Albert Brooks

Marlin and Dory in Finding Nemo

As a parent, there are certain films that you commit to memory. This is not out of necessity, nor is it specifically out of desire. These movies burn their way into a mother or father’s memory banks because they are often set on constant repeat over the course of months – if not years – to keep the kids happy. The technology of home video systems allows movies like The Lion King and Finding Nemo to play on an infinite loop during the day. After watching a film like Andrew Stanton‘s Finding Nemo 186,000 times, a parent starts to look at it different. He or she will forget it’s a story of talking fish featuring sharks on a twelve-step program and surfer dude turtles. Parents will start to question the internal logic of the film and wonder whether any of it is actually possible. Spoiler alert: it’s just a cartoon, so it really doesn’t matter. Still, one can’t help but wonder if the story of a dedicated father clown fish named Marlin (Albert Brooks) would be able to do what he does in the movie. Forget probability odds of literally finding one fish in the massive sea. Watch it enough times on repeat, and you’ll get to thinking: Would Marlin really be able to find Nemo?

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Finding Nemo 2

Briefly: Despite his recent career resurgence thanks to outstanding supporting turns in films like This Is 40 and Drive, Albert Brooks is apparently still well-aware of the benefits of returning for some voice work in an animated sequel. Of course, this isn’t just any animated sequel, it is Finding Nemo 2, and with Brooks’ charming and neurotic work as Nemo’s dad Marlin proving to be such an important part of the first film, it’s no shock that Deadline Hollywood reports that he is back for more. Ellen DeGeneres is also reprising her role as the forgetful Dory, and director Andrew Stanton is also set to helm this new adventure. Finding Nemo 2 will hit theaters in 2016.

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The only way you can describe the new trailer for This Is 40 is to say that it looks, unmistakably, like a Judd Apatow film. Not only are his wife and kids front and center, but so are a ton of other actors that he’s known for collaborating with, they’re all engaging in that stoner-shenanigans-that-still-tug-on-the-heartstrings humor that Apatow perfected if not invented, and it’s all set to a George Harrison song that feels like it was written precisely so it could accompany the sentimental hard sell of a trailer for a Judd Apatow movie.

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Patton After Dark

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly movie news column that is often written drunk, especially on national holidays. We spent all day celebrating America in all her imperfect, boldly designed glory. No matter where you fall on the current state of American politics and culture, the beauty of it is that you’re free to think and say whatever you want. Around here, we like to say all kinds of things about moving pictures. Some call them movies. They are the backbone of this very nightly column, one that takes you around the movie blogosphere, already in the midst of its celebration of America. If you’re still sober enough to read these words, then you’re ready to do the news.

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As we all sit here at Reject HQ, gathered around an absurdly long, but incredibly imposing, table discussing what to do with the nuclear missiles we just “creatively appropriated” from a breakaway Russian republic, it occurs to us that 2011 was a great year to be bad. For every boring, dopey, goody-good hero that popped up on the silver screen, there was a brilliant, super cool, woefully misunderstood villain doing everything he/she/it could to thwart the zero hero at every turn. So when Supreme Commander #1, better known to the world (and those pesky Avengers so they’ll stop blasting our lair) as Neil Miller, issued an official order (delivered by a specially-trained, fire-breathing, gun-toting alligator who lives in the moat) to construct a supersonic death ray…that assignment went to Kate “Femme Fatale” Erbland. But then I got asked to do this list of the 20 Best Villains of 2011, a decided promotion from my usual position as sinister cocktail-fetcher and cleaner of the diabolical gutters.

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Good morning from Los Angeles, where we announce major award nominations at 5:30AM on a Thursday morning. That’s how much we value your sleep patterns and sanity. Now that I’ve pulled myself out of a state of under caffeinated shock over some of the Golden Globe nominations – namely, that Ryan Gosling was nominated for lead actor in both the drama and comedy and musical categories, though neither of those nods was for Drive (Crazy, Stupid, Love.? really? I had no idea that the Hollywood Foreign Press Association was so into abs!). Beyond that jolt to the system, there were a number of standard choices for the awards. The Artist? Well, of course? But all that Ides of March love? Interesting. The Artist leads with six nominations, followed by The Descendants and The Help with five each, and The Ides of March, Midnight in Paris, and Moneyball with four nods. But despite the overwhelming sense that (per usual) the Globes are just softball awards, there are some surprisingly good picks buried amongst the fluff – Tilda Swinton getting a lead actress (drama) nomination, Michael Fassbender earning a lead actor (drama) nod for Shame, Bridesmaids and Midnight in Paris up for Best Picture (comedy or musical), Charlize Theron getting a lead actress (comedy or musical) nomination for Young Adult, The Skin I Live In up for Best Foreign Film, and Albert Brooks getting his nod for supporting actor for Drive (drama). The Golden Globes will air live on January 15. Check out […]

