captain marvel annette bening

Academy Award nominee Annette Bening is not the kind of thespian who regularly pops up in major Hollywood blockbusters. So that makes her joining the cast of Captain Marvel, the latest superhero tale from Marvel Studios, all the more exciting. We don’t know who Bening is playing yet, but the promise of her mere presence should be more than enough for now.

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the seagull review

Put Annette Bening, Saoirse Ronan, Elisabeth Moss, and Corey Stoll in a room, and you’ve got yourself one of the most talented, charismatic rooms in Hollywood. It’s too bad that The SeagullMichael Mayer‘s plodding, histrionic adaptation of the Anton Chekhov play of the same name, puts that talent to waste.

Mayer and screenwriter Stephen Karam enthusiastically try to modernize an 1896 romantic drama that is steeped in the subtext and social environment of Chekov’s Russia. And while the camera swings with lively verve and the lush, picturesque setting lends a dreamy quality to the film, the many colorful characters are still stuck in a story that feels like it’s over 100 years old. At the end of the day, Bening and Ronan can only do so much, and The Seagull becomes a comedy of errors without the comedy.

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Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool trailer

Hollywood loves stories about old Hollywood, and now a veteran actress is getting a chance to shine in a true tale about an aging movie star. Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool tells the story of the romance between British actor Peter Turner (Jamie Bell) and Oscar-winning actress Gloria Grahame, played here by Annette Bening. While Grahame won a trophy for her work in The Bad and the Beautiful, could this be Bening’s chance to take home the gold?
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20th Century Women trailer

Is there ever really a right time for a teenage boy to come of age? Put aside the nostalgia for the past and the optimism for the future for a second, and you’ll find that each era provides its own ups and downs, some universal and some unique. Still, the tail end of the Carter era is looking like a particular challenge for Dorothea (Annette Bening), the single mother at the center of 20th Century Women. “When you were born, I told you life was very big and unknown,” she says in a wistful monologue. “But now it’s 1979, and nothing means anything.”

The new movie from Mike Mills (Beginners) chronicles the lives of a ramshackle sort of family. Dorothea and her son Jamie (Lucas Jade Zumann) runs a boarding house whose tenants include artist Abbie (Greta Gerwig) and carpenter William (Billy Crudup). There’s also Julie (Elle Fanning), the next door neighbor who’s over so often she might as well live there, too. When Dorothea reaches out for help raising Jamie, they all come together to embark on this messy project. Watch the 20th Century Women trailer below.  Read More »

20th Century Women trailer

The first trailer for 20th Century Women opens with a familiar sound: a politician grandly diagnosing what he sees as the real problem with America. But the person talking isn’t anyone running for president this year — it’s Jimmy Carter, delivering his famous “Crisis of Confidence” speech in 1979. The characters watching the address seem largely unimpressed, save for Dorothea (Annette Bening). “I thought that was beautiful,” she says.

20th Century Women is the new feature by Mike Mills, who last put out the rather lovely romance Beginners. He’s lined up an impressive cast to bring to life his portrait of 1970s Santa Barbara, including Bening, Elle FanningGreta GerwigBilly Crudup, and Lucas Jade Zumann. Watch the 20th Century Women teaser trailer below. Read More »

The Search trailer

2012 Best Picture winner The Artist was a lighthearted and joyous celebration of cinema. But for their next project together, The Artist director Michel Hazanavicus and star Bérénice Bejo are foraying into much heavier, grimmer territory.

The Search is a remake of the 1948 film of the same title, with the setting changed from post-WWII Berlin to the Second Chechen War. At the center of the story are a young boy (Abdul Khalim Mamutsiev) and his older sister (Zukhra Duishvili), who try to find each other amidst the destruction.

Bejo plays an NGO worker who tries to help him out, and Annette Bening an orphanage director. Maksim Emelyanov rounds out the main cast as a young Russian Army recruit. Watch the first The Search trailer after the jump.

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Michel-Hazanavicius-Bejo-artist

Briefly: Recent best director Oscar winner Michel Hazanavicius, who won for The Artist, is directing The Artist star Bérénice Bejo and Annette Bening in his upcoming film The Search. The film, which Hazanavicus wrote based on the 1948 film of the same name, is about “an NGO worker who forms a special relationship with a young boy in warn-torn Chechnya.” The original film was set in Berlin, after the end of WWII.

The film is shooting now in Georgia (the country, not the state), and Hazanavicus has his producer Thomas Langmann on board, along with crew from The Artist. [Deadline]

Girl Most Likely

It would’ve been easy for Kristen Wiig to keep riding the Bridesmaids train with a sequel. Lord knows Universal would’ve been happy if she did. But instead, the Saturday Night Live alum took the road less traveled with a string of indies, including her passion project Girl Most Likely (formerly Imogene).

Directed by American Splendor‘s Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pucini, the comedy follows a New York playwright (Wiig) who’s released into the care of her Jersey-trash mother (Annette Bening) following a suicide attempt. Mom and daughter don’t exactly get along, and tensions are high at first, but… well, you can probably guess where this is headed. Matt Dillon and Darren Criss also star. Watch the first trailer after the jump.

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Not all child actors transition easily into more grown-up roles, but Elle Fanning looks like an exception to the rule. The younger Fanning sister has been acting since her toddler years, and in recent years has been a standout presence in films like Somewhere, Super 8, and We Bought a Zoo.

She tackles slightly more mature material in Sally Potter‘s coming-of-age tale Ginger & Rosa, playing a 17-year-old teen in ’60s London. Sincere and serious, Ginger throws herself into the fight for nuclear disarmament. Meanwhile, she’s growing apart from her lifelong best friend Rosa (newcomer Alice Englert) and struggling with the breakdown of her own family. Watch the new trailer after the jump.

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Writer/director Sally Potter takes her time, with only six features released after her 1983 debut, The Gold Diggers. Her 1992 movie Orlando helped push Tilda Swinton from the Derek Jarman coterie into the larger indie movie world, but Potter’s own films since have sat pretty firmly on the fringes of art house territory.

Will Ginger & Rosa (once called Bomb) be at all different? It does features prominent roles for recognizable actors like Christina Hendricks, Oliver Platt, Annette Bening, and a rapidly maturing Elle Fanning, who co-stars along with newcomer Alice Englert. And it has the sort of subject matter that audiences take to well: a girl’s coming of age as social mores evolve and political tensions rise.

If nothing else, the film looks gorgeous, so check out the trailer below. Read More »