Al Pacino

Manglehorn Movie

In one of his more infamous reviews, Roger Ebert wrote “Only enormously talented people could have made Death to Smoochy. Those with lesser gifts would have lacked the nerve to make a film so bad, so miscalculated, so lacking any connection with any possible audience. To make a film this awful, you have to have enormous ambition and confidence, and dream big dreams.” This philosophy — which suggests only the most creative minds are capable of making the best and worst films — aptly describes Manglehorn, the latest film from director David Gordon Green. Born and raised in Little Rock, Arkansas, it’s damn near impossible to classify or categorize Green’s work. Varied and eclectic, the only throughline in Green’s career is that there’s is no throughline – no theme or aesthetic that ties his films together. A master in indiscrimination, one has to look no further than George Washington, Your Highness, and Prince Avalanche, all of which appear to have been created by an entirely different human being. Manglehorn does not buck this trend. Described as a “naturalistic fairy tale” by Green himself, the movie stars Al Pacino as the eponymous character — a forlorn man still working through the heartbreak of a woman he lost many years ago. Living alone with one (albeit estranged) son to keep him company, his only source of interaction is through his work as a locksmith and his banking transactions. Over the course of depositing money at the same bank on the same day […]

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The best movie culture writing from around the internet-o-sphere. There will be a quiz later. Just leave a tab open for us, will ya?

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The Humbling

Simon Axler (Al Pacino) is prone to theatrics, and while it would be easy to blame his life-long career as a reasonably well-regarded actor for such a personality defect (Simon certainly loves to do that), the most likely culprit for his over-the-top acting out is that he’s a selfish bastard who has never been called out on his crap. Sick over the apparent loss of his “craft” (either in terms of interest or actual ability, it’s never exactly clear), Simon attempts suicide by throwing himself off the stage during a performance. It’s the height of self-involved folly, and although it’s amusing and appropriately bizarre as it unfolds, it soon becomes just another example of Simon’s self-involved attitude and inability to differentiate between the real world and the make believe one. Shipped off to a high-class funny farm, Simon doesn’t learn a damn thing – shocking, right? – and is soon returned back to his big country house to bang around, mutter incoherently about his place in the world and attempt to romance the least appropriate person around. Based on Philip Roth’s novel of the same name, Barry Levinson’s The Humbling tracks Simon’s protracted downfall, but the film itself is such a tremendous letdown that Simon’s problems prove minuscule by comparison. 

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Pacino in Scarface

One of these days, Universal will finally get around to their latest incarnation of Scarface. That officially planned remake of the 1932 Howard Hawks gangster flick, which was previously redone in 1983 by Brian De Palma, is currently set up with Chilean director Pablo Larrain (No; Tony Manero), screenwriter Paul Attanasio (Donnie Brasco) and a supposed plot involving a Mexican drug cartel and one man who rises in its ranks. In the meantime, another effort to reimagine the story is already moving forward and should be finished as early as this December. The wonderfully odd folks at The Borscht Corporation, who run Miami’s semi-annual Borscht Film Festival (see our write up on the 2012 event), are working on a project centered specifically on De Palma’s version of Scarface. The plan is to compile a scene-for-scene redo consisting of a collage of various styles. They’ve broken the movie up into 636 pieces, each one 15 seconds in length, and anyone can submit their own interpretation of one of these bits. Want to recreate the part where Tony (Al Pacino) yells “say hello to my little friend” but have the little friend be an actual little person? Well, that gag has already been done before, but if you have any other bright ideas, that particular scene is still available to claim. “For better or worse, Scarface had held Miami’s image in a vice grip since it came out,” states an email we received about the project, which is titled Scarface Redux. “As our mission is […]

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hunter

As excited as we all already were that David Gordon Green is getting back into making indie dramas with this year’s Prince Avalanche and Joe, and his upcoming project, Manglehorn, some new news has come along that has made the idea of getting to see Green moving back toward doing heavier material look even more promising—soon we’re going to get to watch the results of him directing Holly Hunter in a featured role. Today it was announced [via Deadline] that Hunter has taken the female lead in that upcoming, Al Pacino-starring drama, Manglehorn, which we’ve already heard a little about. Plus, in addition to Hunter’s involvement, the same report also says that Argo’s Chris Messina and Spring Breakers director Harmony Korine have joined the film in supporting roles. That’s a really talented but fairly strange ensemble that’s been put together there. Perfect for David Gordon Green.