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Everyone’s complained about misleading and overly spoilerific trailers at one point or another. They’re all annoying, but they’re trailers. We deal with them. Well, at least that used to be the case. Now one member of society who’s so fed up with studios selling their movies in a “bait-and-switch” fashion is taking this very, very serious matter to where it belongs: the justice system! What film provoked her to take such an action? None other than FilmDistrict’s critical and fanboy darling, Drive. Sarah Deming has filed a lawsuit — which will soon be a class action lawsuit, apparently — against FilmDistrict and the theater she viewed the film at, Emagine Novi. To her great disappointment, the movie wasn’t Fast and Furious enough.

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A getaway driver (Ryan Gosling) waits as his temporary partners in crime pile in with their unspecified haul, and as the police close in behind them the driver does what he does best. Straight-faced, calm, and in control, he eludes capture through precision and restraint, and when the job’s over he walks away. But what happens when walking away is no longer an option? Driver (as he’s listed in the credits) meets, befriends, and falls for a young woman (Carey Mulligan) and her son who may just be the only real innocents left in Los Angeles. When her husband is released from jail and forcibly tasked to commit one last robbery to pay off a debt, Driver steps in to assist and spare mother and son any further anguish. Things do not go as planned. If the bare mechanics of Drive‘s plot seem overly familiar it’s because they are. The character of Driver could easily be imagined in any number of westerns, samurai epics, or Clint Eastwood films as the nameless stranger who appears to skirt both sides of the law but who shows his true colors when it comes to protecting or avenging the innocent. His past is unclear but we know those gaps are most likely filled with violence, loss and more violence. And the idea of “one last job that goes wrong” has become so ubiquitous that it’s a wonder Friedberg & Seltzer haven’t spoofed it by now (in a film destined to be creatively titled One […]

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Director Nicolas Winding Refn‘s first Hollywood outing, Drive, is a successful and propulsive dive into the world of commercialism. Instead of tackling a work-for-hire type of gig, the semi-auteur has stuck to his unrelenting, darkly comedic, and playful style. The director took a simple premise and storyline, and made an 80s-inspired, pop music-fueled western about a lone samurai. Does that sound like the atypical Hollywood picture? It delivers the unexpected, similar to how Refn does in person. This is the second time I’ve interviewed the on-the-rise filmmaker, and he’s the type of interviewee that keeps you on your feet. Most of the time his responses are brief, to the point, and often odd. Sometimes that’s for the better, especially since the Danish filmmaker is never at a loss for something interesting to say. Here’s what the self-described fetish filmmaker had to say about Pretty Woman, treating actors as human beings, embracing his feminine side, and the ending of Drive:

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Driving is boring. It’s so damn boring. Watching characters drive is often one of the most boring and cinematically flat things in movies. It’s rarely exciting. Directors constantly complain about the difficulty of finding energy or something of interest when characters stare off onto a road. Who could actually make such a dull-seeming activity cool, cinematic, and energetic? Nicolas Winding Refn, that’s who. Refn’s a director with a voice of his own, something that’s a bit of rarity nowadays. He’s got a specific personality that’s reflected perfectly on-screen. With Valhalla Rising, Bronson, and the Pusher trilogy, the guy has shown a great love for his violent characters. The auteur revels in exploring men of violence, what makes them tick, and their relationship with their surroundings. The lead in Drive, suitably credited only as Driver, is a lot like Bronson and One-Eye. He’s a man with his own presence, most of his intentions and thought processes are expressed internally, and he isn’t afraid to kick some ass if push comes to shove. Unlike Bronson, though, Driver doesn’t at all represent some form of madness. In this story that’s filled mostly with bastards, Driver is the most moralistic man among them.

