LIFE OF CRIME Review

by     Posted 21 days ago

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[This is a re-post of my review from the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival.  Life of Crime opens today in limited release.]

I’ve never read any of Elmore Leonard’s novels, and yes, I’m ashamed. But I know from the film adaptations of his crime novels that there’s a way to do them right and wrong. They have a confidence, a swagger, a sly wink, a braggadocio, and they’re smart. They have the talk for the walk, and some directors, most notably Quentin Tarantino with Jackie Brown (based off Leonard’s Rum Punch) and Steven Soderbergh’s Out of Sight, are smart enough to bring that confidence to the screen. Those films make the uninitiated feel embarrassed that they haven’t joined the club. Even with Daniel Schechter’s cautious adaptation of Life of Crime (based on the novel The Switch) the audience can hear the author’s voice. Schechter’s direction is serviceable enough to not get in the way, he wisely trust his strong cast, accents the comedy, and lets Leonard do the talking.

G.I. JOE 2 Director Jon M. Chu May Direct NOW YOU SEE ME 2

by     Posted 98 days ago

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One of the more surprising box office hits of last year was the magician adventure pic Now You See Me.  The film had a solid opening weekend, but it continued to do swell business in the ensuing weeks, going on to gross $351.7 million worldwide against a budget of $75 million.  As with most successful studio films where everyone doesn’t die at the end, Summit Entertainment began to move forward on a prospective sequel.  Following the official Now You See Me 2 announcement, Summit expressed its desire to begin filming in 2014, and while director Louis Leterrier was expected to return, he’s currently busy gearing up to helm the action-comedy Grimsby.  As such, Summit is on the hunt for a new director for the magician sequel, and G.I. Joe: Retaliation helmer Jon M. Chu is reportedly at the top of their list.  More after the jump.

John Hawkes Kidnaps Jennifer Aniston in the First LIFE OF CRIME Trailer

by     Posted 121 days ago

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The first Life of Crime trailer has been released for director Daniel Schecter’s adaptation of the Elmore Leonard novel The Switch.  The film features younger versions of the Robert De Niro and Samuel L. Jackson characters from another Leonard adaptation, Jackie Brown, with John Hawkes and Yasiin Bey (aka Mos Def) filling the roles this time around.  The story kicks into gear when Hawkes and Bey kidnap the trophy wife (Jennifer Aniston) of a wealthy man (Tim Robbins), only to find out her husband doesn’t actually want her back.  The pic looks to be a fun criminal-centric comedy with strong performances from the leads, and Leonard’s authorial voice comes through loud and clear.

Hit the jump to watch the Life of Crime trailer, and click here to read Matt’s review from TIFF.  The film also stars Isla Fisher, Will Forte, and Mark Boone JuniorLife of Crime opens in theaters on August 29th.

Charlize Theron to Star in AMERICAN EXPRESS; Liam Hemsworth, Isla Fisher, and Elizabeth Debicki Join THE DRESSMAKER; Matt Walsh Joins 6 MIRANDA DRIVE

by     Posted 132 days ago

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Here’s the day’s latest casting news:

  • Charlize Theron is in talks to star in and produce director Nash Edgerton’s indie movie, American Express.
  • Liam Hemsworth, Isla Fisher, and Elizabeth Debicki will join Kate Winslet and Judy Davis in Jocelyn Moorhouse’s romantic drama, The Dressmaker.
  • Matt Walsh and Parker Mack are set to join the Blumhouse thriller 6 Miranda Drive, from writer-director Greg McLean.

Hit the jump for more on each casting story.

TIFF 2013: LIFE OF CRIME Review

by     Posted 1 year, 5 days ago

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I’ve never read any of Elmore Leonard’s novels, and yes, I’m ashamed.  But I know from the film adaptations of his crime novels that there’s a way to do them right and wrong.  They have a confidence, a swagger, a sly wink, a braggadocio, and they’re smart.  They have the talk for the walk, and some directors, most notably Quentin Tarantino with Jackie Brown (based off Leonard’s Rum Punch) and Steven Soderbergh’s Out of Sight, are smart enough to bring that confidence to the screen.  Those films make the uninitiated feel embarrassed that they haven’t joined the club.  Even with Daniel Schechter’s cautious adaptation of Life of Crime (based on the novel The Switch) the audience can hear Leonard speaking.  Schechter’s direction is serviceable enough to not get in the way, he wisely trust his strong cast, accents the comedy, and lets Leonard do the talking.

