Abbie Cornish

iron man original

You don’t have to see the RoboCop remake. Normally I’d say that if you don’t see the big new release that you can’t read the new Movies to Watch column, because you’ll get spoiled. But I don’t think there’s much in the way of spoilers here, even if you haven’t seen the 1987 original. There’s a cop, he becomes part robot and then he’s a RoboCop. Without knowing much more than that, you can gather that some obvious precursors include Frankenstein, Blade Runner and anything where Arnold Schwarzenegger plays a police officer of any kind. Yet none of those are in this week’s batch of a dozen recommendations inspired by the new RoboCop. Some of my picks are more obvious with relation to the remake than the Paul Verhoeven version. Speaking of which, that too is another obvious selection I feel is a given if you see the new one and haven’t before seen the old. Go ahead and see the divisive RoboCop 2, also, and while you’re at it go on to RoboCop 3 in order to see something much, much worse than the reboot. Because it was difficult to be reminded of much else besides those predecessors, more than a few of the titles below are merely better earlier works by the talent involved. In spite of what I said above, here’s your reminder that the following list may spoil parts of this week’s movie, so if you haven’t seen the RoboCop remake and plan to, you might not want to read ahead […]

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Hailee Steinfeld

What is Casting Couch? It’s almost like if all the news about actors getting cast in movies was compiled into one place. No, scratch that. It’s exactly like that. Who’s the lovely lady joining handsome hunks Colin Farrell and Anthony Hopkins in Solace? Read on to find out. Look, when you get an Oscar nomination for acting in a cowboy movie, you don’t just stop acting in cowboy movies, okay? That’s why True Grit star Hailee Steinfeld has now signed on to appear in that new movie that Tommy Lee Jones is directing about crazy ladies who’ve been out in the West traveling across the prairie and back to the East, The Homesman. According to Deadline, Steinfeld will be playing the role of Tabitha Hutchinson, who is described as being barefoot, poor, simple, and teenaged. She’ll be joining a cast that already includes Jones himself, Meryl Streep, Hilary Swank, James Spader, John Lithgow, and Tim Blake Nelson, which is pretty good company for a barefoot simpleton.

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Seven Psychopaths

Marty (Colin Farrell) is a screenwriter with a serious case of writer’s block. “Seven Psychopaths” is his latest script, but there’s one big problem with it. The title is all he’s written so far. He needs some inspiration to make his characters and his story come alive, but where is an Irishman with a drinking problem and relationship issues going to find that spark of originality? As with most of life’s questions, the answer here is Sam Rockwell. More precisely, it’s with his good friend Billy (Rockwell). Where Billy goes trouble follows, and that trouble is currently in the form of a pissed-off gangster named Charlie (Woody Harrelson) who’s violently distraught over the loss of his pooch Bonny (Bonny the ShihTzu). It seems Billy’s primary source of income is a scam he runs with his friend Hans (Christopher Walken) involving the dog-napping and subsequent return for reward of wealthy peoples’ pups. Snatching Bonny has opened up a can of murderous worms as Charlie hunts down those responsible and Marty finds himself caught in the blood-spattered middle of it all. On the bright side he’s getting inspiration for all seven of his fictional psychopaths, but none of that will matter if he doesn’t live to finish the screenplay. Seven Psychopaths is exactly the film we should expect from the man who created the wickedly great In Bruges. It’s whip-smart funny, deliriously violent and deceptively heartfelt. And good god does it have the most aggressively awesome ensemble cast of all time.

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Elite Squad director José Padilha‘s RoboCop just began principal photography, but for the past few weeks things have not been looking up for this mostly unwanted PG-13 remake. There was word over Padilha being pushed around behind-the-scenes, that the script is a disaster, and the fantastic prospect of Hugh Laurie terrorizing the futuristic cop was killed. So, after a string of disappointing news, this first-look at Joel Kinnaman rocking the new RoboCop gear isn’t helping matters. Check out Kinnaman looking more like a superhero than a man whose shot up body bits are being reused as a symbol of facism, and while you’re at it, read why that’s a bad thing:

