Frank

Michael Fassbender has two movies out this weekend, sort of, and they couldn’t be more different. One is the awards season re-release of 12 Years a Slave, a grim drama in which Fassbender plays a cruel slave owner. The other is Frank, a comedy debuting at Sundance in which he plays a musician who constantly wears a giant fake head.

Directed by Lenny Abrahamson (What Richard Did), Frank follows a young musician named Jon (Domhnall Gleeson) who falls in with an eccentric band. The leader of the group is Fassbender’s Frank, who manages to exude magnetism and power even through that crazy-looking headpiece. The first clip has just hit the web, and you can see it after the jump.

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12-years-a-slave-header

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 »

Touchy Feely

Lynn Shelton made her name with intimate, improvised dramedies like Humpday and Your Sister’s Sister. But her latest, Touchy Feely, sees her taking a broader, more traditionally scripted approach, to mixed reactions.

The new film reunites Shelton with her Your Sister’s Sister star Rosemarie DeWitt, who’s playing warm, free-spirited masseuse Abby this time around. Her life turns upside-down when she develops a sudden and inexplicable aversion to human touch, putting not just her career but her relationship with her boyfriend (Scoot McNairy) in jeopardy.

Meanwhile, her uptight dentist brother Paul (Josh Pais) journeys in precisely the opposite direction, as he mysteriously gains a “healing touch” that sends new patients flocking to his practice. Ellen Page, Allison Janney, and Ron Livingston round out the cast. Watch the trailer after the jump.

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It’s been a few days since our last TV Bits (sorry!), so we have a ton of stuff to catch up on. After the jump:

  • Alexis Bledel, Kyle McLachlan, Hope Davis, and more get pilots
  • Downton Abbey loses one character but gains six more
  • Jeffrey Wright will be a series regular on Boardwalk Empire
  • A bunch of Fox shows including The Following get early renewals
  • The Zero Hour has gets cancelled by ABC after just three episodes
  • Will Jimmy Fallon take over for Jay Leno on The Tonight Show?
  • The X-Files finally gets a tenth season… as a comic book
  • Steven Soderbergh‘s Behind the Candelabra gets EW cover
  • Hannibal and Mad Men offer up not very revealing teasers
  • See character posters and an extended trailer for Game of Thrones
  • Peek behind the scenes of Breaking Bad‘s final season

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Frank is a movie I’m pretty psyched for this year — the UK comedy casts Michael Fassbender in what seems to be a quirkily comedic role (you know, like his gig in Prometheus) alongside Maggie Gyllenhaal and Domhnall Gleeson. The picture sets Gleeson as Jon “a young wannabe musician who discovers he’s bitten off more than he can chew when he joins a band of eccentric pop musicians led by the mysterious and enigmatic Frank (Fassbender) and his terrifying sidekick Clara (Gyllenhaal).”

The photo above is a bit of the first still from the film, and you can see the full shot 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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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 »

“This is the best bad idea we have, sir, by far.”

Here’s the trailer for Argo, Ben Affleck‘s third film as director. The film follows the efforts of an operation to rescue six diplomats hiding in Tehran during the Iranian revolution in 1979.  The trailer begins in serious political thriller mode before the real plan is revealed and it moves into an Oceans Eleven tone for a moment. But it swings back as the real importance of the mission becomes clear.

This trailer demonstrates that the material could really put Affleck to the test as he has to balance a tricky combination of tones and situations. But his cast is excellent:  Alan Arkin, Bryan Cranston, John Goodman, Zeljko Ivanek, Richard Kind, Scoot McNairy, Chris Messina, Michael Parks, Kerry BisheKyle Chandler, Tate Donovan, Clea DuVall, Victor Garber, and Taylor Schilling. The footage looks great, and keeps this locked as one of our most anticipated movies of the year. Check out the trailer below. Read More »

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