LIFE OF CRIME Review

by     Posted 55 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.

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

by     Posted 155 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.

HBO Orders Jack Black/Tim Robbins Comedy THE BRINK to Series

by     Posted 253 days ago

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Though HBO recently opted not to pick up the comedy series Family Tree and Hello Ladies for second seasons, the network has now added a new comedy offering to its upcoming schedule.  THR reports that HBO has ordered to series the comedy The Brink, which stars Jack Black and Tim Robbins as a foreign service officer and the U.S. Secretary of State, respectively.  Executive produced by Jay Roach (Recount, Austin Powers) and Jerry Weintraub (Behind the Candelabra), the show focuses on a geopolitical crisis and its effect on three disparate and desperate men.  Weeds alum Roberto Benabib wrote the pilot script alongside his brother Ken Benabib and will act as showrunner, while Roach will helm the pilot.

The Brink will join HBO’s current comedy lineup, which includes Girls, the recently premiered Looking, and Mike Judge’s upcoming series Silicon Valley.  Production begins later this year, so the show likely won’t premiere until sometime in 2015, though no official date has been announced.

Jack Black and Tim Robbins to Star in Jay Roach’s HBO Comedy Pilot THE BRINK

by     Posted 342 days ago

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Jack Black and Tim Robbins are heading to television.  THR reports that the duo will lead a half-hour dark comedy pilot for HBO called The Brink, which is being produced by Meet the Parents and Austin Powers director Jay Roach.  The series focuses on “a geopolitical crisis and its effect on three disparate and desperate men,” with Robbins playing the U.S. Secretary of State and Black playing a foreign service officer who is reluctantly caught on the ground.  The third role of a Navy fighter pilot has yet to be cast.  Roach has a history with HBO as of late on the more dramatic side of things, as he directed the impressive political features Recount and Game Change.

Weeds alum Roberto Benabib is writing the pilot script alongside his brother Kim Benabib while Roach will direct.  Black and Robbins, who both appeared in Anchorman and Tenacious D in the Pick of Destiny, will also serve as producers on the potential series.

THANKS FOR SHARING Review

by     Posted 1 year, 32 days ago

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A striking cinematic portrayal of sex addiction hit screens two years in the form of Steve McQueen‘s Shame.  McQueen’s searing film is unrelenting to the point where it drowns us in the misery of its central character, but at least there’s honesty at the core of the picture.  Director Stuart Blumberg attempts a somewhat lighter tone with Thanks for Sharing, and while that’s not necessarily problematic, he goes about it such a superficial, ham-fisted way as to undermine almost all of the drama.  Putting aside the efficacy of “Anonymous” groups like Sexaholics Anonymous, two-thirds of the movie plays out like a PSA ad but with real actors struggling to sell the horrendous and preachy dialogue.  Blumberg and co-writer Matt Winston‘s script struggles to be anything more than a cheap attempt at easy drama as it prays on addiction rather than making an earnest try at conveying it.

Tim Robbins Talks THANKS FOR SHARING, How He Prepares for a Role, Will He Direct Another Film in the Near Future, and More

by     Posted 1 year, 34 days ago

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Opening this weekend is the sex addict comedy/drama Thanks for Sharing, which marks the directorial debut of The Kids Are All Right scribe Stuart Blumberg.  The film tells the story of three sex addicts struggling to function in normal society.  The central focus is on Mark Ruffalo, who plays an addict who’s trying to strike up a relationship with a woman who has sworn off dating other addicts (Gwyneth Paltrow).  The other main addicts include Book of Mormon star Josh GadAlecia Moore (aka Pink), Tim RobbinsJoely Richardson and Patrick Fugit.  For more on the film, watch the trailer. 

The other day I got to speak with Tim Robbins.  He talked about why he wanted to be involved in this project, how he prepares for a role, if he’s planning on directing another film in the near future, which of his previous films people always want to talk about, and more.  Hit the jump to watch.

TIFF 2013: LIFE OF CRIME Review

by     Posted 1 year, 39 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.

Reese Witherspoon Confirmed for Nick Hornby’s WILD; Linda Cardellini, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Tim Robbins Join WELCOME TO ME

by     Posted 1 year, 98 days ago

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Here’s today’s newest casting announcements:

  • Reese Witherspoon (Walk the Line) has been confirmed for Nick Hornby’s adaptation, Wild.
  • Linda Cardellini (ER), Jennifer Jason Leigh (The Machinist) and Tim Robbins (The Shawshank Redemption) will join Kristen Wiig in Welcome to Me.

Hit the jump for more on both pictures.

First Trailer and Images for Sex Addict Comedy THANKS FOR SHARING Starring Mark Ruffalo and Gwyneth Paltrow

by     Posted 1 year, 118 days ago

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Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions have released the first trailer for the sex addict comedy/drama Thanks for Sharing.  Marking the directorial debut of The Kids Are All Right scribe Stuart Blumberg, the pic tells the story of three sex addicts struggling to function in normal society.  The central focus is on Mark Ruffalo, who plays an addict who’s trying to strike up a relationship with a woman who has sworn off dating other addicts (Gwyneth Paltrow).  The other main addicts include Book of Mormon star Josh Gad, Alecia Moore (aka Pink), and Tim Robbins, with Gad unsurprisingly looking like a scene-stealer.  There’s a healthy balance of comedy and drama on display in this debut trailer, and the film’s impressive ensemble cast is certainly promising.