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Godfather Part 2

Looking for any excuse, Landon Palmer and Scott Beggs are using the 2012 Sight & Sound poll results as a reason to take different angles on the best movies of all time. Every week, they’ll discuss another entry in the list, dissecting old favorites from odd angles, discovering movies they haven’t seen before and asking you to join in on the conversation. Of course it helps if you’ve seen the movie because there will be plenty of spoilers. This week, they figure out how the only sequel featured on the list changes the way we view the original. In the #31 (tied with Taxi Driver) movie on the list, Michael Corleone continues his ascent as the head of the family while descending into a personal hell. But why is it one of the best movies of all time?

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pacino

What is Casting Couch? It’s one stop shopping when it comes to casting news. It’s even better than shopping though, because it’s free. Today you can pay no money to find out what Olivia Wilde and Mark Duplass are teaming up on, as well as what Bill Hader’s first post-SNL gig might be. It looks like David Gordon Green’s turn back toward directing more dramatic movies again is starting to stick. THR is reporting that his next project is going to be a drama called Mangelhorn that’s about an eccentric man who’s trying to come to terms with the fact that a past crime has cost him the love of his life. More than that though, Mangelhorn is a drama that’s going to be employing one of the most celebrated dramatic actors of all time, because the trade’s report also says that Al Pacino has been attached to the lead role. Hopefully this will wash the taste of Dunkaccino and Your Highness out of all our mouths.

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Sal The Godfather

Looking for any excuse, Landon Palmer and Scott Beggs are using the 2012 Sight & Sound poll results as a reason to take different angles on the best movies of all time. Every week, they’ll discuss another entry in the list, dissecting old favorites from odd angles, discovering movies they haven’t seen before and asking you to join in on the conversation. Of course it helps if you’ve seen the movie because there will be plenty of spoilers. This week, they vivisect the American Dream inside Francis Ford Coppola‘s masterpiece of modern cinema while finding its most important singular line of dialogue. In the #21 (tied) movie on the list, a young military man is drawn violently into his family’s business when war breaks out among the five major mobs of 1940s New York City. But why is it one of the best movies ever?

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david-gordon-green-the-sitter-movie-image

Yes, that headline comes with a caveat. While fans of David Gordon Green‘s early work have bristled at his turn into more mainstream comedies (count me as one of those bristlers), the filmmaker has never denied that said comedies (like Your Highness and The Sitter) are more in line with his personal tastes and preferences. So, no, while Green might be “returning to form” after his comedic outings, that form is really the one we made for him. Let’s not fence Green in. But let’s also not try to hide our glee when he starts work on the type of film that sounds like it will fit in quite neatly next to Undertow and All the Real Girls. That possible next film? Manglehorn. What’s a “manglehorn”? Only a love story with a dark twist that could star Al Pacino. Not too shabby, eh?

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Stand Up Guys

Old age can be a frightening prospect for anyone, but especially for gangsters. Think about it, your aim starts to go, you begin forgetting the names of your hit victims, and before you know it, you’re spouting gems like, “as far back as I can remember…it was yesterday.” This unfavorable scenario faces the protagonists of Fisher Stevens‘ (yes, that Fisher Stevens) Stand Up Guys. Back in the good ol’ days, the all-or-nothing days, a certain trio of button men were the toast of the town. To phrase it with fewer idioms, Val (Al Pacino), Doc (Christopher Walken) and Hirsch (Alan Arkin) comprise the literal gang getting back together in their twilight years for a final night of wild antics before Doc must complete his last assignment…killing Val. Stevens has had a bizarre career as a filmmaker, and Stand Up Guys is clearly the most ambitious project he’s ever undertaken. Truth be told, it shows a great deal of promise. Pacino and Walken are living legends, and they’ve each in their own right played some of cinema’s most iconic gangsters. That said, the casting of either one or both of these actors long ago exited the realm of a guaranteed hit…or even a guarantee that the film would be watchable. However, Stevens smartly walks the line between keeping his actors sharply focused on playing the beats that enhance the narrative and letting them ease into their natural cosa nostra charisma. There are even thrilling pockets in which we are reminded that […]

