It’s a fool’s errand to try and predict the 2014 Oscars a year in advance, but based on what we know about it so far Grace of Monaco could very well end up a serious contender. It’s directed by La vie en rose helmer Olivier Dahan (check), stars Academy Award winner Nicole Kidman and nominee Tim Roth (double check), and centers around a widely beloved entertainment industry figure (triple check). If that doesn’t sound tailor-made for the Academy, I don’t know what does.

The Weinsteins apparently think so as well, as they’ve already scooped up the distribution rights for around $5 million. Arriving hand-in-hand with that acquisition are the first official images of Kidman as the late actress turned princess. Check them out after the jump.

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I may not have been wild about Park Chan-Wook‘s English-language debut, Stoker, but there are definite pleasures within. Among them are the performances from the supporting cast. Jacki Weaver shows up for a bit, as does Dermot Mulroney. Neither has featured in a big way in the marketing so far, as each has a relatively small part to play in the film. But this featurette, which offers a behind the scenes look at the greater Stoker family, gives each some time in front of the camera. (Of course there’s plenty from the films star cast, too — Mia Wasikowska, Nicole Kidman, and Matthew Goode.) Read More »

To coincide with its long-awaited Sundance debut, Chan-wook Park‘s Stoker has just unveiled a new international trailer. The first English-language outing from the Oldboy auteur stars Mia Wasikowska as India, a teenage girl mourning the death of her father (Dermot Mulroney). The unexpected arrival of her mysterious Uncle Charlie (Matthew Goode) further complicates matters, especially as he seems to have taken an unhealthy interest in both India and her chilly mother Evelyn (Nicole Kidman). Watch the new video after the jump.

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The title Stoker suggests vampirism, as a play on the name of Dracula creator Bram Stoker. But the monsters in this film are purely human — people warped into terrible shapes by neglect and jealousy.

For his English-language debut, Oldboy direcotor Park Chan-Wook chose Stoker, a script by actor Wentworth Miller that revolves around a family suffering the pain of change after a significant death. Evie Stoker and her daughter India barely have a moment to come to terms with the untimely passing of husband/father Michael, when his long-lost brother Charlie shows up. Charlie is so long-lost that the rest of the family barely knew of his existence. But it isn’t long before he has insinuated himself into the broken household, and is toying with the affections of lonely Evie and rapidly maturing India.

There’s an influence from Hitchcock – the imposition of a long-lost Uncle Charlie can’t help but conjure thoughts of Shadow of a Doubt — but Stoker doesn’t feel like a Hitchcock film at all. Unfortunately, it doesn’t feel much like a classic Park film, either. There’s lush cinematography to spare, and a strikingly vivid color palette, yes. As a story or character portrait, however, Stoker is resoundingly hollow. Read More »

This morning Megan Fox, Ed Helms, and Jessica Alba announced the nominations for the 2013 Golden Globes. The Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the organization behind the event, is famous for nominating films and performances simply based on their star factor — if there’s an actor that members of the HFPA want to hang out with, they’re sure to get a nomination.

But the HFPA is great at putting on a show, and so the Golden Globes generate a lot of attention every year. And, as the NY Times points out, with the Globes nominations coming just days before Oscar nomination voting starts, there’s a possibility that nominations here could affect Oscar voting. The Best Picture nomination set includes what is already becoming a standard set of awards favorites, such as Lincoln, Silver Linings Playbook, and Zero Dark Thirty, but there are also nominations for Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, and Django Unchained. Salmon Fishing in the Yemen picked up a few nominations, actually, which was one of  the big surprises.

The Golden Globes will air on January 13, 2013, hosted by Amy Poehler and Tina Fey. The full nomination list is below. Read More »

Park Chan-Wook‘s Stoker is one of the film’s we’re most keen to see in the early months of 2013; the English-language debut of the director behind Thirst and the “Vengeance Trilogy” (Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, Oldboy, Sympathy for Lady Vengeance) holds a lot of appeal. That’s in part due to Park’s wonderful work with the camera and actors, as seen in most of his previous films. But there’s also the appeal of him tackling a story with explicit Hitchcock references and a talented cast that includes Mia Wasikowska, Nicole Kidman, and Matthew Goode, the three of whom play a strange family unit that comes together in the aftermath of a death in the family.

The first teaser poster for the film artfully brings together some of the story elements, and corrals them in a stark frame of thorny growth that aptly visualizes the characters’ twisted entanglements. Check it out in full below, along with a video showing the poster’s creation. Read More »

The core of the US trailer for Stoker, from Oldboy director Park Chan-wook, was a wonderfully hateful little speech from Nicole Kidman as the threatened matriarch of the Stoker family. That speech is in this new UK trailer, but thrown toward the end, truncated, and cut up with other footage. The core here, instead, is the nature of her daughter, played by Mia Wasikowska. This trailer turns her character, India, into more of a sinister figure, and an overt threat. The effect is to heighten my already elevated interest in the film, not that it needed much help given the talent involved.

Stoker hits early next year, but you can get a new taste of it below. Read More »

Finally! We recently saw some footage from Stoker, which is the English-language debut from South Korean director Park Chan-wook, best known for the “vengeance trilogy” of Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, Oldboy, and Sympathy for Lady Vengeance.

Stoker appears to be a thriller in the Hitchcock/De Palma vein, with a good dose of heated psycho-sexual tension, and some of Park’s characteristically lush visuals. After the death of the Stoker family patriarch, the women of the family, mother Evelyn (Nicole Kidman) and daughter India (Mia Wasikowska), are visited by Uncle Charlie (Matthew Goode). Things get intense, and really weird.

Check out the trailer below. Read More »

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