Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Reel Facts & Opinions: Everything You Need to Know About FOXCATCHER and THE HOMESMAN

This weekend, two of the most anticipated films of the year and possible Awards-gobblers arrives in theatres. Here is everything you need to know about FOXCATCHER and THE HOMESMAN. 


What is this about? – FOXCATCHER is based on the true crime story of millionaire coach and paranoid-schizophrenic John du Pont, who murdered Olympic Wrestling Champion Dave Schultz at his Foxcatcher Farm outside of Philadelphia in 1996. 

Who stars in this? – Steve Carell, mostly known for his comedic roles in ANCHORMAN and BRUCE ALMIGHTY, plays du Pont. He is joined by Channing Tatum (21 JUMP STREET), Mark Ruffalo (THE AVENGERS), Vanessa Redgrave (ATONEMENT), Sienna Miller (FACTORY GIRL), and Anthony Michael Hall. 

Who is directing? – FOXCATCHER is directed by Bennett Miller, who has helmed CAPOTE (2005), and MONEYBALL (2011). 

What to expect? – Bennett Miller’s last two films were Oscar darlings, so we can certainly expect quality filmmaking. In CAPOTE, Miller explored the dark depths of humanity and gained the late great Phillip Seymour Hoffman an Oscar. In MONEYBALL, Miller explored the hidden side of pro-baseball. FOXCATCHER seems to be channeling both of those films, and it will be interesting to see if Miller can pull some serious, grown-up performances out of usual village-idiots Tatum and Carell. And for what it’s worth, FOXCATCHER took home Best Director at the famed Cannes Film Festival this year. 


What is this about? – Set in the Old West, in independent-minded woman transports three insane women across the frontier with the help of a low-life drifter. 

Who stars in this? – Tommy Lee Jones plays the drifter, and he is joined by Hilary Swank, Meryl Streep, John Lithgow, William Fichtner, James Spader, Hailee Steinfeld (TRUE GRIT) and Miranda Otto (THE LORD OF THE RINGS).

Who is directing? – Tommy Lee Jones takes a seat in the director’s chair in his first big-nuts film production. 

What to expect? – Tommy Lee Jones has dabbled in directing before with some TV projects, so while it may be easy to pick on the rookie, the man has over 40 years of film experience in which he worked with and beat the best. In that time he must have learned something and now the time has come for him to let the world know what he’s learned. The cast, which reads like an Oscar all-star team, is clearly top-notch and will certainly help Tommy along in his new frontier.  In recent years Westerns have been a hard sell to the general public and to the Academy, as it’s possible the glory days of the genre have long since passed. But a great Western is still possible. The genre seems to call for a gentle touch; the type that only comes with experience. 


See the trailer for FOXCATCHER HERE
See the trailer for THE HOMESMAN HERE

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