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Affleck sports stubble as Batman

Written by Barbara Vancheri on .

 

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Zack Snyder tweeted this new image of Ben Affleck as Batman and, according to Variety, it also turned up as part of a 75th anniversary montage of images of the character created for Comic-Con in San Diego.  
 
Batman doesn’t smile but he apparently also doesn’t always shave. You can see some stubble in the picture which continues to build anticipation for “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.” 
 

 

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Foxcatcher, Equalizer reuniting Antoine Fuqua and Denzel Washington heading for Toronto

Written by Barbara Vancheri on .

 

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Antoine Fuqua’s “The Equalizer,” reuniting him with Oscar winner Denzel Washington, will have its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival. Fuqua is in Pittsburgh now with “Southpaw” starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Forest Whitaker, Rachel McAdams and others. 
 
In other festival news just announced, “Foxcatcher” will have its Canadian premiere at the event. It was filmed in Western Pennsylvania but set elsewhere. 
 
“The Equalizer” stars Washington as a man who believes he has put his past behind him and dedicated himself to beginning a new, quiet life. But then he meets a girl under the control of violent Russian gangsters, comes out of self-imposed retirement and finds his thirst for justice is back. 
 
The cast also includes Marton Csokas, Chloe Grace Moretz, David Harbour, Bill Pullman and Melissa Leo.
 
Directed by Oscar nominee Bennett Miller, “Foxcatcher” is about John du Pont, great-great-grandson of E.I. du Pont, the industrialist who founded the chemical company. 
 
In January 1996, he shot and killed David Schultz, a 1984 gold medal winner who came to live and train at the state-of-the-art Foxcatcher National Training Center that du Pont had built on his 800-acre property in Newtown Square, Pa. 
 
Steve Carell, already being touted as a likely Oscar nominee, plays the chemical fortune heir, Mark Ruffalo is the slain wrestler and Channing Tatum is his brother and a champion wrestler in his own right. (Carell and Tatum pictured below.)
 
The festival, Sept. 4-14, today announced 13 galas and 46 special presentations. 
 
Galas also include: “Black and White,” “Haemoo,” “The Judge,” “A Little Chaos” (closing night film), “Maps to the Stars,” “The New Girlfriend,” “Pawn Sacrifice,” “The Riot Club,” “Samba,” “This Is Where I Leave You” and “Wild.”
 
Here are descriptions of the galas, which get splashy red-carpet treatment, courtesy of the festival: 
 
 
Black and White, directed by Mike Binder, USA,  World Premiere
Black and White is the story of a widowed grandfather who is left to raise his bi-racial granddaughter. When the little girl’s paternal grandmother seeks custody, a bitter legal battle ensues that forces the uneasy family members to have an honest conversation about life, death, anger and America’s racial divide. Starring Academy Award-winners Kevin Costner and Octavia Spencer, as well as Anthony Mackie, Jennifer Ehle, Gillian Jacobs, Bill Burr, Andre Holland and Jillian Estell.
 
The Equalizer, Antoine Fuqua, USA, World Premiere
In this big-screen adaptation of the cult ‘80s TV show, McCall believes he has put his past behind him and has dedicated himself to beginning a new, quiet life. But when he meets Teri, a young girl under the control of ultra-violent Russian gangsters, he can’t stand idly by — he has to help her. Armed with hidden skills that allow him to extract vengeance upon anyone who would brutalize the helpless, McCall comes out of his self-imposed retirement and finds his desire for justice reawakened. If someone has a problem, if the odds are stacked against them, if they have nowhere else to turn, McCall will help. He is The Equalizer. Starring Denzel Washington, Marton Csokas, Chloë Grace Moretz, David Harbour, Bill Pullman and Melissa Leo.
 
Foxcatcher, Bennett Miller, USA, Canadian Premiere
Based on true events, this film tells the dark and fascinating story of the unlikely and ultimately tragic relationship between an eccentric multi-millionaire and two champion wrestlers. Starring Anthony Michael Hall, Steve Carell, Channing Tatum, Vanessa Redgrave, Mark Ruffalo and Sienna Miller.
 
