Willem Dafoe To Receive Icon Award At Palm Springs International Film FEstival


Willem Dafoe will receive the Icon Award at the 29th annual Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) for his work in The Florida Project. The Film Awards Gala takes place at the Palm Springs Convention Center January 2 and will be hosted by Mary Hart.

Dafoe’s previous movie credits include The Last Temptation of Christ, What Happened to Monday, and Affliction. “Willem Dafoe is a versatile actor who has appeared in over one hundred films in his stellar career,” said fest Chairman Harold Matzner. “In The Florida Project, Dafoe delivers a career defining performance as a hotel manager overseeing his sometimes unruly residents, which has received numerous critical accolades. The Palm Springs International Film Festival is honored to present this year’s Icon Award to Willem Dafoe.”

Dafoe has received two Oscar nominations (Platoon, Shadow of the Vampire). Previous recipients of the Icon Award include Michael Douglas, Robert Duvall, Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep.

The Palm Springs International Film Festival runs January 2-2018.

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Posted by: Greg Srisavasdi

Blu-Ray Spotlight: ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Weaves Nightmarish And Memorable Tale


Hulu’s new series The Handmaid’s Tale, based on Margaret Atwood’s bestselling novel and headlined by Elisabeth Moss, is receiving a slew of excellent reviews. With that project debuting April 26, viewers can also check out the 1990 film which was released this week on Blu-ray via Shout! Factory. With the movie being an excellent primer to the events that will transpire behind the series, it’s also a narrative that stands on its own.

Set in the near future, The Handmaid’s Tale centers on Kate (Natasha Richardson), a woman who is enslaved after trying to escape the country with her family. Since Kate is able to conceive children and infertility is the current norm, she’s relegated to being a handmaid for a powerful couple (Robert Duvall, Faye Dunaway). With Serena Joy (Dunaway) unable to conceive, Kate is tasked with getting pregnant with the Commander’s (Duvall) baby. Aidan Quinn co-stars as Nick, the Commander’s right hand man who immediately falls for Kate, with Elizabeth McGovern (Downton Abbey) delivering standout work as Moira, Kate’s strong-willed friend and fellow handmaiden (Moira is labeled a “gender traitor” since she is a lesbian!).

Though some may criticize Richardson’s rather muted performance as Kate, it’s easy to see why the actress and director Volker Schlöndorff didn’t make Kate a more emotionally showy character. During her entire journey Kate is witness to consistent tragedy and subjugation, and by playing her cards close to the vest she’s able to push on to another day.

The movie also marks a reunion for Network actors Duvall and Dunaway, and both deliver solid work as a couple who, since they are at the highest level of society, want things to remain status quo (even as their nightmare of a marriage continues to crumble). More scenes between the two actors would have been welcome in the film, but that’s a slight nitpick for a movie that delivers prescient themes without being preachy.

Living in a patriarchal society that places minorities and women behind the proverbial eight-ball is a story that will never be too tired to tell, and The Handmaid’s Tale is a well crafted story which features strong performances from an engaged ensemble (Victoria Tennant is also a standout as Aunt Lydia, the woman who “helps” the handmaids assimilate into this backwards society).

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Posted by: Greg Srisavasdi

That’s a Wrap: The Week in Movie News

comingtoamerica_onesheet-1-500x756After names such as Michael Shannon, Brad Pitt, Russell Crowe and David Harbour were bandied about, the coveted role of Cable in Deadpool 2 has been cast with Josh Brolin landing the part. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Brolin inked a deal for four films. The original film featured an add-on scene during the final credits that teased the arrival of the popular character. Production is expected to start in June.

Jude Law will star as the younger version of a beloved film character, as he’ll appear as young Albus Dumbledore in the sequel to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Deadline reports that in the film, we get to see more of what the character’s life was like before he became the headmaster at Hogwart’s.

Don Cheadle has found his next passion project. The actor will star in and produce Prince of Darkness, a biopic of 19th Century millionaire Jeremiah G. Hamilton, Wall Street’s first black millionaire. Variety reports the film is being adapted from Shane White’s book of the same name, which follows Hamilton’s life as a larger-than-life businessman who purchased a mansion in New Jersey and owned railroad stock though he was not legally allowed to ride the train.

