A MOST WANTED MAN Review

by     Posted One week ago

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[This is a re-post of my A Most Wanted Man review from the 2014 Sundance Film Festival.  The film opens in limited release this weekend.]

The spy thriller genre—like all genres—has its fair share of tropes and clichés.  The best entries are ones that take the foundation of the genre and expand upon it or put a new spin on the material.  Director Anton Corbijn’s latest film, A Most Wanted Man, is a solid and sharply smart entry into the spy genre that manages to explore dark characters and difficult topics while foregoing the typical action-heavy formula, sidestepping audience expectations in the process.  This is not a film that takes shortcuts just to make its audience happy, and though the final results may not delve as deep into some of its themes as one would expect, A Most Wanted Man still manages to be an involving, tense, and slow-burn thriller.  Read my full review after the jump.

THE CONGRESS Trailer; Ari Folman’s Hybrid Live-Action/Animation Film Stars Robin Wright

by     Posted 67 days ago

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The U.S. The Congress trailer has arrived for Waltz with Bashir director Ari Folman’s long-awaited follow-up feature.  The film is a live-action/animation hybrid adaptation of the classic Stainslaw Lem short story “The Futurological Congress” and follows an aging actress desperate for work (Robin Wright, playing a version of herself) who takes one last job to support her disabled son (Kodi-Smit McPhee).  The work she finds has her scanned into an animated world where the company will own her image, but she’ll be forever young.  It’s an incredibly beguiling premise, and this trailer is absolutely mesmerizing. Reviews have been strong for the thought-provoking pic, with our own Matt Goldberg calling it “as fascinating as it is gorgeous” in his review, and I’m really looking forward to catching the full feature later this year.

Hit the jump to watch the The Congress U.S. trailer.  The film also stars Jon HammDanny Huston, Harvey Keitel, and Paul Giamatti and opens in theaters on August 29th.

New Trailer for Anton Corbijn’s A MOST WANTED MAN Starring Philip Seymour Hoffman

by     Posted 112 days ago

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The first official trailer for director Anton Corbijn’s (The American) dramatic spy thriller A Most Wanted Man has been released.  Based on the John le Carre (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy) novel of the same name, the film stars Philip Seymour Hoffman in one of his final roles as a German intelligence operative working to track down terrorists abroad.  I caught the film at Sundance a few months ago and, essentially, it’s exactly what you think an Anton Corbijn adaptation of a John le Carre novel would be.  It’s certainly a slow burn, but it’s sharp and engrossing, offering a unique, global perspective on the post-9/11 world.  Hoffman is, unsurprisingly, brilliant in the lead role as the focused yet jaded operative trying to navigate the no-win world of terrorist hunting, and just watching this trailer makes me enormously sad that he’s no longer around to grace us with his irreplaceable talent.

Hit the jump to watch the A Most Wanted Man trailer, and click here to read my full review.  The film also stars Robin Wright, Rachel McAdams, Willem Dafoe, and Grigoriy DobryginA Most Wanted Man opens in theaters on July 25th.

AFF 2014: THE CONGRESS Review

by     Posted 123 days ago

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Ari Folman‘s The Congress is a trip in more ways than one.  It’s visuals are lush and its ideas are rich.  Like Folman’s previous film, Waltz with Bashir, the writer-director isn’t using animation only as visual expression, but also bolsters the themes by using the form in the first place.  The filmmaker carefully builds his movie like a house of cards by trying to use the acting profession as a spring board and then expanding it to an exploration of self-definition, dreams, hallucinations, and detachment from reality.  The film can be so head-spinning that it’s possible to get dizzy and lose focus, but when The Congress is on point, it’s as fascinating as it gorgeous.

Robin Wright and Sam Worthington Join EVEREST Starring Josh Brolin, Jake Gyllenhaal, Jason Clarke, and John Hawkes

by     Posted 130 days ago

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Director Baltasar Kormakur has already rounded up a great cast for his survival drama Everest, and now two more strong actors are joining the production.  According to THR, Robin Wright and Sam Worthington have signed on to co-star on the film, which is already in production.  Per THR, “Wright will play the wife of Brolin’s character, a doctor who fought the elements over an arduous night,” while Worthington has been cast as a “Guy Cotter, a scaling expert from New Zealand.”  Wright will be seen later this year in The Congress and A Most Wanted Man, and Worthington is going to be in theaters this Friday in the action flick Sabotage.