Haemoo, Shim Sung-bo, South Korea, International Premiere
The ragtag crew of a fishing boat takes on a dangerous commission to smuggle a group of illegal immigrants from China to Korea, in this tense high-seas adventure co-scripted by South Korean genre-movie guru Bong Joon-ho. Starring Kim Yoon-seok and Park Yoo-chun.
 
judge 03 o3  8020010  1406034675The Judge, David Dobkin, USA, World Premiere
Big city lawyer Hank Palmer returns to his childhood home where his estranged father, the town’s judge, is suspected of murder. Hank sets out to discover the truth, and along the way reconnects with the family he walked away from years before. Starring Robert Downey Jr., Robert Duvall, Vera Farmiga, Vincent D’Onofrio, Jeremy Strong, Dax Shepard and Billy Bob Thornton.
 
alittlechaos 01-USE-THIS-ONLY-FOR-TUES o3  8206447  1406034718Closing Night Film,  A Little Chaos, Alan Rickman, United Kingdom World Premiere
A landscape gardener with a taste for the unconventional is invited to design one of the fountains at the Palace of Versailles. As she battles with the weather, the perilous rivalries at the court of Louis XIV and her own private demons, she finds herself drawn closer to the formality and enigma of the architect who hired her. Starring Kate Winslet, Stanley Tucci, Alan Rickman and Matthias Schoenaerts.
 
maptothestars 01 o3  8021546  1406034682Maps to the Stars, David Cronenberg, Canada/Germany, North American Premiere
David Cronenberg forges both a wicked social satire and a very human ghost story from today’s celebrity-obsessed culture. Starring Julianne Moore, Mia Wasikowska, Olivia Williams, Sarah Gadon, John Cusack and Robert Pattinson.
 
The New Girlfriend (Une nouvelle amie), Francois Ozon, France, World Premiere
When her best friend Lea dies, Claire falls into a deep depression. However, after making a surprising discovery about her late friend’s husband, she’s given a new lease on life. Starring Romain Duris, Anais Demoustier and Raphael Personnaz.
 
Pawn Sacrifice, Ed Zwick, USA,, World Premiere
In this remarkable true story set in the height of the Cold War, chess legend Bobby Fischer is locked in a gripping championship clash with the Soviets as he struggles against his own psychological demons while the whole world anxiously awaits the outcome. Starring Tobey Maguire, Peter Sarsgaard and Liev Schreiber.
 
The Riot Club, Lone Scherfig, United Kingdom, World Premiere
A privileged young man is inducted into the exclusive, debaucherous company of Oxford’s elite “Riot Club,” in this scathing dissection of the British class system. Based on the hit play Posh, the film stars Natalie Dormer, Max Irons, Sam Clafin, Jessica Brown Findlay and Douglas Booth.
 
samba 02 o4  8207262  1406034730Samba, Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano, France, World Premiere
Samba migrated to France 10 years ago from Senegal, and has since been plugging away at various lowly jobs. Alice is a senior executive who has recently undergone a burnout. Both struggle to get out of their dead-end lives — Samba’s willing to do whatever it takes to get working papers, while Alice tries to get her life back on track — until fate draws them together. Balancing light-hearted moments with heavier emotion, Samba is a story about two strangers on a new path to happiness. Starring Charlotte Gainsbourg, Omar Sy and Tamar Rahim.
 
This is Where I Leave You, Shawn Levy, USA, World Premiere
Shawn Levy’s dramatic comedy follows four adult siblings who return home after their father’s death to spend a week with their over-sharing mother and an assortment of spouses, exes and might-have-beens. Confronting their history and frayed relationships among those who know and love them best, they reconnect in hysterical and emotionally affecting ways. Starring Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, Jane Fonda, Adam Driver, Rose Byrne, Corey Stoll and Kathryn Hahn.
 
Wild, Jean-Marc Vallée, USA, International Premiere
After years of reckless behaviour, a heroin addiction and the destruction of her marriage, Cheryl Strayed makes a rash decision. Haunted by memories of her mother Bobbi and with absolutely no experience, she sets out to hike more than a thousand miles on the Pacific Crest Trail all on her own. Wild powerfully reveals Cheryl’s terrors and pleasures as she forges ahead on a journey that maddens, strengthens and ultimately heals her. Starring Reese Witherspoon, Laura Dern, Thomas Sadoski, Michiel Huisman, Gaby Hoffmann and Kevin Rankin.
 