THE GREAT GATSBY Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 1 year, 14 days ago

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There are few stranger cinematic weddings that that of F.  Scott Fitzgerald’s novel The Great Gatsby to Baz Luhrmann’s over-the-top, nearly grating visual aesthetic.  The fact that Luhrmann’s adaptation is in 3D is icing on the cake.  But Luhrmann (best known for William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet and Moulin Rouge) is at his best when he’s got a story to anchor his visuals to, and performers like Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan, Tobey Maguire and Joel Edgerton delivering the lines.  His Great Gatsby is far from a definitive version of the novel, but it has its moments.  My review of the Blu-ray follows after the jump.

NOW YOU SEE ME Sequel in the Works; Filming Planned for 2014

by     Posted 1 year, 40 days ago

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One of the biggest box office surprises of 2013 thus far has been director Louis Leterrier’s magician heist pic Now You See Me.  The $75 million film went on to gross $115.6 million domestically, and it’s international total now stands at $119.3.  When you consider that some major studio tentpoles (ahem The Lone Ranger) have failed to cross the $100 million mark stateside, that is an incredibly impressive performance; obviously this means it’s time to make a sequel.  THR reports that Lionsgate and Summit are moving forward with a follow-up film, with production currently “penciled in” for 2014.  Should that plan stick, we could expect to possibly see Now You See Me 2 hit theaters in 2015.  Hit the jump for more.

NOW YOU SEE ME Review

by     Posted 1 year, 111 days ago

The opening line of Louis Leterrier‘s Now You See Me warns “The closer you look, the less you’ll see.”  But it doesn’t matter how closely or carlessly you look because there’s not much worth seeing in the film.  For a movie that centers on magicians, the most spectacular thing about Now You See Me is how spectacularly it wastes both its premise and its cast.  Leterrier seems torn between wanting to provide cool magic tricks that could conceivably be performed in real life, and then he swings wildly to effects-laden set pieces.  The story also doesn’t seem to have much affinity towards magicians since it portrays them as smug and self-satisfied.  But the film’s most egregious trespass is taking an outstanding cast and forgetting to give them characters.  The movie should craft an intriguing illusion, but aside from some clever moments and Mark Ruffalo‘s performance, Now You See Me is a cheap trick.

Isla Fisher Talks NOW YOU SEE ME, Filming in New Orleans, the Success of THE GREAT GATSBY, the Untitled Elmore Leonard Project, and More

by     Posted 1 year, 113 days ago

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With director Louis Leterrier’s (The Incredible Hulk) magician-centered thriller Now You See Me opening May 31st, I recently went to New Orleans to interview the cast.  For those unfamiliar with the story, it follows an FBI squad on the heels of a team of bank-robbing magicians who share their profits with the audience.  The pic boasts an impressive ensemble cast that includes Jesse Eisenberg, Isla Fisher, Woody Harrelson, Dave Franco, Mark Ruffalo, Michael Caine, Melanie Laurent, and Morgan Freeman.  For more on the film, watch six clips and check out all of our previous coverage.

During my interview with Fisher, she talked about the success of The Great Gatsby, how much fun she had making Now You See Me, what she learned about magic, her newfound respect for actresses that have done action in high heels, filming in New Orleans, the Untitled Elmore Leonard Project, and more.  Hit the jump to watch.

8 Character Motion Posters for NOW YOU SEE ME Starring Jesse Eisenberg, Isla Fisher, Woody Harrelson, and Morgan Freeman

by     Posted 1 year, 127 days ago

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Summit Entertainment has released eight character motion posters for Now You See Me.  I’ve enjoyed the posters for the film since they’re employing trippy optical illusions that fit in well with the plot about four magicians who use their tricks to rob banks.  This looks like a fun movie, and I hope it’s good because it would be a shame to waste a cast that includes Jesse Eisenberg, Isla Fisher, Woody Harrelson, Dave Franco, Mark Ruffalo, Michael Caine, Melanie Laurent, and Morgan Freeman.

Hit the jump to check out the posters.  Now You See Me opens May 31st.