The film also stars Jason Clarke, Josh Brolin, John Hawkes, Jake Gyllenhaal, Martin Henderson, Emily Watson, Michael Kelly, and Thomas M. WrightEverest opens September 18, 2015.  Hit the jump for the official synopsis.

HOUSE OF CARDS Season 2 Review

by     Posted 163 days ago

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House of Cards ended its first season not with a cliffhanger, but with a halfway marker.  There was still the matter of Zoe Barnes (Kate Mara), Lucas Goodwin (Sebastian Arcelus), and Janine Skorsky (Constance Zimmer) trying to discover if Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey) killed Peter Russo (Corey Stoll), but for the most part, Frank had all but schemed his way into the vice presidency.  In its second season, House of Cards considerably ups the ante by giving Frank a serious rival, putting him and his wife Claire (Robin Wright) at the center of multiple scandals, and introducing new characters to join other pawns already in the game.  Although the new season holds on to some weaker plotlines for too long and hits some anti-climatic conclusions, it still commands our attention and we’re powerless to turn away from “ruthless pragmatists” who crave power at all costs. [This review contains spoilers since a 13-episode season requires more plot details than a movie review]

Three New Promos for HOUSE OF CARDS Season 2 Starring Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright

by     Posted 170 days ago

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This Friday, House of Cards returns for it second season, and it looks even meaner and nastier than season one.  Netflix has released three new promos, and they all cut right to the heart of this sinister, cynical, and absolutely riveting series.  They also provide a reminder to get a refresher on season one, which you can watch if you have Netflix.  I watched the season one recap last night, and while it didn’t detail every single plot point (it’s a complex series), it highlighted what I assume will be the major threads heading into season two.

Hit the jump to check out the promos.  All 13 new episodes of House of Cards will premiere on February 14th.

Netflix Renews HOUSE OF CARDS for Season 3

by     Posted 178 days ago

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It’s been rumored and talked about for months now, but Netflix has officially renewed its excellent original series House of Cards for a third season, via THR.  The renewal comes just over a week before the release of season two, which will be made available in its entirety on the streaming service on February 14th.  Beau Willimon serves as showrunner and will presumably continue to do so in season three, and one presumes David Fincher will remain onboard as an executive producer.  That being said, no details beyond the renewal are given about the next batch of episodes.  Having immensely enjoyed the show’s first season, I’m very much looking forward to following the further adventures of Kevin Spacey’s Francis Underwood in another season.

New Images from HOUSE OF CARDS Season 2 Featuring Kevin Spacey, Robin Wright, and Kate Mara

by     Posted 190 days ago

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Netflix has released a slew of new images from the upcoming second season of the excellent drama series House of Cards.  Season two finds Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright’s Francis and Claire Underwood continuing their ruthless rise of power as threats mount on all fronts.  These new images don’t reveal too much, but we do get a look at some of the returning and new characters.  If the first season is any indication, we’re in for another dark, twisted, and somewhat humorous ride when all 13 episodes of House of Cards are made available to stream on February 14th.

Hit the jump to check out the images.  Kate MaraMichael GillGerald McRaneyMahershala AliSbeastian ArcelusKristen ConnollyNathan DarrowSakina JaffreyMichael Kelly, and Molly Parker.

Sundance 2014: A MOST WANTED MAN Review

by     Posted 194 days ago

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The spy thriller genre—like all genres—has its fair share of tropes and clichés.  The best entries are ones that take the foundation of the genre and expand upon it or put a new spin on the material.  Director Anton Corbijn’s latest film, A Most Wanted Man, is a solid and sharply smart entry into the spy genre that manages to explore dark characters and difficult topics while foregoing the typical action-heavy formula, sidestepping audience expectations in the process.  This is not a film that takes shortcuts just to make its audience happy, and though the final results may not delve as deep into some of its themes as one would expect, it still manages to be an involving, tense, and slow-burn thriller.  Read my full review after the jump.

New Image from HOUSE OF CARDS Season 2; Netflix Renews LILYHAMMER for Season 3

by     Posted 200 days ago

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Fresh off picking up a Best Actress Golden Globe for Robin Wright, Netflix has released a new image from the upcoming second season of the deliciously dark political drama series House of Cards.  The photo teases the dangerous partnership between Wright’s character and Kevin Spacey’s Frank Underwood, and if last week’s trailer debut is any indication, things are only going to get more intense in the show’s second season.  All 13 episodes of season two will be made available on Netflix starting February 14th.