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Director Nicolas Winding Refn has little interest in repeating himself on the big screen. He first made a splash with his gritty and violent Pusher trilogy before surprising audiences and critics alike with the creative and charismatic Bronson. His last film, Valhalla Rising, saw him move into a more contemplative and zen-like mood focused on visuals and atmosphere instead of plot. Which brings us to his latest film… which also appears to be his most accessible. Drive is about a movie stunt driver (Ryan Gosling) who moonlights as a getaway driver whenever the mood strikes him, but when he gets involved with a woman (Carrie Mulligan) and her son his precise and controlled life takes a deadly turn. He’s forced outside of his comfort zone and has to put his skills to the test to save not only himself but the hottie and the kid as well. The film also boasts a pretty stellar supporting cast list including Albert Brooks, Bryan Cranston, Ron Perlman, and Christina Hendricks. Check out the fantastically thrilling and beautifully scored trailer courtesy of IGN below.

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I know Danish director Nicholas Winding Refn for his stylish, ridiculously entertaining look at a very unique criminal mind Bronson. I know Ryan Gosling from about a million of the best indie movies that have come out over the last decade. The two recently teamed up to make Drive, a film about a stuntman turned wheelman that got some big buzz going at Cannes and recently blew people away at the Los Angeles Film Festival. Once my Twitter feed lit up with LA people coming out of Drive gushing, I got super jealous and started looking forward to my own chance to see the film. But that’s not all there is to look forward to concerning these talents. When talking to 24 Frames, Refn spilled some beans about another film the actor and director hope to collaborate on in the future. The two are already set to put together a remake of the 1976 dystopian film Logan’s Run, but in addition to that Refn says, “We’re doing a comedy, and Albert Brooks promised he’d write the screenplay. Well, that’s not exactly true. But print it and we’ll make it true.” Could this be wishful thinking on Refn’s part? Brooks doesn’t do much writing work these days. The last writing credit he has was on 2005’s Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World, and before that he hadn’t written a film since 1999’s The Muse. Will making something for talents like Refn and Gosling be enough to get him scribbling? It […]

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As the films come to a close, patterns tend to emerge. This year, for instance, there has been a definite focus on the cinema of abuse, of nostalgia and on auteur-driven films, but the most engaging and intriguing mini-pattern for me is the cinema of misdirection, i.e. films that suggest they are one thing and ultimately offer something entirely different by their end. Unlike Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris, and The Skin I Live In and even to a lesser extent Hara-Kiri, Drive‘s directional swerve is a tonal one, rather than a thematic or material one. What at the outset looks like an indie love story, with background driving sub-plots, swerves wildly onto a more ragged road. Ryan Gosling (Cannes’ new darling after this and last year’s mesmerizing Blue Valentine) stars as a stunt-driver/mechanic by day, who moonlights as a getaway driver who is as solitary as Leon, and as effortlessly cool and detached as Bullitt. This driver’s world is flipped when he meets his neighbor Irene (Carey Mulligan, who looks stunning), and is immediately floored by her (and her son Benicio). Problem is, Irene has an ex-con husband (Standard, played by Oscar Isaac) who they discover has been granted early release, and doesn’t take too kindly to the driver muscling in on his family. When the driver discovers Standard beaten and bloody in the car park, he offers his services to pull off the one last job that will see the ex-criminal able to get out and go straight. Only things […]

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There’s something perfect about the sass-filled sex pot of Mad Men joining a film directed by a man who said that “art [was] an act of violence.” There’s nothing poppy and light about Christina Hendricks’s show, but it’s downright froth compared to the madness that was Nicolas Winding Refn’s Bronson. It’ll be great to see what they have in store for each other. Refn’s next project is Drive – a film starring Ryan Gosling as a stunt driver who moonlights as a getaway driver (because even stunt driving aint payin’ the bills these days). It also features the brilliant Albert Brooks, Carey Mulligan, Bryan Cranston and, now (according to Variety), Christina Hendricks. It won’t be her first feature film role, but it will be her second major after she’s seen in Life As We Know It – which sounds like a Sundance film but is actually a Katherine Heigl rom-com.

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