Alfred Molina

The New York City skyline is one of the tired titans of American imagery. To put it more charitably, it’s awfully difficult to fill a movie with classic images of Gotham and finish with something original and interesting. In Ira Sachs‘s newest feature, Love Is Strange, one of his characters goes to the trouble of actually painting the view of Manhattan from a Brooklyn roof. This particular canvas becomes one of the most emotionally charged symbols of the film. In the hands of a less assured director, it would be entirely ponderous. Yet Sachs knows his way around the city, so to speak. His last feature, Keep the Lights On, charted the heartbreaking decline of a relationship against the backdrop of a hazy metropolis. Love Is Strange, on the other hand, finds a much clearer and brighter source of light. Ben (John Lithgow) and George (Alfred Molina) are an aging couple finally, legally, getting married after almost 40 years. The film begins with their wedding, a lovely outdoor affair followed by a reception in their apartment. There Sachs introduces all of the supporting players, including an adoring novelist niece named Kate (Marisa Tomei) and some neighborly gay policemen (Cheyenne Jackson and Manny Perez).

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What is Casting Couch? Despite the fact that the movie business seems to be slow to get back to work after the long weekend, it’s a column that’s managed to dig up a couple exciting casting coups. Bryan Singer out-scooped everybody in the news breaking business today when he suddenly started tweeting big updates on how the cast for his upcoming X-Men: First Class sequel, X-Men: Days of Future Past, was developing. He started off small by first confirming that a few members of the First Class crew would be returning. He tweeted, “I’d like to officially welcome back James McAvoy, Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Fassbender, & Nicholas Hoult to #XMEN for #DaysOfFuturePast.” But then he got a little crazy and started confirming rumors that actors from his original X-Men movies will be joining the film as well by tweeting, “Thrilled to announce @ianmckellen118 (Ian McKellan) & @SirPatStew (Patrick Stewart) are joining the cast of #XMEN #DaysOfFuturePast #magneto #professorX More to come…” Do you think we could get scenes where old Professor X and Magneto meet young Professor X and Magneto? The head spins with awesome possibilities.

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All right, all you great big, bright, shining stars out there. It’s time to hear what Paul Thomas Anderson has to say. With recent movies like There Will Be Blood and his latest, The Master, the director is smack in the middle of a stretch in his career in which he’s defining a new genre called Discomfort. Boogie Nights looks downright cheerful by comparison, so it’s nice to go back and listen to the writer/director discuss his great, early achievement. And here we have it, all 37 things we learned listening to PT Anderson talk about Boogie Nights. You got the touch…!

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The Best Short Films

Why Watch? Impersonating a nun, finding impure uses for her body parts, seducing a man of the cloth – Jennifer Garner is filthy. And sweet. And in love. In Rodrigo Garcia‘s new short, she and Alfred Molina sap every ounce of humanity and drama from the wood of the confessional. It’s a film comprised almost solely of dialogue (with a pristine shot selection just for good measure). There’s a pulpy feel to it – a kind of polite insanity that still feels rooted even in its mythical (and undeniably romantic) setting. Both actors are in solid form here – proof that Garner can do more than what she’s been handed in the past, and although her sweetness is played upon, it never feels exploitative. What will it cost? Only 11 minutes. Skip Work. You’ve Got Time For More Short Films

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr decides he’s going to learn history from Hollywood. After all, why not when three out of the four major releases are based on or inspired by a true story. He learns about the true history of baseball with Moneyball (and was sorely disappointed it wasn’t called Monkeyball because a movie about monkeys playing baseball would have been awesome). Then he learns all he needs to know about marine mammals and depressed children in Dolphin Tale. Finally, he faces the cadres of screaming tweenage girls to see Taylor Lautner in ABduction. That’s based on a true story, right?

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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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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr celebrates the summer tent pole season with Christopher Nolan’s Inception, eager to watch the movie again and fall asleep just to see what happens. He also takes his kids to see The Sorcerer’s Apprentice and shows some love for Disney’s family adventures, even if they are a bit silly.

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You’d think that the combination of awesome that is Nic Cage, Alfred Molina, and plasma orb throwing would make The Sorcerer’s Apprentice a sure bet. Sadly, this was not the case. While Jon Turteltaub brings us a reasonably entertaining romp through New York with plenty of magic, wizardry, and Cage one-liners — the viewer isn’t left with a lot of heart, or much reason to get emotionally invested in the characters. The Sorcerer’s Apprentice is based on a 1797 poem by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, about a…well, a sorcerer and his apprentice. Most people know the story based on Disney’s Fantasia, the part of the apprentice played by the iconic Mickey Mouse. In the current iteration, a lot of story and background have been created to make this a full length film. The apprentice is Dave Stutler (Jay Baruchel), a physics major at NYU with a past he’d like to forget.

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With The Last Airbender and Twilight: Eclipse behind us, it’s becoming more and more easy to call this summer a relative bust. All that stands between Summer 2010 now and the bowels of history is Christopher Nolan’s Inception, or so you might think. Over the past few weeks I’ve become increasingly interested in the Jerry Bruckheimer produced magic-a-thon The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. And it has nothing to do with Nicolas Cage’s funky hair-do.

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Meek, introverted accountant William Blake (Johnny Depp) journeys West from Cleveland to the mysterious town of Machine where he’s been promised a job, only to find that the job is taken and that the company owner, John Dickinson (Robert Mitchum), is a gun-toting sociopath who listens to nobody.

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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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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr heads to the desert to grade Sex and the City 2 and Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time.

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If director Mike Newell were to take a rapper name, it should be ‘Money Shot’ Mike. For over the years, he has been developing the craft of capturing that one moment when the film’s shirtless, sweaty star is in clear focus, slowed to the perfect frame rate so that the audience can marvel in the 60-foot of an action adventure star.

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Wondercon: The Sorcerer

I’d be lying if I said I had previously been looking forward to this summer’s Nicolas Cage flick, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. Early teasers haven’t done much to dampen my disinterest, but a couple of new scenes from the movie may have succeeded where those teasers failed.

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Another trailer for An Education is online daring people to rebel in a polite sort of British way. Between the difficult and boring, and the easy and fun – which do you choose?

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Sony Pictures Classics has released the first theatrical trailer for Lone Sherfig’s period drama An Education, and in it we see the bright shining star that is Carey Mulligan.

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A real rocknrolla in Disney

Toby Kebbell will face off against Nicolas Cage and Nicolas Cage’s Magic Hair Piece for supremacy in The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.

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molina-sorcerer

If we are honest with ourselves for a moment, we will see that the Jerry Bruckheimer produced, Jon Turteltaub directed Disney film The Sorcerer’s Apprentice is actually a very interesting project. And it just got more interestinger.

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aneducation-1

Perhaps this year’s most buzzed about Sundance movie, director Lone Scherfig’s period drama accomplished more than few things during its Sundance ’09 run. First and foremost, it was one of the most well-executed period films of the festival, bringing to life 1960s Britain in a very authentic way. It also introduced us to a brilliant new talent named Carey Mulligan.

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