Additionally, Netflix has renewed the original drama series Lilyhammer for a third season.  For those unaware, the show stars Steven Van Zandt (The Sopranos) as a mob fixer who is relocated to the Netherlands when he enters the witness protection system.  Season two debuted on Netflix last month.  Hit the jump to take a look at the House of Cards image.

New Trailer and Poster for Season 2 of HOUSE OF CARDS Starring Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright

by     Posted 207 days ago

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2014 has barely begun, and it’s already time to get vicious.  In less than six weeks, House of Cards will make its return to Netflix, and new trailer provides a potent reminder that I probably have to re-watch season one (possibly with the new commentary tracks).  I remember all of the major plot points, but this trailer shows the vast and intricate web that Francis Underwood (Kevin Spacey) spun in the first season.  As for the tone, the show looks as delightfully nasty as ever.  It’s important to remember that this new season will probably be the show’s last, so expect the backstabbing to be even more brutal.

Hit the jump to check out the trailer along with a new poster.  All 13 new episode of House of Cards premiere on February 14th.

First Trailer for A MOST WANTED MAN Starring Philip Seymour Hoffman, Daniel Brühl, Rachel McAdams, Robin Wright and Willem Dafoe

by     Posted 211 days ago

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Although it doesn’t have a U.S. release date just yet, director Anton Corbijn’s thriller A Most Wanted Man will be premiering at Sundance in just a couple of weeks.  In order to drum up some interest, a new international trailer for the film is making its rounds online today.  The film, adapted from the John le Carré novel, centers on a bizarre love triangle among a half-starved Russian man secreted into Hamburg, an idealistic German civil rights lawyer, and a sixty-year-old man who is inheriting a failing British bank.  All of that hodgepodge aside, this trailer plays up the thriller aspect of the novel as it centers on the German intelligence operation tasked with infiltrating suspected terrorist cells, an objective that leads the operatives to cross paths with the aforementioned trio.

A Most Wanted Man stars Philip Seymour Hoffman, Daniel Brühl, Rachel McAdams, Robin Wright and Willem Dafoe.  Hit the jump to watch the trailer.

The Butchery Begins in Intense New Trailer for HOUSE OF CARDS Season 2

by     Posted 231 days ago

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Fresh off the show’s four Golden Globe nominations, Netflix has released an almost operatic new trailer for the upcoming second season of House of Cards.  The new string of episodes finds Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright’s Francis and Claire Underwood continuing their ruthless rise to power as threats mount on all fronts.  This trailer shows off quite a bit of new footage, and while it’s highly encouraging, I’m hoping that Spacey’s character doesn’t go full “horror movie villain” in season two.  It could just be the editing that’s giving off a more viscerally sinister vibe from Underwood, and as a big fan of the first season I’m eager to see how showrunner Beau Willimon continues the story of the Underwoods’ rise to power.

Hit the jump to watch the trailer.  The show also stars Kate Mara, Michel Gill, Gerald McRaney, Mahershala Ali, Sbeastian Arcelus, Kristen Connolly, Nathan Darrow, Sakina Jaffrey, Michael Kelly, and Molly Parker.  All 13 episodes of House of Cards season two will be available to stream starting February 14, 2014.

HOUSE OF CARDS Season 2 Debuts on Netflix Friday, February 14th; First Teaser Trailer Released

by     Posted 240 days ago

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Netflix has come to the rescue with some solid plans for your upcoming Valentine’s Day/Presidents Day weekend.  What better way to celebrate your relationship than to sit on the couch for three days straight, binge-watching season two of House of Cards?  The streaming service announced today that all 13 episodes of the engrossing political drama series’ second season will be made available on Friday, February 14th, so make reservations with your couch accordingly.  Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright return for season two, as Francis and Claire Underwood “continue their ruthless rise to power as threats mount on all fronts.”

Though David Fincher didn’t direct any season two episodes, he is still involved as an executive producer and fellow producer Dana Brunetti recently told us that the busy filmmaker still had a hand in many aspects of the second season.  Wright, Jodie Foster, Carl Franklin, James Foley, and John David Coles all directed episodes from the upcoming season.  Watch a silent teaser trailer and read the full press release—which includes a lengthy synopsis—after the jump.

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