Plenty of young talents have attempted the leap from precocious child star to grown-up actor, with severely mixed results, but Chloe Grace Moretz seems to be having an easier time of it than most. Though she’s just 15, she’s already shown a facility for between family-friendly fare like Hugo and more mature entertainments like Let Me In and Kick-Ass over the last few years, and she’s lucky enough to have (apparently) skipped an awkward phase altogether. As far as I’m concerned, she doesn’t need to “prove” that she can transition into mature parts.

But that appears to be exactly what she’s doing in Derick Martini‘s Hick. Moretz plays a teenager who decides to ditch her neglectful parents in Nebraska and strike out for Vegas, meeting all sorts of interesting characters (played by Blake Lively, Eddie Redmayne, Rory Culkin, and Alec Baldwin) along the way. Watch the red-band (i.e., NSFW) trailer after the jump.

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If you’re more interested in the typical fall slate of festival entrees than summer’s glut of tentpole action fare, this is a great week. The Toronto International Film Festival announced the first wave of films that will play the fest in September. This is a batch of about 50 titles, which makes up only a small chunk of the programming. Usually TIFF features between two and three hundred films. But these are some of the highest-profile entries.

Below you’ll find rundowns on the new films from George Clooney, Bennett Miller, Jay & Mark Duplass, Todd Solondz, Francis Ford Coppola, Cameron Crowe, Sarah Polley, Fernando Meirelles, Lars von Trier, Marc Forster, Steve McQueen, Alexander Payne, and Lynne Ramsay. No announcement yet of the Midnight Madness programming choices, always some of my faves, but this is a great start. Read More »

The Toronto International Film Festival has just announced the first fifty or so films from its 2011 line-up today, including new works by Alexander Payne, the Duplass Brothers, Sarah Polley, and Madonna, and many, many others. In the process, TIFF also released a crop of brand-new photos from several films from the schedule. Hit the jump for new photos from the following:

  • Derick Martini’s Hick, starring Blake Lively and Chloe Moretz
  • The Duplass Brothers’ Jeff Who Lives at Home, starring Jason Segel and Ed Helms
  • Terence Davies’ The Deep Blue Sea, starring Rachel Weisz and Tom Hiddleston
  • Sarah Polley’s Take This Waltz, starring Michelle Williams, Seth Rogen, Luke Kirby, and Sarah Silverman

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I wouldn’t generally think of Vince Vaughn as the natural replacement for a role that Justin Timberlake had dropped out of, but then again, I’m not a professional casting director. Deadline reports that Vaughn has just signed on for Stephen FrearsLay the Favorite in the part of “Rosie, a Long Island bookie that [protagonist Beth] Raymer once worked for” — a role that Timberlake was attached to earlier this year. I don’t know much else about the character, but it’s easy to imagine Vaughn’s loud, charismatic, rather dickish persona being a perfect fit for a movie about Vegas gambling, don’t you think?

Based on Beth Raymer‘s memoir of the same title, Lay the Favorite follows Raymer in her journey from Vegas cocktail waitress to top professional gambler. As Raymer falls in love, she begins re-evaluating her life decisions. Rebecca Hall, Bruce Willis, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Joshua Jackson, and Frank Grillo are also attached to star. [via The Playlist]

After the jump, Alec Baldwin and Rory Culkin sign on for Hick and The Hunger Games finds its District 9 tributes.

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Meryl Streep is making another movie with her The Devil Wears Prada director David Frankel: Great Hope Springs, in which a couple enlists a therapist to save their fading 31-year marriage. Meryl Streep is one half of the couple, with the actors playing her husband yet to be announced.

Now it looks like Steve Carrell will be the therapist. We don’t know the tone of the film, but this casting certainly suggests a fairly comic approach. On the surface it seems like this is a role that would be great for Mr. Carrell, especially with Meryl Streep to play against. While the basics don’t sound outrageously appealing, the notion of those two verbally sparring definitely does. [Deadline]

After the break, Chloe Moretz gets company in Hick and 50 Cent becomes a cop. Read More »

What is Page 2? Page 2 is a compilation of stories and news tidbits, which for whatever reason, didn’t make the front page of /Film. After the jump we’ve included 30 different items, fun images, videos, casting tidbits, articles of interest and more. It’s like a mystery grab bag of movie web related goodness. If you have any interesting items that we might’ve missed that you think should go in /Film’s Page 2 – email us!

