Michael Shannon and Kevin Spacey Are ELVIS & NIXON; Rooney Mara and Ben Mendelsohn Lead BLACKBIRD; Chris Cooper to Play J.D. Salinger

by     Posted 13 days ago

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A few casting items:

  • Michael Shannon and Kevin Spacey will play Elvis Presley and Richard Nixon, respectively, in Elvis & NixonLiza Johnson (Hateship Loveship) will direct the account of a December 1970 White House meeting between the two.
  • Rooney Mara and Ben Mendelsohn will star in Blackbird, adapted from the play by David HarrowerBlackbird is the feature directorial debut of Benedict Andrews.
  • Chris Cooper will play J.D. Salinger in Coming Through the Rye, the feature directorial debut of Jim SadwithAlex Wolff and Stefania Owen star as two teenagers who seek out Salinger in 1969.

More on each project after the jump.

The Films of David Fincher: THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO

by     Posted 49 days ago

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[With the upcoming release of his new film Gone Girl, I’m taking a look back at the work of director David Fincher.  These articles contain spoilers.]

Up to this point in this series, I’ve mostly sided with Fincher, his decisions, and his thoughts on his movies.  But even by his own metric and intentions, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is almost a complete and utter failure.  I understand why Fincher would feel a kinship with Lisbeth Salander (Rooney Mara), but his reasons for making the movie—the prospect of an R-rated franchise and the relationship between Mikael Blomkvist (Daniel Craig) and Salander—are, respectively, superficial and underdeveloped.  Looking over the making-of documentary and his commentary track, I’m astonished at the gulf between Fincher’s intentions and what the movie presents.

The Films of David Fincher: THE SOCIAL NETWORK

by     Posted 50 days ago

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[With the upcoming release of his new film Gone Girl, I’m taking a look back at the work of director David Fincher.  These articles contain spoilers.]

If The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is a director and a screenwriter working at cross-purposes, then The Social Network are the two sides working in perfect harmony.  Fincher’s cold, austere tone was energized by Aaron Sorkin‘s fast-paced, witty dialogue, and Sorkin’s grandiloquent verbiage was grounded by Fincher’s realism.  In some ways, the movie is highly stylized and yet it’s indisputably honest when it comes to the characters, stakes, environment, and tension of the story.  The facts may be in dispute, but this much is true: The Social Network is one of the defining works of the 21st century.

Rooney Mara and Dane DeHaan to Star in Musical ZIGGY

by     Posted 67 days ago

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Though Dane DeHaan recently made his superhero movie debut, it appears that he’s keen on switching things up in the near future by leading a full-on musical.  The actor is attached to star in the original musical Ziggy alongside Rooney Mara, which will revolve around a hunchback escape artist (DeHaan) who arrives in New York in the late 1920s and falls in love with the fiancé of a powerful media mogul.  Mara will play the aforementioned love interest, and the story will chart Ziggy’s rise to stardom and subsequent fall “amid a romantic world crashing down on its own impossible idealism.”  The picture comes from writer/director Diesel Schwarze, a protégé of Baz Luhrmann.

Hit the jump for more on Ziggy and the schedules of DeHaan and Mara.

New International TRASH Trailer Features Rooney Mara Opposite Three Young Newcomers

by     Posted 83 days ago

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That international trailer for Stephen Daldry’s Trash that dropped just about a month ago did offer up a solid preview of the film’s style and tone, but it’s much nicer when you can actually understand the dialogue.  This latest promo is in English and has subtitles when it’s not, offering up a much clearer picture of the trouble that Rato (Gabriel Weinstein), Gardo (Eduardo Luis) and Raphael (Rickson Tevez) get themselves into after finding a bag in the dump.

The details on why what’s inside the bag could change the nation aren’t particularly clear, but the trio is likable and engaging enough to inspire you to believe in and get behind what they’re fighting for.  Hit the jump to check out the new Trash trailer for yourself.  The film also stars Martin Sheen, Rooney Mara, Wagner Moura and Selton Mello, and is due to make its world premiere at the Rio de Janeiro International Film Festival in October.

