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Review: HBO's 'The Normal Heart' Starring Mark Ruffalo, Julia Roberts, Taylor Kitsch, Matt Bomer, Jim Parsons & More

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • May 22, 2014 12:25 PM
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  • 0 Comments
The Normal Heart
First staged off Broadway in 1985, Larry Kramer's acclaimed play "The Normal Heart" is undoubtedly a product of its time. Written and performed during the early stages of the 1980s AIDS crisis, a period which saw the gay community gripped by fear of the emerging disease, and ravaged by a shocking death toll, Kramer's work is searing indictment of governmental indifference and those who refused to fight unreservedly to get the necessary resources and funding to foster support groups and research. Kramer's play was also autobiographical, drawing on real-life people as inspiration for the characters, with the end product something as personal as it was polemical. More than 25 years later, "The Normal Heart" was revived on Broadway in 2011, and now it comes to HBO in a star-studded movie adaptation, with an aspiration towards the same fury the material evoked decades ago. But unfortunately, that passion oddly leaves the movie feeling a bit out of time in 2014.

Watch: New Trailer For HBO's 'The Normal Heart' With Mark Ruffalo & Julia Roberts Battles The Establishment

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • April 18, 2014 1:16 PM
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  • 0 Comments
The Normal Heart
Okay, so "The Normal Heart" didn't make the Cannes Film Festival lineup like I figured it would, but that doesn't mean we're not putting this one on our watch list for next month. A new trailer is here to remind you why you might want to tune into HBO in May to watch something other than "Game Of Thrones."

Watch: New Trailer For AIDS Drama 'The Normal Heart' With Mark Ruffalo & Julia Roberts Starts A War

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • April 4, 2014 12:12 PM
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  • 2 Comments
The Normal Heart
With a sequel already planned, HBO is showing a lot of confidence in Ryan Murphy's upcoming feature-length drama, "The Normal Heart." And who could blame them? The cast alone is pretty first rate with Mark Ruffalo, Julia Roberts, Matt Bomer, Taylor Kitsch and Jim Parsons all on board, the story is stirring, and so far, it looks like it'll be the highlight on the network this spring, certainly as evidenced by this new teaser trailer.

Watch: First Teaser Trailer For HBO Movie 'The Normal Heart' Starring Mark Ruffalo, Taylor Kitsch & Julia Roberts

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • March 9, 2014 9:03 PM
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  • 6 Comments
The Normal Heart Mark Ruffalo Taylor Kitsch
Over the past couple years, HBO has been a quiet-but-steady presence at the Cannes Film Festival, where they unspool their movies out of competition (with Steven Soderbergh's "Behind The Candelabra" an exception in 2013). "Hemingway & Gellhorn," "Muhammad Ali's Greatest Fight," "Seduced And Abandoned"—those are the movies that have joined Soderbergh's in walking the red carpet in the south of France. And while nothing is official, we'd lay down some good money that the same will happen for "The Normal Heart." But even if not, you won't have to wait long to see this one for yourself.

Review: Sprawling, Sneering 'August: Osage County' Starring Meryl Streep & Julia Roberts

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • December 27, 2013 1:07 PM
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  • 1 Comment
August: Osage County
It's undeniable that, at least on paper, "August: Osage County" looks like a can't-miss proposition. Pairing Tracey Letts' Pulitizer Prize and Tony Award-winning play with an outstanding ensemble cast ranging from awards-nominated veterans to rising young stars—Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Ewan McGregor, Chris Cooper, Abigail Breslin, Benedict Cumberbatch, Juliette Lewis, Margo Martindale, Dermot Mulroney, Julianne Nicholson, Sam Shepard, Misty Upham—it's hard to fathom the material not working. And while the choice of helmer John Wells ("The Company Men") might not seem like the most inspired decision, all he theoretically has to do is put the camera on a tripod and let the actors do their thing. And he does. And yet, 'Osage County' still turns out be an exhausting, screechy drama, in which a lot of very good actors work very hard, and yet produce so little as a result.

