Abigail Breslin

Abigail Breslin Haunter

The “Known For” widget on a performer’s IMDb page isn’t perfect. It occasionally spits out results that are almost patently wrong, but the more current someone’s career is, the better and more spot-on they are. Case in point: Abigail Breslin, whose IMDb page tells us that she is “Known For” films like Little Miss Sunshine, Zombieland, and Signs. Despite completely spacing that Breslin is the H2O-happy kiddo in Signs (a personal problem, surely), this is a fully agreeable assessment of the most popular and mainstream titles on her resume. And that would be fine if Breslin was doing those kind of films today – Little Ms. Sunshine? – but the former child star has recently started loading up her schedule with some very different fare. In short, it’s chockfull of horror titles, from the little-seen (Haunter) to the hotly anticipated (Maggie), establishing Breslin as an offbeat pick for the genre’s newest scream queen, the kind of final girl who takes time between mainstream titles like August: Osage County and Ender’s Game to quite literally star in a film titled Final Girl. But how’s that working out for Breslin? Considering her track record of playing terrified characters who emerge unscathed from the worst situations, not too shabby.

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Haunter

I know what you’re thinking – another haunted house movie? And to that I say “Yes. Hush, there is a reason we’re on to a fifth Paranormal Activity movie.” Now here’s where Haunter is going to be different. Haunter is told from the ghosts’ perspective, and these spirits aren’t so keen on being dead. In fact, teenage Lisa (Abigail Breslin) and her entire family aren’t quite aware that they’re haunting their own house until it occurs to them that they’re reliving the same day over and over again. But once Lisa figures out that she was murdered, she reaches out to the teenage girl currently residing in her old room to stop her from suffering the same fate. Beetlejuice this is not; it doesn’t look like there will be any fun interdimensional bonding or ghost pranks going on between the teenage girls. Expect lots of jumpy shots of ghosts and/or killers appearing over shoulders in mirrors and flashes of shadowy figures in door frames. Those are the rules for haunted house movies, I didn’t makes them. Check out the trailer after the break.

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natali

Genre filmmaker Vincenzo Natali takes a whipping for his taste. Up to now the director of Splice has only made original properties, no adaptations, sequels, or reboots. Natali may be adapting Neuormancer and High Rise at the moment, but even there he isn’t taking the easiest path. Both are niche properties, something Natali is well-aware of when it comes to the two books (and to his own films). At this year’s South by Southwest he premiered what he considers his most accessible movie yet, Haunter. Natali describes the subversive ghost story as a mix of Igmar Bergman and John Hughes, making for an odd but promising sounding combo. We spoke to Natali about the film before the festival, and here’s what he had to say about Haunter, the difficulty of making movies nowadays, and more:

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Director George Clooney

What is Casting Couch? Proof that not everyone’s tracking Hurricane Sandy’s path on Twitter. Some are still out there casting movies. The big casting news over the weekend was all of the big names that were announced for George Clooney’s next project as a director, The Monuments Men. Deadline had the scoop that this period drama about a group of art historians and museum curators trying to recover important and historical works from the clutches of the Nazis is going to star names like Bill Murray, Daniel Craig, Cate Blanchett, Jean Dujardin, John Goodman, Hugh Bonneville, and Bob Balaban. As far as I know none of these people can even speak German, but you’ve still got to look at that list and be impressed. You could cast this crew as an office full of telemarketers and everyone would still watch the movie, making them heroes during the dying days of the Nazi regime is just icing on the cake.

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Young Abigail Breslin seems bent on beefing up her acting resume with a plethora of very different roles – often going darker than her Little Miss Sunshine break-out role and signaling her interest in turning into one heck of a serious actress. Next up for Breslin is a role in Ender’s Game, a horrific turn in The Hive, one half of a sex-pact-making set of BFFs in A Virgin Mary, and my personal favorite – as a homicidal teen sister in the fact-based The Class Project. And that’s not all. Variety reports that Breslin will now also star in Vincenzo Natali‘s (Splice) next film, a supernatural horror flick called Haunter. The film is billed as “a reverse ghost story,” with its focus on Breslin’s ghost character, not the probably-terrified humans living in her old house. Like a modern-day Casper, Breslin’s character is friendly and unable to move past her ghostly un-living. But she’s not just hanging around the house she died in for fun – she has to save her “present-day, living counterpart” from the same fate. Sounds…haunting.  

