One of the big favorites among Sundance attendees this year was Martha Marcy May Marlene, in which Elizabeth Olsen plays a young woman dealing with the aftereffects of cult brainwashing.

Fox Searchlight has released a US trailer for the film, which will open in October, but now there is a UK trailer that offers a slightly different — and no less compelling — look at the movie. This was in my top five anticipated films of the fall, and nothing has changed after watching this trailer. Check it out below. Read More »

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If the title Martha Marcy May Marlene is too hard to remember, call it “The Four M’s.” That’s what virtually everyone who was in Park City, UT for the 2011 Sundance Film Festival did and the phrase was on everyone’s lips. Many felt “The Four M’s” was one of, if not the, best films at the entire festival. Directed by Sean Durkin, it centers on a young woman (Elizabeth Olsen) who leaves her home and joins a strange cult. Her experiences there are inter cut with her return trip home and, over the course of the film, we see how her time with the cult both forced her to leave and changed who she is.

It’s one of those tense, slow burn films fueled by great performances (including one by John Hawkes as the cult leader) which you’ll appreciate even if you don’t love. After the jump, check out two character trailers and posters for the film, which Fox Searchlight will release on October 21. Read More »

Vera Farmiga first broke into Hollywood during the late ’90s, but it probably wasn’t until her acclaimed turn in The Departed that she truly caught the public’s attention. Since then, she’s developed a reputation (well deserved, IMO) as one of the strongest actresses working today.

And soon, we might be praising her work behind the camera as well. Farmiga is making her directorial debut with Higher Ground, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year. Based on a memoir by Carolyn Briggs, Higher Ground stars Farmiga as a woman struggling with her faith over the decades. Watch the trailer after the jump. Read More »

It’s “cool projects for former The Shield actors” day! We just heard that Michael Chiklis will be the bad guy in Taylor Hackford’s Parker, and now Walton Goggins has been cast in Steven Spielberg‘s Lincoln. He’s the latest addition to a monster of a cast that begins with Daniel Day Lewis as the sixteenth President of the US and includes many more. We’ll recap the cast after the break. Read More »

We’ve got a handful of release dates to share, with the biggest possibly being Guillermo del Toro‘s upcoming Pacific Rim, which, if things go well, will begin shooting late this summer or in early fall. Warner Bros. will distribute the Legendary Pictures production, and has just set July 12, 2013 as the release date. Pacific Rim is scripted by Travis Beacham and already boasts Charlie Hunnam, Idris Elba and Charlie Day in the cast. The story is “set in a future where giant malevolent creatures threaten to destroy the earth, and the planet must band together and use advanced weapons technology to eradicate the growing threat.” [THR]

After the break, a new date for Steven Soderbergh’s Contagion, and dates for the Stephenie Meyer adaptation The Host, as well as for Roman Polanski’s Carnage, Pedro Almodovar’s The Skin I Live In, and Tucker & Dale Vs Evil. Read More »

Steven Spielberg is a busy man, and while his plans to finally make an Abraham Lincoln biopic were announced late last year, we’ve had little news since. We know that Daniel Day Lewis would play the title role, and that Sally Field will be Mary Todd, but other than that, there has been very little to report. That changes today with the addition of Tommy Lee Jones and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and a big list of other actors who are all in talks now. More details are after the break. Read More »

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YES. One of the most-praised films at Sundance this year was Martha Marcy May Marlene, an effort from first-timer Sean Durkin which stars Elizabeth Olsen as a young woman who escapes from a cult (led by John Hawkes) and tries to begin the process of finding a normal life, only to find that the cult-induced damage may be far more devastating than previously thought.

Now the trailer is here, and goddamn, does it look good. Watch it now. Read More »

The title The Surrogate, to me, immediately calls up impressions of a horror film or thriller, but the movie that has had John Hawkes attached is something else entirely. An emotional thriller, perhaps. The Surrogate is based on a true story and will feature the actor as “Mark O’Brien, a paraplegic polio victim who lived most of his life in an iron lung, paralyzed from the neck down.” But that’s only the setup; there’s quite a bit more to the story than that — it addresses a longing to experience one specific aspect of humanity that such a life would be removed from.

He’s now joined by Helen Hunt, playing the role alluded to in the film’s title, and Moon Bloodgood and Rhea Perlman are on board, too. Read More »

John Hawkes Cast in ‘Surrogate’

The last couple years have been good for John Hawkes. A career of smallish roles and a few very notable attention-getting turns (a notable Deadwood character, the lead in Me and You and Everyone We Know) led to Easbound and Down. With a raised his profile the actor ended up in the excellent film Winter’s Bone, for which he was nominated for an Oscar. While he didn’t win, that’s a pretty huge step for a guy who audiences might not have recognized on the street just a few years ago.

He’s got a role in the Sundance fave Martha Marcy May Marlene, has shot a part in Steven Soderbergh’s Contagion and is now staying indie with the drama Surrogate, based on the life of poet and journalist Mark O’Brien. Read More »