‘August: Osage County’ Didn’t Change Its Ending; Watch 1-Hour-Plus Q&A With Cast & Producer George Clooney Plus New Photos

  • By Rodrigo Perez
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  • November 26, 2013 5:09 PM
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  • 12 Comments
August: Osage County
Expectations can be a bitch or a nice surprise when you’re out of synch with the conventional wisdom. Reviews out of the Toronto International Film Festival (including ours) might have led some to believe (myself included) that “August: Osage County” is shrill, pitched up to one volume and disjointed. While it’s unclear if it’s been through an editing process in the three months since the September festival circuit, the “August: Osage County” I saw last night was unexpectedly funny. This is pure Tracy Letts (the playwright who won a Pulitzer Prize for Drama for ‘August’ onstage in 2008). A corrosive and toxic look at family, “August: Osage County” is unrelentingly dark, but it’s also a black comedy with the most delicious of evil barbs. Family is a four letter word? Hell, yes.

Watch: 50-Minute Actress Roundtable With Amy Adams, Julia Roberts, Oprah Winfrey & More

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • November 25, 2013 5:09 PM
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  • 2 Comments
From true life stories, to sassy period tales to rich domestic dramas, this year's crop of contending actresses have had some great material to dive into. And when rounding up Amy Adams ("American Hustle"), Emma Thompson ("Saving Mr. Banks"), Julia Roberts ("August: Osage County"), Octavia Spencer ("Fruitvale Station") and Lupita Nyong'o ("12 Years A Slave") THR undoubtedly has wealth of things to talk about, from their films to the wide range of experience in the biz.

Watch: New Trailer & Photos Of 'August: Osage County' Starring Julia Roberts, Meryl Streep, Ewan McGregor & More

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • September 12, 2013 9:17 AM
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  • 3 Comments
August: Osage County
With TIFF heading into its last few days, and NYFF around the corner, we're only at the start of the awards season, and Harvey Weinstein will be in full effect. This year in Toronto, he's been busy acquiring films and unveiling a small handful of movies, but one of most high profile was "August: Osage County."

'August: Osage County' Ending Still In Flux After TIFF Premiere

  • By Drew Taylor
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  • September 11, 2013 3:12 PM
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  • 7 Comments
August Osage County
While we weren't too keen on John Wells' adaptation of Tracey Letts' "August: Osage County" (you can read our review here), that doesn't mean that the film isn't still a heavy Oscar contender, especially with the star wattage of the cast (Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Benedict Cumberbatch, Ewan McGregor, the list goes on) and the raw schmoozing power of its producer, Harvey Weinstein. One thing that seems to be very much in the air, though, is the nature of the ending, which was changed at the last minute due to test audience reactions and Weinstein's insistence, but still could go back before the movie's theatrical opening in December. Read on for details of the saga; spoiler warning for those who care about the downbeat conclusion to a Pulitzer Prize-winning play that ran on Broadway for a hundred years.

TIFF Review: 'August: Osage County' Starring Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts & More

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
  • |
  • September 9, 2013 10:43 PM
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  • 67 Comments
August: Osage County' Starring Meryl Streep
It's undeniable that, at least on paper, "August: Osage County" looks like a can't-miss proposition. Pairing Tracey Letts' Pulitizer Prize and Tony Award-winning play with an outstanding ensemble cast ranging from awards-nominated veterans to rising young stars—Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Ewan McGregor, Chris Cooper, Abigail Breslin, Benedict Cumberbatch, Juliette Lewis, Margo Martindale, Dermot Mulroney, Julianne Nicholson, Sam Shepard, Misty Upham—it's hard to fathom the material not working. And while the choice of helmer John Wells ("The Company Men") might not seem like the most inspired decision, all he theoretically has to do is put the camera on a tripod and let the actors do their thing. And he does. And yet, 'Osage County' still turns out be an exhausting, screechy drama, in which a lot of very good actors work very hard, and yet produce so little as a result.

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