The primary lineup for the competition slate at the 2012 Cannes has been unveilend, and it is a very strong list of films. There are quite a few expected entries: David Cronenberg‘s Cosmopolis, Lee DanielsThe Paperboy, John Hillcoat‘s Lawless (formerly The Wettest County), and Andrew Dominik‘s Killing Them Softly (formerly Cogan’s Trade), and we already knew that Wes Anderson‘s Moonrise Kingdom would open the festival.

But the international lineup is even more exciting, with films such as Rust & Bone from Jacques Audiard, Amour from Micheal Haneke, The Hunt from Thomas Vinterberg, and Mekong Hotel from 2010 Palme d’Or winner Apichatpong Weerasethakul. As is occasionally the case with Cannes, this year’s lineup features many returning Cannes award winners; it’s a world-class program.

The downside to all of that is that Paul Thomas Anderson‘s The Master and Terrence Malick‘s as-yet untitled romance starring Ben Affleck, Rachel McAdams and Javier Bardem didn’t show up in the list. There is some time for them to be added to the festival lineup in some measure, but (as expected) we’ll likely have to wait until this fall for The Master. As for the Malick movie… well, it’s Malick, so who knows?

You’ll find the lineup as it has been announced so far after the break. Read More »

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A couple years ago John Hillcoat (The Road, The Proposition) stared the process of adapting Matt Bondurant‘s novel The Wettest County in the World. The film stars Tom Hardy, Shia LaBeouf, Jessica Chastain and many more in the story of a bootlegging family. The title was soon shortened down to The Wettest County. But now, just a bit prior to the film’s August 31 opening, the movie has a new title: Lawless.

Trouble is, Lawless is what Terrence Malick had been planning to call one of his two films he’s shooting this year with Christian Bale. The good news is, Hillcoat’s team asked for the name, and Malick graciously gave it up. Read More »

In 2010, after the original incarnation of John Hillcoat‘s The Wettest County had collapsed, the director was eyeing the Black List script Triple Nine, with Shia LaBeouf attached to star. The Matt Cooke script sounds like a taut cop/heist thriller, and as such a slight departure for Hillcoat — it would be a more overtly modern film, if nothing else, than The Proposition or The Road, the movies for which he is best known.

But The Wettest County (then called The Promised Land) came back to life thanks to the interest of Megan Ellison’s Annapurna Pictures, and the film is now complete and awaiting a release later this year. Now there is a minor suggestion — very minor — that Triple Nine may in the works once more with Hillcoat at the helm, and now housed at Annapurna. Read More »

A year ago, we thought we’d see John Hillcoat‘s The Wettest County by the end of 2011. By the end of last year, we had a new release date: April 20. Now it seems we’ll have to wait even longer, as The Weinstein Co. has pushed the opening back again, this time to August 31. It’s disappointing news, not only because we’re eager to see the film but also because it’s a date that suggests the studio isn’t giving it much of a chance. Labor Day weekend is generally one of the slowest of any given year, and it’s usually a bad sign for a movie when the studio dumps it into that slot.

Based on “mostly true” events, Hillcoat’s historical drama centers around a group of brothers (Tom Hardy, Shia LaBeouf, and Jason Clarke) who get into the bootlegging business in Prohibition-era Virginia. Jessica Chastain, Mia Wasikowska, Guy Pearce, and Gary Oldman also star. More after the jump.

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Russ Fischer’s 10 Most Anticipated Films of 2012

Enough about 2011; let’s look ahead to 2012. This past year was good about offering a diverse set of films that catered to many tastes, especially crowds that wanted something out of the range of standard multiplex fare. But 2012 looks like a much stronger year. We can almost always look ahead to a new year and say that there is a great batch of new films from established favorite filmmakers, movies with wonderful casts,  giant event movies and promising indies. But 2012 looks like it has more of those than usual. It’s going to be a good year for movie watchers.

After some deliberation (which no doubt has still allowed me to overlook something for which I’ll facepalm later) here is a list of ten films that I’m very excited to see in 2012, followed by a full page of discussion about a whole bunch of other movies that didn’t make my personal cut but are still bright spots on the 2012 calendar for various reasons. This list could change a lot in the next couple weeks, as Sundance (and then Cannes in May) could reveal a good many new films that will be bright spots on the calendar in ’12.

I’ve also exercised a certain hopefulness here, as there are a few films that don’t yet have official 2012 release dates. Let’s hope they don’t slip. Read More »

‘The Wettest County’ Set For April 2012 Release

There was a point earlier this year when it looked like we might see John Hillcoat‘s The Wettest County by the end of the year. The Weinstein Company picked up the film, originally called The Wettest County in the World, at Cannes, and it seemed reasonable to assume that a bootlegging tale from the director of The Proposition and The Road starring Tom Hardy and Shia LaBeouf might be a solid year-end release.

But the Weinsteins, focused as ever on awards season, have already pegged The Artist, The Iron Lady and My Week With Marilyn as the company’s year-end contenders. So The Wettest County is now set to arrive in April 2012. Read More »

The Georgia shoot for John Hillcoat‘s The Wettest County in the World has wrapped, and just in time to commemorate that milestone, producer Cassian Elwes has revealed a few new low-res looks at the film. The primary photo he sent out shows Jason Clarke, Tom Hardy and Shia LaBeouf as the three lead characters, the Bondurant brothers, as introduced in Matt Bondurant‘s book that inspired the film. We’ve already seen one shot of Shia LaBeouf in costume, but if you’re looking forward to this one as much as we are, any little look is a bonus.

There are a few other low-quality photos that the producer shared, after the break, which also give a very rough look at Mia Wasikowska in character. Read More »

One of the films I’m most excited about right now is John Hillcoat‘s adaptation of the Prohibition-era novel The Wettest County in the World. The film had been picking up steam a year ago, then died, and now is coming back to life. Scratch that: it is alive! The film is shooting right now, and there are a couple set photos showing Shia LaBeouf in costume as one of the two leads. (Tom Hardy is the other lead.) The photos are less exciting than the fact that they prove this one is really happening. Check one of the images after the break. Read More »

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