Hit the jump to watch the trailer and to check out a couple of new images.  The film also stars Joely Richardson and Patrick FugitThanks for Sharing opens on September 20th.

Will Forte and Tim Robbins SWITCH with Ty Burrell and Dennis Quaid

by     Posted 1 year, 287 days ago

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Though we previously reported Dennis Quaid and Ty Burrell as starring in Dan Schechter’s untitled adaptation of Elmore Leonard’s novel, The Switch, it looks like they’re out and Will Forte and Tim Robbins are in.  The story occurs 15 years before the events of Jackie Brown, with Yassin Bey and John Hawkes starring as career criminals Ordell Robbie and Louis Gara (the same characters played by Samuel L. Jackson and Robert De Niro).  The picture also stars Jennifer Aniston and Isla Fisher.  Hit the jump to see how Forte and Robbins fit in.

Tim Robbins, Michelle Pfeiffer and Chloe Grace Moretz Set for MAN UNDER with Robbins to Direct

by     Posted 1 year, 348 days ago

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Tim Robbins (The Shawshank Redemption), Michelle Pfeiffer (Scarface) and Chloe Grace Moretz (Kick-Ass) are attached to star in the dysfunctional family comedy, Man Under.  From screenwriter Ann Cherkis (The Secret), Man Under centers on a Yonkers-based family whose lives turn upside-down when New York City’s Museum of Modern Art displays photographs of them and turns them into overnight celebrities.  Robbins, himself an Oscar-nominated director, will helm the pic.  Hit the jump to get caught up with the talent.

Tim Robbins to Direct Spy Romance CITY OF LIES Scripted by CAPTAIN AMERICA Writers

by     Posted 2 years, 74 days ago

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Tim Robbins began a second career as a director in the 1990s with Bob Roberts (1992), Dead Man Walking (1995), and Cradle Will Rock (1999).  He took a break from features after that, though he directed a few television projects in the years since, including two episodes of Treme.  Robbins is ready to return to the big screen, as THR announces that the actor/director has signed a deal with Endgame Entertainment to helm City of LiesCaptain America screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely will adapt the Arthur Phillips short story Wenceslas Square, which follows two spies who fall in love while on separate missions in Prague.  Phillips read an abridged version of the story on This American Life.

TAL‘s Ira Glass and Alissa Shipp will produce along with Douglas E. Hansen (An Education) and Endgame’s James D. Stern (The Raven).  Philip Noyce was previously attached to direct before Robbins came on board.

First Images and Poster from THANKS FOR SHARING, Starring Mark Ruffalo and Gwyneth Paltrow

by     Posted 2 years, 158 days ago

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The first images from the sex addict dramedy Thanks for Sharing have gone online.  The film marks the directorial debut of The Kids Are All Right co-writer Stuart Blumberg and features an all-star cast in this story of three sex addicts struggling to function in normal society.  Mark Ruffalo plays an addict who’s trying to strike up a relationship with a woman who has sworn off dating other addicts (Gwyneth Paltrow), Tim Robbins plays a man married to his high school sweetheart who actually becomes addicted to his 12-step recovery program, and Book of Mormon star Josh Gad plays a young man whose addiction is so bad that he hides a camera in his shoe in order to film up women’s skirts.

The film certainly looks much lighter than that other sex addict movie from last year, Shame, and I’m a big fan of the ensemble cast.  Hopefully we see a trailer soon.  The film also stars Joely Richardson, Patrick Fugit, and Alecia Moore aka Pink.  [Update: Apparently these images were not approved for release and we've been asked to take them down.  We'll have official stills from the film up once they're available.]

Adrien Brody and Tim Robbins Cast in Depiction of 1942 Chinese Famine

by     Posted 2 years, 338 days ago

Actors Adrien Brody and Tim Robbins have joined director Xiaogang Feng’s new project about the Chinese famine of 1942, which resulted in the death of an estimated 1 million people. Though the movie does not yet have a title, Feng and his production partner, Huayi Brothers, say it will be based on the Liu Zhenyun novel Remembering 1942. The famine, unfortunately one of many in China’s history, took place during the second Sino-Japanese War from 1942 to 1943.

Feng is best known for his 2010 pic Aftershock, depicting the story of a family separated by a devastating earthquake in 1976 China. Aftershock earned him an Achievement in Directing nomination and a Best Film award at the 2010 Asia Pacific Screen Awards. Hit the jump for more on the project.

GREEN LANTERN Review

by     Posted 3 years, 128 days ago

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Director Martin Campbell’s Green Lantern exists in a time when rainbow bridges aren’t laughed at and secret agent mutants enhance the drama, which is why the newest entry in DC Comics’ long lineage of films feels like a regression. The talent amassed for this origin story can understandably excite onlookers, but the end result won’t make many want to come back for more. A disjointed plot that may alienate audience members instead of pull them in is a bad start to Warner Brothers franchise kick-starter hopeful. The real shame is that Ryan Reynolds is a natural choice for Hal Jordan, and the rest of the cast exude similar confidence, but the material they are working with hinders the film from ever lifting off the ground. Even Campbell seems to be unwilling to commit to the material. Short, choppy, and overpopulated with CG and not enough heart, this is one comic book film you might want to skip this summer. Hit the jump for my full review.

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