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Mae West was one of the original legends of Hollywood, but even so at this point the announcement of a biopic about the actress, with Bette Midler in the lead role, might not arouse huge attention at the outset. There are biopics for seemingly everyone, so one more is just a drop in the bucket.

But reveal that William Friedkin will direct Mae West — that’s a big deal. Friedkin practically defined the 1970s as a radical new decade in film with the one-two punch of The Exorcist and The French Connection, and has enjoyed a vibrant current stage in his long career through the films Bug and Killer Joe. So, Friedkin directing Midler in a film about the infamous Mae West? Let’s see it! Read More »

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Just days after he boarded the David Gordon Green drama Joe, the very busy Nicolas Cage has signed on for yet another new project. And unlike Green’s gritty literary drama, this one puts Cage back in the thriller genre where he’s apparently most comfortable.

Emmett/Furla Films, which was also behind Cage’s recently wrapped The Frozen Ground, is re-teaming with the actor for I Am Wrath, a crime thriller scripted by Paul Sloan. If there’s anything about the project that gives us hope it’ll rise above recent Cage duds like Seeking Justice and Trespass, though, it’s the involvement of William Friedkin. The 77-year-old filmmaker is reportedly eyeing I Am Wrath as his follow-up to this year’s Killer Joe. More after the jump.

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Matthew McConaughey is one of those actors that isn’t afraid to try new things. He can go from iconic role (Dazed and Confused), to blockbuster leading man (A Time To Kill), anchor a romantic comedy (Failure to Launch), or give a stunning, award-worthy supporting performance (Magic Mike). And that’s not even the half of it. (Think Sahara, Tropic Thunder, We Are Marshall, The Lincoln Lawyer, etc. Actually, don’t think about Sahara.) You never quite know what he’ll end up doing next. In the case of William Friedkin‘s controversial thriller Killer Joe, the actor might end up sitting across from Juno Temple talking about mutilated genitalia.

That’s what you’re about to see in /Film’s exclusive clip from the shocking, NC-17 rated film version of the play by Tracy Letts. Killer Joe is about a young man played by Emile Hirsch who convinces his father (Thomas Hayden Church) to have a local policeman (the title character played by McConaughey) kill the mother of the family. The price? Cash, of course, and the virginity of the young sister, played by Temple. Yeah. It’s a screwed-up kind of movie, but that’s what makes it so insanely watchable. See for yourself on after the jump. Read More »

“Dirty deeds, done dirt cheap!” Wait. Hiring Matthew McConaughey to kill someone costs how much? Twenty-five grand? Ok, maybe not ‘dirt cheap,’ then. Anyway, The Exorcist director William Friedkin is back this year with Killer Joe, a Southern-fried thriller in which McConaughey is hired by Emile Hirsch to kill his mom (Gina Gershon). But complications arise when the killer wants money up front and the kid can’t pay. That’s where his sister (Juno Temple) comes in.

The film ended up being rated NC-17, and despite whatever intense stuff goes down to earn that rating, it seems like there’s a real appeal here when it comes to the performances from McConaughey and the supporting players. I’m thrilled, frankly, to see McConaughey getting a string of roles that really take advantage of his particular talents, and this one looks like a win for him. Check out a trailer below. Read More »

Hot on the heels of the release of a massive batch of films that will appear in the Toronto Film Festival, we’ve got the main lineup for the 68th Venice Film Festival, which runs from August 31 to September 10.

We knew that George Clooney‘s The Ides of March would open the fest (the trailer premiered last night and you can see it here) and this list confirms quite a few films that we imagined would be playing Venice. Our very much anticipated spy thriller Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy from Let the Right One In director Tomas Alfredson is on the list, as is Roman Polanski‘s tense closed-room drama Carnage, starring Kate Winslet, Jodie Foster, John C. Reilly and Christoph Waltz. And there is Alps, the second film from polarizing Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos, whose film Dogtooth shocked, entertained and angered festival audiences in 2009.

The full list is after the break. 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 »

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The first collaboration between director William Friedkin and author/screenwriter William Peter Blatty produced one of the most famous / notorious horror films in movie history. (Um, The Exorcist.)

Now, as Mr. Friedkin promotes a limited theatrical re-release and Blu-ray disc of The Exorcist and prepares to shoot the film Killer Joe in Louisiana, he may also be ready to re-team with Mr. Blatty after almost forty years, to adapt the novel Dimiter. Read More »

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For the past few months, word has been kicking around Louisiana that William Friedkin would be shooting a new film with Matthew McConaughey called Killer Joe. And now the news is official; Friedkin has lined up McConaughey and Emile Hirsch for the film, which will shoot late this fall. Read More »

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