Miller says, of making a collection of them.

"There's a really interesting tension between Wikipedia being an encyclopedia and the different ways people write in it," he says. "It's kind of surprising, because he's this amazing writer, and some of the edits are quite well written or witty in places. In the end, they turned into encyclopedia entries."

More than that, I'd say it illustrates Ebert's technical savvy — unusual now, moreso then — and his undeniable flair for self-promotion. (It's not as if he was trying to cover his tracks.) Perhaps there's room for an extra on the "Life Itself" DVD?
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Author: "Sam Adams"
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Date: Thursday, 09 Oct 2014 17:30
Pop stars: they're not like us. Most of us don't wear conical bras in public, judge televised singing contests, or French-kiss our professional competitors for the cameras. 

But Mexican diva Gloria Trevi has a life story that'll out-weird and out-sad nearly all of her peers': Enduring her manager-husband Sergio Andrade's sexual abuse during her rise to superstardom in the 1980s and 1990s, being jailed for running a sex cult in 2000, then returning from ignominity to top the charts once more after her acquittal and release in 2004. 

Played by Sofia Espinosa, the sexually provocative and socially conscious Trevi has been called the "Mexican Madonna" and the "Supreme Diva of Mexican Pop." The biopic Gloria traces Trevi's riotously dramatic life and career, including all the events above. 

And now the film has found a distributor in Picturehouse, which will release the musical drama early next year after its Mexican and Latin American releases in January 2015. It is written by Mexican screenwriter and playwright Sabina Berman. 
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Author: "Inkoo Kang"
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Date: Thursday, 09 Oct 2014 17:25
Few directors have touched the level of quality achieved by Roman Polanski in the last half-century of cinema, In spite of his, shall we say, tainted reputation. The man whose life was marred by a childhood spent in Nazi-occupied Poland, the murder of his wife Sharon Tate and his notorious rape case and subsequent exile has also given us some of the most memorable films of all time, including “Knife in the Water,” “Rosemary’s Baby,” and “Chinatown" among others. One of Polanski’s most overlooked and visually ravishing pictures is his adaptation of Shakespeare’s tragedy “Macbeth.” The film —an uncharacteristically violent and grim period piece— was released in the aftermath of his wife’s gruesome murder and has since been lovingly restored by the great folks at Criterion, who have also commissioned stellar releases of many of Polanski’s cruel, darkly amusing early films (“Cul de Sac,” “Repulsion”) and also “Rosemary’s Baby”.

A new five-minute video interview with Polanski and some cast members sheds fascinating light on the production of the film —particularly Polanski’s conception as such and the thought that went into casting. Polanski speaks of how the Bard’s iconic use of language helped to shape the rhythms of the film, how something as simple as a basic stage direction can anchor an entire scene, or how he wanted this Macbeth (and let’s not forget his lady) to have a “young and vicious” quality that was largely absent from stuffier, tamer adaptations of the author’s work. The filmmaker also lavished a great deal of praise for his leading man, English theatre actor Jon Finch. Finch would go on to other Shakespeare productions, as well as Hitchcock’s second-to-last film “Frenzy,” and is a striking and unsettling presence in the film. Polanski had apparently met Finch on a plane and like the rest of the cast was struck by Finch’s charisma and youthful energy. To the director, Finch seemed “perfect” for the part, and indeed, it’s difficult to imagine Polanski’s dark masterpiece without him in the title role.

For fans of Roman Polanski and the works of William Shakespeare, the following interview is a must-watch. Meanwhile, “Macbeth” is currently available through The Criterion Collection.

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Author: "Nicholas Laskin"
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Date: Thursday, 09 Oct 2014 16:07
Sundance, Cannes, Toronto and New York are just some of the many, many festival stops, both at home and abroad, "Whiplash" has made since drumming up a frenzy in Park City back in January. And while Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons are already earning buzz about their awards season potential, another reason this movie deserves your attention is the soundtrack.