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Gavin Hood’s upcoming adaptation of the legendary Orson Scott Card (is it too new to be legendary? It’s at least flirting with legendary) sci-fi novel Ender’s Game just signed a new name to its cast, one who’s already pretty legendary in the sci-fi world himself: Han Solo. Harrison Ford joins a cast that already has Hugo’s Asa Butterfield starring in the lead role of military recruit and Earth’s last hope Ender Wiggin, and youthful Oscar nominees like Hailee Steinfeld and Abigail Breslin playing supporting roles; so it’s starting to look like Hood’s sci-fi epic pitting man against bugger is going to have quite the ensemble when it finally gets put in front of cameras. I know that everyone was a little upset when the director of X-Men Origins: Wolverine was hired to direct such a beloved novel, but I don’t think there’s any way we can complain about this cast. Ford is set to play the role of Colonel Hyrum Graff, the man responsible for training the recruits at the military school Ender attends. He’s a manipulative man who’s plan is to control Ender’s development from small boy into the perfect military commander through secretive and mysterious means. In this world, the human race is at the brink of extermination due to war with a race of alien beings, and it has been decreed that Ender is the only recruit with the potential to bring them back from defeat with his brilliance. I think Ford will be suitably grizzled to […]

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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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Here’s something sort of bizarre – director Garry Marshall and writer Katherine Fugate‘s latest star-crammed desecration of random, non-religious holidays is not monumentally or irremediably terrible. It is also not good, but it’s certainly better than its predecessor, the rancid Valentine’s Day (though that’s not saying much). New Year’s Eve is not so much a film as a gimmick – tons of stars! lots of plots! all kind of connected! just one day! – and such a gimmick can yield some unexpectedly positive results just as often as it can ending up being simply terrible entertainment not worthy of being called cinema. New Year’s Eve is not so much a film as a two-hour piece of wish fulfillment for the sort of people who read US Weekly on, well, a weekly basis. Unlike Valentine’s Day, its very existence is not offensive, but it’s bloated and kind of boring and really, just really, tremendously unnecessary.

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The horror…the horror… The best part about this poster for New Year’s Eve is either that it features all of the names and pictures of the actors, but not in the same order, or that the catchphrase “Let The Countdown Begin” lets us know that it’s a Doomsday Movie. Garry Marshall, who should be ashamed of himself for directing Valentine’s Day, proves once and for all that he owes some serious men down at the race track by stepping up to direct this sequel which seeks to squeeze even less screen time out for even more famous faces. Also, Homeless Hector Elizondo is kind of cruel considering they made everyone else look halfway decent (except for Ashton Kutcher who clearly didn’t show up for a photo shoot and forced the marketing department to find a paparazzi shot of him smiling). Enough with the words! Check it out for yourself, and feel free to largify it by clicking (if you dare):

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Many people may off-handedly say they want to kill their mother, but the two sisters who were the subject of Toronto Star reporter Bob Mitchell’s book “The Class Project: How to Kill a Mother: The True Story of Canada’s Infamous Bathtub Girls,” well, they were pretty serious about it. The book tells the story of a pair of girls whose lives had been torturous for as long as they could remember due to the various abuses committed against them by their alcoholic mom and her string of sleazy boyfriends, so they hatched a scheme to rub mommy out and collect the insurance money. First time director Stanley M. Brooks has already got Abigail Breslin (Zombieland) and Georgie Henley (The Chronicles of Narnia) signed on to play the sisters in a film adaptation, and now Variety is reporting that Oscar winning actress Mira Sorvino has just joined the cast in the role of the abusive mother.

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Despite many naysayers, including myself, thinking that Abigail Breslin would be a flash in the pan after breaking out as a child actor in the indie dark comedy Little Miss Sunshine, the now teenage actress has maintained a steady course for her career and proved all the Negative Nancies wrong. As is always the case in situations like this, I couldn’t be happier to be made to look like a fool. Just before the release of her abandoned daughter drama Janie Jones, and fresh off the heels of signing onto a crime pic called The Class Project, Breslin has now agreed to also star in a new teen comedy called A Virgin Mary. Why is this newsworthy? Well in addition to having the talents of a now proven young actress in Abigail Breslin, A Virgin Mary is also a teen comedy that is being described as “a coming of age story in the tradition of Sixteen Candles.” I know that there are a lot of people out there who still have a strong love for the work of John Hughes, and Sixteen Candles in particular, so I view that as a refreshing way to hear a teen comedy touting itself in the current climate of glossy, shallow movies aimed toward teens. Let’s dig down there into the awkwardness of adolescence and wallow, not cast a bunch of beautiful twentysomethings in a movie that puts high school up on some sort of glamorous pedestal. The film has been scripted by Normal […]

