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Frankly My Dear...

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    Julianne Hough, Russell Brand find their religion in Diablo Cody comedy

    Posted: 27 Sep 2011 04:11 AM PDT

    Julianne Hough is in demand ahead of what could be her breakout film, her sexy turn in the “Footloose” remake. Now The Hollywood Reporter says that the dancer turned singer turned actress has been announced as the lead in Diablo “Juno” Cody’s directing debut, a film once titled “Lamb of God.” Hough will play a young woman who abandons her faith and flees to Vegas, only to meet Russell Brand along the way and find her way back to that faith.

    Cody wrote “Juno” and “United States of Tara,” and cooled off as “Tara” faded and “Jennifer’s Body” bombed. Big time. But writers get a few flops, and she has an ear and a voice. So this has promise.

    McConaughey’s ‘Mud’ adds Shannon, Shepard and Paulson

    Posted: 27 Sep 2011 04:06 AM PDT

    Jeff Nichols is the hot indie filmmaker of the moment, thanks to “Shotgun Stories,” his new film “Take Shelter” and the deal he signed to get Matthew McConaughey for his coming of age drama “Mud.”

    Matthew M. is playing a Mississippi Delta fugitive that two 14 year old boys befriend and try to help see the love of his life again.

    Michael Shannon, Nichols’ muse, has signed up for a role, along with Sam Shepard and Sarah Paulson. Filming just got underway this week,according to

    Nichols is not yet at the point where he has passed David Gordon Green as the most famous filmmaker alumnus of the indie icon factory University of North Carolina School of the Arts. But he is the latest to emerge from the school that put Green, Danny McBride, Jody Hill, Aaron Katz, Paul Schneider and others on the map.

    Jessica Chastain’s breakout year continues — into ‘Oblivion’ with T. Cruise

    Posted: 27 Sep 2011 03:47 AM PDT

    Has anybody ever had a year like the one Jessica Chastain is putting the finishing touches on? An unknown in April, by May she was standing out in “Tree of Life,” in the summer she all but stole “The Help,” she’s terrific in “The Debt,” with the indie “Take Shelter” and Shakespeare’s “Coriolanus” yet to come before New Year’s Eve.

    Now she’s landed one of two female leads opposite Tom Cruise in “Oblivion,” a re-titled (“Horizons” is another title attached to it), re-launched sci-fi picture that’s been kicking around for a bit. Cruise and Universal are determined to do it, even though Disney bailed.

    Variety reports that Olivia Wilde, Brit Marling and Noomi Rapace might take the other lady role in this actioner, which is about a “post-apocalyptic society that lives in the clouds.” They were reported to have tested for the part last summer.

    Every role that Emma Stone is too young or too booked to take, Chastain’s name comes up for. Well, and Wilde’s, though her heat is based on simple, um, heat.

    Justin Timberlake as Neil Bogart in ‘Spinning Gold’

    Posted: 26 Sep 2011 11:54 AM PDT

    The 1970s musical impresario Neil Bogart ran Casablanca Records (Bogart, Casablanca, get it?) and handled some of the biggest acts in music during that era of easy sex, easier cocaine, disco and KISS. Bogart had Donna Summer and The Village People, along with the blood-spitting glam rockers KISS, in his stable of stars.

    He died at 39.

    And now Justin Timberlake gets to play him in a movie. “Spinning Gold” is the working title.

    Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Anna Kendrick on ‘touching’

    Posted: 26 Sep 2011 11:22 AM PDT

    You do it by instinct. Somebody tells you something awful that's happened to them, and you reach out to comfort that person. A hand on the shoulder, a hug, even. But in some situations, that's a no-no.
    Anna Kendrick, 26, learned this when she and Joseph Gordon-Levitt teamed up for "50/50." It's a comedy-drama about a young man who has discovered he has cancer. The film's title reveals his odds for survival. Kendrick plays the too-young counselor whose job is to help him adjust to the emotional roller coaster that accompanies a life-or-death struggle. Kendrick studied with a therapist who is not much older than she is, "who told me all of the mistakes she made when she started out. I got a crash course in what not to do, and Katherine [her character], of course, does all of those things."
    "Countertransference" is the big one. A psychotherapist should not develop emotional entanglements with a client. But another one is that human touch.
    "It's simple compassion," Kendrick says. "It's a genuine, real urge we have. But they train you not to do that. Katherine forgets. That's my favorite part of the script, this awkward touching she does to comfort him. …It's just not necessary. If you're good at this sort of counseling, you can do it without being touchy-feely."
    Gordon-Levitt, 30, appreciates the comic brittleness of those therapy scenes. "You have all sorts of conventions in play. This is supposed to be a comedy, so she could be the love interest," he says. "But we avoided the pitfalls and stereotypes, I think, because we weren't intent on making that relationship fit into those boxes. We wanted it to feel honest and awkward.
    "We as a culture have a tendency to tiptoe around on eggshells around subjects like this. You don't know what to say. You don't know if it's OK to laugh if something's funny. You don't know if it's OK to smile, even. 'This is a serious thing. I should be sad all the time around him.'"
    The comic Will Reiser scripted "50/50," which is based on his own battle with cancer and the awkwardness he encountered, from professionals (like Kendrick's character) and his best friend, played by Reiser's real-life pal Seth Rogen. The dramedy, opening Friday, is earning very good reviews, with Box Office Magazine noting the importance of those therapy moments, calling it "a soft and sweet cancer drama that hits with the force of an ill-timed hug."
    It's not every film role that has the potential to be life-changing, but the stars of "50/50" know that sooner or later they will be dealing with the dilemmas that their characters face in both serious and in comical ways in the movie.
    "People our age often haven't dealt with this before, and all they can say is, 'I'm just trying my best. I know it's not working,'" Kendrick says. "While we were making the film, I hadn't dealt with this subject in my real life at all. But my uncle passed away recently from cancer. I thought back to what Will [Reiser] said about Adam's desire to be treated like a normal human being. People forgot how to act around my uncle. They didn't know what to say. They felt like they had to say something profound, or give some advice. I made my mind up that I would treat my uncle the same way I always had."
    Gordon-Levitt says he lost a friend to cancer when he was much younger, a friend "who has a little subtle tribute in the film's credits." But he found Reiser's script to have more than a few life lessons that he has absorbed.
    "One of my take-aways from '50/50' is that it is OK to laugh. When something is funny, it's OK to acknowledge it. Will and Seth coped by finding humor in the situation, making jokes. And that's got to be healthy, if 'laughter is the best medicine.'
    "But the main thing for me, spending all this time thinking about what it would be like facing an illness that you have a 50 percent chance of surviving, I came away grateful. Every day you're alive is a lovely thing, worth saying thank you for."