Rooney Mara and Martin Sheen Star in the International TRASH Trailer From Director Stephen Daldry

by     Posted 110 days ago

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I’m not sure where I come down on this Trash trailer, in part because I can only understand about 10% of it.  Universal Pictures Brazil has released an international trailer for the film, directed by Stephen Daldry and written by British rom-com maestro Richard Curtis.  In the film, “three poverty-stricken boys who discover something unusual, mysterious, and dangerous in a city dump.”

The trailer has some slick visuals and a tone that reminds me of Slumdog Millionaire in the way that it places children in sort of a “safe” feeling criminal world.  Martin Sheen and Rooney Mara star alongside Wagner Moura (Elysium) and Selton Mello.  Rickson Tevez, Eduardo Luis, and Gabriel Weinstein play the three young boys at the center of the mystery.  Hit the jump to check out the Trash trailer.  The film is based on the novel by Andy Mulligan.  There is no word yet on a U.S. release date. 

Ben Kingsley Joins THE JUNGLE BOOK; Rooney Mara to Produce and Star in HOUSE IN THE SKY; Elisabeth Moss and James Purefoy Climb HIGH-RISE

by     Posted 146 days ago

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We’ve got a few casting stories to attend to this afternoon.  Briefly:

  • Sir Ben Kingsley will voice the character of Bagheera in director Jon Favreau’s live-action/CG adaptation of The Jungle Book.
  • Rooney Mara has been set to produce and star in an adaptation of the harrowing memoir A House in the Sky for Annapurna Pictures.
  • Elisabeth Moss (Mad Men) and James Purefoy (The Following) have joined Tom Hiddleston in director Ben Wheatley’s thriller High-Rise.

Hit the jump for more on the aforementioned casting.

HER Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 158 days ago

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Prior to the release of Spike Jonze’s love story Her last year, the film was essentially the butt of a joke.  A guy falls in love with his phone?  Ridiculous.  How would that even work?  Well the key, apparently, is Spike Jonze.  The filmmaker turned a very simple and potentially laughable premise into one of the most engaging, affecting, and emotional love stories in recent memory.  Her isn’t just about how a guy falls in love with his phone, it’s about how we, humanity, love one another in the modern age.  It’s one of the things that makes us uniquely human, and Jonze explores issues relating to relationships—both romantic and platonic—against a gorgeous and fascinating sci-fi backdrop to phenomenal results, anchored by an incredible, delicate lead performance from Joaquin Phoenix.  Read my full Her Blu-ray review after the jump.

Rooney Mara and David Fincher Circle RED SPARROW; Eric Warren Singer in Talks to Adapt Spy Novel

by     Posted 162 days ago

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Red Sparrow is a flirt when it comes to America’s finest directors.  Darren Aronofsky entered early negotiations to direct an adaptation of Jason Matthews‘ spy novel last year, but moved on from the project in January.  Now David Fincher is circling the project with his Girl with the Dragon Tattoo star, Rooney Mara.

According to Deadline, Eric Warren Singer (American Hustle) is in talks with Fox to adapt Red Sparrow.  Singer still needs to sign on and write the script, so it’s too early to say this is the next Mara/Fincher collaboration.  I will root for any project that lends Mara’s stoic charm to Fincher for a couple hours—Red Sparrow gives the pair a particularly saucy plot to play with.  Mara would play a Russian spy and “trained seductress” assigned to assassinate a young CIA officer; they soon “collide in a duel of wills, tradecraft, and—inevitably—forbidden passion.”  Read the book synopsis after the jump.

Rooney Mara in Talks to Play Tiger Lily in Joe Wright’s PAN

by     Posted 251 days ago

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Director Joe Wright (Anna Karenina) continues to fill out the cast for his large-scale Peter Pan reimagining Pan.  We have Hugh Jackman onboard to play the villainous Blackbeard, Garret Hedlund set in a lead role as Hook, and now Rooney Mara is in negotiations to play Tiger Lily.  The Warner Bros. film “tells the untold story of how a young orphan boy from London is spirited away to the magical Neverland where he finds great adventures that shape him into the hero known to generations as Peter Pan.”  Hit the jump for more on the project, including Wright’s plans for an international reimagining of Neverland.