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Michael Caine joins Last Witch Hunter shooting in Pittsburgh

Written by Barbara Vancheri on .

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And the big names just keep coming. 
 
Variety reports that Oscar-winning actor Michael Caine is joining “The Last Witch Hunter,” which will start shooting in Pittsburgh by late August.
 
Vin Diesel stars as an immortal  witch hunter who partners with his natural enemy — a female witch —  to stop the covens of New York City from unleashing a plague on humanity. 
 
Squirrel Hill native Bernie Goldmann is among the producers of the movie being directed by Breck Eisner and also starring Rose Leslie. Many moviegoers know Caine as Alfred in Christopher Nolan’s Batman films but his resume is as long as it is diverse and distinguished.
 
Photo by Barry Wetcher from “Now You See Me.”
 

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Michael Keaton 'astonishing' in Birdman, to close New York festival

Written by Barbara Vancheri on .

 

birdmanposterMichael Keaton is about to fly back into the media spotlight in what sounds like a very good way. 
 
The Film Society of Lincoln Center announced today that Alejandro G. Inarritu’s “Birdman or the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance” will be the closing night selection for the New York Film Festival, Sept. 26-Oct. 12. 
 
The black comedy stars Pittsburgh native Keaton, Zach Galifianakis, Edward Norton, Andrea Riseborough, Amy Ryan, Emma Stone and Naomi Watts.  
 
The Fox Searchlight Pictures and New Regency release is slated to open in select theaters on Oct. 17, 2014. No word yet on whether Pittsburgh will get the movie then or slightly later.
 
In a press release, Kent Jones, New York Film Festival director and selection committee chair, said: “ ‘Birdman’ is a knockout. It’s consistently surprising and inventive — you think the movie is going in one direction and then Inarritu shifts gears and takes you somewhere else completely unexpected: the movie is like an intricate machine generating greater and greater amounts of beautiful radiant energy. 
 
“The entire cast is amazing and they mesh perfectly, but I have to say that Michael Keaton is astonishing. He’s always been a terrific and, in my opinion, underrated actor. Here he gets the role he deserves, and he makes the most of it. And, it’s a great Broadway movie.”
 
In the movie, a onetime action hero named Riggan Thomson (Keaton)  is trying to be taken seriously as an artist. He stages his own adaptation of Raymond Carver’s “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love.”
 
As Thomson tries to get his perilous undertaking in shape for the opening, he has to cope with a resentful daughter (Stone), a scene-hogging narcissist (Norton), a vulnerable actress (Watts) and an unhinged girlfriend (Riseborough) for co-stars, a manager who’s about to come undone (Galifianakis), and the inner demon of the superhero that made him famous, Birdman.
 
Birdman, Batman? Sweet serendipity or purposeful? Too early to tell. 
Michael-Keaton
 

 

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RIP James Garner and thanks for the TV and movie memories

Written by Barbara Vancheri on .

 

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James Garner was nominated just once for an Academy Award, for 1985’s “Murphy’s Romance.” Many columnists called his nomination, as Sally Field’s romantic interest in the May-December love story, the biggest surprise of that awards season. 
 
As the book “Inside Oscar” recounts, one writer for the Los Angeles Times wrote that Garner “would win if it were a popularity contest.” nbcJames-Garner-obit-jpgblogbv - Copy
 
But he lost the Oscar for actor in a leading role to William Hurt from “Kiss of the Spider Woman” in what was an incredibly competitive year. That race also included Harrison Ford from “Witness,” Jack Nicholson from “Prizzi’s Honor” and Jon Voight, “Runaway Train.”
 
Academy Award or not, Garner was admired, respected and loved by audiences who knew his work from television (“The Rockford Files” and “Maverick”) along with movies such as his reported favorite, “The Americanization of Emily.” He also was honored with Emmys, Golden Globes and a Life Achievement Award from the Screen Actors Guild. 
 
After learning that he died Saturday night at his home in Brentwood, Calif., it seemed time to recall something he said in 1994. 
 
He was 66 and having a very good year. 
 
Garner was up for an Emmy for the TV movie “Breathing Lessons.” That summer he,  Mel Gibson and Jodie Foster had starred in a big-screen version of “Maverick” and he had agreed to do six two-hour “Rockford” movies to air on CBS.  MCA/Universal also had just released a selection of old “Rockford” shows on videotape. 
 
