In America, we’re told that if we work hard, we can accomplish anything. Jessica Chastain‘s character in Zero Dark Thirty, Maya, personifies that patriotic belief, as over the course of a decade she strives to capture the terrorist Osama Bin Laden. Her inspiring true story is the driving force behind the latest film from the Oscar winners behind The Hurt Locker, director Kathryn Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal.

Other than being incredibly interesting and historic, what makes Maya’s hunt so riveting is how her goal of finding Bin Laden is constantly opposed by everyone surrounding her. At every turn, powerful American officials argue that the architect of September 11 and Al Qaeda leader is a white whale, an impossible-to-find needle in a haystack. Yet Maya perseveres through almost unfathomable tragedy and opposition, until her efforts culminate on that fateful night in May of 2011.

Zero Dark Thirty is a fantastic, detailed procedural in the mold of Zodiac, All the Presidents Men or The Insider, but with more action along the lines of Traffic or Heat. Structurally, it’s much more straightforward than those films, but the fact that it centers on a strong, singular female character gives it a powerful emotional core. Come 2013, Zero Dark Thirty is going to be a major player at the Oscars. Read more after the jump. Read More »

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The long Thanksgiving weekend brought major buzz for two potential Oscar contenders: Tom Hooper’s Les Miserables and Kathryn Bigelow‘s action procedural Zero Dark Thirty. Both films are from recent Best Director Oscar winners so expectations were predictably high for each. However, while Les Mis is a known property, a dramatization of the hunt for Osama Bin Laden is much more of a mystery, making the buzz out of those screenings even more intriguing.

Bigelow, along with Oscar-winning writer Mark Boal, was developing a film about the search for the most wanted man on the planet when United States military forces killed him. That completely changed their movie and made its completion even more time-sensitive. The film is now done, set for release December 19, with an all-star cast including Jessica Chastain, Mark Strong, Chris Pratt, James Gandolfini, Kyle Chandler and Joel Edgerton. The first screenings took place over the weekend, and reactions to them were incredibly positive, with an eye on another Oscar run for Bigelow and Boal. Get some early buzz after the break. Read More »

Film release scheduling tends to get tricky around the end of the year. Not only do studios have to weigh all the usual concerns, they also need to keep an eye on the December 31 cutoff date for Academy Award qualification, and so they devise strategies to work around it or use it to their benefit.

Lionsgate is giving Stand Up Guys an awards season push, moving its release date up to December for New York and Los Angeles. Meanwhile, Sony is looking to take advantage of all-but-inevitable Oscar buzz for Kathryn Bigelow‘s Zero Dark Thirty by scaling back the wide release originally planned for the end of this year. Read more about both decisions after the jump.

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The ad campaign for Kathryn Bigelow‘s Zero Dark Thirty, which chronicles the mission that led to the killing of Osama Bin Laden by a Navy SEAL team, has been pretty low-key so far. But then, the studio hasn’t had to do much, as there has been a fair amount of publicity for the movie thanks to accusations that the original October release date was meant to remind audiences of President Obama’s role in the mission, just before the Presidential election takes place. There have been far more serious (but unproven) allegations that the film is based on access to classified data that was given illegally to the production.

Now it’s time to move beyond those talking points to look at the actual film. Derspite featuring Joel EdgertonJessica ChastainChris PrattKyle ChandlerMark Strong, and Jason Clarke, the teaser trailer showed few faces, and relied upon audio montage to set up the story of the hunt for Bin Laden. A few images later gave us a bit more. Now you can see a lot more of Bigelow’s follow-up to The Hurt Locker, in the full trailer below. Read More »

Loads of new posters have hit today, and the one that you see above is the fairly disappointing first image for Parker, which, as the pic suggests, stars Jason Statham as the title character. It’s a movie I’ve held some hope for, as it follows in a line of films (Point Blank, Full Contact, Ransom) that all adapt the same source material from crime novelist Donald E. Westlake‘s alter ego, Richard Stark.