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Martin McDonagh‘s In Bruges remains one of the finest black comedies in recent years thanks to his sharp writing/directing and a couple of fantastic performances by Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson. Both actors displayed great comedic chops alongside a surprising pathos, and the result is a film that’s eminently quotable and highly re-watchable. And it was four years ago. McDonagh is finally following that film up, and the first trailer has arrived. Seven Psychopaths stars Colin Farrell as a struggling screenwriter whose friends get him mixed up in dog-napping, violence, and murder. Those mischievous friends are played by Sam Rockwell and Christopher Walken, and they’re joined by Woody Harrelson, Abbie Cornish, Olga Kurylenko, and Tom Waits. Check out the trailer below.

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When you take all of the distaste for remakes and reboots that’s out there and add it with the love that people have for Paul Verhoeven’s 1987 film RoboCop, it adds up to a situation where not very many people are looking forward to José Padilha’s upcoming re-do of the material. And yet, with every casting announcement that this new RoboCop makes, it’s becoming harder and harder to not be at least a little excited about its possibilities. First off, Padilha cast an on-the-rise young actor who’s done nothing but impress so far named Joel Kinnaman in the title role. Then he systematically surrounded his star with supporting names that everyone loves, like Gary Oldman, Samuel L. Jackson, Hugh Laurie, Abbie Cornish, Jay Baruchel, and Jackie Earle Haley. It would be hard to sneeze at that cast no matter what they were being assembled for, but get them all together for a post-apocalyptic tale of robot cops versus violent street gangs and evil corporations, and it’s not too difficult to start forgetting how much you dislike all of the remakes going on in Hollywood. I don’t know how they get ya, but that’s how they get ya.

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Hugh Laurie

Hugh Laurie came to America from the UK after a successful career in comedy and quickly found himself playing lead in a critical and commercial hit on the Fox network. His film work over here has been relegated to small, supporting roles, but it looks like he may get a chance to flex his dark side on the big screen in a big way. Per Variety, Laurie is in talks to join MGM’s upcoming Robocop remake for director Jose Padilha as the film’s main villain. He has large, partially bald shoes to fill if he hopes to be half as entertaining as the original’s main baddies played by Kurtwood Smith and Ronny Cox. Clarence Boddicker is a memorably brutal (and brutally funny) psycho, and Dick Jones is the epitome of a dickish CEO, but while it’s rumored Laurie would be playing a brand new version of the latter he’d kill in either villainous flavor. The film is also set to star Joel Kinnaman in the title role, Gary Oldman as a the scientist behind the technology, Abbie Cornish as Mrs. Robocop and Samuel Jackson.

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Chances are, you haven’t seen Jane Campion’s gorgeously crafted Bright Star because, well, not many people did. And that’s just a damn shame because the film is not only a sumptuous love story about poet John Keats, but because it also features a luminous performance by Abbie Cornish. While Cornish has often been lumped into those newly-popular “short lists” of potential stars for big films (including both Prometheus and The Great Gatsby), she hasn’t yet been given a role that can truly put her talents in front of a large audience (no, we don’t talk about Sucker Punch in this house). With roles in Seven Psychopaths and An Ordinary Man coming up, that could change, but you know what would really change that? A starring role in a much-anticipated remake. Like, oh, maybe Jose Padilha‘s RoboCop? Good news then, as Deadline Irving reports that Cornish has been offered what they’re describing as “the female lead” in the upcoming film, though it’s not the one fans of Paul Verhoeven’s original might be expecting. The role would be as Alex Murphy/RoboCop’s (Joel Kinnaman) wife, not his partner Anne Lewis.