Garner knew that women his age — heck, women two decades younger — were viewed differently in his business. 
 
“I think that’s awful when they say, ‘She’s 40, she’s over the hill,’ when, oh boy, their talent is really getting good then, and I think their beauty is, too. I remember seeing Lana Turner then, at 40, and gosh, what a knockout. I see some wonderful actresses today who are having trouble getting work because they’re 40 years old, and that’s not right,” Garner told critics that summer while promoting “Maverick.” 
 
If, on this anniversary of the moon landing, you want to remember Garner, you can track down “Space Cowboys” starring Clint Eastwood, Tommy Lee Jones, Donald Sutherland and Garner as retired U.S. Air Force test pilots who return to training years after demonstrating they had the right stuff. 
 
If it’s romance, you cannot go wrong with “The Notebook,” fearturing a pair of actors then in their 70s (Garner and Gena Rowlands),  a pair in their 20s (Ryan Gosling, Rachel McAdams) and a love story that transcends time and, miraculously but only occasionally, memory loss. It was branded sappy in some circles when released in June 2004 but its heartfelt charms are impossible to resist. 
 
The big-screen version of “Maverick” featured Garner as an upright lawman named Zane Cooper who crosses paths with Gibson’s Maverick. As we said at the time, the new “Maverick” owes much to the old “Maverick,” but it’s also a horse of a different color. Far sillier, it ups the ante with slapstick, plain schtick, and a barrage of one-liners. In a word, this “Maverick” is goofy fun. 
 
Here is the press release SAG issued when it named Garner as recipient of its accolade, awarded on Feb. 5, 2005: 
 
(Los Angeles, California September 22, 2004) – Screen Actors Guild (SAG) announced today that James Garner, one of film and television’s most distinguished actors, will receive the Guild’s most prestigious honor — the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award for career achievement and humanitarian accomplishment, presented annually to an actor who fosters the “finest ideals of the acting profession.” 
 
A former vice president and board member of Screen Actors Guild (SAG), Mr. Garner will be presented with the award at the “11th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards” which will premiere live on Turner Network Television (TNT) on Saturday, February 5, 2005 at 8 p.m. ET/PT, 7 p.m. Central and 6 p.m. MT.
 
A three-time Screen Actors Guild Award nominee, an Academy Award nominee and two-time Emmy Award recipient, Mr. Garner has long been regarded as one of America’s foremost actors, continually maintaining his popularity over time. 
 
In making today’s announcement, SAG President Melissa Gilbert said, “James Garner is more than just one of America’s finest actors. He is a man who has served his peers, his community and his country with integrity and quiet generosity. One of my favorite responsibilities as SAG president is calling each year’s Life Achievement Award recipient to tell them we are honoring them. This year was extra special for me because James Garner’s performances have made me laugh and cry for as long as I can remember. He epitomizes class, style, wit and depth. He serves as a role model for all of America’s actors. This award is most deserved.”
 
Easily transitioning between film and television, Garner has headlined many projects in both mediums during his prolific career, earning numerous honors and creating a host of memorable characters.
 
Audiences world-wide have been delighted over three decades by Garner’s portrayal of wry detective Jim Rockford, whom he introduced in the 1974-80 series “The Rockford Files” and brought to television again in seven top-rated movies beginning in 1994. The role earned Garner an Emmy Award in 1977 and two consecutive SAG Award nominations in 1995 and 1996.
 
Time has had no impact on Garner’s creative energy. He starred opposite Gena Rowlands in this summer’s critically acclaimed hit movie “The Notebook” and this fall returns to ABC’s “8 Simple Rules” as Katey Sagal’s father, having joined the cast following the untimely death of the series star John Ritter.
 
Other recent films include “The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood” (2003), “Atlantis: The Lost Empire” (2001) and “Space Cowboys” (2000). Concurrently he starred in the CBS drama “First Monday” (2003), the Hallmark Channel miniseries Mark Twain’s “Roughing It” (2002) and the 2000 Showtime telefilm “The Last Debate.”  He also co-starred in the four final episodes of “Chicago Hope.” 
 