Anyway, after the break you’ll find that full poster along with new stuff for Frankenweenie, Zero Dark Thirty, and three great images for the Brad Pitt and Andrew Dominik re-team Killing Them Softly. Read More »

Despite being based on true events that were extensively covered in the media, Kathryn Bigelow‘s Zero Dark Thirty has been shrouded in nearly as much secrecy as an actual military operation. But that’s all part of the film’s intrigue. Columbia’s having fun playing up that angle, even covering the first teaser poster with thick black censor marks.

What that means, however, is that we still have only the barest idea of exactly what angle Bigelow plans to take on the hunt for terrorist leader Osama bin Laden. We don’t know just what the impressively star-studded cast will actually be doing for two hours. We got only the briefest glimpses of Jennifer Ehle and Kyle Chandler looking worried in the first trailer. A new batch of photos show Jessica Chastain, Joel Edgerton, and Nash Edgerton, with the latter two dressed in military garb. Check out the photos after the jump.

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A day after Aaron Sorkin presented his take on the death of Osama bin Laden in HBO’s time-delayed drama The Newsroom, The Hurt Locker director Kathryn Bigelow is getting ready to present hers. Which, as you might expect, looks a bit more action-oriented than his did.

Starring Joel Edgerton, Jessica Chastain, Chris Pratt, Kyle Chandler, Mark Strong, Jason Clarke, and many more exciting names, Zero Dark Thirty follows the Navy SEAL Team 6 in their ultimately successful hunt for the al Qaeda leader. The very first teaser for the controversial drama has just dropped, and you can watch it after the jump.

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If I needed to I could come up with two films more different than Kathryn Bigelow‘s “kill Osama Bin Laden” movie Zero Dark Thirty and Atom Egoyan‘s West Memphis Three drama Devil’s Knot. But for the sake of argument let’s note that despite being fiction based in truth, they’re still pretty seriously different projects.Both films do have one other thing in common, in that they will rely on relative unknowns for pivotal roles.

First, Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty, which recounts the successful attempt to kill Osama Bin Laden, will actually feature an actor as the terrorist figurehead — something we weren’t sure about at one point. Ricky Sekhon, a British actor with some TV experience, will play the part. He’s already shot the role, according to Baz Bamigoye.

The film is still shooting, however, with a December 19th opening planned. The cast also features Chris Pratt, Kyle Chandler, Jessica Chastain, Jennifer Ehle, Joel Edgerton, Nash Edgerton, Frank Grillo, Harold Perrineau Jr., Mark Duplass, Jason Clarke, Mark Strong, Edgar Ramirez , and more.

After the break, Atom Egoyan has chosen a newcomer to play Damien Echols, one of the convicted West Memphis Three. Read More »

You’d be hard pressed to find a guy with more going on than Mark Duplass. First and foremost, he’s the star of the wonderful and charming film Safety Not Guaranteed, which premiered at Sundance and opens June 8. In the film he plays Kenneth, a mysterious man who places an ad looking for a partner to help him travel back in time. The ad is answered by Aubrey Plaza (Parks and Recreation) and Jake Johnson (New Girl), skeptical journalists who, through Kenneth, discover their own truths.

But that’s so far from everything the actor/producer/writer/director has going on. He’s the star of the FX comedy The League, which has a new season about to start shooting. He was recently cast in Katherine Bigelow’s Osama Bin Laden film Zero Dark Thirty, he and his brother will soon release their 5th film, The Do-Deca Pentalathon on July 6 and he’ll also appear in Your Sister’s Sister, starring Emily Blunt, on June 15 and People Like Us, starring Chris Pine and Elizabeth Banks, on June 29.

Yeah, Mark Duplass is busy. But he took 20 minutes out of his day to talk to us about all of it. After the jump, we’ve got a two part video interview where we discuss all those projects as well as his thoughts on new forms of distribution, his Netflix Recommendation A Day on Twitter, mullets, Sundance and much more. Read More »