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Madonna’s second directorial effort W.E. has been greeted by a torrent of negativity, with critics assailing her revisionist portrait of the illicit romance between King Edward VIII and the American divorcée Wallis Simpson to the tune of a 14% on the all-powerful Tomatometer. If it’s not quite the unholy mess that the reviews have promised, there’s no question that this is a sloppy, hubristic affair. It looks pretty, with style and eloquence to spare, but it’s perilously over-directed. Apparently the Material Girl never met a random cross-cut, outsized camera movement, or other unneeded flourish that she didn’t like. That penchant for pristine visuals at any cost is just part of what detracts from the terrific performance by Andrea Riseborough as Simpson, which could have provided the core of a great picture. The British actress has beauty and intelligence to spare, the sort of charismatic movie star screen presence that carries you through the slowest moments. You want to watch her. Unfortunately, Madonna only lets you do so for half of the movie’s rather trying two hours. The rest of the time, we’re stuck with an unnecessary 1998-set corollary to the 1930s-set main action. There, lonely American Wally Winthrop (Abbie Cornish) obsesses over Wallis and Edward, spending all her time at a Sotheby’s auction of their estate.

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr hunkers down and braces for award season. He also prepares for an onslaught of celebrity guest stars in New Year’s Eve, which features a poster that looks like a “Friends available to chat” sidebar on Facebook. In order to watch all the movies for the week, Kevin hires the only babysitter available… Jonah Hill. What could possibly go wrong with that? Fortunately this frees him up to see some of the smaller releases, like Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, W.E. and I Melt with You. And he wraps up the week wondering why everyone needs to talk about him.

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Drinking Games

Just because the hot girls in Zach Snyder’s visually assaulting film Sucker Punch aren’t old enough to drink, nothing is stopping you from watching the movie and playing this drinking game… unless you’re as old as the main characters of the film. While Sucker Punch has its ups and downs, it’s a visually interesting flick with plenty of fishnets, stockings, push-up bras and a bad Russian accent courtesy of Carla Gugino. What’s stopping you from watching it on DVD or Blu-ray and knocking back a couple sips of your favorite spirit? You know you want to.

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Sucker Punch feels like Zack Snyder‘s response to all those awkward and sexist nerds he and his cast deal with in Hall-H nearly every year. You know, the ones that can’t help but to shout out how “hot” the actresses are during the panel, and without actually asking any real questions or treating them respectfully. Those nerds are the sideline oppressors of Sucker Punch: the revolting-looking Chef and Mayor, the ones that love seeing their women in degrading and sexualized outfits, but don’t care about how or why they’re in said outfits. As long as they get their joy out of sexy women doing sexy things, and nothing outside the basic titillation, they’ll be happy. This is the subtext that many seem to not talking about from Sucker Punch. Snyder’s work has always been divisive, but never has one of his films been this polarizing, and he knows that. Snyder is well-aware of the response the film has been getting, and he’s the type of self-aware filmmaker who probably expected this type of reaction from day one of shooting. The fact that Sucker Punch isn’t a film for everyone surely must have caused problems along the way, and as Snyder states, the test-screening process was no help in that regard.

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This piece contains spoilers for Sucker Punch. If you haven’t seen the movie yet, go watch it before diving in. Once the first images hit, or when the first synopsis hit, or maybe even when Zack Snyder dreamed up the concept for Sucker Punch ten years ago – a time bomb was set to explode twice, and it finally did this weekend. The first explosion was the basis for the existence of the movie, and it continued exploding many, many times during the runtime. The second was the question of feminism. Now that the movie is out, it has also exploded. The reactions from before the film was released varied, and they still do. Some see it as feminism merged with geek culture (which assumes geek culture isn’t sexless to begin with). Some see it as an affront to the advancement of women parading in thigh high boots. One who gives a strong argument for the latter is Angie Han of /film, who writes the hell out of an editorial called “On Zack Snyder’s Sucker Punch: Why Ass-Kicking and Empowerment Aren’t Always the Same Thing.” You should absolutely go read it before reading this, although I’ll do my best to condense her arguments (in a fair way) in order to respectfully counter them.

