Alan Rickman

CBS Films

Even the Coen Brothers deliver a dud on occasion, but the films usually still have something going for them. That isn’t the case with their penned remake of Gambit, directed by Michael Hoffman. It’s sad to say, but Gambit is like some fan aped their style in service of their flimsy idea of remaking Gambit. Replacing Michael Caine as Harry Deane is Colin Firth, playing a dweeby, undervalued Englishman. For years he’s suffered at the hands of his intolerable nudist boss, Lionel Shahbandar (Alan Rickman). To stick it to the art collecting Lionel, Harry decides to pull a fast one on him. Deane’s con involves pretending he’s found a famous painting by chance, owned by a small town American woman, PJ Punznowski (Cameron Diaz). Everything sounds so perfect in his head, but once he involves the unpredictable Punznowski his plan becomes less and less promising. Unfortunately, so does the film.

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trailer cbgb

“50,000 bands and 1 disgusting bathroom.” That sounds about right. The first official trailer for CBGB is here, and inside you’ll find earfuls of music with an accompanying sleazy, slacker charm. CBGB chronicles the opening and subsequent rise to glory of CBGB, a Manhattan club intended to feature country, bluegrass and blues acts (hence the name) but instead became a foundation of the punk rock scene in the 1970s. Alan Rickman, scruffed up with a bushy beard, bushier hair and some suitably unkempt clothing, stars as Hilly Kristal, the club’s owner. Alongside him are Ashley Greene and Donal Logue, as Kristal’s daughter Lisa and ‘Idaho,’ respectively. Check out the trailer below.

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die hard scenes

Tomorrow is the 25th anniversary of the release of Die Hard. Know how much it made in it’s opening weekend? $601,851. Of course, that was from only 21 screens in 20 cities. Can you imagine an action movie like this getting such a limited debut today? Well, nobody saw the movie coming, at least not on the level we see it at today, though Fox also hoped the slower roll-out would spark buzz. A modern day take on the western, with a lot of allusion to drive that idea home, the first Die Hard sort of originated a new subgenre of the right place, right time (and wrong place, wrong time) hero that has the action drop in his lap. It’s a real classic, one that truly needs to be added to the National Film Registry (nominate it here), thanks to its influence on the next three decades of cinema (and beyond, since even this year we had a few more Die Hard knockoffs in Olympus Has Fallen and White House Down) as well as its own distinct craftwork (especially the team of director John McTiernan, cinematographer Jan De Bont and screenwriters Jeb Stuart and Steven E. de Souza, along with the Oscar nominated editing by Frank J. Urioste and John F. Link and the Oscar-nominated sound and visual effects, etc…) and its perfect representation of the time in which it was made (including the reflexive significance of the building it was shot at). It’s another movie that is so […]

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Ray Liotta

What is Casting Couch? It’s the casting column that lives on because Kate Erbland was goodly enough to step in and keep it going for a couple days. Let’s all thank Kate. Thanks, Kate. Usually when movies are already filmed it means that their casting process has been completed. Not so for a Robert Rodriguez film, though. This guy does pretty much every job on his sets and relies on studio assistance for very little, which allows him to play by his own rules and march to the beat of his own drummer. Sometimes that opportunity for flexibility can result in movies that feel like they’ve been slapped together by a madman, but sometimes it leads to a movie being able to make amazing last minute additions, like how his in-production Sin City sequel just added Ray Liotta, Juno Temple, and Jeremy Piven to its already-stacked cast. Indiewire isn’t sure which characters they’re going to be playing, but probably that doesn’t matter much. Liotta and Piven always just play themselves, and Temple, well…she can do anything she wants.