Justin Hurwitz has pulled together a compelling collection of big band style numbers, along with an original score, that truly stands out in this already unique picture about the intense relationship between a young jazz drummer and his professor. Helping to pull the music together is Tim Simonec, who composed the competition pieces in the film. Both help raise the dramatic stakes of "Whiplash," which keeps up the momentum from the first time the drumsticks hit the snare.

Speaking of which, we've got a great prize on hand to give away to a lucky reader: a pair of drumsticks signed by Miles Teller. To win, follow us on Twitter and tweet the following: “I want to win 'Whiplash' drumsticks from @ThePlaylist. #WinThePlaylistContest.” Your final step: just email us your tweet, your full name and address, and tell us who your favorite jazz musician is. Good luck!

The "Whiplash" soundtrack is out now digitally and on CD, and the film opens in theaters on October 10th.
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Author: "Edward Davis"
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Date: Thursday, 09 Oct 2014 16:02
In case you've forgotten, Will Smith is still an actor. It seems like Mister Box Office has been absent from action in front of the camera for a little while, giving way for his son, Jaden Smith, to develop, while also producing for both film and TV.

The actor will next be seen in the Warner Bros' con-man/romance "Focus," which centers on an inexperienced female con artist who teams up with a more seasoned male con artist, and sparks fly between them as they go about their con-artist ways.

Aussie actress Margot Robbie ("The Wolf of Wall Street"), co-stars alongside Smith, playing the inexperienced female con artist who rocks his boat.

Written and directed by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa ("Crazy, Stupid, Love"), the project is one that the filmmakers had been trying to get off the ground for a couple of years, when their original idea was to re-team their "Crazy, Stupid, Love" co-stars, Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, for the lead roles. Scheduling conflicts with Gosling got in the way of that happening. 

Other top-tier actors had been courted for the part, including Brad Pitt. Pitt apparently wasn't interested; but Ben Affleck was. However, he was pulled away by other commitments.

An interesting choice for Will Smith here, especially when you consider that, looking over his IMDBPro page, there are at least 20 different projects that he could've tackled next, over this one.

But maybe it's a great script, and/or it provides him with the opportunity to do something different, assuming that it is.

So let's see how this goes. I wish I could get my hands on the script for this. Will hasn't exactly always been keen on doing love scenes on screen, so I'm curious if there are any in this one, since it's said to be, in part, a love story, and how they'll be handled given the obvious.

Courtesy of USA Today, above and below, you'll find your first look at the film, via 2 images featuring the film's stars.

And underneath, a 2013 press conference in Argentina (where the cast and crew did some shooting on the film), where Will shared some back-story on the character he plays, providing insight into the man, and his motivations. For those who don't speak Spanish, you may (or may not) want to skip ahead to about the 1-minute mark.

"Focus" opens in theaters on February 27.

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Author: "Tambay A. Obenson"
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Date: Thursday, 09 Oct 2014 15:57
In "St. Vincent," which first premiered at this year's Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), Bill Murray plays a drunk, bitter war veteran who is forced to watch over the young son of a single mother (Melissa McCarthy) who just moved into the neighborhood. 

READ MORE: Bill Murray Hazes His 'St. Vincent' Director at Film's New York Premiere

In the exclusive poster below, we see a decrepit-looking Murray smoking a cigarette, listening to a cassette (weird, right?) and floating in the sky. "St. Vincent" is written and directed by Theodore Melfi and also stars Naomi Watts and newcomer Jaeden Lieberher. 

The Weinstein Company will release the film on Friday, October 10.

READ MORE: Toronto Review: Bill Murray Salvages Sappy 'St. Vincent'
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Author: "Eric Eidelstein"
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Date: Thursday, 09 Oct 2014 15:36
Danish filmmaker Anders Østergaard, director of the Oscar-nominated doc "Burma VJ," will world premiere his latest film "1989," at the opening night of CPH: DOX, and simultaneously throughout the country and in 15 different theatres all over Europe. Vimeo has the trailer here.

Called a political drama in a festival press release, “1989” is a chronicle of the fall of the Iron Curtain, beginning with the decision of Hungarian Prime Minster Miklós Németh's decision to abandon Hungary’s extensive and costly border and reopen the gates to the West permanently.