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Chloe Moretz to Star in Hick

hick-chloe-moretz

How many juicy roles are there for unbearably precocious young actresses like Chloe Moretz? Not as many as you’d think, which makes a star turn in an adaptation of a novel about ” a 13-year-old Nebraska girl who gets more than she bargained for when she runs away to Las Vegas” seem like a pretty good idea. So Moretz is signing a deal to star in Hick, based on the novel of the same name by Andrea Portes. Read More »

TIFF Review: Lymelife

At every film festival, I try to pack in as many screenings as humanly possible (At TIFF this year, I’ve been rather unsuccessful…). This leads to seeing a lot of films you wouldn’t normally watch just because it fits nicely on the schedule between two other films. I call these movies the “nothing better to see movies”.

I’ve had a lot of conversations over the years about the value of a movie critic’s opinion. What many people don’t understand is that a working critic sees a lot of movies he isn’t normally interested in. I believe one of the reasons the divide between mainstream opinion and critical opinion is the fact that the average moviegoer usually only sees movies you’re excited to see. Going in with that excitement is an investment. And chances are, more times than not, the average moviegoer will leave the theater satisfied. I’m not saying this is the sole reason for the critical/mainstream divide, but it accounts for some of it.

Now most of these “nothing better to see movies” end up being average or poor. I don’t enter into a film festival without having done my share of research. And what that means is that I usually have a pretty good idea about which movies are worth seeing. But every once in a while one of these “nothing better” movies becomes a pleasant surprise. And this year at the Toronto International Film Festival, that movie is Lymelife.

Toronto is a much different film festival than Sundance. It is filled with the type of films that will be vying for award consideration over the next few months. My personal tastes lean toward the type of films you usually find in Sundance’s dramatic competition. I hate to call Sundance a genre, but to me it really is. Lymelife feels like a Sundance movie, and it isn’t a coincidence. The project was developed during the 2001 Sundance Filmmakers lab, and has taken 7 years to become a reality. Emile Hirsch, Ryan Gosling, and Jennifer Jason Leigh were also attached to the film in its early stages.

Lymelife tells the story of the Bartletts, a dysfunctional family living in the late 1970′s. Scott (Rory Culkin) is fifteen years old. His parents haven’t had sex in a long time, probably because his father (Alec Baldwin) is having an affair. Scott’s mother (Jill Hennessy) spends most of her time trying to pretend she has no idea and worrying about the little details of life. Scott’s older brother Jimmy (Kieran Culkin) returns from the army to the mess he purposely left. But the story is really a coming of age journey about divorce and first love. Emma Roberts plays Adrianna Bragg, a girl Scott has had a crush on for many years. Her family pretty much mirrors the Bartletts. In fact, her mother (Cynthia Nixon) is the one having an affair with Scott’s father. Adrianna’s father, who contracted lyme disease, is too busy hiding in the basement while everyone thinks he’s in the city looking for work. The aforementioned storyline and ending sequence are probably my only gripes.

Filled with good performances across the board and a wonderful coming-of-age story, Lymelife is like Squid and the Whale but in a more relatable, less quirky, suburban setting. Derick Martini’s film is semi-autobiographical, based loosely on the Martini’s own childhood. I can certainly see why the screenplay attracted such a-grade talent over the years. It’s also worth noting that Martin Scorsese executive produced the film.

The finished film does suffer from some minor editing and continuity problems, but that can easily be forgiven considering the film was shot on a low budget over the course of three weeks. The film is filled with references from the era. If you grew up in the late 70′s /early 80′s, you’ll probably relate to the many Star Wars references. The soundtrack is also notable, like that of most films set in the 70′s.

Lymelife is the kind of film that could easily be overlooked, and sent directly to DVD. I encourage all of you to seek Lymelife out when it becomes available either theatrically or on home video.

/Film Rating: 7.5 out of 10

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