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Gambit 2012 Movie

In the original Gambit, Michael Caine went up against the great Herbert Lom, but in the updated version, it’s Colin Firth attempting to pull one over on Alan Rickman. It’s a little bit like Ocean’s One, and instead of a dancer played by Shirley MacLaine, we get a Southern stereotype played by Cameron Diaz. Fortunately, everyone drops their pants in the trailer. The movie was written by The Coen Brothers and directed by Michael Hoffman (The Last Station, Soapdish), so it’s definitely got a pedigree. However there’s just something flat about this particular piece of marketing. Something sort of tired and silly without being funny. Check it out for yourself:

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Alan Rickman as Ronald Reagan in The Butler

Lee Daniels is currently waist-deep in White House history, exploring the most visible citizen’s home office through the eyes of The Butler – a forthcoming adaptation of a Wil Haygood newspaper article chronicling a butler (played by Forest Whitaker) who served under 8 presidents. Daniels is taking advantage of the huge swath of famous political faces by having a huge supporting cast to play them. One of the less-famous faces is being played by Oprah Winfrey (who is surprisingly not one of the 30 some odd producers), and she tweeted out (via Cinema Blend) this first look at Jane Fonda as Nancy Reagan and Alan Rickman (!) as Ronald Reagan. Once again we get to marvel at the make-up, hair and costuming of a historical flick. The team has done a great job of making both look as close as possible (to the point where Rickman is virtually unrecognizable as himself). Plus, the actor raised taxes 11 times in preparation for the role, so everyone’s dedication levels are high for this one.

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Acting is like anything in that success doesn’t come quickly. It’s why we can go back and watch old clips of Brad Pitt whoring for Pringles or Tina Fey talking about the interest rate at Mutual Savings Bank. You have to start somewhere, right? Same goes for motion pictures – for most actors, your first role is going to be some mediocre piece like Return To Horror High or Revenge Of The Creature – but every once in a while an actor or actress starts off at a high point. Here are such high points, awesome first films that you’d be proud to be a part of even if you never did another film ever again.

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What is Movie News After Dark? This week it’s a series of second stringer fill-ins trying not to run things into the ground while regular columnist Neil Miller disappears for a while due to reasons both glamorous and mysterious (in true Lohan fashion, he’s cited both “exhaustion” and “being dehydrated”). And today it’s a laundry list of Internet people still crushing on Joss Whedon’s superhero extravaganza, The Avengers, because Tim Burton’s Dark Shadows shit the bed this weekend and we haven’t had anything shiny to come along to steal away our fickle attentions yet. Let’s get to it. The above image comes from an artist named Hannah, who has proven that her finger is firmly on the pulse of the Internet by paying tribute both to the death of beloved children’s author Maurice Sendak as well as the work of beloved nerd-God Joss Whedon by mashing up Sendak’s artistic style with the cast of The Avengers. Is cute, no?

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It seems that when it comes to tales of good and evil – we often see anything besides good winning and evil losing as some kind of a cop out. Like… we’d rather see the villain fall to their death or be eaten by hyenas than learn the error of their ways -something that’s more than evident in Disney films, which have featured both killer hyenas and high places. But, you know – when a bad guy ultimately turns good, if done right, it’s way better to watch. More often than not they still usually end up dying horrible, so there’s that too, but at least they die good. There’s probably going to be a lot of spoilers below.

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The Mayans, the wise race of ancients who created hot cocoa, set December 21st, 2012 as the end date of their Calendar, which the intelligent and logical amongst us know signifies the day the world will end, presumably at 12:21:12am, Mountain Time. From now until zero date, we will explore the 50 films you need to watch before the entire world perishes. We don’t have much time, so be content, be prepared, be entertained. The Film: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (2005) The Plot: Arthur Dent (Martin Freeman) discovers that his house is scheduled for demolition to make way for a freeway bypass. Thanks to his unique friend Ford Prefect (Mos Def), he also discovers that the planet Earth is scheduled for demolition to make way for a hyperspace bypass. The worst day of Arthur Dent’s life soon turns into the most fascinating one when Ford takes him along on a trip through the galaxy by hitching a ride on passing spaceships. Dent learns that Ford is a writer for the interstellarly famous book “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,” which offers plenty of advice for would-be travelers, including “Don’t Panic” and to always bring along your towel. During their travels, Arthur and Ford meet up with the two-headed galactic president Zaphod Beeblebrox (Sam Rockwell) and quirky Earth girl Trillian (Zooey Daschenel), who are looking for an ancient supercomputer that will provide the answer to the ultimate questions of life, the universe and everything.

