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Left to his own devices Lee Daniels makes films that are eccentric and sometimes just way the hell out there. (The Paperboy) But he has called his newest film, The Butler, “a big compromise” and explained that the film might be “the closest I will come to as a work-for-hire.” Does that mean that, on the relative scale of whackadoo films, The Butler will be far closer to “normal” than anything else he’s made?

Hard to say at this point, but the first trailer suggests that there’s some weird stuff going on here. There’s the parade of cameo players appearing as a string of US Presidents. Among them is John Cusack‘s turn as Richard Nixon, which is… interesting. Then there’s Alex Pettyfer playing an uber-douchebag cotton farm overseer, and the digital effects and makeup that shave a few decades off lead Forest Whitaker in some scenes.

Whitaker plays Cecil Gaines, who served several different President as the White House butler, and the trailer suggests the film traces his entire life story, using it to frame the sweep of the civil rights movement. It’s a good story, but this trailer looks a lot like a parody that might show up on SNL. So we’ll see — maybe The Butler will be just as crazy as the rest of Daniels’ work. Read More »

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If you think there’s nothing more hilarious than old people singing “Let’s Talk About Sex,” or more heartwarming than a prickly old grump revealing himself to be a big ol’ softie, then Paul Andrew Williams‘ comedy-drama Unfinished Song is for you.

Terence Stamp stars as a cranky pensioner who joins a choir to please his beloved wife Marion (Vanessa Redgrave). Initially, he’s irritated by the wacky ways of conductor Elizabeth (Gemma Arterton), but under her guidance he eventually comes to discover a new side of himself. Christopher Eccleston also stars. Watch the first trailer after the jump.

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John Cusack and Johnny Knoxville are set to star in Carnaval, a comedy directed by Josh Stern. Cusack will play a sports scout who tavels to Rio de Janeiro during Carnaval in order to sign a soccer star, while Knoxville has been cast as Cusack’s musician best friend who tags along. Cusack’s character needs to bring the player on board so that he can take over his agency, but his plans go awry when Knoxville’s character sleeps with the player’s girlfriend. Carnaval will begin shooting in Rio this January.

Knoxville’s been on a roll lately in terms of landing roles. Over the past few months, he’s signed on for the teen comedy Fun Size, an untitled camping comedy with Patton Oswalt, and the Arnold Schwarzenegger action flick The Last Stand. Cusack also has a handful of movies lined up for next year, including Lee Daniels’ The Paperboy, the Edgar Allan Poe thriller The Raven, and the serial killer drama The Frozen Ground. [The Hollywood Reporter]

After the jump, TV actress Katherine LaNasa gains two movie husbands, and a whole bunch of people board Night Train to Lisbon.

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With his modern update of Shakespeare‘s Coriolanus, first-time director Ralph Fiennes earned quite the warm reception earlier this year at the Berlin film festival. Some of the most vocal adulation went to the supporting performance by Vanessa Redgrave. Indeed, even in this trailer her performance looks nuanced and impressive, with fierce notes that stand out even against the intense work from director/star Fiennes as Coriolanus. He’s a powerful general, she’s his controlling and power-hungry mother; when Coriolanus fails in a bid for greater power, he is expelled from Rome and allies with a former enemy (Gerard Butler) to take revenge.

This first trailer certainly makes the film look like a compelling piece of work and a persuasive translation of Shakespeare to a modern setting. Check it out below. Read More »

‘Anonymous’ Trailer #2

Roland Emmerich‘s new film, the ‘who really wrote Shakespeare’s plays’ conspiracy tale Anonymous, got a little prestige bump when it was programmed as part of the Toronto International Film Festival. But let’s face it: as much as we celebrate TIFF, and with very good reason, a festival packed with hundreds of films is going to spotlight a few clunkers. Will Anonymous be one of those?

A second trailer has dropped for the picture, and it retains the Radiohead track (‘Everything in its Right Place’) that scored the first trailer, but significantly ups the silliness factor. This trailer might not give you much of an idea about the actual story in the film, but it will offer the heads-up that it is all very, very serious. Read More »

‘The Whistleblower’ Trailer

It was almost exactly a year ago that we saw the sales trailer for The Whistleblower, a thriller in which Rachel Weisz plays a Nebraska cop working as a peacekeeper in postwar Bosnia who uncovers a sex scandal. The movie played Toronto last September, and hit a few other fests afterward, but we haven’t heard much about the picture since then. Samuel Goldwyn Films is distributing, and the company has now released a full US trailer. It’s after the break.  Read More »

‘Cars 2′ Trailer #4

Just on the off chance that you’d overlooked the fact that a sequel to Cars is being released this summer, Disney and Pixar have released another full-length trailer (after a unleashing a legion of clips and TV spots) for Cars 2. The Disney/Pixar channel on YouTube calls this trailer #4, and who am I to argue? There is some new footage here, and the trailer is cut well, but at this point either you’re on board for Cars 2 or you’re not. If by some chance you’re new to the fact that the film exists, hit the break for the new trailer, or check it out if you can’t wait for the film to open on June 24. Read More »

For his latest film, Anonymous, Roland Emmerich departs from his established world-busting pattern…or does he? While the film doesn’t feature scenes of overt global destruction as per 2012 and Independence Day, the movie does seek to drop a bomb on the literary world by taking seriously the conspiracy theory that says the works of William Shakespeare were in fact penned by someone else.

The cast is quite good (Rhys Ifans, Vanessa Redgrave, Joely Richardson, David Thewlis, Xavier Samuel, Sebastian Armesto, Rafe Spall, Edward Hogg, Jamie Campbell Bower and Derek Jacobi) and now you can get a taste of how this particular dramatic experiment plays out by checking out the trailer below. Read More »

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