The Book Thief

Despite an intriguing premise and a promising cast (including Geoffrey Rush and Emily Watson), the first U.S. trailer for The Book Thief wasn’t really very appealing. The focus was murky, the sentimentality was laid on thick, and a cheesy voiceover instantly cheapened the whole thing. Worse, there wasn’t even any book-thieving. Glimpses of book-holding and book-reading, yes, but not a single moment to explain the film’s title.

The new U.K. trailer immediately proves itself superior by opening with a scene of its heroine Liesel (Sophie Nélisse) swiping a volume from a book-burning rally. And it only gets better from there. It’s still an inspirational drama set in Nazi Germany, but the uplift feels earned this time, and the characters have far more personality. Check out the new promo after the jump, and let us know if you agree.

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The Book Thief

Around this point in the year, it becomes possible to see, in broad strokes, how the upcoming awards season might shape up. The studios have set their release calendars, the most promising titles have hit the festival circuit or are just about to, and several buzzed-about flicks have already put out full-length trailers for general consumption.

But even so, there are always a few pics that seemingly come out of nowhere to join the fray. This year’s dark horse could be The Book Thief, directed by Brian Percival (Downton Abbey) and starring Sophie Nélisse, Geoffrey Rush, and Emily Watson. While we haven’t heard much about it up to this point, it seems to have all the hallmarks of an awards-season favorite.

Based on a New York Times bestseller (check), The Book Thief follows the uplifting tale (check) of a young girl and her foster parents in Nazi Germany (double check). The only way this could sound more Oscar-friendly would be if her big obsession was movies (a la Hugo) instead of books. Watch the first trailer after the jump.

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Joe Wright moved from the stately but intense period piece Atonement to the violent modern fairy tale Hanna without missing a step, and now he has danced back to period form with an adaptation of Leo Tolstoy‘s classic romance Anna Karenina. ‘Danced’ is exactly the word to use, as Wright shot most of the film on a single soundstage, and there is a very theatrical look to the sumptuous footage. If you hear a distant vibration, that’s Baz Luhrmann quaking with envy, and awards-season fear.

Tom Stoppard (Brazil, Shakespeare in Love, Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead) scripted, and the film stars Keira Knightley, Jude Law, Aaron Johnson, and Kelly Macdonald, with Matthew Macfadyen, Domhnall Gleeson, Alicia Vikander, Emily Watson, Olivia Williams and Ruth Wilson.

Check out the footage below.

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Adam Brody‘s certainly come a long way from his days playing geeky misfit Seth Cohen on The O.C. Earlier this week, news broke that Kristen Bell had signed on to play one of his ex-girlfriends in Jennifer Getzinger‘s Some Girls, adapted by Neil LaBute from his own play. Now, Brody’s gained four more female companions in the form of Emily Watson, Jennifer Morrison, Zoe Kazan, and Mia Maestro. More details after the jump.

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In the simplest, most literal terms, the very title of Steven Spielberg‘s War Horse explains exactly what the film is about. But as you’d expect with any sweeping period epic from a legendary Oscar-winning director released during prestigious movie season, the themes of War Horse run much, much deeper.

Normally, you’d have to watch the movie to find out exactly what those themes are. However, in the case of War Horse, DreamWorks has released a TV spot featuring stars Jeremy Irvine, Tom Hiddleston, Benedict Cumberbatch, David ThewlisEmily Watson and Celine Buckens helpfully explaining that what the drama is really about is “bravery,” “loyalty,” “humanity,” “what connects us,” and so on. Watch it after the jump.

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The marketing is starting to kick into gear for Steven Spielberg‘s adaptation of the book War Horse. Until recently we’d seen only one teaser trailer, but the poster arrived not long ago, and now there is a full UK trailer that shows more of the character of the film. This trailer relies far less upon the monologue from Niels Arestrup than did the first trailer, and it rings with a simple cry: “be brave!” Check it out below. Read More »

‘War Horse’ Poster

Steven Spielberg‘s second movie of 2011, War Horse, opens right at the end of the year, on December 28. Accordingly, Dreamworks has been holding its cards close so far, with only one trailer released to show what Spielberg has done with the adaptation of Michael Morpurgo‘s novel and the stage play it spawned.

But here’s the first poster, showing Albert, played by Jeremy Irvine, with his beloved horse, Joey. The horse is sold and put to work as a calvalry mount during World War I, leading Albert to go on a mad run to France to recover his steed. The film also stars Emily Watson, Peter Mullan, David Thewlis, Benedict Cumberbatch, Niels Arestrup, Nicolas Bro, David Kross, Leonard Carow, Rainer Bock, Robert Emms and Patrick Kennedy. See the full one-sheet below. Read More »

Don’t let the cheery title fool you: Oranges & Sunshine actually tells a harrowing tale that’s all the more distubring for being true. In the first feature by director Jim Loach (son of The Wind That Shakes the Barley helmer Ken Loach), a social worker named Margaret Humphreys (Emily Watson) encounters a woman seeking answers about her past. As Humphreys digs deeper, she uncovers a massive conspiracy to deport thousands of abandoned kids from British children’s homes to brutal work camps in Australia. Hugo Weaving and David Wenham also star.

Though it sounds like something out of a Charles Dickens novel, the events are actually chillingly recent — the real-life Humphreys conducted her investigation in the ’80s and learned that these injustices had taken place during the ’50s and ’60s. Watch the trailer after the jump.

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