THE JUDGE Review

by     Posted 13 days ago

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David Dobkin previously directed broad comedies such as Wedding Crashers and The Change-Up, and now he’s moved to broad drama with his latest feature, The Judge, a movie that clumsily grasps at every heartstring you have.  It’s a soft-focus weepy that rarely elicits any emotion.  Instead, the film feels made to showcase Robert Downey Jr‘s acting ability by proving he can do more than play variations of Tony Stark.  While the movie succeeds in showing the actor’s range, it still feels indulgent as it piles on plotlines instead of keeping the focus on the chemistry between Downey and co-star Robert Duvall.

Dax Shepard and Vera Farmiga Talk THE JUDGE, Working with Robert Downey Jr. and Robert Duvall, Filming in Massachusetts, and More

by     Posted 14 days ago

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Opening this weekend is director David Dobkin’s upcoming drama, The JudgeRobert Downey Jr. plays an attorney who returns home for his mother’s funeral only to learn that his estranged father (Robert Duvall), a judge who suffers from Alzheimer’s, has been accused of murder.  The film marks a departure for Dobkin, who has previously helmed comedies such as Wedding Crashers, Fred Claus and The Change-Up, and it’s also a big debut of sorts for Downey—The Judge is the first film released under his production banner Team Downey, which he runs with his wife and producing partner Susan Downey.  The film also stars also stars Vera FarmigaBilly Bob Thornton, Vincent D’OnofrioJeremy StrongDax ShepardLeighton MeesterKen Howard, David KrumholtzBalthazar Getty, and Denis O’Hare.  For more on The Judge, watch the trailer or these eight clips.

At the recent Los Angeles press day, I landed a video interview with Dax Shepard and Vera Farmiga.  They talked about what it was like working with Downey Jr. and Duvall, filming in Massachusetts, what it was like on and off set, and a lot more   Hit the jump to watch.

Robert Downey Jr. Goes Dramatic Opposite Robert Duvall in 8 Clips from THE JUDGE

by     Posted 23 days ago

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Warner Bros. has released a batch of eight The Judge clips from director David Dobkin’s (Wedding Crashers) upcoming drama.  Robert Downey Jr. plays an attorney who returns home for his mother’s funeral only to learn that his estranged father (Robert Duvall), a judge who suffers from Alzheimer’s, has been accused of murder.  The film marks a major departure for Dobkin, who has previously helmed comedies like Fred Claus and The Change-Up, and it’s also a big debut of sorts for Downey Jr.—The Judge is the first film released under his production banner Team Downey, which he runs with his wife and producing partner Susan Downey.  These clips offer a good snapshot of the film’s tone, which is certainly dramatic but also tinged with Downey’s signature quick-witted sense of humor.

Watch the Judge clips after the jump.  The film also stars Vera FarmigaBilly Bob Thornton, Vincent D’OnofrioJeremy StrongDax ShepardLeighton MeesterKen HowardDavid KrumholtzBalthazar Getty, and Denis O’Hare.  The Judge opens in theaters on October 10th.

Robert Downey Jr. Has Father Issues in New THE JUDGE Trailer

by     Posted 35 days ago

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Warner Bros. has released a new The Judge trailer for director David Dobkin’s upcoming drama, and it goes rather heavy on the sentimentality.  Robert Downey Jr. plays an attorney who returns home for his mother’s funeral only to learn that his estranged father (Robert Duvall), a judge who suffers from Alzheimer’s, has been accused of murder.  Reviews out of the film’s TIFF premiere weren’t great and this trailer lays on the schmaltz pretty hard, but Downey Jr. still manages to be engaging.  I was also somewhat surprised to find out that Steven Spielberg’s longtime collaborator Janusz Kaminski was the cinematographer on the pic, marking another rare foray outside of his Spielberg partnership.

Watch the new The Judge trailer after the jump.  The film also stars Vera Farmiga, Billy Bob Thornton, Vincent D’Onofrio, Jeremy Strong, Dax ShepardLeighton MeesterKen HowardDavid KrumholtzBalthazar Getty, and Denis O’Hare.  The Judge opens in theaters on October 10th.

New Trailer for THE JUDGE Amplifies the Drama, Puts Robert Downey Jr. in Crisis

by     Posted 41 days ago

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Warner Bros. has released a new trailer for director David Dobkin’s (Wedding Crashers) upcoming thriller/family drama The Judge.  Robert Downey Jr. plays an attorney who returns home for his mother’s funeral only to learn that his estranged father (Robert Duvall), a judge who suffers from Alzheimer’s, has been accused of murder.  This new look at the film has a decidedly more emo, awards-baiting, tone than the first trailer.  I’m curious to see the film myself, as I can sit through a bad movie just for a good Downey Jr. performance, but the early word out of TIFF has not been kind (I suspect that we’ll have our own review of this one up soon).