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Pacino and De Palma

What is Casting Couch? Today’s it’s just a little casting news column trying to get by at the hands of a Sundance-bound Kate Erbland. Nathan, we need you! We’ve been due for a truly gritty, really in-depth on fallen from grace Penn State head football coach Joe Paterno for months now, but it turns out, we’re now set to get an even better project than we could possibly have dreamed of, because director Brian De Palma and star Al Pacino have now teamed up to bring the true life story to the screen. Deadline Hollywood reports that the two are set for Happy Valley (apparently a working title, thank goodness), which will come from Joe Posnanski‘s book “Paterno,” with Dave McKenna (American History X, Blow) currently in negotiations to script. Pacino was first attached to the project last year. The project reunites Pacino and De Palma, as the two previously collaborated on Scarface and Carlito’s Way, which worked out pretty nicely for both of them.

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Over Under - Large

What’s the one thing every rundown apartment that a college sophomore is sharing with his five best friends and every $30m mansion that a famous rapper lives in for five months out of the year have in common? The Scarface poster they have framed on the wall in the living room. There are a handful of gangster films that have become modern classics – The Godfather and Goodfellas being the other main two – but in recent years, Brian De Palma’s Scarface has really pulled ahead of the pack when it comes to pop culture relevance and awareness among a younger generation. Which kind of makes sense, seeing as The Godfather and Goodfellas are better-made films that deal with more mature themes and Scarface is the sort of empty, flashy nonsense that would appeal to young people and rappers. Really, at this point, should Scarface even be mentioned in the conversation of great modern gangster movies anymore? It’s got a lot of issues. Jacques Audiard’s 2009 prison epic, Un prophète, isn’t necessarily underrated in the sense that the people who saw it didn’t like it, but it’s underrated in the sense that not nearly enough people, at least in the United States, have seen it. Here we have one of those rare films that is just artsy enough to be respected by film snobs and just entertaining enough to be enjoyed by more casual audiences that it could conceivably become a perennial top contender when it comes to widely agreed […]

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It was all the way back in June of last year that we first heard about Dan Fogelman’s Imagine, a movie he plans to tackle as both writer and director. Imagine was said to be a story about an aging rock star who gets inspired to reconnect with his estranged son after receiving a posthumous letter from John Lennon, and the rumor at the time was that Al Pacino was being courted to star. Well, here we are, a year and some change later, and not only has Pacino’s casting solidified, but it turns out he’s brought a couple of other big names along with him. And, in addition to that, new reports give us a little bit more of an idea what this story is all about. According to Deadline Hollywood, in addition to Pacino playing the aging rocker who’s still out there on the road playing all of his old songs, Fogelman has recruited Jeremy Renner to play the part of the adult son, as well as Julianne Moore to play the part of a hotel manager Pacino’s character befriends. Now, about that letter from John Lennon. The additional story bits here are that it was originally meant for a 19-year-old version of Pacino’s character, who had written to his music hero. Unfortunately, the letter was lost in the mail for decades, and delivered its words of wisdom quite a bit too late to get the guy’s life on the right track. All is not yet lost, however, […]

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Over Under - Large

Sidney Lumet’s 1975 tale of a bank robbery gone bad, Dog Day Afternoon, is not only considered to be a high point in the careers of both its director as well as its star, Al Pacino, it’s also considered to be one of the key films that was a part of the New Hollywood movement, which started in the late ’60s and continued through to the blockbusters of the 80s. New Hollywood was all about a generation of filmmakers making films that were artsier, grittier, and more experimental than most commercial fare, all from within the confines of the studio system. But while Dog Day Afternoon and its tale of cross-dressing and violent crimes certainly looks at home under that classification, is it really good enough to be mentioned in the same breath as stuff like Bonnie and Clyde, The Godfather, or Mean Streets? The early ’90s saw one of the biggest boom periods in the history of sketch comedy mainstay Saturday Night Live. Cast members like Mike Myers, Dana Carvey, Adam Sandler, and Chris Farley led the show to probably its most critically successful period since the original cast, and pretty much everyone on the show went on to become a star in film. Out of all of these talented comedians, however, none became quite as successful as Sandler. After starring in Billy Madison in 1995, he was off to the races, earning big paychecks, pulling in big box office dollars, and gobbling up media attention. Some of his […]