    Movie Preview: ‘Man on a Ledge’

    Posted: 26 Sep 2011 09:32 AM PDT

    Sam Worthington earns more of a “ka-POW” treatment in this “Man on a Ledge” trailer, the second I’ve  seen for this January thriller about an ex-con (Worthington) out for revenge on the man who put him in prison (Ed Harris). The action beats in this trailer suggest its a lot more promising than a January 13 release date would suggest. I like the idea of Worthington earning his way into acclaim after that string of manikin-in-blockbusters performances that started his career. He was good in “The Debt.”

    Elizabeth Banks is the hostage negotiator who may or may not believe the “Man on the Ledge.”

    Cinematique Daytona hosts Gay-Lesbian film fest

    Posted: 26 Sep 2011 06:18 AM PDT

    Orlando and the Enzian lost its local gay and lesbisan film festival a couple of years ago. But Saturday, Cinematique Daytona steps into the void with a day of gay and lesbian-themed features and documentaries.

    OneDaytona is behind this GLBT Film Fest, which includes vintage films and newer releases. Details are below the page break.

    11:00 a.m. / Rated: R / 90 minutes
    In this satire, parents who are worried that their children might not be walking the straight and narrow path discover a rehabilitation camp designed to curb alternative lifestyles. Megan (Natasha Lyonne), a high school student and member of the cheerleading squad, seems like an ordinary enough teenage girl, but her habit of honestly expressing herself and lack of romantic enthusiasm for her boyfriend convince her very repressed parents, Peter (Bud Cort) and Nancy (Mink Stole), that Megan is becoming a lesbian. So Megan is shipped off to True Directions, a camp for gay and gay-leaning teens, where Mary Brown (Cathy Moriarty) attempts to deprogram kids with homosexual tendencies.

    1:15 p.m. / Rated: R / 118 minutes
    In a single, short life Brandon Teena was at once a dashing lover and a trapped outsider, both an impoverished nobody and a flamboyant dreamer, a daring thief and the tragic victim of an unjust crime. Based on a true story, “Boys Don’t Cry,” explores the contradictions of American youth and identity through the true life and death of Brandon Teena. What emerges from a dust-cloud of mayhem, desire and murder is the story of a young American drifter searching for love, a sense of self and a place to call home.

    4:00 p.m. / Not rated  / 80 minutes
    This film, narrated by Dustin Hoffman, won an Academy Award for Best Documentary in 1989. Common Threads: Stories From the Quilt helps put faces on the names on the quilt of those who have died from AIDS. The quilt at that time covered 14 acres. The lives of five people who suffered and fought this disease are celebrated.

    THE SECRETS (Ha-Sodot)
    6:30 p.m. / Rated: R / 120 minutes
    In The Secrets, two brilliant young women discover their own voices in a repressive orthodox culture where females are forbidden to sing, let alone speak out. Naomi, the studious, devoutly religious daughter of a prominent rabbi, convinces her father to postpone her marriage for a year so that she might study at a Jewish seminary for women in the ancient Kabalistic seat of Safed. Naomi’s quest for individuality takes a defiant turn when she befriends Michelle, a free-spirited and equally headstrong fellow student.

    9:30 p.m. / Not rated / 95 minutes
    On the heels of a successful debut at the Celebration Theatre in Los Angeles and an impressive eight-year run on the New York stage, the raucous musical showered with accolades by both LA Weekly and Backstage West — and featuring show-stopping tunes by Bruce Vilanch, Shelley Markham, Stephen Bates, Robert Schrock, and Mark Winkler — can finally be enjoyed by theater fans who may not have had the opportunity to catch it in person. Everyone knows that nudity is only natural, and as an impressive cast of actors, singers, and dancers including Kevin Stea, Jason Currie, Phong Truong, Joseph Keane, Andrew Blake, Anthony Manough, and original cast member Vincent Zamora drop their drawers to perform such sings as “Fight the Urge,” “Nothin’ But the Radio On,” and “Robert Mitchum,” home viewers can finally find out firsthand what all the fuss and fun is about.

    Tickets: $6 per film, or all (5) films for $25.
    Advance tickets available by phone (386) 252-3118 or at the box office.