The documentary combines a mix of interviews, archival material and reconstructed scenes and dialogues that are lip-synched with the actual archived footage from the real-life political protagonists. 

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Author: "Anthony Kaufman"
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Date: Thursday, 09 Oct 2014 15:22
The ScreenCraft Fellowship returns for its second year! Presented by Celtx, the fellowship will be awarded to up to four lucky film and TV writers who earned less than $20,000 from professional writing services during the previous year.

READ MORE: Attention Filmmakers: AFI Directing Workshop for Women Launches Episodic Directing Program

For six months, the ScreenCraft team will assist fellows with development and consultation. The fellows will also receive a $1,000 stipend and round-trip travel to Los Angeles ($500 travel voucher if they are from the Los Angeles area). They will meet with literary agents, managers, and execs from WME, CAA, Warner Bros, Paramount, Fox, HBO and more.

At the core of a fellowship is a one-on-one mentorship with industry professionals. This year the mentors will be: Scott Neustadter (screenwriter for "The Fault In Our Stars," "The Spectacular Now," "(500) Days of Summer"), Jen Grisanti (story consultant, international speaker, author, writer) and Jordan Horowitz (Academy-Award nominated producer, "The Kids are All Right"). 

Applications will be accepted through December 15, 2014, and must include a TV or film writing sample and a cover letter. The script will be evaluated based on story, voice, originality, characterization, structure, dialogue and overall craft. 

All three of last year’s recipients are now represented by top companies including Anonymous Content and Paradigm Talent Agency, and their projects are all in active development. 

READ MORE: ASC Announces This Year's Special Award Honorees
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Author: "Jake Folsom"
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Date: Thursday, 09 Oct 2014 15:14
Nigerian producer-director-actor, Kunle Afolayan's latest work, the crime drama "October 1" (also the official date Nigeria declared its independence from the UK in 1960), is set to make its USA premiere at the CULTURAL CONFIDENCE event presented by The Nollywood Diaspora Film Series, which is a platform for Nigerian films to be showcased for international audiences. 

Taking place in New York City, at the NYU Kimmel Center, on 60 Washington Square South, the series will also include screenings of other films covered on this blog including "The Supreme Price," "Mother of George," and "Half of a Yellow Sun," as well as workshops and panels that will include names you'd be familiar with, like Afolayan, Adepero Oduye, Gbenga Akinnagbe, and others.

Produced by his Golden Effects production company, "October 1" is set in 1960, against the backdrop of Nigeria's independence, and is said to be of the serial killer genre.

Written by Tunde Babalola, here's how it's described: "... A psychological thriller detailing the activities of a northern police detective, Dan Waziri who was posted to the western region to unravel the mystery behind a series of female murders in the community. He soon discovers that the prime suspect is Aderopo, the prince of the community. Waziri, however does not have plenty of time as he is expected to bring the Prince to book before the Nigerian flag is raised on October 1."

"October 1" stars Sadiq Daba, Kehinde Bankole, David Bailie, Kayode Olaiya, Nick Rhys, Fabian Lojede, and Demola Adedoyin.

For details on the CULTURAL CONFIDENCE event in New York City, click here.

Afolayan's last film, the romantic-comedy "Phone Swap," a film we also covered, screened internationally, in 2012, and is available via digital platforms currently.

And the film he made before that, the thriller, "Araromire" ("The Figurine"), is now available for streaming online on streaming sites like Ndani.TV, which features primarily Nollywood cinema - or what the founders call "the best of New Nollywood as well as the classics."

Underneath you'll find the film's full trailer, and poster. But first, check out the Smart Monkey TV interview below, in which Afolayan talks about the film (made with a reported $2 million budget - unheard of Nigerian cinema), the Nollywood and Nigerian film industry overall, producing films that can compete on the international film stage, specifically at an acclaimed festival like Cannes. He also talks about his struggles in getting a general release for his last film, "Phone Swap," outside of Nigeria, despite festival play around the globe, as well as general struggles in getting films made in Nigeria. It's well worth a listen.





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Author: "Tambay A. Obenson"
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