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Right around ten years ago Zack Snyder had an idea. An idea that would come to take up about thirty seconds of Sucker Punch, but lend to the film its main character, its title, and its sex appeal. That original idea revolved around a girl named Baby Doll who escaped into the recesses of her mind while dancing for some very bad men. He then partnered with his school buddy Steve Shibuya to start working that into a script. Things were probably going pretty okay on that, but they were about to get a lot better when Snyder found himself helming Dawn of the Dead, my personal choice for best zombie movie ever. You heard that right, Romero. Sitting next to Snyder at the press junket, the man did no less than doodle an X-Wing on a pad of paper while talking, as if he needed anything more than Watchmen to solidify his nerd-cred. Before talking about the visually complex Sucker Punch, Snyder, sitting alongside wife and producing partner Debbie, the director took a moment to give us a glimpse into his filmmaking past, revealing as one might expect he was an early overachiever. One of his student films in the basic introductory film classes was a World War I epic, complete with trenches dug by a rented backhoe. Before you get antsy, I’ll tell you what he said about his upcoming Superman movie: nothing. As in, he’s not allowed to speak of it. Duh. What he did express was […]

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr felt so trapped by the weight of the world that he escaped into an amazing world inside his mind. Ironically, this world bore a striking resemblance to Zack Snyder’s Sucker Punch, what with all the scantily clad, kick-ass hotties running around. Once free of oppression, Kevin took his kids to check out the new Diary of a Wimpy Kid movie in a desperate hope for Rachel Harris’s approval.

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Zack Snyder’s return to (mostly) live action hits screens today, bringing to life the fetishistic dreams of many a teenage boy as a mostly female cast in anime-inspired garb storm through mind of the troubled Babydoll, battling dragons, orcs, and samurai. On paper it sounds pretty amazing: sexy young actresses, plenty of firearms, the directing of Zack Snyder, wild nightmare action sequences, and a minimum amount of leather inspired clothing. In small doses, say in trailers and commercial spots, the film looks amazing. Fast paced action, again the sexy ladies, and amazing, lush digital sets, brimming with fireballs and bullet hits. Then some slow motion, and some fast motion and some slow motion again. By now you’re probably starting to predict where I’m going. I said it’s amazing in small doses and in paper, but how is it stretched out to two hours?

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr starts a new regimen of drugs that comes in a clear little pill. The guy on the street corner told him that it would unlock the full potential of his mind, and he assured Kevin it was FDA approved. Why would this guy lie to him? While waiting for the drugs to kick in, Kevin decided to take a trip across the American southwest and search for skinny little aliens with fat man voices. He knows he’s safe, even if he’s picked up by the cops, because he’s retained a dead-sexy lawyer who runs his practice out of the back of his Lincoln Town Car.

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With any luck, the Holistic Healing League (which I just made up) will be boycotting Limitless in no time. The idea is shockingly simple – a man starts taking a pill that opens up the rest of his mental faculties to his use. He’s a medicated genius, and he uses that genius for personal gain. Then, Robert De Niro gets pissed about it. The lesson here is that as long as drugs are FDA-approved, they’re totally kosher to take (unless De Niro gets mad at you, then you should stop immediately). So remember, kids, don’t do drugs except the ones your government tells you are A-Okay. Limitless stars De Niro, Bradley Cooper, and Abbie Cornish. It was directed by The Illusionist director Neil Burger, and it will see theaters March 18, 2011. Check out the even higher res version of the trailer at Apple.

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Although her husband thinks she’s the new Sigourney Weaver, Milla Jovovich isn’t on the short list of actresses being looked at for the leading role in Ridley Scott’s new 3D Alien movie. The production has seriously looked at Abbie Cornish (who you know and will know from Bright Star and the forthcoming Sucker Punch) and Carey Mulligan (who you know from being adorable and Oscar-worthy in everything), but the front runner is apparently Noomi Rapace from The Original Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. All the usual caveats apply here (including that she’s not actually Ripley because Ripley hasn’t been born yet in this story), but if Rapace gets the job, it tells us one thing about the character Scott and company have in mind: she’s a bad ass. This would be great news not only because Alien is a stand out as far as strong female leads are concerned, but because it would mean introducing Rapace to a larger American audience as a woman who could make you want to move in with her and then beat you in the face with the butt of her gun for thinking it. Sounds like a brilliant casting choice. [Deadline Mansfield]

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr is coming at you in eye-popping 3D, and like money, he doesn’t sleep. He sets his time machine way way way back to 2002 to pick on Kristen Bell in high school. The story is loosely chronicled in You Again. Kevin also practices some insider trading with Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps then takes flight with a bunch of CGI owls from Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole

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