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Four Reasons 2014 Will Be the Year of the Immigrant on Film (VIDEO)

Photo of Matt Brennan By Matt Brennan | Thompson on Hollywood! January 27, 2014 at 1:24PM

From reportorial nonfiction to epic drama, from the couch to the art house, immigrants past and present will be at the forefront of 2014's film offerings -- not to mention your cable news network of choice. As the Congressional debate over immigration reform heats up and the midterm election gears begin to turn, here are four things to watch for:

2. At the very least, it appears that 2014 is the year of "The Immigrant."

Perhaps James Gray is fated for neglect, or at least a kind of cult status. His ambitious, desperate crime drama "The Yards" (2000) flopped, the victim -- per Peter Biskind's "Down and Dirty Pictures" -- of a Miramax hatchet job; even the praise for "Two Lovers" (2009) seems tepid given that its sensuous, troubled rendering of a jagged love triangle is one of the last decade's great New York romances.

Now his period drama "The Immigrant," which premiered in competition at Cannes to middling reviews, wallows in indeterminacy: picked up by Radius-TWC for concurrent VOD and theatrical release in early 2014, the exact date remains unclear. Anne Thompson's description of the script ("listless and repetitive") gives me pause, but the narrative of a Polish immigrant (Marion Cotillard) caught between a pimp (Joaquin Phoenix) and a magician (Jeremy Renner) in Jazz Age Manhattan -- not to mention Gray's directorial bona fides -- seem to ensure that his will be a bold, distinctive take on border crossings. I wouldn't expect anything less.

This article is related to: Reviews, TV, DVD and VOD, Interviews , Features, Genres, Documentaries, Drama, Directors, Diego Luna, Michael Peña, James Gray, Marion Cotillard, Joaquin Phoenix, Two Lovers, Jeremy Renner, The Immigrant, Cannes

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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.