According to Tracking Board, a sequel to Eddie Murphy’s 1988 comedy Coming to America is in the works at Paramount. Original writers Barry Blaustein and David Sheffield have reportedly inked deal to pen the new film as well.

The Manny is ready to hang out with some bad moms. Justin Hartley, star of NBC’s breakout hit This Is Us, has joined the cast for the Bad Moms sequel, Bad Moms Christmas. Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell and Kathryn Hahn all return, and in the sequel Hartley plays a firefighter by day and erotic dancer by night who bonds with Hahn’s character.

Sly Stallone will return for a third Escape Plan film. The actor starred in the original film in 2013, while the second film is currently wrapping production.

Brett Ratner will reportedly oversee a film on the life of Playboy magnate Hugh Hefner. Deadline reports that RatPac Entertainment recently optioned the rights and Ratner will produce, while Hefner himself will be an executive producer.

According to Deadline, Robert Duvall has joined the cast of the Steve McQueen-directed film Widows. The heist-themed thriller also stars Viola Davis, Colin Farrell, Liam Neeson, Michelle Rodriguez and others. The film centers on the widows for four armed bank robbers who were killed while robbing a bank. The widows unite after their deaths with the idea of finishing the job.

Filmmaker James Gray and Ethan Ross have reportedly co-written a film called Ad Astra that has attracted Brad Pitt as its potential star. Collider reports that the film centers on a slightly autistic engineer whose father left 20 years ago on a mission to Neptune in his youth in an attempt to find signs of extra-terrestrial life. Now, as an adult, the engineer sets out to travel the solar system trying to track down his father and learn why the system failed.

Melissa Leo has signed on to star in Always on My Mind. Deadline reports the movie from writer/director Chris D’Arienzo finds Leo as the wife of an Alzheimer’s-stricken music legend, who starts to uncover his shocking secret as he begins to deteriorate. The role of the rock star has yet to be cast.

The news is not good for the long gestating film Triple Frontier. Deadline reports that Paramount has backed off the film, while stars Channing Tatum and Tom Hardy have exited as well. The film was also set to star Moonlight Oscar winner Mahershala Ali and Adria Arjona.

Literary History Comes To Life With ‘Hemingway & Gellhorn’

kidman-owenPremiering tonight on HBO, HEMINGWAY AND GELLHORN tells the tempestuous tale of the romance, marriage and eventual divorce of literary greats ERNEST HEMINGWAY & MARTHA GELLHORN. Dedicated to documenting the effects of the Spanish Civil War, the couple flaunted their relationship all over the world. Brilliantly rendered, the film meshes current footage with archival images to produce a “newsreel” effect that is immensely watchable and entertaining. Directed by PHILIP KAUFMAN from a script by JERRY STAHL and BARBARA TURNER, the cast includes NICOLE KIDMAN, ROBERT DUVALL, PARKER POSEY, TONY SHALHOUB, DAVID STRATHAIRN, BROOKE ADAMS, PETER COYOTE and DIANE BAKER.
In what is arguably her best performance in years, KIDMAN is terrific as GELLHORN, a gutsy journalist who was as egoistic as she was adventurous. Promoting the project at the Television Critics Association press event, she talked about what appealed to her in playing the role. (CLICK ON THE MEDIA BAR FOR AUDIO)
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HEMINGWAY AND GELLHORN premieres tonight on HBO

Clive Owen Brings Ernest Hemingway To Life In New HBO Film

hemingway-and-gellhorn-hboActor CLIVE OWEN recently met with entertainment press to talk about upcoming projects, not the least of which is HEMINGWAY AND GELLHORN, an HBO film about the romance, marriage and divorce of author ERNEST HEMINGWAY and celebrated Spanish Civil War correspondent MARTHA GELLHORN. Directed by PHILIP KAUFMAN from a script by JERRY STAHL and BARBARA TURNER, the film also stars NICOLE KIDMAN, ROBERT DUVALL, PARKER POSEY, TONY SHALOUB, DAVID STRATHAIRN, BROOKE ADAMS, PETER COYOTE and DIANE BAKER.
An immensely watchable guilty pleasure, the film contains some terrific performances and seems to be fairly accurate historically’ Having done extensive research in preparation for his role, OWEN shared with us some of his thoughts about the legendary author. (CLICK ON THE MEDIA BAR FOR AUDIO)
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