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A TV series based on The Exorcist has been in the planning stages for a while, with Martha Marcy May Marlene director Sean Durkin once set to oversee the development of a ten-episode series that would be directly linked to William Friedkin’s film. That actually seemed like a pretty great idea.

Now some things have changed. The show is still moving forward, but Durkin is out and Fantastic Four and Fables screenwriter Jeremy Slater is in, with producer Roy Lee (The DepartedThe Ring) still working on the project.  Read More »

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Despite plenty of attempts, Hollywood’s had quite a bit of trouble getting a Janis Joplin biopic off the ground. But that’s not going to stop enterprising young filmmakers from trying anyway. The latest director to take a stab at bringing the rock icon’s story to life will be Sean Durkin, director of last year’s indie hit Martha Marcy May Marlene. He’ll be teaming up with another name who’s almost as new to Hollywood as he is, as Tony-winning stage actress Nina Arianda has signed on to play the lead role in the unimaginatively titled Joplin. More details after the jump.

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The Exorcist is a landmark movie. Along with Psycho, it legitimized horror as a genre — what had previously been relegated to drive-in and second-feature filler was now big business. William Friedkin‘s adaptation of William Peter Blatty‘s novel (scripted by Blatty) scored a Best Picture Oscar nomination and nine other Oscar nods. (Best Picture went to The Sting, but The Exorcist did take Best Sound and Best Adapted Screenplay.)

But all things are now ripe for re-adaptation, and so producers are turning towards Blatty’s novel once more. This time, the book is to be adapted into a ten-episode TV series, and the director in charge will be Sean Durkin, who made Martha Marcy May Marlene. It’s actually such a good fit that I can’t even muster the urge to be upset about a remake. Read More »

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 »

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 »

If you’re more interested in the typical fall slate of festival entrees than summer’s glut of tentpole action fare, this is a great week. The Toronto International Film Festival announced the first wave of films that will play the fest in September. This is a batch of about 50 titles, which makes up only a small chunk of the programming. Usually TIFF features between two and three hundred films. But these are some of the highest-profile entries.

Below you’ll find rundowns on the new films from George Clooney, Bennett Miller, Jay & Mark Duplass, Todd Solondz, Francis Ford Coppola, Cameron Crowe, Sarah Polley, Fernando Meirelles, Lars von Trier, Marc Forster, Steve McQueen, Alexander Payne, and Lynne Ramsay. No announcement yet of the Midnight Madness programming choices, always some of my faves, but this is a great start. Read More »

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 »

There are few movies that fill me with so much discomfort that I can’t wait to leave the theater, even while I’m watching them. Martha Marcy May Marlene, which premiered yesterday at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, is one of those films, a portrait of cult brainwashing that is so discomfiting, I would have walked out if I wasn’t so transfixed by the tremendous filmmaking on display.

Hit the jump for some more thoughts on the film, including a video blog I recorded with over half a dozen movie writers. Read More »

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