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August: Osage County, a Pulitzer Prize and multiple Tony award winning play, is hoping to become a multiple Oscar-winning film. Directed by John Wells (The Company Men), the film has one of the most impressive dramatic casts in recent memory: Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Ewan McGregorBenedict Cumberbatch,Margot MartindaleChris Cooper, Dermot MulroneyJuliette LewisAbigail Breslin, and Sam Shepard. They’ll bring to life a story about a group of young women forced to go home and deal with their parents. A simple story to be sure, but a powder keg for emotion and drama.

Don’t believe me, though. Check out the trailer and poster for the November 8 release.  Read More »

(Note: This is a reprint of our Mud review from Sundance 2013. The film opens in a limited run today.)

For his follow-up to Take Shelter, director Jeff Nichols smartly casts Matthew McConaughey as a violent drifter who slides into the lives of two young boys whose families eke out a bare existence on the Mississippi River. Using the gift for gab that any character played by McConaughey must automatically possess, this outlaw wraps the boys up in his plan to achieve true freedom.

While Take Shelter trafficked in heavy ambiguity, Mud does away with uncertainty, at least with respect to the story. This is a straightforward tale that rides on the shoulders of McConaughey and two excellent young actors, Tye Sheridan (The Tree of Life) and newcomer Jacob Lofland.

Mud is a riff on Mark Twain, and an exploration of the relationships between generations of men. It could be a Tom Waits song, perhaps a long-lost cut from Swordfishtrombones, revolving as it does around a man with a dark past who seeks to build an escape engine out of cast-off parts, with love as his fuel. The film casts a keen eye on people living a mostly bygone lifestyle, and wraps those observations in a rollicking little adventure that you might find in the yellowing pages of an old pulp novel.

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With the releases of Bernie, Magic Mike, and Killer Joe, 2012 may very well have been the best year of Matthew McConaughey‘s career. And don’t expect to see that momentum flag in 2013. McConaughey is starting the year off with Mud, a coming-of-age tale directed by Jeff Nichols (Take Shelter).

The Tree of Life actor Tye Sheridan and newcomer Jacob Lofland play a pair of friends who come across a mysterious man named Mud (McConaughey) hiding out in the woods along the Mississippi. While he soon admits that he’s on the run for killing a man, they’re charmed by his romantic tales and agree to help him out. Their boyish adventure takes a sour turn, however, when Mud’s real problems entangle them in some very adult complications. Watch the trailer after the jump.

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With Cannes just around the corner we’re going to start seeing even more clips and trailer from some of our most anticipated movies of the year. One of the big ones is Killing Them Softly, the third feature film from Andrew Dominik (Chopper, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford) that was formerly titled Cogan’s Trade. We haven’t seen any footage at all from this one yet, so the clip below is a first look.

The film features Brad Pitt as a mob enforcer on the trail of a couple guys (Scoot McNairy, Ben Mendelsohn) who ripped off the wrong card game. None of those guys are in this first footage from the film, however. Rather, we see Sam Shepard and Slaine showing up at Ray Liotta‘s house, where they rough him up for some reason. The scene is pretty basic, but the way the camera moves past the action really marks this as Dominik’s work — he’s not a guy to engage a scene in the obvious manner. It’s a great little shot. Read More »

On paper, Lawrence Kasdan‘s Darling Companion sounds promising. Kasdan, an Oscar-nominated screenwriter and filmmaker, directed the drama from a script he co-wrote with his wife Meg Kasdan, also an Oscar nominee. The star-studded cast, as the trailer is happy to remind you, includes two Academy Award nominees (Richard Jenkins and Sam Shepard) and three Academy Award winners (Diane Keaton, Dianne Wiest, and Kevin Kline), as well as promising younger actors like Elisabeth Moss and Mark Duplass. But at the end of the day, no number of collective accolades can guarantee an interesting picture, and unfortunately, the trailer for Darling Companion looks pretty cringeworthy.

The Kasdans’ screenplay revolves around a dissatisfied older woman named Beth (Keaton) who adopts an abandoned dog she finds on the side of the road and finds contentment in her bond with him. But when Beth’s self-absorbed husband (Kline) loses the dog, the couple pull together a search party to find him and everyone finds that they’re affected by the experience in unexpected ways. Watch the video after the jump.

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Take Shelter director Jeff Nichols is prepping his third film, Mud, and he’s just added quite a few actors to the cast. Take Shelter star Michael Shannon is on board for a small role, and Sam Shepard, Sarah Paulson, Ray McKinnon, Joe Don Baker and Paul Sparks are all set to appear alongside leads Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon and Tye Sheridan in the film that started shooting yesterday in Arkansas.

And if you’re afraid this sounds like just another low-key indie, read on for the director’s description, as he likens the film to Peckinpah directing a story by Mark Twain.

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I remember reading that Sam Shepard was helping revive Butch Cassidy — the character so famously played by Paul Newman in George Roy Hill’s benchmark 1969 western Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid — in Mateo Gil‘s new western called Blackthorn. (Mateo Gil co-wrote The Sea Inside and Abre Los Ojos with Alejandro Amenábar.) But I hadn’t thought about the film much at all until the first US trailer arrived last night. And after watching this one a couple times, I’m now actually excited about seeing the film. Check out the trailer below and see if you’re ready for one last ride with Butch Cassidy, too. Read More »

The film Safe House has been shooting for some time now, and it’s one that has our interest thanks to a great collection of talent: Snabba Cash director Daniel Espinosa makes his English-language debut with the movie and the cast is toplined by Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds, with additional roles filled out by Brendan Gleeson, Sam Shepard and Robert Patrick.

Now, despite the fact that it’s a little late in the game, Vera Farmiga has been added to the cast. Read More »

Ryan Reynolds and Denzel Washington will soon shoot Safe House, in which a CIA trainee (Reynolds) has to transport a criminal (Washington) who is under fire from other enemies. Daniel Espinosa (Snabba Cash) is directing from a script by David Guggenheim. Now the film picked up four more actors: Brendan Gleeson, Robert Patrick, Sam Shepard and Liam Cunningham. No word on the roles for the quartet, but I hope they play the team trying to take down Denzel.

The film shoots starting next week, and has a February 10, 2012 release date. [Variety]

After the break, Ed Harris and Diane Keaton book a new film, Ari Folman’s The Congress gets one more, and a Glee cast member gets his own caper movie. Read More »

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Though he’s been announced as attached to a few projects over the past couple years, Lawrence Kasdan hasn’t written or directed a produced film since Dreamcatcher in 2003. (He has done script work, like the polish on the script for the action version of Paradise Lost that Alex Proyas just signed to direct.)

But now Kasdan will direct Darling Companion from a script he wrote with Meg Kasdan, and he’s just added Mark Duplass, Dianne Wiest and Sam Shepard to the cast. Read More »