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I don’t know about you, but I’ve been waiting a long (long, long, loooong) time to see Little Miss Sunshine herself, that charming tot Abigail Breslin, sign on for some murder action. Just me? Breslin has joined the cast of The Class Project, which tells the story of two sisters who plot to kill their own mother after years of dealing with both her alcoholism and her abusive boyfriends. Breslin will play one of the sisters in the film. And while that plotline alone sounds titillating to all get-out, it only gets better. It’s based on the true story of two Canadian sisters who got away with the crime for nearly a year. The girls were just 15 and 13 years old at the time. Toronto Star reporter Bob Mitchell wrote a book in 2008 on the crime, which was committed back in 2003. The book has the much longer (and snazzier!) title of “The Class Project: How to Kill a Mother: The True Story of Canada’s Infamous Bathtub Girls.” Fabrizio Filippo and Adam Till have adapted the book for their screenplay. The “Bathtub Girls” nickname comes from the way the sisters committed the crime – supposedly drowning their own mother in their bathtub (after pumping her full of booze and Tylenol) and making it to look like an accident caused by, you guessed it, her out of control drinking. The girls originally got away with it, until they were found out and brought to trial in what was Canada’s […]

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr gets an added dose of tiger’s blood and Adonis DNA to make it through all the movie-watching he endures. He bats about .500 in his screenings, really liking some but struggling through others. After a visit to the wild west of Rango, he finds his fate adjusted by a mysterious fleet of men with stylish hats. Then, he realizes how ugly Number Four really is before staying out all night, drinking with Topher Grace and Teresa Palmer… who looks a lot like Number Six.

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Rango is the first animated genre movie I’ve seen that, with no exaggeration, works as well as its live-action counterparts possibly could. Gore Verbinski’s latest is a damn fine western, an entertaining throwback to classic B-pictures that pays clever tribute to its predecessors. Sure, it’s populated by walking/talking lizards, rattlesnakes, and Gila monsters. So what? A lizard suffering from some serious existential torment, Rango (Johnny Depp) knows not who he is or of the world beyond the tank he’s called home and the pseudo-tropical knickknacks he’s made his friends. That changes forever when a karmic car accident finds the good-humored, tropical shirt-baring reptile abandoned in the Mojave Desert, his domicile destroyed forever. Making his way through the treacherous terrain, our hero dodges an enormous falcon, befriends roadkill named Roadkill (Alfred Molina) and is eventually escorted by fiery fellow lizard Beans (Isla Fisher) to the long-forgotten, crumbling town of Dirt.

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Paramount Pictures has released the first teaser for Gore Verbinski’s upcoming animated flick Rango, starring Johnny Depp as a Hawaiian shirt wearing lizard who wanders through the Mojave desert in search of himself. Much of his world feels like a good peyote trip and everything around him is a talking animal of some kind. And we’re being told that it has nothing to do with Hunter S. Thompson. I’m not convinced.

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Rango

Considering that we post movie news, almost every trailer we can find, and speculate wildly on film casting, we’re all about mystery here at FSR. It’s because we, and the rest of the world, are so awash in information that we long for a movie that comes out of left field and hits us in the face. With a fish. This new teaser trailer for Rango does exactly what it needs to do. It teases.

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kevin-reportcard-header

Kevin Carr takes a look at this week’s movie releases, including Zombieland, Whip It and Capitalism: A Love Story.

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There is a reason Fantastic Fest is one of the greatest film festivals on the planet. This week , during a screening of Zombieland, I was reminded of that unbridled, nearly intangible awesomeness that keeps me coming back year after year.

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zombieland-2

Just when you thought it couldn’t look any more fun, the folks at Sony Pictures go and release an awesome blitz of carnage in the international trailer for Zombieland, the upcoming action comedy from director Ruben Fleischer.

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FSR

Kevin Carr reviews this week’s new movies: Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and My Sister’s Keeper.

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