John Hawkes

“Rife with honest moments, spurred by Farmiga-the-filmmaker’s keen eye for shading various relationships in loving, authentic ways, the film transcends the specificity of its setting to evoke the joys and pains of everyday life, and the proverbial search for the meaning behind it.” That’s how our very own Robert Levin describes Vera Farmiga’s directorial debut Higher Ground. Clearly he was one of the many who fell in love with it at Sundance earlier this year. Now you have a chance to fall in love with it by checking out the trailer:

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Daniel Day-Lewis. Tommy Lee Jones. Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Sally Field. Tim Blake Nelson. Hal Holbrook. James Spader. John Hawkes. Steven Spielberg has officially pointed his bat at the far bleachers when it comes to casting his upcoming film Lincoln. It’s telling when the Oscar talk can begin fairly nonchalantly during the casting phase. We already knew that Sally Field was set to play Mary Todd Lincoln and Daniel Day-Lewis would don the top hat and beard to play the iconic 16th President. Now, according to LA Times Blog, Jones has joined the cast as abolitionist congressman Thaddeus Stevens and Gordon-Levitt is on board as Lincoln’s son. While The Conspirator focused on the aftermath of Lincoln’s assassination, Spielberg’s take will look at slavery from the view point of Lincoln and his political advisers. It now has one hell of a cast and no vampire hunting in sight.

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Two of the most critically acclaimed films to come out of this year’s Sundance Film Festival feature the power and effect of cults and cult leaders as part of their story. The first is Sound Of My Voice, a film about a couple who willingly enter a small cult in Los Angeles in order to expose it but end up discovering some surprising truths about themselves. I had the chance to see at SXSW and can confirm it’s absolutely fantastic. The second is the odd but wonderfully titled Martha Marcy May Marlene. Writer/director Sean Durkin’s tale follows a young woman (Elizabeth Olsen) who escapes a cult and the emotional and physical consequences that follow. Her sister and brother-in-law (Sarah Paulson and Hugh Dancy) take her in, but it soon becomes clear that memories of the cult’s leader (the always brilliant John Hawkes) will not be easily forgotten. Check out the trailer below and mark your calendars for the film’s October 7th theatrical release.

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What is Movie News After Dark? This is a question that I am almost never asked, but I will answer it for you anyway. Movie News After Dark is FSR’s late-night secretion, a column dedicated to all of the news stories that slip past our daytime editorial staff and make it into my curiously chubby RSS ‘flagged’ box. It will (but is not guaranteed to) include relevant movie news, links to insightful commentary and other film-related shenanigans. I may also throw in a link to something TV-related here or there. It will also serve as my place of record for being both charming and sharp-witted, but most likely I will be neither of the two. I write this stuff late at night, what do you expect?

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This article is part of our Oscar Week Series, where you will find breakdowns and predictions for all of the major categories. The Best Supporting Actor category is one of the most interesting. As Cole and I discussed last week, there really is no stable definition of what constitutes a “supporting” role, so this category can run the gamut from scene-stealers (Heath Ledger for The Dark Knight) to memorable parts with a limited amount of screen time (Hal Holbrook for Into the Wild) to nominations that seem only to be banking off the presence of a film in other categories (Matt Damon for Invictus). Fortunately this year saw five pretty strong nominees (and three first-time nominees), but this year also exhibits the potential variance of the category. Here we have a crack addict, a sperm donator, a townie gangster, an unqualified speech therapist, and somebody named “Teardrop.” Let’s see how these five incredibly different performances size up against one another. With my winner prediction in red, here are the nominees:

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Every week, Landon Palmer and Cole Abaius log on to their favorite chat client of 1996 as CriterionCollector85 and JP2themax in order to discuss some topical topic of interest. This week, they puzzle over how to define a Best Supporting Role. What does that support mean? Or look like? Does it matter how long someone is on screen or how big a catalyst they are? Since the Oscars don’t seem to know…what the hell is a supporting role anyway?

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Winter

One can see why the people of Sundance loved Winter’s Bone enough to give it the Grand Jury Prize and the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award. Upon initial appearance it’s exactly the type of independent film beloved at the festival in Utah that later goes unnoticed by the rest of the world.

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