Devils Knot

One of the most prestigious film festivals in North America, the Toronto Film Festival, has begun to announce its line up for 2013. The event takes place September 5-15 and as usual, the line-up includes pretty much every highly-anticipated awards contender scheduled for release through the end of the year.

Just a few examples are the Jackie Brown prequel Life of Crime, Matthew McConaughey in Dallas Buyers Club, the star-studded August: Osage County, Idris Elba in Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom, Steve McQueen’s 12 Years A Slave, the West Memphis Three film Devil’s Knot (above), Jason Reitman’s latest Labor Day, Jason Bateman’s debut Bad Words, Ron Howard’s Rush, the Wikileaks film The Fifth Estate, Mike Myers’ documentary Supermench, Matthew Weiner’s You Are Here, Hugh Jackman in Prisoners, Keanu Reeves’ Man of Tai Chi and Alfonso Cuaron’s space drama, Gravity.

And they haven’t even finished announcing everything. Below, read everything in this first wave. Read More »

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Fifteen years after Quentin Tarantino’s Jackie Brown hit theaters, Dan Schechter is making plans to travel back fifteen years before that movie took place. The writer-director has been amassing quite a cast for his sorta-prequel The Switch, including John Hawkes, Yasiin Bey (formerly known as Mos Def), Jennifer Aniston, and Isla Fisher. But now he’s making a few tweaks to that lineup. Dennis Quaid and Ty Burrell have now departed the project, to be replaced by Will Forte and Tim Robbins. Read more after the jump.

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John Hawkes as a young Robert De Niro and Mos Def as a young Samuel L. Jackson? Sounds fantastic and it’s actually happening. Hawkes and yasiin bey (Mos Def’s new name) will star in Switch, based on an Elmore Leonard novel, written and directed by Dan Schechter. They’ll play Louis Gara and Ordell Robbie respectively, characters made famous by De Niro and Jackson in Quentin Tarantino’s Jackie BrownSwitch takes places 15 years before Tarantino’s film (itself an adaptation of Leonard’s novel Rum Punch) and features Louis and Ordell as they attempt to kidnap a corrupt real estate broker. There’s much more after the break. Read More »

This Week in DVD & Blu-ray is a column that compiles all the latest info regarding new DVD and Blu-ray releases, sales, and exclusive deals from stores including Target, Best Buy and Fry’s.

Rent It

THE FIGHTER
[*Warning: Obvious spoiler ahead*]
Great care was paid to ensure that The Fighter be as authentic a true story as possible, which is also why its ending feels a tad misguided. Was it necessary to close the film on a note of uplifting triumph? That’s the expected conclusion, certainly, and it’s not as though there’s ever a moment where The Fighter seems like it might be veering down a path that hasn’t already been laid out for it in countless other sports films. But the humanity of the picture stems from its acrid family dynamics, and it’s in those moments that the film transcends the genre in which it’s forced to reside. In fact, so much time is dedicated to observing and developing the raw, complex relationships between the film’s central band of characters that when the pat, encouraging conclusion finally comes, it feels largely unearned. This is not a story with an easy resolution, and it’s a shame that The Fighter feels the need to provide it with one. The rest of the movie, thankfully, is good enough to overcome it. Christian Bale is mesmerizing as the jovial junkie who’s always the center of attention, and Mark Wahlberg is appropriately understated as the passive brother who’s continuously overshadowed by him. Their relationship is the driving force behind the film, and it’s also the narrative thread that satisfies most by the film’s end. While Bale steals the show early on, there comes a time when the character’s constant self-adulation grows (deliberately) tiresome, gracefully affording Wahlberg’s Micky the opportunity to step up and show his mettle—not merely in the ring, but amongst his controlling family. At that point, I was resolutely invested in the ensuing drama, and against better judgment, awaited a denouement that wouldn’t let an unwarranted “inspirational” finale undermine the complicated history of this combative lower class family. If only the film had the conviction to see all of its relationships through, rather than put the focus on the need to win a boxing match.
Available on Blu-ray? Yes.
Notable Extras: DVD – A commentary by director David O. Russell, and a Warriors Code: Filming The Fighter featurette. Blu-ray – Includes everything on the DVD, as well as deleted scenes, a Keeping the Faith featurette, and a digital copy of the film.

BEST DVD PRICE
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$16.99 $15.99 $14.99
Amazon – $14.99

BEST BLU-RAY PRICE
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$22.99 $22.99 $17.99
Amazon – $19.99

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Quentin Tarantino

Is there something in the air this week? Out of nowhere come a series of three odd Tarantino-related news bites and rumors. First up, there is the new production of The Switch, based on Elmore Leonard‘s novel of the same name. The other way to talk about The Switch is that it is a prequel to Jackie Brown, as it features the first chapter in the association of the Sam Jackson and Robert De Niro characters from Tarantino’s film. (Still my favorite of his, I think, and still divisive amongst many other fans.) The Switch leads into Leonard’s novel Rum Punch, which Tarantino very loosely adapted into Jackie Brown.

But the film is scripted by Dan Schechter, and there isn’t yet any attached director or cast. Tarantino won’t be involved, though the report is that he has given his blessing to the film, whatever that means.[JoBlo]

After the break, a roast and a rumor. Read More »

The Switch
Miramax has released the movie trailer for The Switch, the romantic comedy formerly titled The Baster. The film was originally titled after the film’s central maguffin, a turkey baster used for artificial insemination, but test audiences hated it. The script by Allan Loeb landed on the 2008 Black List (a listing of the best unproduced screenplays in Hollywood). The story follows a woman who finds out she may have conceived with the ‘help’ of a different man to the one intended.

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