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Over Under: A New Perspective on Films New and Old

Recently, I found myself looking for a movie to watch that was Christmasy and festive, but not necessarily something so holiday-themed that it had Santa Clauses, reindeer, and Jesuses in it. You know, something about normal people but set around the time of the holidays. While perusing all of the top ten holiday movie lists that I could find around the web, I saw one title keep popping up again and again, Richard Curtis’s Love Actually. I never saw this one when it came out, it just looked like another generic romantic comedy to me, but it turns out a lot of people love to watch it every year around the Christmas season. And further research led me to the fact that a lot of people mention it as one of the few romantic comedies that’s actually good from the last decade as well. Sounded strong enough for me to give it a watch. It turns out I didn’t much care for the film, though, and my need for something Christmasy had been left unsated. Not willing to go out on another limb, I decided to revisit a film that I had already seen before, one that I remembered enjoying much more than I was expecting to back when it was released. This second choice was Thomas Bezucha’s 2005 film The Family Stone, which already seems to be rather forgotten. Luckily for me, time did not prove my idiocy, because upon a second watch I found that I still enjoyed […]

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And welcome back to Commentary Commentary, our weekly scouring of the DVD shelves and all the vast film knowledge held therein. It’s time once again to listen to a feature length film commentary from one of our most beloved films and go over all the great pieces of information we learn from it. This week, we’ve got another classic, a film that sparked a whole sub-genre of other films. And, before you pitch the idea of “Die Hard on a Film Blog,” know that Joel Silver probably has three screenplays in his office with that exact same pitch. That’s right. This week, we’re cracking open our copy of Die Hard and going through the commentary. So sit back, enjoy how not Christmas-y it is right now, and drink some eggnog anyway. Hey, it couldn’t hurt.

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If you’re not excited about Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2, I would direct you to the review written by our own Cole Abaius. If you can’t be bothered to read such things in advance of the final Potter episode, you could watch this new featurette released by Warner Bros. today. “The Story of Snape” includes some spoilers from two movies ago, so tread lightly if you feel the need. If you’re up on your Hogwarts tales, this one seems like a necessary primer for what is to come where the final chapter hits theaters this week.

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There’s a special kind of challenge in ending a story. Talk to the right writer, and he or she will most likely tell you that typing the last bit of punctuation can be the hardest ink to stamp into the page because even though that’s the goal, it also means saying goodbye to characters you’ve fallen in love with. Characters you’ve fought for and alongside of. Characters that have reflected the best parts of you, shown you your weaknesses and made you all the better for it. We may use stories as escapism, but we have to return to the real world eventually. There’s a special kind of challenge in ending a story because a final chapter has to encapsulate everything that’s played out in the much larger space that’s come before it. It has to confront the audience and its characters with choices they’ve been avoiding, trials that have been kept at arm’s length, and the lessons of all of the smaller tasks has to be used sufficiently against the most dire of consequences in order to be satisfying. It’s been a long journey, but in all of those undertakings, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 succeeds with incredible resolve.

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As the only literate Reject, it’s my duty to find the latest, the greatest and the untouched classics that would make great source material for film adaptations. I read so you don’t have to. The end of the world is coming pretty soon, and the best way to be prepared for it is to read this book by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. Don’t be caught with your pants down during the end times. Know your future, gird your loins, avoid gorgeous red heads that make you angry for no apparent reason, and keep a close eye on that neighborhood gang of kids that seems totally harmless. They’re probably hanging out with the Antichrist.

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Johnny Depp makes his seventh appearance in a Tim Burton film officially making the two of them common-law married. Click to read if we think their relationship is still going strong after all these years.

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HalfBloodPrinceReview

We’ve seen the evolution of this series from children’s films to beautiful pieces of cinematic art. Half-Blood Prince is the next step in the elevation and evolution of that art. Yates, the cast and the crew have done something fantastic.

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Harry Potter and the Massive Amount of New Pics

I will be the first to tell you that I haven’t read any of the Harry Potter books. So I have no idea what is going on beyond the most recently released film. But what I can tell you from all of the promotional materials that I’ve seen is that this new film looks dark.

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Harry Potter 6

Sometimes posters can be oh so wrong. They can be boring and flat and either blend into the background of the local movie theater or worse, turn people off seeing the movie. Of course, for every negative, there’s a positive. We’ll leave you to decide where these fall.

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I’m not an expert on the world of Muggles, Wizards and Witches, but I do know this — what happens at Hogwarts certainly never stays at Hogwarts.

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