Hit the jump to check out the new trailer for The Judge.  The film also stars Vera FarmigaVincent D’OnofrioJeremy StrongBilly Bob ThorntonDax ShepardLeighton MeesterKen HowardDavid KrumholtzBalthazar Getty, and Denis O’Hare.  The Judge opens in theaters on October 10th.

Comic-Con: BATES MOTEL Stars Vera Farmiga and Freddie Highmore, and Executive Producers Talk Possible Romance, and Give Hints about Season 3

by     Posted 87 days ago

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Bates Motel has been home to one of the strangest but also fascinating mother-son relationships on television.  With Vera Farmiga and Freddie Highmore delivering exceptional performances each week, it’s no wonder the show’s garnered such a loyal audience.  Before the cast:  Farmiga, Highmore, Nestor Carbonell, and Olivia Cooke hit the Comic-Con stage along with executive producers, Carlton Cuse and Kerry Ehrin, they sat down with us for a round table interview to discuss what’s in store for Season 3.

The cast talked about their expectations for their characters and offered their opinion on some of the relationships that still remain unexplored on the show.  And the producers were kind enough to give us some hints of what to expect when Bates Motel begins filming this fall.  Hit the jump for more.

BATES MOTEL Comic-Con Panel Recap: A Look Back at the Insane Second Season, and a Promise for More Creepiness to Come

by     Posted 88 days ago

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Bates Motel has never been a show that was afraid to “go there.”  With a second season that saw many supporting characters sent away or killed, a tense showdown with drug trading, and that mother and son kiss that went on just a bit too long, showrunners and creators Carlton Cuse and Kerry Ehrin have a lot to live up to with their upcoming third season of the A&E show.

Along with cast members Vera Farmiga, Freddie Highmore, Olivia Cooke, and Nestor Carbonell on hand, the panel reflected back on the insanity and never before seen hilarity of the second season, while teasing fans slightly with a special guest appearance, if the show will ever seen any character spillover from the original Psycho, and what the cast themselves would like to see for their characters in the upcoming season.  Hit the jump for the Bates Motel Comic-Con panel recap highlights.

THE JUDGE Trailer: Robert Downey Jr. Goes Dramatic, Plus the Film’s First Poster

by     Posted 125 days ago

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Warner Bros. has released the first The Judge trailer for director David Dobkin’s (Wedding Crashers) upcoming thriller/family drama.  Robert Downey Jr. plays an attorney who returns home for his mother’s funeral only to learn that his estranged father (Robert Duvall), a judge who suffers from Alzheimer’s, has been accused of murder.  The trailer starts out with RDJ at his Starkiest, but takes a left turn away from the arrogant individualist to more of an everyman with daddy issues once the hook of the story comes in.  It’s got a touch of schmaltz to it, but it’s also refreshing to see Downey Jr. putting in work outside of the superhero/action-adventure franchises.

Hit the jump to check out the first The Judge trailer.  The film also stars Vera Farmiga, Vincent D’Onofrio, Jeremy Strong, Billy Bob Thornton, Dax Shepard, Leighton Meester, Ken Howard, David Krumholtz, Balthazar Getty, and Denis O’HareThe Judge opens in theaters on October 10th.

A&E Renews BATES MOTEL For a Third Season

by     Posted 198 days ago

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Halfway through its second season, Bates Motel has been renewed by A&E for another ten episode run.  The engrossing and underrated drama was developed by Carlton Cuse (Lost) and Kerry Ehrin (Friday Night Lights), and acts as a prequel of sorts to the 1960 Alfred Hitchcock film Psycho.

The series’ greatest strength has been creating a world that leads up to, but isn’t dependent, on the story on which it is partially based.  Actually, scratch that — the series’ greatest strength is the Emmy-nominated Vera Farmiga, who plays Norma Bates.  Farmiga’s Norma is crafty, vulnerable, and hypnotic to watch — she’s completely unpredictable as the character and in the way Norma is portrayed.  Hit the jump for more on the series (spoiler-free), and its current ratings. 

BATES MOTEL Recap: “Gone But Not Forgotten”

by     Posted 233 days ago

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Last year, Bates Motel proved itself a surprisingly strange and hypnotic entry to the TV landscape.  Not only did the series find a way to be much more than just a prequel to the Hitchcock film, but the performances (particularly by Vera Farmiga as Norma Bates) were unlike anything else.  Bates Motel also created a unique setting — modern, yet a throwback — and expanded the world of White Pine Bay beyond the motel and its infamous inhabitants.  “Gone But Not Forgotten” picked up right where the show left off last year with its mysterious and potentially damning finale, but in its typical way, ultimately wriggled away from what seemed to be the obvious truth.  Hit the jump for why “this is the road that’s going to ruin our lives.”