6 Clips From NOW YOU SEE ME Starring Jesse Eisenberg, Isla Fisher, Woody Harrelson, Dave Franco, Mark Ruffalo, Michael Caine, and Morgan Freeman

by     Posted 1 year, 130 days ago

With director Louis Leterrier’s (The Incredible Hulk) magician-centered thriller Now You See Me opening May 31st, Summit Entertainment has provided us with six clips.  For those unfamiliar, the story follows an FBI squad on the heels of a team of bank-robbing magicians who share their profits with the audience, and the pic boasts an impressive ensemble cast that includes Jesse Eisenberg, Isla Fisher, Woody Harrelson, Dave Franco, Mark Ruffalo, Michael Caine, Melanie Laurent and Morgan Freeman

Hit the jump to watch the clips, and if you missed any of my set visit coverage, here’s my video blog recap, and on set interviews with Ruffalo, Eisenberg, Fisher, and Leterrier.

THE GREAT GATSBY Review

by     Posted 1 year, 132 days ago

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Filmmakers who adapt a novel are not beholden to the major themes of that novel.  They’re free to take away what they want to see and leave the richer aspects of the material behind.  Such is the case with Baz Luhrmann‘s adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald‘s The Great Gatsby.  Where Fitzgerald saw the relationship between Jay Gatsby and Daisy Buchanan as a laughable excuse to escape into the past, Luhrmann sees a doomed romance because Baz Luhrmann likes stories about doomed romances*.  And like his previous movies—Romeo + Juliet, Moulin Rouge!, and Australia—Luhrmann is too afraid of actual intimacy, and covers it up in glitter and other shiny objects while laboring under the delusion that it makes the story operatic.  With The Great Gatsby, Luhrmann isn’t adapting Fitzgerald as much as he’s remaking Baz Luhrmann.

Watch the Opening Sequence from NOW YOU SEE ME Featuring Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Dave Franco, and Isla Fisher

by     Posted 1 year, 133 days ago

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Summit Entertainment has released the first extended clip from director Louis Leterrier’s (The Incredible Hulk) magician-centered thriller Now You See Me.  The clip shows the opening sequence from the film, as we’re introduced to Jesse Eisenberg’s David Blaine-esque card trick magician, Woody Harrelson’s mentalist character, Dave Franco’s pickpocket specialist, and Isla Fisher’s escape artist.  The film’s story centers on an FBI squad who is on the heels of a team of bank-robbing magicians who share their profits with the audience.  This opening sequence does a great job of teasing a hopefully fun and wholly entertaining thrill ride, and I’m eager to see more.

Hit the jump to watch the clip, and if you missed any of Steve’s set visit coverage check out his video blog recap and interviews with Mark Ruffalo, Eisenberg, Fisher, and LeterrierNow You See Me opens on May 31st.

Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, Carey Mulligan, Isla Fisher, and Producers Lucy Fisher, Douglas Wick and Catherine Mann Talk THE GREAT GATSBY

by     Posted 1 year, 133 days ago

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One of the most anticipated films of the summer is Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, Carey Mulligan, Joel Edgerton, Isla Fisher and Elizabeth Debicki.  The film is an adaptation of the classic American novel of the same name by F. Scott Fitzgerald that has become English 101 in high schools the country wide.  The story of the enigmatic Gatsby and his quest to win over his one true love Daisy Buchanan comes to life in 3D this May with grandiose party scenes even Fitzgerald would have enjoyed.

At the recent press day for the film in New York, Collider was present as the director and stars DiCaprio, Maguire, Mulligan and Fisher, along with producers Lucy Fisher, Douglas Wick and Catherine Mann (also the production designer and Luhrmann’s wife) held a press conference to speak about the film.  They revealed the literary influences behind many of the lines of dialogue, the surprising choice of a Jay-Z heavy soundtrack (he’s also an EP of the film) and the chemistry between the actors and director that led to the performances in the film.  Hit the jump to read our coverage of the press conference.

62 New Hi-Res Images from THE GREAT GATSBY Featuring Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan, Tobey Maguire, Joel Edgerton, Elizabeth Debicki and More

by     Posted 1 year, 144 days ago

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We’ve been reporting on the film adaptation of The Great Gatsby since fall of 2010; the film will finally open in just a couple of weeks.  While you’ve probably seen a fair portion of the movie due to all the images, clips and trailers that have been released over the last year or so, we have a gallery of over 60 hi-res images for you to peruse at your leisure!

Baz Lurhmann’s adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan, Tobey Maguire, Isla Fisher, Joel Edgerton, Jason Clarke and Adelaide Clemens, and opens in 3D on May 10th.  Hit the jump to view the images.

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