Week in review: 9/8 - 9/12

ScreenerBlog

It was a good week for Reese Witherspoon: Two of her films screened at the Toronto International Film Festival (The Good Lie and Wild, or the movie for which many believe Witherspoon will be nominated for another Academy Award) and a passion-project successfully emerged from development limbo. The actress will next star in a Fox 2000 biopic of singer Peggy Lee, to be directed by Far From Heaven's Todd Haynes. The untitled film is based on a script by the late, greatly inimitable Nora Ephron, and re-written -- or fine-tuned, more like -- by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Doug Wright. The involvement of Legally Blonde producer Marc Platt is yet more cause for excitement among Witherspoon/Ephron/Lee fans.

Another actor with a vehicle making inroads at TIFF, The HumblingAl Pacino was the subject of a lengthy New Yorker profile this week. The article is a terrific read for anyone interested in the process of one of The Greats, or his excuses, or justifications, or statements of plausible deniability in regards to charges of "overacting."

One would certainly appreciate a good hammy performance from George Clooney when he appears on British TV network ITV's "Downtown Abbey" movie this holiday season. How did the popular series manage such a high-profile get? By appealing to the actor's softer side: The film will air as part of an annual philanthropic campaign entitled "Text Santa," a fundraiser for six U.K. charities. No one yet knows which part Clooney will play, but while romantic love-interest for Lady Mary would seem the obvious choice, our hopes are pinned on a diverting entanglement for poor, shafted Lady Edith.

It seems the filmmakers behind Top Gun 2 are opting out of a campy take on the fighter-pilot story (so much the worse) and playing the movie straight instead: Justin Marks, best known for penning Disney's live-action version of The Jungle Book, has agreed to write the sequel's screenplay. Tom Cruise will reprise his role as pilot Maverick in the film that, per The Hollywood Reporter, "aims to show the relevance of good old fashioned pilots in today's high-tech, drone-centric war environment."

If it were to feature a villain of the caliber of The Spy Who Loved Me's baddie Jaws, played by the towering Richard Kiel, who passed away at 74 on Wednesday, we might be more inclined to voice our enthusiasm.

At any rate, by the time Top Gun 2 is released, will viewers have grown accustomed to buying tickets via Twitter? Will it prove the blockbuster for which Hollywood execs are pining? Surely, many must be feeling as if 2014 can't end soon enough: It looks as if not even predetermined hits The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1 and The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies  will be able to pull the domestic box office from the fiscal depths into which it has descended this year.

But perhaps Zack Snyder's Batmobile (of which the below is the first official photo), and the implied superhero behind its wheel, will be able to move things along come 2016: