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The new film from director Steve McQueen (Shame, Hunger) is based on the true story of Solomon Northrup, a free black man who was kidnapped and held as a slave for over a decade. In 12 Years a Slave, Chiwetel Ejiofor plays Northrup, and we see his horrific journey and what amounts to years of imprisonment as a slave as he is tormented by captors and owners.

The impressive cast also includes Benedict Cumberbatch, Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt, Paul Giamatti, Paul Dano, Sarah Paulson, Alfre Woodard, Dwight Henry, Quvenzhane Wallis, Lupita Nyongo, Scoot McNairy, Michael Kenneth Williams and Garret Dillahunt. The story is wrenching — if Django Unchained played fast and loose with history, this is the film that attempts to tell the story of a slave’s emancipation from more true-to-life details. The trailer has an air of Oscar bait about it, but the emotions it calls up are undeniable. And knowing the way McQueen’s films work, the trailer could be a much more audience-friendly experience than the final film will be. Read More »

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Heading into 2012, two films many of us were looking forward to were the new movies from Rian Johnson and Judd Apatow: Looper and This is 40. Now that we’ve seen them, why not see a bit more? After all, whether or not you loved or loathed either film (read my review of each at these links) it’s difficult to dispute that everything Johnson or Apatow does is worth watching.

Two deleted scenes from This is 40 have been posted, including a really funny one with Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong, and another with indie songwriter Mark Oliver Everett of Eels. Then there’s a tense scene from Looper featuring Emily Blunt, Garret Dillahunt and a hamper. Check them out below. Read More »

I’m starting to suspect Steve McQueen watches the same TV we do. The British director of Hunger and Shame has already cast Sherlock‘s Benedict Cumberbatch, Saturday Night Live‘s Taran Killam, and Raising Hope‘s Garret Dillahunt in his upcoming Twelve Years a Slave, and he’s now added another small-screen favorite. Michael K. Williams, a.k.a. Omar Little on The Wire, has just boarded the cast, which also includes Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, and Brad Pitt. More details after the jump.

UPDATE: A few hours after this post went up, it was announced that Beasts of the Southern Wild star Dwight Henry had also joined Twelve Years a Slave.

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Those plans for David Milch’s beloved Deadwood to live on in the form of a TV movie will likely never come to fruition, but fans may yet get an opportunity to revisit the Western town when Quentin Tarantino‘s Django Unchained hits theaters at the end of this year. Actor Garret Dillahunt, who played Francis Wolcott on the HBO series, recently paid a visit to the set of Tarantino’s “Southern-fried spaghetti Western” and couldn’t help but notice that the setting looked awfully familiar. Check out Dillahunt’s TwitPics after the jump.

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There aren’t many directors like John Sayles. The man may have begun his career working for Roger Corman, and he has made a living doing studio rewrite gigs (many uncredited) over the years. But he has also carved out a unique career as a director of films that aren’t quite like those made by anyone else.

He had a great run of films from the mid-’80s to the late ’90s (Matewan, Eight Men Out, City of Hope, Passion Fish, The Secret of Roan Inish, Lone Star and Men With Guns) and has made several films with the great actor Chris Cooper. Their latest is Amigo, set during the Philippine-American war. The film premiered to mixed reception at TIFF last year, and now you can see the latest trailer below. Read More »

The latest addition to Neill Blompkamp‘s second feature Elysium is a good one: Diego Luna looks like the choice to play Julio, the closest friend of Matt Damon‘s character. In announcing the casting, Variety says the story ” revolves around aliens and humans doing battle on earth,” which is a slightly different description than we’ve heard in the past. Then again, we’ve heard very little description of the film so far, other than that Jodie Foster plays the head of state of an alien world, and that the film takes place 150 years in the future, with a socio-political bent.

Elysium also features Sharlto Copley, Wagner Moura, William Fichtner, and Alice Braga. It shoots in Vancouver and Mexico City this summer, with a March 1, 2013 release date planned. We’re excited to see what’s in store; perhaps Comic Con will be the occasion that gives us a look at the film.

After the break, Jason Bateman joinsVince Vaughn in Insane Laws, and Garret Dillahunt gets a new role, which automatically makes the world a better place. Read More »

I suspect this film will never get made with this cast, but you might eventually see A Boy Named Sue on screens in some form. In a piece about Ryan Reynolds forming a TV production company with Allan Loeb, Deadline reports on the film, written by Loeb, which has Ryan Reynolds attached to star as ” a guy who disguises himself as a woman to win his ex-girlfriend back.” So it is kind of Tootsie by way of Johnny Cash, with a little extra romantic comedy? Maybe? Despite the fact that Ryan Reynolds and Allan Loeb are developing this as part of a whole slate of stuff they’ve got cooking, I bet this gets made with someone else in the lead.

After the break, two great character actors, Garret Dillahunt and Walton Goggins, get new gigs. Read More »

2010 Gotham Independent Film Awards Winners

Tonight, the Independent Filmmaker Project (IFP) held the 20th Anniversary Gotham Independent Film Awards ceremony in New York City’s Cipriani Wall Street. The winners were comprised mostly of films which played earlier this year at the Sundance Film Festival. A total of 30 films received nominations in seven competitive categories, including: Best Feature, Best Documentary, Breakthrough Director, Breakthrough Actor, Best Ensemble Performance, Festival Genius Audience Award and Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You®. Hit the jump to read the full list of winners and the official press release.

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