The CBS telefilm “One Special Night”, which set a 1999 ratings record, reunited Garner with Julie Andrews, his co-star in the feature films “Victor/Victoria” and his personal favorite, “The Americanization of Emily.” The same year, Garner’s performance in the TNT telefilm “Legalese” brought his third Actor nomination. 
 
Among his roles in 1997 were HBO’s “Dead Silence” and the miniseries Larry McMurtry’s “Streets of Laredo”, the follow-up to “Lonesome Dove.” In 1996, he starred with Jack Lemmon in the Warner Bros. film “My Fellow Americans.” In 1994 he brought one of his unforgettable television characters to the big screen, co-starring with Mel Gibson and Jodie Foster in “Maverick.” 
 
Garner has been honored for outstanding performances throughout his career. An Oscar nominee for his title role in “Murphy’s Romance” (1985), he received Golden Globe Awards and Emmy nominations for the Hallmark Hall of Fame Presentation “Decoration Day” (1990) and for playing business tycoon F. Ross Johnson in the miniseries “Barbarians at the Gate.”
 
Other accolades include both Emmy and Golden Globe nominations for his touching performance in 1993-94’s highest rated telefilm, the Hallmark Hall of Fame Presentation “Breathing Lessons,” as well as for his roles in the Peabody Award-winning telefilms “Heartsounds” with Mary Tyler Moore (1984) and “Promise” with James Woods (1986). 
 
“Promise” won five Emmy Awards including one for Garner as executive producer.  In 1989, the Garner-Duchow-produced Hallmark Hall of Fame Presentation “My Name is Bill W.,” also starring Woods, received seven Emmy nominations including nods to Garner for best supporting actor and executive producer. 
 
In total, Garner has received one Academy Award nomination, 15 Emmy nominations with two wins, 13 Golden Globe nominations with four wins, two People’s Choice Awards and three Screen Actors Guild Award nominations. He also received a Clio Award for his Polaroid commercials.
 
Garner was born on April 7, 1928 in Norman, Oklahoma. His father, Weldon Bumgarner, was of European ancestry. His mother, Mildred, who was one-half Cherokee, died when Garner was five. He left home at 14, enlisted in the Merchant Marines at 16, and then followed his father to Los Angeles. After attending Hollywood High School he became Oklahoma’s first draftee of the Korean conflict. Injured twice, he was awarded a Purple Heart.
 
After the war, a small part in a Broadway production of “The Caine Mutiny Court Martial” led to a contract with Warner Bros. He made his television debut with Clint Walker on “Cheyenne” and his feature film debut in “Toward the Unknown.” 
 
A noted performance as Marlon Brando’s friend in “Sayonara” led to the leading role in the immensely popular western television series, “Maverick”. Since then, he has starred in roughly 40 films, including “The Children’s Hour”; “The Great Escape”; “Grand Prix”; “Move Over, Darling” and “Support Your Local Sheriff.” 
 
Garner joined the board of Screen Actors Guild in 1960 while starring in Maverick and was welcomed to his first board meeting by then Guild President Ronald Reagan. During three terms on the board, Garner served on the union’s television negotiating committee and was twice elected 2nd vice president.
 
Garner is involved with many humanitarian and civic causes. He helped organize Martin Luther King’s march on Washington for Civil Rights in 1963, and visited the troops in Vietnam in 1967. He is a member of the National Support Committee of the Native American Rights Fund and strongly supports the National Museum of the American Indian. He supports the Lupus Research Institute and Save the Children. He has been involved with the “Save the Coast” movement to stop offshore drilling in California.
 
In 1986, Garner was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame. He was made Ambassador of Cultural Arts for the State of Oklahoma in November of 1989. He was inducted into the Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma in March 1990. 
 
In 1993, he received the Western Heritage Award for Lifetime Achievement in Film and Television from the Gene Autry Museum, and in 1995 he received an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree at the University of Oklahoma. 
 
A gifted and ardent golfer, he serves on the National Advisory Board of the United States High School Golf Association and in 1990 won the Most Valuable Amateur trophy at the AT&T Golf Tournament. Also an auto-racing enthusiast, he has driven the pace car at the Indianapolis 500 on three occasions: 1975, 1977 and 1985.
 
Garner lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Lois. They have two daughters, Kim and Gigi.

 

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