Vera Farmiga and Executive Producer Kerry Ehrin Talk BATES MOTEL, Returning for Season 2, Norma’s Possible Love Interest and Plans for Season 3

by     Posted 234 days ago

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Bates Motel is returning to A&E for Season 2 on March 3rd.  After the explosive events of the first season, things are only going to get tougher and more dangerous for Norman Bates (Freddie Highmore) and his mother, Norma (Vera Farmiga), especially with the economic livelihood of the motel being threatened.  The series also stars Max Thieriot, Nestor Carbonell, Olivia Cooke and Nicola Peltz.

During this recent interview to promote the show’s premiere, actress Vera Farmiga and executive producer/writer Kerry Ehrin talked about returning for Season 2, the luxury of a continuing series, the possibility of a love interest for Norma, getting to learn more about Norma’s backstory this season, the process for doing such emotional scenes, how Norma’s brother will change the dynamic, whether Farmiga might ever direct an episode, and how the door will definitely be open for a third season.  Check out what they had to say after the jump, and be aware that there are some spoilers

Vera Farmiga Stars in PRIMA; Clea Duvall Joins YOUR RIGHT MIND; Jeremy Sumpter in Talks for TAKE DOWN

by     Posted 258 days ago

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Here’s the latest casting news out of the Berlin International Film Festival:

  • Vera Farmiga will star in writer-director Evan Greenburg’s ballet-themed relationship comedy, Prima.
  • Clea DuVall (Argo), Sheryl Lee (Winter’s Bone), Emily Alyn Lind (J. Edgar), and Ryan Bingham (Crazy Heart) join writer-director Ami Canaan Mann’s drama, Your Right Mind, starring Katherine Heigl and Ben Barnes.
  • Jeremy Sumpter (Friday Night Lights), Phoebe Tonkin (The Originals) and Sebastian Koch (A Good Day to Die Hard) are in talks for Jim Gillespie’s young-adult thriller, Take Down.

Hit the jump for more.

Vera Farmiga, Director Adam Rodgers and Writer Glenn German Talk AT MIDDLETON, Challenges of the Indie Film, and the Farmiga Sisters’ On-Screen Relationship

by     Posted 267 days ago

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At Middleton is both a light-hearted romance for adults and a deeply moving portrait of roads not taken and the timelessness of youth.  Andy Garcia and Vera Farmiga star as straight-laced George and eccentric Edith, two strangers who meet on their children’s campus tour at the idyllic Middleton College.  Failing comically to connect with their kids, George and Edith play hooky and ditch the official tour for a carefree adventure of their own.  Opening January 31st, the romantic film directed by Adam Rodgers from a script co-written with Glenn German also stars Taissa Farmiga, Spencer Lofranco, Peter Riegert and Tom Skerritt. 

At a recent roundtable interview, Farmiga, Rodgers and German talked about the challenges they encountered making an indie film, how the project came to life once Garcia was onboard, why Farmiga wanted the role the moment she read the script, her reaction to having her kid sister play her daughter, how a solid script and good chemistry resulted in strong performances, and their experiences directing their first feature films.  Farmiga also discussed the upcoming Season 2 of Bates Motel and her new film The Judge with Robert Downey Jr. and Robert Duvall.  Rodgers revealed the indie scripts he and his writing partner currently have in development.  Check out the interview after the jump.

THE CONJURING Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 327 days ago

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Horror movies are the ultimate test of directorial skill.  It’s not the words that make it scary, it’s the camera, the performance, and how things are revealed.  And watching The Conjuring it’s obvious that James Wan is a remarkable talent, and it’s great that he’s moved into the big time as his next project is Fast and Furious 7.  He’s got it.  The Conjuring follows two families.  The Warrens (Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson) are ghost hunters who uncover real and fake hauntings, while the Perrons (headed by Lili Taylor and Ron Livingston) are an ordinary family whose new house is haunted.  The two cross paths in this supposed true story.  My review of The Conjuring on Blu-ray follows after the jump.

BATES MOTEL: Season One Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 1 year, 30 days ago

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It’s hard to believe that Psycho actually qualifies as a franchise, mostly because everything after the immortal original was a steaming pile of cow flop.  Three theatrical sequels, one aborted TV pilot, the well-intentioned but ultimately pointless Gus Van Sant thing… it hasn’t been an easy ride for Norman Bates and his mother. Until now.

Bates Motel starts out feeling like a terrible gimmick, covering Norman’s (Freddie Highmore) formative years in what initially promises to be a one-trick pony.  Instead, the show serves up a meaty cocktail of American Gothic, as Mrs. Bates (Vera Farmiga) buys a quiet hotel with her young son in hopes of escaping a very checkered past.  Naturally, things go from bad to worse as the hotel’s old owner shows up, the local sheriff (Nestor Carbonell) pops in to ask awkward questions, and bodies both real and metaphorical start getting dumped in out-of-the-way places.   Hit the jump for my full review of Bates Motel season one on Blu-ray.

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