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Stand Up Guys

In Stand Up Guys, Christopher Walken picks up Al Pacino from prison, and they hit the town in fine form, but there’s one last assignment hanging over Walken’s head. He’s got to kill his friend. So what’s an insane, elderly punk-filled night when your life will be over by sunrise? Why not let Alan Arkin drive? Directed by Fisher Stevens (yes, the guy from Short Circuit) it looks like equal parts harmless retirement comedy and 25th Hour. Check out the trailer for yourself:

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly movie news column that stays up late, making it a prime candidate for movies at midnight. Our evening begins with a shot from the upcoming season four premiere of Community (Oct. 19) that will include a parody of, you guessed it, The Hunger Games. It all centers around some lost student records and a competition to get into a class called “The History of Ice Cream.” I pre-enrolled, so I’m good.

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Insomnia 2002 Movie

For a man who has 8 films under his belt as a director, it seems like Christopher Nolan has been in the movie world forever. His dominance of the 2000s was so thorough and immediate that it only seemed natural to include his name amongst the greats even with a relatively limited resume. Even so, whenever conversations of the director emerge, they seem to focus on his take on Batman, his exploration of magic and deception, the idea of memory loss and toying with narrative. The movie that’s notoriously missing is his sophomore feature, his first studio picture, Insomnia. The remake of the 1997 Norwegian film of the same name starred Al Pacino as a LA detective brought to the no-horse town of Nightmute, Alaska during a time of year when the sun never sets. Brought in to help with a brutal homicide, Detective Dormer finds himself mentally unraveling after a foggy accident, many sunny nights without sleep and an internal investigation back home that threatens to end his career. It’s a strong crime film with outstanding performances that doesn’t deserve to be forgotten about in the wake of Batman, Bale and breaking into dreams. Insomnia is a movie worth a second look.

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You would think that having your film sweep every single category of a highly visible awards show would be a once in a lifetime honor that would be a career capping moment. But that’s not really the case when the awards show we’re talking about is the annual Razzie Awards for worst in filmmaking. No, in this case, winning every award is a pretty clear indication that you’re a shame to the entire human race, and should probably stop making movies. In accordance with the new schedule that the Razzies are working under this year, they announced their winners yesterday, on April Fool’s Day. When the nominations were first announced, it looked like Adam Sandler’s Happy Madison production, Jack and Jill, was set to take home a record-breaking amount of awards; and boy, did it. For the first time in the history of the Razzies, one movie swept the show, winning (relatively speaking) in every single category.

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Movie News: Dredd

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly column about movie news. That is all. We begin this evening with a look at Karl Urban and Olivia Thirlby in Dredd, the revival of the Judge Dredd franchise. First impressions: Karl Urban’s helmet is huge and Olivia Thirlby needs more leather. Or something along those lines. Either way, it’s a good conversation starter.

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Over Under - Large

You might assume that over the course of his forty-some year acting career, Al Pacino has probably won enough Oscars to stock a whole trophy room, but actually he’s only won once. It was for his performance as a blind, pissed-off, ex-military man with plans to kill himself after indulging in a weekend of fine food and fine escorts in Scent of a Woman. The movie was kind of a big deal back in the early 90s, getting nominated for a bunch of awards and winning everybody’s grandma and grandpa’s hearts in the theaters. Plus, Pacino had a catchphrase in the movie – “hoo-ah!” – which got referenced and quoted (to an annoying degree) for years after. In 2009, Ramin Bahrani made a movie about a similarly pissed off old white guy who has made a conscious decision and an appointment to kill himself called Goodbye Solo. It didn’t have any name actors like an Al Pacino, and it didn’t manage to win any awards that you’ve ever heard of, but it was really good anyway. So much so that I think it’s a shame that it never got any play with anyone outside of the movie snob crowd.

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