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 34 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 46 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 50 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 139 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 223 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 238 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 290 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 347 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 349 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.

First Trailer and Poster for Spike Jonze’s HER Starring Joaquin Phoenix

by     Posted 356 days ago

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Warner Bros. has released the first trailer and poster for director Spike Jonze’s new film Her.  The romance centers on a lonely writer (Joaquin Phoenix) who falls in love with his operating system.  The film looks reminiscent of Jonze’s previous works: an outlandish premise that yields a joyous story tinged with sadness.  I’m sure there will be Siri jokes galore, but to be fair, Siri would be a lot more endearing if it was smarter and sounded like Scarlett Johansson.  But back to the trailer, I’m even more excited to see this movie than I was before.

Hit the jump to check out the trailer and poster.  The film also stars Rooney Mara and Amy AdamsHer opens in limited release on November 20th.

SIDE EFFECTS Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 1 year, 11 days ago

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In what may be Steven Soderbergh’s last “film” (his retirement has been greatly exaggerated, he’s suggested he may focus more on television after a break, and he already made Behind the Candelabra for HBO), Side Effects is very much a perfect note for him to go out on.  It’s well shot and put together, it’s got a great cast (including Rooney Mara, Channing Tatum, Jude Law and Catherine Zeta-Jones), it’s stylish, and it’s slightly less than meets the eye.  Our review of Side Effects on Blu-ray follows after the jump. 

Rooney Mara and Martin Sheen Join Stephen Daldry’s TRASH; Michael K. Williams Eyed for KILL THE MESSENGER

by     Posted 1 year, 21 days ago

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Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close director Stephen Daldry’s next film is casting up.  Deadline reports that Rooney Mara and Martin Sheen have signed on to star in Trash, which is an adaptation of Andy Mulligan’s novel of the same name that centers on “three poverty-stricken boys who discover something unusual, mysterious, and dangerous in a city dump.”  The pic has a script by Richard Curtis (War Horse, Love Actually), and newcomers Rickson Tevez, Eduardo Luis, and Gabriel Weinstein are set to play the three boys, with Wagner Moura (Elysium) and Selton Mello also part of the cast.

Hit the jump for more, including a possible release date for Trash and news concerning a The Wire alum joining the thriller Kill the Messenger.

First Trailer for AIN’T THEM BODIES SAINTS Starring Rooney Mara, Casey Affleck, and Ben Foster

by     Posted 1 year, 66 days ago

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The first trailer for the Sundance hit Ain’t Them Bodies Saints has been released online.  The film centers on a young outlaw couple played by Rooney Mara and Casey Affleck who are apprehended by the law and must deal with the consequences of their actions,  Affleck’s character escapes prison years later and sets out to find his lover and daughter in 1970s Texas Hill Country.  Writer/director David Lowery’s debut feature drew positive reviews and comparisons to the work of Terrence Malick at Sundance, and after watching this trailer it’s not hard to see why.  Not only is his visual style eloquent and poetic, but the story almost feels like a spin on Malick’s Badlands.  The trailer promises a slew of fine performances and a nuanced, character-centric story, and I’m eager to catch the full film when it hits theaters.

Hit the jump to watch the trailer, and click here to read Matt’s positive review from Sundance.  The film also stars Ben Foster and Keith CarradineAin’t Them Bodies Saints opens on August 16th.

SIDE EFFECTS Review

by     Posted 1 year, 172 days ago

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For better or for ill, we’re living through chemistry.  It is not a new phenomenon, but it is one that has drastically accelerated, and one with dangerous consequences we can’t escape.  Arguably the most dangerous is the field of anti-depressants/anti-anxiety drugs.  These drugs have value, but their effectiveness, and more importantly, their prescription, is always uncertain.  We’re flawed individuals who are asking for psychological help from other flawed people.  Steven Soderbergh‘s Side Effects spends its first-half exploring this fascinating and complicated issue, but in its second-half, the film ceases to explore the mind, and becomes a mind-numbingly idiotic thriller.

New Trailer for Steven Soderbergh’s SIDE EFFECTS

by     Posted 1 year, 179 days ago

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Open Road Films has released a new trailer for director Steven Soderbergh’s psychological thriller Side Effects.  The film stars Rooney Mara as a troubled young woman who develops a dangerous love triangle between her doctor (Jude Law) and her newly paroled husband (Channing Tatum).  The engaging thriller aspect of the film is still very effective in this trailer, but we also get a better look at some of Soderbergh’s gorgeous camerawork as well.  Can we all mount a last-ditch effort to stop him from retiring?

Hit the jump to watch the new trailer, and click here to enter to win passes to an early screening.  The film also stars Catherine Zeta-JonesSide Effects opens on February 8th.

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