HER Review

by     Posted 335 days ago

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[This is a re-post of my review from the 2013 New York Film Festival.  Her opens today in limited release.]

We ascribe technology a personality and vice versa. We say our machines “hate” us when they break down. Programs illustrate the interests of the user. Spike Jonze’s Her may seem like an outrageous concept—a man falling in love with a computer—the idea is closer than we think, and its immediacy isn’t just a social concern. It’s an existential concern as the film attempts to provide the contours of a soul through the absence of a body, a past, and society. Her is a fragile, delicate movie that requires the audience’s absolute indulgence, but the rewards are some head-spinning questions coupled with a tender, funny, and touching love story.

New Trailer and High-Resolution Images for Spike Jonze’s HER Starring Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams, Rooney Mara, and Olivia Wilde

by     Posted 350 days ago

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Warner Bros. has released a new trailer for director Spike Jonze’s upcoming romantic drama Her.  The story revolves around a man (Joaquin Phoenix) who falls in love with his operating system (voiced by Scarlett Johansson).  The film picked up considerable acclaim at its New York Film Festival Premiere, with Matt calling it a “tender, funny, and touching love story” in his review.  This trailer (aided by the musical stylings of Arcade Fire’s “Supersymmetry”) continues to highlight the central romance while also revealing a refreshingly warm performance by Phoenix.  Her really looks to be something quite special, and I can’t wait to check out the full film.

Hit the jump to watch the new trailer and to check out a large batch of high-resolution images.  The film also stars Amy Adams, Rooney Mara, and Olivia WildeHer opens in limited release on December 18th and expands wide on January 10th.

NYFF 2013: HER Review

by     Posted 1 year, 37 days ago

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We ascribe technology a personality and vice versa.  We say our machines “hate” us when they break down.  Programs illustrate the interests of the user.  Spike Jonze’s Her may seem like an outrageous concept—a man falling in love with a computer—the idea is closer than we think, and its immediacy isn’t just a social concern.  It’s an existential concern as the film attempts to provide the contours of a soul through the absence of a body, a past, and society.  Her is a fragile, delicate movie that requires the audience’s absolute indulgence, but the rewards are some head-spinning questions coupled with a tender, funny, and touching love story.

AIN’T THEM BODIES SAINTS Review

by     Posted 1 year, 94 days ago

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[This is a re-post of my review from the 2013 Sundance Film Festival.  Ain't Them Bodies Saints opens today in limited release.]

David Lowery‘s confident feature Ain’t Them Bodies Saints lives between old life and a new beginning; between past crimes and future punishment; between the intimate and the distant. But for me, the emotions fall through the beautiful cinematography, lyrical music, and excellent performances. This is the X-factor of any viewer: an emotional connection we struggle to explain. Lowery has made a strong movie, and one that will put him on the radar of everyone who sees Ain’t Them Bodies Saints. But for reasons I have difficulty articulating, I couldn’t feel anything from his gorgeous film.

Rooney Mara Talks AIN’T THEM BODIES SAINTS, the Appeal of the Project, Working with Great Directors, THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE, and More

by     Posted 1 year, 96 days ago

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Rooney Mara shines opposite Casey Affleck in Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, writer/director David Lowery’s eloquent, poetic story of love, motherhood and searching for peace while faced with an unrelenting past.  Although set in 1970s Texas Hill country, the film feels timeless as it draws on the mythology of westerns to explore the dueling notion of romance and responsibility that is central to the tale.  In a riveting performance, Mara allows her character to disappear into the texture of the film without making it feel too modern.  Opening in theaters on August 16th, the movie also stars Ben Foster and Keith Carradine.

At a recent roundtable interview, Mara talked about what drew her to the script and the characters and made it appealing to work with Lowery, why she found it easy to play a mother for the first time and to perfect her character’s accent, and how her shooting schedule with Affleck mirrored the long distance relationship between their characters.  She also discussed the impact of her Oscar nomination, her aspirations to direct, her experience working with different directors like Terrence Malick, David Fincher, and Steven Soderbergh, and the status of her Terrence Malick film and The Girl who Played with Fire.  Hit the jump to read the interview.

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