Movie-goers will have no shortage of great movies to see this weekend. Friday will not only have the chance to see The Peanuts Movie and the new James Bond installment, Spectre, but fans of festival-circuit films will also be able to see two major picks from this years’ Toronto International Film Festival. The first is the biographical drama from director Jay Roach (Meet the Parents, Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery) with Golden Globe winner Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad, Godzilla) titled Trumbo. The film follows the famous screenwriter Dalton Trumbo, who along with 300 other writers and filmmakers in Hollywood was blacklisted by the federal government during the Red Scare era of the American 1950s. Trumbo is, perhaps, one of the more interesting cases; he continued to write scripts under anonymous surnames while he was blacklisted and even won Oscars for his work on Roman Holiday (1953) and The Brave One (1956). Making up the supporting cast are actors Diane Lane (Unfaithful, Man of Steel), Helen Mirren (The Queen, The Hundred-Foot Journey), Louis C.K. (Louie, American Hustle), Elle Fanning (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Maleficent), John Goodman (The Big Lebowski, Argo), and Michael Stuhlbarg (Pawn Sacrifice, Steve Jobs), in a script adpated by John McNamara (Jericho, Aquarius) from the book Dalton Trumbo by author Bruce Cook. The second Toronto International Film Festival contender opening in theaters this week is also a biographical drama titled Spotlight. This film comes from Oscar-nominated writer/director Tom McCarthy (The Station Agent, Million Dollar Arm) and chronicles the investigative journalist team at the Boston Globe that uncovered the scandal in the Catholic Church revolving around child molestation and cover-up deals within the Archdiocese. Co-written by screenwriter Josh Singer (Fringe, The Fifth Estate), the film stars Mark Ruffalo (Shutter Island, The Avengers), Michael Keaton (Batman, Birdman or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), Rachel McAdams (Wedding Crashers, Midnight in Paris), Liev Schreiber (Defiance, Salt), John Slattery (Mad Men, Flags of our Fathers), and Stanley Tucci (Transformers: Age of Extinction, The Hunger Games), and also received high marks at the 2015 Venice Film Festival. Either of these will make great picks to see on the big screen, so be sure to get to the movie theaters in the next week or so to see them while they are still available! The trailer for Trumbo is available here on MADE.
Every year the Toronto International Film Festival serves as one of the major international film festivals that close out the fiscal year, and this year’s festival is sure to feature an excellent celebration of Oscar-worthy filmmaking. Toronto’s film festival is usually filled with entries seen earlier in the year at festivals like Sundance and Cannes, but it also brings its own special line-up to its audience. This year several highly anticipated films will have the honor of being shown during the festivities, most notably the Whitey Bulger biopic Black Mass with Johnny Depp, Matt Damon‘s next space adventure following Interstellar titled The Martian, and one I personally am really excited to see, another biopic called Trumbo with Emmy-winner Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad, Godzilla) in the title role of McCarthy-era screenwriter Dalton Trumbo, whose film credits were published under various pseudonyms over the years after he was blacklisted during Senator McCarthy’s famous Communist-trials in the 1950s. The festival will play host to several other biographically oriented films as well, especially centering on figures in the music industry, including a Janis Joplin documentary titled Janis: Little Girl Blue, another documentary chronicling Aretha Franklin‘s famous 1972 album Amazing Grace, and Miss Sharon Jones, which follows the soul-singer during a time in her life when she was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer just before the release of a new album and pending tour. I Saw The Light is another music-biopic following the life of Hank Williams (Sr.) which also looks to be pretty promising. Some other notable names that caught our eye include Spotlight (which we’ve been following for some time now), following the Boston Globe reporters that uncovered the sex-scandal in the Catholic Church involving priests and young male students in 2004, and Beasts of No Nation, which will actually see only a temporary theatrical run as it will be available on Netflix shortly thereafter. Some other big highlights that I would recommend include The Lobster with Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz, and John C. Reilly, Legend, starring Tom Hardy as gangster identical-twin brothers in 1950s England, and Kill Your Friends starring Nicholas Hoult as a London A&R executive trying to rise to the top of the 1990s British pop-music scene. All of these are sure to be great entries, but there are, of course, many more that I have not had time to mention here. A full list of this year’s entries can be found at the link below, and if you find yourself in Toronto anytime this September 10th-20th, be sure to check out a couple of these entries…you won’t regret it!!!
There was a lot of excitement going on around Hollywood when Tim Burton announced there may be a sequel to his 1988 classic Beetlejuice, but since then we haven’t really heard anything definitive regarding production on the new project. Burton just saw his latest film, Big Eyes, open in theaters during the Holiday season, and he is currently serving as producer for the upcoming Alice in Wonderland: Through The Looking Glass, while also getting ready to shoot his next directorial project Miss Peregine’s Home For Peculiar Children, based on the novel by Ransom Riggs. Michael Keaton has also been keeping himself pretty busy; he just won a Golden Globe and earned an Oscar-nomination for his role in Birdman, and will next be seen in Thomas McCarthy’s upcoming drama Spotlight with Rachel McAdams and Mark Ruffalo about the child molestation scandal in the Catholic Church that was uncovered by the Boston Globe. Screenwriter Seth Grahame-Smith, however, seems all ready to go, which seems appropriate considering you need a script before you can film anything, but in a recent interview, the writer reported that everything for the film is ready to go as soon as Burton and Keaton are both finally available. The concern, of course, is that that could end up being a while if Burton is still prepping for Peregine and Keaton’s schedule may not stay open for very long with an Oscar-nod and Golden Globe under his belt. Grahame-Smith also confirmed that Winona Rider would be returning for the sequel as well, which he hopes will begin filming before this year is out, but we’ll see what happens. Stay tuned.
Director Thomas McCarthy is currently working on his upcoming church-sex-scandal drama Spotlight, which follows the story of the Boston Globe reporters who uncovered the case of child molestation reports in the Catholic Church that had been covered up for decades in Boston, Massachusetts. The team won a Pulitzer-Prize for their work in uncovering the state-wide conspiracy that has since left the Catholic Church in increasingly lacking popularity. McCarthy already has an impressive line-up of actors set to portray the real life reporters and others involved in the case, including Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Liev Schreiber, and Rachel McAdams, but now a new cast member has been added to the line up. Almost Famous and Big Fish star Billy Crudup is now set to take the role of Eric MacLeish, a high ranking lawyer in Boston. Other real-life individuals surrounding the case that will be depicted in the film are Boston Globe editor Marty Baron, Spotlight Team editor Walter Robinson, projects editor Ben Bradlee Jr., and investigators Michael Rezendes, Sacha Pfeiffer, and Matt Carroll. McCarthy is co-writing the script with Josh Singer, but there is still no word on a release date and some of the major roles still have to be filled by the production team, so we’ll look for more news as it comes along.