Cate Blanchett

Cate Blanchett has rightly been acclaimed for her work in front of the camera, but now she’ll step behind the camera for a change. The Oscar-nominated actress is set to make her feature directorial debut with The Dinner, a psychological thriller based on Herman Koch‘s novel of the same title. Oren Moverman (The Messenger) is writing the script. Hit the jump for plot details and more.

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Here’s the first trailer from The Monuments Men, the new film from director George Clooney. It’s based on a true story, and features Clooney and Matt Damon as two members of a team that ran through the battlefields of World War II trying to save art from destruction by various war machines. As Clooney’s character says in the trailer, ”if you destroy an entire generation of people’s culture, it’s as if they never existed.”

It’s a noble purpose, and since these guys weren’t soldiers — they were museum directors, curators, and art historians — there’s some opportunity for comedy, too. That’s why the rest of the cast includes actors like John Goodman, Bob Balaban, Bill Murray, Cate Blanchett, Jean Dujardin, and Hugh Bonneville.

Check out the footage below.

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The Turning

Omnibus films are tricky beasts. Their very structure tends to make them wildly uneven, particularly if the director and stars change between each segment. But even if the occasional dud is all but unavoidable, a couple of really great pieces can make the whole thing worth watching.

The Turning consists of seventeen interconnected shorts, each based on the short story collection of the same title by Aussie author Tim Winton. It’s too early to tell if any of them are any good, but the ambition on display, at least, is admirable. The director and star lineup is intriguing as well. Mia Wasikowska and David Wenham are among those behind the camera, and Cate Blanchett, shows up as the lead of one chapter, with Rose Byrne, Hugo Weaving, Richard Roxburgh, and Miranda Otto also playing roles. Check out the first trailer after the jump.

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Blue Jasmine (header)

How many career resurgences has Woody Allen had at this point? I’ve lost track, but we’re square in the middle of one now, kicked off with the career-topping success of his 2011 release Midnight in Paris. His new film, Blue Jasmine, stars Cate Blanchett as “a New York housewife struggling through a life crisis.” That sounds middling to dire until you see what Blanchett is doing with it — she’s entitled and insufferable, but ragged and clearly, if comically, worn down to a nub.

This trailer introduces her character, and the sister (Sally Hawkins) who takes her into her San Francisco home when Jasmine’s husband (Alec Baldwin) turns out to be less than an upstanding dude. Bobby Cannavale, Louis C.K., Andrew Dice Clay, Peter Sarsgaard, and Michael Stuhlbarg also star; you’ll only get a glimpse of Louis C.K. here, but he seems to be playing a suitor for Hawkins.

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David O. Russell

David O. Russell‘s got a knack for attracting great actors, but his next project could come with prominent A-listers already attached. Russell will reportedly write and direct the JFK assassination pic Legacy of Secrecy, featuring Leonardo DiCaprio and Russell’s Silver Linings Playbook star Robert De Niro. The conspiracy drama posits that mafioso Carlos Marcello was behind the murder. Hit the jump for more details.

DiCaprio has been set to produce and star in the pic since 2010, while De Niro is a more recent addition. Based on the book of the same title by Lamar Waldron and Thom Hartmann, Legacy of Secrets hinges on mob kingpin Marcello’s confession to FBI informant Jack van Laningham that he was the one to order the killing.

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Briefly: Disney’s live-action retelling of Cinderella has been coming together over the past couple months, with Kenneth Branagh stepping in to direct after Mark Romanek moved on, and Cate Blanchett cast as the wicked stepmother who makes Cinderella’s life a minor hell.

Now, after a report that indicated Disney and Branagh were looking at Bella HeathcoteLily James, and Margot Robbie as possible fits for the glass slipper, Downton Abbey actress Lily James has won the role. There’s relatively little info beyond that — Disney’s press release announcing the casting is a terse two sentences — but we’ll likely hear more soon.  Richard Madden (Robb Stark on Game of Thrones) was floated as one possible choice to play the Prince, and with James cast the producers can figure out who’ll best play opposite her as the romantic lead.

Aline Brosh McKenna (The Devil Wears Prada) wrote an early version of the script, and the current version was written by Chris Weitz (Twilight: New Moon).

In keeping with the film-a-year pace he’s kept up for decades now, Woody Allen has a new movie due out in 2013. Blue Jasmine sees the master filmmaker returning to the U.S., for the first time since 2009′s Whatever Works.

Allen’s keeping most of the plot details under wraps, as usual, but we know the movie will center around ”the final stages of an acute crisis and a life of a fashionable New York housewife.” The first image shows Cate Blanchett looking deeply unhappy while Sally Hawkins looks on impassively. Check it out after the jump.

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It wasn’t really a surprise when Mark Romanek moved away from directing Disney’s live-action version of Cinderella. The director’s sensibility has never seemed to be much in line with that of any major studio, and his track record with big studio projects didn’t bode well for this one.

Now, a director who is much more able to meld his approach to that of a studio is coming on board: Disney is in talks with Kenneth Branagh to direct Cate Blanchett in the film. Read More »

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