A guy who’s fed me stuff before and who has seemed fairly reliable says that a three-hour version of Alejandro G. Inarritu‘s The Revenant was research-screened last night on the 20th Century Fox lot. The source didn’t attend but he talked to a guy who did, and this guy says it’s his #1 film of the year, and this is a guy who’s seen nearly everything.

Random remarks: “Crazy harrowing stuff…visually stunning…the natural-light photography works perfectly…’scenic-porn’…Leo is all but unrecognizable…a fair amount of dialogue…Tom Hardy‘s accent is a little tough to deal with.” Another five or six weeks remain before the final cut will be locked down so I would imagine the running time will be trimmed by 10 or 15 minutes or a tad more…who knows? But it sounds like it’ll end up a bit north of two and a half hours or thereabouts.

Take this with a grain but the guy (the one I’ve dealt with before) adds that a three-and-a-half-hour cut of Quentin Tarantino‘s The Hateful Eight was tested a while back. (Remember that many movies test long to help the director decide what to cut. Django Unchained was around three hours at one point, I once heard.) The film contains Tarantino’s first full-out sex scene, the source says. “What kind of sex scene?,” I asked. “Does it involve Jennifer Jason Leigh or is it…what, a gay thing?” He said he wasn’t sure. The guy he talked to about this cut gave it four out of five stars.

He also claims that David O. Russell‘s Joy will be research-screened tomorrow night in the Los Angeles area.

Last weekend the blogaroonies were kicking around a rumor that Joy may not be ready for release this year. You’ll hear a lot of stuff that you quickly discount or regard suspiciously, but this rumor has persisted. This morning I wrote Russell along with his 42West p.r. rep, Susan Ciccone, and asked straight up if the film will come out this year or not.  Answer: Yes — it’s definitely opening as scheduled on 12.25.